Category Archives: sweaters

Now or Never

So, I’ve been poring over my Elizabeth Zimmerman books for what seems like ages. (For real – there was a while where they were bedtime or bathtime reading. It’s sort of like knitting without actually doing any knitting.) About a month and a half ago I finally caved and started a Pi Shawl, because I had all manner of laceweight yarn kicking around to start something with, and I couldn’t stand waiting it out any more. It’s coming along, albeit slower now that I’m at the longest rounds that are over 500 sts.

The other project I’ve been coveting is the Fair Isle yoked sweater, with instructions in the Knitting Around book. I’ve also had the yarn kicking around, and knew straight out that I want mine to be a cardigan (steeking involved, but of course! mmm, delicious steeks), but have been stalling out due to other ongoing projects. So I told myself I would start it in November, and give myself a month. Tons of kntitters choose November as “National Sweater Knitting Month” or NaSweKniMo, a la “National Novel Writing Month” or NaNoWriMo. Sometimes it’s the deadline that gets things done.

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Well, I didn’t start it right on November 1st, but November 3rd was good enough, and I’m a few inches into the body. It’s a lot of stockinette right at first, which is a bit hard to keep interesting, but on the other hand it’s good because this gives me a bit of stalling time to figure out exactly which colours I’ll use on the yoked part. I’ve got lots of options, just haven’t settled on the specific order yet.

I love knitting. You’re never short of fun decisions, I tell ya.

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A few others on Twitter are following along with their own Elizabeth Zimmerman project for the month of November – come join in if you like! We’re using the hashtag #EZnovember and are entirely at our own whims otherwise.

Happy knitting this weekend!

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Filed under elizabeth zimmerman, sweaters

Making the deadline

On Friday, during the van ride down to Rhinebeck, I knitted the 2nd sleeve.

On Friday night, I sewed the sleeves to the body over margaritas.

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And on Saturday, I wore the finished sweater to Rhinebeck. (Royale, available on Ravelry and on Patternfish.)

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It was awesome.

I also bought some yarn. More about that tomorrow. There’s some more knitting and drinking to be done first. Hurray for knitting weekends!

28 Comments

Filed under design, finished object: sweater, sweaters

On sucking less

The knitting internets have been gathering momentum the past few weeks. There have been countdowns tossed around on Twitter, SQUEE IN ALL CAPS, excitement over packing and things to knit. Rhinebeck approacheth. I am lucky enough to be attending for the 4th year in a row, and it is always a good time with knitterly interaction, much yarn to be fondled…and the wearing of new knitted sweaters.

I’ve had my own sweater identified for quite a while. Ever since I designed Royale back in the spring, I knew I needed to have one of my own. It was a sad, sad day my friends, when I had to give up the sample to Tanis (though less sad for her, admittedly). I cast on for my own back at the end of July during my California trip, during which time there was much airplane knitting and car knitting, and good opportunities to get it started. It’s been a sporadic knit, largely because I keep putting it down to work on other things in between.

And also because I keep royally screwing it up. And for no good reason whatsoever, becauseĀ I’ve made mistakes on this sweater that are nothing to do with the pattern. The fact that I designed this myself clearly has given me no turf advantage whatsoever. It’s like the yarn and needles got together and said “hah hah, we’ll show her who’s boss.”

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For real, folks, I knitted the original sample in 3 weeks. It was awesome. It could not have gone BETTER. But clearly, now that I am working on my own – even starting it during the leisurely dog days of summer – the universe has come along not once but three times to kick me in the shins.

The first time this happened was that I realized, while sitting in Liz’s living room the morning after I had spent 5 hours from Toronto to San Francisco knitting in front of the airplane seat television, that I had in fact cast on for the wrong size. Rookie mistake, which could not be gotten around. I ripped back, and started over.

