triticum

anne wrote this around lunchtime:

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like i said the other day, i will always gravitate to clothing with more of “guy” look, but occasionally something dressier is required and when that is the case, i like to have even more control over my comfort.

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nothing cheats the requirement to dress up like a garment knit with soft, elegant luxury yarn, whether dyed in a rich hue like this sprint trail tayet or worn in the pearly natural tones of our better breakfast fingering yarn

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sexy detailing on the sleeve and at the small of the back

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a spill of rich openwork down the center

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deceive the eye into thinking this piece is much more structured than it really is. lucky for us, it’s not—it is exceedingly light, stretchy, and comfortable to wear, the perfect finish to a simple dress or loose silk trousers.

or jeans—it has the power to elevate.

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the other nice thing about this design? it works with a wide variety of yarns.

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the prototype was knit in 100% BFL tayet, a new 3-ply fingering yarn from spirit trail fiberworks. this silky, strong yarn offers both crisp stitch definition and elegant drape with a soft sheen, for gorgeous brocade texture.

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not to mention how beautifully it takes dye—just look at this deep cobalt blue color.

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softer and a bit fuzzier, the better breakfast fingering yarn translates differently, but with equally beautiful results—this fabric follows the curves of the garment shaping but skims over the body forgivingly.

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here the fabric has a lush surface that catches the light and rolls it along each squishy curve in the stitch pattern, pulling the eye front and center.

this design could also be knit in our stone soup fingering yarn—in fact, i have a secret desire to knit a third sample in the river rock shade (don’t tell anyone; i’m supposed to be working on something new).

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the design has a tailored shoulder line with set in sleeves—options for long or elbow length included—for the ultimate in elegant fit. subtle waist shaping gives the illusion of a close fit while nipping out just an inch or so.

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the lapel/collar is knitted right in and grafted at the center back neck, with a minimum of finishing work (don’t be afraid of the grafting—i will hold your hand all the way through with my free craftsy grafting class).

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shown above, long sleeved cardigan in size small, knit in sprit trail tayet, color midnight rendezvous. if you are visiting the maryland sheep and wool show today, stop off at jen’s booth to see the sample and fondle the yarns—you won’t be disappointed! if you purchase the tayet yarn to knit this sweater, she will gift you a copy of the pattern.

shown below, cardigan ins size small with elbow length sleeve, knit in bare naked wools better breakfast fingering yarn, color porridge.

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erica has put together a kit for the triticum design which includes the pattern and enough better breakfast fingering yarn to knit either long- or elbow-length sleeves; knitter’s choice of shades (currently there are eight shades in stock).

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barb was going to knit hers in stone soup fingering yarn because it’s her favorite, but then decided on BBF in sugarfrost at her husband’s request instead. (barb did finish her sweater too, but not in time for photos yesterday; we’ll show you hers later this week).

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to purchase pattern only or view complete pattern information, please click here to purchase in our knitspot online shop and here to purchase in my ravelry pattern shop.
(if you wish the pattern to appear in your ravelry library, please use this ravelry store link, thanks!)

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have a wonderful week; the weather here is fine. i’ll be back in a few days with photos of barb’s finished cardigan and some behind the scenes shots from our all-day seaming party.

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the mister’s

anne wrote this around lunchtime:

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i’ve always held a fondness for man-styled clothing; i don’t know why, but a neat, tailored, no-frills look feels right for me.

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maybe it’s because i move so fast and have little patience with clothing that requires constant and readjustment. or perhaps my small frame is easily overtaken by garments that are too complicated.

whatever the reason, the stuff i gravitate to over and over is soft, easy to pull on, simple to look at and wear.

hand knits are perfect for my life; they fulfill nearly all my clothing expectations and then some (with perhaps the exception of pants).

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every sweater that i design is one that i would wear—even the slightly fancier ones. but it is a sweater like this that i will live in, pulling it out of the drawer several times a week and packing it in my suitcase when i travel.

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i love that the knitted fabric has the texture of a classic woven one; it gives the garment a sense of history and background. the button detail at the side hem and neck add just the right amount of adornment, without going overboard—they are very easy to live with day to day.

