It’s finished! Introducing Athena, an entrelac neck warmer.
This yarn really lends itself to entrelac. I did try four other patterns, but ended up having to come up with something on my own. I knew I didn’t want to knit a long scarf; time was of the essence. I thought about knitting an entrelac scarflet, but I’ve only knit entrelac in the round, and didn’t feel like learning a new trick in a hurry (it’s just learning about side triangles for flat entrelac, but a mood is a mood). My next thought was a hat, but I didn’t think the intended recipient would wear a hat. And it would be floppy. I went to bed thinking about it, and the next morning I woke up with this neck warmer idea springing from my head. And I love the name Athena for it.
I did have to start it three different times. The fun of designing is making all the mistakes for you, so you don’t have to! The pattern is available as a pdf download for $5 US through Ravelry. See the pattern page for more information.
Here’s Carole with her new neck warmer!
Or, behind the scenes in the process of choosing a project.
The new yarn (Crystal Palace Taos) is being a bit difficult. It’s lovely stuff, very soft, and the colors are beautiful. But I’m still not sure what to knit with it. Nothing is singing to me.
At first I thought a bit of feather and fan would be fun. I’ve always wanted to knit a feather and fan lace pattern, and Two Weeknights with Warrick looked like it would be perfect. Great pattern, easy to memorize. Alas, it doesn’t do justice to the yarn. I’ll knit this pattern with a different yarn somewhere down the road.
So I cast on for the checkerboard scarflet. But the checkerboard was getting lost in the color changes, or the color changes were getting lost in the checkerboard. I’m not sure which.
I poked around on Ravelry to see what other people made with this gorgeous yarn. A lot of entrelac! And some mitered scarves. Aha. How about the Pioneer Braid Scarf? I cast on this morning and knit for a bit. The pattern is ingenious. Here’s what it looks like. And this is a much better depiction of the true colors.
It’s better than the first two tries, but it still doesn’t sing to me. And I’m not sure I want to knit an entire scarf right now. Tempus fugit! I’m thinking that I’ll play with some entrelac. I’d make a Quant, but the intended recipient isn’t a headband sort of person. On the other hand, I’m not sure she’d use the entrelac item I have percolating in my mind, either. But at least I’d get a design out of the yarn. If I do it. What I thought would be a straightforward project, isn’t. Le sigh.
Well, the yarn isn’t singing to me yet, but I was singing yesterday! The Day Old Pastries, my folkie group, played and sang carols at our church Advent Festival in the afternoon. From there I went to sing with the Everyone Welcome Community Choir at Artichoke Music, and that was a blast. Here’s a clip of one of my favorite songs from yesterday, Siyahamba. It’s South African (Zulu). Enjoy!
That’s how I feel, now that my Central Park Hoodie and the related Checkerboard Scarflet from the leftover yarn and buttons are done. I finished writing the pattern for the Checkerboard Scarflet, and Marie was kind enough to look it over for me. I’ve incorporated most of her suggestions, and the pattern is now available through Ravelry download/PayPal for $4.
I have another scarflet on the needles, the mindless log cabin blanket, and a secret holiday-related project, but no sweater. I’m antsy. Apparently I’ve become accustomed to bigger projects, and feel bereft without a sweater in progress.
What to do?
I think I’m going to have to make Hey, Teach. I even bought yarn for it. The pattern calls for four skeins of this yarn, and I hope it doesn’t need more, because this is all they had in this color at Yarn Garden. I usually have to shorten garments, so for once in my life, the fact that I’m not tall and willowy should work in my favor. At least the not tall part, anyway.
The music behind the yarn is what I’m working at the piano. Which means not often lately! It’s from Valses Poeticos by Enrique Granados. Granados has usurped Mozart’s place in my affections, at least temporarily.
What else is going on? I’ve been taking a harmony singing class at the local community college. Just for fun! The day after the class started, the local paper had a feature on the teacher, Anne Weiss. Sweet! It’s been a great class, but it’s only four sessions and next week is the last one. I’ve been using my Zoom H2 digital recorder to record the songs we sing, and it’s been great to have those recordings for practice. I’ve loaded them onto my iPod, and there’s always a song running through my head these days.
Wow. I’d never seen so much fiber in one place! Mostly animal, some still on the hoof, all gorgeous! It was a perfect autumn day. The Clackamas County Fairground was a sea of fiber-related booths, inside the buildings and outside on the lawn.
The PDXKnitbloggers were out in force, with lots of knitting, and spinning wheels, too. (That’s my Central Park Hoodie in the foreground.)
