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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

What's This?


This is the yarn for my next project, once I finish October Frost. I can tell you that I'm using Bonne Marie's new Basic Chic Hoodie Pattern for the pattern, but as you can see from the yarn colors, I'm going to take it offroad! You'll just have to wait and see what I do with it, but since I got the rest of the yarn in the other day, I thought I'd share.

If you've never knit a Chic Knit pattern, you really should. Bonne Marie's patterns are classic, timeless, and wearable in real life (this is an important part of handknits). She just released a couple of patterns in her Basic Chic Collection - there is the Hoodie and a Pulli. (At this time, I think the Hoodie is only available through retailers who carry Chic Knits patterns - I got mine from The Loopy Ewe. The Pulli is available for download through the Chic Knits site.) To be perfectly honest, (and just in case you're wondering, I don't get any kind of kickback for this) I think every knitter should own both patterns. Beginning knitters will enjoy them because they are basic sweater patterns that give enough shaping that you'll be happy with the finished garment. More advanced knitters will use them as a template for adding stitch patterns and color work. I think at some point, every beginning knitter sees something in a store or catalog and wants to make it, but if they can't find a pattern for it, they give up. If you have a simple pattern for a classic shape, you can just plug in whatever colorwork or stitch patterns you're using, and assuming you keep your gauge, it will work. It's basically the first step of designing and will give a knitter confidence to try more difficult things. When you're just learning how to put stitches and shapes together to create things in knitting, it helps if you begin with a basic structure that has already been tested. Now I'm NOT suggesting that anyone redo one of these patterns and offer it for sale - that's a copyright violation and against the law. Making tweaks and changing stitches and patterning for your own personal use however is perfectly allowable in copyright law and is a great way to learn.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

October Fronts

October Frost Fronts 2

Moving right along on the October Frost fronts! I think I'm about 12 rows away from the armhole shaping. This is a modified drop shoulder style so armhole shaping consists of binding off some stitches on the arm side of the fronts and then continuing straight. Not too dramatic, but it does mean fewer stitches, which means it should go even faster. Since the fronts don't increase every 4 rows like the sleeves did, they are in fact, much faster to knit. I'm enjoying this cardi, but it's definitely not one I can knit on autopilot and if I'm tired or distracted, I make mistakes. Also, I really can't wait to see this one finished!


Monday, July 28, 2008

You Say Fall Sports, I Say Wardrobing Opportunity

Merletto Mitts 1

This Fall, Caleb will be playing sports again (sorry to be so mysterious, but I'm not going to share more than that with the Internet). As I've learned from previous Fall Sporting Things we have done, sitting in a lawn chair in the evening for an hour while he practices on a field with no trees to stop the wind (I understand why fields don't have trees, but it just makes it colder) gets pretty cold starting around mid to late September and by October I'm frozen solid. This time, I'm going to be prepared. As soon as we got him signed up, I started thinking about staying warm. The first thing I did was wander around Ravelry to see what I could find in hand coverings. (If you've been reading this blog for very long, you realize that keeping up with cardigan production is not a problem around here.) I found several options using sock yarn which, as any sock knitter can attest to, tends to multiply like rabbits on a carrot farm, and it wears well.

For my first item of Clothing to Keep Me From Becoming A Mom-Cicle, I am working on a pair of Merletto Mitts (free pattern!) I'm using a skein of Mountain Colors BearFoot in the Moose Creek colorway. This is a fairly easy fingerless mitt pattern, which is useful worn alone or pulled over a pair of gloves as a second layer when it's really cold. I've worked this pattern almost completely as it's written and as you can see, it has a good long section below the hand to protect the wrist from freezing wind in the gap you can get between your sleeve and the mitt if you don't knit your mitts long enough. I've finished the first mitt except the thumb (whose stitches are held on a piece of waste yarn) which I'll do when I finish the second mitt. I like to work both mitts, then both thumbs.

