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.

Low-Stress Knitting

Sometimes I really enjoy a high-stress knit: a complex colorwork or heavily cabled design. And sometimes a low-stress project is exactly what I need.

Strandwanderer is to me the definition of a low-stress knit. It is so much fun to knit, and there is almost no counting or memorizing required.

WIP091714 240x134 Low Stress Knitting

It is never boring because I am constantly changing what I am doing. And even though I keep changing what I am doing, I was able to commit the pattern to memory very quickly. And once I figured out purling backwards, that became fun. By sheer repetition I’ve gotten pretty darn good at the backwards and am now looking forward to the short row sections. There’s nothing like lots and lots of practice to really get a handle on a new technique.

WIPCloseup091714 240x135 Low Stress Knitting

I think it would be fun to knit a larger one using a heavier yarn. The designer points out that the pattern works best with yarns that have color repeats of 20 – 35 cm in length per color — that’s an important consideration to keep in mind. Almost all the projects in Ravelry are done with fingering weight yarns. I’d love to try it in a DK weight yarn. It’s easy enough to check how the pooling will look — knit a swatch of the short-row section. And it could be adjusted slightly by adding a  stitch or two to the length of the short rows. If I did that, I’d have to fiddle with the rows at each side of the short row stripe. It would be fun to try!

Book Giveaway

The winner of a copy of Entrelac 2: New Techniques for Interlace Knitting by Rosemary Drysdale is Bobbi, who has been emailed. As always, thanks to everyone who left a comment to be entered in the giveaway, and a very big thank-you to Sixth & Spring publishers for their continued generosity in not only sending me review copies of new books but offering a second copy for a giveaway!

Loki

Loki is working on his winter coat, so he is getting daily grooming so I can stay ahead of mats. It’s a good think he likes being groomed. He is also into keeping his life as low-stress as possible.

Loki091714 240x206 Low Stress Knitting

No anxiety there!

Backwards

Here is what I am knitting with the skein of Wollmeise “Pure” I pictured in my last blog post:

WIP091414 240x85 Backwards

This is Strandwanderer, a pattern designed by Lea Viktoria, and it is, in my opinion, the best use for a skein of Wollmeise that I have ever seen. I think it is brilliant, and I don’t think I’ve seen any similar construction in any patterns.

WIPCloseup091414 240x135 Backwards

Doesn’t it showcase the variegated yarn beautifully?

This effect is achieved by working many, many, many very small short rows. The pattern has a nice photo-tutorial that comes with it that shows you step-by-step how to work the short-row sections of the shawl and advises you that if you don’t want to be forever turning your work back and forth, it is a good idea to learn how to purl backwards.

I learned how to knit backwards many years ago. I was at a TKGA convention back in the 1980s and someone mentioned knitting backwards in some context or another. I had never heard of doing such a thing so was mystified by the idea. That night I figured out how to knit backwards by deconstructing how I knit . . . well . . . forwards. Very proud of myself I was, too.

But I’ve always considered knitting backwards more of a parlor trick than anything else. Then when I started working on Strandwanderer, I quickly realized that yes, turning my work over and over again was going to be very tedious. But because this is worked in garter stitch, I would need to purl backwards. Knitting backwards results in stockinette stitch and purling backwards gives you garter stitch.

So I once again deconstructed what I do when purling normally, and figured it out.

Of course, if I had bothered to actually read the tutorial that came with the pattern. I would have seen that she included step-by-step instructions for purling backwards as well. After the fact I also googled and checked out a couple of YouTube videos on the technique and have confirmed that it is somewhat awkward. Awkward though it may be, it is still faster than continually turning my work!

Speaking of working backwards, I received a new book to review.

Book091414 230x240 Backwards

This is Entrelac 2: New Techniques for Interlace Knitting by Rosemary Drysdale, a follow-up to her first book on the topic: Entrelac. I do not have a copy of the first book, but from what I read on Amazon, it looks like a great book for learning the entrelac technique.

(I did learned how to do basic entrelac way back at that knitting convention in the 1980s and that’s where I put my backwards knitting to good use!)

