September 22, 2009

Knitting Pure & Simple :: Summer Cardigan

Knitting Pure & Simple Summer Cardigan #221
[Ravelry] for more details

My blogging has been infrequent since I've been focused on knitting productivity. I've been trying to discipline myself to stick with one project until I've completed it (not so easy when I'm addicted to starting new things). If you're on Flickr, you'll see that I've shared more in-progress photos over there, but there's only so much you can blog about a plain vanilla sweater. I used to own a cozy 100% cotton roll neck sweater that I bought at J. Crew in the early 90's. I loved that sweater and this summer cardi was inspired by it - it's the same color and nearly the same texture. And since shifting my focus to knitting (and crocheting) things I can wear, I've possibly solved my wardrobe deficit. Perhaps I can get away with just purchasing new shoes and new jeans -- and making the Fall sweaters and tops myself. For upcoming knits, I'm sticking with a palette of dark neutrals and have already chosen yarn and patterns. My Ravelry queue is up-to-date if you'd like to check it out.

Knitting Pure & Simple Cardigan with buttons
Remember the buttons?

I was delighted with this basic little cardigan. I'll definitely wear it, but it's purpose is also to serve as a template for future sweaters. This one's a little short and has no shaping whatsoever, but I can attempt that the next time I knit this pattern and make my own improvements.

August 07, 2009

100% Cashmere Scarf

Jade Sapphire Keja 100% Mongolian Cashmere

Finished. It's a smallish scarf, but with plenty of knitted fabric surface to keep a chilly neck quite warm. It's outrageously soft and I hope it's well received this winter. The yarn is Jade Sapphire Keja (100% Mongolian cashmere). I don't think that it's a yarn that they carry any longer, but Jade Sapphire now offers cashmere scarf kits -- one for a men's scarf and one for a woman's scarf. The shop got several Cashmere Scarf for Him kits yesterday along with a knitted sample and it's even softer than the one I knit. Several yarn shops now carry the kits, so I hope you get to fondle one in person!

I've made a lot of progress on the summer cardigan I started a couple of weeks ago and since it's such a plain vanilla color and pattern, I'll probably share just one in-progress photo:

Knitting Pure and Simple #221 - Summer Cardigan

You can probably see a little bit of the rowing-out issue that I blogged about several days ago. Most of it is likely to disappear during washing and blocking, and it's slight enough that I won't be disappointed if it doesn't. The bigger disappointment is likely to be that it's going to be too small for me to wear buttoned. (Not a gauge issue, but an issue of my not taking my own measurements before deciding which size to knit). Because I was planning to wear this over a tank or cami anyway, I don't think it will be a problem. However, this project has reaffirmed my love for the classic Addi Turbo circular needles. I love the Addi's blunt tips and the slick needles. Knit Picks' nickel-plated needles are too pointy for me and the Addi Lace needle's brass finish rubs off in my hands. So I'm giving some serious thought now to an Addi Interchangeable Kit. I've learned that needle comfort can make or break my satisfaction with a project -- and for knitting a lot of stockinette, nothing beats the Addi Turbo for me. Your mileage may vary, but I would happily part with my Denise needle set in favor of the Addi Interchangeables.

Lately, something surprising happens when I'm knitting -- I daydream about crocheting. And vice versa; when I'm doing one, I can't wait till I get to do the other! I'm more focused on my knitting now because I want to finish it in order to crochet something. And I still think about knitting socks all the time. I need a sock on the needles to pick up when I want to work on something small and focused -- and I don't have any I'm working on right now, so I need to remedy that. I have plenty of sock yarn stashed and all I need to do is dive deep in my sock yarn basket and pull out the skein I want to cast on. There are so many options, it's hard to focus -- can you tell?

Continue reading "100% Cashmere Scarf" »

July 26, 2009

I got back on the horse that threw me

. . . the horse called "Knitting"

Some of you more astute Ravelers (as well as a few of you on Flickr) might have noticed that I cast on and started a new project last week -- and I was really struggling with it. The struggle was entirely due to my choosing a pattern that would highlight the negative qualities of my knitting. While I was sharing my issues on Flickr and Ravelry, the designer contacted me with helpful suggestions (which I followed) but my unhappiness with my knitting persisted. Each time I sat down to knit -- fully intending to see it through to the end, I would feel a wave of nausea and dizzyness. So I decided that I was far too invested in it emotionally (and not in a good way) that I needed to completely unravel it, wind the yarn I'd used and return the unused balls. Continuing the project would have taught me nothing -- and it wasn't at all FUN.

I bought a new pattern and new yarn and I'm playing it safe. Even the pattern -- from Knitting Pure and Simple -- promises to be just that. I even chose a natural-colored yarn, demonstrating an uncharacteristic lack of adventure. I did, however, choose the buttons that charmed me the most:

[Flickr] [Ravelry]

The yarn, if it was edible, would be delicious; the color is even called "Ice Cream"

[Flickr] [Ravelry]

It's Spud & Chloƫ Sweater, a wool and organic cotton blend. I absolutely LOVE it. It's a true worsted weight too -- not too light or too heavy. I'm already to the point where I will separate the sleeves and join the front to the back. I just have to buy the rest of the yarn -- I had no idea I'd knit this far in less than a day. My gauge is perfect and I've compensated for my rowing-out issue (see another blogger's illustration of "rowing out" here) by purling with a smaller needle. That is, I'm knitting with 4.5mm Addi Turbos and purling with 4.0mm Denise needles. There's still a good portion of this current project in which I used the same size needle for both knitting and purling and it's noticeable -- but it doesn't bother me that it's there.

Last week, I got to have lunch with SoKnitpicky; we discussed knitting, food, and some of my drama. It was during our lunch and her talking about her latest knit (the one for which she'd just purchased yarn less than a week earlier and was already nearly finished knitting!) that I made the decision to frog my own project that spurred this blog entry. She was wearing this top at lunch and like everything else she knits and wears, it looked great on her. It's become for me a visual and a goal -- to knit something I'll wear that will be that flattering and stylish. Since nothing in my closet currently fits well anyway, now's the right time to consider knitting for my true size and body shape -- the one I am now and will likely be from now on.