My current work in progress:

Seaforth designed by Alice Starmore, knit in British Breeds 5-ply Guernsey Wool on US 3 needles.


Archives for July 2010

Moss Block

Last night I summoned the energy to block the back of Victoria.

I actually wet-blocked this — something I almost never do for sweaters. I usually will do a pass over sweater pieces with a steam iron and that’s that.

But I wanted to block this out exactly to size, and I wanted to block the bottom ribbing out straight, and I thought I’d get more control with a wet-block than a steam block. So into the sink with warm water and woolwash it went, and onto my foam interlocking mat pieces. I just pinned it in a few strategic spots to make sure it would stay in place.

While I photographed this on the floor for a better “bird’s eye view” it has actually been sitting on the dining room table, where there is less chance of Lucy lolling about on it while it dries.

And I finished the right side front last night.

And started the left side front.

I’ve decided to wait until I have the left side front completed before blocking the fronts. That way I can block them side-by-side to ensure a perfect match.

The Fiber Cooperative

Do you know about The Fiber Cooperative?

It’s an online marketplace where small indie companies who have small budgets for advertising and promotion have gotten together. You can shop by categories, and search for items. Each individual seller has a “storefront” page where  they have their own banner and space to post some of the highlights of their shop. The links for each vendor take you to their individual shop (on etsy, for example).

It’s a great way to find lovely fiber-related items from small indie companies that might otherwise be difficult to winkle out on a big site like etsy.

Q&A from the Comments

Why, no, they haven’t replaced my office window yet.

Thanks for asking, Melissa. In the three weeks or so since it was broken I’ve had three building engineers and 2 glass contractors up in my office looking at it.

Roseann asked how I am keeping track of all the shaping in this pattern and if I am using an iPhone/iTouch/iPad app.

I do have a number of knitting apps for my iPad and I confess that I really have not used any of them. The way I am keeping track of the shaping in this pattern is by writing notes on my printout of the pattern.

The old-fashioned way sometimes is the best way. 🙂

Lucy sez:


Unlike a Rolling Stone

If a rolling stone gathers no moss then I am clearly unlike a rolling stone, as my moss stitch is growing.

(Yes, I know that’s a lame blog post title but you knew I was going to say something about a rolling stone eventually, didn’t you?)

This is the right side front in progress.

Having trouble seeing it? How about now?

The front band is knit at the same time as the body, and buttonholes are worked in the ribbing band as you go along. There are a total of 9 buttonholes, the last one being above the point where you start decreasing for the front neck shaping.

After knitting the entire width of the back, a side front is a refreshing change — it sure goes a lot faster, being just over half the total stitches of the back.

I have to pay attention while knitting the front pieces of this cardi because the neck shaping starts before the armhole shaping, so I have to remember to start the armhole shaping at the same point I did for the back piece. I did keep track of key row numbers where decreases must occur as I was knitting the back, so that should keep me from making too big a mess here.

Lucy remains poised to help.

If You Thought That Was Mossy

Check this out:

I finished the back of the Victoria cardigan late Sunday afternoon.  Now that is a lot of moss stitch!

AnnH asked in the comments:

I’m curious about the sweater ribbing: do you think that after blocking, the ribbing will still be tighter than the body of the sweater. I love this pattern and have been looking for a sort of all around mid weight cardigan, but I like a straighter edge.

The ribbing is worked using the same needle size as the body of the sweater, and the same number of stitches. I, too, prefer a straight edge along the bottom, particularly on a sweater this long. so I will be blocking the sweater pieces before I assemble it, and will pin the ribbing out straight with the body, that is, so it does not pull in. Stay tuned!

Kristen commented:

I also love the cardigan that you are making, and would like to start the project myself (it would be my first real sweater). I don’t wear animal-based fibers. What type of yarn do you think would work similarly as the wool blend they recommend? The only thing I have come up with is a cotton-acrylic blend, which I’m fine with, but can you rec anything better? Do you think that would work? Also, I’m a little nervous about choosing a yarn with a different weight since I am a beginner knitter. Seems like when I have chosen yarns of different weights for a project, I end up with something TOTALLY different than what I was hoping for (even tho I checked my guage first, etc…). I have been trying to find a cotton-acrylic blend that won’t be too stiff (and tought to work with) that is similar in weight (the yarn the pattern recs is 100g and 156 yards so I’m trying to chose something close to that). Am I on the right track here?

