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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Scarborough Fair and Caledonian Mist Socks

Introducing the Scarborough Fair and Caledonian Mist Sock Pattern! Sometimes you want to knit a pair of socks that are more complex and take a little more time than a plain sock would, and sometimes you just need a simple sock to take with you on your day's adventures. This pattern has one design of each type, so you can choose your socks based on your schedule and knitting needs!


The first design, Scarborough Fair, is made of twisted, travelling stitches to give the look of cables at a scale appropriate for socks. This design also includes a Vikkel Braid, which nicely sets off the cuff from the rest of the design.


Best knit in a solid colored yarn or a handdyed "almost" solid color to really show off the complex stitch work, this pattern is fully charted for ease of knitting. While not difficult to knit, it does require some concentration but your efforts will be richly rewarded with this beautiful pair of socks. (Shown in Louet Gems Merino Fingering, Soft Coral - 8 stitches per inch in stockinette.)


The second design, Caledonian Mist, uses an easily memorized stitch pattern, is not charted, and is the kind of sock design that you can grab and go, knitting during the stolen moments of your busy day. This design will work well in virtually any yarn: solids, tonal colors, and even multi colored yarns. An added benefit of this design is that this particular stitch pattern can break up or in some cases eliminate the pooling of colors that sometimes occurs in patterned sock yarns. (Shown in Shibui Knits Sock in Breeze - 8 stitches per inch in stockinette.)


Complete directions for both designs, knit from the top down, are included in this single pattern!


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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A New Project

At the end of last year, I joined the Spunky Eclectic's Fiber of the Month Club. I signed up for the double batch of fiber (usually 8 ounces of fiber a month unless it's a luxury fiber, then it can be 4 ounces) because I figured 8 ounces would give me more to play with and also I feel like her price is REALLY reasonable, so why not? This is the January Fiber - Icelandic wool in the Snow Squall colorway. When I saw it in the bag, my heart did a little flip - I love these colors (they actually photographed a bit lighter than they really are). But when I stuck my hand in to feel the fibers, I realized that this was both coats of the Icelandic sheep.

(OK, I'm going to go all Animal Planet on you here and explain about dual coated sheep now - if you don't care, skip to the end of the paragraph.) A long time ago, back when our ancestors were living in small villages, living off the land in a more simple lifestyle - without electricity or all of our modern conveniences (no, not the 1960's - earlier), each village would have some sheep. Now they would be grazed all together (it makes it easier that way), even if they had different owners. This meant that all the sheep within a certain area were the same type of sheep - you didn't have a bunch of different breeds grazing together because sheep who graze together also breed together so any differences would be pretty much bred out (I'm not saying that some sheep might not have finer or coarser coats than other sheep in the communal flock, but if we were to look at the sheep of any given area, we would define it as a breed today.) If you only had one type of sheep in your area, that type had to provide everything - meat, wool for rugs and blankets, wool for outerwear, and wool for your baby's clothes. That's a pretty steep demand for any one sheep, but if a sheep had a dual coat, it was more useful for the multipurpose function it served in the community. The coarser wool came from the outer coat, while the undercoat was much finer, and by blending the two coats together you could spin a nice medium purpose yarn. This is why the more ancient breeds of sheep have a dual coat - they served many purposes in their communities. (Merinos didn't come along until later, when Western Civilization was more "civilized" and sheep could be bred for specific traits without sacrificing the community's ability to survive.) So, since Icelandic is one of the ancient breeds (Shetland is also and if you go back far enough, they're related), it has two coats: the Tog or outercoat, and the Thel or undercoat.

This roving, while beautiful, definitely has both coats and is coarse enough to the touch that I know I won't want it next to my skin. I do think though that it will make a very nice outerwear cardi - not a cute, little, fluffy thing, but a functional, warm cardigan that should stand up to many year's worth of wear and not bat an eye. Unfortunately, 8 ounces isn't enough to make a cardi with. So I went stash diving and this is what I came up with:

On the left is a Cotswold lambswool/Alpaca blend (Whipped Cream from Nistock Farms) which is soft and will also add drape. On the right are two colors of various finewools done in batts from Spinner's Hill (as far as I know, only available at fiber shows)- these will add a little bounce and softness. I will be adding 8 ounces of the Cotswold/Alpaca and 8 ounces total of the Spinner's Hill batts to the 8 ounces of the Icelandic.* I could spin up each fiber separately and then ply them, but I don't want a ragg yarn. I've decided that I will card all three types of fiber together to make a more blended yarn. Adding the white will give the yarn a bit of a heathered look and if the yarn spins up lighter than I'm wanting, I can always overdye it with a pale blue green to darken it up a bit. I've got a sneaky suspicion though that this will work without overdying.

