Posted in Finished object, Knitting

Freshly finished: Cabled Yoke Cardigan

A few months back I committed to a mini-knit-along with another Ravelry member.  We both decided to knit the #19 Cabled Yoke Cardigan from Vogue Holiday 2016 as part of the Vogue Knitting forum’s “Knit #19 in 2019” challenge.

Here’s my completed cardigan:


Pattern: As mentioned above, #19 Cabled Yoke Cardigan by Kristen Ten Dyke, from Vogue Knitting Holiday 2016. Click here for my Ravelry project page.  This is knit from the top down, with no seaming at all.

Size: 38″

Yarn: Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool, colorway 79 Thundercloud (a deep deep gray) (discontinued), 1175 yards

Needles: Addi Turbo Circulars, US size 4 and 5; Knitter’s Pride Nova Platina DPNs, US size 4


Mods: Not many. The sleeves are an inch shorter than the pattern called for. I also used beads in the yoke instead of bobbles.  I wasn’t happy with how loose the seed stitch cuff turned out on the first sleeve, so when I knit the second sleeve, I went down a needle size when I got to the cuff. That was better, so I re-knit the first cuff.  Otherwise, knit as written.


Beads: 32 Toho 6/0 glass seed beads, color Metallic.

Buttons: 7 vintage buttons from stash. Glass/metal/bakelite. Non-matching but similar. Purchased at a Stitches event some years ago.

Hair:  Courtesy of brutal Georgia humidity

We’re always our own worst critics, so when I look at it, I see all the flaws.  For example, the 38 turned out a trifle big, but it’s not so big that it’s unwearable. It’s too long for me because I didn’t shorten the waist shaping to accommodate my height — well, lack of height, to be precise.  And the button band and cuffs are still a little loose and gappy for my taste, despite using a smaller needle. I don’t care, not really. Still, if I ever knit this again, I’ll make it one size smaller, shorten the torso by about two inches, and knit all the seed stitch edgings with a size 2 or 3 needle instead of a 4.

Despite its imperfections, I’m happy with it overall. It’s comfortable, it’s cozy, and it looks pretty good.  The color will coordinate with multiple items in my wardrobe for work and casual wear.

Come on, autumn weather!

Posted in Finished object, Knitting

New FO: V-Neck Cardigan

Ravelry sometimes chooses my next project for me.  Such was the case when the Vogue Knitters group decided that, for 2018, we should knit pattern #18 from any Vogue Knitting magazine.  As it happened, I had a couple of #18s in my queue, so I picked one and cast on.

18 V-Neck Cardigan 1

Pattern: #18 V-Neck Cardigan by Anniken Allis, from Vogue Knitting Holiday 2016
Yarn: Naturally Caron Country, colorway 0017 Claret, roughly 750 yards (4 skeins and maybe 20 or 30 yards from a fifth skein to finish the button band)
Yarn notes: Super splitty, and definitely not an Aran weight. More like a DK or sport weight. Discontinued. I wouldn’t buy more even if it weren’t because the splitty nature was a real pain. But it knit up with nice stitch definition that made the lace pop.
Needles: Addi circulars, US 6
Buttons: Resin buttons from stash, purchased at a Stitches South booth so long ago I can’t remember the vendor
Mods: No waist shaping; shortened sleeves by 1 inch; shortened body by 7 inches. My gauge was slightly larger than what the pattern calls for, so a little bit of math resulted in casting on for the 38” and expecting to get the 39.5”. My bust is 37”, and the pattern calls for 2-3″ of ease, so we’re good there.
Satisfaction with end product: I love it. I’ve already worn it to work. It’s perfect for this cool spring weather, even if it is sort of an autumn color. It will be useful when autumn rolls around again, of course.  By the way, here’s the link to the Ravelry project page.

18 V-Neck Cardigan 2

The knitting of this little cardigan was a bit of a chore. The body to the yoke is all one piece; the sleeves are knitted separately and joined to the body at the yoke; then the whole thing is knitted as one piece.  I got to the sleeve/yoke join and was merrily knitting and decreasing along.  Nearing the end of the decreases for the shoulder, I suddenly noticed the front edges between the lace charts weren’t matching up: one was considerably wider than the other.  Vogue errata, grah! On the VK site, I found the error.  Unfortunately, to fix it, I had to rip back nearly a week’s worth of knitting, all the way back to the joining of the sleeves, and start that whole section again.  Frustrating.  But I may have finally learned to check EVERY SINGLE VOGUE PATTERN for errata before casting on.

18 V-Neck Cardigan 4

Another issue with the pattern is it doesn’t really explain how to manage the continued decreases across the lace once the lace charts meet up at the top of the shoulder.  So I muddled through by studying the magazine photos thoroughly, and then decreasing across the front edge charts and maintaining the stitch count by doing plain stockinette when I didn’t have enough stitches to make the yarn over and its accompanying decrease.  It worked out, so I was happy about that.

18 V-Neck Cardigan 6

The last real struggle was with picking up the stitches for the button band and neck edge.  Because I shortened the cardigan by 7 inches, the pattern instructions for how many stitches to pick up went right out the window.  So what I did was fall back on the standard method when you don’t know how many stitches you need.  I picked up 3 stitches for every four rows as follows: 89 from cast on edge along right front edge to marker, knit according to pattern to next marker, from marker pick up 89 down left front edge to cast on edge.  Perfect!

And now, one last photo.

18 V-Neck Cardigan 3
The cheesecake shot
Posted in Knitting, Project planning, Yarn stash

Inspiration Saturday, after a fashion

At the time I write this, it’s shortly before 1PM Eastern Daylight Time.

