Yeah, baby! The back of Matt's vest is officially off of my needles:
It looks misshapen in its unblocked state, but I don't care: it's done!
Just a quick post, it's time to cast on for the front. Talk about power knitting....
Yes, I have reached the armholes of the back of Matt's vest. The magical point in any project where you loose lots of stitches. In this case, it's 30. Things start going a lot faster when the armholes begin.
Some of you who also read Kathy's blog might remember her wrappy sweater. I liked the attached i-cord edging which she used, and decided to incorporate it into the armhole and v-neck edging of the vest. Matt's mantra is simple, simple, simple, and I know that this edging will suit him perfectly. Like Kathy's sweater, my i-cord edging is more prominent on the purl side than it is on the knit. This is fine for the armholes, but for the V-neck this will look freakishly plain. For the neck, I will use Annie Modesitt's complete version, which includes two purled stitches.
Long before I finished Baccarat, I had the title picked out for the FO post:
Whaddya think? I think good. It's even better than I expected.
You might observe that I extensively modified the pattern, based on some techniques which I honed this summer. Essentially, I combined the Shapely Tank with Baccarat. I used the Shapely pattern for the body, the waist shaping, and the bust darts, and Baccarat for the cowl neckline. I adjusted for a different stitch and row gauge, and added a two-row seed-stitch edging around the waistband and the armholes. I did a single-crochet edging around the back neck to strengthen it. I left the cowl as is.
1. Yarn: Karabella Vintage cotton
2. Gauge: 6 sts/in 7.75 rows/in
3. Needles: US4s
4. Shaping: I added waist shaping and short-row darts to the front, and moved all of the cowl increases to the center front above the armhole bind offs. I think that this resulted in a more fitted tank, and a shape which worked better with the Vintage Cotton.
The cowl isn't as dramatic as Michelle's, and I think that's the only drawback to my version. I still like the slouchy neck, but I wish that the cotton had just a touch more drape.
The package was slumped at my desk when I returned from a meeting:
The return address: Miami, F-L-A
This could only be one thing: my Malabrigo laceweight!
I couldn't wait to tear into the package, dump the contents on the table, and select the colorway that would become my scarf. My colleagues are enthusiastic onlookers to all that comes with my knitting, and joined me for a colorway consultation. Ignoring the smell of vinegar that was wafting up from the skeins, we looked.
Whoops! What happened? These are all wrong. Instead of subtle variations of dark purple, they seem to be subtle variations of black and gray. I returned to the website for a comparison between the website photographs and the actual colorways. While the darker colorways are accurate, the lighter colorways bear little resemblance to the photos on the website.
This is one of the risks of mail-order yarn. Despite the colorway snafu, the yarn feels soft and I can't wait to knit with it. The skeins arrived a little bit damp, so if were I to keep these skeins, I would need to air them out completely.
Willing to try again, I immediately placed a new order for colorways that are brighter blues and purples. I'm hopeful about a few of the emerald-y shades. I dearly wish that Malabrigo would sell its colorcards. That would save so much back and forth with returns and reorders.
I know that I should stop these piecemail posts about Baccarat and cut to the chase: you want to see an FO on my back, like, yesterday.
Well, dear reader, Subway Knitter no can do. Before I can seam, I need to add an an edge to these armholes. I think that two simple rows of seed stitch will keep these armoles from curling. They don't want to curl much, just enough to annoy me.
Stay with me, we're almost there!
Only a couple of days into this project, and the back of this vest is humming along.
I'm about an inch and a half away from the armhole shaping, but rather than show you a picture of a giant rectangle of stockinette, I thought that I would instead focus on the stitches. I'm very happy with the way that the Heirloom Easy Care 8-ply is knitting up on US6s. The stitch size is perfect.
I subscribe to Berroco's weekly internet newsletter. A couple of weeks ago the edition came with something that I find rather fetching:
It's a knitting tote made from Berroco Suede, and I really like it. Berroco's designs often have a "fashion-forward" edge that I like. Sometimes the patterns are just too trendy for this knitter, but the design of this bag, I think, walks the fashion/trendy line just fine. Plus, I have been looking for an excuse to use Suede. The colorway selection continues to expand, but I'm partial to the green shown above.
