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Friday, November 30, 2007

Multiple posts in a week & Sensual Knits

In what must be a first for me, this is my third post this week. I guess that's what happens when knits that I've had to hold my tongue about for so long are finally released out into the world.

Yahaira's book, Sensual Knits, was released unexpectedly early last week. I have two contributions in this book, a lace camisole and its matching cardigan. For some reason, the book only shows the two pieces worn together:

This makes me sad because I was quite pleased with the side lace panels on the camisole. Here's a bad photograph of it here. I shot this on self timer, in February, indoors. Okay, enough excuses!

And here I'm wearing it with the cardigan:

The yarn we ended up using for this was Blue Sky's Royal Alpaca. Those who know me know that I'm pretty sensitive to fibers (cruel irony for an avid knitter) and alpaca especially is usually too scratchy for me. But I had no problems with the Royal Alpaca. It's really something else. As Clara Parkes writes in her great reference, The Knitter's Book of Yarn, royal alpaca is "the cream of the alpaca fiber crop".

This twinset was my third design, a couple of months into my long break from academia and pursuit of my knitwear ambitions. Through this book, I met a lot of great people, some of whom I've gotten to know in real life too. :)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Knitting Daily post

Check out Monday's Knitting Daily post featuring my Henley Perfected on a variety of women. Katie Himmelberg's Citrus Yoke Pullover is also featured and today's gallery showcases Mari Lynn Patrick's Bon Bon Pullover.

To add another real person picture to the mix, here's a picture my husband snapped of me wearing the henley. You can tell I was a bit rushed because the picture is taken literally outside of the Ithaca, NY FedEx building just before I sent off the sweater to Interweave.

For the record, my bust size is 32" and I was wearing a camisole under the henley.

I read some people's comments on Knitting Daily expressing concern about the button placket gaping. It shouldn't gape as long as you work some positive ease into the garment. For me, I like sweaters that have 2-3" of positive ease, but that's mostly because I don't like any tight clothing. For example, I shy away from anything that has any lycra content in it.

When I was designing the henley, I did consider doubling the button band placket so that it matched the turned hems of the sleeves and body. Doubling the button band placket would also make it sturdier and less likely to gape; and it's certainly an easy enough modification. In fact, Jen has a great tutorial on how to work a doubled button band easily which I tried with this design. The doubled button band instructions worked like a charm (thanks, Jen!), but ultimately I felt that it took away a little from the delicacy of the design and decided instead to work a rolling single layer placket edged with i-cord to stabilize it. But the great thing about Interweave is that they really encourage knitters to customize their garments to fit the individual (witness the new 'Designer's secrets' articles inaugurated by Pam Allen's great sleeve cap tutorial in the winter issue and Katie's useful suggestions for mods in the Knitting Daily sweater galleries) and so I would encourage anyone who has doubts about the placket to try a few different things to see what effect they like best.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving.

My husband and I went into the city to catch the last 20 minutes of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Why only the last 20 minutes? Well, we both hate crowds and standing in line, but I've always wanted to see the parade live (rather than on TV). Maurizio only knows about the parade through an early episode of Friends (where the Wonderdog balloon escapes and Monica and Rachel lock themselves out of their apartment), but that reference was enough to get him at least interested.

We managed to see Kermit, Wynona Judd on a big-a** guitar, and Santa Claus and his elves.


And Kermit!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Finally finished something!

The Dragon Skin Wrap is all done and ready to be mailed off to its recipient, my college friend's 2-month-new baby daughter.

The stats are:

Size: 22" chest circumference, sized for 3-12 months.
Yarn: 3 + a quarter of a 4th ball of Filatura di Crosa Zara in pale pink (color 2502)
Needle: Size 7 (ball band calls for size 4-6 for a gauge of 23 sts/31 rows per 4"x4")

The yarn is a little lighter than the Kollage Yummy that Angela used for the sample so I went up a needle size -- especially since the stitch pattern was a little dense from all the shaping that constructs the lovely scales. In fact, when I was knitting it, I was worried that it would be a little stiff; but I figured that since it's for a very young baby, any size would do, even if it turned out slightly smaller than the published dimensions. To my happy surprise, blocking softened it quite a bit, making it drapier (and larger!) and now it's actually between the small and medium sizes -- great from a utility standpoint. With utility in mind, I didn't sew in the snap closure that I bought for the wrap, but will include it in my package to my friends so that they can decide where best to put it or whether to put it in at all.

