Long weekend, no post!

I had a crazy busy weekend (3 masses, a recital, and a trip to Cincinnati) and no time to post.  I did get a little knitting done though!

This is a terrible picture of Britannia.    I didn’t add waist shaping because I wanted it to be a bit loose… I hope that’s a good decision!  I did block the back, and I’m happy to report that the ribbing blocked out just fine.  Today I also sat down and reworked part of my Rusted Root sweater, and I’m happy to report that it is now wearable, only 9 months after I originally knit the sweater.  I redid the bind-off and did a better job of weaving in all my ends.  I still wish it were smaller, but it’s now something I can wear in public!  This blurry picture is all you get.  I totally lack that whole “taking pictures of yourself” talent that some people seem to have.

Onto my pattern obsessions of the week.  Have I mentioned that I love vintage patterns?  Because I do… I totally adore them.  I especially love the patterns of the 40s and 50s.  I can’t say that I’ve actually made any, but I have big plans!  I have some vintage pattern books from that era (and it’s possible that I just bought a whole boatload more… I will take photos when they arrive!) but I can’t seem to find them (we have a storage problem, which I have attempted to solve by using the closets all the way up to their 12 foot height… not so great for finding things.)  I did find these on a bookshelf though.

The book on the left is from the 60s, the others are from the eighties.  And yes, that rabbit sweater includes little pompom tails on the back.  I want to make this pattern, from the book on the left.

Well, I want to make the earwarmers on the left of that picture.  I’m a sucker for embroidery on knitting.   The mittens are cute, but I don’t wear mittens.  Would people look at me funny?  Ah, I don’t care… they do anyway. 90% of my wardrobe comes from thrift/vintage stores, so I’m always wearing clothes of varying eras.
And would you all judge me if I want to make a 1980s sweater?

But I look good in drop waists – and the 80s are back, right?  And they still make the yarn it calls for!  This is easily the most restrained sweater in any of the books.  I would take pictures, but really… making fun of tacky 80s sweaters is just too easy.   I will, however, make fun of the baby photos from the 60s book.   Scattered throughout the book are pictures of babies being utterly not cute with captions above them saying things like “Not another gauge swatch!” Like this one…

And now some links.  Since the copyright is expired on many vintage patterns, you can sometimes find them reproduced on the web.

There are a few cute cardigan patterns here.

There are quite a few pattens here.  I want to make this bolero very badly!

There are a few patterns from the 60s here.

And some great 1940s patterns here, including some WWII era.

There’s a good chart here to give you some idea about the yardage of discontinued yarns.  I’m finding it very helpful in planning the bolero pattern above!

And don’t miss the vintage kal!

So there you have my pattern obsession of the week.  Will I actually attempt one?  Probably… I have a whole lot of excess fingering/dk weight yarns lying about.

My friend, insomnia

I would not be nearly so productive a knitter if I did not suffer from insomnia most of the time.  Well… it’s not so much insomnia, as it is my body refusing to follow the same schedule as anyone else’s.  I can sleep, it’s just that never once in my life have I been able to go to be at 10pm and actually fall asleep.  So I’m usually up when other people are asleep, giving me lots of knitting time (fortunately this works out well for me, since I teach at night.)

Here’s what I accomplished on the Britannia sweater last night:

Yes, I know my ribbing has seen better days.  It always looks like that.  Fortunately, it looks just fine when stretched, so I’m not really one to worry.  It’s actually K,P,K in the raised sections, which is why it looks odd unstretched.  I am not a knitting perfectionist.  I am so in love with the RYC Lucury cotton.  I even love the way it smells which is just weird for me.

This morning in my email I received this:

Yes, Berroco has pleased me again.  You can find the pattern here.  This is knit in Bonsai, as most of their free patterns have been lately.  I happen to have exactly the called for amount of Bonsai in my stash.  I may like this better than either of my other pattern choices (from the Bonsai pattern booklet.)  The smallest size is a 33, and I would really prefer a 32, but come on… this is a vest.  It can be fixed.  Yes, they call it a tank, but we all know what it is.  Damn you Berroco… you have my number lately!  There is another tank free this week, which is cute but not for me.

