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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Garland Shell

My newest pattern with One Planet, the Garland Shell, is now available here.

For this design, I was lucky enough to use their Black Pearl Cashmere line, a DK weight pure cashmere yarn that's indescribably soft.

The small bands of lace at the hem and around the neck dress up this casual shell. It can be worn next to the skin as shown or over a blouse. I had a lot of fun knitting and designing it.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Drawstring Chemise #2

I have a wonderful friend who I've known since we were 5. She's the friend I've known the longest and while our friendship has waxed and waned over the years, it's been very constant in many respects. She's an inspiring, tireless individual - devoting her all to whatever endeavor she undertakes - from her day job in finance to her true passion and art, landscape photography, to her many charitable ventures. Several years ago, when my husband and I got married in his native Italy, she was one of my two middle school/high school chums who made the trek out. Not only was she a guest, but she also photographed our wedding, giving Maurizio and me the priceless gift of her artistic perspective on our special day. A black and white candid shot of my husband having his tie adjusted by his uncle is among my most prized possessions.

As if that weren't enough, several years ago, she gave us two framed photographs of my favorite images from her portfolio - a keyhole look through a natural bridge in Bryce Canyon and thematically similar if very different look through a portico in Cinque Terre.

I can never hope to match the many gifts she's given me. But in a first attempt, I made her a Drawstring Chemise, my design from the most recent Interweave Knits, out of Artfiber's Hana - a 100% plied silk. The gauge of the Hana is a bit smaller, but I prefer that look anyway. For camisoles and tanks, I think the finer the yarn is (within reason of course), the better, in order to preserve maximum drape.

Unfortunately, I was halfway through the Chemise when I noticed some dye irregularities in the Hana. There were distinct white spots. Artfibers immediately sent me out a replacement cone. So I suppose this will be my chemise and I hope to start on my friend's chemise as soon as possible.

Hana is a dream to knit with - very soft, very supple with the great sheen of silk. I love the feeling of it next to my skin. I'm so tempted to make a slim cardigan out of it. I'm not sure how well it'll hold up to use. Already in the chemise I have, I do see some fuzzing, but it's minimal, especially compared to many of the other silks out there on the market. Above all, I'm very impressed with Artfiber's customer service and how prompt they were to respond to my concerns.