I did make two changes and I'm glad I did. The first thing I did was to change needle size - the pattern calls for US 2's but that sounded big to me and since my hands are smaller than average (most 7 inch bracelets don't have to be undone for me to get them off) I decided to go with US 1.5's for needles. This still gives me a mitt that's got room for a glove underneath but it's not too floppy for me to wear either. The other change I made was to the thumb location. The vast majority of fingerless mitts place the thumb at the halfway point between the palm and the back of the hand. This works fine when you work the mitts in stockinette or all over ribbing. But I've learned the hard way that when you add a pattern to the back of the hand however, it will be pulled towards your thumb as you wear it, leaving a blank space on the outside edge of your hand. This is because the thumb doesn't grow out of the exact side of your hand - it's farther around on your palm. Unless you walk around with jazz hands all day, you're going to end up with wonky mitts. I've discovered through some experimenting that if I use 40% of the stitches for the palm, then work the thumb and allow 60% of the stitches for the back of the hand, I can keep the fancy patterning on the back of the mitt without walking around with jazz hands all day (it's very hard to drive that way). So, when I began the thumb gusset on these mitts, I worked the back of the hand pattern, worked 5 stitches in stockinette for the side of the hand and then began my thumb gusset and then worked the remaining palm stitches. This keeps the thumb where the thumb really is and the back of the hand stays nicely patterned. (When you do this, like any pair of patterned mitts, you have to make the second one with the thumb on the other side of the palm.)


Friday, July 25, 2008

October Frost Fronts

October Frost Fronts

I have started the fronts - both at once as you see here. I'm not all the way through the first repeat of the cable pattern for the fronts and I've already miscrossed a cable and had to drop stitches and loop them back up. Hopefully this will be the only time I have to do for the fronts. I washed the sleeves yesterday, not because they were dirty (Finn's kisses aren't dirty) but because it makes the yarn (Peace Fleece - Samantha Katya Pink) soften up, it makes the mohair bloom a bit, and after washing, I can block them while they're wet.

If you've never used Peace Fleece, you should give it a try. I've found that the worsted weight is comfortable knitted at 16 stitches over 4 inches (which is bigger than worsted weight, but they sell it as either worsted and sport weight). When you first get the skeins, the yarn feels very compact and has kind of a rustic, scratchy quality to it. Knitting with it feels different from most yarns - it's not really soft, but you can tell that whatever you're making will probably last forever without pilling. You don't really notice the mohair in the yarn either, while you're knitting. Once you wash Peace Fleece, it really comes alive. The scratchy qualities go away (although I still wouldn't want it next to my skin on my neck and chest - it's fine on arms though), the mohair blooms and makes it's presence known (not even really a haze - no where near the fuzz of La Gran), and the yarn plumps up and fills in the stitches. The more you wear it and wash it the better it gets. When I saw this cardigan pattern I could tell it would be a warm, workhorse kind of cardi - the type I throw on over my PJ's to take Finn out in the morning, tossed on to walk Caleb to school, and kept on all day long. You can't use a Merino yarn for this type of garment - it won't last a full season without pilling and looking sad. Peace Fleece is the kind of yarn that will rise to the challenge and not only last a season, but last for years, only getting better.

I promised a bit of a button Show and Tell today. I went through my button stash and didn't really find much of anything I liked, but here are two of the new button styles I got from Button Drawer. I've also got some on back order - they are Celtic Horse buttons and are 1 inch across. They are another possibility for this sweater, but I won't know until they get here and I can see them.

October Frost Buttons

On the lower left is a dragon button - I couldn't pass these up. They are smaller than 1 inch (either 3/4" or 7/8", I can't remember) and probably aren't big enough for this cardi, but I just love them. On the lower right is a floral design with swirly things it has kind of a William Morris look to it and I'm really leaning towards this one for October Frost. If the horse buttons show up before I'm done, I'll decide between those and the one on the lower right, otherwise, this will be the button for my cardi. At the top is a fancy kilt pin (basically a big, honkin' safety pin) that I thought might be fun to use to pin a sweater togther. Neither Oblique nor the Minimalist Cardi have fastenings and using this pin would give either of them a completely different look. It's too heavy for a shawl, but it should work just fine on a sweater.

Have a great weekend and next week, I'll find Something Else to work on, so you don't have to look at October Frost all week!


