Archives for category: tips and techniques

I found this seaming technique via the Daily Chum: the Bickford Seam. I’d never seen this method before. Supposedly it looks flat and nearly invisible, like mattress stitch, but from both sides. I really want to try it out!

The new Knitty came out today! I love the Aeolian shawl to pieces. I think I have a lace crush on Elizabeth Freeman (she also designed Laminaria). And speaking of lace crushes, did you know Lacis is coming out with a whole book of reissued Herbert Niebling designs? It makes the heart go pitter-patter. It’s a translation of Gestrickte Spitzendecken, corrected and re-charted.

The knitting I’m doing is mostly of the secret or swatchy variety right now, so I don’t have a lot to share, unfortunately. I am working on reknitting this Arrows cowl to make it smaller, with the intention of putting it up as a free pattern:


(see? cowl too big for my taste, and it was too sunny outside. but hey, o w l s !)
It uses 2 skeins Mirasol Miski, a super-soft baby llama blend with all sorts of feel-good social justice benefits. The old one is Bluebell, the new one is Coral.

I got Heather Ross’s Weekend Sewing in the mail and I love it! Can’t wait to start on the Summer Blouse, (I even traced and cut out the pattern pieces last night. I’m not looking forward to making the bias tape, though) and I really really want to make the Obi Dress and Trapeze Dress, but don’t have suitable fabric in suitable yardage for either.

I am thinking of using my Amy Butler Lotus yellow polka dot fabric for the blouse, with facings in something else from the collection, maybe this peony fabric or blue damasky stuff. I only have a fat quarter of each, though, so I don’t know if that will work, it’s probably not enough.

And Yarnmonster is modeling in the book! Not that I know her aside from reading her blog, but I thought it was cool to recognize her.

The big knitting news in town is that the Yarn Harlot is coming to town for the Madison Knit-In. Rahul thinks this is kind of hilarious and keeps saying “ooh, the Yarn! Harlot!” in this little squeaky voice. He has no idea. I think he would be shocked at how many people will be there. I’m excited to see the Harlot, of course, but also excited to take a look at the marketplace. Among the vendors: the Plucky Knitter, Creatively Dyed, Briar Rose Fibers, Black Water Abbey,  and Kimmet Croft, makers of the angora-blend yarn for US-variety Bohus sweaters.

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Sooo my trip planning is going kind of poorly. One of the airlines I have tickets with (Siem Reap Airways) got blacklisted by the EU for inadequate safety standards and suspended all flights about 6 days after I bought the tickets. Supposedly we can still fly with their parent carrier (but is that any better?) And then tonight, at Stitch ‘n’ Bitch, I broke my glasses! The earpiece just snapped right off. We’re leaving on Monday and tomorrow and Friday we’re supposed to get 6-12 inches of snow, so I’m not sure I want to venture out to the optometrist until the weekend. Not sure what to do about this, and I can’t find my spares. For the moment, I’m supergluing the broken pair back together. Things are not going well!

But I do have something knitting-related that I’m happy about, at least. More than one thing, but I don’t know how many of them I’ll get a chance to write up before I go.

Some background: my absolute favorite mittens are my Bird in Hand mittens (pattern available here.) The only problem is that when it gets down to below zero, like it was here in Madison the other day,

stranded worsted weight knit at a fingering weight gauge, while plenty warm, just isn’t quite warm enough. I wanted a pair of thrummed mittens like the ones I made Rahul (see the guts? I didn’t have a picture of them last time)

but I also wanted to wear my favorite mittens.

So I decided to retrofit my mitts with afterthought thrums!

They are invisible from the outside (aside from the mitten looking a little puffy, and fitting tighter than it used to) and super warm.

Here’s how to do it:
Gather your supplies:

  • one pair of stranded mittens, preferably a pair with more ease in them than mine have,
  • a couple of ounces of nice woolly roving, matching or not–mine is indigo and osage-dyed Corriedale from Handspun by Stefania, and really I should have used the random bright pink and orange roving I have lying around that I’ll never make anything with, rather than the expensive natural-dyed stuff, but I couldn’t resist the matching green. Whatever color you pick, it won’t show. The important thing is that the fibers should be at least a couple of inches long, and have some crimp, so they’ll stay in the mitten. There was a thread on Ravelry about thrummed mittens where someone suggested cashmere thrums. This is a bad idea, because down fibers are so short, they’ll never stay in place. You want something where you can pull off a decent-sized lock.
  • a crochet hook of a decent size (I don’t know much about crochet hook sizing, but I think I used a G hook. Something a reasonable size for worsted-weight yarn)

Turn the mitten inside out.

Pull off a piece of wool about the width of your finger and a few inches long. This is your thrum.

Stick your crochet hook under a couple of floats. Do not go through the main part of the knitted fabric, just under the floats.

Fold the thrum in half and loop the middle over the crochet hook (sorry, this is a little blurry, but you get the idea).

Use the crochet hook to pull the center of the thrum under the floats.

Now go over the floats with the crochet hook and grab the tail ends of the thrum with it…

And pull these through the loop formed by the folded middle of the thrum.

Voila, a thrum attached invisibly to the inside of the mitten, after the fact!

Continue to attach thrums evenly across the back of the fabric so you have a nice woolly layer. I have a short attention span and a lot of Christmas knitting to do, so my mittens are still pretty much in the partially-thrummed state you see below, but it has really improved their insulating powers. (For one mitt. I have part of one mitt thrummed. But on Monday I will be in a place where it’s 80 degrees out, so I’m not in a huge hurry to get this done.)

Pretty awesome, right?

I hope this trick is useful to my fellow knitters in similarly fiercely cold climates!

OK, the burn mark on our linoleum is still there (now covered by a throw rug), and my leg still hurts, but my mental state today is much better than it was yesterday. The sun is out (this is how deep the flooding downtown was yesterday after the thunderstorm), knitting night is tonight, Rahul and I might go see a play at the fresh-baked cookie store after that. And, as I mentioned, I have some good knitterly things to think about.

Here’s one of the nice things. When I finished the Hemlock Ring, I cast on for a new hat as a reward for myself. It’s no kind of weather for wool berets right now, but who cares? It’s pretty! And it was fun and quick to make.

