And I could design knitting patterns, I would want to knit something like this:
Oh, wait! I can design knitting patterns. So I guess that it has nothing to do with being clever. Tee hee! I spotted this at Ann Taylor last week. Does anyone know what this type of wide cowl neckline is called? Does anyone have a clue of how I'd go about knitting this? I guess that the key would be to use a very drapey yarn. Probably a very thin yarn, too.
Hmm, it's something to think about.
Before I go any further, thank you to everyone who stopped by and left kind words about my Madeleine. I'm very pleased with the result, and I'm gratified that many others feel the same way.
There's no way that I can keep up the excitement of yesterday in today's post. Do you remember when I mentioned that I'd be knitting Amy Steven's On the Moon bag with some leftover yarn, instead of the Soy Silk that the pattern specifies?
Yeah, well, there's been a change of plans.
I buzzed by Circles last week, and saw this ball in the cubby. Apparently, South West Trading Company has added a few more colorways to its Phoenix Soy Silk line. I saw this one and immediately knew that the Harvest Green colorway would be much better than the light green Ibiza that I have.
If you're keeping track, this marks the second project with green ribbon yarn (with a third on the way). Some are having the Summer of Lace. I'm having the Summer of Ribbon Yarn. If I were more clever (and not so darn busy that I don't have the patience to figure it out) I'd make a button.
There's been something that I've been meaning to show you:
Yeah, I love it. I haven't been this excited about a knit in a while. It's my new favorite summer knit. The shape: fantastic! The cables: beautiful! The yarn: delish! The fit: divine!
Yarn: Rowan Wool Cotton in Violet, colorway 933 (7 skeins for the largest size, but I tweaked the waist shaping and the collar, so you would use more yarn if you knit the pattern as written.)
What I changed: I added more waist shaping. With help from 1,000 Sweaters, I changed the turtleneck collar to the Nehru-esque version which you see in the photographs.
Would I knit this again: You betcha.
Should you knit this: See above answer.
I originally thought that I'd be asking all of you for your opinions on whether or not my Madeleine needed blocking. When I tried it on in its unblocked state, it looked fantastic, but the ribbing made the fit a little bit snug. I would show you a photo, but it's not worth it. I won't feel completely comfortable wearing Madeleine until it's blocked. I don't have a particularly large waist, but the reverse ease of the ribbing made me look like I was squeezing into this top (heck, I think anyone with a waist measurement larger than 20 inches would look like she was squeezing into this top). It made me look like some women I see who are not large, but who make themselves look so by wearing clothes that are too small for them.
Because of that, and because I knew that the swatch's ribbing relaxed a bit once it was blocked and pinned, I decided to block the piece to the pattern's measurements.
I'm so excited, I could burst. Dry, baby, dry!
Last week, or thereabouts, Julia posted some yarn on her blog. She's destashing.
This caught my eye:
Ten balls of Tahki Capri, in a bee-u-tee-ful bright green colorway. It had to be mine. I emailed Julia and in a few days, the yard arrived in Boston.
What is it about me and ribbon yarns--especially cotton ribbons? I don't claim to like them especially, but they feel so soft, and they always look so unusual that I can't resist.
I have enough for a tank. Ideas are swirling around in the ol' noggin, but nothing is sticking. Right now I'm thinking a simple v-neck tank, maybe with some kind of slip-stitch all-over pattern. Anyone got any ideas? I'll keep you posted on mine.
I got so excited by that little bit of ribbing on the back of the collar, that I plowed full-speed ahead with knitting a band around the entire neck. Ta-dah!
If you're keeping track, you'll know that only the side seams remain incomplete. I don't have time to blog. Someone give me a tapestry needle, I have to seam!
Believe it or not, I've been chatted up a few times while knitting in public. But that's a story for another time. Right now, let's focus on Madeleine's collar.
What? Do you think that I haven't been knitting while I'm pondering what's next? No way! I got so excited about my ribbed collar idea that I picked up some stitches on the back neck and began to knit.
