Saturday, March 29, 2008

In a Cashmere kind of Direction

Designing has gotten under my skin.

Here's one I've been working on for a while now (and yes, daydreaming counts as "working").
I've named it Lodestar, after one of my favouritest songs.*
The plan is to give it a little arrowhead lace pattern, staggered across the body (which will not be shaped). This may turn out to be disastrous, but the current idea is to give the garment shape by wrapping a wide-ish ribbon around the bodice a la ancient Greek goddess.

You probably don't need me to tell you this, but laceweight cashmere doesn't put up with frogging. It quickly lets you know just how vicious you are by SNAPping, thus causing you to reconsider your delicate design notions.
But I will prevail!
A goat has never gotten the better of me, nor will any of it's soft belly fur.

In other news:

The Capecho is chug-chugging along. An unfortunate feature of this design is that you've no idea how it will fit until you're entirely finished. So, I hold my breath as of yet.
At the very least, I find the construction pretty interesting. I've never knit any of Norah Gaughan's patterns before. I like the way she thinks.

Lodestar by Sarah Harmer, on the album, "You Were Here".

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Cowl Howl

After a long, long time, here's the St Blaise:


Pattern: St Blaise (improvised)
Yarn: Handmaiden (from this kit) colourway: I think "Straw"

This one has been on the needles for a record year and a half
(first blogged at the end of October, 2006!)
I love the yarn.
As always, Handmaiden proves itself to be beautiful to work with and wear.
I used the entire kit, with only very few scraps left over.

Cable Close-up
I must admit, when I finished it late, late last Saturday night, I was overjoyed with the design.
Now, not so much.
At least, I'm feeling conflicted.
I had grandiose visions for the cowl, which didn't really materialize.
Half the time I wear it I feel rather fashionable.
The other half, I feel slightly like a silky Brahman cow with extra big cow-jowls.

I'm rather pleased with the sleeve caps, which actually fit in place! With no math!
(Take that, calculatrice!)

I remain...

******* Tres Sketchy Pattern Notes *******
From what I can recall (being, as mentioned above, quite sketchy, seeing as how this sweater was left languishing as a UFO for over a year...)

Gauge = 6 sts / 1 inch
I cast on approx. 150 stitches on 4 mm circs.
1x1 ribbing for 3.5 inches.
Shaped waist by decreasing to 120 sts. (so, you would decrease 15 sts on each side of the sweater). Began waist decreases 3.5 inches from cast on – finished waist decreases 6 inches from cast on. Maintained these 120 until sweater measured 9.5 inches.
At end of 1x1 ribbing, I began the cables (and as you can see above, the waist decreases). The back and sides of the
sweater are in stockinette.
Note: Not sure about the copyright etc... regarding the posting of the
central, more intricate cable. Just found
that at my local library. The cables along the sides are just a pair of 4
st cables, one twisting to the left, one to the right.
Simple 4 st cable:
Left Leaning:
K 2 rows
Cable 4 forward
K 1 row

Right Leaning:
K 2 rows
Cable 4 back
K 1 row

When the sweater was 9 inches, I began to increase for the bust.

Bust-line (aka widest part of the sweater) is 14 inches from the cast on.

I inserted the huge u-neck for the cowl thusly:
At 13.5 inches up from the cast-on edge, I put 26 centre sts on a holder, and
continued to work the sweater on the circs (but of course now one would
have to remember you're working back and forth, not in the round).
I decreased 1 st each side of u-neck every right side row until I had approx. 16 sts on each side of the neck.

When piece measures 17 inches from cast on, begin armholes.
I did this by casting off 12 sts for each arm. Now you should have three
independent sections to your sweater: the back, the right front, and the
left front.
I decreased 1 st each side of each armhole every right side row 7 times.

I continued up the sweater front until it measured 7 inches from the
cast on. I then put the sts on a holder so that I could graft them to the
back when the time came. There should be 8 sts each side.

For the back, I continued until it was 23 inches from the cast on. Then
I placed the centre (approx.) 30 sts on a holder, and continued to knit for 3 rows. There should be 8 sts each side.

I then grafted the front and back together, then picked up the sts along
the neckline for the cowl. I didn't count how many I picked up. I just
picked up 3 out of every 4 sts. (this, in theory, makes the neckline less

The cowl was fun, but a bit of a disaster. I just did a decreasing
succession of short-row shaping, which went something like this:
Picked up neckline stitches, placed marker at middle-back of neck.
Knit around twice in 1x1 ribbing. (Maintain this ribbing all around).

