My current work in progress:

1. pour moi, designed by Lori Versaci, knit from Wollmeise Merino DK in the "Stella Polaris" colorway on a 3.75 mm (U.S. size 5) needle.
2. Outlander MKAL Shawl, designed by Rachel Rodin, knit from Lornas Laces Shepherd Sport in the "Beauchamps" and "Fraser" colorways on a 3.75 mm (U.S. size 5) needle.
3. Myriad stealth projects.

Thank You

Thank you for all the kind comments, Ravelry posts and messages, and emails you have sent me, offering condolences on the death of my beloved kitty Lucy. And thank you to those of you who have made donations to an animal rescue organization in her memory.  For those of you who inquired about a memorial fund for Lucy (and thank you for that), donating money, time, or goods to your local rescue organization or shelter is, I think, the perfect way to remember Lucy, who was a rescue cat.

It is the last day of July and I am most definitely happy to see the end of this month, as it has been the worst month I can remember living through in a very long time. I started the month sick as a dog with a mysterious crud that lingered way too long and ended it with Lucy’s death. Because I am genetically incapable of being without feline companionship, I am in the process of adopting a kitty. I hope Lucy will approve of my choice.

So, August is welcome. One month closer to autumn. And also the start of Month Three of Camp Loopy. I have my yarn for this month’s project all ready:

yarn073113 240x135 Thank You

That’s MadelineTosh Pashmina in the “Stovepipe” colorway.

And in honor of July being almost over, I have a book review.

handbagbook073113 180x240 Thank You

This is 7 Easy-To-Knit Handbags for Every Occasion by Jill Wright, a 32-page booklet from Annie’s Crafts. It contains patterns for — you guessed it — 7 handbags. The handbags are pictured on the back cover:

backcover073113 182x240 Thank You

If you follow the link above, and click on the “See More Images” link, you can see each handbag close up and in detail.

The patterns are all very different from each other, so you get quite a wide range of styles represented. I think that you could use the patterns as a starting point for creating your own original creations as well. The yarns called for are all readily available in LYSes and online, and you could of course sub something different. Five of the seven patterns use worsted weight yarn, one uses bulky, and one DK weight. The pattern instructions are clear and easy to follow and there is nothing terribly difficult in any of the patterns.

There is a nice how-to section in the back:

insidepage073113 181x240 Thank You

The book is available to order (from the link above) either in hard copy or electronic download. You could also win my review copy.

To enter to win my copy, leave a comment on this blog post by 11:00am Eastern Time on Sunday, August 4, 2013, and I’ll use the Random Number Generator to choose a winner at that time.

Lucy

I am saddened more than I can say to have to tell you that my Lucy died earlier this week.

Lucy093012 240x215 Lucy

Lucy came to live with me in May 2003 when she was two years old. She died at the age of 12 — far too short a life.

Something I never shared on this blog is that Lucy had a number of fairly serious health issues. I had successfully managed her health problems for the past few years with a lot of help from a caring veterinarian, and up until this week she did very well. She was a happy and loving kitty living a good life. But I knew this time would come sooner rather than later, and when her health declined, it did so very quickly and suddenly. I said good-bye to my baby two days ago.

I am trying to take comfort in knowing that she had a wonderful ten years with me. She was such a special kitty and I’ll never forget her.

 

It Was a Dark and Stormy . . .

. . . Cardigan. I finished Dark and Stormy on a bright and sunny morning — yesterday morning.

CardiFront072013 157x240 It  Was a Dark and Stormy . . .

I made my version much longer and oversized, and it turned out just as I had hoped.

CardiBack072013 161x240 It  Was a Dark and Stormy . . .

As I mentioned in my last blog post, I did the collar according to the mods described by another Raveler and it turned out perfectly.

Collar072013 240x160 It  Was a Dark and Stormy . . .

I bound off the front bands and the collar using a Russian bind-off because it makes a nice stretchy edge. I used the same size needle to bind off the front bands, and went up two needle sizes when I was binding off the collar edge. That worked well and the collar lays nicely.

