My current work in progress:

Sundew,by Martin Storey, knit from Rowan Softyak DK, using 3.25mm and 4mm needles.

Archives for 2011

Making Progress

I am making progress on my Cromarty, slow as it is.

I am nearing the end of the second 40-row pattern repeat (I’ve done 34 rows) and just started my third skein of yarn. There are four 40-repeats up to the neck shaping. The pattern calls for 1875 yards of yarn, which is around 11 skeins of Calmer. Most everyone who has knit this pattern agrees that the yarn requirements are way under what is actually needed to knit it. I have 20 skeins of calmer in this color, so I’ll be okay.

The sweater is only 22 inches long, which is shorter than I like, so I’ll be knitting bands to sew along the bottom edge to add a bit of length. It would probably look nice to sew bands on the bottom edge of the sleeves as well, for the sake of consistency.

I’ve spent some time going through the Ravelry project gallery for Cromarty — great fun. It’s very interesting to see the variations people have done and the yarns used.

Speaking of yarns, I had no problem getting gauge with Calmer on the needle size recommended for the pattern. I tend to be a loose knitter so I am a bit surprised I did not need to go down a needle size.

Lucy thinks that’s just one of life’s mysteries.

Much Better

This is the Rowan Calmer I know and love!

This is the “Tree” colorway and I’m using it to restart Cromarty. This is going much better than last week’s start with my vintage Calmer that had issues.

Nice solid fabric? Check!

Nicely plump cables? Check!

Fun to knit? Check! Check!

It is a time-consuming knit because there is much cable manipulation on every right-side row. It is also a pattern I can’t memorize completely so I do have to glance at the chart for every row for the large Celtic knots.

I will likely knit a band (with the braided cable) to sew along the bottom edge. I noticed on Ravely that a number of people who made Cromarty have done this. Without a band for the added length it is a rather short sweater, so that’s a vote for the band as far as I’m concerned.

In other knitting news, I finished my Hitchhiker.

As I mentioned before, I knit this from handspun that was spun for me by the Knitgirllls from a Tempted Yarns roving in the “Tree Hugger” colorway. This was great fun to knit: the pattern was easy but entertaining and a great choice for mindless knitting in front of the television, the yarn was made for me by two of my favorite people, and was handpainted by another of my favorite people. And the yarn is lovely and soft and squishy. It’s a win-win-win-win situation!

I had 113 grams of approximately DK weight yarn and I think Leslie and Laura told me it was 300+ yards. Knit on a U.S. size 6 needle, it made a nice big Hitchhiker: approximately 62″ along the long straight edge, unstretched. I don’t plan to block this at all. I think it’s perfect the way it is. I did a good job of using all the yarn.

And it looks really pretty with one of my coats.

Now if it would just get cold enough so that I can wear it!

Back to Cromarty knitting. As you can see, Lucy has been a big help with this.

Just So You Know

I still love Rowan Calmer. I won’t let one wonky batch ruin it for me.

This wonky batch of Rowan is not indicative of recent declining quality, as that batch is one I’ve had for six or seven years. It is just an anomaly.

As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, I have ordered a boatload of Calmer (three different colorways), so when that gets here I’ll pick a colorway and re-start Cromarty, hopefully with more success.

It briefly crossed my mind to knit Cromarty in Rowan Denim, but therein lies the path to madness. Cromarty has too many bits that need to be sewn together: there are the neckbands, and I think I am going to knit a border to be sewn on at the hem and at the bottom of the sleeves. And there’s that whole “going insane while attempting Celtic knotwork in a rather stringy-feeling 100% cotton yarn” thing.

Aside: I do think I want a denim cardi. The Newlyn Jacket, from Indigo Knits by Jane Gottelier is a worthy contender. (But I will likely modify the cables if I knit it.) I have enough black Elann Den-M-Nit yarn to make it. I also have enough ecru Rowan Denim to knit it. Okay, for that matter, I also have enough Rowan Denim in the Tennessee colorway to knit it. Decisions, decisions.

Aside Aside: I wonder if Elann is going to have Den-M-Nit yarn back in stock any time in the near future?

