My new blog is blog.bygumbygolly.com.
See you there!
My new blog is blog.bygumbygolly.com.
See you there!
I really can’t believe it’s the middle of August. This summer has really flown by!
Sunday, on the hottest day Chicago has had this year, I finished my most dreamy winter cardigan.
I started it on July 13th, for a knit-a-long on Ravelry. The colors remind me of spearmint or peppermint, and the colorway translates to Peppermint Prince in English, so it’s my peppermint cardigan.
The pattern is DROPS Jacket in Alpaca and Glitter with 2-colour pattern in raglan. I modified the size with my gauge, so instead of sport weight this is a fingering weight. It’s knit in Wollmeise Sockenwolle 100% in Pfefferminz Prinz and Natur. I used 13 vintage moonglow buttons that just happened to be a perfect match. You can see the details on my Ravelry project page.
I’m ridiculously pleased with how it turned out, and want to go out and cast on about a million other yoke sweaters right now. However I settled on a vintage pattern, Star Cardigan, knit in Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift. As I worked on the ribbing on the bus on my morning commute, I listened to Catriona MacDonald’s Bold. Wonderful Shetland music for a wonderful Shetland yarn.
Oh, this would be a good time to mention how much I hate seaming, and the lengths I’ll go to avoid setting in sleeves. So for this cardigan, instead of knitting it in 5 pieces (back, front right, front left, 2 sleeves), I’ll be knitting the entire body in one piece, and then adapting the sleeves to work faux set-in sleeves à la Wendy Bernard’s method in Custom Knits. A way to avoid seaming in sleeves? Bring it on.
So while I’m dreaming of a snowy day so I can wear my lovely new cardigan, it’s in the 80s and we’re going camping in Wisconsin with our friends this weekend. Then in two more weeks we’re off to New Mexico for 10 days! My more realistic dreams (other than snow) include sopaipillas. Mmm.
It’s summer in Chicago. We had what seemed like endless weeks of rainy, cold days in May and June where the temperature rarely ran above the low 70s. All of a sudden, we hit 90. Apparently without warning anyone, Chicago has decided to go in a hiatus from spring. I think we used to have at least a bit of nice spring weather here, but at this point I couldn’t swear to it.
Perhaps due to the weather shift, perhaps due to summer in general, perhaps due to the fact that as of this weekend I’ll have been out of town more weekends than I’ve been home since the beginning of May, my knitting mojo has been a little low. I haven’t finished a single project since my Ishbel. I’m slowly working along on my Footlights Cardigan. I love the pattern and am modifying the shape slightly, so it won’t nip in at the waist and won’t be cropped. It feels like the Neverending Cardigan right now, but maybe before it’s actually cool enough to wear it, it’ll be done.
In the meantime, I’ve picked up some embroidery. Damn, how did I forget that embroidery is so much fun?
This is two corners of a vintage handkerchief. The transfers are from from Jenny Hart’s Stitch-It Kit. Couldn’t you just keel over from the cuteness? Never mind the fact that I don’t use a handkerchief, and really never mind the fact that it’s technically probably a napkin anyway. It’s fun and I’m enjoying it, and that’s all that matters. I actually have aspirations to embroider some tea towels and start to do some sewing again, if I can figure out how to fix the bobbin problem that developed after awhile on my sewing machine. And by fix, I mean something other than fiddling with it for 20 minutes until I get it to work right. Every. time. Something is causing the bobbin thread to jam under the fabric and I need to do a serious investigation.
That’s one benefit of knitting—very little can go wrong other than user error! :)
This Thursday, I leave for my 10 year college reunion at Smith College.
I am not even a particularly fast knitter and it took four days. Four days to pop out a shawl. (I don’t get it, either.)
This weekend, while it was raining pretty much everywhere within 120 miles of Chicago, we were enjoying the 80 degree temperature and sunny skies camping in Turkey Run State Park in Indiana. We just went for one night but got up super early Saturday morning to leave, so we were already setting up camp by about 11 am. I swear once we were home Sunday afternoon I felt like we’d been away for days. It was perfect!
I even got a bit of knitting in. It’s a pattern from the book A Stitch in Time 1920-1949, Vol. 1, by Jane Waller and Susan Crawford. This is a republication of a book that was published in 1972 with knitting patterns from the 1920s through 1940s. A Stitch in Time, oh how I love thee. Let me count the ways.
1. Jam-packed book. Not 5 patterns, not 10 patterns, 60 freakin’ patterns.
2. Beautiful, glossy color photos.
3. Artsy but useful photos. Not stupid angles that don’t show you how the garment actually looks on a human being.
4. Not only do you get the revamped version of the vintage pattern with a modern photograph, you also get the original vintage pattern and original photograph! This is priceless, as you get a modern and historically accurate version of the fit and you can be left to your own devices to interpret that as you will.
5. Ease information is included in the pattern, as well as what size the model is wearing. While it doesn’t always seem 100% accurate (the pattern I’m knitting supposedly calls for 10” of negative ease for my size, yet it does not really seem to be modeled with 10” of negative ease), it’s a good starting point and more information than many patterns offer.
