In The Red


As Smith and I contemplated the best place for a photo shoot, Smith came up with the brilliant idea to head to Lone Star and use their amazing green wall. The temperature was 55, a far cry from the below freeing temps we're currently experiencing. My only instruction was to make sure he remember to take pictures of the sweater, the sole reason were were there (well, not the SOLE reason, but the MAIN reason, as we also had lunch). 


The first thing he did was lop off my head, but continued on to a rather good photo shoot. Brickyard is one of the best and most comfortable sweaters I've ever knit and worn. Elizabeth Doherty is an excellent pattern writer and a consummate designer. This pattern was easy to follow and interesting to knit. I loved the way the yoke was constructed with short row shaping and exacting row by row instruction. The detail on the pattern, the bricked stitch pattern of the yoke,  the lateral braid which separates the yoke from the body, and the faux seams on the body and sleeves add so much to the overall beauty and interest of the design.


Knitting this sweater was a pleasure, as I never had to wonder  what to do next or how to do any of the techniques Elizabeth used. It was fun, actually fun and interesting to knit this beautiful sweater. Of course, there is Kim's excellent yarn.  I used Emma in the colorway Clara Bow. One thing about pictures is they do not show the subtly of the dyed yarn. 

To ensure the yarn did not pool I alternated skeins every couple of rows while knitting the body in the round. The dyelots were very close and I found there wasn't much difference from one skein to the next. I wish you could see the rich, yet subtly quality of the yarn, but my phone camera is doing the best it can against this vibrant green wall (maybe not the best choice). 


In any case, I'm thrilled with Brickyard, her style, her fit, and the joy she brought while I knit. Brickyard is another reason I love being retired, as I was actually able to spend more time knitting and finished her in two months time. Fast for me, wonderful for me. Happy am I! 


It was a hurried shoot, not well planned, perhaps, not well executed. In the few minutes I had before rushing out the door, I threw the Hayward on, while Smith followed me out to the patio with camera in hand. We did what we had to do to bring the finished Hayward to you.

I made a few modifications, such as, lengthening the body and adding short rows to the back. Also, I used the decreases Susan suggested, which you can see in this post. The sleeves were not lengthened, as I felt they would be a bother, pulling against the sweater every time I moved my long arms. I am not a fan of a tugging and pulling sweater, nor a fan of a sweater I have to tug and pull to keep in place. Hayward moves with my body beautifully.


The sweater is on the huge side, measuring 48" across the bust, but it works! The way the sleeves sits is why the body drapes with ease. I like it more than I thought I would and I find it very comfortable, like a big comfy sweat shirt, although not as bulky and, certainly, more elegant. 


The yarn is Sunday Knits Nirvana 3-ply, a merino/cashmere blend that feels more like cashmere than the content would lead you to believe. The whole garment weighs nothing and feel as soft as breath against my skin. I feel confident I'll be wearing this sweater throughout the year and I now know why Susan knit two of them. As Cheryl commented, it's nice to have a sweater success!!

Ravelry details here.

Oh, There is That Other Sweater

What was I thinking? Suzy brought this to my attention and I decided I had to confess. My last sweater wasn't knit in 2011, it was knit THIS year! Chicane is completely buttoned up, but since it hadn't been photographed and hadn't been added to my list of FOs, it was out of sight, out of mind. For good reason, I might add. The temperatures last month were too hot to even think about a photo shoot, but as soon as the weather changed, Suzy came to my aid and we took a few pictures.

There is more to this confession...Chicane doesn't fit very well. She's a wee LOT too big. She doesn't fit very well and its because I didn't use my knowledge, my common sense, or give much thought to the size I'd picked. No measurements and no real thought was given to my present shape or size. I just went with what I "guessed" would work. After knitting a gauge swatch I.just.knit.  A sweater. 

In part, I blame the sleeves. It was the elbows! They attracted me, they entertained me, and I went with a size I thought would work. Can you see how much room there is across the shoulders?

Yes, well, I could wear a football player's shoulder pads to make Chicane fit, but that's so 80s.
All is not lost, as I will wear dear Chicane (it's not her fault she's problematic) and I will enjoying her warmth. She'll still be a cozy sweater to wear this winter, but no fear...I have learned my lesson.


