One "Doodle" Done!

I finished the "Kid's Kerchief" Doodle last night.

The kerchief itself is 14" across the widest point,. I used about 70 m or .9oz of worsted cotton  (Lana Grossa New Cotton Print for the Main Colour (MC) The yarn was discontinued last year - maybe I should refer to it as "Old" cotton print ;)  - I found it in the bargain basement at Romni)

The ties are each 14" long and knit in Mirasol Tika Pima Cotton remnants from these - so cute, I should make more!

With 5.5 sts/in on a 4mm needle, I "doodled" like this...

In MC using a provisional cast on (I used crochet) CO 76
Rows 1-3 Knit (garter stitch)
Row 4 (RS) K2, *yo twice, k2tog* Repeat from * to* until last two sts, K2
Row 5 (WS) Knit
Row 6 skpsso, Knit to last 2 sts, k2tog
Row 7 Knit
Repeat these last two rows, decreasing each end every right side and knitting every wrong side until 2 sts remain
Last row k2tog, BO 1.

CO 70 (button hole cast on), transfer 76 live stitches from provisional cast on to needle, CO 70 (216 sts)
Row 1 Knit
Row 2 BO all sts

How about those colours?  I grabbed the remnant orange cotton to do the provisional cast on just to use it up but as I tried the thing on various people over the weekend and my daughter and son commented it seemed every person spontaneously offered that they liked the deep orange with the light and summery blue and white. It wouldn't be my first choice to be honest but then colour combinations, especially the edgy kind, are not my area.

My budget is tight for class materials so I'm pleased I managed to make the kerchief out of half of a ball of the Lana Grossa which I got on sale for $7.20 so if I donate the cotton for the ties (orange or I also have golden yellow you see above) the material cost for this project will be $3.60 plus tax. Not bad!

Both these cotton yarns are kind of woven rather than just held with a twist. I hope this will minimize any issues with splitting.We'll see how the kids find working with cotton after their exclusive experience to date with worsted wool.

Well now that everything has been recorded for posterity, its time to frog my little test knit and re roll the yarn into balls. I can't spare extra yarn for me to work with!

Thanks for dropping by today!


Just "Making Stuff Up"

I recently read a blog post about a designer's struggle with paper, pencil and computer to express a knitwear idea through to the chart stage. As I read I felt weighed down by the seriousness of her task, struck by the absence of needles and yarn in her process.

By contrast at the "Canary Knits" blog it seems her needles are conduits out of which pour pattern after young, fresh, flattering, quickly knit and wonderful to wear pattern. Visiting there feels liberating and fun.

In her most recent post the prolific Annie Modesitt calls playing around with her tools and materials "Doodling" and says many great designs and ideas come from her doodling time. When people ask her what she is "making" when they see her doodling away she says she is "making" herself happy.

Like Annie and the "Canary" the kids in my knitting class also jump in and start, in their words "making stuff up". No pressure, just open minded confidence and enjoyment with genuine anticipation at what will result.

My mind works like the first designer - methodical, careful, cerebral but my knitting and I would benefit from a CanaryAnnieKid approach.

I did a bit of it with my Olympic Sweater last month and over the weekend tried to do more doodling on a project for The Class to work on later this session.
Its prompting me to try out some new ways to cast on and to think about functionality beyond fit with yarn I would never have picked for myself and with colours I would not usually put together.

I would not be considering these things if limiting my knitting to the pattern supported projects in my queue. I have no interest in designing. Too serious, too much like a job to apply to a beloved hobby.  It seems I do have an interest in making stuff up. Fun and stimulating and appropriate to have in my leisure time activity of choice. Its an interesting and liberating distinction I tried to keep at the forefront of my mind as I clicked away during the evenings this past weekend.

I am going to work on keeping that approach in my mind in the week ahead. In fact I added a Doodling list among the sidebar elements to remind me that with or without the need to Doodle for The Class, I am going to try to keep some Doodling in my knitting basket all the time.

