b r o o k l y n t w e e d
Sweater update: I'm 6 inches into the yoke and still going strong (total yoke depth is 10"). I'm hoping to get all the knitting done this weekend (with the exception of the collar/buttonbands which happen after steeking and blocking). In the mean time, I've been cleaning up on all kinds of online knitting sales and some new yarns have found their way to my doorstep in the last week.
The first yarn is a luxury fiber, in all aspects (this one is not on sale anywhere, unfortunately). You definitely won't find a sweaters-worth of this stuff lying around in my apartment - just two humble skeins for me to photograph, pet, and stare at.
This is Shokay's Pure Yak Down. As in 100% yak. A worsted weight that you surely must feel to believe - the thing that really got me about this stuff, though, was the color. I'm a sucker for those deep cranberry burgundy crimsons. I'm not sure how this was dyed, but its got all kinds of depth and subtle variation going on. This is really the jewel of my stash!
Next up we have a dk weight blend of extrafine merino, alpaca and silk from Queensland. This is the 'Uruguay DK' in a pale shade of mint (#10).
see the cake here
I've been getting the urge for some lace knitting and this is my weapon of choice for the next project. As far as patterns go, I'm still on the prowl but have a few ideas brewing. We'll see what happens.
And speaking of lace, I picked up this stuff last week too. I had put in an order for some much-needed knitting supplies from KnitPicks (this included a fill up of Swish to finish this) and was just a few bucks shy of the free-shipping minimum price. Rather than paying 5 bucks for shipping, I opted to pay 4 for 880 yards of laceweight merino. Seemed like an easy decision to me.
This is KnitPicks 'Shadow' (100% merino laceweight) in the Vineyard shade. I really liked the color and was surprised to find that I liked it even more in person (this rarely happens when I buy online). Who knows what this will be, probably just a beautiful paperweight for a while, but I like yarn so things are good.
I'm going to try my darnedest to close in on the Aran Cardigan this weekend - it has been such an enjoyable process so far, I'm almost sad that the end is now in sight. Good thing I have another bag of Skye Tweed waiting for me in case of sudden tweed-sweater withdrawal...
Happy weekend knitting.
I'm here, snoozing through the sleeves on the Aran. Leave it to the sleeves to really take the wind out of your sails. I've been persistent though and am just rows away from finishing the second one, which is pictured here.
Sleeve number one is already, of course, united with the body, waiting impatiently for its counterpart. I've been surprisingly exclusive with this pattern, which is the only explanation for the relative speed. I'm absolutely surprised that I'm still so interested. Maybe it's the steeking that's keeping me excited to press on. Or maybe I it was the notion that I might get to wear it a few times before things warm up. Today is slated for 75 degrees, though, so that logic is eluding me now.
Some new fibers have recently come into my hands for upcoming projects. Fibers that I'm very excited about - so I'll be sure to share more information later this week. Other than that, it's just knitting and taking pictures of my knitting stuff. Business as usual.
it's been so long since I've used a cable needle for its intedned function, I had to do something with them.
Take care and have a good
Color Study: Reds
Color Study: Greens
Color Study: Purples
my 'wandering traveler' plant (zebrina pendula) | pure merino bulky (handpaintedyarn.com) in 'pearl'
Coffee, a sleeve, and the rest of a quiet day. I thought I'd share. I hope your Sunday morning is feeling this good.
Maybe you're sick of seeing me photograph this Malabrigo... but some things can't be helped.
I'm endlessly captivated in watching the form of a hefty yarn cake change as you work with it (WARNING: former-art-student-gone-yarn-nerd alert!). There's something seductively sculptural about Malabrigo - it must be the subtle thick and thin single combined with the all that saturation and color depth.
Weaving the Web
If there's one thing my knitting has taught me, its to give as much time to a project as possible during the 'honeymoon' stage. When you can't stop thinking about it (at work, on your commute, etc.), that's a pretty good sign that you should work on it as much as possible. I really hate when I hit the initial 'loss of interest' stage, when project boredom comes a calling. Motivation seems to run away so easily in our fickle internet knitting world of too-many-prospective-projects and too-many-tempting-fibers.
Well, I'm happy to say I'm not feeling the twinge of disinterest yet. There's only love for the SSAC around here so far, and it is flying.
The color may come as a shock to you if you saw my swatch - I swatched with some stash leftovers of the same yarn in a different color (from a recently finished sweater that you haven't seen yet). I forgot to mention that in my last post. I'm a bit worried that I didn't purchase enough yarn for this one, so I'm trying to be as conservative with the good stuff as possible.
The yarn, one of my all time favorites, is Classic Elite Skye Tweed in a smokey forest green with blue and red flecks sprinkled about liberally (shade #1215). I attribute my love for knitting this sweater equally to both material and design. I'm enamored with both.