The pattern is free, which is another bonus. Let's file this under "stylish bags to knit", shall we?
I also occasionally cruise Annie Modesitt's blog (I tend to lurk), and this bag reminds me a lot of the red cabled bag that she has in her sidebar (apparently the pattern was designed by one of Annie's students). I know nothing about the bag (size, yarn gauge, etc.) but I know that I like it.
By the way, Annie, so happy to see that you're offering a RSS feed! I had to subscribe to http://www.modeknit.com/blog/index.html instead of simply entering "http://www.modeknit.com/blog" into Bloglines, but still, it works. Yay!
If I hop on tonight's flight to Heathrow, I'll be in London by about 05:30 BST (or about 00:30 EDT) tomorrow. That might be enough time to complete the Tube Challenge.
Conceived by London blogger Geoff Marshall as a way to bring Londoners back to the Tube after the July bombings, the object of the Tube Challenge is to ride to every stop on every line in the shortest time possible. The record is something like 20 hours. Imagine the knitting time!!
Although I cannot participate, I shall ride my own subway train in solidarity!
Feather and fan:
Yes, I can envision knitting an entire garment in this pattern. Like the lace pattern, it's fun! With the lace testing over, I patiently await the arrival of my Malabrigo to begin Cozy. Further explorations into the feather and fan must wait until after next week's visit to Downtown Yarns.
With the swatching done and the gauge measured, I cast on for Matt's vest.
And a new project is born....
Ain't that right, Lisa :-)?
Here's my gauge swatch for Matt's vest in the Heirloom Easy-Care 8-ply. This isn't the softest wool that I've touched, but then again, nor is it the scratchiest. The way that it's spun (it seems as if each ply is itself plyed) createst a loftier fabric, so it might be cooler than your typical wool. I don't know. Anyway, Matt likes it, so that's all that counts.
The next task will be measuring my gauge, and taking the correct number's from Ann Budd's The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns.
One subway ride, two fiber enthusiasts:
One crocheter on the platform:
One knitter on the train:
The crocheter was just beginning her creation, but the knitter was well into a beautiful two-toned cabled scarf. Do we know these people? Please speak up if it's you.
I would like to say that I'm having an effect on my fellow subway riders, but I can't take credit for the crochetting :-).
Although I loved the results of my first lace attempt, I knew that the US 15s would soon drive me batty if I continued with them.
So, I picked up my pattern alternative, Cozy, from Knitty Fall 04. The pattern is worked in multiples of six, plus one, stitches. I cast on 19 stitches to my US 8s, and away I went.
Away I went.
Away I went.
It took me three tries to get one repeat correct. All mistakes were based on my own carelessness, so I have no one to blame but myself.
Koigu has a much smaller gauge than the yarn specified for the pattern (Reynolds Mandalay) but its gauge is similar to the Malabrigo laceweight. Gauge doesn't matter much right now. I need to determine if I can work the pattern successfully, and if I enjoy the process.
As with the other lace pattern, I enjoy the process completely! I might continue with this swatch until it's a little longer, and use it as a headband. You lace knitters have been holding out on me, haven't you? How come nobody told me that lace was so much fun? Hmmm? You all have some explaining to do :-).
Baccarat is on the blocking board:
I'll find out if my yarn substitution and pattern adjustments resulted in a successful knit. The humidity broke just in time. Stay tuned!
With the Koigu test a resounding success (except for the needle issue and we're working on that), I need to select the yarn that I'll use when I actually knit my lace project. In case you don't remember it's down to the shawl or the scarf. I refuse to use mohair. I just do not like it. Do. Not. Like. I still want something that's a little fuzzy and halo-y. When I broached this subject at Knitsmiths recently, Anna immediately recommended the Malabrigo Laceweight. "Hmm, on-line yarn shopping," I said to myself. "I need to think about this."
Kathy, however, backed up Anna's claims of yarn
yumminess. Knitter's Review further reinforced this, but added some
warnings about the colorways (apparently, the photos are routinely
toned down to reduce the colors' boldness). These were both very good signs.