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Finished Sleeves

october frost sleeves done

This seems to be a week of sleeves, but that's because that's what I've been spending most of my time on lately. I did finish the sleeves the other night, and while I'm only showing one sleeve in the picture, they're both finished. Since they look the same and it's easier to get one in a picture than two, that's the way I'm photographing it/them.

Since I finished the sleeves up, I've cast on for the fronts of this cardi (October Frost from A Fine Fleece). I had originally planned on working the back after the sleeves, but the shaping on these pieces is very simple, so I decided to go ahead and finish both fronts (also worked both at the same time, like I did the sleeves) and then do the back. I also got most of my button order in yesterday, so I'll show you those and the buttons in my stash that might work for this cardi in tomorrow's post.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

More Sleeves

october frost sleeves 5

Last night I sat down and finished knitting the last few rows of the sleeves. I'm now to the saddle shoulders which are much narrower than the sleeves and should go much faster. Hopefully the next time you see them, they'll be done. I'm hoping that after working the sleeves, I'll have a better feel for the cable pattern for the fronts and back (although I know the cables are slightly different, they are related to the sleeve cables).

In the meantime, I went button shopping. Since I love cardigans the way I do (is there a 12 step program for this?), I try to keep a stash of buttons around that are cardigan appropriate. Cardigan appropriate for me means fairly large-ish and not too heavy (don't want to stretch out the sweater) and not cheap looking. The other day I hit Button Drawer and found some nice buttons for 4 or 5 sweaters. I don't really have definite plans for any of the buttons, but I need buttons for this sweater as well as the next few I'm planning to knit so I kind of shopped with those in mind, without deciding on any one set of buttons for a specific sweater. As soon as the buttons get here, I'll show them to you.


Monday, July 21, 2008

An Interesting Weekend

Yes, we did have an interesting weekend. Not a lot done on the fiber front, but interesting (in a good way). Friday afternoon Mickael and I went to see the The Dark Knight (Caleb went to play at one of our neighbor's homes ). The movie was great but about 5 minutes in, we realized that not bringing Caleb was really a great parenting choice on our part. I won't spoil it for anyone who hasn't seen it, I'll just say it's very dark and if you don't have clown issues going into the movie, you will when you come out. I've been creeped out by clowns for years now, so it really just reaffirmed my belief that clowns are bad and not to be trusted.

After the movie, the neighbors brought Caleb to meet us at a Mexican restaurant and we all had a fun dinner. Then we (Mickael and Caleb and I) went to Best Buy to find a game Caleb has been wanting for the PlayStation. We didn't find the game, but we finally found a Wii system! We have been looking for a Wii for months now. The system has been out for over a year and a half and they're still hard to track down. When we saw it sitting on the shelf we must have stared at it for about 5 minutes.
"Is that it?"
"It looks like it."
"Is that the full system or just an add on thingy?"
"I don't know. It has a picture of the system on the box."
"Why would it be sitting here?"
"I don't know. Find someone who works here."

So we did and he said that yes, it was the system and it was left from the shipment they had gotten in that morning. So we got an extra controller and nunchuck thingy and giggled our way to the checkout. (In the interest of preserving Mickael's manhood, I was giggling and yelling "Wiiiiiiii" periodically, Caleb jumped up and down and told me he was going to wipe the floor with me, Mickael just rolled his eyes and told us not to cry when he beat us both. Yeah, we're a sick family.) As you can imagine, there has been much playing of the Wii and talking of the smack at each other. The boxing game is our favorite so far and it really gives you a pretty good aerobic workout if you get up and really get into the game. We're now looking for the WiiFit package, but everyone is sold out of it right now. Oh, and just in case you were wondering, my Mii is named Lemmii.

Since this is a knitting blog, I will show you the tiny bit of knitting I got done this weekend.

October Frost Sleeves 4

I picked it up last night, planning on getting through the 16 rows I have left before I start the saddle shoulders and realized that I had miss-crossed one of the cables about 14 rows previously. I had to drop the stitches and recross the cable correctly and then work the stitches back up. Then I worked two rows and put the whole thing down for the night because I kept making stupid mistakes. This design is definitely one I have to pay attention to - no auto pilot knitting here. Maybe I'll get more done on it later today - after I wipe the floor with Caleb on boxing, that is.

