Sunday, February 28, 2016


Today I did some swatches for my next projects.  I got this yarn as one of Sundara's Daily Dreams last month and have been contemplating what to make out of it.  It is aran silky merino in Gold in the Sky.  It is a 50/50 silk/merino wool yarn and comes 200 yards to 100 grams.  After some browsing on Ravely I came up with loppem by Norah Gaughan.  I actually have the yarn called for by the pattern - Berroco Palace - but it is a pattern I'm likely to do more than once and I thought it would look good in this yarn.
I knit the swatch on the needles called for - US 8 (5 mm) - casting on 22 stitches (18 for the swatch and 2 on each side for a garter stitch border).  I always work a couple of rows in garter before starting the knit section and keep the first and last 2 stitches in garter stitch.  I actually knit 21 rows so I ended after working a right side row and could work a knit row on the wrong side to finish up with a couple of rows of garter before casting off.  I had to stretch the swatch to get it to fill the 4 by 4 inch square, but the swatch took it easily and did not rebound when I took it off the needle.  The resulting swatch has a great drape.  For comparison I also swatched with the yarn called for by the pattern.
This swatch I had to stretch vertically to fill the 4 by 4 square.  It is also a 50/50 silk/merino wool yarn and comes 103 yards to 50 grams, so it is just slightly lighter weight than the aran silky merino.  The aran silky merino also has very little twist and is basically a single ply, whereas the Berroco Palace is a 4-ply.

I also swatched for my next Tudor Roses pattern - Margaret Beaufort.  The pattern calls for Hebridean 3 ply in Selkie.  I picked Lapwing for mine.
I do love the way the yarn comes packaged.
According to the pattern the gauge is 22 stitches and 30 rows on 4 mm (US 6) needles.  Having struggled some with gauge on Elizabeth Woodville I knew to be wary, but this yarn is a fair bit heavier than the 2-ply, so I gave it a try.  It didn't take me long to realize that my swatch would be too big so I pulled it off the needles and tried again on US 4 needles (3.5 mm).  Where the knitting on the US 6 needles seemed a little on the loose side, the knitting on the US 4 needles seemed pretty tight.  Too tight.  I looked up the yarn on Ravelry - it is categorized as a DK weight.  I looked at the standards and guidelines for needle size and gauge for DK weight yarn.  I also looked back at the Elizabeth Woodville pattern, which calls for a gauge of 23 stitches and 32 rows on 4 mm (US 6) needles.  This really puzzled me.  It just doesn't make sense given the weight difference between the two yarns, so I decided to ignore it and just see what I would get.  I didn't really want to knit 3 swatches so I compromised.  I knit 15 rows using the US 4, then did a purl row, 15 rows using US 5, another purl row, and then 15 rows using US 6.  I was swatching on my Addi click interchangeables, so changing the needle size was a breeze.
Here are the results:
US 4 (3.5 mm):  22 stitches = 4 5/8 inches, 15 rows = 1 3/4 inches
US 5 (3.75 mm):  22 stitches = 4 3/4 inches, 15 rows = 1 7/8 inches
US 6 (4 mm):  22 stitches = 5 inches, 15 rows = 2 inches

As you can see, I don't get stitch gauge with any of the needles, but I do get row gauge with the US 6.  Once the swatch dries I'll see which fabric I like best.  I have a feeling that I will go with the US 5.  I'll have to do a spreadsheet to convert the pattern to my gauge.

Eden - Post Blocking

And here is Eden after blocking.  I did not do a full wet block, I just didn't want to wrestle that much wet wool.  Instead I laid it out on my blocking board and sprayed it to dampen it.  It doesn't saturate the way full wet blocking does, but that also means that I didn't flatten out the front edging and it dried quickly.
For comparison, here is the shot of the front before blocking.
Spraying is a bit more time-consuming but I do like the results.  I don't need the blocking to even out my knitting, just to open things up a little.

