Posted in Crochet, Finished object, Knitting, Life in general, Work in progress, Yarn stash

It’s A Thrilling Thursday Throwdown!

The above blog post title came about because I’ve missed WIP (aka Stitch-Along) Wednesday and Freshly Finished Friday for the last few weeks, despite my best intentions.  This evening I found some time to take a few photos and do a little mental composition; thus, a blog entry!  Ta da!

Said blog entry (that would this one, the one you’re reading, right here, right now) will contain:

  • Photos of an unfinished project!
  • Photos of a finished project!
  • Photos of a project that has yet to be commenced!
  • Yarn p04n!
  • And a flimsy explanation for the recent lack of activity (plus a bonus excuse for a future lack of same)!

Isn’t that thrilling?  Get it, thrilling?  Because it’s a “thrilling Thursday throwdown”?  Oh, never mind.  Let’s get started, shall we?

Mom's Tunisian 18First, the unfinished project.  The Tunisian Terror approaches the end of its crocheting phase.  I have one more solid square to finish in the coffee colorway, two to make in the cranberry colorway, and then eight striped squares.  Once the striped squares are completed, the crocheting is done.  Then will begin the cross-stitch component of this blanket.  Yes, each of these squares will have a cross-stitch design embroidered on it.  Have I mentioned I don’t do cross-stitch?  That’s my sister’s craft.  But, for my mother, I will do my best.

Bryony 5Next, the finished project.

Pattern: Bryony Cap by Tammy Eigemann Thompson; found in Interweave Knits Weekend 2010Click here for the Ravelry project page.

Yarn: Malabrigo Rios, colorway Marte, roughly 162 yards

Needles:  Addi Turbo circs, size 9 for the ribbing, size 10 for the cabled body, and size 10 DPNs for the crown

Satisfaction with end product:  Very pleased.  If this hadn’t been intended as a gift, I’d have gladly kept it.  I’ve never used Malabrigo before, and now I understand why fellow yarncrafters fall all over themselves for it.  It’s a dream to stitch: soft and squishy and satisfying, not to mention flat-out gorgeous.  Pure tactile pleasure! The pattern itself was well-written and easy to follow.  I made a few minor adjustments.  The pattern called for Bryony 6using a US 10.5 needles, but the ribbing in the 10.5 needle was far too loose for my tastes, so I switched to US 9s and cast on the same number of stitches that were required for the cable portion of the hat (rather than increasing after the ribbing as the pattern specifies). After the ribbing and a no-increase knit row, I switched to the larger needle (a 10, rather than the 10.5) and carried on as written. Using the smaller needles meant row gauge was short, so I did two and a half repeats of the cable section to get sufficient height before starting the decrease. The extra half repeat meant adjusting the decreases to get the same pattern effect at the crown, so I shifted the k2tog and ssk sections by…um, I think it was six stitches.

Purple Shawl 1The project yet to be commenced is also a gift.  I want to use the yarn pictured, which is Miss Babs Cosmic Handpainted Sock in colorway Swan Princess, because the gift is intended for a purple-loving person. The pattern pictured, Bellingrath, is the current champion of the Ravelry “what’s in my library?” search.  I’m just not sure it’s the right pattern for a colorway with such high contrast.  I’m afraid the lace will get lost in the color changes.  I have another sock yarn in stash that is a much lighter purple and much more subtle in its color changes, and now I’m waffling back and forth between the two, plus still stalking Ravelry for patterns. Thus, the “yet to be commenced” part of this project.  I suppose one could say that the only thing I’ve decided here is to make something purple for a particular individual.  Thrilling, yes?

And now, the promised yarn p04n.  I’ve been on a bit of binge recently.  Ready?

Yarn Acquisitions 1Wait, here’s another angle.

Yarn Acquisitions 2Some go-to workhorse yarn (the Cascade 220, along the back), some vibrant look-at-me sock yarn (four skeins at the front left), and that gleaming alpaca-rayon blend Folio in a deep charcoal on the right.  Heaven only knows when I’ll get to use any of it…well, that’s not true.  I bought the Cascade because I needed those colors for specific gifts.  The rest was whimsy.  It’s the whimsy that gets me in trouble.  I am quickly approaching SABLE status.  (That’s “Stash Acquired Beyond Life Expectancy”, for the uninitiated.) I’ve already achieved BABEL status.  (That’s “Books Acquired Beyond Expected Lifespan”.)

Harvey 1Speaking of books, I’ve read several good ones recently.  No, I haven’t blogged about them.  Yes, I feel guilty.  But (here’s the flimsy explanation portion of this blog entry), I’ve been busy.  With this.

Yes, that is a script for a stage play.  After three years away, I auditioned for a local community theatre production and was cast as…

The female lead.  Veta Louise Simmons, sister of Elwood P. Dowd, he of the white rabbit fame.

It’s nice to know my acting chops have not failed despite their lack of recent use.  It’s not so nice to realize I have over 200 lines to learn and must be totally off book, not even calling for a line, by NEXT TUESDAY!!!

Harvey 2Just look at all that yellow on those pages.  It’s like that throughout most of the show.

Actually, I have a good grasp of about half of my scenes, and between now and Tuesday night will be spending virtually every moment that I’m not working with my nose buried deep in that script.  I intend to drive my husband insane by making him run lines with me every night when he gets home from work.  I expect I’ll make the other riders on MARTA think I’m insane by constantly muttering to myself while commuting back and forth to the office.

We open in May, so (and here’s the excuse for future absence bit) don’t expect much in the way of activity here for the next couple of months.  I hope to get back here and read some of your entries for Knit & Crochet Blog Week, but there’s no way I can take part this year. *sad face*

Hey!  I have one more photo for you, and would like a little feedback on it.  When I sat my camera on my desk to upload the photos I had taken today, I noticed something interesting in the viewscreen, so I quickly snapped a couple of shots.  After some judicious editing and cropping, I came up with this:

Yarn Book Banner 3Books, yarn, music…pretty much everything I ever write about.  And a pen to indicate the writing.  I’m thinking I might make this photo the banner for this blog.  Or maybe stage a better one.  What do you think?

Freshly Finished Friday(Edited to add:  I’m going to link this to Hard Knit Life’s Freshly Finished Friday.  Well, it contains an FO, doesn’t it?  Click the badge over there to go to the link party.  You know you want to.)

Posted in Knitting, Project planning, Yarn stash

Cast-on-itis needs its own telethon

I’m fighting a bout of cast-on-itis.

These attacks happen every year right about this time: Autumn has arrived in its full force and glory, the house’s central heat has been switched on to ease the morning chill, and I start studying my pattern books, paging through various Ravelry pattern searches, and fondling all those luscious wools in the stash.

Photo © OnceASheep
So, what started it? Last week, when barely three-quarters of the way down the cuff, I got bored with the first k3p1 sock I’m making for spouse — which, by the way, does not bode well for the second sock of the pair — and cast on for a Rowan scarf pattern I’ve admired for a couple of years.

