Friday, August 07, 2015


I'd been trying to find a good pattern for some yarn I bought at the Marylamd Sheep & Wool Festival a few months ago, but I kept running into obstacles. Using Ravelry, I'd find patterns I liked, but most of them were in pattern pamphlets that wouldn't be easy to get my hands on. I found one that I thought was interesting, but when I got started I quickly realized the yarn didn't want to do what the pattern required. The shiny smoothness of the Spirit Trail Fiberworks Brigantia wasn't liking the cabled patterns I was drawn too. I started at different needle sizes three times before I decided to change course.

I have a book that I refer to from time to time when I want to make a minor modification to a pattern , but I've never knit a whole garment from it before. It's The Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns by Ann Budd. It's a recipe approach to knitting a sweater. You choose the style (raglan, drop-sleeve, saddle-shoulder, etc.), find your yarn/needle gauge, and then your'e off to the races with instructions in a table format. After my various attempts above, I decided I'd make a plain, v-neck sweater with set-in sleeves using this book and just let the yarn shine. The silk content certainly helps with that last bit. The colorway is called Shadows & Light, so that's how I'm going to refer to the sweater, I think.

I couldn't quite get gauge for the size 42 sweater I need, so I checked the numbers, and mine matched the size 46 instructions. So far so, good -- the back is exactly 21" wide with 116 stitches. I could cast on any way I pleased, so I chose the tubular cast-on using Staci's instructional video. Yes, it's fiddley, but I love the way it looks. I always feel that long-tail cast-on edges have a certain fragility about them . The tubular cast-on feels more durable to me, plus it has just the right amount of stretchiness and a clean, tidy, rounded appearance. Well worth it, I think. After adding the v-neck ribbing, I plan to attempt a tubular cast-off to match.

Speaking of recipes -- I got a great one at the family reunion I attended last weekend. My cousin Sandra (first cousin, once removed, technically) made a framed copy of my Great Grandma-Weaver's yeast roll recipe, which I won in the auction. Grandma Weaver was kind of known for these and her biscuits. Sandra remembers her coming over and making these. I asked about how many this yielded and she guessed about three dozen, which would have worked well for a family with 11 children, I suppose. My aunts remembered her as not being especially tidy in the kitchen and always being covered in flour after baking, a tradition I'm sure to continue when I attempt this. I love everything about this, from the fact that she typed it (she had bad arthritis in her later years and couldn't write easily), to the misspellings and typos, to her sugar brand loyalty. And, you can tell it's one of those old-school typewriters on which you had to use a capital "I" as the number 1.

So, I have a few recipes I need to get working on. One involves rows and rows of gray stockinette stitch. The other calls for yeast cakes. Does yeast even come in cakes anymore?