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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!

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!

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.