Several Months of Projects

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Today I finally got around to photographing a pile of projects that had been waiting for attention since midsummer. Many of them have been worn, particularly the lightweight, warm weather garments. So, while they’re not in pristine condition, I can vouch for their wearability.

  1. Second Story Tee by Debbie O’Neill: I knitted it in Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy. I am really enjoying the drape of the fabric. The original pattern was knitted in wool, which also looks great, judging by all the project photos I’ve seen. Hempathy is fast becoming one of my favorite yarns. It’s very versatile and is extremely comfortable to wear, particularly after a few washings.

2. Sweet Dreams by Boo Knits: A total “wow” of a shawl that’s surprisingly easy to knit. I enjoyed the heck out of knitting it. I was going to bring it with me on my trip to France, but at the last minute decided I didn’t want to risk having something terrible happen to it. So I left it at home. It was just as well. There were very few days on our trip when I wanted more clothes to wear. Temperatures in the 90s on many days. I knitted it in Wollmeise Lace-Garn, a yarn that was de-stashed by a friend. It has a good home at my house. I just adore green.

3. Ginny’s Cardigan by Mari Chiba: Yeah, like I said before, I like green. I’ve had this cardigan on the needles for almost a year. I’m not a big fan of the yarn, I’m sorry to say. Wool and nettles just aren’t my thing. I’m talking about the experience of knitting with it, not wearing it. I dare say, it’s no more prickly than a hearty Shetland wool sweater.

The sweater turned out too small for me. But that’s ok. I’ll hold onto it until find the right person to give it to. Someone who will appreciate all the trouble I went to to pick out just the right iridescent buttons for the front.

4. Cedar Leaf Shawletter by Alana Dakos: Yep, more green. The center stockinette portion is knitted from some handspun polwarth. The leaves are knitted using some leftover Sun Valley Fiber Arts MCN. Normally this shawlette is knitted using a DK. My handspun was a light fingering/heavy lace and the MCN was fingering, so I added a few more leaf repeats in the cast on edge. I didn’t end up with  much more width, but lots of length, which suits me fine.

5. A Hitchhiker from Handspun. The pattern is the ultrapopular, ultrasimple shawl by Martina Behm. I wanted to use up some handspun leftover from another shawl project. Unfortunately I ran out of yarn before I hit 42 teeth. So this Hitchhiker reached the end of its trail a little early. That’s ok. It makes a very pretty scarf.

6. Boxy by Joji Locatelli: I think of this as my Groupthink Boxy. The sweater that happened because everyone else in the knitting group was knitting one too. I actually like it much better than I thought I would. It’s very comfortable and easy to wear. And the fingering weight makes for a lovely drape. Normally I’m not a pink girl, either. But I just adore this Frabjous Fibers Cheshire Cat in the Plum Cake colorway.

7. Twig and Leaf by Anne Hanson: You remember the Sweet Dreams shawl I mentioned earlier? The lace shawl I knitted for my France trip but left behind at the last minute? Well…I actually knitted two different shawls for the trip. Because I couldn’t make up my mind which one to knit. So I knitted both. This one didn’t get to go on the trip either. Sorry little shawl. I really led you on.

8. Linum Tee by Bristol Ivy: I’m officially a Bristol Ivy fan girl. Her aesthetic and mine are likethis. She just knows what I like. And she keeps pumping out designs I want to knit. This Linum tee is a perfect example. Fairly simple, but with a killer asymmetrical design element at the neckline. It just slays me. This top is also very comfortable to wear. Hats off to Quince and Company. They’ve managed to make a 100% linen yarn that is comfortable and doesn’t shed (I’m talking to you, Louet Euroflax Sport).

Finishing this cardigan on principle

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Gauge is a lying liar who lies to you.

This Ginny’s Cardigan isn’t going to fit me. It’s just plain too small. But I bet it would fit someone I know. Someone who’s about a size 2-4.

So I’m going to finish this cardigan. Because it’s pretty and it’s bound to be useful to someone.

Besides, I have come to the conclusion that, as pretty as the cardigan is, I dislike the yarn. The though of taking the cardigan apart and re-knitting it, or re-purposing the yarn for something else fills me with distaste. There’s nothing wrong with it. It’s just that the texture isn’t for me. Sorry Classic Elite Yarns Woodland. I hope you don’t take it personally. I think I’m just the type of person who doesn’t care for single-ply wool/nettle blends.

 

Blocking Ginny's Cardigan

A post shared by All She Wants To Do Is Knit (@caityrosey81) on

I really want spring to come, and soon. So says my Ravelry queue.

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Here in Minnesota mother nature has it in for us. She really does. She likes to tease us with a few days of 50s and 60s, followed by a week of heavy wet snow, high winds, and temps in the 20s and 30s. Rinse and repeat.

The only place in my world where spring has officially come to stay is on my Ravelry queue.

Green Apple, by Amy Palmer

The Summer issue of KnitScene is going to land in my mail box any day now and it’s this pattern that has me on tenterhooks. This drapey, crisscross backed tank tickles all my warm weather knitting pleasure centers. Wearable simplicity in the front,  serious drama in the back.

The pattern calls for Berroco Folio™, an alpaca/rayon blend. I’ll have to keep that in mind when choosing a yarn. Nothing with too much structure. I need fiber that just wants to hang and slither.

Photo by Knitscene/Harper Point Photography. Used with permission. As seen on Ravelry.

Reflectance by Inna M.

Can you tell I have a thing for dramatic details? Number two in my list is a luxurious silk top knitted in lace weight yarn. And just look at that sophisticated use of color work. I mean really, look at it. That’s what I call a killer detail. It just makes the pattern sing.