KnittedWit‘s booth was a riot of color! And e was sleeping like, well, a baby…
Deb bought this sweet angora bunny. Two months old, 1/4 French, 3/4 German angora. Soooo soft!
I was quite restrained, and only bought a wooden shawl pin. I’ll have to show you in my next post, because I didn’t take a picture of it in daylight. It’s worth the wait! I bought it from Toolman, DH of TiggywinkleKnits. It’s made of bubinga. The drop spindles were calling my name, but I don’t really want *another* hobby; I’m trying to keep up with the ones I have!
I met up with Michelle; we first met at the February Lady Sweater knitalong at Twisted. She’s almost done with her sweater; I was wearing mine. They’re similar colors, both Dream in Color Classy. My colorway is Night Watch, hers is Deep Seaflower, a little more green and purple. But the funny part was when I pulled out my Central Park Hoodie to knit. Her sweater and yarn are pictured on the left, mine on the right.
Micheles/Michelles think alike!
That’s it for tonight, more in a bit!
It’s fall, as of yesterday. Time to take off the ankle bracelet. Time to put on jeans and real shoes. Time to wash and block the February Lady!
I’ve been dreading blocking this sweater because of all the stories I’d read on Ravelry about this yarn, Dream in Color Classy, growing. But I couldn’t wear it without washing it because it was full of excess dye that I didn’t want on my clothes. I ran it through a short warm cycle in a zippered pillowcase in the washing machine with Brown Sheep wool wash and some vinegar to set the dye last night. When I took it out, it was enormous! It had grown to 1.5 times its length, and at least twice its width. And the fabric felt very, very thin. I was freaking out. But the ball band did say machine wash, lay flat or machine dry. It was time for the leap of faith.
I put it in the dryer for 20 minutes. Still damp. Still all stretchy looking. Another 20 minutes. My dryer cools down towards the end of the cycle, so it was still dampish. I laid the poor bedraggled thing out on a towel and patted it into shape to dry overnight. It was still pretty waffly.
This morning I checked it, and it was still a bit damp. I still really wanted to wear it, so back into the dryer it went. And it came out the same size it had been before I washed it. A miracle! The yarn did lose a lot of fuzz in the dryer, and it’s a little fuzzier than it was before I blocked it. I wore it this morning, and it grew about 1.5 inches in length during the day. Here it is:
And here’s a closer view of the lace:
I don’t know if I’d use this yarn again. It’s so gorgeous, and it smells great (even after washing), but it’s so nerve wracking blocking it! And if it’s going to require machine drying to make it pop back to size, I wish it didn’t make it fuzzy…
But it’s done, and cozy and wearable. On to the Central Park Hoodie!
I haven’t decided yet.
After all that talk about edgings, I just couldn’t find a sleeve length that made me happy. Turns out that the width below the elbow was making me unhappy, too. I tried decreasing within the lace without leaving a stockinette stitch swath down the arm, but it became clear to me that it could only lead to madness. Mine. So I ripped again, and just decreased one stitch out of each lace repeat when I started the garter stitch edge. Much better.
And the bind off? The purl bind off made it too curly toward the inside; the edges didn’t look crisp. Back to the knit bind off. Funny how the purl looked right on the baby sweater, but not on this. Live and learn.
So am I done? I have to decide if it wants to be a bit longer. But I’d have to put on jeans to know. I haven’t worn jeans all summer. And I had a really great vacation, full of food and fun. Hmmm. The Ravelry Knitters who meet at Lloyd Center for lunch on Wednesdays think it looks fine, right now. Weave in the ends and move on. Tempting. But I just have to see…
And I still need buttons. I’m headed to Button Emporium this afternoon. So I’m not really done, anyway.
What’s taking so long? Work is busy this week; September is always a new beginning. And I’ve been pretty distracted at home, compiling a photo book gift on Shutterfly. I love this company; the quality of their products is great. They make it easy to share pictures, even if I’m not buying anything. But this week I’ve been wading through 1100 (!) pictures trying to tell a story, and I finally ordered the finished product last night.
Now I can get back to knitting…
eta: I tried it on with jeans, and it needs to be just a bit longer. Back on the needles! Speaking of which, guess which needle I *didn’t* use on the sleeves? This sweater will definitely need a wash before I wear it!
