b r o o k l y n t w e e d
  onward and upward
thank you thank you to everyone for sharing your generous sentiments and flattering words concerning jarrett. i appreciate them all.

with the completion of a big project, i have that liberated feeling - the knitting landscape is again wide open. i am now free to wander about the cabin. raspy is one sleeve away from completion, and will be tended to semi-regularly over the next week. but i'm too caught up in starting something new. how can i resist when i have such beautiful things scattered about my apartment:

Yorky Tweeds
yorkshire tweeds. (dk and aran, respectively)

i've been thinking about Demi from 'Vintage Knits' (can't get enough) for some time now. and today, my first day of the long weekend, i casted on and indulged myself. enter the honeymoon stage. i've even thoroughly swatched (including washing!) - and i never do that.

swatching and coffee. never do one without the other.

its surprisingly non-humid(?) today, so i figured why not pick up the heavy wool and get to it? after charting out all of my cable-panel changes, everythings set to go.

Charting New Territory

enjoy the long weekend! i'll be here with tweed.
i may have lost 5 pounds during the photo shoot just from sweating (no Air Conditioners were used during this session), but i have cold beer in hand and am presently wearing no wool. so now, i may proudly present to you...

Jarrett Final 1

Jarrett" by Kim Hargreaves
Source: Rowan '
Vintage Style'
Rowanspun DK in 'Rush' (#737). 8 Hanks (incredible yardage!)
Size: measurments for S (although with gauge variance, I adhered more closely to the numbers for L)
Ease: approximately 4 inches (standard cardigan protocol)
Needles: US 6 (4.25mm) Takumi Bamboo 32" circulars, US 5 (3.75mm) Addi 32" circulars
Total Cost: $55.59 ($49.99 for yarn, $5.60 for buttons. Pretty damn good if you ask me!)
Start Date: 11 May 2006
Finish Date: 26 June 2006

Jarrett Final 2
sucker for the window light

Modifications: Surprisingly enough, I did very little in terms of straying from Kim's original pattern specs. Probably the biggest difference was that I knit the piece in a finer gauge than was called for. As it turns out Rowanspun DK is noticeably finer than Yorkshire Tweed DK (the yarn called for by the pattern). Required gauge for Jarrett is 20 sts/4" (10cm). I worked 22st/4"(10cm), a more common DK guage (in my experience). Since beginning Jarrett, i have acquired a bag of Yorkshire Tweed DK and think the cardigan would have been something completely different if i had used the recommended materials. Both yarns are amazing, so I dont have even one regret.

Now, Jarrett wasn't all smooth sailing. There was some sleeve drama. But in the end, we worked through it and came out with a great set of sleeves that fit me very well.

The solution*? Set-in sleeves worked from the top down. Many of you left comments on my last post expressing interest in this technique and also bewilderment. Well, let me demystify the process for you. It really is very logical and fully accessible to anyone who has the urge and a little knitting experience.

This technique is the brainchild of Barbara Walker (love) and can be found in her wonderful book
here. Now, if you're dying to to read about it
now, keep your wallets in your pockets. I was thinking of doing a little explanation and demonstration but I thought, why should i when Lauren posted a handy little tutorial here just last week? Go check hers out and hopefully this will all seem a little less voodoo-istic afterward.

Jarrett Complete
laid out flat

Thoughts on Jarrett
: What can I say at this point? I think its pretty clear from my previous gushing that I love this pattern. Finishing and now getting to wear (hypothetically, that is... its not like I'll actually dawn this sweater until September at the earliest.) is just another wonderful part of the process. I'm more than pleased with how the Rowanspun blooms and becomes cohesive after washing, and how great the fabric/seams/body look after a thorough pressing with a hot iron (I always iron my knits, and I dont always follow correct 'procedure,' but have never had any problems. Iron your wool!)

With a definite vintage style (where's the irony in that?) and just the faintest hint of mr. rogers... i think this new addition to my sweater collection is a great marriage of contemporary and traditional (classic) styles. Pretty much can't wait to wear it.

Thanks for hanging on for the ride. Now onto more Hargreaves patterns! (i've got two in my basket still.........)