The Wanderer Scarf by Martin Storey is huge and textured and cushiony and made with enormous yarn on enormous needles. It’s intended as a gift for a friend who lives in a cold climate. Said friend may or may not read this blog, so no further details about the giftee will be forthcoming until it arrives in its intended recipient’s hands. But the scarf will probably make an appearance or two in the WIP Wednesday Round-up, assuming I manage to get any such entries written — difficult when working full-time. As insecure as our financial position was during the recent government shut-down, I did enjoy having all that time at home to read and knit and write about reading and knitting. I’m considering it a preview of retirement.

Schaeffer ChrisSpeaking of gifts, though, that’s the other thing that brings on this annual cast-on-itis struggle. It’s getting to be the gift-giving season, when I remember all the people I put on the gift list earlier in the year and realize I haven’t made a single one. In fact, I’m two years behind. And it’s not just Christmas: in my family, we have multiple Autumn and Winter birthdays. You’d think after all these years I’d have learned to make little things — scarves and hats and mitts and socks and fancy washcloths — all throughout the year to avoid being crushed under the weight of the end-of-year obligations. But no. Lesson still not learned. Maybe next year.

Photo © Interweave LLC
Market Jacket, Photo © Interweave LLC
But, truthfully, I really want to knit something for me. Something big this time, like a cardigan or pullover. I’ve been eyeing my stash of reds, in particular, and that 1500 yards of Schaefer Chris in Pomegranate shown above is screaming at me. I think it wants to become the Market Jacket from Interweave’s November Knits. I even have buttons in stash that might work, but it wouldn’t break my heart if I had to buy new buttons. Because, well, buttons! (Have I mentioned I stash buttons as well as yarn? No? Consider it mentioned, then.)

There’s also nearly 1500 yards of burgundy alpaca that wants to become a Gathered Pullover.
Indiecita Alpaca 2020

Gathered Pullover, Photo © Interweave LLC
Gathered Pullover, Photo © Interweave LLC

So, that’s where the resistance to cast-on-itis is coming from: the urge to make a new Autumn sweater for me me me, and the simple fact that there are gifts that should require my complete and total attention. Add the guilt that I’ve recently finished three projects just for me me me… wait, one of those projects was the shrug I cast during last year’s cast-on-itis season. Ha! There’s my justification! Now to decide: the pullover or the cardigan?

Posted in Crochet, Finished object

Baby love, oh, baby love…

No. I’m not having a baby. Bite your tongue. And perish the thought!

But I made a baby blanket because: (a) I like making baby blankets; and (b) my colleague’s wife had a little girl. Baby girl was three months early, and it was touch-and-go there for a while, but she’s doing much better now. Still in NICU, but apparently thriving.

Blanket Full of Prayer

Pattern: Mine, sort of. I took the stitch patterns from Interweave Crochet’s Fall 2011 pattern Lacy Canopy Cardi Wrap, then reoriented and repurposed them. The result? a blanket of delicate lace for a delicate infant. You can see more pictures on the Ravelry project page.
Yarn: Bernat Berella 4, Natural, 5 skeins (975 yards)
Hook size: I
Satisfaction with end result: I’m rather proud of this blanket, to tell the truth. I wasn’t exactly sure whether my “reorienting and repurposing” was actually going to work. In the end, the stitch counts for the border took a little finagling to make the pineapples come out equal on all sides, but said finagling is invisible in the end product.

Posted in Crochet, Finished object

The most gorgeous afghan I’ve ever made

When I first saw this pattern, I fell instantly in love.

Pattern: Moorish Mosaic Afghan by Lisa Naskrent, from Interweave Crochet Fall 2009 (Ravelry link). Also available for download at The Crochet Garden.
Hook size: I

Mosaic Afghan 8

As luck would have it, the stash contained enough of one color of acrylic worsted to use as the Master Color (MC) and a bunch of single skeins of acrylic in various colors for the accent colors. Thus, the perfect project to use up some stash.

Mosaic Afghan 12

Little did I know the yarn requirements in the magazine were off by more than half! My single skeins weren’t enough, and I was forced to substitute various other reds in stash, and buy various yellows, pinks, and greens — because I couldn’t find the same yarns in the same colors — to make it through. I kept my fingers crossed the multi-colored nature of the mosaic motifs would make this variation in hue less obvious.


  • MC: Bernat Berella Burgundy
  • A: Patons Canadiana Light Sage, Red Heart Super Saver Frosty Green
  • B: Patons Canadiana Gold, Vanna’s Choice Mustard, Cascade 220 Gold
  • C: Bernat Berella Natural
  • D: Vanna’s Choice Cranberry, Red Heart Heathers Warm Red, Vanna’s Choice Brick
  • E. Patons Canadiana Rosewood, Hobby Lobby I Love This Yarn Old Rose

Total yardage: 4,408, plus or minus.

Mosaic Afghan 10

I embarked on this blanket project on December 9, 2010 and finished the last of the crocheting on February 22, 2011. I was so tired of it that I put it away, telling myself I’d wait a couple of months until it was fresh again before beginning the assembly process.

Eighteen months later, in mid-August 2012, I dragged the pieces out of hibernation and started assembly. Two weeks later, all the sewing was done. On September 4, 2012 I finished the last round of the single crochet border. And, other than the color choices, the border was my only modification. Instead of one single crochet round in the Master Color, I went four rounds: Round 1, Burgundy (MC); Round 2, Brick; Round 3, Mustard; Round 4, Burgundy again.

Mosaic Afghan 14

Then began the weaving in of the endless endless endless ends. Endless. Ends. Endless. More than once I asked myself what I thought I was doing making something with so damn many color changes.

And then, last night, the last of the ends disappeared into the weave. I threw the finished blanket into the washing machine, threw it in the dryer, shook it out, took the photos, and patted myself on the back for a job well done.

Mosaic Afghan 13

More than well done. It’s flat gorgeous. Yes, I’m tooting my own horn here, but the finished blanket is more beautiful than I ever dreamed. I love it more than chocolate. Well, almost.

Bill and Jacquenetta

And I’m having to fight my husband and the cat for it.

Posted in Knitting, Magazine review

Magazine review: Interweave Knits Winter 2009

All my knitting and crocheting is taking place behind the scenes recently.  I have lots of FOs to show off.  I just haven't taken the time to upload the pictures from the camera.  Too busy finishing projects and ….gasp…. getting ready to move across country.  More on that some other time.  In the meanwhile, let's take a look at IK's winter issue.

At first glance, I fell in love with that cover knit, and had high hopes for the rest of the projects within.  "Best knits for winter warmth" sounds pretty good to me.