Clearly, I have quite a bit of blending to do before I start spinning, but I think it might be fun to blog this process (in other words, I'm dragging you guys along for the ride on this) and see if it all turns out the way I think it will.

*I read somewhere that to make a sweater with a 40 inch bust, you needed 12 ounces of yarn in a fine weight, 20 ounces of yarn in a medium weight (I assume medium weight to be worsted), and 28 ounces of yarn in a heavy weight. These weights only apply to wool, but if you look at patterns and figure out the weights of the yarns called for in a 40 inch size, this is pretty accurate. 40 inches is bigger than I usually knit for myself so by following these weights for fiber purchases, it comes out with some extra for "just in case." It's not a precise science, but this is what I use for my jumping off point when figuring out how much fiber to buy.


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Berries A La Mode, All-A-Spun

As the title of today's post indicates, I probably shouldn't be allowed out of the house today, but I've finished spinning the singles of the Berries Merino! I will be letting them age for a week or so before plying, but it feels good to get them all spun. I feel like I started out pretty fast on this spinning project, but then I feel like I kind of lost interest. Over the last week or so I was able to get excited about finishing it up though, so I'll have finished yarn soon.

This will be a 3 ply yarn. Each skein will be approximately 8 ounces when it's finished (I know that because I started with a pound of roving), and I'm thinking of making a cardi from this - maybe a 3/4 sleeve, one button type of thing.

I'm going to be finishing up the pattern sock for, well, the sock pattern that I'll release Friday. I've started the toe decreases!


Monday, January 28, 2008

I have to show you this!

A while back, Mom asked what Caleb would like for Christmas this past year. We had been reading the Harry Potter books and after each book, we watch the movie. Well, I talked to Caleb and it turned out that he liked the red sweater at the end of the first movie (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone) the one Harry wears when he faces Professor Quirrell with Voldemort in his head. So Mom and I did some research on the sweater, I made some measurements from a favorite sweatshirt and she knit it for him. Here is her interpretation of that sweater. Last Friday Caleb got to wear it for the first time - it's been warm around here and even when it got cold, I won't let him wear it school on days that he has PE or on the day he has Art. Since he didn't have school last Friday and it was really cold, he finally got to wear it. As you can see, the sweater works really well for a nice posed picture. (I have no idea what was off to the right that he's staring at - most of the posed pictures have him staring off to the right for some reason.)
It's also fun to dance in!
And since he's seven, it's important that the sweater work well for being a monster and as you can see, he was able to scare off the dog in it!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Nothing to See Here, Move Along, Move Along

I can't show you what I'm working on because I've been knitting on the Public Pattern Version of the Scarborough Fair socks - and you can't see them until the pattern release next Friday. So, you can either use your imagination and picture the socks I showed last week (or the week before, I can't remember) in a different color - your choice, it's your imagination, OR you can go through the archives and look at pictures of Finn and Ramius (who always get way more comments than anything I actually knit, so I should probably turn the blog over to them anyway, except that Ramius is asleep upstairs and Finn is asleep next to me and since that pretty much sums up every morning around here so I think the blog would be sadly neglected if I let them run it. Also they don't run spyware checks and virus scans very well.)

If you decided to imagine the sock instead of looking at pics of the fuzz boys, you should picture it partway through the heel flap - if you're concerned about accuracy.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Your Weekly Berries Update

I've started Bobbin #5! I only have one more bobbin to go on this fiber, then I can ply it. I started this bobbin yesterday afternoon and I've spun about a third of the singles for it. The finished yarn will be a 3 ply in a DK weight (at least that's the plan) and I'll have two huge skeins of it when I'm done. I might see if I can get both this bobbin and the last bobbin spun up before the end of the week so I can get it plied next week, but we'll see.