Well. I'm glad that's off my chest. I cannot wait to knit a sweater that fits me well.

Comes Around

For the next few days the cold is taking hold. The skies are blue, but the "i-word", is being bandied about and from my window the view is somewhat hazy. This is not my favorite winter condition...far from it.

The carport garden Smith built never quite got off the ground, as the seeds were sown a little late in the year. They didn't germinate and grow as expected due to the cold October we had. A few baby leaves of lettuce and kale have been thrown into salads, but over all the ground awaits the returned of the sun (as do I).

While I was checking out the very small, and now frozen, radish plants, Smith decided to snap a photo of my finally finished, Mondo Cable Pulli. I let this project go dormant a couple of times during the process and wasn't sure I'd ever bother to tie up loose ends. However, I'm glad I did, as it is happily off the needles, and on my body.

I made a few modifications, such as limiting the "trapeze" effect of the body and lengthening both body and sleeves. Short rows were added to the back right under the armscye. This little trick keeps the back from riding up unflatteringly. Other "mods" were more mistakes than true mods and I don't, usually, confess my knitting errors.


Bonne Marie's pattern has some very cool techniques, such as the way she finishes the neck band. The trick is simple elegance and it brought a smile to my face, as it was just so creative.  At first I thought it would be hard to make the neck band look smooth, like it was one piece, but by following the instructions the neck band looks lovely.

This sweater also reminded me (one more time) that I'm not a fan of raglans. The shoulders feel too snug, simply not as comfortable as set-in sleeves...I think I've knit my last. I'm also not a fan of worsted weight pullovers, another thing to be wary of in the future. The yarn wasn't a favorite (maybe it's the pullover problem), but the color is exceptional.  

So, back to the garden...we're dreaming and planning what we'd like to plant in the box come March. Salad lettuces, herbs, and greens we can cut and eat immediately will be mostly likely.  Lists are being made in anticipation of ordering seeds late next month. We know the season of snow (although not much has arrived) will give way to the growing season, eventually.

Henley Happening

Saturday afternoon the sun decided to come out of hiding and show her beaming face. Smith was in the garden, so I ran over to see if he could help with a Henley photo shoot, but, as you can see, I could not get the hang of it.Couldnotgetthehangofit
The garden just wasn't the right spot and I could tell Smith was itching to get back to work in the dirt. dang  What to do?

Later in the day I mentioned the photo shoot fail to Suzy and she offered to come right over and take charge.  Maybe two grrls together could figure out a good way to show off my exquisite Henley.

We set off to find a lovely spot for our colaborative effort and my first thought was to go swinging. (You never know what will work.) Suzy tried and tried, however, as you can see, that idea was a fail, too.

Suzy then decided a pretty red tulip would help the situation but, have you ever smelled a tulip!?

We ended up laughing more than photographing. (I tried to discard the tulip behind a forsythia bush but, sigh, Suzy insisted I keep it.)

Suzy also told me over and over to turn around.  I was getting a complex, but she said the back of Henley was amazing, as it showed off Kim's fabulous dye work. The only place I alternated skeins was the front (and I'm not sure I needed to). That should tell you what a master Kim is with the dyes.

Why I had so much trouble knitting this sweater, and trying to get a photo of the finished project, is a mystery but, for some reason, it has been a trial.  The yarn is wonderful, the pattern perfectly written, but they almost did me in.

Seriously, Henley is my new favorite sweater. The touch of the fabric against my skin is silky soft and the fit is just as I hoped it would be; not snug, more like a favorite T-shirt and easy to wear. I made the body and sleeves longer, omitted the waist shaping and found the perfect buttons.


My job is done.  A great big Thank You goes to Kim and Anne, who make a fine duo, and to Smith and Suzy, who had to put up with me.  Now, it's onto wearing and loving my Henley.  Raveled hereRav_linkredyarnball

To Everything

As the last button was sewn into place, as the last of the finishing was complete, as this saga of a sweater journey came to an end, my breath caught, and I sat in stunned silence.  A silence of peace, of inner prayer, of simple joy.  This journey now moves into a new phase, a phase of giving warmth, softness, luxury, and a gigantic hug from Kim.  Glorious!


