Sunday, 8 June 2008


Here is my re-coloured Dodge, hanging on the fence in this morning's sunshine. It is the tenth sweater that I've finished this year.

I finished this yesterday evening - I was trying to get it done in time for me to wear it to work, but that was not to be..... it did take a while dealing with all those ends neatly. I am really rather pleased with it. It is comfortable to wear, it fits nicely, and I absolutely love the colours.

So, this is Dodge, from Rowan 43, worked in Rowan's Bamboo Tape which is rapidly becoming a firm favourite of mine. I made size L, and the only thing that I changed was the colouring. I had one ball of colour A left over - but only just. There were literally only a couple of yards left from the previous ball, so I wouldn't recommend that you get any less yarn than the pattern says.

A bit more about the colours, then. This top was inspired by my seeing another recoloured version whilst I was up at Holmfirth - one of the DC's from Oxford Street had made a really wonderful version, absolutely gorgeous and very dramatic - but not colours that I could easily wear.

The original has three strong colours - Ember, a rusty red; Gale, a strong dark blue; and Honey, which is indeed a golden honey colour - together with black and white. I've replaced the black and white with Storm (grey, the same colour I used for Mine) and Wafer, a deep cream. Rope (biscuity beige) replaces the dark blue; Wedgewood (a lovely pale turquoise) replaces Honey; and Wode (mid-blue, not quite as bright as it looks here) replaces the rusty red.

Here is the original colouring - quite a difference. I'm looking forward to wearing my version at work, and I'm wondering how many people will actually recognise it from the magazine.

This was, as you'll have noticed, a very quick knit indeed, one of the fastest things I've made in fact - just 6 days from start to finish. It never actually made it onto my list of things on the needles - I started it on Monday this week, and finished, as I said, yesterday evening - so, 6 days. This yarn is a joy to work with, it flows through the fingers so beautifully - and the fabric as it comes off the needles is just so lovely - the subtle sheen, the drape.... stunning. Combine this with stripes in colours that I love, and you end up with a real 'just one more row' situation - nearly impossible to put down!

What's next? - I haven't decided yet.

We are off on the boat again tomorrow - this time it will be for about three weeks, and we are hoping that the sun will continue to shine for us. We did get fairly thoroughly rained on last time, after all. This time we are heading up the Kennet & Avon in the other direction, and my husband thinks that we may get as far as Reading before we have to turn round and head back home again. One of the first things we will have to deal with is the famous Caen Locks - I may need a separate holiday to recover from that.

I shall be taking far too much knitting with me, of course.

Currently I have picked up the Lenore socks again, and I'm enjoying them. These are the fifth socks from the Blue Moon Sock Club last year (designed by Stephanie Pearl McPhee) and they've been on the needles a quite disgracefully long time. They'll be getting finished first. I shall also take the other socks left unworked from last year's Blue Moon Club - Cat Bordhi's Salish Sea Socks. I really want to make these. Cat's book about new sock architectures is just amazing, and these socks use one of the constructions from the book, the one that I think is going to be my favourite. And they've got a star toe (also my favourite!) worked toe up. Also, I love the colours - blues and greens. I have thoughts of a teaching session on alternative sock construction..... but first I need to knit these socks.

Other than that - short sleeved tops to wear to work, that is the order of the day. So, I am taking Scree, Dauphine, and also the Lacy Raglan Top from All Seasons at the Mill. The first two will be worked in the original colours, and the Lacy Raglan will be in yet more of the discontinued dark grey All Seasons Cotton. I told you I had a lot of this stuff, and I meant it - what can I say? - I like my neutrals, and grey in particular. This stuff has already been used for the Cobblestone Pullover, and the Garter Rib Pullover from Classic Knits for Real Women. (That is such a good book, by the way.) But this will be the last top I shall make in this colour, there won't be enough left over for a fourth one, and perhaps that's as well.

Cookie too, I haven't forgotten that.

And I'm taking Bark along as well, (Rowan 38) in case I feel like crochet for a change. I still haven't started this, and now that I begin to think about it, I am realising that although it isn't sensible in the slightest and I won't be actually wearing it any time soon, this is probably going to be next. This will be another quick project too, I think.

The only difficulty is that I am also thinking about Marble from Rowan 41. I do have the yarn for this already, it has been lurking in the stash since last summer. I am not actually (quite) mad enough to think that I need to take the yarn for five sweaters, a shawl, and two pairs of socks. But that doesn't mean that I'm not going to take it anyway.

Well, maybe.

Back in three weeks!

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Number nine

Here is my finished Cobblestone Pullover - the ninth sweater finished this year.

