Wednesday, April 30, 2008


I'm itching to start something new. Alas - I cannot. You see, my WIPs are at just at a level where I can continue to make progress on all of them a bit each week. It's a delicate balance and if I add another to the queue, the house of cards comes tumbling down. To soothe my craving, I resort to swatching. Swatching allows me the thrill of casting on and of proving that I can master the pattern stitch without committing to a full project. The added bonus is it helps inform my knitting should I eventually get around to making the garment.

I've been jonesing to make the Printed Silk Cardigan from Interweave Knits by Connie Chang Chinchio . The prescribed yarn is La Luz which is pretty spendy. The ravelers who've made this design have used everything from RYC Cashsoft DK to Rowan Calmer. I love the idea of silk and wondered what sport weight yarn could deliver the drape with a wee bit of memory and some sheen. Oh yeah, and a great colour at a reasonable price.

At the Knitter's Frolic last Saturday (where I got to meet up with great knitters like Steph and Laura), I found a sport weight yarn at the Black Lamb booth. It was 50% superwash merino and 50% silk. At 347m per 100g and $15 per 100g skein, it seemed perfect. I also had some seawool also purchased from the Black Lamb last year in a nice olive green marinating in my stash. Curious to see how they both worked out - I swatched.

The merino/silk yarn was lovely. It worked up to a 24 x 36 gauge for 4 inches which is just a tad off the gauge suggested of 25 x 34. I was please with how nicely the twisted stitch diamond pattern popped (more on that in a moment) and after a bath the gauge stayed put. The colour shifts of the hand dye duplicated the original somewhat which is part of the charm of the design for me. My only hesitation here is that the swatch lacked the "heft" that I think helps it drape. It's pretty light and floaty.

The Olive coloured Sea Silk (seacell and merino blend - same base as HandMaiden) surprised me a bit. I expected to like this better and while I liked the drape a wee bit more, I felt the crispness of the blue swatch was lacking in this one (Geeze - I sound like the Simon Cowell of knitting). You can see that the diamond pattern is harder to discern and even the ribbing was a bit sloppier. The gauge was spot on the same as the blue swatch and it weighed 6g versus 5g for the blue one. This yarn clocks in at 303m (or thereabouts) per 100g.

Now you can also see that the left twisting stitches on both don't pop quite as much as the right one. After reading Lolly's blog and drooling over the cardigan she made her sister, I discovered that the designer had suggested knitting through the back loop of the second stitch then through the back loop of both stitches to remedy this. I tried it on the green swatch and it does work better.

Honestly, I'm partial to the blue yarn but I still don't think I've found the perfect fit. Maybe Lisa Souza glacier? Or, if there's another sport weight silk/cotton or silk/wool blend that's tone on tone variegated - drop me a line.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Slipped Stitch
Hello there. It's been a while. You see, I've been having a wee crisis of (knitting) faith. Not that I don't think I still love knitting - I definitely do. I just don't know what to knit. Perhaps it's the change of seasons. I find within any given week I'm wearing both my Ugg boots and sandals and every coat in my closet from wooliest to lightest gets a test drive. One day is crisp another sunny and warm. What's a girl to do?

In the absence of anything profound to report as far as finished objects or acquisitions - I thought I'd do a random progress report on my WIPs with a few thoughts on Spring projects that may see the needles soon.

First up is an update on the Tulip Cardigan:

This is my niece. Let's call her "Ginger". My SIL e mailed me to say that she's worn the cardigan every day and that it fits perfectly. My SIL gives the cardigan two thumbs up. I think Ginger has a different opinion on this. Judging from the look on her face here I think she's saying "Can you say Baby GAP?" Yes - we finally got our red head!

I love this baby blanket from Nashua and have the yarn stashed to make it so perhaps this will please our young princess.


Yes, I gave Cobblestone a second chance. A 3.5mm needle on the ribbing helped to cinch it in a wee bit and avoid the dreaded "tutu flaring". The yarn is O-Wool balance (Is Oprah making yarn now?) which is 50% merino and 50% cotton - both organic. Cobblestone has been getting lots of love because it's a mindless project that runs pretty much on autopilot until you reach the yoke.

The back of Roam is done and I've begun the first of two front panels. This is another straightforward but highly wearable knit. I feel as though I'm running out of time here with the weather warming up but I'm sure I've got about another month or so before it gets too warm to tolerate the Alpaca and silk. Lisa Souza rocks - this is the Mahogany colourway. My buddy Steph. has finished her Roam and it looks great. I'm hoping to see it in person at the Toronto Guild Spring Frolic next Saturday.

I've begun a nice easy sleeve because the first front panel I began I fear is incorrect. The simplicity of the purl stitches, shaping and the amazing yarn make this my "comfort knitting". After a crazy day at the office (and it's been really busy lately) this is like a glass of Merlot.

I'm pleased to see that Kim Hargreaves is launching a Spring book to follow up her Heartfelt collection from the Fall. I heart Kim.


Is last year's WIP with only one sleeve done and the back just begun. This design is from Rowan 41 and is made out of Rowan cotton 4 ply. It's lovely to work with and I think this will be highly wearable. This one on Ravelry is so pretty that I just had to dig it out to get going again.

Feather and Fan Cardigan:

Have the book. Did the swatch...saw the sample garment. Julie has this on display in her store and YOWZA - it is delicious. I can't wait to make this.

Rock Star Cardigan:

This crochet cardigan by Anny Blatt has been in process for years. I'm making it in the original yarn but in blue and I think it'll be cute. Crochet may just provide the diversion I need to kick start my mojo again.

I suppose the downside of being a "process knitter" lies in the lack of finished projects. I love starting new things and having different projects to work on. When the seasons change however, there's always a bit of grieving for those that didn't make it in time for last call. It's not a big deal because I can pick them up again when their season comes around but I know not all of them will make the cut again. I have a funny feeling all of this wistful thinking will come to a screeching halt at the Knitter's Frolic in Toronto next week.

Veni, Vedi, Visa.