Thanks for dropping by today! Happy Monday!


Elizabeth Made Me Do It!

Right after I checked "update blog" off my list, Elizabeth asked in the comments whether I had seen the new Blogger tools for customizing the look of a Blogger blog.  Later that day into my gmail box arrived a link to that very same tools homepage called Blogger Template Designer.  How could I resist?

The format you see here today represents about 15 minutes or half a Saturday morning cup of coffee's worth of tinkering. There are a million possibilities - if you're a Blogger blogger you should check it out!

Then, after email correspondence with Laurie in which I said I might try to exhaust my wee stash before buying more yarn, the very next day I went out and bought more yarn!

In further evidence of how open I must be to suggestion at the moment I'm noting that the colour scheme I customized for this new Springtime look on the blog seems to perfectly match the yarn I bought yesterday. 'Makes me wonder what's going to trigger me next, which direction will it take me and with what?


Spring Cleaning the Blog

One of my 2010 goals for Sel and Poivre was to sort out my sidebar elements. I've been picking away at them over the past few weeks while they stayed down below the live area to keep their messiness out of sight.

Its been fun testing out the gadgets and tools that are new since the last time I tried this many, many months ago now. Probably most people are familiar with such things but they were new to me so I  thought I might blather on about them a bit...

Google Search
I finally added a Google search bar and put it right at the top. It should be helpful when in an LYS I need to reference a yarn or pattern or source I've used in the past.  (I guess you could use it that way too if you've seen something you like here and are out shopping!) I could do the same thing on Ravelry but my blog goes further back than my Ravelry projects page does. Eventually I may add the early '08 FO's to Ravelry so everything matches. I've found having complete records of my knitting details on line to be very useful.

I put up a "Followers" box. If you click on any one of them you can check out their blogs (for those followers who have them). Some others seem to have information pages that list even more blogs!

Blog List
I put my own up again after removing it quite a while ago because I was too lazy to keep it current. But I appreciate using the bloglists on other people's blogs and so figured I should at least make that an option on mine. I visit a few more than listed but I didn't add blogs that only post occasionally. I opted for the list to appear in order of who has posted most recently so it should be fun to watch that change.

Another reason I wanted to put it back up is I know the effort posting takes and figured if I'm enjoying someone's regular posts I should not only comment but also link to their blog on mine. I feel better having now taken care of that. (Kind of like putting a thank you note in the mailbox!)

FO Links
I still have a few to add to the FO's from the first few months of '08 but all the FO's since that time now are linked to their original FO post.

What I'm Working On
'Time to get real with this one. If I'm really only working on one then that's all I'm putting up there. Hibernating projects all got the boot and will not be included hence forth.

A Cloud of Labels
The "Labels" list is now formatted as a "cloud" rather than a list. (its waaaaaay down near the bottom of the sidebar.) I've seen that sort of thing elsewhere but I never understood why some words were bigger than others until I saw mine and realized their size relates to the number of posts each word represents. Neat!

So all in all, it wasn't that bad to revisit the details around here. I'll be happier when its all completed but then what isn't like that anyway?

Thanks for dropping by today!
...Oh and thanks to Laurie for her comment on yesterday's post about Number One Son's surfboard looking like Rice Crispy Squares, I had been trying to think of just what it looked like and she nailed it on the head for me while also giving me the inspiration to whip up a pan of them for the after school onslaught!



Lot's 'o stuff...

The Class...

Today is the first class of the second session.  5 of my original 9 students are returning to take it up a notch from their simple garter stitch, self designed projects into the world of stockinette and patterns. In preparation for this I've been swatching and doodling and surfing around on line costing out needles and yarn. I will also have a new student who doesn't know how to knit so that adds another level of complexity. I have $15.00 per student for supplies and each child will need new needles. It isn't much to work with.
So the first project will take advantage of the remaining yarn from the first session which is largely red and pinks. I've designed a heart sachet project that will be all shaping all the time, a bit of assembly, decorating with embroidery and then felting. After the felting we'll block them to shape. 'Amazing how many techniques you can work into one small project!
I incorporated a little cleavage into my heart - it will add some dimension and minimize any other puckering they end up with as they kitchener around all those curves.

