Saturday, March 30, 2019

Big Needle Therapy

After months of knitting with cotton yarn on 2mm needles, my hands and my brain needed some big needle therapy -- forgiving wool, large gauge, easy-to-see stitches and quick progress. But first, I had to wrap up some loose ends.

Because the tablecloth was getting bulky and the chances of major knitting disasters at such a late stage in the process were getting higher, I decided to leave it at home when we traveled to Zion National Park at the beginning of the year. I always want to have something to work on for in the air or in the evenings when away from home, so I cast on for a pair of socks using some yarn given to me by my friend Jene at Christmas. Thus, the Fickle Step Socks. They're knit on 2.25 dpns using Quince & Co. Finch sock yarn in a colorway called Honey. Such a great matchup of yarn and pattern. By the time I'd finished the tablecloth, I'd been taking this project around to knitting get-togethers, but hadn't made a whole lot of progress. But as soon as the tablecloth was done I launched right in before the momentum wore off.

The cables use a double wrap on the row before the stitch crossing, which creates less pull on the lower stitches. At first, I wasn't sure I liked it, but after blocking, the effect is quite nice. I have a tendency to torture cable stitches and this is a handy antidote to that. Not sure if it would be appropriate in all cases, but it worked here. It also made crossing stitches without a cable needle a breeze.

Then it was on to a project and yarn that were both outside my wheelhouse, but just the thing I needed -- the Arrowhead Poncho by Pat Walker using Kraemer Yarns Mauch Chunky in a color called Blueberry Ice, also a gift.

It uses 6.5mm (US10.5) needles. I can't remember the last time I knit something on needles this large. It went by so fast! Thirteen days from cast-on to seaming. The pieces were finished pretty much in the first week, and this week was just blocking and waiting for some time to be able to piece this together.

It's a cool construction -- two long rectangles (mine were 33" x 20") with ribbing across and a couple of squishy cables on one side. Then you sew the two pieces together in a twisted way that creates this natural poncho shape with beautiful cables to frame the wearer's head. On this one, I did use a cable needle. Four-over-Four is a bit much for trying to knit without one. I did attempt it -- once. Then I dug out a cable needle. This thing is warm and heavy. It's not for me, and I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it. I'm leaning toward donating it to a silent auction that my medical librarians' group holds in the fall. We'll see. For now, I'll just admire it.

Already on to more things! I'm working on some self-striping toe-up socks using some yarn I got over the holidays. They're going to have a contrasting toe and heel. And I'm thinking of incorporating German short rows. I've never used them in a pattern before, and I'm looking forward to it. I had a bit of a problem visually while trying to do the increases on the toe with this dark yarn, so I'm anticipating a bit of trouble, but fiddle-dee-dee.

I'm also thinking ahead to sweaters. I'd like to make Ann Budd's Cambridge Jacket because I fancy a zippered cardigan. I like the purl lines that make this interesting -- and will likely help with the fit. It's been a while since I've worked with a zipper so I think I'm up for that challenge.

I also just saw an episode of the current season of Project Runway that had a sweater that really called out to me. It was worn by contestant Sebastian Grey. I kept driving Jeff nuts by pausing the show every time it came on so I could make note of some different aspect of it. I like that it has some fairly muted "me" colors interspersed with stripes in tangerine and lemon yellow, which are so not my thing. But it looks good here.

I think I could backwards engineer this. It looks like a set-in sleeve, but I think it might work also as a raglan. All the colors looked heathered up close -- the tan, the dark teal and the charcoal gray. I'm thinking solids might work better, but this doesn't look wrong. Something to think about...

As you can see, getting out from under that tablecloth (literally), has really unleashed my creativity. Hope you're feeling the urge to knit all the things like I am!

12 comments:

  1. Hello! You've been so busy! I wish I'd got to see the finished tablecloth while I was visiting but the pictures look amazing, as does that sweater! I haven't got to that episode of Project Runway yet so will watch ouf for it, I really like the colours too. You could totally reverse engineer that. I made Wayne a sweater that the kids wear in the Ozu movie Tokyo Story, although it's more inspired by than reverse engineered... changed set in sleeves to raglan and a roll neck to crew neck. The weather turned cold here yesterday and he wore it all day.

    You've certainly been making way more progress than me. My Norway jumper has a stranded intarsia panel in the front that I have reknit at least 10 times, my first attempt at intarsia, I think it might finally be OK.

    It's so great to be able to read about what you've been doing :-)

    Tony x

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  2. We just watched that episode of Project Runway last night, I was going to annoy Wayne by pausing it too... I think I'd like to make this!

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  3. It's such a palette cleanser to knit smaller projects. I love the sweater - go for it!

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