Monday, July 11, 2016

Laelia

Yesterday, I told about how I decided not to alter an old sweater I'd made for my sister, but instead to make a new one.
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This is the sweater my sister chose -- Laelia, designed by Hanna Maciejewska.

This was a fun project all the way through - it was fun to send my sister sweater ideas, and yarn suggestions, and then see what appealed to her.  It's always exciting to order yarn from the Plucky Knitter, and even more fun when it arrives.  I knit it just as written in the pattern.  I did run short of yarn, and ended up buying more via the ISO thread on the Plucky Knitter Forum on Ravelry. 

I finished the sweater last weekend while we were camping in the mountains.  We had plans to meet for brunch this weekend, so I had time for washing and blocking this week before giving it to her.  We had a lot of fun taking pictures at Bookwalter Winery yesterday.  

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I love how the lace from the collar descends diagonally all the way to the back.
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A sleeve detail
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Collar and raglan sleeve detail - this sweater begins at the center of the back collar.  It's knit in one piece and has no seams.  At all. 
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Even though it was July (though a cool day for around here), she kept it on for a while.  (We are playing Kubb,  possibly not according to the rules found at this link.)

I wrote this post about a sweater, not a sister, but this is a wonderful sweater for a beloved sister.  I'm so glad it turned out well.

Laelia

  • Designed by Hanna Maciejewska, pattern available in English, Polish, German, and French
  • Plucky Knitter Primo Sport, 75% extra fine Italian Merino wool, 20% cashmere, 5% nylon, color - starlet, 7 skeins, 275 yards/skein.  (This was one more skein than the pattern called for)
  • US size 4 and 3 needles
  • On Ravelry here.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

The better part of valor

"Discretion is the better part of valor."  This proverb has been around since 1477!  It's a version of "look before you leap."  It can be an excuse for cowardice, but it also can be an important corrective to the kind of careless bravery that does as much harm as good.

For a lot of my life, I didn't think of myself as a brave person.  I am risk averse, and more likely to be looking than leaping.  But over the years, I've learned that I can face difficulty without falling apart.  I complain less about the worst days than the ordinary ones.  I might be, in my own quiet way, kind of brave. 

And as a knitter, I'm brave.  I'm not afraid to take on challenging projects (see Am Kamin).  I'm not afraid to tweak finished garments to make them better.  If the sleeves are too long, or the fit too big, or if it's too hot with sleeves, I'm game to remodel.

Which is why my sister thought to ask if I could do something about a sweater I knit a long time ago that she never wears very much.
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So, I started thinking, and I even started taking the sweater apart.  (One of the seams is partly undone in the picture above.)  But then I kept thinking. 
"When did I make this sweater?"
" Was there anything I COULD do that would make it more wearable?  When DID I make it?"
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I made it sometime after the Fall/Winter issue of Vogue Knitting, 1987, was published.  There it is, in all it's late 80's glory.  Baggy pants (Anne Klein) and socks, and everything.  Check out those Brooke Shields eyebrows that have almost come back in style.  I used a yarn that my local yarn store suggested as a substitute for the Classic Elite La Gran Mohair called for in the pattern.  This was before the knitlist, and way before Ravelry. 

Discretion.  It was, in its way, a great sweater for its time.  Which was almost 30 years ago.  So, I called my sister and offered to make a new sweater - that she'll wear, now.

We chose a pattern.  I bought some yarn.  It's finished, and I'll show it to you soon --
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Friday, June 17, 2016

L'Enveloppe


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Now that it's far too hot where I live to wear Aran weight wool, here it is.  L'Enveloppe is a combination of poncho, shawl, and shrug.  It was designed by Sally Melville.  I have wanted to knit one since I first saw this pattern.  I had some birthday money which I used on the yarn (like finishing the garment, this was a long while ago).  I used Fleece Artist Blue Face Leicester Aran.  The color is called Stardust.

