Monday, November 22, 2010

Subtropical Eastlake

Pattern: Eastlake by Norah Gaughan

Yarn: Prima Pima Cotton by Robin Turner Gourmet Fibers
100% cotton/ DK (11 wpi)
5 skeins (1100 yards) in Green

Needle size: US5

My fascination with and adoration of one Ms. Norah Gaughan continues.  I love her visual aesthetic and design.  She totally rocks.  OK, enough with the gushing...

Living in a subtropical climate, I'm always on the lookout for cotton yarns.  When I saw this deep emerald green in 100% cotton, I knew I'd found the perfect warm weather match for this sweater (originally designed for a merino/silk blend).

Before starting on the actual garment, I knit a couple rows of the leaf pattern.  I usually like to do this because it helps me learn/understand the pattern and in this case chart it for myself.  It also helps me make any modifications without the heartbreak of ripping out entire rows of knitting.

Leaf panel mods:
  • substituted M1p for yo (less holey)
  • substituted k3tog for dec 2 (just liked the way this looks better)
  • did not continue with the k1tbl for the leaf tips (after the k3tog)

Since I wanted to be able to wear the sweater commando if I so chose, I left out the eyelets across the chest and back.  And just to be consistent, I left them off the sleeves as well.

Rear view

The concern with substituting denser cotton for lofty wool is that the finished garments tend to be heavy and thus grow with wear.  Cotton sweaters can get downright droopy.  But the design elements in this sweater are such that they don't contribute to the weight of the sweater (unlike cables for instance) and even after a full day's wear, I'm happy to say that it did not grow in length.  In fact, these pictures were taken after wearing the garment for a full day.

As an added note, I think it helps that this is a seamed sweater as opposed to being knit in the round top down.  With cottons, I find that seams are ideal places to hide ends since cotton can't be spliced as invisibly as wool.  Plus shoulder seams contribute to a garments' strength in this gravity-susceptible area.  I know many out there hate seaming but it definitely has its place in knitted garments depending on what you're after.

Personally, I just wish there was a magical way to weave in ends.  I don't know anyone who likes doing that.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Linen Skirt

Pattern: Ingrid by Trudy Van Stralen
size medium

Yarn: Louet Euroflax Sport (100% wet-spun linen)
Black - approx 4.5 skeins

Needle: US 2 for lace
US 4 for body

Knitting with linen is all about delayed gratification.  The texture can be quite rough on the fingers and there is absolutely no give.  It helps to knit at a tight gauge and have other projects to serve as breaks - maybe a nice squishy merino scarf.  But for skirts, linen provides such a beautiful drape that in the end, it's well worth it.

I made plenty of modifications.  My practice swatch of the lace ruffle was way too loose at the suggested gauge.  So I went down a few needle sizes until I was happy with how it looked.  Since I was knitting a size medium for the body, I cast on for a size large in the hem. 

The original pattern calls for an asymmetrical hem which I switched to a mermaid hem (a wee bit longer in the back).  I did this by changing the placement of the short rows but had I thought ahead, I would have changed the repeats of the lace hem so that the front of the hem is perfectly straight.  Instead it dips down a bit in the front where the asymmetry is supposed to be.  Not that noticeable so I didn't fret too much about it.

A little bit longer over my right knee.  Bennan assures me that he didn't notice anything until I pointed it out to him.  Good dog.

The one down side about this skirt is that it does require a slip.  Boo.  For me, linen's main asset is its superior breathability.  Kind of defeats the purpose if I have to wear a nylon slip underneath it.

Maybe you remember there being some drama about the casting on of this skirt.  Can you find the twisted cast on?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Duck Sock Pictures

Maybe you remember these

Since then I've knit a couple more pairs to give away to some lucky babes.  Check out this little guy - Joey!

I know what you're thinking.  You're thinking the same thing I'm thinking: squeeee!