I’ve been up since 4:30. That’s AM.

My husband snores like a freight train. *sigh*

© Debbie Bliss Knitting Magazine
© Debbie Bliss Knitting Magazine
But I’ve tried to put the time to good use. A few days ago, I started making a little lace shrug, using a bright turquoise cotton DK I’ve had in my stash forever. The pattern I chose (pictured left) isn’t exactly what I want, but it’s the closest thing to what I want that I found while searching Ravelry. I’m not even two inches into the project yet, and I’m already not liking the pattern. This is now the third time I’ve started something with this yarn and started hating it (the pattern, not the yarn) before getting very far. It’s rather frustrating.

Why am I so determined to make this yarn into a lace cardigan? I have a sleeveless dress that is in desperate need of a cover-up to make it suitable to wear on camera. Ultra pima 1And besides, who couldn’t use a turquoise blue lace cardi? The yarn, by the way, is Cascade Ultra Pima. It knits beautifully, and I will find the right pattern for it, or die trying.

So, while I was awake in the wee hours of the night, I started searching Ravelry again, and expanded my parameters somewhat. Free patterns or in my library; 3/4 sleeve, V-neck, buttons optional, DK or sport-weight, leave off the yardage limit, leave off the lace requirement, but specify plant fibers rather than animal fibers. Maybe I’d find a coat or a tunic-length cardigan that I could shorten and adapt to meet my yardage requirements. And I found something. Still not exactly what I want, but in my bleary-eyed befogged state, I saw past the pattern and into the nebulous realm of …

© Vogue Knitting
© Vogue Knitting
(cue dramatic music)


Or at least major modifications.

I looked at this coat and ticked off the things I don’t like: Can’t stand the lace patterns, and it’s waaaaayyyy too long. But it has a V-neck, buttons, and 3/4 sleeves. I pulled the magazine off the shelf and read the pattern. Okay, I see the spot where I can cut off the bottom two-thirds of the coat and turn it into a cropped cardi. What about the lace pattern? Next I pulled a stitch dictionary off the shelf. And I found a lace pattern that will work with the number of stitches needed for the back…but not the front. Wait, what if I…? And here’s where the calculator came out.

A rough sketch has been made. No, you can’t see it because my drawing skills are crap. The rough dimensions and a preliminary stitch count are calculated for a cardigan in my size. The rest of the math is still pending because a swatch has yet to be knitted.

In between all this calculation, I’ve eaten breakfast and weeded the backyard (spouse helped with both).

Now, I’m hot, sweaty, and tired, but a little exhilarated. I think a shower is in order, and then I’m going to resume work on the Debbie Bliss cardigan. Because I read that pattern again, too, and realized my frustration and dislike was due to a misreading of a particular line in the written lace instructions. (This is why I prefer charts.) I’ve tinked back to the beginning of the error and will start afresh. And continue the design work a little later on.

I’ll keep you posted on the progress on all fronts.

Posted in Knitting, Magazine review

Magazine review: Vogue Knitting Holiday 2009

When IK's winter issue landed it my mailbox a couple days ago, I realized I was behind on magazine reviews.  Again.  Good thing I don't get paid for this:  I'd starve.

First impression:  Wow!  That's some red lipstick.

Second impression:  Pretty sweater.  Not too sure about that bow.

What's New showcases an entire page of cable needles, made from materials as mundane as plastic and exotic as rosewood.  I especially like the cable needle as necklace:  an abstract silver and brass heart with a tail on a leather thong from Leslie Wind.

News:  After reading about Mary Taylor and her plans to knit her way through Nicki Epstein's Knitting On Top Of The World over the next four years, I've been vacillating between (a) thinking she is absolutely insane and (b) wanting to join her or, alternately, start my own similarly insane knitting quest.  That Rowan Vintage Knits sitting on my bookshelf might make a good candidate….  And, of course, now that I've taken a look at KOTOTW, it's gone on my list of knit books to buy.

Yarns: Bison and muskox yarns in a variety of weights and blends.  The more I read about these fibers, the more I want to buy a skein.

Library features books from several familiar names, such as Nicki Epstein and Debbie Bliss.  The most interesting offering is Knitting Art: 150 Works from 18 Contemporary Artists by Karen Searle.  Keep in mind, however, "interesting" doesn't mean "I like it."  Most of the knitted art pieces I've seen featured in magazines over the last couple of years are simply butt fugly.  Still, that chair and the abstract human forms on the cover are intriguing.  I wouldn't mind at least paging through the book, although it's not a likely purchase.

Spotlight on Regia Yarns, which celebrates its 60th birthday this year.  Did you know the company, founded in post-war Germany, pioneered the production of synthetic blend washable wool yarns?  Neither did I.  Considering I've heard nothing but accolades about their yarns, one day I must actually use Regia to make a pair of socks.

Meg Swansen
writes the second of three columns about family hat designs.  This month's featured design is a tri-color watchcap with a "belt" about the brim which can be made in multiple colors and switched out at the wearer's whim.  Okay.  It's kind of cute.  And the huge yarn means it's a superquick knit.  I'm beginning to think I'm some sort of knitting heretic, though, because I've yet to see a Zimmermann/Swansen design of any sort that impresses me.  But then again, perhaps I don't know enough (read: anything) about Elizabeth Zimmermann's contributions to modern knitting techniques.  Perhaps one of her books should be my next knit library purchase.

Speaking of Techniques, Jared Flood continues the "convert that flat knit to a seamless knit" tutorial he began in the VK Fall 2009 issue.  In this issue, he discusses yokes and sleeves.  Good stuff, with diagrams and everything.

