A couple of you asked to see a close-up photo of the stockinette in the Bee Stripe Sweater.
Here it is:
You might think that Mission Falls 1824 cotton would knit up very bumpily. Not so. It's slighly uneven, but (in my opinion) nothing like what you would expect from looking at the skein.
My bee stripe booties are slowly taking form:
I took all of the very thoughtful suggestions from the comments on Friday and combined them into one almost completely self-make pattern. Using the number of bind-off stitches from the Filatura di Crossa bootie pattern (23--rounded to 24) I cast on for the cuff. I'm knit some ribbing, I switched to stockinette for the underside of the cuff, and I'm just about to begin the shortrow heel. There is really nothing to this.
Thanks for all your comments to my post yesterday. Valley Fabrics is a really great shop--nice people and a nice experience. I forgot to ask, however, if anyone remembers the fabric store which existed in Thornes Marketplace for about a year. It was on the second floor. This would have been around 1993 or 1994. The store was quite lovely, but sold rather ordinary-looking cotton prints for something like $15 a yard. I wasn't surprised to see it go. I 'm curious to know if anyone remembers anything about this store.
While I was busy at home with finishing the Bee Stripe Sweater, I was busy on the subway knitting a hat.
I decided to begin a Bucket o' Chic with the cotton yarn I scooped up last month at Mass Sheep & Woolcraft.
As you know, I can never leave well enough alone with knitting patterns. I had ideas for Bonne Marie's masterpiece, and I quickly put them into practice.
First, I didn't want a stockinette hat. I didn't want someone to recognize immediately that I had knit this. So, I switched to garter stitch. Knitters will still know that the hat is a handknit, but this might fool some of the non-knitters in my life.
I got my gauge, adjusted the pattern and began to work.
My first attempt at the band was clearly too wide:
I frogged it.
Now, that's better.
I knit and knit, joined, and picked up stitches to make the brim. Two rounds in, I knew that something was wrong.
Please excuse the cross-eyed mirror shot. World Cup fever has struck hard in the Subway Knitter household and--as England had scored mere moments before this shot was taken--no one was available to serve as photographer.
I must ask: is this it? Where is the flair I expected to see in the band? This looks too much like a knitted tube for me to continue. I don't understand how one acheives the flaired band shown in the pattern photo from following the instructions in the pattern. Were my adjustments too much for the pattern to bear?
I have ideas for a different approach. You'll see them soon. For now, I must get going on those bee booties.
Please notice that I emphasised the "fab" in fabrics.
I mentioned in an earlier post that fabric shopping equals visual overload for me. The patterns! The colors! They're simply too much for Subway Knitter.
So, I thought that I was prepared for the visual spectacle that would be Valley Fabrics. [The website is in an unfinished state; expect improvements in the coming weeks and months.]
I tell you, readers, I was not!
I cope with too much visual delight by first allowing it to wash over me. I accept that almost everything will appeal at first glance, then I try to find cracks. Juvenille prints? Those can be eliminated quickly. Flirty florals? I already knew that I didn't want one of those. Velvets? No! Black and white? Eh, I can always get a black-and-white print. Light backgrounds? Those won't be very practical for this city girl. This continued for several rounds through the aisles.
Here are a couple photos of bolts which did not make the cut. Normally, I would be jumping for joy to find these in a regular fabric store. Perhaps this will give you a sense of the depth of the selection here:
I was drawn to several very loud patterns, but I reluctantly decided that I didn't want someone to notice my skirt before noticing me. I tend to have this inclination when buying fabric, and by now I know that indulging it leads to no good end--although in the moment it's difficult to ignore.
I was taken by many of the east Asian-inspired prints. They seemed not only very out-of-character for me, but also of colors which would have required a serious infusion of coordinating tops. For that practical wardrobe consideration I decided against them.
It then occured to me that what truly appealed were circles. Perhaps I would have some polka dots, or a very abstract flower. A directionless repeat would be best. Because I don't yet have the pattern with its cutting layout, I don't know how a repeat with a direction will affect the skirt's look.
The staff at Valley Fabrics understood completely the position that I was in, as they let me circulate and collect potential bolts at the front desk.
Finally, I had refined my selections to a few finalists.
Then, we had a winner.
It's a Kaffe Fassett-designed print for Westminster Fabrics and Rowan, called "Paperweight" (GP20). I find it surprising because I usually don't like Kaffee Fassett's fabrics. They seem too bright and busy. I won't argue that this print isn't busy, but its colors are perfect for me. And while the print mildly suggests flowers, it suggests fireworks just as easily. I'm happy.
