Thursday, October 25, 2007

all chocolate cables all the time.

Hi there, my lovelies! Can I just say how happy it made me that y'all showered me with so many wonderful compliments on my finished Wide Collar cardigan? It really was a painstaking knit, so it's great to know that it was worth all of the tribulations. And, well, it *did* turn out awesomely, didn't it? So, thank you and thank you for all of your comments. And with the Wide Collar cardigan off the needles, I hurriedly cast on for something new... something chocolaty... and something cabley...

The beginnings of Femi from the Debbie Bliss Luxury Collection. I'm not usually a fan of Debbie Bliss patterns, but this particular pattern book is chock full of fall-sweater-goodness and I actually highly recommend this book. I'm knitting Femi in Jaeger extra fine merino aran, a yarn I also highly recommend and which was recently discontinued so is available right now on super-duper sale around the internets. This is my first heavily cabled project--I've allowed myself to be unduly intimidated by cabled sweaters, after attempting and failing miserably at knitting Demi from Rowan Vintage Knits. But, turns out that not all cabley sweaters are entirely impossible, and some patterns with multiple charts are *not*, in fact, very difficult at all. And I am quite enjoying this new project of mine. I've only made it through one pattern repeat, but now that I have the rhythm down, progress is sure to pick up and move along.

Speaking of chocolaty, cabley goodness, I just finished one I Love Gansey sock. And can I just say that I am in complete love with this sock? Because I am. I love this pattern, and while it looks semi-complicated, it really isn't very difficult. And I initially didn't like how the Rowan 4 ply soft knit up as a sock, but that feeling vanished quickly--the 4 ply soft makes a dreamy fabric for the foot! It's no accident that the word "soft" is in the name of this yarn! Dreamy, I say.

I did make one modification to the pattern: I replaced the heart gansey motif in the central front and back panels with a diamond motif. Because I have never been one to endorse the hearts on my garments. Diamonds, though, I can get behind the diamonds.

And just look at that sexy heel and gusset! Such fine detailing.

As much as I adore this sock, it is being packed up for a friend who will knit the mate for themselves. It will be sent off to its new owner November 1, tucked away in a Schrodinger Original cube project bag with a second ball of Rowan 4 ply soft for the second sock. Oh, how I will miss it, though. I will surely be making a pair for myself!

Now, back to feverishly studying, teaching, grading, and doing all I can to survive the mid-semester ickles...

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Finished: Silky Wide Collar Cardigan

At long last, the silky Wide Collar Cardigan, she is done. This one was quite the adventure. And by adventure, I mean ultimate test to a knitter's sanity. On the verge of giving up knitting entirely, I somehow managed to come out of this battle of perseverance with a pretty, pretty new fall cardigan.

Finished: Wide Collar Cardigan
Pattern: Jo Sharp Knit vol. 3
Fiber: RYC Silk Wool DK (14.5 balls of Porcelain)
Size: 35 3/8" bust (Medium)
Needles: size 6 Lantern Moon ebony straight needles
Date Started: July 2007
Date Completed: October 2007
Modifications: My gauge was looser than the pattern calls for, so I knit one size smaller than I would have had my gauge been accurate.
Notes: I simply cannot express enough that, while not the cheapest yarn on the block, RYC Silk Wool DK is well worth every cent you spend on it. The stitch definition is impeccable. The knitted fabric is heavenly--shiny and pretty, snuggly and soft, and so warm. And not the teensiest bit itchy like our good friend the tweedy wool can be. And pilling after a good wash? Nope and nope. Smooth, shiny and flawless. I will be investing in more of this stuff very, very soon.

Aqua silk wool + marble of fancy Philadelphia Mercantile building = prettiest FO photo shoot ever.

I am happy to report that my skepticism of the final fit/wearability of this knit was entirely unfounded. The wide collar does not tug uncomfortably on the back of one's neck, the collar flaps don't beat wildly and uncontrollably in the wind, and having no front closure on the cardigan is not utterly annoying and fiddly. The shortness of the garment is a little odd for me, mostly because I am tall and I'm not used to wearing "cropped" things, but the style of it actually works, because I tend to layer super-long shirts with shorter jackets, so I think I can pull it off. And, seriously, it feels like I am wearing a blanket--which is a sensation I am willing the throw fashion out the window for. Mmmmmm, blanket-y goodness...

Love the extra long ribbed cuffs, too. Heh, speaking of ribbing...

Ah, yes, the ribbed wide collar that would not end. It really, truly was painful to knit the wide collar portion of this otherwise easy-as-pie cardigan. Let's just say that it will be a very, VERY long time 'til I can bring myself to knit another scarf-like object of any kind. That said, the wide collar is the best aspect of the cardigan... it really is cushy and snuggly and makes the cardigan very cozy! (and warm).

See how preeeetty? Sweater with a built-in scarf. Ingenious.

And that's a wrap. A pretty, pretty, snuggly wrap.

Also, Grizzly Bear? So very, very good live. And live in a church, no less. (yes, that *is* the inside of the church the show was in. super-awesome. i'll be seeing Yo La Tengo there this week. super-duper awesome. sit-down shows in churches rock.)

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Monday, October 08, 2007

The state of things.

Hey there. Things have been uneventful 'round these parts, mostly because I've been diligently knitting the never-ending miles of ribbing for the wide collar portion of the Wide Collar Cardigan. That, and I've come down with the ubiquitous change-of-the-season cold. Achoo! I've been doing a lot of that lately, and the draggy feeling that goes along with change-of-the-season colds tends to inhibit one's blogging stamina.

Back to the state of things. I had dreams of finishing the ribbed collar a week ago, but every time I measure it to see if it is long enough, it turns out it's not. Long enough to be a knit yoga mat? Yes. Long enough to be the length needed for a complete Wide Collar Cardigan? Sadly, frustratingly, NO. Go figure. I do see, if I squint reeeally hard, the finish line just ahead, and I suspect I'll be able to get the Wide Collar finished and in action very soon. I can't wait, either, because it turns out that I love--nay, ADORE RYC Silk Wool. It is my dream yarn.

In my funk of hacking and sneezing, I only yesterday realized that I've been completely tardy from the Soctoberfest '07 party. Shame on me. It seems that all I did this summer was knit single sock after single sock, which was quite the entertainment at the time. However, it may be time to do a bit of second sock knitting so that I can actually wear some of these socks this winter. So... all I have to do is retrieve the second socks from this great big pile. They're in there somewhere, it's just a matter of FINDING them. Ahem. So perhaps there will be some pairs of socks this Socktober.

I do have to fess up though, that I started a new sock recently. I am the first pattern repeat into a I Love Gansey sock (free via the Six Sox KAL). While I do indeed heart this pattern, I decided I diamonded it even more. That is, I replaced the gansey heart design in the center panel with gansey diamonds. I just couldn't imagine wearing a bunch of hearts on my socks. And, while this is a sock I'm knitting for someone else as part of a swap, I spared them from having to wear hearts all over their socks, too. Because hearts on pretty much any garment? No thanks. I do love this pattern, though, and I'm already contemplating a nice tweedy pair for myself.

So, that's what's going on around here. A whole lot of sheer thrills and excitement: ribbing, more ribbing, some sock knitting, ribbing, and ribbing, and did I mention ribbing?

I do look forward to the day when I can write a post that is free of the word "ribbing." Til then...

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