Thanks for all the complements on Oblique by the way!


Friday, July 18, 2008

Oblique Finished!

oblique done 1

I finally have all the bands sewn onto Oblique!

All the details:

The only major change I made was to lengthen the sleeves a bit which is something I almost always do on my sweaters (yes, I have gorilla arms). The sweater came out longer than it should have though (and used more yarn) because I wasn't thinking about the fact that alpaca yarn (drapey) and lace stitches (drapey) would be really drapey and should probably be measured vertically, rather than just laying the pieces out to check length. I actually love the length of it, but if I hadn't had way more yarn than the pattern called for I would have been a very upset Pink Lemon. I haven't put in buttons yet, but I did make the buttonholes for the top two buttons - one on each side to hold the sweater overlapped. I really like the way it looks unbuttoned (and it seems to be staying on just fine) and if I want to close it up, I can always use one of my shawl pins. I'll probably wait before I decide for sure what to do with it buttonwise, but if I decide to totally skip them and just pin it, I'll just Kitchener-ish stitch the buttonholes closed (maybe it would actually be duplicate stitch) anyway, I'm 99% sure I can fix it so no one will ever guess there were buttonholes there.

oblique done 4

Happy? Oh yes! I think I'll really get a lot of wear out of this one! That's one more sweater for Fall, one giant leap for the Pink Lemon's Fall Wardrobe! (Yeah, sorry about that one.)


Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Sleeves are Growing! They're Growing I Tell You!

october frost sleeves 3

OK, so it's not quite as dramatic as all that, but they are getting bigger. Not in a weird science kind of way so much as a quietly knitting kind of way. I'm more than two thirds through with the increases and I have no idea how long they are at this point (I know they're not anywhere near the full length yet so I haven't bothered measuring). I'm thinking that it's probably a good thing I started with the sleeves because due to the fit (this sweater is larger than my usual sizing because it's more of a jacket type of garment than a lightweight sweater) and the fact that this design has saddle shoulders (I've never done this before - cross your fingers), the sleeves are probably the biggest pieces of the whole sweater. The fronts don't have increases and while the back is twice the size of each front, it's still smaller than the size of these two sleeves. What I'm trying to say here (I think) is that even though each row of sleeves seems to be taking a while, once I finish them, I should be able to whip out the body pieces much quicker. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

In a completely different topic, I made some changes to the Pink Lemon Twist Patterns For Sale page. When I first started writing patterns, Christine helped me set up the page with a thumbnail picture of each design along with the price and a link to the design's full blog entry with all the details and purchasing links. This worked well when I only had a few designs, but as I've kept writing patterns (I have 10 for sale now), the page has gotten kind of messy. As you scrolled down you'd see stole, stole, sock, mitts, stole, stole stole, sock, etc. - there was no system to it. I just kept adding the newest patterns to the bottom of the page. If you were shopping for just stole patterns, it was possible to miss one because they were scattered amongst the socks (and vice versa). Also, due to the thumbnail photos (which I've decided were pretty much too small to really show the design well), the page was a long one to scroll down and I realized that as long as it was now, it was just going to get longer (I'm hoping to release at least 3 more patterns this year).

So, I have re-done the pattern page without thumbnails and I have listed the patterns by type (stoles, socks, etc.) so that they're easier to find if you're looking for a specific design. Where a single pattern has two designs such as Swan Lake also including The Wings of A Dream, I have listed both designs under the Stoles heading, but they link back to the single blog entry for the pattern. I've done the same thing with Scheherazade and the Storyteller Socks. They are packaged together in a single pattern, but if you're looking for the Storyteller Socks design, you'll find it under the Socks header and the link will take you to the Scheherazade page, where the Storyteller Socks can be found. I'm hoping this will make it simpler to find specific designs and I think the page looks cleaner and easier to read. Let me know what you think in the comments. Here is the Old Pattern Page and here is the New Pattern Page.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Fire - Pattern II of the Elements Sock Collection

The second pattern in the Elements Sock Collection, a series of sock designs based on the Classical Elements, is dedicated to the element of Fire. Once again, this pattern consists of two sock designs based on a single element. These are top down designs with stitch patterns in both charted and written out form.