I had a pleasant conversation with both of the ladies working that day (Hi Kate!). All in all a highly satisfying experence and I expect that I'll be back before long.
And, for all you who expressed concern for my ability to ferry my purchase home, I'll have you know that the above photograph represents a piece of washed and dried material. I'm ready to begin!
Today, Saturday, 24 June:
1. Wake up!
4. Check email
5. Shower, dress, blah, blah, blah, get myself presentable.
6. Head out the door to Valley Fabrics.
8. Return. Knit. Perhaps blog.
The Bee Stripe Sweater is by far the cutest thing that I have ever knit:
My one dissapointment is that I had to eliminate the placket. I could not figure out how to keep the stripes even, follow the raglan instructions, and create the placket. A better knitter might have been able to do it. But between the gauge alterations and the stripes, my brain said "enough!" and encouraged me to knit the front plain.
Despite this last-minute change, I was still able to work in one of those wee bee buttons.
I couldn't bee happier :-).
Pattern: I somewhat followed the Child's Placket Neck Pullover pattern. I altered for both stitch and row gauge, and I eliminated the placket. Basically, I used the pattern for cast-on numbers and raglan shaping instructions.
Yarn: Mission Falls 1824 Cotton, in Maize (yellow) and Sand (greenish gray).
Now, on to the booties. Does anyone know of a decent knit-in-the-round bootie pattern? I was thinking of just making a teeny pair of short-row-heeled socks. Would that work?
My major accomplishment while knitting the Bee Stripe Sweater (name is my own; the pattern is the Child's Placket Neck Pullover Pattern from Last-Minute Knitted Gifts) was to fine-tune my ability to carry the unused yarn up behind the working yarn. Thus, there are no ends to weave. As the sleeves progressed, the jogs between rows became less and less wonky, and the stripes transitioned effortlessly from sage to yellow and back again.
Shireen asked to see the wrong side of a sleeve.
Here you go:
...and the knitting is easy.
From up here I can sit back, knit, and watch my neighborhood.
I love summer!
While I was IKEA shopping and lace blocking, I was also sleeve knitting:
One Bee Sleeve.
I think that while knitting this sleeve I improved my yarn-carrying technique. Do you think that I'm cutting the yarn when I change colors? Not a chance! I'm wrapping the unused color and carrying it behind the working yarn. It's much easier this way, but the stripe becomes slighly uneven at the join.
It looks worse in the photo because the stitches pick up a bit of shadow. In real life, I'm happy with it. Time for sleeve two, during which I'll think about how to manage the stripes on the sweater yolk.
With the warm, dry weather we've been having in New England the Shetland Stole took very little time to dry.
When I saw Carolyn's finished stole and compared it to the appearance of my WIP I had doubts that we were both working the same pattern.
I love how the wavy circles combine with the straight lines of this pattern. It's directionless--a quality I love in lace patterns.
Now, I need to decide if I should bind off or wait on the yarn situation. It's definitely not stole weather; perhaps waiting isn't a bad idea.
Remember the Shetland Stole?
The last time that you saw it the stole was a teeny unblocked square, measuring all of 17 by 20 inches. While I wait on the results of Two Loops' yarn APB (hopefully, hopefully, there is a half skein of this colorway in TL's posession) I decided to block what I have.
A ten minute soak in some warm water was followed by some squeezing. Then I put the thing on my oh-so-clean blocking carpet and wrestled every last inch out of that thing. I had my doubts that this would work.
(Yes, I do realized that the wrong side of the pattern is facing up.)
YOs stretched and relaxed. SSKs flattened. Pretty soon it became obvious that the stole would grow by quite a bit. I pinned out the edges and measured. [Yes, I know about the Harlot's method, and I made a half-hearted (half- Harloted?) attempt, but something wasn't working, so I still needed the pins.] The stole now measured 28 by 28 inches square. Still small, but an improvement.
So, initial results indicate that more yarn would be a welcome addition to this project. Please keep your fingers crossed for me.
I struck out at IKEA yesterday. There were a few fabric contenders, but all had a white background. White fabric isn't 100 percent advisable for us city chicks.
Anyway, once I got back to the city, put the car away (i.e. parked it on the street) and settled in, I buzzed (via subway) up to Win-Mil Fabrics on Chauncy Street, in Chinatown.
Diana was blogging about sheer visual overload that comes with fabric shopping. I couldn't agree more! It's a good thing that we have only one decent fabric store in Boston (I know that long-time Bostonians--having known other stores--might argue the use of decent here), because otherwise I would never be able to choose.
