Happy Friday!

I'm hopeful for more knitting time at the cottage this weekend than last. This week we have no company and as is always the case, I will have a diligent "helper" in Hudson who is never far away!
I meant to post a link earlier in the week for this Italian Plum Tart on Rosemary Shortbread Crust that I made and we so enjoyed last weekend. The recipe was in the Globe and Mail last Friday so I grabbed it and a wee basket of Ontario prune plums and boy was I glad I did! (btw the Rosemary's influence was undetectable but probably still contributed to the overall flavour - if you try it don't leave it out for fear it will be too strong!)
The crust really is like shortbread so don't try this in a regular pie pan - you need the removable sides of a tart pan to get the thing out for serving.

Tart or no tart, have a great weekend!


Lace Saddle Tee by Lisa Rowe FO

Colour: Powder Blue #1401
Needles: 3mm straights
Start: June 14, 2010 Finish June 24, 2012 (2 Years??! Yup.)
Modifications: Moved all side shaping in from edges to below bust points on front and equivalent distance in from sides on back
Waaaaay back in 2010 when I started on this I was fresh off taking 3 classes on fitting your knits (Robin Hunter at the DKC Winter Workshops, Anne Hansen at Purple Purl and Veronique Avery at the DKC Frolic Workshops.) all within a few months of each other. (Given how many classes were being offered at the same time on this topic it must have been something more than just I wanted to learn about!)

Over the course of the hours and hours of instruction in each of those classes I learned how to...
  • Asses my own shape. Honest, accurate personal measurements are a must!
  • Select knitting patterns that suited my shape. Again, honesty - using existing commercial pieces from my own closet, asses what works and more importantly, what doesn't!
  • Alter and then execute those patterns in a structurally correct way. Math, math math!
So I chose this project hoping to bring all those pieces together in a successful aka wearable, flattering garment and in so doing build new knitting muscles to make me a stronger knitter.
And look what happened! I flexed my knitting muscles - both mental and manual  - and it worked out!

The most significant change I made to this pattern was to move all side shaping in to just below the bust points on the front and then match that treatment on the back. 

See them running up the left side of the sweater front from about 2" above the waist band to the fullest part of the bust area?
The photo above shows the shaping either side of the actual side seam.
Then I decided to try to make a feature of the shaping rather than try to hide them so I consulted with Montse Stanley and came up with a pattern of alternating left and right leaning increases. It reminds me of a little stalk of wheat.

All that took about a week and then it was on to the fun part in this pattern, the saddle shoulders of leafy patterned lace.
I finished the first sleeve sleeve lickity split - completely wrong mind you - but I was clever (I thought at the time) and made it work - resolving to simply match the error on the other side..
At the time, Rue over at Tinks and Frogs who really was clever, told me to get right to that other sleeve before I forgot all the details of how sleeve #1 got done.

Instead of heeding Rue's sage advice I left the sweater in a bag and went and got a poodle puppy that effectively wiped out my knitting time for the next several months during which time I predictably forgot what I did with sleeve one.

After trying repeatedly to sort out what I had done the first time, in the end I knit sleeve two correctly then ripped sleeve one out and did it again - according to the pattern instructions this time and easy peasy, Bob's your uncle, this quick knit was done in two years, almost to the day!

Once done though, boy was I happy with the result.  I wore this knit a lot this summer and every time I pulled it over my head I did a little mental happy dance thinking of the corner I turned with it.

Taking a class to learn something is one thing. Going home, persevering and putting that learning into practice is really the thing that makes me a stronger knitter - This time in terms of getting a better fitting FO.

Buoyed on by my success the next sweater I tackled would be a mass of cables that I planned to fly through. Of course the knitting called me to account. My next challenge would be maintaining flawless tension.  But I'd mastered that years ago...or had I? Details on that sad tale (with the a happy ending!) in the next FO post chez Sel and Poivre.

Thanks for dropping by today!


Transverse Cardigan by Ann Weaver FO

Pattern: Transverse Cardigan by Ann Weaver
Source: Interweave Knits Spring 2010
Yarn: Worsted Remnants and 1 Skein Lion Brand Fisherman Wool
Source: Michael's Craft Store (Lion Brand)
Needles: 6mm
Start: May 20 Finish: June 6, 2012
Modifications: Use of Looser Gauge and Addition of Two Row Stripes

I mixed in some remnant colours of my own and a skein I had on hand of my favourite Lion Brand Fisherman Wool for the base colour (cuffs, collar, hem etc.).

This little shrug-like-cardi-jacket thingy is knit flat in one piece from garter stitch cuff to cuff obviously breaking for the front opening. (The pattern is shown with only one colour being used so my two row striped version is quite a departure. Given the strong linear nature of the piece and the fact many Ann Weaver designs feature striping I thought it a fitting modification to try and I think it worked out quite well.

What fun choosing the next colour, meting out the wee balls for a cohesive look cuff to cuff.
Obviously the sleeve rows are shorter than the body rows so figuring out yarn usage was a great engaging little TV watching puzzle.

As I neared the last couple of long body rows before the second sleeve I was beginning to worry about how far the Fisherman Wool would go - especially given the last bit I would need to knit with that yarn was the second four inch wide garter cuff.
To save brown yarn, I substituted a brownish green from the remnants, setting it between bright, light blue and dark teal stripes that by contrast made the green look quite brown. (Above, see the four stripes either side of the seam and then beyond the blue stripes either side of them?) The way colours work together never ceases to amaze me. I was pleasantly surprised with the result!
An eyelet detail between the garter cuffs, button bands and stockinette body is a clever detail to lighten the  garter sections with a pleasing visual punctuation. I think it works particularly well on my striped version as the 2 stitch scale of the eyelets matches the scale of the stripes 

I find this piece both pleasing and interesting. So graphic and yet also quite playful and fun.

Admittedly the "fun" and pleasing qualities evaporate when I don the thing. I knew the boxy shape of this piece wouldn't suit me but the striped garment suited my need to use the remnants. The size was purposely small hoping it might help if it was shrunken and shrug-like. Knitting at a loose-ish gauge gave me a drapier texture I hoped would work better than something stiff and unyielding.

My ideas worked for the yarn and my need to use it up and even in making a successful garment but not in creating a piece that works for my shape.

All together now..."Ewwwwww!"....
It looks terrible on me but surprisingly it would have fit and suited my mother. Interesting eh?
Just what will become of this knit is as yet uncertain. It's not headed to my closet. Knitting up the yarn and learning the colour and construction lessons this knit provided is good enough for me.  For now it will "reside" here and on Ravelry and in the gift box.

Thanks for dropping by today.  Writing these posts has me revisiting the process of working these knits after Mom passed - its no doubt therapeutic and helpful in someday getting to the fabulous thing called "Closure"!

Tomorrow I'll put up the last long-finished FO from a few months ago and then its finally on to something that only came off the needles last week! 


Eyelet Cowl by Cathy Carron FO

Pattern: #11 Eyelet Cowl by Cathy Carron
Source: Vogue Knitting Holiday 2009
Start:: May 11 Finish: May 27, 2012
Modifications: None

VK's featured photos of this pattern show a marled, tweedy kind of of yarn that adds a lot to the look of the finished piece. The use of this yarn makes for a more understated look.  We'll see how often I  reach for it this autumn/winter.

Its a straightforward eyelet tube in a luscious silk/wool blend yarn.  Drapy and soft on the skin yet with enough body built in through the design to stay up around the neck where it belongs.
Garter stitch borders top and bottom.
 I-cord through one row of eyelets to keep things snug around the neck

"Wimple-ready" too! (Does this pic remind anyone else of the "French Lieutenant's Woman" Movie Poster?)
Bought the yarn, on sale, on spec and its been sitting here for years without a purpose. (what is my problem with having a little yarn stash?) Honestly while I'm happy with the FO, I have to admit I'm thrilled to have the yarn used up.

Thanks for dropping by!


The Story of My December Pullover FO

Once upon a time, 4 years ago to be exact, I tried knitting with bulky yarn for the first time.
It knitted up fast and I wore the sweater a lot.
Maybe I wore it too much because I got tired of it and stopped wearing it. 
One day last November I noticed it was taking up a lot room in the closet so I decided to rip out that old knitting and try something new with the bulky blue yarn. 
I re-skeined the yarn, washed and dried it and soon I was ready to make another big bulky blue sweater.

But my mother was sick. She needed care and there wasn't a lot of time for knitting.
A smart woman named Elizabeth had a pattern in her Almanac for knitting a sweater in December under busy circumstances so I followed her directions and knit my version of her "Hurry Up Last Minute Sweater"

But when it was done the new sweater was too big and boxy and long and old fashioned!

Elizabeth's wishbone yoke, although clever, wasn't very nice to look at. It made the sweater look silly.

Then one day I was looking around on line at the Look Books on Brooklyn Tweed. In the Spring Thaw 2012 edition and I saw Forester - a big, boxy sweater that I liked!

 Forester had a big boxy turtleneck. My sweater just had a collar.

And Forester, being featured in a Brooklyn Tweed Look Book must be in style too!

"That's It"! I thought!" "Ill make my sweater look like Forester and then maybe I'll like my sweater!

 "Rip", "rip", "rip". Off came my collar.

"Knit", "knit", "knit". On went a 3x3 ribbed turtleneck.

"Ahhhhhh" I said.

"I am back in love with my big bulky blue sweater!"

Pattern: Hurry Up Last Minute Sweater by Elizabeth Zimmerman
Source: Knitter's Almanac
Yarn: Garnstudio DROPS Eskimo
Source: Romni Wools
Needles: 10mm circulars of varying lengths for body, collar and sleeves
Start: December 1, 2011 Finish: May 19, 2012
The bottom of the collar drapes over the top of the wishbone, making it look more like normal raglan sweater in front and in the back

I kept the DK contrasting "hem" around the bottom but left it to roll.
I stopped trying to hem the sleeves so they would hang straight like Forester's sleeves or stay pushed up if I wanted them that way.

And (so far) we are living together happily ever after together (or until I change my mind again!)

The End

The end of the Big Blue Sweater story and the end of the week too! Its been a big one chez Sel and Poivre with 6 FO's in 5 posts over 5 days but that's not all folks! Next week I'll have three more sweaters and a cowl to feature and if this rainy weekend at the cottage pans out, maybe even a pair of  mittens! Have a great weekend - thanks for dropping by!


Mom's Cardi FO

Pattern: Made it Up with Mom (with "help" from EZ!)
Yarn: Every Bit of 5 Balls Ella Rae Classic Worsted
Colour: Red Heather #106
Source Passionknit
Needle: 4.5mm Addi Turbo Circular
Start: January 2011 as Mom became ill Finish: May 2012 - 5 months after her passing

This is a most unusual project -a "once in a lifetime" kind of a thing...its foundation being the bottom third of the last needlework project my mom stitched before she died.

I got her started on it January 2011 as her final struggle began. At the time we had no idea what lay ahead.

Mom's project was a bottom up seamless EZ percentage system cardigan. Her only plan beyond selecting the yarn was, using her petite, measurements to plan a boxy shape with false side seams and a hem around the bottom.  Her gauge was tight but consistent she was a slooooow and careful knitter. She loved the Addi Turbo I got her - not for its enabling her to speed up but because it was "so easy on the hands!".

She made good progress for a while, setting it aside for the summer when she was feeling good enough to and get out and enjoy the nice weather. The sweater awaited finishing in fall - or so we all thought. Ignorance really is bliss you know!

Quite unexpectedly in early September she was hospitalized for a couple of weeks. As I sat with her each day during her stay I would get the knitting out of the drawer by her bed and encourage her to work a row or two. By the time she was discharged she was feeling much better although the Addi took a bit of a beating when it the bedside drawer slammed and dented one of its tips. :(

That work the sweater received in the hospital was essentially the last she put into it.  As the weeks went by between then and Christmas when she passed away I would see the WIP sitting in its basket by her chair, recognizing there was little hope she'd finish it, wondering what I'd ultimately do with it.

A few weeks after the funeral I suddenly felt I needed to finish it. But how? The challenges...
  • Mom had yarn and was knitting for herself, a "petite". I would be knitting for myself - NOT a petite and without additional yarn!
  • I had limited yarn with which to work and wanted to finish with the materials we purchased together.
  • Her gauge was 7 sts/inch mine was 5 per inch and I wanted to use the poor hospital dented Addi 
  • I wanted to keep every stitch she knit so I couldn't rip back to a more convenient location to make necessary adjustments for either style or fit

What to do, what to do?

At this point I consulted any number of knitting friends and family.  'So many great ideas! 'So much enthusiasm for solving my little design dilemma. (non knitters universally held one of two positions on the task... throw it out or keep it unfinished in a bag.)

As you'll see below, here's what I did...

At the point to which Mom knit (marked with an arrow - just under the bust), introduced an eyelet panel in which I hid almost 30 stitches worth of necessary increases. As you can see above the band even that wasn't enough and I had to throw in a few more further up!

To save yarn...3/4 sleeves knit in the round and as narrow as possible.
To create a sense of an overall design idea, incorporate the eyelet detail from the panel beneath the bust into the cuffs and at the yoke.

Tie the neck edge and bottom edges together visually by leaving the original hem to function as a rolled edge and cast off the neck edge to match.
At the front no buttons or clasps - not enough wool or flexibility in sizing to make that work so bridged the rolled collar and hem with a rolled garter band down each side of the fronts.
So without capitulating on any self imposed restrictions, I got the thing done and as a bonus I can and will wear it - in fact I already have!  

I'm pleased with how the added design elements enhance the piece and I adore the shaping and detail around the yoke and collar.
You'll see in coming days this wasn't the only "tidying up of loose ends" I did with regards to Mom's knitting basket but its the first project I tackled and definitely the only one in which we were genuine collaborators. We did a good job of it I think!

Next up, another sweater, again a an odd project, also impacted by Mom's illness but this one's all on my own and has positive ease to spare! 'Hope to see you then...thanks for dropping by today!


Tweed Beret & Handwarmers FO's

Size 9.5
Yarn: 150-160 yds Jo Sharp Aran Tweed Remnants
Colour: 148 Gypsy (Discontinued)
Start: February 20 Finish: February 8, 2012
Modifications: None

Quick, fun, made with remnant yarn yielding a fabulous end product.

A basic tam with a felted appearance, well suited, I think, to this type of hat. (Good eye Brenda!) Yet felted its not. In fact, I think it outperforms Rowan Felted Tweed in looking felted without actually being so. It also feels flat, soft and, well, felted!
As gravity and I continue the ineveitable "argument" of aging its nice to wear things like this that infer a vertical lift rather than a downward droop. The dense quality of the fabric of this hat and understated size mean it doesn't offer a "slouchy" (aka "droopy) profile and the little i-cord doo-hickey on the top reinforces that idea of perky (aka youthful) verticality. Too adorable!

With the hat done yet more remnants to be used I worked a pair of matching hand warmers...
  • Gusset thumb - comfort and flexibility.
  • Eyelet & ribbed border followed by decreases flares the cuff to prevent itchy wrists.
  • Ribbing along the top edges means no gaping or rolling.
I wore these pieces a lot last spring and as the weather turns here this week, I can see more mileage coming up in the cooler weeks to come.

Tomorrow's post will feature a very unique Sweater FO! 'See you then I hope! Thanks for dropping by today!


Wisp Scarf FO

Colour: #19 (Discontinued)
Size: Smaller version (17 repeats of pattern until yarn ran out)
Needle: 5mm Bamboo Circular
Start: January 15 Finish: February 5, 2012
Modifcations: Omitted Button Holes and Buttons

I don't remember knitting this scarf. I remember after casting on, taking it to a craft group meeting where there's a good chance I just sat there with it in my hands while I talked and never knit a stitch That's about it for memories on this one beyond remembering vividly the first time I saw the pattern on Knitty I utterly hated it based on the modeled photos with the pattern.

I don't know how I came around to deciding to knit it but I was pleasantly surprised to find it in the pile of un-posted FO's the other day. 'Feels more like a gift than something I made

Ravelry tells me I started this a couple of weeks after Mom's funeral so I must have found it a soothing, mindless thing to work on. As the above photo shows it has an easy self-evident pattern repeat and the light majority-mohair yarn has good body to it with a surprisingly soft feel. The photo above says it all.

  • A nice "gift" from me to me! I like it.
  • I like the colour - evocative of spring to which the size of the scarf is well suited.
  • It seems to have blocked out quite nicely.
  • The single ball of yarn was from a DKC yarn giveaway so the price was right! That also explains why there's no reference for this colourway on line. Its discontinued.
  • I've never worn this scarf except to take pictures of it the other day but I bet it'll be surprisingly warm and I'll get lots  of springtime wear out of it!

Okay enough of this disturbingly recall-free post! Tomorrow 2012 FO's #3&4 - a couple of go-together knits I do remember making.

'Hope to "see" you then! Thanks for dropping by!


Purl Soho Cowl FO

Pattern: Bandana Cowl
Source: Purl Soho Blog
Yarn: 1 Skein Malabrigo Twist
Colour: Zinc lot 543
Source: Passionknit
Needle: 5.5mm circular
Start: December 5 Finish: December 11, 2011
Modifications: None

This knit's short row-induced structure yields a magical piece of neck wear - cozy but not bulky, staying put as effortlessly as the pattern notes promise.
I think the dingy lavender of this yarn well suited to the "cool" Soho aesthetic for which the pattern's named.

I gave this piece to my "coolest" friend ever. In my mind's eye she's always wearing a scarf.  After giving her the thing and re-checking online photos I see its long scarves she wears. Not cowls.

Oh well, "if the horse has bolted its too late the close the barn doors". Its been gifted and importantly I know she appreciated the gesture. I might make another one for someone who would wear and enjoy one - Me!

Bottom line; not so great matching of recipient with knit but great pattern and very satisfactory FO.

Tomorrow more catching up the blog with my knitting. 'Onward to a knit from last January/ February.

Thanks for dropping by!