Gossamer modelled

Today, I can finally bring you some modelled shots of my Gossamer pullover.

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I wrote in an earlier post that a discussion thread on Ravelry about the beautiful yarn Rowan Kidsilk Haze Eclipse, which was being discontinued, led to an impulse purchase of a dozen balls in the gorgeous golden shade called Virgo.

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Because the yarn can be rather bling in certain lights, I wanted to keep the design very simple and stark.  Instead of trying to find a pattern to suit the thoughts in my head, I designed it myself as I knit. I think it is rather like a 1950s Sweater Girl pullover.  I call it Gossamer because it is as light as air.

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The fabric is extremely sheer and I shopped around for an appropriate tank to wear under it.  Just as I was finishing the pullover, I found a new Hanro tank design, in a creamy ivory lace that I thought would work perfectly.  (And which gave me the perfect excuse to splurge on Hanro.)  You can see what I mean in this shot:

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The lace tank gives just the right amount of cover without being intrusive and distracting the eye from the beautiful yarn.

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I knit this in pieces and seamed it together.  I think that with a fabric this delicate, the seam helps to give the pullover some structure and hopefully will help it to maintain its shape.  I didn’t use any fancy seaming technique for this – I just stitched it up rather quickly in mattress stitch.  The halo of the mohair means that the seam is soft and so is rather forgiving.  I think it looks great:

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Here you can see the set-in shoulders.  Again, I didn’t do anything fancy, just mattress-stitched the shoulder into place.

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I have been trying to decide whether to write this pattern up and make it available.  Even though the Kidsilk Haze Eclipse has been discontinued, this would work perfectly in Kidsilk Haze, which comes in so many beautiful colours.  What do you think?  Is it worth the effort?

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The thing I like best about this pullover is that it is so light – it weighs in at less that 125 grams.  It is the perfect travel sweater.  It won’t take up any weight in a suitcase, won’t show any wrinkles, and can add a bit of “Wow!” to a travel wardrobe.

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What to knit while dithering

While dithering over what to make with my beautiful orange yarn, and dithering more over exactly what kind of sweater my wardrobe needs, and dithering even more over the fact that I am too busy to be thinking about knitting, I still needed something to keep my hands busy.  It’s not like I could just not knit, is it?

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So I rooted around through my stash and found a single ball of Rowan Kidsilk Haze Stripe and cast on for a skinny scarf knit in garter stitch on the bias.  (You can find the pattern here.)

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The scarf looks so pretty in the sunlight today, that I couldn’t resist trying to capture it.  This knits up fast, from a single ball of yarn on big needles.  The colour changes keep it interesting and arresting and the garter stitch is soothing.

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This colourway is made up of brilliant jewell-toned greens and blues, with a lovely rusty-copper shade, and hints of olive and blackberry.

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And now that you’ve had a little glimpse of gorgeous Kidsilk Stripe, I am heading out to the sun to do some more dithering.

My yarn has opinions

I can’t help but spend time staring at my beautiful, sunny hand-dyed merino and silk yarn from The Uncommon Thread:

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I ordered the yarn to knit the Aisance cardigan pattern with it.  But, truthfully,  I must admit that the more I stare at this lovely yarn,  the less I feel that it wants to be an Aisance:

© Carrie Bostick Hoge

© Carrie Bostick Hoge

Yes, my yarn has opinions.  It knows what it wants to be.  Unfortunately it doesn’t speak, so part of my job is to be an interpretive artist.  It’s a hard job, but someone has to do it.

I still want to knit Aisance, but maybe not with this yarn.   As with most hand-dyed yarn, there is a fair bit of variation in colour both within and across skeins, so it would need to be alternated.  However, it is hard for me to see how best to alternate skeins in Aisance –  it is knit in one piece and the long edges of the fronts need to be very neat and sharp.  Once doubt settled in, it was hard to shake.  My yarn could sense my doubts and took advantage.  “Find another pattern,” it said.  “Find the PERFECT pattern for ME.”  (I have tried, believe me, to coax my yarn into being more specific.  It refuses.  It wants me to work for this relationship.  It wants understanding.)