Malabrigo's worsted-weight yarn is fabulous. The
colorways are as lovely as Manos, but the yarn feels much, much softer. It's a perfect scarf yarn. Indeed, Alison, the source of my scarf/shawl/shrug inspiration, recently finished a Clapotis in the Malabrigo worsted weight. (Alison, your archives put all of ours to shame--kudos on the formatting!)
Oh, yeah, did I mention the price? $5.95 for 850 yards. Score! With so many positives, why not take a chance? I can always return it if I don't like what I receive.
I had a difficult time choosing, so I ordered five (yes, 5) colorways. At this price I can afford to experiment. I want something that's cool and smokey, maybe blue, maybe green, or maybe purple. My picks (in no particular 0rder):
If anyone has personal experience with any of these colorways, I would love to hear from you.
On another note, I'm still working on my banner photo (yes, train pics have been taken). A question for you bloggers with banners: how big (dimensionally) are your banners? Now that I have a photo, it's only a matter of cropping, resizing, and adding text.
I have some leftover Koigu from some socks that I knitted last winter. Good thing, too, because I can use it to experiment with lace.
Yes, I do enjoy this lace pattern. Serious lace knitters might tell me that this really isn't lace, it's just a loosely knit stockinette with some yarn-over increases in the middle. Maybe so, but I do enjoy the results:
I do not, however, enjoy these US15s and this could become a problem. I went down to US 11s and I disliked them even more. I'm not in the mood for a big needle project.
There are, I believe, two solutions here. The first would be to simply use smaller needles, like US8s. I'll need to knit more to get a similarly sized shawl, and the proportions will be different, but I don't think that I'll mind that.
The second possibility would be to switch patterns to one that specifies a smaller needle. How about this from Knitty? It doesn't look too complex, but what do I know about lace? Experienced lace knitters: is this anything that a lace neophyte should be dreaming about?
I must say that I'm feeling a bit directionless at the moment. Baccarat Player will be on the blocking board soon. What's next? It seems silly to start on another summer top, although this is mighty tempting. Thanks Kat for that link. Claudia just began a version of this, so I am eager to follow her progress. I think that the shaping on this top would work mighty well with my curves (if I do say so myself) and I even have some yarn that I think will work.
It also seems silly to go full-speed ahead into the winter knits. I have three winter sweaters lurking in my small stash, but somehow it feels too early to kiss away summer. The thought of using yarn that I have, instead of buying more is, however, very appealing. I do know that I need to approach Kathy about the feasibility of a long-sleeve Tiv.
I need some transitional knitting. Alison, over there at The Blue Blog, has been posting some mighty tempting scarfs. Why do I shun the scarf? Why don't I ever pop in to whatever LYS happens to be at hand, pick up a skein or two of something luscious, or a couple of beautiful colorways and knit something fabulous? I have no answer. Pretty soon this knitter will need a little something to keep out the drafts. Perhaps I should knit the Gossamer shawl next.
Then, there is the shrug/topper idea. Once again, Alison of the above paragraph was blogging about a beautiful shrug that she's knitting. Hmm, something like that might be great for those cool evenings which will soon begin to appear in weather forecasts. She got the pattern at Downtown Yarns. Hey: there's an excuse to head back to NY :-). Koigu, anyone?
Let's not forget the almost instant gratification of baby knits. Although there are no babies immediately at hand (and, if a certain person is reading this blog, I'm just confirming that neither is there a desire to get one at hand) it wouldn't hurt to have a few baby-sized FOs waiting in the wings (again: for someone else, not for me).
I will not start five projects at once. I have only two hands, and I like to finish things now and again. What's a knitter to do? Prioritize! I'm already swatching for Matt's vest. Why not go with that? Why not, indeed. Okay, that's a great subway project. A shawl or shrug would be a perfect early fall knit, a very portable project, and some instant-gratification knitting. I'd like to see the Downtown Yarn's pattern and yarn selections in person and I won't get to NYC until Labor Day. That's okay because I'll need some time to plan for that knit.
The shawl/scarf idea excites me immensely. As I said, I'm completely new to lace, so the thing to do is to grab some leftover Koigu and do a little test.
