Saturday, April 19, 2014

Decision Made

After thinking of every possible yarn combination, getting input from friends and browsing through my stash I've finally made a decision on the color combination of Tutti Frutti.

And the winner is.....

This is the same yarn as in the rest of the sweater, Louisa Harding Willow Tweed.  This is color #01 - Natural.  Now, if I'd had this yarn in my stash to begin with there would have been no problem with deciding.

The first decision I made was to use an off-white color for the minor stripes.  White would have been too stark a contrast (I agree with you Barb B).  I thought of medium-colored stripes but I liked the idea of keeping the entire project in a lighter color combination.

I shopped my stash and did find some off-white in a DK weight but it looked heavier than the Louisa Harding yarn.  I've been doing gauge swatches and the yarn seems closer to a sport weight.  Using the same yarn will ensure that the weight of the yarn is consistent.

So, the decision was made to buy yarn even though I'm planning to use the yarns I have in my stash for the foreseeable future.  The color is right, the weight is right and I won't need much since it's a small part of the design. The yarn is discontinued and in short supply, especially in this shade and I wasn't seeing it anywhere.  Then, I thought of eBay and found what I needed.   In the meantime, I have plenty of other projects on the needles and in the offing.  Next time I'll tell you about the stash-busting project I've just started.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Weather Forecast

We now take a break from your regular blog reporting to bring you this weather forecast.  For those of you unfamiliar with the Celsius temperature scale, 0°C is 32°F and +1°C is about 34°F. 

This clip is from the TV show "Rick Mercer Reports", a comedy show in Canada.  Knitters, check oot the nice sweaters.  Rick's is a Cowichan-inspired design.  Has anyone else had enough of winter weather (if you're in the Northern Hemisphere, of course)?

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Tutti Frutti - Decisions

I've joined a knitalong on the Patricia Roberts Group on Ravelry.  As my project I chose the pullover "Tutti Frutti".  Here's a scanned picture from The Patricia Roberts Knitting Book:

Ignore the plastic headband!  This pattern and the picture are from 1981.  I won't be looking for that accessory to wear with the sweater.  I won't be adding the shoulder pads either.

I'm struggling to get started.  I'm going to use Louisa Harding Willow Tweed as I have enough in my stash.  It's a blend of alpaca (40%) and merino wool (40%) with little puffs of white silk (20%).  The yarn is now discontinued.

The original sweater is done in a yarn that knits to a worsted or aran weight.  I wanted to do a more lightweight version.  The yarn I have claims to be a DK weight but it looks thinner to me.  I did a gauge swatch on 4mm/US 6 needles but the resulting fabric was much too loose.  The same was true for the 3.75mm/US 5 needles.  Now, I'm going to do another swatch, going down another needle size.  Once I've found a gauge that I like, then I'll make adjustments to the sweater.  I'll probably end up doing more stripes at this finer gauge but that's fine with me.

My next issue is trying to decide on the placement of the stripes.  I have 6 skeins each of green, pink and aqua - as well as 4 skeins of light gray, so there's enough for almost any striping option.  In the photo to the right the sun is shining on the green making it appear a little brighter than it is, but still, it's close to the true color.

The pattern's picture, above, shows 4 colors for the major stripes and a 5th color, the black, for the minor stripes. 

Should I:
  • use all 4 of my colors for the major stripes?  If so, what color would work for the minor ones?  If I don't have it in my stash, I don't mind buying a single skein or two if necessary.  Since this yarn is discontinued and hard to find I don't mind doing the dividing stripes in another type of yarn.  Would white be too stark?
  • use 3 of my colors for the major stripes and the fourth for the minor one?  If so, which ones should I use?  I thought of using the green for a minor stripe, laid it out on the table and didn't like it at all.
  • use all of my colors or should any one or more of them be set aside for a different project?
  • what order would look good for the striping?
I haven't decided if I'll add the zipper to the front.  If I do, it should probably match the color of the minor stripes - so I'd need to be able to find a suitable zipper.  I doubt I'll make the little filler piece in the center, between the sides of the zipper.  If I don't use a zipper I'm thinking that I might make a V-neck sweater instead...but that decision is one of the last ones I'll make.  Color and needle size are my first priorities.

