Posts Tagged ‘invernal’

A glance

January 6, 2011

When the calendar page turns, we are all conditioned to take stock.  A glance back, a look ahead.

A year ago, I promised to “make progress on the following”:

Tackle some of the baker’s dozen of unfinished objects ~ Hm.  Ten still undone.  Oops.  Too many shiny distractions and not enough brain space to wrestle with some of these.

Knit like crazy for the darlingest knitwear model ~ Still the cutest model, but woeful progress here, too.   One done, one missing a collar.  Still.  Idjit.

The secret test-knit

Knit one sweater for myself ~ I did knit one sweater, albeit for a soon-to-be-published book.  In 36 days.  On size 2 needles, with intarsia and fair-isle.  I think that qualifies.

Attend an extra day of the Knitter’s Review Retreat ~ Done.  Best decision ever.

Ready my own design for publication ~ Oh, that.  I forgot all about it.


Deep breath which can also be read as a sigh.

Peachy - the pattern and the model

Time to look at the year’s knitting from a different angle:

  • Projects completed:  21 plus 3 test-knits
  • Yarn used:  3.2 miles plus 1.2 miles = 4.3 miles of yarn
  • 8 shawls, 7 cowls, 2 hats, 3 fingerless mitts, 2 scarves, 1 adult and 1 child’s sweater, 1 pair of socks  No, the math doesn’t work, but I’m not going back to figure it out.
  • Number of “one-skein” projects completed:  16
  • WIP/UFOs today:  15
  • Fibers first used in 2010:  Bluefaced Leicester (BFL), California Variegated Mutant (CVM), Cormo, Targhee
  • Favorite yarns used in 2010:  Briar Rose Fibers Glory Days, Spirit Trail Fiberworks Sunna and Lyra, Sundara Sock, Foxfire Fiber Cormo/Silk/Alpaca, Quince and Co. Chickadee, AslanTrends Invernal
  • Designers I knitted from most:  Ysolda Teague, Gudrun Johnston

SHELTER - Button Jar for Woodruff mittens

On tap for 2011 (besides attacking those UFOs that are still UFOs – I mean, really):

E-nough with the navel-gazing already!

The past week has brought seismic shifts in several critical parts of my life, and these shifts are mostly good extraordinary.  They mean I am no longer carrying a Steinway in terms of the responsibilities and pressures of everyday life.  Will it mean more knitting time?  I sure hope so.



January 4, 2011

I’m a firm believer in idiot-proofing projects.  You know, blowing up charts, cutting and pasting instructions so I can follow things when my brain is tired.  But what happens when, in the course of idiot-proofing, you only prove that you are, in fact, an idiot?

Case in point:  Oblique Shawl by Dina Mor.  It went on the needles in March of 2009.  No typo, 2009.  Really.  Though the pattern called for AslanTrends Guanaco (recently used for the Eve mitts), I opted instead for AslanTrends Invernal.

Oblique Shawl by Dina Mor

I adore this yarn for a lot of reasons.  The bunny, for starters.  If you know me, you know I’m a sucker for angora.  Invernal boasts 50% angora with 25% nylon and 25% merino.  While I have a serious preference for all-natural fibers, you don’t feel the nylon at all.  At the same time, Invernal does not shed all over everything.  The yardage (295 yards/skein) is terrific for its price point.  I have gotten two full pairs of adult mittens from 1 sk, with much left over.  It also works at a variety of gauges, depending on your needs.

The pattern gauge was 19 st/4 in using Guanaco.  I had seen a model of it in Invernal, but thought the gauge just a little too tight:  angora likes to be opened up a little bit.  So that’s what I did, using US 8s to reach a gauge of 16 st/4 in.