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whether it’s the color version or the natural, soft tailoring in just the right places ensures a great fit where it counts, allowing the knitter to decide where more might be wanted. optional side seam shaping (as in the orange sample) can be worked for a closer fit

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or left out for men and women who want a slouchier, relaxed shape—as in the natural sample. not to mention the pullover/cardigan option—instructions for both are included.

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shown above, the shaped cardigan (size M) in briar rose joyful, a springy 3-ply sport yarn spun from 100% polwarth wool and handpainted in michigan by my friend chris roosien of briar rose fibers. if you are headed to the maryland sheep and wool show this weekend, you can see this sample in her booth (please do stop and say hello to chris).

shown below, the pullover (also size M) with a boyfriend fit, in our very own bare naked wools better breakfast DK, a 60% merino/40% dehaired alpaca blend in color muesli (oops, that shade is gone for now but we’ll have more in a couple of weeks). erica has created a kit which includes pattern and this luxuriously soft yarn in the knitter’s choice of natural shades; please click here to check that out.

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to see this sample, you’ll just have to come visit us at the bare naked wools boutique. we’ll make it worthwhile . . .

to purchase pattern only or view complete pattern information, please click here to purchase in our knitspot online shop and here to purchase in my ravelry pattern shop.
(if you wish the pattern to appear in your ravelry library, please use this ravelry store link, thanks!)

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looks like it’s going to be a FABulous weekend for a wool show—please join us throughout the next few days for some virtual sheep and wool fun; we’ve got activities planned!

and of course, another pattern release in two days, plus the big reveal—did barb and i finish our sweaters in time to show them off? be here sunday to find out!

ETA: david and i finally got some modeling shots of this garment just as the sun was setting last evening—want to see them?

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i see how it is with you . . .

anne wrote this around lunchtime:

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so, let me get this straight: david doesn’t blog for what, two years? and when he finally decides to show up he gets over two hundred comments??

maybe that should be my new strategy . . .

heh, as if i could keep my mouth shut for that long; you should be so lucky.

i’m not going to dwell on what all that means just now anyway—i don’t have much time. in fact this is going to have to be a rather quick post because i’ve got a sweater to finish by the weekend.

it all started last wednesday at knit night—when barb arrived i was riding an adrenaline rush of finishing up three garments all at once.

two of them—the mister’s in orange and the blue triticum—had gone out the previous day to visit their respective dyers (briar rose fibers and spirit trail fiberworks) and take a trip to the maryland sheep and wool show this weekend, where they will be displayed in each dyer’s booth at the show. once they were out the door, i finished up the seaming on my mister’s pullover (far right) which i had knit in the muesli shade of our better breakfast DK yarn (we’ll be restocking this shade in may).

BTW, we have put together a whole weekend blog event that is designed to be a virtual trip to the MS&W, so i won’t spend more time on the sweater news just now—stay tuned; the sheep and wool fun starts tomorrow.

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so, back to my original train of thought—there we were at knit night, happy to be joined by david for a change (he doesn’t show up often enough, we think). i was just starting another triticum sample knit, this time in our own better breakfast fingering yarn and using the actual test pattern rather than the draft pattern from which i knit the prototype.

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earlier that day, erica and i decided that i should knit my house sample in the porridge shade, which, along with the muesli, is a color spun from rose gray alpaca and few toning shades. this color family straddles the divide between gray and brown, offering a soft intermediate realm in the spectrum. and like anything that can go either way, its dual nature appeals to me for reasons both functional and aesthetic; these colors are at the same time mysterious and adaptable.

anyway, my plan was to complete another sample by the time the sheep and wool show starts—about nine days away at that point (and i still had plenty of pattern work to finish by then, too).

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well, that’s all barb needed to hear to jump on the bandwagon right along with me. she grabbed four skeins of BBF in the sugarfrost shade (because her husband tom said he thought she should knit a lighter color sweater this time) and got right to work right there on her swatching. by the time she left she’d settled on size 7 (4.5 mm) needles and was casting on for her back piece.

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my own start was slightly slower because, like i said, i had other pressing matters to take care of, such as finalizing the pattern so the test knitters could get started (you can see their yarn choices and follow their progress in the test knitting thread that barb has set up on ravelry).

i started with a sleeve so i could use it as my advanced swatch, because when i swatched on a smaller scale, i ended up in between two needle sizes. using a 4.5 mm made a fabric that was too loose and a 4.0 mm was slightly too tight. this dilemma is often resolved by knitting a slightly larger piece in the  actual patterns and that proved very helpful here. i settled on the 4.0 mm needle with the confidence that i could easily block my final pieces to the size needed, should they turn out a little smaller than expected.