We’re going to Cincinnati tonight.  This weekend will be crazy for me – I have lots of church services, and I’m singing in a recital Saturday night.  But next week I am off – it is Derby week (I’m in Louisville you know) and that’s practically a holiday, right?

Destashing and a new project

I’ve been swatching like crazy, and I finally decided on a new project.  It’s Britannia, a free pattern from Berroco, in RYC luxury cotton.

The pattern tells you to twist your ribbed stitches (ie, Knit and purl into the back look).  I completed an inch and a half that way before I decided it would drive me mad (this sweater has a lot of ribbing) so I ripped out and I’m doing regular ribbing.  Twisting the ribbing made it less stretchy, and made the knit stitches stand out on the RS but… I can live without it.  When stretched (as it will be) the ribbing appears almost identical anyway.  Could the twisted stitches be because the original yarn called for was bonsai, a bamboo ribbon yarn?  Anyway, it seems fine this way, and I’m much more happy.

I really like the Luxury cotton, which is very soft and ever so slightly stretchy.  It does split like mad, but I’m learning to deal with it.

I’m doing some destashing, if you’re interested in anything feel free to drop me a line!  I’m mostly getting rid of anything even faintly tweedy, as I’ve found that it is far too hard on my hands.  Lovely yarns though!

FO: Lorelei

Pattern: Lorelei, from the book Yarnplay, 32″ size

Yarn: Cascade Pima Silk #1544 and Noro Silk Garden #205

Needles: US 6, size G crochet hook

Notes: I love this sweater!  I used the yarn I frogged from Sahara, and I’m so pleased that I can finally wear this lovely color.  I used the blue and green portions of two balls of Silk Garden – since I can’t really use it for big projects (it hurts my hands) I didn’t feel too guilty using up some stash yarn.  My only mod was to skip the round of slip stitch around the neck and hem, and just do single crochet instead.  I found it too difficult to crochet into the slipped stitches.  The hem and the armholes do have a slight tendency to roll, but it’s within tolerable limits.  The yarn makes a very comfortable and cool fabric.

I wore this sweater to work this afternoon and received compliments!  I think the garter lines being where they are is very flattering.

I’ve been swatching for several sweaters, trying to decide what I want to make next.  I’ve finally decided that I want to make the short sleeved lace cardigan in the current Vogue Knitting.  Unfortunately, I had no cotton yarn in the correct weight, so… I bought yarn.  Shocking I know.

That’s Debbie Bliss Stella, which is new for this Spring.  It’s a silk/rayon/cotton blend.  It feels very soft in the skein, I hope it knits well!

I also recently found this cute embroidery transfer set, and I’m going to make myself some towels!

I like the choir member cat on the bottom.

It isn’t cheating!

Finishing a sleeveless sweater sometimes feels like cheating. I was chugging along on Lorelei, and then all of a sudden I was… done? Weird. Now she’s blocking on the dining room table.

More coming in an FO post soon!

I would like to thank everyone who helped me out with my problems with the Boteh scarf – I even got a comment from the scarf’s designer! It really helped me out. And for anyone making this scarf now – make sure that each triangle begins with two full rows of HDC before you begin decreasing. The chart is correct. I’m back on track now, thanks to all the lovely people who patiently explained where I should be to the chart deficient person!

I’ve been swatching as well. I swatched some Berroco Ultra silk again, since I seem to be unable to achieve an exact gauge for Nadine. Ah well… I will take out a few stitches and it will be fine. I also swatched this

for this

The yarn is RYC Luxury cotton dk, a cotton/viscose/silk blend. I want to sub it for the Berroco bonsai called for in this pattern. It’s very different because it isn’t a ribbon yarn, but it is very soft and drapey like the bonsai.

Here’s a curious fact about my knitting: it’s very difficult for me to get different gauges by changing needle sizes. I must automatically adjust my tension. Most DK yarns get 5st/in on my needles. This one recommends 5.5. This swatch is on the recommended needle size. I also get 5st/in going one size up. I also swatched some RYC silk wool DK yesterday, with the same results. I’ve made patterns that need 5.5 st/in before, and I’ve had to go down like 3 needle sizes.

But I need 5st/in for this pattern anyway, so all is well!

I’m not convinced on this yarn for this pattern, but it really is the best sub yarn I have in stash. It’s a nice yarn, but it is crazy splitty. It will probably not be my next project… I’m going to have to go consider what I want to work on next!


