Thursday, January 31, 2008

I think I found it

The "it" being the pattern I want to use this yarn with.

The pattern is the Taos Bi-Directional, by Crystal Palace.

This is how far I got this afternoon.

No, your monitor isn't faulty nor did the camera fail to render the proper color, this piece of knitting is in shades of blue. The yarn I want to use is Lorna's Laces Swirl DK in the colorway of Iris Garden which is purple, pink, and melon. Why am I using this 100% reclaimed cotton in blues? Simple, I like the pattern, but of course I have to change it, so instead of abusing the fabulous LL Swirl with all the trial and error I anticipate, I'll abuse this reclaimed yarn first.

The cotton I'm using might look vaguely familiar to some of you. It's the Spaced Bleached Cotton I created sometime ago. It has a similar color spacing/frequency as the LL Swirl does. So far I like the way it looks.

The biggest change I have in mind for the pattern is sleeves. I'm going to give Barbara Walker's top down cap sleeve a try. In doing so I'm also going to consider incorporating the same block pattern down the length of the sleeve, and hopefully across the shoulders. I also hope to make this in one piece. Therein lies the trouble. The design of the top is a little different and while I think I'm getting my brain wrapped around the construction, I need to be sure. Thus the need/desire to make a prototype.

I wonder if I'll have yardage issues....LOLOLOL

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


A couple of weeks ago after Gillian had gone back to school and I was no longer spewing forth scarves for she and her friends I needed and wanted something else completely different to knit.

I decided to make Buttony by Katie Marcus.

I'm posting this today cuz today is when I finished it. It is a super quick knit and it would have been completed weeks ago except for the fact that I had an issue with yardage....again.

I used stuff from stash again. I had a few skeins of cream and couple of black of a discontinued yarn from Bernat named Krysta. A yarn I'd never buy myself, but it's ok. 100% acrylic and shiny, but not in a good silk shimmer way :o) It's constructed as if it is a single ply super bulky so it does feel sort of cottony and not really acrylic-y. Between the two colors I had enough yards to make the sweater, the problem was the yarn I decided to carry along. It was WoolEase, plain old WoolEase.....sigh. I knew there were a few more yards of it laying around. I had a swatch from Joe's Hiking Socks someplace, but I just couldn't put my hands on it at the time, so this sweater has sat unfinished with only 3 rows of one cuff to be done.

I found the swatch today, ripped it out, finished the 3 rows, and sewed on the buttons. And this was how it all ended.

Yes, that tiny little end is all the yarn I had left of either of the yarns. I gotta admit, when you cut the yardage estimates soooo close it makes for suspenseful knitting. :o)

Of course I changed the pattern a tiny bit. The fabric I made is obviously a bit heftier. I mimicked the garter stitch that formed the button band on the hem and cuffs instead of ribbing and I also added a strip of garter stitch down the length of each sleeve.

I liked this pattern. It's a quick top down one piece cardigan with a nice neckline and offset buttons. If I had more yarn I might do a little more at the neck, but then again maybe not. I like the way it sits. Buttony has LOTS of possibilities for modifications! This pattern gets put in my sloper file. :o)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

When fibers are in time out

Have you ever wondered what I do when the fibers and I aren't seeing eye to eye? Prob'ly not, but I'll tell you anyway.

I surf the tubes, sortof. I really don't surf, I mainly splash around in the shallow end with my waterwings on and watch other people surf. Here's how I do it.

Craft is always good for keeping an eye on what's happening in the craft world.

Whip up is always a good glance at the needlework world.

And k style and Oh Joy are the places to go for inspiration, fabulous design, and, well, succinctly put, "style" and "joy".

I had to grin today when Craft picked up on Oh minds and all I guess! :o)

Doesn't this just make you grin??

If you click on the picture it will take you the refresh agency where this and other works by Tonya Goodwin can be seen. WOW

You can follow these Craft and Oh Joy links to see their posts about this artist.

Anybody got a 2x4?

I am an IDIOT.

This weekend I started another sweater. I had meticulously swatched (something I tend to avoid...I don't have much time for liars) and then I figured, crunched numbers, drew sketches and charts, and came up with another version of Dancing with the Devil that has a higher neckline and is shorter in length. The swatching is what killed me.