6. Some of the people involved in the book are on Ravelry! Well that’s just neat, if you ask me.
You can order it directly from them in the UK on their website. It took about a week for mine to arrive.
That’s several inches of the pattern, called It Cannot Fail to Please. I mean now really, how can you go wrong with a name like that? I’m looking forward to more camping (and knitting) (and knitting while camping) this summer.
My birthday was last Friday. And where did we go on vacation? To the home of glitz, for Viva Las Vegas. Where else can you find an Egyptian pyramid, a castle and the Eiffel Tower on the same street?
About four days before we left, I finally finished my first (and certainly not the last) short-sleeved sweater, Maude. I love it. LOVE IT. Love that is worth shouting in capital letters, even.
It used a lot less than two full balls of Wollmeise 100% superwash in the Petit Poison Nr. 5 colorway, dark intensity. The pattern was overall pretty easy, except you have to figure out on your that there is an uneven number of repeats for each side of the center section of this chart. I cleared that hurdle before I started and away I went. It was difficult to accurately determine gauge on this, and I decided halfway through the lace that the medium would be too big, so I opted for kind of a small/medium combo which worked out well. I have a ton of notes on my Ravelry project page.
Oh, and just so you don’t feel like you’re missing out on all the fun we had in Vegas, here are a few photos.
Me at the Car Show.
Umbrellas hanging from the ceiling inside the Bellagio.
Inside the world’s cutest vintage trailer.
Wearing a vintage Hawaiian dress that my mom probably thrifted in the 80s for a buck.
Oh, and did I mention that the first photo of my Maude involved me carrying around the top in my purse in Vegas, trying to find a nice place to photograph it, then throwing it on over my dress?
After Sunday’s snowstorm, I’m more than ready for Spring. What better day to finish a pair of socks that had been languishing since the week before Christmas?
The Peony socks were invented at my Mom’s house, when I saw two beautifully pink skeins of Claudia’s Handpainted fingering weight yarn. I false started on Marigold socks in the past, but wanted to take another stab at them. I had tried a provisional cast on and was left with a row of baggy stitches large enough that when I attempted to re-distribute the excess yarn I had about 6 inches hanging out in space. Frog pond.
This time, I decided to reinvent them as Peony socks, since that’s the name of the colorway and well, I can’t very well call Marigold socks Marigold when they are pink. I worked a crochet provisional cast on, which went swimmingly. And by swimmingly, I mean it served its purpose. I really don’t think I’m a short row toe kind of gal. Same way I’m not really short row heel kind of gal. Or a toe-up sock kind of gal. Sensing a trend?
I was going to try a gusseted heel, but the instructions ended up sending me on a wild goose chase so I had to rip back to my (handy dandy even though I rarely use them) lifeline. And this was all before Christmas! In fact, my first heel was turned on Christmas Eve and the second sock started before I came back home. I didn’t finish the second heel until February 9th. And the socks weren’t completed until March 30th. Boy, now those were some socks that just didn’t want to get finished.
But they are! Finished, that is. And for all the annoyances of this project, I’m quite pleased with the result.
They fit well, never mind the fact that I accidentally knit them on 2.5mm needles when I always knit my own socks on 2.25mm needles, and also never mind the fact that I made them longer than usual (this being the only obvious benefit I see to toe up socks so far) without increasing the pattern or needle size. I can’t even tell you how happy I am to have these babies DONE.
Oh, and in case you’re not sick of cute shoes and pink socks, here are my Monkeys, completed last summer. (Shoes last week.)
I think I have a chartreuse problem.
I’m not sure when it started. It might have been a few years ago, when I dressed up as Absinthe for Halloween. I was La Fée Verte, or the Green Fairy. We often pick Halloween costumes that are a little avant garde, so to most people I just looked like a girl dressed up with wings and a big green sparkly ballgown.
Today, I’ve apparently turned my obsession with this color over to yarn. Surely not, you say. Oh yes, says I.
Around the outside is my Lace Ribbon Scarf done in Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock in Pond Scum. On the left is The Sanguine Gryphon Bugga! in Goldenrod Crab Spider. In the middle is Hedgehog Fibres Merino/Cashmere Sock in Ripe. On the right is Wollmeise 100% superwash sock in Frosch.
Since posting this photo on Ravelry, I’ve gotten eleventy million questions asking me about the skein in the middle, the Hedgehog Fibres yarn.
It is an unusual color, with lots of yellows mixed in as you can see. Really unique. I discovered people raving about the dyer on Ravelry, and when I saw she was from Cork, Ireland, I just had to check her out. I spent my study abroad during college in Cork, and I have extremely fond memories of it. We’re actually hoping to make a trip to Ireland within the next year or so, as it’s been calling my name and the nagging is getting on my nerves.
Will posting green yarn help bring on Spring?
It’s a rainy, dreary day in Chicago and I’m working on Maude.
