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One of the favorite things about knitting for me is the whole process of matching the right yarn to the right garment. When it goes right, I feel like it is Christmas…when it goes wrong….well…I can usually tell before I finish so I can rip it out!

When Clara Parkes decided to make a bit of yarn, I was excited. She has touched, smelled and swatched more yarns than anyone I can think of (her Craftsy class, here) — so I knew she would create yarns that would be fun to knit.

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First came Clara Yarn Cormo 1.0. Good thing I had spun some cormo and knew that the yarn would be deceptive in the skein. This yarn was 4 plies of worsted spun goodness waiting to be knit….but I knew it was going to do the “boooinnnggg”/blooming thing once the crimp of the fiber was allowed to do its thing. Of course I swatched….I thought I wanted some sort of a pattern stitch, since this was a yarn created for great stitch definition,  but I knew I wanted at least part of the fabric to be an homage to the bounciness of the yarn. In my mind, there is one fabric that showcases the best of what wool can be in a fabric….I’m very biased here..garter stitch.

I did cast this yarn on in a different sweater than the one I ended up with at first. I had about half of the sweater knit before I decided that I needed something else. (The best thing about knitting is that you can change your mind mid-course!)

Then I saw it…Carrie Bostick Hoge, a designer I admired for the designs for Quince & Co., published Madder Anthology. One of the sweaters in this collection was a garter stitch cardigan that featured Indian Cross Stitch at the cuffs, collars and the edge of pockets. Perfect! Of course, I monkeyed with the pattern a little, mostly for gauge difference, but I am happy with the result.

Here it is, The Beatrice Cardigan in Clara Yarn Cormo 1.0. In the gorgeous creamy white of the cormo sheep from Montana that this yarn is made of.

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The sweater is totally wearable. The garter stitch fabric is perfect for this round, bouncy yarn and the Indian Cross Stitch adds a nice non-cable, non-lace accent,

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…and of course I love pockets!

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Then came the second yarn,  Romeldale (aka California Variegated Mutant or CVM)1.0. in three glorious natural colors. I love spinning Romeldale. (OK, OK, I love spinning cormo, too.) I had a sneak peak of this yarn…I wasn’t able to guess the breed, but I knew the yarn was woolen spun. It was lofty and delicious….and slightly lighter weight yarn than Cormo 1.0.  I knew as soon as I saw the colors that I had to make a colorwork yoke sweater, something that would really show off the beautiful colors.

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I didn’t really have to think too hard. This yarn was going to become Grettir by Jared Flood.

I added some shaping along the princess seam line as I now do with most of my sweaters (thanks, Amy Herzog!), changed the yoke from 4 colors to 3, but other than that, this sweater was knit as instructed.

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Only nature can take browns and make them glorious like this.

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This sweater is a bit less dressy than my Beatrice, which is completely work worthy, but I will very likely be living in this sweater this winter.

I know I haven’t written lately, but that is what happens when you declare the next post to be about a garment that is still on the needles!!! I’ll get back to that handspun shawl after Christmas knitting.

I am, most decidedly, a lover of the color grey. Almost every article of clothing, yarn, fiber — the first thing I reach for is grey.

And in the ocean of grey, there is another color that makes a pretty frequent appearance in my wardrobe. (No, not black — that’s just another shade of grey.) I love orange. I think it’s such a happy color.

And, it goes well with grey. Of course.

I must be missing an element of happy recently, because I’ve finished two projects in my happy color.

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First, Carpino, by Carol Feller. It is a sweater from the Wool People 6 collection — the collection that I had a bit of a preview of, at Knitter’s Review Retreat last November. Of course, I promptly fell in love with every single piece of that collection, in a way that I never would have had I seen it in only in print, as beautiful as the Wool People Look Books are.

This little sweater is very flirty and a little bit retro. It has an i-cord edged ballet neckline, 3/4 length sleeves which are fitted. The front is a fun bubble like lace pattern (which is very easy to memorize).

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I knit this sweater in a singles yarn. I knew even before I cast on, in my brain somewhere, that this is probably not the greatest strategy for a long lasting, well wearing sweater. But I did it anyway. Why? Because it was the perfect color, Del Rey from Neighborhood Fiber company.

