Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Le Mavens

Time for a FO ta da - I present you with Le Mavens - the shrug born from the scarf/yarn inspiration.
Pattern: My own construction inspired by Levens
Yarn: c250grams Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend - Colour: Atlantic
Needles: 5.5mm
Started: May 21 2010
Finished: June 18 2010
Ravelry Page
Mixed feelings about this one. I think conjuring something out of my imagination was perhaps always going to have the downside of not quite living up to the vision, but I am proud of myself for getting somewhere close to what I had in mind. It's pretty cute but has some issues with sizing. This shot of the back clearly shows I managed to size it too large - which messes up the neckline/shoulders. I think actually there are three elements contributing to the poor fit around the shoulders. 1) A bit of growth compared to the swatch; 2) My aim for a looser, draped fit and feel, I should perhaps have gone for a little negative ease across the shoulders as it's very stretchy. 3) Ambitious construction and no experience of seamless set in sleeves.

Point 3) gives me the most to take forward for future projects. The set in sleeves themselves were a breeze to work and I love the sleeves themselves but I don't think I should have shaped the backs and fronts as I did. I should have researched how I would do the sleeves in advance really - ah preparation - isn't it dull how it nearly always pays off? I also did provisional cast ons for the meeting of the fronts and back to get in the back neck and front increases as I wanted, this leaves no real structure to the shoulder so that contributes to the fact that it doesn't sit in place too well. So I think I'll get some wear from it but it's not quite the sophisticated darling I hoped for. Still it's so hot still that It would be too much for the next wedding in the queue on Saturday anyway.
I finished a few days ago but it's taken a while to find time with my photographer at temperature at which it was bearable to model. You'll be amazed to hear that the heat was the only uncomfortable element of the photo shoot! Apparently it's all down to having the right art direction. Would you mess with that stare?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

An expression to reckon with

"If it's Caley I've been kissed by a triple murderer and Rory can put that on his needles and knit it."
Ngaio Marsh, Clutch of Constables

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Thinking Socks

So I finished up a pair of baby socks and the first of the Caretta Caretta's and I thought and I read your comments and I thought and I felt in as many minds as ever. I read the notes of the finished cardis on Ravelry and no-one mentions swatching or gauge dilemmas. Are they just more decisive knitters, perhaps they just swatched the right size needles to start off with, perhaps they just didn't swatch at all? I do love the exquisite pain of measuring gauge, we know we should but sometimes even when you are good it doesn't pay off so then the temptation to just say ya boo to it all grows larger!
Simple socks made good companions for the mulling, a little reminder that knitting can be easy as well as challenging.

Pattern: Basic Top Down Sock - 32 stitches
Yarn: Leftovers of Lana Grossa Meilenweit Cotton
Needles: 2.25mm DPNs
Started: May 7 2010
Finished: June 20 2010
Ravelry Page

Thank you to the commenters, at least you were in as many minds as me. I have a reached a decision on the cardi, a compromise? I'm still not sure it's the right course of action. Time will tell but at least it's action. I'm going to knit a sleeve first as a mighty swatch. I was going to knit a really big swatch to try and get a better sense of the weight/stretch factor and then thought that I could actually get a start on the main knitting and achieve the same end if I treat the sleeve as a swatch. Of course I'm hoping and hoping that I will get gauge, then I can feel both a virtuous swatcher and be one sleeve to the good - wish me luck!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Holey Gauge Batman!

When I unearthed the Spring 2010 Interweave Knits from the bedside pile that covers the bedside table last week it felt like a serendipitous rediscovery. None of the patterns had really made a big impact on first glance but Melissa Wehrle's Double V Cardigan was suddenly just what I was looking for as the summer cardigan my Sublime Soya Cotton was made for. Some searching in Ravelry had not found anything inspiring - I'm not sure I'm really using the search properly - anyone with any tips? For example why it didn't pick up this pattern when I advance searched with the filters of cardigan, DK weight and cotton? Still, it was very exciting to find the perfect pattern in a magazine I owned.I knit a good size swatch yesterday, washed and blocked it (feeling oh so proud [some would say smug and thus deserving of the fall that we can all see coming] of my conscientious self) and then realised that measuring a lace pattern swatch is a dark art. Initially I was measuring 23 stitches as five rather than four inches but if I pulled it down a bit (as I reasoned it would pull down during wearing) then I could make it measure four, or pretty much any number from a shade under four inches to over seven!

