Thursday, June 20, 2019

Bathtub Reading

There's nothing like a long soak in the tub with a good book. And among my fave bathroom books, Barbara Walker's classic Treasuries rank high. Yes, they're in black and white, and sometimes a bit blurry, but they remain the most authoritative source of stitch patterns and inspiration. They make for fascinating reading too, as she explains the sources and development of stitches through time and place. Not surprising, really, when you learn about her broad range of accomplishments. What a brain, and so much mental energy!
Hanging out in her first volume is this modest knit/purl stitch pattern I'm using just now. Here's the right side, looking a little rustic in Cascade Eco+,


and here's the wrong side forming a useful basket stitch.


Such a simple pattern, but so much bang for so little effort! This is destined, I hope, to become a fall jacket. Stay tuned.
P.S. In case someone is wondering, this is indeed the same stitch pattern I adopted for use in my Cataraqui Socks.

Friday, May 31, 2019

While Blocking...

I'm a monogamous knitter. It's all about not losing momentum on a project; I know that I'm easily sidetracked, and will lose interest if I don't keep to the one goal. So, what does a monogamous knitter do while a project is being blocked without being finished? She sews, of course!
Yesterday I made the Wiksten top out of linen.



The actual colour is not as eye-wateringly bright as shown. I had to play with my phone camera to get the colour reasonably close and this is as good as it's going to get. Such a quick and satisfying make, and perfect for the not hot, not cold weather we're having this month. I'm wearing it right now (underneath my Wiksten Haori) as I head out the door for a morning on the road. Happy end of May!

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Apple Blossom and Lace

Full-blown spring is just about here--finally. This is the latest spring in my memory. Not that I'm complaining about the cool weather. It's sooo much better than the early (and continuous) heat of last year. And, really, how can a knitter not love being able to wear wool? The old apple orchard down the street at Bellevue House is in bloom,


and a big chunk of the body of my new lace sweater is blocking on the dining room floor in the afternoon sun. Gauge is spot on.


Now, I'm going to head out to the front porch for some afternoon tea, to be followed up with a half hour of weeding. Life is good.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Roots and Rain

At the Prince Edward County Fibre Fest in Picton, ON yesterday, I came across this.



The base wool is from our local Amherst Island Topsy Farm flock, dyed with local goldenrod before being finished with indigo (yellow + blue = green, remember?)
I've been wanting to get back to the sweater I planned a while back with a lace panel down the front, but I've been waiting for the right yarn to appear. This is it! It's a wooly sportweight that I'm knitting on 6mm (yes, you read that right) needles for a lacy, summer sweater. This morning I knitted a swatch.



The second photo, while not as "pretty" as the first, shows the light and airy transparency of the fabric. This shouldn''t take long at all!

Friday, April 26, 2019

Further Encounters with I-Cord

A couple of blog posts ago I wrote about I-cord selvedges on a stocking stitch background in the context of a Purl Soho cardigan border. Today, I'm looking at the I-cord edges of the garter stitch lower borders of Alanis, an attractive layering top by Elizabeth Smith.


This is a well-written pattern with so many features I really love--the loose drapiness, the garter stitch, the contrast pocket. You'll recognize these features in many of my own designs if you are at all familiar with them. I do, however, have a slight quibble with the technique for doing I-cord along the lower borders.


The method used is as follows:

Row 1 (WS): Sl3 pwise wyif, take yarn to back, knit to last 3 sts, p3.
Row 2 (RS): Sl3 pwise wyib, knit to end.

For me, this procedure leaves a bit of sloppiness on the edges, even if one does a little tightening up of the first stitch after the slipped stitches. It's not enough looseness that it's horribly noticeable, but it's enough looseness that it bothers me.
Solution?
As often, it's a return to Elizabeth Zimmermann's basic I-cord technique, as presented in the practice swatch in her classic, "Knitting Around". (As an aside, you may be amused to know that this autobiography/knitting book is the ONLY knitting book my husband has found himself compelled to read.) Not only is the edge tidier, but it's more symmetrical on each side and consists of only one row.

Row 1: Knit to last 3 sts, yrn fwd, sl3 pwise.
That's it!

Look how nice it is.


Now back to contemplating what colour to use for that contrast pocket lining in my Alanis. Teal? Blue/grey? Heliotrope?
P.S. If you are making Alanis and decide to use this version of I-cord edge, then I recommend that you also change the method by which the borders are joined up to a simple k3tog (last stitch from the RH needle + first two stitches from the LH one); this right-leaning double decrease will make a neater join with this form of I-cord.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Swatching


I have a plan for this. It's a merino/cashmere dk weight knitted at a gauge of 17 stitches to 4 inches on 5 mm needles. Super soft. Super drapey. My spring sweater is on its way. (Disregard the fact that by the time I finish this it will probably be too warm to wear.) Now for a little bit of math before I cast on...

Friday, April 12, 2019

Spring Inspiration

Sewing to the forefront right now. Just as late summer/early fall seems to be the time when the knitting bug hits hardest, early spring is when I want to sew new things for the soon-to-come (I hope) warm weather. 14C is the predicted high today, so not long to wait.
Today's inspiration comes from Lee Vosburgh's blog "Style Bee". My style, such as it is, will never come close to Lee's sleek, polished looks, but she is among the best for inspiration--certainly an "influencer" in the vernacular of digital marketing.
The caramel jacket she is sporting in the linked post is from Elizabeth Suzann, an American company specializing in sustainable (and comfortable) fashion. Below you can see the company's own pic of this jacket.


I love the oversized, drapey silhouette of this jacket, but not the colour, which would undoubtedly make me look like one of the walking dead. I have plans to make my own variation based on the Wiksten Haori sewing design. It'll be uniquely mine, and much, much less expensive.
A little while ago I made up an unlined Wiksten, long version. Here it is in its slightly rumpled state after a day of being worn out and about. I love it. It can be dressed up or down. So versatile.


But for spring, I'm tending toward a new palette.


The cafe-au-lait colour of the top fabric isn't really coming through here, but it's a perfect neutral and in the "cool" zone colourwise , so suitable for me. It's already shrunk, straightened, and ready for sewing action!