twist and shout

Because I just never shut up

I’m loose. February 18, 2014

Gauge-wise, that is. Now, now. 😉

No matter what the project, after some 40 years (yes!) of knitting I know that whatever needle size the pattern calls for, I swatch one to two sizes smaller. Right off the bat, I do this.

By the way, anyone who popped onto this blog because of the heading who doesn’t knit or enjoy someone blathering on about knitting, is more than free to leave. Thanks for dropping by!

I named my project "Darling Byzantine" after my all time favorite Madelinetosh colorway, Byzantine

I named my project “Darling Byzantine” after my all time favorite Madelinetosh colorway, Byzantine

On to this knitting journey: Darling Emma, by Joji Locatelli, was no exception to my gauge swatch rule . The pattern calls for size 4 needles, so I pulled out a pair of US3s and swatched a reasonable 6 inch square of Tosh Merino Light (same yarn as called for in the pattern, BTW), soaked and blocked it (I always block my swatch–it really does make a difference.). Much to my surprise, I found I actually had more than the necessary stitches per inch. On the other hand, due in part to the yarn’s subtle thick/thin quality, in some places I didn’t have enough stitches per inch.  You know how it goes, you move that little metal gauge window  from one spot to another all over your knitting, counting those little “v’s” and trying to find several sections that clearly show you’ve hit the gauge’s sweet spot. In this case, it seemed like overall, I had more stitches per inch, which caused me to make the executive decision to go up to the size 4 needles. And to do it without swatching. There was the dicey move.

So dicey that, 4 repeats into this lovely sweater that I’ve been dying to make since last summer, I find my gauge has loosened to the point that (the sweater is a rather wonderfully easy knit, with an easy-to-memorize lace pattern, so I knit pretty fast) according to my calculations, if I continue to knit using US4 needles, the sweater will be at least 5 inches too big around. And while I like my sweaters on the drapey side…that’s just too much. Worse, I  could run out of yarn.

So I will have to rip. Waaaa. And it’s too early for a gin and tonic.

At least Stitches West starts this Thursday, and I still have Christmas money left over. 🙂


What would you knit? February 7, 2014

I mean, if time, cost, and availability of yarns needed were no object (I’m not including personal knitting ability as a factor, as I’m a firm believer that if you love something enough, you can learn the skills needed to knit it. Period.)…

What would you knit? What is your dream project that, once you wove all the ends in, you’d put it on and wear it just about everywhere you could possible think to wear it, fielding complements as you went along?

My Magnum Opus

My Magnum Opus

I don’t even have to pause to think of what I’d choose from my huge Raverly queue. For the last 22 years, I’ve dreamed of knitting Kaffe Fassett’s “Long Leaf Coat.”

It is my personal knitting magnum opus. Everything about it is a challenge, finding the pattern, tracking down the manymanymany different yarns needed, and because the entire coat is intarsia, weaving the ends in might take a week on their own.

And if I could look like this whilst wearing it, all the better. LOL.

And if I could look like this whilst wearing it, all the better. LOL.

Nonetheless, I decided 10 or so years ago, that I’d pull everything together and finally do it. So first, I had to get my hands on the pattern. Again.

The original Rowan magazine I’d purchased when it first was published in ’92 was destroyed by an overzealous vaporizer a few years after I purchased it. Even back then, I couldn’t track down a replacement copy. Then the internet was born. (Angelic chorus here) In ’02 I went on a mad eBay search to find another copy; after being outbid multiple times, I finally secured not just 1, but 2 copies at a cost of about $80. Yah, I know. It was an accident. But at least I relisted that extra copy and got $60 bucks back when it was all over. I find now that that Rowan has reprinted the pattern in a new book. 😐 Right.

Next came assembling the something like (this is a guestimate, mind you), 6000 yards of assorted (like 33 different yarns) DK and fingering weight yarns. And being Rowan, since they only name some of their yarns (huh?), even within a yarn line–most have numbers only so you have no clue what color you’re after. Let’s add an additional difficulty. All the yarns needed have been discontinued.

Back to eBay. I managed to pull together about 70% of the yarns needed, as well as a wonderfully helpful color card. And now with Ravelry, I think I might be able to fill in the blanks, or at least get a good idea of yarns I could substitute. 🙂 What did we do before Ravelry? (Angelic chorus again.)


Crazytown. That’s just the top half of the pattern

And then there’s that chart and all that intarsia. Hoo boy. With all due respect, what was Mr Fassett smoking when he designed this glorious sweater? Every row of each leaf is created by holding 2 strands of 2 different color yarns at a time. and the leaf veins are done with duplicate stitches/embroidery. Oh the headaches. Oh the yarn bobbins. Oh the ends to weave in. Oh what a work of art.

I think the only way around the endless ends issue is to weave some ends in each time you pick up the piece before you continue knitting. And I’m planning on bringing the charts to be enlarged so I’ll have a clue what I’m knitting. At least that’s what I’ll do when I finally start this someday. I have about 15 projects I’d really like to finish before I actually pick this up, and it might take me years to finish, however, I will make this sweater.

I think I'll lightly color in the leaves after enlarging the chart.

I think I’ll lightly color in the leaves after enlarging the chart.

What I want to know is, who knitted the sample for the pattern? That person(s) should be canonized. Seriously.



So, what would you knit? I’d really love to know!


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