Light as a feather.

Did you ever play that game where you say “Light as a feather, stiff as a board,” repeatedly while surrounding a person that lies flat and lifting up that friend with everyone using one or two fingers? This seemed to be a middle school sleepover staple. I guess the secret was that though the four or five girls were only using maybe an index finger and middle finger to lift the one in the middle, those are the fingers that hold most of the weight anyway. I hope I haven’t shattered any dreams. I was just musing about the phrase.

My Featherweight Cardigan is finito! I’m proud of myself for making an effort to consistently post everything that I finish here and on Ravelry as well. I always mean to do these things, but there are lots of projects, especially gifts, that never get any publicity.

In short, I love this sweater. The yarn, Classic Elite Silky Alpaca Lace in Beach Glass, was a joy to knit with and felt soft as I knit it up. It did not grow in a scary way when I blocked it at all. I did block out the sleeves a little more than I normally would to make them fit me in my preggo state. The pattern is error free and really easy. It seemed I only had to look at it a few times, because there isn’t any shaping on the body and relatively little on the arms. You can knit most of it without thinking.

I didn’t have a lot of yarn left, but I got it out of only two balls, making this a slightly-under-twenty-dollars sweater. Hooray! I added a few inches to the body length as well. I’m long-waisted, so the crop of this cardigan would have seemed really cropped on me, and I just made a cropped cardigan, so I opted to lengthen this one. The pattern is well worth buying, and I’ll probably make at least one or two more. I might already have some Linie 33 Cosmo sock yarn in teal (I’m trying to expand the color scheme, okay?) set back at my LYS to buy this week for another one. It’s the same yarn I’m using on the toes and heels and argyle pattern of Matt’s new socks and I just also might make a February Baby Sweater out of the same yarn. Matchy matchy family. I swear, I’m not on the road to being a super cheesy parent…

The blocking is a bit rough. Maybe one of these days I’ll get those mysterious blocking wires so that I can have nice straight edges. There are a few waves in the front of the ribbing from some of the pins, and a few more on the sides as well. What you might not be able to tell about these pictures is that mosquitos were biting the hell out of me at the time. In between moving around and smiling I was itching my legs like crazy. Apparently they’re twice as attracted to pregnant women. ARGH. I think I got twenty bites or more in the 15 or so minutes we were out shooting the pics.

As for this thing being light…it weighs less than 100 grams, which seems about as much (or less) as my toothbrush.

A week with a Featherweight

At a time when I feel so very un-featherweight (aka 28 weeks pregnant), working with this yarn and pattern has been delightful. This is the Featherweight Cardigan by Hannah Fettig, available on Ravelry as a single pattern, or part of a book called Knitbot Essentials. I looked through many of the Knitbot patterns, and I like most of them because they seem easily wearable in most wardrobes. The more experience I have with knitting, the better I get at assessing what pieces will actually get a lot of use when I finish them. I think Featherweight is definitely a piece that will get a lot of use.

The yarn is the delightful Classic Elite Silky Alpaca Lace in color 2420. Each ball is 460 yards, so I feel pretty proud that I knit almost an entire ball of it in just a week. The yarn has a nice hand, and I keep rubbing the fabric against my face because it feels so light and cuddly. I am at about 12″ from the armpit to the bottom of the sweater. I was supposed to stop at 8″ or so, but since I have a pretty long waist, and this cardigan is cropped a little bit shorter than I would like, I have continued knitting. I think I’ll consider starting the bottom ribbing in another half to full inch, making my total length from armpit to bottom more like 15 inches.

I should also be considering how much this will block…but since I’m too lazy to block swatches like I would the finished product, it remains a mystery for now. I’m hoping to get this all out of two balls (920 yards). After the bottom ribbing it’s just the sleeves and the collar. For both of those, I plan to stick to the pattern’s plan, so I’m hopeful that I can get this done with two balls and keep the cost of the sweater around twenty dollars. I do have another ball of yarn set back at the store, just in case…

Itchy fingers.

The Featherweight Cardigan has caught my eye, and is what you’re seeing on those needles. I started looking at this on Ravelry about a week ago and it stuck in my head. You know you’re obsessed when you go shopping for yarn on your lunch break. My LYS is closed on Sundays and Mondays, so I went as soon as I could on Tuesday.

Yes, the color is a seafoam/aqua/turquoise even though I just made this and this . Out of the lace weight yarn at my LYS, this seemed the most attractive to me. I think I have an aqua problem. At least this “problem” is inexpensive, because if I get this out of two balls of Classic Elite Yarns Silky Alpaca Lace (color 2420) like I anticipate, the entire project will cost less than 20 dollars.

When I looked through some of the 4000+ Ravelry projects, it seems the ones made out of the recommended Malabrigo Lace or sock weight are a bit more substantial in thickness. I saw one made out of Silky Alpaca Lace and I liked the wispy look, so I thought I would try this. The cardigan I wear the most is a black cotton thin jersey cardigan from Express that I bought a couple of years ago, so I thought something nice and light would be appropriate. I can easily see myself making this again out of some kind of sock weight yarn, or a slightly heftier lace weight. For now, I’ve gone down to a size 3, rather than the recommended 6 to get gauge. The stitches still look pretty uneven and loose to me. I’ll hope for some magical blocking at the end. For this wisp of a sweater I think I’m going to forgo my usual blocking method. Most of the time I completely soak the item, then magic it into shape. Since this is 70% alpaca, I worry that it might grow more than I want, so I’m thinking about pinning it into shape and then covering it with a damp towel.