I have spent more time than I care to admit sorting through cardigan patterns and looking at the yarn:

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It is the most gorgeous shade of orange.  It is luscious.  It is happy.  This yarn is special and I want to knit exactly the right thing with it.  And although I am dying to knit with this fabulous stuff, RIGHT NOW, I won’t do it until I have the perfect marriage of pattern and yarn.  I have knit up a lovely swatch:

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I like the look and feel of the fabric at this gauge, 24×36 knit on a US4, and would be reluctant to knit at a looser gauge. I am lucky to have 2000 metres (5 skeins).  My yarn and I are happy to take suggestions.

PS – This is my 200th post.  Thank you to all my readers who keep this fun!

Gossamer unblocked

My Gossamer sweater is finished, but still unblocked.  Today is a holiday in the UK (Easter Monday) and, as can be expected on the last day of a long, grey holiday weekend when everyone is on the highway on their way home, the skies are suddenly blue and the day is lovely.  I couldn’t resist taking Gossamer outside to play in the sunshine.

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This is knit with Rowan’s Kidsilk Haze Eclipse in the colour Virgo.  This yarn has been sadly discontinued; I wrote here about how I aquired the yarn (Ravelry made me do it!).  It is a lovely but very difficult to describe shade (champagne, perhaps?) shot through with a metallic thread.

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The pattern is one I designed myself, and call Gossamer.  Once I got the yarn in my hands, I realized that it needed a very simple sweater design – stark, even.  I envisioned it as a very classic, v-neck pullover.  Since I had the design in my head I didn’t bother to try to find a pattern; I just cast on and designed it as I went.

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Although the Eclipse line has been discontinued, you could easily knit this in Kidsilk Haze, which is still going strong, with many luscious colours.  The fabric it produces is incredibly sheer and fine – this sweater weighs less than 125 grams!  It is like wearing a cloud.

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The fit is perfect; my only concerns are that the bottom edging rolls, and it is just a tad short.  However, I have yet to block it so hopefully both of these problems will be easy to fix.  I won’t show you modelled shots today for two reasons.  First, I want to block it  beforehand.  Second, this is the type of sweater that needs appropriate undergarments.  I have found something I think will be just right and have ordered it; we shall see how it turns out.  In the meantime, in the interests of decency, you’ll have to make do with an unmodelled Gossamer.

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Seaming a sweater is like riding a bicycle

Last night I finished knitting the fourth and final piece of my latest sweater.  I was itching to start seaming it right away, but knew better than to try to seam at night.  “I’ll wait until morning,” I told Doug, “when I can see what I’m doing.”

Today is a holiday: I have no work and no obligations.  I woke up late, poured myself a coffee, and sat down at the table to seam my sweater.

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When I started out knitting, all of my sweaters were knit in piecework and seamed. It wasn’t until about ten years ago that I knit a sweater in one piece.  Of the last ten sweaters I have knit, however, nine have been seamless!  But seaming a sweater is like riding a bicycle, no?

Apparently not:

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Behold my first seam.  I have sewn the back of one piece to the front of the other!  Perhaps I should have just seamed this in the dark; I couldn’t have done worse.

Doug says that I should keep it this way and call it a design feature.  Not a bad idea, but I think I’ll get back up on the bike and try again.  Stay tuned for developments.

Pattern Radar March 2015

It’s been a while since I’ve written a Pattern Radar post.  It is rainy, grey and blustery outside my window this morning – just the right day to be thinking about little spring sweaters.  New Spring patterns seem to be published almost daily right now; here are seven that have caught my eye.

This is the lovely Violetta by Vibe Ulrik Sondergaard, published in Rowan 57 (all links in this post are to the Ravelry project page).

© Rowan Yarns, 2015

© Rowan Yarns, 2015

Here is the back view:

© Rowan Yarns, 2015

© Rowan Yarns, 2015

I love the swingy lines and casual vibe of the Swingback Hoodie by Amy Gunderson, published in knit.purl Spring/Summer 2015:

© Interweave Knits

© Interweave Knits

I am a big fan of the patterns coming out from Shibui Knits.  Here is a lovely example, called SS15 Square by Shellie Anderson:

© Shibui Knits

© Shibui Knits

Here is a close-up of the side panel:

© Shibui Knits

© Shibui Knits

Kidsilk Haze is one of my favorite yarns, and I love the way that Marie Wallin uses it in Philomena, from Rowan 57.  My wardrobe could use one in every colour.

