Sunday, May 20, 2007

Woo hoo! A new fo!

I FINALLY finished the Lace and Cables Capelet from VK Holiday 2006! Yay! Here's a picture of me modelling it.
Looks nice, no? Here's another one that I took modelled by a chair.
The cables come out much better in this one. And now for the wannabe-artistic shot.
The pictures of the capelet modelled by me were taken using the timer function on my camera, where I would line up the shot, press the button, and run into place for the shot, so they're not the greatest. Anyways, here are the deets:

Pattern: number 4 from Vogue Knitting Holiday 2006, Lace and Cable Capelet
Yarns: the black stuff is Rowan Yorkshire Tweed Aran, the red stuff is Christmas Market Hanpaint, called Kolibri, a handspun wool hand-dye which you can look at here.

Pattern mods and notes:
The charts, downloaded from the VK website were large and easy to follow. This pattern uses simple lace and cable patterns, so I did not break a sweat at any point, except for the collar. I ran out of yarn, even though I had purchased more than 100 yards of the listed yarn requirement. And I didn't knit way too loosely, my FO blocked to the exact pattern measurements. So I had to swap in a much narrower cable for the collar. All things considered, I think it looks OK. Also note that in the picture, the capelet is shown held closed by a button, but button/buttonhole instructions are NOT in the pattern! So I winged it. And I was annoyed by the vagueness of the blocking instructions, only the depth from the back neck to bottom, and length across the bottom are given, but no measurements for the shoulders. I have wide shoulders, so I stretched the shoulders out a fair bit, because pre-blocked, they didn't sit at the right place.

Yarn notes:
I really liked the Kolibri, and I would definitely buy again, but the colorways are a bit bright. I definitely wouldn't buy it again without a specific project and yardage requirements in mind. Also it is VERY soft.

Now for the Rowan Yorkshire Tweed... where do I begin? There were bits of twig and hay, oh, every 6 inches? I'm used to picking out some vegetable matter in yarn because of my preference for the rustic and hardy yarns, but frankly this was ridiculous. Especially for a formerly higher-priced wool. Now it's discontinued so you can get a deal if you look for it, but in my opinion it's NOT worth it. Comparing this to the more reasonably priced Kilcarra of Donegal Tweed, this yarn is thicker. And coarser, less fun to knit with, but I suppose that depends on the colorway, as some dyes process the yarn more, and make it softer. I have noticed that some colorways of various yarns are softer than others. But this stuff was fairly hard on my hands. And, though many of you already know this, I will say it again, DON'T SEAM WITH THIS YARN. As I was weaving in the ends, it would come apart very easily. Luckily this capelet was worked in one piece, so no seaming.

General comments:
I don't think this number will be particularly easy to wear, becase it tends to slide back, and then the shoulder shaping is in the wrong place and it looks weird. I'm also not happy with how the lace looks. I think that for such a thick yarn (worsted/aran) there should be more openwork. Or the lace parts should be worked on larger needles, but then stitches would have to be picked up for the yoke. Luckily the variegated-ness of the yarn makes up for the lack of visual interest. I could have blocked the lace out more, but I didn't want to overstretch the cables. Also, I'm not a fan of the bobbles. In hindsight, I should have left them out. In short, this project reminds me of why I don't usually make VK patterns, even though I love to look at the pictures. The finished piece looks GREAT in a still-life, just not on me!


Sunday, May 13, 2007

Celtic Knot Project Installment #5

Hearts on a Mat Connected by Braids

This one was modified from an illustration in Sheila Sturrock's Celtic Knotwork Handbook, panel 86 on page 87. I could have charted it as illustrated, but I wanted a continuous cable, not a stand-alone knot, so I extended the start and finish of the lowed and upper loops into twisted
cables. It would not be difficult to modify into a stand-alone panel.... heh heh, I'm leaving this as an excercise to the reader! Hint: it's super easy to visualize if you have Sturrock's book in front of you. Anyways, here are the photos.

