lurking on the seamy side

ah, it’s good to be home. i’ve spent the last two days recovering from TNNA in the quiet of our house and boy, has it been nice. i dunno why, but the show left me completely spent this time—in a good way; we got a ton accomplished in two days. and my first day home was busy, busy, with class, a blog to write, and getting through a backlog of email.

having mostly caught on tuesday, i decided to take the whole day yesterday to digest and work in my study, away from the computer. since i’d completed the last of the knitting on my caïssa sweater the night before, i set about blocking all the pieces and seaming it together while i thought about the information and samples we took home from the show.

as you know, i like to steam block all my pieces before i seam them together, then do a wet block on the whole garment. i find the pieces are easier to handle this way. during construction, this fabric is somewhat distorted and constricted by its texture. the pieces will knit up slightly smaller than the size they will ultimately become, so blocking is imperative to achieving the right drape and size. everything pinned out to the proper measurements without much coaxing at all.

the spirit trail holda yarn i’m using is a 12-ply blend of  lambswool, cashmere, and angora—with all that non-wicking fiber included, it takes longer to dry than most straight wools.

that gave me some wait time between steaming pieces—not as much as if they were wet, of course, but enough to sit and work a few rows on that briar rose lace shawlette i talked about last week (more about that later). i didn’t mind—quiet knitting in the middle of the day is so rare for me now that i felt like i won the lottery!

once all the pieces were steamed, i set about joining them. first i seamed the shoulders and neck, then the sleeves, and finally, the underarm/side seam area (all the while, i’m listening to canada, by richard ford). i like to steam each area as i go, to have as much access as possible while everything is flat.

you can see even here how lovely the drape of this fabric is—and it’s so light too, especially considering the size of this garment. once it’s on, you hardly notice its weight.

there was a lot i couldn’t know about this garment until it was all put together, so yesterday was a big day for me, too; i was nervous, especially about the fit of the neck, which was a new construction for me in hand knit fabric.

and while i like it well enough, there are a couple of things i will tweak in the pattern, so they will be corrected for the test and sample knits. i think the neck opening needs to be narrower, allowing the front band to ride higher on the shoulders and stand up more. also the cross-back width could actually be a bit wider, further off the shoulder (this surprised me).

are you ready??

i haven’t applied the buttons yet, because i’m not sure it needs any. the cardigan stays shut mostly on its own; with the fabric being so light, it doesn’t fall away toward the side seam the way it might in a heavier yarn. which is very nice and i like that it feels like a wrap. if i adjust the slant above the bust just a bit more toward center, i’ll be happy.

i don’t think i’ll be taking this sample apart to do it though—too many seams and pieces to undo. i may either knit it again or wait for a test knit to be finished (it would be fantastic in gray or brown, is what i’m thinking).

i do love the way it looks from behind and it feels delicious on. it’s exactly what i was aiming for—something that feels like a bathrobe but looks like a jacket; i love it. it’s very warm as well—too warm to keep on for very long right now, but when fall comes, it will be perfect.

david isn’t around at the moment to take a photo of it on me, but maybe later

nothing feels as good as an FO, right?? in fact, let’s celebrate with flowers

our row of stella d’oro lilies are in full bloom—i don’t think i’ve ever seen so many flowers on them. i need desperately to get out in the yard on saturday to dead head and weed—i skip one weekend and it all goes to hell in a hand basket, haha.

speaking of stella, let’s go back to the shawlette project i mentioned earlier; something new on the needles always feels pretty good, too, haha. the briar rose stella yarn is knitting up a treat—i love it; it’s very fine, but easy to work with and has good grip.

i’m enjoying this, even though i only gotten a few rows done. i expect you’ll see bigger progress on it now that the sweater is complete. even though the rows are long, it goes pretty fast because the pattern is easy to memorize.

after my seaming was done last night i added three or four more rows; i think that an evening or two of good knitting hours will get me through the lace hem and, once i’m into the garter section, it will be completely portable, so finishing should be quick.

of course there is a bit of competition for my time with a secret project or two on the needles as well, but i’m going to be home for most of the remainder of the summer and i plan to take advantage of that by getting lots of knitting done.

are these lilies not the most delicious orange?? it would be a great yarn color, eh? i love how fresh and lively this is; it make a yummy winter accessory; my mouth is already watering.

speaking of the garden (awww, i know we weren’t, but i’m going there anyway), i still can’t get over the pace at which everything is moving.

the garlic is already dying back and we’ve had bell peppers on the plants for over a week now. look what i found today

and these

oh man, we still don’t have all our mulch down—time to catch up.

and then the eggplant has begun blooming as well—one of my garden favorites

ok, that’s it, just a few for today . . . because i bet you want to know who won the sock knitter’s handbook, right?

but first, thank you all for commenting and a big hand to the authors for providing us with a fun and informative opportunity. and now, the winner is:

elizabeth AKA theknittinggirl

ah, i’m so happy—she is such a fun person, always ready with a great joke and good for a laugh in our clubhouse; it wouldn’t be at all the same without her. let’s give her some flowers to celebrate

ok, now, it’s off to work i go, lots to get done before the day is over. see you next time.