Pattern:Rose Red, by Ysolda Teague. chemgrrl, who was done with hers, traded the pattern to me for a skein of Rowan Calmer.
Size made: Small, but using a larger gauge. I can’t tell you what the gauge was, because I was lazy and fudged it.
Finished dimensions: I was lucky–it fits! I blocked it over a dinner plate, and it came out to 11 inches in diameter with the hat lying flat, with a band size of about 20 inches.
Yarn used: Malabrigo Merino Worsted from a Whitknits sale, in Violetas, about 90 grams (i.e. just under 1 skein, or about 195 yards).
Needles used: US size 8/5.0 mm bamboo DPNs to start the hat (it’s knit from the top down), and US size 7/4.5 mm 16-inch Boye Needlemasters for the rest
Date started: June 2, 2008
Date finished: June 3, 2008
Mods: Aside from the gauge modifications, none that I can think of.
Notes: My Ravelry page for this project is here. I loved this pattern. It’s gorgeous and intricate, fast and pretty easy to knit, and very well-written and easy to follow (I used the written directions, which I think to many knitters is akin to saying you like white wine better than red at a gathering of oenophiles–sort of crass, indicating a not-very-advanced palate.)

I finished the hat in just two days, after some marathon TV knitting (season openers of Bones and House; Barack Obama’s speech accepting the presumptive nomination; two nights of Daily Show and Colbert Report).

I usually cable without a cable needle, but this time, because of the way the 7-stitch cable is worked, I had to use a cable needle. It was fiddly and annoying, but I think it improved the look of my cables–they’re usually sloppy around the edges, but looked pretty tight this time. I used a size 6 DPN instead of one of the special cable needles you can buy.

I actually have some red DK-weight angora blend in the stash, and after making Rusted Root I was thinking I should add more red to my wardrobe this winter, so I think I might make another one of these hats in fluffy red DK weight, exactly like Ysolda’s original. Or maybe not. I’m not crazy about the way the cabled band looks, although I really appreciate the tidy, knitterly design aesthetics of continuing those cables all the way down the band. It’s just that somehow I feel like the hat looks a bit too… chef-like? and I suspect I might prefer the look of a ribbed band instead.

I think the recommended lighter weight yarn would also be a good idea. Malabrigo on 7s, even well-blocked, came out slightly too sturdy and the hat doesn’t drape well. For best effect, I think it should be really floppy. Also, I can’t quite decide how I feel about this semi-solid colorway–is it a distraction, or does it add to the charm and intricate look of the pattern? (This is not to say I don’t totally love the hat–I really do. This is all nitpicking.)

Anyway–on to the pictures. It’s really hard to take a picture of the back of your own head.

The hat lying flat.

The back of my head.

Plated up for blocking. The underside and band:

The flowery top, with cute li’l i-cord nubbin:

Me looking vaguely chef-like, or possibly medieval, from the front.

So–some other good things.

  • The Rainey Sisters alerted me to the fact that Niebling’s legendary Lyra doily is now available for $7 plus $4.50 shipping/handling through Lacis. It used to be rare and go for a LOT more on eBay–there are two copies up right now, the highest one, with 19 bids, currently priced at $81 plus $5.90 shipping. And I mean copy–it says you get photocopies of the pattern, not even originals. It must be a cash cow for the seller, since they can make infinite copies for 10 cents and sell them for $81+. That’s really kind of messed up.
  • You can now purchase a couple of my patterns through Sandra Singh. She posted them today and has sold a copy of The Water is Wide already!
  • Robynn sent me some freakin’ amazing yarn. Just look at how gorgeous this is.Handmaiden Camelspin, in Nova Scotia, glowing green and blue–this stuff has the sheen of Sea Silk but is much softer, probably the softest yarn I’ve ever felt, softer than the skein of cashmere I have in my purse:


    Artyarns Beaded Rhapsody in color 159, gleaming gold and silver:

Are those not just insanely beautiful? The timing was good; it made my day if not my week, and on balance more than made up for my Very Bad Day yesterday–thank you so much, Robynn.

I have knit lots more rounds of the Hemlock Ring blanket since my last post. I’m now up to Round 38 of Jared’s chart (I guess this corresponds to Round 84 of the original pattern), and the behemoth 250-gram, 478-yard centerpull yarn ball is finally nearing its end and collapsing in on itself.

Additional props to the Rainey Sisters for their notes and PDF: once I made it past the error in Round 35, I got to the Feather and Fan section and went to print out Jared’s chart so I could highlight the rounds I’d completed. Because I am apparently a technological moron, every time I saved the chart from Flickr and tried to print it, it came out tiny and illegible, and I couldn’t seem to get it to any kind of normal size. The Rainey Sisters PDF came to the rescue with flying colors! It has a chart key on the same page, too, and includes the original pattern in the PDF so you don’t have to print it out separately. Ladies, thank you.

I’m still really enjoying the endless feather-and-fan–it was a good project to bring to knit night, because of how it’s mostly just stockinette in the round. Also, after I kept getting paranoid that my increases and decreases had shifted over by half a repeat, and suspiciously counting the YO eyelets and trying to spread out considerably more than 40″ of crumpled lace to lie flat on the 40″ needles, Nicole helpfully suggested that I use stitch markers to keep track of where I was. If I were at home instead of having met my knitting group, I’d probably still be sitting here counting, re-counting, and grumbling.

I had never really thought of Feather and Fan as being the kind of lace pattern that might give someone problems, since it’s super-easy and one of the simplest ones out there, but since the number of plain stitches, increases, and decreases varies on every pattern row as the Hemlock Ring expands, I had to tink back a few times after letting my mind wander and reverting back to the increase/decrease pattern from the previous lace round, getting towards the end of the round, and realizing–heeeeeey, that doesn’t match up. It also doesn’t have the really strong geometric lines that some lace patterns do, that would immediately flag a mismatch between the current round and previous ones. (In fact, even the flowery center part of the Hemlock Ring, despite the more complicated nature of the lace, has for the most part really strong and easy-to-read increase and decrease lines, so I did realize there was a problem right away with Round 35 because it was clear that the decreases were not stacking up properly when I followed the pattern as written.)

I had already drawn a vertical line down the middle of the chart to divide it in half, so half the YOs are on the left and half on the right, to mark the beginning of the round, since the round begins in the middle of a lace repeat. I made markers from pieces of scrap yarn and placed them at this location on every repeat: 8 markers total, 1 of which was my original end-of-round marker, a different color from the rest of them.

Now (as is standard practice with using stitch markers in lace), as I begin each set of increases, I count to make sure I have the right number preceding the marker; slip the marker, make sure I have the right number of increases following it, and then work the plain sts (as needed) and the decreases, and I can tell by the time I get to the next marker if I’ve messed up the pattern.