Hopeful would be a great way to use a bag of some Berroco Softwist Bulky that's been in my stash for a while. Berroco discontinued this yarn, and I know why: it's so darn heavy. I'm not sure about the wisdom of using a wool yarn to knit a short-sleeve sweater, so let me think about that.
Finally, I cannot start on the fall knits just now. That idea was just crazy talk. Stash must wait.
Thank you for indulging me by reading these paragraphs. It's helpful to use the blog to flesh out and organize my thoughts about upcoming projects.
Matt approached me recently about knitting him a vest. I'm only too happy to do it, with one condition: he is responsible for choosing the yarn and pattern. I want him to wear what I knit for him, and this is one way to guarantee that it happens.
He selected the vest pattern in Ann Budd's The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns. Well, it can't get much simpler than that! Next: yarn. Would he offset the simplicity of the pattern with a more complicated colorway? No. He had been looking around at various things when we visited yarn stores. Red or green? Cotton or Wool? During my last Wild & Woolly excursion, he chose Heirloom Easy Care 8-Ply in this very pretty green:
Well, it's time for me to swatch. This will be good subway knitting.
While I tend not to stash yarn, I do tend to collect interesting patterns.
This is Elsebeth Lavold's Viking Knits, which Kathy was so kind to scoop for me at Woolcott's last sale. I have mixed feelings about Woolcott, based on many mixed experiences. Since its location is very much out of my usual non-car orbit, I don't need to think about the store too often. I love many of the patterns in Viking Knits, and while there's no plans to knit one immediately, I can see myself grabbing for this book the next time that I get the urge for a smaller gauge and cables.
Meanwhile, Wild & Woolly is a store that I could definitely visit more often. I manage to get there about twice a year without making a special trip. Last weekend, Kathy and Paula accompanied me for a little shopping.
I have no mixed feelings about W&W: I love this store! Others, I have heard and read, have complained about the staff. I find that the W&W style is a little different than other yarn stores. They'll leave you alone for hours to browse, but the minute that you ask for assistance, it's one-on-one attention. All in all, I always find the atmosphere to be relaxed and cheerful.
So, what did I get?
It's Flora. I figure that between this pattern and the store pattern from Downtown Yarns, I can wangle a pretty cute feather and fan jacket for myself. Aren't those sleeves adorable?
Then, a bit of lace caught my eye:
This is the Gossamer Triangular Shawl from Karabella Yarns. I'm a complete newbie to lace, and I think that this is a simple enough pattern to use as a test. I am not, however, going for the mohair. I'll keep you posted as to my yarn choice.
Yes? Oh, good.
For months I have been thinking that it might be a good idea to snap a picture of a subway train, tweak it in Illustrator or Photoshop (or both) and use it as my blog's banner. That blue band is getting a little ho-hum. I ride a subway train twice a day (sometimes more) every day, Monday through Friday. Do you think at any point during any of these hundreds of subway rides that I have remembered to get out my camera and take a picture? No.
Why? I go on automatic pilot the minute that I leave for the train. The sooner I get myself on a train and in a seat, the sooner I can whip out whatever WIP I have in my bag and get going. I have thought about it while riding other subway systems, but it doesn't make a lot of sense for this Boston blogger to have an MTA train as a banner.
That must change. I want this picture! I hope that by blogging about this I'll remember to snap a photo the next time that I'm waiting on the platform.
A few buttons:
A little loopie for the top:
Okie-dokie: this gift is ready to go.
Just in time because I think that the baby is due any day now. This was fun knitting. I hope that the new parents enjoy it, too. Must find more opportunities to knit for the wee ones :-).
No, you probably don't. This little thing became an FO so stealthfully that even I forgot to post a photo:
It's my version of Amy Steven's On The Moon purse in Knitty. I omitted the idea of handle, and instead I'm using this as a clutch. It's a perfect small purse alternative and I use it frequently when I couldn't be bothered to carry anything more substantial. The purse is perfectly sized to US dollars, which was a happy accident for me (did I bother to check this before knitting? Um, no.)
Yarn: South West Trading Company Soy Silk (1 skein)
Needles: US 7
Time to knit: One bus ride from Boston to NYC, or about 4 hours.