I would suggest, perhaps, a microfiber/cotton blend. You definitely want to find something of the same weight that knits to the same gauge.

The yarn the pattern calls for is Louet MerLin Worsted Weight. It is, as the name suggests, worsted weight yarn. A quick look in Ravelry tells me that it is 9 wpi and is 70% linen/30% merino wool.

The yarn I am using is Amy Butler Belle Organic Aran, which is slightly heavier — it is designated an aran weight (8 wpi) and is 50%wool/50% cotton, but I think the drape is similar. The fact that the yarn I am using is slightly heavier and the fact that I am a loose knitter made me go down two needle sizes based on my swatching.

Off the top of my head, for a non-animal fiber, I thought of Rowan All Seasons Cotton. It too is designated an aran weight (8 wpi) and is 60% cotton/40% acrylic, so it could work for you, but it is slightly heavier, so you would want to swatch.

If you are a member of Ravelry, try using the yarn browser there. You can designate a yarn weight, and pick out all the fiber types you want to see, and the search will give you all the yarns that fit the description you entered.

Even better, use the advanced yarn search. This is a search I did for worsted weight yarn that consists of a cotton and microfiber blend. The search returned 10 results. You could change the parameters to include other fibers as well.

Good luck in your search!

Lucy thinks that she should be supervising my moss stitch, but she is just too comfy . . .

Mossy Weekend

Before we get into the miles of moss stitch, I’ll announce the winners of the 3AM Enchantments yarn giveaway:

Congratulations to Susan, Angel, Mary Anne, and Dr. Jackie! I have emailed you four — if you think one of those persons is you, do check your email. And thanks to one and all who left a comment.

On to the moss stitch.

Here is the state of the back of the Victoria cardigan at noon on Saturday:

And here is a teaser photo of where I am now:

Sorry it’s so blurry — but I’m too lazy to re-take the photo. 😉

I did do the full 18″ before starting the armhole decreases, so that’s a heckuva lot of moss stitch, eh?

Lucy has been in her usual weekend mode.

If she knew what the temperature was like outside, she would be very grateful for the air-conditioning!

New Project

Before I talk about my new project, I wanted to give you a heads up that the Winter’s Morn Shawl is now available for sale in my Ravelry Shop, here. It will soon be available for purchase in hard copy from The Loopy Ewe as well. That reminds me — The Loopy Ewe has copies of the Woodland Walk Shawlette for sale for those of you who prefer to buy in hard copy.

So I started a new project.

I wanted something relatively easy to work on for the next little while as I’ve got a lot of other stuff on my plate. When the new Knitty came out, I was drawn immediately to the Victoria cardigan. It looks like the perfect transitional piece to wear in the fall.

I decided to make mine from a wool/cotton blend since I always seem to be too warm to wear a 100% wool sweater. I chose Rowan’s new Amy Butler Belle Organic Aran, which is a 50/50 blend of organic wool and cotton. After much deliberation, I chose the “Saddle Brown” colorway. I wish this yarn had a wider choice of colors — I wanted a neutral but didn’t want to make it in a light color, so the color I chose was pretty much the only choice. The only other colorways I would consider a neutral are Moonflower and Slate. Moonflower is too light and Slate — well, I am not fond of grey and don’t think it is a flattering color for me. So Saddle Brown it was. I ordered it from The Loopy Ewe and it arrived yesterday.

I knit a gauge swatch, starting with a size 6 needle (the pattern suggests a size 8). But I’m a loose knitter and my yarn might be a little heavier than that used for the original, so my instinct was correct — I got gauge with the size 6. I cast on for the back last night and finished the ribbing this morning on the train, and got started on the moss stitch.

This is gonna be lots and lots of moss stitch!

I am making the size large, which has a finished measurement of 44″. I’m thinking of this cardigan as an outerwear piece, so I wanted it a bit roomy.

Be prepared to look at lots and lots of moss stitch for the next few weeks.

Lucy sez:

“Get rid of the stupid camera — I need some lap time!”