It feels like it’s going really fast, although I am told that is just a cruel illusion, since the rounds get longer and longer. Since it’s my Mindless Knitting project, though, I have high hopes that it will get done reasonably soon and with a minimum of soul-crushing tedium. I do wish I could spread the whole thing out flat to look at it. Right now it’s like a giant lace bag, or some kind of weird sea creature (Emilee compared hers to urchins and anemones, but it kind of reminds me of an jellyfish at the moment, perhaps because of the color.)

In other knitting news:

Bad news: there was a fire yesterday night at the Malabrigo mill. They posted on their site that “Even though our floor did not catch fire, it seems there is substantial damage on our mill and offices caused by the soot and smoke.” I hope nobody was hurt and that they’re up and running again soon.

Good news: I’m really excited about Norah Gaughan Volume 3. Norah has been posting sneak peeks of her designs on Ravelry, in her projects, and discussing them in the Norah Gaughan group. They’re hosted on Flickr, so you don’t have to be a member of Ravelry to see them. I think one of these design stories is totally beautiful and appealing–look at Eastlake:

And Loppem:

Those are my two favorites of the ones she’s shown so far. Calvert is pretty nice too:

I ran across this site where Tony Hawks, a British comedian, posts the mail he gets that is mistakenly addressed to Tony Hawk, the American skater, and his replies. Among them:

dear tony
I playing ur game and see dat you don’t look the sam in the games as you site. i tink you are hott. do yuo wear a mask? i think you are the best. i can olly and on my skat bord i can also do an olly bone-to-bone cornbread. i want to know if you can cum to howse and jump on my ramp and then we go for ice-creem and walk along the beech and wach the sun set.
irie love Billy Sixx
p,.s can u make a rollerblading game so is can play too games and not won.

Dear Billy,
If I came to your house, jumped on your ramp and then went for an ice cream and a walk along the beach to see the sunset, you have absolutely no idea how much trouble I’d get into.
TH



Hey Tony….man, you are one helluva skater…I want to be just like you when I get older. Wow.

– Doris

Doris,
If you really want to be just like me when you’re older you’ll need to undergo considerable surgery.

TH



Tony what was your first ever trick you did and what was your favourite trick you ever did?

Liam

Liam,
I’ve stopped turning tricks since they cleaned things up around Kings Cross.

You probably wouldn’t want to know what the trick was.

TH


can you send me a copy of tony hawk 2 please
No


Bout ye big guy!!!!! Tone, I’m like ur bigest fan.i’m 9yrs old and bin sk8ing for like 2 yearsur amazing man, u rock dude i am your biggestt fan i gotta go luv will

Will,
We should hook up some time. You seem exactly my type of guy. It would be nice to sit down over a sherry and discuss Proust, listen to poetry and do the odd ‘ollie’ if the fancy takes us. I’ll be in touch.

Possibly

TH



hey sup man i have this ninja trutle flat skateboard but i can’t do anything on it and people when i ride by on it call me a fag do you think you can help me not be a fag anymore?Then maybe sometime i chould come over to your house and bring some peanut butter and jelly sandwitchs and you can get the star wars movies!!!

Believe me, coming round my house with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to watch a film isn’t necessarily going to help you lose the ‘fag’ tag.

TH


Also, a couple of things. I started a Hemlock Ring blanket as a wedding present, in addition to the YELLOW! shawl. It will be a mindless knitting project, while the other one is the original design project.

It’s going pretty well–I’m at row 40 now–but I’ve been consumed today with the urge to cast on for a new hat instead of working on the billion things I have going already.

The yarn I’m using for the Hemlock Ring is the one recommended in the pattern, Cascade Eco Wool, but mine is a creamy natural color rather than heathered gray. It’s a pain in the butt to wind the mega-skein into a mega-ball, but the yarn is soooo soft, squooshy, woolly, and delicious to work with, and not a single knot or end to weave in in 478 yards. I love it.

I’m using 40″ Addi Turbos. I love these too! I’m not crazy about metal DPNs, but Addi Turbos are so great to knit with–I love the shiny, smooth nickel finish and the flexible cord. I started the blanket with Emily Ocker’s circular cast-on and used the Magic Loop technique until the blanket got big enough to stretch all the way around the needle.

Be forewarned if you decide to make this that there are errors in Round 35 of the pattern. Because I didn’t realize this, and I also had missed a YO in the previous lace round in the first pattern repeat, I had a hell of a time getting through Round 35. A correction can be found at the Rainey Sisters blog, where they’ve also worked up a symbol key for Brooklyn Tweed’s chart. I’ll post the correction again here, this time with the corrections highlighted, so you can see what they are–deletions in red and crossed out, insertions in blue:

Round 35:
35th rnd: *O, k 1, O, * sl 1, k 2 tog, psso, O, k 4, O, sl 1, k 2 tog, psso, (O, k 1) twice; sl 1, k 2 tog, psso, k1 (k 1, O) twice. Repeat from * around.

The other thing is this: I’m going to be selling my patterns soon through some other venues, not just self/Ravelry-publishing, and since retailers will be taking a cut (which I hadn’t planned for originally when pricing everything out), I’m raising the price for the Prickle Moebius Cowl pattern, from $4 to $5, at the beginning of June. If you’ve been thinking about buying it but haven’t gotten around to it, now is the time. Just wanted to give you some fair warning in case you agree that cowl is the new scarf. I’ve been thrilled to see a couple of finished objects popping up: Christy at Neither Hip Nor Funky finished a Prickle cowl for a giant cowl swap; you can take a look at it here. There is also this lovely one on Ravelry that knittingchemist made in Lettuce Malabrigo Worsted. How great is this color:

Well, I’m off to read some Proust over a glass of sherry, knit on the Hemlock Ring, and do the odd ‘ollie’ or ‘kickflip indy’ if the urge overtakes me. Pip, pip, cheerio!

I have two new finished objects to show you, both made from Knit Picks Cotlin yarn in Moroccan Red, an inexpensive DK weight cotton-linen blend. I blogged about it before here, when I made a Bainbridge Scarf with it for my friend Jeanne.

