Here Comes the Sun

Welcome back to our regularly scheduled blog post.

After stressing myself out over a contest project, which I finished just in time, but can’t show you yet, I jumped right in to finish some long waiting WIPs.

The vest on the left was 99% finished for so long!  All I had to do was weave in the ends and block it and it was done.  The one on the right has been finished for over a year but I never posted anything about it.  I was always planning to write up the pattern for these vests.  Left is a size L and right is a size S.  What I like about the pattern is that the size differences are in the size of the leaves.  The neckline and armholes areshaped along the leaf decreases, in the same manner, no matter the size.

I decided that the design is not so special, and I’d probably spend a lot of time writing it up, and no one would publish or buy it.  I am wearing the yellow one.  My niece is wearing another size S version in a light brown, and this green one is destined for my friend N’s wardrobe.

For all of them I used Madelinetosh Vintage, a worsted weight yarn.  Above you see colors Terrarium and Edison Bulb.

Luckily today the sun came out in the afternoon so I could quickly take these photos.  Thanks to DB for holding the pole. 🙂

I also did some spinning this morning.  In my jammies.

Fall Weather and Summer Knits

Fall has arrived in NL.  The only way you’d know this is because leaves are falling and the days are shorter.  You wouldn’t know it by the actual weather – it’s been strangely warm and sunny.  We went to the beach yesterday and had lunch in the sun.  We spent this morning gardening – planting bulbs for next year.

There is still knitting and spinning going on, even if the blog has been sorely neglected. Is anyone out there still reading?  Today I finished Hitofude.  The Japanese word means something like “in one motion” and if you had a long enough yarn you could make this sweater from beginning to end without breaking threads.  It’s a strange and interesting construction that defies understanding before you knit it.  Just trust the instructions and do it.  This is the result.

It will be perfect for summer.  Bad timing on my part.  But it will also be perfect for those business trips to Thailand where the airconditioned offices are too cold.

I’m also spinning these days.  I’ve spun up and Navajo plied some yarn (my first 3 ply ever and first N-ply!!) but I don’t have photos yet.  The yarn is drying and I’ll take photos later this week.

I’m spinning some lace weight singles! Wow! Lace! I’m pretty proud of myself.  This is only my 4th “bump”, “skein”, whatever you want to call it 120 grams worth of singles.  I think I’m going to 2 ply it and use it for a lace shawl. It’s 50/50 merino/silk.

I only have this much more to go and all 120g will be spun up and ready to ply.  I split the bump in half by weight and spun each half on separate bobbins.

I’m working on this on my friend’s Matchless wheel.  More news about wheels soon!

Dahlia is Done

I finally finished this sweater!  I started it ages ago – almost two years ago – and put it into time out a couple of times.  All the stockinette was just so boring.  You see, the back lace part was the only interesting part.  The rest….

… is all just plain knitting.  Ho Hum.  I like it, but it’s strange to wear.  I have only worn it once so far, to work for a whole day, and it felt like it was constantly about to fall off my shoulders.  Most of the time I wore it open, like this.

The yarn is fantastic and feels wonderful and soft.  It’s Madelinetosh Pashmina, sport weight, 75% merino, 15% silk and 10% cashmere, color Duchess.  The pattern is Dahlia from Interweave Knits, Fall 2011.

It’s basically a rectangle with 2 holes for sleeves.  There’s no shoulder shaping at all, which is why it feels so weird.  A shawl with sleeves.  I will wear it more, for sure.  I just have to figure out how to get it to stay where I put it!

New Sewing FO

See? I kan haz sewing FOs!  This is my new red wool jumper (jumper in the American meaning of the word, not the British meaning).  I bought the fabric in California 3 or 4 years ago.  I cut out the pieces about a year ago.  It just sat in a pile for a very long time before I decided it was really time to finish it.  It’s extremely simple and comfortable.  I’m sure I’ll wear it a lot.

