dead plants and other live topics

Posted on Posted in designing, lace/shawls, projects

the leaves are turning rapidly now here in ohio; we have lots of maples and oaks so autumn color is taking over the landscape. my mom told me the other day that she didn’t think the photos of dead plants were very appealing to readers, but i can’t help myself—these black-eyed susans are such a deep, beautiful black and look so striking against the yellow hosta leaves. one last shot before everything shrivels altogether . . .

the other night i went to debby’s to knit and got most of my mink mitts done. they are so light and warm; we couldn’t keep our hands off them. she got right online while i was there to order some of this gorgeous mink/cashmere yarn.

i got one pair of large mitts AND a small neckwarmer out of my one skein (230 yards). and i think i have enough left over to safely say that you could squeeze a large neckwarmer and mitts from one skein if you were very careful to stay on gauge. SUCH a bargain.

i used size 4 (3.5mm) hiyahiya needles sent to me by mary at hiyahiya, USA to knit the mitts these are lovely, lightweight steel needles with a smooth knitting surface—perfect for dealing with fuzzy yarn. they also make bamboo versions which i plan to try out on another pair of mitts soon.

this morning i washed my finished mitts and neckwarmer and laid them out to dry

i was anxious to see how the fiber behaved during and after washing and actually, it seems virtually unchanged. that is, it did not mat down or get tangled at all—it appears to have maintained its beautiful lofty halo without disturbance

i will periodically turn and reshape these pieces as they dry to prevent creasing, giving them a good shake each time to keep the surface fluffy. they are unspeakably soft and desirable and are going straight onto my gift-giving shelf. much as i’d like to keep them, i think they’ll be even better appreciated by someone who has more occasions to wear them outside.

i will definitely knit from this yarn again—in fact, there are two skeins of the radiant purple colorway headed to ohio so i can design a scarf and maybe a hat. and purple is so much more my color . . . hehehe.

i finally finished up my first cabled sock—have i mentioned how much i love this yarn?? it’s sooo, well, squooshy. and david just loves the color and texture. i’ll definitely be getting sock #2 on the needles tonight so i can tote that along to rhinebeck.

roxanne really does a bang-up job choosing her yarn bases—i love every one of them (oh, if only there was more time to knit!). the other day, she sent me some samples of a few new additions to her shop and i’m chomping at the bit to dive into them (but i may have to wait a bit, arggh)

this her new serenity lace yarn, a gorgeous 2-ply 90/10 merino/cashmere blend—shown above in fig tree (top) and chocolate (bottom). don’t let the 10-percent cashmere fool you; its luxurious softness is instantly apparent when you handle the skein. and the yarn has a beautiful sheen that i bet looks spectacular in knitted lace.

as if her cashmere DK isn’t luxurious enough, roxanne has now added a 50/50 cash/silk version to her lineup. the advantage of the silk is apparent in the sheen, color depth, and drape, of course, but silk is a tough fiber, so it will also contribute to good wear. this will make a gorgeous neckwarmer or mitts . . . the label says DK, but i find that this weight of cashmere can be knit as a sport weight, too. and she knows my taste—this eggplant colorway, with it’s streaks of white (just like a real eggplant) is a color i adore.

one last, that is another great addition, i think—her new BFL/nylon blend sock yarn, a chubby, squishy version of this lustrous longwool, which is fast becoming a favorite for sock knitters (shown here in golden harvest colorway).