Now that I’ve used it a bit more, some further thoughts: the color of this yarn is lovely and bright, and the yarn is pretty soft and drapey as far as I can tell. The two things I disliked about it were the occasional long, pokey fibers I would have to pull out of the yarn, presumably bits of flax, and its tendency to shed red fuzz as I was knitting with it (mentioned in my last post). It made me feel sneezy, and if I washed my hands after knitting with it for a while, little red fuzz pills would rub off my palms. These skeins seemed less fuzzy than the one I knit before–maybe it’s the effect of aging the yarn a bit.

I was undecided before, but I’ve decided I like it after all and I would use it again, especially since they’ve added a bunch of new colors that are right up my alley. Of the old ones, only this red and the natural linen color really appealed to me. Maybe Nightfall. But I wasn’t crazy about the sherbet colors like coral and turquoise. I love all the new ones, though–Coffee, Glacier, and Kohlrabi are all beautiful.

The Cotlin yarn for these two new FOs and the Bainbridge scarf is all from the same batch. I got it from chemgrrl, who bought too much for her super-adorable Cherry sweater. I was curious about it, so she gave me the skein I made into the Bainbridge scarf, and then she swapped me the sweater quantity, plus some mohair, for some Elann Den-m-nit
I had so she could make a jacket or something for her small niece.

I had it lined up for a lobster for a friend’s baby, but I’ll have to find a different red yarn for that, because the Cotlin is now all used up!

First up, Rusted Root! (Wow, it’s been ages since I’ve done a proper FO post)

Pattern: Rusted Root, from Zephyr Style, given to me as a Random Act of Kindness by knottygnome
Size made: Small (for 32-35″ bust), although my gauge wound up being off and the sweater measured about 34″ before blocking when it should have been 32″. Not that the pattern tells you this, of course.
Yarn used: Knit Picks Cotlin, Moroccan Red, approximately 4.5 skeins
Needles used: US size 7/4.5 mm Denises for most of the sweater; US size 3/3.25 mm for the ribbing on the sleeves
Date started: May 5, 2008
Date finished: May 11, 2008
Mods: More tedious details about size and yarn usage can be found on the Ravelry page. I started with the neckline ribbing (since you pick up the same number of stitches as you cast on, in the same ratio, without short rows or any such things going on, I see no particular reason to pick up the neckline later) and worked 5 rows instead of 3, using the larger needles instead of going down a size. I did paired M1 increases around the raglan seam lines (lift from back and knit through front loop, k2, lift from front and knit through back loop).

I totally reworked the waist shaping, and then my gauge was off and I was unable to finish my reworked shaping scheme anyway–after I’d worked only 3 sets of hip increases out of my desired 5, the sweater was long enough and I decided to stop.

I also put in Elizabeth Zimmermann’s phoney seams on the sides before starting the ribbing.

I knit the neck and hip ribbing (about 9 rows) on size 7 needles, since I didn’t want them to draw in particularly, then knit the sleeve ribbing for 5 rows on size 3’s (I used k1fb to increase one on each sleeve to make the k2, p1 ribbing pattern work properly).

I used a sewn bindoff for the sleeves to make them stretchy, and a suspended bindoff in rib for the hip (since I hate sewing with that long, long tail over long distances… I really should have used the sewn bindoff at the hip, too; it could definitely be stretchier, but it’s not terrible as is, either.)

Notes:
I hope to have more photos later. It’s unblocked and hot off the needles in this photo (so it’s all uneven and lumpy, and it’s being worn over a clearly unsuitable tunic top instead of a camisole).

The thing is, I committed a Cardinal Sin of knitting with this sweater. I didn’t knit or wash my swatch the way I would wash my finished garment–I knit a flat swatch instead of one in the round (hence the aforementioned gauge issues), then hand-washed and laid it flat instead of machine-washing and drying. Then I finished the sweater and threw it in the washer and dryer. We’ll see what happens! Hopefully I can still wear the sweater afterwards. It seems silly to have to hand-wash and flat dry what is essentially a t-shirt, so if it’s not easy care, I guess I might as well find out now instead of after it’s a cherished essential piece in my wardrobe and I accidentally toss it in the hamper. Anyway, I did read up on it beforehand and people have said it tightens up a bit and takes very well to machine washing. Not sure about drying. If it’s a disaster, I surely will have notes on it in the near future–it’s in the dryer as I type this. Wish me luck!

While I think the finished top is really cute, I did find the pattern kind of weird and annoying to work with at certain points, for a few minor reasons. Believe me, I totally understand the headaches of trying to sort these things out when drafting a pattern, and I don’t think I could do any better (people who live in glass houses shouldn’t point fingers at other people’s pattern-writing abilities!) but nonetheless, should you be in the market for Zephyr Style patterns and wondering about how they’re written, let me tell you what my gripes with this were:

  • No schematics in the pattern. This is the biggest annoyance. I couldn’t decide if I should make the XS or the S (since both cover a 32” bust)–seems like the S gives a 32” actual bust size, meaning negative ease if you’re on the larger end of the range. I wasn’t sure if the sleeves would actually fit over my biceps (thankfully, they did)–I had an issue with the sleeves being too tight on my Green Gable and had to redo my bind-offs on that top before I could actually wear it. There is also no information about the intended or modeled ease.
  • No stitches put on hold/cast on at the underarm. Just a note, not a gripe (yet). I’ve just seen the put 8%-of-underarm-stitches-on-hold thing in numerous patterns, though I’m not sure what type of functional difference it makes in the fit. I’ll see how it fits when it’s done and washed.
  • Asymmetrical waist shaping decreases. OK, actually, there’s nothing wrong with this, but I kind of like symmetrical ssk/k2tog shaping on either side of a seam instead of using just k2tog on one side of the seam.
  • Very sparse with the stitch counts. I’m pretty sure I got it right, but it would have been very helpful to see a detailed breakdown of stitch counts in the puff sleeve increase/decrease sections in particular so I could easily double-check my work and see if everything was OK. I’m not personally bothered by the lack of information about the increase rounds, as I’m capable of figuring out the number of increases per increase round from looking at the directions, but a beginner might have issues.
  • The lace is not charted out, and sl1-k1-psso is written as 3 separate steps (separated by commas) which confuses me since the 3 steps consume 2 stitches and result in 1 stitch. I prefer seeing it written using hyphens/dashes. In any case, I rewrote it using ssk.
  • The lace also calls for you to read your knitting on every other round, knitting into the knit stitches and YOs and purling into the purls. I don’t mind this, but again, if you’re a beginner, it might be easier to have it specified as “Row 10: K7, p2, k6” etc.
  • As someone’s notes somewhere on the internet point out (I can’t find them now, of course), the poof in the sleeves tends to vanish for many people, probably because of the tiered increases–i.e. XS and S have the same number of increases for the puffed sleeves, meaning the XS sleeves will be puffier than the S in proportion to the rest of the sweater, and the same deal for M/L, XL/XXL. We’ll see how mine come out. I don’t have my heart set on it either way.
  • Not a lot of information about the techniques they use. M1 is specified as Make One, but there are at least 4 different actual increases that could mean. The instructions for knitting the sleeves on two circulars are very sparse (they tell you to divide the stitches onto two circulars and knit in the round, but I can see this potentially causing issues for a beginner who wasn’t familiar with the technique). No cast-on is specified, even though they specify that you should use the backwards loop cast-on in their FAQ because apparently a lot of people were having issues with their necklines or underarm seams binding because the cast-on wasn’t stretchy enough.