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once i got a chunk of time to invest in knitting (friday, i think), that first sleeve was completed in less than a day, even with all the paperwork i had to get through (it helps to have a brilliant proofreader like anne marie to partner with; we work together like a well-oiled machine, for which i am eternally grateful).

i cast on right away for the first front piece, but knew i would have to divert my attention back to paperwork for a bit. on saturday i had to skip knitting to work more on the pattern, but it was time well spent and by the end of the day, we had it ready for formatting.

i didn’t waste any time . . . i got right back to work on that front on saturday night while we watched TV. i was able to get the hem ribbing completed before going to bed, which always feels like the hardest part to me. funny how three little inches seems to take longer than the remaining eighteen, haha.

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on sunday morning i knit quite a lot while sipping my coffee and continued into the early afternoon, stopping for a little while to take care of a few pattern corrections from anne marie and then work on the formatting of the final file.

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after a long walk in the late afternoon, i resumed knitting and completed the left front by late evening (or possibly the next morning; my photo journal has a gap here).

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i think that’s right and that in my afternoon knitting class, i cast on for the right front, because by monday evening, i was taking photos of the right front hem (it’s all kind of a blur, i admit; i know there were a couple of nights in there that i fell asleep at the ridiculously early hour of like, 10 pm, then woke in the middle of the night and knitted til morning alongside david, haha).

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the fronts are a little deceptive in this garment because where most of the time, fronts are quite narrow and i could whip right through them, in this case they are nearly as wide as the back piece so they take a bit of extra knitting (but so worth it, because the showpiece lapel is knit right in).

by tuesday night (about 24 hours later) i had most of the right front done. i don’t even remember knitting so much. i have to say though, that knitting with this yarn is so gratifying that i just don’t want to put it down—as i work through the pieces, i can’t help planning what i’m going to knit with it next.

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by yesterday morning, i just had to knit a few inches of the collar extension.

which brings us to one week later and knit night once again. i’d been getting updates form barb all week because she had set an initial goal of finishing her sweater by yesterday (hopeless overachiever, that one). none of us doubted she could do it, but pushing that hard can often cause a backlash and sure enough, she lost her mojo for a day or two, just when i was cranking on mine.

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so by last night, we were pretty much neck and neck—she had a back, two sleeves and one front done.

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and we all marveled as she clowned around with them for the camera.

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(seriously, you should come to knit night sometime—we have a LOT of fun!)

speaking of fun at the shop, that reminds me—our wooster weekend retreat will take place in about four weeks time and we are finalizing signups this weekend. if you wish to participate (and we SO want you to come!) please make haste before laura closes them down.

while she and susan goofed around with barb’s pieces, i got started on my back piece.

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i had cast on for the ribbed hem yesterday afternoon, but as usual, was reknitting the first row for the fifth time as i wrestled with the impossible task of correctly counting to thirteen.

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and i had a sleeve plus two fronts complete and though they don’t look their best in this unblocked state, i wanted to get a hint of how they’d hang together, so i pinned them to the dress form yesterday afternoon. i love the color for sure—it’s kind of a luminous, beach glassy shade of “greige” with its gray and tan bits mixing into a soft color of its own.

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the piece shows every indication that once its blocked, it will drape not lovely, luscious folds, soft as a kitten. mmm.

did mention that we are both knitting the elbow sleeve option this time too?

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last night i got all the way through the hem ribbing and up to the first decrease before sleep overtook me. this morning i woke up early and got right to work while the coffee perked on the stove.

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i know this post is kind of making me look like a crazy-obsessed knitter, but actually, the project has not consumed me every waking moment—the pieces knit up surprisingly fast, despite the lightweight yarn because the knitting is so enjoyable.

the cable and lace pattern is a lot of fun to work and is one of of those that keeps me wanting to go just a few rows more (that’s good in bigger projects). and of course, choosing a yarn that you love to touch and look at goes a long way to keeping a big project interesting.

