Ready for this sweater

In any craft or creative pursuit, there comes an encouraging moment of, “Hey, wow, I’m getting pretty good at this!”

The Cable-Down Raglan is precipitating that moment for me now. I’ve tried knitting this sweater two other times when I wasn’t really ready. The first time I was still a fairly green knitter and couldn’t even make sense of the pattern. The second time I started it as a gift, but I flubbed the cables and realized I still wasn’t ready yet.

Not this time. Now I am ready, and hey, I’m getting pretty good at this. I’ve finished enough sweaters to understand the construction, I’ve followed enough charts and cabled enough things that I know how to do it correctly, and I’ve even worked with enough yarns to know this one is a really good fit for this project.

I’m excited to see how this one comes out.

FO – Une Cabled Legwarmers

For a while now, I’ve been trying to bring legwarmers back.

These make me so glad I did.

Pattern: Une Cabled Legwarmers, free pattern from Berroco (here on Ravelry)
Size: one size
Yarn: Knit Picks Sierra (now Cadena) super-bulky, Natural color, 70% Peruvian Highland Wool / 30% Superfine Alpaca; I used 3 100-gram skeins and part of a 4th, totaling approximately 350 yards
Needles: size 10 (6.0 mm) and size 8 (5.0 mm) straights
Modifications: Changed pattern so it didn’t have the attached clogs, started by casting on 52 stitches and working 7 rounds of 1×1 ribbing at ankle

Started: January 5, 2009
Finished: January 14, 2009

I started knitting in part because I wanted so badly to make myself a pair of legwarmers. They are such a perfect item for frigid cold weather like we’ve been experiencing lately, and they make it that I can actually stay warmer wearing skirts and dress shoes than if I wore pants.

This pattern is fast, fun, and intuitive. You knit them flat on straights, which I think makes it go a little faster, and it avoided issues with ladders like I usually get when working at a large gauge in the round.

One seam up the back et voilà, legwarmers!

I was nervous about the cables, but they were much easier than I anticipated. I love the plaited look of them, and they were actually really fun to do.

In this yarn, they are so squishy and sculptural, and they make an elegant, but strong statement.

I feel as though I should write a love letter to this yarn. I bought it several years ago to make a capelet that looked disastrous on me. When I found this pattern, I was thrilled, as it was a much more suitable use of such warm, snuggly, thick, and crazy soft yarn.

This is actually a slightly heavier yarn than the pattern called for, but it was a nominal difference which makes them roomy enough on my ankles to pull down over my shoes, but still fitted enough to stay up at my calves and knees. The top ribbing is just long enough to pull over my knees on really cold days, but perfect if I fold them over as shown.

These are so cozy that I don’t just wear them when I want to be stylishly warm out in public. In fact most often, I wear them around the house with slippers.

My legs have never been happier.

FO – Komet Socks

I neglected to even mention that I was working on these, but I finished a pair of Komet socks this week.

These are like no socks I’ve knit before.

Pattern: Komet Socks by Stephanie van der Linden, originally published on the Socken-Kreativ-Liste Yahoo Group, but now available free on Ravelry
Size: lady’s size 9 with 9-inch foot circumference and 9.5-inch foot length
Yarn: Schachenmayr nomotta Regia Color 4-ply /4-fädig fingering weight, color 1900, 75% wool / 25% polyamide (nylon); I used less than 2 100-gram skeins
Needles: size 1.5 (2.5mm) Knit Picks nickel-plated DPNs
Modifications: Inverted pattern to toe-up, with short-row heel

Started: October 5, 2008
Finished: November 25, 2008

This isn’t exactly a formal theory, but I think a knitter is either a lace person or a cable person. I would have considered myself firmly in the lace camp, as I gravitate toward open, flat patterns with simple repeats.

Then I got hooked on these socks, which have both cables and lace, and I couldn’t decide which section I enjoyed more. Fortunately they were worked simultaneously, so I got to indulge in both. While I have cabled in the past, I didn’t really love it the way I love lace, but this time the cables clicked for me. The maneuvers finally made sense, and I looked forward to the crossings, which thankfully only occurred every 14 rows.

By the time I got past the heel on the first sock, I’d memorized the pattern, and I really enjoyed working from memory. This was, though, one of my first times working a pattern purely from a chart, without writing it out for myself, and it went a lot more smoothly than I expected.

The yarn was delightful, as I’ve come to expect from Regia. I bought a lot of colors of this particular yarn from WEBS close-outs, and it’s a truly fantastic go-to yarn. This color seemed an anomaly among my typical choices, in that it is so subdued, with such subtle variations within a gentle range of tones. It ended up being a perfect counterpoint to the architectural quality of the cables and lace pattern, providing visual interest and delicate movement without distracting at all from the stitching.

I hope it’s not immodest to say I think these socks are beautiful.

I would definitely recommend this pattern. It was very intuitive, enjoyable, and I think the outcome is great. The fit on these socks is fabulous, and all in all I just couldn’t be happier with them. It figures that I waited until the rainiest, darkest day of November to photograph them, but they are much nicer in person.

Now that I’ve gotten my (probably) last selfish project off the needles, I must concentrate in earnest on gift knitting for the rest of the year. I’ll just have to admire my feet while I do it!

Switcheroo

Once I decided to put my Entrelac Socks aside, I eagerly picked up my Spring Twists socks.

I truly love working with this yarn, as it is so spectacularly luscious and agreeable.

The only trouble is, I really don’t like how it looks in this pattern. Something about the vague striping of the variegation or the way the traveling stitches dissipate in softness… it just isn’t working the way I’d hoped.

So I decided to try a different yarn, a 100% mercerized cotton which is not actually intended for sock-knitting. This is Jager Siena 4-ply, and I think it’s going to work perfectly.

The tight twist of the firmer yarn makes the traveling stitches and ribbing pop more, and the solid color proves much less distracting. Which is to say nothing of how head over heels in love I am with this slightly shiny sage green.

I’m feeling a lot better and looking forward to how these socks turn out.

Kind of a hat…

Have you seen Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (aka the Yarn Harlot)’s An Unoriginal Hat pattern? It’s so cute and looked like a fun, instant gratification knit.

I ordered a skein of Bernat Softee Chunky in the color Nature’s Way, and I’ve been trying to think of why I love the color of this yarn so much. I don’t think its resemblance to some of my favorite pajamas is coincidental.

The pattern is fabulous and it was great fun to knit. Interesting cabling, but enough stretches of easy knit and purl that it was relaxing while watching TV with my mother. I started the hat late Wednesday evening on size 10.5 DPNs (adding 4 rows of 2×2 ribbing at the bottom), and it was finished on Thanksgiving afternoon. Fast, easy, and a blast.

Trouble is, it just doesn’t fit my head. Whoops.

I don’t think I have an exceptionally large head, but I used slightly smaller than the called-for needles, I didn’t check gauge, and I ignored my misgivings when trying it on.

Unless I find a child who might like this hat, I think I’m going to frog it and use the yarn to make a zig-zag pattern similar to a hat worn by Jennifer Love Hewitt on Ghost Whisperer this evening (episode 309 “All Ghosts Lead to Grandview” – if anyone has a photo I’d really appreciate it).

I think that will take advantage of the stripes that form in this yarn and look quite cute. But you can bet I’m checking gauge this time!