It’s been ages since I made Green Gable, but I remember having some of the same issues with that top as well.

Anyway–I’m excited about wearing it, so thank you again for the pattern, knottygnome! I desperately hope it fits when it comes out of the dryer.

I had a bit of the yarn left over, about half a skein, so I cast on for a dishcloth.

Pattern: Yvonne’s Double Flower Cloth
Yarn used: Knit Picks Cotlin, Moroccan Red, approximately 1 skein
Needles used: A set of 5 US size 8/5 mm bamboo DPNs (sort of annoying–they kept falling out of the stitches. Two circs or magic loop would be easier to deal with)
Date started: May 12, 2008
Date finished: May 13, 2008

Mods: I was trying to use up the half-skein of yarn left over from my Rusted Root–I ran out of yarn at row 31 and had to rummage around to find the other half-skein of yarn left over from the Bainbridge Scarf so I could finish the cloth. I had some left over, so I knit a little garter stitch loop to use for hanging the cloth up to dry (just cast on 3 sts, knit every row for maybe 2 inches, folded it over, picked up stitches from the base of the loop and knit them together with the live stitches) and used the rest of the yarn to single-crochet around the outer border of the washcloth. Also, I used a lighter weight yarn and larger needles than recommended.
Notes: I don’t know the last time I spent so little time on a project and wound up with something so pretty and functional! Again, this photo is before washing and drying the cloth, so the knitting isn’t terribly even-looking. I think this is a great pattern, though–very easy to follow and fast to knit, with beautiful results.

So the other day I was working at the dining table while Rahul was making dinner. Suddenly there’s a sort of scream from the kitchen, I look up, and there is a giant sheet of flame roaring up from one of the pots on the stove. All the smoke alarms in the house start screeching, of course, adding to the general air of panic and confusion as we tried to find a lid to stop the flame–I grabbed one and gave it to him, it turned out to be too small and just kind of dropped neatly into the pot, where the flames shot up all around it and the plastic lid handle started to melt; I ran and got the fire extinguisher, we balked at actually using it and getting foam all over the kitchen; and eventually we found the actual lid for the pot and clamped it down on top to stop the flames.

We have cathedral ceilings, so the smoke alarms are really hard to reach and turn off, so Rahul ended up batting one of the madly beeping alarms off the ceiling with a broom handle like he was hitting a home run. Cursing madly, we carried the pot (leaking dirty gray smoke) outside to our balcony and put it down on a pallet that we’d conveniently retrieved while dumpster diving (thank God we had it, instead of having to put the pot directly on the balcony, because the heat of it permanently burned a round black circle into the wood.)

Rahul lifted the lid off the pot, thinking the fire had surely smothered itself by that time, and a giant fireball shot out of the pot, reinvigorated by the sudden burst of oxygen, and narrowly missing burning off his eyebrows.

Then this morning, I figured I would make a bagel with peanut butter for breakfast. (Our friend Jason used to run a bagel shop in Long Island, and he gave us a bunch of frozen bagels from there that have been sitting in our freezer and providing us with delicious bagelly sustenance for weeks.) I heated up the oven, put the bagels on a cookie sheet (we don’t have a toaster) and went into the other room. About ten minutes later, Rahul yelled, “I smell smoke!”

“What? Really?” I had put them into a cold oven, not a preheated one, and I usually toast them for at least 15 minutes before taking them out. 10 minutes seemed way too early for it to burn.

But I opened the oven door and a cloud of extremely stinky smoke billowed out. I grabbed the bagel sheet and pulled it out and said, “It’s not the bagel!” The bagel itself was toasted to golden-brown perfection. Instead, for some reason, there was a tea light in the bottom of the oven, leaking molten, smoky wax all over the oven floor.

We couldn’t figure out how it had gotten in there, and thought perhaps it somehow got stuck to the bottom of the cookie sheet when it was on the table. Anyway, the house is full of horrible, smelly wax smoke, it’s cold because all the windows are open to ventilate the house, and I ended up eating Kroger brand potato salad for breakfast because Rahul said the delicious-looking wax-smoked bagel might poison me.

I think we must have offended the kitchen gods somehow. I am normally a confident mistress of that domain, but things are seriously not going well between us and the kitchen at the moment. At the very least, we cooked a very delicious meal the night the pot caught fire–wild morels scavenged from the woods and sauteed in butter, fagioli all’uccelletto (sort of, anyway–pinto beans with garlic, sage, tomatoes, bay leaf, and olive oil cooked in our new hand-me-down crock pot until meltingly tender), orzo, skillet cornbread…

Anyway, with all that excitement, I’m so glad I have a new project on the needles. A very simple, soothing, what-could-possibly-go-wrong sort of project: a Scrunchable Scarf made of some two-ply, worsted-weight handspun–the roving was labeled as Cotswold-Angora-Bamboo-Angelina but may have been mislabeled, as there is definitely no sign of glitz and the roving appeared to be a pretty uniform gray fluff. I dyed it with Kool-Aid to an overall sort of raspberry color (intended to have a more varied, hand-painted, look, but it’s OK, it’s nice anyway), cast on 21 stitches, and got started with the k2-p1 ad infinitum.

No matter how much I love the look of knitting acrobatics and show-off patterns, I love the process of knitting simple ribbed or brioche scarves–so relaxing and easy. This one is coming out sproingy and cushy and very rustic-looking–I didn’t spin it very evenly, and the yarn is pretty woolly and fuzzy anyway, so it almost looks like a boucle yarn when knit up, full of little lumps and bumps.

