Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Sundry KAL.

Over the weekend, I started a thread on Ravelry announcing our next KAL (here). And I did get a one "love" response…but nothing else. I can only hope that means y'all are so busy watching the weather forecasts you aren't thinking about knitting?! Of course I don't know about the rest of you, but if I'm facing a forced day or two at home, the only thing I'm thinking about is "what am I going to knit?" (once I've made sure I have ample milk, coffee, popcorn and wine in the house!)

So let's just forget about the winter weather advisory for a bit and start thinking about Sundry. Click here to ooh and ahh over the project gallery . The pattern is available for in-store purchase (or on Ravelry).

Jennifer Dassau, the designer, describes it like this:
An elongated, asymmetrical wrap that combines the warmth and style of a shawl with the wearability of a scarf; Sundry means various or diverse, and this wrap features two colors, two stitch patterns and endless styling options. Cast on at the long, pointed end, Sundry has shaping at each end of rows that grow ever wider. Two colors contrast yet harmonize in solid garter stitch and houndstooth slipstitch sections; the slipstitch is easily worked using just one color per row. A simple picot bind off finishes the long straight end.
She suggests a sport-weight yarn, about 380 yards each of two colors, on a size 7 needle. The finished piece measures approximately 24" deep and 112" wide (measured along the longest edge of the triangle).

The nice thing about a shawl is that you really can knit it out of anything; your finished piece and yarn/needle requirements will just…be different.

Here is Kathy modeling her Sundry. It's big and cozy, knit at a DK-ish gauge. The brown she used is the Lotus Mimi…100% mink!…doubled. And she really does love it… even though I failed to capture her smiling! (sorry, Kathy!)

I mean the details…what's not to love?

Here it is blocking to give you a better idea on the size and the shape (I think that's a queen-sized bed).

This piece is all about COLOR! We really love contrasting solids: black (or navy) and white with a pop of red or yellow; charcoal or lavendar and cream. This one, by stormyk9 is a gorgeous example (and she's written detailed notes about how she did it on her Ravelry project page). Shibui Staccato, Fibre Company Canopy Fingering, Spud & Chloe Fine and Marion Foale are all great choices for solid colors in a fingering weight. Mirasol Nuna and Shibui Cima doubled would be lovely in a sport weight. Contrasting tonals work, too. I've chosen Malabrigo Sock in Eggplant and Turner for mine (that combination has been a favorite since Stephen West's Lakedale Shawl way back in Malabrigo Book 3).

If you want to use a variegated colorway (Claudia Handpaints fingering or Sweet Georgia Tough Love) - and those yarns make the houndstooth section look like a mosaic - just be sure to choose a contrasting solid or semi-solid for the second color. The key is contrast. You want the two colors to really pop in that houndstooth section; don't choose yarns that share colors - you'll get mud in the middle.

Adjust your needle size up or down depending on your yarn's weight - and your personal preferences. I know I like Malabrigo Sock knitted on a size 6, so I'm going to start there. If I don't like the way it looks after a few inches, I can always rip it out and start over! (in other words, I'm considering the first couple of inches my "swatch"  :-)

For yardage, we don't suggest less than about 350 yards of a fingering or sport weight (unless you want a much smaller piece). The designer has included notes that describe how to get the most out of the yarn you have. We do have a lot of experience with this shawl, so if you have any questions, just ask!

The official cast-on is this Friday afternoon (January 31, 2014). We hope you'll join us in person or virtually. If you do join virtually, please share your project with our Ravelry group…and post photos. We can't wait to see!

...and now the snow is falling…I'm off to another pot of coffee and some knitting. stay warm, y'all!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Beaubourg | Begun.

I shared with y'all last week that I was going to swatch and cast-on for Beaubourg. Yes, that happened!
going for 4 stitches and 6-1/2 rows to the inch
First, the swatch. I've used Heichi several times before at the pattern suggested gauge, most recently in May, 2012 when I knit Element. on size 8's. I'm glad I knit a new swatch; my gauge has loosened up a bit! With the 8's, my stitch gauge was about 1/4 stitch per inch too big (maybe workable?), but the row gauge was about one row per inch too big. Row gauge matters for Beaubourg because the sleeves and shoulders are shaped with short rows. If I followed the pattern with my too-big row gauge, the 32 rows of shoulder shaping would be 6" long instead of nearly 5". On a piece that's already oversized, I didn't want to go there. So I swatched again on size 7's. My stitch gauge is a smidge tight, but I got the row gauge closer. Now I'm only 1/2 row per inch too big (six rows to the inch). I can live with that. I cast on with size 7's.

This sweater is knit in pieces; the back and front are knit separately and then seamed together. That means the back and front need to be the exact same length. When I'm knitting pieces that need to match exactly, I like to count rows instead of measuring. I converted the measurements to rows by multiplying the number of inches by 6 (my row gauge). For example, I needed to knit 13" before I started the underarm shaping. 13" is 78 rows. Easy!

The underarm shaping started on row 79. The pattern says to cast on stitches at the beginning of the next 6 rows. I used the knitted cast-on and then worked the new stitches as part of the row. I'm now more than halfway (I've worked 33 of the required 54 rows) to the back shoulder shaping.

Love that i-cord along the sleeve edge!

and now that pile of yarn looks like this.
on skein #4 (of 12)

Monday, January 6, 2014

A Tale of Two Projects.

I know it's been ages since I've shared anything here and I apologize. Hoping you'll forgive me when you see what I have to share today!

First up, perhaps the cutest quickest baby project ever.

This is the Winter-baby kit with hat and mittens (a free pattern on Ravelry),
you can see my project and even more details on Ravelry, here
specifically the newborn size, knit with one skein of the Swans Island Washable DK (not even the whole skein) in the Pewter color way, a set of size 4 dpn's and about six hours this past weekend. The pattern is very clear and I followed it as written with just a few exceptions (all detailed on my project page).  I was especially impressed with the earflaps - they're quite clever in that you end up with no seaming, no picking up stitches and an earflap that starts underneath the ribbing to keep baby's ears super-toasty -

and the brioche stitch on the mitts. Of course newborn mitts are likely to be cute no matter what, but still, these are special!

I've got a few babies on the horizon this year and I'm delighted to have a pattern that knits up so well (so fast). Note that this set is for a baby due in February, so I'm anticipating he'll be able to wear it this winter. I also have a few summer/early fall babies and I plan to knit the 3-6 month size for them.

….and now, the pile of yarn I bought yesterday.

This is 12 skeins of Shibui's Heichi in the Sidewalk color way, destined to become Beaubourg.
© Fairmount Fibers/Julie Hoover

I have had my eye on this pattern since it was released (a year and a half ago!) and am excited to finally knit it. I chose the Heichi for two main reasons: first, I love it at the pattern-suggested gauge of 4 stitches to the inch; and second, because silk is a year-round fiber for our climate and I think this design could be worn year-round (or at least for ten months of the year).

I'm planning to swatch - yes, even though I've knit this yarn at the correct gauge three times before, it's been a while and I want to double-check - and cast-on later this week. Based on what I've heard around the shop, I think a few of y'all are interested in the pattern as well, so I'm going to share my progress here on the blog. Stay tuned and please - if you have any questions - ask them in the comments. And definitely, if you'd like to join me and knit-along, I'd welcome the company!