fits and starts

Posted on Posted in designing, projects, yarn and dyeing

that ina garten, she sure writes a good apple crisp recipe, mm-mmm. especially the apple part, though i do think i like my friend chris’s recipe better for the topping. next time, i might marry the two and see.

so now that we’re settled with our apple crisp, let’s get down to the business of what yarns i’m playing with and what’s on the needles. cuz there’s a LOT to see right now and i’m not even going to get into the three secret projects i’ve got going. i gotta tell, you, this staying home stuff is really good for my productivity  . . .

i am honing in on a finished bloch ness cardigan—i’m so close i can taste it. this is my pile of sweater parts on monday, when i had just begun work on the last front piece. don’t they look luscious? the polwarth silk from indigodragonfly just gets better and better; i can’t wait to actually wear it.

this morning, my front piece is just about ready for the armhole bindoff

sweater knitting goes so fast when i actually stay home to work on it!

but i’m especially motivated to have this one off the needles; in recent months it’s become increasingly clear that for now, cardigans are the only practical sweater option; all my pullovers are migrating to the back of the drawer until my climate control issues even out. but i miss the variety of choices i’ve grown used to, so the minute this sweater is done it will go directly into circulation. and a good green sweater will be so useful for my wardrobe. yay.

also, i want to get this done before i become absolutely swamped with holiday knitting (the fact that i don’t think i’m there yet should indicate how much of a crisis this could turn out to be).

i’ve been working on it late at night, when we settle in to watch TV for an hour or two; that’s the time when i knit on something fairly mindless until i can’t keep my eyes open any longer. when david has a project going, he works on it then, too; that way, i’m nearby in case he blunders.

as you know from his post-thanksgiving essay, he’s working on a washrag—isn’t his knitting nice? he got pretty far with it on thanksgiving day, nearly to the widest point. but last night when he took it out, he thought the fabric seemed too loose (he’s picking that up from us!). so—and i’m so proud of him for this—he ripped the whole thing out and started over. it’s only his third knitting project, so i especially admire his willingness to redo work he isn’t crazy about.

the yarn he’s using has been in my stash quite a while; it’s a linen blend gifted to me by rosi g, specifically for knitting washrags. the linen content makes it very hardwearing. i used one skein and kept the other back; now david is enjoying it.

i think he’s going to make a little series out of these; he enjoyed working in a pattern when he knit an afghan square for kat j recently and wanted to try using more patterns in washcloth squares. and well, we’ve got plenty of resources he can mine for this venture . . .

i’ve started several new projects, some of them secret, but one that is NOT secret and that i’m super excited about is a new cowl/infinity scarf project in two delicious yarns. cuz really? there’s no point in putting something near your neck if it isn’t luscious. it is also stupid quick and easy to knit; my favorite kind at this time of the year.

ok, here’s the swatch front—i love how it scrunches up all by itself

i also love that it looks equally sexy on the back side

great texture contrast for the loops of that infinity scarf (or for putting either piece on in the dark).

(WHY did i say that, because we get dressed in the dark so often???)

i’m knitting the infinity version in this awesome red holda, from spirit trail fiberworks. the colorway is named sorbet and it’s a red i just adore; i think of it as the color of faded red sneakers, but you could say it’s kind of a watermelon color (it’s less orangey in real life than it looks here; i’ll try to get a better photo as the project progresses.)

i’ve cast on the shorter cowl version in a different scrumptious yarn from shalimar yarns called haven. it’s a 5-ply merino/silk blend that has a similar hand to the holda yarn—drapey but plush, with great body.

i’m knitting with the silver sage colorway here; it has subtle gray-green tones which i find entrancing. and shalimar has a wide array of additional color options. the haven is just a tad thicker than the holda, so i went up one needle size and the fabric seems perfect (though i can expect the result to exceed the garment measurements).

that’s the nice thing about knitting an accessory like this—it has no fit, so you can modify parts of the pattern and as along as you feel confident about your yarn supply, it won’t have a bad outcome. i can make it longer, deeper, in fingering yarn or chunky—whatever. i’m absolutely certain i’m going to love this project in both yarns; i can’t wait to have them further along so i can show you more. i’m pretty sure you’re gonna like them, too.

the other day, i finished the cowl i was knitting with that gorgeous handspun baa baa huey from newhue handspuns.

david has been eyeing this piece ever since it began to take shape. he reaches over to squeeze the fabric every so often, letting me know he plans to make it his (i’m letting him sweat but in truth, i’ve had it earmarked for him ever since i first laid eyes on it. it’ll make a great christmas gift.). david’s favorite kind of yarn is handspun; in a sea of choices, he will gravitate straight to it.

while we were playing dress up with it, i had david try it on his head so i could get an idea of what modifications might be needed for the hat.

