getting reorganized

finally, this baby is done.
i don’t know what took me so long (maybe the cables) because i actually worked on this fairly consistently. and i love the yarn—new hue handspuns bunny patch. AND it goes with my new winter jacket, so i need it.
anyway, i’m glad it’s done now—i wore it last night and it felt lovely. i’ll write the pattern up in the next few days.

it’s good to be home, but i have to admit i’ve been having trouble settling in and getting down to work. there were of course, lots of little details to square away the first couple of days, like bills to pay and mail to open (and i still have to unpack my suitcase. i’m terrible—unless i do it right away, it languishes. i did take out the dirty clothes, at least).

also, i think i just miss san diego and kim’s family. sigh, i really did not want to leave that last day.

anyway, i promised i’d show you the books i acquired at TNNA and i want to start off with my very favorite one—custom knits by the extremely talented wendy bernard

i pretty much stopped buying sweater books a couple of years ago because i realized i don’t use them once i have them—i like to invent my own sweaters. also, so many books have only one or two pieces that i truly love, which i usually have to resize in order to get a good fit.

but this one is really great—i’m so glad i got one. first of all it has a LOT of pretty, wearable, all-season sweaters included. kim and i were earmarking an awful lot of pages, heh.

that’s saying a lot considering that we have completely different body shapes and find very different styles are flattering for each of us. versatility is really important to me when i consider knitting a sweater—i want to get lots of use out of each garment i make. i need to be able to wear some of them in warmer weather and i’m sure many of you do as well.

this book has plenty of options that way—in addition to lots of stylish choices, wendy tells us how to customize each sweater according to taste and need without wrecking the design concept. so you can end up with a sweater that is true to the original but has the neckline, sleeve length, and fit that flatters you best. love.

she also took pains to discuss non-knitting aspects of sweater-making that can make or break your final result. discussions about gauge, yarn substitution, choosing a size and deciding about ease, and measuring your body correctly are covered in detailed, step-by step sections. these are discussions i’ve had over and over in teaching my sweater classes, because they impact the final result so radically. i love that the author included in a way that sorted out the confusing material nicely.

i also love the presentation of the book—it has a fresh look that is a nice departure from the “martha” format, with sweaters shown in action, in a variety of settings, which contributes to the sense that these pieces are fashion forward AND wearable. many of them are sexy and desirable without being age-specific or overly fussy.

(an aside for doubters . . . i can totally vouch for the need of a sweater at the pool or beach; both times i’ve been to the west coast this year it’s been hot, but i took a jacket everywhere and used it when the wind kicked up—which it does, a lot. however, a sweater would’ve been nicer.)

full disclosure: i took a lot of time with this book to notice what was included and to look at the sweaters and consider its fashion value. one thing i did not do (because of time) was to read the pattern instructions thoroughly. so i can’t tell you all that much about how they are written. however, the widespread popularity of wendy’s other published patterns leads me to believe that you can expect the same quality in the book’s patterns.

aside from the information contained within, the book as a whole made an impression on me that is harder to describe—but i’ll try. i was not very familiar with wendy’s work—i read her blog sometimes and notice the new patterns she publishes individually (many which i like!). a few students have knit pieces from them. i know that she is a stylish person with a wry voice, which i like, who can also be very thoughtful. i don’t know her well, though.

but with the book, i really got a sense of a whole body of good, cohesive work, one that was created with a determined sense of what the finished product should be, and how it reflected on its author. i don’t get that feeling from very many fashion-oriented books (or even lots of non-fashion books); it’s an ethic that seems to have passed its heyday. but i admire that quality a lot and if i ever produce a book, it would be the one thing thing i’d want to achieve as an underlying foundation.

i left my copy of the book with kim in san diego and i already miss it—i’m gonna have to order another one. but i think it’s destined to be a classic, so totally worth it.

ok, now what’s on my needles?

i’m almost done with the bougainvillea socks—again, i need to write the pattern (discipline, discipline; it’s looking more and more like i should sequester myself for a few days to write patterns and catch up).

anyway, i love these socks. they’ve been surprisingly easy to knit and that has allowed me to take them everywhere. i got lots done on them while flying, talking, and waiting this week. the motif looks complex but it was pretty easy to memorize after the first repeat. love that.

they’re a little like the woodsmoke socks that way—you think they’re going to be a big PITA, but they turn out to be the easy, smiley baby that you can take anywhere. they even let you pinch their cheeks ad nauseam.

and i love this yarn—the more i use it, the more i like it. and now it can be yours—stephanie from dye dreams wrote me today that they now have this beautiful dream sox yarn listed in their webstore (oh heck—i just went over to grab that link and saw like, four colors i want).
one note: the colorway i’m using is a sock club selection so you won’t see it on that page. but check out their other selections—there are some really good guy colors there.