Veronik Avery is the featured designer in KnitLife, discussing design, yarn, family, and launching her own company, St.-Denis.

Hey!  Patterns!  You can see the previews here, but probably only until the next issue of VK is published.

VK's first story in this issue is "Color Vibes" — an array of vibrant hues and bold patterns, both traditional and cutting edge.

#1 Empress Jacket:  15 different colors of a fingering-weight yarn, mitered squares, multi-directional knitting, wow!  A beautiful long-sleeve kimono-type tunic-length jacket.  Construction: multiple mitered squares make up front and back panels which are then sewn to each other and to the sleeves.  A project that will consume much time, but the result?  This is art that's actually wearable.  What a shame it's modeled over a badly-clashing orangy plaid jumper.  While I love this piece, and it's wearable, it's not something I would ever wear, nor would anyone else I love enough to invest the kind of time required to knit this.  So, let me express my admiration from afar, and not place it in the Ravelry queue.

#2 Slip Stitch/Cable Cardigan:  A long-sleeve boatneck multi-color cardigan with a cabled rib on the bottom half, and a slip-stitch Faux Isle pattern from the waist up.  With the bulky yarn specified, this should be a fairly quick knit.  Its predominately crimson color scheme is just the thing to brighten up a gloomy winter day.  Not in the queue, but it's a possibility.

#3 Heart Yoke Cardigan:  The most traditional piece in this story, this long-sleeve purple cardi is knit in the round and sports Fair Isle hearts in black and white on its yoke.  Traditional fit, raglan sleeves, sport-weight yarn, really really cute.  A plus-size pattern.  Not in the queue, but it's a possibility.

#4 Dolman Pullover:
  Your basic dolman-sleeve sweater rescued from the ordinary by its clever use of color.  To quote the magazine copy, Kaffe Fassett "reverses his intarsia stripes diagonally"…aw hell, that doesn't tell you anything.  Go look at the picture.  What's cool about this piece is it uses only two colorways of Rowan's Colorscape, and the yarn does all the color-change work for you.  Dolman sleeves do not flatter my figure, however; this particular piece will not go in the Ravelry queue, although I'm storing the stripe reversing idea in the back of my brain.  A plus-size pattern.

#5 Fair Isle Cardigan:  An all-over stylized-flower pattern in white and blue with brilliant orange on the button band and cuffs.  Very pretty.  Construction: knit in the round with steeks.  Eek.  I love this cardi but steeks?  *shiver*  I conquered my fear of DPNs.  I have not conquered my fear of steeks.

#6 Fair Isle Yoke Top:
  A short sleeve Tee (for winter?  really?)  in basic black with a traditional Fair Isle yoke pattern in multiple blues and white.  Knit in the round.  I like this a lot, despite the silly lace sleeved undershirt worn by the model.  Stylists.  Sheesh.  Sometimes I wonder about them.  Regardless, it's a possibility, although I expect if I make it I'll lengthen the sleeves.

#7 Fair Isle Hoodie:
  What is it with designers making short-sleeved winter wear?  A fur-trimmed hood on a short-sleeved zipped jacket makes no sense whatsoever.  Ahem.  Okay.  I love the rich brown body with orange, blue, and white Fair Isle detail around the yoke and above the deep ribbing at the bottom edge.  I even sort of like the furry hood.  I do NOT like the short sleeves.  Therefore, if I make this, sleeves will be 3/4 length at a minimum.

#8 V Neck Pullover:  A long-sleeved top with a rich cobalt blue upper body and a Navaho-inspired colorwork pattern in turquoise, cream, and gold below the waist.  This is flat gorgeous, even if the stylist did put the model in shorts.  (For winter.  Go figure.)  In my Ravelry queue.

For our second story, we are to Think Big.  Cowls knit from huge yarn.  I pretty much skimmed right past this section.  Remember how I'm not a shawl person?  I'm not really a cowl person either.

#9 Seed Stitch Cowl:
  A mitered ribbing yoke and a fold-over seed stitch collar form this shoulder-covering cowl knit  in bright neon yellow uber-chunky yarn.  This is so big the model can't put her coat on over it.

#10 Ribbed Cowl:
Another shoulder-covering oversized turtleneck of a cowl with a garter welt yoke and 2×2 ribbing on the fold-over collar.  Must be worn over the coat as well.  Which is okay, I guess, but I don't like it.

#11 Eyelet Cowl:
  The only piece in this bunch I gave a second glance.  A gorgeous multi-hued gold yarn in a bulky wool/angora/cashmere blend, knit in big eyelet with an I-cord drawstring, and deliberately constructed so it can be pulled over one's head as a hood (or wimple) or worn as a traditional neck-warmer.  The best thing?  It isn't soooo huge that it would prevent wearing a coat!  So, even though I'm not a cowl person, I'm giving this piece serious consideration.

#12 Cabled Cowl:
  A giant shapeless pink tube with cables and ribbing.  Woo.  More covered shoulders, too.  I suppose this piece could be co-opted as a hood like #11, but I'm not interested enough to even read the pattern.

The pieces in A Softer Shade of Pale, knit in quiet neutrals or pastels, provide a subdued and elegant counterpoint to the exuberant color we encountered several pages ago.

#13 Cable Tunic:
  A diagonal cable twisting across the front and along the 3/4 sleeves of this cream-colored knit is highlighted by the reverse stockinette background.  The deep asymmetric cabled V-neck adds a subtle finish to the tunic-length pullover.  Sophisticated evening wear as shown over a satin skirt, although I imagine it could be dressed down and worn to the office as well.  A plus size pattern.

