She's So Haute

Every knit has its own personality, its own attitude. Some knits are easy to understand, easy to get along with and a joy to be around. Other knits have a sense of entitlement, can be difficult from the get go, and have an attitude of being better than others. Their arrogance can be hard to handle, but sometimes they get their comeuppance. (One can hope.)

Hauteyonahotafternoon
Harmony was arrogant from the beginning and she felt she was too good to be seen at the park sitting on a mere picnic table. She deserved to be seen in the conservatory, deserved to be waited on hand and foot while sipping tea and nibbling crumpets. The event of an elegant High Tea was much more her style (or so she thought.)
Imtoosexyformeowngood
Once she understood that what she deserved and wanted would not be in her future she tried to get cute, coquettish and sexy.  This attitude really didn't suit her looks or style.
Youlookinatme Imtoosexyforyou
After all was said and done she settled into her own and came down to earth, enjoyed her day in the park and time with the boyz.  She's learned to be herself, a comfortable, happy grrl with frills and pearls, a grrl who fits in anywhere.
Thepupsandmeatthepark
Pattern: Harmony from the Nectar Collection by Kim Hargreaves size 38
Yarn: Summer Tweed – Blossom 541, 9 skeins
Needle: Addi Turbo Size 8
Time to Knit: April 20 to May 23 2009
Sweater #6 for NaKniSweMoDo
Raveled HereRav_linkredyarnball


The Liesl Dilemma

It's a little difficult to blog about something you've made but don't like very much.  The difficulty isn't the pattern, it's the knitter and the choices made.  With Liesl, what you see is what you get.  The neck determines the size and fit...what you have in the end is determined at the starting point.  If you want a larger sweater, one that buttons in the front, you must make a wide neck. If you make a smaller neck you'll end up with an open front.  That's what the pattern pictures show and that's what you get. 

Liesliscutebutimnotcute
Liesl is cute, I'll give her that, but I'm not cute, not into cute and because of the way she fits, I'm constantly pulling, adjusting and just feel funny wearing her.
You can see in the back view how the sleeves are small, tight and pull uncomfortably across my back when I move or lift my arms.  This style isn't suited to someone with square shoulders and it was a poor choice of pattern for me on many levels, even if it is cute.

Yokeisbigmakessmallsleeves
This is the classic case of "knitter, know thy pattern, thy limits and thy style".  Liesl was quickly knit, fun to knit and certainly has charm.  Its charm is suited to someone younger with a different body type.  I do like the way LIesl looks from the back if I'm not moving around. 
Liesllooksmarvelousfromtehbackfiyoudon'tmove 
A knitter has several choices to consider with Liesl when determining fit and style. Make your choices based on use and body type, think through what you want from this sweater, and you'll be much happier with the end result.

Pattern: Liesl by Ysolda
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Eco Cotton – 7 balls 613 Red
Size: 37 Low Neckline
Time to Knit: April 10-16, 2009
Sweater #5 for NaKniSweMoDo

Lily in the Valley

What is that big bright orb in the sky?  Why 'tis the sun and it's shining on the first Lily of the season.

Lilyshowsoffinthesun
Lily and I came to an understanding and now have a mutual admiration society. Lily's lovely looks can't help but make others look better, and for that reason, I'm rather fond of wearing her. Lily the comfortable, the beautiful, the elegant…nothing more can be expected of a sweater. She's the third sweater I've knit from the Twist Collective and every one of them were favorites to knit, and are now favorites to wear.

Lilythesamefrontandback   Lilygivesyoutheshoulder

The yarn, Cascade Venezia Worsted, is elegant, soft and durable and shows off the detail in the pattern to perfection. Together, Lily and the yarn, exceed expectations with their sheen, smooth appearance and lovely hand. You can read the other specs in this post.

Agoodviewoflily  Lilyatthemablewall

This is sweater number 4 of 2009 and she's a perfect sweater for this time of year. This attachment and unZen like attitude of obsessive sweater knitting may be getting to me.  There could be worse obsessions, however. 

Lilywiththeviewofthemountains
I love Lily. (Raveled here)


Periwinkle Golden

Color me tickled pink over yet another wonderful sweater.  Golden Vintage is one of the most versatile and wearable sweaters in my collection. She's the perfect dress up/dress down, go anywhere sweater and she's comfortable, too.  If all of the sweaters knit for MoDo are nice to wear as the first three I am going to be ecstatically happy come the end of 2009. 