I know last time I blogged this I said I was thinking of making it into a pullover, but today I'm thinking about a cardi for it. I guess I'll figure it out when it's time to knit it up!


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

It Has Begun

Do I really need to say anything about this?

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Friday, January 18, 2008


Yesterday it did this outside.

Norwegian Skier Hat done

Yesterday I did this inside.

All the details: Norwegian Skier Hat kit from Bea Ellis Knitwear, knit as the pattern directed - no changes by me (can you believe it?) I've still got to sew the cotton lining band to the hat, I just folded it up for the picture, but then it's done and Caleb can wear it.

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, January 17, 2008

Button, Button, Who's Got the Button?

Yesterday was spent sorting through papers for taxes and trying to get as much as possible organized. I also spun on more of the berries merino (BTW, I'm spinning this on my Kromski Symphony but I also have a Majacraft Rose - for the person who asked in the comments yesterday), but since I showed you that yesterday, I won't bore you with the same thing again so soon. Instead I thought I'd share a new source of buttons and shawl pins I recently came across.

As anyone who has knit a cardigan requiring buttons can tell you, the search for buttons can be brutal. The wrong button can kill a sweater, no matter how well designed, how well knitted and how fabulous the yarn is. The right button can make a design sing like a robin in Springtime. Finding the right button isn't always easy, and it can't just work colorwise and sizewise, it also has to be the right weight. A few weeks ago I found out about a new source for buttons that are now being made by a jewelry artist in lead free pewter - Annie Adams. I'm a big fan of metal buttons and these are pretty and interesting without being overwhelming to a design. She has them in several sizes and also has shawl pins and belt buckles in her designs. If your cardigan doesn't need buttons but uses a zipper pull, fear not! She has zipper pulls! All of her knitting notions (they're really jewelry for knitting) come in two different designs -

Aurora which is angular and has a bit of a modern feel while also reminding me of ice crystals.

Nova is more curvy and reminds me of growing things and to my mind, hints at the past without being frou frou.

I haven't used any of her buttons or other notions yet, but I think some of the smaller Nova buttons will look amazing with whatever I make from the Mojito Love in an Ice Blue Mist yarn that I spun a while back.

What are your favorite sources for sweater buttons? Leave a link in the comments if they're online!


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

More Berry Cobbler A La Mode

I've started on Bobbin 4 on the berry colored merino! Once I finish this one I'll be 2/3 of the way through with the spinning for this project. I'm not entirely sure what I'll do with the yarn, but I'm thinking of a pullover instead of a cardigan. Merino is next-to-the-skin-soft anyway and this is carded merino so it's spinning into what will be a soft, fluffy, bouncy yarn - it might very well be illegal NOT to make something that goes next to the skin out of this.

I got the extra needles I'll need for the Bohus sweater, but I'll probably wait until this weekend to begin it - just to make sure I don't have any interruptions.


Monday, January 14, 2008

Random Monday

Over the weekend I got a lot done on the Scarborough Fair sock for the pattern-for-the-general-public, but I'm not going to show it until I officially launch the pattern, so I've got nothing to show you today. Instead, I thought I'd mention a few random things that have been bouncing around in my mind lately.

First of all, I've gotten more emails than usual lately from people whose computers have crashed wanting me to resend patterns they've purchased. This is not a problem, but when you contact me for this, I'll need some information - for obvious reasons I'm not just going to email out pattern files to anyone who asks. If you'll give me the email address you use with your PayPal account and as close to an accurate date for the purchase as you can remember, I can look you up in the system. Once I verify that you did purchase the pattern, I'll send the file right out to you.

I'm not sure why there's been a rash of computer crashes lately- other than a virus the only way I know of to crash my computer is to put my address book into it - I tried it three times and each time the computer would crash within a week. I finally accepted defeat and bought a nice address book and keep track of thing the old fashioned way - on paper. The computer hasn't crashed since! Anyway, most of us are pretty good about backing up the REALLY important things on our computers, but I would strongly suggest that you find a way to backup your purchased patterns. There are more and more designers who are self publishing patterns and using efile delivery systems to get the patterns to purchasers now, so backing them up isn't really as crazy as it sounds. I have a thumb drive/USB Flash Drive that I use to keep purchased patterns on (as well as backup copies of my own pattern files) and this is probably one of the easiest ways to backup your pattern collection. You can get a decent sized thumb drive in the checkout lane of Target so it's not like you have to spend a lot of time looking for one at a computer store, and they're not expensive at all. Please note that I'm not suggesting that you backup your pattern files and share them with all your friends - that would be a copyright violation. I'm suggesting a backup for your own personal use, in the same way that many of us make a copy of a pattern we're working so we can keep notes on it and drag it around with us, while keeping the original neat and unmarked.