Then begin short-row-ing:

A tutorial on how to short-row can be found here.
Knit from marker to approx. 25 sts before marker. Wrap st. Work back across
all sts until 25 sts before marker. Wrap st.
*Work back across sts until 6 sts before last wrapped st. Wrap st. *
Repeat this until you've met at the front.
What I then did was the same thing, but backwards. As in:
Knit back across 6 sts, (don't forget to pick up all wraps along the way!)
wrap st, continue in this manner back and forth until you get back up to
that very first sts you wrapped up at the top.
Then I just did a couple rounds of straight ribbing, and cast off.


Cast on 50 sts.
1x1 ribbing for 3.5 inches.
Switch to stockinette, beginning increases up to arm pit, which should get
up to 60 sts.
Cast off 6 sts on each side.
Decrease 1 st each right side every right side row, until sleeve cap is 7
inches long (should be about 2 inches wide).
Cast off.

Monday, March 24, 2008

From Molly Ringwald to Capecho

One of my resolutionary* revolutions (at least, knit-wise) is to overcome the attachment I have infused into all (most) of my knits and take the big step. The plunge-into-abyss.
I've decided that a knit-never-worn is a knit-no-good.
The Molly Ringwald I made last year is one of these, and the first candidate on the chopping block.
I never wore it because I thought it was a combination of incongruous yarn for a sleeveless project, and the yarn itself seemed to stretch out and have nubbly, handspun-esque bits which created an undesirable shape around me.
Yarn: a lovely soft pink Noro Cash Iroha

Here you see it before (it didn't expand so much until I'd worn it a number of times):

and now here you see it's guts, it twisted, mutilated guts:

This will, with any luck, be its after:

I do realize that the yarn weights are rather different. I haven't done the math yet, but what with all the comments I've read proclaiming this pattern to (and I'm condensing what seems to be a general sentiment here) "come out large, floppy and not at all like the lovely (and probably clipped-in-the-back) version on the cover", I think a smaller gauge is more likely to lead me down a road of knit-happiness, and not to yet another knit-never-worn.

**Edited to add** Deception masquerading as a mistake? Here's a quote from the pattern corrections on Vogue's site:
This garment is not close-fitting; it was incorrectly described in the copy on page 105. The sleeve is the only close-fitting part of this garment.
Incorrectly described?
More like incorrectly photographed.

*again, don't look up the word, I manufacture them meself

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Angora - the third in an ongoing series

A very quick one this time.

Just in time for spring, here's my gathered knowledge on angora fibre (and sadly, there isn't much of it).

Angora: Soft as Canary Bellies

This lightweight fibre is my new favourite. I still haven't discovered its exact elastic memory, but it appears to not have alpaca's nasty tendency to s-t-r-e-t-c-h to slightly amazing degrees. Its even warmer to wear than wool, and felts easily.


-creates a lovely halo around the wearer
-softness makes it imminently suitable to wear against the skin


-sheds (so don't wear your white coat and black angora sweater together!)
-can be pricey
-beware for allergies (as with any animal based yarn)

When buying angora online, make sure you're getting bunny, and not goat. Way back when in my uninitiated knitter days I saw a lot of "angora yarn" for sale on eBay. I was rather disappointed when I opened the box to find some of the scratchiest yarn I'd ever touched. Not fair! Says I. The softest and scratchiest yarns should not share a moniker. In fact, they should be on the opposite ends of some sort of naming scale.
Angora and... Arogna? Is that the opposite?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

St Blaise on the Scene

In general, I find it difficult to take interesting WIP photos.

Here you see a fellow knitter alongside my latest design.

This one's being called St Blaise for my own "I'm trying to be creative" reasons. (and if any of you can guess why from the slapdash notes I've posted below, you'll be crowned the creative-est of all Canary readers):
I've no decent design sketches, so words will have to suffice:
-(at this point I'm planning that the) body will be almost-tunic-length
-have a very deep neckline, which I'll pick up later and create a giant, overflowing cowl
-my favourite, 3/4 sleeves
-(and as you can see) an in-the-round, bottom-up construction with a few cables thrown on the front for interest's sake

The yarn is a sumptuous (isn't that an incredible word?) wool/silk blend from Handmaiden. I'm not entirely sure which colourway it is - I believe it's Straw. I bought this in a kit, this one, to be exact. Unfortunately, as with so many knits, I cast on only to find it was huge huge huge. Personal design to the rescue! (I still like the original pattern that came with the kit. It's in the knit-future, perhaps with some cotton for the summer. What thinks you?)

In other news, Butters is cute as ever, Photobucket
and, after having given my sad wrists a break from oh-so-fine gauged knits, I'll be back at it with a cold-weather FO to show all. (hopefully before the weather turns to spring-time warmth!)

knit like the wiiiiiind

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Le Lapin Noir

Hop hop.


