VexdoneSince I’m about 99% done with Vex, I thought I’d share!  Granted the picture at left is heavily monkeyed with because 1. I took it late last night after a full day of work, workout and hours of homework, 2. it’s taken in my bathroom with the excellent light and thought I’d save you all from looking at my shower and 3. my purple dotty pajama pants don’t really match.  Hence the monkeying.

I very much like this little sweater.  TummytuckThe yarn is Malabrigo Worsted Variegated in Col China colorway.  I bought six skeins of this yarn at the opening of Nathania and friends’ shop Purlescence way back in October.  (A very superior shop btw).  I really loved the Malabrigo and this colorway screamed at me to buy it – so I did to put it out of its misery.

Malabrigo is super soft and I’m guessing will pill, but really, the softest nicest yarns pill because of their softness.  Tightly spun scratchy yarns don’t but are way too kevlar like for this sensitive missy.  A note about Malabrigo variegated (and all hand dyed yarn), if you’re fanatic about having the skeins all match, don’t use hand dyed yarn. Headlessside If you’re like me and don’t mind the back and front knitting up differently, go for it.  I did alternate skeins in the front to make them less likely to go wonky, but even that doesn’t really work.  They don’t want to be the same and I shouldn’t try to make them dammit.

After buying the yarn I found this Vex pullover pattern.  Just what I was looking for.  I bought six skeins and used about 5 1/2 making the cardigan and bands in size S/M.  The only modification I made was to knit it as a cardigan and make a flat laying crew neck collar.  The zipper came from the very superior Zipperstop purveyor and simply sewed that in with the teeth exposed on the trusty Bernina.

The only finishing bit left on this lovely is knitting up narrow 8 stitch bands to cover the zipper tape so it’s as pretty flopping open as it is all zipped up. Yay!


sockentine saves nine

Socko1 Not that I meant to start a new project, it just happened.

I needed a travel project for this weekend and nothing currently underway fit the bill.  Enter some lovely Spirit Trail Fiberworks sock yarn from New York Sheep and Wool and a simple ribbed pattern from one of the Barbara Walker Treasuries and a project is born.  Socks that look very timely in V-day candy display.

Speaking of fiber shows, now’s a good time to make those travel arrangements for Maryland!  Yippee.  I used Priceline for a hotel and got a great deal with a $59 bid, worth a try if you don’t have a decided preference about which hotel you get.

Now back to using up that past yarn show haul to get ready for the next one.

Hey there soupy girl

Soup_1 My zipper is here for Vex!  Zipperstop is my friend.  I wish they could come over and sew it in for me though.  I am extremely lazy.

Instead of a knitting post, I’ll give you a heads up post.  Remember Jennifer Coolidge’s line in Best in Show when asked what hot little her had in common with her extemely old and gnome-like, filthy rich husband?  No?  She came up with, "well we both like soup".  Holy crap that was a funny movie.  Well I too love the soup.  I made this easy and yummy soup from Epicurious.  I didn’t make any changes, other than leave out the celery (didn’t have any), double the spices and garlic and used balsamic vingear (that’s what I had) instead of cider vinegar.  Yum yum yum.  Easy easy easy.

Knittingwise, as has been widely reported in the blogs, Interweave has a Spring Preview up and it’s quite nice.  Props to Interweave.  Their pix may be blurry, but those new patterns are lovely.

What may have gone unnoticed is that Phildar has their new 2007 Printemps catalog up on their French site.  Some cute things there too.  Now to get that zipper sewn in for a "real" post.

American Idle?

Redborder While waiting for my zips from Zipperstop, I’ve not been idle.  I picked up my Phildar stripey sweater and gave it some much needed knitting attention.

These pieces are knit in 1×1 rib and look miniscule!  Of course I KNOW they’re unstretched and unblocked, but still.  I can’t keep giving my small sweaters to my sister, I want some.

So to recap this project:  pattern is from Phildar Automne 2 #456 pattern #21.  Catchy name.  The yarn is Elann Highland Chunky in black and natural.  The Phildar yarn was just too expensive with the shipping added, so I subbed for this wool.  It’s nice enough, though not next to the skin soft like some decadent fibers I favor.  Of course I can’t imagine WANTING to wear a thickish wool sweater without undergarments, but whatever floats your boat.

Zippy time

Collar I’ve finished all the knitting and sewing up on Vex.  I ordered a zipper and until that arrives, Vex will be neatly folded up, waiting patiently.  Me, not so much.

I’d hoped to have a suitable zipper in my stash, but sadly I only had a black one that was the right length.  I surfed over to Zipperstop and ordered two zippers in two different reds just to make sure one would be ok.  They’re so cheap it doesn’t make sense not to buy a backup in case my monitor colors are whacked.

In order to have a snippet of blog fodder, I photographed the little collar I went with, a simple 4×4 rib to match the midriff.  The Vex pattern is made for a pullover with a cowl collar.  Cute, but the Malabrigo in a pullover is a bit warm for my climate.  A cardigan is much more suitable for me.  The neckline was dropped a bit for the cowl neck, and I wanted a crew neck but didn’t alter the neckline decreases to make it higher.  I "fixed" this when knitting the collar by adding some shortrows at the front neck edge to build it up a bit without extending the height of the back collar.  I eyeballed where I wanted the shortrow to begin and end and looked up shortrows in Stanley’s Knitter’s Handbook and just did it.  Two shortrows per side did the trick.