#14 Diamond Capelet:
  A shawl by any other name would still smell like a shawl.  Dolman-shaped, with deep ribbing and an I-cord drawstring in a winter white alpaca.  I love the texture of the diamond stitch, though, and may adapt the stitch pattern for use elsewhere.

#15 Bow Neck Pullover:  Here's the cover knit with its richly textured cables and eyelets.  Knit from the bottom up with first three strands of sport-weight merino, then two, then one, and finished off with a laceweight mohair at the boat-shaped neckline.  Full length bell sleeves echo the triangular shape of the body.  Very pretty.  Again, this is modeled with a satin skirt as if for evening, but I can also see it with dark slacks or a slim skirt for office, and even with slim-legged jeans for weekend wear, especially if the mohair bow is left off and the neck finished with a few rows of ribbing.  Not in the queue, but still a possibility.

#16 Nordic Pullover:
  A 3/4 sleeve top with a square neck, cable and lace yoke, and a knit/purl "snowflake" pattern on the lower body and lower sleeve.  (I think they look like poinsettias myself.)  As shown in baby blue, it's sweet.  I'd rather make this in a deep rich jewel tone.  A possibility.

#17 Cable Cardigan:
  Cables, bobbles, and other textures give an Aran-like feel to this belted tunic cardigan.  Knit sideways for the most part using a sportweight merino, this is a piece I'd be tempted to make just to test the technique.  Sure, it's pretty, and I really like the stitchwork on the back, but the garter welts and bobbles around the neck will add unnecessary bulk to my top half.  That loopy freeform cable on the yoke, though, has really caught my attention.  A possibility.

#18 Lace V-Neck Top:
  Once upon a time, a long time ago, I had a lace V-neck pullover, knit in pure white cotton.  I wore that sweater everywhere: over blouses in winter, as a bathing suit coverup in spring and autumn, and sometimes, in certain circumstances, over nothing at all.  It was my favorite piece of clothing for many years.  One day, after one too many washes, it simply fell apart, and I never found another one like it.  Until I turned to page 66 in this issue of VK, and found my sweater again, this time done up with sumptuous Alpaca Silk in a gorgeous silvery oyster color.  Horseshoe lace, long sleeves, deeply scooped V-neck.  Oh yeah.  It's in the queue.

#19 Ruffle Edge Cardigan:
  Long sleeved fitted cardigan with knit ruffles along the neckline and front opening, and over the shoulder like epaulets.  Okay.  First thing, let me say I appreciate the creativity here, in both the design itself and in the fact the stylist put the model in a dress with soutache embroidery that mimic the ruffles on the cardi.  The curly-Q knitting around the neck and front aren't that bad, and the fact that the piece doesn't fasten in front is easily remedied with a little widening of the front panels and one hook and eye closure at the waist.  But seriously, knit ruffles over the shoulders and around the armhole seam?  That's just plain silly.

We now go beyond the pale where Plum's The Word.  One of my colleagues loooooves purple, and she is plumb tickled (*snerk*) that this shade is this year's "it" color.  These designs look great in variations of this royal hue, although they could be made in any color you choose.

#20 Crossover Top:
  Short sleeved V neck constructed of a yoke and raglan sleeves, with a long band knit separately, then wrapped around and crossed in front.  Really cute, and really young. 

#21 Cabled Yoke Pullover:  Gorgeous cables on this knit-in-the-round mock turtleneck.  I like the split neck opening with the oversized buttons.  I'm not overly crazy about the reverse stockinette body, but I'm gradually becoming accustomed to the idea of wearing knits that look like they're inside out.  A possibility.

#22 Cropped Cardigan:  All over cables, long sleeves, and a construction that allows the piece to be worn open with a deep front V, or closed with a boat neck.  Intriguing.  A possibility.

#23 Wrap Cable Jacket:
  LOVE!  More all over cables, sideways construction, and a wide V-neck in a one-button flyaway cardigan.  The recommended yarn is a cashmere/silk blend.  I think it would be equally gorgeous in bamboo.  In the queue.

Through The Looking Glass is the "what were they thinking?" section of this issue.  Not the designs so much, although a couple of them are questionable, but the theme.  Alice in Wonderland?  Really?  I'm a huge Lewis Carroll fan, but come on.  What does Alice have to do with knitting?  At least they didn't quote Jabberwocky.

#24 Lace Beret:
  "Too cute" copy doesn't take anything away from the gorgeousness of this cap and its pattern of traveling lace.  The recommended yarn is a sport-weight cashmere/merino/silk blend.  Not in the queue only because I don't know who I would make this for…this sort of hat doesn't look right on me.

#25 Fingerless Gloves:
  I finally figured out who wears this type of lace gauntlet.  The goths.  And maybe the Ren Faire folk.  According to the pattern, the gloves are constructed of different sizes of lace medallions, sewn together.  I think these gloves might be pretty, but I can't really tell because of the goofy way the stylist posed the model.  Drink me, indeed.

#25 Medallion Scarf:
  The trouble with this piece is: I can't see it.  Not very well, anyway, because it's made from a dark blue yarn, and worn by a model who is also wearing a dark blue dress.  Looks like we have circles and bobbles and dangly bits.  And it's worn as if it's a shawl rather than a scarf.

#27 Vintage Baby Dress:
  Utterly adorable dress with garter stitch bodice and eyelet skirt, and a velvet ribbon tie.  *sigh*  I don't know anyone with a baby young enough for this sweet piece.

#28 Lace Socks:
  LOVE!  Can't get enough lace socks, and this is a very pretty, criss-crossy lace down the back, front and instep, combined with an upside-down wishbone lace on either side.  In the queue.