Pattern: Le Lapin Noir
Yarn: a whack of angora I bought many ages ago from Cottage Craft Angora

Why I love this one:
and oh, how I do!
Despite numerous mistakes (and I've learned to live with the multitude of errors I incorporate into each and every knit!) I love the fit, I like the shape, and it's successfully fulfilled a search I have been undertaking to find the perfect argyle sweater for nigh on 2 years now.


Unless you're looking for one, you probably wouldn't realize that practically every bloody argyle sweater in stores has a v neck. I wanted a scoop neck.

Also, I'm fairly picky when it comes to the colours I wear. Though, I will hazard anyone interested in knitting a very small-gauge sweater in black: not so good for maintaining good vision.


I would have made 3/4 length sleeves (as is my way) but I ran out of black yarn. I think the short sleeves work alright, and are less incongruous than one would imagine on an angora sweater.

The yarn is amazingly dreamily soft. Just as soft (dare I say?) as the bellies of canaries. Highly recommended. Knit yourself an angora sweater.


This sweater was inspired by retro patterns and the angora yarn itself. I'd never worked with it before, and wanted to see how it behaved.
I've worn it a few times, and have found it to be sturdier than I would have imagined. I feared it would stretch to frightening proportions as soon as I was moving around in it. This didn't happen at all.
I also feared it would pill horribly. This also hasn't happened (yet).
As I understand angora is (one of the) warmest fibres one can wrap around a body, I feared it might overheat me. I had no such problems.
As you can see, it creates a beautiful halo of bunny-goodness all around you.
I didn't block it (shock and horror!). I wasn't sure how it would take to the water. I'm entirely pleased with the intarsia, though, and I don't know that it would benefit from a blocking anyhow.

Le Lapin Noir

Spurred on by my inability to find a good argyle sweater, Le Lapin Noir was created with retro sweater-girl inspiration.
To make it a suitable warmer-weather knit, a light sock yarn could be substituted.

2.5 mm straights
2.25 mm circs (at least 18” long)

Cottage Craft Angora 100% angora yarn
Approx. 90 metres/hank (discontinued)
Black 8 (9, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18) hanks
Pink 1 (2, 2, 3, 3, 4, 4) hanks
White 1 (1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 2) hanks

8 sts/ inch
10 rows/ inch

XS: 28”-30”
S: 32”-34”
L: 40”-42”
XL: 44”-46”
XXL: 48”-50”
XXXL: 52”-54”


Using long-tail method and 2.5mm needles, cast on 92 (108, 124, 144, 160, 184, 200) sts.
Knit in 1x1 ribbing for 4 (4, 5, 5, 5, 6, 6) inches.
Decrease row: You will be decreasing 2 sts each side every time you do a decrease row.
K1, P2tog, K2tog, knit in rib across sts until 5 before the end of the row. Then Kl, P2tog, K2tog, P1.
*Continuing in rib, knit another 1 (1, 0.5, 0.5, 0.5, 0.75, 0.5) inches.
Work another decrease row as stated above.
Repeat from * 1 (1, 1, 3, 3, 4, 2) more times.
At this point you should have 80 (96, 112, 124, 140, 164, 184) sts.
Knit in rib until you have 6 (6, 7, 7, 7, 8, 8) inches from the cast on edge.
Stop working rib, and begin working the intarsia chart.
Begin at number 1 (1, 1, 10, 10, 14, 13) listed at bottom of intarsia chart. This will centre your argyle on the sweater.
Work the chart for 1 (1, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2) inches.
Increase row: You will be increasing 1 st each side every time you do an increase row.
(Work argyle pattern in to increases).
K1, increase 1, work across row until 2 sts before end, increase 1, knit last st.
*Work another 0.5 inches.
Work increase row.
Repeat from * 4 (1, 4, 8, 8, 8, 6) more times.
You should have 96 (102, 124, 144, 160, 184, 200) sts.
Now you will continue knitting the intarsia until piece measures 13 (13.5, 15.5, 15.5, 15.5, 16.5, 16.5) inches from the cast on edge.
Work across 27 (32, 42, 50, 56, 66, 74) sts, put middle 38 (38, 40, 44, 48, 52, 52) sts on a stitch holder, work across the remaining 27 (32, 42, 50, 56, 66, 74) sts.
Work 2 rows
Cast off for armholes: (please read ahead – you’ll be shaping the neck at the same time!)
Cast off 6 (6, 8, 8, 10, 12, 14) sts on each side of next 2 rows.
Decrease 1 st each side every RS row 4 (4, 6, 8, 8, 8, 8) times.
Decrease 1 st each side of neck every RS row 12 times.
Work until arm holes measure 7 (7, 8.5, 9, 9.5, 10, 10.5) inches.
Put sts on holders.