I'll continue to think about this...swatching and laying out the colors in different combinations.  I welcome any and all input.  Meanwhile, my other project, Mosaic, is coming along nicely, approaching the halfway mark.  The back and one sleeve is finished.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Kaffe's Mosaic

Little by little I'm adding older knitting projects to my blog and to Ravelry.  I like having all the information archived so that I don't have to try to remember the details: name of the design, yarn, designer, etc. etc.  This time it's a pullover design by Kaffe Fassett called Mosaic, not to be confused with Lisa Richardson's Mosaic that's on my needles right now (update:  the back is finished).  I particularly liked Kaffe's Mosaic for it's 3-D effect.

Click to enlarge


Pattern: Mosaic by Kaffe Fassett (modified)

Yarn:  Rowan Donegal Lambswool:  Black #491, Mist #466. Pepper #473, Sapphire #486, Roseberry #480, Juniper #482, Cinnamon #479, Leaf #481, Tarragon #477 and Bark #475
I'm afraid that I don't know the amounts of each color or the size of the needles I used.

Note:  I made this sweater sometime in the 1990s.  The original pattern was a man's vest but I converted it to a pullover. I still wear it often to this day and the yarn is such as good quality that it still looks new.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

I Had To Share

I'm starting a new category on my blog called "I Had To Share".  Often, when surfing the web, I find the most interesting blog posts, sites, projects, opinions, etc. and they are too good to keep to myself.

This week's fun find is about pompoms.  Now, I've made a pom pom or two in my life.  Mostly they've been made to dress up the top of a little girl's hat or at the end of the ties for the hat.  They are nothing compared to the ones you'll see in this post at Lost In Knit.

(c) Lost In Knit
Included in the comments is a link to making some of the pompoms.  I'm probably not going to be making any pompoms in the foreseeable future (but never say never!) but I really admire the creativity and artistry of the pompoms in this blog post. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Mosaic - Underway

It was great to write to Rowan, and designer Lisa Richardson, about the concerns I had regarding the chart of the Mosaic sweater.  Within a day they both responded and now the pattern has been updated.  The original offering had a 12-row repeat when it should have been a 32-row repeat.

I've now completed one full repeat, working the back of the sweater and if you compare it to the original chart you can spot the differences.  The little 'boxes' are now offset and the diagonal lines go to the right and then to the left. You can see the original in the last post.

I substituted the Rowan Cotton Glace with Lavold Silky Wool. I'm liking the texture that I'm getting.  It's not totally smooth but has a bit of depth between the two yarns.

Doing a design in the mosaic/slip stitch pattern has got to be one of the quickest ways to work color.  You only work one color at a time and change yarns after every second row.  It's very satisfying.  I'm going to have a new sweater fairly quickly I think.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Mosaic - Waiting

(c) Rowan Yarns
I found a sweater that I like a lot and that I thought would be a quick knit, something to wear for spring - assuming, of course, that spring weather makes its way to Calgary one day.  It's the Mosaic pullover from Lisa Richardson.

The pattern calls for Rowan Revive and Rowan Cotton Glace.  I've got the Revive in my stash - color #466 Marble.  Cotton Glace is not one of my favorites as it's quite heavy and the weight of it makes a garment grow.  I know.  I have an entire sweater knit in Glace.  I dug into my stash and found that I have enough Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool in a complimentary color - medium blue #70, which I think is a discontinued color.  In the picture, the main color, the one used in the sleeves and ribbing is the Revive.  You may notice that the ribbing flares out a bit.  I've decided to use the Silky Wool as the color for the sleeves and ribbing.  I'm hoping that the yarn makes the ribbing behave better.

I wanted to keep the Revive as the background color for the patterned part, as in the picture. The colorwork is achieved through the use of slip stitches.  By switching the ribbing color, I didn't have a contrast color to slip on the first row, so I knit all stitches, fair isle style.  From there on, I was off to the races. I did the first repeat of the pattern.  However, there appears to be a major error in the pattern.  If you look at the mosaic patterning in the picture, the little 'boxes' alternate in position.  If you follow the graph in the pattern you end up with the boxes in vertical alignment, stacked on top of each you can see in the picture at the right.  The red box is one repeat of 16 stitches and 12 rows.  Also, the diagonal lines in the picture go right and left.  If you follow the graph, they all lean to the right.

This was a topic of discussion on the Rowan Love group on Ravelry and it was agreed that there is an error.  Emails have been sent to Rowan and, hopefully, we'll get an answer soon.  If not, I'll be getting out my graph paper and working on changing the design myself.  The wrong pattern, above, is nice, but not what I was hoping for.  I'm prepared to rip out the 12 completed rows if necessary, but I won't go any further yet.