I'm planning three weeks for this with everyone working together through class - maybe into the fourth.  Beyond that, I'm not sure where we'll head.,

 Working with cotton might be interesting - it'll really show up the quality of their tension and fresh from a felting project, highlight just how sticky wool can be compared to another type of fiber.

Future projects...
I mentioned in Monday's post I'd spread out my stash to see what was there. I've got yarn for...

4 pairs socks
A white mohair wrap
several cotton bags

I also have a quantity of worsted. My colour work ambitions feel like they're heading towards finer gauge so I'm thinking about using up the worsted but in combinations that don't remind me of their origins in other FO's.  so I started by grouping things by colour. Yellow....makes me think about a small afghan like Lion Brand Artful Elegance.
And this grouping makes me think of a steeked cardigan...
This bunch is saying yoke neck pullover...
The exercise has me thinking it might be fun to put off new yarn purchases until all of it is gone. Its a nice variety of projects and yarns. It could keep me amused for months!

Sweater WIP...

And speaking of amusing - the Minimalist Cardigan isn't.

Knitting Continental is unpleasant because unlike my English technique its not automatic. It is getting faster though and my tension is improving in terms of consistency. I've completed the back and one side of the front and I'm a couple of inches into the second front section.
I worked at spring cleaning bedrooms and laundering bedding yesterday - flipping and vacuuming mattresses, wiping down walls, woodwork and furniture and cleaning out the closets and dressers. (Other than me, everyone in the family is very allergic to dust - for two of them it triggers asthma for the other it prompts violent and unrelenting sneezes so this kind of cleaning a couple of times a year is really important and I'm the only one who can do it while still breathing.) I used my left hand as much as possible and taking about 4 breaks through the day to ice my elbow. I did knit, wearing my brace for a couple of hours in the evening. In the end I slept better last night than I have in several nights previous. What a relief!

My projects aren't the only ones in the hopper around here though.  Number One Son, like his mother, always needs a project and his current one is to build a wake surf board...
Its a reinforced plywood base, with the top now covered in four cans of foam insulation. The wood was curved at both ends by hauling pot after pot of boiling water out to the driveway to douse and soften the board then suspended at either end and weighted down in the middle. (All this prior to applying the foam of course.) The shot below kind of shows the curve along the lower edge. He shaved and sanded the foam covered surface down smooth and plans to add fins to the bottom and then fiberglass the whole thing.
His clean up of the garage even met with his father's approval which is hard to believe given the mess he made!

So that's what's up around here!

Thanks for dropping by!


'Talk about a Nightmare!

4:00 a.m. today found me awake for the second night in a row with burning pain in my right elbow.  Pain woke me but what kept me awake was the thought of what might be causing this issue to persist. (Its 4 months now since I developed this latest case of "tennis" elbow (my 2nd) cleaning around and atop my oven last December. (Is there really anything more glamorous than the life of a full time homemaker?)

Anyway, what if knitting is preventing this thing from clearing up? What if knitting is making it persist? What if I have to stop knitting for a while? What if I can't garden either? What if I have to save whatever capacity I have in that arm for scrubbing and mopping and polishing and window washing just ahead in Spring Cleaning (oh yeah, all glamor, all the time!)? And I can't just leave it until I'm feeling better because as soon as its done here, I'll need to do it again when we open the cottage in a month or so. And...


I cannot entertain the possibility. So once awake in the light of day, with my little family back to their regularly scheduled programming I decided before I indulge in full blown panic, I need to get back to basics myself. Our March Break staycation was a nice departure from the regular routine but maybe enough is enough and my body - specifically my elbow is just trying to tell me that.

