December 30, 2005

That Crazy Starmore Increase

I've tried so many times to explain this increase in emails. Since I have some extra time this week I thought I'd take a few pics instead.

This increase -- the centered double increase -- was first written about in Starmore's Aran Knitting. She uses it in other arans as well, and you'll see it in many designers' patterns now. Jenna Wilson's Rogue and Jodi Green's Mariah both use this increase.

Here's my attempt to explain it. I hope it's helpful to some of you!

note: all images are clickable to bring up a larger size.


First, knit into the back of the stitch AND LEAVE IT ON THE LEFT HAND NEEDLE.


Now, knit into the front of the stitch and slip the stitch off your left hand needle. You have now made 2 stitches. Just one more to go!


This next step is the hardest -- but it's really not hard. If you look closely right in between the 2 stitches you just made you'll see a strand of yarn that's going vertical between the two. It's actually the left leg of the stitch you just knit into in the steps above. I've drawn it in red -- click to enlarge and you'll see.


Here's the stitch picked up with my cable needle. I promise if you look you'll see it!


Now, take that strand and place it on your left hand needle.Knit into the front of the stitch (the way you would normally knit a stitch). You may struggle with this a bit, and you might find it easier to pull on the stitch a bit to stretch it first. Knitting this third stitch should be a little bit difficult though -- that means it will be tight and not form any holes.


After knitting it slip the stitch off your left hand needle and you're done! You've made three stitches out of one!

December 30, 2005 in St Brigid | Permalink | Comments (8)

December 29, 2005

Christmas And

The past couple weeks have been great -- busy, lots of family and friends, and some plain ol hanging out and knitting. I hope you all had wonderful holidays. It seems that I'm quite predictable this time of year. Looking back on my postings last December I see I didn't post for two weeks around Christmas last year as well. Guess I'm more of a creature of habit than I'd like to admit.

Christmas did bring a few new knitting things (including one really special one). Maybe you'll be able to pick it out:

Xmas 2005

I have had countless copies of Aran Knitting on my watch list on eBay for well over a year. I had set a price ceilling that was quite unreasonable and I knew I'd never actually get a copy -- on my own.

I've never actually seen a copy in person. I know I could have gotten a copy from a library, but I sorta enjoyed the waiting.

Now that I've gotten a chance to look through the book I know what all the fuss is about. The first few chapters are chock full of history. Reading through I've learned how the aran evolved and why it was created. Reading those chapters gave me just the boost I needed to do this:


Yup, I've cast on (yet again) for St Brigid. I've actually cast on twice this past week (there's more of that habit again. Christy I know you're laughing right now). I started out with Black Water Abbey yarn in Moss(the bottom one). I love the yarn. The depth of color cannot be beat. But, even knit on US 5 it was still a bigger than what the pattern called for. After a full repeat I admitted to myself that the yarn was just not right (Mary Beth you were SO right!).

So I headed down to Rosie's yesterday and found a beautiful shade of Araucania. My mom (not a knitter) says it looks like velvet. The shadings in this batch are quite subtle. The cables are popping beautifully. Araucania is a little lighter weight so I went with US 6s instead of 7s. I'm knitting the larger size and it's coming out somewhere between the two -- just what I was hoping for.

Now if you'll excuse me it's time for me to get back to my Christmas knitting.

December 29, 2005 in St Brigid | Permalink | Comments (12)

December 30, 2004

Alive and Well

Ahhhhhh! That's how I can best sum up my feeling this week. I survived the craziness that work brought on right before Christmas and I'm now enjoying a week+ off work.

Christmas was wonderful! My Mom, brother and sil came over Christmas day. I cooked and baked like crazy and things went off smoothly.

As for gifts, I couldn't be luckier! I got a new digital camera* (I've been coveting one for months), some accessories for it (including a tripod for some solo picture taking sessions), a blocking board, the knitter's purse, a new crock pot, some candles and a few other smaller items. The blocking board is backordered so I'm still waiting to see it.

