Saturday, February 17, 2007

The yarn diet never really had a fighting chance. I could use yarn/fiber to stuff the eaves and act as winter insulation but who knows what you might need when? . Today in Maine was gorgeous, clear, deep blue skies, 34F degrees and no wind. That is the first time in about six weeks the temperature has gone over freezing. In honor of the beautiful day we took a ride up to the western Maine mountains and foothills. DH thought we were going to a ski slope brew pub to have micro brew and ribs. Silly man!! I finally got to Norway, Maine and the "Irish Ewe" knit shop.
If you are ever in that area, you HAVE to stop and chat with Dagney and look over the fiber and items from Ireland for sale. DH bought me pretty pewter sheep earrings and for his mom, some heart buttons. I bought the most beautiful blue fleck Aran weight yarn and a new copy of the Straker Design called Shalor. This is the Aran yarn that the shop has spun for them and imports. Penelope Straker has reworked the sweater pattern so that the sleeves now have a deep cable on them instead of just seed stitch. It is truly a classic pullover raglan and would going to be stunning in the blue yarn. DH actually picked the color over a more muted blue. The shop is stuffed with quality yarns, patterns and some books. There was a bin of vintage Aran design leaflets like the old Bernat ones we probably all have in our stash.

She also had a yarn called Digit which is fingering weight and equal to the Jamieson and Smith jumper weights. I have a lot of J&S on hand but if I were trying to fill in a color, would make the trip back up to go through the Digit.

Now I have to wind off a bit of the blue (using the Kitchen Aid mixer) and swatch. Final decision will be making Shalor, Starmore's Malin or Ann Gallentine's Country Cable Cardigan from Cast On Magazine, Winter 2002/2003. That cardigan was her level III master's hand knitting project and has called to me for a long time. Click on photo above to see more detail of patterns.
The Dale of Norway sweater "Hemsdale" progresses. Decided to make steeks as we do with Fair Isles. Front steek is at left of photo. The pattern lined up fairly well with a double V at the side instead of a single. Already sewn the hem under and it is comfortable to work with. This will end up being a gift for a smaller person as the gauge is 7 sts instead of 6 sts to an inch no matter what needle size I used. The sleeves are both done to about elbow length and will probably be added by three needle bind off once the sleeve steeks are cut.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Storm is gone and the day is 13F and bright and sunny. Joe cleared the porches while I used the garden tractor to do the driveway and parking areas. It is so pretty but still pretty windy and the wind has a real bite to it. First real snow storm of the year and here it is mid February. Birds are frantic at the feeder including some crows who seldom use the feeder. Red squirrels run under the snow to the feeder and just sort of pop up, very comical.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Beadwork is done!!! Still have to wash and block it and probably add a half inch to the sleeve ribbing but it is done. Click on the photos to get a larger image. A fun knit especially since the sweater sort of evolved as I went along. The cable charts are from Jade Starmore's "Beadwork" pattern, the construction winged as I went along. The sweater was knit on US #4 in Patons Classic Wool, a soft gray color. The sweater is exactly what I wanted for warmth and fits well. Its 2F degrees at the moment with a 20 mph wind so the wind chill out is fierce and there is supposedly 12-16" of snow coming tomorrow. Seeing as we keep the house around 62F - 64F warm sweaters are welcome. Would I make the sweater again? Probably not but it was fun. The others in the internet KAL (knit along) are making the sweater using many different methods. A couple are even knitting it as it was designed - a tightly knit, formal, cardigan. Its hard for most knitters to leave patterns alone.

Next on the needles is the Dale of Norway "Hemsdale" cardigan with Starmore's Fair Isle "Oregon" and "Erin" all set aside in their cloth boxes waiting their turn. For small projects, there are a couple of pairs of socks I'm learning on never having been a sock knitter.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

To rip or not to rip the first Beadwork sleeve? Miss Boots the Cat says leave it alone! One side of my knit brain says the decreases are too fast even though made using the calculations from Sweater Wizard. The other side of my knit brain says rip it and make the decreases slower. It looks silly stretched out flat but okay when tried on. I'm just past the point shown in the photo and the three small cables are now lined up under the sleeve next to each other with no diamond pattern stitches left to decrease. That is as designed and I'm pleased with that portion. I might just keep going to the wrist ribbing which is not that horrible far away. Remember this is a dropped shoulder sweater and I have short arms so never make the sleeves as long as pattern calls for. The decreases are smoother than the photo appears and yes that is a length of straight/no decrease just before the circular. And I even drew out a diagram!

I did the duplicate stitch on the Dale of Norway sweater sleeves and am very happy with that outcome. I will not be ripping that sleeve to do over and now know what to do to make the pattern match better at the underarm. I've cast on 282 stitches for the body, made the steek area a bit wider, finished the 16 row plain knit hem and am almost done with Chart 1. That was on US #3 circular. Rest of the body gets done on US#4.

I've never been much of a sock knitter but just picked up the Interweave Press "Favorite Socks" book and there is not a sock in there that I don't like. . But I WILL NOT start a pair of socks until the Beadwork sweater is done and at least one big chart on the Dale. So there!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Beadwork is a very difficult sweater to photograph. These are the best pictures I could get showing the start of the first sleeve. It is being knit from the armhole down to the wrist. The true color is more the darker grey. Interesting sweater to knit since I'm pretty well winging it with help from the Beadwork KAL and basic sweater design books and the Sweater Wizard software. Sleeves are NOT my favorite thing but this one is going quickly. Taking copious notes as I go so the second sleeve will match. The body fits and is very comfortable in the Patons Classic Wool.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Two partial sleeves of the Dale of Norway "Hemsdale" pattern are shown side by side. The one on the right is the first one where I did not increase in pattern but put a two stitch solid color up the back of the sleeve and increased on both sides of it. Sleeve on the left is increasing in pattern. Very apparent that the patterns don't match at the increases but I'm pretty sure I can fix it with duplicate stitch or at least fill in enough to be acceptable. I'm also thinking of duplicate stitching the sleeve on the right since ripping it out just seems like such a waste. Learn something new every time I pick up knitting needles and this sweater is teaching me patience! There is also an increased appreciation of the patterns written by Janet Szabo, Beth Brown-Reinsel, Meg Swansen, Ann Feitelson and the Starmores and the intricate meeting of patterns at edges.