Lava Flow

The first design, Lava Flow, is an easily memorized design - perfect for sock knitting on the go. Inspired by the fire from the core of the Earth, the stitches meander back and forth in much the same way lava flows out of the earth and across the land. This simple stitch pattern has a repetition and flow that works well in both solid and multicolored sock yarns without losing it's impact. Shown in Fleece Artist Merino 2/6 in the Burgundy colorway. Knit on US 1(2.25mm) needles at a gauge of 8 stitches per inch in stockinette.


Fireside uses a more complex stitch pattern to give the feeling of campfires and fireside gatherings. Throughout history, humans have gathered around a fire for warmth, safety, cooking, and to socialize. Whether the fire is a communal one in a primitive village, a campfire in the woods where marshmallows are roasted, or in a fireplace on a cold, winter's evening, enjoyed with loved ones and a mug of hot cocoa, fire is an important part of any society and evokes strong emotional responses. While not as easily memorized as Lava Flow, the richly textured stitch pattern for Fireside is still easy to work and the rhythm of the stitches make this design fun to knit. This design is best worked in a solid or almost solid yarn. Shown in Fleece Artist Merino 2/6 in the Ruby Red colorway. Knit on US 0 (2 mm) needles at a gauge of 9 stitches per inch in stockinette.



Monday, July 14, 2008

One Band

Oblique band detail

Can you contain your excitement? Over the weekend, after carefully washing and blocking all the pieces of Oblique, and sewing them all up, I got one front band on. That's it. I do love this picture though, you can see the way the yarn just glows - I will definitely be using this yarn again (KnitPicks Andean Silk - this is Cream). Oh, and just in case anyone is curious, I don't bind off in pattern, in this case rib. I think it looks sloppy. I bind off purlwise - that way the bind off flips to the back and I think the edge looks neater. Just personal opinion, but I thought I'd mention it in case anyone was wondering.

Why didn't I get more done on finishing this sweater? Well, for the answer to that you'll have to check back tomorrow! Oh, the suspense...


Friday, July 11, 2008

Lookie what I won!

As most of the knitting community knows by now, every year Claudia and her husband ride their tandem bike in the MS Ride (this year he was injured so she was joined by another knitter on the tandem). To raise money for this ride, Claudia puts together a seriously huge load of prizes and for every $10 you contribute, you get your name put in the hat one time. Last year and this year, she has been the number one fundraiser for the ride (this year's take was $32, 548 - go knitters). After the ride is over, she starts drawing names - I can't imagine how long it takes - and I was one of the winners! This is 360 yards of "Sport-ish weight" merino, handspun by Pumpkinmama! It photographed slightly more yellow than it is, but it does have yellow greens in it. In fact, it has just about every shade of green in it, from the pale to medium range, blue greens to yellow greens. I'm thinking about a scarf with some leafy lace design in it...
By the way, THANK YOU so much for all the help with the T shirt quandary! I've now got a list of possibilities and will be using my mad Google Fu skills to see what I can find. One of the most suggested possibilities was J.Jill, which is making me kick myself because that's my favorite brand of camis and I also wear their jeans (and really, just about anything else - I love J. Jill), but I've never tried their tees! Thanks!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A Call for Help

In my personal opinion, a pullover is a nice thing to have a few of, but unless you only knit them out of fingering weight yarn or lighter, they tend to make you overheat fairly quickly unless you spend a lot of time outside in cold weather. If you are going back and forth, you can layer when you go outside, but when you come inside, you really don't need a heavier weight sweater. When you do wear a heavier weight pullover, there's not much you can do when you get hot, except take it off, and depending on what you've got on underneath the pullover, you might cause more trouble than you started with.

For this reason, I'm a huge fan of the cardigan. If you're cold, you can close it up and if you're warm, you can open it and let it hang open. If you really get hot, you can take the whole thing off since cardi's are typically worn with something underneath them - it's the ultimate climate control garment.