Kim's Kashmir yarn has survived this journey in grand fashion.  She was knit into another sweater, completely frog, washed, and then, continued on her journey to once again be knit, frogged, tinked and knit again.  She came out of it all looking like Cinderella at the ball.  A knitter must be grateful for a yarn that is willing to do what it needs to do and become something to love. This yarn, fortunately, continues to be beautiful, elegant and splendid. 


Anne's Sprössling pattern is well written with simple finishing techniques for a happy ending.  The only modification I made was to add 3" of length before the waist shaping.  (After trying it on I realized 2" would have been enough, but I am happy.) Oh and, a little extra on the sleeves, too.

The lovely tiny buttons were found at Blazing Needles, a LYS with a spectacular selection. (Buttons for Que SeraRav_linkredyarnball were also found, but we'll save that for another day.)  Because of the added length extra buttons were needed.


The simplicity of garter stitch hems and edges compliment the elegance of the lace.  There was no fussing or futzing the numbers for the neck band to look good.  Everything simply fell into place as the sweater came together. The front band pickup was magical, as the first time I tried, the band had no excess, nor was it too small. 

The knitting journey is over and it's been quite a humbling path.  This sweater had it's way with me (all difficulties my own and not the yarn nor the pattern) and it took awhile for me to realize the journey was NOT hard, and that it was my own angst and inability that stopped me from moving forward. When I (finally) broke through that wall, I knew all was well.

Pattern: Sprössling by Anne Hanson
Yarn: Kashmir from The Woolen Rabbit
Raveled HereRav_linkredyarnball

Power Sweater


I love this sweater THIS MUCH!

Last week Kym commented that Miss BB would be a "power sweater" for me and I would feel its power every time I wore it. She was so right! Miss BB is not a hard sweater, in fact the pattern is well written and straight forward, but I had so, so many problems from ennui to multiple frogging episodes and screwing up the back cable. (While I don't believe in pointing out problems I don't want anyone to think my back cable is right…it is not.) However, I power through, fudge and fix as I went and in the end I'm very happy with the result. Miss BB looks great, feels great, and makes me feel great, too.

Back ofmissbb

At times I just didn't know if I could/would finish, and yet, I knew the end product would be worth the arduous process. Getting the brain in the right gear has been hard (I'll tell you more about that later). But, the bottom line is of all the sweaters I've knit in 2009 (Eleven), Miss BB may just be my favorite. 


Pattern: Miss BB by Chicknits
Yarn: Beaverslide Worsted, Glacier Blue – 5 skeins
Needle: Addi 6 and 8
Time to Knit: November 1, 2009 – December 31, 2009
Sweater #11 for NaKnitSweMoDo (now 2010)Rav_linkredyarnball
Raveled Here Rav_linkredyarnball

Big and Cozy

What's soft, cozy, warm, colorful and a little too big? My big comfy sweatshirt of a Noro sweater, that's what. The yarn is soft and comfortable against the skin and, while it is a bit too big, it is warm and warm is needed as winter returns.  It's snowing!


The Noro Silk Garden yarn has been hiding out in my stash for a couple of years and I'm very happy I bought it when I did, as it's one of my favorite Noro colorways. The colors were left to flow as they might from ball to ball, which creates confusion of how the colors should flow as only one of the seven balls used had no knot. The color sequence changed radically quiet often, but it matter not one whit to me. Every piece has its own character and color flow and the sweater is meant to be fun and comfy. Warm and comfy is key during the cold winter months and this sweater fits the bill.


When my weight begins to return (the docs say it will take a couple more months) it will fit a little better, but it is the big, cozy sweatshirt I imagined. Knitting with Silk Garden was more enjoyable than I thought it would be and it becomes even softer after a bath. (Make sure you wash your swatch when you knit with this yarn.)

The sweater took longer than expected.  I started August 30 but didn't get very far as I was in hospital the next day. As soon as I could I started knitting again, which wasn't until September 27th, it went fairly quickly.  I still didn't finished until October 22.


