Isn’t it good, Norwegian WOOL

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Right now I have not one, but TWO projects on the needles using wool from the Norwegian mill, Hillesvåg: one is in the fingering-weight Sølje, and the other in the DK-weight Tinde. Longtime readers of my blog will know my love for “wooly” yarns; I’ve got nothing against the super smooth soft yarns, but my heart goes to the yarns with a bit of toothiness, and these Hillesvåg yarns definitely fit that bill!

Ravelston progress.

The first of these projects has already been shown on the blog: it’s a Ravelston pullover, in Sølje in the color “Lys dongeriblå”. I’m almost finished with the left front, and so far, the fit is perfect.

Getting silly with Ravelston

I even purled a row while trying it on, because why not?

The second project is Jacqueline Cieslak’s “Water Bearer” cardigan, which I’m knitting in Tinde in “Turkis”.

Water Bearer Cardigan in progress

What I love about the Hillesvåg yarns, which are made from Norwegian Pelsull, is the way that the colors just GLOW. I don’t think the camera does them justice. Between the luster of the fiber itself, and the fact that the fiber being overdyed is grey rather than white, the end result is a luminous, almost color-shifting quality in natural light.

Beginning of Water Bearer

It’s just gorgeous! The construction of Water Bearer is really interesting; it starts with the back of that gorgeous brioche-stitch shawl collar, and then the back shoulder stitches are cast on from there.

Trying on two in-progress sweaters at once.

It’s been great to get back to brioche, which I kind of fell in love with last summer while making the Paris’s Brioche Scarf! I think this is going to be a beautiful cardigan.

Brioche-stash!

Apparently I can’t help myself when it comes to brioche – I have to take a picture using it as a “brioche-stash” :)

The start of Fall semester is only 1.5 weeks away, and I’ve still got quite a bit to do get my classes ready for online teaching…and then to figure out how to balance that with my daughter’s remote-learning, too, once that starts. I don’t know what to expect in terms of knitting progress…there’s definitely a lot less time, but I *need* to keep my hands busy more and can do so on the parts that are more “mindless” even while taking part in meetings, so maybe it’ll all even out. In any case, whenever I get a chance to knit, I’ll be enjoying the feeling of this delightfully wooly, luminous Norwegian Wool.

Caesura V is finished!

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I finished knitting my heavily-modified Caesura V tank this weekend!

Caesura V is finished!

Here are the details!

Pattern: Caesura V, from Åsa Tricosa
Yarn: Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool, just about exactly 3 skeins
Gauge (different from pattern): 6sts/9rows per inch on size 5 needles
Time to knit: 2 weeks

By the way, if the formatting on that set of details looks different that usual: I’m still not used to this new “blocks” system that WordPress is using now; at heart, I’m a “write the post in html” sort of person, and GUIs tend not to suit the way my brain thinks. But I’m trying to figure it out!

I’m also no longer going to be linking to my Ravelry page in these posts; I’m still able to use the site in Classic Mode, but do not want to assume that anyone clicking the link can safely use the site in either mode. I’m deeply saddened and frustrated by how everything has played out in relation to Ravelry over these last couple of months. I was quite hurt by the gaslighting statements in communications from the Rav team that ended up going viral last week. It was only a couple of years ago that the (now-former) president of my own university was trying to brand my colleagues and I as liars using the same sort of “consider your sources” framing that Cassidy used, and it brought up those same familiar feelings of disorientation, betrayal, and rage. But this time, it was coming from a member of a team I had thought of as friends. And perhaps some of them were, at some point in the past? But that is gone now, and it was probably naive of me to still be thinking of Ravelry as anything other than a business. That’s how I’m thinking of it now: as a site I use because it’s useful to me, much in the same way as Facebook or Twitter serve a useful purpose in my life without me having any illusions that Zuckerberg or Dorsey are part of “my community”. Whether the site will continue to be useful to me depends on how well they address the accessibility issues at the heart of this, so I’ve also downloaded all of the PDFs in my pattern library and am thinking about how best to use my blog to keep track of the kinds of things I’ve long relied on Ravelry to do. I haven’t really thought through what it means for my designs; I’ve not published any patterns in quite a while and though I keep thinking I should dip my toes back into those waters, I’m not sure I have it in me.

While I wish Cassidy well in terms of her mental health needs, I’m also really bothered by the way that white women in particular lean on “mental health” as a way of excusing problematic behavior. I mean, I also struggle with anxiety and depression and PTSD, and I do understand how much it can warp your sense of reality and make you lash out in unproductive ways, but at the end of the day, you’ve got to own your actions and work to repair the damage you’ve done, and if you destroy people’s trust in the process, well, it’s going to take time and effort to get it back. The people you hurt are allowed to have feelings, too, and are also deserving of care.

Anyway, enough about that – let’s talk about the tank! I’m really quite thrilled with how it ended up after all of the modifications I made. Let me walk you through those!

Caesura V is finished!

First, gauge. I was wanting to do something with this Silky Wool that I’ve had in my stash for well over a decade, and since it lists itself as a “DK-weight”, I thought I’d try this DK-weight pattern from Åsa Tricosa, whose “Ziggurat” technique for top-down knitting is fascinating to me! But alas, there was no way to get 20 stitches over 4 inches in Silky Wool while maintaining a fabric that wasn’t completely see-through. What I ended up with was 24 stitches over 4 inches, instead. I also had a different row gauge, which meant I needed to adapt things like the armhole depth. But it all worked out!

Caesura V (heavily modified) side view

Next, the side “seams”. This is a seamless knit, and the pattern calls for a wedge of reverse stockinette opening up from the base of that neat twisted rib triangle on each side. But I didn’t particularly like the look of that, so the first thing I tried was to just keep the one twisted knit stitch with a purl on either side running down, but that didn’t look that nice, either. What I finally ended up doing was turning the center twisted knit stitch into a two stitch twist, and kept a purl stitch on either side of it, all the way down to where I split the hem. The pattern has a vent in the back, but I’ve always liked side vents, and for this one, I created a 1×1 twisted rib triangle on either side to mirror the ones at the back neck and the underarm, and then made the back a bit longer than the front before starting the 1×1 twisted rib for the bottom hem. Here’s a more detailed picture:

Closeup of hem split

Finally, the back. The pattern has A-line shaping, but my own shape made me want a slightly different fit. I’m not a very “curvy” person, but what curves I have are much more strongly pronounced on my back than my front – I both have more of a waist curve in back, and I also have a slight swayback, so I wanted to adapt the A-line shaping to be a bit more “back-hugging” than tent-like in the back. What I ended up doing was to add two columns of 2-stitch twists, with a purl stitch on either side of each, and then did a few quick decreases to pull the back in. After that, I just did a decrease on the outside of each twist every time I did an increase at the side seams, so the back didn’t grow to be as wide as the front. Towards the bottom, I did a few increases on the *insides* of each twist, to widen the back panel a little over the bum.

Caesura V (heavily modified) back view

I’m really happy with how all of these modifications worked out, and I love the tank so much that I wish I had Silky Wool in more colors! But of course, I’m trying to knit down my stash, so should probably NOT acquire any more Silky Wool until I’m able to knit down or otherwise offload some of the yarn I currently have. It’s not like I don’t have plenty of projects already in the queue.

Caesura V is finished and I love it!

If I look a little tired in these pictures, it’s because trying to prep 3 classes to teach them online, while also being a parent, during a pandemic that is being horrifically mismanaged by your nation’s government, is really freaking exhausting. Fall semester starts in just 3 weeks, though, so I’d best get back to work instead of continuing to ramble here on the blog. I hope all are staying safe and well.