I like it, I really, really like it!
Well, barring a knitting disaster, we can anticipate an FO very soon in Subway Knitter-land.
So, what's next?
I'm declaring next week a sort of "breather week". Due to some travel plans, I'll have knitting time, but I won't have much knitting space in my bag. What's a knitter to do? Something small, that's what.
"Ah," you say. "Socks!"
No, there will not be socks. At least, I don't think that there will be socks. As some of you know I'm not the world's biggest fan of sock knitting right now.
What else is small, that isn't a sock?
Oh, heck, let's cut the guessing. There are lots of small things, but I thought a cute thing for summer might be to knit this:
It's Over the Moon by Amy Stevens. I have had my eye on this pattern off and on since last summer. Full disclosure, I won't be using it as a tampon case, but probably as a small, out-on-the-town, city purse. I'll probably make it just as long, but not as wide.
Yarn? Here's the beauty part: leftovers! I have a couple balls of the Adriafil Ibiza that I used to knit Spring Fling.
I'm very happy that I sat down to figure out exactly how to knit this collar.
With my calculations in hand, I could confidently forge ahead with the collar shaping.
Because I was constantly decreasing, and I knew what I was doing, it really did not take long to finish.
Now, a IKD (important knitting decision) looms. This collar needs an edging. I can't leave it as is--it needs a little something. I'm thinking that I should pick up stitches and knit a little ribbing around it. What do you think?
This is actually happening! This could be an FO very, very soon! I haven't been this excited for a knit in a long time, so keep your fingers crossed for me.
We need to talk.
Let's take a few moments to plan exactly what will happen with regards to Madeleine's modified collar. Where do I place the split? How long should it be? How do I shape the neck opening? How many rows do I have for the neck shaping?
Lots of questions, but fortunately the answers are rather easy. Essentially, I can place the collar split anywhere I please. I don't want it to be too low. One "revealing" aspect per garment is sufficient. A curve-hugging shape, combined with a low neckline equals one thing: trashy.
Using the necklines in 1000 Sweaters as my guide, I discovered that the collar split began about 2.25 inches above the armhole bind offs. Perfect! Then, upon reading further, I discover that the collar split is about 3.25 inches long. I need to acheive the collar length plus the neck shaping in the same amount of space as the armhole height. So, that's 7.5 inches. I've already used 5.5 inches of it (2.25 inches above the armhole, plus the 3.25 inches for the collar length). That leaves me with two inches for the neck shaping.
The neck shaping in 1000 Sweaters begins with a series of bound-off stitches, and then continues with decreases every other row. Okay, I can do that. In two inches of knitting, I must get rid of half of the 42 neckline stitches (21) to give me 25 shoulder stitches.
At 7.5 rows per inch, two inches equal 15 rows of knitting. Let me make this easy for myself. I'll bind off 13 of the 21 stitches in the first row, leaving me with eight. Then in the next two rows I'll decrease by one, leaving me with six stitches to be decreased over 12 rows.
Three more rows for shortrow shoulder shaping, and I am done.
Whew! I'm glad we talked about this :-).
Say that five times fast :-).
I know that a good armhole length for me is about 7 to 7 1/2 inches. It should have come as no surprise that the straps of my green ribbon tank were slipping off of my shoulders. The armhole measured a whopping NINE inches. What was I thinking?
So, a grabbed some DPNs, slipped them through the stitches about two inches beneath the seam. I clipped the seam and unraveled down to the picked-up loops. Then then I turned the knit inside out. I cast off the live stitches using the three-needle bindoff, and I was good to go. More about these fantastic, amazing, and wonderful Brittany needles in another post.
I think that a 7-inch armhole, while being a little on the small side, offers excellent bra coverage.
As some of you might know, I am all about bra coverage with summer knits. I do not like any part of my UNDERgarment peaking out from, well, underneath anything.
