Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Dr. G's Memory Vest KAL

This week has been a flurry of knitting. I worked steadily on my memory vest, and it is done! 

While knitting it the second time, I didn't feel that I was growing sick of cabling the way I did during my first time through this pattern. I can think of three factors that could have a play in this:

  1. I embraced the longer journey. Rather than fighting it, I made friends with the pacing of the pattern, and enjoyed the ride.
  2. Having been this way before, I knew that despite appearances, I was actually getting closer and closer to finishing.
  3. I kept at it, rather than letting myself get distracted by other projects.

I did steek the neckline in order to avoid having to worry about matching the left and right shoulders, and it worked fine. Overall, I'm very pleased with the outcome, and have worn it just about every day since finishing.

Now I'm knitting on my February socks and a purple sweater with Elizabeth Zimmermann as my guide, as well as a couple charity items. If I get around to it, I'll tell you more about those items at another time. In the mean time, enjoy the journey that you're on!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

A sweater trifecta

All I can bear to tell you about the recent blizzard is this: it was not fun, but it really helped me bond with some of my neighbors. I am so done with piles of snow.  

That said, I do not think it is sheer bliss to have warm weather and short sleeves yet. I want my fair share of decent sweater weather. As it turns out, I have three sweaters on the needles, and I am very excited about each of them.

The folks at Briar Rose Fibers decided to have a Dr. G's Memory Vest KAL, and it didn't take me long to jump on the bandwagon to knit another one. Two swatches and several skeins later, I have the back completed in a custom-dyed colorway made by Chris. I tweaked the needle sizes a bit, especially carrying the smaller needle sizes further up into the pattern, and I am hopeful it will all turn out as I imagine. 

I have been getting the movie marathon knitting in order, which means stockinette in the round this year. I did indeed cast on socks in the Arne & Carlos yarn. I also am following Elizabeth Zimmermann on a journey to knit a Seamless Hybrid sweater. Really, I think this may be the only way I'd get this sucker underway. I'm using Bartlett Yarns 2-ply in a pretty purple heather I picked up at Maryland Sheep and Wool a couple years ago. This is the only sweater I am knitting that will have sleeves.

Last, and perhaps most thrilling of all, is a Fair Isle vest I have been dreaming up, but doubted I'd ever get around to knitting. The process of selecting stitch patterns and color designs really flummoxed me, but I found help in a couple resources.  Mary Jane Mucklestone's 200 Fair Isle Motifs: A Knitter's Directory simplified the process with its single-repeat charts that made mixing and matching pretty easy.  I used a trial of EnvisioKnit software to play around with charts and colors to create a design I liked, using a color palette I selected at the yarn shop with a bit of help from the friendly folk hanging about there. 

Actually knitting it is easy, compared with planning it.  I don't have all of the exact details worked out for the neck and armhole decreases, but I have time before I get there. In the mean time, I adore the fabric created by the Finullgarn Rauma. It's beautiful, but it feels amazing, too.  Knit up, I daresay it is next-to-skin soft, but not in a cashmere or merino way.  It just doesn't itch or prickle like it would seem when it is in the ball. 

I may have a hard time fitting everything in, but at least I have knitting for every occasion, whether it's cuddling up at home with a cup of coffee, sitting in the car on a Saturday morning drive, or distracting myself from overly tense moments in the dark of a movie theater.