Shawl collar and self-ties

In essence, this is a poncho-shawl cross with a forgiving shawl collar.  With the ingenious front ties, it’s intended to stay closed.  It’s also knitted sideways, allowing for easy modification.  Envisioning a scenario where every time you used your arms,

This version says put

it slipped open, I added one more “point” for a total of 12.  Also, because I really don’t like garter stitch much, and I wanted a little more visual interest, I changed the points to stockinette.

Those mods are stuff any monkey can execute.  But knitting the actual pattern ~ that’s where the idiot-proofing and the subsequent idiocy kicked in.  The basic instructions in 24 different lines of small written-out type looked something like this:

k 14, (yo, k2tog) 14 times, yo, k 80 (123 sts)

Hard on the eyes; hard to track.  So I retyped it into Excel to make life easy.

Or so I thought.

Noooo.  Each and every time I went through it, my stitch count was off by one stitch.  Not surprisingly, I easily put this project down time and again as other shiny new patterns and yarns crossed my path.  Until one day when I sat down to figure out what was wrong.

NutmegOwl Rule #1 of Knitting: The math doesn’t lie.

Let’s say it again: The math doesn’t lie.

Stockinette points

So I set about the 24 rows, one at a time, to figure out why on earth everything went screwy on every repeat. Then I checked it back against the hard copy of the pattern to see if I had mistyped.

I didn’t mistype ~ I failed to type Rows 17 and 18.  So my pattern skipped from Row 16 to Row 19 ~ putting me squarely one. stitch. off. every. time.


With that little revelation, I was on my way.  I actually finished the knitting on this a couple of months ago.  But with other project to block, and chilly nights, I’ve been hard-pressed to actually take this off.  It’s like wearing a warm hug.  So it has yet to be blocked – which will only make it that much softer and fluffier.

In summary, the modifications:

Gauge:  16 st/4 in on US 8

Added one pattern repeat for a total of 12

Changed points to stockinette from garter stitch

Total yarn used:  2.6 skeins

I could use a hug after that.


August 4, 2009
Lilium Casa Blanca 8-3-09

Lilium Casa Blanca 8-3-09

Back home again, to find that the whole stand of Casa Blanca lilies is in full bloom. I would have known this without seeing them: as soon as I opened the car door in the driveway, I could smell them.  Serious staking was necessary, as the 8-inch blooms – as many as 6 to a stalk – were bent over to the ground in many cases.

In full bloom

In full bloom

It’s a bumper crop, to be sure, and they are now in every room in the house.  The blooms will last a week or more.  A wee helpful note: If you should grow these and cut them, you must cut the anther filaments off the stamens.  If you get this powder on your skin, it takes days to come off and I have yet to be able to remove it from clothing!

Now, back to your knitting programming.

As a mostly single mom who works full-time, my “virtual life” is the place where my friends are.  KnittingKittens, NanciKnits, SandyT, Luann, Deb and many others keep me sane and provide me with so much friendship.

Early this year, I met a new friend through Ravelry who is following a path I trod many years ago.  Miniknitter is a link to my past, and a terrific knitter in her own right.  I wanted to do something special for her, though the deadline to complete it was thoroughly beyond me.  Thus, we have Hoots! – properly titled Give A Hoot Mittens.

Give A Hoot mittens

Give A Hoot mittens

These are worked up in AslanTrends Invernal, one of my favorite yarns on earth.  The 50% angora content makes this yarn truly cozy and deliciously fuzzy – perfect for mittens worn in the winter walking along Lake Michigan. Yardage is generous: I will have completed 2 pairs of adult mittens with yarn left over when I’m finished.

I did like the pattern, but found that the finished mittens were a little small for my liking.  I have a second pair OTN for me, and I added a few additional stitches to make them a little larger.  The pattern does feature an absolutely lovely thumb gusset.

Thumb gusset detail

Thumb gusset detail

Frankly, the hang-up here was finding the right eye buttons and actually sewing them on.  This took as long as knitting the thumbs!  But we cannot all be good at everything, right?

In any case, cheers to my new sister, Miniknitter, and here’s a hoot to you, too!

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