I also made myself a little chart to see how the farrow rib pattern used in the Scrunchable Scarf differs from one of my other favorite stitch patterns, mistake rib.

Farrow rib (*k2, p1* over a multiple of 3 stitches):
ppkppk
pkkpkk

Mistake rib (*k2, p2*, ending with k2, p1, over a multiple of 4 sts + 3):

ppkkppk
pkkppkk

They both contain a column of moss stitch (alternating knit and purl) and columns of knit and purl stitches, but the farrow rib has some adjacent knit and purl columns, while in mistake rib the knit and purl columns are always separated by a column of moss stitch. This emphasizes the rises and dips of the knit and purl columns, while farrow rib comes out flatter because the knits are right next to the purls.

Also, I finished my Rusted Root and made a very pretty dishcloth with the leftovers (such a quick, pretty pattern), went to a knitting art show and MAKS with chemgrrl (she has a full report on her blog; I didn’t take photos because my camera doesn’t work well in low light with no flash) and have already made something really wonderful with my purchase from MAKS. Pictures next time! And I am tons of work and am feeling terribly behind with all the actual important stuff I should be taking care of, responding to emails and working on patterns and such, but hopefully I will have time for that in the next few days as well, assuming the kitchen doesn’t burn down in the meantime.

Since I don’t have photos of actual knitting-related things to show you, instead, here are some more pictures from the Monroe County History Museum. They had an exhibit featuring people’s personal collections. This person collects accordions and accordion-themed objects; here are some of the prizes from their collection.

I would totally vote for Sophia Travis.

“Most of all, he saw her waist, just where it narrowed, before the skirts spread. . . . He thought of her momentarily as an hour-glass, containing time, which was caught in her like a thread of sand, of stone, of specks of life, of things that had lived and would live. She held his time, she contained his past and his future, both now cramped together, with such ferocity and such gentleness, into this small circumference.”

— A. S. Byatt, Possession: A Romance (You can use Search Inside on the Amazon page linked here to read the whole passage.)

The scene this quote is taken from is quite possibly my favorite passage of all time, in my favorite book of all time. Maybe not–there are plenty of other wonderful books in competition with this one, after all. I have yet to encounter anything that sent chills down my spine quite like this, though. The way the timeline and plot of the entire book swung around this pivotal scene on the beach; the way the symbols, images, and linguistic references fell so neatly into place, like the pieces of an intricate and wonderful puzzle; the way Byatt captures that wonderfully bittersweet feeling of being gloriously happy, but knowing the feeling cannot last.

With that in mind, I bring you the Hourglass Pullover, finished at last.



We walked downtown on Saturday, clad in handknits, and admiring the glistening sculptures of ice-coated bushes here and there, watching squirrels and the first early cardinals searching for food in the melting snow, breaking off icicles from car bumpers and fencing with them before throwing them down on the pavement to shatter.

These photos were taken on the Indiana University campus, which was quiet and peaceful, it being the first weekend of Spring Break. We stopped again, a bit further on, and took pictures of ourselves in front of the Sample Gates, the iconic entrance to campus, at Kirkwood and Indiana.

We enjoyed some of our favorite Bloomington pleasures: going to the public library to get our fix of free books and DVDs, stopping in at the yarn shop and bookstores downtown, having lunch at Roots, the vegetarian restaurant on the square, buying beer and chocolate at Sahara Mart.

While we were at Roots, I spied something interesting across the street–sadly, didn’t get any pictures of it, but it turned out to be a big brown falcon that had caught a pigeon and was perched in a tree outside the courthouse, eating its lunch as we ate ours. It was our second interesting brush with birds that day: I woke up to the sight of two fat, fluffed-up mourning doves perched on my bike basket on the balcony, directly outside the French door to our bedroom.

We saw our friend Jeff on our walk home, just as it started to snow again, and he gave us a ride the rest of the way home. At home, we watched about 20 minutes of The Motorcycle Diaries before switching to a documentary about three-toed sloths (both courtesy of the Monroe County Public Library).

And yesterday, Sunday, we rode our bikes out to run errands in the cold, and later, went to a jalapeno-filled potluck dinner at our friends Steve and Jeanne’s house, with their friend Dan and our friend Charlie, and had drinks and Girl Scout Cookies and played Super Smash Brothers on the Wii (I’m abysmal at it, despite usually liking fighting games).

On balance, we’ve been very happy in Bloomington. We’ve had so many wonderful, simple pleasures to enjoy; our town is peaceful, quiet, small, easy to navigate; best of all, we’ve made great friends here, whom we run into randomly around town, or with whom we can make last-minute plans without the transportation/logistics issues of a larger city. I get to work at home at the moment, doing useful work for a company with wonderful, interesting, intelligent coworkers. It’s been a real pleasure making friends with local knitters through the internet and meeting up every couple of weeks to knit and chat and admire each other’s projects.

It’s been bittersweet, though, because we know it can’t last. Rahul is wrapping up his MBA, and even if we stay in town longer (a possibility, since he’s applied to a Ph.D. program here) it won’t be the same, since our best friends here are all, or almost all, moving away at the end of the year. We’re going up to UW-Madison later this week–another possibility for a place we might be in a few months–hopefully stopping in Chicago to see some museums and/or drink some green beer on the way back. I don’t know where we’ll be in a few months, or what we’ll be doing.

Again from Byatt:

“Let us not think of time.”

“We have reached Faust’s non-plus. We say to every moment ‘Verweile doch, du bist so schoen,’ and if we are not immediately damned, the stars move still, time runs, the clock will strike.'”

Here we are, then, in the narrow waist of the hourglass, watching our days slip by, with such ferocity and such gentleness, as the snow melts and spring edges in.

Whatever we do next, I’m sure it will be fine, as well, but I can’t help but look around, and think of how lovely it has been to be here, now.

Pattern: The Hourglass Sweater, from Last Minute Knitted Gifts

Size made: Small (33 inches)

Yarn used: Fleece Artist Blue Face DK, a 100% bluefaced Leicester yarn, in Periwinkle. I bought this on sale–30% off, I think–from Ram Wools. I used perhaps 1.4 skeins of this, or about 700 yards (it comes in a giant put-up, 250 g/450 m)

Needles used: US size 7/4.5 mm and US size 10/6.0 mm circulars

Date started: November 14, 2007 (cast on as an airplane knitting project for my trip back home for Thanksgiving/San Diego)

Date finished: March 3, 2008 (it took me ages! All that stockinette, and the never-ending giant skein of yarn, was disheartening)

Mods: My main modification was the gauge: I got 19 sts and 23 rows to 4 inches, so I had to adjust the number of rows throughout. 7 rounds between body decrease rounds, 11 rounds between body increase rounds; 30 rounds between sleeve decrease rounds, 13 rounds between sleeve increase rounds.

