Saturday, March 26, 2011


So, I am almost back in the habit of blogging regularly. It is at least back on my mind on a regular basis. I think I will get there.

I actually have much to talk about, but haven't been taking photos. When I tried to do it this afternoon my camera died. I only managed to get a few photos. So, I'll share everything else another time.

I finished the top down sweater a couple of weeks ago. I absolutely love it, though it did turn out a bit larger than I expected it to. The unspun Icelandic was wonderful to work with, and I will definitely use it again. This sweater is thick, and warm!

I will also definitely be using Barbara Walker's top down method for sweaters again. Being able to try the sweater on as you are making it really helps, and it was so much easier than I expected it to be.

I have put the blue ski sweater on hold for a bit. I didn't like the way the sleeves were coming out. So, I decided to stuff the whole thing in the closet, and take it out in a few weeks when I can have a fresh perspective.

I hadn't been crocheting lately, and one evening two weeks ago I was really longing to have a hook in my hand. So, I dug out a basket of scraps & odd balls, and a big bag of natural Irish wool my brother had picked up for me at a yard sale, and got to work on a scrap afghan.

There are 36 nine inch squares here. I intend to have a total of 48, to make the center of the blanket 54" x 72". I'll then add a striped border that (if I have enough yarn) will bring the dimensions to 66" x84".

I hope to be posting about the other things I have going on in the next week. If I can only remember to buy batteries...

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I Think It Might Just Work

I think I may just be able to get back in the habit of blogging regularly. I had intended to post last week, but the flu got in the way. I am back this week, though.

Last week's post was going to be about projects I had completed in my long absence, but after two weeks I have so many other things to post about I will play catch up another time.

While I was sick I spent several days confined to my room. Most of that time was sleeping, but there were several stretches of several hours in which I couldn't sleep at all. During that time my joints hurt too much to knit, and my head and eyes hurt too much to read. I almost went completely crazy until I realized I could actually tolerate spinning with out an excess of discomfort. It had been quite some time since I had sat down at my wheel, and I really loved it! First I spun a bobbin very fine brown cashmere. Then I spun a bobbin of fine-ish, but slubby white yak. Then I dug out a bobbin of finely spun camel down from ages ago. I plied them all together into this beautiful worsted weight yarn. I have about 200 yards, with lots of camel and cashmere left over. I used all of the yak, but I am thinking of ordering more so I can spin up another couple hundred yards of this amazing stuff. I'm picturing a sweater made with half comercially spun, smooth yarn, and half with this.

After my last post I got several comments about how I knit a sweater on the fly with no planning/swatching/measuring. Well, this current WIP is the complete opposite.
Made with Classic Elite Skyy Tweed that I got on close out forever ago, this will eventuallly be a Scandinavian Ski Sweater. This is the entire body. When the sleeves are done sleev openings will be steeked out of the colour work portion, and the top with be joined at each side for the shoulders with live stitches left in the center to work a collar.

This project definitely required a great deal of planning. I am using Elizabeth Zimmerman's instructions for the sweater proportions/construction, and all of the patterns are from Luise Robert's 1000 Great Knitting Motifs.

The electronically sharpend, and back-lit image actually shows the colour-work in a bit more detail than the naked eye. Because the light blue has flecks of dark blue, and the dark blue has flecks of the light, the patterning is actually more subtle in reality. I really like it. You have to give it a good look to really make out what's there.

This will be my first time steeking a major project like this. Everyone seems to think I should be nervous, but I'm really kind of excited to do it. I'm sure I will be blogging more about it when the time comes.
After all the intense planning, and colour work of the ski sweater I really needed another casual, intuitive project. Actually, I had expected to do much more planning and swatching for this piece, but it just wanted to work itself into a sweater naturally.
I had bought some unspun icelandic, because I've just been dying to try it. This past weekend I was dragged to an evening of Bingo, and decided I needed some knitting on hand to keep me from going nuts. Since the ski sweater was not at a point that I knit with out giving it total attention I grabbed some of the icelandic, with the idea of doing some swatching.
I cast on 60 sitches, and worked 1X1 ribbing for two inches, then switches to stockinette. After a couple of rounds I realized I already had a perfect collar.
I had been wanting to try a pattern from Barbara G Walker's Knitting From The Top, and the perfect moment was born!
When I bought the wool I was thinking of another icelandic yoked sweater, but I quickly realized I liked the weight and thickness of the fabric just as it was, and didn't care to incorporate any stranding. So, I decided on this fading stripe pattern to give this sweater a little visual interest. In the photo the yoke is complete, and I have knitted down the body just a couple of inches.
I am having so much fun with knitting this sweater top down. The method really lends itself to knitting with out much planning. Once I knit the neck, I checked my gauge, and figured out how many stitches I would need to increase over the progression of the yoke. Once all of the yoke stitches were on my needles I tried it on to see how much longer I wanted it before splitting off the body, and arms.
Once I made the split I tried it on, decided I wanted more room in the under arm, ribbeb back a few rows to the full yoke, and knit again until I was satisfied. It will be great when I get to the waist and sleeves to be able to try it on, and be able to really see when it's the perfect length.