Monday, December 29, 2008

Just call me Lance Armstrong

Harriet continued apace until I hit my now-traditional stumbling block: I ran out of yarn. As you can see, she's currently sleeveless, and has no button band, although she's coming together nicely and I'm hard at work on the contrast collar in the meantime.

But of the--let's see--nine sweaters I've knit in the last year or so, ALL NINE OF THEM have required either another trip to the LYS, or a prowl through the "will trade or sell" stashes on Ravelry, or an emergency order from some online stockist who had the last of the dye lot. In a few instances, this has not been a surprise; for example, sometimes I'll buy a single skein just to swatch with, like the results, and then be off and running on a new design that very night which requires a return trip to the shop the next day to buy up the rest of their stock in that color.

Occasionally these shortages are due to superstition, or wishful shopping: I buy the smallest amount I think might conceivably be usable, usually to keep myself under some magic number of dollars-spent-per-visit. Most of the time, though, it's a simple matter of me chronically underestimating how much yarn I will need, and zipping through my supply much faster than I thought I would. Me and Lance Armstrong: extra-fast, but perennially short one ball.

With Harriet, I got tripped up by the all-over cable pattern, I think. That really eats up the yardage. On the other hand, it makes for a lovely, springy, dense and stretchy fabric, which in turn obviates the need for shaping in the pattern, and is therefore totally worth it. I'd have finished this dang sweater tomorrow if I hadn't run out of yarn. Making a virtue of necessity, though, I've ALMOST made up my mind to order enough extra to make a matching skirt. That ought to take, like, three more balls, right? Maybe four?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


The latest work-in-progress: Harriet, a top-down cardigan with allover cables and (eventually) a contrast collar. Inspired, variously, by a mushroom-brown dress off the sale rack at Anthropologie that I kind of liked, but not enough to buy; a twinset worn by some fictional 1920s women's-college dean in a BBC mystery-novel adaptation; and eight vintage jet-glass buttons that my friend Lynn gave me on their original card. They're almost too fantastic to take off the card, really, but I'm gonna.

Stay tuned, because I think my Xmas gift from the ol' ball and chain might be knitting-related, too...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Quit calling me...

Anyone who knows how much I travel (and therefore how many hours I spend sitting on airplanes and in airports) will not be surprised to see yet another new sweater finished this week. This one was cranked out on the way to, from, and around Edinburgh, Scotland, where I was attending a conference last week. This one's called Shirley, since she's built on the same chassis as Laverne, but with some key variations that give her her own personality altogether.

Shirley features elbow-length sleeves, lace trim at the hem and cuffs in an easy-to-memorize pattern, and a scoop neckline with a vintage-inspired tie collar. The pattern is now available for download through my Ravelry store:

Shirley's worked in Rowan Kidsilk Haze, which I can't seem to stop using lately, even though it means I will have to put this cloud-soft garment away for 90% of the year (or else be known as "that weird girl who always smells like sweaty wool"--which, for all I know, I might be already). KSH is pricey but totally worth it for the fantastic texture, loft, and warmth of the knitted fabric. And you only need a few balls for a sweater, so it's not THAT obscene an indulgence. Have I finished justifying this yet? I think so. Let's move on, shall we?

I can't talk about having been in Edinburgh without mentioning K1 Yarns, where I spent a very pleasant afternoon (and, um, a fair number of GBP) knitting, chatting with shopgal Sarah, and watching Scottish knitters and Edinburgh tourists come and go. A highly recommended stop for the knitter abroad in the UK--they have an outpost in Glasgow, too, although that city was all about the used bookshops and cheesemongers for me.