Monday I spent the day at my mom's and it was just what I needed. I sat on the couch and knitted ALL DAY! I got through 1.5 repeats on St Brigid (uhm, in a new colorway):


I think this is finally it. I was forcing it to be a dark color and it just didn't fit. The cables pop beautifully -- just what this pattern needed.

Yesterday I got together with Katy in the city. We stopped by a very crowded Purl. And can you believe it? I didn't buy a single skein of yarn! I did however get a bargain on AS's Celtic Collection -- 13 bucks! I couldn't leave it behind.

After Purl we ate lunch at a Thai place and then found a coffee shop to get in some knitting. I brought along another new project -- Clapotis:


What a great little pattern! So easy to memorize, and the dropping of the stitches makes you just want to keep knitting. I can completely understand why people say they'd want to make more than one.

I also joined Alison's sockapalooza. What could be better than getting my very own pair of handknit socks! Made just for me -- not by me!

As for the rest of the week, I have more of the same planned. More knitting, more getting together with friends, and lots more knitting.

I'm going to take off the rest of the week from blogging and come back refreshed on Monday. I just don't want to spend much time in front of the computer and I don't want to write entries just to write them.

So, I'll be back -- bright-eyed and bushy-tailed -- next week.

Have a wonderful New Year!

* the blurry pics can be blamed on the learning curve for the new fancy-schmancy camera.

December 30, 2004 in Clapotis, St Brigid | Permalink | Comments (10)

August 31, 2004

1 Repeat Down...

Lots and lots more to go!

I finished one whole repeat on St Brigid. I'm still in love with the Silky Wool.

dark grey yarn + grey day = poor pic

That's the best pic I was able to get. The yarn and overcast skies is making for bad blog imagery.

Thanks for all your suggestions last week about the wonky single knit stitches. I've been pulling the purls REALLY REALLY tightly and it has been helping. It's not perfect but it's much improved. I'll post a pic when I can get a decent one of the stitches.

Starmore Row Gauge?

I've heard comments about it being really difficult to attain Starmore's row gauge. Does anyone know what a full repeat should measure? My row gauge is tighter than it should be. So even though I'm short I will be doing all 8 repeats. No shortcuts on this sweater!

Funny thing is, I thought people typically got fewer rows per inch than her gauge.

August 31, 2004 in St Brigid | Permalink | Comments (1)

August 26, 2004

Loose Knit Stitch

Remember my St. Brigid swatch from a few days ago?


The astute observer may have noticed that my single knit stitches are wonky. I don't know what to do to fix it. I've tried making sure I tighten the yarn when I switch from P to K and then back to P. Isn't really working. I've tried wrapping the yarn in the other direction and untwisting it on the WS row. Also didn't do the trick.

What else can I do? I'm really annoyed with the way it looks and for some reason I just can't seem to get it right! Grrrrr.....

August 26, 2004 in St Brigid | Permalink | Comments (4)

August 24, 2004

Popping Cables

I did a few more rows on St Brigid last night and I love the way the cables are showing up!


The yarn is a dream to knit. It's soft and it doesn't split. And at almost 200 yards per hank it's a good value too.

August 24, 2004 in St Brigid | Permalink | Comments (2)

August 23, 2004

St Brigid Yarn #2

I was greeted by a UPS box swen I went to get the mail before we left for Cape May on Thursday. I had placed on order and thought it was that. Since I ordered fall clothing I almost didn't even open it. But boy was I glad I did. It was my Webs order!!!! Amazingly, the person who took my order must have went back into the warehouse right then and there to pick my order.

So you know what came with me to Cape May, right? Yup, a cone of Donegal Tweed in grey heather.

It's a gorgeous yarn that reminds me alot of Rowan Felted Tweed. The big difference between the two is that the Donegal is a much harsher yarn. The alpaca in the FT makes for a very soft hand.

I swatched and washed on Friday morning. I got perfect stitch gauge the first time round after washing! Here's the swatch:


I'm not sure how obvious it is in the pic, but I was a little concerned about being able to distinguish texture in this yarn. The swatch is done in double seed stitch and it's not that clear. It looks sorta bubbly but you can't really see the texture clearly.

