Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Mosaic takes shape....

What a day this is! I was planning on driving a lot this weekend, going to Connecticut for a night with my mother, and on to Boston for a baby shower, then back again by Sunday evening. But metal on metal sang out to me yesterday morning, as I drove the dog to the doggie hotel: brake pads without padding. Since I couldn't get the pads refitted in time to leave town, I have an entire unscheduled Ithaca weekend in my lap, and I'm having THE BEST time--I keep chuckling. I started watching "Lost," on my computer via netflix; never saw that while it was running on television. And it's the perfect companion to knitting this mosaic sweater.

Time now for Season 1, Episode 13...and the second sleeve. Then, bringing the pieces all together, I'll knit either a raglan or a saddle shoulder, and probably use a very light color combination and an elaborate 44-row pattern called "Odin's Eagles."

Stay tuned. Oh my I'm having a nice weekend (and the dog's still at the doggie hotel).

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Fairy Castle Cardigan, Baby Surprise Jacket, and MOSAIC sweater

This Misti Alpaca, a discontinued four-ply baby alpaca I got at a WEBS sale last year, has blossomed into this lovely "Fairy Castle" cardigan for the girls. Very light worsted, and light weight, and soft! This is the third “gansey,” using Brown-Reinsel’s system of proportions for setting the size. I put “gansey” in quotations, because really I used B-R’s sizings and very little else. One would never do a gansey in baby alpaca, nor pock it with such lacy, permeable design features. I knitted the plain bottom section, got heavy bored, wandered through Barbara Walker’s Second Treasury, where I (re-) found her “Gingerbread Castle,” and started immediately. I did her “Cam Cable” for the front panels, and did her “Totem Pole” eyelet pattern for the sleeves. LOVE IT. I like picking patterns as I go along.

And the eyelets outside the button bands are from Kate Gilbert’s “Samantha.”

The bottom picture has the buttons I’ve now sewn on (good taste, Hickory) . Very simple, light, almost dissolving into the sweater.

So, I finished that beauty last week, and immediately knit a little "Baby Surprise Jacket" for the gender-surprise Doyle baby, whose shower I'm driving to in Boston this weekend. Well, I’m a grumpus, because EVERYONE loves the Baby Surprise Jacket, but I’m not a fan of this sweater, though it’s cute enough and will do for the newborn baby .. I did attached i-cord all the way around, even the shoulder seams (with three needle bind-off to get a little eyelet going there), which takes the unfinished look away. I did it asymmetrical (thanks, Ysolda on, kept it gender-surprise with the pastel yellow/green/blue/tan of the yarn. The yarn, Schaefer's Nichole, is soft, washable, springy, very easy to knit with. And the duck buttons enforce its baby appropriateness. I’ll find a little shirt or onesie to put under it, and I’ll have a nice baby shower gift.

And now, I'm off and running on a Mosaic sweater for the girls. After seeing Barbara Walker, the gifted and eminent Barbara Walker, the Barbara Walker who "unvented" the mosaic, to counter her dislike of fair isle, posing in her own mosaic sweater, in her interview in Fall, 2010's Interweave Knits, I thought, ah ha, a nice way to continue using my ridiculously large stash of Cascade Eco-Wool. And so, here I go, once again using only the sizing proportions from Brown-Reinsel, choosing different mosaic patterns (from Walker's Second Treasury), and knitting and slipping. I put this in-progress piece atop my Tunisian rug, which will now become inspiration for patterning:

Friday, July 23, 2010

Loving the Summer and anticipating the Fall

It's been MONTHS since I've thought to blog about knitting, so please excuse--if you've ever been checking this blog--the lacuna (nice word and the title of a fine Barbara Kingsolver book I just finished, with a narrator who's almost a lacuna himself, whose journals are edited and published by a retiring violet named Violet). Here I am, on the verge of recovering my scanner, whose cord has been missing for thirteen months, and whose substitute cord it doesn't quite appreciate so there'll be no scanning for yet another block of time, un-urgent scanner I seem to be.

Here's a book NOT to buy: Annie Modesitt's 1000 Hats; the title provides quite a come-on for using your stash, right? But there are only ten "prize winning" patterns, all the nine hundred and ninety others are images only. That book is going back to later today, for sure.

So, it's the hot middle of the summer, and my girls, who turned five this past weekend, have no thoughts of sweaters, only of mud-dancing, ballet dancing, and biking:

But with a bit more futures-planning, I've been knitting for kindergarten:

First, the second self-designed gansey, done in Dale Falk for washability and natural ivory coloring. It came out smaller than I'd wanted, in part from the pulling together of the elaborate cables, in part from natural un-mindfulness. But it will fit them this winter.

That one will be a cardigan after I do the steeks, which you can't see. My first steeking, I, so far, think steeking is a waste of time. But at least I'll know how to do it.

Then, here's the "wonderful wallabee," which I did originally for a store sample, with dibs on it for Christmas. I taught a class or two of this design, used Schaefer Miss Priss, and know they'll like the pouch pocket and hoodie:

And here's the first self-designed gansey I did, in Madeline Tosh DK, a wonderfully soft machine-washable wool. Again, I did this as a store sample, and will be teaching a class in designing your own gansey, with Barbara Brown-Reinsel's book as a fine guide, in the fall; and stealing back this sweater for the girls a bit after that:

My favorite new sweater for the girls: I've just finished a self-designed alpaca (in Misti Alpaca 4 ply) cardigan. But it's wet and blocking in the basement, so I'll post pictures and further descriptions in a day or two.

Other non-kindergarteners sweaters and so forth: among the many projects I've knit since January, a nice alpaca beanie:

a store-sample baby hat and finger-less mittens:

and Connie Chang Chinchio's "Ithaca Jacket," again, for the store FOR NOW, but going, if it suits her, to dil Schuyler, after I've taught the class in the early fall:

And, the girl's version of Ryland's Vest (by Hickory), with ruffles from Stitchionary:

And now it's onward with more Kindergarten Cardigans.