Of course I didn’t just make it how the pattern said to do.  Oh no.  You see, the pattern didn’t call for any lining, just facings on the inside.   I didn’t think this heavy wool would feel nice this way, nor did I think it would drape as nicely without lining.  So I went out and bought some stretch lining and figured out how to put it in.  Here’s a photo of the inside:

I’m really happy how this worked out.  It feels great.  DB took the first photo last night before we went out to dinner.  It looks a little schoolmarmish for a dinner out, but hey, I AM schoolmarmish so that’s what you get.  Maybe the red makes it a little sassier.

By the way, I took a photo of my elbow this morning.  Thursday afternoon in Amsterdam I slipped on ice and fell hard on my right hip and elbow.  The hip is fine, but the elbow is bruised and sore.

This morning at the gym I really noticed that my upper arm is sore from this fall.  Otherwise, as long as I don’t touch it, it’s feeling pretty ok.  The weather has warmed up and all traces of ice and snow are gone from Haarlem and probably also from Amsterdam.  It’s starting to smell like Spring outside.  My rose bushes are putting out new green shoots.  Almost time to get the gardening gloves out!

First FO of 2013

Today I finished the pink version of Mandy’s Heart.  Here are some photos of the seams.  I’m really happy with how the pattern stitches match up in the seams.  This version is made with O-Wool, 50% wool, 50% cotton.  It does feel much different from the 100% wool version.

Here’s a photo of the sleeve being sewn in, first at the beginning of the seam, then later towards the top where the sleeve bind offs begin.

I like to sew in sleeves starting at the bottom, working up to the top of the sleeve.  Then I start again at the bottom and sew up the other side, meeting at the top.  I find it easier to sew in the same direction as the knitting.

Here’s the finished sleeve seam.

The next job for me and this sweater pattern is to organize a photo shoot with my models.  It’s going to be interesting trying to line up their time, my time, and the weather.  I’m hoping that next Saturday the planets will align and I can get photos taken.

I’m really thrilled that this is all on schedule.  I plan to release the pattern on February 14.  My test knitters are working steadily.  The pattern layout is coming along too, after fighting with software and finally settling on a format I can work with, looks nice and I think will be very user friendly.  Exciting stuff!

Stay tuned for more info on the matching socks.  I’m half finished with the first sock already.  I do have to be careful of my shoulder though.  After yesterday’s massage, complete with elbow in the shoulder work, my back is pretty sore.  I’m only doing some sewing today and very very little knitting.  Stupid shoulder.

Sweater Love

It’s about time I tell you about this sweater!  It’s finished and I’m thrilled that it’s still cool enough that I can wear it comfortably.

The pattern (in case you haven’t been following along) is the Smocked Cable Coat, published in Vogue Knitting.  The yarn is Madelinetosh Vintage in color Mourning Dove.  I knit it on US6/4mm needles.  The back and fronts were knit flat and seamed.  The sleeves were knit in the round and then sewn in.

I fell in love with this pattern as soon as I saw it and it seemed the perfect match for this yarn.  I wear a lot of blue and I will definitely get a lot of wear out of this sweater!  It really sucked up a lot of yarn though.  I used 9 skeins for this thing and normally 7 would be enough for a sweater for me.  The bottom is really full and skirt-like and all the cables make it thick and warm at the back.

It might look a little big on me, and I might have gotten away making it a size smaller, but I want to be able to wear it as a winter sweater with something substantial under it, so this is fine.  I also purposely made the sleeves this long.  They are kind of a ruffled look at the bottom and I liked them longer.

All in all it was a really fast, fun knit.  I highly recommend the pattern.  Be sure to check for errata though as there were mistakes in the printed version.

Here’s a photo of me sewing up the shoulder seam.  Unlike a lot of people, I really don’t mind sewing up garments.  Maybe that’s because I’ve done it a lot and I know quite well how to do it.  There’s no guesswork.  And a good seam is a beautiful thing, strong and functional.  You can’t even see where my side seams are, if I’m allowed to brag a little.

I’ll have more news about sweater construction, seams, finishing and all that in a later blog post.  I have some exciting news to report but it’s a little early to start blowing horns.

Anyway, you can bet I’ll be wearing this sweater every chance I get before it gets too warm outside.