I waffled a bit, and finally settled on some chocolatey-brown linen. Yum!
I was afraid that a floral print (of which Win-Mil has many) combined with the very feminine details of the skirt would be too girly for Subway Knitter. The brown linen is light and breezy, yet sombre enough for a night out.
Did you get a good look at the fabric? Good! That's the last you'll ever see of it. Somewhere between Chinatown and Jamaica Plain I--loaded with a couple of other bags--lost the bag containing the fabric. Fucking-A! Can I write that? I don't often swear on the blog, but I think that it's warranted here. Ugh!!!
The good news is that it's only three yards of brown linen, certainly not irreplaceable. But, geez, ya know? Can I be a little less careless one of these days? Please?
Next weekend I'll be out in Western Mass., and very close to that fabric mecca known as Osgood Textiles. Has anyone been since it moved to West Springfield? The new store is decidedly more organized and easier to navigate. Somehow I miss the fire-trap rat maze that was the old store. Now that was an experience.
Happy Bunker Hill Day, everyone!
Here's a topic you don't see much at Subway Knitter--sewing!
Yes, readers I can sew. No, readers I'm not very good at it. I'm not good at it mainly because I don't sew enough to get better (practice makes perfect, ya know). I don't sew enough because I'm the World's Least Patient Person (WLPP). I don't have the patience for the set up, sew for an hour after dinner, then clean up the space for the next 30 minutes. Now, if I had a sewing room...
Well, if I had a sewing room it would be in a constant state of trashed because of all of the half-finished projects.
One might think that because I enjoy knitting a great deal, I also enjoy sewing a great deal. Not true! In my opinion the two have very little in common other than you end up with an object made from fiber. Knitting is all about fudging. But sewing is very exact. It's that exactness for which I have little patience. I do enjoy the finished product of sewing, so every once in a while I am tempted to pull out the machine.
I've been taken with this skirt ever since Nikki-Shell modeled her version last month.
Anyway what does all this have to do with that great Swedish import known as IKEA? I'll tell you. An unusual pattern like the Hustle Bustle calls for an unusual fabric. Somehow I fixated upon the idea of using an IKEA curtain (or a pair of curtains) for the skirt fabric.
Cool idea, no? Even if I can't find a curtain that suits me, I'll look at the other textiles. What about a tablecloth? Or perhaps some of the bolt yardage will do.
I might also look for an outdoor knitting chair. With the weather warming, it's time to take advantage of my porches.
Better hustle my bustle....
Yeah, that would be me.
I was crusing along on the Bee Stripe Sweater at Knitsmiths. Dina and Shireen were looking on--curious as to why I was knitting the sweater flat. "It's the back," I replied. They responded with puzzled looks.
A few minutes later I finished the "back" and began to follow the raglan shaping instructions. I couldn't understand how they worked until I reread the cast-on instructions. Somehow I had missed the key command: join and work in the round. I thought that the piece looked rather large for a back.
Will this mistake be hard to fix? Not at all! No frogging required! So, the body of the Bee Stripe Sweater will have a seam--no one will notice.
You have been the queen of multiple projects lately. We cannot remember the last time you had only one project on the needles. You can't seem to remain faithful to one project all the way to the end. Nope, before one is done you cast on for the next.
This two-timing knitting has to end soon. You know how you are. You like to see one project through to completion before devoting your attention to another.
So, we're going to take drastic measures here. Do you know where we are right now? We're on your Beehive Hat. You'll soon realize that you'll need us to progress on your Bee Sweater. Guess what? In order to get to us you'll need to finish the hat.
Your US7 DPNs.
p.s. Don't try to buy another set. We've called all the LYSs.
Those needles are right. I will need them soon so that I can begin knitting the sleeves. It is clearly time to finish the hat.
Finishing took all of 15 minutes. I debated about the noodles versus i-cord loop. Thank you to everyone who weighed in on that. I decided on the loop for two reasons. One, I always have trouble attaching these topper thingies cleanly. Therefore, the fewer the better. Two, this yarn is a little heavy, and I didn't think that a whole bunch of heavy noodles would be good for the little one's noggen.
I still need to wash this hat and attach the bee buttons. This means that I should purchase those buttons before the rest of you do.
Pattern: I vaugely used a Filatura di Crossa pattern for the cast-on number, but you don't need one for this (Really, you don't. Really, really, you don't. I don't care if you have been knitting for only a week--or only knitting for a week--you don't need a pattern.) Still don't believe me? Read this.