Inside091414 240x135 Backwards

Entrelac 2 takes things a lot further. There are 85 stitch patterns incorporating cables, lace, color,texture, and even beads! — stuff I’d never dreamed you could do in entrelac, along with 25 patterns for garments, accessories, baby items, and home décor projects. You can see all the patterns on Ravelry.

There is basic “how-to” information.

HowTo091414 240x134 Backwards

And patterns for individual stitch motifs. I love the star.

Star091414 240x224 Backwards

And how about some beaded entrelac?

Beads091414 240x185 Backwards

The publisher, Sixth & Spring Books, has kindly offered a second copy for me to give away on my blog. Who’d like it?

To be entered in the drawing to win a copy of Entrelac 2: New Techniques for Interlace Knitting by Rosemary Drysdale, leave a comment on this blog post by noon Eastern Time on Wednesday, September 17, 2014. I’ll select a winner at random at that time.

No Loki, you are not eligible to enter.

Loki091414 240x158 Backwards

Pour Moi Cardigan Completed

I finished the second sleeve on Monday and put this baby together last night.

PourMoiFront091014 224x240 Pour Moi Cardigan Completed

I used Wollmeise DK in the Stella Polaris colorway and a U.S. size 5 needle.

PourMoiSide091014 189x240 Pour Moi Cardigan Completed

The pattern is pour moi, by Lori Versaci. If you are interested in knitting this lovely cardi, by the way, Lori is hosting a friendly informal KAL in her Ravelry Group. The KAL “officially” started on September 1, but it is a very easy-going group — there are people who started early, like me, as well as people who are in the planning stages. It’s a great way to get some tips and tricks for the pattern as well as see the pretty yarns everyone else is using for their projects.

This is not a difficult pattern, but it does use short-row shaping to get the nicely curved bottom edge. There is some a-line shaping in the body as well.

I’m looking forward to the weather getting cool enough so I can actually wear mine!

So . . . I have one clue left in the Outlander MKAL and that will not be released until Saturday, so I cast on a new project, using this:

That’s Wollmeise 100% merino fingering weight. You can tell I’ve been hoarding that skein for a while since it has one of the old labels.

Yarn091014 240x135 Pour Moi Cardigan Completed

The colorway is “Zenzi.” Here it is wound into a ball:

YarnWound091014 238x240 Pour Moi Cardigan Completed

Wait’ll you see what I’m knitting with it!

Loki knows, but he’s not telling. He has a priority nap he has to take!

Loki091014 179x240 Pour Moi Cardigan Completed

Sleeves

One sleeve done:

Sleeve090714 240x135 Sleeves

One in progress!

Sleeve090714a 240x135 Sleeves

And I’ve completed Clue 5 of the Outlander MKAL.

That is all.

Loki090714 240x135 Sleeves

Pour Moi Progress

A holiday weekend is a good way to make some good progress on one’s knitting. And I have made some very good progress on my pour moi cardi.

As a rule, I like to get as much of the “finishing” done on a project as I go along, and this project is no exception. So I knit the front/neckband before completing the sleeves:

WIPFront090314 173x240 Pour Moi Progress

This was a lot of ribbing! I spent a lot of Labor Day “laboring” on this ribbing and it was totally worth it.

I joined the shoulders via a three-needle bind-off. I had worked the shoulder decreases as short rows instead of bind-offs because I prefer to do a three-needle bind-off for shoulder seams rather than sew them together. It gives a nice smooth seam.

Then I picked up the many, many stitches up one side front, around the neck, and down the other side.

There are buttonholes for 7 buttons in one side front. So all that remains now is to complete the sleeves, sew on the buttons, and sew up the side seams. I have one sleeve more than half done:

Sleeve090314 240x209 Pour Moi Progress

Sock Architecture Giveaway

Judging from the number of comments left, this is going to be a very popular book! The winner, chosen at random, is Leslie F., who has been emailed. Thanks to everyone who left a comment!

Loki

Loki090314 217x240 Pour Moi Progress

Loki believes in solidarity through napping. Such a helpful kitty!