In that spirit I have today already done my walk, eaten properly, had several large glasses of water, iced the elbow and now have my brace on it. I am trying to use my left arm as much as possible and thereby resting the right.

I have also opened up all my cases of yarn and arrayed them around the Laundry Room to allow for needle free knit-related daydreaming and scheming. (Mental attitude is also important!)

My hope is with better overall attention to my health and wellbeing and particular care with my right arm I'll allow the thing to heal or be less inflamed or whatever it has to do to stop hurting!

The second nightmare, at least if you ask my little family is that "there is nothing to eat in this house" and you know what, I pretty much have to agree with them. The kitchen and pantry look like they've suffered the human equivalent of a plague of locusts. (Another thing I took a "holiday" from last week was grocery shopping!)

So to keep my 15 year old boy from having nightmares tonight about starving I'd better see to that too!

Thanks for dropping by today! Happy third day of SPRING!


Eye Candy Friday

A springtime knit  from a few years ago - the wonderful weather we are enjoying here in Toronto today reminded me of this little cotton sweater I made for my husband's grand niece.

Have a great weekend!


'Tis the Season!

I like referencing the season outside with what's going on inside the house , trying to coincide seasonal shifts in decor and menu around the Daylight Savings Time change.

So its fitting the knitting I'm currently engrossed in is sunny yellow and all over seed stitch!

My continental technique, which I'm sticking to for this project is starting to feel less spastic. I'm able to execute it while starting to focus on relaxing my wrists and arms which I find is critical to avoiding soreness from overuse. Right now I'm suffering from tennis elbow on my right side so I'm trying to be very sensitive to only knitting until my body says enough. I find knitting with the weight of my arms hanging as straight down from my shoulders as possible while keeping the effort of my hands to a kind of swinging back and forth motion to be the best.
Also taxing on the sore arm, but at this point no less compelling, is the garden. This morning I did some rudimentary raking of the deadfall scattered about the lawn and cut down some of the dead perrennial stalks I leave up over the winter to protect the crowns of the plants while providing interest in the snowy winter garden.

I left the Pea Tee Pees (try saying that three times fast!) in the ground last fall so as to be ready for the earliest possible start to pea season this spring. Tomorrow I'm hoping the soil might be ready to accept my first planting.

Tonight my mother's coming over to watch the Rick Mercer Report with us (the kid's were at the taping last week) I'm thinking baked ham, hot mustard, scalloped potatoes with thyme and garlic, creamed corn, spring greens salad, stewed rhubarb (the last in the freezer from spring '09) and coconut macaroons. Yes, generally speaking I do like to start making dinner by preparing dessert!

Yep, I'm feeling very "Springy" all around...dinner included!
Thanks for dropping by today!


(Not Quite Finished During the) 2010 Olympics Sweater (2 weeks late) FO

Just to get it out of the way right off the top - as I type this, the kids are downstairs watching the Opening Ceremonies for the 2010 Paralympic Games. Clearly I was not "successful" in completing the entirety of this project within the span of the regular Olympics. With that admission out of the way...
Pattern: Mock Ribbed Cowl
Colour: Light Grey and Dark Grey
Needles: 5.0 mm Aero straights, 4.5mm circular
Start: February 13 Finish: March 13, 2010
Modifications: Changed Gauge/all Stitch/row counts to suit yarn and reshaped sleeves for more narrow fit. (See Detail Below) 
(I was interested to note the weight of this knit at 2.5lbs. yet its similar in size to my Big Cabled Pullover in super chunky and my Bonbon Pullover in worsted wool that are but 1.8 and 1.3 lbs respectively. Something I'll remember about alpaca vs wool in future!)