Pattern: Basic Pullover by Jane Ellison in Knitting Noro
Yarn: Noro Silk Garden - color 201 - 7 balls
Needle: Addi #8
Raveled HereRav_linkredyarnball
Sweater #10 for MoDoRav_linkredyarnball

Finally Tempest2

Backmeuptempest Near the finish line of Tempest2 several concerns came to the fore. They were niggling concerns, but they halted the process and forward progress. Unsure I could face the truth of another unwearable sweater it was decided that ignorance was bliss. Shelley suggested that trying a sweater on in its unfinished state right before bedtime may not have been the best idea, but the concerns were (or so it seemed) legitimate.

Tempestinthemountains As the blocked pieces were unpinned, the first concern to present was the limp, almost slippery and lifeless fabric. Maybe Koigu wasn't the best yarn for this sweater.  The yarn used for Tempest1Rav_linkredyarnball had been very different as its finished fabric had body and shape. Worry over this new Tempest flooded my mind.

The second concern presented as I tried T2 on for the first time. There was no way to hold the front pieces together without buttons, so I tried to pull the sweater into place and use my imagination. The body seemed too long and unflattering.  Even more unflattering was the short sleeves…what had I been thinking by having them hit just above the elbow?

The final concern was the color. Was too light, too washed out and not as beautifully blue as I'd hoped? The white wasn't white and the blue wasn't strong. Bleh…this was not going to be a sweater to love, to wear, to live in…or so it seemed.


Nearly a month later, this past Sunday morning, I realized it was time to face the music.  This was the day to fit in a photo shoot, confess my mess and move on. I sewed each button (all 14) into place and then slipped Tempest2 over my head. What a pleasant surprise met my eyes! She looked fine, maybe not great, but fine, and wearable. I tried her with blue jeans and that was great. Then I pulled on a pair of white jeans and that was great, too. What a relief to have Tempest2 wearable, lovely and finished!


Pattern: Tempest from Knitty
Yarn: Koigu KPPPM - 6 skeins, P418
Needle: Size 6 & size 3
Time to Knit: July 19 – July 31, 2009 (Stalled adding buttons until Aug. 23)
Modifications: No stripes, body 2" added before waist decreases, double start cast on and 5 rows of garter instead of hem - sleeves shorten to above elbow
Sweater #9 for MoDoRav_linkredyarnball
Raveled HereRav_linkredyarnball

The Quiet Knit

Looking back, I realize this sweater has been on my needles and I haven't mentioned it once on the blog. It was only a swatch the last (and first) time you saw or heard about this project.  The problem is I update on RavelryRav_linkredyarnball as I go along and forget to share the pictures and problems here. Friday I had intended to share my complaints on this sweater, not realizing it could actually be finished this weekend. Gisela was one of the most unique and interesting projects I've ever knit and it was 100% because of the Habu yarn.


Knitting a wiry, hard to handle string was not exactly enjoyable and patience was required with every stitch. Errors were easy to make if I wasn't carefully and each stitch had to be deliberately formed, which made the project drag.  Knitting with this yarn wasn't an fun process and every little anomaly in my knitting shows in the fabric.  Blocking helps but only to a degree.

To keep the project simple, and finishing to a minimum, I opted to knit the body in one piece, with no shaping. Once the body was completed the rest of the knitting went quite quickly and the yarn became easier to handle as my experience with it grew. Sewing together was a challenge as the fabric (and yarn) has no give. It was difficult to manipulate the sleeve into the armscye, but the rest of the finishing went smoothly.
In the end, I am more relieved this knit is finished than I am happy with the end product. I am decidedly a wool grrl and I plan on sticking to wooly yarns from now on. Gisela does, however look good with almost anything. I've worn her with jeans as well as slacks and my work mates thought she was uniquely interesting. They made more comments than usual and noticed Gisela as something new without my prompting.

Pattern: Gisela
Yarn: Habu Gima A-174 
Needle: Addi Lace Size 8
Time to Knit: June 20 to July 18, 2009
Sweater Number Eight for NaKniSweMoDoRav_linkredyarnball