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Still in progress

Hi, how you doing? How’s the weather where you are? Weather isn’t just a topic for small talk here, maple syrup season is big business and when we don’t have enough snow (we don’t) the trees don’t make as much sap. And when we don’t get the cold nights and warm days (we aren’t, it was 62F overnight) the sap doesn’t rise and fall the way it needs to for sugaring. In short the weather is seriously bipolar and while it doesn’t affect me personally, I can feel it in the community.

It’s also the opposite problem from the one we had back in 2013 when I was trying to arrange a photo shoot in the Sugarbush of Sterling for the Saccharum vest. These photos? With the model shivering and the snow in the background:

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They were taken the second week in April. The sap had barely begun to run, and when it finally warmed up it went too fast. I can tell you, the sugar makers of New England are not pleased with this climate change thing.

Ok, but all that was depressing enough, lets have a peak at my vest in progress to cheer us all up:

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You can barely tell, but I’m done with the tree branch chart. From here on the back is simple 2×2 ribbing which creates the canopy of the trees. I’m also ready to divide for the fronts, so I’m hoping from here it’ll be smooth sailing. Maybe I’ll have a finished vest by the end of the KAL (which is 4/8, not 4/1 – phew)

I also want to show off my button hole modification. Instead of toggles or multiple buttons I decided I wanted one big button for closure. So instead of using the leaf eyelets as they are I modified one leaf:

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Instead of a pair of YOs I worked a double yo paired with a k3tog on the row before. Then I just knit the two loops of the double YO to keep the stitch count the same. I still don’t know which of my singleton buttons I’ll be featuring. I’ll let future-Becky decide that.

FO with a pompom!

As promised, pretty finished photos of the bunny hat! As always, you can check out extra photos and favorite the project over on Ravelry.

bunny adjust

So nicknamed because the gray yarn I used for the MC is a 60% angora blend I picked up at VT Sheep and Wool festival, I think it was 2013 (I have vague memories of buying this skein while hugely pregnant.)

The additional colors are all from Sunday Knits, either her merino/angora or her merino/cashmere blend. So this hat is warm and soft, even though it’s not bulky at all. The stitch pattern incorporates regular 2-strand colorwork and some fun knit and purl patterns in the trim which help the motifs stand out.

bunny pattern

I finished the hat and had an awkward amount of leftover yarn. Not enough for another accessory. But too much to just give up on. So the pompom seemed like an obvious choice. Oh boy do those things suck up a lot of yarn! Especially when you’re making one as gloriously large as this.

bunny pompom

It’s my first real pompom so it’s not perfectly round or perfectly trimmed. I wanted a piebald effect, using the same colors as the colorwork, so I wrapped each color in separate chunks, making sure to focus mainly on the main gray with splashes of the other colors here and there. At least that part worked well and gave exactly the effect I wanted!

bunny other side

WIP roundup

Phew. It’s been ten days since I posted, don’t know how that happened. Let’s have a round up of what’s on, and off, the needles.

This bunny soft angora hat is done, complete with my first giant pompom! Actually, it was done weeks ago, I’m planning a full post for it just as soon as I get the good photos off the good camera.

Finished pompom!

After finishing that hat I cast on for a thick, cozy pair of mitts:

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Also done, except for the weaving in of the ends. And I still need to take photos. Soon my pretties, soon enough.

So what IS on the needles? I’ve got my saccharum vest. The knit along is going full steam and a couple of vests are almost done! I’m almost to the cables, and with a couple of weeks left I’m not really behind, yet.

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But we’ll see how that goes. Because I’m currently distracted by these pretty, pretty socks.

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The yarn is doing the heavy lifting on this project, drawing me in and holding me captive. But I also can’t get over the slip stitch pattern (which you can’t see here, sorry) and how perfectly it breaks up any pooling or flashing. It’s also making the fabric thicker and cozier than average. Perfect for socks.

Saccharum redux

I’ve been steadily working away at my very own Saccharum vest since the start of the month, and it’s making excellent progress!

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I’m eight or nine inches in (I’ve forgotten already) and right now I’m working even until 12.5 inches (so that’s why I’ve forgotten, clearly). I love the simple leaf detail that is the main feature of this part of the vest. It gives plenty of time to get that repeat memorized before throwing the complicated tree cables into the mix.

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There are quite a few other Saccharums growing over in the Ravelry KALs right now (pural, because the wonderful Peace Fleece group has joined in again!) If you’re on Ravelry you can check out all the leafy goodness right here.

The official KAL ends in four weeks, but the thread in my group won’t be going anywhere. So there’s plenty of time for late-joiners if you’re interested!

leafy

Remember the green leafy thing I was knitting? My streak of having more knitting time than computer time continues! This was finished almost two weeks ago, but I’m only just getting to share it with you.

full back

This is a thing of my own design, and I don’t even know exactly what it is. A vest, maybe? But with those cap sleeves that doesn’t sound right. A top? Not exactly, I think of those as summer wear. A cap sleeved cardigan? I guess that’s the closest so far, it’ll have to work.

front full

But “cap sleeved cardigan” is such a long term for a cozy and simple garment. The entire body is knit straight up with no shaping. Since it opens at the front this works perfectly. The front edges don’t quite meet at the hips, but overlap at the button point under the bust.

shoulder

There’s some negative ease at the full bust, but that just helps show off the lace. And it can be worn open easily too.

front unbuttoned

The cap sleeves are created quickly with underarm bind off on one row followed by cast-ons for the caps on the next row. I worked up to the end of that repeat of the chart, then started the yoke decreases.

shoulder close

I admit to being nervous about running out of yarn while I worked those looong yoke rows. But it turned out just fine. I decreased at the yoke and then my plan was to work seed stitch for another inch, or until I ran out of yarn, whatever came first.

back close

Instead I worked and inch and felt it needed something more. I added just a couple short rows across the back to raise the collar up on that side – an addition I’m really glad I had yarn for. After a couple more rows I knew the neckline was the right height and it was time to bind off.

back open

I took some pretty close notes on this one, but who knows if I’ll have time, or still feel inspired by it later, when I have time to write and grade it. Maybe it’ll just be a one-off for myself. Who knows? There are even more photos on Ravelry, if you’re curious.

