My current work in progress:

Moth Cardigan, designed byAmy Christoffers, knit from Rowan SoftYak DK in the Plain colorway, using U.S. size 3 and 5 needles.

Next Up

I completed my Not-Viajante last week and here it is, being modeled by Gwendolyn:

NotViajanteII011214 191x240 Next Up

 

As I mentioned in this blog post, I changed the rate of increase to make a wider, shorter piece, and the results are, for me, much more wearable. On the short side, the bottom of the piece hits me at the wrist, and on the long side it’s just a few inches longer. While it is not as dramatic a piece as the original, I think I’ll wear this one a lot more.

I used 3 skeins of Three Irish Girls Kells merino wool sportweight (just under 1000 yards) and a U.S. size 7 needle.

What’s on the needles now? A cardigan design called Midnight Waterfall.

This pattern caught my eye as soon as it was posted on Ravelry. I think it is beautiful. The original called for Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light, but I am using Handmaiden Mini Maiden, another lovely one-ply fingering weight yarn. Mini Maiden is a 50/50 wool/silk blend and I’ve used it in the past with great results. I am using completely different colors from those in the original — my colors are wine, Cocoa, and Cactus Flower. I’m using a 3.25mm needle.

I have completed one of the back modular panels:

WIP011214 240x51 Next Up

 

And have just started the second one:

WIP011214a 240x216 Next Up

 

The pattern for the mitered pieces is a bit different — there are a number of slipped stitches that give the pieces a stained glass look (if you follow the link above to the Ravelry page for this pattern you’ll see what I mean.) I knit the first square as directed, but in the colors I am using, the slipped stitches obscured the other color and I did not like how they looked. So I am knitting mine with just stripes, so slipped stitches.

Honesty compels me to tell you that I would not recommend this pattern unless you are an experienced knitter who can read between the lines and make assumptions about what the designer does not tell you. The pattern is very vague and, I think, poorly written. After working on the design for a few hours, I left this comment on the Ravelry pattern page:

I fell in love with this design the moment I laid eyes on it. I’ve just started knitting it and have a few questions/comments as I have found the pattern to be somewhat vague and confusing in places:

On the back mitered panels – is the first row you work for each of the squares and triangles supposed to be a wrong-side row? By trial and error I figured it must be, judging from where the slipped stitches are — one usually slips the first stitch of a row, not the last. If so, you might want to note this on the pattern as most of the time odd-numbered rows are right-side rows, not wrong-side rows.

For some of the pieces, you do not specify in the pattern which color to use (like the back middle panel, the side backs, side fronts, and collar). While one can figure this out by looking at the photos, if one were to print the pattern out in black & white (as I have), it is not obvious which color to use.

In a couple of cases in the pattern you call a triangle a square (you refer to Square 2C and Square 3C at the bottom left of the second page, for example).

It might be helpful to include more instruction on how to sew the pieces together for the back, possibly indicating the placement of the pieces on the schematic. While you can figure it out by looking at the photos, I think less-experienced knitters would appreciate more than simply “sew or crochet all 3 pieces together.”

I respectfully suggest that you might wish to expand the instructions for knitting the collar (which actually is the front band AND the collar), indicating where to start and end picking up stitches, possibly indicating where one should be on the body of the sweater at each point where one places a marker. While experienced knitters will be able to figure this out, I think it would be confusing for newer knitters.

The designer responded to my comment within a couple of hours of my posting it, thanking me for my suggestions and saying she would update the pattern accordingly. She did post an updated pattern very quickly — the same day. I appreciate such a quick response. However, the updated pattern does not address everything I pointed out, and I have since found more areas that could benefit from a re-write and more explanation.

I’m not saying this to diss the pattern. I really love this design — I think it’s one of the most beautiful cardigans I’ve seen in a long time. But it is also the most poorly-written pattern I can remember working with in a long time. Your mileage may vary — different people perceive things differently, so maybe it’s just me. But I don’t feel right about not issuing a warning. You’ll get no hand-holding or detailed instructions for some pieces of this  design. It is not a difficult pattern by all means, but it is complex in that there are a lot of different pieces and stitch patterns involved and you will have to figure out a lot of the details of construction by looking at the photos.

Okay, I’ve said my piece. 🙂 Now I have a fluffy kitty waiting to play with me!

Loki011214 240x148 Next Up

Not Viajante

As I mentioned in my last blog post, I am knitting another Viajante, but as I did with my last one, I have changed the rate of increase. A couple of you requested more information about what I did.

As designed, Viajante is a long skinny tube that slowly widens. I knit my first one according to the pattern. (This was knit using Kauni 8/2 Effektgarn in the Rainbow colorway.)

ViajanteModeled050513 131x240 Not Viajante

The resulting piece is pretty, but not as wearable as one may like. Because it is so skinny, I have to wear it bunched up around the neck because it is only about halfway down the piece that it is wide enough to fit across the shoulders. So when I re-knit it, I widened it quite a bit at the top to accommodate my shoulders. This one is in Dream in Color Smooshy with Cashmere.

