Posts categorized "Colorwork Classic"


This post contains scenes of cutting, unraveling and panic.  Reader discretion is advised.

This is a tale of a long fatal love chase for a sweater (my apologies to Louisa May Alcott). Of project lust gone awry.  Of yarn that is subjected to love, rejection, dungeons, and scissors.  A sweater that yearns to be completed but which languishes as other sweaters catch the knitter's eye. 

Can this sweater be saved?

It all started almost 3 years ago.  The Winter 2004 issue of Interweave Knits arrives at the And She Knits Too household.  The cover photo instantly catches our heroine's eye.  She must have this sweater!  Undaunted by the complicated colourwork she scans the pattern.  She cleverly locates a substitution for the beautiful but hand-numbering alpaca blend yarn used by the designer.  She even wisely chooses an inexpensive Paton's Classic Wool to be economical lest her attempt at colourwork fails.

Even the pattern written flat does not phase her.  This is an opportunity.  She converts the pattern to the round so she can practice her two-handed fair isle.  She consults Alice Starmore's Book of Fair Isle Knitting and incorporates proper steeks. 

She knits.  And knits.  Years pass.  The body-tube is complete.


Our heroine has learned much in the intervening years.  She learns that only shetland wool is sticky enough to be cut without first stabilizing the stitches.  She learns that her sewing machine is a possessed demon when near yarn and should stay in the basement where it belongs.  She has read blogs and books and has a plan.  She crochets the steeks to stabilize them using one of the contrasting colours.  This pleases her. 


Then.  She cuts.


Having cut her knitting before, she does not fear the scissors.  She is calm and confident.  She puts the body away and starts the sleeve. 

Months pass.  The sweater is abandoned for other, newer, less challenging projects.  But as Autumn approaches and space in her WIP basket lessens and new projects beckon, this old faithful project reasserts itself in our heroine's mind.  She imagines herself in the warm sweater.  She feels pleased at the sense of completion that comes from finishing it.  She realizes she still likes this design very much and wants to see it through.

She takes the sweater on vacation, to the cottage, away from her stash so they can be alone together.  Away from temptation.  She plans to put the first sleeve to the body and unite them.

Then it all begins to unravel.  Literally.

The crochet stitches are not holding.  A sickening sense of dread overcomes her.  She feels nauseaous.  The room spins.  The brown and green pattern starts to twist before her eyes.  She lets out a little shriek of panic.


Those little brown tufts spell unspeakable horror to this knitter.  Her sweater is unravelling. 

Luckily she's a quick thinker and remembers that all is not lost.  She carefully unpicks the crocheted edge and very carefully examines her work.  Thankfully her mother-in-law is an expert sewer and has a machine that is kind and gentle to wool.  She used this machine to sew down her first steek and takes it out to salvage her poor, sickly sweater.


The machine-stitches do their thing and unspeakable knitting disaster is averted.



The body is whole.  No one will look at the inside of this sweater and witness the barbary that she perpetrated.  Our heroine is weary, but happy.  Knitting continues. 

Will this love affair last for another sleeve?  Will the stitches hold?

Stay tuned.

WIP Roundup

I used to be a 3 projects + socks kinda knitter, but I drifted.

Thing is, I don't like the idea of having too many projects on the needles at one time--it just messes with my type-A, keep things organized, have control personality.  The other thing is, I have the urge to knit a whole bunch of new things on top of what I'm knitting now, so I need to just make a list and see where I come out at the end.

I suppose I could do all this in Ravelry, but I'm still getting thing organized over there, and while I love the whole idea of the place, I still like the blog medium better.

Current WIPs and their ontological status (from oldest to newest):

1. Colourwork classic.  I actually picked this up and started working on the sleeve again this week.  So I guess I'm not ready to let this one go, despite the fact that it's 2.5 years old and reflects my emerging skills in stranded knitting.

2. Collette.  Lace and Intarsia and craziness.  I think I want to own this one more than I want to wear it since I haven't touched it since about February.  I'm also too lazy to unravel it right now so it's in knitting limbo--fate to be determined.

3. Grey Mist.  Bohus beauty.  This will get made.  I don't like the fuzziness of angora when the weather is hot, so it might just be a while.  I already see myself wearing it this winter.  Yum.

4. Sherbie.  Simple mindless knitting that go put away for summer.  I'll finish this in the Fall and return Anmiryam's book.