I chose this pattern to use, to its best advantage, 1000 yards of alpaca I won at the DKC last autumn. I also wanted to use as close to all of it as possible on one project since additional quantities wouldn't be available in the matching dyelot. I added two skeins of the same yarn in a contrasting colour for a total of 1200 yards and I'm left with this...
And that quantity reflects a policy of working every ball to the bitter end  - even midway across the rows in order to save every inch of yarn ( a bit of channelling EZ!)...
Am I ever pleased at my decision to make the back more narrow than the front. It isn't a noticeable difference and I would have run out of yarn had I tried to make it as wide as I needed the front to be.
I wanted a sweater that would be neither skin tight nor as voluminous as that pictured in the magazine. I didn't think I had enough yarn for the latter of these two options and I didn't think either alternative would look well given the attributes of my figure. I got a finished knit with one inch of positive ease through the bust. Excellent!
The stretchiness of knitted Alpaca forced me to knit two inches "north" of where I ultimately wanted the bottom of the sweater and sleeves to rest. (I quantified this stretch factor using the completed back panel) I wore the sweater for several hours shopping this morning and it did "grow" right down to the point I had aimed for just below my hip bones. So I'm pretty happy with that!

I used a 3 needle bind off at the shoulders to prevent the weight of the sleeves dragging the shoulder seams down. This seems to be working, along with other attributes I built into the sleeves to address this same issue.
They're knit with the smallest bit of negative ease between cuff and elbow to provide some support for the weight of the sleeve.
I also decided to go with the thumb holes in the extra long sleeve cuffs. I had initially thought them impractical but then realized this knit isn't one I'll likely be wearing around the house where partially covered hands would be a pain.

With the holes they work as hand warmers on these still cool days outside and are also good for holding everything in place to again minimize the kind of stretching to which all knitted sleeves are prone.
As for overall fit, I wanted it loose enough to be cozy while not looking sloppy. (Some women can do the sloppy look really well and it makes them look adorable. On me sloppy just looks like a mess.) In the end the mock ribbed fabric hangs nicely with about an inch of positive ease. 'Just what I was hoping for!
So other than timing, this knit worked out as planned (or more accurately, my guessing seems to have been close to the mark!) Nonetheless I'm not going to toss patterns aside in favour of doing my own thing from now on. I like working sweater patterns designed with thoughtful detail by people who know what they're doing. Its like sight reading music or diving into a great novel about which you know nothing but its due date back at the library.  The process of working through it reveals all kinds of cleverness and insight that feels like a mini "vacation" from having to think things through on my own and often with delightful results. I enjoy that aspect of knitting too much to sideline it.

I will go forward with greater confidence about refining patterns to better fit or suit me. I will also be a bit less worried about diving onto a pile of great yarn and trying to wrangle something wearable out of it.

As the season of leaving coats at home to venture out in sweaters and light jackets begins here in Toronto I will get more wear out of this very warm, very soft and pretty successful sweater project in the coming weeks. (However long it took me to get it done!)

Thanks for dropping by!


Oh DARN it!

I wore them constantly all winter! I couldn't help myself! They're cozy and soft underfoot, I love the way they look in that fabulous Manos and I wore them right through!

So I darned them and had a great evening last night wearing my (now repaired) slippers again. (if you're interested, the original FO details on these is in my post here)
My (Didn't get it done during the) Olympic Sweater is nearing the finish line. I worked out shaping for the neckline using only math just to see if I could do it and I'm shocked it all came together!

Since My Beloved came home early last evening we were able to eat by 7:00 leaving me lots of time to work on the big cowl collar...
I'm half way up its 10" height and about to start into the last ball of yarn. Finally I know I accurately judged how far the yarn would go. So no need to say "Darn It!" about that! 'More like "Phew!"

Thanks for dropping by!


Beautiful Blog Award

Elizabeth kindly nominated me!

Like Elizabeth I'm going to post my nominees here but leave it to them as to how they want to participate themselves.

First a bit of relevant background.