The simple details of the baby cable cuffs, hem and front bands gives this cardigan an elegant look.  Simplicity reigns, and adds to the classic, long wearing design with exquisite detail.

Frontbuttonbandandcuff

A knitter could use any favorite yarn of any fiber content for a successful outcome.  The unique quality of Spinderella's Spun Thrums give this sweater a one of a kind appeal.  Lynn's thrums are blends of unknown wools and this particular yarn is likely a soft wool, alpaca (the tan flecks) and silk (the bright periwinkle bits). The blend is soft against the skin, comfortable and warm.

Verywearableandcomfortable Backofgoldenvintage

Rather than sew I-cord around the neck as the pattern suggests (I didn't think my sewing skills would produce a good edge), I first tired an applied I-cord. It might have worked out, but it was going to take considerable work, trial and error, forward and backward knitting to end up with a good outcome.  When the idea of the rolled edge popped into my head I ran it by Susan and she immediately approved.  It didn't take any time at all to pick up stitches around the neck and knit 6 rows of stockinette.  This produced a rolled edge of reverse stockinette and a very neat neckline.  Color me please as punch (pink punch!).

Necklineofgvc
The yarn and pattern together made knitting this sweater a joy from beginning to end.  GVC was a twelve day project and it's a good thing as I've dithered away the last 10 days trying to decide which sweater to knit next.  If all projects were as smooth and easy as this one has been I'd be finished with MoDo by July. 
Fitslikeadreamandfeelslikeheaven
Pattern: Golden Vintage Cardigan by Thea Colman
Yarn: Spinderella's Thrums 3 skeins (390 yds/skein)
Needle: size 7
Time to Knit: Feb 12 – March 2, 2009
Modifications: Lengthened sleeves from elbow to 3/4 length and instead of I-cord around the neck I picked up stitches and knit 6 rows of stockinette to create a rolled edge.


Spring in Mid-Winter

If only I could do a cartwheel instead of just stand with a silly grin on my face (and squinting eyes because the sun came out for 5 minutes).  A cartwheel would have been the perfect celebration for Wisteria. She is spring time in the middle of winter's blahs.

Wisteriabrightensawinterdayathtefarm
Because the first sleeve had taken what seemed like an inordinate amount of time, I did anticipate Wisteria blooming in time for a weekend photo shoot.  The second sleeve flew off the needles in one quarter the time and Sunday morning the last end (and there were few ends) was woven in.   Once she was on my body I couldn't take her off!  (Good thing I was properly showered and ready to start my day!)  The Shibui Merino Worsted is soft, luxurious and delightful against the skin, which is a good thing, as Wisteria fits perfectly.
Wisteriaisforthebirdsandtheyloveit
Kate as once again designed a sweater with beautiful detail, exquisite styling, and exceptional fit. For the photo shoot we headed to Wheeler Farm, a dry, dormant, dreary park in much need of a good winter snow or the advent of spring. 
Wisteriaspringatwheelerfarminmidwinter
Wisteria was the bright spot, a bit of spring in the brown landscape, her color a reminder that spring will come and flowers will bloom again. 

Pattern: Wisteria by Kate Gilbert from the Twist Collective
Yarn: Shibui Merino Worsted – 6 skeins Mulberry
Time to Knit: January 12, 2009-February 8, 2009
Modifications: None
Sweater #2 for NaKniSweMoDo


In the Pink

Heading up one of our many beautiful canyons is the very best thing you can do when the inversion comes to camp out and uglifies the air.  The day in the mountain sun is even better if share with friends.  Cheryl and I, in our hand knits, were dressed appropriately for the sun and warmth.  We also happened to be the best dress people at Snowbird. She's wearing her darling hat from our SnB swap and I'm wearing the Just Enough Ruffles Scarf that Susan made for the exchange. Yes, it's green, but don't you think it goes beautifully with my pink Acer and the Leafy Mitts?  I do and I love them all together.

