In which I channel Elsa

Over the past few weeks I've spent some time cleaning up my office/studio/general dumping ground for all things woolly. It's been a very good thing - I've found yarn I thought had gone missing, uncovered a couple of design swatches I'd forgotten about, and exposed a number of WIPs in dire need of five minutes before they are FOs.

I've also found some things that I've sadly decided need to take a trip to the big frog pond in the sky. First up on the hit list is a sweater that I was really, really super excited about when I started it - Automne by Ruth Garcia-Alcantud, the cover sweater for Knit Edge Issue 4 way back in 2013.

Photo (c) 2013 Alisha Irish

Photo (c) 2013 Alisha Irish

This sweater is gorgeous. Knit in a chunky weight yarn, it's nice and long, has a cool cabled waist detail, and a gorgeous wide lace collar. It's even got pockets! I immediately ordered yarn, discovered it wasn't going to work, ordered more yarn, and cast on in February of 2014. I knit most of the body over the half-term holiday that month, and then the sleeves and even managed to get everything blocked and the body sewn up and the collar knit and blocked.

Mostly finished sweater

Mostly finished sweater

Collar and waist detail

Collar and waist detail

And then I tried it on. And realised three things: 1) my well-intentioned modifications to make sure the armholes were deep enough had resulted in sleeve caps that weren't going to fit in the armscyes; 2) that lovely cable waist detail was about four inches lower then my actual waist; and 3) most critically, a long bulky-weight sweater that ends at the midpoint of my thighs is REALLY NOT a good look for me. In reality, it probably looks ok, but I've spent far too much of my life unhappy with my shape to be happy wearing something that doesn't make me feel fabulous.

So, yesterday I heeded the advice of my extremely talented college classmate and Let It Go. I got out the ball winder and reduced my 90% finished gorgeous sweater into a whopping pile of potential.

That is about 600 grams (or just over 900 yds) of lovely red tweedy Elann Highland Chunky (sadly discontinued), which has now been reskeined, given a bath, and is drying over the kitchen radiator as we speak. I've already got plans for this yarn - another sweater, but more or less the polar opposite of Automne in a design sense. And I'm looking forward to casting on. Maybe it will be done in time for next week's predicted ridiculous winter weather? Here's hoping!

In the works

I've been thinking about cables lately, despite the fact that it's nearly August. Specifically cozy warm cables worked in luscious yarn that can snuggle up around your neck, or cuddle your ears or warm cold fingers this upcoming other words, I've got cable patterns on the brain, a box full of yarn support, and I'm venturing boldly into Accessory Collection territory. 

Warning: post conatins photos dangerous to cold sheeping intentions

This collection is happening in collaboration with the wonderful people over at The Fibre Company, purveyors of incredibly special luxury yarns with beautiful palettes of colours. The yarn I'm working with is their chunky weight Tundra, a blend of 60% llama/30% merino/10% silk. 

Prototype #1, in Bearberry

Prototype #1, in Bearberry

To say that this yarn is squooshy is a gross understatement! It is a true pleasure to work with, and being a chunky weight means that the projects are knitting up super-fast. The first prototype is done and blocked, and has me wishing it were just a bit colder so I could wear it constantly.

Prototype #2, in Larch

Prototype #2, in Larch

Prototype #2 is on the needles and well underway - I need to do a bit of figuring on how the crown decreases are going to work, but I'm hoping to have this done by the end of the week before we go on holiday. Sadly, I won't be taking any of this yarn with me on our first summer holiday - backpacking + Italian August + llama are not a good combination in any scenario. But I'll be back to these for the second trip of the summer to the States, when I will be child-free for at least a week, and have lots and lots of time on airplanes...knitting bliss!


In the last podcast, Alli and I talked about the new knitalong we're running for the 2015 edition of the Great London Yarn Crawl. Inspired by the idea of The Rhinebeck Sweater (aka knitting a particular item for a particular event), we've launched the new KAL with the goal of knitting objects to wear to the GLYC in September. It started on Monday, and I managed to finally cast on yesterday.

I'm doing the Byatt Shawl by Karie Westermann (who is absolutely wonderful, and who we interviewed on the podcast a few weeks ago about what's happening in the knitting world these days), in some gorgeous fingering weight yarn from Dirty Water Dyeworks. I'm using Juniper as my main colour, and Topaz as the contrast (both on her Lillian base, which is 100% superwash merino).

The first section of the shawl is all one-colour garter stitch, so I'm cruising along. I'm really enjoying the edge made by the increases along the one side of the shawl - the little loops make almost a picot edge. It's not very obvious, but it's a really nice detail.

I'm also really enjoying the subtle variegation in the yarn as it knits up. In the skein, the yarns looked pretty solidly coloured, but there are slight changes to the colour that make for a super rich fabric, particularly in garter stitch. I can't wait to get to the two-colour section to really see how they play together!

If you'd like to join me in knitting something for the GLYC, please do! We've got a thread on the Yarn in the City Ravelry board, and lots of people have posted about what their projects are going to be - I'm impressed by the number of sweaters that will be in the works! And I'm looking forward to bringing this little beauty to Knit Night tonight - nothing is better for pub knitting then garter stitch.

One benefit of tech editing

I started tech editing for real in May of this year, after an online class and a bunch of practice in an apprenticeship. And I love it - it appeals to the analytical side of my brain, and to the "this isn't perfect here's what you should do" voice inside my head that I try very hard to keep internal instead of external most of the time.

While I was pretty sure that I was going to enjoy tech editing by the time I started, there has been an unforeseen benefit: namely that I get to see a whole bunch of really, really cool patterns before they're generally available. Sometimes I can't help myself, and I have to ask the designer if I can cast on right away because I just can't help myself.

Two recent patterns I haven't been able to resist: Tabetha Hedrick's Fée Shawlette

Nautilus shawl...

Nautilus shawl...

I edited this pattern just about the time I started thinking about a present for Boo's Year 2 teacher. This was knit out of less then a skein of Kettle Yarn Co's discontinued Falkland/Tencel blend, so it's got fantastic drape and a lovely sheen from the Tencel.

Boo was a most enthusiastic model (my little hambone)...

My latest tech editing project is the Santa Maria Scarf from NorthbrooKnits

The pattern isn't up on Ravelry yet (although I know it's been released), so I won't give too many details. I'm using my precious one and only skein of A Verb for Keeping Warm yarn. It's their Annapurna base in "Root" (dyed with madder) and was part of the Knit Love Club in 2010. I figured that any yarn with cashmere belonged on my neck, not my feet, but hadn't found the right project until now. 

Pattern is addictive, yarn is luscious, Porpoise is happy. The end.