Beginning at the beginning, the first article we come to is the Artist Spotlight on Mark Newport.  Unlike many of the textile artists IK has featured in the recent past, I actually kind of get this guy.  He's turned his fascination with comic book superheroes into knitted superhero costumes.  Click on the link to see what I mean.  I never really read many comics outside of Archie when I was a kid, but maybe the fact that I think these are kind of cool is an indication of my inner geek.

This issue's Yarn focus is on camelid products: camel, alpaca, llama, and their cousins.  Luscious yarns such as Rowan Lima or Cascade Pastaza cause my fingers to twitch and reach for the credit card.  I love how IK introduces me to yarns I would never otherwise encounter.  My only quibble with the feature is the lack of pricing information.  It would be most helpful to know the retail price of these yarns, and thus be able to budget for what could be a costly purchase.

Vicki Square discusses designing with ethnic motifs in her Thinking Knitter column.  Interesting insight to a working designer's process.

Hey!  Patterns!  In the Fall 2009 issue (which I did not review….laziness and procrastination R us), IK changed its format.  Instead of showing all the pretty pictures of the featured knits first, with patterns following at the back of the magazine, IK now prints each gallery or "story" with its patterns in a self-contained section.  In other words, several pages of pretty pictures followed by the patterns for those knits, then several more pages of pretty pictures followed by patterns, and so forth.  It's not a bad change but it will take some getting used to…I'm accustomed to picking up a magazine and flipping immediately to the back half to find the instructions.

Onward.  Our first story:  A Stark Contrast, which highlights the positive and negative space in cables, lace, and other knitted textures.

  • The first knit featured is that cover piece, Nora's Sweater, a gorgeous royal purple tunic-length cardigan with a pleated back beneath its Japanese-inspired sideways-cabled yoke, and an open collarless front with an intricately cabled border.  Elegant and easy to dress up or down.  Suggested yarn: Misti Alpaca Worsted.  Have I queued this yet?  *checks*  Apparently not.  Will remedy that situation forthwith.
  • The Syrup Pullover, so-called because of its predominant use of a waffle stitch, is a V-neck pullover with long sleeves that puff out at the elbow and draw back in at the long cuff.  The pattern copy calls it a "poet cuff."  Looks kind of like an upside down Juliet sleeve to me.  The bodice is knit in smooth stockinette with that aforementioned waffle stitch giving texture and eye appeal below the bust line to the hem and on the cuffs.  Meh.  Not to my taste, but it's not ugly.  Suggested yarn:  Lorna's Laces Green Line Worsted.
  • The Aquitaine Pullover's wide boatneck and chunky lace at the bodice and on the cuffs of its long sleeves make for a striking and unusual tunic-length pullover.  I'm a sucker for boatnecks anyway…so flattering on my figure…and one glance at this piece was enough to qualify it for queue status.  A second look reveals that it's SEAMLESS (!) and has a subtly textured vertical stripe from below the yoke to the hem.  Love!  Suggested yarn:  Classic Elite Kumara.
  • Alma's Scarf is more wrap than scarf, given its generous proportions.  Easy eyelet lace and lacy V stitch panels at each end echo the textured panel of knit/purl chevrons that make up the main body of the piece.  Very pretty.  Suggested yarn:  Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend.
  • As mentioned in the review of VK's Holiday Issue, purple is this year's "in" color.  The Alpaca Pleats Jacket is the second piece in this issue made of a purple-hued yarn.  This short-sleeved collarless cardigan features vertical pleats around the front and neckline, and a skinny column of eyelet lace tracing the path next to the pleats.  Classic tailored styling and a hook & eye closure make this a good choice for the office, but would look equally great paired with jeans and a tee.  Suggested yarn:  Blue Sky Alpacas Alpaca Silk.

Pattern break, and time for an article.  Real Knitter introduces us to another artist, Sharon Kallis of Vancouver (the article doesn't specify whether that's British Columbia or Washington, though) who crochets with natural materials such as morning glory vines and ivy.  Oooo-kay.  People fascinate me.

Back to the pretty pictures.  Next up:  All Tangled Up, a story in which (according to the magazine copy) "…cables and texture get playful with innovative constructions and patterns."

  • The Braided Riding Jacket, a glorious riot of cables and bobbles and waves in a fabulous green tweed yarn, is a must make.  Long sleeves and yoke use a wrapped stitch to make a bubbly bumpy simple texture which offsets the highly detailed cables on the main body.  Stunning.  Recommended yarn: Tahki Tweedy Alpaca.
  • More tweed, this time by Debbie Bliss, makes up the Floating Spiral Hat, a simple beanie of swirling cables which would make a good companion for the Braided Riding Jacket. Or not.  It's your choice.  The stitch pattern doesn't scream "GIRL!", so this might make a good cap for a fella.  Suggested yarn:  Debblie Bliss Donegal Luxury Tweed.
  • Big yarn in an oversize lace pattern plus satin lining plus beaded handles equal the Art Lace Bag.  It's big enough to use as an overnight bag, which may be its best purpose, because I can't imagine being able to find anything in it easily.  Even the model is pictured as digging through the purse as if in search of her keys.  Suggested yarn: Loop-d-Loop Granite.
  • More Japanese inspiration results in the Wave and Dimple Kimono, a three-quarter sleeve tunic-length cardigan.  The construction is similar in appearance to Nora's Sweater above, except it's done in two pieces rather than six: the yoke and sleeves are knit from wrist to wrist, and the body is knit from hem to yoke.  Wide cables give a gentle rolling feel to the finished fabric.  Very nice.  Suggested yarn: Trendsetter Yarns Merino VIII.
  • The Dusseldorf Aran is a jewel-neck pullover with long belled sleeves and a doubled diamond cable centered on front and back.  I'd like it if it weren't for the belled and pleated sleeves.  Of course, sleeves are easy to customize, so this piece is a possibility.  Suggested yarn: Zitron Gobi.

Another break for pattern instructions, and a close-up of the cables featured in the previous knits.  Instructive.  Speaking of instructive, our next article, Beyond the Basics, offers "A Guide To Reversible Cables."  Fascinating tutorial on how to knit cables that look good on both sides, including exercises to swatch with.

Back to the patterns for All In One, a story featuring one-piece knits.  Yay for seamless!

  • The Deep Texture Tunic has a foldover buttoned and ribbed turtleneck, raglan sleeves, and an all-over basketweave-ish textured pattern for the body and sleeves.  The recommended yarn is Elsebeth Lavold Calm Wool, but I'm guessing this would be exceedingly cozy and light in a pure alpaca.
  • The name, Shredder Pullover, made me smile and brought to mind those long ago days of sun and surf, when the surfer dudes of my acquaintance couldn't wait to get out on their boards and shred some waves.  While this sweater isn't exactly surfer dude apparel, it's still a nifty garment in a 5×2 rib, made reversible by an unusual ribbed cable along one shoulder and down the side.  Coincidentally, I used this very same ribbed cable for a pair of fingerless mitts I made a couple of weeks ago.  Pictures, eventually.  I promise.  Oh, before I forget, the suggested yarn for the pullover is Peruvian Highland Chunky.
  • I'm not a fan of cropped cardigans, but the Bells of Ireland cardi is pretty enough and simple enough that it would be worth the lengthening.  Short raglan sleeves and a button front are set off by bobbles and traveling stitches reminiscent of the namesake flower.  Simple garter stitch finishes off the wide ballet neck, sleeve edges, and hem.  In the queue.  Suggested yarn: The Fibre Company Road to China Worsted.

