Delicious, delicious tweed

Keaton-2Behold the delicious single ply Debbie Bliss Fine Donegal that’s on its way to becoming a Keaton pullover. On Yarn Sub this yarn was recommended as a good substitute for Loft, so I’m giving it a shot. It was available at my LYS and I drooled over it for about a month before I couldn’t keep it out of my paws any longer. It got me gauge on a washed swatch, so I’m off!

KeatonSo far it’s been a pleasure to knit. I can’t stop staring at the beautiful tweed flecks as I knit it. It’s also got a teeny bit of cashmere which makes it softer as it’s worked than it would seem from the feel of the ball. I know this will go a bit slower in a fingering weight and a woven stitch, but I think the finished product is going to look incredibly elegant, so I’m happy to put in the time.

What are your favorite new fall knits?

Much ado about blocking.

If you don’t block sweaters…why the hell not? Nothing makes a piece look as professional and finished. I almost always block a sweater before seaming, like I’m doing with this Hugohugo-2Blocking before seaming lets you make sure you get the pieces to the exact measurements you want and it smooths out all of the slight imperfections in the stitches. Pre-seaming blocking also allows the sweater to dry faster since it’s still in pieces. You need to block the pieces to get it to the gauge of the swatch you washed and blocked, right?

hugoI know, I know. It’s a pain. You need to soak it in some wool wash, like Eucalan, and squeeze out the water gently, then roll it up in a dry towel and smoosh the water out with your feet. Then you finesse the pieces into the finished measurements and maybe you pin it lightly. Maybe you pin it aggressively if it’s lace. I think the sweater pieces should be fairly relaxed when you pin them because if you’re getting aggressive at this point you might not have made the correct gauge or size in the first place. I’ve learned that lesson a couple of times.

But seriously, if you’re not a dedicated blocker, try it next time you do a sweater. It’s well worth the effort and I know you can hold on just a little longer on the finishing. Just cast on something new while you wait for it to dry. Read this Knitty article for more specific tips, especially for dealing with different fibers.

This sweater is now so close to being finished! After seaming it just needs the ribbed collar and some buttons. It’s for my brother and I’ll see him next weekend for our little sister’s wedding. Then he can cart it home to Minnesota where it will surely get lots of use. I should probably send him home with some wool wash and washing instructions. I made this out of Cascade 220 (non-superwash).

Sweater snapshot

gemini-3The potential thrill of finishing a project in time for SSKAL15 got me going on Gemini again. I’ve finished the body, but I’m not 100% pleased. I expected it to be a little looser, but it was more form fitting than expected and thus, some of the length got eaten up as width when I put it on. I’m contemplating adding an extra inch, but I’ll wait until I have the sleeves finished and try it on with some different bottoms to be sure. Sometimes I like sweaters finishing around 15″ past the armpit on me, and sometimes I like them more like 17.”

I just wanted to post a quick snap of the progress. Now to get some sleeves going…

Racing sweaters

When I got a few inches into my SSKAL Carpino I really got the urge to cast on something that might be wearable sooner. I’ve been meaning to make a 3/4 sleeve Gemini like Jane Richmond’s example. I had some Knit Picks CotLin, so I just cast it on and ordered a little extra. Luckily the dye lots matched well. I’ve taken a little break from this one, but it got a lot of action during some work meetings a couple of weeks ago. gemini-2Carpino and this one are neck and neck progress-wise. This one could be finished much more quickly if I put focus on it, since it’s primarily stockinette and at a larger gauge. I get bored with this one more easily and want to go back to Carpino. No matter which one I finish first, I’ll still have two fall-appropriate sweaters soon.

This is my fourth Gemini. I made two for Z and this is the second one for me. It just feels like a classy piece of clothing that I can’t get enough of!

Waning summer

I love the long long days of summer. Lovely evening light seems endless. It’s starting to feel more like fall, mostly because all of the schools around me (public and college) are back in session. The time for this Summer Sweater KAL is waning, but I’ve been making decent progress. I took time out for baby socks and big people socks and cast on a whole different sweater, but I’m still working on this lovely Carpino.carpino-3 I’ve long ago memorized the lace repeat. I’ve been working the waist decreases. carpino-2This pattern made me want to make few changes, aside from eliminating a couple of the bust and back increases in the raglan section. It seems like it will be a nice lightweight fall sweater. The September 9th deadline might come and go before this is finished, but I’m glad I’ll have at least an almost-finished sweater come early fall.

The gentle raglan shaping seems like it will be a fine fit and more naturally curved to the shoulder. carpino-4I’ll give you a peek of the Gemini progress soon!

That August heat

The heat and humidity keep creeping up and up lately. I had good intentions to keep focus on Carpino for SSKAL15, and I was doing well. I’m a few more increase rows away from separating the sleeves. But even fingering weight wool was too much the past few days. I had some Knit Picks Cotlin in Surf that was set aside for possible dishcloths or a hand towel, but suddenly it seemed much more important to cast on yet another Gemini (my fourth) to have some cotton and linen in my hands instead of wool. geminiOddly enough, my first Gemini began in nearly the exact same way during the exact same time of year. I guess I have some pretty strong patterns. The yarn for my first Gemini was slated to be cotton napkins, but I decided I had enough and it was pretty enough for a top instead. I started that one on August 8 two years ago. This one I started on August 6. A little freaky, eh?

This time I didn’t have enough stashed so I just ordered a few more skeins. It might not be the same dye lot, but I’m counting on the consistency that will likely come from this being a big company with probably pretty standard dyeing. If it’s not similar enough I guess I can stripe some skeins. I might make 3/4 length sleeves like Jane Richmond’s example to make this more of a transitional piece. I guess I’ll see how hot it is when I get closer to the finish!

Barely begun

My SSKAL15 project is moving slooooowly. Even with all of the lovely comments suggesting Carpino for my swatches, my thoughts were still on Element quite a bit. I didn’t want to use the Cascade Fingering for that, but instead I wanted to tear out this sweater and salvage the beautiful beautiful Socks that Rock yarn for something I would wear more often. Don’t get me wrong, Rocky Coast is a beautiful sweater, but it slips down my shoulders terribly and I made it far too long, and I really am more of a fan of cardigans I can wrap myself in completely. I ripped out half of it, reset the yarn, swatched in the round, blocked my swatches, and thought and thought and thought. Then I flipped a coin.

Sometimes all you need is to actually flip the coin and while it’s in the air you know what you really want. I decided even though the coin toss determined Element in Socks that Rock, my heart said Carpino in Cascade Fingering.

But before that all happened I spent $24 on patterns just to study them. I have Marshall, Carpino, and Element and all the lovely information that goes along with them. Regardless, I finally got going on Carpino and here is where I’m at: carpinoI haven’t memorized the lace yet, even though it’s a simple simple four row repeat, but I’m getting into the rhythm. I wasn’t totally satisfied with either a 35.5″ or a 39″ chest, so I’m splitting the difference and ignoring a couple of increases to end up around 37.75″ or so and I’ve figured out where I’ll be ignoring those increases, so the mental work is mostly done. Now it’s just smooth sailing.