Has anyone else noticed that Spring is going to be bright and colorful? The few Spring lines I've started to see in stores and catalogs look just plain FUN! Very excited about having a colorful Spring this year.

Finally, (hey, I said it was going to be random in the title) if you're one of the gazillion people in the US who is trying to work out more this year (you should see parking over at the Park and Rec center in the afternoons - trying to get to swimming lessons is involving a hike just to get to the door) and you're starting to lose interest in your workout, or just want to add a new exercise or two, Shape Magazine has a website and you can pull up entire workouts or individual exercises to target specific problem areas. Some are pretty equipment intensive but some take no more than an exercise ball or dumbbells. Just thought I'd mention it since I'm one of those people who gets bored doing the same thing over and over for too long.

Friday, January 11, 2008

A Sneak Peek

A while back, I was contacted by Valerie from Yarn4Socks about doing a pattern for their Sock Club. Well, I did write a pattern and even got to collaborate with the yarn dyer (Madelinetosh)on the color for the sock club's December offering. You might remember that I mentioned it on the blog back in November sometime (or not - I don't remember what I had for dinner last night and that wasn't during the holidays).

Anyway, I had promised Yarn4Socks that I would give them an early release on the pattern and not release it to the public until the end of January. Since the sock club yarn is not to my knowledge, widely available (I'm pretty sure that the colorway - Nettle - was exclusive to the club), I decided to reknit the design in a yarn that is. What you might not realize is that in order to get a picture and test knit a design for a sock pattern, I only have to knit one sock. I suppose it would be a good idea to have a stunt double around, just in case, but so far I've been living dangerously and getting pictures and patterns finished before knitting the second sock. (Yes, here at Chez Pink Lemon, we do like to live on the edge!) This means that I only had one of the socks knit and I was fixing to knit the same design again in another yarn.

No matter what planet you live on, what your political affiliations are, and where you stand on how the toilet paper should come off the roll, having the same sock design in two different yarns that are two different colors does not make a pair. Common sense and knowing myself (I consider working with myself instead of against myself a sign of wisdom and maturity) kicked in and I decided to knit the second sock with the club yarn before starting the first sock in the other yarn. The other night I finished the second sock in the club colorway and was able to cast on with the new yarn, so I decided to show them to you as a teaser for the pattern that will be coming out at the end of this month. Unfortunately, it's rainy and overcast today, so I couldn't get a good picture of both socks, so you're going to get one of the pictures I took for the club pattern - but if you use your imagination, you can probably picture a second sock that looks just like the one in the picture.

So here it is: Scarborough Fair! There is a second sock design in the pattern as well, but you'll have to wait to see that one. The pattern will be released for sale to the general public at the end of the month!


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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Of course, I've started something new, again...

berries pullover1

This time it's not a cardi! A while back I had bought some Cascade 220 in a berry color (are we seeing a trend here?) with a purple/berry heather to use for hems with picot turning rows. (I just love the way you can add a different color with a picot turning row.) My idea was for a Saturday kind of pullover to wear with jeans. I went back and forth with design ideas, fitted, oversized, slightly shaped, boxy, scoop neck, V neck, jewel neck, raglan, set in sleeves, blah, blah, blah, and nothing was really jumping out at me in a THAT'S IT! kind of way. So the yarn sat in the stash, with the rest of the yarn in the stash, and waited. And waited. And waited. Periodically I would think about it and try to decide what to do with it - either a pattern or my own design, made up as I went along - but I wasn't really feeling inspired with any one idea.

The other day, I was wandering around Ravelry, as I tend to do, and clicking from one thing to another looking at patterns, and yarns, and then patterns that people had made with certain yarns, and then more examples of some of the patterns that seemed interesting, and you get the idea. Anyway, I ran across the Hourglass Pullover from Last Minute Knitted Gifts and thought, hey - it's a pullover, it's simple, it's got some shaping to it - I should use that for the Cascade 22o. So I got out the book, got out the yarn and started changing things.