(and I’ve cast on for another garment already. Don’t look now, but I’m knitting up a storm these days).

Bernie!

Back in 2008 the Yarn Harlot issued a challenge: could knitters everywhere try and get heads of state to hold a sock?

“Perhaps its because I think that politics sometimes does more harm that good in the world,or perhaps it is that the image of a person out to promote their own purposes being asked to momentarily have to serve ours – frankly, just charming. Perhaps it is simply the juxtaposition of a candidate for Head of State holding a sock is just so wholesome, that I am amused to no end. Perhaps it is simply that there is a part of me that really enjoys seeing powerful people befuddled and confused by a handknit….”

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Note that this is not a new photo. At the time of the last election I didn’t get near any candidates. But I did happen to find myself flying economy one row in front of my state congressman, Bernie Sanders. So I asked him to hold my sock (I mean, I was on a plane, of course I happened to be knitting socks)

He was very gracious and seemed fairly comfortable holding a half knit sock. I don’t know if he, or anyone in his family, knits. But we do live in Vermont where it gets quite cold, so we have a lot of knitters…

Tomorrow is primary day in Vermont and I’ll be going down to the town hall to vote for Bernie. But I’m also going to keep Stephanie’s point in mind and make a donation to charity. Because politics can get ugly, but if we all think about how to serve others I think we can counteract that. I hope that’s something we can all agree is worthwhile.

Saccharum knit along

I’m launching another book knit-along next month! March will feature the vest from the same chapter, Saccharum.

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This vest includes leafy trim on the front edges, simple waist shaping, a deep V neck, and most of all: the trees

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This vest is worked up in Imperial Yarns Columbia base. It’s a lovely, single farm yarn with plenty of bounce and spring to make cables pop.

If you’re looking at substitutes I recommend another bouncy wool in a heavy worsted or aran weight. March is still cold, after all. So this vest is meant to be knit up thick and warm!

Please consider joining in the KAL over on Ravelry where I’m happy to talk about vest modifications, yarn substitutes, and there will be some prizes too!

Stranded

Life rolls on and things are crazy. If you’re following along on twitter or instagram you know I spent the long weekend painting my breakfast nook, kitchen, and bathroom. That also meant driving to Nana’s and back twice in four days (6 hours round trip each time) so Windsor didn’t end up covered in primer.

That’s my really rambling way of saying I have more knitting time than blogging time these days.

The leafy top is done, but not blocked. In fact it is still riding around in the bottom of my knitting bag. But a new project has been thrown in on top:

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Pretty right? I’m mixing leftover Sunday Knits yarn with a 60% angora farm yarn that has resurfaced from deep stash. It’s all very soft and I love it.

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Meet roam

I’m so very glad I dug this project out of deep hibernation and finished it. Roam is a lovely sweater dress. It is cozy and warm. Well designed with good shaping and supportive ribbing on all the hems.

roam tunic

My yarn is Bartlett in their heathered green Bracken colorway. It’s not the softest yarn but the crimp of the fibers makes the cables pop and helps the dress hold shape. These photos are from the end of the day and the only evidence are those creases in the front that show maybe I was sitting still too much that day.

roam tunic

In the end I don’t have many visible mods. Mainly the ribbing at the bottom hem is longer than the pattern calls for. When I cast on in 2012 I thought I was making a vest, and I un-modded those mods by adding ribbing at the bottom hem to make it tunic length again after all. In the process I decided to carry the braided cables down into the hem for visual interest.

roam tunic

I worked garter ribbing instead of standard 2×2 ribbing throughout because I wanted more drape in the cowl and hem. That 2×2 would be plenty soft in the alpaca yarn the pattern calls for, so this mod is based on the yarn I chose.

roam tunic

I now have three hand knit tunics plus one store bought sweater dress. I love them all and I find myself wondering if I can knit one more before the end of winter. Then I could live in them all week long!

roam tunic

and for my next trick

I’ve finished up the Roam tunic. It’s blocking and looks gorgeous. But I won’t be able to get good (read: daylight) FO photos until next weekend.

In the mean time I’ve cast on for ANOTHER garment. I have this delusional idea that I can finish one in February as well. It’s pretty delusional since I only managed to finish that tunic in January because it was 2/3rds done when I picked it up. But a girl can dream.

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That seed stitch trim was a SLOG. I’m so slow knitting that texture. But it’s worthwhile. It’s so stretchy and neutral and lays flat (so well behaved). Now that I’m past it I’m so glad I made that choice.

This will be a lacy layering piece. I’m hoping for overlapping fronts with a chunky button at the underbust, a loose flow to the body of the garment, and a fitted round yoke with cap sleeves. But since I’m making this up literally as I go we’ll see how it works out. I’m taking good notes, so if I love it maybe I’ll get it published! Maybe. I mean, I have two or three designs done and photographed but I just haven’t found time to write them up. The computer time interferes with the knitting time these days. And apparently I’m prioritizing the knitting. Don’t worry, there are a couple of things coming out in 2016 – but I might be a “quarterly release” designer for a while here.