Have I told you how much I am enjoying Madeleine? Marta, it's a great pattern!
This is the front:
This piece is so bouncy looking. It's wonderful knitting. Mindless P2,K2 ribbing for 12 rows, then I get a cable repeat.
With this tank, for the first time ever, I have left myself a long enough tail to use for seaming. I find the big ball of yarn hanging off of the end to be an annoyance, but I wonder if it will make seaming any more efficient. I'll let you know...
There's not much else to say. Time to get back to the knitting.
It takes me five hours in an airplane to reach London. This email arrived in a matter of minutes, I'm sure. How do electronic things travel across the Atlantic these days? Have we moved on to satellite transmission, or are things still going via a cable? I'm thinking about my pattern zooming underneath the ocean to reach its destination. Godspeed!
I created my first knitting chart!
The challenge was in finding the cable symbols. In the end, I couldn't discover any knitting fonts with cable symbols that I could decipher. So, using the Excell draw function (thanks Cara for the heads up about that) I created my own:
Hmm, one of those cells is missing a border. Better go and fix it.
I wasted no time in casting on for Madeleine's front.
Let's get going! I want to be able to wear this soon.
When I wasn't working on my schematics and chart this week, I was knitting Madeleine. This was my sanity-break, going-to-toss-the-computer-out-the-window project for this week. I didn't want to put it down. The fact that I found the schematic drawing to be a wee bit frustrating lead to some serious time-management dilemmas.
In the end, I was able to do both, and I have the finished Madeleine back to show for it:
Now, it's on to the front!
That got your attention, didn't ?
I'm not blogging topless (although if I were you would never know--it's not like there's a live-action shot of me sitting at my laptop) but it might be a good idea. The weather has gone from late winter to midsummer in a matter of days. I'm not complaining. I'll take this over last month's deep freeze any day.
As you know, yesterday was International Knit in Public Day (see the link on my sidebar). Where were you people? I saw not a knitter anywhere, except for my knitting companions for the late afternoon. Ladies, I had a wonderful time! We need to do that again, real soon.
I didn't take one picture of Paula, Kathy, and me stitching away, but you can use your imagination. Imagine three women (two of whom were working on socks) chit-chatting, drinking iced tea, and generally having a rip-roarin' time.
Being the non sock knitting of the group, I worked up a few more rows on Madeleine.
I had a great day. It almost made me feel like I was on a vacation with these guys:
I would like to say thank you to everyone who comes by here every day, in spite of the latest Bloglines snafu. My feeds haven't updated in a timely manner in almost a week. I try to post something every day, always in the morning, so you can depend on that whether or not Bloglines is working.
Let's put the computer away for a while and return to knitting Madeleine:
I'm at the armhole shaping. Once again, I removed stitches from the cable repeat to keep things balanced. I might fudge it a bit up here, and add in one repeat on each side if it looks too strange without.
Oh, I just want this off of my knitting plate!
Doing the schematics and the chart for my MagKnits pattern has, quite honestly, been my least favorite part of the process. It's almost done, thank goodness. I'm putting the finishing touches on my MagKnits schematic (in Illustrator) and I still need to work up the chart (in Excel).
Most of the problem is that I encountered a steep (almost vertical) learning curve with Adobe Illustrator. It is only the requirement for the schematic that has pushed me to learn this program (it's something I've been interested in doing for a long time). There are fellow bloggers out there who have been very generous with their time (among other things) and have helped me make this happen. It's nice to feel that if I encounter a serious problem, I have someone I can call. Ultimately, however, I need to master the basics for and by myself.
Things are starting to level out quickly, but at first it was "how do I do...anything?" There's been a huge sense of accomplishment this week as I've slowly but surely solved problems, become more skilled with the program, and felt my frustration level decrease. Who knew knitting would involve so much technology?
I will do a little dance when it's all done. Lesson learned: next time I will make this the first part of the design process, and just get it out of the way.
