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So summer flew by and I’m back in school.  Two weeks into the semester and I’m already swamped, but I promised myself I’d find time to show you all my new favorite FO.  Back at the beginning of the summer we got in some Madelinetosh Pashmina at Loop (and I just heard a rumor more is coming soon).  I’d been waiting and waiting for it to arrive and I knew just what it was going to be.  The pattern I’d earmarked was the lovely Mary Jane Tee by the ladies of Zephyr Style and published Winter ’08 twist collective.  And the result is as awesome as I’d hoped.  See below for my (somewhat silly) so-happy-about-my-new-sweater face.

Pattern: Mary Jane (ravelry)

Source: Winter ’08 Twist Collective

Yarn: Madelinetosh, Pashmina

Needles: US 2 & 3

Started: June 7, 2010

Finished: August 20,2010

Find it on Ravelry here.

The yarn is definitely a huge factor in what makes this sweater so special.  That brilliant blue is certainly not going to let my fly under the radar.  It is just an insanely beautiful color, which is of course we we all love Tosh so much.  But the base is impossibly good as well.  Pashmina is super soft and smooth.  It is full and springy.  It has the slightest halo, just enough to feel, but not so much that it obscures the brilliance of the colors.  It has lovely stitch definition, making it great for this pattern.  And while I’m normally a t-shirt under my sweaters kind of girl, I really just want to wear this against my skin.

The pattern of course, is the sweetest of sweet.  Especially, I think, when one chooses the second sleeve style option and goes for the cap sleeve.  The cap sleeve directions are not published in the Twist Collective version of the pattern, however I emailed Sarah from Zephyr style and she sent me the portion of the pattern, with the changes for the cap sleeve.  The ease of the exchange convinced me completely of the awesomeness of Zephyr Style.  That and the fact that the pattern is smart and easy to understand.

The construction is a pretty standard top down raglan, with the main difference being the openness of the neckline.  In general it’s a pretty simple sweater, but it’s made more interesting by the details and the bands of textural stitch patterning.  Some favorite details include: the garter ridge at the top of the sleeve, the subtly changing width of pattern bands, and the eyelets at the top of the hem ribbing.

Mostly I knit the sweater as written.  The one exception is a added a few decreases for shaping after the bust.  I didn’t want the tee to be skin tight, but I did want it to have a body conscious fit, and after trying it on as I went, it was clear that one me decreases were going to be required to achieve that effect.  In the end, I’m very happy with the fit.  It’s just what I wanted.  And I can’t wait for it to cool down a bit so I can wear this guy for more than just a Copenhagen photoshoot!


So I think it’s time to admit that grad school is bad for blogging.  I always mean to find the time to put something here, but sometimes that time just doesn’t exist.  That being said, I am so not ready to give up on this yet, so I promise to try and do my best to make time when I can.  But the reality I’m facing is that posts just won’t be as frequent as they once were.  So I’m going to stop apologizing for not posting and just do my best to post when I can.  That is my oath to you from now on.

So now that that is out of the way.  Ravelympics came and went.  I finished both my projects (hurray!), but it was sort of anticlimactic because they were small since school work has been heavy the last few weeks.  March 1 came and my internal clock seemed to know it was Malabrigo March even when my conscious mind did not.  Within in the first three days of march I cast on two projects with Malabrigo yarns.

As you might guess, this was largely motivated by a need for some color in my life.  Here in Philly things are just starting to warm up.  It’s supposed to be beautiful today, but last week it was hovering around the 40s, back and forth from grey to sunny to drizzly again.  And the solution was these little guys.

The first to come was a Verdaia shawl, cast on in Malabrigo Sock in Agaus (which in truth is not quite so blue in real life, a reality my camera refused to accept).  This new shawl pattern cropped up a few weeks back and right away I liked the looks of it.  I had originally planned to make Clothilde with this yarn, but when push came to shove I had plenty of other sock yarns I would be happy to use for Clothilde and nothing else I wanted to use for this.  It’s a nice pattern, the body is relatively simple, with slightly more complexity coming up in the edging.  More details are here.