My call for help doesn't really have to do with the actual cardigans - fortunately or unfortunately, I have no trouble whatsoever finding cute cardi patterns to knit up. I need help finding stuff to put underneath the cardis. Now I have a favorite brand of camis, and I've got long sleeved T's (which I don't really wear much because I feel like the sleeves get fiddly under the cardis). I'm looking for short sleeved T's. I used to wear the Old Navy Perfect Fit Tee - it was a nice weight of fabric, soft, came in lots of colors and shaped just enough that I looked female (versus the look I get in Mickael's T- shirts) but not so tightly that that the world could see whether or not my bra had an underwire or not. Unfortunately, Old Navy has really had a steep decline in quality over the last few years, and while they still make this tee - the fabric they use is really thin and doesn't hold up well, so I'm not going to waste my money on it. So, what I'm looking for is a nice looking, slightly fitted, cotton or cotton/spandex tee that comes in a bunch of colors. If it has a slightly longer length, that's great because I wear my jeans below my belly button. Since I live in T's, I'm willing to make an investment here, so I'm not going to limit price on them, but I'm not paying $100 for a T shirt either - I need to overhaul my T shirt collection and I'd like to get a bunch of colors. If you know of a source for something like this, please leave a link in the comments. I'm probably not the only knitter who needs nice T's to throw under their cardis!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Looks Like October Will Be Frosty

october frost sleeves 2

I'm zipping right along on the sleeves for October Frost! I love working cables, but you can't (or at least I can't) go on autopilot with cables. Maybe if they were all the same cable and they all crossed every 4th row and they all crossed the same direction or something, I could knit them without thinking, but these cables are too complex for me to do without thinking about them. I actually don't think I'll be changing anything about this pattern except what I've already done at the sleeve cuffs (which is so small a change it really doesn't count). This will make two sweaters in a row that I haven't changed things on, because I also did Oblique as the directions were written. I'm hoping to start seaming Oblique today and then I plan to try it on and see where I'll put button holes and how many I actually want on it. It will nice to get Oblique all finished up and put away for Fall - it looks like I'll have a toasty fall!

I also pulled out the Fire Socks for the second Elements Sock pattern I was working on before I got the call for entries for the sock book. I have finished knitting the first design for the pattern and was halfway down the leg of the second design. The problem is, I'm not really happy with the second design for this pattern so I'm planning on frogging what I have so far and redesigning and starting over. Unfortunately, I'm having trouble deciding what to do for this sock. Is there such a thing as Sock Block?


Tuesday, July 08, 2008

A Message From Ramius

A while back, I called your attention to an item being marketed by Target as "Cat Hats." I explained the evil plot behind such a marketing attempt and I thought I covered the consequences of such wanton disrespect of cats by humans. Apparently, you weren't listening.

A couple of weeks ago, the Mindy person, relative or something of my main servant, "Mommy," alerted us to a website that was selling cat wigs. Excuse me? I'm already covered in hair, why do I want your weird human looking hair on me? Perhaps if I was a Mr. Bigglesworth type of cat I would be interested in a wig for camouflage purposes. (I've seen Austin Powers, I'm not sure if that's really a cat.) I can only hope that those of you with the wee dogs you carry in your purses (WHY? I mean if you can get away from the dog, why bring the ridiculous thing with you? No, seriously, someone please explain this to me.) see the potential here and let the manufacturers know that they are not selling kitty wigs, but more stupid accessories for canines who will allow this type of thing.

To add insult to injury, the Mommy person showed me another Internet trend (clearly the Internet is a place full of evil and villainy) - cat sweaters and internationally inspired knitted cat hats (scroll down to see the each and every country currently represented). Mommy assured me that she would never knit me a cat hat or a sweater, so for the time being I will let her live. It was a bit touch and go there since she just "happened" to know about these sites in the first place - yeah, sure.

The point here is, just because someone else is dressing their cat up, doesn't mean you have to. Remember, we have fangs and we aren't afraid to use them. Don't make me tell you again.

