April 01, 2006

MagKnits April

MagKnits April is up.

I am very taken by the cabled tank -- Calla. There's an inch of negative in built in, and I quite like the garter stitch straps.

It's got to be one of the nicest non-accessory patterns I've seen in MagKnits.

I just wish they could really get their publishing together. There are several 404 (page not found) errors (including the link to Slick Silk), off-site links that aren't coded properly so they don't work, and mailto links that don't work. These errors would easily be found if someone went through the whole site before launching (and before sending out an announcement email). It would take less than 5 minutes.

I love their model of free publishing, but I think that the haphazardness of their publication damages their credibility.

April 1, 2006 in project ideas | Permalink | Comments (10)

February 09, 2006

Not Just For Grandmas Anymore

I've been feeling rather unexcited about Rowan 39. The crazy hair, the make up, the (what do you call that?) headdress. In fact, today's post started out with a "not so impressed" theme.

But as I looked through the pics again I realized -- there's a lot of possibility in there. Sure, I'm not going to wear 18 layers of clothing with my knitted garments, but there's a lot of things I would really wear -- just in a different context.

Rowan39_crinkle Crinkle by Martin Storey
Rowan Cotton Glace

I'm a sucker for a good stitch pattern, and this all-over one seems to have struck a balance between girly and revealing (no huge gaping YOs). I wouldn't include the gathers (not right for my body type) and I'd lengthen it. But I rarely look at a pattern and say "I'd knit that exactly the way it's been made".

jinny Jinny by Amanda Crawford
Rowan Cotton Glace

The cover design! And once you get past the headgear and the bad 80s belts, it's really quite a lovely design. This could just have easily been made in a softer color and photographed in a setting similar to last year's Butterfly.

The flirty ruffle gives it just enough romance, the 3/4-length sleeves make it perfect for in-the-office, and the button up cardi makes it nice layering option for slipping on over top of a tank in a chilly restaurant.

I wouldn't use the beads (I *think* I see beads) but that's because I'm just not a bead girl.

Rowan39_gwen Gwen by Leah Sutton
Handknit Cotton

Leah always surprises me with something different. I love the little braids (i-cords?) across the midriff. I can't tell if they're functional or purely decorative, but they spice up a pretty basic top. She's also added in some puckering at the sleeves to give them a slouchy, casual look. I'll bet this would work up nicely in a denim yarn as well.

RYC Beach

I read Ann's latest post and saw that RYC (btw, *love* their site! much better than rowan's> released a few new books. I'm particularly fond of Beach. Beach makes liberal use of a new RYC yarn -- Natural Silk Aran -- a blend of 73% viscose, 15% silk and 12% linen. I haven't seen it yet in person but the pics remind me of Tahki Willow. Nice!

There are two designs I'm really fond of from Beach.

Scallop by Martin Storey
RYC Natural Silk Aran

I LOVE LOVE LOVE this top! It's the kind of thing I could see being washed and worn week after week. The shaping and yarn give it a laid back feel, and the edgings -- which look like they're crocheted -- give it just enough wimsy and girly frill to make it not feel like a frumpy sweatshirt.


Maggie by Martin Storey
RCY Natural Silk Aran

This little top would work nicely paired with jeans and a cotton tank underneath. It'd also be just as lovely with an a-line dress for something a little bit dressier.

I would make the top with a square neckline, as I think that shape suits my body better. I'd also increase the length of the garter/rev st st yoke so it didn't cut across my bust.


February 9, 2006 in project ideas | Permalink | Comments (15)

November 18, 2005

Friday Inspiration

I haven't had any real focus on sweater projects lately. I want to knit a sweater -- I just keep getting pulled in all directions.

I've been looking though lots of blogs, galleries, and some of my older knitting mags -- looking for that *perfect* sweater to draw me in.

Then this morning I got an email from Phildar and looked at their new books. There are a few in there that are seriously worth consideration.

Phildar417_11   Phildar441_18_1
from Irlandais 2004from Winter 05/06

The books are only in French, and while I think it's fun to try and translate from French, there's also an English Knit Along for the camel-colored top. The best part? Someone posted an English translation!

I like both of these sweaters a lot. Now for the big question -- is there anything in my stash for either of these?

November 18, 2005 in project ideas | Permalink | Comments (21)

September 07, 2005

Fisherman Sweater

I've been more diligent about working on Zipo. The back is done and the front is up to the division for the neck. I should have the body done before the weekend (I'll post pics at that point -- really, do you want to see more rev st st?). Then all that's left are 2 very simple sleeves, basic neckline finishing, and that's it. I'll definitely hit the deadline of being done before I leave for Nantucket and Cape Cod October 8th.

Knitting miles of st st does give your brain plenty of time to wander though, and so I've been thinking what I might want to make next. I'd love to make a traditional Fisherman Sweater.


I've been thumbing through AS's Fishermen's Sweaters and a few pop out at me -- Inishmore and Stornoway in particular.

Then of course there's Gladys Thompson's Patterns for Guernseys, Jerseys & Arans. I wish the pictures were better but they're original vintage pictures so I really shouldn't expect more. There are lots of stitch patterns in the book and I'm intrigued by the thought of designing a one-of-a-kind sweater.

I also want to check out Beth Brown-Reinsel's Knitting Ganseys. From what I've read this would be right up my alley as it teaches you how to design a gansey rather than giving you line-by-line pattern instructions.


Now here's where I'd have to stray from tradition. A traditional 100% wool will not do. And while I'm in love with the thought of doing this in a traditional 5-ply gansey it's not going to happen.