Because my sweater is longer, I used six buttons. A close-up:

Button072113 240x160 It  Was a Dark and Stormy . . .

I did not do much in the way of blocking — just a touch of steam on the bound off edges.

So it’s back to knitting on Maidenhair. And Lucy is in her usual Sunday mode:

Lucy072113 240x160 It  Was a Dark and Stormy . . .

Ribbing and Bands

Coming down the home stretch! I have finished the body of my Dark and Stormy cardigan, including the ribbing. I bound off my ribbing using a Russian Bind-off.

Ribbing071713 240x160 Ribbing and Bands

What’s a Russian Bind-off? It is worked thusly:

K2, slip these 2 sts back to the lefthand needle, K2TOG, *K1, SL 2 sts on righthand needle back to the lefthand needle, K2TOG *. Repeat from * to *.

Because I did the bind-off in ribbing, I knit the knits and purled the purls. When it cames to working the 2 stitches together, I worked it knit or purl, depending on what the second stitch of the two was.

So . . . bind-off completed.

Because I had already completed the sleeves, just the front bands and shawl collar remain.

I am very grateful to Ravelry at this point, because by reading project notes on the many iterations of Dark and Stormy documented there, I learned that a lot of knitters had issues with the shawl collar as written in the pattern. The results did not lie flat and made the front of the sweater look “pouchy.”

One knitter thoughtfully wrote up her collar mods on her project page: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/KnittingSuzanne/dark-and-stormy and included clear photos. More explanation and photos on her project page for the second one she knit: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/KnittingSuzanne/dark-and-stormy-2.

Finding this information is enormously helpful to me and will save me a lot of time and trouble as I work the collar of my sweater.

Last night I picked up all the stitches along the front edges and around the neck, and started working the short rows for the shawl collar, using the mods that KnittingSuzanne documented at the links above.

Collar071713 240x160 Ribbing and Bands

I’ve got a lot of ribbing to knit, because I made my sweater nice and long. It is also oversized so I can wear it as a jacket in the Autumn/Winter.

I’ve found this pattern to be rather odd. It is written in a whopping range of 13 different sizes, from 34 to 56″. That’s not the odd part, but the way this range is sized does not seem right to me. Looking at the list of measurements at the end of the pattern, the raglan seam goes from 7.75″ to 12″ for the whole range of sizes. That is a whole heckuva lot of difference. And the length of the sweater below the armhole ranges from 15 to 20″. For a sweater that is described as having a length that hits the top of your jeans, 20″ below the armhole seems like an awful lot of length, unless the wearer is 7 feet tall.

I actually knit my sweater to 20″ below the armholes to achieve a tunic length, and I am 5′ 6″ tall — about medium height.

I think the best way to approach this pattern is to consider it a guide rather than specific instructions and go with your gut instincts. Judging from the comments on Ravelry, I’m not the only one who found the pattern somewhat vague and confusing. The sweater is very pretty, but you need to do some creative thinking to go from pattern to finished item.

But then, there are some people who knit the sweater and state in their comments that the pattern was easy to follow. So your mileage may vary. Everyone thinks a little bit differently and interprets differently. That’s a big challenge in pattern-writing: what seems perfectly clear and logical to one person can be confusing to another.

So, anyway, I will be knitting ribbing for the next few days. I’ve got my buttons, and will use more than the suggested 3 or 4 since I made my sweater longer.

Lucy is spending some time in her bedroom snuggie-bed-thingie, where it is nice and cool!

Lucy071713 240x160 Ribbing and Bands

Checking In

The Camp Loopy project is coming along:

WIP071413 240x160 Checking In

It has sleeves, and I’ve added a fair mount of length to the body. What remains to be done: a few more inches on the body, the bottom ribbing, front bands, and shawl collar.

I estimate I am about three-quarters done. The month is slightly less than half over, so I am optimistic that I’ll be able to finish this before the end of the month.

While I knit, Lucy has her day all planned out.

Lucy071413 240x157 Checking In