BEE-utiful!

Just Before Dawn

We woke up just before the sun rose this morning to this. How lucky are we to live here? It was a gorgeous day today. I ran into work to buy a pair of knitting needles because I need a US 10.5 sixteen inch for the sleeves of my Daytripper Cardigan … and I didn’t have one. All the sets and single needles that I own and I didn’t have a US 10.5 16″ needle! Good grief.

I got my car washed and then headed back home to enjoy the day.I made my famous granola and while I was in the kitchen, I decided to make some brownies for my sweet hard-working husband – with extra nuts and some granola for me. Cleaned up the kitchen after making a big mess and then went outside to knit in the sunshine.

I cast on a new project today. One that I have had in the lineup for long enough that it’s now a late birthday gift. I’m not going to share a lot of detail but it’s a special shawl/scarf for a special person. The original is iknit in bright primary colors but I chose to make it in a softer color combination. I hope it works. Today I got the first two sections finished (it’s a wee shawl) and started the third section. I’ve still got a way to go but it’s enjoyable for sure.

Wee Secret Project

This evening I got the sleeve on my Daytripper cardigan started. This was the reason that I needed the new needle. (And I’m sure I’ll find my 16″ US 10.5 now that I’ve bought a second. This happens all the time. I have several doubles of needles that I thought I didn’t own. Ha! Joke’s on me. Anyway … I got a few repeats of the decrease row done and that feels good. If I could focus on one project at a time, this sweater would probably be done. At the rate I’m going, it’ll be ready to wear in the fall.

Sleeve Island on my Daytripper

I got two of the three tams finished for a customer. One is black and the other is a forest green. Both are knitted up in Berroco Ultra Wool Bulky (100% superwash wool). These hats nearly knit themselves and I think this customer has had me knit ten of them so I almost know the pattern by heart. The pattern is called Quick Lacy Slouch Hat and it’s a free pattern on Ravelry. Knit on a US 10 16″ circular needle. Once blocked, these babies change their entire attitude. I have one more in Malabrigo Chunky and the order will be complete.

I’ve made progress on my Evolve cowl, too. This has been such a sweet surprise. I hadn’t expected to like the cowl or the yarn but both are proving me wrong. Don’t judge a book, right? The lace pattern is simple enough to not require too much concentration and the yarn is really pretty and feels so good! I’m looking forward to the blocking in the round tutorial, too. (Another piece will be finished just in time to launder it all and put it away until next fall.)

Gone knitting!

Nearly Done

This is my Neck Down Summer Cardigan by Knitting Pure and Simple. It is nearly done! I’ll be excited to get it off the needles when I complete the button band and front band. Which I am determined to do today!

I am knitting this sweater with a stashed yarn. A deeply stashed yarn that I have been carrying around with me for almost ten years. It may, in truth, be more than ten years. I don’t really remember. Anyway … the yarn is Elsebeth Lavold’s Tweedy Wool. It’s a (light) worsted weight yarn in wool with a bit of acrylic and viscose (the flecks). I’ve liked knitting with this yarn and the sweater is ok … I’m not sure I love the color any more but I’ll wear it … I think. 🙂

My swatch came out a bit off from the gauge recommended for the pattern. I decided to make the x-large rather than the large to compensate for my swatch rather than to change the needle size because I liked the way the fabric was when I knitted it on a US 7 needle. I wouldn’t have liked the fabric had I knitted with a larger needle.

The front bands shouldn’t use any more than the rest of one ball of yarn so I’m going to go out on a limb and say I used seven balls (50g, 136 yards each) of yarn to finish this sweater. It’s really cute and I’ll make it again. Initially, I just needed a good travel project … now I have a spring sweater. I think it’d be a fun one to knit in a solid yarn and embellish with some embroidery.

Knitting tip: When knitting the sleeve of this sweater, I wanted it to be around elbow length or just a touch shorter. Touching the top of the elbow. I alternated decreases, knitting two rounds, decrease a round and then knitting one round until I had 80 stitches. I did six rounds of ribbing so it wouldn’t roll and then bound off … but I bound off with the larger needle so I had some stretch! I don’t like it one little bit when the edge of knitted garments aren’t stretchy! This worked like a charm. Typically, when I am knitting garments, socks, etc. I bind off with a needle that is one or, in this case, two sizes larger than the one I was knitting with. I used a US7 for the body of the sweater and a US5 for the ribbing. I bound off with the US7.

My new favorite needles are the Chaio Goo Red Lace needles. I have three circulars. I used them all for this sweater and they make me happy. The tips are wonderful but the best part is the cords that have no memory and don’t get all tangled up in themselves. I’ll be buying more!

Gone knitting!

My Favorite Things!

Spring has arrived, finally, in Maine! I had completely forgotten that i planted these bulbs last year and it was the sweetest surprise when they popped up out of the dirt! I’ll add more because there’s nothing better than true signs of spring after a long winter!

When I was in New York City a couple of weeks ago, I visited Knitty City on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. What a lovely shop, and what welcoming people! I really enjoyed browsing the local yarns and I always like to see what shops carry that is different from what we carry at the Yardgoods Center.

I bought a couple of skeins of a new-to-me yarn dyed locally to New York. One fingering weight sock yarn and a mohair to go with it. I also bought a set of circular needles that I have learned are now my favorite needles. Chiao Goo Red Lace (with the red cord that has no memory!) The cords make knitting so much easier and I wish I had a complete set of them. We sell a set of interchangeable needles at our shop and they may have to be my next acquisition!!! I love them.

Thank you to our customer Kelly who introduced me to the Chiao Goo Red Lace needles by gifting me a US7 16 inch needle. It was such a nice surprise and I’ve, obviously, decided that I love it! They’ve got the best sharp tips and those cords are to die for!

On another note, I have finished my ginormous Boxet Bag with a pocket! It’s pretty heavy all by itself but I really like the way it turned out and I like the orange edge with the rainbow stripes! I’m not sure where this Boxet will be living but for now, it’s standing by itself in my studio.

Gone knitting.

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.