After a break for pattern instructions, we consider Weighty Matters, a story of texture and weight and combinations thereof.

  • Lacy Ribbons, a crewneck pullover knit of a laceweight silk/mohair blend, has semi-solid bands knit with doubled yarn circling the yoke and an all-over lace pattern resembling dotted swiss.  As a study in texture, it's appealing.  As a wearable useable garment, not so much.  At least, not for me.  Pretty purple hued yarn though.  Suggested yarn: ShibuiKnits Silk Cloud
  • The Half-Felted Knapsack is precisely that.  The bottom half of the bag is felted while the rest of the bag is not.  An I-cord strap secures the opening and makes the bag easy to carry over one's shoulder.  As a purse, I think it's too shapeless to be functional, but I can see it as a grocery bag.  Suggested yarns:  Louet Clyde and Louet Bonnie.
  • The Fiery Ruche Scarf is knit in brilliant shades of orange and red and uses elastic thread to create the ruching effect.  Striking and original.  Suggested yarn:  Brown Sheep Nature Spun Sport Weight.
  • When is yarn not yarn?  When it's paper!  The Paper Lanterns use three different stitches to create open patterned structural pieces to ease over purchased paper lanterns.  A neat idea.  Wouldn't work in my home, but on the patio or in some modern industrial loft space, they would be perfect.  Suggested yarn: Louet Euroflax Sportweight.

A break for pattern instructions and now we are Stranded, with colorwork taking center stage.

  • The Icelandic Star is a bright red seamless raglan cardigan with a turquoise, gray, and gold Fair Isle treatment around the yoke and hem.  I like the reversal of the Fair Isle coloring: bright for the body and more subdued in the colorwork, but still with sufficient contrast to make the colors pop.  Suggested yarn:  Reynolds Lite-Lopi.  
  • The solid brown cuffs and collar on Miss Michelle's Jacket anchor the deep turquoise and camel colors of the herringbone-ish body.  The cardigan is shown without front closure, but I bet a zipper could be inserted easily.  I'm not overly fond of the elbow length sleeves.  If I made this, I'd either shorten them to above the elbow, or lengthen them to wrist length.  Suggested yarn: Harrisville Designs New England Shetland.
  • The Heritage Cardigan takes Fair Isle colorwork and turns it on its head.  Or at least its side.  This cream-colored sleeveless vest is knit sideways, beginning at the left front edge and ending at the right front edge.  The Fair Isle pattern in varying shades of gray appear as vertical stripes when the vest is worn, one stripe on each front piece and one center stripe down the back.  The deep ribbed collar and ribbed armhole edging are picked up and knitted after the fact.  A stellar accent piece when worn over long sleeves.  I love it.  I'm not quite fearless enough to tackle Fair Isle yet, but this piece will certainly go on the queue once I'm ready.  Suggested yarn:  Rowan Purelife British Sheep Breeds.
  • The men get a treat with the Aspinwall Pullover, a half-zip, collared, long sleeve sweater with a deep ribbed body beneath a smooth knit yoke, separated by a surprising narrow band of Fair Isle in orange and light gray.  Very simple styling, no fuss, no frills, just that pop of color against a deep gray background.  Pieces like this make me wish my menfolk wore sweaters….although nothing says this couldn't be made in one of the smaller sizes for a woman.  Suggested yarn:  The Fibre Company Terra.
  • The little girls aren't neglected, either.  The sweet Hearts and Flowers Cardigan is sure to please that little lady with its all-over Fair Isle pattern of, well, hearts and flowers in bright pink against a white background.  Narrow accent stripes in yellow and more tiny flowers in greens and purples keep the pink from being too overwhelming.  The long sleeves are plain with a bit of colorwork at the cuffs.  The sizing appears to accommodate about ages 2 yrs to 5 yrs.  I wish it had been sized up a little more.  I know some 7- and 8-year-olds who would love this cardi.  Suggested yarn:  Cascade Yarns Heritage.  (Personal note:  I've used Heritage to make socks.  This is a great yarn, and has enough nylon in it to make it machine washable: a very handy thing for children's clothing.)

Another break for pattern instructions and then, an article on modern Cowichan sweaters, in which a Canadian knitwear company has taken traditional Cowichan motifs and interpreted them in modern colors rather than the naturally-occurring hues of sheep fleece.

To wind up IK Winter 2009, we are treated to a couple of pages of staff projects: 3 scarves and a hat in varying shades of blue, all of which take advantage of that reversible cables lesson in Beyond the Basics.  Cute, except for that Corseted Necklet (Sandi, what were you thinking?), and quick to knit.  I especially like the Whispering River Cowl, a generously sized circular scarf…unlike most cowls I've seen which cling a little too closely to the neck for my taste.  Instructions for each of these projects, as well as photos of all the featured knits in this issue can be found at Interweave Knits.

So, lots of lovelies in this issue, and only a couple of items that caused head scratching.  Ya done good, IK.

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Posted in Crochet, Finished object

Poppies, poppies, poppies will make them sleep….

Finished last night….I call it my California Poppy:

Ring Around the Posie 2

Pattern: Ring Around the Posie by Tammy Hildebrand from Interweave Crochet Spring 2008.
Yarn: Bamboozle from Crystal Palace Yarns, color Ember Glow, 9 skeins.
Size:  45"
Satisfaction with end product:  LOVE LOVE LOVE!
MODS: Used size K hook because I couldn’t find the J. 11 motifs for side strips; 5 motifs for back center strip; 4 motifs for center front. The extra motifs on side and back strips added necessary length; using 4 motifs for the front gave the finished piece a deeper front neckline which is more flattering to my (ample) figure. Eliminated side gusset and used single crochet for seaming.

The neckline isn’t really crooked: Just before spouse snapped the pic, I had adjusted the straps on the cami under the shirt so they wouldn’t show and accidentally hiked the neck up a tad too much on one side.

I wore it to work today and loved every minute of it.

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Posted in Finished object, Knitting

A couple of finished projects to display…

First, I'll show you the pretty one:

Blue Petunia Bag, complete

Pattern:  Petunia Tote by Katie Himmelberg, from Interweave Knits Spring 2007
Yarn:  Bernat Gloucester Sport (I'd link to it, but it's discontinued) in French Blue, 660 yards
Satisfaction with end result:  I really like it.  It's the perfect spring/summer casual running around town bag. The lining really sets it off, as you can see in the picture below.