Viajante060913 132x240 Not Viajante

I have worn this version quite a few times.

I did not keep track of exactly what I did, but I increased on both sides until it was big enough across the shoulders, then I continued increasing on one side only.

For my current Viajante, I did the garter stitch collar as directed. Then once I started working in the round, I increased on each side on every row until it looked wide enough to fit nicely over the shoulders. Then I changed the rate of increase so that on one side I increased on every other row, and on the other side I increased on ever 4th row. No decreases.

I am nearing completion — I have just started the bind-off. This one will be shorter than the other two because I have less yarn — just under 1,000 yards. But I am using a sportweight instead of fingering weight, so it won’t be too much shorter.

WIP010814 240x135 Not Viajante

Winner!

The winner of my review copy of A Playful Palette of 10 Knitted Accessories by Tabitha Hedrick is Jean in California, who has been emailed. Thanks to everyone who left a comment to be entered in the giveaway.

Meanwhile, Loki is resting up for playtime.

Loki010814 240x197 Not Viajante

The Big Chill

Brrrrrr! A good part of the United States is in a deep freeze! What better time to knit yourself some warm accessories?

BookCover010514 180x240 The Big Chill

This is A Playful Palette of 10 Knitted Accessories by Tabitha Hedrick and it is a collection of (you guessed it) accessories knit with fingering weight yarn. All of the designs are photographed knit using Koigu fingering weight yarn, but you could, of course, use any fingering weight yarn.

There’s a little bit of everything. Here’s a cute hat and fingerless mitt set:

Book010514 180x240 The Big Chill

A shawl:

Book010514a 180x240 The Big Chill

A pair of socks:

Book010514b 180x240 The Big Chill

You can view more photos of the projects here.

There’s a lot of useful information in the back of the book, including step-by-step illustrated instructions for basic techniques.

Who’d like my review copy?

To be entered in the drawing to review my copy of this handy book, please leave a comment on this blog post by noon on Wednesday, January 8, 2014. The Random Number Generator will select a recipient at that time.

Thanks for all the nice comments about my recent;y completed Britta Cowl. After completing a time-consuming colorwork project, I wanted to cleanse the palate, as it were, with something relatively simple and mindless.

WIP010514 240x135 The Big Chill

This is another Not-Viajante. It’s based on Martina Behm’s very popular Viajante pattern, but with a different rate of increase to make it wider, rather than a long skinny tube. I am also using a heavier yarn — Three Irish Girls Kells Sport in the Morgaine colorway. To get a loose fabric with nice drape I am knitting this with a U.S. size 7 needle.

I have to go now — Loki wants to play hide and seek.

Loki010514 240x170 The Big Chill

“Momma can’t see me!”

 

2014

Happy New Year! 2013 seems to have gone by in a flash. The year was a mixed bag — I lost my dear Lucy in 2013, but I adopted sweet Loki. He’s been with me 5 months now and I think he’s decided he likes it here.

I did indeed finish my Britta Cowl last Sunday. Here it is laid out on the floor:

Britta123013b 240x128 2014

On Gwendolyn to show you how long it is:

Britta123013a 122x240 2014

And doubled:

Britta123013 240x220 2014

To recap, this was knit with 6 skeins of Schoppel-Wolle Zauberball 100 on U.S. size 3 needles, 3 skeins of color 2166 (red/pink) and 3 of 2168 (blue/green). It is knit to double the width and folded in half lengthwise, and finished off with a three-needle bind-off. It used all but a few yards of the background color, and about 2.5 skeins of the foreground color.

It was a huge amount of knitting, but so very much worth the effort put into it. The yarn is lovely and soft, and design is bright and happy.

The Zauberball 100 is a soft single-ply wool, and I could see you getting the same results using Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light, which is also a soft single ply.

After I finished the cowl, I cast on for a quick project — a couple of pairs of slippers:

HisandHersSlippers 240x166 2014

These were knit using this free pattern in Shalimar Missy Bulky yarn, in the Sequoia colorway. I knit two pair — a woman’s and a man’s, and they were a very quick knit, just a few hours. I had purchased the yarn for a different project, a cowl, and after starting it didn’t like it much. So I ripped out what I had done and re-used the yarn. A happy ending!

Speaking of happy endings, we had a lovely quiet New Year’s Eve celebration last night. Loki is not much of a party animal. He conked out early:

Loki123113 240x135 2014

Happy 2014! thanks for continuing to drop by here. Blogs are becoming a thing of the past, I think, overtaken by so many different social media outlets. I’m still trying to figure out a good direction for this here blog. I’ve no plans to shut it down, but am trying to think of a good direction in which to take it. In the meantime, I’ll continue with my knitting progress reports and reviews of books and products. That reminds me — I think I have a book here waiting to review, so look for that coming soon.