First of all, it was knit at 19 stitches to 4 inches, which I could probably get with the Cascade 220, but that gauge seemed loose and I wanted a sweater that would stand up to being worn, even if it was just worn while I sprawled across the couch and watched Star Wars with Caleb. I decided to change the gauge. Also, I knew I wanted it to be longer than the original design. Finally, I didn't think I wanted the bell sleeves. Bell sleeves are beautiful and graceful and lovely to look at, but not always easy to wear (and have you ever tried to take anything out of the oven with bell sleeves? Yikes!). Also, if you look at the direction sleeves are going now, they are being gathered at the wrist with maybe a little bit of fullness, but not like giant puff sleeves. (Someday I will have to blog about this horrible dress that my mother made me wear when I was little that had giant puff sleeves - as you can see, I'm still traumatized by the whole experience.) I figure the way to avoid the whole sleeve issue is to make a classic tapered sleeve - it might not be 100% on trend, but it won't be dateable and it won't be a fire hazard, and besides classics are classics for a reason.

So, knowing that I was going to change the gauge, the length, and the sleeves on the design, I put the book back away (it's a lovely sweater, just not right for this yarn). Then I realized that what I really wanted was a sweater that fit the way my favorite T shirts fit - nice length, fitted enough that I don't look like a 12 year old boy, but not so fitted that you can see the cut of my bra. So I grabbed a T and a tape measure and went to work. I'm kind of designing as I go and changing my mind periodically. I still don't know if I'll do raglan sleeves or set in sleeves, but I don't have to decide right now. At this point, I'm to the waistline and I'm fixing to start doing bust increases. It's basically brainless stockinette so it's perfect for relaxing with in front of the TV!


Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Finn Blogs

Due to some freakishly warm weather the last couple of days, I was able to sort through some raw fleece* yesterday (definitely an outside job) and start washing it. It's been a while since Finn blogged, so I let him do the honors today. The following post is dictated by Finn.

Mommy did the most wonderful thing yesterday! She went up to the magic room, where I'm not really allowed (but since they took down the gates, I sneak up there sometimes when no one's looking) and she brought down a box. I have never in all my days seen or smelled such a wonderful box. If I could have rolled in the box, I would have but Mommy was watching the box too closely.

She took the box outside and very rudely left me in the house, but I could look out the window and did you know if you smoosh your nose up to the edges of sliding glass doors, you can get the scent molecules? Just a tip in case you ever get left inside while someone is doing what Mommy was doing. She opened the box and pulled out the second most glorious thing ever (the first being meatballs - I mean it's meat in a ball, what genius came up with that one?) - raw fleece! Have you ever smelled raw fleece? It's fabulous! Sheep must be the most amazing animals ever! I'm trying to get Mommy to get one but she mutters about the HOA and won't let me have one. I mean I would let it share my crate with me and we could take it on walks and does anyone know if sheep bite or have big claws? Because the cat does and I mean seriously, just 'cause someone knocks you over repeatedly with their ginormous puppy feet is no reason to jump on them and try to eat their eyeballs, so maybe we could trade in the cat for a sheep! I bet sheep don't meow at night either. Do sheep even talk? Man, I wish I lived on a farm! Then I could have sheep and I bet they wouldn't mind if I licked them and snarfled them a bit and maybe they would let me roll on them when they napped. I would share my tennis balls even! Yummy, yummy sheep!

After Mommy went through all the fleece (I don't know why, but really, do you have to have a reason to handle something that smells that good?) and shook it out , then she put some of it into these bags and the rest into a basket - the kind where the clean laundry goes (not a bad option to roll in if you have no raw fleece around) and then THE FLEECE CAME BACK INSIDE! Oh Joy, Oh Rapture, Oh Waggy Wag Wag!

The fleece in the special bags went into the big white box that the dirty clothes go into (also not bad to roll in - come to think of it, pretty much anything is good to roll in) and while she was messing with that...

I PULLED SOME OF THE FLEECE IN THE BASKET OUT AND ATE IT! YUM! Of course then she came out of the laundry room and fussed at me, so I swallowed really quick before she could stick her fingers in my mouth (man, she must like to do that, 'cause she sure does it a lot). I hope she puts that basket back where I can reach it because I bet I could get more fleece out.