A few days later I was really feeling the need for some serious lace.  And because Verdaia is relatively simple, I needed to add in something else to fill that void.  In addition to that, I could not stop thinking about this yarn as soon as the sun peaked through the clouds.  It is Malabrigo Lace in Sauterne and it is the most perfect yellow in the world if you ask me.  So I cast on for Aeolian.  This pattern rocks.  And so does this yarn.  I had forgotten how awesome it feels all the time.  I truly love it.  More detail on this one can be found here.

Those two projects have been grabbing most of my attention in the past week.  But Spring break is coming up soon.  And once I recover from having my wisdom teeth out  my plans are minimal and will hopefully involve lots of knitting!  Fingers crossed.

So these are hardly the most inspiring thing I’ve ever knit, and yet they’ve been quite popular on my Ravelry project page lately, so I thought I’d share them here too.

Pattern: Baby Moc-a-Sock (ravelry)

Source: Bekah Knits

Yarn: Green Mountain Spinnery, Maine Organic & Mountain Mohair

Needles: US 7

Started: October 30, 2009

Finished: January 23, 2010

Find it on Ravelry here.

I finished the knitting on these back around Christmas, but it took me awhile to get my act together and sew the soles on.  Eventually my feet just really wanted to be warm, so they won out over procrastination.

Although there is now an adult version of this pattern, I used the baby version and the notes on adapting it for an adult found here.  This leads to a chunkier look than the official adult version of the pattern.  There are also some extra notes on adapting that I took into account here.  The result is very cute.  And with the addition of some fiber trends leather soles they become a more durable slipper for those of us who spend a lot of our at home time bouncing from room to room.

Interestingly enough, I to tried to full these a little in the dryer after blocking more than once.  It wasn’t very successful.  They only shrank and fulled the tiniest amount.  However, the Maine Organic is a sturdy enough yarn that they still have some structure to them.  I wear them basically everyday now, so let’s hope they hold up!

Except unlike in December when I was snowed in in DC with my family, my guy and a friend of ours, this time I am all alone.  Fear not!  I took the opportunity to have a mini James McAvoy movie marathon (so far Becoming Jane and Starter for 10 and I’m planning on Wanted and Penelope next) and knit like a crazy person.  Most of my day has looked like this…

Except of course for the part of that looked like this…

Unfortunately I only managed to dig out the front walk and the sidewalk and not my car, which is in fact that vaguely station wagon shaped mound of snow you can see behind my head.  Which is going to make getting to my first day at my new part time job tomorrow mighty interesting.  Somehow I’ll manage.

Most of my knitting today has been dispersed over a number of projects just started within the last 48 hours.  One of the ones I’m most excited about is a new pair of glittens to replace the pair I made two years ago which are now thread bare and pathetic.  I’m knitting them out of Tosh Sock in Ink, which sure is looking pretty (oh, and don’t miss the snow on sill).

I also recently started a improvised shawl design based on the traditional shawls that show up in all the costume dramas I watch.  I’m using a traditional shetland construction with a vintage lace edging.  It’s been loads of fun so far, just dreaming it up. I also restarted making the Acorns hat with some Tess Cultivated Silk & Wool.  I had begun making it with my one handspun, but it’s still so slubby that it was just looking too knobby.  This version is going to be super smooth.

So my knittings been sprinkled about, but it’s been a productive snow storm.  In fact it’s been a productive year so far.  1879 yds worth of finished projects since Jan. 1.  I know because I’ve been keeping track for the Yarn Snobs Stashdown.  Mostly I don’t have pictures that I’m happy with enough to show you anything yet, but I will share these…

Hardly enough to warrant their own FO post, these little guys make me super happy anyway.  They are knit in Mama Blue Troika Worsted, which it turns out is what heaven would be like if it were a yarn.  More information is up on ravelry.  And more knits soon!

Christmas was a whirlwind, but I’m slowly recovering.  And I promised that I’d be able to show you my Vine Yoke Cardigan soon and here it is.

Pattern: Vine Yoke Cardigan (ravelry)

Source: Twist Collective Fall 2009

Yarn: Madelinetosh, Tosh Worsted

Needles: US 8

Started: September 16, 2009

Finished: November 26, 2009

Find it on Ravelry here.

