Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Fresh Till Cowl from Yarniverse - Day 5


OK, now I’m worried.  

I love the color, the length looks okay—maybe a bit short, but that could be easily fixed in the blocking process.

It’s the curling that has me anxious.  There’s enough stockinette in this project for the piece to be curling in on itself in the way that stockinette does (and the way I hate).  It makes me nuts when my beautiful stitches are hidden in a sausage roll of stockinette.

It looks so nice and flat in the pattern photo.  I love the way it looks in the pattern photo.  I’m not loving the way it looks laid out on my table.

Keep calm and give the thing a bath.  This is what I’m telling myself.  Don’t judge a knitted piece before you’ve blocked it, especially one with openwork like eyelets.

So….deep breath, and to the tub it goes!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Fresh Till Cowl from Yarniverse - Day 4

Tilled but tailored?

Once properly followed, this pattern goes swiftly and smoothly.  It’s amusing to watch the little eyelet rows pop up through the sections of stockinette.  Rebecca Fox is right—they do look just like freshly tilled rows of farmland—if farmland came in a lovely ice-blue color like this yarn.

I’ll admit to a bit of worry about the size.  It seems narrow and short for a cowl—at least for someone of my size.   Of course, things knitted lengthwise like this tend to change shape dramatically once you get them off the needles, so I know better that to make assumptions based on what I’m seeing now.  It’s just that I often discover that the scale is off—a six-foot woman needs longer scarves and shawls.  And let’s not even get into sweater adjustments!

This is why I tend to focus my knitting on accessories.  And, quite frankly, why I never buy clothes online.  I’d be heartbroken to spend tons of time knitting a sweater only to be unhappy with the fit of the finished product once I finished.  

Yes, I’ve tried Elizabeth Zimmerman’s infinitely tailorable sweater system—it worked great until it inadvertently ended up in the wash…

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Fresh Till Cowl from Yarniverse - Day 3

Pay closer attention...

It never pays to get too confident in knitting.  I read the directions—too quickly—for the next section of this cowl and sped right ahead. After all, I know how to purl, and K2TOG is one of the classics, right?  Easy peasy.

I looked at my little row of eyelets and couldn’t figure out why they didn’t look the way I thought they should. Something was amiss.  I know how to knit two together, I’ve been doing it for years.  How could I have messed easy pattern up?

Then I went back and re-read the directions.  I paid a smidgen more attention this time.  Face-palm moment: I should have been purling.  It isn't K2TOG, it’s P2TOG—small but vital distinction there, hmm?

I’ve never actually purled two together before.  Still, it was easy enough to figure out—which makes it embarrassing that I didn’t catch the correct stitch in the first place.  

Me, put in my place by the humble purl stitch.  I swear to you I could hear the yarn laughing.

When I redid the eyelet row correctly, everything settled into place.  Funny that.  How many things in life would work out right if we just took the time to make sure we were following directions correctly?


By the way, don’t you just love the new addition to my car thanks to my brother?

Friday, September 25, 2015

Fresh Till Cowl from Yarniverse - Day 2

A simple, satisfying start...

Garter stitch—ah, nice and basic.  Stockinette, which in the round requires no purling(!)—especially satisfying.  This first part is delightfully simple stuff.   In fact, the hardest part is making sure you don’t twist your first round (always tricky, but particularly so for a large stitch count like this).  

There’s something to be said for projects with simple starts.  You can dig in and enjoy yourself.  I’m okay with challenging projects—and I can’t yet say whether the next sections of the cowl will challenge me—but I like ones where I can start off with confidence.

Traveling as I am this week, I’m enjoying the portability of this project.  It fits in one of my mesh Namaste bags and slips right inside my purse.  And the DK weight of the yarn means I can practically knit with my eyes closed.  The color is so fresh and inviting—a bright cool wintery ice blue.  I’m writing a series of books with a family whose signifying trait is ice-blue eyes, so this even feels professionally satisfying as well as personally enjoyable.