5. Honey.  Soccer Knitting.  I think the sweater is going to be too short for me, but I don't want to rip back.  If it doesn't fit me, it'll look great on Mom.  I really should make this my Summer priority so I can wear it a few times before it's too cold.

And I started a sock because at the time sock knitting was what I could handle.  The Vesper Yarn was a trade with Anmiryam and I love it.  So do all the kids at the soccer games, who are amazed that socks are made, not bought at the store.


Okay, now that makes me feel a bit focused.  But only a bit.  I already have some Zephyr lace yarn on the way from Red Bird Knits (in onyx) and beads from Earthfaire to make another shawl. 

And I really really want this Hip in Hemp skirt from the new Knitty (I get to see the patterns months before you do and I've been wanting this one for a while).  Thankfully I'm stuck on colour choice.  I need to find this yarn in Toronto so I can make a decision.  I'm thinking Brown, Turquoise, Orange and Sand. 


And then Michelle, spotter of all the good new knits, alerted me to a new Hanne Falkenberg that I will buy as soon as I figure out what colour I want (though I'm leaning toward that green because it's so gorgeous).


Do you ever feel like there is just *too* much great knitting out there that you will never get to do? 

Now back to editing manuscripts...I tend to organize for procrastination, it makes me feel productive when I'm avoiding other tasks.  But now deadlines loom, I'll treat myself to a few rows once the first article is sent back to the journal.

Keeping my resolutions

I'm totally psyched by all the great comments everyone left.  Thanks!

Finishing Lizard Ridge checked off one of my resolutions.  It was the easy one.  So I pulled out the harder one.

Colorwork Classic, started November 2004.

February 2007, I've finished the body. 


And, I started the sleeve.


I'm not sure what's taking me so long.  Once I sit down with it, I get into a good two-handed fair isle groove and it's fun to knit.  I converted the pattern to be in the round with steeks to make it easier to knit.  So far, so good.  Hopefully the sleeves won't take two more years (aren't I optimistic!)

Still a blob, but now with added steeks!

If you look at my WIP gallery, you'll notice I don't have much on the needles.  That's not because I don't want to cast on about a gabillion things (plus a bunch from the new Knitty when it comes out soon) but because I want to finish the "challenging Fall project" from 2004 which got cast aside when I started challenging Fall project 2005 (Mermaid).  I want it to be my Rhinebeck sweater (even if it'll be too warm to wear there).  So I gotta get going.


It's a bit slower to knit for me than my usual stuff, but I'm enjoying it and making progress.  This weekend I got to the armhole steeks and did more converting (the pattern is written flat) and read the good tutorials and made it work.


Now just 6 more inches of the tube before the neck steek.  And I plan to cast on the sleeve to take with me to the Festival--I can do the cuff while waiting in line.  First movie is Thursday--Fido.  I can't wait.

I'm surprised it wasn't dusty

Look what I dragged out of the WIP basket:


This week I had a strange urge to knit colour and took out Colourwork Classic from the Fall 2004 (yes 4) Interweave Knits.  I started it as soon as I got the magazine and then lost interest and didn't touch it for about a year.  It survived the test of time (unlike Madli's shawl which I will not be completing) and I'm having a good time with it.

I converted the pattern from flat to the round and I'm thinking ahead to how I will deal with the armholes (they are drop shoulder).  I've never done a traditional steek and I think this would survive the no-sew method, but I'm not sure I have enough yarn for that (and my track record lately makes me leery of yarn shortages).  So I may go the Philosopher's Wool just sew and cut method.  I need to think on it more.  The yarn is worsted weight so I need to avoid any extra armhole bulk.

There's no rush to finish since I don't think I'll wear it until the dead of winter, but it is fun to actually go back to an abandoned project.

The planning, the knitting and the never ending

I know I haven’t been around blog-land the last few days. Things have been busy around here. The kids went off to their grandparents’ cottage on Thursday and so Craig and I have been going out a bunch--because we can.

I have been knitting a wee bit though. I spent some time on Colourwork Classic tonight and it’s coming along nicely.


I also managed to get to Village Yarns to buy that last ball of Kureyon for Butterfly. I also picked up some Debbie Bliss Merino DK to make the mittens in the latest Interweave Knits.


