even though i haven’t blogged in forever, i have continued to compile photos and think of subjects to post about, so a LOT has piled up over the last couple of months! to be honest, i don’t really know where the time has gone—it’s just been flying by, what with introducing a new family member to our home life and a new co-worker to our knitspot team. so i’m going to leapfrog over most of what’s passed and focus on what’s happening now and going forward.
except . . . so many people have asked how cardigan is doing that i’m planning a whole post devoted to her for later this week. get your rescue doggie sweatshirts on; it’s going to be fun!
plus, i need to catch you up on our garden, because some of you have told me you missed that too—yet another separate post later this week (after cardigan, haha).
so let’s start with knitting and what’s been on and off my needles for the last couple of months; there has been a LOT of secret knitting that i can share now.
i never got to show off my club designs for the april shipment, but i really like them—between the yarn choice, the fun knitting, getting to write about shetland fiber, and the pretty results, it was one of those completely satisfying deliveries. in fact, i loved working on them so much that i knit all three samples myself (often, i ask for help with the club knitting but not this time).
working on the chapter was sort of like taking my dream research trip to the islands of northern scotland and now, after longingly following the real life shetland travels of friends and fellow designers these last few weeks (some day i will get to go myself!), i figure this is a good time to share photos to let you know that i’ve been working away, even if you couldn’t see it! (just to clarify though, these patterns won’t in general circulation for a few months yet; you need to be in our BNK club to have access now.)
for this installment, we worked with 100% american shetland fingering yarn from elemental affects in california. we chose four undyed shades from an array of about eight to ten that are available from this producer.
jack tar has a more solid body pattern with a snappy, modern chevron hem. the scale of the chevrons and the arrangement of colors give it a more impact here, but that could be toned down by using a more subtle gradient palette.
eshaness (scarf/stole, above) and muirburn (triangle shawl, below) are knit with matching openwork stitch patterns throughout, but i used a different arrangement of my colors in each. the rounder, undulating motifs really lend themselves to softly shifting colors, but again, that can be changed up for a different look.
the body pattern from jack tar can also be knit with the hem pattern from muirburn—the nice thing about subscribing to the club is that the eBook includes all the instructions, which makes adaptations more accessible. in each installment i try to point out ways to adapt patterns and encourage clubbies to try their hand at it; it makes for some fun shares in our ravelry clubhouse discussion threads.
i’ve also been working on finalizing the pattern for my birches cardigan, shown in some of the shawl photos above, knit up in stone soup DK color marble—i know some enthusiasts out there would like to knit that jacket for rhinebeck.
i’m still working on my second sample in cabécou brillant sport, chugging away on it whenever i get a chance; i just love it in this light, frothy yarn!
and we just got a mill shipment last week with more of the popular amandine shade. PLUS, we are finally restocked in the poivre shade (not pictured, darn it), which we didn’t have for ages! the silvery medium gray is sure to be a hit, knowing how much you share my love for grays.
this is a pretty easy knit so there isn’t really a good reason why i’m not working faster, except that there is so much other knitting to do and i don’t have a firm deadline to keep me on course.
a series of unfortunate events put me a bit behind on my ensemble summer lace KAL projects; good thing my switchgrass skirt design knit up quickly in a very short time and according to plan in my favorite hemshaugh fingering yarn. it starts out with a very easy variation on a knit/purl rib.
and with plenty of time to get established in a rhythm, we throw in a few yarnovers to break up the solid fabric, then a few more, and so on, in a swirl of textured eyelets reminiscent of tall summer grasses.
the hem opens up in a mesh pattern with some increases that cause it to riffle just a bit as it moves—not enough to become an actual ruffle, but enough to suggest it. i really like the effect, personally.
as with many just-knit hemp fabrics, this one looks a bit sorry when it’s off the needles, but a good soak in a hot bath helps the stitches lengthen and smooth into shapes that conform beautifully, making the whole thing drape like a dream.
we sure do love a drawstring skirt like this for summer—easy to pull on and wear, whether to the beach or out to dinner. mine is paired on our model raina with the sleeveless violet top in hempshaugh lace, color millet.
in june, we explored suri alpaca using the suri decadence blend from still river mills. this luscious lace yarn could not have been more different in the hand and the contrast has been a great learning experience for all of us. i designed the crescent shawl above and the cowl below to take advantage of its soft, liquid drape and incredible halo.
these coffee-and-cream shades have golden highlights served up by a measure of muga silk that is enfolded into the suri.
now i bet you’re wondering when i’m going to mention those swatches at the top of the post, huh? well, i think the time has come . . . aren’t they intriguing? let me just say, i am SO in love with them.
i carry a few of them around in my project bag because they are so much fun to fondle, haha. they really are as tactile as they look . . . it’s stitch patterns like this that made me want to learn to knit as a toddler—i just love digging my fingers right in to explore every bit of their squidly shapes. that sounds somewhat naughty, yes, but there you go; i’m baring all, haha.
anyway . . .
what i’ve been knitting with this motif is what i hope will be an irresistible drop-shoulder summer tunic, loose and light with a riffle of shifty rib along the hem and a wide band of tighter rib securing the neck and sleeve. can you envision it?
if not, i’ll show you how it’s progressing. i finally got it on the needles a couple of weeks ago and once it was underway it has been knitting up seriously fast.
those cables have a lot of stitches so i was rather dreading the actual knitting, but was pleasantly surprised at how mesmerizing and rhythmic the pattern actually is.
while it looks complex, the stitches are pretty simple and those cables only cross every twenty-four rows; i made some good progress on a daily basis. if you enjoy knitting lace, you’ll probably like this one.
but best of all, there is almost no shaping involved; it’s two big rectangles of straight pattern with a wee bit of neck shaping near the top. normally, i don’t go for this type of sweater at all because it can overwhelm my frame, but in such a light fabric with lovely drape, i’m an enthusiast.
somewhere in there i took some time to knit yet another swatch in our deco lace yarn (right, above) just to see if it would work as i’d hoped. and yeesss, it does. in fact, i like it so much that i think i might knit a shortie version of this tunic in it—just long enough to graze the top of the hip in front and maybe a little longer in back? i think that would be so pretty with a maxi skirt or shorts (i still have plans to knit shorts with hempshaugh fingering at some point).
and all that air-conditiong built right in? it’s a no brainer for me and will be a key drama piece in my ever-expanding hempshaugh summer wardrobe (i told you, i am aiming for 100% at some point!).
now, i know this texture might look bulky in my progress shots, but trust me, it all smooths out beautifully after a wash. here, just take a look at this
i finished up the front yesterday and had to wash it to see what i’ve got (i get nervous about outcomes, too!). it’s perfect—smooth, consistent stitches and no bumps, but offering tons of depth, nevertheless. LOVE.
the neck is w-i-d-e, with a ribbed trim almost equal to the bottom hem. the shoulders drop and will have a deep ribbed hem as well, to create a “sleeve” that falls toward the elbow (not sure how long that will be, yet. i’m so in love; i can’t wait to get the back knit now.
cast on earlier today, so i’d be ready to roll for knit night tonight. two hours of knitting with friends—here i come!