I’ve been a bit obsessed with the honeycomb brioche stitch pattern lately. It’s great for variegateds, helping to break up weird pooling and striping, and it makes a thick, fluffy fabric. I like it best in an accessory, or as an accent – as on the shoulder detail of my new sideways cardigan Blue Honey. The picture above shows lovely but challenging Malabrigo Rios in Azules, as stockinette, garter, and the honeycomb pattern. When I say challenging, I mean the variegated nature of the color, particularly for garments. When Rios was first released, for some reason I bought a sweater quantity in this color. Why? I have no idea. It’s beautiful, and I love blue, but I dont make multi-colored sweaters, or wear them. Anyway, I finally decide this would be the right yarn for this sideways idea I’ve had for a while, and it’s really working out. The Rios is springy and lovely, and the little bit of patterning is just enough. Incarnation #1 is finished but the thing is still a WIP, because . . .
The Contiguous cardigan continues, although beset by various little problems. Of course it’s been knit flat, back and forth to the underarm and for the body. And of course I KNOW that my flat gauge is typically larger than my gauge in the round.. Well this sweater proved to be typical; after knitting what should have been almost to the cuff on the first sleeve, with my carefully calculated rate of decrease, I tried it on and found that it was about 3″ too short. No good fix available, except to rip and redo. I decided first to do the other sleeve, using a larger needle and consciously looser tension – no pulling tight in a stranglehold around the Magic Loop! No excessive worrying about ladders! It came out much better, and true to desired gauge; see the difference: Â Â Â I was fairly immobilized on the couch with three separate balls of yarn attached, but happily managed to eliminate one by finishing the left cuff. It’s going to need a steam to stop . . .
I’ve always liked different construction methods, for garments, accessories, or whatever. It’s interesting to find better ways to make things, and sometimes the better way differs depending upon what’s being made. In terms of sweaters, I favor seamless construction whenever possible, to avoid excessive casting on, binding off and picking up. It’s not that I mind seaming, and sometimes I can see the advantage of the structure gained in a seamed piece; I chose to keep the seams when I knit my Plummi, because it was such a long, heavy sweatercoat. I also think nothing can beat a picked-up button band, where you can control the tension of the band versus the body, despite the anguish of getting the right number and interval of stitches. But in general, I like seamless construction from the top down, so you can try it on as you go and make adjustments along the way. Recently, the innovative SusieM developed a new seamless top down construction method she christened Contiguous, and she shared it on Ravelry in the Contiguous . . .
Well, not exactly a WIP in terms of the knitting, but then that’s the easy part. These need to be sized and then organized for test knitting, which takes more focus. I’m still loving that tuck stitch, and it’s been turning up in other places too, so it feels like the zeitgeist is right. And with winter setting in, some textural ribbing and ruckling will bring a bit of warmth with interest. Also, maybe it’s the season, but I cant get enough of rich, dark red lately; not my usual type of thing at all, but so engaging. It looks purpley here, but that’s my lighting, trying to get a good shot of the variegation. Malabrigo Rios in Cumparsita, by the way.
Knitting has been slightly stalled during The Visit From The InLaws, but fortunately I’m back on track for WIP Wednesday. As Harry Potter fans know, the game of Quidditch is essential wizard sport, as well as a chance to don House spirit regalia. And as knitting Harry Potter fans may know, the Ravelry Harry Potter Knitting & Crochet House Cup is a group of knitting, wizardly fans of all things HP. The House Cup, as we call it, is constantly evolving to provide more ways to knit stuff and be fanlike. This semester our lovely HeadMistress and tireless staff have introduced BROOMs as a new way to earn additional points for one’s house in the Cup; there are acronyms, secrecy and general role-play fun. And in my case, there are Ravenclaw Socks: Maybe I can get the second one started at Stitches East this weekend.
My son’s third grade art teacher approached me to ask if I’d be interested in helping with a knitting unit later in the year. Of course I said yes; it’s great to see fiber arts being given some play in the elementary arts curriculum. Her idea is to take the kids to see shearing and spinning, learn about how yarn is made, then teach them basic knitting and have them each make something. I consulted with some knitterly, teacherly friends, who suggested making our own needles out of dowels with decorative fimo clay ends, and knitting a little animal. I read several instructions, and my first prototype is the GlitterBunny, so named because she is knit from Wool-Ease Chunky shot with a glitter strand. It’s hard to avoid bling, sometimes. Anyway, this is probably the first time in I dont know when that I’ve knit a square on straight metal needles (my dowel needles desperately need sanding before I can let them touch yarn). She needs some tweaking, and some eyes, but . . .
I admit that I tend to think in terms of collections, or variations on a theme. Maybe I’m even a little bit matchy-matchy. Once Ruckle was accepted for publication in Knitcircus, I immediately started to think about what else one might ruckle. Mitts? – check. The Ruckle Mitts are currently testing, and should be out soon. And this month I’ve decided to write up a ruckle cowl; what better way to use my favorite Malabrigo Merino Worsted than on a next-to-skin-friendly, textural cowl? The beginning looks promising.
My Elysium pattern has been very successful, and it’s easy to understand why; garter stitch, sideways knit, no finishing . . . what’s not to love? For a long time I’ve been considering writing a fingering-weight version, and the moment has come. Rhadamanthys will be a slightly updated version in Tosh Merino Light sock yarn. Here’s the sample shown in my favorite color, Composition Book Grey: