Four Final FOs of 2008

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season filled with peace and good cheer! M and I spent two weeks in Illinois and Wisconsin visiting family and friends. All our flights went smoothly with no delays, and we had a good time. We even got to experience quite a bit of snow in Wisconsin. Among many wonderful gifts, I received some knitting books, the Harlot’s 365-day calendar and a whole lot of yarn–my entire Webs wishlist in fact; but all that must wait for another post, as I must post about my final four 2008 FOs before any more of 2009 goes by. So without further ado…

Socks knit in Seacoast Merino/Tencel in the Baltic colorway:
Baltic Socks
Baltic Socks heel flap
I made up the pattern using a yarn-over “cable” and a beaded rib, which I deem so-so. I also made the heel flap a little short for my instep and the sock circumference a little small for me by accident. However, these will fit my MIL very well, I think, and they are colors she loves. Voila!–one pair of socks for Christmas 2009 done. The yarn and colors are superb.

But I did end up with hand knits for me! The grey tweed pullover has worked out very well. It’s roomy, but I got the sleeve length perfect, and I modified the rolled neck of the pattern to stockinette with purl ridges to better match the detailing on the sleeves and body. I’ve worn this sweater A LOT.
Grey Tweed Pullover
I also knit myself a hat with leftover yarn with the same rolled edge with purl ridges. I like this hat! I usually hate hats.
Grey Tweed Hat and Pullover
Grey Tweed and Malabrigo
You can see the machinations I go through to photograph myself. Glare is not kind. But you can see my final FO–the Malabrigo cabled brioche scarf. Wow! So soft! So cushy! So warm! This might be my favorite hand knit so far. It was wonderful in Wisconsin. I didn’t block it as it looked good and was the perfect width for my short neck without blocking. I went beyond the neckwarmer I originally planned, and I was glad for the extra warmth. It’s about 42 inches long, as seen on the couch-o-meter:
Malabrigo Scarf on Couch-o-meter
Well, that’s it for 2008 FOs. 17 in all. A goodly number. Onward!

Sweater Blocking Conundrum: Grey Tweed Pullover, Episode 2

Last March I started knitting my dark grey Donegal tweed yarn into a simple pullover, and then the weather got pretty warm, so I put it away. Then during the hottest part of July, I ran into a decision-requiring situation with my attempt at the February Lady Sweater (don’t ask why I thought worsted weight wool-mohair was cooler than worsted weight tweed, I don’t know), so I put that sweater aside while I mulled. But I wanted to knit on a sweater. So, even though it was July, I took up the tweed again. Now I finally have all the pieces knit. But how to block to rolled edges?
Grey Tweed Pullover-body
The front and back are already joined at the shoulder seam with a 3-needle bind-off. I did that so I could figure out how long to make the sleeves. Anyway the bottom edge of the sleeves and body are rolled. So do I pin the rolls out while blocking? Or do I just pin down to the roll (the bottom-most garter ridge) and let it roll up as it drys? What to do? Suggestions welcome!

The neckband is supposed to be rolled too, but I don’t think that’s what I want to do. I think a few rounds of garter stitch will be better. My thinking is that with the purled ridge details above the rolled edges will keep a garter neckband from looking out of place. Any thoughts?

The sweater, which I want to wear primarily as outerwear, is going to be too big.  I measured my bust in March and it was 40.5 inches, so I thought a 44 inch outerwear sweater would be fine.  When I realized this summer that certain of my undergarments were unacceptably roomy, I measured again: 38 inches.  This sweater is going to be HUGE.  sigh.

I will have 3.5 skeins of yarn left over, so I can make some tweed accessories that will fit!

Grey Tweed Pullover: Episode 1

Wow, things are busy here in the land of Molecular Knitting as usual.  I haven’t had as much time as I would like to work on my grey tweed pullover, but whenever I do find time to knit on it, I am pretty happy.

I originally planned a cabled pattern for this yarn, but the swatch looked messy. The diamond cables didn’t really stand out with all the dark grey tweediness; I could have done a lot of cabling to very little effect. Paging through every knitting magazine I own, looking for tweed, I found an unlikely pattern, but I think it may work out splendidly. It’s from the Fall ’06 Knitters, and it’s called Hobo Patches. Yes, both those facts give one pause. Theresa Schabes is the designer (reassuring), and except for the actual felted patches I’m supposed to sew on with big stitches, which I have NO intention of doing, it’s a pretty nice pattern for me. I wanted a pattern that was both a pullover but also would work as outerwear more than an indoor sweater. I live in California and I’m 44: I don’t worry much about being cold. Let’s take a look at the back, which isn’t quite done in this photo, but is now in real life.

Grey Tweed Pullover Back

The bottom edge is rolled, which I wasn’t sure I wanted until I realized a sweater I like very much has a rolled edge. Then there are five spaced purl ridges followed by a whole lot of stockinette. I like the tweed in the stockinette, and now I’ll have no excuse not to learn how to do mattress stitch properly.  I’ve only done improper mattress stitch before.

Grey Tweed Pullover edge detail

The sleeves are a modified drop-shoulder which is my second favorite sleeve style after a set-in sleeve. I look awful in raglan sleeves with my triangular build, and I have many purchased raglans to prove it (those cute button trims along the raglan line!–I’m a sucker for them). The cut-in for the sleeve is much deeper than I’ve seen before, 3-inches for my size, so I am curious to see how that works for me. As I’m narrow on top, I think it may work well.

Grey Tweed Pullover armhole

To break up the monotony of sleeve knitting, I usually knit the back, a sleeve, the front(s) and then the second sleeve. However, here I’m knitting the back and front, which I’ll join with a 3-needle bind off, block and then see how long to make the sleeves, as I’ve found I am pretty particular about sleeve length. I think the tweed can keep me off Sleeve Island.

So now all I need is a little more time to knit. But as this is the scene outside this past weekend, I don’t think I need to hurry.
University farm orchard in bloom

Sweater Stuff

Once upon a time, long enough ago that I was a legal adult and M was still a minor, I used to sew a lot. Set-in sleeves were no big deal. I sewed the sleeve into a tube, the side seams of the body were done, and carefully adjusting my gathering stitches along the sleeve cap, I could set-in a perfectly fitting sleeve, sewing in a circle. The set-in sleeve process in hand knitting follows a different protocol, and frankly I have my doubts that anyone has ever really seamed a cap sleeve to armscye of a hand knit sweater. I think it may be a hoax. I mean, do you think this will work?
Minimalist Cardi sleeve fitting
The two sides of the sleeve’s cap are actually the same length, even though they look different in the photo. I checked after I saw the photo. Twice.

I hope it will work out as I really like how the blocked front looks going from moss stitch to stockinette. It’s my favorite feature of the Minimalist Cardi. Blocked Minimalist Cardi front

I am screwing my courage to the sticking point. Basting of the sleeve to the body with light grey yarn will happen before the real seaming. I’ll have M keep his fingers crossed while I baste and seam. After all, he is the Luckiest Man in the World–but that’s a story for another day.

In the meantime, let’s just take a little peek or two at my new sweater project.
Greed Tweed tease

That’s right, my friends, I’ve gots me my first TWEED yarn! I loves it with a deep and abiding passion. It’s a present from M (he’s not allowed to buy other knitters tweed yarn– sorry). It knits up like a dream.
Grey Tweed Pullover back 012708
Tahki Donegal Tweed; color 895

I know orange tweeds are all the rage, but I look like the walking dead in orange. But charcoal with black, white, burgundy, lime and butterscotch flecks–that’s perfect. Must go knit.