My current work in progress:

1. Strandwanderer, designed by Lea Viktoria, knit from Wollmeise Merino "Pure" in the "Zenzi" colorway on a 3.25 mm (U.S. size 3) needle.
2. Myriad stealth projects.

Got Gauge!

(With apologies to Phyl for stealing her blog name.)

Marie asked:
Wendy, did you have any problems getting gauge with the Alchemy? I love
the Hourglass, but find the 19-stitch gauge a little odd. At 110 yards per 50 grams, the Alchemy seems like a fairly exact substitution for the original Noro, but did you try any other yarns? If so, what happened? I’m trying to come up with a less expensive substitute for the Noro and neither worsted nor aran weight yarns are working out.

First off, an interesting note (well, it’s interesting to me): Every place online where I’ve seen Alchemy Synchronicity listed, it states 110 yards per skein, but on the ball band for the yarn that I have it states 118 yards.

alchemy092205 Got Gauge!

I got gauge. Stitch gauge, that is. With the recommended needle size — a U.S. 7 (4.5mm). 19 stitches/4 inches, yup.

Row gauge? Another story. I get 6 rows/inch, instead of the stated 7. But I’m never one to worry about row gauge. I’m compensating in the pattern shaping, and doing the increases and decreases with fewer rows in-between so that the finished length will come out all right. Know what I mean?

hourglass092205 Got Gauge!

But Wait, There’s More

A pattern modification. Whee. The pattern directs you to knit facings for the bottom hem and the sleeve hems. I thought that facings in heavy worsted yarn would be too clunky, so I am doing seed stitch borders instead. I’ve not decided yet what I’ll do at the neckline — I may do the facing there. Stay tuned. I know . . . the suspense is killing you, right?

hourglass092205a Got Gauge!

Back to the Question of Yarn

Alchemy Synchronicity is, I think, a great sub for the yarn called for — Noro Cash Iroha. It’s a single ply like the Noro and very similar in how it looks. I’d be very happy with this sweater made in the Noro (and I may just have to make me a solid colored Noro version, if I like how the finished sweater looks on me), but I wanted to knit a sweater from the Alchemy. However it’s not a cheaper solution, but a more expensive one.

A yarn to try if you’re looking for a less expensive sweater: how about the single-ply yarn that Brown Sheep makes — is it Lamb’s Pride? I haven’t knitted with it for donkey’s years, but I did make a couple of sweaters from it in the 1980s, and I remember it fondly. It’s a wool/mohair blend and the recommended gauge is 4.5 stitches/inch.

A Clarification

Judging from a couple of comments and some emails I got, I think I wasn’t completely clear about the beading of the Dew corsage. I simply used the crochet hook to string the beads onto the yarn before beginning to knit, rather than apply the beads one by one using the crochet hook method.

Dew Block, Dew Block, De-e-e-e-ew Block, Dew Block!

Sue asked:
Did you block Dew? If so, how? I’m working on my first project with Rowan Kidsilk Haze and am wondering if I should soak it, towel it and pin it out or just pin it dry and hold a steam iron over it and steam it.

What I did (as recommended in the pattern for Dew) was to pin it dry and hold a steam iron over it and steam it.

And here’s the best I could do for a modeled shot. Hard to do by yourself with the auto-timer. But it gives you an idea, anyhow.

dew092205 Got Gauge!

Do I like this sweater? Why, yes, I Dew! Hyuk, hyuk, hyuk.

For SkyQueen

A shot of the sky this morning, complete with my office reflected in the window.

sky092205 Got Gauge!

Big Congratulations!

L-B’s Rainbow Sheep Sweater and her Inishmore both took first place in the Virginia State Fair! L-B is a star!! Woot! Woot! Woot!

Lucy Sez

Did you know you can send for a free sample of Feline Greenies? Lookie here.

Order a sample for the cats in your life!

lucy092205 Got Gauge!

In Other News . . .

Rita? That is one huge, scary-looking hurricane. I’ll be watching the weather news and keeping my fingers crossed that it’s not as bad as they say it will be. Those of you in Rita’s path, stay safe!

“More Greenies, Mom!”

Lucy’s new favorite treat? Greenies.

lucy092105a More Greenies, Mom!

Yesterday I got a box from L-B in the mail, and she included a packet of Feline Greenies (in the Ocean Fish flavor) for Miss Lucy. Miss Lucy almost took my arm off trying to get to them when I opened the packet. This from a fussy eater who generally picks daintily at treats and walks away.

After I deemed that she had had enough for one session, I put the Greenies away. Lucy spent two hours searching for them.

So, we’ll be keeping the Greenies in stock chez WendyKnits.

FO and WIP

Dew says thank you for all the nice things y’all said about her. If she could curtsy, she would.

So . . . what am I working on now? The Hourglass Sweater from Last Minute Knitted Gifts.

I have the body done up to the armholes and am embarking on the first sleeve. This is a very quick knit. I guess that’s why it’s in a book called Last Minute Knitted Gifts, huh? Duh.

hourglass092105 More Greenies, Mom!

Oh, and the yarn? I am making this out of Alchemy Synchronicity in colorway #36c. So very, very nice to knit. It’s a 50/50 wool/silk blend, and is pure luxury. To me, it feels more like silk than wool and what a treat to knit!

I purchased my Alchemy Synchronicity at Knit Happens when they got a big shipment in a couple of weeks ago. They got it in at the online store, too — just in case you want some. icon wink More Greenies, Mom!

It may be a bit rash of me to be making a sweater out of handpainted yarn. I know a lot of people have issues with how handpaints flash and pool and stripe and don’t stripe, and muddle and puddle. I have to confess . . . I kinda like it all.