Cherylandiinourhandknits
Acer is one of my favorite sweaters because she is soft, warm, nicely designed and knit from one of the best worsted yarns around. (Cheryl's sweater is also knit with Beaverslide!)
Smithcapturedaprettygoodpose Itsunnylovelyandwarm
Nicedetailontheback
Part of what makes this sweater fit well and look fabulous is the design detail of the yoke and the darts that create the waist shaping. Acer was a very quick knit because of the pattern was well written and easy to knit (large needles, size 9 also help). Acer is my first 10 day sweater...10 days from start to finish.  Of course four days off for the New Year holiday came at the right time. 
Comfycozywarmandlovelypinkacer
Some people have finished their second sweater for MoDo (and are going full steam on their third).  I'm knitting as fast as I can to keep up!

P.S. Our day of service was wonderful and we (25 of us) moved 67 TONS of canned goods! The food bank was so appreciative and said we were the most productive group that had ever volunteered.  We walked out of the facility a with our chins high and feeling like a million bucks (even if we did have aching backs).   Today I am a very grateful and happy to be an American and very excited for this moment in history.  Yes we can!

The Best of All

The parade continues with a whole ensemble of lovely knits. 

Aprettyensemble 
The Habu Kusha Kusha Scarf was a project of pure process.  It's perfect for knitting during movies, when anything else is just too much to handle, or when no thinking is needed.  The fun continues when the last stitch is bound off and you can start to play with its malleable qualities, qualities that would entertain and sustain you through, say, a boring meeting.
Andpullandplay Andfussandplaymoreandmore Andthenfusssomemore
Fussandfussandfuss Ayoucanfusssomemore Andsomemorenadmore
And when you've had enough fussing and playing, and you can't stand one minute more of the boring meeting, the stainless yarn is strong enough to handle anything you dish out...just sayin'.
Andwhenyouvegoofedoffenoughyoucanhangyourself
Zzitstaysinshapeandisfuntoplaywith
However, Jadis, my beautiful Jadis, is a sweater to live for!  The yarn, oh the yarn!, is soft, warm, richly textured and totally fabulous. I truly don't think you could use any other yarn that would  be as perfect for Jadis as Foxfire's Cormo/Silk/Alpaca.  For the last two weeks I've worn the sweater over and over, with the intent of taking pictures, which we finally got around to on Sunday.  I loved every minute of having this beauty next to my skin.  
Andhshowoffathtehcoffeeshop
More pictures and info on Ravelry.
And now it's on to 2009 and twelve (more) fabulous sweaters.

Sheer Will

Ipoweredtrhoughbesheerwill

That's me, feeling like a powerful grrl who fought right on through any diversity and finished NaKniSweMo just in time!  Empowered by sheer will, against all odds, I DID it!!  Forced Encouraged to keep going by the likes of Kay, my fellow Ewe-tah grrls and you, dear readers, I stuck it out and made it all the way to the finish line.

Ithankmyluckystarsitsdoneandineverneedtoknititagain This lovely little sweater was pure product knitting...no enjoyable process involved. This diaphanous, delicate knit was very, very real and often misbehaved. While there was a bit of errata, the pattern wasn't the problem. It was the yarn...miles and miles and miles of tiny, fuzzy, ethereal and elusive FUZZ! And, its shades of gray didn't help the matter much. I do thank my lucky stars the sweater came out well in the end, but life (my life) is too short to ever knit with KSH again.  It just is not my cup o' tea.
Dancingwithmrd Ladedadeda Dancingwiththepileofuzz

Ladedadeda...YAY!! It's a very happy day. Can you tell?  

Let me just say, that Kay and Ann met their goal as I did knit (way) outside my lines. They had warned in the pattern that the yarn could be fiddly, but promised in the end that the finished product would be worth it.  I'm just glad the sweater (and I) lived to tell the tale.

Wellitsdoneanditiswhatitis
Pattern: Cardi Cozy from Mason Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines size Small
Yarn: Rowan Kid Silk Spray - Color Medici - 4 balls
Needle: Addi Lace #8 (a must)
Time to Knit: November 2, 2008-November 29, 2008 
Hoo and Ray!!

Big Smiles for Daniel

Symbolically this is set to post at the same time my plane is leaving for Boston via NY (JFK).  I am excited to see so many friends before and during Rhinebeck. Hopfully the butterflies in the tummy won't keep me from sleeping during the flight...I am an adult after all.

