Archives for posts with tag: project spectrum

A stealth project crept in last night; nothing I “should” have been working on (i.e. neither a gift, an existing WIP, nor an original design), but I had gotten this Malabrigo from the WhitKnits sale, and really wanted to try it out because it’s one of those yarns everyone seems to be madly passionate about. So I cast on for a hat, knit for about 5 hours between watching a movie last night and waiting for files to process today, and suddenly, miraculously, I had a beret with a beautiful spirally flower design on top.



Even though I didn’t really accomplish anything with it, at least it’s red(dish), so it makes a good Project Spectrum entry.

Pattern: The Sunflower Tam, by Norah Gaughan, from Knitting Nature
Size: Child’s, with mods (see below). Finished size is about 20″ around the ribbing. The tam is about 12″ in diameter at its widest.
Yarn used: Malabrigo Merino Worsted from WhitKnits, about 3/4 of a skein, color #610, “Red Mahogany”
Needle size: US size 6/4.0 mm 16″ circular for the ribbing, US size 9/5.5 mm 16″ circular for most of the top, size 8 DPNs once the stitches wouldn’t stretch to fit on the 16″ circ anymore
Date started: 2/18/08
Date finished: 2/19/08
Mods: I started out the ribbing by using the Italian tubular cast-on, working k1 sl1 for 4 rows, then joining into the round for the 1×1 ribbing. Isn’t the edge pretty?


The pattern in the book makes a sort of weird, fez-like hat, with a purled turning row making the top into a crisp, flat, round flowerpot shape. I wanted a slouchy beret/classic Benjamin Bunny tam shape instead. To achieve this, I worked the ribbing on smaller needles–I knew my gauge would be slightly looser than specified, and indeed I ended up with a hat that is 20″ around the ribbing instead of 18″–then switched to larger needles right after the ribbing to help create the poofy shape. I rearranged the order of the increase rounds: I stacked up all the increase rounds immediately after the ribbing to create a sudden flare, and then knit 17 rounds even. Since I didn’t want the fez shape, I omitted the purled turning rounds. I worked the top pattern exactly as specified in the pattern, but instead of working the i-cord tie at the top, I just ran the yarn through the last 4 sts a couple of times and pulled tight to close. I’m quite happy with the resulting shape at the moment, but I suspect the Malabrigo may grow (especially if I let it touch water!) and then I may need to run some elastic through it or something to keep it fitting.



Notes: I’m not quite sure what all the fuss is about with this yarn. The Malabrigo is definitely soft and cuddly, but knitting with it was not, in my opinion, the kind of experience that defines a generation and changes lives. You’d think this yarn was the second coming, from the way everyone talks about it.

The Red Mahogany color didn’t really photograph right. It came out too washed out and looks far too pale and purple in most of these photos. I tweaked the colors a bit on one of the pictures, and came up with this version, which is closer, but still not great–too warm and bright.

The true color is a sort of semi-solid wine color, a noncommittal brownish-purplish-red, with deep almost-black spots where the yarn sucked up the dye. It looks, if I may be so pretentious, the way a soft Merlot tastes.

The pattern is gorgeous and very well written: the twisted stitch pattern on top is inspired by the phyllotaxis spirals of sunflower seeds, and I think it’s just beautiful and brilliantly done. In my opinion, the phyllotaxis section of the book contains the most beautiful and wearable designs–this opinion evidenced by the fact that I’ve made two designs out of the book so far, both of them from the phyllotaxis section.

The other one, if you’re wondering, was the Phyllo Yoked Pullover. I was thrilled to have my version chosen by Norah Gaughan herself as the “face” of the design in Ravelry–the first picture below, the yoke close-up, is the little icon you see in search results or when you queue the pattern.

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So after too many wordy, pictureless posts, here’s some shiny eye candy. This post fits into the latest Project Spectrum theme quite neatly: “pinks, reds, and oranges.” I don’t know if I’ll be able to hold myself to participating in Project Spectrum all year, but I’m off to a good start…

First off, some nice red yarn on ice: my Sundara Sock yarn in Black over Wine. The color is actually a little bit darker than these pictures show, but Photoshop only made matters worse, so I left the photos in their original state. The yarn is really a mixture of deeply saturated blackened reds, like Bing cherries. The interesting icy backdrop is the result of our recent rain collecting on our fabric deck chairs and freezing.

