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Projects

A Surprising Match

I am making the Saffran Cardigan by Nicolina Lindsten

The cardigan is written for 0-2 years old (but sizes have been added now up to teens).  Knit in the round, the body and sleeves are joined for a yoke and steeked for the button band.

I’m using Calm Wool by Elsebeth Lavold. It is now discontinued. The pattern calls for a worsted weight yarn and the designer recommends some alpaca for drape. My yarn choice is 40% alpaca, 40% wool and 20% camel.  The long fibers gives the yarn a rustic look and the alpaca tones it down with softness and drape especially after washing.

The best thing I did was sit down and swatch it repeatedly. I swatched rib, lace and cables over 90 stitches until I began to understand the yarn.

I’ve had a bag of the Calm Wool stashed for a very long time and I could never quite figure out what to make with it.  The best thing I did was sit down and swatch it repeatedly.  I swatched rib, lace and cables over 90 stitches until I began to understand the yarn.  Swatching helped me understand that although the yarn is a 3-ply, it’s very airy and it behaves like wool on the needles until it is washed, and then the alpaca suddenly appears by relaxing the stitches and giving drape.  The camel fibers enhanced the rustic halo of the yarn (top yarn, green).

img_4095The longer I worked with the yarn, the more I wanted to bring all three of these qualities together.  The next morning, it came to me to use the yarn with a complimentary color because the halo would create a unique contrast and also a blurring and blending affect.

Since my yarn is discontinued (and we had a gigantic snow storm pouring into our area), I wanted to find something at my LYS so I could cast on right away.  The most obvious choice out of my LYS’s yarns was Cascade 220 (not the super wash) but I ended up buying Cascade Ecological Wool in the end.

I was very surprised by this choice (as was my knitting friend who happened to be in the shop at the time). She knits more fair isle than I have and knows how yarns behave together. She agreed with me that even though the Eco Wool was a 2-ply bulky weight, it had a similar twist and appearance as my Calm Wool.

Here, you can see how very different the (left) Eco Wool is from the (right) Calm Wool in weight and ply properties. When the plies are put together, they begin to appear (and behave) similarly.

Here, you can see that the green and white stitches are blending well together. When I wash the garment, they will grow into one fabric even more and settle in.

Snowpocalypse 2017

Schools have been closed for 5 consecutive snow-days (very rare for us) and our local stores sold out of water, snow shovels, generators and grocery shelves are bare of necessities like bread. We prepared for the worst and so far, the storm hasn’t iced over power lines and knocked out our electricity.

The Community was hired to dig out drains before the snow and rains fell and today’s temperatures rose to 41 degrees melting off a lot of snow along with rain fall. I tried to go out this evening to buy a pizza for supper and got stuck in my driveway. For an area that averages 10 inches of precipitation for an entire year, this. is. amazing.

Projects

Cables for Sweet Pea

All design elements seem to be coming together for this toddler cabled sweater. I found Vibe Ulrik Sondergaard’s designs by searching Ravelry.com ‘baby sweaters’ and I was instantly drawn to her bold and unabashed use of texture in children’s clothing. So much so, I invested in another knitting book, her baby collection, Lullaby Knits.

Here I’ve worked the body in the round. For as complex as the cabling looks, it really has knit up fast. I’m using Cascade Venezia (70% merino wool/ 30% silk) and I love the yarn! The yarn isn’t splitting and the silk isn’t too slick. Plus, I think the silk is catching the hills and valleys of the texture and enhancing the way the light hits it. And the merino has nice loft and spring that makes it oh so baby- snuggly.

I realized after the fact that the pattern is written for 0-3 months only. So I went ahead and took my gauge with the stitch pattern and then used the Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Sweater Percentage System. Thinking about how quickly children grow, I decided to add two inches of positive ease and an inch or two length for growing room. Thankfully the pattern is also very stretchy.

 Don’t let the knitting conquer you but make it do what you want.

The color is not one that I would have thought for a little girl sweater. The practical ‘stash-bust’ side of me, made me pull the ball out in the first place. But as I began working up the swatches and getting a sense for the pattern and yarn compatibility, it was my two year old who helped me decide to make this sweater.

Sweet Pea seemed to really like the swatch and would snag it off my desk and run away with it, pretending to stretch it across her like it was her sweater. After about the third day of this kind of play, I realized that maybe she really liked the color and wanted to wear it as her sweater. I pulled the swatch up to the intended blue-eyed, blond headed 8 month old and then to the hazel-browned eyes and honey nut headed two year old, and to the latter, I just couldn’t resist how pretty the dark green drew out her eyes.

Color hue working at its best to enhance beauty already there.