Tag Archives: Ravelry

The Next Knitting Challenge: Sparkle!

When last we heard from her, yarnyMarni was eagerly awaiting a weekend of new yarn, new patterns, and new needles, to properly kick off the early Spring that seems to have embraced the tri-state area.  Let’s catch up with her now and see what exciting things she’s created:

Oh dear...

I had such lofty goals of starting The Cider House Rules Vest last weekend, but it was not to be.  You see, there was a yarn issue.  The pattern calls for Classic Elite‘s Mistral (85% pima cotton, 15% superfine alpaca).  Sounds nice, huh?  Well, I’m sure it was… but it’s discontinued now.  So I need to substitute, and this is always challenging for me, because choosing a suitable alternate that’ll have similar hand, drape, and gauge is kind of hard when you’re not familiar with every yarn on the market.  So I called in Dori The Expert, who, after asking me about my preferences, recommended Tahki YarnsCotton Classic Lite (100% mercerized cotton).  However, she didn’t have enough of the stuff on hand in any color to begin the project, and would order whatever color I wanted… after she returned from her vacation.  In Hawaii.  Sometime next week.  But I could, of course, get my gauge swatch going in any color she had that pleased me.  I liked the blue… see above.  I’m certain, though, that my husband will not choose blue for his vest.  Stay tuned as we ponder over shades of gray and green.

Meanwhile, I’ve had time to think about the next project for me.  I still love the Primavera Cardigan and the Satin Ribbons Tee, but recently I’ve been re-introduced to Sparkle:


This seriously gorgeous dress, designed by Shirley Paden, was published back in 2007 in Vogue Knitting‘s Silver Anniversary issue.  After reading some amazing success stories about knitting this thing on Ravelry, I started thinking that maybe… if I was really diligent… I could knit this up in time for a big party I’m attending next month.  I mean, I knit not one, but two Lace Jackets in a month, so I could pull this off in about a month also, right?  Wellllllllllllllll… probably not, mainly because my LYSs don’t carry the yarn – Skacel Collection, Inc.‘s Karat (rayon/polyester metallic).  But… this would look really good on me… and Lord knows, no one else would be wearing anything remotely like it to said party…

Anyone know where I can get 14 skeins of Karat super-fast?

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Deep In The Planning Stage.

Alrighty… it’s now been about 2 weeks since I burned my hand, and I’m healing quite nicely.  Many, many thanks to everyone who posted, Tweeted, texted, and called to wish me a speedy recovery – I’m humbled by the outpouring of care, and ever so grateful for it.

My friend and fellow blogger Karen suggested that I use the down time to plan upcoming projects, and that’s exactly what I did.

1.  A Vest For My Husband
Last year was spent knitting either socks or incredibly intricate pullovers and lace jackets.  There was no in-between – it was either one side of the knitting spectrum or the other.  In December, I said to my very patient husband that I hadn’t knit him anything other than socks in a while, and before I could finish the thought he blurted, “A VEST!  I want a tweedy, button-front vest!”

So I started trolling Ravelry for a tweedy, button-front vest, and chose about 5 patterns that I thought he’d like.  After showing him each one, he chose The Cider House Rules Vest, by Linda Daniels, owner of Northampton Wools in Northampton, MA.  But… the pattern isn’t offered as a download.  The pattern also isn’t offered on the shop’s website.  The pattern is offered through Interweave Knits Fall 2000 issue… which I don’t have.  Now what?

The Cider House Rules Vest. Picture by Ravelry user purlingswine.

Problem easily solved:  I emailed Linda Daniels to ask about buying the pattern.  She emailed me back the next day – all I have to do (and you can do the same, if you want the pattern) is send $6.00 to the store, and she’ll mail the pattern out.  And so, with the proverbial check in the mail and a satisfied, Cheshire Cat smile plastered across my  husband’s face, I await said pattern.  Next challenge:  choosing the yarn.

2.  Socks For Me
I was certain that I was going to take a well-deserved holiday from sock-knitting this year.  After all the pairs I made last year (5, plus learning how to darn), I thought I’d concentrate on other knitted items, like cowls and shawls and vests, etc.  But then Dori gave me a skein of Lorna’s Laces Solemate for Hanukkah, in my very favorite colors.  Yes, I could use it to make something other than socks.  But no.  I must… make… socks.  I must.

Pretty sock yarn = pretty socks.

But which socks?   This amazing yarn needs an equally amazing pattern, and there are, like, a gajillion of ’em out on Ravelry alone.  After multiple searches and many days, I’ve decided on these:

This is Skew, designed by Lana Holden, picture by Richard Layton. How insane are these???

So not only am I knitting socks again, but I’m knitting socks from the toe up (which I’ve never done), using a cast-on I’ve never heard of, using the Magic Loop method (which I’ve never done), with many design features that will demand my full concentration, every step of the way.  But hey… if mine turn out like the picture, it’ll be SO worth it, right?

3.  More Socks For Me
Seriously???  Remind me never to say things like, “This year, I’m taking a break from socks.”  So futile.

As I searched and searched for the perfect pattern to use for my Solemate sock yarn, my daughter sweetly asked, “Why do you need a pattern?  Why don’t you just make one up?”

Why, indeed.

