Archive for the ‘FOs’ Category
I’m still here, just not knitting much. Summer successfully zapped my desire to knit! I will return when I have knitting to share. Until then, just a quick post about a long term purse project that finally came off the needles last week.
Yarn: Zwerger Garn Opal Uni Solid 4 ply in 1418 (the teal color) and 1261 (Deep Chocolate)
Needles: US 2 (2.75 mm)
This pattern has interested me ever since I saw the version Kelp! made a few years ago. However, I am not usually game for baby knitting with sock yarn. Then, last January, I decided to find other purposes for my sock yarn stash, as it was clear that I no longer knit socks. I cast on, hoping to use up 800 g of Opal stewing in my stash. Sadly, I have about 400 g left (nearly equally distributed between brown and green) so it looks like there will be some striped socks in my future.
The knitting was unexceptional, which was precisely what I wanted for a project I toted about to meetings. The results, I would have to say, are fabulous. I love this little one. I might need to make a larger version with worsted weight yarn for Beatrix!
Maritza once told me knitting with Opal was like knitting with twine, but after a few washes, it softens up enough to make the knitting experience almost worth it. Besides, everyone knows Opal and Regia will outlive all of us – that is hard-wearing yarn! Hard-wearing enough for some baby, I hope.
I have been waiting months to post about these two projects! Back in December, I submitted two project proposals to Shannon Okey, the editor of Yarn Forward Magazine. They were accepted, but I needed to turn around both projects in 6 weeks! Indeed, this winter’s frantic knitting frenzy partly explains the major burnout I feel now. Or more likely, finishing the Katharine Hepburn Cardigan crushed my will to knit.
Yarn: Dale of Norway Heilo
Needles: US 4 (3.5 mm)
I intended this to be a functional, unisex baby cardigan. All of the pieces are worked flat and seamed together, although it would not be hard to knit this seamlessly in the round. I used some Dalegarn Heilo I bought last fall while visiting my parents on Cape Cod. Heilo offers wonderful stitch definition for cables!
Unfortunately, Beatrix was not at home when Green Day came off the blocking table and since it went straight into the mail, I do not have modeled photos of this!
The second pattern, Scoopneck, is due out next week in the next issue of Yarn Forward. I designed this specifically with wearability in mind. The yarn is one of my favorites (Harrisville Designs New England Shetland); it is light and airy but offers a tremendous amount of warmth with really wonderful drape. Besides, it comes in 56 amazing and tweedy colors. What’s not to love?
Yarn: Harrisville Designs New England Shetland, in “Topaz”
Needles: US 4 (3.5 mm)
The lace pattern is simple and easy to memorize but does not interfere too much with the body and arm shaping.
Scoopneck is knit in the round to the armholes, when the sleeve caps are worked back and forth; the shoulders are joined by a three-needle bind-off to minimize seaming.
This project was actually the first one in which I used Aaron’s set-in sleeve calculator. Not a bad fit, eh? Math is brilliant when someone else does it!
Although a British publication, Yarn Forward Magazine can be found at Barnes & Noble and some LYSs in the US; copies can also be purchased online here. When the pattern rights revert to me later this fall, I will offer the pattern for sale here.
This cardigan has plagued my knitting basket for such a long time (since October 2007) that I know not what to say about its completion. Good riddance, perhaps!
I cast on while studying microbiology, and it immediately became clear that this pattern would never be a good study companion. The 12-row pattern repeat is simple – dull, even; however, it is just complicated enough to command attention. Since I almost exclusively knit while doing other things, the Katharine Hepburn Cardigan languished 18 months before I finally finished it.
In fact, I would say that I only finished it out of spite. The color is beautiful, but it really is not for me. I am not even so sure the style is right. This might have to stew in the cedar chest until I forget my complaints with it.
Pattern: Katharine Hepburn Cardigan by Kathy Zimmerman from Lace Style
Yarn: Brown Sheep Nature Spun Sport in “Chuckberry”
Needles: US 3 and US 5
The only modifications I made were to lengthen the body a little, knit the sleeves to full length, and reshape the sleeve cap a little bit.
Although the knitting proved miserable, the pattern itself was very clear, well written, and accurate. The faults are entirely my own, not the designer’s. I should have known better than to jump into this one. Lesson learned the hard way.
Although raglan and yoke constructions (and even Elizabeth Zimmermann’s set-in model) are seamless, I regrettfully find them ill-fitting on my body. Like it or not, traditional set-in sleeves just fit me better. However, calculating the armhole and sleeve cap shape is time consuming and rather unwieldy for patterns with multiple sizes. This winter, I designed several garments for publication with set-in sleeves. I created an Excel spreadsheet to calculate the armscye measurement, the perimeter of the armhole. Still, the spreadsheet required tinkering here and there and was not a very good solution. When I explained my frustration to Aaron, he decided there had to be a better way. Using Jenna Wilson’s (girl from auntie) impeccably thorough armscye tutorial in Knitty as a guide, he wrote a web application that would take in the necessary information regarding gauge and armhole shaping to produce meaningful information about sleeve cap shaping.
The application can be found for free here.
It may seem complicated at first, but I think his Help! pop-ups explain the inputs pretty well. Here are some sample inputs, taken from the lace pullover shown above.
By leaving the final output as the number of decreases and the number of rows remaining before the cap bind-off(s), the calculator provides the designer with enough freedom to play around with the curve of the sleeve by varying the rate of decreases.
I relied heavily upon Aaron’s calculator for this simple lace pullover. Although the body largely came to life during a fit of insomnia, the sleeves dragged on interminably in part because I ran out of yarn and needed to alternate between multiple skeins to hide the variation between dyelots. The yarn is yet more stash leftover from my Ivy League Vest, which called for far more yarn than was actually needed.
Yarn: Harrisville Designs New England Shetland
Needles: US 8 (5.0 mm)
Since this was another stashbusting project, I’d say it was almost free! One thing is for sure: because I used a light sport weight (fingering, really) yarn on US 8 needles, the project required minimal yardage – only 570 yds for a finished bust of 36″ with 3/4-length sleeves!
This is the fifth garment I’ve knit using the calculator and every single sleeve cap has fit into its corresponding armhole flawlessly. Here are a few examples of the other garments:
I hope others will find the calculator equally useful.
Perhaps it’s time to give set-in sleeves another go?
Back in the Great Mitten Swap of ’08 in Boston, Julia Vesper made Maritza the most divine pair of handspun, hand-dyed, hand knit (and lined) chevron mittens. No one could leave them alone! We were all so very jealous of that lucky Maritza! You can imagine how excited I was to test knit her beautiful Chevron Love Mitten pattern last month! When she told me to pick any eight colors of the Brown Sheep Nature Spun Sport line, I floundered. I think it’s safe to say that I have a problem with this yarn. Did I not recently write about this large Nature Spun remnant stash consisting only of reds/oranges and blues? What colors do you think I picked for my mittens?
As if I could resist…
Needles: US 2.5 (3.0 mm)
Aren’t the chevrons just lovely? The mittens and the free matching hat pattern also warm my stashbusting heart. This is a fantastic way to use up scraps. I would recommend Julia’s clear, straightforward patterns to anyone. Also, the color pairings she put together in her kits are truly inspired.
Although I have yet to block my mittens, I am thrilled with how they turned out. I should say, I had intended to soak these in a large wool wash this weekend to pack away my winter woolens, but then it snowed. Lesson learned. Never pack away wool before summer.