Thursday, January 27, 2011

Chinese Rose Jacket Redux

Once upon a time I shopped for yarn and spent $100 or so on a kit for Kaffe Fassett's Chinese Rose Jacket.  It was probably the early 90's.

This was, I believe, before Rowan put out those lovely outsized books, the ones that  I find hard to find the right spot for on my knitting book shelf.  This pattern was in leaflet form,  the sweater also appeared in Glorious Color, published in 1988. I still have my copy.  Actually I received two copies of Glorious Color in 1988 for Christmas, from two different people.  

This book has been reprinted at Glorious Color for Needlepoint  & Knitting.  As a former needlepointer, I still drool over the stitched cabbages.

I remember spending many many many hours on this cardi.  My gauge was off, and I was knitting at 7.5 stitches per inch:  too small, which was a good thing as it was/is a one size cardigan and I no longer wear oversized garments.  So, it still fits well.  The yarns were Rowan DK Fleck and Designer DK.

Various vintage Rowan kits are available at Amazon, pricing up to $300 from what I can see.  This website has a kit for sale for this particular sweater, price not listed!

Visit Kaffe at his website.

Rowan is well known for using romantic rural backdrops for their knitwear photo shoots, and often still is.  Along those lines...

I learned about Victorian Farm on Brenda's podcast last week, it was Episode 83 (I'm still catching up).  Real archeologists/historians work on a real Victorian farm using true-to-the-time farming and day to day living methods.  

I searched about online to find it: not on Netflix;  then found it at youtube today: 

I suspect that this will help to deromantice the rural nineteenth century lifestyle as I view the episodes.  Well, I'm still allowed to romanticize about anything I darned well please...and Rowan and the BBC are  always happy to oblige.  Next... I hear there's also Edwardian Farm...

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Sock Reconsidered

After starting on THE sock, I decided to consider switching patterns.  Feeling very unsure about fit.

I frogged and went with Anne's "The Sock Pattern to End All Sock Patterns."

Happier now, went down 8 stitches on the leg/ankle:

Am still really liking the yarn, Supersocke 100.

Here's Fiona, finding eye camouflage near the betta's bowl

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Hap Shawl Magnum Opus

In Brenda's Cast-On Episode 77, she discusses one's magnum knitting opus.  I didn't think that this shawl was until I heard her postcast, and now I know that it is. I did a prior post on this here, way back in June 2010 right after I started blogging. I finished this yesterday.

To recap a bit, when in Shetland I bought Shetland Supreme top at Shetland Wool Brokers, aka Jamieson and Smith.  I purchased 500 g of natural, and 25 g bumps of  mid gray, moorit, dark chocolate and light brown.  The colors are sheep colors.   I spun it up in to double ply, at about 11 wpi. I believe I started the spinning for this almost after getting home, perhaps August of 2009. I am not good at keeping track of how I'm spinning but it turned out fairly consistent.

The basic directions for this are in Sharon Miller's lovely book, Shetland Hap Shawls Now and Then.  I graphed up a  cat's paw lace pattern for the center square, which is knit as a diamond.  The pattern for this is available under "free patterns" in the sidebar.  Gauge is about 4 stitches per inch blocked.

The center diamond was a "car project," meaning that the knitting is not so hard that I can't carry it around in case I have a few minutes free during my work day, much of which is spent in the car, between seeing home care patients.  Cat's paws on the cat's paws lace:

Once the center was done, this was no longer a car project, as it involved serious lace.  It was November.  I picked up the stitches at the sides for the fan and feather border at a ratio of one stitch per row.  This was a mistake.  My impulsive streak had taken over.  I knit the whole border than did a light block with the iron and it sagged terribly in the middle.  So, I frogged the whole thing and checked the book, and discovered that my ratio on the diagonal should have been 5 stitches to 4 rows.  It's taken another 2 months to finish it. I used the four row fan and feather from Shetland Hap Shawls Then and Now.

Yes, it's missing the lace border.  Perhaps I'll do one someday.

I love the idea of knitting something that has been done long ago.  Of course, this shawl uses a different technique from the traditional, as I used a circular needle.  Per Sharon Miller, these were only available starting in the 1920's to 40's.

Other things I really like about it:  it's a single sheep breed project, uses the actual sheep breed that would be traditionally used, and it's a sheep to shawl, as it were.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Current Sock Project

OK  all that said about my not loving sock knitting, I am now working on a pair of socks for someone, hopefully that person isn't reading this.  This person may have figured something out as I did take some foot measurements.

In the past I have enjoyed the color changing yarn so I picked up this lovely stuff

its Supersocke 100 and is lovely and soft, merino, angora and polyamide...what is polyamide anyway? 

Looked it's the scoop via Wikipedia....apparently it's nylon...maybe it's German for "nylon".

Also in the past I have had sock fit issues, so I did a Ravelry search and used this top down sock calculator.  

More later when we see how this proceeds

Some bread machine advice:  if you're VERY lucky, which apparently I am today, you can put the ingredients for not bread machine bread to do "dough only" for two loaves not just one, and have it not spill over on the rise in the machine, only almost

and come out with this

rye with anise instead of caraway seeds.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Love-Hate Sock Knitting

A long, long time ago, like in 1980, I said out loud once that I wanted my sock drawer to contain all hand knit socks.  At that time, I knit socks from scratchy 100% wool.  Nothing else was readily available.   (I've done so many socks that I have the formula in my head, although I'm lousy at getting the fit perfect).

Then, the holes started.  I persisted.  Eventually I knew that there was better sock yarn out there, and I sometimes used it.  But, I stumbled on Yarn Harlot's Koigu socks, and started in on those.  Can't locate the original post to show you, that was a while back too.  I probably did 4 pair of koigu socks, comfy and great under Birkenstocks.  More and plentiful holes.   For example (under the ball of the foot/metatarsal heads)

Yes, you know, you can wear them with holes under Birkenstocks.  But really, Koigu has better uses.  (There's some in the stash for a shawl/stole).

One sock concept that I have done was highly successful.  Beth Brown Reinsel's little books for Scandinavian themed socks. Obviously, this is me and we know where this is going with the Scandinavia theme;  be it lusekofte, fana, or ullared, I love them all.

 Oops, I didn't do the lusekofte.

I used Brown Sheep Wildfoote for these and they are going strong, although I wear them sparingly.   I highly recommend the Wildefoote.

They would make awesome Christmas stockings.

While the shaping is fun, and I do love the sock yarn that changes color, I've tired of sock knitting for now, at least for myself.