Work the back in the same manner as the front (excluding the intarsia chart) until neckline.
When piece measures 14.5 (14.5, 16.5, 16.5, 16.5, 17.5, 17.5) inches, put centre 38 (38, 40, 44, 48, 52, 52) sts on a stitch holder, and work the neckline the same as for the front.
Sew front and back together along sides, and graft/Kitchener stitch tops of front and back together.


Using 2.25 mm circular needles, pick up stitches along neckline, including the ones you’ve placed on stitch holders.
Work in a 1x1 rib for 1.5 (1.5, 1.5, 1.5, 2, 2, 2) inches.
Cast off (be careful: don’t cast off loosely!)


Cast on 76 (76, 88, 96, 108, 116, 128) sts.
Work 1x1 rib for 1 (1, 1.5, 1.5, 2, 2, 2.5) inches.
Begin Sleeve Cap:
Cast off 8 (8, 9, 10, 12, 12, 14) sts at the beginning of next 2 rows.
Knit in rib for 4 rows.
Decrease 1 st each side every other row 5 (5, 7, 9, 10, 14, 15) times.
Decrease 1 st each side every 4th row 10 (10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10) times.
When sleeve cap measures 5.5 (5.5, 6, 7, 7.5, 8, 8.5) inches, decrease 1 st each side every row 5 (5, 7, 7, 10, 8, 9) times.
When sleeve cap is 6 (6, 6.5, 7.5, 8.5, 9, 9.5) inches from cast on edge, decrease 2 sts each side every other row 5 (5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 6) times.
When sleeve cap is 7 (7, 8.5, 9, 9.5, 10, 10.5) inches long, cast off.


Sew sleeves onto body.
Weave in all ends.
Blocking the finished garment is optional (the original, knit in angora, was not blocked).


Intarsia can easily become a hassle of tangled ends. In order to keep sane, I wound and then cut off a few feet of each colour-section. This certainly did add to the number of ends I had to weave in come finishing time, but was slightly more manageable than large balls of yarn emanating from my work.

Think twice before you use black! (If only to maintain decent eyesight). You can’t imagine how frustrating it is to try and neatly sew up black knitted garments with tiny gauges!

Intarsia Chart
Garment Schematic

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

My Tea is now Cozy

What to do with Lamb's Pride that's too scratchy to wear?
Knit a sweater for your teapot.


Yarn: Lamb's Pride Worsted (Onyx, Aubergine and Sunburst Gold)
Pattern: made up on the fly
Wee Bees: taken from Barbara Telford's Bumblebee socks in "Knit Baby Head & Toes!"


These bees are so adorable, I made three extras for no reason. Not sure where they'll live.

Out of curiosity, is there anyone out there who can stand wearing Lamb's Pride Worsted next to your skin? In general I wouldn't classify myself as having a sensitive shell, but aforementioned yarn itches my so much I can never wear my first sweater - the Wings Sweater.


Monday, March 10, 2008

Compy and I are at Odds

Continuing in a rather frustrating line of technological folly, my computer has obviously decided that it no longer cares to preform at its utmost for me.
I have knitting galore to post, and so will apologize in advance for the anticipated quietude.
STUPID COMP! (shh, don't tell it I capitalized that).

In other, happier news: I've decided free polls are fun, and have posted this little ditty for your perusal.
Hot weather knitwear - a pointless and oxymoronical idea?
Not oxymoronical - I like knitting for hot weather!
Pretty stupid - what the hell would you knit for the summer?
Well, you wouldn't be using wool! Not sure how I feel, though.
I hate cotton. free polls
Hope to be back soon with knit pics.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Hew; or, what I did in Toronto

I'd like to announce to the knitworld that I love Manos Silk.
Here's what it told me to make it into:

Pattern: Hew (available as a pdf download on Ravelry. I have, rather unfortunately, not figured out the delicate art of pdf-ing).
Yarn: 2 skeins of Manos Silk


This pattern was a bit of a departure for me. Usually I think on a design for quite a while, sketching and dreaming. Hew just grew itself, in a manner that I'm certainly not used to when it comes to knitting. It was a very organic process, which brought me to a wearable and rather enjoyable finished garment.


My issues: because it was such an 'organic' knit, it's a bit loose in some areas and a bit tight in others. It sort of works out, but I've found myself tugging at the bottom edge and re-tying the ties every once in a while to keep it below-bust.


