Monday, August 28, 2006

The Movable Finish Line

Oh yeah, now I remember why I hesitate to finish my projects. It's usually a cocktail of the following emotions and experiences:
  1. Obstacles not factored into the finishing equation.
  2. Proportionally less experience in finishing objects (I have my black belt in starting them).
  3. Testing various finishing methods to see which produces the best result (usually not the one suggested in the pattern).

I boldly picked up my pieces to Ava on Saturday only to find that I'd not yet woven in all the intarsia ends on the back. Oy!!!! After getting that out of the way, I set about to joining front and back at shoulders. The pattern recommends a back stitch. Now, I've tended to use 3 needle bind offs but this shoulder is shaped so, I elected to try the back stitch. First attempt looked horrible! Geeze, I even researched it in my handy/dandy Montse Stanley Knitter's Handbook. My second attempt was utilizing a crochet bind off. Still not as smooth as I would like but mattress stitch just won't give the stability needed here so, I'll go with this. As Lucy Neatby would say, "If they can't see anything wrong from the back of a galloping horse... don't worry about it." Ya gotta think a lady with great hair like this knows a thing or two about damning the torpedoes. So, now that the shoulders are taken care of, the next step will be the button bands.

I did prep the first side by measuring off the length into manageable quarters. The band only requires two rows of garter stitch. I can deal with that and hopefully, it fits nicely with no rippling.

I've really enjoyed working with the Rowan Wool and Cotton. In fact, last April I treated myself to this lovely design in the same yarn from Kim Hargreaves.

It's called Sal.

I got the colour shown here, it's called Grand and is a fab rich purple. It comes with the white shell buttons too and is wrapped beautifully.

In the meantime, I'll keep the focus on Ava. After all, I need to brush up on those rarely used finishing skills!

Friday, August 25, 2006

From Spirit into Matter

I remember taking a seminar about 8 years ago with Louisa Harding where the conversation turned to sweater finishing. We were discussing how some knitters will knit all pieces to a garment and then never put it together. Lousia mentioned that she couldn't understand how someone could put so much work into a project only to not see it through to completion. I see her point but on the other hand, I can relate to the angst of finally assembling something. You see, as long as it's a WIP - it still has the potential to turn out perfectly. Once it's a FO, all bets are off. On that note, I introduce you to Ava. Ava is my current "FO in waiting". I've completed the knitting of all sleeves, fronts and back. Now, I've only to assemble and knit the button bands.

All preliminary indications are that this sweater will be a winner. The pieces measure to spec. and have blocked beautifully. Ironically, this is a Louisa Harding design from Rowan #34 made from Wool and Cotton in a lovely chocolate brown called "coffee rich". Here's a picture of the two fronts after blocking. Everything seems to match and measures exactly to the size I'd targeted.

It's my intention to substitute the brown, yarn lace through the front with a bright aqua leather lace decorated with co-ordinating beads. Here's a shot of the two sleeves pre-blocking with the lacing and beads to show the (hopeful) effect.

All has dried and now there's only me, my darning needle and two rows of garter stitch to get this puppy to the finish line. I will finish Ava but I'm not rushing to do so. I'm not quite sure if it's about savouring the completion or being frightened that the end result won't meet my expectations. Either way, we'll all be finding out which it is soon - this weekend, there will be some finishing round these parts!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Masterworks

Musical compositions that stand the test of time and become benchmarks for other pieces are known as "masterworks" in the symphony world. I'm always intrigued by the biographies of the various composers. Some were flashy and popular in their life times and others have grown in reputation over centuries as people have begun to appreciate their talent. I've come to see Mr. Martin Storey as one of those "quiet masters" of the knitting world. I've always admired his work but it rarely inspired a "gotta have it" moment for me......until now. Maybe I've changed, maybe he's changed but all of a sudden I'm really liking RYC designs. Today I went for my dose of "retail therapy" to my LYS The Needle Emporium. Julie had just come in with the new Rowan yarns and RYC books. I had seen this book on line and couldn't wait to get a closer look. It's definately a winner in my estimation. Classic Style features RYCs new Silk Wool DK in delicious colours. The yarn glows with the silk yet seems to be a nice bouyant consistency. This is one of those books that has many designs that appeal to me but my personal favourite is this lovely cardigan called "Charm"

I just love its simplicity, elegance and most of all the colour which is porcelain (I'm a sucker for teals and aquas). This is contemporary yet vintage all at the same time. I imagine that the trailing leaf and vine design would be just enough to add a little intrigue yet keep it simple. The back of the sweater is equally stunning. This would be a firm favourite and an enjoyable knit from start to finish.

Though I do adore this colour - there is an amazing royal purple that would be beautiful.

I was half way out the door when Julie ponted out a nice bag of RYC Alpaca DK in the colour "zinc". Zinc is a sagey/ aqua colour - rich but muted. It also happens to be the prescribed yarn for one of the designs in this new RYC book that I fell in love with.

Don't you just love the cute little Alpacas on the cover? The RYC Alpaca DK is "TDF" soft as well and comes in subtle lovely colours. The design that's calling to me is named "Evergreen".

The front and back are knit back and forth with beads scattered all over. When it comes time to knit the yoke - they're joined and knit in the round using soft neutral tones with a hint of colour. It's stunning!!! I resisted buying the book but boy oh boy if it weren't for the looming vet bill for my cherished dog's ACL surgery - I'd be leafing through it now.

So what wine does one pair with a Martin Storey design. I would suggest an elegant Riesling. The crisp simplicity of a good Riesling leaves no where to hide if the winemaking isn't just right - much like these designs. A little sweet - a little tangy and much underappreciated.

Monday, August 21, 2006

What's the plural of moose?

Today, the mailman delivered my new "moosie spindle". I love my mail man. He knows to deliver my conquests during that slim window between the time my husband leaves for work and I do. Without further ado - here is my 1.32 oz moose antler spindle with ebony shaft from Bosworth Spindles.

I purchased my first spindle from another source at Stitches East last September and though it wasn't the best spindle, I was hooked. Word on the street is that Bosworth spindles are the gold standard and after purchasing a very "tigery" bocote spindle in Feb., I placed my name on the moosie list.

I put my name on the list in March this year and I made the cut (you'd think I was auditioning for "Idol" or something) in June for the "July herd". One gets to choose the whirl from many lovely options and then choose a complementary shaft wood. That's where it got tough for me but in the end, ebony won out and I'm so thrilled with the results. It spins like a dream (I barely made it out the door to work on time I was so busy playing with it). The roving attached is from The Fold and has a bit of sparkle to it. I - of course had to immediately contact The Fold to see if they had more...they do. I think this extra special roving is the perfect pairing with the moosie spindle. My kids were immediately concerned for the welfare of the donor moose so I showed them the attached tag that confirms "no moose were harmed in the making of this spindle." Thanks for including that Sheila - I'm not sure they would have believed me! So, what wine does one break out for such an occasion? Why Trius Grand Red of course! A Niagara wine - winner of the 2006 Les Citadelles du Vin (2006): Trophé Prestige (substitut de la médaille de bronze). Trius Grand Red is an assemblage of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot grape varieties. Fruit forward, jammy and in a class of its own - much like the moosie spindle!