Thursday, May 31, 2007

but how do you wear it??

Remember that lace leaf shawl that I took as my travel knitting? The one that was started in Italy, nearly confiscated at numerous airports, and torn in the rush to escape a Kathmandu strike? I was pretty well sick of it by the time the trip ended, and I fully expected to never finish it. I do have a history of abandoning my lace). But I knit my little heart out last week and triumped!

(Just because it's small doesn't mean it wasn't a triumph)

Pattern: Leaf Lace Shawl, by Evelyn Clark
Yarn: Knitpicks Shadow in "sunset heather", 1 hank. (note: this makes for a $2.50 project)
Needles: Size 3 Inox Express circular

My main problem now is figuring out what to do with the darn thing! My sister and I had a campy photoshoot over the holiday weekend and came up with a few options. What do you think actually works?

As a headscarf: Tied snugly and worn with sunglasses, for driving in a convertible? As a babushka?

Tied around the neck: Folded a bit, doubled 'round the neck, and loosely tied. With the point in back or front?

At an angle: Around the hips, like some strange knitting gypsy? Or around the neck, sort of askew?
On a dog: very fetching indeed!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Forecast, finally

I was going to start off with a sarcastic comment about finishing this sweater in time for summer. But with cool days last week and chilly evenings this week, I've actually been able to wear it. Take that, global warming!!

Pattern: Forecast, by Stefanie Japel
Yarn: unnamed, heavy worsted wool from a farmer's market. It's wool of the scratchy, stiff variety.
Needles: 8's for garter stitch portions, 6's for the ribbing and neck
Modifications: oh boy. This deserves a fresh paragraph.

I would say that I followed the spirit rather than the letter of the pattern. I did the garter stitch by knitting every row instead of purling, as is specified in the pattern. I swapped in a horseshoe cable for the bobbled cable. At some point I'll probably slice off this odd collar and add something more subtle. My most significant modification was with the button band: rather than doing buttons all the way up, I did short rows in garter stitch so that I had a minimal edging alongside the cables (top) and a wider, buttoned band alongside the ribbing (bottom).

(click photo to get slightly more detail)
I'd started experimenting with an asymmetric band because the strategy of decreasing dramatically under the bust (changing to smaller needles and ribbing) wasn't suited to my straighter proportions. It yielded a well-fitting top but a too-tight waist, and I didn't much feel like reknitting it. I realized that I was going to wear it half-buttoned most of the time anyways. And I liked the clean look of the cabled border.

I also whipped up a little baby sweater last week. It was an incredibly simple and quick knit, and the organic cotton is such a pleasure to have running through your fingers.

Pattern: on the fly top-down swing cardigan.
Yarn: Blue Sky Alpacas organic, color-grown cotton in a light green (1.5 balls) and a sand color (a smidgen for edgings)
Needles: 8, bamboo, 16" circ and dp's

I have a bit of life-changing news to close this post. Fear not, it has nothing to do with doing lots of baby knitting this year. No, the big change is that Mountain Man and I will be moving from my beloved Vermont to the Phoenix area next year. I recognize that this is a good move for us in lots of rationally-calculated ways. I am distressed, though, about how this will impact my knitting!! If you have any advice on how to adjust one's knitting to a hot climate, or can point me towards blogs of any Arizona knitters, I'd love to hear!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

WIP it!

I've been a knitting dilletante this fortnight. WIPs galore. I was in the mood for exuberant progress, not the fiddly finishings on the Forecast sweater. I finished up the knitting on it, then bailed and started a baby blanket. I finished up that knitting but didn't feel like addressing its fiddly extras either, so I bailed and started a baby sweater. In between these projects, I've fit in a few rows on my alpaca scarf. I have so many projects going on that I had to pack all of this just for a weeks' trip:

I carried it all along because I'm planning to have a massive finishing session after I complete the sleeves on the baby sweater. So there's FO's on the horizon, and you can expect a more exciting entry in the near future.

In the meantime, it's been a while since the kitty cat has made an appearance here. Here she is, trying to hide under the hosta in my parents' garden:

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


Rivendell is up!

Edited to add:I want to share a few reflections about the initial feedback that I've gotten on this pattern.

First - reflections on the pattern itself. I realize that not everyone is crazy about staghorn cables, but I want to stress that a wide cable is key to the structural integrity of this hat. The slight flare of the brim is only obtained because of the way that the cable pulls in the fabric (you'd have to play around with post-brim decreases if you want to get rid of the cable). The brim also depends on a good, stiff fabric, so you might want to take that into consideration before going for a a soft, lux yarn.

Second - reflections on the experience of publishing a knitting pattern. It's been largely a gratifying process, but once has been enough. I'd failed to appreciate how publishing in an online magazine opens you up to a different quality of criticism than publishing on a personal blog. As harsh and non-constructive as criticism can be in my professional life, at least academic reviewers don't laugh to the world about how bad you look!! : ( Anyways, I thought this side of the experience was worth mentioning for those of you who, like me, have been curious about testing the waters of publishing patterns.