I think my friends will be thrilled with this wrap. It's a very cute baby design (and more importantly, fun to knit!) -- a little different than the usual baby staples I've seen in pattern books and works equally well for boys as well as girls. I'm already trying to think if I have any friends with boy babies for a blue wrap!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Henley Perfected #2

The other day I casted on for another Henley Perfected. By the time I'm done, I'll have finished 2 henleys with nothing physically to show for it. Henley #1 is with Interweave and Henley #2 is going to my mother, who asked for one when I emailed her the preview page a couple of weeks ago.

It's really hard knitting for my mother. She's very small so I'm knitting the 32.5" size with modifications -- mainly shortening the length and the sleeves by about 1" each. She's very picky about how sweaters fit her -- they must be neither too tight nor too loose, they must be long sleeved, and they must cover up most of the area around the neck. She's very intolerant of itchiness in a sweater; I'm crossing my fingers that the alpaca silk will be okay. And she's very indecisive, which means that we spent 40 minutes on the phone the other day, both of us looking at kpixie's beautifully photographed Alpaca Silk skeins, trying to determine the best color for her. But she wanted one so how could I refuse?

I'm zipping along on this. I didn't (gasp!) knit a gauge swatch, instead hoping that my tension hasn't changed all that much since I knit the sample 6 months ago. I'm already about done with the back:

We finally settled on tangerine which I love. It's such a great fall color. I hope she likes the finished product!

The Dragon Skin Wrap is ready to be sewn up. I hope to have finished pictures soon because the wrap itself really needs to go out to its intended recipient.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Too many projects syndrome

I went into the city yesterday and finally got a copy of the winter issue of Interweave Knits. Seeing it physically in my hands was quite different than seeing it online - it feels more real somehow. And it's thrilling to see my name in the table of contents alongside some of my favorite designers.

Speaking of favorite designers that are in the winter IK, I'm almost done with Angela Hahn's Dragon Skin Wrap. Here it is, waiting to be blocked.

Because Angela has you knit a double knit slip stitch edging concurrently with the wrap, there's very little finishing involved (yay!). After it's blocked, all I need to do is make the ties and weave in the ends. The edging is Anne Modesitt's invention and I've used it also in a design for Yahaira's second book, Pure Knits. I like how self finishing it is, but I sometimes have a problem with the edge knit stitch looking too loose. I wonder what I'm doing wrong?

While I was in the city, I also picked up a skein of Jade Sapphire cashmere 2 ply laceweight for a light scarf. Originally, I wanted to make a Wisp. It's lightweight, it's floaty, it's ethereal - perfect for a measley 400 yards of laceweight cashmere right? But that's before I saw Miriam's new Knitty pattern, Juno Regina, which just went live yesterday - notification (for me, anyway) courtesy of those super quick knitters in the know on Ravelry. I love diamonds and geometric motifs in lace; and I love how she cleverly echoes the diamond lace with an overall diamond shape on either end of the stole. Unfortunately, since my 400 yards are much less than the 900 or so she uses, I'll have to narrow my stole until it's more scarf-like which is what I'm aiming for anyway - a nice, light scarf to wear in the upcoming winter months.

Monday, November 05, 2007

New One Planet Yarn and Fiber pattern available

My latest design with One Planet Yarn and Fiber is now available.

The yarn called for in the pattern is Lanas Puras Melosa Fingering weight, a beautiful, handpainted, single ply 100% merino yarn. It's very very soft and the available colorways are gently varying or very vibrant, depending on your individual tastes. The design is a mock turtleneck trimmed with large bands of a slip stitch cable and eyelet rib. For me, this was a fun knit because it has both a stitch pattern that requires a little more concentration and large swathes of stockinette. It's slightly shaped for a more fitted look and the target ease I had in mind was between 2 to 4 inches.

To see more pictures of the turtleneck and to purchase the pattern, go here.