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.

Christmas Eve

All is quiet here chez Wendyknits.

I have completed the body of my Sportweight Aran Cardigan.

WIP122412 191x240 Christmas Eve

As you can see from the photo, I have joined the front and back at the shoulders and have knit the neckband. This morning I sewed the buttons on the buttonband. I have also picked up stitches along one side to use to attach a sleeve (using a three-needle bind-off).

Here’s a close-up of the neck:

Closeup122412 240x132 Christmas Eve

I bought myself a Christmas gift that just arrived:

Needles122412 240x160 Christmas Eve

This is a complete set of 7″ long Signature Needle Arts straight needles (with stiletto tips). (The needle roll is one I already had.) I had a few sets of these, but used a year-end bonus from work to complete my set. I have a very old set of 7″ Aero straight needles that I have found extremely useful over the years, but they are not in great shape, and also only in 6 sizes. Now I have pretty much all sizes covered.

Lucy is dozing, with visions of catnip mice dancing in her head.

Lucy122412 240x160 Christmas Eve

Happy holidays!

Quick Update

Happy Sunday! Not much going on in these parts.

The Random Number Generator chose Liz in Missouri to win my review copy of Boyfriend Sweaters: 19 Designs for Him That You’ll Want to Wear by Bruce Weinstein. Thanks to everyone who entered the drawing.

I completed one side front of my Sportweight Aran Jacket.

SideFront121612 151x240 Quick Update

I started the other side front.

WIP121612 240x160 Quick Update

And Lucy is settling in for a long nap!

Lucy121612 240x160 Quick Update

Boyfriend Sweaters

I have here a review copy of Boyfriend Sweaters: 19 Designs for Him That You’ll Want to Wear by Bruce Weinstein.

book121212 240x240 Boyfriend Sweaters

Published by Potter Craft, this book will be released on December 18, next Tuesday. It contains 19 designs, most of which are sweaters, along with a few scarves and one hat.

The designs in this book are unisex and can be knit in a variety of sizes. The smallest size I saw was a 35″ chest/bust and the largest 62″. With everything in-between. And each sweater is available in a range of 4 to 5 sizes, something I appreciate very much.

What I appreciate even more is that the designs tend more towards the classic than the trendy, and they looks like sweaters that the guys I know in Real Life would actually wear. But knit in a smaller size and in a different color, they would look equally good on women. Not a lot of fussy details or shaping here — rather, clean classic lines. Take a look at the project index:

Index121212 240x149 Boyfriend Sweaters

Throughout the book there are short essays (for example, one on the Sweater Curse), and there are also some great technique sections: some basics on gauge, sizing, understanding schematics and charts, and techniques used for the designs, like stitch patterns, reversible cables, and colorwork techniques.

Page121212 237x240 Boyfriend Sweaters

So if you are looking for a set of nice classic designs for both men and women, look no further.

I’m giving away my review copy. Who’d like it?

To be entered in a drawing to win my copy of Boyfriend Sweaters: 19 Designs for Him That You’ll Want to Wear, leave a comment on this blog post by 11:00am on Sunday, December 16. (Do not email me, do not use the contact me form. Rather, click on the comments link directly under the title of this post, Boyfriend Sweaters, and fill out the comment form.) I’ll use the Random Number Generator to select a winner at random from among those comments.

Meanwhile back at home, I’m knitting along on my sweater:

WIP121212 240x160 Boyfriend Sweaters

I should be able to complete this side front by the end of the week. Then I can start the other side front, and that one will be slightly more exciting to knit because I’ll be working buttonholes in the front band.

Lucy sez:

Lucy121212 240x214 Boyfriend Sweaters

“A girl can’t get in enough primping!”

Increasing for Cables

I finished the back of my sweater late last week:

Back120912 240x220 Increasing for Cables

I have the neck and the shoulders on holders so it’s hard to smooth it out. But you can get the general idea.

So I’ve started a side front (this being a cardigan and all).