Meanwhile, I am nice progress on my Hitchhiker.

I would likely have had it done by now but there has not been much knitting going on in the evenings this week.

After I finish Hitchhiker until my Calmer gets here, I think I’ll work on something using this:

Cormo/silk blend, baby!

Lucy sez:



The new project being knit from Rowan Calmer was, as a couple of you guessed, Cromarty.

Back in 2007 I knit Cromarty in Koigu Kersti. At the time, I mused that I thought it would be nice to knit from Rowan Calmer.

On Saturday I grabbed a skein of Calmer in the “Sage” colorway and started in on the back. Here’s what I did:

Note that I referred to this project in the past tense. Note that it is off the needle. This work-in-progress is no more.

While I easily got gauge, I did not like the way it was turning out. There is a lot of cable manipulation in this pattern and there were too many wonky stitches to suit me.

And the cables looked a little too skinny to suit me. In the version I knit in Koigu Kersti, those cables are nicely plump and really pop. In Calmer they look a little sad and anorexic. The knitted fabric seems rather flimsy as well.

I really thought that Calmer would be perfect for this pattern, and have had that idea in my head for years. I got gauge using the recommended needle size, a U.S. 5. I was surprised at how flimsy and wonky the fabric was, since I used a size 7 needle for 2 cabled Calmer sweaters about a year ago with great results. So I started wondering if this batch of Calmer is somehow not up to standards — was it thinner/frailer than usual? It did seem thinner while I was knitting it.

I pulled out a different skein of Calmer to compare.Wonky Calmer on top, good Calmer on the bottom.

Well, that explains why it felt thin and flimsy while I was knitting it.

At some point in the near future I’ll recommence work on Cromarty. Using a different batch of Calmer.

Lucy is strangely unaffected by my yarn woes.


Filey FO

I seem to have neglected the blog for the past few days. Chalk that up to the combination of subduing a turkey and wrassling it  into brine accompanied by an upper respiratory infection that lingered way too long (but is finally fading).

I did finish Filey, on Thursday evening. I took a photo pre-shrinking. It was dark and I took it without a flash (because the flash tends to obscure the patterning in a sweater), hence the odd lighting.

And here it is after a trip through the washer and dryer (hot water/cold rinse regular cycle, and dried at high heat).

I think it shrunk a good 20%, which is a good thing since it was hugely long before washing. Now it is perfect.

The yarn softened up amazingly. While knitting, Rowan Denim is not particularly soft, but once you wash and dry it, it changes significantly. If you are on the fence about knitting with denim yarn, I encourage you to give it a try.

The pattern for Filey is available in Alice Starmore’s book Fishermen’s Sweaters, which is in print and readily available.

After completing Filey, I did some work on a stealth project for a club pattern and got that finished up. Then I started this:

This is Hitchhiker, by Martina Behm, and I am knitting it in the lovely handspun that the Knitgirllls spun for me and gave me when they visited earlier this month. It’s about DK weight and was spun from a Tempted Yarns roving, in the “Tree Hugger” colorway.

Hitchhiker calls for fingering weight yarn, but since it is a “knit until it is big enough” kind of pattern, I didn’t see why it wouldn’t work in DK weight, using a larger needle size. I’m using a U.S. size 6 needle here. I think this is a great pattern for handspun. I love love love how the striping of the yarn looks in this pattern. Love.

I started something else yesterday morning and am on the fence about it. Huge time-suck but entertaining knitting. I’ll talk about that on Tuesday, but here’s a hint — I’m knitting it in Rowan Calmer. Speaking of Rowan Calmer, if you haven’t yet, please go sign the petition to keep it in production!

Click on the number in the widget above to go to the petition and sign to let Rowan know you want them to keep producing this yarn.

(I may or may not have panicked yesterday and ordered a boatload of Calmer, just in case it does go out of production.)

Anyhow, here are a couple of hints about what I am knitting:

1. I have knit it before, in a different yarn.

2. When I finished it the first time, I mentioned that I thought it would be nice knit in Rowan Calmer.

Can you guess what it is?

Lucy sez:

“Those turkey leftovers are delicious, Momma!”