i’ve been adding a repeat or two to my shawl every evening; it’s getting bigger now and harder to photograph. the plus side of that is that it’s now a good-sized bundle of pure luxurious softness in my lap when i work on it, yum.

now here’s where i need some help—i have to decide on a name and i’ve given it very little thought. the motif reminds me of a bouquet of flowers in a paper cone, among other things (like fans, leaves, etc.). i’m not married to any idea except maybe it should be romantic (i think it may be ready for release by valentine’s day). here’s a closeup

any ideas? i wouldn’t worry about it yet, but lis over at one planet yarn and fiber wants to create a shop listing for a kit that will include the hand maiden swiss mountain yarn and pattern (the kit will be a preorder until the pattern is finished and photographed). and we need a name for that.

tonight i’m getting started on a long-anticipated project that’s been waiting for me to catch up

the faroese mate for the autumn arbor stole. now that the rush of the holidays is a dim memory and i’ve been to TNNA and back, i feel ready to begin a bigger, more complicated piece. so it goes on the needles tonight. i can’t tell you how much i’ve been looking forward to getting my hands into this yarnnew england red—a new color from kim at the woolen rabbit—i mean, it’s orange. and red; the perfect antidote to gray skies (which are headed our way once again, i think). i think it’s going to be amazing in that large leaf motif.

speaking of antidotes to grim winter skies, i got a package in the mail while i was away, from kristi at shalimar yarns, who sent a couple of skeins of her lovely zoe sock yarn.

zoe is 100% australian superwash merino—i love the feel of this yarn in the skein. it’s very soft, but it has a nice twist and plumpness (but not too much and not too little). so i’m expecting that the stitch definition will be good, but the fabric will will remain touchable and more lightweight than other tight-twist yarns. they have a nice mix of stonewashed and variegated colorways to choose from.
i picked newsprint (left) and catalina (right). i’m not sure yet what they will become but i’m having a wonderful time looking at them and squeezing the skeins for now.

so i was saying something about needing to be disciplined and getting to work on a few patterns. but all i want to do is knit. i better crack down now and get to work before i lose out to my desires.

61 Responses to “getting reorganized”

  1. Hi! I can never resist playing the “name game”. In this colourway the pattern reminds me of really lovely colored stone, and since you asked for romance, and since a long=lasting love is just so romantic, I came up with “everlasting agate”. Just a thought. No matter what you name it, it’s beautiful.

  2. Stephanie says:

    Every time I see that shawl you are working on I fall in love with the colors again! So pretty, too bad I’m not allowing myself to buy yarn. I might fall off the wagon for those colors!

  3. Timiae says:

    I like the name Bouquet Toss… it looks like little bouquets and it’s romantic.

  4. Laris says:

    Thanks for writing about the custom knits book! I saw it on amazon but wasn’t sure because I also don’t use most of the pattern books I have because of one reason or the other. Seems to be a book worth looking at!

  5. Cathy-Cate says:

    Helen beat me to it: before reading the comments, “Tussie Mussie” came to mind, as did “Nosegay Shawl”, but I wandered off into Googling and making sure no one had used these. But the lace motif does look exactly like those little bouquets.

    What a lot is happening in this post! Lovely yarns, lots of projects, AND a bonus book review!

  6. Lola LB says:

    Can you talk in your blog about knitting trends for this year, and maybe into the next? For a long time, I’ve been fustratred with publishers putting out countless number of beginning knitters books, where the needle size is 10 or above and yarn is bulky. I prefer to go with classic knits that can be worn 15 years later, with techniques such as fair isle and stranded, and aran. I also love to knit on small sized needles, and the highest I’ll go is size 8, and very, very rarely size 10.

    I’ve seen a list of forthcoming books and I’m feeling a bit encouraged there will be good books to come out. I’m very happy that Dover will be printing Starmore’s Book of Fair Isle Knitting. I’m hoping that with this reprint, we’ll eventually see more Fair Isle designers coming out with innovative patterns that include shaping.

  7. Peggy says:

    Love the looks of that book! I will keep an eye out for it.

    I think the pattern of the shawl looks like gingko leaves. So, perhaps “Biloba” in honor of the scientific name of the gingko tree? Why yes, I am a nerd. Why do you ask?

  8. Aimee says:

    It’s not really romantic, but what about blómvöndur? It’s Icelandic for (I think) bouquet or group of flowers. I’m reading sagas right now, and the yarn colors remind me of locations I’m reading about.

  9. britt says:

    can i just say that i am drooling over that yarn? it is gorgeous. i just want to reach out and touch it.

  10. Kathy says:

    I think the name “Lupine” is perfect for the shawl. That’s what I thought of immediately when I saw the colors, blue Lupine.

  11. Tara says:

    Thanks for the review of Wendy’s book. It’s always nice to see what people OTHER than publishers think before purchasing a book of patterns.