Posts Tagged ‘ysoldateague’

When it works

June 23, 2010

Salvia and phlox paniculata "David"

The garden is running two weeks early this season, and in desperate need of upkeep.  Sadly,  there’s been precious little knitting in my world of late.  And the runway is full of a seemingly endless backlog of fully knitted objects that just need a little finishing or blocking or photography.  Problem is, that finishing or blocking or photography takes thought, brain-space or planning.  Sigh. Lest thinking about it make me start getting annoyed with, let’s turn our attention to Serious Project Happiness …


May I present Ishbel by Ysolda Teague?  Completed and blocked in time to wear to a recent evening event, I am absolutely thrilled with it.  When I talk about a successful marriage of pattern and yarn, this is what I mean.  Loved the yarn ~ Sundara

Ishbel up close

Sock in Black over Violet.  Loved the pattern ~ perfect charting for brain-addled Owl.  In spite of the fact that I had gauge and still ran out of yarn before its actual finish, I’m delighted with it.

Bliss to knit.  Bliss to wear.

I can’t ask for more than that.



May 28, 2010

I did have it all planned out last weekend … I would dutifully cast my votes as a delegate at a state party political convention with the bonus — or perhaps draw — of eight hours or more of knitting time.


Alas, the writers of my cosmic sitcom saw fit to have Saturday’s babysitter completely bag me at 5:30 the night before.  With no other suitable options, Darling Bebe attended her first political convention at age 2.  Might as well start her early 😉  She was in her “charming doll” element (rather than being vecro’d around my neck) and all went well until our naptime departure.

That said, NutmegOwl was most miffed about the Knitting Time Lost.  If I were a better blogger or had had less to pack and carry around, I’d show you a few other knitters nearby, of whom I was most intensely jealous.


Some mommy reward was definitely in order.  Though I in no way need another WIP, it was time — in my usual far-behind-the-crowd fashion — to put an Ishbel on the needles.  Oh what fun!  Instant lace gratification!

Sundara "Black over Violet"

Yarn: Sundara Sock in “Black over Violet”   Needles: Addi lace, US 7  Size: small stockinette, large lace  Speed: Mach 2

Progress: Instantaneous!

Now, shhhhh: Don’t jinx me!  The Massachusetts Sheep and Woolcraft Fair starts tomorrow.  If the stars line up juuuuuuuuust right, I might be able to sneak away with KnittingKittens.  Light the St. Jude candle and let’s hope the cosmic sitcom writers cut me a break!

Project marriage

May 20, 2010

I am often asked, “How do you make yarn and pattern choices?”

It’s pretty simple.  Some projects are pattern-driven:  I want to knit the pattern, so do I have yarn that is appropriate?  On the flip side, others are yarn-driven:  I have this yarn, what should I knit with it?

When you get it right, it’s a marriage.  When you don’t, it’s more of a fling.  Or a one-nighter you’d rather forget.  One of my favorite things about knitting is do-overs.  We don’t get too many do-overs in grown-up life, so I’m especially appreciative of them in knitting.  Call it fearless frogging.

Pattern-driven projects

Just because a yarn can achieve the desired gauge does not guarantee it is right for a given project.  Gauge is a starting point, and even that can be fudged.  Is the final product supposed to be drapey?  Bouncy?  Textured or cabled?  Earthy/crunchy or smooth and sophisticated?  Season-specific?

While there is always some variability, there are some fibers that are not suitable for certain things.  For example, silk, alpaca and cotton have no natural elasticity.  Over time they will stretch.  They may not be appropriate for garments that gravity will play havoc with.  But blends involving these fibers will help compensate for this, and may result in a really pleasing garment.  Entire books have been written on this subject – and one in particular merits attention – The Knitter’s Book of Yarn. More musings from me on this another day.

Yarn-driven projects

As a yarn lover, finding just the right pattern for that special skein (or bag) is a big part of the fun, and for me, the most important part of the creative process when it comes to my knitting.  You have the yarn in hand, so what to do with it?  What does it want to be?

