Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Sneak steek peek: Trefoil Cardigan

On Sunday, well rested and with the benefit of a bright spring sun shining through the windows, I finally tackled the next step in the making of my Trefoil Cardigan – actually making it into a cardigan.

First, though, the sewing-in of ends. This didn't take long. I find it oddly satisfying, even.

Next, assembling the tools. And a bit of studying up: if you're like me and like to read before you try something new, you'll find good advice from Kate, Glenna and Elinor

A running stitch up the middle (almost the middle – for some reason this steek was an even number of stitches, I won't do that again) provides a bit of guidance.

Next up: two lines of crochet reinforce the edges. I'm not the world's most able crocheter, so this took some time.

The crochet – one line done from top to bottom, the other from bottom to top – pulls away from the middle, which makes it easy to see where to cut.

A slightly different perspective on things. I pulled out the line of yarn I'd stitched up the middle, then put a piece of foam core inside the sweater as insurance. Then I got out my scissors.

In cases like this, where the tendency is to get all twitterpated ("Cut my knitting?!" cue swoon), I find it useful to ask What would Elizabeth Zimmermann do? She'd grab the scissors and get moving. Carefully, deliberately, but with an air of interest and experimentation rather than trepidation. (Actually, that's a good approach to life.) But I digress.

After all the prep work, the actual cutting is a bit of a non-event. Five minutes later, I had a cardigan – well almost. There are still button bands to finish:

And pockets to steek and knit, and buttons to sew on, and blocking to do. But soon, soon, I'll be finished. And I can't wait to show you what I'm making next!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Comfort knitting: Duke Street Shawl

What a week. I already knew it would be a challenging one – I was back to work, another stint at the in-house freelance job I'm working, which takes more out of me than I'd like to admit – but I wasn't anticipating all the bad news. So much bad news, and so graphic, and so constant. Eventually you just have to turn everything off and walk away.

So on Thursday I snuck out of the office for a coffee and knitting break. It was warm enough (almost) to sit outside, so I bundled up and sat in the weak spring sun for 15 minutes and got in a couple rows of the shawl I'm working on.

The Duke Street Shawl is one of two patterns that I modelled for Glenna back in February – the first part of her Urban Collection, Vol. 2. It was a chilly day, but with that shawl wrapped around my neck I was (almost, ha!) cozy. Later, I wished I'd had the gumption to distract her and spirit the shawl into my own bag. 

Instead, I'm making my own. The yarn is TFA Orange Label in Teal – I love this colourway. The pattern is simple – perfect for when your brain power is directed elsewhere – but the ever-shifting colours keep me well entertained. And oh, it will be so soft and warm when it is finished – perfect for those frosty early mornings at Squam (I'm under no illusions that it will be any warmer in June than it is in September).

I'll be bundling this back into my bag today, as I'm heading into the office for the afternoon and, well, you never know when you might need a bit of comfort knitting. Between this and the world's ugliest blueberry muffins (fresh out of the oven), hopefully it will be a good day.

In news-related news, I found this Amy Poehler video touching, and this essay was also a tonic. 

Back soon.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Floating along

 It's been quiet over here, as I plug away on a variety of work-related projects and try to ignore the grey, wet weather we've been having. In my attempts to keep spirits bright I've been buying flowers and baking cakes like crazy. And knitting.

I finally finished the second sleeve of my Trefoil cardigan earlier in the week. Suddenly it started looking like an actual sweater.

Now the fun part begins. I love the colours the sweater uses – and was surprised to see them echoed so clearly on my bookshelves when I stacked them all up earlier.

I love stranded colour work. It's fascinated me for ages and I still find it extremely rewarding. I love trying to make the back as neat as the front. 

After a couple decades of on-and-off colour work, I think I'm finally getting to a place where I can keep my floats consistent – not too tight, not too loose. It requires a certain focus – one that's been helpful as the ice pellets and the wind and the snow pelted my windows this week. 

As I work, I envision myself wearing this as I gather with my cabinmates after a long day of crafting at Squam Lake. The blue of the sky, reflected in the water; the green of the leaves on the omnipresent trees; the yellow and orange of the campfire. This late-season snow will be a distant memory by then. And so I knit.