The second this pattern was released I knew I wanted to make it.  But I could also tell from the get go that the bell effect created by the vine lace edging on the sleeves and hem just wasn’t for me.  So I decided I’d make it but with some mods to the cuff and hem.  I went ahead and ordered a boat load of Tosh Worsted and set out scheming.  At first I thought maybe I’d put ribbing on the cuffs and hem, to give the sweater more of a close fit, but then I decided that plan was likely to screw the whole thing up.  So I came up with the idea to use perpendicular garter bands as a sleeve and hem edging.

I did this by simply leaving off the vine lace edging when I worked the sweater and picking up around the edges at the end.  The pattern is worked back and forth from the neckline to the bottom of the sweater, creating the vertical garter stitch.  The vine lace edging is worked at the end of the rightside rows.  For sizes 30-42 the edging is worked over 10 stitches.  So the stitches had to be accounted for in the length of each row.  When I cast on, I cast on 10 fewer stitches than I was instructed to and continued to work 10 fewer stitches throughout the sweater, including when casting on later for the sleeves. I worked in garter stitch right up to the bottom edge, since I had eliminated the edging.  Then after knitting the whole sweater but before seaming i picked up stitches around the bottom of each sleeve and the bottom of the body, one stitch for each garter ridge.  I worked in garter stitch until each band measure about 1 1/2″ and then bound off.  It was actually quite simple and gives the sweater a sleeker look that I think suits me better than the original.

I’m incredibly pleased with the result, thanks in no small part to the yarn.  This was my first time working with Tosh Worsted and I often felt like I might never need to knit with any other yarn again.  Of course I’m far too fickle to ever truly devote myself to one yarn, but it is seriously beautiful stuff.  The colors are of course to die for.  This one is copper penny, which I bought as the perfect Fall color and am now wearing as a way to spice up the slightly dreary winter world.  And the yarn feels great in your hands.  and creates an incredibly soft, sleek and smooth garment.  My only complaint is that during blocking, despite being incredibly well supported it grew like crazy after being pulled from the water.  I had to push the sweater back in on itself while on my blocking mats to keep it from turning out 8 sizes too large.  In the end it dried in it’s original size, having gotten only a little longer.  Which I actually think was a blessing in disguise.

After blocking, I waited for some time for buttons to arrive from Beijing.  They were slow, so it sat round for a few weeks.  But I wore it for the first time to Thanksgiving dinner and I’ve been wearing it loads since.  It gets loads of compliments, which certainly makes a girl feel good.  So my first truly successful sweater is truly a success.  Yay!

Fear not faithful readers (if indeed there are any of you left)!  Finals are over!  I’m back in DC for a month!  And I have plenty of free time!  Which means my little blog will get a decent helping of the attention it deserves.  So stay tuned I’ve got plenty to show you.

Socktoberfest is long over, and these socks have been finished with for a month, but I’m still so pleased with the results that I can’t help but want to show them to you.  So here are this years Mystery Socks from Through the Loops.

Pattern: Mystery Sock ’09 (ravelry)

Source: Through the Loops

Yarn: Sundara Sock

Needles: US 1

Started: October 1, 2009

Finished: November 14, 2009

Find it on Ravelry here.

I know I mentioned in passing that Kirsten was doing another Socktober Mystery KAL this year.  I of course could not even live with the idea of not knitting-a-long.  Just like last year,this years KAL was a real blast.  So many people participated again this year.  There are currently 575 projects listed for the pattern on Ravelry and I think most of those were at least started during Socktoberfest.  I know I’ve said before that I just love a good KAL.  And my thoughts on the matter have always been the more the merrier.  This might have something to do with the fact that photos are my most favorite parts of KALs, I love to see what everyone is doing, and the more folks involved the more version you get to see.  What could be better?

The pattern itself is awesome, of course.  Kirsten hit another home run with this one.  Super fun to work on and brilliant end results for just about every version I’ve seen.  I love the change in direction from leg to foot.  The way the pattern extends down the back of the heel flap is another especially nice detail.  The chevron cuff is so much more interesting than plain old ribbing and the way the toe looks like flower petals is so sweet.  Here take a peak:

This was actually my first time using Sundara Sock.  Compared to some other sock bases I’ve been working with lately it was a hair stiff for my taste. It feels perfectly soft once knit up and blocked, but it could be a bit softer running through the fingers.  Thats said the colors are so lovely.  And her yarns do seem to yield gorgeous end results every time.

