babyStripes! has begun

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I couldn’t resist the pull of corrugated ribbing on tiny needles:

beginnings of babyStripes!

So I cast on for babyStripes! last week. I decided to knit the bottom band flat, and then join to knit the body in the round, which means I’ll be steeking, down the road. The only problem? I don’t have a size 1 16-inch circular needle, and I’m not keen on cramming that many stitches onto my dpns. I was hoping to bring this with me up to Minnesota, which is where I’m headed tomorrow, to visit my parents. But alas, I won’t have time to find a small-circumference circular needle before then. But thankfully, I still have that angora Seraphim shawl on the needles, with no progress having been made on it since our last trip, so that should make the perfect travel knitting.

Speaking of stripey things, there are now two finished Stripes! other than my own out there in the world, thanks to my awesome test knitters. There are a few updates to make to the pattern, based on their feedback, but it won’t be long before I can release the pattern for real!

the quilt.

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I’ve mentioned here a few times that I was knitting Chawne‘s sweater in exchange for a quilt. I figure her gorgeous quilt deserves a little bit of attention here on my blog, now that it’s here.

It came on Friday, and despite temperatures of 88 degrees, I couldn’t resist taking it outside to get some photos. When you get a quilt this awesome, you forget about things like the heat:

quilt in the sun

(I promise, I am actually wearing shorts in that picture, under the quilt. I just have absurdly long legs to go with my absurdly long arms.) One of the blues in the quilt (there are 15 different shades of blue!) matches my glasses perfectly:

wrapped up in a quilt [365x2.17]

I absolutely adore the quilt, and am so glad that C and I were able to do such a wonderful swap. The quilt is already well-loved by both the human and feline residents of this household:

stimpy loves the quilt.
Stimpy thinks it is his

snuggling with stimpy [365x2.19]
But I make him share

Thanks so much, C!

Garter Whimsy, all finished

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C’s sweater has finally dried after its blocking, and has had all of the cat-hairs lovingly picked off it before being wrapped in tissue paper to be put in the mail tomorrow. Despite all that, given the degree to which every surface of our house, our clothing, and even the inside of our car is covered in cat hair, the odds of it arriving to C allergen-free are pretty much zero.

C's sweater, all done.

Ravelry Project Page
Pattern: my own, tentatively called “Garter Whimsy”, designed especially for C, in exchange for a quilt.
Yarn: Cascade 220, in "Aporto". 6 skeins. (Maybe a little more? I lost track, but it was definitely less than 7).
Needles: size 8 Denise Circulars and Knitpicks dpns.
Time to knit: May 27 – June 21st

And now, some detail shots:

love that garter rib.
I will never tire of garter rib

seamless set-in sleeve.
Seamless set-in sleeve

v-neck closeup.
V-neck, in garter rib, picked up from a sl1, p1 edge

I am immensely proud of this sweater, and am so grateful to C for giving me a reason to design it! I do plan to write up a pattern for this design, including a variety of options for cuff and neckline finishes (such as the ones I did in my “Swatch” for this sweater). I don’t know when I’ll actually get around to it, though, given how much I have on my plate right now both knitting-wise and otherwise. Before the end of the year, that much is for sure.

it’s (almost) gansey time!

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I’ve got another swatch for y’all. This time, for something that is not striped:

gansey swatch

What you see there is Schoeller Stahl Morea, a sport-weight yarn, on size 3 needles, which gives me a gauge of 7 sts./inch. This is the yarn I’m planning to use to knit my modernized version of a gansey, with waist-shaping and set-in short sleeves, during this year’s Tour de France. Because what says “French cycling race” better than a traditional British fisherman’s garment? Nothing, that’s what I say! You can see the beginnings of my (not very good) sketching underneath the swatch. I’m still thinking through exactly which designs I want in my gansey, but I’m quite eager to get started. I’ll do my best to hold off until July 4th to actually cast on, but I’m not sure I can manage the wait. I’m looking forward to le Tour de Gansey, part trois!

