October 25, 2009

FO – Fountain Pen Shawl (and many WIPS)

I seem to have broken the knitting jinx that has been upon me with the completion of my first goat (the second goat is nearly halfway there). While I was casting off the sleeve cap, I was filled with enlightenment (relief) and a voice said to me (Alb) to finish off the Fountain Pen shawl while I was at it (tidy up a bit).

I haven’t blocked it out yet so the lace isn’t stretched to its full capacity. I think it is still pretty, though.

Yarn: 1 skein of Malabrigo Merino Lace, picked up at Fadeninsel in Berlin.

Needles: 3.25mm (I think) knitpicks.

Modifications: Obviously the yardage of the Malabrigo isn’t nearly anything like the Helen’s Lace called for by the pattern so I cut down on the number of repeats of the main chart. I squeezed seven repeats out of it and had a little bit left over.

Verdict: It’s a winner! The pattern was interesting enough to maintain my interest but still be easy enough to keep an eye on something else at the same time. It’s up there with the Swallowtail Shawl in terms of prettiness and knitability. The yarn is gorgeous, very soft, and I think I will definitely be using it again for another project. It is warm and lofty and would make a nice spring garment, I think.

Anyway, so jubilant was my release from the knitting black hole within which I found myself, I have been casting on for new things left, right and centre! (And there are more over there, too). First up is Liesl.

If it looks very small to you, that’s because it is! I got gauge but upon thought and research, decided to knit the 34″ size as opposed to the 38″ size (I would need a 36″ size) because most comments I read oscillated between “really wearable garment” and “stretches out like crazy when you block it”. I have tried it on a few times and am very happy with the fit under the arms and across the back. Obviously, it doesn’t meet at the front but recently I have found that more practical for me, as it is less restrictive when I play or practice. With this in mind, I haven’t knitted in any button holes. If it does stretch a lot when I block it and I find I do need buttons, what I might do is just crochet some loops on one side to accommodate a closure. Either way, it is a ridiculously quick knit – I knit all that yesterday afternoon! I am also trying out a new yarn (to me, anyway). It is Garn Studio Alaska, a 100% wool aran weight yarn that I picked up from the Constant Knitter a while ago.

I like it a lot. It’s got great bounce, stitch definition and yardage for the price (€2.50 for 75m). I have just started my fourth ball of eight so I’m hoping to get a decent length out of it!

Of course, because I had just cast off a shawl, I had to start a new one… Actually, this one has been at the top of my wishlist for a few months now.

The pattern is free here and in my opinion, perfect for showing off those delicious hand-dyed skeins of sock yarn that are far too nice to be knit into socks. I had such a skein that I bought off Clare about this time last year. I love the colours but had a hard time coming up with a sock pattern that would do it justice.

I think there really is something about garter stitch when it comes to self striping yarns.

My sister is home for a short visit and, at my request, brought me Made in Brooklyn. Swoon! More about it soon 🙂


October 19, 2009

This cuff ain’t big enough for the two of us

Sleeves and I have a love-hate relationship. I love them because, well, they’re sleeves. They keep me warm. Sometimes they even keep my ears and nose warm if I create inventive sitting positions. I hate them because knitting them is the equivalent of trying to control a violently sprouting weed or possibly even a ravenous herd of goats. On this occasion, it’s the sleeves of my Minimalist Cardigan. The body went swimmingly. I even grafted the front borders at the back of the neck. But the sleeves? The first one was too big. Too big as in the cuff was certainly big enough for the two of us and possibly even Alb, too. A triple teapot cozy. A giraffe scarf. The second one was definitely the right size but – and that’s a noone-to-blame-but-myself-‘but’ – my increases were very odd. The result was a pretty sleeve with a tumor. Not even a tumor you could cover up. It was a very, my goodness, your arm is growing suddenly in a contrary direction type of tumor. I must stress that each of these attempts involved at least ten inches of moss stitch.

Anyway. Behold my goat.

It fits. It is almost the right length. And soon, all I will need to do is make another one…

There have been some distractions, of course. My Fountain Pen Shawl totally ran out of yarn. I ripped out the half border I had knit as well as a repeat of the main chart. I have now reknit half of the border and still… still…. do not have enough to finish. I am going to need to take out another two repeats of the main chart.

Still, when all is said and knit, there is nothing to take the sting out being thwarted at every stitch like the prospect of new projects! Hope springs anew! Check these guys out. First up there’s Liesl, an oldie but a goodie. Then there’s the Vine Yoke cardigan. This free Tokyo tshirt pattern has me very excited! And then there’s Girl Friday, for which I have a gorgeous smooshy sea-blue aran wool. Don’t get me started on Game Knitting! And possibly the best thing since sliced bread – or at the very least, OwlsGet Off My Cloud.

So little time… too… many… sleeves…


October 2, 2009


Filed under:Crafty Sites,Works In Progress — Aileen @ 12:09

My usual reason for not posting in a while is that piano things have gotten very busy. This is partly true – I started college last week and my schedule still isn’t set in stone yet. But really, somewhere in my head I eloped with my knitting this week.

I blame it on the Malabrigo. I picked up this hot pink Malabrigo merino lace in Berlin. It didn’t look like much in the skein but knit up, it turns into an unbearably soft, light, pillowy fabric. The pattern I picked was perfect: not too hard but not too easy, either. After a few repeats I could watch tv with it and keep a stray eye on the chart. It was a match made in heaven. On and on I knit, not even heeding the purl rows. I knit myself up the aisle. I knit myself through our ‘I do’s. It got bigger and bigger, softer and softer until suddenly, halfway down the aisle…

lace malabrigo shawl interweave

…we ran out of yarn. I was stunned. You mean… this skein… had an end? An End? We looked at each other for a while until eventually I realised that there was nothing I could do to save the relationship. The best thing for both of us is to see other projects for a while.

So, really, when you think about it, the moon and earth were perfectly aligned for my reunification with the Minimalist Cardigan. It was meant to be. (I seem to be saying that a lot this week).

Look at that wee curl on the hem! The subtle texture of the moss! The grain of the chain-plied yarn! After my false start, it is nice to have something that is truly fool-proof. And of course, although the curl of the hem is cute for a photo, in reality I will be lining the edges of this with some pretty ribbon.

… Which reminds me to tell you that Rubanesque, that fabulous wee shop of inspiration on South William St, has relocated to the ground floor of the Powerscourt Centre. I popped in there last week and it’s so bright! And big! And full of ribbons, vintage fabrics, buttons, lace… I can’t wait to finish my cardigan so I can go back and pick out ribbon for it.

It hasn’t just been the knitting that’s been floating my boat recently. I have been really enjoying The Sartorialist as well as all of the latest catwalk stuff. I have been purusing Avoca – sort of the Irish equivalent of Rowan in a way – and thinking about clothes, knitting and their function in general. I think a lot of people consider ‘fashion’ to be whatever is trendy at the moment. I, however, am increasingly of the opinion that ‘fashion’ can be better interpreted as a sense of costume. To approach how one dresses, and consequently what one sews or knits, from that point of view makes the end result more convincing. What do you think?