These photos are of the same swatch, but there was sucky natural light due to the week-long overcast skies, so the top one was taken in the window with some non-natural light from the ceiling lamp, and the lower photo was taken with a flash. Either way, you get the idea. This sample was knit from, yeah you guessed it if you're a regular reader, Wolle Rodel Soft Merino.
This panel starts with 32 stitches, increases to 40 stitches, then decreases back to 32 in the last 2 rows. It is 30 rows long. Here's the chart:
A few notes on this one:
1. I used a couple of new symbols here than in previous installments - I needed to cross 2 knit stitches over 3 purl stitches in a few places to make space in between the backs of the hearts. These symbols are not in the legend, and I don't want to update it every time I use a new symbol, so instead I included them at the bottom of the chart. You do not need to re-download the legend if you already have it, but you do need it to interpret this chart if you don't already have it.
2. Knitting is always the best test of an abstract idea, like taking an illustration and turning it into something three-dimensional. Having charted and knitted it, I see something I would have done differently, and will change if I use this panel in a design. (Aside: you know I will!) If you don't want to wait, I will type it out here in words, and you will have to alter the chart yourself, unless you like it as presented. I would move the two left cable crossings from row 1 to row three. I would then eliminate rows 29 and 30 from the chart alltogether, making this a 28-row repeat panel.
3. I think this would look very nice if there were several twists in the braid before making the knot, and I think this is how I would use it, with at least 1 extra left twist in the braids connecting the knots, maybe more.



More yarn misadventures

Last week I reported my frustration at running out of yarn when I wasn't even halfway through the collar from Vogue Knitting's Lace and Cables Capelet (Holiday 2006). I was very tempted to throw it in the stash box and ignore it for several months, but Thrace urged me to find another cable panel and complete the darned thing. I followed her advice, and perused my numerous stitch dictionaries, and settled on "Mr. Ziggs" from the Vogue Knitting Stitchionary Volume 2: Cables. (Aside: I would hardly call it the "ultimate" cable stitch dictionary as the sub-title implies, but there are some unusual ones in there. I think that's why I chose Ziggs, it's not your usual aran-style cable. And what's up with the names?) Anyways here it is...
Not so bad... I think it goes OK with the style of the capelet. Here's a closeup.
Now for the misadventure part? I made it across the back, and I have MAYBE 5 yards left! I'm working a cable that's less than half the width of the original collar at its' widest point and I still don't have enough yarn! Waah! This truly sucks. But, I know what Thrace would say: "Finish the damn thing and be done with it! And enjoy it because summer is at best a month away." Okay I'm paraphrasing, but you get the picture. So tonight I'm going to rip rip rip, and probably knit on a plain as can be twisted rope cable (or something along those lines) that's no more than 10 stitches wide, and finish the darned thing. In a fit of frustration, last night I charted AND knit another celtic knot cable, which I'll be posting next. Harrumph.


Sunday, May 06, 2007


So here I am, finishing the collar on the VK Holiday 06 Lace and Cables Capelet, and I realized that I'm not even at the halfway point, illustrated below with the yellow line, and I'm going to run out of yarn!!!
Here's what I've got left...
I apologize for overexposing this picture with software, but you can really see that I have less than 50 yards here. Grrr... and, to make matters worse, THIS IS MY FIBER INSURANCE! I had 150 yards of FI, and I'm not going to make it. This SUCKS. There are 2 things holding me back from getting another ball, and just finishing.

1. I don't like the collar. The cables are poofy and sloppy looking. I like my cables smaller and neater. And it's really no fun to slip 8 stitches onto a cable needle, hold them to the front/back, knit 7 off the left needle, slip one purl stitch onto the left needle and wrench needles and yarn to purl it, then wrench the cable needle to the knitting position and then knit them. Yuck. Very nerve wracking. I now know I'm NOT a fan of the 15 st LC or RC.

2. I will not have more yarn taking up room in the stash.

So what am I going to do? I have to rip the collar, and re-knit it. I could do a simple seed-stitch shawl collar, which is easy and won't use too much yarn, or I could knit the collar up to the point where many stitches are added to turn the giant horseshoe cable into left and right twist cables, and not increase, keeping the giant horseshoe cables as they are. But I will probably still run out of yarn with that option. Or I could put it on hold till I get myself an instructional book on how to knit neat collars and cuffs. Any suggestions on that? I hate it when commercial patterns don't give accurate yarn quiantitites!