25 Responses to “lurking on the seamy side”

  1. Jo Morgan says:

    All during the process of your knitting the Spirit Trail cardigan, I wasn’t feeling the love. But, the seamed and steamed product is fab! I think that buttons might ruin the lines of the garment…just sayin’. Your garden is looking wonderful.

  2. josiekitten says:

    Oh Anne, that sweater almost leaves me speechless. It is going to be the perfect, cosy, snuggle into, wrap yoursef up in kind of garment ever. How much yarn is it going to take to knit for someone my height? I just love it!

  3. Robin F. says:

    I love this new sweater. I’m curious as to why you think the cross back needs to be wider. I would think it would make the sweater look too big.
    I vote for no buttons- Especially since it hangs so nicely. You could include a button option for those who feel the need. I can’t wait to buy the pattern and knit it up. i have the perfect yarn in mind.

  4. Nancy says:

    I agree with Robin. No buttons, and I wonder why you would want to make the cross back wider. I think it might make this beautiful look less tailored and not hang as straight. Even though it’s almost 90 degrees outside, I wish I had it in the freezing cold supermarket I was just it! Beautiful sweater.

  5. Pat Clark says:

    I am knitting with yarn in that color orange right now. Madelinetosh vintage in citrus. It will grow up to be a wonderful wallaby for my grandson. I can’t help but smile and be happy while I knit it!

  6. Kat Jorgensen says:

    Anne, I should know to trust you. This was one of the few projects that you’ve done that I didn’t love while you were knitting it. But oh my! Now that I’ve seen it all blocked, I want it! It is lovely. Love how the knitted fabric turned out. I’m also a no on the buttons. It’s perfect just like it is.

  7. MaryAnne says:

    I absolutely love the new sweater. It is right up my alley. Can’t wait for the pattern.

  8. danielle says:

    Love it! Why ruin a good thing? If you want it closed more – use a beautiful shawl pin!

  9. Beadknitter says:

    Beautiful jacket Anne!

  10. yay, Elizabeth!

    Love the new cardigan – it will be luscious to wear!

    Daylily orange – a perfect colorway!

  11. Kathleen says:

    Yes to the “bathrobe” sweater. I live in a cold old house, and spend the winter in multiple layers–most of them are too ugly for public consumption–but this sweater would be a perfect item– a combo of style, comfort and warmth. I love the fact that you share your design process so openly; I learn a lot.

    What do you think of “Canada”?–I am reading it in actual book form, and finding it easy to put down, but we are going away this weekend and I am leaving my devices behind and taking it with me.

    BTW, after drooling over your garden pix, and being inspired, for the last few years, I now have a raised bed garden of my own (the base soil here is pure sand, and dune grass is inedible, so raised beds is the way to go). Things are growing well–and I have found a couple of recipes for beets that can make believers out of the skeptics–I’m talkin’ to you, Mr. Knitspot:)

  12. Torre in MD says:

    beautiful sweater! I wasn’t studying it enough in pieces but I love the design – very interesting!! Looks very cozy! the garden and flowers are looking lovely. Congratulations Elizabeth :)

  13. Lara says:

    It’s beautiful! I do really like without the buttons. It looks so warm and cosy too!

  14. SUE says:

    The cardigan is magnificent! In watching its progress I was thinking it looked a bit …for lack of a better word…boring. But I know you are a woman of knitterly vision and that it would turn out wonderful and it absolutely exceeded any expectation I could have possibly had. Your designs positively slay me. Thank you Anne for being so talented and providing us all with such wonderful designs!

  15. Cathy says:

    The cardigan is lovely, and your notes on blocking and fit are fascinating. Can’t wait to see it on you!

  16. Judy says:

    The sweater is quite beautiful. I have some Holda so it even more appealing. As a narrow shouldered person, don’t like to see shoulders made wider on a pattern, as often have to alter this area, but the front band riding a bit higher on the shoulders makes sense for me. Enjoy your blog very much and looking forward to FIFC.

  17. Kat says:

    I hate blocking, so I am impressed with your total dedication to that step *hangs own head in shame* ~ your results look well worth the effort, so that’s food for thought for me! lovely blog and gorgeous knits :-)

  18. Sharon says:

    Another beautiful design! What a lovely sweater….it’s looks ‘cozy’. Perfect for upstate NY winters.

    Love your gardens, maybe you can help me, we planted garlic for the first time – when should we dig it up?

    Thank you for all your wisdom and neverending inspiration,
    Sharon

  19. Danielle says:

    love the sweater! i definitely agree – no buttons necessary. it hangs just perfectly as is. and i love the neck too!

  20. dclulu says:

    Dumb question: What does it mean to describe a drape as “lowly”?

  21. Norfolkknitter says:

    What a gorgeous sweater… :-) I’m just about to start spinning my ‘purple hug’ from Janet – I’m heading for light DK as I now know what I’d like to knit with it… thank you :-)

  22. Rebecca says:

    Oh man! I cannot wait to knit this sweater. It’s just beautiful!

  23. Brandi says:

    Your sweater looks lovely I love your plant pictures!

  24. Kim says:

    Oh. Wow. You KNOW I love that sweater.. . . . .

  25. Ann says:

    Gorgeous cardigan & I agree with everyone that there is no need for buttons as I like the drape of the collar.