I've kept pattern notes this time, so I hope I can accurately tell you knitgentry (for this I shall title you) how it grew and how to make it grow for other sizes.


By CanarySanctuary

Bust 34 (36, 38, 40, 42, 46, 48, 50, 52, 54)

Manos Silk 2 (3, 3, 3, 4, 4, 4, 4, 5, 5)
4 mm circs (16” or longer)

5.5 sts / 1” on 4 mm needles

Pattern Notes:
Garter Rib: RS – K1, P1 to end
WS – P all stitches

This garment is constructed as a top-down raglan, with minimal seaming.

**Note: please be understanding. This is the first pattern I’ve attempted to size!

Cast on 96 (102, 114, 128, 132, 146, 150, 168, 168, 182, 182) sts.
Knit across 6 (6, 8, 10, 12, 12, 14, 16, 16, 18, 18) place stitch marker, knit in garter rib 12 (12, 16, 18, 18, 22, 22, 26, 26, 28, 28) place marker, knit 60 (66, 66, 72, 72, 78, 78, 84, 84, 90, 90) place marker, knit in garter rib 12 (12, 16, 18, 18, 22, 22, 26, 28, 28) place marker.
Arms are now marked for raglan increases.

From now on, do raglan increases in the manner written below until stitches for back number 82 (88, 90, 94, 96, 98, 98, 100, 100):

Raglan increases:
Knit across 6 (6, 8, 10, 12, 12, 14, 16, 16, 18, 18), slip the marker, increase 1, knit ribbing across arm stitches until one stitch before marker, increase 1, slip the marker, increase 1, knit across back stitches until 1 stitch before marker, increase 1, slip the marker, increase 1, knit ribbing across arm until one stitch before marker, increase 1, slip the marker, knit to the end.

When you have the number of stitches for the back, continue increasing for the arms (but not for the back!) until they fit comfortably around your upper arm.

When the arms fit around your upper arm:
Knit along front 6 (6, 8, 10, 12, 12, 14, 16, 16, 18, 18), slip the marker, cast off all arm stitches, take off second marker, knit across back, slip marker, cast off all arm stitches, take off second marker, knit until the end.

Increasing for bust:
Right Side Rows: Knit 1, increase 1, knit across all stitches until 2 stitches from the end, increase 1, knit 1.
Wrong Side Rows: Purl.
Work in this manner until number of stitches for front are 22 (22, 32, 32, 44, 44, 56, 56, 66, 66, 78).

***KEEP TRYING ON THE GARMENT to see how far it’s coming down your bust.
When you put the shrug on and it comes down 1 inch below your bust, begin the ties.

With the RS facing, cast on 200 (206, 212, 224, 224, 230, 236, 247, 247, 260, 260).
Work garter rib across to end. Cast on 100 (103, 106, 112, 112, 115, 118, 121, 121, 124, 124).
From this point on, work garter rib, decreasing one stitch at the end of every row.
When the ties are 1 (1, 1, 1.5, 1.5, 1.5, 2, 2, 2, 2) inches wide, cast off all stitches.

Work entire neckline in garter rib.
Pick up 20 (20, 26, 26, 32, 32, 38, 38, 44, 44) along top of left tie.
Each RS row, pick up one stitch from edge of neckline and knit it together with first stitch of garter rib.
Work in this manner all the way around the edge of the neckline until you get to the right tie.
Finish off by grafting/Kitchener stitching the garter rib neckline to the top of the right tie.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

High on Nigh on Time to Report

Anticlimactically, here be my second "Garn Studio" Jacket:

Pattern: heavily modified Garn Studio Jacket
Yarn: several (possibly 6 or 7) hanks of Manos del Uruguay
Mods: see my first version of the Jacket


What I like about this one:
As a friend of mine likes to point out, Malabrigo has got nothing on Manos del Uruguay. My experiences with each lead me to believe that:
1 - Malabrigo is yummily soft and lovely-ily coloured
2 - Manos is not quite as soft, but just as lovely-ily coloured

3 - Malabrigo's orange (at least the Sunset shade I used) is not a set dye!
4 - Manos has never given me unset-dye issues

5 - Malabrigo seems more evenly spun
6 - Manos has bothered me in the past because you'll get the odd very thick/thin bit

7 - Malabrigo's softness makes me fear it will felt simply through my wearing it
8 - Manos seems a bit sturdier


What I don't like about this one:
Rather stupidly, I placed the button-holes too far from each other, causing an unattractive bulging-open flap right beneath the bust down to the waist. I'm sure this will be easily remedied with a well-placed hidden button below the flap.

And this concludes my top-down, large-collared, woolly jacket love affair of the winter.