There was some discussion in my blog comments about how much you need to increase above the ribbing or bottom band to allow for how much cables will draw in the knitted fabric. My rule of thumb is to add a stitch for each cable twist. For example, I have a 4-stitch cable that is a 2 x 2 twist — I will increase 1 stitch in the last row of the ribbing to accommodate that. So 3 ribbing stitches are increased to 4. The braided cable I’m using has three 2 x 2 cable twists across. The pattern is 18 stitches across, so I will increase 3 stitches over 15 ribbing stitches.

This is a rule of thumb. If I have a cable that travels one stitch at a time — like the center zig-zag, I will increase fewer stitches, because it does not pull in as much. So for each side of the center zig-zag, I’ve increased one stitch only over the whole motif.

I do the increases in the spot where the cable twist will occur, rather than spreading them evenly across the width of the piece.

Here is the left side front. The bottom band has been completed, the increases done on the last row of the seed stitch band, and the first row of the body pattern has been completed.

Ribbing120912 240x160 Increasing for Cables

As you can see, it lies pretty smooth.

Here it is after 8 rows of pattern have been done:

Aboveribbing120912 240x160 Increasing for Cables

I can see now that my increases have worked out. It looks a little rumpled because of course it is smooshed up on the needle.

My progress on the left side front so far:

SideFront120912 240x160 Increasing for Cables

Again, because it is smooshed onto the needle it is hard to spread it out flat. But it does lie flat — the rate of increase I used is working.

Lucy sez:

Lucy120912 240x160 Increasing for Cables

“Yes, I am floofy!”

Modular Thoughts

If you read Mason-Dixon Knitting, you know about the Cornerstone Blanket pattern.

cornerstone120512 179x240 Modular Thoughts

(Photo used with kind permission from Kay Gardiner)

The pattern was designed as part of a fundraiser for Citymeals On Wheels, www.citymeals.com, which is one of many New York City organizations that mobilized immediately to assist New York’s homebound elderly population in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

There are instructions on how to donate to Citymeals on Wheels so that you can get the pattern on the Cornerstone Blanket Ravelrypattern page and on Mason-Dixon Knitting here.

I donated to Citymeals on Wheels and received the pattern last week and immediately started thinking about what yarn to use to make the blanket. While you could let your imagination run wild and use pretty much anything, I decided to go with the yarn used in the pattern: Noro Silk Garden. I’ve always liked Silk Garden and have not knit with it in quite a while (not since Klaralund, I think!). Here are my colors:

Yarn120512 240x160 Modular Thoughts

I’m going to use the same background color as was used for the original blanket, color #269, but decided to use something different for the contrast: color #373.

I plan to start this when I finish my Sportweight Aran Jacket. I am tempted to dive in and start now, but I have strict rules about the number of WIPs I allow myself to have on the needles at the same time. This is by necessity — too many and I start to get twitchy! I’m looking forward to making the Cornerstone Blanket. It’ll be a great knitting-in-front-of-the-tv project, but I think there is enough variety in it to keep it interesting. In short, it looks like a lot of modular fun!

Speaking of modular fun, I got another booklet from Annie’s Crafts for review:

Book120512 180x240 Modular Thoughts

This is Modular Mix by Edie Eckman. It has patterns for 12 different modular squares. Each square has directions for making it in three different sizes, and there is a pattern for an afghan that uses all the squares in the book.

Book120512A 180x240 Modular Thoughts

I think this is a great idea. You can learn the basics of modular knitting and at the same time put what you’ve learned to use to make the afghan. There is a lot of room for you to explore variations and different colors. The book also includes a lot of great information about customizing modular squares, as well as a nice section on knitting basics.

You can purchase the book in either hard copy or e-book format here.

(I’m not offering my review copy as a giveaway — I’m giving it to a beginner-knitter friend who is learning to knit mitered squares.)

Lucy Sez:

Lucy120512 240x160 Modular Thoughts

“Is that nice blanket going to be for me?”