*To knitters who plan on knitting this in the future: My negative experience with the sleeve caps is not necessarily an error of the pattern and I would encourage you not to scrap the project because of it. I think it probably has to do mostly with a combination of my gauge-mods (although I swear I modified my numbers to knit to the exact measurements as are called for...) and my preferences for set-in sleeve fit. The problem, I think, mostly lies in the width of the sleeve at the bind off. The pattern calls for a 7" width at the sleevecap BO edge. This too me, makes a too-boxy (frumpy) sleeve cap, and thus in my version, was changed. It may work for you. And please, don't let it discourage you from knitting Jarrett. The pattern is too good to throw away for such a *minor* detail......... (just file this information away for future sweater planning)

  ... and then there were buttons

...and then there were buttons

comprehensive post forthcoming

  one sleeve closer to victory
after 2 horribly frustrating attempts to get the perfect set-in sleeve (1st attempt - following the pattern, 2nd attempt - tearing out some length and trying to fudge it into an acceptable fit) i knew i needed to take drastic measures. if i didn't, i knew i'd be eternally unhappy with 'settling' for something less than great. so i've taken a completely new approach and come up with a solution that pleases me:

Shoulder Success 1
graciously modelled by my short-armed roommate

i tore the entire cap out, burned the pattern specifications and took the top-down route (are you seeing a pattern here?). this is the first time i've knit a set-in sleeve (cap) top down, and definitely not the last. it worked perfectly and was interesting enough to get me excited about knitting on jarrett again (now lets see if its interesting enough to keep me motivated to do sleeve #2 in a timely fashion...).

Sleeve Cap Grafting
grafting top-down cap with live stitches of knitted sleeve

a quick explanation - first i picked up stitches around the armhole, working short rows to shape the cap until i was ready to attatch the pre-existing sleeve, which had been torn down to the armhole and had live stitches waiting for me to graft them onto the new cap. grafting wasn't wildly exciting, but i love the results.

we'll see if i can get myself to do it all over again on the second sleeve this weekend. mind you, the second sleeve has already been seamed in with pre-existing (flawed) cap. it means ripping a lot more than i may have patience for, but i'll probably at least start it tonight.

[this weekend-post brought to you by my apartment's internet connection which was finally restored by time-warner this afternoon (after extensive amounts of phone harrassment)]
  pure indulgence
remember when my bro visited and i got to feast my grubby hands on all his fun lenses? well... i couldn't hold out any longer and bought myself the long-sought-after 1.4 nikkor-S (an old manual version, they dont make 'em like that any more!). i justified it as an early birthday present... (one month early). a treat for myself that i know i will use and i couldn't argue with the price on ebay. plus i love those old vintage nikkors, especially the japanese manufactured ones (the sound of the shuttersnap is just unbeatable)! say hello to my new baby (i'm sure you will all enjoy her as much as i will):

My New Baby
nikkor-S 1:1.4 50mm lens. japanese manufactured.

you can be sure that you will be seeing even more gratuitous fiber photos around these parts than usual. i'm sure you wont protest. here are a couple peeks into my (very reasonably sized) stash.

Bulky Merino 1 Silky Tweed
bulky merino 6-ply :: silky tweed

my internet connection is out at home presently. the cable guy/girl is supposed to come fix it today. like i believe that! i've lived in brooklyn long enough to see through time-warners empty promises. so i may be out of commision until monday, if so i'll get back to you then. have a great weekend!
  denim dress
no. i'm not knitting a dress... although, it feels like i am sometimes! the pre-shrinkage raspy body measures approximately 32". It looks even longer when you straighten out the curling edge at the bottom. check it out, next to my raglan prototype:

Raspy Pre-Washed Torso (Looong)

and another thing - it already weighs a ton. the fabric lightens up a little after washing, but i forgot how much heavier denim is than say... dk wool. nonetheless, i'm having fun with it. the body is basically done, although there is still some shaping to do for the front neck (covered in above photo). as it turns out, i'm modifying raspy in pretty much every way. making things little more complicated for myself, but i think the results will definitely be more "tailor-made." i'll be sure to detail all the mods in a finished post.

i've started the sleeves - as with the body, i'm just knitting them in the round until the raglan shaping - there i'll flatten them out (again, like the body). I had considered doing the whole thing seamlessly (joining the sleeves and body in the round at the armholes), but i really didn't want to lose the reverse raglan seams as a design element. I like those very much. so this method is the best way for me to have both cool armhole seams and work mostly in the round.

Raspy Sleeve Beginning
sleeve sprout

now, the whole "20%" shrinkage thing really has me on edge. i know i thoroughly swatched. and washed. and very thoroughly calculated. blah blah blah. but no matter how sure i am of the true percentage of shrink, the fact that my sweater currently measures 32" continues to make me uneasy. since sleeve length is important to making or breaking a sweater of this style (rolled cuff), i knew i needed to safeguard myself from possible shrinkage discrepancies, even slight ones could really ruin this whole thing for the perfectionist inside me. since the sleeve is going to be knit at 26.5" (yes i have long skinny arms... i always have to lengthen sleeves from a pattern, even male patterns) and should shrink to 21.5" (1" accounted for the rolling of the cuff) i'm just too nervous about having an extra inch and never wearing it. knitting from the cuff up just seemed like an invitation for disaster. so i've decided to knit top down, this way, if its too long, i'll just tear out a bit and re-bind off. more than that, its a relief not to be stressing through the duration of the knitting.