Feeling somewhat dispirited, (like the England football team some might say) , I left it until this morning to make a decision on whether to downsize the needles for another swatch or press on. The conscientious knitter in me decided on swatching only to find that I had knit the first swatch with 4.5mm needles rather than the required 4mm. Gah!

So have I knit the swatch with the right size needles? Welllllll no, should I? I'm dithering. I'm thinking that I can make the swatch the right set of measurements, whatever the truth of the garment will be, so perhaps I should just get on with it with the right size needles. This baby is going to drape round the curves no problemo, in fact I'm now concerned that it may be a right saggy monster when it's done. To judge by this sweater it might turn out to be a pricey adventure if I need to buy a tumble dryer to make it fit! Egads should I knit a size smaller? Oh the joys of gauge.

I wish I had been more reckless and just pressed on already!! Though then I would have been using the wrong size needles, so perhaps a touch of caution will stand me in good stead. Ah I think I'll just go knit on the sock that didn't get much action in Berlin, fitting garments might just be beyond me to judge by the early signs of the LeMavens shrug, still we're waiting on the post blocking try on before we declare that one a lost love!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

then we take Berlin

From Alexanderplatz to the Zoo we certainly took in a lot of Berlin in a few days.
The Reichstag's glass dome gives a commanding view of the spread of a fascinating city.
One with a lot of big news history and difficult episodes which to me seem to have been commemorated very effectively and integrated into a very lively city that is surging forwards with building works everywhere you look. The thought provoking Holocaust Memorial and colourful East Side Gallery exemplify this. Though it would be nicer if the taggers left the street art to real artists.
From the green and leafy north eastern burbs where we stayed we could zoom everywhere on the wonderfully linked public transportI really enjoyed my time there and will go out of my way to go back. Though of course it's lovely to be home for a rest.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


I decided to swap my attention from my second Knit Love sock club sock which just will not knit itself to the latest installment. A pattern much more in my comfort zone, cuff down, aaahhh that's more like it for relaxing with. It seemed in keeping with the ethos of ignoring deadlines and having just signed up for the Polka Dot Jersey again for the Tour de France KAL it's important to have some WIP mountains ready to climb.I made another swap. Having decided that the club yarn (which is the beautiful purple stuff here) Spirit Trail Fiberworks 'Sunna' would make a delicious scarf or shawl there was a stashed yarn clamouring to be used for this elegant lace. My magic yarn from my magic swap. I've also decided on no beads as beaded socks do not rock my world and with those gone these should be the perfect travel knit for Berlin.

Monday, June 07, 2010

A Deadline Free Fortnight

I didn't get Lev-Mano finished, still working round the body as I got hit by sooo much work to do at the end of last week. Still alls well that doesn't end yet as there was no way I would have wanted to be wearing it this weekend. England remembered to have at least some summer weather this year. Even having it on my lap has been a little cosy though it's grey and cooler today.
So with the passing of that deadline I'm pleased to be looking ahead to two weeks off work and deadline-less. Truly delicious. It's been several years since I had such a luxury. I'm keeping away from to do lists, tasks and schedules and trying to stick to just doing what feels like fun. I just made a big pile of fun-spiration.The only deadline I really must stick to is making it to airport on time for a long weekend in Berlin in the middle of my weeks off. Not a hard life is it?

Wednesday, June 02, 2010


Making good progress on the Manos-Levens-hybrid-shrug-cardi affair - though Saturday is looming! I wasn't too sure how I was going to tackle the sleeves when I started knitting. I knew I wanted to pick up stitches around the completed armhole and knit the sleeve seamlessly downwards but I knew it wasn't likely to work out quite right if that was literally what I did. So I took some advice from the wondrous Barbara Walker.
These lacy seamless set in sleeves are courtesy of instruction from her book Knitting from the Top. It is a genius construction and though I had to knit the first one twice that was due to a bad choice between a 4.5mm needle and 6mm needle on my part creating a somewhat snugger fit than I was aiming for. The body being done on 5.5mm it was inevitable that the only 40cm circulars I have are just either side of that. Should have known that bigger would be better. Off to pick up the 6mm sticks again and get this second sleeve done and then we'll see how long the body can be in time allowed!
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