The second time this happened was back in August, when my subconscious brain somehow allowed me to stop paying attention to the central pattern chart, and I repeated a whole separate chunk of it in a completely unnecessary fashion. Many of you looked at my blog post back then and said “Um, Glenna, I can’t tell. I don’t know what you’re talking about.” And it could well be the case that I would wear the sweater out and about and nobody would ever know. But I would know. I envisioned myself wearing the sweater around other knitters and having to either walk with my arms folded over me the whole time, or repeatedly say things like “do you like my sweater? I made it myself! except, don’t pay attention to the huge mistake right above the middle of my ribcage, lalalala. Wow that’s nice yarn over there, let’s talk about that instead.”

So I ripped back another four inches and re-knitted it.

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The third time happened a few weeks ago, and I had to spend several moments with the sweater laid out on the couch next to me just staring at it and deciding what was going to happen next. I had neglected that step with using hand-dyed yarn where, in order to avoid severe-looking colour changes when using skeins that look ever so slightly different from each other, you alternate between two skeins for a while until they start to blend. I know how to do this. Heck, I’ve DONE this, many times. I’m pretty sure I’ve even written it down in pattern instructions a few times before. I AM SMARTER THAN THIS. AHAHHAHAH.

I reasoned with myself that maybe it wouldn’t be that obvious in different lights, that maybe people wouldn’t notice…And then my brain finally said “listen. All those other times when you did something sucky, you ripped it out and made the suckiness go away. You’re going to let all of that go to waste by letting the third sucky thing stick around?”
No, no I did not. I ripped it back again.

And now I have most of the body and most of one sleeve, and a week to go before I leave for Rhinebeck, so I’m sincerely hoping that the third time was the charm and that my yarn and needles haven’t got a fourth and fifth mistake session in the works for me. Please, dear sweater, we’ll both be so much happier when I’m wearing you around the knitterly fairgrounds. Deal?

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Filed under fearless knitting, rhinebeck, sweaters

Happy birthday to me

I’m back from the great California adventure, have unpacked and am trying to remember what it was that I was doing before I left – which I am sure was very very important – and now it’s my birthday. Today I’m going to celebrate by going for a run, finishing making some chocolate cupcakes of death, and going in to knit at the Purple Purl for a bit. After that, who knows. If things get really crazy, maybe I’ll get out my spinning wheel this weekend. (STEP back.)

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As for my knitting, I’m working away on a Royale pullover of my own, since the lovely sample I made up back in the spring is now in the hands of Tanis Fiber Arts! And I must have one of my own. This is Tanis’ aran weight, in ‘teal’, which was one of her new colours this May. It is delicious.

Now I have some birthday-ing to do. Happy Friday!

52 Comments

Filed under cables, design, sweaters

Next up

Here we are, folks, a straight-up no-fooling-around Work In Progress post.

I’ve been having a bit of the knitting ennui this week, which I think comes from having 2 projects around the 75% done mark and needing something new to hold the interest. And I’ve been poring over my copy of A Fine Fleece and wanting to knit all of it (stay tuned for further plans here), and finally decided to heck with THIS I am casting something ON ALREADY.

So I did. ‘Portland’ is now in its beginning stages. It’s one of the sweaters that caught my eye first, and I had thought somehow that I would have knitted it already – several times last summer I was convinced that it would be next on deck.

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But there is something about winter that flicks a cabled switch in one’s brain, and this feels good to have a project going that really involves sinking your teeth into it. I’m working this on some wooly-wool, the lanolin-sheepy-feeling sort of wool, worsted wool from Lismore Sheep Farm that I picked up in Nova Scotia a year and a half ago at Have A Yarn.

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I am enjoying the heathery purple and how it is knitting up. So far the texture is great and even on the smallest size in the book, it’s going to leave me with a warm few inches of positive ease for a bit of roominess. I’ve decided I’m OK if this sweater turns out to be a little roomy. I’ll save the fitted for next time.

The only bummer about knitting this during my morning commute is that now the project back is sitting a few feet away from me, taunting me. I will try to remain strong until quitting time.

Happy Friday, dear knitters! May your knitting be awesome.