Blue Petunia Bag with lining

In fact, here's the entire bag turned inside out, so everyone can see the fabulous lining fabric.

Blue Petunia Bag, inside out

The fabric is half a yard of a 60" rayon challis purchased from JoAnn.  Other than that, I can't tell you a thing about it.

The only modification to the pattern was making the strap somewhat shorter than the pattern dictated.  I'm not tall, you see, and didn't want the bag to hang down to my knees when worn slung across my shoulder.  Additionally, I'm thinking about adding a magnetic closure at the top.  I'll carry the bag around for a while before making a final decision.

Now, the not-so-pretty one.  I finally finished spouse's Treads socks from Son of Stitch and Bitch.  The cuffs turned out beautifully:

Treads cuffs

The rest of the socks, not so much:

Treads socks
Yarn:  Cascade's Heritage in #5601 Black, approximately 656 yards (approx. 1.5 skeins)

The foot is so wide you'd think I made them for a hobbit.  My fault totally.  I didn't pay attention to gauge.  If I had, I'd have realized I was using the wrong size needle (a 2 instead of a 0).  Even then I probably could have saved them if I had decreased across the instep when I turned the heel.  Instead, spouse ended up with a baggy, saggy, shapeless pair of socks.  I told him it wouldn't hurt my feelings if he never wore them outside the house.  Note to self: not all sock patterns are created equal.  One must pay attention to the damn pattern while knitting the foot!

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Posted in Crochet, Magazine review

Magazine review: Interweave Crochet, Spring 2009

Two, count 'em, two new magazines landed in my mailbox this week.  Let's take a look at the first to arrive, Interweave Crochet, Spring 2009:

Pretty cover!  Light and fresh and, dare I say, springlike?  I dare indeed.  The cover promises "Full Figure Fits that Flatter".  Hmm.  We'll see.

"Strands" (the editor's column) indicates a change in leadership.  Goodbye, Kim Werker; hello, Marcy Smith!  Ms. Smith points out a hitherto unknown-by-me connection between Interweave Crochet and CrochetMe! Interesting.  (I'm a member at CrochetMe, but don't have much of a presence there…I mainly use it to look for patterns I might want to make.  Don't find too many, sadly.)

"New and Notable" has the usual assortment of kits, accessories and hooks, plus a book that seems to be right up my alley:  Contemplative Crochet: A Hands-On Guide for Interlocking Faith and Craft by Cindy Crandall-Frazier.

Judging simply by the title and the brief blurb in the magazine, this will more than likely be the next yarn-related book purchase (the last being French Girl Knits).  Working with yarn gives me a deep sense of satisfaction and feeds my soul to a certain extent; it will be interesting to get another perspective on the spirituality of yarncraft, crochet in particular.

This month's "Crochet Around Town" column, written by fellow CLFer Aimee Woolwine, takes us to Atlanta, Georgia, on a jim-dandy yarn and restaurant crawl that even features the Atlanta Botanical Garden

Lorna's Laces Pearl shines in the "Yarn Spotlight."  A silk/bamboo blend that sounds simply lovely, it's a DK weight put up in 220-yards skeins.  Marcy Smith makes a point of mentioning its "precious price point", which led me on an unsuccessful search for the actual dollar figure.  If anyone out there can tell me the cost of a skein of this yarn in US dollars, I'd be most appreciative.

"Back to Basics" teaches us the "linked crochet" stitch with detailed pictures, and the "Reader's Gallery" shows us four projects from previous issues modeled by their stitchers.  I love this feature, even though this issue doesn't show any patterns I've considered making.  "Beyond the Basics" discusses crocheted lace, including exploding the pattern and reading the fabric.  Lots of good information in this article, and some great example photos.  An interview with Julia Vaconsin and an article on the history of crochet round out the non-pattern sections of this issue.

Before we go on to the patterns, however, I am compelled to point out an error in the history article, "A Tangled Trail to Crochet's Origin" by Dora Ohrenstein.  Well, not so much an error in fact as an error in interpreting a fact.  Ms. Ohrenstein quotes from the book Victorian Lace (by Patricia Wardle) that crochet arose from tambour work …"some time around the end of the eighteenth and beginning of the nineteenth century…." and "…may be found in manuals from the 1820s onwards…".  Ms. Ohrenstein then declares this dating is a discrepancy.  She writes: "If it appeared in manuals of the 1820s, why does the writer date the transition [from tambour work] several decades later?"  Um.  She didn't.  The late 18th century is also known as the late 1700s; and the early 19th century is also known as the early 1800s.  An 1820 date is perfectly in keeping with a date referenced as "early 19th century."  In other words, the dating is internally consistent within Ms. Wardle's book, and Ms. Ohrenstein needs to review basic historical date terminology. 

Ms. Ohrenstein's error is bad enough.  What I really want to know is where was the editor?  The fact checker?  The typesetter, for Pete's sake?  This piece had to have crossed multiple desks and been read by multiple pairs of eyes and no one caught this boo boo before publication?  'Scuse me?  I certainly hope this blunder is not an indication of a quality shift due to the change in editorial staff.  </end gripe>

Okay.  Patterns.  This is what we're really here for, right?