I decided to use a thin sportish wt. (fingering? shetland?) wool that's been sitting in my stash for a very long time. I had plenty of yardage and its blue, nearly identical in color and feel to one of my fav store bought sweaters. A huge snuggly wrap style from Eddie Bauer that had seen it's last day a few of years ago. (I still wear it around the house though, sometimes a person just can't let go, it's been my comfort sweater forever)

But of course, a thin yarn like this wouldn't do for my purposes so I had to swatch. I hate swatching. I never swatch, but I had to. I swatched and swatched using various other yarns held together with the thin sportish wt. After several hours of swatching getting the right gauge, but not the right look or feel, I smacked myself upside the head and convinced myself that merely holding two strands of the thin sportish wt. together and fudging with the needle size a bit I could get gauge. That is when I should have backed away from the needles, cuz you see, after all those long hours of experimental swatching (ick) not to mention the frustration, I was not in the proper frame of mind. I was so obsessed with getting gauge and finding the right feel and look I totally forgot about one other, somewhat important, aspect one needs to consider before setting out to knit a sweater, can you guess what that might be?

I stopped knitting it on Sunday when I realized what I had done. Yesterday I refused to look at it. This morning I got out my scale. Sure enough, one third of a the sweater done, more than half of the available yarn used.

I am an IDIOT.


Now I'm going to go smack myself upside the head with a 2x4.

BTW if you haven't noticed yet, there's a link to a pdf of the Dancing with the Devil Sweater. It links directly to a pdf that Ravelry is hosting. Can I, or anyone else, express the shear awesomeness of Ravelry??? Even those of you who haven't gotten your invite yet can get this download. Isn't that the slickest thing ever?!?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Dancing with the Devil

Edit: to add a Ravelry pdf download button.


LOL I had to do that, I realized last night I have begun the last 2 posts with "Yep" so I thought I ought to continue.

OK, maybe not. :o/

Believe it or not, I have pix and a pattern for you! "Dancing with the Devil" is ready. Of course I've already started tweaking it. :o) It's such an easy mindless knit. Absolutely perfect for the days when the Devil is ready to dance.

As a point of clarification, the Devil in this case is a migraine. Yes, I get them. Yes, they last days and days. Yes, they leave me for dead, or at least have me feverishly begging for it. Sometimes though I don't beg for death, just for time to pass quickly, because while the migraine itself isn't that bad (relatively speaking) I still am unable to do many things. Really difficult things like reading, writing, watching tv....sigh. On days like that even counting is likely to be a hardship with much the same accuracy of a 2 year old, "1,2,3,5,4,8,5,6,11", you get the picture. It was one of those days, when the best I could hope for was some big, bulky, mindless, repetitive knitting, "Dancing with the Devil" was born.

Aside from the initial cast on of 68 stitches, (yes, it took several attempts, I was originally shooting for 72 stitches...sigh) and a set up row counting to 45 and then onward to 60 to place markers, there is relatively nothing left to do but to mindlessly knit scads of mind numbing garter stitch. (Mind numbing is a good thing whilst one is dancing)

OK, OK, here are the pix...

This sweater is worked vertically in one piece, from the bottom left front up to the neck, advancing to the side, then the left sleeve, across the back, right sleeve, then right front. The only sewing are the sleeve seams, which could conceivably be done in a 3 needle bind off. (or my personal preference, a 2 needle bind off ala Debbie New) if you use a provisional cast on at that point.

I used this yarn.

"Designer" Homespun Tweed by Tahki. It's coarse, lumpy, over spun in places, and wire-like. Not my fav yarn by a long shot. It softens a tad and blooms a bit after a warm bath, but it is no way near next to skin yarn. OTOH it makes a warm, drapey, swingy, garter stitch, sweater.

Of course, as I said before, I have already begun working on some other versions, a higher neck, (two different version), more swing, and some other variations that include fancy stitch work, and colorwork in the yoke.

I think a nice buky mohair would lend itself well to this pattern. That's sitting in the basket for a real dancing day. I'm playing with the colorwork version now.

Here is the pattern. I hope it's clear and there aren't any errors. I haven't tested it yet, but I'm working on it. :o)

Dancing with the Devil

Size: one size fits small through large(?) (given the nature of garter stitch and the wide neck/yoke it could probably fit a variety of sizes. See End Notes for sizing adjustments)

Finished Measurements:

Circumference of neck buttoned 28”

Length of center back/front 23”

Chest at underarm 44”

Underarm to hem 15”

Underarm to cuff 15.5”

Circumference at hem when buttoned 52”

Materials: “Designer” Homespun Donnegal Tweed by Tahki. 5 skeins (135 yds/skein)
# 8 needles. 2 blue markers**, 6 red markers**, and one large stitch holder (or a length of waste yarn to hold stitches) 5 1” diameter buttons.

