Now that I’ve got my computer back up and running, and the Universal Toque pattern tested and posted, it’s time to revisit my FOs, WIPs, and wistfully, the frog pond as they’ve been in the last six weeks.
First up, here’s my current love affair: Stephen West’s Spectra, knit from Little Red Bicycle worsted (grey; purchased at Knit City, and sadly I think in-person sales are currently the only way to buy this awesome yarn) and my early handspun, in Hydrangea BFL/silk gradient-dyed fibre from Everything Old!
More (pics, projects, pontification) under the jump.
I am freaking loving this. I don’t care that it’s kinda boring to knit; the fantastic squishiness of the LRB yarn and the delightful colour of my handspun more than make up for it. Scarves, hey, seems they’re okay if the yarn is awesome enough.
I’m now much farther than this picture shows – right into the last colour of my gradient. I remember being very proud of how well-spun this handspun was when I made it; I’m…less pleased now…but the Spectra pattern actually lends itself really well to pairing a less-than-soft but beautiful “glamour” yarn with something that feels great, since your glamour yarn is worked in stockinette and the edge in thick, squishy garter, making it so soft that, like me, you’ll want to drape it across your shoulders even as you’re knitting it!
Next is the mess that lace always looks like while it’s being knitted: the Echo Flower Shawlette, which has been in my queue for a very long time – longer, even than the yarn (more Everything Old – a base I think has been discontinued, Ether lace) has been in my stash, which is about a year and a half.
I never say never, but I think I might be ready to leave all-lace shawls alone for a while. Maybe it’s just annoyance talking, because although I find the main pattern for Echo Flower lovely to look at, I just didn’t enjoy knitting it as much as some lace motifs. I’m inclined to think that it’s mostly because I’m in a very cozy mood right now, and as I work on my second garter-stitch-empowered shoulder-adorning accessory I’m coming to understand why garter shawls are all the rage – they’re just so snuggly! I’m on the edging chart now, though, so the end is in sight, and I think that despite the lack of snuggliness I will really like having this gorgeous red-purple colour to draw on in my shawl drawer.
While I’m talking about stuff I’m dissatisfied with, remember Wanda Wanda, my Wanda Nell cardigan?
Wanda Wanda went to the frog pond a few weeks ago. Here’s the thing: I’m a busty woman with a relatively small waist. I might be legitimately described as “hourglass shaped,” so just knitting a sweater for my actual bust size results in a garment that fits like a sack of potatoes in all the wrong ways. I am willing to work pretty hard to accommodate my own shape, but sometimes a pattern works against me. Such was the case with Wanda Wanda. I was high off the success of my Regent cardigan, and I thought “hey, I can math this into submission!” But once I’d bought the pattern and worked nearly down to the underarms, I saw a flaw in my plan: the waist decreases, as written in the pattern, started 1/2″ above the fullest point of my bustline (usually, one wants them to start at least that far below this point). I had, by this time, done about half the increases I’d calculated out for my bust darts. So I ripped back, added a few rows, started the bust darts a bit earlier, and went to figure out how I could change the rate and position of the waist decreases such that I would end up with the sweater’s slenderest point matching my own. And that’s when I hit the second, fatal, snag: the instructions for the waist decreases are written out in full, without making what I consider to be normal use of markers. That is to say, I expect a sweater to have a setup row, where I place 2-4 markers to indicate where I will decrease for the waist, and for the instructions to say something like “work to marker, decrease either side, repeat every 4 rows 4 times, then every 2 rows 5 times.” Instead, every single row was written out with all the pertinent numbers, so it was more like (in doll-size numbers)
k 10 (12, 14), ssk k2tog, k 14 (16, 18), ssk k2tog, k 20 (24, 28), ssk k2tog, k 14 (16, 18), ssk k2tog, k to end of row
knit all sts
k 9 (11, 13), ssk k2tog, k 12 (14, 16), ssk k2tog, k 18 (22, 26), ssk k2tog, k 12 (14, 16), ssk k2tog, k to end of row
knit all sts
I can see that this way of writing out the instructions might be more idiot-proof – personally I always have to go through patterns and note how many decreases/increases there are total in one of the “rep decrease row # (more) times” type constructions, because I’m bad at using counters and good at reading my knitting. But it meant that if I was going to adjust the rate of decrease and work in my bust darts, I was going to have to go through and create a schematic of the sort I am used to working with, and…I just gave up. I was beginning to feel like I would just be ignoring the written decrease/increase section and making up my own, in which case I might as well have just designed my own sweater from the get-go. Or I could use one of the many other sweater patterns in the world. Or, as it turns out, I could say “the heck with fingering-weight sweaters, I’m knitting some goddamn stripy knee socks,” which is where I ended up. I do want to stress that I don’t think the pattern is bad – it’s simple and looks great and would be awesome for someone with a less extreme hourglass shape, especially if you knit it from one colour and could add some vertical short-row bust darts as well as horizontal increase/decrease ones (I couldn’t because it would have messed up my stripe pattern). But if you are little in the middle and you got much boob, do yourself a favour and find a different pattern. I’ll let y’all know if I find a good one.
I’ve been wanting to knit myself gloves for a while. Ideally in a light colour for night cycling. I had been going to use this Knit Picks Imagination yarn (in Unicorn!) for socks, but I decided it might as well be mitts, and I am so happy I did! The alpaca content makes them incredibly soft and cozy, even on the coldest morning bike rides (not that it gets very cold here – bottoming out at maybe -2˚C), and I the colour makes me think of some sort of delicious ice cream treat. Yum! The pattern was easy and quick to knit, and I ended up using way less than the stated yardage. Granted, my gauge was a bit off (slightly small) and I worked the cuffs a tad shorter (because I was worried about running out of yarn, ha!), but they are supposed to take 300 yards for the small size and I used only 250. If I’d worked the cuffs even shorter (maybe 1″ instead of 3.5″?) I could have gotten both gloves out of a single skein. Not bad! And yes, the peekaboo thumb can be worked one-handed, unlike some of the more flip-top styles (at least, so I imagine – a big part of why I chose this particular pattern). Thumbs up, warmly!