I Heart Aran – Nearing the Finish Line

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I Heart Aran by Tanis Fiber Arts – blocking!

I started knitting the I Heart Aran sweater by Tanis Fiber Arts in early September. It’s a 32nd birthday gift for my eldest daughter. I’m not sure how she got to be so old when I remain young and nearly the same age as she! Kate chose the sweater pattern from Ravelry and this was the one she loved the most. This morning I finished the knitting and it’s blocked. Woo! Hoo!

I was gifted the yarn by my sister-in-law, Annie, who found it and some purple at an estate or garage sale several years ago. For ten dollars! She’s a very thoughtful person and I’m delighted to be able to make a sweater with five of the ten skeins of ivory/aran color that she gave me which leaves several skeins for me to make something for Annie! It’s Shetland by Jaeger (80% wool, 20% alpaca 100 g/166m). The hand on this yarn is wonderfully soft thanks to the alpaca. It was great to knit with – not splitty and no little bits of wool all over my dark jeans. Because it’s an Aran weight yarn and the sweater was rather small, it knit up in no time at all. It helped, too, because the sleeves and back are all a very simple, almost boring, stockinette. If I were going to knit this sweater again, I’d consider adding a cable up the sleeves or on the back or both. The stitch definition is amazing and there is enough wool so that the sweater shouldn’t stretch out (or grow!)

Superior Stitch Definition

Superior Stitch Definition

I used my good old Hiya Hiya Interchangeable needles with the US6 and US8 tips. I used the US6 tips only for the sleeve ribbing and chose to use the US8 (not the US6 as written in the pattern) because I don’t love sweaters with very tight ribbing at the waist. Hiya Hiya Interchangeables are decent needles. The join is mostly smooth. The tips could be pointier.  They were ok for this project because the yarn is heavy enough and the cables weren’t too tight. I chose to knit flat on my circular needles. You could also have knitted this on straight needles.

A good set of schematics make blocking so much simpler!

A good set of schematics make blocking so much simpler!

One of the things I liked about this pattern is that it had a perfect schematic so that when I was blocking (and knitting) I knew exactly what the measurements were to be. This makes my life as a pattern-follower so much easier than when I have to go back into the pattern to decide what the measurements are – and Tanis even added the measurement that is supposed to be across the neck (3″) to eliminate any guesswork. Thank you! The directions were clear and concise.

There was only one place where I was unsure of the directions and I think it was the knitter not the instructions after a quick discussion with knitwear designer Lori Versaci of VersaciKnits.

If it says, “Dec every 8 rows”, you should make the first decrease after 8 rows. If the designers means for you to make the first dec on the next row then start every 8 rows, the directions should say, “Dec on next and then every 8 rows” or something like that!

– Lori Versaci, VersaciKnits

Fortunately, I had figured it out because the decrease instructions all happened on the RS (right side) rows which meant that it was going to have to happen on rows 1 and 9 not on row 8. Being thoughtful, taking a pause to think about my knitting answered the question for me. A life lesson put to use in my knitting yet again.

I block everything on my guest room bed. Today I have two projects blocking – a hat for a customer and the sweater. I can’t wait until it’s dry and can be assembled and I can knit the collar. Then we can choose a button on Tuesday when I’m at the yarn shop and send it off to Kate who is in rehearsal for Carousel which will open later this month at the Arena Stage in Washington, DC. I know it’s sweater weather in Maine (at least in the morning and afternoon) but I’m not sure about the Washington area.

I’ll show you the finished garment in a day or two!

Gone knitting.

Spud and Chloe Little Boy Blue Baby Hat – in progress

It must be time for a post about knitting! (Ya think!?)

Heirloom Stitches "Little Boy Blue Hat"

I’m making a baby hat for my sister to present as a baby gift for a friend (booties will be knitted to match). I bought a pattern and yarn in Cincinnati when I was there to be a back-up support for my kids. Who knew that I could love a yarn so much?

So, here are the details.

1. LYS – Fiberge in Montgomery, Ohio. Fiberge has changed hands and moved to a new location since I lived in Cincinnati. it’s still a nice little yarn shop, however. The selection of yarns is delicious – and I had a difficult time figuring out what I wanted to knit with. Always a good thing! I decided to be responsible and since I had just purchased a ball of really special novelty yarn here in Florida for me, I bought a pattern and yarn for one of my orders … which leads us to the pattern.

2. Pattern – Heirloom Stitches‘ Little Boy Blue Hat (you can find the pattern on Ravelry (Ravelry dot com) or on the designer’s site  … click here to be magically transported. It’s a really sweet classic Aran design with seed stitch (my favorite these days) and cables. Sized to fit a 12-24 month baby … always a good thing when you’re knitting for a new baby. They always get tons of tiny clothes and nothing to “save for later”. Anyway, I loved the pattern and it’s a breeze to knit! Pattern calls for US #7 needles and a yarn that Fiberge didn’t have but gauge is 5 sts = 1 inch. So, I picked …

3. Yarn – Oh. My. Goodness! I totally love the yarn that I chose to knit this hat! Spud & Chloe by Blue Sky Alpacas “Sweater Worsted” is a worsted weight superwash blend of 55% wool and 45% organic cotton. (They’re going to love that part in California!) Color is, again, that classic Aran ivory (color #7500 “Ice Cream” – love the name! – , lot # 0831). I simply love knitting with this yarn. It doesn’t split or pill and it’s so soft! The baby’s head will not be itchy at all and it’s knitting up to be so cute! I think I may be in love! 🙂

The hat takes a few hours to complete  – hey! I’m a purposeful knitter … each stitch is thoughtful and meditative. Therapeutic. Imbued with love and peace with wishes for health and happiness for the recipient.

I’ll post finished pictures later. But now, I’m gone knitting!

On the Needles

I started a new project last night. The “Munchkin Boq” sweater … chunky cables for my little boy. This is a new design using the Aran cables that I love so much. The idea for an Irish knit little dog sweater to add to the Prima Dogma line that I’m designing came to me the other day. I’m using some stashed wool for the first iteration and will find some lovely pure wool for the next ones made.

When there’s enough for you to see, I’ll post photos. It feels good to be knitting!

Update: May 19, 2011

Here’s the progress to date!

Closeup of X and O (Kisses and Hugs) Munchkin Boq Sweater copyright 2011 Prima Dogma by Queen Bee Knits