  • Forest Flower Pullover by Kristin Omdahl — Kristin has another winner here!  I love the slimming vertical striping (worked in the linked stitch method mentioned above), made by working the body from side to side; and the lacy flower motif yoke gives this pretty piece the perfect springtime touch. In my Ravelry queue.
  • Rib & Fan Socks by Carol Ginsberg Brown — The very idea of crocheted socks sort of creeps me out….I like very smooth delicate [read: knit] socks, and crocheted fabric by its very nature is relatively thick and bumpy:  I don't think my tootsies will like such footwear.  Therefore, I've never crocheted a pair of socks.  I'm sort of open-minded, though, in a creeped-out manner of speaking, but I'm not likely to crochet these socks as my first attempt.  They look more like my husband's gym socks than anything I'd wear.  But they look interesting.
  • Glittering Capelet by Lily M. Chin — I am not a shawl person. (Is there an echo in here?)  However, I was up late reading in bed the other night, the heater had turned itself off for the evening, and my shoulders got cold.  "Gosh," I thought, "I need to make myself a bedjacket so I can read without fighting with a blanket around my shoulders."  If this little cape, with its delicate filet yoke and open shell body, had sleeves, I'd consider it for that very purpose.  Otherwise, sorry, Lily.  It's pretty, but it isn't for me.
  • Simply Bibs by Lisa Naskrent — Aaauughhh!  I think I just died from the cute!  Okay, not so much from the bibs — they're fairly basic — but that baby!  I just want to eat him up nom nom nom, oh lookit dose toesies, nom nom nom, and his wittle bald head nom nom nom… ahem.  'Scuse me.  Got carried away.  Sorry.  Nice bibs.  Yeah.
  • Malabrigo Top by Julia Vaconsin — Hey!  It's our interviewee!  No, not the model, the designer.  Nice design on this vest, too, with vertical ribbing on the body and a delicate shell-stitch V-neck bodice, all done in laceweight yarn.  Perfect for the office over a blouse or under a jacket or both; or perhaps over/under nothing at all for an evening out.  The length as shown is a tad short for my taste, so I'd lengthen it by at least a couple of inches.  In the queue.
  • Amazing Grace Wrap by Ellen K. Gormley — A "Plus Size" pattern, up to a 56" bust.  Personally, I'd call this a cardigan rather than a wrap.  It's got sleeves.  To my way of thinking, the defining characteristic of a wrap is the lack of sleeves.  But maybe I'm just a pedant.  Anyway, lacy join-as-you-go motifs, long belled sleeves, and a single tie closure at the scooped neckline make for a sweet just-light-enough layer on a breezy spring day.  Deep slits at the hem allow for plenty of ease over the hips.  I like it, but I don't want to make that many motifs for anything, join as you go or not.  (This from the woman whose last several afghans have been constructed with either motifs or strips.  Which is why motifs are currently on my not-to-do list for the near future.  Seaming is a pain in the…ah, neck.) 
  • Tremendous Tote by Marlaina Bird — LOVE LOVE LOVE!  About the top third of this bag is felted, with the remainder done up in colorful stripes according to the Fibonacci sequence.  (NOTE TO SELF: Someday do a little research and find out exactly what that means when it comes to striping, because it's a phrase that gets slung about all over the yarn world.)  Inexplicably, the pattern doesn't give the finished dimensions, but I think the bag may be bigger than what I usually carry.  Otherwise, with its leather handles, an interior pocket, and a magnetic closure, this is just about the perfect bag.  In my Ravelry queue.
  • Seaside Throw by Rhonda Davis — Want to know the colors and theme in my guest bath?  Look at this blanket.  Blue, cream, chocolate, with a hint of gold, and the suggestion of starfish.  This couldn't have been more perfect as an accessory to drape artfully over the etagere had I designed it myself.  Of course it's in my queue.  Even though it is a motif design.  A girl can make exceptions, can't she?
  • Fan and Petal Neck Lace by Doris Chan — Although this side-buttoned lace collar is beautiful, I honestly can't think of an occasion when I would wear such a piece, nor with what I would wear it.  The pattern calls for a cashmere/silk blend yarn, which would make the collar deliciously fuzzy and soft, though….
  • Sólás Caomh by Jodi Euchner — A cabled Celtic knot-inspired baby blanket in a beautiful shade of green.  I know just the Irish baby (and her mama) that this blanket needs.  In my Ravelry queue.
  • Spring Shell by Simona Merchant-Dest — A "Plus Size" pattern, up to a 52" bust.  Call me a pedant again, but if it has sleeves, it's not a shell.  And I'm not crazy about this particular type of sleeve anyway; from past experience, I know they are not flattering on me.  Otherwise, I really like this top.  The varying stitch detail means it will be a fun-to-make project, plus it's interesting to look at.  Pffth to the sleeves.  Sleeves are easy to modify.  In my Ravelry queue.
  • Audrey Hat by Christina Marie Potter — I want to like this hat.  Really I do.  I wear hats like this all the time, both because they keep the sun out of my eyes and because of a family history of skin cancer.  (I don't go outside without sunscreen.  Ever.)  But floppy brims drive me insane.  The pattern calls for starching the crown and brim with heavy spray starch.  If I decide to give this pattern a try, before committing to the entire project, I'm likely to swatch and test with real liquid starch, like I used on my candy-striper hat way back in the dark ages when nurses and their aides actually wore starched caps.
  • Blossom Kimono by Robyn Chachula — A "Plus Size" pattern, up to a 57" bust.  More motifs.  (And more pedantry — this is sooo not a kimono.  I owned a kimono once: a real one with an obi and everything, made by a Japanese pen pal.  Sadly I was too young and stupid at the time to store the 100% wool garment properly; it was utterly destroyed by moths.  But I digress, as usual.)  One of these days I must get over my dislike of seaming.  A lot of very nice patterns out there are constructed of motifs.  Like this one.  Its long sleeves and deep scoop neckline with that center fastening just below the bust line make this an elegantly wearable cardigan for office or special occasion.  The main colors chosen for the sample shown are subtle enough that the black accents really pop.  In fact, they're almost jarring.  I love the black on the border and around the hem, but I think I'd leave it off the sleeves.  Not in my queue, but it's a possibility.  By the way, be sure to download the charts from the Interweave site.  The charts in the magazine are nearly too small to be read without a magnifying glass.
  • Tulip Skirt by Annette Petavy — A "Plus Size" pattern, up to a 48.5" hip.  More vertical striping, with a flared hemline and a drawstring waist.  This is another pattern I want to like.  It seems easy to wear and the vertical stripes would help hide an expansive backside (mine, that is).  My main objection is the drawstring waist.  I think it looks sloppy and I can't stand loose floppy ends dangling in front of me like that.  So, if I made this, I'd have to modify the waistline to lose the drawstrings and insert elastic instead.  Probably not too difficult a modification, so it's a possibility.
  • Still Waters Shrug by Ellen K. Gormley — A "Plus Size" pattern, up to 2X, up to a 17.5" upper arm.  This is probably the pattern I ought to make as my reading-in-bed jacket.  Too bad I don't really like it.  Oh, the stitch pattern is lovely, and the pattern looks like its a breeze to make, but the garment itself just doesn't seem quite right.  Or maybe it's just that god-awful empire-waisted paisley dress the stylist made the model wear.
  • Emerald Scarf by Tracy St. John — A delicate shell stitch in laceweight Alpaca Silk makes for a beautiful spring scarf, just the right touch of warmth for those chilly spring mornings.  I bet Mom (maybe not mine, but somebody's) would like one of these for Mother's Day.  A possibility.
  • Spring Market Bag by Carol Ventura — Hey, a grocery bag in Lenten colors!  I often wonder how many variations on a market bag designers can create.  Apparently there was at least one more: this colorful Tunisian crochet bag with a drawstring closure in 100% linen.  I'm not quite prepared to spend upwards of $70 USD to make a grocery bag, but it's still awfully pretty.  
  • Snuggly Hoodie by Lisa Naskrent — And there's that edible baby again, this time in a beyond-precious sleeveless hoodie with patch pockets and buttons up the front.  What a sweet little outfit.  Why are all the moms I know with infants young enough to wear stuff like this so far away?
  • Adalia Tank Top by Marikka Hughes — A "Plus Size" pattern, up to a 54" bust.  It doesn't happen all that often, but every now and then a pattern comes along that elicits an automatic "ugh."  This was one of those patterns.  The front view isn't all that bad: it's actually kind of cute with the skinny straps, scoop neckline and flared A-line shape.  But the back?  Racerback style I can deal with, but racerback crocheted lace motifs?  Not so much.  I'm sure someone somewhere thinks this is the greatest pattern ever.  But not me.  Even when I was young and skinny, I wouldn't have worn this.