I was inspired by Stephanie’s gorgeous mittens and with her “you can do it” encouragement, I decided some new mittens to match my new down coat were in order. (Mine’s brown, even though they don’t have that colour on the website). Now I just have to decide if I want pink with brown accents or the other way around.  I decided not to get stripey with the background colour because I couldn't come up with a combination I liked and well, buying 5 more balls of yarn seemed a bit crazy for first-time fair-isle type mittens. 


I didn’t have time to start the mittens because I was finishing the last piece of Butterfly. However, I made an annoying discovery whist laying it out to block. It’s not the same size as the other pieces. It’s too big. Crap. Something went wacky with my gauge on this piece during the chevron bit. I counted the rows of the first piece and the second one is the same number of rows, but is too long by about ten. And it’s too wide too. So I have rip the whole thing back and start this piece again. So much for having a new sweater to wear this week. I could have used one--it’s getting downright wintry outside.


So I thought I was being sooooooo clever with my colorwork classic.  Well just before I went to bed Tuesday night I had a look at my work so far.  It didn't look like the picture.  The swirly bits were not lining up with the green/brown pattern the right way.  I was so smart about centring the main pattern but I didn't do the same thing with the swirl pattern.  Crap.

I could have just left it, because frankly, who would have noticed.  But I knew and I wanted to get it right.  The funny thing is, the swirl pattern is deliberately not centred on the body and it changes with each size (I'm not going to explain how, just trust me), but I wanted it to look like the picture, so I ripped it back and fixed it.

There's no picture today because it would be the same picture as Tuesday.  But now I've got all the issues worked out until I reach the armholes.

The story so far...

Colorwork classic is started and humming along.  Some of you are interested in my process of converting this pattern to be knit in the round, so I'll provide details as they happen, mostly because I'm making this up as I go along.

I decided that I didn't like the sizes offered, or the fact that the charts were not written to run seamlessly around the sweater (since there's a seam in the pattern I guess the designer didn't worry about the motifs matching at the seam), so I chose the number of body stitches based on what will allow me to run the motifs around the sweater.  The main motif has a 20 stitch repeat and the bottom swirl has a 10 stitch repeat.  I wanted a chest measurement of about 43-45" so I chose 240 stitches as the magic number.  It also works for the 3 X 3 rib, so I decided it was meant to be. 


So far, all I've changed is that I'm knitting in the round instead of flat.  I've started the swirl pattern and all is going well.  My only concern is to centre the green and brown pattern on the front of the sweater which means working out where the starting point is on the graph.  If you want to know this, email me and I'll let you know, when I know.  It shouldn't be hard, I just have to count back 60sts (the midpoint of the front) and go from there. 

It's slow going with the two-handed fair-isle, especially since I'm a leftie who knits continental.  The row I had to purl with my right hand took about an hour--I'm happy there are only 4 of those rows in the whole sweater, but I'm enjoying the emerging pattern and the challenge of this sweater.

That doesn't mean I haven't been taking it easy too.  Here are Alexander's fuzzy feet. 


Those are blue cups sticking out the top.  I should have casted on looser, and I want him to be able to get the slipper over his heel, so some stretching's in order.  I've also been dabbling a bit on Butterfly and I'll post pictures soon. 

I'm off for more colorwork, but not for long, I got a flu shot today and my arm is sore and I'm super tired--though that might be just back to work fatigue.


I did get to the library yesterday and got a fair bit accomplished.  I also got to Lewiscraft and they had all the yarn I needed to make Colorwork Classic from the lastest IK (picture in yesterday's post).  With some help from the a knitting listserv, I had the pattern converted to the round using traditional fair isle techniques and I got down to swatching.


I'm really pleased with it.  I got the right gauge right off and the yarn looks nice.  I know Paton's Classic Merino is considered a more "budget yarn" but I've always liked it, and it's perfect for this project.  I plan on starting tonight, though I likely won't make much progress to the actual colour part.

I also worked on something more mindless while watching Michael Caine in Alfie last night.  (A good movie, though sad--Alfie is a real misongynist bastard.)  A pair of fuzzy feet from Knit Wit for Alexander.  They seem really huge for a four year old, but that's give me lots of play when it comes to felting them.  I'm almost done the second one and should have them in the washer tomorrow night.  It didn't seem right making something for one and not the other, and Xander's feet have been freezing lately.  Especially when he crawls into my bed in the middle of the night.


The best news is they're both well enough to go back to daycare/school and I can get back to work and life can get back to it's normal frenetic pace.