Tuesday, April 29, 2008

DALLOWAY Eyelet Shrug

[Update 12/2009]

Dalloway has undergone a major pattern revision. It is now available in FIVE different sizes, published as a detailed .pdf.

Available as a .pdf download for $6.00.

Dalloway is the big sister of my Clarissa shrug.

Dalloway is inspired by the Virginia Woolf character Mrs. (Clarissa) Dalloway, and the dapper ladies and gentlemen of the 1920s and 1930s.

And this lady in red:

The shrug is worked in one piece. The arms are seamed, and then the cuffs and bodice are picked up and added. The arms and back have a delicate eyelet pattern worked symmetrically across:

Thursday, April 24, 2008

What on Earth is Katie up to?

Yes, I have been terribly mute on this blog of late. This is a sad, photo-less post meant to let readers know that I'm still alive and knitting.

There have been many projects in the works.


First, I created an Etsy.com store as a venue for selling finished projects that I had more of a theoretical interest in. Sometimes I knit items because I want to try a new technique, but the FO isn't something that I need to have around.

These items are usually snatched up by my non-knitting friends like gold. Unlike many knitters, I don't knit stuff to give away--I usually rip and reuse the yarn. My father has no scarves, socks, or hats (let alone sweaters); my mother has a Tudora, and that's it. My husband has NOTHING (but I'm working on that--see The Gamekeeper, below).

I thought an Etsy shop would be a great way to share things with others. The items listed are (usually) less expensive than the materials cost. Check it out.


I'm working on lots of new projects using some great patterns out there. I'm knitting another Clapotis, this time from some Malabrigo yarn that I bought at the Quarterstitch in New Orleans. I'm using size 7 needles to get a tighter gauge. Question: does anyone else exclaim with surprise every time they touch fabric knitted in Malabrigo worsted because it is so stinking soft? It's otherworldly. Aahh.

I'm also knitting a Lady Eleanor from some Noro Niji that I picked up from the Webs sale. This project is taking for freaking ever. But my friend G. convinced be to go back to it, and finish it. Thanks, G.!

I'm also working on a Xylem sweater, designed by Jordynn, my blogmate. This has been a WIP for a while now too, but I'm hopeful that I will finish it soon.


What's really taking up my time is all of the design work I've been doing lately.

I redesigned the pattern for the Clarissa Summer Shrug and uploaded it finally.

I reworked the Nella Cropped Cardigan pattern to provide sizing for Small, Medium, and Large, and uploaded that as well.

There's some new patterns in the works as well.

Desdemona's Scarf: A mohair lace shawl with light beading.

The Gamekeeper: A great superwash men's sweater with a cable motif. Finally a sweater for my husband.

Dalloway: A lacey shrug that knits super quickly with any worsted weight yarn. An excellent newbie sweater project.

Paris Lace Scarf: A squarish lace scarf with beading to tie around your neck any time of year to give you that je ne sais quoi.

Fuzz-Ball Bootees: Made them for my nephew kind of off the cuff, but whereever he goes with them on, strangers demand to know about the bootees. Seriously, they are as big and fluffy as his head. So I'm writing up a pattern for these as well.

Sorry for the lack of photos. I just wanted to give a quick update.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Book Review: Ugliest Sweaters in the World, with Some Nice Surprises

Angela ffrench's Knitting and Design for Mohair (circa 1980) found its way into my hands at a recent used book store jaunt. The book caught my attention with its breathtakingly hideous sweaters. Maybe the extra f in ffrench is for ffugly?

Exhibit A: The Cover Shot. In some ways, this book must have been ahead of its time. It was only published in 1980, but it has that 80s look *down*--big hair, baggy sweater, skinny pants/leggings. I had some pretty crazy get-ups in the 80s (including a superbrite yellow version of this type of outfit), but somehow I feel like even I would've thought this cowl neck AND fair isle AND bright blue and red AND mohair sweater was taking the trend a little too far. I hope.

Exhibit B: For those of you have been waiting with bated breath for a pattern for a ginormous bath robe, I have your solution. This particular model seems to love her robe so much that she can't wait for nightime to wear it. In fact, the sleeves lead me to wonder whether this pattern could double for a graduation gown? If so, forget ordering the $500+ academic regalia I'm supposed to have as a professor, I'm knitting my own, baby! I just need approximately 5000 yards of navy blue mohair, and some velvet patches. (And I'll use this tam pattern).