I cast on and decided I'd see how it looked after a few rows. I got through about 10 rows when I finally had to concede. It just wasn't showing the texture of the cables enough. I think it's a combo of the darker yarn plus the tweed that's just too much to show off cables.

I did go into Cape May's LYS -- Fiber Arts Yarn Shop. I'll write a full review (probably tomorrow) but for now I'll tell you that while they did carry a few contenders I couldn't find a color I liked that had enough stock. This sweater takes a ton of yardage!

So yesterday I decided to stop by another LYS and purchased a yarn I never would have expected for this sweater -- Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool. I also thought this yarn felt too silky for my taste, but the store had a sweater sample and the washed yarn was beautiful! I wasn't concerned about cables showing clearly in this yarn since that's what Elsebeth is known for. I went with a medium grey (big surprise, right?). Here's my swatch:


The texture shows up much better in this yarn. In its prewashed state it felt very airy, but it bloomed alot once washed. The yarn is lightweight and spongy. I'm very happy with it.

Once I finished swatching I did cast on for it again, but I only got through a few rows. I'll post pics later in the week once there's something worth showing.

Cape May

We had a great time! I took some pics and I'll get together a mini-album of them later in the week.

August 23, 2004 in St Brigid | Permalink | Comments (6)

August 18, 2004

St Brigid Yarn

A big thank you goes out to everyone who gave me input and advice on my yarn choice. I did some more thinking about it last night as well.

I was very tempted to order some Alice Starmore yarn. The tweeds are amazingly complex and it has a lovely spin to it. But, I've had some bad experience lately trying to choose colors over the web and I didn't want to risk spending all that money on AS yarn and being disappointed.

I do have the Leo scarf kit so I looked thru the colors to see if there was something that jumped out at me. While I did find a reddish brown and a blue that were "OK", none were quite the shade I had in mind.

So, the AS yarn will have to wait for another day.

And then Naomi's comment came through. She mentioned she ordered some Donegal Tweed from Webs. I checked out Webs and Wow! This is it. At $10/pound -- that's 15 bucks with a couple hundred extra yards -- I'm comfortable taking a chance. Heck, if I really dislike them all I can probably offload them on eBay for a profit.

I couldn't decide so I ordered 3 colors: Dark Blue Heather w/med blue nubs (#2012), Dark Grey w/med blue nubs (#2013), and Teak w/rust nubs (#3232). The woman said it can take 2-3 weeks to get the orders delivered. Ugh! I mentioned that I wanted to get started on my knitalong Sept 1st and she said she'd try to get back there and pull the yarn herself if it was possible. *fingers crossed*

So, an extra big thank you goes out to Naomi for pointing out this sale to me.

August 18, 2004 in St Brigid | Permalink | Comments (10)

August 17, 2004

Cables and Twists and Turns, Oh My!

I was over reading Katy's blog yesterday when I saw she is co-hosting a St. Brigid along. I really shouldn't be starting another project -- especially another big cabley one. But as luck has it I finally have my hands on the pattern. I've loved this one for a long long time. I don't think I can bear to watch the St. Brigids unfolding before my eyes.

Last night I found myself here perusing yarn colors. Can you believe it though, VY doesn't seem to have a good heathery grey! I've been considering grey or a navy. I know you're thinking the navy would be too dark. Be in person I've seen some gorgeous dark cabled sweaters and they look really nice. Plus, if I'm going to be putting in all that effort it might as well be in a color I love.

So, I'm considering a few other yarn choices:

I've also been considering Araucania Nature Wool. I'm making one sweater from a drabby green right now and it does show up cables nicely. It would certainly be an economical choice.

So dear readers, please weigh in with your opinions. Do you like one of the ones I listed? Any bad experiences? Or, have a better yarn in mind?

I'm not concerned as much with price on this one as I am with a yarn that will be a good long-term choice. This will undoubtedly be my biggest project I've ever undertaken and I want to make sure I pick the right yarn to go with it.

August 17, 2004 in St Brigid | Permalink | Comments (7)