A few months ago - I decided to only read blogs I manually visited via Google. In other words, the ones I could remember off hand. From a list of 25 or so blogs I thought I was engaged in reading I was shocked at how few I remembered to check out each day. Brenda, Cheryl, Julia, Sandra and Stephanie's blogs were the ones I went to and that was about it.

It was easy to purge my favourites list after that but it necessitated building a new one. I've been working at doing that ever since and it seems fitting for the purposes of this award to list, in no particular order, 7 of the gems I've discovered along the way in that search.
  1. Shades of Grey  - One of my "neighbours" on Ravelry, Lyn's blog is a thoughtful and refreshing little trip "down under" to Sydney Australia but she's also just been to and blogged about a vacation in Paris!
  2. Tinks and Frogs - I believe I found while Googling knitting terms. Rue's blog is a recent addition to my list but its been nothing but inspiration so far with spinning, knitting and now weaving too!
  3. Laine de Bergere - was an early find discovered while searching for knit blogs from la belle Province Quebec. Aline is ever positive and engaging and last spring she opened an LYS!
  4. Made by Myself - (Mari Muinonen of Silvi fame (among many other wonderful designs) maintains a regular non-designer blog. The English translations of her posts often bring a smile and there is something about that light in the far north that comes through in her photos - I love it!)
  5. A Black Pepper  - (another designer who also manages to keep up a blog about her FO's - I love how she pairs up multiple handknits in one outfit!)
  6. More with Les - What a clever title since the blogger's name is Leslie but more than that she posts about her knitting and her issues with it as well as detailed FO posts and related knitting topics like book reviews.
  7. med 2 pinde - (Translation: "With 2 Needles") I got to this one via Lyn's reading list. Its another one that isn't in English but just the pictures, the light and her creations are worth an occasional visit. I love the softness of her colour combinations.  Its from her blog I was inspired to make my fingerless mitts and my garter cowl.
    And finally seven things about me...
    1. I hum almost constantly. I don't notice I'm doing it but family and anyone who has done work for us around the house like contractors or plumbers or furnace repair men tell me its incessant.(Today I'm humming "Don't Worry Be Happy" a la Bobby McFerrin I don't know why, that just seems to be the tune for today.)
    2. I like big dogs.
    3. I don't carry a cell phone. I used to but I stopped. I don't miss it.
    4. I have never seen the movie Titanic.
    5. I laugh a lot.
    6. I enjoy ironing.
    7. I'll happily say I "won't" do a thing but I rarely say I "can't". (translation: I'm stubborn!)
    Well thank you Elizabeth for the nomination and thank you for dropping by!


      Did The Academy take a Smart Pill?

      I found last night's Oscars entertaining!  I even got the impression Hollywood has smart, thoughtful, witty people in it!

      • Very few endless lists of faceless anonymous coworkers thanked and rethanked.
      • Best Actor and Actress nominees profiled by costars/friends rather than with clips of nominated rolls. (Most people have already seen the movies haven't they? (The only movie I've seen is "Up" but my kids tell me that's weird.)
      • The thoughtful "Hurt Locker" movie winning Best Picture over the blockbuster Avatar.
      • An independent film (Precious) being acknowledged with nominations and awards.
      This show, that revolves around people who entertain for a living, seems to have this year been put on so as to be entertaining!

      But I admit as I "watched" I was also very focused on knitting.  The weight of the great sheets of mock ribbed Alpaca is tiring to work as the yarn goes from front to back to front to back. If at one time I thought about knitting this in the round to the underarms I'm now so glad I didn't. I don't think I could have managed turning the total weight of the thing to work on it. As it is my right elbow and left hand are both quite sore after even a couple of hours of knitting on it.  (In the evenings I can easily put in 5 hours or so and over the weekend I put in more than that!) This morning my shoulders are tight and my upper back loaded with painful knots.
      But I'm ready to do the three needle bind off for the right shoulder and begin knitting the cowl collar.

