Just the highlights

This is an eye popping bright highlighter yellow color in person. I don’t know if my camera can’t quite handle it, or I can’t make my editing software express it, but this picture doesn’t do it justice. grahamImagine the brightest highlighter you’ve used and then you have it. On Friday while home with a sick kiddo I decided I needed to cast on a new hat that very minute and it should be in this Manos Maxima Highlighter (2060) I had in my stash. I love this yarn. It’s not practical for everything since it’s a single ply, but it’s buttery soft. I recommend a blunter needle to accompany it for knitting.

A quick Ravelry search brought me to a hat I’d had in my favorites already, Graham. This is a free pattern, so I don’t mind sharing more specific edits. I cast on 96 sts as the pattern calls for, but that seemed too large, so I ripped and went with 92 sts and increased by 4 when I got to the broken rib texture.

So far it’s been a lovely knit and I will surely be easily spotted in a crowd.

A half mile of purple deliciousness

keaton blockingRemember this old thing? I’ve been steadily working on a Keaton pullover since the end of September and I finished another big chunk: the front! This seems like it’s taking forever, but I am putting it down on a regular basis to work on smaller, more instantly gratifying things. Last week I was somewhere around the waist decreases and I decided to give it some major love. We’ve been monogamous for about a week now and things are progressing more swiftly.

I decided to go ahead and block these pieces so they would be as finished as possible, and just to make sure everything would be at the correct measurement. I was a good little knitter and did wet block my swatch before casting this on, but doubts can still creep in when one is whiling away in single ply fingering weight (about 800 meters in) and it’s not looking quite as large as it’s supposed to. Everything blocked out beautifully, so I confidently cast on the sleeves. I will have a little time off next week and maybe I can turn this into a finished object if I’m really lucky and dedicated. I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

Feeling tweedy

My Keaton sweater progress is slowly plodding along. I’ve interrupted this sweater so far to make two pairs of baby pants, and two toddler-sized hats. A fingering weight woven stitch (aka super slow) large project has my hands hungry for more immediate gratification, so I have to take breaks to feel like I’m making progress on things.

I finished the back on Monday night, then started on the front on Wednesday during a work meeting. I haven’t made any changes to the pattern so far, aside from adding a little bit of length to make it the same length as some other sweaters I love to wear. I’m really enjoying this Debbie Bliss Fine Donegal Tweed. It seems to be holding up well for a single ply, and the advantage of this single ply is that my spit splicing is completely invisible. Yes, my knits are full of spit and I don’t mind a bit.

keatonIt hasn’t been cool enough yet for me to feel like I have to finish this right now, but has been cool enough for me to want to work on some toddler and baby garments and accessories. They’re smaller folks that are growing all the time and I do have an excellent chest full of sweaters to keep me warm already.

Nakniswemo is soon approaching. This is the first year in quite a few that I’m considering not participating. I do so very much love a knitalong, but I don’t feel the urge to put myself under that pressure right now. I completely forgot about Socktober (knitting a pair of socks in October) and I sort of don’t mind. Knitting is my relaxation, not a job. I don’t want it to ever really feel that way. That’s why I say no to commission projects 99.9% of the time. I knit for love, not money. I love the idea of gift knitting, but I never really rally and try to make a bunch of things for Christmas. Occasionally I will make something especially for a person’s birthday, but I’m more likely to just decide a friend should have a lovely pair of socks that I didn’t know was for that person until it occurred to me halfway through knitting the piece.

Thanks for all the lovely comments on my last post. They made me feel all warm and fuzzy.

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!