***Slip the blue markers as you work the pattern. The red markers are stationary they are only there to aid in counting ridges leave them where you put them!****

Gauge: 11 stitches and 11 garter ridges = 4 inches

Note: Sweater is worked in one piece vertically. Always slip the first stitch of every row, including the short rows.

Left Front: Cast on 68 sts. Work in garter stitch for 16 rows (8 ridges), place red marker.

Begin Short Rows Pattern

Short Rows Pattern:

Row 1: Knit 45 sts, place a blue marker, leave remaining stitches unworked. Turn.

Row 2: Knit across the 45 stitches just worked in row 1, turn.

Row 3: Knit 60 sts, place a blue marker, leaving remaining stitches unworked. Turn.

Row 4: Knit across the 60 stitches just worked in row 3, turn.

Row 5: Knit across all 68 stitches, place a red marker in the last stitch. (This is the neck edge) turn.

Row 6: Knit

[From this point on, slip the blue markers and place the red markers only in the six places mentioned in the pattern and not at the end of every 5th row! ]

Continue working the Short Rows Pattern until there are 12 ridges after the red marker at the neck edge. Place another red on the neck edge.

Left Sleeve: Knit 39 stitches and slip them to a holder or on to waste yarn. Cast on 47 stitches. Next row knit across the newly cast on stitches and up to the first blue marker continuing the Short Rows Patterns sequence. (The stitch count will now be 53 stitches to the first blue short row marker, 68 stitches to the 2nd blue short row marker, and 76 stitches across the entire row.)

Continue working the Short Rows Pattern until there are 12 ridges after the last red neck edge marker. Place another red marker.

Next row: BO 47 stitches (the sleeve) and knit to the first blue marker. Turn knit the 8 stitches on your needle and then knit the 39 stitches being held on the waste yarn or stitch holder. Your stitch count now returns to the original count. The next row will continue with the Short Rows Pattern at row 3 as you now begin working the back.

BACK: Work the Short Rows Pattern until there are 24 ridges from the last red marker. Place another red marker.

Right Sleeve and Right Front:

Work the same as the Left Sleeve and the short Rows Pattern portion of the Left Front, working the 12 ridges for the sleeve first followed by the 12 ridges for the left front.

Center Front Buttonband: Work 5 ridge across all 68 stitches.

Next Row: * knit 11, BO 2* (5 times), knit 3.

Next Row: Knit 3, *CO 2, knit 11* (5 times)

Work 3 more ridges (6 rows) even. BO

Finishing: Sew sleeve seams and sew on buttons.

End Notes:

To increase/decrease the width around the shoulders increase/decrease the number of ridges between the red markers that separate the sleeve/shoulder ridges and the fronts and back. (This will also affect the width of the sleeve)

To increase/decrease the chest measurement, increase/decrease the number of ridges on the fronts and back.

Note that the above mentioned changes will also increase/decrease the neck edge measurement.

To lengthen/shorten the sleeves cast on more/fewer than the 47 sleeve stitches.

To lengthen/shorten the length of the sweater cast on more/fewer stitches and adjust the placement of the first blue marker.

I guess I'm now supposed to do that copyright notice thing as if anyone would even consider making this! ahead and use this pattern for your personal use, please link back to this page instead of copying it someplace else. And hey if you want to make this for charitable work no problem, just please don't turn a personal profit on my stuff. Good Karma and all that ya know.

Other modification will be coming…..a swingier design, and two variations of a higher neckline, colorwork etc.

For those of you who actually looked at the pix and read the pattern, you'll see that I goofed the buttons on the sweater. I have 4 buttons on the sweater and have 5 buttons in the as I say, not as I do! :o)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

It Pays to be Insane


It pays off BIG time!!!!!

And sometimes all it takes is to have no shame. Perhaps this took a bit of both.

Thank you Franklin.

Thank you Dolores.

I knew all this lushness was on it's way for a while now. I got a post card from UPS last Thursday saying they couldn't find my house, but would hold the pkg for me until today. No problem except they were holding it in a town about 60 miles away....sigh I spoke to a lovely lady on the phone and they readily offered to deliver it today. Yippee Skippee! Around 3:00 the neighbor lady delivered it, UPS dropped it off at her house. Close enough I guess. :o) Thanxs to the powers that be she doesn't hate me that much, and she's not a knitterly type, otherwise it surely would have been lost.