I'm worn out now after all that excitement so I'm going to go fall asleep with my legs in the air. I think I'm going to ask for a sheep for my birthday! Does anyone know when my birthday is? I can't reach the calendar.

*The fleece that I was messing with was 3# of Polypay that I got last March (surprisingly, it hasn't hardened up or gotten yucky) from Homestead Wool and Gift Farm. While it wasn't a coated fleece and has some dirt in it, I didn't find any dung tags, there is minimal VM and only a few short cuts/second cuts in the whole batch. I don't really know what I'll do with it yet, but it needed to be washed before the lanolin did harden up and make cleaning it harder to do.


Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Every Journey Begins With a Single Step

After MS3 wound down, late last Summer, I did a little shopping to treat myself for surviving it. Shopping in Sweden to be precise (OK, it was online, but with the Internets you can shop in Sweden - it's easy). I picked up a few of the Bohus knitting kits from Solveig Gustafsson. I had been drooling over these (although in a delicate and charming way, not the way Finn drools on Ramius) for a while and decided to splurge.
For those of you who aren't familiar with the Bohus designs or these kits, these are put together with yarn that is spun especially for them as close to the traditional yarn as they can get, which is a fingering weight fine wool/angora blend (yummy doesn't even begin to describe this yarn - this is the kind of stuff you want to strip down and roll around in nekkid - maybe too much information there, but you get the idea, ahem). Then the colors are hand dyed to match the originals, the designs are reproduced from the original charts and directions, and we can purchase them as kits either from Solveig or (I believe) through the Bohus Museum. As I understand it, Solveig is doing this singlehandedly and without an apprentice, so my guess is that these kits (which are about as historically accurate as you can get) will not be available forever.
The yarn you see above is for the Grey Mist design with the folded down neckband. (Click on the link above for Solveig's website and Click "Nyheter" at the top to see pictures of the Bohus kits she has available. Scroll down for the Grey Mist design.) The color that's in the two big yarn balls shown is the main color and there is more of it, but I didn't put it all in the picture. Each skein of yarn came labeled with a number that corresponds to the chart and there is also a small yarn sample of each color attached to the chart to help keep me straight as I knit. The directions do come in English, which is good since my Swedish is extremely limited (or perhaps non existent would be a better way to describe it). I am currently waiting for a needle to come in the mail since I didn't have all the needles I needed to get started, and then I will cast on. This will probably be an ongoing project, not one I crank out in a week or so - definitely more about the journey, and not so much about the destination, but I won't blog every stitch I take - don't worry.
If you're interested in ordering one of the kits, there is an email address on her home page and you can drop her an email with what you're interested in and a shipping address and she'll get back to you with a price. Solveig does speak English very well (again, with the limited/non existent Swedish thing, this is good) and while I don't remember exact prices (which are also dependent on the value of the dollar to the Swedish Kroner), I think that the kits come out under $200 including shipping. This seemed pretty reasonable to me for a historically accurate, hand dyed kit with such a luxurious yarn.

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Monday, January 07, 2008

A Finished Cat Blanket, I Mean Cardigan!

lady of the lake cardi done

I got the Fleece Artist Lady of the Lake Cardi finished this weekend! It's amazing what blocking this thing did for it. Before blocking it was short and boxy and nothing special. Now, after blocking its long and more flowing and of course, fluffy. If you look at the picture of it on the sites that have it for sale (feeling link lazy, scroll down to Thursday of last week and use those links), they've pinned it just below the collar which gives it one look. If you look at the way I've posed it with Ramius, you can see that if I were to pin it at the bust line, I would get the look of lapels, a V neckline and a completely different look. I also made sure that I made the sleeves long enough for my arms, something that bugged me about the original was the way the sleeves hung on the model's arms. I still have quite a bit of yarn left over after finishing it.