I didn’t adjust the even/decrease rounds in the yoke, but I did work 2 extra sets of decrease/even rounds to reduce the neckline size, winding up with 10 sts at the top of each sleeve instead of 14.

I knit the sleeves first, magic-loop. I used a provisional cast-on for all lower hems, and knit them up into the live stitches. I used a size 10 needle to do this for the sleeves, but forgot to bring it with me when I was knitting up the body hem, so the body hem was knit up with a size 7. My reasoning for this was that the hem always tends to pull in the row of stitches where it’s been knit up, so using a larger needle size would allow for more yarn in that row of stitches, compensating for the additional length the yarn needs to go through the hem stitches in addition to the body stitches. It seemed to work fairly well–you can see in the pictures that it seems like the sleeves have pulled/ruffled less than the lower hem on the body of the sweater.

For the neckline hem, I figured it would be too fiddly and annoying to sew the live stitches down to the body, so I just bound off using *k2tog, place st back on left needle* and then used the long tail from the bind-off to loosely whipstitch the neckline hem down to the inside of the sweater.

Notes:

The pictures above aren’t great, but they’ll do, unless I get the urge to do a new photoshoot.

Check the errata (PDF) for the sweater before you begin. If you follow the directions as written, the increases and decreases won’t stack up on either side of a central stitch, but will migrate to one side or the other.

The yarn did pool quite a bit, and as I’ve mentioned in previous entries, it turns out I’m not crazy about the hand-dyed, variegated aesthetic when it comes to sweaters, but I love this pullover anyway. It’s very comfortable and soft, with a slight shine to it almost like unbrushed mohair, and from what I know about BFL, the yarn will probably wear well, with minimal pilling. I think the overall shape of the sweater–boatneck raglan with waist shaping and bell sleeves–is pretty flattering, and the boatneck is just the right size for me, not too high, so it’s comfortable to wear, and not too low, so it doesn’t slip off my shoulders. Along with the Leaf Lace Pullover, it’s a useful, casual pullover that will make a great addition to my wardrobe.

I started using a new technique to count rows on this sweater. I find it less obtrusive than using a row counter and easier and faster than stopping to write down hash marks on a separate piece of paper–my two other usual techniques for counting rows. (I also sometimes use a row counter made of a piece of waste yarn tied into loops, one for every row I want to count, and move down one loop as I finish each row, but that technique doesn’t work well if you have, say, 10 even rounds to every decrease round, because you need such a long, dangly row counter.) So this method is incredibly simple, but somehow it had never occurred to me before. Here it is:

Counting Rows with Two Stitch Markers

Place one stitch marker at the beginning of the round as usual (the pink pearl marker in the picture below). Now place one more stitch marker next to it. Every time you come to the end of the round, move the second stitch marker (the blue glass/pearl stitch marker in the picture below) one stitch to the left by removing it, knitting one additional stitch, then replacing it. When you’ve completed the appropriate number of even rounds, work your increase or decrease round, remove the second marker altogether, work back to the beginning of the round and place the second stitch marker back in its starting position next to the first one. To figure out which round you’re on, count the number of stitches between the first and second marker. No stitches means you’ve just completed an increase or decrease round and you’re currently on the first even round. One stitch means you’ve completed one even round. And so on. So in the photo below, I have completed 4 rounds even:

I knit one more round and move the second stitch marker to the left: five rounds completed:

And so on. The first marker never moves, and your increases/decreases will still take place around that marker (the pink pearl marker, in this example). And, my demo photo aside, this method of counting will most likely not work if you’re working lace or cables in the zone between the markers. But it’s simple, you don’t have to pause to pick up a pen or fiddle with a dangly row counter, and it works well for plain stockinette.

If I am to believe various online design resources,

– children require approximately 6″ of positive ease in their garments to be comfortable

– a three-month-old baby has a back waist length of 6″ and a chest size of 16″

– a baby of approximately that age also has an armhole depth of 3.25″, leaving the distance from armpit to waist 2.75″

– Nobody is very forthcoming about an appropriate neck size for a baby sweater, but thankfully this is a cardigan and I can put off such decisions for a later date, should I ever decide that I simply MUST design a baby pullover. Elizabeth Zimmermann suggests a neck size of 50% of the chest size, but I think even the most diminutive 3-month-old probably has a skull larger than 8″ in circumference. (Perhaps I am mistaken.)

Looking at these numbers, I must be misunderstanding something, like the definition of “underarm” or “length” or something, because I feel like a baby of these proportions would be incredibly wide, squatty and bizarre, like a wombat or a bulldog. Possibly a Dr. Moreau monster wombat with gorilla arms.

The basic point I’m getting to is that based roughly on these measurements, I came up with a quick-n-dirty baby sweater pattern (to be further refined) for a friend who’s expecting this week. About 3/4 of the way through the body (which I sized at 4″ from hem to underarm), I discovered I’d cast on 10 sts less than I thought I had, i.e. the chest measurement was about 1.5″ less than what I thought I had: about 16.5″ total, for only about 1/2″ ease instead of about 2″ ease as I’d planned.

Then, 3/4 of the way through the raglan, I realized I had accidentally forgotten to include the back stitches in my calculations for the decreases, and would wind up with a Tempting-style neckline if I didn’t take some fast action, and knit a Frankensteined compound raglan out of necessity.

The result, while apparently more or less adhering to the Yarn Standards idea of 3-month-old baby size, seemed drastically wrong in shape. The arms seem super long (though the cuffs can be rolled up, of course), the body seems super wide (despite being a couple inches smaller than I had planned for) and short–and this design is not one that is easily lengthened by picking up stitches and knitting downwards. I have a hard time believing babies are really this shape!

The sweater will be gifted as-is, but I’d like to write up the pattern and refine it for use with future babies. If you know of any good resources for accurate baby sizing, or if you have any helpful tips for sizing for babies, please do share! I have a few books with baby patterns in them (Last Minute Knitted Gifts, Knit 2 Together, The Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns, Knitter’s Workshop) but have little idea of how well these books actually reflect normal baby sizes, and the schematics are of varying degrees of detail and helpfulness.