Since Thursday I've been pattern searching for just the right thing. I haven't found it yet but I'm having a blast doing it! There is plenty of yardage here, 11 skeins/150yds dk wt. WOW


Yep, I've got it, enough of it at least to presume I can remake a Perry Ellis coat. :o)

Remember this coat?

Now it looks like this.

(sorry Susan I hope this doesn't hurt too much. BG)

Aside from chopping it off making it fingertip length, I also added some simple stitching. I thought it was just a little too blah and didn't think a mere button change would do the trick. Now I think it's fun and kicky.

I used blue, "steel blue" to be exact, (not baby blue like it looks in these pix) size 5 perle cotton for the stitching. I still want to change the buttons and have raided my vintage button jar and came up with a few possibilities. They each have their own pros and cons.

I like this one a lot but, it is slightly too big and I don't feel like redoing the buttonholes. BTW the color isn't as purple as the pic shows. It really is very close to the stitching in color. I just love the staggered brickwork pattern on the button and how it echoes the stitching.

I really love this button, sorry about the glare. The color is perfect and its just an awesome button, but its too fragile for a coat this heavy. The shanks are plastic and were glued on, to the button face, there is one face already missing it's shank....sigh.

This button is perfect colorwise too, but it is slightly too big and I'd have to do the resize the buttonhole thing. Plus it's a little too subtle, the color doesn't show this well unless you're really close to the button....yet another sigh.

I've considered making buttons. I'm not thrilled with the idea of crocheted buttons. I've been thinking about using a ring and working some needle lace to close up the center. I've done one so far.

Eh, not bad, but I'm concerned about the cotton fuzzing after a bit of use. I'm going to dunk it in some polyurethane, or perhaps paint it with some clear nail polish. Maybe that will work, maybe not. I wish I had some resin and a mold! :-) I'm in no hurry, the coat doesn't need buttons, it still has all the original buttons intact, I can't say that about very many of my other coats! LOL

The leather jacket is coming along nicely. I've re-configured the collar and now have to tackle the hem. Just a matter of getting around to it. I'll let you know when it's done.

On the knitting front, I did make a sweater with donegal tweed from a few posts back. More on that when I get the buttons sewn on, and the pattern written up. The sweater itself is a real no brainer perfect for lousy days spent with Mr. Migraine. I'm calling it "Dancing with the Devil" cuz its flirty and swingy and like I said, perfect for dancing days, no counting, no pattern checking, no seaming, ahhhhhhh.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Here We Go Again!

Yep, another leather coat has succumbed to my evil ways. Not to be confused with the Leather Coat Project of days pass. Nope this is a brand new just begun today project with a different coat.

Technically, I didn't start out today thinking I was going to be working on another leather coat. The day had begun with me working on this wool coat....

I think I mentioned this coat before....a 1990's Perry Ellis Meg-Ryan-Sleepless-in-Seattle coat. (I might be off on my dates, but when ever I see this coat that's what I think of. Oh yeah, and how incredibly uncomfortable it was to sit on that damn belt slung across the butt.) Anyway, the reason for this coat project is cuz when Jilly went back to school last week she took her J Crew Pea Coat with her. Damn. I'm gonna have to beat that child. But then again, this is nice coat too, if it's tweaked. I began tweaking this afternoon. It's done except for the hem which will be a breeze and a change of shoulder pads. Arrgh! No shoulder pads in my stash.....oh wait, yes there is, in the long brown leather coat awaiting an appointment with Mr Seam Ripper. Thus, Project Leather Coat II began.

Here are few pix of the original really, like totally 80's, oh my gawd!

Nothing wonderful about this coat other than it's leather. It has ginormous shoulder pads and a really boxy silhouette. There isn't any spiffy stitching details, it's just a sad, sad, design. But it does have a pretty fabulous lining!!!

Sorry about the icky color, but the grey dismal days of January are upon us. The shot above is no flash (obviously) the shot below is with a flash. Take your pick, dark and murky or washed out and shiny.

The true color is a beautiful bronze ground with black design. I haven't decided if I'll keep this lining in the coat-soon-to-be-jacket or if I'll cut another lining and use this fab fabric for something else.

The plan for this coat is to separate the seam that runs along the top of those huge gapping pockets which will make it a short jacket length. I may have to add a small band around the bottom if it turns out to be a weird length.