Pattern:  Edin by Bonne Marie Burns
Yarn:  madelintosh Pashmina Worsted in Kilim
Needle:  US 7 (4.5 mm)

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Basic Toe Up Socks 5 - One Foot Done

I had a couple of telecon meeting this week so I was able to get one foot done on my fifth pair of basic toe up socks using the Biscotte & Cie Felix yarn that I bought several years ago.  I have no idea what this colorway was called, and have not thought of a good name for them.

Pattern:  Basic Toe-Up Sock from Custom Socks by Kate Atherley
Yarn:  Biscotte & Cie Felix
Needle:  US 1 (2.25 mm)

Eden - Finished!

I finished this up this morning.  These are pre-blocking pictures.
There is a fair bit of variability between the first and second skeins that I used, but I am okay with it.  The fit is perfect and it is warm and cuddly.  I picked up extra stitches under the arm, which gives me a little more room in the sleeves.  I added extra decreases to get back down close to the stitch count for the cuffs called for in the pattern.  I did a k2, p2 rib instead of the k1, p1 rib the pattern called for because I prefer the look.
And this is all the yarn that I had left, not even enough for another row, which makes this the perfect project in my book, because I hate leftovers.

Pattern:  Edin by Bonne Marie Burns
Yarn:  madelintosh Pashmina Worsted in Kilim
Needle:  US 7 (4.5 mm)

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Eden - Sleeves Done

After I finished the knitting on Elizabeth Woodville I picked up Eden again and quickly made progress - one advantage of knitting with worsted weight yarn.  This is after I had worked 2 skeins of yarn.  At this point I switch to working on the sleeves.
When I ordered the yarn there was a disclaimer on the web site (Jimmy Beans) that colors could vary even in a single dye lot (there is no actual dye lot listed on my labels) and they would do their best to match the skeins, but I will confess that I was not expecting quite so much variation.  It certainly was not apparent when the skeins were lying next to each other.  I noticed it a little when I started knitting with the second skein, but I figured it was just some natural variation in the skein.  I did think about ripping out and using one of the other skeins but I really didn't feel like it, and ripping back would have been a bit of a pain because I spliced (un-plying each skein and re-plying them together) the new skein into the old and had already woven in the ends.  I like to do that as I go along so I have less finishing when I'm done.  I decided it would just have to be a design feature and kept going.
The light isn't very good here today - overcast and rainy, but here it is with both sleeves done.  I have already started knitting the body again with my final skein.  I have some leftovers from both sleeves - for each sleeve I started with a fresh skein.  When I picked up stitches I actually picked up more stitches along the underarm than just the cast on stitches.  This gives me a little more room in the upper arm than is called for in the pattern and also prevents holes.  I did have one little hiccup when I was working the second sleeve.  When I picked the stitches back up from the scrap yarn they had been placed on I missed a strand on one of the stitches - picking up only 3 of the 4 plies of the yarn.  Needless to say I didn't notice it until I had knit a lot of the sleeve.  I thought about it for a little while and then ended up raveling that one stitch all the way back and fixing it.  The hardest part was just making sure that I had the right stitch.

Pattern:  Edin by Bonne Marie Burns
Yarn:  madelintosh Pashmina Worsted in Kilim
Needle:  US 7 (4.5 mm)

Tudor Roses - Elizabeth Woodville - Finished!

I finished up the knitting last weekend, but had to wait until this weekend for the buttons to arrive.  I found some metal buttons with a crest on them at M&J Trimming, which is where I go for ribbons and buttons.  For this project I picked a metal crest button in Antique Brass and 15 mm size.
I happen to have a full length skirt that I made out of silk that matches almost perfectly.

Pattern:  Elizabeth Woodville, by Alice Starmore from Tudor Roses (2013 edition)
Yarn:  Alice Starmore Hebridean 2 Ply (277 g in Red Rattle & 50 g in Whin)
Needles:  US 3 (3.25 mm)

Sunday, February 14, 2016

All the Colors of Fall - Finished at last!

I started this shawl on June 28, 2014 and it has been languishing, rather stylishly, in an Atenti knitting bag underneath my coffee table.  I had to set my Elizabeth Woodville aside this weekend while I wait for buttons to arrive so I pulled out this project, determined to finish.  I had gotten just past the halfway point of the second border when I put it aside.  I pulled it out Friday night and finished it up late Saturday afternoon, blocking it before dinner.
I love this blocking picture because my cat Jasmine got her tail in the picture.
I used size 6 beads on the spine and in the second border - they were leftover from my Maid Marian shawl and are a wonderful plum color.  The label says Metallic Amethyst Gunmetal.  For inside the hearts on the first border I used size 8 beads from my stash.  The Beadcats stock no. is 2-08-280-91 - and the catalog description is dark red transparent lined with black iridescent.  They remind me of maple leaves in fall.  I also had some Small Curved Leaves in my stash in a color that was just perfect, which I used on the points of the border - threading them before knitting (royal pain, but oh the results!).  The Beadcats stock no. is N-L7-523-00 - and the catalog description is olive transparent.

Here is a close up of the leaves.

Pattern:  Watership Down by Janine le Cras
Yarn:  The Unique Sheep Eos in Moulin Huet
Needle:  US 3 (3.25 mm)

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Tudor Roses - Elizabeth Woodville - Collar Done!

Not the best picture, I had to turn on the overhead light, but I wanted to get a progress picture before I started on the front bands.  The collar was pretty straight forward, although I did some tweaking because I wrapped on all my turns.  The decrease rows did a k2tog on those stitches with the next stitch, but there was no way that I was going to do that and work the wrap, so I adjusted my working of additional stitches on the previous short rows so I would work the k2tog just before my wrapped stitch and I could work the wrapped stitch as part of the next addition of stitches.  I had to be careful how I did the adjustments so I didn't mess up the stitch counts and thus the shaping.  It did take a little trial and error, some math, and a lot of counting, but I got it all to work out.  I've also been scoping buttons on line, but haven't made any definite decisions yet.  It is exciting to see it coming together, and even more exciting is the fact that it fits me perfectly.

Pattern:  Elizabeth Woodville, by Alice Starmore from Tudor Roses (2013 edition)
Yarn:  Alice Starmore Hebridean 2 Ply (277 g in Red Rattle & 50 g in Whin)
Needles:  US 3 (3.25 mm)

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Tudor Roses - Elizabeth Woodville - Two Sleeves Done!

Having figured out all of the shaping on the first sleeve, the second sleeve went quickly.  Now on to the collar and the button bands.  The collar should be pretty easy.  I've looked through the directions and I did not modify the neck shaping.  Because I modified the length, I shall have to pick up stitches on the front before I work the button bands so know how many picots to work for the cast on.  I also need to find buttons.  I shall check my stash first to see if I have anything suitable.

Pattern:  Elizabeth Woodville, by Alice Starmore from Tudor Roses (2013 edition)
Yarn:  Alice Starmore Hebridean 2 Ply (277 g in Red Rattle & 50 g in Whin)
Needles:  US 3 (3.25 mm)

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Tudor Roses - Elizabeth Woodville - One Sleeve Done!

I have mostly been working on this project this week.  I started working the first sleeve this past Sunday, picking up 77 stitches around the edge of the armhole.  After finishing the short rows to work the sleeve cap I worked the sleeve straight until row 48, which is just past my bicep.  I have fairly muscular arms and I always have to adjust sleeve shaping to keep the upper sleeve from being too tight.  Once I hit row 48 I did my decreases every 6 rows.  This is a little closer than is typical for sleeve shaping, but I like how it worked out on this pattern - it looks very period appropriate.  When I got to the cuff I worked the short row shaping and did increases instead of decreases, since I was working top down instead of bottom up.  I did a picot bind off to match the picot cast on.  The sleeve fit is perfect, close but not snug, nicely conformal.  The picots flip up until they are blocked.  My yarn usage is looking good too.  I checked what I have left of the Red Rattle and I shouldn't run out, but I am glad that I bought an extra skein.  With these patterns I am always buying a little extra yarn, just to make sure I have enough.

Pattern:  Elizabeth Woodville, by Alice Starmore from Tudor Roses (2013 edition)
Yarn:  Alice Starmore Hebridean 2 Ply (277 g in Red Rattle & 50 g in Whin)
Needles:  US 3 (3.25 mm)