I’m thinking that checking out some Debbie Bliss books from the library might be a good place to start for compiling a non-wombat baby schematic, as she’s famous for her baby designs, but really my master plan consisted of going to Target and measuring some baby clothes in various sizes. I know babies are not just shaped like miniature adults, but are their torsos really almost 3 times as wide as they are long? It should be easier to design for babies, because they’re small and not very sartorially sophisticated or demanding, but the free resources out there for baby sizes are much more scarce than the ones for adult women, it seems.

In other news, I’ve decided that manicures are vastly overrated. I got a manicure and pedicure tonight; hadn’t had either one in years and had forgotten all the unpleasantness that can go along with a manicure. I cut my nails very short, but they felt obligated to “shape” my nonexistent nail stubs, i.e. diligently apply an emery board to my fingertips like I was a safecracker on the lam and they were trying to rub off my fingerprints as a favor to the Don. I was kind of terrified when they started trimming my cuticles, as I don’t have a lot of cuticle to trim and was imagining painful, open cuticle wounds resulting from overenthusiastic, well-intentioned snipping; and as the final blow, I had forgotten how long the smell of nail polish lingers. I enjoyed the pampering, having my hands rubbed with lotion, having pretty pink nails to look at, etc.; but it’s been five hours since the polish dried and the smell is still coming off my hands in thick chemical waves and making me feel kind of sick.

Pedicures still have my seal of approval, since I am in no danger of smelling offgassing from my polished toes, and I guess my callused toes can take a little tiny bit of sanding.  But manicures, ugh, thumbs down.

I will!

Pattern: Kate Gilbert’s Bird in Hand

Size: Smallest size, downsized further for a 7″ hand; finished size about 7″ around and 5″ from thumb crotch to fingertip; thumb about 2.5″ long and 3″ around. They fit my hands perfectly!

Yarn used: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in Chocolate, about 1.5 skeins; Classic Elite Tapestry (Ravelry link) color 2272 (green), just less than one skein.

This photo shows the amount of yarn I had left afterwards. I started with about 1.5 skeins of WOTA (one full skein plus about half a skein left over from a scarf) and exactly 1 skein of Tapestry.

Needles used: Knit Picks nickel-plated DPNs, US size 0/2.0 mm, for about 80% of the hand of the first mitten, and Knit Picks Harmony DPNs, US size 1.5/2.5 mm for the rest.

Started: 1/3/08

Finished: 1/11/08

Mods: Aimed for a gauge of about 8 sts per inch to downsize the mittens. Since my gauge went down as I was knitting the first mitten, the size shrank accordingly and I had to block severely to fix it–the mittens are roughly the same size now, but you can see that they’re fraternal in the side-by-side pictures:



Following the advice of some people on the Ravelry Bird in Hand KAL, I used a two-color Estonian braid for the middle braid of the second mitten, to mix things up a bit. Link to the two-color braid discussion here. I like the look of it better than the single-color braid. I went back and duplicate-stitched over the middle braid in the first mitten so it would match. They look nearly identical, see?


To work a two-color braid: M1 using CC, put it back on left needle.
*From behind, knit the second st through the back loop using MC and leave it on the needle, knit the first st through the front loop using MC and drop both sts, put new st back on left needle;

From behind, knit the second st using MC and leave it on the needle, knit the first st through the front loop using CC and drop both sts, put new st back on left needle;* and so on, always knitting the back st with MC and alternating colors for the front st, until the end of the round.

Notes: The best advice I got on making these from the knitalong was to do the embroidery before closing up the thumb. My embroidery could use some work. Maybe I’ll have to make another pair so I can have another go at making realistic birds.

Here they are:


And some colorwork close-ups:


I have lots of other notes on these mittens in the previous posts about them. So I don’t have much more to say right now–I just have to say I love these mittens, they fit wonderfully, and I’d totally make another pair. I’m not sure I could say that about any of the other ones I’ve knit so far–with their repeating motifs, they somehow all seemed like much more of a slog.

Soundtrack: The Littlest Birds, by the Be Good Tanyas

“Well, the littlest birds sing the prettiest songs…”

I guess I should get around to writing up the official finished object post for the Selbuvotter Black Lilies mittens, too. There are lots more pictures and details on these in the archives.

Pattern: NHM #7 from Selbuvotter

Size: Finished size: About 6″ from thumb crotch to fingertip (i.e. about 1″ too long for my hands); thumb about 3″ long and 3.75″ around; hand about 9″ around (i.e. about 2″ too wide for my hands). There’s probably enough room in there for a fuzzy mitten liner, if I get around to making one. I think my gauge (and row gauge) is about 8 sts per inch.

Yarn used: Knit Picks Telemark in cream and black, 2 skeins each. About 1.25 skeins of black, 1.75 skeins of cream.

Needles used: US 1/2.25 mm (What was I doing with these? I wrote it down but don’t remember why I used them–the ribbing, maybe, and/or the thumb?) and US 1.5/2.5 mm circs, magic looped, for most of the mitten

Started: 9/26/07

Finished: 12/22/07

Mods: Used a striped thumb instead of the charted thumb from the pattern, as detailed here.

Notes: I ran out of black yarn when I was thisclose to finishing the second mitten:

And I stalled for a while. I don’t think a pair of mittens would normally take me three months to make.

My gauge changed kind of a lot between mittens. You can see the difference in size here, with the smaller mitten placed on top of the larger one:

Eh. They’re pretty anyway!
Here are the lilies:

The palms with the stripey thumbs:

and the undersides of the thumbs, where I more or less successfully continued the palm pattern upwards–a detail I’m quite proud of, but which would be lost on most non-knitters:

I might need some convertible mittens/glittens next. I do have a pair I cobbled together by making Knucks and putting together my own flip-top pattern, but the yarn is thin and they’re not that warm.

Berroco has their Spring 2008 collection up now. I kind of love Currer, from Norah Gaughan Vol. 2, but started to worry that perhaps this was one of those things where I’m drawn to a pattern because it’s unusual and has an interesting construction technique, but it’s actually a major fashion mistake when viewed by any non-knitter. I’m thinking this because when I looked at Ellis, Currer’s sister pattern, my first thought was that the model looked very much like a grasshopper , with wings folded neatly back.

I also like the circular neckline insert thing going on with Athos and Porthos, but I’d probably make the Lacy Waves top from Lace Style before going with either of those.