Monday, December 29, 2008

All A Knitter Wants For Christmas

Nothing can make a knitter more happy than a Vogue Cable Stitchionary book and "At Knit's End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much," a humorous book by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. Except for maybe 6 Noro Kureyon yarn skeins from your sister in a colorway you got to pick out yourself (early) for your own present and pretend you never saw it before on Christmas morning. Or maybe the Starbucks mug from oldest daughter and boyfriend that looks like it is "knit" on the outer design. Or maybe Smart Wool socks from REI that you already have a bazillion pairs of, but always ask for more because they are so smart and so wool! Granted, they aren't hand knit socks, but they are still my favorite! We are just so glad the snow has finally melted and we can get out of the house and get around. But of course everyone in the entire city decided it was time to go to Target and the mall today so that was interesting. I came home again where it is safe!
Violette- le -duc is coming along. I am now on the first sleeve and finished with the back and the two small front and back segments. To show you all the pieces would be confusing...believe me, it is getting to be a many-pieced thing which I must label in ziplocs. Shown here is the back and the sleeve and of the little pieces in a ziploc. It will have to be blocked and layed out flat later to be able to seam it together. We are not at that stage yet, however. This one is going to be a mind-bending and amazing feat to put together! Hopefully worth it!

I do love this yarn, though. It's the Berroco Inca Gold-wool/silk blend.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Violette-le-duc Back

In between shoveling the driveway and Christmas prep...the knitfest continues! Needle size 5 for ribbing, then size 7 for the back. Could not fit stitches on the straight 7's I had so using my 7 circs. Several more inches up the back, then there will be some shaping for the armholes to do. The teal is great and we are hoping we like the metallic gold ok when all is said and done. A very nice feel to knit with the Berroco "Inca Gold" teal yarn. It is a merino wool/silk blend. And who is Violette-le-duc anyway? I am going to look her up online and see. Oh wow, she's a colorful character from France.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Let it Snow!

Began the Violette Le Duc by Norah Gaughan. This is the edge of the back. It will require one back piece, two fronts, two sleeves and then adding on collars and seaming. Much more work than a topdown! So far I have learned a new stitch. Slip one with Yarn in Back,(Sl 1 WYIB) purl, repeat with the Contrast Color (CC),...and it makes a nice decorative stitch...
Before and after shots of the snow on our's going to be a white Christmas here. Our city isn't as equipped for big snows like the eastern cities. So schools have been shut down since last Wednesday.

As it appears this morning-maybe a foot and a half? Not sure! Most I've seen in awhile. We are enjoying having heat and food, and hubby is able to get to work OK in his truck.

Since I am not going outside, it's time to KNIT ON!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Knitting Weather

Well what shall we do while we are stuck inside today? Knit, of course! Yesterday and today schools were closed. More snow is falling today and this weekend. Very unusual for Seattle weather. Enjoying the knitting time... Using the Cosmicpluto Knits Topdown Raglan design as a model, I'm making a Cotton Ease taupe sweater for my oldest daughter. Amazing, my kids actually want me to knit them something! This pattern is easy to knit and try on as you go. She wanted shorter sleeves and only five button holes. I bound off the buttonbands shortly after the last button hole, so I could modify to connect and knit in the round after purl ridges. Decreased to shape at the waist and will increase for hips. This yarn is soft and springy. I am usually a "wool girl", so this is my first time knitting with this type of yarn.Shown here at its beginning stage... Using size 8 circulars. Put on waste yarn to try on, and knit sleeves first before beginning the body.

I think topdowns are easy to knit and also great since you can modify and keep increasing if they aren't fitting under the arms or across the front. I am also planning on doing a version of Cosmicpluto Knits Topdown Raglan in Noro wool for myself. In the meantime, the highly sought after and long-awaited yarn has arrived from Webs ( for Norah Gaughan's Violette Le Duc out of Norah Gaughan's Vol.3. My youngest daughter and I are fascinated by it and she actually asked me to knit it for her. It will probably be the greatest challenge to date to my skill level. I will have to make it a size we both can wear! The model is actually wearing hers upside down on the cover to show it can be worn two ways. It is knit in pieces and seamed together...ew, seams...I forgot what those were like!
Yarns used: Inca Gold -wool, silk blend-by Berroco in teal color 6418, and contrast color is Lumina by Berroco in color 1620
If I can pull this one off, it will be a great feat!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Just in Time for Snow!

We are experiencing a real cold snap here and more snow is expected this week. Loppem will make a few appearances at my Christmas parties this year. :) It was 18 degrees here this morning! BRR! This is record breaking for Seattle. And not much end in sight yet for the cold temps.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Blocking Loppem

I would have to say, I now see the difference in a blocked garment first hand. Blocking is where you get it wet and lay flat, shape it and let it dry, or lightly steam it to shape it.
Wow, what a difference blocking makes in smoothing out your stitches! All the increases that showed up so much, now have been diminished. And the sleeve banding finishing pulled things in just right. I did a stitch pick up of only 61 stitches to do the final 4 rows of banding on same size needles, 9. Ta Da! It's really, really done!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Adding sleeve bands on Loppem

Back to Loppem and adding the pattern's sleeve band to bring in the sleeves and underam holes tighter in and finish them off. Before the bands, they are a little big and the armholes dip down.
Adding this extra ridge of 4 rows of stockinette by casting on less stitches than are currently on the sleeve will bring it in closer to the arm and finishes off the underam with a rolled edge.