Flashback to The 2012 PA Farm Show Fleece To Shawl Contest.  As the teams were setting up, I went over to chat with my friends from Sugar Valley Rural Charter School, The Sugar Valley Shepherds.  They proceeded to bowl me over with a gift of sock yarn and a card that I’ll keep forever, for coming out to their school to interview them.  So unnecessary, but SO appreciated!

This is Regia 4-fädig (4-ply) sock yarn, given to me by The Sugar Valley Shepherds.

I can’t knit just any sock pattern with this.  I think the only thing I can do to honor the spirit of this gift is… to design my first sock pattern.  The name of the pattern will be Sugar Valley.  But you’ll have to tune in to see what they look like.

… and that’s not all.  I’ve got more planned, like knitting 10 pairs of Welted Fingerless Gloves for my “eldest daughter” (aka our babysitter) to give as gifts for Christmas 2012.  But that’s enough planning for now… time to watch some backlogged episodes of The Big Bang Theory.  And dream about socks.


Filed under 2012 PA Farm Show, Knitting, Yarn

What Price Confidence?

I’m now about halfway done with the Lace Jacket.  I don’t have a picture to show you – it still looks like a bunch of different sized holes that, if you squint, kind of looks like rows of triangle shapes randomly scattered around.  But while I can’t exactly see the finished product emerging (yet), I can tell you that I’ve learned a LOT these last few days while knitting it.

I think the most surprising thing is how very close I’ve become with the project.  I don’t usually have this kind of relationship with my WsIP, but this one demands 100% attention at all times.  Between deciphering the chart, knitting at the loosest gauge I can manage, and constantly counting stitches… LJ is a stern taskmistress.  I’m exhausted after 4 rows.  I’m exhausted just thinking about 4 rows.

Despite giving LJ all my attention, mistakes occurred.  Many… mistakes… occurred.  And I didn’t weave in any lifelines.  Did I rip the whole thing back and start again?  Hell no.  I’m thrilled to report that I was able to find every mistake by examining the pattern, examining my stitches, and examining this extremely helpful forum on Ravelry.  It took a lot of patience – patience I usually don’t have for knitting or anything, really – but I experienced that wonderful and elusive “A-ha!” moment where everything suddenly made sense, the pattern and I started speaking the same language, and the mistakes became much easier to find and fix.  Without being too melodramatic, it was as if everything around me just faded away, leaving me and LJ in perfect harmony, perfectly synched.

Luxury laceweight beaded yarn?  $50.00.  3 new sets of circular needles to ensure proper gauge (HA!!!)?  $70.00.  Hard-fought, well-earned confidence in your knitting, tinking, chart-reading, and plain-old observation skills?  Priceless.  Truly.

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Turning The Heel… With YOs?

Now that Hurricane Irene has come and gone, I need to focus on turning the heel on these socks.  But first… everyone ok after all that rain and wind?  Electricity back on?  We lost power for only 4½ hours this morning… PPL, you totally rock.  Really.

So, I’m working on a sock pattern that I got as a freebie on Ravelry.  The Norfolk Ramblers pattern by Emma Haigh is beautiful, a little challenging, and perfectly suited to the yarn I’m using – Alpaca with a Twist’s Socrates.  Now granted, I’m not exactly a sock-knitting expert, but the heel instructions are unlike any I’ve tried before.  Instead of slipping the first stitch to get your working yarn on the right-hand side, it says to do a YO, then purl the rest of the way across.  I’m sure that this works… but I haven’t figured out how yet.  I’ve already ripped the heel back once, I really don’t want to do that again, but it’s inevitable, I fear, because… well… why a YO????  Why?????

I hope mine look like this when I'm done.

Anyone have any ideas on this one?



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Olympic Knitting.

Well, I did end up spending a lot of time in my house after all that snow, but I did not have the day off from work.  Apparently there’s a policy out there somewhere that says if you have a company-issued laptop, and are able to, under normal circumstances, work from home, then 18″ of snow shouldn’t stop you.  I admit, I did get a lot of work done… but I really would’ve loved the free day off.

So is anyone out there entered into the Knitting Olympics or Ravelympics?  In case you haven’t heard about these, it’s kind of a competition for yarnies to challenge themselves during the 2 weeks of the Winter Olympics.  You can choose to start a new project, or even pick up a WIP that you tabled for a while, and try like mad to finish it before the Olympic Torch is extinguished during the closing ceremonies.  If I’m not mistaken, the idea for this was originally Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s, and it received such a huge, positive response that they keep bringing it back.

So of course this all leads to my participation in the Knitting Olympics:  am I competing?  Well… no.  Not officially.  I’m not signed up anywhere, but I am still challenging myself – you can call it a “time trial” for a future Knitting Olympic event. I finished the Beagle Scarf – it’s blocked and drying now.  So I decided to go back to the Superior Lace Shawl and use it as my unofficial Knitting Olympics entry:

By far the most ambitious project I've ever attempted. Not hard, just time-consuming.

I’m challenging myself to complete at least 8 rows a day, and also get started on the 3rd skein of yarn before closing ceremonies.  If I can actually do this (even if it’s not finished), I’ll have what it takes to officially enter the Knitting Olympics next time… and win gold.

Anyone else participating, officially or not?

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