My current work in progress:

Stornoway, designed by Alice Starmore from her book Fishermen’s Sweaters, knit in Frangipani 5-ply guernsey wool in the Aran colorway, on a 3.0mm needle.

Archives for November 2010

The Fog Comes In On Little Cat Feet

And so does my knitting inspector.

I’m not feeling great as I’m battling some sinus/upper-respiratory congestion thing. I’ve spent much of the day reclining on the couch and drinking water.

I’ve also done some online holiday gift shopping, while my little supervisor lies on the back of the couch keeping an eye on me.

The Oracle of Denim

I’ve been looking for information online about washing and shrinking my denim knit. Specifically, can I shrink it after it has been seamed, or do I have to shrink the pieces first, then seam? The info I found online was conflicting — some said wash first, some said seam first.

So I did the only thing that any rational knitter could. I approached the Oracle of Denim and posed my question.  Because my sweater is a drop shoulder with no armhole, I’ want to attach my sleeves by picking up stitches along the body of the sweater and doing a three-needle bind-off.

Kay confirmed for me what I was hoping for — I can seam the sweater, then wash it. This information came to her from the production manager of Artwork, the British company that marketed handknit denim sweaters world-wide, said company run by Jane and Patrick Gottelier, authors of Indigo Knits, the most fabulous book on knitting with denim yarn.

Kay also told me that if seaming apres wash, there is no need to pre-wash the yarn used for seaming. A handy bit of information, that.

Here is my first attempt at photographing my knitting today:

Lucy sez:

“I was helping.”

Love is Blue

Four years ago I knit a sweater out of denim yarn. You can read about it in nauseating detail starting with this post. If you just want to see the finished product, skip to this post. (Looking at that post, I marvel at how short my hair was. It now reaches the middle of my back. I am striving for the “aging hippie” look.)

Here is that denim sweater today.

I still love it. It has gotten softer and more comfy with each washing. But the fact that it is plain stockinette means that it really isn’t taking advantage of the aging properties of the denim yarn: you need some texture in your knitting to be able to really take advantage of that weathered look. (That sweater, by the way, was knit with Elann’s denim yarn.)

So I decided to knit a cabled denim sweater. Therein lies the path to madness.

I swatched, I washed, I measured. I started out with some fairly complex fancy-schmancy cables, but in the end sanity prevailed and I decided to K.I.S.S. So the final design has only two cable motifs — a braided cable (love braided cables!) and a diamond-shaped thingie I winkled together. The filler stitch on each side is seed stitch, another love of mine.

Here’s what it looks like with almost one pattern repeat done:

(If you click on the photo to enlarge it, you’ll get a better look at the details.)

I gotta say, knitting cables in denim yarn is nothing short of hateful. The yarn has the consistency of string and knitting cables with string is well . . . hateful. The cables look a bit loose and sloppy at the edges.

But I know once it is washed and shrunk, I will love it.

Switching to simpler cables instead of going with my original plan was the best idea I’ve had in a long time. This pattern is so simple that I memorized it less than halfway through the first repeat. I left stitch markers in between the motifs because the yarn is fairly dark in color (slightly darker than the photo would have you believe) and the markers help me remember where I am in the pattern without having to look at it too closely. This is very useful for evening knitting.

The plan is a slightly oversized sweater with a round neck and twisted rib neckband and dropped shoulders so there is minimal sleeve shaping. Think comfy sweatshirt.

It’s a slow knit, though. I am happy to report that I am taking the entire week off from work next week, so there will be extra knitting time. I do have a lot of stuff planned for that week, but we’ll see how I do.

Film at 11.

Here’s a photo for everyone who thinks Lucy never moves:

It’s a Bird It’s a Plane

It’s Not-Really-Hawthorn!

I did seam this sucker last night and even tried it on (and I actually like it). Said trying on of Not-Really-Hawthorn was late and it was dark, so no photos. I had a late meeting at work today so arrived home later than usual (not to mention tired and cranky), so you only get a photo of Gwendolyn modeling it.

I did not mattress-stitch this baby (as is my usual modus operandi) because of the varied nature of the stitches to be seamed — cables, twists, etc. I back-stitched the whole thing and am pleased with the outcome.

To recap, this was knit from Rowan Amy Butler Belle Organic Aran in the “Orchid” colorway, on 3.75mm and 4.5mm needles and is based on Kathy Zimmerman’s “Hawthorn” pattern that appeared in the Fall 2010 issue of Interweave Knits. I made the middle size (41″).

New! New! New!

I have started knitting with my Rowan Denim yarn (it’s the “Memphis” colorway, by the way). Doing a 1×1 twisted rib in a splitty denim yarn may not be the smartest thing I’ve ever done, but I do so love the look of twisted rib.

I’ll talk more about this project tomorrow, assuming the twisted rib has not driven me insane by then.

Lucy looks worried, doesn’t she?

It’s All Over But the Seaming

The second sleeve is done.

Seaming will commence almost immediately.

The color in these photos is once again off (thought not nearly as badly off as yesterday), due to rainy cloudy day and the fact that the sun is setting by the time I get home and start thinking about photographing my knitting. Today I used a flash, yesterday I did not. The color in the photos in Sunday’s blog post (November 14) is the most accurate: a light lavender.

Swatching of denim yarn is ongoing. Excitement abounds.

For those of you who have participated in Shanti’s Mom’s project to knit hats for sailors, check out this truly heart-warming post!

Lucy is excited!