These photos were taken at the end of the day Sunday and there's been much more knitting done since then. As of last night, I weighed in at just over 10 inches on the body. Cross your fingers and hope that this knitting vigilance persists!
My sincerest apologies for my recent disappearance. The non-knitting commitments in my life have been conjuring against us. Despite the silence over the last week, I have been diligently working out some sweater-related challenges.
Pictured above: a washed, blocked, heavy-duty cable swatch. I love taking the extra care in the planning stages of an aran sweater. Because there are so many details involved (centering the panels just so, getting things to line up right for saddle shouldering and yoke shaping, the correct amount of filler sts, proper cable plumpness after blocking, etc.) I think a good couple of days of swatching and calculating is truly necessary. It makes for a positive knitting overall experience - hell, it's just good sense. Not to mention by the time you actually start the sweater, you feel like you could knit it with your eyes closed: you've already tested the charts and you've added, subtracted and shifted every panel around enough so that you know exactly how the thing is structured.
In a nutshell, here's my planning process, if you're interested (if not, just stare at the pictures and close this window - I totally understand. It's Monday morning after all).
If you have an idea of your desired gauge in stockinette (or happen to have a stockinette swatch already knit up somewhere, this is very good), note this number. Multiply this gauge by your target chest circumference to come up with the Key Number (as EZ would say), heretofore referred to as K.
Now, to more or less compensate for the change in gauge that cables will inevitably bring, multiply K by 1.1 (adding 10% of K to the total number of stitches. If you like plumper cables, add 15%) If your math renders a number with decimals, round up. You should now have a semi-accurate working number to start planning your sweater. For example, at this point in the equation, I projected 205 total body stitches.
Chart out your design. Using your total number and your chosen cable panels, plan your pattern, placing the motifs around the body as you prefer. Add up the total number of stitches that the main cables will consume and subtract from K - this will give you a 'remainder' number with which you can allocate to "fillers" (purl stitches between cables, or my preferred filler combo: p, ktbl, p, ktbl, p) A 3 st filler or a 5 st filler between your panels can cleanly and evenly use up your 'remainder' quite nicely.
Swatch. Cast on at least 30% of your total body stitches (I swatched on 70 stitches) and try to use one instance of each cable panel represented in the sweater. This will give you a pretty decent representation of the finished work (see above). I like to work each cable over at least 4-5 vertical repeats before binding off.
Wash and block your swatch. Do it. You'll be so happy you did. I try to wash my swatches on even the most basic sweaters, but for cables this is imperative. When working with wool, the blocking can drastically change the appearance of your cables: if you like them fat and plump, you won't need to stretch the fabric very much when pinning. If you prefer them flatter and less bombastic, you can squeak another inch or two out of your swatch when blocking. I prefer my cables to figure somewhere in the middle.
When your swatch is dry, unpin it (it might shrink a quarter inch or so) and measure the entire length. Divide this by the number of stitches cast on for the swatch and get your actual gauge. Does this match the gauge you had predicted earlier? It should resemble it fairly closely. Mine was a couple of tenths of a stitch off, so I plugged that number into my original sweater plan and needed to do a few final (very minor) readjustments. I changed my total number (K) from 205 to 210 and made up for these extra stitches in the side panels (under the arms to be super sly).
If you're still alive (you deserve a badge for patience) - start knitting! At this point, I could barely control myself, but it was utterly satisfying to see the real thing working up after all this fluff. And the sweater is flying - I'll show you an update later this week.
A note for the worrisome: keep your swatch nearby. When you get a few inches into your sweater, your intuitive knitting alarm will start going crazy. The sweater will seem MUCH too small. Just clutch your swatch close to your heart and have faith - remember how much length was gained after washing. As long as you abide by all the numbers, blocking should be your sweet salvation in the end. (I admit to succumbing to these fears about every 6 rows. And yes I've stretched the actual sweater over my swatch multiple times to make sure I'm not going to be a very disappointed knitter in the end).
P.S. This swatch is for the Elizabeth Zimmermann/Meg Swansen Saddle Shoulder Aran Cardigan from Wool Gathering #63. I've had this one tempting me for way too long.
Fiber Fix Friday
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Enjoy the weekend.
Stripes Make a Comeback
I'm happy to report that I'm knitting for pleasure full-time again. The last couple of months have been a little dicey with some extra-curricular knitting , but I'm safely back on the fast track to a more relaxed (deadline free) knitting schedule, at least for the time being.
This weekend I'll be zoning out on stockinette and getting reacquainted with The Swisher.
I love picking up an in-progress project after its fallen off the radar for a few months. In a way, it seems brand new again - this time there's only half a sweater to knit, though. Kind of feels like cheating.
Don't mind me, I'll be the one happily knitting in the corner.
Until next time.