Sundara Sock - Hot Chilies

Here is my single skein of Sundara Sock in Hot Chilies.  I favor tonal and semi-solid colorways over true variegateds.   This one has many of my favorite hues, from russet through copper through nutmeg.  It’s a fingering weight, and definitely has “sproing.”   Having never knitted with it before, I first chose to make an Ishbel Beret by Ysolda Teague.

Ishbel Beret

Part of the reason I chose this pattern is because the strong pattern in the top section would show well even with the tonal color changes of the yarn.  IRL, there is real depth to the color that gives it almost a 3-D effect.  (Gratuitous hoot here: The beret is now featured on the Sundara Stitches blog!)

Now, what to do with the remainder – at least half of the original 370-yard skein?  Short answer:  Swatch and frog as needed.

Abstract Leaves Cowl

Here is what it looked like a good part of the way through the Abstract Leaves Cowl. (Free ravelry download)  You may recall, this was one of my, “In case of knitting emergency, break glass and knit” projects.  Granted, this photo wasn’t pinned out or anything.  That notwithstanding, what do you see?  Not much.  The yarn performs fine, but the pattern is really obscured – there’s just not enough definition.

To the frog pond it went.

Spiraluscious in progress

This is much better.  Spiraluscious from Knitspot.  It has a strong pattern that when blocked, will open up more.  This won’t be the yarn screaming out instead of the pattern.  The colors will move much in the same way that the pattern stitches move.  Yes, this works for me.

Hope something here works for you, too.

Some Loumms love

May 10, 2010

Apple owlies

How could any owl-loving knitter resist this?

Particularly a Nutmeg Owl?

As part of my knitter-crush, I confess to stalking Ysolda’s blog.  It’s neat to have a peep-hole into the life of one of the “cool kids.”

That’s where I found these WIP bags, made by Lou and Emmms  (not a typo, that’s how she spells her name).

Sock perfect WIP bag buttons

Here are some of the highlights from my two purchases from their etsy shop (They are also found on folksy in the UK):

Sock Perfect WIP bag

Round-bottom construction, perfect for yarncakes on a CD spindle.  (This is my favorite

Sock perfect interior

trick for working 2 ends of the same skein or for working with silk yarns that need to be pulled from the outside.)

Adorably mis-matched buttons, which allow you to feed your yarn between them with nary a catch or snag.

Sweater perfect WIP bag

Contrasting lining, so you can actually see what’s inside.

Three interior pockets.

Sweater Perfect WIP bag:

Slightly taller and wider than its sock sister, but without the round bottom.

Contrasting lining – in this case, in

Sweater perfect interior

satin, so yarn slips nicely.  (Satin is a bit of an exception – since the bags are made individually, this may vary.)

The only thing on my wish list for these bags would be some little strap or handle.  I don’t always carry a monster mommy-bag, but I do always have projects in “to-go” bags for those just-in-case random knitting moments, and a small strap would be handy to prevent the dropsies on the way out the door.

Besides the workmanship of these bags, what impressed me was the lickety-split communication from Lou and Emmms.  Not trusting computer monitors and harboring antipathy toward anything pink, there were two owl prints I was considering.  I messaged them through etsy regarding the IRL color of the prints and they were back to me in three shakes of the proverbial lamb’s tail.

Loumms lavender love

I have left my favorite detail for last: each bag comes with a cunning little matching sachet pocket with a fragrant  lavender herbal insert.  Just. too. cute.

So much for trying to avoid purchasing any bags.  These are both utterly utilitarian and hopelessly adorable.

And if I tell myself often enough, maybe I’ll start believing that they’re going to help me stay organized.

Disclosure statement:  The opinions expressed herein are mine and mine alone.  I have not received any form of compensation or inducement for the above text.

