Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Oh, Sweet Startitus

It must be the weather. I mean, here I was feeling very self righteous about my knitting monogamy, and wham. I NEED to start something new. Something different. SOMETHING. Maybe it's the sleeves. I seemed to be jammed on most of my WiPs at the sleeves.

My gorgeous On Golden Pond is moving slowly because the gorgeous Sundara FSM is just too slippery for me at the moment. That, combined with the necessary alternation of hanks, is making this move way, way too slowly. It should be done by now. Really.

And Vaila? Well, guess what. With only a few more rows of ribbing at the bottom, it will be on to the sleeves. More alternating. And sleeves.

Then there is poor, poor Alene's Wrap. Sitting there, unattended because it feels like a scarf! I had the opportunity to do a new test knit for Baby Cocktails yesterday. And I declined. Declined. Because it was a scarf. I feel bad, but not too bad because she had enough testers signed up in less then 3 hours.

Of course, since ripping back on Dark & Gothic yesterday, I've made very little progress. It seems that it's not only sleeves holding me back. Ribbing isn't talking to me at the moment either.

Now, funnily enough, my small, travelling companion of the moment is a sleeve. I know. (I'm into irony.) My unofficial WiP is the Solveig Yoke by Elinor Brown. For a change, this is a bottom up, yoke pattern (like Paper Dolls, knit for Miss T last winter.) It starts with sleeves, then the body, and then is joined together at the underarm and followed by a patterned yoke. This will be (ok, is) my first KnitScene knit. So far, no one on Ravelry has started. I so don't want to be the one to catch the mistakes and beg for errata!

And so what did I do? Why get sucked into Cecily Glowick MacDonald's newest design. Jetty. And I have the perfect yarn. In the stash! So I cast on. Hey, just a few stitches until the feeling passed. And there are no sleeves. So when it goes, it should go quickly! Idlewood only took 9 days. Without me being monomagous!

Monday, January 31, 2011

1 Step Forward, 10 Steps Back

Today has been very productive. I spent the morning ripping back. Yep. RIPPING BACK!

Saturday night I slipped on my Dark & Gothic and went to my neighbor's to hear Havdalah. I'm very lucky to have Amazing Neighbors. But when Mrs. Amazing Neighbor kept trying to tug the collar into place and Mr. Amazing Neighbor commented that though he usually loves my knits, the buttons just weren't working for him, I knew the time had come to rip. I didn't, however, anticipate the brilliant move of pulling out the bottom bind off instead of the shawl collar, nor the disaster that would ensue.

Old photo, just to jog your memory

So now there are about three or four rows to be reworked on the bottom as well as picking up the stitches and reknitting the collar. And truth be told, I wasn't thrilled with my button holes. But the potential for this sweater is astounding. I love the cut, the colorway, the cables, the collar (count all the 'c's)! There is no reason for this not be perfect. So while I continue to hunt down the perfect buttons, some a'fixin' will be going on.

In other ripping news, I'm making my way down this top down conversion of Vaila.

The neck is a decadent cowl, taking up an entire hank,
it will look more "cowly" after blocking!

and then extends into a Raglan sleeved sweater.

A lace panel runs down the front (I omitted the back panel in the name of short-rows)

and right there at the bottom, can you see it, I brought in two new hanks about 12 rows up from the bottom and they started striping. Striping! So I ripped back and subbed in two other hanks and I think we're ok now. This gave me time to consider how long I want this sweater to be. We have learned from experience that without any hips, a longer length is not flattering. The ribbing on this is 5" which is a lot of ribbing so I decided to end the patterned section at the very end of that 6th repeat. I'll be switching to the larger needle size now to do the ribbing, then it's on to the arms.

Vaila by Gudrun Johnston
Yarn: Madelinetosh Worsted MCN 80/10/10
Colorway: Nebula
Needles: 5.0 & 5.5 mm (US 8 & 9)
Mods: Top Down conversion, fitted to my body instead of A-Line
Interesting note: Unlike many designers, Gudrun uses a larger size needle for her ribbing, rather than a smaller one. I first saw this in my Dahlia in Unst.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

What's on Your iPod?

My latest song obsession is Adele's Rolling in the Deep:

I'm embarrassed to say I only just heard of Adele this weekend, but I immediately downloaded her first album, 19, recorded when, you guessed it, she was 19. Rolling in the Deep is the first single release from Adele's upcoming album, 21. It's release date is Feb. 22 and I can't wait!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Something Old, Something New

Now don't go getting any ideas. The post title refers to sweaters, nothing else, even if one of them is blue.

Last January, a year ago already, I set out to make my first top down sweater. In fact, it was only my third adult sweater. Number one had been Arietta, whose color scheme I adore even today, but whose boxy fit was never going to work even if she and I were the same size. Next came Twist & Shout who taught me that single ply, not tightly knit, becomes one big pill before you even get to wear it. Also, unlike commercial clothing, you pay for your size and I wasn't about to spend the money or time to make another sweater is a plus size. And so I let go of being a sweater knitter and focused on accessories. You know all about them, because I cataloged them here.

And then a funny thing happened. I started moving towards not being a plus size and I decided the time had come to try my hand at sweaters again. (To be fair, there was a vest in there too!)