      The collar measures 10" x102 stitches(knit flat and then seamed. By comparison the lower edge of either the front or back is only about 90 stitches. The collar done on a smaller needle than the body will make its finished measurement more narrow but still its going to use a significant portion of the last ball of yarn while putting even more strain on my overworked knitting muscles/tendons.
      I ended up knitting the front panel  2" wider than the back up to the armhole shaping. There I integrated additional decreases to make front and back match at the shoulder.
       (The ribbed pattern can't accommodate shaping mid row so out at the edges it must be. I don't know how this is going to look once assembled but that mystery is all part of the process of this project so I'll have to wait and see.

      To make altering patterns like this  less of a crap shoot in future I'm drawn to taking Veronique Avery's class on Custom Fitting Knitting Patterns being offered at the DKC Frolic next month. Robin Hunter is teaching a class earlier that day on how to know which patterns to choose and how to alter them to best suit your figure which would also be timely and useful.

      Veronique's class is for Advanced Knitters. I don't know if I can claim membership in that level just yet but I do have a lot of background in sewing which might help bridge any gaps in understanding I might have. Robin's class is for all levels - I guess all you need for that one is a body to assess and I do have one of those so I should be okay there. ;)

      And speaking of bodies - I'm off now to drag this aching package of mine on my walk before it gets too warm outside!?! (I'll enjoy it while it lasts, there's a good chance by week's end we'll be once again looking at measurable accumulations of snow) Maybe a good work out and a solid session of stretching will ease my aches before tonights' collar knitting. Here's hoping!

      Thanks for dropping by!


      Who Cares About the Calendar?

      Check out the time on the clock...(that's 5:30 p.m.!)
      Check out the light still outside! Violet there has obviously been aware for some time now of what the calendar frankly always misses at this time of year...I don't care what the official start date is or whether there still is snow on the ground around here...the arrival of spring is well underway!

      I hope you're having a great (early springtime) weekend...I am!


      What a Surprise...I Don't Love Yarnl?!?

      Last week I was on my own, close to Romni Wools with an hour to kill. It was in the middle of a very long, very cold day of back to back to back appointments downtown. I had a miserable cold and all I wanted to do was get a hot mug of tea and sit and knit.  Unfortunately I had left my knitting at home so I tried the next best thing at my disposal, go to Romni and revel among the yarn for a while. (FYI if you've never been there - Romni is huge and crammed with beautiful yarn!)

      Not only had I no knitting with me, I was also without my knitting notebook with my list of yarns to research. I didn't even have a knitting magazine to provide creative fodder. I always have one if not all those things with me when I visit a yarn store so I felt a bit adrift as I wandered through the stacks and rows and walls of shelves groaning with yarn. ( But then I realized just the yarn alone wasn't enough for me. I was sulky because I wanted my wool and my projects already in progress and in queue.

      Then suddenly I realized..."this means...I don't love yarn?!? Not for its own sake, divorced from project or plans. I find yarn interesting but that's it. The rejenerative and curative and comforting and inspiring properties I have always believed it to have for me are contingent upon being connected to my plans for it and activities with it.

      I tried to put it out of my mind, 'tried harder to find the yarn I was surrounded by to be compelling. But the feeling wouldn't go away. I knew I'd just stumbled on to a true and accurate realization about myself.

      I left the store feeling like I'd lost something I'd cherished for a very long time.

      Many hours and two business functions later that evening I settled in to watch the Olympics with my own yarn to work on my own project and I felt that magical feeling of "ahhhhhh this makes me feel better! This makes me feel good!". The way I thought I'd feel at Romni just being near the yarn. So the magic isn't gone ... it was never really there in the first place!

      For me, it isn't in the ball or skein. The magic is in what I can do with it. For me,the magic isn't in "Yarn", the magic is in My Yarn or what is about to be my yarn when I'm shopping in a yarn store!