I’m still plugging away on the Pinwheel Baby Blanket I started mid-month. I think it’s fair if I have one baby knit and one me knit going at the same time. The blanket is over 720 stitches now as I increase, and is at least 36″ wide. Really, I could end at any time, but I have the entire third ball to knit still.

Maybe I should make something for that spectacular fella of mine one of these days…but anything I would make for him would probably be wintry and wouldn’t be worn until late fall anyway. I guess I’ll just vow that the next socks I cast on will be for him because he appreciates the hell out of them and he’s a terrific guy.

My favorite kind of bee.

I love this cardigan. The pattern is Honeybee Cardigan by Laura Chau. I’ve been reading Laura’s blog for quite some time. This is the first pattern of hers I’ve put to yarn, though I have purchased and look forward to making this awesome cowl sometime in the future.

As I mentioned in a previous post I had some issues with the sizing. I think this is mostly about the yarn, the Ella Rae Lace Merino (color 136), and less about the pattern, but it might have been some of both. Ella Rae stretches and grows when blocked more than any other yarn I’ve used. It feels delightful to knit with, and comes in a lovely array of colors. You should beware drastic changes in color even in the same dye lot, and you may want to alternate rows with multiple balls of yarn to avoid stark color changes. I did not do this on this cardigan, though I reknit the sleeves a couple of times to get the colors to be close. I started out making them two at a time (who wouldn’t?) and ended up ripping one and using the same ball for both, pulling from the outside in both cases, because even the inside and outside of the ball had a pretty decent difference in color.

The pattern is well-written overall. I had a small issue understanding something in the shoulder area, but I wrote Laura and she got back to me swiftly with clarification. I made a very minor change to the left shoulder. One the front of the shoulder I purled an additional row to make the yarn end up in the middle of the shoulder and so that the total number of shoulder rows on the right and left sides would match. I realize this is complete gibberish if you’re not knitting the pattern, but if you are and you are persnickety about details like I am sometimes, you might appreciate knowing this. When you’re making the shoulders on one side of the front you’ll have an extra row on one side, and the opposite on the back. This isn’t something that I think I’ll ever notice on the pattern, but I did obsessively look at shoulders on Ravelry pages for awhile.

I made the 33 inch size, though my current bust is nowhere near that size. I’m tellin’ ya, this yarn really stretches. The lace pattern itself is pretty stretchy too. I did not purposely make the sleeves longer than the pattern calls for, but they grew to that during blocking, and I’m totally ok with that.

I’m pretty fond of this little bee.

Lazy Honeybee

I’ve been distracted by the growing colors of the Pinwheel Baby Blanket, so the Honeybee Cardigan has been lounging until today.

The lace is intuitive after one or two repeats, so this actually goes much faster that it would seem. I’m at the shoulder decreases. I put her down several times for less brainy projects, but I think I’m ready to get back to work.

I know this looks child-sized, but believe me, that lace stretches quite a bit. This is the second time I’ve knit this particular project. I started out with the 34.5 inch size, since the pattern recommends going below, rather than above, your chest measurement so the lace can shine. After I had knitted to the armpits and put it on yarn for a holder to start the sleeves, then started the sleeves. The sleeves seemed to be coming out to wide, so I decided to try on the chest piece. When I wrapped it around my chest, I realized it was going to be much too large when I added the button band. I was making gauge in the 34.5 size, yet it still seemed too big. After looking around on Ravelry, it seemed like I wasn’t the only one experiencing this. I ripped all, made the smallest size sleeves, and started the 33 inch size after I finished the sleeves.

I really didn’t mind. I’d much rather rip things out and make them right. I used this yarn (Ella Rae Lace Merino) for my Still Light Tunic and it GROWS, so erring on the slightly smaller side is for the best. I do try to learn…

The Pinwheel colors are captivating. I can’t wait until this is finished and I can post it. I’m about halfway through the 1200 yards I plan to use in just one week! I feel like a knitting goddess.

Morning Vision

My Vision┬átop from Rowan Magazine 49 is finished! I’ve worn it a couple of times now and finally got the chance to take some early morning shots like I wanted. This top is made out of Kidsilk Haze and is a fairly easy knit. The lace is the most fun part, and as long as you don’t have to take any out, the Kidsilk Haze is wonderful to work with.

Here is a shot of the back:

If I were to make this again, I think I would use a provisional cast on for the back, and use kitchener stitch to eliminate the back seam. It is helpful for lining up where to sew the other pieces to the body, but I don’t think that it’s totally necessary. I’m not sure I like how the seam looks. And yes, I am wearing a stitch marker in my ear.

I started this top last spring, and took a long hiatus as the weather grew too hot to think about touching mohair. It’s cooled significantly here in the South in the last few days as we finally got some rain and thunderstorms, and I’m so grateful. I’m not quite ready for fall weather yet, but a break from 106 degrees is more than welcome.

I’m still working on Liesl. It’s very easy with clever pocket construction. I had the wrong gauge and had to rip back almost 270 yards of Euroflax because I was reading the ROW gauge. Grrrr. I’m all caught up now and down to the last of three balls, so I’m hoping this one flys off the needles in time for school to start in about a week. I’ll be starting the 3rd year of my PhD program, and I want to look sharp.

Photos by Matthew Petty