Yarn: Mission Falls 1824 Cotton in colors 309 (Maize) and 104 (Sand). After knitting 12 rows of Maize at the bottom, I alternated between four rows of Maize in reverse stockinette (with the first row of the four always in regular stockinette) and three rows of Sand in stockinette.
Needles: US7, 16-inch circular and DPNs.
What goes better with a beehive hat than a bee-striped sweater?
I don't know, so I cast on for that very thing.
I'm using the Child's Placket Neck Pullover from Last Minute Knitted Gifts. The pattern came from the Purl SoHo website. This is my second time using this pattern, and I think that it might become my baby sweater of choice. There are quite a few things in LMKG that I would like to knit. When the book has been properly edited and is mostly mistake free I'll consider buying it. Until then, I'll stick to this one pattern.
Meanwhile, this pattern offers me endless possibilities, and I'm sure that my version will look little like the picture in the book. The yarn is 1824 Cotton, the same as I used for the hat. I'm doing four rows of each color to make the stripes, and I'm adjusting for gauge.
I'm back! Welcome to another week. If you're in the Northeast US, you're probably marveling at that yellow orb floating in the sky. That's called the "sun". Don't worry, it's supposed to do that.
Anyway, in between my non-knitting activities this weekend, I was knitting (What? Does that actually suprise you?)
I quickly consumed all the yarn in my hank of the wonderful Two Loops yarn. I am all over this Yarn All Over--it's great stuff. I'll wait here while you go and buy some.
You back? Good, because I have a question for you.
The hank knit me a 17-inch wide by 20-inch long rectangle. This, of couse, is the unblocked dimension. I don't want a gigantic stole. My last couple of scarves have proved themselves to be too long after blocking. They stretched further, drew in on themselves, and obscured their own pattern. I don't want that to happen with the Shetland Stole, so I'm keeping it wider and shorter.
The problem is that I think 17-by-20 will too short, even after blocking. Am I wrong about this? Is there a rule of thumb for blocking? Will a lace pattern knit with sock yarn on US8s grow by 20 percent? 50 percent? More in width than length? Vice versa? I really don't know.
I emailed the wonderful Melissa, proprietress of Yarn All Over. Does she have any more of this colorway (Moss) lying around? Being the peach that she is, she responded almost immediately. Seems like there's about a half a skein chez Two Loops, and an APB is being issued for another hank. If more yarn were available, then I could easily add to the stole's length. Then again, this yarn is such wonderful stuff that I would understand if the owner of the other hank wouldn't release it for all the tea in China.
This brings me to my second question. Should I block the stole to determine both its final length and if half of a hank will be sufficient? Will adding more length to an already-blocked piece wreak knitting havoc?
Alternatively I could have entitled this post "How to Distract You from Little Knitting Progress".
They're wee bee buttons. Aren't they cute? These aren't for the hat; I'm still searching for good bee-shaped buttons for the hive hat. These buttons are, I think, for the matching pullover (which I have yet to start).
Let me level with you: I got nothing for this weekend. Nothing! Fiber-festival plans were replaced by some non-knitting activities. There'll be no fiber frolicking for Suway Knitter, I'll tell you that. And the rain! It's killing any and all photo opportunities. I could do some filler posts for Saturday and Sunday, or I could wait until I have something decent to show you. I'm choosing the latter.
It is on the subway, at least.
Yesterday I was too wet and every surface on the train seemed too damp to think about taking out my knitting. Sigh! I had a commute with nothing to do except stare into space and try to avoid looking at my fellow passengers. [Why is it that when I don't have anything to distract my attention from other riders those other riders are doing all kinds of annyong or disgusting things?]
Suddenly, the Shetland Stole has grown from being a strip of lace to a large panel. How did that happen?
The view out my window shows me that today might be more of the same, although the rain is falling more softly than yesterday's deluge. Let's hope that I can get in at least a few rows.
Just a normal day on the subway:
Well, it was the subway and a couple of hours in my living room.
The pattern I'm [not] following calls for lots of i-cord "noodles" to be placed at the top of the hat. Now that I'm at the top, I'm not so sure of the wisdom of that. Wouldn't a simple i-cord loop be a more pleasant detail?
Stephanie has been blogging recently about cute baby hats. Her's are very cute. I'm taking inspiration from her.