okay, first—even i can’t believe that giant cowl fits his head! (david is the reason that all my unisex hat patterns go up to size 26-27 inches). i’m glad i put it on him though, because it made me wonder about making an entire hat in that texture. after a bit of discussion, we decided that the bottom part should be basketweave and the top part should be the underlying rib pattern. i’ll keep you updated on the design.

i got out the hat kit and cast on the other night. i rewound the yarn so that the darker portion was at the outside of the ball and i could start with the lighter portion. i worked a narrow ribbed edge in the plain green yarn (right), then started the basketweave pattern in the shaded colorway.

now i’m doubting my choice though—i think before i get too much more invested, i’m going to rip back, rewind the yarn back to where it was, and start with the darker end, so that the ribbing blends a little more subtly.

the hat will have a somewhat different look than the cowl, because the hat and mitt kits are spun with some dyed fiber and some natural fiber, making the colorway more tweedy. they will coordinate perfectly with the cowl, but will have their own look.

ok, that’s where i’m going to stop for today, but i have more already lined up for next time—several projects i have pulled yarn for, but have not started yet and which are poised to go on the needles when that sweater is done.

til then, happy stitching; don’t let the holiday rush eclipse the joy of having a great big excuse to sit and knit.


17 thoughts on “fits and starts

  1. Looks like more cowls I have to have! And in time for Christmas! Perfect! Although there really is very little of your work I don’t want

  2. I’m not at all surprised that a man with an eye for good photography like David’s is willing to rip out something he’s not happy with and try for better. My hat is off to him for the linen knitting though, it seems less forgiving than cotton, which is not an endorsement here. LOL

  3. “Climate control issues” …. snort! I laughed out loud when I read that. Probably won’t think it’s as funny when my climate starts needing controlling.

  4. Yeah, that climate control thing affects me too! I can’t even wear a cotton turtleneck hardly at all any more. I am currently knitting Leaving and have been debating doing the cardi or the pullover, this post just helped me make up my mind! Started with the sleeves so they will work with either one.

  5. Wow, Anne, you and David have both been busy with knitting projects. I love that David knits and does such a great job. Jorgie could crochet chains, but he never progressed past that. My dad has made a couple of sweaters, but his eyes no longer allow him to see well enough to knit.

    But I’m busy knitting for the holidays. Love all of the wips. Glad you’re home for a bit. : )

  6. I laughed at your ‘climate control issues’ comment. I’ve managed to avoid those so far, but it can’t be too much longer. I’ve always prefered cardigans anyway, so I guess that bodes well for me. 🙂

  7. Okay, there are about three dozen things in your posts I’d love to comment on. So, let’s get going and I’ll try not to be redundant this time! Love Ina Garten–she seems so down to earth and her recipes that I have tried are great. Climate control– too funny! One of the few perks of the geezerhood is not having to deal with this very often. My niece says Colorado has bipolar weather–so true. We have springlike days in the middle of winter and for all practical purposes, cardigans are the only way to go here. Love that David is knitting and so commited! Hugs, Jo

  8. I can’t wait for a hat/cowl combo! I love that yarn color too! 5 days left in this term of nursing school & with a week off next week it’s gonna be ALL knitting & spinning 🙂

  9. So many lovely things here today. I really love the way the colours change in the cowl, your design is so effective at showing them off. I love infinity cowls, the Monkeybread is my best friend in the winter. So if you need a test knitter, ahem, I am chomping at the bit!! (Plus I have a skein of Holda!!) I think I have the same climate control issues as you!!

  10. Everything is so pretty! What a good sport that David is to wait so patiently for his gifts and prizes. I agree about the color of the ribbing running into the lighter color on the hat. The darker color would be a nicer blend, but I LOVE the idea of the basketweave bottom and the simpler top. It’s why I love your blog. When I saw the cowl as a hat I thought is was nice enough – but when you mentioned the change it makes perfect sense.
    Yup! Cardigans! The only way to go for a while, at least!

  11. Yay! Cardigans. Not feeling like pulling sweaters on and off over my head. Cardigans just seem so versatile. I love to knit cowls – so looking forward to these. Your idea for the more subtle darker colour on the hat is wonderful. I am excited to see the Christmas knitting. It is so good to what yarns you choose for each different pattern. Fun! Fun! Fun!

  12. wow I think your holiday knitting depending on how much you would need to do may definitely be cause for knitterly heart attack:)

  13. When I first started knitting sweaters, I only made pullovers because I was intimidated by buttonbands. (Yikes! Picking up stitches combined with buttonholes? Crazy Talk!) Now that I have conquered my fears and feel comfortable with buttonbands, cardis are all I knit. I tend to have power surges as well, and it does seem that when you are out shopping or running errands, no two businesses will have their thermostats set on the same temperature. I love to go to the movie theater close to my house—it is like a meat locker in there during the winter, so you can wear all the handknits you can muster.

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