Cast On, Maties!

Swing Swing was completed, I was tired of the second sock I’ve been working on,  and…you know what happened.  I cast on the Ladies Jacquard Sweater Vest from Knit Picks.   I have had the pattern and yarn on hand for several months, waiting for opportunity and sufficient boldness to begin.   The yarn I’m using is Palette (it’s fingering weight) in Celadon Heather and Bark. 

Let me say that the instructions are clear and there is bonus information from the designer available on the Knit Picks web site.  However, the chart was small and faint (to this old knitter’s eyes).  Here’s today’s knitting technology tip:  I took my charts to Office Depot’s copy center.  They enlarged them and darkened them for me.  The clerk even gave me the intermediate color copies, in case I ever needed them enlarged again.  Sweet! I just looked in my copy bag, and found a receipt for $3.36, including tax.  It is worth every penny, in my opinion.

On those few occasions in the past when I have knit color work, I wove all the floats in, using the Philosopher’s Wool technique.  This pattern specifies not weaving in the floats, twisting only on runs greater than 11 stitches.  On the needle it looks all “loopy”, and makes me a bit twitchy.  I find myself stretching out sections, to verify I am doing the right thing.  (I know I am.)

The only problem with the Jacquard Sweater Vest is that I lost my place if I listened to my audio books.  I have two books checked out that I had to wait in line for;  listening must happen.  Therefore, I cast on another sweater.  (Hey, knitting logic works for me!)

When the Spring/summer 2009 edition of debbie bliss knitting magazine hit the book store I saw an add for Jennifer by designer Jenny Watson.  It’s in the Araucania Collection, Book 1.  Both DH and I loved the picture.   I didn’t find it then, but never forgot that marvelous cabled sweater that played well with kettle-dyed yarn.

Then last week I was called to bring some keys to Baton Rouge for DH.  As long as I was in town, I decided to drop by Knits by Nana.  I was puttering around the book room/sale yarn room, when Missy asked if I needed help.  Spotting that same debbie bliss magazine, I showed her the ad and asked if she carried that pattern.  Why, yes she did.  In fact, she was knitting that very sweater herself.  It was fate…DH had caused me to drive to Baton Rouge, and he is, after all, my official Patron of the Knitting Arts.  Show me the Araucania!

Here’s where it got complicated.  The colorways Missy had were more variegated than tone-on-tone.  There was a blue/green colorway I could have enjoyed, but Missy fessed up she had been knitting with that one.  One sweater front came out green, one blue.  Oopsie!  I went hunting for yarn equivalents, and found Manos del Uruguay Wool Clasica in color 19, Dove.  It is pale grey with green and blush overtones.  Love! 

I have completed the back and begun the left front. This is one sweater that will look much better after blocking.  I know other knitters will understand that this is its “ugly duckling” stage.

Yes, I can knit this and listen to my books.  I have just finished Summer on Blossom Street, book 5 in the series by Debbie Macomber.  It was the usual Blossom Street book delightful character development, good knitting.

Now I am listening to The Cemetery Yew, book 3 in the Martha’s Vineyard Series by Cynthia Riggs.  I began this series when I discovered the eMedia service from my library this summer.  The hardest part is when I have finished one, and must wait my turn for the following book.  The Martha’s Vineyard Series is that perfect marriage of good writing and good narrator.

Knitting Update

I am pleased to announce a finished object.  Swing Swing, knit in Blue Lapis Valley Yarns Colrain was finished Tuesday night during the Dancing with the Stars finale.

As you may recall, I was concerned that I would have sufficient yarn.  I had stopped short on the bottom of the sweater, and put the yarn skein in a baggie, which I pinned to the sweater.  Each sleeve took a skein and a half, which seemed to be on schedule.  However, the pattern required me to step out on faith, block it, sew up the facings, then pick up the collar stitches.  There was nothing for it but to go ahead and knit the sweater hem to a decent completion.

All was well.  I still have between half and a third of a skein, and the blocking was a dream.  The swing panels coaxed out to their full glory without protest.

DH had given me a blue beaded shawl pin (based on a kilt pin style) several years ago.  It is such a perfect closure for the neckline of Swing Swing that it will simply live on the sweater.  Happy, happy! 

No,  really I’m happy.  The scowl is just the sun in my eyes.  Sorry about that.

My current recorded book is Knitting, by Anne Bartlett.  Here is the summary from my public library’s listing:

“It’s been ten months since Jack died, and Sandra, a tightly wound academic, copes with her grief by immersing herself in the history of textiles. When she and Martha, a gifted knitter, meet over an unconscious body on the footpath, the unlikely threads of their lives tangle into each other. Sandra invites Martha to join her in a professional collaboration, but what begins as a working relationship becomes something deeply personal. Martha seems at ease with herself, in spite of her own experience of grief. But what does she carry around in those three large bags?”

This book is certainly darker than Blossom Street or even the Friday Night Knitting Club takes on a knitting novel.  Yet I have been unable to walk away from listening to this one while I knit.

My public library subscribes to the OverDrive Media program, and it has been a joy to both work with and listen to.  Check out your library listings – they may have an eMedia program, too.

Knitting news from the lakeside

I have made much knitting progress here this weekend.  First, the Basic Cabled Sock is now a finished object. (Sounds of finished object dance, happy, happy!) The pattern was easy to work with, making it a good project to carry in my purse.  The Fleece Artist Somoko (65% merino, 20% kid mohair, 10% nylon, and 5% silk) was beautifully dyed and yummy to knit with.

The socks are a beautiful, rich brown (colorway Midnight), which makes it difficult to show you the cable detail.  Here I have fiddled with the exposure to show the cable.  The color is true in the first picture, though.

Swing Swing has gotten a lot of knit time while I listen to books (book note to follow).  I got into a bit of a defensive mode as I neared the bottom of the sweater body. There were five skeins left, and  I still needed  to knit both sleeves, finish the neck, and hopefully add a little more length to the body.  I removed the Knit Picks needle tips,  put on cable caps, and placed the remaining yarn in a sandwich bag.  The yarn then was pinned to the bottom of the sweater for ease in handling. The A-line of the bottom of the sweater doesn’t show because it is contained by the cable caps.  Once released it will flare out the way the sleeve does.

Now that I have knit one sleeve, which took a skein and a half, I am encouraged that I will have enough yarn.  However, I shant be foolish:  I’ll do the second sleeve and neck before lengthening the body.

Audio books have added much joy to my weekend, and made the knitting fly.  Thanks to a tip in an AARP Bulletin, I went looking for Overdrive Media.  It is a free, down-loadable book service, like the Audiobooks one could purchase.  There was a link to search for libraries in your area that offer Overdrive, and oh, joy, mine does!

My first download was Death of a Witch by M. C. Beaton.  It’s a Hamish Macbeth mystery, and the reader does a fine job of bringing all the characters to life.  I just loved being read to while I knit, so I also heard  Debbie Macomber’s Twenty Wishes (book 4 in the Blossom Street series).  It did not disappoint!  In fact, I have an e-hold on book 5, which is to be available May 1.