And since I never got around to blocking Loppem (too excited to wear it!), it is drying now on a towel...taking up my Christmas wrapping table for a few days.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

28Thirty Sweater

With camera flash on, you see more of the green in it (above)
And without flash it really looks darker...

28Thirty Topdown sweater by Zephyr Knits-Cascade 220 Superwash wool-loden green -4 skeins, size 8 circular
I learned alot about topdown construction on this pattern, and for the first time I used a superwash wool. While I wasn't too impressed with the superwash wool I used, as far as the "pilling factor", it was a fun knit and introduced me to the beauty of a topdown garment that you can try on as you go.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

28Thirty Sweater Finished

While indoor lighting isn't the best, here it is. This is the 28Thirty pattern by Zephyr knits. I used 4 skeins of Cascade 220 superwash wool in a loden green on a size 8 circular needle. Knit from the top down, sleeves knit last with magic loop method. Shown with collar flipped down. A little white show-through from my shirt underneath. This looks dark. It is very dark loden. Almost looks dark grey. Depends on the light. I think the superwash 220 is a little lighter weight and stretchier than I expected it to be. I liked that after blocking I could tumble it lightly in the dryer.
These are some views of front and showing waist shaping that I improvised.

8 buttons were required. I added several more inches to the length of the body than original pattern called for, and made the cuffs shorter.
I decreased every 5th row on the arms after knitting 6 inches down in stockinette from armpit. The purled ridges on the sleeves I stopped at the armpits. The collar can be flipped up or down.

Wore it for the first time tonight to "knit night"! Temps are dropping here so just in time for winter! Would consider doing again in the originally called for Peace Fleece wool or another heavier wool than the superwash. I really do like it and it is a versatile color. Learned alot!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

28Thirty Progress

Blocked and sewing on buttons next... I even gave it a little tumble in the dryer on very light heat (superwash wool!) at the end of blocking.

So evidently the cat has put her claws of approval on this one as good for camping out on. I leave for a few minutes, and see what happens?

I am not sure about the waist shaping until I block this and see how it all comes out. I think my experimental shaping may have done the trick. Above shown in natural light.

This one showing more the true color of this yarn and how the sleeve ended up. I didn't do the cuff as long as pattern called for. And omitted the purl ribbing down the sleeves. Now I am about 6 inches into the 2nd sleeve and will start decreases. I think I avoided the "armadillo and Michelin man" thing by omitting the purl ridges and doing decreases every 5th row after 6 in. stockinette was knit from underarm.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

28Thirty Sweater Body and Sleeves

Shown here starting on the sleeves and trying out the Magic Loop method: using one long circular to knit a smaller circumference (in this case, a sleeve) in the round. This is my first time trying out this method. Another method would be using double circular needles. I have watched the tutorials on to see how. Basically these are done so that you don't have to do seaming at the end. Since it is knit from the top down, you can try it on as you go!
I will not be continuing with the purl ridges that are supposed to march down the sleeves past this point, as the pattern indicates. It will be straight stockinette until I get to the cuffs.
This is the body of the sweater with my modifications to the original pattern: I added several more inches of length and additonal buttonholes, as well as waist increases. I wanted it longer, rather than the cropped version. I am enjoying knitting along with other Ravelry folks and the help they provide!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

28Thirty Sweater Body

Shown after dropping sleeve stitches onto holders, and continuing down in stockinette stitch for the body of the sweater. Must keep in mind that a buttonhole goes in every 18th row. Note: the pattern has you put buttonholes on opposite side than you normally would. The purled ridges are cute up until this point, however I will do the sleeves from here on in stockinette stitch, until reaching the cuffs. This is a modification on the pattern which calls for you to do the purl ridge rows every 6th row all the way down the sleeves. My reasoning: I agree with some on Ravelry who say this gives the sweater a bit of a "Michelin Man" look, or an armadillo look (especially in the green color I have chosen!) A fun knit so far, and again, I am learning so much. This is my first topdown sweater. Advantages to doing a topdown are that you can try it on as you go and make adjustments if needed. It is a bit tight when tried on so far, however I have hopes it will stretch a bit when blocked and it is somewhat hard to try on with it on the needles!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

28Thirty Sweater

Progressing now down the yoke of the 28Thirty and entering into the area soon where I will leave off the sleeve stitches. Then I will continue down the body, to later come back to do the picking up of sleeve stitches. Can you identify this leaf? Please let me know if you can name the plant that grows these beautiful leaves in the fall ranging from orange to dark brown and changing like this one!