I’m not sure if I’ve stated yet just how much of a garment knitter I am not, but I am trying to be. I have one cardigan under my belt, and I’m making a valiant effort with Maude. A delightfully summery looking top with a vintage feel. A little flirty, a little sexy, just the thing to take the edge off of March in the Midwest. It’s knit top down seamlessly, with the sleeves picked up after the body is knit. I’m knitting it in my new yarn lust, Wollmeise. Specifically, Wollmeise Sockenwolle 100% superwash in the dark intensity of colorway Petit Poison Nr. 5.
Are you drooling yet? I am.
Getting the front chart for the pattern lined up correctly gave me fits at first, but I got that straightened out and was on my way. I discovered that I need to knit a whole lot more lace than the pattern calls for to get from my armpits down and over my chest. I’m knitting between two sizes for the body, and I can tell you that 6 or 12 rounds of the lace sure it’s going to cover the girls. So I’m at the point where it feels like the lace will never end, which is bad because once it does end, I’ll start feeling like the ribbing will never end. And that feeling will last a good long while, as there’s more ribbing than lace.
But I’m adoring how the lace looks, and loving how the yarn is working up. It feels cottony and light, so I may just be able to wear this successfully in the summer! (Don’t ask me what I was planning on doing with a lacy short-sleeved top if I couldn’t wear it in the summer, though.)
I might add that I’m having a bit of help with my knitting today. A little special someone was fighting with me and my knitting all morning and driving me absolutely batshit crazy. I walked away for a few minutes to get the camera and take a work-in-progress photo, and this is what I returned to.
Now how could I get mad at that?
I cranked out a cardigan last week. Yes, week. Yes, you heard me. Week.
I have great aspirations and dreams about being a garment knitter. Turning out Norwegian ski sweaters, cardigans from my growing collection of vintage patterns, lightweight summery tops, having a whole closet full of wooly handknits. However in my dreams, I am apparently a much more patient knitter with a much long attention span than real life. In real life, there have been plenty of false starts. Yarn bought, patterns started, projects ditched.
But I’ve officially conquered my first real garment.
I way daydreaming about knitting recently, and decided that a bulky weight sweater would be a good starting point to cut my teeth on garment knitting. I decided I wanted to knit it in Lamb’s Pride Bulky. Great colors and I love the halo from the 15% mohair content. I had a weight, I had a yarn. I plugged cardigans + bulky into Ravelry’s advanced search. And what was the first result? A cardigan in Lamb’s Pride Bulky, in colors I like and wear frequently, and in a book I own, Stitch n’ Bitch Nation. Cardigan kismet?
Why yes, I do believe so!
I ordered the yarn from Kaleidoscope Yarns, and Mel bought me the beautiful cranberry colored glass (shell?) buttons from my new favorite local yarn shop, Loopy. I made almost no alterations to the pattern, except one. The pattern called for garter stitch around the neck, bottom edge and cuffs. Not only am I not a really big fan of garter stitch as an edging, in my personal experience it wants to flip up and just generally look kind of funky. So I omitted the fair isle chart for the sleeves and instead did all the edging in 2x2 ribbing on slightly smaller needles. I’m really glad I did that because I think it looks grand.
It’s warm, it’s cozy, it’s soft, hell, it even looks good from the inside.
And remember that week thing? I started it on Monday, February 16th and was wearing it Saturday night February 21st when we went out with friends. This literally flew off my needles. At 3 stitches an inch, I guess that’ll happen.
But don’t think this was easy going the entire way. I had my first sleeve finished and was starting the second when I did a little calculation. Almost one skein of black per sleeve, up to the point where it connected with the body. Yes, that would be two skeins for two sleeves.
Out of a total of five.
As I started the body, I didn’t think I could possibly eek out the entire body, yoke and button bands with the three remaining skeins of black. I contemplated calling up Kaleidoscope and seeing if they had another skein in my dye lot. I had only just purchased the yarn, so I thought the odds were fairly good they’d have one. I usually over buy rather than under buy for a project, so I’m not sure why I took five skeins of black at face value, especially considering I was adding ribbing, which eats up more yarn. Nevertheless, I threw caution to the wind and proceeded on.
Since I didn’t start this entry off cursing about how I ran out of yarn, suffice it to say I didn’t.
But want to know how much black I did have left?
I won’t expect that luck next time. Enough said.
It’s cold in Chicago, but not too cold to wear a snappy beret, should you happen to have one. And since I finished my Kaura, I do indeed happen to have one.
This pattern was a lot easier than it looks like. I didn’t even do anything to convert it to a beret from a hat other than block it over a dinner plate!
While I admit that a good portion of my wardrobe includes black, I’ve never been one for black winter wear. Yes, my Insane Cold Level and Only Miserably Cold Level winter coats are both black, but I always have colorful accessories. Fortunately, I recently found a fantastic red plaid vintage Pendleton coat on eBay, which now fits the bill for a Pretty Cold But Not Going To Kill Me Level coat. That, my Lace Ribbon Scarf and my Kaura beret make quite a statement during a drab Chicago winter!
You know you think about knitting too much when, every time you see someone on public transit untangling their iPod headphones, your heart skips a beat because you think it’s yarn. And it’s always a disappointment when you see them stick the “yarn” in their ears instead of between two knitting needles.
Of course, you could actually knit with iPod headphones. Not that I would know.