Annis in Silk

I made another Annis, in worsted weight silk, as a gift. I’ve already used this lace pattern a couple of times before and, with over 7000 projects on Ravelry, it remains a favourite with knitters! The lace section itself is easy, the crescent shape is pretty to wear; it took me just over a day to knit and a few hours to block.

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Blocking silk isn’t the brutal process it needs to be with woolens; I first rolled up the shawl in a very damp towel, then pinned it onto a dry surface, pressed the still damp towel on areas which felt dry, and then left it under a fan for a couple of hours.

I worked most of the pattern as written, except a few mods to the decreases, and changing to BO to prevent a rolling edge.

Details
Pattern: Annis
Yarn: Silk Petals Chunk; 2.6 skeins; “009 Caribbean”
Needles: 5.0mm for CO; 4.0mm for rest
Ravelled: here

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When You Really Love a Cable

I swatched some of the pretty Debbie Bliss Donegal Tweed a few weeks ago. It makes such a good fabric, wonderfully light, and with that matte integrity that tweeds seem to acquire after blocking.

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I’m thinking of a compound raglan pullover, bottom up, the raglan lines marked with — you guessed it — these slipped stitch cables from my last pullover.

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The sweater is going to be stockinette with lace on the front and shaping on the back only. Perhaps a deep, scooped neck. We’ll see.

I found a lace pattern called “Wolf’s Claw” from an old pattern book, but the text-only instructions were mind-boggling. They were a mad jumble of wrn, fully written out left decreases, and other horrors. So I tried to figure out the lace pattern by electronically annotating over the accompanying photograph:

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I’m happy to say I got only two rows wrong! Well, actually, the same row wrong twice, since the pattern alternates diagonally.

Now to figure out how to actually knit the whole thing…

Baltic Hourglass

The socks are done, and are just lovely:

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Like many others, I noted that there seemed too be too many stitches. So I left out one entire repeat, working the leg with 60 stitches. I left 35 stitches for the instep, and increased the remaining 25 heel flap stitches to 30.

Apart from that, I worked them in the usual top-down gusseted construction, keeping the slipped stitch pattern all along the sole as I usually do, for added wear-resistance. On the toe, I continued the ribbed pattern on the instep for a smoother visual transition.

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Despite using more yarn for the heavy-duty sole, I still have 20% of the skein left. I’m getting quite a little collection of sock-yarn leftovers; time to start hunting for scrap-busting patterns!

Details
Pattern: Hourglass Socks from Knitty
Yarn: Madelinetosh Sock in “Baltic”; 1 skein
Needles: 2.25 mm dpns.
Ravelled: here

 

More Blue Socks

I think I’m on a blue sock knitting jag. After the Rocaille socks of last month, I immediately started on the wildly-popular-nearly-a-decade-ago Hourglass, also in a deep vivid blue — Madelinetosh Sock in “Baltic”. If the Baltic Sea is really that colour, I want to go live in it. On second thoughts, perhaps not.

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As usual, I continued the slipped stitch heel pattern all along the sole. And extended the ribbing into the toe for more prettiness.

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Nail biting suspense questions: will I succumb to second sock syndrome? Or cast on for the twin immediately? Will I ever be able to accurately capture the deep, shifting, colour? Stay tuned!

Natsumi

Or, fitting straight lines on non-straight figures.

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So pretty!! There’s something so light and refined about this colour, which perfectly complements the restrained cable, delicate lace and elegant lines of Natsumi. I won’t spend too much time describing how perfect this pattern is, over 200 people have done so already. However, let’s talk about my mods.

First, I knew I had to change it to a scoop neck. The boat neck, although elegant, would have been really unflattering on me. So I calculated the BO, CO and decrease rates (since this is worked side to side), and threw in a 1×1 ribbed trim to match the cuffs and hem.

I also lowered the pattern strip so that the bottom lies a little above the underbust, which I thought would be the most flattering position. This means that the sleeves come only halfway through the pattern strip …

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… but structurally, this makes no difference.

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Then I did some thing clever, which I’m quite proud of. I added a line of shaping along the top of the pattern strip on the front only. This gave me more fabric to accommodate my scoop neck, and, crucially, pushed the strip down in a very gentle U shape. On a flat garment it looks distorted, but on the body…

 

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… straight!! I had nine extra stitches in the centre of the garment thanks to the shaping, without which the strip would have curved upwards and made me an unwitting model for that elegantly named phenomenon, waist boobz. 