Back to knitting the 28Thirty Sweater that I literally put on hold while I did my last two cardigans. Poor sweater neck was on a needle in a bag all this time! Requires a fairly long circular needle since you are carrying all the neck, yoke and body stitches on one needle which requires quite a stitch count after you add all your increases on. I am using a size 8. This sweater I saw on a gal at REI in August and she told me it was the first sweater she'd ever knit. It is knit from the top down. This will be my first top down sweater. It requires markers to mark the buttonbands, the places you increase, as you move into the yoke, then the body. The sleeves will be knit also in the round either using double circulars or magic loop method (a very long circular). What you see here is the neck, and part of the yoke. The neck can be folded down to have a collar, or buttoned up. There are buttonholes every 18 rows down the front of the sweater. I have bumped the buttons over by one stitch to center them more on the buttonband. I am using a Cascade 220 Superwash wool in a loden green. Mainly because it was on sale, and they had enough of it in stock!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Lovely Loppem is Finished

My beautiful Loppem by Norah Gaughan is finished! Buttons are on and it is laying flat now to dry a bit. Trying to show you the buttons here while taking a self-pic with it on-a bit hard!

I did four cable pattern repeats, and 2 more lines following those before starting the yoke.On the sleeves, I hadn't misread the pattern after all...just hadn't read far enough to the end. If I want to, now is when I would pick up stitches around the sleeves and add another little "ridge" of stitches. I am kind of pleased with it as is. I may just leave it! The cardi does swing open as you can see when it is hung. Probably the most challenging thing for me is trying to lightly steam-press the decreased stitches a bit so they don't show so much on this heathered yarn, as well as blocking to make everything lie flat. Despite a few minor things, I think all in all, it went well!

Loppem from the Norah Gaughan Vol. 3 book, was knit on size 9 needles using Cascade Heathers 220 wool in Aporto Blue on one circular needle from the bottom up. I used 3 skeins. Modifications: Body- Started decreases at 2.75 " and every 1.75 " after-however found wasn't necessary to change the decreases from pattern instructions, as I did end up following the pattern length pretty closely. Sleeves-omitted the extra band rows at the finishing stage. Suggestions: May want to put sleeves on holder instead of casting off armholes, then casting on sleeves-it was very tight casting on the sleeve sts. Definitely check Ravelry and Berroco errata changes on this pattern.

TA DA! I did it! It turned out just as I had imagined it would...

Loppem Sleeves

Loppem shown close to actual color, hanging on a chair! Have worked up through the sleeves and beginning next on the yoke. This is a very fun stage of the sweater, where it is all coming together and soon to be completed. Notes to self: Might have listened to advice of another knitter and done a few things differently. Casting on sleeve stitches was very tight. Might have put some stitches on holders to help through that portion. Decrease rows on sleeves did not line up in pattern. Reverse stockinette on lower portion of sleeves was done only first few rows instead of repeated a few rows later, as I never saw in pattern those instructions to repeat it. Though I am not disappointed in having it only on the edge. It matches the lower hem of the sweater that way. In the yoke portion, will be the buttonholes. I have buttons that I think will work well! This one with flash turned off-NOT actual color but shows stitch definition a little more for you. I have done 4 pattern repeats with 2 more lines of pattern after that prior to yoke.
All in is coming along well and hopefully some of the decreases and rough spots will block out to not be noticeable. A "happy" knit!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Everyday Cardigan, Fall and Loppem

Wearing Everyday cardi to the Arboretum today on the most perfect Seattle Fall day ever!

The trees practically glowed in the sunlight and everyone in the city was there for the show, it seemed!

Even my favorite street to drive on the way to and fro work is blooming in color now!
And now for the progress update on Loppem. I am so far very much in love with this sweater!

Crammed onto a long circular needle, Loppem is being knit from the bottom and heading up! The little "ears" you see are really the beginning of the bottom of the sleeves. That was the hardest part. Could've used a longer cable needle or put the sleeves on holders instead. It won't look so smooshed or curly once it's off the needles, finished and blocked. Next I do more inches on sleeves and continue cabling, then move on to the yoke! This is a great knit so far! I am challenged to the max on my skill level, but trying to go slowly so as not to goof up, and reading everyone's recommendations off Ravelry.This one has too many sts. on the needles which makes it hard to RIP out! So on I go! No mistakes allowed!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Second Pattern Repeat on Loppem

Second time through pattern repeat, done with two decrease rows so far, and on up I keep knitting with a few more decrease rows yet to do...until I get to the place where we make armholes! Cat hiding from the rain I guess...It's pouring here!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Cabling on Loppem

I turned off the flash so you could see better the contrast and the cabling. These are the cables that will run up both sides of the front of the Loppem sweater. It is tricky for me being the first time I've followed a chart on a sweater. But it's going pretty well as long as I go slowly and not get distracted. Definitely not an idle "non-thinking" project for me. Concentrating harder on this one. I'm sure I will get the hang of it. On decrease rows you have to SSK (Slip, Slip, Knit) and K2Tog a few times. All the while tracking your pattern. This is a gorgeous pattern though...
Fall is here!
Enjoy the colors of Fall! And the sunlight while you can!