Here’s one more thing to love. It’s a free pattern! The original was in Russian, but thankfully for me, there is an English translation. Here’s hoping the translation is well done, because I really, really, really want to knit this top.

Used with permission. As seen on Ravelry.

Serendipity (the cardigan and the pullover) by Jodie Gordon Lucas

I honestly don’t know which one of these I like more, the cardigan or the pullover.  Both feature a cunning octagon design and approachable raglan sleeves.

And get this: Both patterns are written such that you can use any yarn weight you choose. The pattern comes with worksheets that will guide you through calculations based on your yarn weight, gauge, size, etc…

I know, I know. Technically such worksheets shouldn’t be necessary and knitters should be able and willing to do their own calculations. But I appreciate a designer who’s willing to help her users along. This sort of pattern could be a good confidence-builder for a knitter who isn’t sure if they’re ready to do the math.

Used with permission. As seen on Ravelry.

Used with permission. As seen on Ravelry.

Seaboard by Tanis Lavallee

An airy, lightweight tank. Perfect for someone with a small bust (like me) and toned arms to show off (which are on my to-do list). If only knitting built arm muscle. Maybe if i did it while standing and wearing wrist weights.

This pattern calls for lace weight merino. Excellent! I have some lovely stuff in my stash just begging to become this tank.

Used with permission. As seen on Ravelry.

Two yarns, both alike in dignity

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It’s amazing how fiber choice and spinning technique can change the appearance of your finished yarn.

Both of these yarns were dyed by the same dyer (Into the Whirled) in the same colorway (The Woods).

Both were spun from carded roving. But what a difference these other characteristics make:

                               Yarn 1                                      Yarn 2

Fiber                       Merino/SW Merino/Silk              Masham wool

Spinning style       Worsted                                    Semi-woolen (I think)

Plying                     Chain (3-ply)                             2-ply

Weight                    Fingering/sport                          Aran/bulky

The shine of the silk really comes through in yarn 1. All of the colors seem extra-vibrant.

In yarn 2, all of the colors seem warmer and more muted.

Fascinating, don’t you think?

* Disclaimer: I only spun yarn 1. Yarn 2 came to my happy hands from a fellow spinner who was cleaning out her stash.

Spinning woolen like it’s worsted

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Tried a new experiment this week. I had a bunch of hand carded Corriedale left over from a previous spinning project. I decided to try spinning it worsted.

I know, I know. Why go to all that effort to card it by hand only to ruin it by spinning it the wrong way?

I don’t think I ruined it.

Right now a problem I have with my worsted spinning is keeping it from getting too dense. Sometimes a gal wants to knit a hat that won’t drown her if she falls into the lake.

I also wanted to see how spinning the same prepared fiber would behave with this other technique. Really see it, not just believe in the physics of it.

Here are my results.

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Plump but not poofy three ply. Sturdy but not heavy. I wouldn’t knit socks with it. But a sweater would work. And in the aforementioned lake scenario I probably wouldn’t drown.

The Stupid Button Band Betrayed Me

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It’s hard to conceal my ire. I was so proud of how this Reverb cardigan was turning out. The purple yarn was lovely. The pattern was easy to follow. I knew the cardigan would look super-hip on, and would go with most of my wardrobe. But the button band betrayed me.

I don’t have any experience with button bands. So far, I’ve managed to avoid knitting cardigans that require buttons. I pretended that I preferred the open look. But the truth is, I was afraid of the button band. And now I know I was right. Button bands are pure evil.

  • Button bands stretch unpredictably and throw off your measurements. 4 inches between button holes. Oops, looks like you have 5. 5 is ok right?
  • Button bands lull you into thinking five buttons will do…until you try on the cardigan and realize you really need seven.
  • Button bands keep you from appreciating your brand new very pretty cardigan because something is just slightly “off”.
  • Button bands are so hard to satisfy. Put the button too far to one side, and the whole thing stretches like a scallop. Which would be nice if that was something I wanted. An artistic statement, prehaps. But it’s NOT.
  • Button bands wait until you have the cardigan all blocked, with the ends woven in, to speak up and tell you something is wrong.
  • Button bands remind you that your stomach is not as flat and firm as your dress dummy’s stomach. They’re rude little buggers.

Stupid riggin’, friggin’ button band.

Here’s the cardigan. You can see the issues I’m talking about.

I guess it’s time to remove the button bands, reknit them, and do the finishing all over again.

But not now. Not today. Today I shake my fist at the universe.

Tomorrow I’ll take apart my cardigan.

A troubling hat trend

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I said I wouldn’t overdo it this Christmas. You know, with the whole knitting thing. Last Christmas I made myself a little crazy and I swore I wasn’t going to do that to myself this year.

But somehow I can’t seem to stop myself from knitting hats. They’re so cute. They’re so quick. They’re like little woolly potato chips.  (Okay, that sounds pretty gross. Did anyone else just image an old sticky potato chip found in your cardigan pocket?)

It all started with my husband’s Christmas hat. He gets a new one every year.

Made from handspun yarn.

Made from handspun yarn.

 

I’m hoping this is going to be our “thing.” When he’s 80 he’s going to have a mountain of hats. He has this habit of not losing things. At some point, that may become a problem. Maybe senility will kick in and help us out with the hat problem.

  • Anyway, it started out with my husband’s Christmas hat.
  • Then I knitted a couple more because I had some scrap yarn in my stash that was just right for hats.
  • Then I decided to knit a hat for my niece. I knitted that hat like I was a jazz musician. Total improv cables. It turned out great.
  • Then I realized my new little nephew needed a hat too, so I cast one on. He may need multiple hats. Babies lose hats all the time, right?

This is a troubling hat trend.