Sunday, March 30, 2008

William marches on

The back of Sweet William is all done!

The stitch pattern, an elongated 2-stitch cable over 6 rows, is quite striking en masse - it almost has a smocked effect:

The front is all cast on and in progress, with a good few inches in already. This bad boy should be ready for its debut definitely before the weather - given our winter that just doesn't want to give up the ghost - allows.

Speaking of the winter-that-won't-end, I had, after its successful debut last week, put Jack in the cedar chest for the season. Still, I couldn't resist bringing it out on Saturday for one more wear. I really love this sweater and fully imagine absolutely living in it next winter. I'm really happy with the way it fits and so glad that the pattern modifications I made (making it a smidge smaller than the size small) made it a little less mid-90s style boxy. The whole sweater, given the yarn and the various stitch patterns/cables, is so cuddly. Whoever named this yarn Cocoon at Rowan definitely got it right!

Who knows...maybe, with temps forecast in the 30s, I might just wear Jack one more time on Tuesday. I usually don't wear anything this much in such a short time span, but this sweater is a very special case indeed!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Sticking a fork in Jack

'cause he's done:

Here it is, post-blocking, in all of its wooly, cozy and cuddly gooodness. It's just what I wanted it to be - just a big ol' comfy cable sweater to replace the ones I made years ago that are now way too big for me.

With the sun a-shining today, I was also able to get a halfway decent photo of the main cable pattern:

I think, too, that with the slightly sketchy weather forecast this week, Jack will even be able to make his official debut yet this year - perhaps even tomorrow.

Onward full force to the spring sweater queue which is still a little out of control but I'm trying very, very hard to maintain all of my knitting energy on Sweet William. The poor thing won't get knit all by itself and if I start other projects...well, it just doesn't help! With lots of NCAA tourney action today (yeah, Badgers!!), I should be happily knitting away all day. Bliss.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Is spring...well, um, springing?

Without a doubt, there are signs outdoors that suggest that spring is right around the corner:
1. There have been a few days this past week above 50 degrees
2. It hasn't snowed in a while
3. The huge ice valleys in our alley/garage access have finally melted away (they were so deep not too long ago that poor Harry, our Civic Hybrid, got stuck in one and our neighbors had to help push it out!)

I thought it only fair to have a few signs of spring indoors, as well:
1. Cheery potted primroses - given to me by a very sweet customer who was particularly grateful for my one-on-one help as she navigates her first Hanne Falkenberg design. They are atop my bedside table and their lovely, warm color does the soul good.

2. The felted Easter Egg stitch markers have come out of storage and even manage to make wooly Jack look a bit springier.

Aren't they adorable? I don't really need stitch markers any longer on Jack, but I've really gotten into decorating my knitting for the seasons with stitch markers ever since Christmas, when I bought all of my co-workers stitch markers from Etsy seller SeeJayneKnit based on their other hobbies/interests (e.g. footballs, coffee beans, butterflies, etc.). These are made from Jelby, a two sister team who also sell very cute things on Etsy (when I bought these a while ago, I actually also got some with violets on them, as well as a set with little sheep, one of which she has on her banner. I mean, c'mon - felt, sheep, knitting accessories. This purchase was an absolute no-brainer).

Jack, by the way, is almost complete The sleeves were finished this morning, and I'll be adding the rather large neck today. Just a quick seam-up and this one will be ready. I think, too, that I'll be able to wear it once yet this winter as snow flurries are back in the forecast in a few days!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

I've contracted a very bad case

Funny thing, I didn't think this disease was rare, but it seems like it is as there is no reference to it on WebMD:

My symptoms are pretty typical:
1. Strong urge to have a multiple hand grafts as to maximize number of projects that can be knit at the same time
2. Uncontrollable drooling when faced with lovely new spring patterns and colors
3. Even more uncontrollable drooling in the presence of yarn
I've got it but good, despite one of my steadfast yarnie resolutions of not having more than 2 projects on the needles. I'm pushing it lately, but definitely within bounds. I just don't know how long I can keep it up! Having a goodly portion left of a fairly substantial gift card to Ruhama's doesn't help my case much, either.

Here's the evidence:
1. There's poor, wooly, wintry Jack.
Like a good little knitter, I finished one sleeve this past week and I should be finished shortly. I even hope to don the sweater at least once before spring arrives.

2. Sweet William
This is my pre-work, take along project and, as I've made excellent progress on Jack, the progress on Sweet William has slowed a bit. However, I'm about 80% done with the back and still am loving the pattern and yarn immensely.

3. There are all the beautiful spring sweater patterns that I've earmarked for (cough, cough) this year yet as noted in this recent entry.
I'm ok with the above. Now for the stuff that put me over the edge. Enter the gift card.

4. Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend. I love the colors Manos wool comes in, but I don't like the thick/thin nature of the yarn, nor its predisposition to pilling. Enter their new creation, Silk Blend. 70% wool, 30% silk. Gorgeous Manos colors. It came in early February and that's when my drooling started. I couldn't pass up the damn stuff without stopping to oggle it. After a month of this silliness, I realized that I'd probably regret it if I didn't get it, so I broke out the ol' Gift Card and made the plunge.

Yummy "adobe" colorway in blues/beiges that goes with just about everything in my spring/summer wardrobe. But what would it become? I so rarely buy yarn ahead of a pattern. Surely among the Plethora there has to be one that works well? I thought to myself, "Aha! A nice lacy pattern would show off the colors beautifully!" I was right - but just couldn't get the gauge on the Lacy Cardigan. Silk Blend likes 6 spi, and the pattern calls for yarn that gets about 5 spi over stockinette. I swatched a couple of times to see how the yarn knit up with lace (gorgeous), but just couldn't get the gauge:

I pulled out my trusty RYC spring pattern collections, and lo and behold, there it was. A pattern that caught my eye last year, but I didn't have a good yarn in mind: Wildflower, from the Nature collection, has a delightful tulip-shaped lace pattern and my swatch worked up nicely after trying a size 5, then 4 needle:

I'm trying very hard to not knit this RIGHT NOW!

5. Cookie A has two new sock patterns, Marilinda and Mingus (our beloved dog, who died a few years ago, was also named could I pass up this pattern?):

I've got a box of sock yarn, with the recent acquisitons of my Dream in Color Smooshy Sock in Cocoa Kiss and Classic Elite's beautiful new Alpaca Sox in a new spring colorway which could have been dyed just for me with greens, pumpkin, and a hint of blue:

Crappity, crap.

Trying very hard to be good and - so far, as of 12:20 pm Sunday, March 9, I'm winning as I dutifully cast on Jack's second sleeve this morning and proceeded to start it. I would take any bets, though, on how the rest of the day will go...

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Progress report

My general wish to remain as cozy as possible, aided by a pretty crappy week at work resulted in lots of continued cocooning and knitting. My little enclave has been pretty hard to leave each day, that's for sure! Sweet William has indeed grown:

Thankfully, there hasn't been a repeat of sleep knitting! It really is a fun little pattern of a 6-row repeat, ending up in sort of a smocked look:

Groovy. What isn't groovy is that Rowan has changed, rather significantly, the fiber content of Calmer. What was once 80% cotton/20% acrylic is now much acrylic with, gasp, elastic. It is so different and stretchy! I'm glad I got it last year 'cause I'm not too sure about the new content - it really feels like an entirely different yarn.

I also picked up Jack again and have been cabling happily on the first sleeve. Again, this yarn and color just is almost impossible to photograph well, so my apologies for the downright bad snap:

In person, though, it really is lovely and is going to be one comfy sweater!

Sad to say, but that's all the knitting news that's fit to print!