#29 Braided Cowl:
  Skinny knitted tubes braided together.  Uh. No.  But this piece gave me a chance to take a good look at the model.  I think she's 12.

And finally, in Designer Details, we take a look at the cutting edge in knit design.

#30 Fitted Jacket:  Another example of the stylist mucking up the featured piece by dressing the model in a clashing and/or too similar print.  I think this salt and pepper jacket by Anna Sui may have been inspired by the jackets worn by My Chemical Romance in the video The Black Parade.  Unfortunately, the model is dressed in a splashy black and white print dress so it's virtually impossible see any real detail.  Too bad.  Because I think I like it.

#31 Ribbed Jacket:
  A short-sleeved jacket from Twinkle with all over 3×3 ribbing knit in super bulky Soft Chunky.  Structurally similar to #22 above, with the unfastened deep V front or fastened boatneck.  This isn't bad, but I still don't get the fuss over Twinkle.

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Posted in Knitting, Magazine review

Magazine Review: Vogue Knitting, Spring/Summer 2009

After threatening you all with it for weeks, today I'll finally take the time to write the review of the latest offering from Vogue Knitting.

First impression upon retrieving the magazine from the mailbox:  "OMG, look at that cover knit:  it's gorgeous!"  Second impression: "OMG, look at that cover knit:  it's so complicated!"

We'll skip right on past the editor's column, the gadgetry plugs (some very cool scissors featured in this, umm, feature), and the news & notes columns because, frankly, there's really nothing worth noting here.  Except those very cool scissors.  Oh, and a link to download a sweater pattern worn in the film Coraline.

Silks are the focus in Yarns, with VK's top 10 culled from the usual suspects like Debbie Bliss, Rowan, and Nashua Handknits, as well as a couple of unfamiliar yarn companies.  I was especially intrigued by Tsumugi Silk from Habu Textiles, a laceweight yarn with some 40 colors, available in a 450-yard (50 gram) cone for about $14.00 per cone.

VK's Library column features the fabulous French Girl Knits by Kristeen Griffin-Grimes, which I purchased several weeks ago, after the first time I read about it in some other magazine.  Other noteworthy volumes include Knitting in Tuscany by Nicky Epstein (more about that later), and Socks from the Toe Up by Wendy D. Johnson. 

Although the sock book looked interesting, what really grabbed my attention was Country Weekend Knits by Madeline Weston, with its focus on traditional ganseys, Arans, and Fair Isle patterns.  I may soon be adding yet another book to the ever-growing avanta7 knit library.  Just don't tell my husband.

Frugality is the watchword in the Spotlight, with a special emphasis on repurposing old sweaters, especially those found in thrift stores, by frogging them and using the yarn for new modern projects.  The column includes a detailed how-to on taking apart that thrift-store find, information easily found on the web and elsewhere, but always good to review.

Meg Swansen's column discusses the Bohus Stickning movement of the late 1930s through 1960s, an era in knitting history previously unknown to me, and a subject which I found fascinating.  I only wish Ms. Swansen had gone into more detail; however, one of the column's purposes was to plug a book on the tradition available through Schoolhouse Press, so it's understandable she left some mystery in the subject.

Of course, this also means there's yet another knitting book to be added to the above-mentioned ever-growing knit library.  Again, please don't tell my husband.

Skipping over a lengthy article on internships for fashion students in the fiber arts industry (which I read but didn't care about), we come to the Techniques column, which talks about my newest love, skinny yarns!  Yes, it often takes longer to knit a sweater with a fine-gauge yarn but, as this article points out, the results are worth it: a more tailored garment with a more flattering fit that can usually be worn throughout most of the year.  Besides, who wants to wear a sleeveless tank or camisole made from some bulky wool?

Runway Trends:  Glitz.  *sigh*  If I have to read the word "bling" one more time in any article about shiny sparkly fashion items, I may commit a crime against humanity.

And finally, the patterns:  The first pattern offered in the magazine was back a few pages in between articles:  an excerpt from Nicky Epstein's Knitting in Tuscany, the Tuscan Sun Scarf.  The book itself is a combination pattern book/travelogue/tour guide.  The scarf is a sparkly thing constructed from multiple sunflower-shaped medallions knitted in a sequinned yarn.  Looks like a fun accessory, casual or glamorous as the wearer chooses.  Not to my taste, but I can see how other knitters might love it.

