Julie knits and writes and knits.

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Noro Cardigan FO

Here was the idea….

And here it is all finished and keeping me warm:

And here I am pretending I don’t know my photo is being taken..

Things I learned in designing this sweater:

*My shoulders are not as wide as I imagine them to be. I’ll use my actual shoulder measurements next time, not measurements from sweaters that already fit around my hips.

* Fitted sleeves matter to me.

* Think through the wearing of the sweater, and not just the aesthetics. I will have pockets in my next jacket. And maybe in this one too, except I don’t think the Noro can handle pockets.

*Noro Kureyon is soft, and gets a lot softer and more drapey after blocking. Also it lengthens with blocking. And maybe also with wear.  It is, perhaps, not an appropriate yarn all by itself for a jacket. Or any heavy structural thing. Think light and squishy stuff for this yarn. But nevertheless, this jacket is lots of fun to wear.

*I languished in the making of this sweater in part because the palette is so strong. During certain seasons of the year, I could not imagine myself wearing it, and so lost interest in it. Of course, as soon as the leaves started to turn, I NEEDED the sweater. I’m not sure what the lesson is here… trust my instincts? Stretch a little? Or stick to safe colors for projects with a heavy investment. Or maybe I haven’t learned a thing. That is always possible.

*I ALWAYS overestimate the amount of yarn I need for a project. In this case, I have more than enough yarn left to make another of these sweaters, along with hats and scarves to match. Anybody feel like a trade?

*Sweaterwizard is okay software for getting a pattern started and estimating yarn (which I did after purchasing the yarn), but has too many limitations for me. I’m trying out the Cochenille suite one of these days, and will let you know what I think. I think I’ll love it, since it came recommended from hot knit designers…

*Learning little tricks from great knitters is a worthy lifelong pursuit. Especially finishing tricks. Thanks so much to my teachers for this sweater, Dixie, and Maureen.

And I’m back to the fair isle vest I frogged enroute to Stonington, where it is raining and grey and foggy,  just the way I like my Maine seashore…


Spring palette report

Who am I kidding, I’m not casting on for Christmas these days. I’m casting on for Spring. The Pantone report is in. Love the idea of lots of neutrals with these colors as accents. Hmmm…..

Plain Grey

Plain Grey

Friends, in case you were worried that Mr. would never get his plain grey after the peace fleece sleight-of-hand, rest assured. But instead of getting another large stash of peace fleece, Rose at Friends of Wool here casually introduced me to Marr Haven, a soft and — not slubby, what is it? — bumpy. It’s got these bumps that are not slubs and not boucle… and not uneven… just nice little cottontails… everywhere all at once. Anyway. It’s undyed, kindly treated, locally grown and spun, from a farm just down the road from me…. and it comes in a few greys including this one, which is not at all plain. But Don’t Tell Mr. He thinks he’s getting a plain grey sweater! Shhhh!

And it LOOKS as if I’ve started Jared’s wonderful sweater from IK, but not. Much as I love it, I’m not sure actually it’s plain enough. This is sort of Beth Brown-Reinsel inspired, but 98% Zimmerman EPS, saddle-shoulder finish. Which one I don’t know… The only mystery to be solved… can I resist some purl patterning in this baby? Up around gansey height?

The plus side of a perfectly plain sweater at this gauge is that I can knit this in the dark, while watching movies with subtitles (Pan’s Labyrinth last night while knitting most of what you see here — YIPES. Some of the most haunting violence I’ve ever seen). The downside of this sweater is that I’m knitting two sweaters on size 10 needles. I really don’t like size 10 needles. Size 8’s are my limit. But I prefer 6 and below. (I’m talking US sizes here…)

So then, casting on this…

…despite already having many, many projects started and unfinished, is not a matter of disease. It’s not. It’s really just an antidote. It’s a sampler that will be a child’s vest, to try out Fair Isle knitting, to see what I think of it (I think I know what I think, heh, heh, drool, slobber) before investing in a whole separate stash of Jamieson’s. I have found a knitter to stalk to inspire me in this new illness. Lovely, huh? That is Marina at Stranded on Fair Isle. Met her at Ravelry. Meeting amazing people at Ravelry. It’s a big, beautiful world, the knitting and crochet universe.

Also it’s a small world. Yesterday my issue of Interweave Knits, Fall 2007 arrived. Eunny Jang, the new editor and her crew have done a really stunning job of preserving what we’ve all loved about that spectacular magazine while bringing in what all the digit-heads and traditional knitters love about it. It’s got knitting for newbies and knitting for geeks and knitting for bulky wool people and knitting for color freaks. It’s got all of it. All of it. And it blends, blends, blends the community. If you haven’t been subscribing… why not? Okay then, run to get your copy from your LYS. It’s good to have and own the first issue from a new editor. Congrats, Eunny. Amazing.

And there, in the article about organic/green knitting? My Marr Haven yarn. Right there. Perfect.

Julian gets a zeebee

Bigger photo at flickr

Baby twin Julian models one of the zeebees for Daddy Dave. They like this hat for the newborn (in Koigu), because of its softness, and because it’s so stretchy/springy, it doesn’t squish baby’s ears.

Used measurements of 12 inches circumference and 4.4 inches for the length of the beanie with my swatch numbers to get these.

Specifically, then, working Koigu on size 3 needles, I cast on 28 stitches, and had 156 rows, 10 crown wraps.

If you’re in love with zeebees, as I now am, you may notice that the number of crown wraps are 1/16 of the row number… And length is whatever you want. That’s making it easier for me to do zeebees without the calculator…

But you do need Schmeebot’s wonderful pattern to get this hat under your skin. You shouldn’t miss it…

Ravelry Ahoy!

Oy. Just got my invitation to Ravelry. All projects will hit the skids while I go obsess over that for awhile. This is a huge, wonderful knitting community that will work so well to answer all your questions about yarns and projects and techniques and help us find and sort and browse and understand and shop. The next generation of social netwworking that’s really about something and built with a purpose in mind. So far, so brilliant. I’m just smitten.

If you haven’t checked it out yet, please do, and put your name in to to the queue for membership. They are adding members as fast as their servers will allow. Very smart. There are thousands and thousands of incredible knitters and bloggers on Ravelry already, and I’d tell you more, but I need to be working right now, and can’t spend one more minute. But I can see where my evenings and weekends will be headed…

BSJ from Heaven

Even as I delay weaving in the ends on the BSJs done in the watery solid Koigu yarns, which I’m making for the upcoming twins (minutes away, they are), the amazing BrooklynTweed is making the most staggering version. Handspun. The yarn was precious, the jacket will hurt our hearts with its lovliness. This one haunted me all day and forced me, FORCED ME to go to Threadbenders and buy more Koigu. I didn’t want to do it, but I had to. It was the only thing I COULD do, under the circumstances, not being a spinner myself. And maybe a little more Jitterbug fell into the bag. That might have happened. I’m not entirely sure. A Harlot trance. I stopped noticing after an hour of ransacking the store to find something like that man’s yarn and not finding it… Jones. And maybe some Bearfoot? Jones, jones, jones as I wait for the local fiber fest in August. Where mayhaps I’ll find something as gorgeous… Sigh.

…. Agggh! Wait! Brooklyntweed didn’t spin that yarn his own self, he got it from Hello Yarn, which means I can hope… maybe not get exactly the same yarn, but get in the neighborhood? Wish me luck, friends.

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