This picture was taken this spring, when my husband and I were spending a few days in Leavenworth.  Though you could wear L'Enveloppe as part of an outfit, it's well-suited for how I wore it -- that little something you bring along in case you decide to sit outside, or if it's going to be cool after sundown.  It feels cozy but also stylish and elegant.  It felt more elegant than I think it looks in this picture.

It can be knit in garter stitch or seed stitch.  I would have preferred to make mine garter, but the swatch looked nicer in seed stitch -- next time, though, garter.  Seed stitch is a bit tedious.

This is a lovely wool - pretty light for Aran weight -- it smells nicely sheepy, and though not merino soft, is soft, and at this gauge has a nice drape.

L'Enveloppe

  • designed by Sally Melville
  • Made with 4 skeins of Fleece Artist Blue Face Leicester Aran, 100% wool (202 yards/skein), color:  stardust
  • US size 9 needle 
  • Size M
  • on Ravelry here 
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Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Old Mittens

Fox and Geese mittens
I knit these mittens in about 1988.  I'd ordered Robin Hansen's book,  Fox and Geese and Fences: A Collection of Traditional Maine Mittens.  This was before the internet was part of my knitting world.  I think I ordered the book from Patternworks, over the phone.  The OLD Patternworks.  The pink yarn came from a baby sweater knit for a friend's baby.   The baby is grown, married, a teacher.  The teal yarn is from the gansey-ish sweater I started knitting for my husband when we were engaged, and I finished the first year we were married.  The magenta yarn is some Maratona yarn from the first really good sweater I knit myself.  From Vogue Knitting, Fall/Winter 1987.

These are old mittens.  Meant as a kind of test run.  I've always meant to knit another pair.
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In the meantime, the palms have felted (to a better shape, and even warmer).  And over all these years, I've worn these mittens to push snow off the driveway, to ski across the golf course, to sled with my kids, to walk the dog.  I've knit other mittens, prettier mittens.  But these mittens are the ones I wear when I want warm hands.  When I don't want to worry about taking care of my mittens.

Along the way, I lost my book, got in touch with the author, and replaced my copy.  I knit baby mittens for my kids from this book.  And knit teenage snowball fight mittens.  And finally, I've knit myself another pair.
Fox and Geese mittens
And the day I finished them, my daughter came home for a brief visit (on a business trip, she was).
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And she claimed the mittens.  Swore she needed them more than I do (probably true).  And, they're gone.

This second pair was knit, once again, with leftovers.  Some Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride of ancient vintage, in cream.  Some sport-knit yarn from Imperial Yarn (Tracie Too) held double, which is really too heavy.  And that gray-blue strand is Scrumptious Aran, from a cowl I knit my sister.  It's not quite heavy enough.  I think I used US 4 needles (that means they're knit tightly). 

These are the Fox and Geese Mittens (also in Favorite Mittens).
The next time I knit these mittens, I think I'll try a new cast on.  They are cast on with the Maine method, as described in the book.  I can't seem to make this edge NOT roll.  So next time, a new edge.  But I'll be knitting some old mittens.  These.  (On Ravelry.)

Sunday, February 14, 2016

How to Love a Knitter

Well, there are probably as many ways to love a knitter as there are knitters, but there is one thing that is always a good idea:
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Wear what they made for you.
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Wear it right away.
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Maybe even more than once in the same week.

And if your mom made it for you, send pictures.
 


Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Endearment

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I'm not sure I have enough terms of endearment for this sweater -- I LOVE it.  I love the beautiful design and well written pattern by Hanna Maciejewska.   I'm smitten by the yarn, Bello by The Plucky Knitter.  I'm fascinated by the double-knit cuffs and hem.  It's a good thing I love the young woman I knit it for, or it would be in my sweater drawer right now.

