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.

Moving, Test Knitting and Christmas

IMG_5849I can’t figure out what drove me to say “yes” to a test knitting project this close to Christmas when I knew I had several knitting projects that had to be completed before Christmas! What was I thinking? Oh, yes. Maybe I was thinking that the last sweater I test knitted for Lori was a big hit and I loved it and this one would be great, too?

So, I have set aside all the other projects in favor of “Open Star” by VersaciKnits. Lori designs classic and timeless sweaters for adults and children. I love her designs. Open Star is a cardigan with a classic shape and a unique stitch pattern that leaves a “lacey” look without being a lace pattern. Knit in a worsted- or aran-weight yarn, it’s a relative quick-knit. (I’d have had it done long ago if I hadn’t had to move into a new home two weeks before it was due to be completed.) Needless to say, my test knit is late this time. But I have enjoyed it … most of the time.

To complete this sweater, one has to be able to count to four and three. Sometimes this is a challenge for me. This is where I have made mistakes and had to frog back several rows (time after time.) To be fair, it can be a bit confusing when you get to the shaping of the shoulder and neck. But not confusing enough for me to have made so many silly mistakes. I think my head and heart were unpacking boxes when my hands were knitting.

I love the yarn that I chose and that is Quince and Co’s Lark in the Lupine colorway. The yarn is smooth and squishy and feels wonderful in my hands. It’s got a wonderfully soft hand and isn’t splitty. I love the color, too.

I am looking forward to finishing the sleeves so that I can assemble and wear this lovely cardigan … especially since this “winter” in Maine has been so warm. This would be the perfect “jacket” to wear out Christmas shopping!

Gone knitting!

We Interrupt This Life … Vacation Knitting

I just spent a lovely week with my siblings, some spouses and some kids on the “left coast”. Two days in Marin County where my “Irish twin” brother (not really but close enough) lives with his wife and two adorable daughters.

Horsey Rides

Horsey Rides

Happy Baby

Happy Baby

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Faye will be 3 in December and Lilah will be one at the end of November. They are precious! It was the first time any of us had met the girls and we all had a blast. Well, their parents are sleep-deprived because of Lilah’s teething. The rest of us thoroughly enjoyed our stay. The Aqua hotel in Marin was a perfect place to stay! They have rental bikes and a beautiful full breakfast buffet. In the evenings after dinner when the girls had to go to sleep, the rest of us sat in the lobby with Wendy (at the front desk) who poured us a glass of wine and baked us fresh hot cookies. She even got the nephews and a brother or two a glass of milk.

Sister selfie

Sister selfie

On Saturday we had to say farewell to my sister who was headed home to prepare for a bike trip to Italy. (She brought her bike to California and rode every day!) The rest of the crew headed out to Lake Tahoe, Nevada for a few days at the lake. Some fun pictures are at the end of this post!)

With all the family activity, I didn’t get a lot of knitting done. But I did do some.

My Arne & Carlos Regia sock number one is finished and sock number two is started. I love knitting with this yarn and I love the sock! I’m using Susan B. Anderson’s How I Make My Socks pattern which is a very simple, plain sock pattern and my Signature US 1 DPNs. Can’t wait to add them to my sock drawer. For now, they’re in time out so I can finish my test knit sweater. It’s called “Crew, by Lori Versaci of VersaciKnits. Knit with a DK yarn, I’m using Berroco Fiora in a deep teal color. (Color 3856, dye lot 83925) I am using my Knitters Pride interchangeable needles (US 5) and a 32 inch cord. The pattern is great and I love the drape of the fabric. I’m knitting two sleeves at a time to keep them even and (hopefully) accelerate the finish. I can’t wait to wear it! I’ve finished my Manos Serena shawl. It still needs to have the ends woven in and be blocked but in our little cabin there really isn’t room for me to block knitwear. If we have a sunny day tomorrow I may lay it outside on the grass. I’m eager to see it finished!

Gone knitting (deadline looms)!

Fay, Uncle Rick and Papa

Fay, Uncle Rick and Papa

Clowning around in the cul-de-sac

Clowning around in the cul-de-sac

Catching Crawfish (we cooked and ate them, too!)

Catching Crawfish (we cooked and ate them, too!)

Tahoe Mountains

Tahoe Mountains

Tahoe sky

Tahoe sky

Old wooden boat on the lake.

Old wooden boat on the lake.

Diane, Greg & Melissa - my cousins - at the beach picnic

Diane, Greg & Melissa – my cousins – at the beach picnic

Cousin Jack and Cousin Lily

Cousin Jack and Cousin Lily

Papa and Lilah

Papa and Lilah

Princess Faye -swimmer

Princess Faye -swimmer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crew – A Test Knit

 

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Crew

If I show you a picture of the finished sweater, I think Lori would have to kill me. (Not really.) But just in case, I wanted to show you my progress on my test knitting project for VersaciKnits.

I “worried” about the yarn for several days and finally just “bit the bullet” and bought some lovely Berroco yarn in their Folia line (40% cotton, 30% viscose, 15% alpaca, 10% nylon, 5% wool). It’s like a mutt blend of yarn with a little bit of everything. But I liked the soft hand and the gauge looked like it would match the pattern requirements. I bought eight skeins/hanks to make the size large in the teal blue color #3856 (dye lot 83925) and, of course, neither of my photographs is color-accurate! I’m knitting with a US 5 circular needle (Knitter’s Pride Dreamz).

IMG_5188I have nine or ten inches knitted up and I am loving the drape and feel of the fabric. I guessI should recheck the gauge to make sure I’m on target. My swatch was pretty much perfect. Stitches were spot on and the rows were a tiny bit shy of what was required but I didn’t block the swatch very aggressively and I know I could have made it work. I’ll remember that with the sweater pieces before I seam!

Our timeline is to have the sweater finished in four to six weeks. We got the pattern on July 16th and have had one update since then. I’d better quit blogging and get knitting!

Gone Knitting!