Cables and Contiguous Continued

Last week I finished my cablel-icious “Constant Carving” cardigan, designed by Annamaria Otvos ( that name should have all kinds of punctuation in it but, alas, my computer only understands English punctuation so, my apologies to Anamaria). Here it is fresh off the needles: no blocking or buttons yet.DSCN6925

This sweater features an innovative top-down set in sleeve in which one needle holds the bottom stitches while a different needle is used for the working stitches. You then knit one stitch from the “holding needle” at the end of each row with a SSK. The genius of this is that it requires no “wraps”: great for me since my wraps always look like crap anyway!

Here’s a close up of the sleeve:

DSCN6941It’s hard to see because it’s been super-sunny here lately and, well, the ultra bright coral-y pink color isn’t making it any easier to photograph.

The sleeve stitches make a nice, neat seam around the arms. This method was so easy and I love the results.

As for the “contiguous” sleeves I tried on an ill-fated “Rhinia” a while back, I have now made a second attempt. This time it’s a pretty basic sweater: “Same same but different (contiguous Walnus)” by the uber talented “Ankestrick” (Ravelry user name: fallmasche). This sweater is a birthday present for the BFF so I’ve been knitting like mad to get it finished in time (a week from tomorrow!) and I’m using the “Brooklyn Tweed” “Loft” that I wrote about in this post.

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The contiguous method employed in this pattern is the one developed by Susie Myers but this is a saddle shoulder version. Look how clean and neat and fabulous it is!

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I don’t know why I thought this was going to be difficult. It’s really, really, really easy and, I have to say, I think the results are pretty awesome.

 

As for non-knitish news: Brodie turned “Mike Tyson” a few days back and took a hunk out of Susie’s ear!  Yikes!

Thankfully she is fine………….DSCN6921                                                                                                                                                       ………..well, except for the missing piece of ear and the Elizabethan collar, I mean.

A Most Prized Possession

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This is a picture of my most prized possession. If you asked people who know me they would be surprised to know I have a prized possession. Not that I don’t like my stuff, I’m just not a very sentimental person by nature.

This sweater, however, is one of very few exceptions. I happen to be quite sentimental about this.

My dad was the first owner of this sweater. I remember him wearing it for years.  It was repossessed from an old boyfriend in a fit of teen-aged anger in the early 80’s and My BFF wore it as a coat all through college. I have even worn it myself on occasion. So this sweater holds a lot of memories for me.

The reason I most love this sweater, however, is that this is the sweater my mother was knitting, in the fall of 1969, when she took a break to put me on her lap and teach me to knit.

I was five years old at the time and my mom was not yet thirty. I didn’t know back then how very important that moment would be and I doubt my mom did either. My younger sister was napping and my older sister was at school and, I suspect, my mother was trying to teach me something that would occupy my time while she got a much needed break.

What she ended up teaching me was a craft that would, in turn, teach me many things about life and about myself.

Thanks mom, and happy belated Mothers’ Day!

(I hope you package gets there soon I swear I sent it in plenty of time!)

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Camelot

Apparently there is a blog culture out there that hadn’t known about until recently. A big fat community of bloggers that like to do things en mass and today I’m going to jump on their bandwagon. On the first Tuesday of each month these bloggers from all around the world pick a topic to post about and today it’s a topic that I love: Camelot.

Yes knights of the round table, King Arthur, the Kennedy’s and anything else you can think of. And I can think of a lot. My contribution will be strictly knitting related, of course.

Most recently I stumbled across Angela Hahn’s Dragon lace pullover which is “camelot-ish” in the “King Arthur” way that all things dragon related tend to be.

If unicorns are more your thing, “MiLady’s Dream” from Crazy lace lady over on ETSY is pretty freakin’ awesome!

MiLady's Dream - PDF Pattern
Although you might be tempted by some of here other patterns, as there are plenty of dragons to be had here too.
If you want to be really literal you could go for Cute Crafty Crochet’s “Sir Knight Helmet” which is about as cute as a knight can get.
Instant Download PDF - Sir Knight Helmet Crochet Pattern
For those of you who prefer the more modern Camelot of the Kennedy’s I recommend Heidi and Anna Pickle’s adorable Betty Sweater:
Actually, I love their designs so I recommend them all, even the ones that don’t apply to today’s Camelot theme. (Pickle’s website!)
Or Jennifer Tallapaneni’s “Dose Pillbox Hat” certainly fills the Kennedy/Camelot bill.
I like my references to be a bit less obvious myself, like the version of Annie Watts’ Reptile’s Dream I made for my Step-Mom last year.
So that’s my take on “Camelot”. Maybe I’ll play along again next  month ’cause this was kinda fun!