The Old:
And so one year ago, I cast on for Sahara from Wendy Bernard. Wendy is known for customized fits and I customized the heck out of this. Because no matter how many sizes I've gone through, one thing remains constant. I am two-three sizes bigger on top than on the bottom. And so I cast on, making a sweater a bit on the tight size (in hindsight it was more than a bit tight) so that it would continue to fit as I got smaller.

And yesterday I finally got a modeled shot!

Even in my beginning sweaters I was making mods. But that was one reason I chose this designer. She makes it easy.

My main modifications was casting on for Large and worked the waist decreases, which are done in the front not the sides, and work like darts, down to a Medium. I subbed the lighter yarn called for the trim with a thicker Eyre in the same colorway and didn't go down a needle size. I still had a lot to learn, (like alternating hanks!), but I think it came out pretty well.

And since I can seam up the center lace panel as much as I want, I'm hoping that as I get smaller (still a bit to go) I will just sew up the center a bit more and still have a good fit.

Sahara by Wendy Bernard
Yarn: Madelinetosh DK and Madelinetosh Eyre
Colorway: Fjord
Needles: 4.0 mm (US 6)

As to the New:
I hinted about this pattern about a month ago. This was a test knit I did for Thea Coleman / Baby Cocktails. Mulled Cider is a cozy, tweedy jacket that reminds me of curling up by a fireplace on a cold winter's day. You know, a bit like today. It's 9° out right now!

I love the details.

The leafy print down the back:

And the front:
But only on one side...

The way the stalks join at the shoulder and the outside shoulder seaming to continue the look.

The high collar and the notched opening:

And the toggles! And the buttons!

In fact I love everything about it. So if you are looking for that perfect "keep me warm and cozy" cover up I highly recommend this pattern!

Mulled Cider by Thea Coleman
Yarn: Plymouth Tweed
Colorway: 5459 (blue)
Needles: 4.5 & 5.0 mm (US 7 & 8)
Buttons from M&J Trim

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

My Favorite Peeps

Once upon a time, in a different life really, I worked in theatre. One of my favorite productions during a season of summer rep, was Thorton Wilder's Pulitzer Prize winner, By The Skin of Our Teeth. In the first act there, which takes place during an impending ice age, the family bird was a pterodactyl. I became obsessed with pterodactyls for years after that. Someone in the props shop even sewed me one for opening night. It was pink satin with purple and black paisley wings. Hmm, I wonder if it's still in my mom's garage... But I digress...

I was lucky enough to have a special visit with my sister, brother in law, and the three little people who call me Tante. They were in NJ visiting his family and I lucked out with a visit of my own. We spent the day at the Natural History Museum and when I saw this,

well I had to take a photograph!

These remains were found right here in NJ at the base of the GW bridge!

This display really called out to me. I loved the ancient jewelry but also the play of earth tones against the Agean blue background.
My sister and the two oldest looking at skeletal remains.
And lastly, my favorite peeps!
I did look for the knitting but, shockingly, neither prehistoric animals or Native Americans knit!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Here's More of What You Were Missing

Still playing catch-up! I've finally found a willing photographer, even if the pictures are shot at a very un-picturesque locale. Can you say "strip mall"?
Remember the Vine Yoke Cardi? You know the one that started the sweater frenzy the beginning of last summer? Well at last here is the modeled shot!

I spent ages trying to find the perfect buttons. They were finally located in a small antique shop near my dad's [former] cabin.

Ya, he sold it...
Vine Yoke Cardigan by Ysolda Teague
Yarn: Sliver Moon Farm Worsted Superwash, purchased at Rhinebeck 2009
Colorway: Dusty Violet
Needles: US size 8, 5.0 mm

Next, my first Sundara sweater! I had no idea what I'd make with this heavily variegated yarn! I bought it during the last Season's foray and expected something more muted, like a shaded solid. My disappointment gave way to relief when I came across Idlewood by Cecily Glowik MacDonald. Though the pattern is written for a solid I felt the simple, clean lines would give the overpowering variegation a chance to shine through. I am VERY happy with the final result.

Idlewood by Cecily Glowik MacDonald
Yarn: Sundara DK the Second
Colorway: Lichen over Slate
Needles: US 10, 6.0 mm and US 10 1/2, 6.50 mm

I like it so much I'm contemplating making a longer, dress, version with some Ultra Alpaca I have in the stash.

And I was so taken with the Cecily Sundara combo that I've cast on for another. This time, it's Breakwater in Sundara Fingering Silky Merino in the New Vision colorway. There's a whole story to go with this yarn, but I'll save it for later. In the meantime, here's a sneak peak of how it's going. Once again it's a top down raglan and I've already separated the body and sleeves!

There is one more modeled FO that I have yet to post. According to the fabulous Thea Coleman/Baby Cocktails, the release date for Mulled Cider is imminent. I was lucky enough to test knit this so as soon as it goes up for sale, I'll be posting my shots. Oh, and the buttons for my Dark & Gothic (another Baby Cocktails design!) are on their way from Washington State. So here's hoping for a photography session this weekend!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Snow Days

Although the weather is clear for the present, the snow did come a few weeks in a row.

Where's my mail...

Watch the steps...

The walk must go on...

The end of the day...