And now, for the crazy part. Is it nuts to try and use something like a Cashsoft or Cashmerino?

Typically these sweaters are knit tightly -- will that kind of yarn react properly to being knit so tightly?

I know merino has less stretch than some other wools -- will the cables go limp and not pop like they should?

I think the only way to answer this is to do a swatch and see how they turn out. And as always, I'm open to everyone's thoughts so if you have some experience here please let me know!

September 7, 2005 in project ideas | Permalink | Comments (11)

August 06, 2005


I got Rowan 38 today -- at quite a steal no less! I didn't even realize it until I was driving home but the woman rang up the wrong item and only charged me 8 bucks for the mag! I don't feel so terrible though because I did buy a bunch of yarn and a few more magazines while I was there.

Anyway, there are a few projects I like in there, but Abigail really has me interested. I know -- It's just a simple scarf. The yarn is doing all the work.


And that's what's really getting me excited. The yarn. Did you notice that Rowan added 2 new yarns to their Kidsilk line? Kidsilk Spray in 70% Mohair 30% Silk and Kidsilk Night in 67% Mohair 18% Silk 10% Polyester and 5% Nylon. Spray seems to be a very similar yarn but just at a bigger gauge (you get 150m versus 210m in KSH). The Night is the same as Spray but with a metallic thread running through it.

Color palettes are still pretty limited but if KSH is any indication I'd expect the colors to grow quickly. And with mohair being the craze this year (right Katy?) I've got to think this is just the start of the colors.

It looks like both new versions are pricing out about 1 USD more than traditional Kid Silk Haze. I can't wait for my LYS to get the Spray in stock so I can buy it up immediately touch it.

Just what my stash needed.

August 6, 2005 in project ideas | Permalink | Comments (5)

July 06, 2005

It's Hot and Humid So Let's Talk Sweaters

Going through the stash over the weekend got me started on Fall and Winter projects. When I wrote up my list of projects that I'm interested in I realized that the yarn just doesn't mesh with the projects.

Hence that stash sale.

Since I love to make lists and jot things down, but am terrible at keeping track of them, I'm putting them up here so I can refer back to them (and laugh at myself when come December I haven't knit a single one of them!).

Airy Cardi from IK Winter 2004


I can dress it up for work and play it down with jeans and a T for the weekend. It calls for GGH Kid Soft. Has anyone used Kid Soft? What's a good alternative? Kid Silk Haze? La Gran?

Elfin from Rowan 34


I still love her! Lately I've been thinking it'd be great in a deep purple or green. I might need to play down the ruffle along the front though -- I'm not sure how that would look on someone who's busty. Any opinions here?

Lacy Pullover from Family Circle Fall 2005


Klaralund gone classy. It would be a quick knit and be something dressier than I've considered making in a while.

Ruffled Wrap from Family Circle Fall 2005


Yup, that makes three mohair sweaters on the list. But I still think it'd be a lovely top to knit and wear.

Ava from Rowan 34


You either love her or you hate her. I think the lace up front is fun. Intarsia -- not so fun. I would probably embroider the design on rather than all that fiddly multi-color crap. Plus the curves would be curvier, and that makes me happy.

Martha from Rowan 37


I love the design but it's just not going to happen for this summer. So I'm considering making it a cool weather cardi. Maybe out of Baby Ull?



The swatches are in Silky Wool. I'm thinking of a top with different colored sleeves. I haven't ironed out any of the details yet. The colors above are claret (darker one for the body) and deep pink (sleeves). I also LOVE LOVE LOVE some of the Silky Tweed colors so I might change my mind.

Wrap Up

When I look at all the images and yarns types a couple of things strike me:

  • None are less than 5spi, and one is even 7spi. I've learned over the past year that I just don't like heavier gauge garments. Accessories, sure. But I just don't want to wear an aran gauged sweater very often.
  • Where'd the cables go? I've been cable-crazy the past few years, but I'm taking a simpler approach lately. I have a confession to make. I'm even considering packing away St Brigid until next winter. I love the sweater but it's not enticing me to knit it right now.
  • I'm trying to branch out color-wise. I always go for dark colors because I'm self-conscious of wearing light colors on my chest. I want to break out of that. I'm considering a light green for the Airy Cardi, and the purple I mentioned for Elfin is pretty different for me as well.

July 6, 2005 in project ideas | Permalink | Comments (12)

June 09, 2005

Happy Thoughts

So, first off. How does one appropriately thank her readers for the amazingly sweet comments? You guys had me smiling all day yesterday! Thank you so much!

And lemme tell ya, it was really helpful after a night of swatching the raglan increases. I won't bore you with a pic of a stack of no's, but suffice it to say I'm making progress but I still don't have the increases nailed down.

I'm too stubborn to give up though.

I am not, however, above taking off a day or two to think about this some more. In the meantime, I've been taking a good look at my stash.

Over time I've learned more about the types of yarn that I like to knit with, and which of those look good on me.

While I like mercerized cotton, I feel very self-conscious about wearing a shiny sweater. I don't like the sheen around my chest.

I bought this yarn a year ago. I love it. The colors are very me, and the gauge would knit up a nice, fine sweater. But it's mercerized.

I was considering trying to sell off the yarn but then I thought I could make something in lace out of it. I've never knitted lace out of cotton. I did some googling and it looks like people have done it successfully. I wasn't sure if you could block mercerized cotton. But even Soleil from Knitty is in a mercerized cotton. And it looks like that blocked out just fine.

So, will I be safe using this yarn for a lace project? Any suggestions/warnings/caveats?

June 9, 2005 in Black Raglan, project ideas | Permalink | Comments (8)