I did notice that the pattern errata now has a crewneck version so shortrowing may not even be necessary if you’re too lazy to figure your own decreases.  Yes, I refer to this lazy girl. Oh well, Montse saved my arse – again.

Cold Shoulder

Shoulder1 Nope, cold in this post’s title doesn’t refer to the oddly cold weather.  No it’s the lack of shoulder cap-page currently available here at casa de Sil.  Sure I’m knitting away, but it’s not there yet.  But, it’s all I’ve got to show so *VOILA*! 

I did try to have a bit of fun with Photoshop in arranging the picture at right.  When I was whipping around the blogs the other day, someone mentioned that she’d wanted to make her photo corners rounded like she’d seen on another site.  This tutorial is pretty quick and shows you how to do it.  I added a drop shadow just for the heck of it.  Fun with shadows and back to the knitting.

Added later:  After patting myself on the back for embarking on the sleeve cap I realized that I never actually MADE the sleeve increases.  I THOUGHT about them, but didn’t actually DO them.  I nominate myself for the Dork of the Year prize (aka Palme d’ork).  I ripped back about 10 inches and am now chastened sitting in a dark corner.


Dressv1 Sometime before Christmas – way before Christmas – I got my Anthro catalog and loved a blue cotton dress.  It was adorable and $178.  Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t begrudge folks making money and running successful businesses.  If I could have bought it, I would have.  M8108_1But, I thought my family and friends would like Christmas presents too, so I decided to make my own version and buy a couple of presents. 

Well, weeks and weeks later I finally finished my dress.  I didn’t have a shirtwaist dress pattern handy, so I started with McCalls 8108 from my pattern stash and changed just about everything about it.  I kept the cap sleeve as is because I hate hate hate drafting sleeve patterns.  Quirky but true.

AnthrodressWhat I changed:  neckline – I opened up the neckline and dropped and rounded the curve like my Anthro dress; zipper – I added a CB seam to put in an invisible zipper; horizontal bodice seam – I added a horizontal bodice seam (back and front) in order to make an elastic casing; I also added fullness to the skirt and bodice so there would be a bit of shirring.  I didn’t want this seam to be at the waist so it’s about 1.5" above the waist.

Basically, the finished pattern tissue looked like a Frankenstein pattern.  Another thing I did was dump the stupid facings they put in all home sewing patterns.  I made my own bias and used that to clean finish the neckline.  Add some belt carriers and a belt and voila!  A bit of the warmer weather, some tights and a sweater and call me done.

Eensy and beensy


  I’ve been knitting, but I don’t know how to dress up my dull progress to make it interesting for y’all.

On the left is a completed sleeve for Vex that is pinned in flat waiting for sewing up.

BlackandwhitebackOn the right is the completed back of Pull #21 in Phildar Tendances Automne 06/07.  Doesn’t it look eensy beensy?  It’s knit in 1 x 1 rib, is unblocked and has really deep armhole cutouts because of the black bands that I’ll add at the shoulders.

See?  Dull.  I tried this random word generator that is supposed the help out writers who are stuck.  I tried it and it came up with "sordid".  Holy crap, it’s a knit blog.  That’s not too sordid, is it?

Then I tried this random haiku generator.  That was much more fun.  Read them out while drinking your morning java.

I got:  The one in the skirt
tucks the gem beneath her tongue.
Why didn’t you leave?

Could have something there.


Frontvex1For those of you wondering what that Swiss chocolate eating knitter has been up to, wonder no more dear ones.  Yarny progress below.

I’ve been slogging away at the first sleeve of Vex.  For those not in the know, it’s been deemed that we shan’t be using the phrase "SLEEVE ISLAND" any more.  Nope, no islands here unless they be actual islands.  So I’m working on the first sleeve.  It will go into the pictured sweater you see at left.  I’ve sewn the shoulders together to get an idea of fit and neck drop appropriateness.  Both are fine.  Why don’t I sew up those sides so I won’t be showing all my lady meat?  Because I sew my sleeves in flat.  Yup, pretty much always.  And not just in knitting, in sewing too.  Just about all the clothes we buy are sewn this way, so it’s good enough for my masterpieces.Blackandwhite

If anyone is wondering why it’s taking me an AGE to knit one sleeve, much less two, it’s because I started yet another sweater at the same time.  I am a trollop.  What am I knitting?  Well it’s the quirkily named item #21 Pull from Phildar Automne 06/07. I wanted to buy the Phildar Partner poly/acrylic yarn called for in this project, but it was a bit pricey with shipping.  I cheaped out and bought actual wool from Elann.  The black and white yarn is Elann Peruvian Highland Chunky and is pretty close to gauge for this sweater.  It’s hard to figure out what gauge is because it’s knit in 1×1 rib and "stretched" to measure for gauge.  WTF?!  I can pull it so it covers half my car, be more specific please.  I’m knitting one size larger than I normally would – just in case.  I’d hate for my sister getting another sweater due to my measuring ineptitude.

Holy crap I need more yarn!

GoblinNo, not really but I’ve got some anyway.  Well not GOT, exactly.  Not in my hot little hands.  Just clicked and paid for.

What the hell am I talking about?  I bought my sister some yarn for Christmas (she asked for it – I was going to get her a spatula and some tea towels) from a very good online seller in the UK.  I innocently clicked on her site the other day and found some Rowanspun DK for 1.95 (pounds) per skein of this discontinued stuff.  What!?  I want some.  Then I see they have "goblin" green as a colorway.  Holy BonneMarie, I must have that.  Click click, it’s done.  I like a bargain and I like yarn.  A true win-win situation.