Overall, I think Interweave did a great job with this issue, with only the one real clunker of a pattern and barring the time reference fiasco.  I especially appreciated that many of the "Plus Size" patterns were actually modeled by someone with a little meat on her bones, although she could only be considered plus-sized in comparison to the usual walking clothes hangers (I mean, let's get real: a 38" bust is plus sized?).  Regardless, thanks, Interweave, for acknowledging that not all women are walking clothes hangers, and the majority of us haven't worn a size 2 since we were, umm, two.

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Posted in Knitting, Magazine review

Magazine review: Interweave Knits Spring 2009

I've been a subscriber to Interweave Knits for about a year now.  I liked enough of what I saw that, several months ago, I ordered six or seven back issues, thus adding to the evergrowing library of knit/crochet books and magazines.  Luckily my husband doesn't see them all at once:  they're organized in magazine holders and tucked away in a cabinet in my computer cubby….Looks like I need to buy another couple of magazine holders soon, though.

Anyway, here's another lovely springtime magazine cover, and it feels Irish to me.  I've never been to Ireland (although I'd like to go someday) and I have no idea if the spring sky is such a lovely pale blue against the new grass.  Regardless, this photo says Irish countryside to me, even if it was shot somewhere in Pennsylvania.  Pretty cover sweater too:  deceptively plain with subtle detail.

This choice for the cover sweater excited some pretty heated commentary in Ravelry's Patterns forum.  I got the feeling I was the only person who actually liked it.  Apparently the majority of readers (or at least those who are vocal in the forums, which I am not — I'm more of a lurker, although I put a word in now and then) thought that virtually any other item in the magazine would have been a better choice for the cover.

Onward to the inside….

Ooooh, Spotlight on Ecco Cashmere by Plymouth Yarns.  Mmmmm, cashmere.  But it's laceweight.  *sigh*  I'm not up to dealing with laceweight yarn.  I have enough trouble with sock yarn as it is.  But someday….

Artist Spotlight on Michelle Vitale Loughlin:  As I've noted in previous entries, yarn/knitting as "high art" generally isn't something that floats my canoe.  But the Jackson Pollock-inspired "Bound" and the enigmatic "Shroud 1" pictured in this article piqued my interest.  But the third featured piece?  A beautiful crocheted pineapple lace blanket covered in paint, and titled "Knitting Lessons 2".  I can deal with the paint bit ("Shroud 1" was also a painted crocheted blanket) but….It's crochet!  Do NOT call crochet knitting!   And don't give me that "artistic license" line of BS.  You will be pilloried by the Crochet Liberation Front for this!  (Trust me on this one, because I'm gonna tell 'em.)


Okay, yarn review feature:  This issue Interweave takes a look at cotton yarns.  Nice variety from several manufacturers, including a budget-priced yarn from Lion Brand ($6 USD for 103 yds).  Knit magazines which acknowledge not everyone can afford Rowan and Blue Sky Alpaca and other high end yarns earn my respect.  Now, if only they'd feature these budget-priced yarns in their pattern offerings more than once in a blue moon….

Vicky Square tells us to "Start as many NEW projects as you can!"  Umm.  No.  I have too many UFOs right now as it is, and I find it frustrating to have them all clamoring "Finish me first!  Finish me first!" every time I open the door to the yarn closet.  Once I get everything that needs finishing finished, my goal will be to have only ONE knit project and ONE crochet project going at the same time.

Book excerpt:  A pattern from French Girl Knits!  LOVE LOVE LOVE!  The pattern is Delphine, a pretty lacy tank vaguely reminiscent of a Victorian undergarment, and it's in my Ravelry queue.  I've been wanting this book since I first read about it.  Must. Buy. Soon.

Beyond the Basics feature:  A lesson in shaping circular lace shawls with short rows.  While I am sure this lesson will be most helpful at some point in the (far far distant) future, I have no plans to knit lace shawls, much less lace shawls that require short rows, any time soon.  Excellent illustrations and diagrams, though.  Plus a math lesson.  Nifty!

And now, the patterns:

The Florist Knits — Wearable pieces with floral inspirations.  I queued only a couple of these, but I liked most of them, even if the designs were intended for a younger version of me.

  • Silk Cocoon Cardigan — A simple wrap cardigan, mostly stockinette stitch but with pretty detailing on the shoulders and cuffs.  I liked it well enough to put into the queue, but I'm not in any hurry to make it.
  • Millefiori Cardigan — LOVE LOVE LOVE!  This was the piece most people in that Patterns forum discussion mentioned above thought should have been the cover.  I don't necessarily disagree, although I was perfectly satisfied with the cover as it was.  Regardless, it's beautiful with a jewel neckline and 3/4 sleeves and that pretty bit of lace above the ribbing.  It was the first thing out of this issue I put in my queue.  When I make it, though, I don't think I'll have quite so much negative ease (wait, the pattern says it's modeled with 2" positive ease?  Huh?), and I'm more likely to use Patons Grace instead of the Rowan Milk Cotton specified in the pattern.
  • Blooming Cotton Scarf — Pretty, but otherwise, as shown, meh.  Interweave's added a nice touch, however, by listing alternate colorways for this scarf in the preview.  I suspect I'd like the "Peacock" version, judging by the colors listed, so this scarf isn't completely out of the running.
  • Posy Slip — Once upon a time, I would have jumped all over this understatedly elegant slipdress.  Sadly, I no longer have the necessary body proportions to carry it off.  I think a solid yarn, rather than the variegated colorway shown, would show this dress and its stitch pattern to much better advantage.
  • Petal Halter — A beautiful piece with intriguing (and probably challenging!) overlapped construction.  I wouldn't in a million years make it for myself, but I can certainly see it being worn by some sweet young thing.  Perhaps in slightly brighter color, though.
  • Fountain Pen Shawl — I am not a shawl person.  This is lovely, though, and if I were a shawl person, I'd be tempted to make it.  And I'm giving extra points to the stylist who put the model in a print dress that echoes the shawl's stitch pattern.  Clever touch.
  • Sweet Tea — When I was a teenager and into my early 20s, I wore this type of cap-sleeve modified-jewel-neck form-fitting top all. the. time.  And so, I like this.  A lot.  Because my mind tells me I'm still 17 years old.  It is betrayed by the 47-year-old body it sits atop, however, and that 47-year-old body would look ridiculous wearing this.  Still, it's a pretty little knit with that ring of posies around the neckline. *sigh*

Clean & Simple — Exactly what the name implies: knits with clean lines and simple details.  I liked every piece, and put two of them in my queue.