I am working my way up the back of Madeleine. This Rowan Wool Cotton is lovely stuff. Have I mentioned that before :-).
As you can see, I treated the waist-shaping increases the same as the decreased stitches, they are separate from the cable repeat. This is a little more noticable, probably because I didn't place the increases at the edge (as I did the decreases).
This is perfect sitting-by-the-window, catching-a-break knitting. With the long days and suddenly warmer nights, I simply don't want stop knitting. I could pull an all nighter!
As you are aware, I'm not the only one who knits on the subway.
It looked like she was making socks. Her concentration was so deep that she didn't notice me when I took the picture.
Is this you, or someone you know?
Do you remember how I questioned the spacing of the cable repeats in light of the waist shaping?
As luck would have it, I found myself with an unexpected amount of knitting time--perfect for recovering from the 114/118 disaster, and working out my waist shaping dilemma.
I decided to treat the increased and decreased stitches as distinct from the stitches in the cable repeat. This will create two dart like lines of ribbing underneath my arms, and will (I think) accentuate the shapeliness of this tank.
Alternatively, I could have eliminated the waist shaping altogether, but I didn't want to :-).
A big thank you to Jody for taking the time to chart out the repeat and determine exactly how I could do the waist shaping and keep the cable centered. She did this for me, on her own time, without being asked. Aren't knitbloggers great? (Allowable answers: "yes" and "absolutely".) What Jody didn't know was that I decided to fit the waist shaping to my measurements and added a few more decreases.
If the pattern says "cast on 114 stiches", why then did I cast on 118 stitches?
Long-time blog readers will remember my counting mishap with Venus. What on earth is wrong with me? In third grade I received an "N" (needs improvement) for "Follows Directions". Apparently that "N" should have been a big warning that I was headed toward a lifetime of knitting disasters.
All it means is that once again I need to rip and redo. That makes four times, if you're keeping track. Clearly, I am not worthy of the title of "knitter". Frogger, yes. Knitter, no.
The waist shaping dilemma remains. In the end I decided to customize it, and I have the feeling that I need to remove eight stitches from each side to keep the ribbing count on target.
Let me leave you with something cheerful:
I have recovered from my Madeleine missteps:
This is fun summertime knitting! I get a six-stitch cable repeat every 13 rows, and in between it's P2K2 ribbing. Just enough to keep me on my toes, but not enough complexity to remove it from subway-knitting worthiness.
And the yarn! Oh, the softness! Oh the way that it slides on my needles! It is a pleasure to work. Run, do not walk, to your LYS and get yourself some Rowan Wool Cotton.
I tried to recreate the model's pose in the Rowan magazine.
[Photoshop experts: how could I have done this so that the image sizes and scales were identical? My picture looked too squished when I tried to match the Rowan model's size--it could of course be a reflection of my actual size :-) but I'm sure that there's a trick I don't yet know.]
Somehow I couldn't quite act as disgruntled as that model seems to be. It's hard to be down when you're wearing a new handknit for the first time. I'm happy with the way that the twisted stockinette looks, and I'm happy with the way my slanted bottom looks. It's more subtle and less like a big flap than the Rowan original shows.
Still, I'm a little blah about this one. I've got to do something with that button, or perhaps buy a light camisole. Can you say "low cut"? I knew that it would be low, somehow I didn't think that it would be this low.
Alternatively I could reblock it to a slightly wider size. This would allow me to pull in the neckline further. I think this is a question for Knitsmiths tomorrow. Someone there will know what to do.
Will this post push me to a Bloglines update? One feed has yet to update for today's post.
We have a problem.
After I determined that I could get the correct gauge, and that I liked the way that the yarn looked when knit at that gauge, I cast on for Madeleine. I altered Marta's instructions for the waist shaping, and as I knit along, I finally reached the thirteenth row, where the cabling pattern was set.
Hmm, I thought. This doesn't seem right. The last cable doesn't end at the same point where the first began.