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it’s still up in the air whether i will reach my goal of finishing this garment by the weekend, but think i could . . . if i get right back to work NOW.

so with that, i am bidding you adieu but i promise more excitement will be on offer every day this weekend.

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I’m Back (With News of Sweaters)

mister knitspot wrote this mid-afternoon:

Can not remember the last time I guest blogged. However I do remember feeling a bit under appreciated, thinking to myself that I would never blog again. There is a tremendous amount of work that goes into these blogs; I have no idea how Anne manages to write them so frequently. Of course I can have a look at google analytics to see exactly how many of you have viewed the page, but it’s not really the same as seeing actual comments. I love reading your comments, the more, the better, and makes writing a post worthwhile in knowing that it’s been read. That said, if I receive 75 comments, there will a free Craftsy class (Anne’s new Sweater class) offered to one of you that have left a comment on this post and in addition, I promise to blog about our major renovation last year (finally—I know).

Our dear Anne was summoned to Craftsy’s Colorado studio once again to shoot a video for her new class: Essential Skills for Sweater Knitting, see trailer for class here.  This class is a survey of key factors for successful sweater knitting. Perfect timing as Anne has been busy designing 6 new sweaters; more about these later. The Craftsy class consists of 7 lessons.

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In lesson 1, Anne explores how to choose a style—which sweater to make. I have a sweater in mind that I would like to design and knit myself. Growing more and more confident with my knitting prowess these days, as I knit along in the Blanket Statement club, quite the experience, learned so much with this endeavor. In fact if you know a burgeoning knitter, I highly recommend the Blanket Statement Club, up to 16 different patterns to knit/read, such a great way to obtain knitting experience and have a lovely blanket as a result. Sorry for the aside, back to Craftsy class.

Lesson 2, learn how to read patterns, lesson 3 – selecting the right yarn and tools. Lesson 4, swatching for consistent results, I’ve learned the importance of swatching, perhaps underrated, but so very valuable.

Adjusting fit, lesson 5 and one of the things I love most about knitting and creating custom garments. Can hardly wait to begin my sweater. Lesson 6, knitting individual sweater pieces and lastly lesson 7, finishing, seaming and blocking.

May I present to you some of Anne’s latest creations—most will be available in May.

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Gearhead – Unisex Pullover, shown here in BNW’s Stone Soup DK.

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Triticum – Open Cardigan, Knitted in Spirit Trail’s Tayet (blue), debuting at Maryland Sheep and Wools.

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Mayan Puzzle Jacket, shown here in Briar Rose’s Wistful (brown), debuting at Maryland Sheep and Wools.

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The Misters’, unisex combination pullover/cardigan, knitted with Briar Rose Joyful (orange). Wouldn’t it be great as a vest too? In the process of convincing Anne to pattern one more version . . .

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Cam Cable, pullover, shown in BNW’s Kent DK

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Pedal Pusher, cardigan and knitted with BNW’s Confection Worsted

It is truly amazing the amount of detail and effort required to create a sweater. Anne recently offered to make me another sweater, but I had to decline, for I’m not worthy of such a indescribably wonderful gift. I tend to be very hard on my clothing; for example, I like to rest my folded hands in the neck line of my sweaters, causing unnecessary damage, stretching of fibers to the breaking point, and consequently ruining such a cherished gift.

When new to knitwear some years ago, I would mistakenly machine wash sweaters in hot water and dry in the dryer, making fibers shrink and become brittle and/or felt. No doubt it is like having someone place a condensating glass upon a piece furniture you created and massaged 10 coats of Danish oil into, the resulting water ring – fortunately this is repairable, whereas a sweater sustaining the damage mentioned would not be.

Even if you have taken Anne’s Sweater Fitness Class, the Craftsy Essential Skills for Sweater Knitting class provides information of a different sort. Don’t get me wrong, if you ever have an opportunity to take a class with Anne in person, you should immediately seize upon it; her teaching skills are remarkable, not only will learn all you need to know, but a lot more.Leave a comment, and you are automatically entered to win this Crafty Class featuring Anne.

Comments conclude for Craftsy free class offering April 27 11:59p (eastern time).

Feeling the love and appreciation, thank you all for the kind and generous comments. See you soon.

Mister Knitspot

Congratulations Bertha on receiving Anne’s Craftsy Sweater Essentials Class, enjoy.