  • St. John's Wort Cardigan — At first glance, this is a "no".  Although I like the color, and the stitch detail on the sleeve, and the wide collar, I do NOT like the gathered hem or the fact that it ends right at the natural waist.  It's not a flattering fit at all, even on the model.  But then I read the pattern.  Hey, it's a top down raglan!  Which means I don't have to use that gathering bind-off stitch at the hem, and naturally it's a breeze to knit to whatever length I prefer.  So, it's a possibility.
  • Jeff's Pub Sweater — I wish my husband wore sweaters.  Or any of the men in my family.  Because I would sooo like to make one of them a casually simple unfussy cardigan like this one.  And it's reversible too!
  • Diminishing Rib Cardigan — The cover sweater, photographed indoors this time.  I really like this piece, and it's in my queue, although I want to modify the front so it buttons at least as far down as the beginning of the midsection ribbing.  I do not want a cardigan that I can't fasten.  The suggested yarn is a worsted silk/wool blend.  I'm tempted by the idea of using a silk/bamboo blend instead.
  • Soap Bubble Wrap — A beautiful wrap cardigan with a delicate lace detailing over one hip and the opposite shoulder.  Although it's modeled in a casual manner over a teeshirt and slacks, I can see it worn in a much dressier environment as well, perhaps over a swirly black skirt and shimmery camisole for a special night out.  In my Ravelry queue.  PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT:  If you like this cardigan, you better download it now, because the pattern is not in the magazine.  It is only available online and free until May 14, 2009.  (After that date, it will more than likely still be available, but I sincerely doubt it will be free.)

Side by Side — Um.  Color me not impressed.  In fact, this segment on accessories could have been left out of the magazine entirely, as far as I'm concerned.

  • Saoirse Shawl — First thing, why is it called a shawl when the model is wearing it around her hips?  Second thing, Norah Gaughan, what were you smoking when you designed this?  I must be hopelessly out of touch with what those skinny young things (like I used to be) think is fashionable and hip, because this looks to me like a completely shapeless waste of good yarn.
  • Sweet Lily Shawl — Did I mention I'm not a shawl person?  This pattern puts the lessons learned in this issue's circular knitting with short rows segment to use.  But I'm not a shawl person, and I have absolutely no desire for this piece.  I'm not even sure I like the lace patterns.
  • Net Duffel Bag — Marginally worth considering, but that's an awful lot of very expensive yarn to use for a grocery bag.  If I ever decided to make this, I'd substitute an inexpensive DK cotton instead.
  • Baa Rug — Knitting with unspun roving and then needlefelting make this project seem like a mind-blowingly time-consuming and fiddly piece of work.  I still kind of like it.  But not enough to consider making it.

Sheer Bliss — More pretty and (mostly) wearable pieces with lightweight yarns, generally intended for much younger (or at least thinner) folks than yours truly.

  • Whisper Cardigan — Pretty little sweater with a shrug-like construction.  However, I'm even less of a shrug person than I am a shawl person.  And I don't like sweaters that I can't fasten.  I'm sure I've said that before too.  Still, it looks wonderful on the model, although I'm curious why the stylist felt it was necessary for said model to wear an apron.  Outside.
  • Sculptured Lace Scarf — Nicely detailed unisex scarf combining cables with a teensy bit of lace and made with a bamboo/wool blend yarn.  A possibility, and I wouldn't change a thing about it, except perhaps the color depending on its eventual recipient.
  • Watered Quartz Tee — I think I'd like this better if it had actual sleeves instead of just the extended shoulders.  It's a possibility even without them.  I especially like the contrast between the tightly knit ribbed stripes and the loosely knit stockinette stripes.
  • Float Stole — I may have mentioned once or twice that I am not a shawl person.  That includes shawls that are otherwise called stoles.  Regardless, the alternating eyelet and welt construction of this wispy piece is visually striking.  But I'm still not interested.
  • Bettie's Lace Stockings — Bettie can keep them, based on this photo shoot.  Lace kneehighs worn with open-toe ankle strap heels and a knee-length dress?  This has got to be the most unattractive styling I've seen in a long time.  I understand wanting to show off the featured knit, but there had to have been some other, more appealing way to shoot these stockings.  
  • Parker Cardigan — LOVE LOVE LOVE!  Deep V-neck cardigan with an unusually solid lace pattern below the bustline to the hem and on the sleeves.  And it's so versatile!  The pattern calls for a cotton/linen blend, but I think a silk and/or bamboo yarn would be equally suitable.  Depending on the yarn chosen, I can see wearing it to the office, or on date night with my husband, and even casually with jeans and a tee shirt.  A definite must-make.
  • ZickZack Tunic — While this lace tunic with a cowl neck and a banded and buttoned ribbed hem looks great on the model, it's not for me.  I'd probably like it better if it were long-sleeved (somehow, cowl necks and short sleeves just don't work together for me), but even then, it's a "no."  Not because it isn't pretty, mind you, but because I'm 5'2" and round.  Even when I was a sweet skinny young thing, tunics looked ridiculous on me.  I just don't have the height to carry them off.

So, out of 22 patterns (23, if you count the book excerpt), I queued six, or just over 25%, with several others under consideration.  Not bad!

I am not someone who expects to love every project in every issue.  Sometimes I do, and then my Ravelry queue grows and grows and grows, but I'd be a fool to expect such a thing every time.  Each issue of each magazine must appeal to a wide variety of individuals:  some issues may focus a little more on one particular segment of its readership while other issues focus on other segments; but each issue generally offers a little something for everyone, including pieces which utterly baffle me (Saoirse shawl, anyone?) but are adored by the young and hip and trendy. One out of four patterns in this issue appealed to this round middle-aged woman.  That's a perfectly acceptable percentage for my money.

To close the issue, Beth Hemke Shapiro reveals her knitting journey in a column entitled "Late Bloomer".  I too did not learn to knit until my 40s, and I appreciated every word.

And that's it for this spring's round of magazines.  Well, except for Interweave Crochet's spring issue, which hasn't come yet.  I think it arrives next month.  In the meantime, I have knitting to finish.

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Posted in Finished object, Knitting

Jawbreaker cardi, complete

This morning I found the perfect single button for the Jawbreaker Cardigan, and sewed it on this afternoon.  Behold, the loveliness of my sister's Christmas present:

Jawbreaker Cardigan #3

Here's a closeup of the pretty little button:

Jawbreaker Cardigan #4

I feel so accomplished!

Pattern:  Jawbreaker Cardigan by Kendra Cray from Interweave Knits Winter 2006
Size: 37 1/2"
Yarn:  Rowan Plaid in "Moonlight Wave", 6 balls (the last ball was used solely for the collar; about half the skein remained when finished)
Needle size:  Size 11 for the ribbing, Size 13 for the body.  The pattern calls for size 10.5 for the ribbing and 11 for the body, but I knit tightly and had to go up a size to achieve gauge.
Satisfaction with end product:  *beam*  I like it!  I hope Sis does.  (I hope it fits her.)

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