Speaking of ganseys, thanks to a tip from Sarah, I now have a beautiful colorcard to play with:

frangipani colorcard

It’s from here. They are revitalizing gansey yarns with a whole bunch of gorgeous colors, and I am now seriously tempted to order a cone or two, now that I’ve gotten to see it first-hand. I’m envisioning not just ganseys, but also colorwork yokes (of course!). We’ll just see.

an ending and a beginning

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I finished C’s sweater earlier today:

C's sweater, finished!

I have to admit, it’s a little nervewracking, knitting a sweater for another knitter…I found myself worrying about my finishing skills in a way I never have before. The sweater still needs to be blocked, to relax the stitches a little bit, but other than that, it is finished. I’m a tiny bit nervous about the fit, since C and I are very different sizes, but I am trying to trust in the power of math, which I think C would appreciate, given that she’s a math professor!

It’s always a little bit sad, when I finish a project. I mean, it’s great to finish something, and to have turned hours of knitting into a wearable thing, but there’s this feeling of, “what now?” that creeps in when that project isn’t on the needles anymore. Thankfully, I’m pretty good at filling the hole that one project leaves in my heart…with another project:

babyStripes! swatch
So, I swatched for babyStripes!

What you see there was knit on size 1 needles, which gave me the feel I like, at a gauge of 9 sts/in. The corrugated ribbing is even more impossibly charming in micro-size, I think. Since babyStripes! is going to be a cardigan (pullovers + small babies seems like a bad idea to me), now I’m trying to decide between knitting in the round, and steeking, or knitting flat from front edge to front edge. Either way, stitches will be picked up for a corrugated-rib buttonband in the end. There are pluses and minuses to both, but more than anything I am worried about steeking with superwash yarns. What to do, what to do?

coming attractions

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C's sleeves

C’s sweater is coming along quite nicely; I nearly finished the second sleeve during a long meeting yesterday. Before anyone worries that I was being horribly rude, this is a meeting in which most of the other members are pecking away at their laptops throughout. I can knit by touch, so I think I was actually more engaged during the meeting than most of them!

Stripes!, the pattern, is also coming along nicely. I’ve gotten some very good feedback from my lovely test-knitting volunteers, and am hopeful that I’ll be able to release the pattern, for real, pretty soon. Speaking of Stripes!, this arrived in my mailbox yesterday (well, the Noro didn’t…I already had that!):

artsy fartsy

It’s Louet Gems Fingering weight, in “Linen Grey”. You can expect to see a babyStripes! at some point this summer; I’m working out the numbers and thinking through the design (for one thing, it will be a cardigan rather than a pullover), and might make this the small project I carry around in my backpack.

(baby)Stripes! aside, my “Year of Yokes” seems to have fallen by the wayside, but I promise, there will be more yokeage later this year! It’s just that I’ve been sidetracked with ideas for knits that are not yoked sweaters (who knew?), and with projects being knit either for or with others (which are also not yoked). My queue on Ravelry has gotten hugely disorganized at this point, and there’s not a great way for me to queue an idea for a design, so here’s a more organized version of my plans for the summer, sweater-knitting-wise:

1. A Cardigan for Arwen, but hugely modified because I don’t like the construction of the original. A friend asked me to knit along with her on this project last year (or maybe even earlier than that?), and we’ve both been so busy that it never happened…but it’s happening now! Or rather, it’s happening as soon as I finish knitting C’s sweater (for which there will be a pattern written up, eventually).

2. A self-designed, modernized, short-sleeved gansey. I plan on knitting this one during the Tour de France, since I’ve got a little tradition going of running a Tour de Gansey at the same time. If it turns out well, I might write this one up, too. No promises, though!

3. Vivian, for my friend Kris. I fell in love with the pattern as soon as I saw it, but thought it might look silly on me, since I’m not particularly hourglassy. At all. But Kris is, and she’s also totally sweater-worthy, so I’m excited to knit one up for her! I’d like to finish it before it gets chilly.