  1. Star Motif Pullover — Short-sleeved lace raglan-style top with deep ribbing at the hem and foldover neck.  Made from a cotton/bamboo blend.  Pretty lace pattern.  Unusual seamed construction, with a diamond-shaped front and back, and triangular-shaped sides.  Not currently in my Ravelry queue, but it's a possibility.
  2. Star Camisole — Pretty tank with a star-shaped medallion knitted from the center outward on the front, and a deeply scooped back.  I like it a lot but would never make it for myself, mainly because I can't figure out how I'd ever wear a bra with this piece.  Frankly, me sans brassiere = not a pleasant sight.
  3. Multi-Shapes Top — If ever a piece were aptly named….Constructed by knitting one geometric shape, then picking up stitches on a side and knitting another geometric shape, and repeat.  Beautiful design, and probably a great deal of fun to knit.  Drawback #1:  Comes in only two sizes, XS/S (31" bust) and M/L (40" bust).  Drawback #2:  The magazine contains instructions for the 31" size only.  The M/L sized must be downloaded from the web.  Still, it's another possibility not currently in the queue.  Perhaps once I reach my goal weight.
  4. Botanica Medallion Cardigan — LOVE!!!  The cover knit, and what a beautiful piece of work this is.  A completely circular knit, with an intricately detailed center medallion surrounded by an equally intricate wide band which makes up the shawl collar and lower half of the back, with slits left for armholes when attaching the band to the medallion.  If you plan to knit this, make note of the errata, and check out the step-by-step instructions.  In my Ravelry queue.
  5. Short-Sleeve Cardigan — Feminine, lacy, short-sleeved, crew-neck cardigan with intentional gaps between the front buttons.  Multi-directional knitting and construction, and a unique lace pattern.  I like it, after a fashion, but I'm just not crazy about gappy front openings.  A plus-size pattern, though, and that's a good thing.
  6. Feather and Fan Dress — Lace dress in a classic stitch knitted in the round from the scalloped hem upward.  Tiny cap sleeves and a scooped neckline.  I put this in my queue with the intention of making it much shorter and using it as a summer top.  I'll probably add set-in short sleeves, as well.
  7. Lace Tunic — Sleeveless tunic-length fastener-free cardigan would be perfect for the office over a dress, as shown by the model, or perhaps over a fitted shirt and slim-fitting trousers.  Very nice back yoke detail. A plus-sized pattern. In my queue.
  8. Lace Cardigan — Tunic-length flyaway cardigan with belled raglan 3/4 sleeves in eyelet lace for the body and what appears to be a mock cable lace for the bottom several inches of the hem and sleeves.  Moderate V-neck.  Depending on the yarn chosen, could be equally suited to the office or a night out.  Probably best worn with a skirt or dress — I think the dense pattern at the hem would make this piece too bottom heavy if worn with slacks.  In the queue.
  9. Laced Tank — Sleeveless V-neck tank with eyelet pattern and I-cord lacing on the front.  Nice summery piece.  A possibility, but not currently queued.
  10. Tie-Front Cardigan — Another 3/4 sleeve flyaway cardigan that escapes the mundane in its details: V-necked yoke in a slanting lace and cable stitch, and upside-down eyelet Vs on the sleeves and below the bust line.  The real surprise in this piece is its recommended yarn:  Patons Grace, a budget-priced yarn available at virtually any big box craft store, such as Michaels or Joann.  A plus-sized pattern.  In the queue.
  11. Feather Trim Vest — The defining feature of this A-line surplice-front vest is the ostrich feather trim around the front and neck edge, and that's the detail I dislike.  Feathers are just plain fussy.  Otherwise, this is a well-designed basic wardrobe piece.
  12. Lace Afghan — LOVE!!!  4' X 6' throw in a beautiful scallop lace pattern with ribbed edges.  In the queue, and likely to be the first major lace project I attempt.
  13. Drop Stitch Scarf — Simple, casual scarf in a dropped-stitch basketweave pattern that looks light as the feathers I disliked in #11 above.  The pattern seems to be a quick knit and requires less than 450 yds of sport-weight yarn, making this project a great choice for gift-giving.  Not currently in the queue, but it's a possibility.
  14. Bias Lace Shrug — VK almost always has at least one pattern per issue that I call the "What were they thinking?" piece.  In this issue, it's this piece.  The odd truncated body seems to have way too much fabric below the arms, but maybe that's just the way the model is sitting.  The set-in 3/4 sleeves are odd, too, for a piece they're calling a shrug.  It's as if the designer (Michele Rose Orne) couldn't decide between creating a shrug or a cardigan, and ended up with some mutant cross-breed of both.  Pretty lace pattern though.  And kudos for another budget yarn choice: Lion Brand's Microspun.  
  15. Lace Crochet Coat — LOVE!!!  Kristin Omdahl's below-the-knee duster is constructed of huge lacy crocheted medallions with belled sleeves and a tie front.  I have no idea where I will wear this, nor for what occasion, but I'm making it anyway.
  16. Vine Lace Dress — Knee length tank dress with a scoop neck and delicate eyelet vines from neck to hemline.  The pattern calls for patch pockets which, to my eye, are a completely unnecessary detail which interrupts the flow of the dress.  Otherwise, this is a beautifully simple design, and one I'd consider were I a more slender version of myself.  Even so, it's still a possibility in a much shorter length as a casual summer top.
  17. Ripple Pattern Cardigan — Standard-issue 3/4 sleeve flyaway raglan cardigan made special by the choice of yarn and the wide collared V-neck.  The more I look at it, the more I like it.  Not currently queued, but I haven't completely ruled it out.
  18. One Button Cardigan — Okay, so this issue of VK has two "What were they thinking?" pieces.  The chief problem with this otherwise interesting design is the wideness of the neck and the narrowness of the caps of the sleeves.  Yoo hoo!  I have sloping shoulders.  These sleeves would slide right off and droop around my upper arms rather than stay put where they're meant to sit.  They even look like they're about to do the same on the model, and we know she has nice square walking-clothes-hanger shoulders.  That's why she's a model.  I suppose if I really loved this sweater, I could widen that very narrow upper right and left front as well as retool the fit of the upper sleeves to make the garment sit properly on my shoulders.  But I don't love it.  I like the texture of the multiple stitch patterns, and the unique twisted cable at the top of the sleeves, but I don't love the sweater.  So I won't bother.
  19. Textured Top — Nifty tee with short sleeves and a Peter Pan collar, knit in several different textured stitches that unfortunately are mostly lost in the choice of a bi-colored yarn.  I like the yarn (which looks great in the ribbing and the cable stitch, BTW); I like the top, but I don't like them together.  Not completely.  In my queue anyway, because I'm sure I can find a better yarn choice for this pattern.  A plus-sized pattern.
  20. Halter Tank — I'm not entirely sure I understand the fuss over Twinkle, because I have yet to see a design from that source that I like.  This racer-back tank is no exception.  It's not ugly, but it's just not my taste.  Maybe it's an age thing. 
  21. Two Color Top — Top-down raglan with short sleeves and a cowl neck in a nylon/rayon metallic yarn.  Deeply ribbed hem, with the ribbing repeated on the sleeves and cowl.  Cute!  But not for me.
  22. Mitered Top — Scoop-neck sleeveless tank knit in metallic yarn with a sparkly spangled carry-along for the neckline and armholes. Ribbed waist detail, A-line shaping below the waist, and a scalloped hem.  Very dressy.  Not in the queue, but it's a possibility for the right occasion.  A plus-sized pattern.
  23. Pleated Top — A (barely) sport weight yarn in a mohair/silk blend knit on just-one-size-too-large needles results in a nearly sheer lightweight confection of a tee.  Pleated cap sleeves and Swarovski crystals decorating the pleated V-neck make this a sweet sexy special evening out garment.  Another piece I have no idea when or where I'll wear it, but I'm making it anyway.
  24. Ruffled Cardigan — Knit in a sequinned sparkly yarn, this cardigan has barely there cap sleeves and a ruffled neckline and button band. Rhinestone buttons and a split hem make this evening topper extra special.  A plus-sized pattern.
  25. Tank Top — Metallic yarn and a shaped silhouette give pizazz to this otherwise plain-jane tank.  The deep-scoop neck is bordered by ribbing, as are the hem and armholes.  A plus-sized pattern, and a possibility.
  26. Diagonal Rib Top — I put this short-sleeved V-neck tee in my queue because I love the diagonal stitch pattern and lace border around the neckline.  I think it will be just as striking, and more wearable, in something other than the shiny metallic and sequinned suggested yarn. 
  27. Fingerless Gloves — A leaf pattern on the back and an elongated ruffle at the wrist give extra feminity to these sweet mitts.  Pretty, but not for me.
  28. Lace Shawl — You know how I keep saying "I'm not a shawl person"?  This piece might make me change my mind.  Knit with an ultra-fine mohair silk blend, this rectangular shawl looks like it weighs no more than a feather ("feather" is apparently the word of the day) and might even qualify as a wedding ring shawl (which, if you are unfamiliar with the term, is a shawl knit so finely that it can be pulled through a wedding ring).
  29. Lace Socks — Pretty little anklets with several complementary lace patterns.  I just realized I haven't queued these.  Will remedy that as soon as this entry is finished.
  30. Lace Scarf — Simple lace repeats make up this straight-edged rectangular scarf.  Currently not in my queue, but I'm thinking I may have yarn suitable for this piece already stashed, so it is a possibility.  Another potential make-it-quick gift item.
  31. Lace Stockings — Spectacular thigh-high stockings with flowers on the back of the legs, leaves on the front…so demure, so sexy, so bridal!  Too bad I didn't know how to knit when I got married.  Spouse might have gotten the surprise of his life on our wedding night.  *grin*

