whenever i’ve been on a big push to meet a project deadline, it takes me a day or two to climb out of the black hole i got sucked into, adjust my eyes, and refocus on a normal work pace.
my two new sweaters sat on a far corner of our big communal dining table for a couple of days—i knew they were there awaiting a hot sudsy bath, but the fact that i could just do it now didn’t really click til wednesday.
and when it did, i turned it into an opportunity to begin the big seasonal sweater wash that officially launches summer for me each year. it is REALLY important to clean woolens before tucking away for the winter—insects just love to nest in dark, undisturbed places, preferably with nutrition nearby; unworn woolens with food particles, skin cells, and pet hair on them are ideal.
into the bath the mister’s and triticum went for a soak; this would be their first wet blocking and wash, so i soaked them separately to make sure i got the water hot enough; the hand wash cycle of the machine doesn’t do that.
then i went over to the shop to grab samples—everything we own needs a good bath; we want it all to be sparkling clean for the wooster show in a few weeks.
after an hour, i squeezed and rinsed the new pieces, loaded them into mesh bags along with several shop samples and put them all into the hand wash cycle of the washing machine.
if you’re washer doesn’t have a hand was cycle, you can do what my mom used to do and what i did before i had one: place garments or blankets into mesh bags. fill the washer with soapy water of the appropriate temperature (cold for most yarns), stop action and allow the knits to soak for twenty to sixty minutes, drain washer, fill with plain water to rinse, drain and spin. don’t use any agitation cycle; that is what felts wool.
while my sweaters were washing, i hauled out the rest of my garments and sorted them into stacks of similar colors. i can wash six or seven at a time which works out fine for making color batches. there are a few i’ll probably give away this year that i haven’t worn in a while—i need to make room for new pieces. but i’ll decide for sure later.
soon it was time to retrieve the sweaters from the wash and lay them out to dry.
the machine spin does a nice job of getting all that water out so you don’t end up with aching arms after a big wash day.
BTW, i know some people were concerned that triticum is on the short side (and it is shorter than some of my designs), but it hadn’t been washed before the photo shoot and it did grow a bit after its bath—probably and inch or two; i think you can tell from this photo that the proportions different now (it was too wet to put on and snap a photo, but maybe tomorrow).
once i had it laid out flat to dry i had to figure out a way to arrange the collar so it wouldn’t end up wrinkled. i wanted a super simple solution that anyone could do—a rolled hand towel did the trick, supporting the collar without disturbing the rest of the garment at all.
i used the support to pleat the back neck area a bit so the lapel would form those lovely folds as it falls down the front. it worked a treat—the collar and lapel sit perfectly yet feel weightless on my neck. love.
the sturdy, dense mister’s design just pops out of the wash and takes the right shape immediately—no fussing at all with this one to shape it, post wash.
nothing to do afterward but leave them to dry (and the BNWs dry so fast, due to their excellent wicking qualities).
oh, speaking of bare naked wools, have you seen lara smoot’s new design in confection sport? the marshwood shawl so pretty and simple; just the kind of thing you’ll want to keep handy through the transition of seasons.
a solid, textured fabric and an unusual shape set it apart—along with the yarn, of course! erica has put together a marshwood shawl kit including yarn and pattern to make it an easy mother’s day gift.
feeling full of new freedom to knit whatever i want, i very quickly succumbed to a round of startitis and swatchapalooza.
i started this simple little shawl on wednesday—it’s the triangle version of the love me two times crescent. but where that one is worked from the hem up, this one is worked from the top down. and since the lace repeat for the hem is only six rows, you can pretty much knit til your yarn runs out if you like.
i’m working again with better breakfast fingering yarn in mocha—yum! i love the gold highlights in this colorway—i love all the colors i see when i look up close, sigh.
the start of a shawl like this is so gratifying because it grows so fast. i pick it up to add a few rows here and there, while i’m waiting for a pot to boil or sipping morning coffee. it could be done very soon or not; it all depends on how my other projects shape up.
you might have noticed amongst the drying sweaters in the photo above, my dear old bathrobe sweater, a little worse for wear.
i have been wearing this workhorse garment for over twenty years and the fabric remains quite beautiful—it has yet to develop a single pill that i can see.
i wore though the edges of the cuffs many years ago and never got around to reknitting them, though each year i swear it’s a project i’ll accomplish.
and while most of the sweater is in remarkably great shape, it has finally sprung a large leak in one elbow, as well as a couple of other wear points.
it is well past time for a new one. i’ve been saying that for years too, but now i’m serious. and to prove it i have this to show.
i’ve been meaning to swatch for it with one of our yarns for ages, but i didn’t dare hope for such great results. i got exactly the right stitch and row gauge using our stone soup fingering yarn and size 5 (3.75 mm) needles, just like i used for the original, knit in morehouse merino sport yarn.
i was so excited, in fact that i started on a sleeve right away using my original handwritten pattern. i figured this was way better than swatching any more squares. i didn’t get further than the cuff before deciding i should make sure the sleeve shaping is right. so i spent last evening putting together a draft pattern for the prototype.
and while watching a bit of TV afterward, i launched into the patterned portion of the sleeve. so far, so good; everything seems to be on track as far as the gauge . . . i think it’s going to be as faithful a recreation of the original as i could expect.
i may even knit two of them; i have this batch of denim blue (it’s much more gray-blue IRL) morehouse 2-ply that i purchased for that purpose seven or eight years ago on one of our rhineneck trips.
i’m so excited to be working on this project; i’ve been talking about it for years. i don’t know why i’ve skipped over this one in order to do others, but every project has its time. if i had knit it several years ago, there wouldn’t have been stone soup to work with.
another swatch, this time for a fingering weight boyfriend sweater—i love my mister’s so much i want a lightweight one for the spring and fall seasons.
the ivar that cherie knit
me us as a sample is so delicious (i wore it for three days straight after it arrived here) that i want a similar type pullover in the same yarn.
this time i’m going argyle with the stitch pattern—i’m still playing around with the exact fabric design, but i think it’s going to be slightly more complex—more on that next time.
and finally a pair of swatches in airy, bulky weight yarn—big in diameter, but light as a feather due to their considerable loft. the green is briar rose sonoma and the gray is our chebris worsted in the carbon shade—coming soon.
here i’m thinking about something with a cable feature—in this size yarn they will be gigantic and i’m loving the images swirling around in my head for a straight-cut car coat with bold details (can details be bold or are they small by definition?).
i’m trying not to get carried away with too many plans for the immediate future, as i also need to write up patterns for my ENVY club designs—the time is drawing closer when we will cast on in GREEN (do you love green and want to know more? click here to join us for our green immersion club).
hope you have a wonderful weekend planned; the weather here is as fine as i’ve ever seen it and i hope that’s true where you are, too. for me, some running, some work, some biking, some knitting, some yoga, and oh yeah—six more loads of sweaters to go.