I’ve been a sweater powerhouse lately! I finished the Tilted Duster in two weeks, Lara in two weeks, and I just cast on for Anna Bell/Amelia Raitte/My Fashionable Life’s Jess, which I hope to finish in two weeks as well. It’s become a routine, with all the reading I’ve been doing: cast on at knit night, knit for two weeks, finish by the next one. I might run out of steam soon, though. I guess I should have plenty of one-skein leftovers by that point, perfect for Christmas gift knitting.

Lara

Lara origamied up into a passable cardigan (phew!) She looked like poo when I tried her on pre-blocking. Lots of wrinkly excess cloth in the armpit area, and she made me look decidedly pudgy. I’m hoping blocking will help the fabric drape better. It might also help to not wear a second sweater underneath.

I clipped Lara together with binder clips to keep her in place while seaming, and it worked pretty well, except at the collar, where I had to kind of squish the last little bit in. I’ll see tomorrow if blocking helped that part lie flat, or if I should rip out and re-seam.

Pictures soon, hopefully.

Jess II: The Re-Jessening

…is what I’ve decided to christen my jacket project. I knit Jess in this same yarn (Queensland Uruguay DK, double-stranded, $25 a bag at Littleknits) on these same needles (Boye Needlemaster size 11) for my stepmom this spring. Hers was a sage green color, mine will be a rich burgundy. I loved working with the yarn and I loved everything about the pattern. So despite my general aversion to making the same pattern twice, I decided to go ahead and make the exact same jacket in a different color, and it’s rather liberating–I know the number of skeins I’ll use (I bought one extra just in case), the proper needle size, the mistakes in the pattern, the things to tweak this time around (fewer buttons, longer sleeves, different bindoff for the collar). I knitted on the cast-on stitches and this left nice big loops for picking up and knitting in the hem.

Instead of repeating my thoughts on the pattern, here are the notes I posted on the Craftster knitalong about the original Jess:

“Well, I finished Jess last week, but forgot to take a picture before sending her off to my stepmom! Sad

I used 11.5 skeins of Peru Luxury DK/Queensland Uruguay DK, a wonderful, shiny, bouncy merino/alpaca/silk blend in sage green, double-stranded, and I sewed on wooden buttons instead of doing the crocheted button covers.

My stepmom says it’s too narrow around the chest, but it seemed to fit me fine when I tried it on first, and I think I’m about the same size as her–she probably just likes more ease in her sweaters. The basketweave fabric with the Peru Luxury DK is surprisingly heavy and stretchy and REALLY warm. The sleeves require much more knitting than you would think to get to the proper length–I think they have a tendency to ride up because of the basketweave. I lengthened them to wrist-length instead of having 3/4 length sleeves.

I realized after knitting this that although it’s a jacket, I think it’s a good idea to use something like merino as she suggests, because the basketweave makes the jacket really cling to your arms and I think it could easily get very itchy and uncomfortable if you used a less-than-luscious yarn.

If this makes a difference in your decision to buy or not buy her patterns, they are mostly very clearly written, but I’d say they’re not for beginners (based on looking over Flicca and knitting from Jess)–they’re very concise, and there are some things taken for granted, like that you will know what decreases to use in which situations (I used paired k2tog/ssk decreases worked a stitch in from the edge, and knit a one-stitch garter selvage on the edges to be seamed), or that you will know how to maintain the stitch pattern when increasing or decreasing. Clearly, since I’ve bought two of them already, I think they’re worth the money, but your mileage may vary Smiley

Jess is a really nice pattern overall–it does go so quickly on the size 11 needles (the fronts are only 28 sts each in the smallest size!), the basketweave pattern is easy to memorize, and I love the details–the slipped-stitch edge, the buttonholes, the knitted-up hems. If you’re wondering, the collar is knit in seed stitch with a slipped-stitch edging, which wasn’t entirely clear to me from the pattern pictures. I would totally knit this jacket again.

I found a couple of possible errata in the pattern on the smallest size, but I could have just made mistakes myself, since I was usually doing something else while knitting.
– I think the instructions for the setup rows on the basketweave pattern for the back are incorrect–the structure of the pattern should be pretty obvious after you’ve swatched, so no big deal, but I believe the (WS) instructions should read P1, (K2, P2) to last stitch, P1.
– I think the shoulder shaping is reversed–when I started on WS or RS as instructed, I ended up with shoulders slanting upwards away from my neck instead of slanting downwards away from my neck. I had to rip and reknit a few times because I kept following along with the pattern and then realizing after binding off that I had done it backwards.”

Selbuvotter

I also cast on for a pair of Selbuvotter mittens, NHM #7. Terri Shea’s Selbuvotter book is phenomenal–the author reverse-engineered mitten patterns from samples found in various Nordic museums, and has reprinted them, in all their intricate, monochromatic glory.

The charts require all my concentration, which is why I needed to cast on for Jess–the mittens will decidedly not be my brainless pattern, but will be one step below.

I’m knitting them in Knitpicks Telemark in black and cream, on a US 1.5/2.5mm 24″ circ, magic-loop (I can knit only one at a time magic loop with this length needle, unfortunately). I don’t have appropriately sized DPNs (though I didn’t take a gauge swatch, so these may be wrong anyway) and two circs seemed way too fiddly this time around.

Stashing and Destashing

I’ll have to count using up yarn as “destashing.” I used up 11 or 12 skeins in the past two weeks on Lara. Yay!

Then I went and bought more stuff. Argh!

I tested some stitch markers for a woman on Ravelry a month or two back, and now she’s opened up her own store–Knitty K8’s Stitch Markers. I wanted to support her (and I got a discount) so I picked up a set of gray freshwater pearl stitch markers.

Jannette’s Rare Yarns was having a limited-time sale on Rowan Yorkshire Tweed Chunky at a price I couldn’t refuse: $50 for 10 100g skeins. She usually sells them for $70. MSRP for a bag is $159.50. This yarn is discontinued, and I loved working with the DK version so much, I decided I’d try the Chunky. I happened upon the sale when there were only 4 days left (3, now), and decided, after some deliberation, on Damp, which looks to be a slate gray flecked with blue and green. I was thinking of getting Coast, a mid-blue color flecked with brighter blue, but I think the gray will be more versatile. (What does the Chicago Manual of Style say about how to treat yarn color names? I went for italics this time.)

And my mom brought me 6 skeins of Patons SWS and 2 skeins of Patons Nuance when she came to visit last weekend–she wants a cardigan or a vest of some kind. My plan is to exchange the Nuance for more SWS so I’ll (probably) have enough for a garment.

In other news, I saw Stardust last night and I want to move to Stormhold. Or maybe Wall.

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