Friday, May 30, 2008


I saw this beautiful design by JoĆ«lle Meier Rioux in a Classic Elite booklet and said ‘Aha!’ What a combination, bulky and lacy, also delicate. I had to knit this oxymoron garment. Although the original is knitted with a DK weight cotton blend yarn, doubled, I had Vittadini Samantha in my stash. A bulky cotton yarn, just right for this design.

It took me less than a week to complete and the result is great. I've been wondering what I could knit with this bulky Samantha for a few years. Then, one day, the right design comes right at you. I am so glad to have my 'healthy' yarn stash. Here is the lovely lace pattern at the center front.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Norah Gaughan designs

I used to knit Fair Isle garments mainly. These days, I am all for cables and geometric designs. As soon as I learned that Norah Gaughan published new booklet series last fall, I had to get a copy. The first volume has many designs I just adore. I ended up knitting a shrug from her second volume first. Although it is designed for a summer yarn, I thought it might be nice with winter yarns. I had Noro Silk Garden Lite in blue/yellow color which I used for a hat. I wanted the shrug to be extra cozy and added Kidsilk Haze in Trance, a slightly darker blue. I just love the way colors in Noro yarn get blended with each other by the silk-mohair’s blue wash.

I used 4.5 mm needles and cast on 171 stitches as specified for the smaller size and knit the Top piece. For the bottom lace section, 4.5 mm needles produced a fabric which was stiff compared to the top section. So, I re-started with 5.5 mm needles and cast on 49 stitches instead of 64. The gauge for the lace pattern was 5 rows per inch. I knitted 290 rows for the bottom section. It is so lovely that I’ve been wearing it every night.

Next, a fellow knitsmith, Nancy, was knitting Manon from Norah Gaughan’s book No. 1, and I decided I want to knit one for my sister. I happened to have 12 balls of Peruvian Highland Wool in terra cotta, the color she loves. Now, my yarn is worsted weight while the pattern calls for Aran weight. This difference did not deter me, but I had to keep in mind that my sister is at least one inch taller and quite skinnier than I am. Especially, her shoulder width is much narrower. There is no way of fitting the garment while I knit as she lives in Azumino, Japan. If the garment fit me too tight, it would fit her just right.

Instead of planning changes like I did for Elizabeth I, I decided to plunge fearlessly this time. As I expected, things went wrong. I began knitting the peplum for size 34” with 4.5 mm needles. The finished peplum section was much larger than I intended. Also, I noticed that I prefer to have the ribbing section a bit narrower and sitting at waist level. Switching to 4 mm needles, I started from scratch and decided to skip two rows of ribbing over every 8 rows of cable pattern. It turned out almost exactly how I wanted it to be.

The rest of the bodice went smoothly and the only change I made was to lengthen the underarm side seams to 5 ½”. My sister does not wear trendy clothes. Those short sleeves won’t be easy for her to deal with. I knit slim and long sleeves with cuffs which are not sewn at sides. For the closures, I crocheted button loops with chain stitches. Extra buttons were attached at the top of the cuffs.

The finished cardigan fits me very snugly, too snug actually. My DD1 looks quite good in it, too. As I truly love the design, I started knitting one for myself in green.

Looks like it’s going to be much larger than my sister's. Thanks goodness!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Tinkering Elizabeth I Pullover

Some years ago, I did yarn swap with an accomplished knitter in Switzerland and acquired beautiful Camel Dunedin yarns. I knitted Elizabeth of York with some of them. I loved the way Dunedin shows off stitch pattern. If I were to classify this yarn, I would place it between fingering and sports weight, or almost sports weight but not quite as thick. Its texture is spongy and similar to Gems Merino. I would probably use it as a substitute for Dunedin.

With the remaining Dunedin, I decided to knit Elizabeth I Pullover, which I knew required some tinkering. I heard it is too large overall and the neck opening is too wide, in particular. I decided to make this pullover more fitted with zero or very scant ease all around. For that, 5 stitches were taken out at each side of the bodice. At the same time, I did not want to modify the beautiful center V-shaped design. In order to maintain the design, I decreased the number of stitches reduced along the raglan shaping. Note that these changes made on bodice pieces do not change the number of stitches along the top. So far so good. Next task was to make sleeves narrower. I decided that the raglan shaping for the sleeves do not need to match that of the bodice, and I took out 8 stitches at the center of each sleeves. I felt that reducing the neckband length by total of 16 stitches might not be sufficient and added a dart at the top of sleeves, reducing further 12 stitches for each sleeve, with the total of 40 stitches removed from the neckband. The photo below shows the center dart on the sleeve.

Note to self: I may have been better off matching the raglan shaping of the sleeves to that of the bodice, and increasing the center dart depth so that 16 stitches were removed at the center top, with 30 stitches in total decreased along the neckband.

This pullover is very elegant and relatively quick to knit. I would knit it again happily.