I'm much more impressed with this issue of VK than the last.  Several plus-sized patterns, several "budget" pieces (either in yarn selection or yarn quantity), and some truly outstanding designs make this issue a real keeper.

Happy knitting!

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Posted in Knitting, Magazine review, Work in progress

Magazine review: Vogue Knitting Winter 2008/09

I don't read too many knitblogs ("So why would you expect anyone to read yours, missie?"  "Shut up, negative self."), but now and then I run across one that makes me smile or gives me an idea.  Such is the case with Dr. Girlfriend Knits. I went to this blog seeking help with the Treads socks, which Kim (we exchanged e-mails, so we're on a first-name basis; we're buds, you know) designed for Son of Stitch 'n Bitch.  The pattern is written with some kind of short-row mitered heel that I just couldn't figure out.  Sadly, the response from Kim didn't help much either, and I ended up doing a flap and gusset heel because I know that technique.  Anyway, the point is, while I was perusing her blog, I ran across a review she had written of a knit magazine, and thought to myself:  "Hey!  I can do that!"  Especially since knit and crochet magazines are virtually the only thing I read these days (hangs head in shame).

And so, without further ado, this is one of the latest 'zines that landed in my mailbox, and what I think of it:

Love this cover shot.  Very wintry and cozy with the whole "bundled up against the Arctic" esthetic.

In the "News" section, among other tidbits, I found a brief mention of the film Coraline, which is based on a novel by one of my favorite authors, Neil Gaiman, and which apparently features some exquisitely tiny handknits worn by its title character.  Very cool.  (And ha!  I found a way to mention a book and author that had nothing to do with yarn.)

This issue's focus is on bulky knits, so naturally the Yarns section features bulky yarns.  Wow!  Vogue actually recommended a budget-priced yarn:  Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick.

Interview with Sandra Backlund:  Meh.  I don't care about what makes designers tick, but OMG the photos of her work?!  What the hell is that?  Mounds and mounds and folds and folds of fabric over the bust and hips and shoulders?  These aren't garments.  They're monstrosities!  Oh, but she says they're intended as "high art" and not as wearable pieces.  So what's the point, I ask?  Obviously, I have low-brow tastes.