© Rowan Yarns, 2015

© Rowan Yarns, 2015

I love Drift, by Kristen Finlay, for Skein Designs.  (I just happen to have some beautiful Skein yarn in my stash.  Hmmm…..I see you, Drift.)

© Kristen Finlay

© Kristen Finlay

If polka dots are your thing, you can’t beat the lovely Lus by Mer Stevens for the Pom Pom Quarterly, Sring 2015:

© Ana Mercedes

© Ana Mercedes

When the talented Lori Versaci designs for Shibui, you know the design will be a knockout.  Here is her Mix No. 28:

© Shibui Knits

© Shibui Knits

To really appreciate the design, you need a close-up of the neck detail:

© Shibui Knits

© Shibui Knits

This is something of a drive-by post as I am immersed in writing papers this weekend, but its been fun to take a break and dream of Spring!

Knit one, crochet two

I am going to come right out and say this:  I like knitting much more than crochet.  Now, please, dear Readers, hold off on the lynch mobs.  I’ve seen tons of beautiful crochet, and I’ve also seen tons of horrid knitting.  And, back in the day, I dabbled in crochet myself, even once making a beautiful filigree blouse in fine white cotton.  It must be said, however, that both aesthetically and as a creative process, I prefer knitting.

A few months ago, when I had the very good fortune to go to the Headquarters of Rowan Yarns in Holmsfirth (you can read about it here), I was given a goodie bag.  In that goodie bag was a new pattern collection by the fabulous Marie Wallin, called Filigree, Collection 3, subtitled “10 crochet designs for women by Marie Wallin”.  Five of these designs are made by combining knitting with crochet.  And I mean this not in the sense that I normally see, in which a knitted sweater has a crocheted edging, but rather in the sense that for each of these patterns, both knitting and crochet feature as a design element.  The combination of the two modalities is an intrinsic part of the pattern.  And I have to tell you, these designs are gorgeous!

I’ll show you my three favorites here.  To look at the others (including the five crochet patterns which are also lovely) go the the Ravelry page for this booklet, or to the Rowan  page.  Here is a lovely cardigan pattern called Buttercup:

© Marie Wallin, 2015

© Marie Wallin, 2015

I tink this is a charming mix of sweet and sexy.  I can imagine this styled so many ways. It’s a nearly perfect summer cardigan.  Even so, I must admit to liking the next one even more.  Here is Anemone:

© Marie Wallin, 2015

© Marie Wallin, 2015

I love how this is so crisp and sharp but still girly and pretty.  Regular readers will know that I have a thing for patterns that are architectural – as soon as I saw this pattern I thought about iron filigree bridges.

In order to demonstrate to you what I meant I did a search for “iron filigree bridge” and found this lovely photo:

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This is a photo of the Iron Bridge at Coalbrookdale, which was built in 1779 and is “the oldest surviving cast iron bridge in the world.”  The photo and quote come from a post from the blog The Happy Pontist: A blog from the UK about Bridges and Bridge Design.  I have only read this one post, but you can bet that I will be giving this blog a serious look.  Many years ago, I used to work on Wall Street and live in Brooklyn and I would walk across the Brooklyn Bridge to get to work.  I just love a beautifully designed bridge.

Is it just me or can you see this too?  Buttercup is, well, buttercup-y – all soft and flowery, but Anemone is sharp and edgy with  hard edges, but incorporated into a soft package.  I love it.

I think my favorite, however, is this one, Tulip:

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The use of crochet in this pattern feels very innovative to me; it is interesting and fresh.  The Knit rowan site writes:

Designed by Marie Wallin using our beautiful soft matt cotton yarn Summerlite 4ply (cotton), the main section of this top is knitted in a cable and lace stitch with an unusual welt section made up of double crochet strips.

If you can, zoom in on the crocheted section.  It is really a cool design.  The design makes me think of a modern, crisp take on a 1920s flapper dress.

I love these patterns.  In fact, I love them enough to overcome my crochet bias.  I am thinking that only the amazing Marie Wallin could do that!