This sweater is knit top-down.  Since the hem and cuffs (and neck edge) are double knit, the only finishing was to weave in ends and sew on buttons.  Since the yarn is so soft and fine (and because it's not a bad idea anyway), I decided to sew ribbons to the front bands.
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Some time ago I bought some of these beautiful ribbons from Anna Maria Horner's website.  Funny thing -- I usually only buy yarn with a project in mind.  But these ribbons -- I saw them, and I had to have them.  I was thinking, in a general way, about sweater finishing, but mostly, I was just buying something beautiful -- in two yard lengths.  They're much nicer than any ribbon I've bought before -- lightweight and silky (made of polyester).
I'd kind of forgotten about this ribbon stash, and I bought some blue grosgrain ribbon at the fabric store when I bought the buttons for the sweater.  But when I got it home, it just didn't seem right, and by then, I HAD remembered these ribbons.
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I chose the narrowest one I had, which didn't actually match, but felt to me like it suited this sweater.
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I sewed the ribbon in by hand, reversing it for the second band.  Then sewed the buttons through both the sweater and the ribbon.  I decided not to sew buttonholes in the ribbon, but just sewed the ribbon beside the buttonholes, so both front bands are reinforced and won't stretch out of shape.
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Endearment

  • by Hanna Maciejewska
  • 4 skeins Plucky Knitter Bello.  fingering weight, 55% merino wool, 45% cashmere, 380 yards/skein, color Betrothed
  • US size 3 needles, size 2 for the bands
  • Anna Maria Horner Ribbon
  • LaMode buttons, style 3966
  • On Ravelry here
  • for my daughter
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Sunday, January 24, 2016

2015 Weather scarf

 It's been done for some time, but finding time to photograph it in daylight has been hard.  It's my version of Bex's 2015 Weather Scarf.  The (then) 9 year old who thought up the idea for this scarf is adorable -- you should go here and read the story.  And if you like this idea, please consider buying the pattern on Ravelry -- it's for a great cause, and it's a great idea. 

Bex's scarf was designed for Seattle's milder climates.  Here on the eastern side of the state, we get higher highs, and lower lows.  So I did adjust the temperature/color ranges for that. 
I've knit one row for each day of 2015.  The colors are coded to that day's high temperature. 

My color/temperature ranges were:

  • below 35 (degrees Fahrenheit):  Gumshoe (darkest gray)
  • 36-43, Jack of all Trades (another gray)
  • 44-51 Magnet & Steel (yet another)
  • 52-60 Dove Cote (lovely bluey gray and my favorite color on the scarf)
  • 61-69 Thank You Note (turquoise)
  • 70-77 Silver lining (the almost white)
  • 78-85 Registry (silvery gray)
  • 86-94 Bubbly (pink)
  • 95 and above Bellini (orange)

 As you can see, the grays were TOO similar. 
 And we had a VERY hot summer.  I really intended the orange to add just a little spice.  But instead. . . more orange than pink.
 Here are the yarn portraits from The Plucky Knitter.  In hindsight, I maybe should have realized the grays would be too alike, but they still look more different in these pictures than in my scarf.  I ordered these two gradient groupings of their Primo Sport yarn - a blend of 75% (fine Italian superwash) merino wool, 20% cashmere, and 5% nylon.  It's lovely stuff, and I've enjoyed wearing it around my neck. 

Plucky yarn is quite an experience.  If you want it, you really need to be on their mailing list, and then when they announce that yarn will be available, set an alarm to go online to order yarn.  It's almost a cult-ish feel, but between great yarn bases and amazing colors, I can see why it's such popular stuff. 

Geeky stats -- the highest temperature in Kennewick this year was 108 on July 31 -- there were 11 days in July when the temperature was in the triple digits.  The lowest high was on November 28, when it warmed all the way up to 23 degrees. 

This was a fun project - often I knit just one row in for the previous day's temperature before going on to work on anther project.  It made me pay closer attention to my area's weather. 

It would be a good "souvenir" to make of a special year or for a special place. 

I have quite a lot of each of these yarns left.  What else can I make with them?