The charm

March 22, 2010

The countdown clock says less than two days until YarnoraMama.  I. Cannot. Wait.  Life is complicated right now.  I. Need. This.  Nothing – not rain, nor snow, nor doctor’s attempts to schedule things, will get between me and YarnoraMama.

In the meantime, I really have been knitting.  And frogging.  And knitting. And frogging.

I believe in swatching.  I do.  But swatching only gets you so far.  Especially with hats.

Case in point:  Snapdragon Tam by brilliant genius Ysolda Teague.

Having finished my Ivy Vines cowl in Briar Rose Glory Days – an indescribably delicious dk-weight Blue Face Leicester (see previous post) – I was ready to cast-on for this companion piece as part of our BFL-along on Knitter’s Review.  Or so I thought.

There is much anecdotal evidence that this pattern runs HUGE.  SO:

Pattern gauge:  20 st/4 in (on a US 6, but that’s irrelevant)

My gauge:  22 st/4 in on US 4.  Thus, casting on the medium size would result in ribbing that would be 2 inches smaller than the finish in the pattern.  Fine.  I will use a US 3, the same needle I knitted with on most of the Glorious Vines.  It’s a nice density, so I should be golden.  Near the end of a three-hour board meeting, I cast on and start ribbing.

Five rows in, it is clear that this is too loose.  The ribbing is not dense enough and surely won’t hold onto my head.  In the privacy of the loo, I try it on — still on the needles — to find it is, indeed, waaaaaaay too big.  (Make your own mental picture of me doing this with project still live.)

Sadly, I do not have smaller needles.  I keep knitting – must have busy hands during meeting.

Mercifully, meeting ends.

I subsequently cast on the small size using US 2 needles.  Yarn likes smaller needles.  Head is not so sure about smaller size.  It does stretch to fit my head and unruly mop, and I imagine some bit of stretching after blocking.  Bumped up to US 4 for the cabled part of the hat.

While I like the density, I’m now afraid that the hat is, on the whole, going to be too small.

I’m beginning to feel trapped in Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

This hat will not win.  It must be knitted into submission.


  • Fudge some more.  It’s not like I don’t have most of a 500-yard skein to work with.

The latter wins.  I cast on for the Medium size using a US 1 needle.  It’s a winner!  Ribbing on US 1, body of hat on US 4.  Onward in BFL delight.

Glorious Tam aka Snapdragon


March 3, 2010

Some yarns just feel at home in your hands.  It may be any combination of texture, drape, suitability to your project and color, and when you find it, it’s nirvahhhhna.

Ishbel Beret

I have a new crush:  Sundara Sock Yarn.  370 yards of plied springiness and good manners touched with the gorgeous color that has made Sundara famous.  I hereby take back previous generalizations about superwash wool.  Judge the yarns one at a time: some are fabulous.

Pattern: Ishbel Beret by Ysolda Teague

Yarn: Sundara Sock in colorway Hot Chilies, received in trade with rosiekitty. Needles, US 2 and US 7 Addi Lace circs.

I needed another hat.  I’ve worn the Narragansett beret almost every day since it finished blocking.  More berets are necessaire.  I have lots of hair.  (No, that’s not me in the pictures, silly.) I hate wet hair.  Snow = wet hair.  Rain = wet hair.  You get the idea.

Slouchy, but not too much

Mods: Medium size, but went down one needle size from recommendation (to US 2) for brim.  Used picot turning ridge instead of purl ridge.  Completed 2 full repeats of vine lace (instead of three), plus partial repeat (as written) for a somewhat-but-not-ridiculously slouchy finish.  It fits me the same as my model.

View from the top

Love the yarn.

Love the colorway.   I mean, anyone see any nutmeg in this???

Love the pattern. Completed in less than a week, without total monogamy.

The best part:  enough yarn left over to make a cowl, so my crush doesn’t have to end anytime soon.

Next up: the BFL-along on Knitter’s Review and Ravelry with the Knitter’s Book of Wool group.  Swatching underway.  Stay tuned!

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