Daniel took a little longer than I had intended, due to distractions of the small knit variety, but she was never set aside.  Knitting with the Beaverslide yarn is pure joy.  Beaverslide is a must stash yarn and I will be adding more as soon as the pocketbook allows. It is my number one favorite worsted yarn. 

The gray color of Catbird is a graphite like blue/gray, very versatile and neutral.  The color and style are the perfect foil for any scarf, or piece of jewelry, if one so choose, and it looks particularly wonderful with Ruby's scarf (a gift from Norma). This will be my Saturday ensemble for Rhinebeck and I can't wait to show her off! (All pictures below are clickable.)

Danielwithrubyscarf

Fullfrontofdanielscarfinhand_3 The sweaters I love to knit have wonderful design detail, finishing techniques and unique features.  The front panel of Daniel is the main feature, but the sleeve panel is well thought out and executed in an interesting way.  The sleeve begins with the design panel starting in the cuff and moving up the arm and into the saddle. It then morphs right into the neck ribbing.  Kate's finishing techniques, short rows for the front and back shoulders, and the way the saddle brings them together, are ingenious and easily accomplished. The pattern is well written and works up just as you expect...no surprises.
Zdanielopenneck
This picture shows the sleeve detail on the cuff.  The front looks good whether open or closed and the snaps are small enough to be nearly invisible.

Shouldertoneckofdaniel_2 0sideviewofdanielsleeveandshould_2

Zdanielatparkwithsmile
I love this sweater, love the yarn, loved the knitting experience and love wearing it.  Daniel is a hit with me!!

Daniel by Kate Gilbert for the Twist Collective size 38
Yarn: Beaverslide Worsted   – 5 skeins Catbird
Time to Knit: August 30, 2008 – October 10, 2008
Modifications:  Mirror imaged the front panel to make the jacket open on the feminine side.  No other changes were needed.
Julie or Kate, please save a tape measure for me (preferabley pink)!


Lady Day has Her Day

This lady is not singing the blues when it comes to wearing Lady Day.  The February Lady Sweater  is just as comfortable, wearable and charming as I thought she'd be.  Her winning personality makes her a lovely companion on blustery fall days and walks in the park when there is a chill in the air.
Bigoldtreebymurrayparkstream
She and I took a walk around through a beautiful park that had the biggest trees we'd ever seen, the prettiest flower gardens and a fast moving stream.

Knitting with Araucania Nature Wool required knitting with two balls at one time as there are no dye lots and each skein is fairly unique. Mixing the skeins in two by two rows helped meld the colors and stopped any strange patterning.  The yarn had no untoward knots (don't you just hate yarn that is constantly full of knots?), and was soft and delightful to knit. 

Backviewwithgreentexturedbackgrou_2

The yarn softened even further when blocked, a smooth, light fabric that still held its body and made the sweater that much nicer.  The yarn also bloomed, so it is very advisable to knit a swatch and wash it well. That way you can see just how much this yarn softens and changes.  I wouldn't say it grows, but the softening of the fabric does open up the fiber and adds to its length.  Because I had swatched and wash, this feature was known to me ahead of time.  Knitter, know thy fabric and knit a size accordingly. 

Yarnissoftandrichincolor

The size I knit was based on the softening of the swatch and the knowledge that I wanted the neck to be smaller. Trying the sweater on as it was knit was vital to the end product, and while it felt a little smaller than I wanted before blocking, the end product softened to fit perfectly.  I'm looking forward to knitting with this wool again as it would be comfortable in a pullover and soft against the skin.

Lady Day has been on active duty this week as there has been a bit of a chill in the air.  It's the beginnings of sweater season and it's wonderful to have a new sweater to wear on cold mornings, cool days and chilly evenings.  Fall begins the knitters favorite time of year and I'm thrilled to have three new sweaters (SalinaFitted (Red) Cardigan and Lady Day) as additions to my "stay warm" arsenal. 

Ladydayintheflowergarden

Pattern: February Lady Sweater by Pamela Wynne
Yarn: Araucania Nature Wool Color 46 Turquoise - 4 skeins
Needle: Addi #8
Time to Knit: July 28- August 28, 2008
Mods:  Took fullness out of the sleeves by decreasing two lace patterns over the length of the sleeve. Made sleeves and body the length that worked best for my body.
Bottom line... I LOVE it!!