Next up, we venture on the “tilling” rows of the Fresh Till Cowl.  Fresh? Check.  Till?  On the way.  Stay tuned.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Fresh Till Cowl from Yarniverse - Day 1

New project day!

Is there any happier day for a knitter?  Casting on a new project is like shopping for school supplies—all fresh start and new toys.  The yarn hasn’t yet become familiar, we’re still in awe of it’s texture and color.  I haven’t yet become frustrated with directions or mistakes, and I don’t yet know how the project will truly look.  While I love having the finished product, knitting’s “first day” is always a treat for me.

That’s rarely true of writing.  Want to strike fear and awe into the heart of a novelist?  Simply present them with a blank page and the words “Chapter 1.” Possibilities are thrilling, but they are also terrifying.

I’ve tried to work out what it is about Madelinetosh yarn.  It has a unique character—I can almost always tell it on sight.  For one—and I’m not sure why this stands out—it’s beautifully round.  The strand has an elegant, perfect circumference to it.  A clean line that beckons to clear, crisp stitches.

And at the same time, there’s this hint of halo—just the smallest feel of fuzziness—that balances out the crisp with a softness I can’t quite describe.

The color—oh, the color—just makes the other characteristics that much more wonderful.  I know lots of people oooh and ahh over Madelinetosh’s exquisite, quietly undulating color, but honestly, I think it’s the least of the things I notice. It’s more how the color flows with the shape and texture than the color itself.

No matter what the attraction is for you, its clear Madelinetosh has created some knitter-perfect alchemy of fiber.  Even basic garter and stockinette look great in this yarn, as we’ll soon see in this pattern.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

September Reader Who Knits: Kathleen Stamer

It's time to meet this month's Reader Who Knits! DestiKNITters, say hello to Kathleen Stamer.

Kathleen, whats on your needles right now? 
A blanket from 60 Quick Baby Blankets called Pumpkin Patch, knit in stripes of autumnal orange. It is a perfect gender neutral color for the grandchild coming next March.

What feels like your favorite/greatest knitting accomplishment? 
The sweater I knit for my baby sister when I was sixteen and taking a knitting class in high school. It was my first sweater and I was really proud of it!

What feels like the worst knitting mistake/foible/wrong choice youve ever made? 
The vest I made with chunky yarn. I found out through that project that I didnt like chunky yarn for clothing items.

Straight or circular needles? 

Metal or wood needles? 

White chocolate, milk chocolate, or dark chocolate? 
Milk chocolate

Coffee or tea? 

Whats your favorite Allie novel? 

What are you reading now? 
His Montana Homecoming by Jenna Mindel

Give a shout out to your favorite local yarn store: 
Common Threads
508 Broadway
Saratoga Springs, NY 21866
(518) 583-2548

In thanks for her participation, Kathleen chose a copy of A Heart to Heal for herself and Saved by the Fireman for her friend.  Thanks to the awesome folks at Cascade Yarns, Kathleen also receives a nifty tote bag and ten hanks of Cascade 220 in the color "Puget Sound."

If you would like to be a featured Reader Who Knits, email me at for an application.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Lace Cowl from Rainbow Yarn & Fibres - Done!

Cowl Complete!

True to expectations, today is a bright, brisk Fall-feeling day—the perfect day to try out my Lace Cowl.

I find I like both sides equally in terms of design.  And they are similar enough that you can double-loop it and twist it around to serve as a cozy neck warmer or leave it as a larger, open loop around your neck—closer to infinity scarf than cowl when you do that.  The length is perfect for such adaptability.

It is marvelously soft, but I do find it a tad itchy to wear next to my skin—Alpaca does that to me for some reason.  Still, given the chunky nature of the fiber, I don’t see it spending time next to my bare neck very often—this will be a layering piece, to be sure.  I reserve the right to add a pretty pin, too.

All in all, a sturdy basic that makes for a pleasant project or ideal gift knitting.  Thanks, Rainbow Yarn and Fibres!

Next week, we’ll meet this months Reader Who Knits and start in on Yarniverse’s Fresh Till Cowl—good stuff, so stick around!