Sure enough, the ribbing pattern wasn't centered across the back. I blamed it on my revised waist shaping, ripped it back, and began to work the pattern as written (I know, I know). Once, again I reached the magic row, and began to cable.
Once again, the ribbing pattern wasn't centered across the back. What's a knitter to do? This knitter carefully put her needles down on the knitting chair and went to bed. Perhaps sleep would office a solution.
It did not. But a clear head drew my attention to the pattern. I remembered that when I read the pattern that numbers didn't make any sense to me.
The ribbing pattern is knit in multiples of 16, plus 2 stitches. That means one pattern repeat would have 18 stitches, two 34, etc. Let me check the cast on stitches against that criterion.
Small: 98 stitches. Check!
Medium and large: both 114 stitches. Check!
But wait! Once I started to decrease, I didn't have enough stitches for the pattern to work. In order to keep the correct number of stitches for the cabled ribbing pattern, I would need to decrease eight stitches on each side within 13 rows.
There are two solutions that came to mind. At first, I though that I could simply leave out eight stitches on each side of the cabled-ribbing count. That would work. Then I realized that an all-over rib probably doesn't need any waist shaping. If the swatch was any indication, this tank will have a lot of stretch.
I dashed off an email to Marta, to see how she achieved the shaping and kept the stitch pattern correct without keeping the necessary number of stitches.
In other news, stay tuned for a Venus modeling shot tomorrow!
Okay, I don't mean to keep flogging Windsor Button on my blog, but every time I stop by the store its yarn selection expands and improves. Why do I find this so amazing? Well, if you knew the Windsor Button of a few years ago, you would know that the yarn selection used to be rather limited.
During yesterday's visit I noticed even more Rowan, loads of Malabrigo, a large selection of Cascade, and long rack of Steadfast Fibers. All are new since the last time that I visted (about a month ago) and all are within walking distance of my office. I can honestly say that I am almost never very far from nice yarn. It's a good feeling :-).
In spite of all these new designer yarns, Windsor Button continues to stock the workhorse stuff, like Lion Brand and Red Heart. The store caters to all kinds of knitters, and I like that.
Alas, I didn't go to buy yarn. I went to buy buttons for Venus. Here's what I bought:
(Not too shabby for a first go, eh, Kathy?)
The solid green is for the inside button-loop closure; the pretty marbly one is for the outside. It took me a long time to find just the right button, and in fact I didn't find this one. The woman behind the button counter spotted it and brought it to my attention.
Wanna see a close-up?
Okay, I'll be honest with you. I'm no fan of jury duty. Sitting around a large, uncomfortable room with a bunch of strangers--few of whom want to be there themselves--is not my idea of a good time. In Massachusetts, we always receive our jury-duty summons with a large banner across the envelope: "Jury Service: Your Civic Obligation". Obligation is the right word. Look, Massachusetts, if you weren't threatening me with fines and possible jail time for not showing up, I wouldn't be there.
As a knitter, there is a small consolation to this enforced service: knitting time, and lots of it.
Look at my Madeleine swatch:
Oh, this Wool Cotton loveliness! I love this yarn. Love. It. It feels so soft and good, and boy, how it slides on those bamboo needles. The Summer Tweed is a little sticky, but this Wool Cotton is a joy. Better still: I got gauge. Did you hear me? Stitch gauge, and row gauge--both are dead on, bay-bee!
But even I, someone who knits almost anywhere, can only knit for so long before I need a break. I arrived at 8:00, and sat knitting for 90 minutes before anything happened. We watched a video, and heard from some judge. About 11:30 am, I finished my swatch, and I needed to put the needles down. So, I read my book for a while.
Then I went to lunch and had a walk.
Then I returned to the jury-pool room. I read some magazines, and chatted with some women at my table.
Then, three panels were called to a courtroom. Mine remained behind.
Thirty minutes later the remaining panels were told to go home--the parties had settled.
There has to be a better way to do this.