BFL is a strong fiber, so a good candidate for garments that will receive hard wear, but many yarns that feature it are thinner and sleeker. this version has lots of body and loft, plus, the the nylon content i always appreciate for the guy’s socks. in this case, i think the nylon softens the yarn some as well. roxanne also offers a 4-ply, pure-BFL fingering version.

it’s almost dizzying isn’t it? meanwhile, i’m still working on thinking up what to knit with the serenity worsted in tealicious that she sent me a while back . . .

it’s definitely going to be mittens and a hat, if i can ever decide what stitch patterns to use.
my weekend knitting is going to be all about getting a few new small projects on the needles to bring on our rhinebeck trip (7 DAYS!!).

once i got that gray sock off the needles i concentrated on my other sock-in-progress, which i feel i haven’t talked about enough, but which i love beyond all reason

i put in some decent knitting time on it this week and now am ready to start the toe shaping. i better get the pattern written, i guess, heh. i’m a little behind on that one . . .
the yarn is mackintosh sky sock yarn in colorway safari, an ethereal muddy green/brown mix that david was instantly attracted to. i love the sleek, but squishy fabric of this sock—it’s not at all bulky, but the stitches still look so touchable—a great combination for a dressier sock to wear with shoes. i’m loving the pattern and thinking of other ways i might use it; i have at least one idea i want to pursue, but i’ll keep it to myself for now . . .

last night i sat down with my green cardigan after work, dinner, and a chaotic birthday phone call to my nephew (we have a lot of october BDs in our family now), determined to get a whole bunch knitted on it—maybe even finish it. and indeed, i got this second front all the way to the armholes. as you can see, something went awry because it is not now at the armholes any longer.

i can’t believe i goofed again on this piece. and again, it was totally my own inattentive fault. i got the shaping done to the waist and proceeded merrily to then increase back to toward the underarm. i was four rows shy of the underarm bindoff when i smoothed the whole piece out and saw that i had done the increases in a totally different spot, completely out of alignment with the decreases. i wish i had a photo—it was so beautifully flawed . . .
i ripped all the way back to the waist (this was at 11pm or so) and started the increasing again—as you can see i made sure to put it in the right spot this time.

jeeesh. maybe i shouldn’t call my brother’s house when i’m working on this piece . . . it has to be his fault, right?? anyway, let’s hope i’m more careful going forward. i don’t want to knit this sweater twice and end up with just one of them, you know?

i’m still pondering what to do with the dusk blue sport yarn from knitting notions—i have not for a second forgotten that project. i think i got sidetracked by a lot of positive feedback for a v-neck pullover. and i like that idea, but . . . having trouble making a design work in my head; the yarn is knitting up a little busier than i think will work, somehow . . .

then i got thinking—what about a cute henley style sweater?? for those that love a v-neck, does a henley have the same appeal? i like the added flexibility of being able to unbutton it to any depth, to wear it with or without something underneath. it even has some of the elements of a cardigan. it would work well in the ribbed fabric i’m seeking (i’m still looking for the perfect stitch pattern) and the tweedy texture of this colorway will work with that style, giving it that “thermal shirt” quality i like in a soft henley.

i’m seriously considering this idea . . .
ok, time to get to work; i’ve got an absolute mountain of stuff to get through before kim arrives next week and i want to be ready to have fun when she gets here.

35 thoughts on “dead plants and other live topics

  1. My mitts have to be enclosed. Fingerless just doesn’t work for me. I knit a pair of thrummed mitts and the wind blows through them. I have to solve it, somehow.

  2. For what it’s worth, I vote for the henley style – one of my personal faves and I haven’t come across many patterns that use it. I’m with you in thinking it would suit that yarn and stitch pattern really well.

  3. First time commenting here, but long time reader (and knitter of two knitspot shawls so far). I totally vote for the henley… I have been looking all over esty for a long sleeve thermal, maybe I’ll just have to make one!

  4. I just wanted to say hello and let you know I’m really digging several of the patterns you are working on right now! Nothing like the crisp air of fall to inspire gorgeous knits!

  5. I don’t know, I kind of like the pictures of your garden transitioning into fall.

    You’re a stronger woman than I… those mink/cashmere pieces wouldn’t get anywhere near my gift-giving pile!

  6. Needless to say, a skein of the red mink/cashmere is in transit to me as I write! It’s doubtful the product will be given as a gift as the color so perfectly matches the autumnal red streak that is now in my hair!