I have already worn the sweater a couple of times…so far so good. As long as some naughty canine that I live with does not hook her little paws into the lace in front of the sweater!

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Have you ever had a “O.M.G. I have to spin this/knit it right now” moment? Of course you have. The second project was one of those things. I purchased a beautiful commercially processed Shetland top from the UK at the Feederbrook Farm booth at Maryland Sheep & Wool. It is charcoal grey (surprise!) in a way only nature can produce, I knew exactly how I wanted to spin it, and as I was spinning the fiber — I knew exactly what I wanted to make with it.

I spun the fiber woolen, from the fold. I wanted lofty, squishy, and light in weight…a shetland version of LOFT.

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The urge was so great that as soon as I plied a skein and the twist was set, I wound the skein and cast on — while the rest of the yarn necessary to complete the project was still sitting on the wheel.

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Then, for contrast, I wanted a bit of….Orange! And I looked in my Pigeonroof Studios non-Superwash grab bag that I had in my stash…and voila. A few little bits of rusts, oranges and yellows. I wasn’t sure what the fiber content was (I think it is Polwarth/silk but I’m really not sure.), but I only needed a bit over 100 yards so I was sure it was going to work.

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The shawl that this yarn was destine to be? Kelpie, by Jared Flood (Who else?).  It’s a take on the Classic Shetland Hap Shawl, a bit citified. My gauge was bigger than the stated gauge of the pattern, so I knew this would be a large shawl.

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It is large, 74″ across with a 37″ drop. I didn’t think the shawl would grow to quite this size, but it is soft, light, very squishy, and the orange in the feather and fan border makes me smile.

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I am looking forward to wearing this often. (It sort of matches the sweater too!)

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I think I’ve gotten the Orange out of my system for now! Better go find some grey yarn.

I recently finished my first shawl of the year.

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I’m not exactly sure what is happening so far in 2014 (I think it’s called the spinning wheel), but I am surprised that it took me so long to cast on a shawl. I think I had forgotten that I love to knit lace, how just arranging well planned holes and twisted stitches transforms yarn into something so amazing. And how the spaghetti that comes off the knitting needles just metamorphosizes into glory once it is blocked.

For me, there is nothing that flies off the needles faster than a well designed shawl.

So, when I cast on Jared Flood’s Sempervivum shawl in a wondrous grey yarn from Hedgehog Fibres, a score of an experimental shade that was in the dyer’s personal stash, I could not put the needles down.

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And, as a bonus, this shawl is knit from the bottom up, which means that, the most stitches you’ll have on the needles is at cast on!

I am always careful about using variegated yarns on lace, as not to detract from the lace motif. However, I think this yarn worked out pretty well. No striping, no pooling… just hints of blues, greens, rusts in a wash of grey.

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I have been wearing this shawl nonstop. And yes, I’ve cast on another shawl!

sandness Sometimes, a new design comes out and it does not matter that I have a million projects on the needles, or looming deadlines. The perfect yarn is in stash, the needles are free (or I will free them).

It needs to be cast on.
This happens to me about once a year. It usually wreaks havoc in my well planned and organized knitting life. And generally, I really know I have no business casting on this new project.
sandness 1This happened to me when Wool People 5 came out. Curse you Jared Flood. Many gorgeous designs, as usual, and accessories heavy. And in the middle of all the shawls, one spoke to me. It wasn’t the runaway most popular shawl of the collection on Ravelry, but to me, it was perfection.
I had been Golluming my Malabrigo Finito in natural for the perfect, cozy shawl. It started screaming at me from its nesting place. Because the yarn totally knew it needed to be made into this shawl.
Not difficult, not lacy, not a project that can only be knit by a maestro.
But knit in a cream, round yarn, there was no fudging in knitting this thing. The construction is classic Shetland. The wave pattern in the edging had to be blocked out evenly. It appealed to the OCD part of me.
sandness 2I love the waves, but I also sigh in content as I look at the transition point from the triangular body to the edging. It’s so pretty.
I was wrapped in it for most of my time at Squam, dragging it from place to place like Linus and his blanket. It smells of the fireplace we had going in our cabin every night. I made the large size, with 1/2 a repeat omitted mostly because it was already huge (finished block size is 38.5″ deep by 79″ wide) and to ensure that I had enough yarn left over to make the hat cousin, Norby. (I haven’t made this yet….and yet another Brooklyntweed collection, from Wool People 2.)
Sometimes, you just have to do it. You know the feeling, right?
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bistonI have alluded that I have a crazy knitting goal for 2012. Well, it didn’t seem so crazy when I set the goal, but it became crazy once I went on a serious bender knitting shawls.