i provisionally cast on about 5 rows beneath the raglan armhole shaping and knit about 3 inches into the shoulder decreases. slipped that onto scrap yarn to deal with later (i'm doing some more intricate neck shaping and i'm going to wait till all pieces are complete to get perfect symmetry up there). I then picked up the provisional stitches and started working downward from shoulder to cuff. i'm not sure why i included the picture above - it definitely does not illustrate any of these things more clearly.

other than the obvious safety reasons of more accurate length with a top down sleeve, it also means all my shaping will be done by decreasing, rather than increasing. i'll take decreasing over increasing any day! decrases are much cleaner and more consistent and are definitely preferrable in my book.

now, i know what you're thinking: what about Jarrett? right? Jarret, weren't you knitting that really great tweedy jacket from that vintage rowan book? wasn't there some problem with a sleeve cap something or other?

yeah.................... well

i took about a week vacation from Jarrett, which was a very smart idea. i've spent the last week researching sleeve cap anatomy/construction and filling in all those unsightly holes in my design knowledge... while its frustrating to deal with the problem of possibly reknitting the cap, i really do feel like i'm once again master of my domain. i have strategic plans for getting Jarrett back on track, now all I need to do is sit down and actually do it. so you should be seeing some progress soon, if i can pull myself away from the denim. wool is just a little less desirable than cotton in the humidity. but only a little. wool is still my number one. always.
to keep you satiated: Jarrett has grown a collar since the last viewing:

Jarret Unfinished (with Collar)
lovin' that tubular bind off...

i shall execute my sleeve solution this weekend. i swear.
  short service announcement
hi everyone. i'm sorry to get your hopes up when you see an updated post on your list of feeds - i think you may have been expecting a finished jarret perhaps? well, i'm very sorry to say that we have a small problem that will require a little reknitting. RE-knitting. sleevecaps to be exact. and at this point, when EVERYTHING is complete, all the pieces, button bands sewn on, ends woven in, collar knit and (tubularly) bound off.... re-knitting anything seems inconceivable. so i'm frustrated and gonna give it a few days.

i had translated the patten into a slightly finer guage, and took extra care, checking, double checking, even triple checking all the calculations for that change, especially in regards to the sleeve cap. in looking over the pattern i'm still pretty sure i've done everything right, as far as measurement translation is concerned, but it just wont. fit. so i'm doing my own research, scrapping the pattern and taking matters into my own hands. unfortunately, all the research i've done so far yields varied results depending on which book i'm reading, whose writing it, and what their ideas are about cap shaping, proportions, etc. are. i'd say that set-in sleeve design is surely the spottiest area of my design knowledge. i guess this is good cause it will force me to understand these things a little better than i already do.

oh and for the record - rowan schematics suck. they give you only two measurements - total body length, and sleeve lenght from armhole to wrist. nothing more. no measurements regarding armhole depth, cap depth/width, etc. while i've done my best to gleen all this info from the pattern text, i get all the same (wrong) measurements i already have. if they bothered to give more thorough measurements in the schematic for us visual types, this would be a whole lot easier. i expected more from you, rowan. ;)

needless to say, i'm frustrated and am taking a couple of days off from this one to relax into the tranquil Raspy field of stockinett. when i do finally get these caps redone correctly, i'll have all of 20 minutes of seaming left to completely finish the sweater and i can finally check Jarrett off the list. so close - yet so far.

my apologies - i dont like to post without images for you all. i'll make up for it with a few extra surprises next week, i just made a wonderful purchase that you will all benefit from shortly. have a good weekend!
hey all, what have you been up to? i've been doing some knitting... big surprise no? i originally planned on *finishing* Jarrett this weekend, and by most project-standards, i should have. its just that this particular pattern is so riddled with finishing details that i overestimated my abilities for weekend knitting. and i may have also been suffering from a little new-project-distraction (you know how that goes.)

but don't get me wrong, i'm loving all the finishing on jarrett - the shoulder patches (seaming through four layers of fabric, wooh!), button bands, buttons, awesome collar, elbow patches, lots of seaming... here's how it all looked sometime late last night:

Jarrett finishings
laid out flat as best as possible....

i finished both button bands and slipped stitched them down to the body before going unconscious. theres nothin like a little late-night-knitting to make for a good nights rest.

now, about the newer knitting... raspy is a perfect project for when i dont want to count, measure or really concentrate. i'm modifying the pattern for knitting in the round (to the armholes at least) and, with no waist shaping, its a whole lot of denim stockinette on addis. quick and mindless. i knit pretty much the entire bus ride to and from philly this weekend, and we can definitely see some serious results.

the 'before the weekend' shot:

Raspy Early Progress

and after:

Raspy Progress

its funny to think that, before i finish one sweater, i can be so far along on another. the denim feels great and looks great, although it is wreaking havoc on my right pointer finger (i'm a 'thrower') - feels great to go back to wool after a couple hours with the denim's ministry of pain.

and finally, to show a new and wonderful aqcuisition. do you have yarns that you really want to use, but will never buy unless you find them on super sale? this is how i am with most things rowan. i've been wanting to knit with yorkshire tweed dk for a looong time, but won't spend the money on it (8-9 bucks a skein for 123 yards? i'm very much a bargain shopper and this doesn't fly). anyway, i frequent ebay for a couple of yarns every so often, just in case. well, the ebay gods smiled on me because i got a full bag of yorkshire tweed in the exact color i've been looking for ... for 49 bucks!

Yorkshire Tweed DK (Revel)
rowan yorkshire tweed dk in 'revel'

the color on my monitor at home is true, but on my work-monitor is off. but its a deep reddish purple (very warm) with flecks of blue and red. i've been cooking up a sweater design for some time that calls for this color. theres nothing stopping me now but the already too-large sweater queue. this one may jump up a few places on the list though...

we'll see

  fiber fotos
my brother (the photographer) and his new wife (the photographer) had the first leg of their honeymoon in new york and spent some time in brooklyn last night with me (the photographer). well, needless to say their lens collection makes the mouth water and i was playing with cameras and fiber all night. and there was coffee. lots and lots of coffee. this situation could be considered my own personal heaven. so i thought i'd share, as i know you all appreciate the yarn photos as i do....

i am always appreciating the ever-sculptural qualities of arans, and the Urban Aran made for some great shots. speaking fo the U.A. - i got to wear it yesterday. How crazy is this "June" weather we've been having? feels like seattle! (not that i'm complaining!)

Urban Aran Sleeve Detail
detail of sleeve panel

some gratuitous yarn photos - a 1.4 lens just calls out to all those freshly wound skeins in my stash. on the left we have one skein of rowan yorkshire tweed aran in 'bramble' and on the right: one skein araucania patagonia (gotta love that plied organic cotton) in 'reds' (#209).


and remember forbes forest? its pretty much in the exact place that i've left it. maybe 3 or 4 rows have been worked in the last month. i'm on too big of a sweater kick to really go back to this any time soon. hey, i've got the rest of the summer before i can even think about fall scarf weather. i got time. but it sure looks damn good in photos.

Forbes Detail
bobbles abounding.

thought i'd leave you with some nice eye candy for the end of the week. hope you enjoyed! i have the day off tomorrow, so... maybe jarrett blocking will commence? finally? i have a wonderful day-job that shifts over to 4-day work week during the summer ... but keeps the same amount on my paycheck. sweet, aint it? bring on the extra knitting time. have a great weekend and say hi if you want!

  Lace Leaf Shawl
i had an amazing 5 day trip home, and definitely did not want to come back to the noise and humidity of NYC... the oregon coast was more beautiful than ever, and the wedding was a very special experience for all involved. wonderful wonderful.
and now that its over, i can show you the shawl!

Lace Leaf Shawl 1

Pattern: Lace Leaf Shawl by Evelyn Clark (small size)
Source: Fibertrends
Materials: Baby Cashmere in 'Starlight Blue' held double (from elann)
Quantity: just under 8 balls
Needles: US 8 addi turbo 32" circs
Total Knitting Time: 11 or 12 days? i couldn't put it down

Lace Leaf Shawl 2

thoughts: i originally intended this to function more as a scarf/small shawl, although in the end, i'm wishing i would have added a few more pattern repeats. I had 2 or 3 more balls of yarn, and.. because of the cashmere content, i'm thinking the bigger the better. but i'm still happy with it, and the recipient is very skinny, so she'll be able to wrap it better than i would be, and yes i tried it on. ha!

i really love working lace with dk weight yarn (baby cashmere is fingering weight, but held double gives you DK-ish results). the pattern is charted clearly, and it just flies on US 8's. i started the shawl probably 3 months ago, trying to leave plenty of time before the wedding, in case it took me a while. turns out i finished it in under two weeks and have had it sitting quietly in my closet, waiting for its big day for a long time. i'm glad to have finally given it to the (very grateful!) recipient.

more from the photo shoot....
Lace Leaf Shawl 4 Lace Leaf Shawl 3 Lace Leaf Shawl 6

much knitting time was secured on the plane ride and car trips. all the big pieces of jarrett are complete. i'm working on the details now (elbow patches, epaulets, buttonbands, etc.) (hey NYC folk, any suggestions for best button selection in the city?) and... failing all attempts at self control, i casted on for raspy. hoooo boy is it fun.
more to come this week, after i kick my lingering jetlag. and again, congratulations ry and jo!

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