It occurred to me that it would be more sensible to make a sweater out of a monochrome yarn. But why be sensible?

hourglass092105a More Greenies, Mom!

Lucy Sez

“Get the damned camera out of my face and give me more Greenies!”

lucy092105 More Greenies, Mom!

It’s a Done Dew

Yep, I sucked it up and sewed Dew together yesterday.

Sewing was a bit fiddly — hardly any “seam allowance” to speak of with all that openwork. I opted for backstitch rather than mattress stitch (as I didn’t think mattress stitch would look very good on the openwork pattern), and sewed very carefully. The results are fine and I’m happy with it.

I haven’t tried it on yet, but I think it’s very pretty and I like it very much. I am particularly enamoured of the beaded corsage, which was great fun to make.

I’ve never actually done any beaded knitting before, and discovered first thing that I didn’t have a needle with an eye small enough for the beads to fit over.

I dug around in my tool box and found a bunch of tiny crochet hooks. I’m not sure where I got these from — perhaps they were my grandmother’s — I know she crocheted. They are all metal and made by Susan Bates and have a price of 10 cents stamped on the shaft — so you know they are old!

I took one of the ones with the tiniest hook and easily slid a few beads onto the shaft.

dew092005a Its a Done Dew

Then I looped the yarn around the tiny hook and pushed the beads onto the yarn. It worked!

dew092005b Its a Done Dew

And quite easily, I might add.

The corsage is made up of two circles (created with the magic of short rows). A small one:

dew092005c Its a Done Dew

And a larger one:

dew092005d Its a Done Dew

You gather them, put them together, and sew.

And you’ve got a beaded corsage!

dew092005f Its a Done Dew

I sewed the pin (included with the kit) on the back, and Dew is ready to go!

dew092005 Its a Done Dew

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some coughing to do. Although, as you can see, my medical staff, Nurse Lucy, is on a break.

lucy092005 Its a Done Dew

Tying It All Together

I blather on about knitting here.

And lately I’ve been blathering on about iPods.

How to tie it all together? A fun knitting song you can download to put on your iPod. It’s called The Disco Knitter and it can be downloaded in mp3 format here.

Here is the message I received about the song last week:

We’re a duo from Nashville TN called the Disco Arts and Crafts Collective. After making this song we found your Bad Ass Knitter site and thought that you of all people would enjoy and appreciate our work. The song is called, “The Disco Knitter.” Basically, we’re just trying to make people smile and make arts and crafts sexy again.

It sure made me smile — thanks! I’ve got The Disco Knitter loaded on Neville. icon smile Tying It All Together

Dew

I completed both front pieces of Dew.

dew091805 Tying It All Together

I’m working on the beaded corsage tis afternoon. I’ll post photos of that in my next blog entry.

At the moment an upper respiratory infection is beating the crap out of me, so I may wait til I’m feeling better before assembling the sweater. No doubt I’ll do a much better job if I do!

Apres Dew

What shall I knit next? I’m leaning towards the Hourglass Sweater from Last Minute Knitted Gifts because I am dying to fling a needle into the Alchemy Synchronicity that I got to make it!

Microsuede — Cat Fur Magnet?

Several of you have asked if the microsuede duvet cover attracts cat fur. Lucy has been spending a lot of time rolling on it, and I can see no apparent cat hair on it.

Disclaimer: I have a super-power: special vision that allows me to block the sight of cat hair and dust bunnies so that I feel no guilt about my very poor housekeeping habits.

lucy091805 Tying It All Together

Household Hints From WendyKnits

Dear WendyKnits,

I am having problems with my cat. She insists on sleeping on the bed and she sheds her fur all over it. What can I do?

Flummoxed by Felines

Dear Flummoxed,

Do what I do:

lucy091505 Household Hints From WendyKnits

Match your bed to your cat.

Best wishes,
WendyKnits

Last night I put chocolate brown sheets on the bed and a light tan duvet cover on my comforter.

It probably won’t surprise you to hear that stuffing a comforter inside a duvet cover assisted by an enthusiastically determined cat is a challenge. Lucy loves the new duvet cover — it’s “microsuede” and very soft. After I got it on the bed she rolled on it for a good half hour.

I’m sure she thinks I got it for her.

Dewy!

The left front of Dew is progressing nicely. I like the lace at the front edge — very pretty!

dew091505 Household Hints From WendyKnits

While sometimes, yes, I do knit with my eyes closed, I can’t knit this edge sight unseen.

Yvonne asked how the Kidsilk Haze feels — is it scratchy?

I don’t think it’s at all scratchy — the silk content in the yarn gives it a soft . . . uh . . . silky feel. It even feels soft to me when I rub it against my face (arguably the most sensitive skin in the universe).

Qiviut Scarf

And I actually did a bit of knitting on my qiviut scarf — see?

qiviut091505 Household Hints From WendyKnits

I think I’ll leave Dew at home tomorrow and take the qiviut for commuter knitting.

From the Comments

Judith asked if I’ll be going to Rhinebeck this year. The answer is, sadly, no.

About iTunes, Kathy mentioned that she likes to create music mixes. Boy, does that bring back memories. I still have some of the mix tapes I made in the 80s — on cassettes, of course!

MJ (whose Flower Basket Shawl is fabulous, by the way) sent the link to this very interesting article about the iPod nano. She also says:
I download the knitcasts and podcasts of favorite shows (NPR and KCRW) and listen to those. You can also backup important stuff, like your BOOK, in case something ever happens, god forbid, to your computer.

Good point about using the pod as a backup device — that’s another handy use for it. I have a tiny USB flash drive that I keep in my purse — that’s my backup device. While I was writing my book I felt more secure having the back-up with me at all times. (The book is now at the publisher, about to go into production, by the way, so I think it’s safe. Still, I have a copy on my flash drive!)