Sunday, December 21, 2008

Winter Obsession

Alice Starmore's knitting oevre is legendary among knitters. She has a site now called with lovely photos of her designs where you can purchase kits for the yarn. Sadly, many of her books remain out of print, but now and again they can be found on Ebay or, amazingly enough, in local libraries!
When I started this knitting odyssey, I was attracted to very complex designs, with lovely intricate colorwork and/or cables , but soon realized they were way beyond my skill level. I had a while to go in terms of learning before I could tackle anything that complicated. There is also the time factor: dancing between desiring instant gratification and long term projects , as well as the need to master as many things as possible, I gravitated towards lace, which gives the satisfaction of complexity with the speed of human timeframes on larger needles. For some situations, my RSD strikes and I have to back off, so that factors into my choice of projects . Also, I like to make garments that I can wear, so there is the intellectual challenge of knitting to create a 3 dimensional object and making something that fits me.
I have long adored Ms. Starmore's
an intricate cabled sweater, but because the smallest size is 43 inches across the chest, and has dropped sleeves, I knew I could not wear something this big, and it would not flatter me.
Zooming around Ravelry, ( ) I came across several folks who had modified the design to fit them, and I had the idea that I could try to knit something for myself.
I finally knew enough to have an idea how I could manage this! And I had several stashed yarns that might be fun to knit this with. And finally, I had a dear friend who had the book Aran Knitting, so I was able to borrow it on Dec 10th and obtain the pattern, which is charted out. So, it all came together into my winter obsession.
Now, what is the first thing one does when starting a new knitting project? Swatching! My first swatch, in Zara on a size 4 needle, didn't make me happy somehow. I swatched again with Nashua Handknits Creative Focus Superwash, a merino wool blend that has a rustic feel, but is actually nice to knit with. And it shows the cables nicely, and I had 10 skeins ( at 218 yds each) so I had plenty of yarn! And of course, it is in electric blue.
My swatch of this yielded 22 sts per inch on a 6 in double moss, which is pretty close to the pattern gauge, so I cast on and knit a repeat in the round of the whole sweater, subtracting 12 sts on each side, hoping it would come out to something more like 40 inches.I needed to make a set of stitch markers with letters on them so I could keep my place in the charts.
As is the nature of swatches, they lie! LOL! My swatch measures 46 inches!

But I now have a nice piece of fabric to measure and gauge how to redesign the pattern so it will hopefully fit me.

And it's back to the drawing board for thinking about this some more...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

In search of blue

At least a year ago a friend sold me some Lorna's Laces Worsted in the colorway "Stormy". I thought it was lovely yarn, but of course, the black and white was a bit too graphic for my taste. I thought it would look lovely overdyed with blue, but never got around to it...On the 9th, I had my going away party at the shop I have worked for for the last nearly 2 years, and chose a lovely skein of Gread Adirondack silk yarn in a cream, beige and white colorway. Everyone looked at me like I was kidding when my eyes lit up and I said I loved the yarn!. I could see the possibilities....So I made up some dye ( Brilliant blue, a warm blue) and finally had a chance to dye both the silk and the Lorna's....the photos don't do it justice, but all of the yarn is gorgeous! Now it has to marinate in the stash for a bit until it tells me what to make.
Before dyeing After dyeing

Vested Interests

I'm lucky I invested in yarn this year. With the current economic climate, it is reassuring to have boxes and bags full of potential projects waiting for me. So I decided to make a vest. I began this November 24th, at a knitting guild meeting, and enjoyed knitting it during Thanksgiving, finally finishing it December 9th. I used 6 skeins of Blue Sky Worsted hand dyed alpaca/Merino on a size 9 needle, and as it was top down, I could play with shape and sizing as I went along. I intended to make it long sleeved and a bit longer, but to tell the truth, the weight of it began to hurt my neck, so I called it a vest and finished it off as a short sleeved top. I enjoy wearing it, though, as it is warm and comfy, but not too warm. Here is my friend Debby modeling it, and you can barely make out the cables because it is black!

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Joy of Sox

Just look at these beautiful, perfect, wonderful and lovely socks! They were knitted for me by my dear friend Elizabeth Rosenberg ( ), and they are the most amazing shade of electric blue Fleece Artist merino. I'm loving the pattern, the way they fit, the warmth of them. What a fabulous gift! Thank you, Elizabeth! Wow! Now I'll have to make a sweater to go with them...I must have some blue yarn around here...

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Get enough blue?

I had to knit another Wisteria. What a great pattern! I loved knitting this the first time, but wanted to use a DK yarn now instead of the worsted weight called for, so I did some math and found that the 40 inch size numbers worked out to the 36 1/2inches I needed. I cast on with some scrumptious blue Koigu Kersti, and merrily knit away. Added bust darts, shortened the length and sleeves by 2 inches and had a great time. A wonderful pattern!
Size 7 needles, approximately 8 1/2 skeins later, and I am happy!
For the to knit something completely different....