Between the knitting and the pattern-writing, that probably pretty much does it for the summer, since I’m also in the process of studying for my comprehensive exams, and trying to get some studies up and running. Busy, busy.

a second sleeve

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First, thanks so much for all of your input on my last post! The comments section there has lots of good ideas for wooly, workhorse-style DK-weight yarns. A couple more that I’ve found since posting: Québécoise and Canadian Regal, both of which I’d like to try at some point.

Now, back to business. I haven’t posted an update about my progress on C’s sweater in awhile, so I figured it was time. Last week, I finished the body of the sweater:

C's sweater

The body is identical to the one I knit on my prototype “Swatch”, with the exception of using a tubular cast-on (and being over a foot bigger around). I just really love the waist-shaping on the outside of garter rib, and am eager to see how it works on someone who is not me.

The sleeves are where things have deviated from my “Swatch”. Instead of the garter eyelet business on my cuffs, C requested garter rib. I obliged, and added my own little touch:

C sleeve progress

See how the ribbing angles up in the center of the sleeve? I love that little detail, and I think (I hope!) that C does, too. As you can see, I’ve already finished one sleeve, and am already a good way through the second, having knit 7 of the 18 increases I will knit in order to get from the cuff circumference to the upper arm circumference.

Then it will be time to see if the notes I took while knitting the “Swatch”, on creating seamless set-in sleeves at the same time as a non-steeked V-neck, were good enough to help me do the same thing on a larger sweater. I’ve got my fingers crossed that I can make it work.

just wondering.

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reds, pinks, oranges
Because I know we all like pictures.

Because these are the sorts of things I wonder about, when I have a splitting sinus headache and feel like someone is driving an icepick under my right eye:

What’s a good DK-weight wool yarn? Is there a DK-weight yarn that’s sort of the “Cascade 220” of DK yarns? You know, basic, sturdy, good color range, all that? I ask because I realized the other day that I have almost no DK-weight yarn in my stash (I’ve got lots of worsted, and a fair amount of sport-weight, pretty much), and I couldn’t think of what a good basic DK yarn would be. (Not that I need to add to my stash or anything). I’ve knit with Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool, and love it, but it’s not really what I’d call sturdy. And I know there are the various Rowan DK-weight yarns, but they’re not exactly in my budget, unless they’re on clearance. Am I missing something obvious?

Finally Finished Object: Ishbel

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I finally got around to blocking Ishbel yesterday, so now she can have her official FO post. (Because, you know, a project isn’t finished until it’s gotten its blocking and had its picture taken).

ishbel! [365.364]

And of course, the vital statistics:

Ravelry Project Page
Pattern: Ishbel, by Ysolda Teague
Size: Large Stockinette, Small Lace
Yarn: Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool, exactly 2 skeins
Needles: Size 7 Knitpicks Harmony circulars
Time to Knit: April 18-May 16 2009

I’m not keeping this one. It’s for my grandmother, who admired my Icarus when I was down visiting this Spring. I don’t think she reads my blog (but if so: Hi Grandma! Sorry for ruining your surprise!), so I’m posting this before I send it off. I hope she likes it!

ishbel as triangle

As those of you who already knit this know, one major difference between Ishbel and a lot of other triangular shawls is that the decreases are worked such that the width grows much more quickly than the length of the shawl. My armspan is quite long for my height (I’m 5’3, my armspan is something like 5’8 or 5’9), and it’s even wider than that…and yet, the bottom point of the shawl is not too low. It’s a clever design, but that’s hardly surprising, considering the designer!

ishbel front

Here you can get a peek at the shawl pin I’m sending along with the package. It’s from Designs by Romi. I had a different Romi pin when I wore my Icarus while I visited my grandparents, and I figured this turquoise one would be pretty perfect for a shawl headed down to New Mexico. Here’s a closeup:

shawl-pin closeup

Isn’t it pretty? I kind of want one for myself, but I will stick with the shawl pin I already have, for now.

ishbel lace

Such lovely lace. This was quite an enjoyable knit for me. I love the feel of the Silky Wool, and I think it is a fabulous yarn for this pattern; it took just 2 skeins to make a fairly large shawl! I highly recommend this yarn/pattern combination.