Monthly Archives: November 2013

Cables understand me

It’s been a busy month – well, busy couple of months, really. October passed in a flurry of holiday visits and Rhinebeck travels, and November has been a busy one for the ol’ day job, not to mention getting sidelined by viral plague for the last week, so knitting activity here at Knitting To Stay Sane has been continuous but varyingly so. I’ve had fits of productivity and then days of going back and forth between current projects and starts at new ones – design swatching and planning, or project dreaming.

ShireAran2_1

One project I’ve had on the go since fall started is a new cabled sweater design. It’s been in my head for a year and I was desperate to start it. So as September was coming to an end I cast on for this pullover even though I knew I didn’t really have time for it. It’s been a nice comfort to have in the wings, and I am hoping it will be ready to share with all of you in the new year. (There’s going to be a men’s version as well. I’m nothing if not ambitious).

ShireAran3_1

Some people turn to stockinette or garter stitch to sooth them in hectic times, but for me it’s gotta be cables. Sometimes the knitting brain just wants what it wants. [Edited to add - the yarn is Harrisville Designs 'Highland' - a worsted wool that's a little bit sheepy but still a little bit soft ;)]

What projects are you dreaming about these days? There’s always so much to choose from!

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Rather loose relationship with time

I think one of the oddest things about knitting world has got to be the strange way we experience it as a form of time. Like, “Oh sure I can get that sweater done in two weeks to wear for my birthday party.” Or “Christmas Day is technically only 6 hours away, that’s lots of time to finish this pair of gloves I’ve hardly started. No worries.” Or the fact that sitting on a train for an hour a day each way on my commute isn’t as big a deal because it’s knitting time, as opposed to just “geez why am I not home already I am so tired” kind of time.

Sept8-MuchaCardigan1b

When you add knitting design in there it gets even more bizarre. Sometimes I work on something for self-publication and can have something turned around in exactly whatever amount of time I feel like it, and then if I’m working on something for another publication I could be rushing to get it done in less than a month. The next part is that sometimes, depending on the publication, this could bear no clear relationship whatsoever to when the final pattern sees the light of day. As a designer you roll with it, though, because otherwise we’d just never get anything done.

Anyway, this is all a long way of saying that a sweater I actually knitted 2 years ago was formally published 2 months ago, and finally my brain has sorted itself out long enough to tell you about it. (And get some photos. I can’t bear myself to announce anything knitted without getting photos of it).

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A couple of years ago my friend Tanis asked me if I would contribute a sweater to her book Knitting Architecture, and it was so delightful a concept that I couldn’t possibly turn that down. It’s a book of women’s sweater and accessory patterns all based on key examples of architectural & design style. Mine was ‘art nouveau’, and the result was this cardigan, named for Alphonse Mucha, a famous artist and all around art nouveau dude.

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It’s a modified-drop-shoulder, kimono-style cardigan meant to be quite loose, drapey, and comfortable, and uses a combination of dynamic cables and textural stitches to evoke the same kind of organic lines that art nouveau was famous for. My original sample was a bit smaller than what I would normally wear for myself, and since my ‘auntie’ Patricia not only is the right size for it but also is a lover of all things art nouveau and deco, I knew the sweater definitely had to go to live with her. After I got it back this fall I went over to her place to grab a few photographs of her in it and the handoff was made.

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The cardigan is knitted in 4 pieces from the bottom up, and then seamed. It’s in worsted weight using Berroco Ultra Alpaca, one of my favourite yarns and a lovely blend of wool and alpaca. Perfect choice for this kind of project. It was a delightful book to be a part of and a great collection of designs to boot. And I’m glad to finally share it with you!

Happy knitting this weekend!

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That time it took me 2 months to get FO photos

So, one of the things I’ve been learning as a relatively new 9-to-5 Toronto commuter (other than a new appreciation for knitting time as an in-transit coping mechanism for, well, commuting), is that it’s a lot darned harder to get Finished Object photos of something when daytime (read: daylight) hours get sucked up by that pesky ‘work’ thing, and call me crazy but I like having daylight in my knitting photos.

Thankfully, I have a fellow knitter as a co-worker, so we finally squeezed in a moment on coffee break last week to get me some photos of the Locke St. cardigan I finished back in the middle of September. Sweater photos! With me in them and everything!

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I’ve been wearing this sweater at least once a week since the fall chill arrived and couldn’t be more pleased with it. I did it in Tanis Fiber Arts DK in ‘sprout’, one of the newer colour-ways from Spring 2013. I’m loving the cables and the shawl collar and would actually not rule out doing another one of these for myself in another colour, some time in the future. (So many knits, so little time).

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I published this pattern almost 2 years ago, and took the time to update the pattern while I was knitting my own sample of it. The pattern notes now include an additional size on the smaller range, and now includes bust sizes 33(35, 38, 41, 44, 48, 51, 55) ins bust, when worn closed. I’ve also updated the schematic to include a bit more detail, and modified the shoulders to be a bit narrower, based on knitter feedback. Overall, though, it’s still the same cabley-goodness cardigan it’s always been, and works pretty well for my 9-to-5 wardrobe, I must say!

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You can find the Locke St. cardigan Ravelry store as usual, and also on Patternfish.

In conclusion, finished handknits are fabulous, as are photographs of them. What finished knits are you itching to get photographs of for your Ravelry project pages?

Happy knitting this Wednesday!

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