The first thing I tackled were those linebacker shoulders. I removed the shoulder pads....just as I suspected, each pad was actually two pads sewn together. YEA! Shoulder pads for the Meg-Ryan-soon-to-be-Lucy-Ricardo-Coat!!! (btw, I'll have finished pix tomorrow of that coat. I ran out of what little light I had)

Now to deal with a shoulder seam that measured nearly 9 inches from collar to sleeve cap. I wasn't confident in my ability to remove the sleeve and adjust the armhole so I made some pleats in the shoulders.

I was thrilled with the fit of the shoulders and stitched it up!

On the first pleat I used a lot binder clips, then I got bold and use fewer clips on the subsequent pleats.

I fiddled around with the collar for...oh.....about 2 hours, and decided I'd leave it a shawl collar for now. Tomorrow I may change my mind. I originally was thinking about putting a zipper up the front, but now I'm not so sure. The lining is only for prettiness, there's no r-factor to it, so chances are I won't be wearing this when it's too cold therefore no reason to zip it up.

I still have some top stitching and some stay stitching to do but this is what it looks like so far.

Be honest, what do you think?
I'm a little frightened.
Tell me this didn't pop into your mind when you saw the jacket.


Saturday, January 05, 2008

Nadia Vest

The Holiday Season here at the Hermitage is officially over. Gillian is back in Savannah, and Joe's vacation has ended. Life will return to normal, at least for a little while. I'll give it about 3 weeks then all hell is going to break loose. That's a promise.

Another "project" is looming on the horizon. Not a fiber project, but one which will be the time sucking adventure of my life. So I'm asking for suggestions. At this point I'm making plans, knitting plans. I need to have an arsenal of projects that excite me and are ready to grab. They can't be too mindless, but I can't have anything I have to constantly check a chart or a pattern either. I need on the go knitting. Of course I already have socks in the offing, as well as mitts/gauntlets and Fireside Footies, but I need a couple sweaters to throw into the mix.

I'm looking for a cardi/jacket pattern. Preferably top down but bottom up is ok. I want to use stash yarn and I have a few to choose from. I really want to use these, they have been sitting in the stash for years and years and years.

Ballybrae Bulky by Brunswick 3.5 sts = 1" on #10 needles (off white tweed)

Cottage by Kilcarra recommended needles 5.5 mm/6mm no stitch gauge given (dark green tweed)

"Designer" Homespun Tweeds by Tahki 4.5 sts = 1" 6 rows = 1 inch on #8 needles (lighter green tweed.)

I can't imagine any of these as next to the skin, but for a cardi or jacket no problem.

I can see working cables in the Bulky yarn, it's smooth and consistent, but I'm a bit leary about cables in either of the other two. Both are "slightly slubby" cuz of the tweediness and some tiny spinning inconsistencies. The "Designer Homespun" seems to have some over twist problems as well. Actually the Cottage does too but not to the same extent. In my somewhat limited knowledge of the nature of cables, I believe they are best worked in smooth yarns, and these kinks and slubs would be bad, but then again I could be wrong. Anyone willing to enlighten me? Please? Thanx!

Ahhh below is the one and only pic I have of any knitting that was done since the first of December. Everything else was so quickly snatched by all the kids they didn't even get blocked let alone photographed!

This is Drops pattern 89-3. (of course it's a Drops pattern! LOLOL) Originally designed as a Summer tank top in Salsa (a ribbon yarn). I substituted Nadia by Adrienne Vittadini and used two strands held together. Aside from the substitute yarn I didn't do any modifications of the pattern. Ooops that's another lie, I did work this in one piece to eliminate one of the side seams. It took 6 skeins. I picked this yarn up at Camp Stitches 2005 in NC during the yarn exchange. I had one skein left and made yet another Drops pattern the head band that many others have made. No pic of that, it's winging it's way to a girl one of my sons wants to "talk" to. That head band was prob'ly the fastest snatch of all the December knitting. Snatched in less than 20 min. after the ends were woven.

As a side note, don't be expecting a year in review or any New Years resolutions from me. First cuz, I can't remember what happened last week let alone what happen last Fall, Summer, or Spring, and second cuz I don't hold much to the whole New Year mystique thing. If it push came to shove and I had to deem a particular day to "celebrate", "reflect" or "plan the future" it wouldn't be January 1. It would have to be some other day on the calendar which would be the anniversary of some life altering change in my life, but considering I never know what day of the week it is let alone the date, it's a moot point. :o)