Exhibit C: Don't you long for the days when mothers and daughters dressed alike? Due to the wonders of mohair, we could all wear sweaters large enough to hide our figure flaws or perhaps a small goat for extra warmth.

Ok, so the sweaters are sh*teous, but Knitting and Design for Mohair surprised me with the following:

1) A "build a sweater" section that includes pages and pages of sweater bits to mix and match--bodies, sleeves, collars, welts, cuffs, and so on. I think I'll be using the third chapter a lot--it has collars, cuffs, welts, and extras. I don't know what welts are, but some of these things could be useful if you leave out the 80s hair:

2) A complete mohair sitchionary. Even if mohair sweaters don't come back into vogue anytime soon, it never hurts to have some extra stitch ideas lying around.

3) A fair isle pattern dictionary, which might also come in handy. There's 9 pages of this stuff.
All in all, I'd highly recommend this book, both for its comedic appeal (hindsight is 20/20 of course), and for the useful design features. There are currently 35 used copies on Amazon--better buy them up because this book's out of print!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

New Baby Washcloth: Pisces

Yarn: Lily Sugar ‘n Cream Stripes (.5 skein) or any 100% cotton, worsted weight yarn.

Color shown is Country Stripes (#21143).

Needles: US Size 8 (5 mm).


Cast on 40 stitches.
Knit three rows, then start pattern as follows:

Rows 1: k2, *k2, wyif sl 2; rep from * to end, end k2.
Rows 2 and all WS rows: purl

Row 3: k4, * k2, wyif sl 2; rep from * to end, end k2.
Repeat rows 1-8 ten times.

Knit three rows. Bind off. Weave in ends.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

All in a Day's Shopping

I sent my book manuscript out today (fully revised) and celebrated by stopping by the fabric store (to buy buttons for Sylvia Plath), the yarn store, and the thrift store. After one hour I came back with all of this:

Clockwise from top left:

  • Random yarn from the thrift store. The other day I found some Berocco Touche there. This was unlabeled but seemed to have a nice texture so I figured for fifty cents I could test it and eventually make something with all of the random thrift store yarn I find.
  • Vogue Knitting's Teen Knits and Chunky Knits, and Crafts Jamboree (circa 1977), from the thrift store.
  • Red buttons (on book) from the thrift store to be used with...
  • Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece in Barn Red (to make another Sylvia Plath with a tighter gauge).
  • Berocco Cotton Twist (possibly for another Sylvia Plath, or something else. I want a white sweater for spring/summer layering purposes).
  • Rowan Night Haze kid silk (to combine with some random yarn I bought over Craigslist a while back, to make Katie's Ribbed Cable Skinny Scarf).
  • Buttons for Sylvia Plath.
  • Reading Lolita in Tehran, since I'm about to finish my current book.
So as you can see I'm planning to experiment with cotton blend yarn to see if I can get it to work. Because I can't really see myself wearing wool in the summer in North Carolina, and I'd hate to have to wait for Fall to wear anything I make in the next few months.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Knitting is Writing with Yarn

Since I've started designing patterns I've started to think of knitting more and more as a composing process. You do invention exercises (for me, it is looking at fashion for inspiration, sketching, and imagining what new yarn might 'want to be'). You do some planning. Then you work on a draft. You have to revise and "rewrite" a lot before you have a good final project. My latest project, Sylvia Plath, is a good example. My first rough draft is below:

I really like the ladder stitch used throughout the body, but I need to do some revising on the sleeves and the edging. You can't tell from the photo, but the sweater currently has a very deep scoop neck. It actually doesn't cover my bust as it is. I'm going to add about 1.5 inches of ribbing around the top to adjust for this, (or possibly more for a foldover/shawl collarish look) but for my next draft I will try to fix this.

I also forgot that for an outside curve, as in the bottom of the cardigan, I need to decrease rather than increase. For an inside curve you make increases. This seems counterintuitive to me, and I was up until 4:00 am last night doing this and did increases along the edge. So the edge puckers a bit. If this were wool yarn I could just try blocking it into place, but since it is cotton I will probably have to redo it.

I tried a picot trim bind off on the sleeves. It looks better on than it does in the picture, but I'm still not sure. I might 'revise' these so that they are just regular k1, p1 ribbing.

I'm also not crazy about the yarn overall. It is Filatura di Crosa Porto Cervo. I thought I'd try cotton because I wanted a lightweight summer sweater and I live in the muggy South, but the garment just seems kind of droopy. So I think when I finish a decent draft of this I'll start another one using a wool or some kind of wool blend. I've got some orange/red yarn in my stash that might work.