American Wool-Man…

Contrary to a previous post where I claimed to dislike knitting “on demand” I am actually making a cardi for the BFF’s birthday this year. This isn’t technically “on demand” since she didn’t actually request a knitted item for her birthday and, in fact, will probably not even want anything wool by the time her birthday arrives over memorial day weekend. To assure myself that I wouldn’t be doing any knitting I wasn’t really into, I didn’t give her much say in the project. I know her pretty well so I’m confident I can pick a style that will suit both her personality and her wardrobe. I did, however, let her pick the fiber and the color. I had to give the girl something.

Of the options presented to her she chose this:

Brooklyn Tweed's "Loft" in Almanac

Brooklyn Tweed’s “Loft” in Almanac

 

This is “Loft” by Brooklyn Tweed (brainchild of famed designer Jared Flood) and the color is “Almanac“. I’m really glad she chose this because I’ve wanted an excuse to try Brooklyn Tweed’s yarn and I’m having a hard time justifying yarn purchases these days, but hey, it’s a birthday present, who am I to argue?

Brooklyn Tweed produces two yarn weights:

Fingering: Loft

Worsted: Shelter

They are both made from American sourced wool and spun in historic Harrissville, New Hampshire.  I haven’t knit this up yet (no, not even a swatch!), but I can tell you it’s a nice soft wool. I can lay it against the “oh-so-sensitive” skin on my neck with nary a prickle! (Spell-check really wants that to be “pickle”) The color-ways are all sophisticated and subtle and I’ve heard nothing but good things about the quality. It’s not cheap but not outrageous either and their patterns? The best IMO. You can read more about them here.

Quince and Co. also uses American sourced and spun wool and I’ve wanted to try theirs as well but, as yet, I have resisted the urge. Although I’m very tempted, as I love their soft, sophisticated and whimsical color palette, their price-points are quite good, they have awesome patterns and they’re very “carbon footprint” conscious. You can read their story here.

To make them even more tempting they have a wider selection of weights (and even fibers!)

Fingering: Finch (wool), Tern (wool/silk) and Sparrow (linen)

Sort:  Chickadee (wool)

Worsted: Lark (wool) and Owl (wool/alpaca)

Aran: Osprey (wool)

Puffin: Bulky (wool)

I have been lusting after Chickadee in “Apricot” for ages and will, eventually, have to break down and get some, for a review, of course! I certainly wouldn’t be buying any unnecessary yarn…..

The other American wool I love is Stonehedge Fiber Mill’s  “Shepherd’s wool”. This company isn’t just American it’s also a Michigan company with a working farm, wool processing and even a line of equipment for fiber mills should you be interested in starting your own!

Stonehedge Fiber Mill does have an online “shop” but it is considerably less sophisticated than the two mentioned above in that, you can see what’s available on-line but then must either e-mail or call to place an order. Not a big deal but not exactly instant gratification either. Nonetheless, Shepherd’s wool has become my “go-to” worsted weight wool. Because It’s a Michigan wool it is available at almost every LYS near me in some form or other and often available as special order. Shepherd’s wool comes in a nice variety of colors, is soft (no detectable itch factor), wears well, is a pleasure to knit with (good stitch definition), priced well and comes in three weights:

Worsted, DK and Fingering, aptly named “Worsted” “DK” and “Fingering” (It’s a working farm, they’re very practical!).

Stonehedge has a small selection of patterns and kits available as well.

So what’s with the “American Wool-Man” title of this post?

When my Brooklyn Tweed package arrived the other day I had the song “American Woman” going through my head. (That’s the Lenny Kravitz version, which I’m partial to but, for the benefit of any musical purists out there, I’ll include the original Guess Who’s version too.) I immediately changed the words to “American wool-man…..” finding my own self quite amusing. This got me to thinking about songs pertaining to wool and/or knitting (again). There aren’t many. I love Weezer’s “Undone”, which is really about unravelling – a common theme around here. But my personal favorite is, most assuredly, Meryn Cadell’s “The Sweater Song”. If you haven’t heard either of these songs in a while (or ever) take a listen. I promise they’ll make you smile.

It’s a good day to be Knitish!