Monthly Archives: March 2009

The shape of things to come

The sock pattern I’ve had in the works for a little while now is finally just about ready to go out into the world. If you’ve been by my Ravelry projects page lately, you know what that’s about, but if you haven’t, here’s a quick taste.

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My pattern testers, bless them, have alternately called this “frakking hard” and “cracktastically awesome”. I think that pretty much sums up what I was going for. Full reveal soon. ::tents fingers:: Sooooon….

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Filed under design, socks

Recommendable

I seem to recall that it was around this time last year that I was clinging to shades of blue and green. I remember I bought a skein of Socks That Rock from Lettuce Knit in those shades, and just sort of carried it around in my bag for a week, in case I needed to look at it. (If this is wrong, then I don’t ever want to be right).

There is something about the gradual process of March and digging one’s self out of the winter slog that flicks a sort of teal-shaded switch in my brain. I don’t think there is a better testament to the value of knitting than March. Around here there is the promise of spring down the road, the promise of growing things yet to come, but half-melted piles of snow are still lingering in shady corners and the grass is still matted and damp and trying to remember that it can grow, so if you want colour you had better get the knitting on it.

To wit:

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If there is a downside to Dream in Color yarn, I don’t want to know about it. The colours are gorgeous and the yardage goes for days and I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to know that I’m knitting a sweater that I won’t have to wait a day to let air-dry before I can wear it after washing.

Round about early February I was browsing on Robyn’s store and looking at her sales and something snapped. I grabbed up 5 skeins of Classy in Blue Lagoon (and okay fine 3 in Midnight Derby, shut up it’ll make a great fall vest), and it has been sitting there for a month waiting ever so patiently. It has been waiting, as it turns out, to be turned into the Climbing Vines Pullover. I’ve only been knitting this since Saturday but I’m almost done both sleeves and plan to start in on the body tonight. March will see a finished sweater if I have anything to say about it. The dark purple Mission Falls will have to wait a bit longer to be assembled into Bonnie, but I think it’s okay with that. Dark purple yarn is friendly that way.

And now if you’ll excuse me, I have to arrange my Dream in Color in a place where I can see it from my desk. You understand about that, right?

Happy Moan-day. Keep the knitting close by!

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Filed under stash, sweaters

The Next Sweater

I think one of the unsung benefits of knitting is that it helps you practice decision-making skills. Most of the day in our non-knitting lives we have to make a lot of decisions, often very quickly, many of which we don’t actually have a personal interest in. But when you sit down to choose your next sweater you have to make about a bazillion choices (or, at the very least, two or three) right off the top: Which pattern? Which yarn? Which size? Should I swatch? Should I modify it? Should I make it for a special occasion? What if it doesn’t turn out, then what will I do with it?

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All this is just my way of saying at the moment I am deciding between two sweaters for my Next Sweater: Bonnie, and the Climbing Vines Pullover (holla, Winter 2008 IK). I’m delaying this decision because, well, the anticipation is actually sort of enjoyable. There is no pressure in either direction and I’ve got the yarn for both. I’ve even swatched for both, take that knitting fates!

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The dark purple Mission Falls 1824 wool is part of my stash that’s been there for a year now, thanks to a sale last winter. I went looking for ideas on what to do with it and that’s when I found Bonnie. I love how deep and dark it is, and even on a sweater with a lot of cables, I think it would do fine. And Fiona Ellis does know her way around some Mission Falls, and (HAH!) my gauge is perfect.

As for the Climbing Vines Pullover, I admittedly hadn’t even considered it until I went browsing on Ravelry and saw all the nice dark and mottled versions of it. I think what made it escape my notice in the magazine was quite simply the sample colour, so pale and washed out. But in the blue lagoon Dream in Color Classy? And only 5 skeins for a sweater? Yes please.

In the end, it may all come down to which one my brain chooses tonight when I get home and sack out. Further bulletins as events occur, so stay tuned.

Keep the knitting close by!

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Filed under Uncategorized

Sweater Time

Just because it is now officially March, it is less than a month until spring starts on the calendar, and the retail stores have been trying to convince us for weeks that it is already time to buy tee shirts and sandals and flowing spring dresses, around these parts in Ontario we can’t stand down just yet. The temperatures are well below zero this week, I’m on my second cold since mid-January, and lordy oh lordy do I have sweater stash that needs knitting up.

This was a big motivator for me in starting the Blooming Cardigan. It was a perfect gauge match for the Wild Apple Hill Farm wool I bought at Rhinebeck in 2008 (a rustic, wooly aran wool with heathery texture), and I thought it would just be a nice way to knock out a sweater. I liked the style but didn’t anticipate loving it the same way I have known and loved other sweaters.

Well, I’m here to tell you I was wrong. I do love this sweater. I might wear it all week, in fact.

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Pattern: Blooming Cardigan, by Sarah Hoadley, in Interweave Knits Winter 2008
Yarn: Wild Apple Hill Farm 2-ply, blackberry colourway
Needles: 5mm for the body and sleeves, 3.75mm for the ribbing and collar. If I did it again I’d go up to 4.0mm on the ribbing.
Modifications and Notes:The main modification I did was to add length. I’m 5’9″ and with most mainstream patterns, I typically add 1″ before beginning the waist shaping decreases, and 1″ between the waist and the armholes. This is one of those times where all my assumptions about what I knew about gauge, what I knew about the right length I need for me, the right spot to put the waist shaping…it all worked perfectly. It took me several sweaters at the beginning of my sweater-knitting time to figure all this out, but now that I have, sweaters are my favourite. (Well OK, except for when socks are my favourite.)

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The other main modification I did was to change the little cable twists at the edge of the bobbled nosegay pattern, so that they were twisting in opposite directions instead of the same direction. I also moved the nosegay pattern towards the center a little bit, so that I could keep it intact after doing the armhole shaping decreases. Other than that, I did work the body in one piece, and eliminated the sash purely for personal preference, but the pattern itself is well written and suitable for a variety of skill levels. If you’ve got something aran and tweedy or heathery sitting around, give this a whirl.

This took me about a month and a half start to finish, but if I”d dedicated myself to it more monogamously it would have been finished in a few weeks. I have to start knitting at 16 sts over 4 ins more often.

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I have to say that the more I spend time looking at this Winter 2008 issue of Interweave Knits, the more I like it. In fact, there isn’t much I wouldn’t knit from this issue, and there aren’t many magazine issues I can say that about. I think this issue has been getting less love among knitters because whenever I hear people talking about the new Spring 2009 issue, it is often with a “thank goodness it’s better than the last issue” tacked on in passing.

Well, Winter 2008 IK, I’m here for you. Let’s be friends and knit things together, we’ll have a grand old time.

Happy knitting!

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Filed under finished object: sweater