Details and changes I made: Fleece Artist's Lady of the Lake Cardi kit in the burgundy colorway. I made the small size which is for a pretty big 40 inch bust size (I didn't block it this wide because 40 inches is bigger than I need, even for a jacket). Someone left a comment the other day, worried about how to divide the yarn into two equal balls - there are two different yarns in the kit. If you open it up, you'll find a smooth yarn (Kid Aran) - and I actually had 2 skeins of this: one big and one halfsize, and a loopy yarn in it's own big skein. I used the loopy mohair for Yarn 1 and the Kid Aran for Yarn 2 (the pattern doesn't really specify which yarn to use where and honestly, it probably doesn't matter too much since you have the same yardage for each). I used 6.5 mm needles in metal because they give me looser tension than wooden ones and I didn't have the 7.0mm needles the pattern called for. I also started with a provisional cast on instead of the two yarn cast on they called for. You start at one of the underarms and after you've knit across the back and the front on one side, you go back and pick up stitches and do the other front. This did mean that one of my underarm sections has one fewer row to it than the other, but this was necessary to stay in the stitch pattern and in this yarn, it really doesn't show.

Oh, and someone else left a comment the other day that they were interested in purchasing the pattern without the kit - you might try contacting Fleece Artist directly, you might be able to buy it separately.


Friday, January 04, 2008

Berry Cobbler a la Mode

Have you ever had a hot berry cobbler, put vanilla ice cream on it and then stirred the whole thing up until it's a purple and white swirled soupy, yummy mess? That's what the color of this roving is. It finally hit me that I was spinning berries and ice cream together. I've got two bobbins completely finished and I'm almost done with the third, which is the halfway point. Oh, and in case you forgot, this is the Merino Roving from Ohio Valley Natural Fibers that they called Red, Purple, and White. I think my name sounds yummier, don't you?

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, January 03, 2008

Something New!

Lady of the Lake cardi1

Once I got the sleeves of the red cardi pinned out to block on December 23, I jumped right into a new project - Fleece Artist's Lady of the Lake Cardigan! I got the kit from Tidal Brook Yarns on eBay, but Colorsong Yarns also carries them. The thing with Fleece Artist is that if you like a design, but don't see it in the color you like, you keep looking because they have such a huge range of colors that it's pretty much impossible for any one store to stock every color. (After adding the links to the store's to this post, I see that both stores are pretty picked over right now, but I'm sure they'll get more in soon.)

My kit was in the Burgundy colorway and as you can see it has a bunch of berry shades mixed with a bit of a pinky, coppery brown color. I've got the body finished and one sleeve done and have started the second sleeve. Once that's done I'll do the collar, block the whole thing (it will get longer in the blocking) and it will be done! It's knit with two different yarns, one row each, but surprisingly, isn't really as fiddley as you would think. I did decide to knit the sleeves in the round instead of flat like the directions say, but once I got going that wasn't too bad either. One thing I'll just say here: the pattern calls for 7.0 mm needles which have no US equivalent. You can order a 7.0 mm needle, but if you don't pay attention when you order your kit and don't order a needle at the same time, then you might want to cast on and start your project instead of waiting for a needle to get to you (ahem). I just used a 6.5 mm needle from my KnitPicks set - the original metal ones, not the wood ones - because those are so slippery that my tension is looser on them anyway. It worked, I've got gauge, and I've almost got cardigan! Yeah for fast knits!


Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Happy New Year!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year or whatever you celebrate at your house (Festivus anyone?) We had a nice, quiet Christmas and never quite made it out of pajamas all day, which is always a good thing. I'm glad that the Christmas season is over since I never really got into the spirit of it this year and I'm REALLY glad to see 2007 go. There were some good moments, but overall it was not a good year.


On the knitting front, I finished the red cardi on Christmas Eve. You'll just have to trust me that it looks cute on because no one is around who can take a picture of it right now and Finn can't work the camera. Ramius does think it makes a lovely blanket though.

All the details: Here is the pattern (free!), but I made some changes. I used a different yarn (Elann's Peruvian Quechua in Exotic Red - an Alpaca/Tencel blend) and it curled like crazy so I added hems to the lower edge and sleeves and worked the body in the round to the underarms. I also took out the flared cuff on the sleeve as the pattern has it and made the sleeve a classic tapered shape - it worked better with the hem. I made the size Small and used pretty much all of 8 balls of the yarn. It's just a simple little cardi and perfect to toss on over jeans and a tee. I think I'll be able to wear this until it falls apart on me!

Tomorrow - what did I start on December 23 while I was waiting for the cardi to block?