Sunday, March 02, 2008

One month, two conferences, and two countries later...

I did a LOT of running around, and had nearly no time for knitting except on ridiculously long
train rides, but I managed to make decent progress on my cape. Here's the full-body-so-far shot:
I am using the vague-ish instructions from Barbara Walker's Knitting from the top.
The idea is that a cape/cloak is just a raglan that does not separate at the underarm for sleeves.
Simple enough, I wrote out instructions for a top-down raglan cloak that includes some cable panels from Elsebeth Lavold's Viking Patterns for Knitting on the front edges, (s-hitches from Arde, p. 73), raglan non-sleeve (wide panel with little lattice, p. 51), and the back (Vigdis pattern, p.81 over 24 stitches). Here's some detail shots of the cables in the order listed above.

I am finding that the Lamb's Pride Worsted has great stitch definition even though I am knitting at a ridiculously loose gauge in order to felt this sucker, so I feel confident that the
cables will survive the felting process. I never realized what a good-value cable-knitting yarn this was, and I'll probably use it again for sweaters. I just wish the mohair was less scratchy, but I can put up with a bit of scratch.

One good (or bad) thing about conferences is that the organizers tend to put random people of the same gender together in my hotel room. Imagine my surprise when I arrived in my hotel room in a tiny university town in the Netherlands to a pile of stuff on one bed including a pair of 3.5 mm straight needles with some fingering weight pink merino knitted into perfect teeny tiny stitches. A knitter! Of all the random conference attendees I was paired with, they put me up with another knitter. Needless to say, some yarn browsing took place in the 2 hours between the end of the conferences and catching our trains back. I finally saw some Hanne Falkenberg kits up close, and they are gorgeous! Too bad I can't justify spending 100 euros (about 150 dollars) on a kit. My favourites in the shop were Gloria shown in the colors I linked to, and Jazz. The pictures do not do the kits justice. But still, they are prohibitively expensive, so my new shopping buddy said I should take the mental picture for inspiration, and knit my own version with what I've got available.

I also had the good fortune of sharing a room with a knitter in Berlin, and we went to a yarn shop on Oranienstrasse (in the very cool Kreuzberg district) and I picked up a few balls of some no-name single ply lambswool in order to make my take on Gloria. On the overly long train ride from Berlin to Hannover (my roomie's transfer point) she taught me how to purl continental style. I was on a purl row. It took me 2 hours (!) to do one row. I guess I'll have to practice, and track her down for lessons on how to knit continental style. She watched me knit 'British-style' and shook her head and said "I just don't see how you can do that." Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

Here's a picture of my circular jacket yarns all nestled together:

I think it'll work (I hope!) and I'll cast on after I try a kiddie-version for the soon to be expected
cousin's kid. They are two different colors of no-name-provided German lambswool in an aran weight from somewhere near Hamburg (according to the shop employee) in a greyish lavender and petrol blue solid, paired with some Fleece Artist Kid Aran in the Marine colorway.
I'll be basing the construction on one of the 8-million free pinwheel jackets from the Elann website by Shelley Mackie but I may throw in a texture pattern like on Gloria. And I will make the sleeves striped. I particularly like this version of the pinwheel jacket, so I'll just let the ideas mingle until I have the time to cast on. I'll test texture patterns in my collection of purpley Soft Shetland balls and medium gray merino for the kiddie version.


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