Apart from that: reduced overall ease to 7inches at upper bust (= 4 inches at full bust), made full length sleeves, and threw in 1×1 ribbing everywhere, finishing those with tubular bind-offs. Oh and added about an inch of short rows to each side bottom, to create a more swingy, a-line shape.

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I think that’s all; I love the design, the colour and the yarn.

Details
Pattern: Natsumi by Yoko Hatta
Needles: 4.0mm for all (lever style); 3.5mm for ribbing.
Yarn: TML “Dusk”; 2.5 skeins
Ravelled: here

Endless Summer

What on earth made me do two fingering weight sweaters in a row?! Nearly a month and only the body is done; who’s going to do the sleeves and hem ribbing ? What was I thinking? Why could possibly have driven me to do this?!

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Ah yes.

The unbelievably pretty colour…

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… and the exquisite pattern.

Oh well. Carry on.

Dusk in Summer

I started Natsumi (Jp = “beautiful summer”, one of many meanings) in Madelinetosh Merino Light “Dusk”. The colour is gorgeous! A very delicate salmon pink, more dawn than dusk in my opinion!

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As usual, I tweaked the pattern heavily.

I Kept
– The lovely cable and lace strip
– Dropped shoulders
– Curved hem
– Sideways construction
– Positive ease

I Changed
– Amount of ease; I’m aiming for 6″ upper torso ease (equivalent to 3″ full bust ease)
– Circularity of hem; recalculated to make a gentler slope
– Ease at hip; added short rows to make a swingier shape
– Position of pattern strip; lowered it so the bottom edge covers the bust
– Bust shaping; added another line of shaping above the strip only on the front
– Neck; changed to scooped shape with bind offs and decreases
– Neck finish; will probably apply an i-cord
– Sleeve cuffs; will probably add ribbing to match the hem

Essentially, I charted the shape I wanted, and recalculated everything according to my gauge. I’m dealing with millions of markers: 2 for the hem shaping, 4 to define edges of pattern strips, 3 for the shoulder and bust shaping.

Have split the neck, now working my way slowly across the back.

Nightblooms and Seedpods

Is done!

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A V-neck pullover generated with CustomFit, average fit. Except that it turned out more like relaxed fit. I’ve lost a bit of weight – or rather, re-distributed weight – with new classes, so the upper torso measurements are slightly off and the sweater is a bit too loose in the shoulder and bicep area. Never mind, I’ll just wear it over something else in winter.

Other than that, I love this sweater! This is exactly the kind of knitting I like, simple shapes with a touch of wow. The lace pattern is out of a pattern dictionary, and I kept the three columns half out of phase with each other. The middle column splits at the V-neck and is decreased away. The decrease points then move outside the outer pattern repeats, ‘eating’ the stockinette section till the shoulder. Then the pattern continues in ‘straps’ to the back of the neck, ending in a beautifully symmetrical  3-needle bind off.

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Hems and cuffs are finished with lining in fingering weight wool, because I used up every bit of the main yarn.

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Details
Pattern: my own, base generated with CustomFit
Yarn: Madelinetosh DK; 100% wool; 206m = 100g; 4 skeins; “Night Blooms”. Few metres of Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine for lining.
Needle: 3.5mm bamboo for everything
Ravelled: here

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Blooming Sweater in Progress!

The body of my Nightblooms and Seedpods pullover (so named after the yarn colour and stitch pattern) is done and sleeves have been started. I would say that the fully stockinette sleeves should go really fast, but that would jinx things terribly, so I won’t.

It’s a simple stockinette pullover with three repeats  of a beautiful botanical stitch pattern, out of a Japanese dictionary, in the centre. I did a careful row count before starting and placed the starting row of the stitch pattern so that the v-neck split would occur exactly where the pattern itself splits into a V shape. An applied i-cord finishes the neck.

The middle column is exactly half out of phase with the others. I felt it would create more visual interest to have the seedpods staggered rather than in a row.

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The simplest way to knit this would have been to write out two pattern repeats next to each other, but of course I was too lazy and instead wrote down two columns of row numbers (one for each out-of-phase repeat), which made things a bit maddening. But it got done, eventually.

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I may end up with not quite enough yarn for full or even three-quarter sleeves, meaning I’ll have to take out one pattern repeat from the bottom of the sweater. Sigh!