Monday, January 21, 2008

My New Favorite Sweater

This is my new favorite sweater. I finished weaving in the ends over the weekend and tried it on for size. And then I didn't want to take it off!

Pattern: Central Park Hoodie by Heather Lodinsky
Size: 52
Yarn: Queensland Kathmandu DK, 12 balls (approx. 1750 yd.)
Needles: Knitpicks Options US #6

The yarn is a beautiful tweed, 85% wool, 10% silk, and 5% cashmere. I originally bought it because I really wanted the Aran tweed, but it was out of stock at Webs (where it was a closeout). Of course, after I bought the DK version, Webs got in a new shipment of the Aran, so I had to buy that too! As it turns out, though, the DK was a better choice for this sweater. It has just the right weight, drape, and warmth for a sweater to wear all winter in my too-cold house. I still need buttons for it, but it is fine even without them.

The pattern was originally published in Knitscene (Fall, 2006) and was so popular that Interweave Press offered it for sale as a separate pattern, with additional sizes (up to 60"). Way to go, Interweave!!! The best part is that the plus sizes were actually worked up separately by Lisa Shroyer, and not simply resized proportionately. (You can see it modelled on a Gallery at Knitting Daily.) Lisa also provided an alternative button band, with crocheted loops instead of buttonholes.

I fought the urge to wear the CPH today for the third day in a row, but my efforts were useless. I only hope that I don't wear it out before I can make another cardigan from that Kathmandu Aran Tweed sitting in my stash.

And now for something completely different...

The Spring Shawl Surprise mystery KAL proceeds and now awaits the fourth clue. There are a few little errors that I hope nobody else will notice. Unfortunately I didn't notice them myself until I pinned it out to take the photo, and they were too far back to frog. Now I am worried about the yarn – luscious as Colourmart cashmere is, I am having doubts about whether it was right for this project. On the other hand, if the yarn is gorgeous enough, maybe it will compensate for knitting errors...

Monday, January 07, 2008

Ending the year with a Finished Object

The knitting year ended with completion of the Cobblestone Sweater. It was received so enthusiastically by its recipient that I am even contemplating knitting him another sweater!

Pattern: Cobblestone by Jared Flood, Interweave Knits, Fall 2007
Yarn: Queensland Kathmandu Aran Tweed, 12 skeins (approx. 1200 yds)
Needles: Knitpicks Harmony US #7
Size: 48"

Despite the fact that I swatched and seemed to be knitting to gauge, the sweater is a little too big, though he seems to like it that way. I am tempted to try to shrink it a bit, but am nervous about overdoing it. But more about shrinkage later...

The yarn is very soft, with an interesting texture. I bought the same yarn in green for a sweater for myself, and I may even do the same pattern, though maybe at a slightly tighter gauge.

Another year-end project was totally inadvertent... I washed my beautiful Alberta shawl, which has been dragged around mercilessly over the past year, and which was looking decidedly dingy. I put it in the washing machine on the extra gentle cycle, and out came my first felted object!

The "new" shawl is still wearable, but it is smaller both in width and in length. The plus side is that it is probably warmer than the original.

The new year has brought with it the usual array of resolutions, including completing the backlog of UFO's, going on a yarn diet (not to mention the other kind), and refraining from casting on new projects until the old ones are finished. It is now one week into 2008 and I have already violated all of them.

Late last week I read comments on several blogs about the Spring Shawl Surprice (yes, spelled that way!) KAL. After Swan Lake, aka Mystery Stole 3, I decided to forego mystery shawls for a while, since I have a long To Do list of patterns that I have actually seen. But then I was drawn in by photos of the first clue of Spring Shawl, and discussions of the spelling (just a typo by someone who is not a native English speaker) and couldn't resist. Some green Colourmart cashmere was calling out from my stash and seemed like the perfect choice for this project.

Because 2007 ended with the demise of my computer and the sudden purchase of a new one, the last few weeks have been consumed with setting up the new computer, installing software, recovering data from backups, and dealing with assorted driver and software conflicts. This all put a huge crimp in my knitting time. I am hoping to spend more time knitting and less time in front of the computer in 2008.