So there you are!  More FOs to come & much, much more.  Like a finished Vine Yoke Cardigan as soon as I get some good pictures.  See you soon.

So I promised an FO post and here I am actually delivering!  The first actual FO post in ages (although thankfully not the only FO in ages).  This is my version of the westknits pattern Daybreak.  As soon as I saw this pattern I knew I had to make one and now here it is.

Pattern: Daybreak (ravelry)

Source: westknits

Yarn: Sunshine Yarns, Soft Sock & Plymouth Yarn, Alpaca Prima

Needles: US 3

Started: September 1, 2009

Finished: October 24, 2009

Find it on Ravelry here.

This pattern is simple, but inspired.  It seems this combo is the trademark of Stephen West.  The arching stripes are instantly appealing and the segments created by the slip stitch pattern adds extra interest.  I made the medium, and it came out too large to wear as a scarf, so it’s gotta go around the shoulders.  The upside to this is that this shows off the stripes better.

Sunshine Yarns Soft Sock has recently been discontinued.  As I know I said when I first talked about this project, I had a lot of trouble figuring out what to do with yarn.  It was started in projects and then frogged numerous time.  But it’s so lovely that I never gave up.  This shawl turned out to be just the right thing for it.  And it really is a very nice yarn.  Now that I’ve used it successfully I’d like to work with it again, but I do wonder if others had trouble like I did.  The base is a bit unusual for a sock yarn, it’s very fuzzy for merino and soft in a squooshy way.  It has a nice halo to it.  I think those qualities made the base much better suited to a project like this one than the socks and such I originally tried to use it for.  The Alpaca Prima added a nice neutral backdrop from the lovely dark green, and upped the fuzz ante considerably.  It is certainly a cozy shawl.

So there’s one more fall shawl to add to my stack.  One more asset to my goal of avoiding wearing rectangular scarves all season.  I think I’m all set in that department, but that doesn’t seem to be stopping me.  I of course, have more shawls in the works.  And I have a few more things to show you, so stay tuned.

So as I mentioned before, things have been getting a bit cooler here.  Not everyday, but many days or sometimes evenings have a a crispness to them that suggests a move towards Fall.  Last week, in the midst of all my cozy knitting time I had this moment where I wanted to start a quick knit sweater and I wanted to start one fast.  I know I’ve got my Sixteen Button Cardigan going, but it doesn’t exactly fly by.  And besides I wanted something that was all about Autumn.  So I hopped on Rav and spotted the Vine Yoke Cardigan from the Fall 09 Twist Collective.  Then I went searching for yarn.

I found this: Madelinetosh Worsted in Copper Penny, which just might be the most perfect Fall color ever.  I’m not usually attracted to yarn in these kinds of colors. I love neutrals, and neutral yarn, but more often than not I choose cool neutrals because in general I am a cool color person.  But in the Fall a place inside me opens up for all those rich warm colors I tend to pass over the rest of the year.  As soon as the yarn showed up on Wednesday I went ahead and cast on in between classes.  It took a lot of will power to get out from under the blanket & off my couch to make it to my last class.

Here’s my progress so far.  It’s going quite quickly, which is unsurprising considering the gauge and the fact that it’s mostly garter stitch.  And quick was exactly what I wanted.  I figured if I had the urge to make an Autumn sweater then it better be done soon!  I also have hopes of wearing this to Rhinebeck.  And unless I lose steam completely, at the current rate that should be a very generous deadline.  I’ve made a few changes.  I was not a huge fan of the way the lace edging at the sleeves and hem made the sweater bell in those places.  So I have decided to leave off that edging and replace it with ribbing.  After all, what attracted me to the sweater was the yoke, all that garter stitch and the general shape of the body.  So I have left off the edging stitches on both the body and the sleeve and I will go back and pick up around for ribbing at the end.  That change will make the sweater much more my speed.  I’m really enjoying working on this in the meantime.  The yarn is beautiful and the construction is very smart.  With any luck I’ll have it all together to show you sometime soon.