This post was dictated to the Pink Lemon by Ramius in the middle of the night. Unfortunately, he was not available for a photo shoot this morning as he is recovering from the emotional turmoil of discussing such a shocking trend, so he requested that I use a photo he graciously posed for a while back. By the way, if you are on Ravelry, check out the cat sweaters and international cat hats there, I'm not suggesting you actually make them, I'm just saying you should look at them.


Monday, July 07, 2008

A Big Sigh of Relief

I have finished what I needed to do for the book sock and I actually got the pieces of Oblique blocked this weekend! Since I've got to wait for them to dry before I can sew them together and do the bands for them, I was able to start my next project.

October Frost Sleeves

What is it? These are the sleeves* for October Frost from A Fine Fleece. I fell in love with this design (and just about every other design in this book) and knew as soon as I saw it I wanted to use Peace Fleece to knit it. If you've never used Peace Fleece before, it's a blend of wool and mohair using fiber from the US and regions in the former USSR. It's not the kind of yarn you'd use for next to the skin things, but it makes great outerwear, cardigan types of garments and with the mohair, it will stand up to lots of wear. It does get softer with use and washing, and the mohair blooms a bit, but it will never get next to skin soft or bloom into a fuzzy haze like some other mohair yarns. I'm using Samantha Katya Pink which is really not very pink at all - it's more of a dark rasberry red. The color in the photo is pretty accurate. I get my Peace Fleece from Kary at the Knotty Sheep.

*Since these sleeves are supposed to be folded back, I reversed the ribbing halfway up the cuff so that the rib would fold into itself smoothly - so far that's the only thing I've changed.


Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Buttons for Oblique

oblique button

I still haven't blocked the Oblique pieces (I'll probably wait until I get the book sock finished and out of here, but my current plan is to do that next Monday), but I went through my button stash and I think I've found the buttons I want to use. I bought these back when I was designing Bristow three years ago (found them at G Street Fabrics) and didn't use them. I think they look nice with Oblique which surprised me a bit because they are pretty busy for a button. I think the reason I haven't used them on a simpler sweater is because with all the texture and decoration, they would take over on a simpler sweater. Oblique has several different stitch patterns and textures on its own. This more ornate button seems to hold it's own without taking over or getting lost.

The pattern calls for 3 buttons and at this point I haven't decided if I'll use all three. To be perfectly honest, I will probably do the one button trick* when I wear this sweater so I'm thinking that after I block it and sew it together, I'll try it on without the bands and see if it's going to work that way, and if it does, I'll mark where I want the button to be and just use one decorative button and the hidden button that holds the underlayer where it should be.

*The one button trick is where you only button the button at or just below the bust line of a cardi and let the rest stay open. This creates two V's - one at the neck (regardless of the actual neckline shaping) and an inverted one below the button. The V shapes are very slimming and flattering to all body types. Of course it goes without mentioning that this requires a cami or tee under the cardi.


Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Automatic Stash Enhancement

Since all current knitting is off limits for blogging right now, I thought I would show you some stash enhancement that's taken place around here. As I've mentioned before, I'm a member of the Spunky Eclectic Fiber Club. This means that around the end of each month, I get a package of handdyed fiber on my doorstep. I don't know what kind of fiber it will be or what colors, but fiber showing up once a month is never a bad thing. The Rosebud yarn that I just finished is the May Fiber shipment and I finished it just in time, because on Saturday, June's fiber arrived.

This is Flowering Weeds, a Merino/Kid Mohair (70/30) blend for June. I have two of these 3 ounce balls of fiber because I get the double helping of fiber each month. I love the colors in these but they are definitely off my usual path for colorways. I think that's part of the fun with this club - you don't always get things you would necessarily buy if you ran across them at a fiber show or on the Internet. This is not to say that they are ugly, they just don't always fall within the colors I usually work with. Sometimes, when you spin up something outside of your usual colors, you find you like something you never really considered. It also gives you a change of pace to work with colors outside of your usual range and this is a good thing. Even with the double helping, I don't feel like I've got a huge commitment fiberwise each month. This colorway isn't telling me what it wants to be yet, but it's saying that it wants to be spun fine and made into a cabled yarn, so I'll start with that and see what happens. Sometimes it's fun to let the fiber decide!

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