Okay, you know what I was about to write:
I cast on for my Beehive Baby Hat. I'm vaugely using the Noodle Hat pattern from the Fall/Winter 2004 Filatura Di Crosa baby book. I borrowed the stitch counts and the bottom from the pattern. But other than that, I'm on my own. The combination of stockinette and reverse stockinette is all me, as is the stiping sequence (four rows of yellow, with three of the sage).
I know how I want the hat to look, and getting there doesn't really require a pattern. It is after all a baby hat. Lest you think I posess superior knitting skills to be able to write that, just knit a few baby hats. You'll know exactly what I mean in no time.
with the Shetland Stole.
As the stole grows and I watch how the colorway develops, I'm very happy to notice that the yarn isn't pooling or striping. It's staying quite random (at least to my eyes) and not interfering with the stitch pattern.
Barbara Walker warns that Fir Cone is prone to puckering, and she's absolutely correct.
This will come out with blocking, but if the stole doesn't lie 100 percent flat I don't really mind. A little puckering will add some texture and interest to the piece.
[Thanks so much to everyone who has left a comment lately. I like to reply to my comments, but I have been busy as a--well--bee lately. This leaves little time for emailing, blog reading, or maintaining my own blog (which I like to do daily).]
I swatched with my 1824 Cotton to determine my gauge and the striping sequence. Remember that I'm going for a bee theme here, so the hat needs to resemble a hive (or at least evoke a popular image of a beehive).
Would I want the yellow on top, or the sage? Clearly, the yellow belongs out front. I plan to knit the yellow in reverse stockinette so that it lies on top of the sage. I experimented with combinations of stockinette and garter at the bottom of the swatch, but that changed my gauge (and, I didn't like how it looked).
Anna mentioned that 1824 had problems with dye stability, that is the dye would bleed. She advised me to wash my swatch, just to know if these colorways would bleed together. Either the colorways I have don't bleed, or Mission Falls has improved their dyeing methods.
No bleeding, the stripe sequence is set, and I have my gauge. What could bee left but the knitting?
I appreciated your patience in May while I worked hard to finish your socks. You were a champ!
Now, however, I'm in a bit of a pickle. It's been two weeks since those socks left Boston, and neither hostess-with-the-mostest Alison nor I has received word that those socks are in your possession. I'm getting a little worried that my package landed in postal no man's land instead of your front porch.
I guess that I could register an anonymous email address and send you a querie, but I don't think that I should have to do that. Besides, that's a little rude (the politeness of this here post is questionable, but it ultimately serves a larger purpose). If you had received the package you would tell me. Asking you about it seems redundant.
I have been lurking on your blog (happy birthday, by the way), waiting to see if those socks show up. They haven't yet. I've been looking for your address in my inbox, but I haven't seen it. I really loved knitting those socks, and I would hate to think that they didn't end up with their intended recipient.
I didn't send the package with delivery confirmation or insurance because I know what pain they can be (you need to be at home to receive the package, or you need to schlep to the PO on some Saturday morning). But next time, you had better believe that I'll select those options.
What's a knitter to do?
I'm loving the Shetland Stole. The pattern is interesting without being overly complex and I'm completely happy with the colorway. Every day I notice that whatever I'm wearing will coordinate with the stole--once it's complete.
As you might imagine, then, I have great motivation to finish this knit. Yet, there is nagging guilt for Aunt Subway Knitter. Every minute I spend knitting my stole could be spent knitting baby things for the niece/nephew.
I don't like feeling guilty about a knitting project, so I did what any sensible knitter would do in my position. I went yarn shopping! You might remember that I intended to make Windsor Button my next baby-knitting destination, and I did.
Windsor Button carries Mission Falls, and I was eager to try some of their 1824 Wool. 1824 Wool is machine wash/dry and I try to do baby knits with machine wash/dry yarns only. There's no sense in having overwhelmed new parents further overwhelmed by the washing instructions for my handknits.
While browsing I discovered that their 1824 Cotton is also machine wash/dry. Fantastic! This called for an immediate change of plans--a very good thing. I was beginning to question continued use of too many woolly yarns for a baby who will live in the south. A few wool things will be necessary, but a handknit wardrobe of exclusively wool-based garments will be impractical.
I'm thinking a bumble-bee theme for this set. I went for a green-gray and a light yellow. Dark gray was an option, but I tend to stay away from dark neutrals or blacks for kids. They have their whole lives to dress boringly. Let them take advantage of the cutesie kid colors while they can.
Don't think for a moment that I'm abandoning the Shetland Stole. Not a chance! The hat project will be my subway knitting, with the lace better left for my evenings when I'm less likely to drop a stitch.