In the meantime, I'm swatching for another sweater, Plain Jane by Patricia Roberts, as this will be done as part of a knitalong on Ravelry that starts on April 1st.  The yarn for this project is also in my stash.  I'm in stash-busting mode these days!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Little Billy

I'd been working on another knitting project for the past few weeks but I didn't want to blog about it in case it didn't turn out.  As it happens, I'm happy with the result, and the recipient is happy with his gift.  First, a bit of the back story.  Last Monday I went to a very good concert, seeing a band that I've liked for at least 30 years, ZZ Top.  I was lucky enough to have a backstage pass which included a meet and greet and a picture with the band.

I can't say enough about the concert.  The band played for about two hours and included my favorites, Tush and La Grange.  It's amazing how much music can come from three guys.  They rocked the place.  There were two giant screens on the stage and at one point a picture of Jimi Hendrix was shown.  That was followed by Billy Gibbons saying that Jimi himself had shown him how to make the unusual first vibrating note in the song Purple Haze.  Of course, the voice is different than Jimi's, but the guitar playing sounded just like him.  It was magical to experience the spirit of Jimi Hendrix, his guitar playing, coming through Billy Gibbons.  Next, the band completely changed gears and sang an old Muddy Waters song, Catfish Blues.  I love the blues and this song sent chills through me.  I was wishing I could hear it again, and again.

Here are a couple of pictures that I took at the concert:

Click on the pictures to enlarge.
The jackets are very colorful and the embroidery is intricate.  They claimed that they got them at the Dollar Store.  I don't think so!!  They are beautiful and I wouldn't mind one for myself.

Once I knew I was going to be going back stage I decided to make a little gift for Billy Gibbons...a mini-me type of doll.  I started with the instructions from Alan Dart's gnomes and then made changes.  Now, it's been finished and delivered.


Pattern: Alan Dart's Jultomtar - modified

Size:  Small

Lana Gatto Wool Gatto - color #5000 black used for hat, clothing and boots
Hayfield Bonus Toytime DK - #963 flesh
Lion Brand Fun Fur Solid - color #124 champagne for the beard
Dream In Color Smooshy - color: Chinatown Apple - only used a couple of yards for trim on the boots.
All yarn is from my stash.

  Needles: US #2/2.75 mm and US #10/6.0 mm (beard only)

Notions:  Doll-sized sunglasses - purchased at Michael's - I had to shorten the arms of the glasses.
Fiberfill stuffing.  Resin pellets so that he would sit properly
Gibson guitar - similar to one of the guitars he plays.  Purchased at Christmas in Prescott.

Note:  The Bamileke hat on the doll is my design.

And here, below, is the band, with Billy holding Little Billy. 
Left to right:  Dusty Hill (bass), me, Frank Beard (drums) and Billy Gibbons (lead guitar) with Little Billy
By the way, the hand you see on the right side of the photo belongs to actor Billy Bob Thornton who was in town to film a new TV show called Fargo.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Music Monday - ZZ Top

It's music Monday and this time I've got the music of ZZ Top going through my head.  Why?  Well, tonight I'll be going to see the band at the Jubilee Auditorium in Calgary.

We'll have to give this Little Old Band From Texas a warm welcome.  They're brave to come to Calgary in March, even though the weather has warmed up somewhat in the last week of so.  This clip with Billy F. Gibbons is from Live From Daryl's House, an excellent online music show that comes out on the 15th of each month.  Daryl is Daryl Hall, as in Hall & Oates.  Check it out, go through the archives! 

Now, I'm going back to listening to some ZZ Top songs.  Have mercy......

Click on the links, below, for 3 more songs that you might enjoy (I do!!), this time with the whole band:  Billy Gibbons on lead guitar, Dusty Hill on bass, and, ironically, Frank Beard (the guy without the long beard) on drums.


Saturday, March 15, 2014

Penguin Sweater Finished

The little penguin sweater is finish, actually has been for a few days.  I've been struggling with taking a decent picture.  This little teddy bear is the perfect size for the sweater so I wanted to use it as the model.  However, no matter where I took the picture, what time of day and what settings I used, the head always came out blurry.  I give up and will post this picture as is.  When taking a picture cuts into your knitting time, it's time to quit and get back to the needles.  Also, the neck looks a little weird.  That's because teddy has a big bow and it covered most of the sweater so I tucked it inside.


Pattern:  Little Penguin Knitted Jumpers by Phillip Island Penguin Foundation

Size:  One size

Yarn:  Cakewalk Yarns Footsie (the shop is now closed, unfortunately)
Color:  Cakewalk
Yarn was from my stash.  Very little was needed for the sweater.

  Needles: US #3 / 3.25 mm