It may not look very inspiring here - I am not a good photographer, as I'm sure you've noticed - but this is probably the most flattering sweater I've made. This is rather unexpected as this pattern was designed for a man, and I definitely have curves. The garter panels at the side seem to pull it in, and although there is not even a hint of waist shaping in the pattern, it makes me look as if I've got considerably more of a waist that I actually do. This is good. The curved yoke and the neckline - it is all just about perfect. It works really, really well.

Anyway, I've been wearing it, and it has been getting compliments, ie where did you buy that gorgeous sweater? Heh. Very gratifying when that happens!

I made the second size, and I used 14 balls of Rowan All Season's Cotton in a long-discontinued shade of marled dark grey which I think was called Slick. I didn't change anything at all, and I am really pleased with the result. It is so comfortable, too. The sleeves are a little bit on the long side, which isn't a problem as I can fold up the garter stitch cuff if I want to, or not if it is chilly.

My husband has now requested one for himself. That one will have to wait a bit, though, because the next thing off my needles is definitely going to be the recoloured Dodge, which you can see here.

Pretty colours. And stripes. And just right for wearing to work, where the air conditioning is not working properly at the moment and it is, shall we say, a bit warm.

I am part way up the back, as you probably guessed. I do like this yarn. Bamboo Tape has had some less than amazing press, which is not what it deserves in my opinion. This is the second thing I've made in this yarn in the last few months, so you can see that I mean it, too.

And now I am going to go and knit some more. I am not mad enough to think that I can get this finished before Thursday lunchtime, but that doesn't mean that I'm not going to try.

Sunday, 1 June 2008

So near....

Cobblestone is very nearly finished. But things keep happening that prevent me from knitting - you know how it goes.

For instance, on Friday I had plans for a pleasant evening finishing it off and starting something else - instead, whilst I was unpacking the supermarket shopping, I managed to drop a bag that had a bottle of Tamari in it. This meant that I then spent a quite disproportionate amount of time cleaning gluten-free soy sauce off what seemed like every surface in the kitchen. Not quite what I had planned. Saturday was a work day of course, and I did knit a little bit in the evening, but not much. And today has mostly been spent in the garden, which has been increasingly resembling a hayfield, only with extra-large thistles and buttercups.

This evening, however, I might actually get to sit down and knit. There is just the neckline left, really - and then that will be the ninth sweater finished this year.

And now, photos of grey knitting. Here are the short rows - specifically, the Japanese short rows which I used for the set of short rows near the neckline.

You can see them, yes - short rows in garter stitch are always going to be visible, after all - there is always going to be a garter ridge that stops. But there are no holes. Not even a hint of a gap. (By the way, the garter ridges that look crinkled are looking like that because that is just above a decrease round, nothing to do with the short rows.)

Anyway, I am a convert. Forget wraps, forget reverse yarnovers - well, maybe not for socks, maybe keep reverse yarnovers for socks - but other than that, Japanese short rows are the way to go. There is an excellent tutorial here - and yes, I used the pin trick, using my favourite stitch markers like little plastic safety pins.

The only thing that is different with short rows in the round is, of course, that on one set of short rows (pictured above) the turning gap is approached from the other side. Usually you meet the last stitch of the short row, then there is a gap, then the rest of the knitting. In this case it's the other way round. So I slip the last stitch before the gap purlwise, pull the pin and place the pin's loop on the left hand needle, slip that last stitch back onto the left hand needle, and work it together with the pin's loop. Works beautifully.

And when this pullover is finished, I shall start something else. I know I've got Cookie on the needles already, plus a few other things. But I really want to make this, it has pretty colours, and stripes, and it will be really useful to wear to work - and I think its going to be lovely.

This is Rowan's Bamboo Tape, and I am going to make Dodge with these colours. Here is Dodge, as it is shown in Rowan 43.....

The storm grey and the deep cream colour (Wafer) are going to replace the black and the white. The mid-blue (Wode) is going to replace the red, and the pale turquoise is going to replace the golden yellow. The beige (which looks pink here, but isn't IRL) is going to replace the dark blue. I think it is going to be lovely, and I cannot wait to cast on.

And I've got another idea, as well. There is a neat little short boxy cardigan called Brighton in Rowan Classic's Colour of Summer brochure. It is illustrated in RYC Cashcotton DK, and worked in three colours. But it would look lovely in a single colour, too, particularly in a yarn with some sheen to it, so that the garter stitch edgings stand out nicely. And I have some Silk Wool (Clay 305, a gorgeous soft silver grey) in the stash that's been waiting for the right project to come along. Good idea, yes?