Thursday, February 24, 2011

Stripey Goodale

My friend Caryn inspired me to make this one. When I saw her starting, it made me want to knit one too.  Monkey see, monkey do!

Pattern: Goodale by Cecily Glowick MacDonald
available for purchase via Ravelry.

Yarn: Farmhouse Yarns Bonnie's Bamboo (100% bamboo)
2 skeins in colorway Rose (approx. 400 yards)
2 skeins in colorway Natural (approx. 400 yards)

Needle Size: US 7

Initially I thought I would stripe a wool/silk blend yarn from Manos del Uruguay.  But after knitting a few rows, I decided it looked too busy - always a risk with multicolored yarns.  Back into the stash for another day.

After playing around in my stash, I settled on this very silky worsted weight bamboo.  I had just the right amount but I wasn't sure about the drape of the resulting fabric.  However, I loved the color combo so I went with it.  The yarn is easy to knit - smooth like you'd expect and soft almost silky.  And not at all splitty.

Substituting the bamboo for the recommended wool/cashmere made the finished garment very drapey.  (Is drapier a word?)  But I think it works.

Most of the sweater is in plain stockinette.  The lapels and pockets are created when the front is folded back on itself.  Reverse stockinette.

Some modifications:

Instead of the i-cord edging for the lapel, I just relied on the natural tendency for stockinette to curl in on itself and sewed the edges down - kind of like a rolled hem.

Because of the bamboo, I was concerned that the lapels wouldn't stay put so I sewed them down by first basting them into position and then going back with a running stitch that butted up against the hem.  Then I just pulled out the basting yarn.  Of course, I left plenty of room for the pockets - the best part!

The pockets are a very handy feature.  I keep an extra i-cord fastener in mine so I can switch depending on my mood.

A few more modifications:

I added two inches in length for my long torso.

And I did a single crochet edging on the collar.  Crochet is inherently less stretchy than knitting so it works great to give knitting some stay-put action.  With the bamboo, my collar really needed some reinforcement.

I loved knitting this.  The pattern is well written and the design elements add just enough interest.  The stripes give it sort of a whimsical quality and the resulting fabric is smooth and easy to wear.  Perfect for spring.  Although some of us are still deep in hibernation.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


After knitting the Yarn Widower's Sweater, I decided that cables are fun.  Why not do more?

Pattern: #23 Wrap Cable Jacket by Shiri Mor
from Vogue Knitting Holiday 2009

Yarn: Brooks Farm Four Play (50% wool. 50% silk)
3 skeins (approx 810 yards)
colorway SW #19 Blue

Needle size: US 7

Modifications:  Instead of picking up stitches for the edging, I did an applied i-cord.  For a good tutorial, see the toes section of this online pattern.  This worked well as it gave the garment a nice finished look with considerably less hassle (pick up a gazillion stitches, knit ribbing, bind off, sew down bind off, blahblahblah).  Applied i-cord is my new best friend.

When I first saw this pattern in Vogue Knitting, I was intrigued by the construction.  The back panel is knitted vertically and then stitches for the side panel are picked up and subsequently knit up horizontally.  The sleeves are knitted into the side panels so there's no seaming.

Fun to knit.  But a few things to note:

The yarn I used is a beautiful wool/silk blend in a deep rich peacock blue.  It's soft and drapey.  But it also grew considerably when I blocked it.  So the end result is just a wee bit too big for my frame and I keep feeling as though it's going to fall off my shoulders.  I'm tempted to throw it in the dryer but... I'm scared.  What if it shrinks too much?  The thought of it makes my knuckles turn white.

The other thing is button placement.  I have resewn the button in various places and for the life of me I cannot keep it from buttoning up wonky.

 Now I can appreciate the usefulness of a shawl pin.  I just need to go out and get one.  But for now I think I'll just keep it as is.  A little asymmetry never hurt anyone.

Monday, February 14, 2011

My Favorite Valentines Day/ Yarn Widower Story

As some of you may already know, my birthday happens to fall on St. Valentine's Day.  It's a mixed blessing.

And some of you may also know that the Yarn Widower is a gifted cook.  So gifted that you could never have guessed that when we first met, he had never cooked a meal in his life (instant ramen noodles notwithstanding).  So as a surprise to me, he decided to make me a  Valentine's Day/ Birthday dinner - our first together and he wanted it to be special.  After consulting various cookbooks and doing some extensive internet research, he set out to create an ambitious menu:
  • Medallions of Filet Mignon with a Red Wine Reduction
  • Creamed Spinach
  • Polenta Cakes (shaped into hearts)
It was delicious.  A truly spectacular meal especially considering that his kitchen was a remodeled closet and he had to purchase pans specifically for this meal (previously he owned a teakettle and that was about it when it came to cookware).

Halfway through the meal, I noticed that the Yarn Widower was tearing up.  I asked him what was the matter.  He looked up at me, fork midway to his lips, and said, "It's good.  I can't believe I made this myself."

And that, my friends, sums it all up.

Happy Valentine's Day.  Hope today and everyday is filled with love (and yarn).

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Duck Booties

Duck booties are so versatile.

Hello, Teagan 2 months old!

"These are the cutest booties I have ever seen in my whole life." - Teagan's Mom

I agree.  

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

My Crazy Hands

I have weird-looking hands.  See?

My pinky and ring fingers are disproportionately short for my hand.  Not only that but the proximal phalanges (the bones that make up the palm of the hand) are significantly truncated so that it almost looks as though my pinkies are trying to become vestigial.  Freaky, huh?  I once asked an embryologist about my hands and she said something must have gone wrong in the formation of my limb buds.  Freakier and freakier.

In spite of their aesthetic challenges, my hands are still surprisingly functional.  They can type, knit, crochet, play videogames, all the good stuff.  They can tie really strong surgical knots which is downright useful.  I even considered becoming a hand surgeon for about two weeks in a former life.  The only thing my hands have not been able to do is play musical instruments but that has more to do with a profound lack of any natural talent in that arena.

Another major drawback: gloves don't fit.  Until now.

Pattern: Knotty Gloves by Julia Mueller
Available as a free download on Ravelry.  Thanks, Julia!

Yarn: Madeline Tosh Sock (100% merino) 2/3 skein (approx 300 yards)
Colorway: Lichen

Needle: US 1


1) Left off the tips so I could type in them.  Did a half inch of ribbing at the tips.

2) Customized them to fit my freaky hands.  I started with my pinky finger and worked my way up the palm from there.  I kept trying them on as I went to make sure they fit.

The yarn is so pretty.  Green interspersed with violet.  It works nicely with the cabling detail on the wrist.  I flubbed the cables a bit but que so-what so-what.  They're still pretty and functional.

You know who else is pretty and functional?  The Yarn Widower.  He helped me take these photos.  Here is my favorite one.