So those of you who know me IRL know that I haven’t been quite my fully mobile self of late.  For those of you that haven’t heard, about a month ago I had a minor accident that lead to a seemingly minor injury that turned out to be not so minor.  As a result I’ve been on crutches for 4 weeks.  No need to worry, I am convinced I will be fine sooner or later, but I’m still not fully healed and the truth is it’s been a total drag what with starting classes and everything.  But here’s the good news: about a week ago in Philly the weather turned a bit colder (although it’s likely temporary).  There was also a great deal of rain, much of which happened to coincide perfectly with the days I didn’t have class, and I honestly didn’t have too much homework (relatively speaking).  This combined with a need to stay in bed with an elevated foot more often than not has led to a lot of knitting of late.  So I’ve got some nicely progressing WIPs to show you.

This little pile of ribbing is the start of a cardigan I cast on ages ago.  It seemed like a good idea to get started on the Sixteen Button Cardigan in May so I’d have plenty of time to power through for Fall.  Of course since I’m making it out of the amazingly sheepy Black Welsh Mountain yarn I picked up from Prick Your Finger in London, the heat that arrived not so long after I got started made it completely unbearable to touch.  But the chilly drafts and cozy covers made it just the thing to pick back up this week and I’ve made a few inches of progress since.

The sweater has been splitting time with a few other things.  Here’s the start of my versions of westknits’s Daybreak shawl. The dark green is Sunshine Yarns Soft Sock in Thicket. I have had this yarn for some time and I think it is so beautiful, but for whatever reason I’ve had a hell of a time trying to figure out what to do with it.  It’s started to become at least four different things and I’m never quite happy.  I refuse to accept that it is cursed though so I keep trying.  This time I think it has finally stuck. I had the idea to use it for this shawl and I wanted to pair it with an oatmeal colored yarn so one day I managed to make it out to an LYS not too far from my new place and I picked up some Plymouth Prima Alpaca.  My friend asked what I thought about the difference in fiber and I actually like it. Soft sock is on the fuzzy side for a sock yarn so while the alpaca is fuzzier yet it doesn’t seem mismatched.  It’s going to be a very cozy shawl once it’s finished.

The last project that’s been getting some face time is a Cairn hat for my guy who has gone above and beyond the call of helpfulness over the past few months.  I’m just beginning to try and repay him, because as he’s reminded me once or twice I owe him big time.

I also have a stack of things sitting around that are fully knit up and waiting to be blocked.  I’m not yet ready for anything as labor intensive as blocking (ha! shows you how limited my activities really are) and I haven’t been able to unpack enough to find my blocking mats yet, but soon hopefully those can become real, true life FOs.  So keep your fingers crossed that I’m on the mend.

The shawl parade continues!  This time I’ve got my own version of the lovely Textured Shawl Recipe in the Merino/Yak yarn I got from School products.

Pattern: Textured Shawl Recipe

Source: Orlane’s Ravelry Downloads

Yarn: School Products, Yak Merino Worsted

Needles: US 8

Started: April 1, 2009

Finished: July 8, 2009

Find it on Ravelry here.

This is less of a pattern and more of a formula, but it yields beautiful results.  I’ve yet to see an example I didn’t like (I dare you to look at the Ravelry Project Gallery if you don’t believe me).  And I’m similarly very pleased with my own version.  It looks lovely and will be incredibly cuddly once Fall begins.

This was a great yarn choice for this pattern.  Because of the complex kind of color, I wanted to do something simple and focus on showing off the yarn.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with School Products, most of their worsted weight yarns, this one included, are really very fine strand run, but not plied, together.  In this particular application, the textured stitch makes that construction really visible and it’s an effect I’m quite fond of.  It’s also insanely soft post blocking and is sure to be super warm.

I decided to use slightly different row counts of the different stitch patterns than the original.  Mine went like this:

20 rows stockinette
16 rows texture pattern
20 rows stockinette
16 row texture pattern
20 rows stockinette
6 rows texture pattern
26 rows garter stitch

I expect you’ll see other warmer, heavier shawls from me in the future.  I’ve been thinking I might just wear this type of shawl instead of scarves this Fall and Winter and have a few more in mind.  They’ll have to wait a bit though, as the classic hot & sticky DC Summer has finally set in.  In the meantime, I’ll try & finish a non-shawl project to show you for once.  But if I were you I wouldn’t hold my breath.