    Yay for completing the cable sock!! 🙂 Lovely, lovely in that yarn!! That Mackintosh yarn sock is calling my name, too!!

  7. Yes to the Henley–such a comfortable and versatile style, and that blue is so gorgeous! Only a week to Rhinebeck! I am going for the first time and have a sweater to finish before then, if I can.

  8. Why must you entice with the mink/cashmere yarn?!? I only have a certain amount of willpower. I would loooove a henley pattern. like a a sport weight or heavier?

  9. Will we be seeing a pattern for the gloves and neck warmer soon????? I purchased my purple mink after reading your post. PLEEZE!

  10. Mmm. love that muddy sock too! And agree that pics of the garden going to winter sleep are beyootiful. Too much temptation on this page!

  11. Henley: YES!!! Especially with your button blacket expertise — my last self-designed henley placket looked so raggedy after the rest of the sweater was done, I cut the edges off, spliced the yarn ends together and reknit the front as a v-neck. Sweater turned out great (I might even get around to taking pictures of it someday), but my hunger for a handknit henley style is unssatisfied.

  12. Fingerless gloves!!! my fav! big typist…cold fingers.

    I love the dead plants against the yellow leaves! it’s stunning! and Nature is what it is..we wouldn’t apprecieate the beauty without the fading

    I am not sure HOW you can knit these elaborate patterns while talking, eating, breathing….I would need a padded room and no distractions!

    but I hope to learn!

    I am about to get back into socks!

  13. I was going to post that I adore a henley style and see that I am not alone. I say go for it!

    Tell you’re Mom not to worry about us, we don’t mind the artsy dying plants. 🙂

  14. I’m having Rhinebeck envy already! I can’t wait to hear all about your and Kim’s adventures 🙂 The knitting is gorgeous — that green sweater has got to be about the happiest thing on needles, ever. And I love the idea of a henley in that stitch pattern, mmm…

  15. I must get me some of that scrumptious mink/cashmere yarn! Your mitts and cowl are gorgeous — I don’t know how you can bear to part with them. I would just want to pet them on a daily basis!

  16. I would like your Henley esp. if the collar came totally together at the front….shirt-like so the collar doesn’t fall back to the shoulder when the buttons are unbuttoned. Am I clear?? Look at a real Rugby shirt for inspiration.

  17. To add my two cents: I love a v-neck sweater and would wear a henley just as happily (especially if I fudged the front neck shaping a bit and made a hybrid v-neck/henley…but you didn’t hear that).

    AND the dead plants are just as artistic as the live plants, strangely enough!

  18. Oh! Why did you put the link to the yarn? I now have two skeins on the way…

    I was good though. One is a present. (Well, that’s my excuse.)

    Thanks for the gift idea for someone that owns a yarn shop. It’s very hard to by knitterly gifts for her.

  19. I, too, vote for a Henley style. Must be popular these days.

    LOVE, LOVE the mink/cashmere pieces. Holy smoley! If you design a hat and scarf set for that yarn, I will just HAVE to buy the patterns and some of that glorious yarn! I’ve been looking for just the right patterns and yarn to make a hat/scarf set for me this winter. I think I’ve found the yarn…now you just have to design a cute but warm set to go with it. (maybe when you get back from Rhinebeck? Hint, hint! LOL)

  20. Sorry to be the voice of dissent but a crew neck henley is not nearly as appealing as a v-neck (the floppy open flaps never lay a nicely as a real collar). I have only worn a scoop neck henley out of my devotion to the flattering effects of lower neck lines. I find a crew neck okay on a cardigan that never has to buttoned or on a colorwork sweater but I really do love a true v-neck.

  21. I love the dying plant photos, I love the versatility and softness of a henley, and I LOOOVVVVE the mink/cashmere yarn knit up into mitts and a neckwarmer. What perfect gifts (of course for myself included)! I am just waiting for more natural to be spun. . .

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