Now that Josephine is done, my knitterly attention has turned back to the February Lady. This Dream in Color yarn is so lovely to work with, and it smells good, too. A multi-media experience! I put the sweater on a 40 inch needle this morning, and tried it on. It’s beautiful, feels great, and it fits! The fronts *will* overlap, due to my adding 5 stitches to each side so that they’re wider than the back. I just need to decide how long to make the lace section; it’s at my waist now. Here’s the obligatory progress picture, but not on me. I fail at taking my own picture in the mirror.
I’ve been enjoying seeing all the finished Lady sweaters on Ravelry. It’s great to see how people have made this pattern work for them. There’s lots of variation! I’m in the knitalong group there, too. I’ll miss the KAL group at Twisted this week; I’m hosting the pinot and piano event this evening.
I love this shirt Sharon gave me.
Thank you, Sharon!
I just realized why I picked my February Lady yarn.
I seem to have blueberries on my mind. They’re just coming into season, and I have five bushes in the side yard. We’ve been having blueberry muffins, blueberry cobbler, and my favorite, watermelon and blueberries. I’m going to try to freeze some for later, but I usually just pick enough for whatever I’m making that day.
I swatched for the February Lady, and am 15 rows in. I’m not sure I like the increases I’m using, and am thinking of a simple yarn over increase instead, which would make a double eyelet line at the raglan corners. There’s a knitalong group on Ravelry, as well as the upcoming KAL at Twisted, so I’ve been looking at pictures of finished Ladies on Rav. As you can probably tell by now, I don’t mind frogging and re-knitting!
I finished the knitting (and reknitting) on Josephine, and now it’s leap of faith time. Will it fit? Will it look good? It’s time for the seaming, and there will be a lot of mattress stitch in my near future. And we’ll see…
There’s a new sweater pattern that’s getting a lot of attention on Ravelry. It’s called the February Lady Sweater by Pamela Wynne, and it’s a grown-up adaptation of the February Baby Sweater from Elizabeth Zimmerman’s classic book, Knitter’s Almanac. Cute!
I put it in my Ravelry queue as a joke, just to see if it would spread there. Yup. Then I heard that Twisted, my favorite LYS, is hosting a KAL (knitalong). And then they decided to have an anniversary sale to celebrate their first year in business. How could I resist all that?
I couldn’t. Last night I bought Louet Riverstone Worsted in a gorgeous color, French Blue.
I think it will be great with jeans. Twisted’s KAL begins on July 11, but I’ll need to swatch before then. For now, I’m reading Ravelry’s February Lady KAL group forum for tips and ideas.
Side note: Emily bought some of my patterns, so they’re available at Twisted, as well as here on my blog. They’re for my felted slip stitch tote,
log cabin baby blanket,
and zigzag pedi socks.
More pattern sales mean more yarn for me. Do you feel like an enabler?
I’m a big fan of the three needle bind off for shoulder seams. I’m in this for the knitting, not the sewing! Fewer sewn seams = happier knitter. Josephine has slightly sloping shoulders instead of a straight across seam, so I needed to learn a new trick before I could use a three needle bind off. Short row shoulder shaping! I found a very good tutorial at Knitty. Worked like a charm. I couldn’t figure out how to simultaneously short row the neck shaping (I ended up finishing in the middle of the shoulder when I tried it), so the neck has a stairstep bindoff, but the shoulder is perfectly smooth. No problem; picking up stitches for the neck on a stairstep bindoff is easy. Here’s the back of Josephine:
And the shoulder:
Modifications so far: shorter on the lace portion at the bottom (reduced by 1/2 repeat) because I’m short and want it to end at hip length, and also I think I’ve arranged things so that the eyelet row that will hold the drawstring will be right under the bust, instead of on it. I think it will look more flattering that way.
On to the front! The other modification that I’m planning is to raise the V-neckline. I hate wearing layers; I don’t want to have to wear a camisole under this. The pattern as written has a very deep V-neck, suitable for a cami underneath, or else a sewn-in lace inset. Neither idea excites me, so I’m just going to start the V neck a bit higher. Fingers crossed!
On the piano front: I finished reading Katie Hafner’s A Romance on Three Legs: Glenn Gould’s Obsessive Quest for the Perfect Piano last night. I’m not much of a Bach fan; my preferences tend more towards Mozart and Beethoven, but I do love all things piano. I didn’t know much about Gould other than that he recorded two definitive versions of Bach’s Goldberg Variations, early and late in his career. It was really interesting to learn about him as a person (beyond idiosyncratic) and the piano he loved, but even more interesting to learn about Verne Edquist, the piano technician who tuned and regulated the piano to make it into Gould’s dream come true. You can learn more about the book here:
Back to knitting!