Okay, onto the the patterns:

  • Meg Swansen's Snail Hat — Cute, and it does indeed look like a snail or conch shell, but otherwise, meh.
  • Jared Flood's Almeara Gloves — Gorgeous, challenging, and someday I will tackle them.
  1. Lace Scarf — The cover piece is such a huge HUGE scarf/shawl/wrap that, if I made it, I would just go ahead and make it wide enough for a blanket.
  2. Cropped Turtleneck — Side to side knit with bobbles and cables.  Looks like fun, but not for me.
  3. Textured Cape — I love the fact that this cape, which is more like a coat, has slits for arms/hands to slip through.  I can see myself making this, if not for me, than for my mother.
  4. Raglan Jacket — Flyaway-style cardi with big lace pattern on lower half.  Pretty.  The big yarn and huge buttons set it apart from the run-of-the-mill. A possibility.
  5. Round the Corner Hoodie — LOVE LOVE LOVE!  Nice shaping, cut-away front, 3/4 sleeves, lace shoulders…the only thing that gives me pause is the endless endless seed stitch.  But it's in my Ravelry queue.
  6. Medallion Jacket — Unusual radiating rib design on the back, nice shawl collar, but it doesn't interest me.
  7. Pullover with Scarf — Shapeless and oversized, and the scarf looks like yarn barf.  Someone must have liked it, but I don't.  Interesting yarn, though.
  8. Wrap Coat — Belled sleeves and a herringbone stitch pattern, but I really dislike coats with no fastenings.  And it's too short to call it a coat, anyway.
  9. Cropped Hoodie — I gotta tell ya, I don't understand the huge fuss people are making of this piece on Ravelry.  What is the point of a long-sleeved hoodie that ends just below the bust line?  My reaction when I saw the photo:  "Where's the rest of her sweater?"
  10. Cabled Jumper — First, let's specify that this is a "jumper" in the American sense of the word:  A sleeveless dress intended to be worn over a blouse or top of some kind.  I'm not overly fond of knit dresses, but this one interests me.  Except for that banded cable and ribbing at the hem, which turns the piece into a bubble dress, and I hate bubble dresses (hates them hates them my precioussss….'scuse me while I stuff Gollum back into his book).
  11. Eyelet Cable Cardigan — Cute!  And in my Ravelry queue.  I think I'll make it a little longer, though.  From the photo, it looks like it ends just below the waist, and I prefer cardigans that are at least high hip length.
  12. Cabled Pullover — Mock turtleneck with lace panel at front.  Pretty, but not for me.  And pockets?  I suppose they're an interesting design element, but these are utterly useless, and pockets should never be useless.
  13. Buckle Trim Pullover — Lots of texture and a variety of cables.  The deep slit neck is fastened with a strap and buckle, hence the name, although this trim could be left off.  Looks like it would be fun to knit.  I'm not crazy about the belled sleeves, but this is a possibility.
  14. Cabled V-Neck Pullover — LOVE LOVE LOVE!  Flatteringly wide but not too deep V-neck, and covered with narrow cables.  In my Ravelry queue.
  15. Belted Cardigan — Tunic length wrap cardigan with cables and a notched collar.  Nothing special here. In fact, I bet I could find a similar piece at virtually any large department store.
  16. Cabled Tunic — Cowl neck and done up in a pretty gold mohair yarn. The model is dressed as if she's headed to the office, with a midcalf pencil skirt and short wool blazer.  If I wore this to my office, I'd die of heat prostration.
  17. Bulky Coat — Bubble coat.  'Nuff said.  At least the pockets aren't useless.
  18. Cabled Wrap — Oh, is that what this is?  It looks like a shapeless rectangular piece of something with slits for armholes and held together in front with a giant safety pin.  Which only proves once more that I don't get "fashion".
  19. Squares Scarf — Oversized scarf that could easily double as a wrap with lots and lots of multicolored intarsia squares, 20 different colors in all.  Why, yes, it is Kaffe Fassett, how did you know?  Beautiful, but not for me.
  20. Fair Isle Cardigan — Very colorful and interesting Fair Isle pattern.  However, it's a zippered front, which intimidates me, and the pattern calls for steeks, which scares the hell out of me.  But maybe.  Someday.  A long long time from now.  I'm not quite that fearless yet.
  21. Zig Zag Dress — Again with the knit dress.  Pretty, with a V-neck and a Southwestern flair in the coloring, but not for me.
  22. Felted Bag — More Southwestern-influenced colors and patterns.  Interesting metal brads and post-felting embroidery.  A possibility.
  23. Opera Gloves — Beautiful delicate cable pattern and virtually the only piece in this issue NOT made with a bulky yarn.  These would make the perfect gift for a particular friend.  A possibility.
  24. Cabled Socks — I believe I've seen a similar sock pattern in Two At A Time Socks.  Nothing special here.
  25. Bulky Hat — You know those hats worn by the Sherpa guides on Mt. Everest?  The hats with the little pointy tops?  I googled for a picture and I can't find one.  Anyway, that's what I thought of when I saw this hat.  Again, someone must have liked it.
  26. Lace and Fur Scarf — I'm sorry, I just can't get my head around yarn made of beaver fur.
  27. Cabled Belt — Even if I still had a 24-inch waist, this ultra-wide belt would be a "no".  How does one sit down without that 5-inch buckle digging into one's innards?  
  28. Fair Isle Scarf — Sized for children but easily made longer for adults.  Simple and traditional two-color Fair Isle pattern.  A possibility.
And that is Vogue Knitting Winter 2008/09.

(I originally intended to review two other recent magazines in this entry but, given the length of time required, those will have to wait until later.  Besides, I need to pull out the thesaurus and find suitable synonyms for "interesting".  Tune in tomorrow!)

P.S.  Getting back to those Treads socks, a kind person in the LiveJournal Knitting community pointed me in the direction of an online visual tutorial of the type of heel the pattern describes.  Next time I'll know what to do.

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