My goal was: 12 Shawls, 12 Sweaters, 12 Pairs of Socks completed in 2012.

I was tracking to plan in January and February. Then, my sister’s wedding came up and it was unseasonably warm. I panicked, and knit her a second wedding shawl — which threw me off.

That second wedding shawl that I knit happened to be a BooKnits design. And, long story short, I got hooked on her designs (and her yarns, thanks, Bev!) and did a few test knits for her and before I knew it, I had WAY overachieved my 12 shawl goal. In fact, I believe the shawl I currently have on my needles is #29 for the year.

I told you I overachieved. Even for me, that is a nutty amount of overage.

As a result, at the beginning of September, I was faced with whether I was going to still try for the 12-12-12 in 12.

The issue was sweaters. I needed to really crank because I was more behind in units in sweaters.

Guess what?

I did it. Twelve sweaters cast on and completed in 2012. The last of them is Biston, by Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark. Originally appeared in Brooklyntweed’s Wool People  Vol.3 collection, knit out of Loft.

Mine is knit out of Tess Designer Yarns Kitten, which is luxury in a skein. It’s 65% cashmere and 35% silk. In order to take full advantage of the yarn, I wanted to make changes to have the garment be really drape-y and cuddly, and not tailored at all.

I won’t bore you with all the changes I made, since I don’t want my blog to become, “How I changed the pattern to suit my needs”, but there are notes aplenty on my Ravelry project page.

Now, I am declaring December the month of the sock. I need to finish a few pairs in between some gift knitting.

I am attracted to shiny new things. New patterns that get published at the most inopportune times (curse you, Jared Flood, for publishing BT Fall 2012 THE DAY AFTER I swore off buying more patterns), fiber clubs that seem to pair the most incredible yarn with exclusive designs by Your Favorite Designers, and Ravelry, which is ever so helpful in serving up the prettiest garments to be knit.

I also know that I am a relatively fast knitter. ..

  • IF I were to knit on only one project, I can probably finish almost anything in a week.
  • That is, IF it isn’t an Alice Starmore sweater.
  • and IF it’s not socks.
  • and IF I’m not too jammed at work or otherwise in real life.
  • and of course, IF I am knitting with Good Mojo.

The above two do not combine very well. It results, generally, in the overestimation of my ability to finish garments. And that results in a not so small pile of projects that getss abandoned.

So on every Wednesday, I am going to put my shiny new projects aside and work on some of these poor abandoned projects.

First up: Waterfall Cardigan.

This is a cardigan I saw on the designer, Eric Robinson, at the Green Mountain Spinnery Spring Retreat in 2011. I loved it on her. I wanted it. I bugged her for the pattern — oh, a few times. I cast on as soon as it came out….but it was summer. I told myself over and over again that it would be PERFECT for the Fall, but it got put away.

Well? Guess what? I have dragged the project bag (THAT’s where my ISIS Three Bags Full bag is!) and have determined that it would be PERFECT for Fall, and it may be workworthy, perhaps over a shift.

I am knitting this sweater out of Louisa Harding Grace (silk & wool) in a chocolate brown (hmmmmm, why did I pick…BROWN??). I have 5.5″ left to go on the lace bottom part of the cardigan, which isn’t too much, and the top part is an interesting construction. (a nice way of saying, I have to read the pattern again!)

I’m hoping to get this done in time to enjoy it THIS fall!

….and yes, The Fourteen Year Old WIP of Doom (remember this?) will be making an appearance soon. Especially if Alice Starmore is coming to Vogue Knitting Live NY this year!!