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Filed under a fine fleece, cables, sweaters

Dear Blog

Today, I cut up my knitting.

I laid in a crochet reinforcement

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And then I cut that steek, that single, beautiful steek.

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And then my sweater had a neckline.

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And lo, it was good.

So, dear blog, all that’s left to do now is the ribbing on the neckline and a teensy bit of finishing, and then the blocking. And blog, even though I know it’ll probably be OK and the gauge swatch I made said it would be OK, and I even went ahead and l taunted Elspeth like that…

I really really really hope it fits.

Finger-crossingly yours,
Me.

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Filed under fair isle, fearless knitting, sweaters

Only one way to go from here

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Stay tuned.

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Filed under fair isle, sweaters

The Reckoning

Dear Elspeth,

I know that you’re probably very busy doing things like your “job” or important things in the “real world” or that you might even have “other knitting” to do besides work on Autumn Rose. Still, I am compelled to point out that I am knitting on Autumn Rose and so far, you are not, and here I was given to understand that were both in on this together. Fair Isle solidarity and all that jazz.

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Now, I feel that I’ve been pretty patient up until now. After zipping through most of the body I gave myself a bit of a break, allowed myself to be distracted by Cat Bordhi, even went off to a conference and did some “real world” stuff of my own.

But I’m back at the Autumn Rose knitting now, and have now reached the point where the sleeves join the body for work in the round, which puts me in the enviable position of knitting rounds which are only ever going to get shorter from here on out. And at great risk to my own knitting karma, I feel the need to point out that I am currently LEAVING YOU IN THE DUST. My wooly, stranded colourwork dust.

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At this point my only recourse is to keep knitting, knowing that at this rate I may well finish before you even start, and either a) take up heavy drinking in order to assuage my guilt, or b) dance around the house clutching my knitting calling “neener neener neener” in my best sing-songy voice. And both of those options are pretty much giving free reign to the knitting goddess to come strike me down with a sweater that doesn’t fit, or cause me to run out of a crucial colour an inch before the end, or plague me with horrible Knitter’s Elbow, or some other such retaliation.

C’mon, Elspeth. Lonely fair-isle knitting is soooo lonely. You know you wanna.

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Filed under fair isle, fearless knitting, sweaters

Just one more row

I can stop any time I want.

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Maybe.

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Filed under fair isle, fearless knitting, sweaters

Change of pace

The last few days have been pretty slow around these parts, involving a fair amount of knitting, sitting, DVDs (X-Files renaissance ahoy), and the occasional excursion into the outside world for provisions or moderate socialization. Now that the term is ending I can actually have a proper few days of leisurely sloth, before returning to attempts to Think Thoughts or Write Things.

Knowing I’d have a few hours-long chunks of time for knitting, I brought Autumn Rose with me this week to the cat-sitting, in order to give it a solid start. I’d hoped by now to be past the first full repeat of the main motif, but still I think it’s taking shape quite well.

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This is a slight variation on the last swatch I did – I wanted the garnet heather (dark red) more prominent and I think this is going to work quite well. The combination has a very rich look overall and I’m pleased with the balance of bright and muted tones. Now…to just keep on knitting. These are long rows and lots of colours, and I’ll be adding 2-3 inches of length to the body before I’m done, so I’m expecting this to keep me busy for the next little while.

On the cat-sitting front, things are going rather well at cat pace. Boy do these cats have me marked. As soon as food hour approaches Greedo wraps himself around my ankles and moans at me, hoping for that ever elusive morsel of wet food (I have strong willpower though, and the opposable thumbs necessary to open cans, so hah). And as soon as I look like I might be sitting down and creating a lap, Somerset hovers in wait. (She has overwhelming powers of extreme cuteness, though, so there my willpower fails.)

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I have also learned that Greedo is not deterred by competition from laptops.

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Tomorrow their regular humans will be back, though, so I’ll have to go back to non-cat-hair-covered knitting. How will I manage?

Happy Wednesday, folks!

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Filed under cats, fair isle, sweaters