And next up, a shawl in lovely pinks and oranges, knit from a single skein of sock yarn. A few years ago, I bought this peach silk dress in Thailand. It shines gold in the sun where the fabric drapes and folds, and glows peach in the shadows. It seemed like the perfect backdrop for this shawl, knit in a similarly shimmering mixture of merino and tencel, dyed in similarly peachy-gold colors. (I have another peach-colored Thai silk scarf I bought recently at a thrift store but didn’t photograph. It was getting kind of ridiculous)

Pattern: Shetland Triangle, by Evelyn A. Clark, from Wrap Style

Size: I knit one more body repeat than specified in the pattern (9 repeats total) and ended the pointed edging early. The edging chart goes through 14 rows and I knit only 10, plus the ending row written out in the text. The finished dimensions pre-blocking, in lightly flattened egg-carton state: 40” across top, 18” long. The finished dimensions post-blocking: 56” across top, 26” long. On the small side, but it works well as a decorative garment when pinned shut, not so well when left to drape by itself.

Yarn used: Chameleon Colorworks Twinkle Toes in “October,” a merino-tencel sock yarn. The color looks nothing like it does on the website. I found this yarn at Imagiknit in San Francisco, back when I visited around Thanksgiving–you may remember the photos of it in the skein. The yarn is pretty, but feels fairly hard and high-twist (that’s good for a sock yarn, I guess, but it was a little surprising, and less desirable for lace). There were a few disappointingly pale spots–not exactly pure white, but a very pale apple-blossom pink that stood out against the mostly darker shades of old gold, tangerine-peach, and damask rose in the rest of the skein.

In these photos, the colors are truest in the sunny balcony pictures and the close-up photos of the shawl draped on a rock. Warm, shimmery, nice.

The colors are off on these indoor photos, but the light gives the pictures a pleasing Victorian quality (exacerbated, I’m sure, by the old-fashioned bow tied in the back of my dress):

Needles used: US size 6/4.0 mm Addi Turbos for most of the body, US size 8/5.0 mm Denise circulars for the bindoff.

Started: 1/27/08

Finished: 1/31/08

Mods: As I mentioned above, I altered the number of lace body chart repeats and worked only part of the edging chart. I used a p2tog bindoff, with larger needles, on the wrong side of the work:
p1, *p1, slip 2 sts back to left needle, p2tog* to end.

I took some photos of the shawl pre-blocking, all bumpy and crumpled:

and post-blocking, all smooth and flat:

I love the transformation in texture that comes from stretching a knit to within an inch of its life. I wet-blocked this shawl, as I do most pieces–soaked it in the sink in Eucalan, squeezed it out, then pinned it down on the floor on an old towel.

The sun came out this weekend, thankfully, though the weather was still a little chilly and blustery. Look at the way the wind blew the points of the shawl up, casting all these pleasing shadow-lace patterns on my dress:

I have to say this colorway still doesn’t say “October” to me, but I have trouble pinning down what seasonal references it makes me think of instead. I’d say spring off the top of my head, because of the pastel tones, but the real-life referents for me would be dahlias, peaches, apricots–late summer?

And actually, have any of you read the Darkangel trilogy by Meredith Ann Pierce? It’s a bizarre and wonderful YA trilogy, with a definite feel of medieval fantasy but in fact set on the moon in the distant future. I keep thinking of the apricok, a heart-shaped fruit the protagonist, Aeriel, eats in the second book, A Gathering of Gargoyles. Thanks to Amazon’s Search Inside feature, I can quote the description for you here:

It was only half the size of her doubled fist, and made in lobes so that it looked almost heart-shaped. Rose gold in color, very dark, it shone like amber in the morning light.

The fruit was warm to her touch; Solstar had baked it. Its smooth skin was covered with fine hairs, like bees’ fur. It came away easily from the stem when she pulled on it. The crystal leaves tinkled. The gnarled branches swayed. Its aroma was like honey browned in cinnamon.

Aeriel felt weak. She brushed the fuzz; it fell away like reddish dust. Beneath, the skin was gold. She bit into the fruit. Its nectar was warm and sweet, the flesh tender and tasting of spice.