It’s possible that I might be suffering the agony of defeat… Case in point: my Boteh scarf.

It looks pretty there, right?  I think it’s pretty.  The problem is, I also think that it’s wrong.  Here’s the model photo, which is not terribly helpful.

A kind reader emailed to tell me that they thought I might have an error.  I have seen several Boteh’s that look like mine, and also several that look like the one here.  If mine is held up, the triangles cascade down in a sprial.  I don’t believe they are doing that on the model, but it’s really hard to tell.  I can tell that the 2nd triangle on the chart is not like mine.   I’m trying to follow the written directions exactly, and this is what I get… but looking at the chart it seems to be different.  I hate charts.  Did I mention I hate charts?  Because I totally do.  Loathe them.  Either there’s an error in the written directions, or I am bad at interpreting them.  Either way, I’m pretty sure mine is wrong.

I now recall something I never liked about crochet.  Since you only have one stitch at a time on your hook it’s a very free form sort of craft.  At any point you could turn and start building in another direction.  Miss one “turn” direction and you can be in big trouble.  Knitting is more like a giant grid, and I, the person who likes things to always be in neat rows and categories, finds that soothing.  Having said that, I still love this scarf to death, and I plan to restart it as soon as I figure out exactly what is in error.  I will not let crochet conquer me!

Ok… happier subjects!  Have any of you ever knit a sweater sideways?  Because let me tell you… that’s a surprising amount of fabric.

I still have 6 more inches, and this is the smallest size!  I’m hoping I will have enough yarn without having to untangle the last inches of Sahara (once it got to the armholes things got complicated.)  Ok… I mean I’m hoping not to have to bribe Marc to do it for me.  I really hate untangling yarn.

And finally… one of my bridesmaids and I picked out the bridesmaid dresses for my wedding yesterday.

You can’t really tell, but the fabric is a brocade, and it’s more pale/gold than it looks here.  It looks much prettier in person – I think this photo is pretty bad.  I like it because it in no way resembles a prom dress.  I want to find a green wrap for them all as well, just to get some color into the wedding party.  And because it wouldn’t be my wedding if something weren’t green!  The ribbon belt is actually a green color, so I’ll try to find something close to that.

Lazy Saturday

Last night I went shopping with a friend.  It was in fact one of my male friends, and I like shopping with him because he shops the way I do.  I am not a woman who enjoys shopping, which is why I mostly cannot shop with other people – I get tired and bored really easily.  This gives me a problem, because the types of shopping I enjoy (thrift stores and… um… yarn) are leaving me with giant holes in my wardrobe.  Lately I’ve been knitting, or contemplating knitting, lots of tops that will require a tank or camisole underneath, and it occurs to me that I have not bought any new ones in at least 2 years, maybe 3.  And since all of mine seem to have gotten shorter and shorter with every wash, I really can’t wear them to work anymore.  I looked around at Old Navy and Target last night, but I didn’t see much.  I want plain black, white, and brown tank tops, with a built in bra, long enough to touch the back of my pants when I sit but not so long that they cling to my hips and look stupid (apparently this is some sort of trend?)  Formfitting but not tight, if you know what I mean.  I am also cheap, at least when it comes to basic items.  I am completely at a loss.  Any suggestions?  Am I asking too much?  Apparently I was born with the “bargain hunting” gene but not the one that makes you good at finding specific items (last night I ran across an Express store in the mall that was maybe shutting down, and got 5 nice pairs of dress pants for cheap!)

Ok… enough with the griping, now a bit of knitting content!  Here is Berroco’s free pattern of the week:

No, I don’t know what’s up with that bag.  I think I will avoid any pattern that calls for “2 curtain rings” as a notion.  I think the top is cute though.  I don’t care how many people say they’re on their way out, cropped sweaters look good on me, and I will not give them up.  I like this sweater because it looks like a bolero but it’s sewed shut in the middle, meaning no buttons.  I love shopping for buttons, but I am so tired of sewing them on!  I just want them to sit around in my button jar, so that every so often I can take them out and admire their pearly loveliness.

This afternoon I’m going shopping with one of my Bridesmaids for a dress.  None of my bridesmaids live in the same state, so this is quite a feat!