What I changed: omitted handle
Would I knit this again? Sure! It would make a great gift.
That, unfortunately, is all the progress I can show from yesterday. Oh, I certainly had grand plans to finish the waist decreases and knit straight to the bust increases. It wasn't meant to happen.
Look at that knot! I reached over to my ball of yarn, only to discover that it had become a massive tangle of string. Oh dear! Fearing nothing, I began to sort out the mess. Four hours later (obsessive, anyone?) I was as close as I have ever been to actually flinging my knitting around the room. I cut my loses (ha!), snipped out the knot, and rejoined the yarn. Sigh!
Here's something new and exciting:
Wow! It's the front of my Vintage Cotton Baccarat Player. Let's pretend that it doesn't look identical to the back at this stage. Sometimes I am able to knit a few rows during lunch. Imagine me stitching madly amongst the map-reading tourists in Downtown. It's a nice break , but it can make the return to the office very difficult (just one more row, one more!)
Lots of knitting time on my vacation meant that I finished the back of Baccarat Player in a manner of a few days (okay, about a week):
Usually a small-gauge knit would take me a lot longer. Don't anyone get any ideas that I'm some sort of speed-knitter.
I love this yarn! Why did I completely forget about last summer's Shapely with the Butterfly 10 Cotton. Give me a mercerized cotton on smaller needles and I am one happy knitter. It feels so lovely as I knit, and the fabric created is very cool and very soft. It will be so perfect for a summer evening.
The hat is almost done; it still needs a washing and a little topper:
Tee hee! This hat reminds me of a mushroom, and I think that it's just so cute! I am a little concerned, however, that it will be too small for the recipient by the time he or she is six months old (this winter). I won't pretend to know a lot about babies, but someone told me that they need hats long before bigger people do. Moms? Dads? Is this true?
It feels a little bit strange to be knitting a winter hat in the middle of summer, but here I am:
I know that I have knit this pattern before with 16-inch circulars, but for whatever reason I don't seem to have enough width to join the stitches. So, it's on to the DPNs. Won't say that I'm upset about that; I do enjoy the rhythm of DPNs and it helps me feel a little less left out when everyone else seems to be knitting socks (kidding! I do not feel left out.)
Just as an aside: the colors in that photo started with even more orange than what you see there. Thanks to the magic of Photoshop, I was able to nudge the colors toward something that tried to resemble normal lighting conditions. I just fudged with the sliding scales until I saw something worth keeping. Cara, Kathy, Paula: do any of you know if there's a more formulaic way of doing that?
I knitted, of course.
Things got underway a bit early with a big ol' par-tay at the wonderful Claudia's house. Claudia, thank you for putting the day together and hosting all of us. It was so much fun meeting bloggers whom I knew only through their posts, and yet feeling as if we had much in common after only a few minutes. I don't have a picture of the day. I was having too much fun to stop and blog about it.
Then, it was back to Boston for a concert with friends. Who was standing ahead of me in the ticket line? Kris! Yeah, Kris sure has some great taste in music.
As you know, I found myself on the beach for a few days. Now, I have heard of knitters who take their projects with them to the beach. Not me! Sun, sand, salt water, and sunscreen do not take well to yarn and knitting needles. Nope, knitting was a down-time activity.
Despite that, I made significant progress on Baccarat's back:
Not a bad showing for less than a week's knitting time. I am loving this small-gauge cotton. It feels so lovely on my hands, and the small stitching motions are very relaxing. The tiny needles feel good to hold. I remember my discovery of small-gauge yarns last year. It surprised me; I expected the small gauge to simply be tedious. Why did it take me so long to return? We don't know.
...since I knit in public.
Here are the first few rows of Baccarat in my lovely orange Vintage Cotton. Mmmm, things are going well. I loves me a small-gauge cotton, that's for sure.
The setting: Carberrys, Central Square, Cambridge (yes, I misspelled the name when I saved the photo). This tank will be a great carry-along, KIP project. The pattern is lovely, but not complex; it will be easy to knit on the run. The yarn slips along nicely on my ebony needles. It's such a nice time of year for knitting on the go, and I'm glad to have a project that's so agreeable to it!