      '"Mystery" solved as to why I don't seem to enjoy having a stash!


      Tangled Yoke FO!!!!!

      Wow! That title was a blast to type! (a mere 13 months since I cast on and just like that its done!)

      Before I get into the meat of the matter here today let me say this is an awesome pattern and my "issues" were just that - all mine. For my level of knitting I needed full concentration to correctly follow the chart and accompanying directions. I repeatedly tried to work on this without such focus and so made mistakes that took time to correct.

      Eunny. Rules! Just look...

      Pattern: Tangled Yoke Cardigan by Eunny Jang
      Source: Interweave Knits Magazine Fall 2007 (Eunny's first as Editor - the one that completely sold out!)
      Yarn: Rowan Felted Tweed
      Colour: Clover
      Needles: Addi Turbo 3.75mm circular, 3.5 mm dpns, 2mm circular 
      Start: January 29, 2009 Finish: February 28, 2010
      Modifications: None

      Its a brilliant use of the "Felted" Tweed as the flat, smooth texture of the yarn in stockinette beautifully sets off the detail in the fabulous yoke.

      The infinite line stockinette cables don't rise from a garter stitch or otherwise contrasting background yet they sit tall and pop, highlighted by their origins in the bobbles flanking the button bands. The "instant creation" and  ultimate "destruction" of stitches within the chart using 5in1 increases and decreases feels so radical yet the finished product really belies their existence at all.

      Then the halo of the Alpaca content really sings out at the yoke further highlighting it and distinguishing it from the surrounding plain of stockinette.

      The dressmaker details, in this pattern that's free from errata are added with clever stitching and thoughtful construction...

      Faux side seams break up the expanse of stockinette between the extended garter rib and the yoke while  carrying the eye up from the accent of the paired decreases at the waist.
      By continuing down the sleeves the faux seams unify the strong horizontal elements of the linear ribbing with the serpentine cables above.
      Short row shaping at the back above the yoke and a turned over collar fastened with three needle bind off... 
      yields a neckline that feels stable and strong enough to resist drooping at the shoulders. It also lies beautifully about the base of the neck with no gaping.
      The sleeves are the perfect length and the fabric feels so light, I doubt stretching will be an issue...
      I knit to gauge and wanted to see what gauge gave me without messing with it so I blocked to have the stockinette look uniform and to ease out puckering around the cables without regard for the pattern-specified measurements. 
      The yoke sits where it should, just as it should. No pulling, no drooping.
      I used pearly white buttons sewn on with baby blue thread in an attempt to highlight the white and blue flecks in the tweed. (I had the buttons on hand - long ago "harvested" from a shirt My Beloved relegated to the rag pile. I love reusing stuff like that!!!) 

      I don't love having a lot of yarn left over at the end of a project and that's just what I do have with this one - almost three balls! At least, having bought the yarn at Romni where they will take yarn back any time with receipt I can off load the two complete balls and put the money towards something else in the future.

      Finally, getting back to the time it took to get this done.  In the first three weeks I knit the body (in one piece) and both sleeves (in the round) to the point of joining and then doing the set up row for the cable. With proper concentration the 18 measly rows in the yoke should have taken a weekend. After the yoke, I probably put in three or four evenings on the collar and button band facings complete with 9 button holes.  With almost no ends to sew in, "assembly" is putting on the buttons and grafting the underarms.

      In other words I should have been able to have this done in a little over a month.

      So if you've been following along as I've whined about this I don't want to leave you with an impression that this pattern is to be avoided. I am so glad I made it, (honestly also glad I waited to try it until I felt confident enough to do it).

      I'm thrilled to be able to wear it but today, really more thrilled that it's moved from the knitting basket to the closet. Its about time Marie, its about time!

      And thanks for dropping by TODAY! Its so fun to be able to share this with you - your support and helpful hints have been invaluable along the way!