Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Over the past few weeks, in the midst of wrapping up the sweater vest, I worked on the next set of Christmas Balls in the chapter of Religious motifs. As religious themes, none of these seem particularly Christmas-y to me -- and several seem downright Easter-y. But who's to say? I suppose if you live in a country where Easter is as likely to be as snowy as Christmas, a little blurring of the symbolism is allowed.


First up is a Crown, which I bedazzled to the nth degree. The beads around the brow section are silver, with all the rest red. The next ball is a Lily pattern across two panels. It doesn't show in the photo, but the lilies to the left and right of the visible one point down rather than up. It looks like I may have had a tension issue with this one -- I see a bit of a pucker on the right.


Next are a Butterfly and an Anchor. The butterfly's wing spots consisted of three white stitches. I couldn't decide which of them deserved beads -- so I did them all. This may cross the line from flashy to trashy, but there you go. The anchor was tough because of the long floats.


And finally, a Greek Cross on a red background (my personal favorite of this bunch) and a Crown & Heart design. I like the heart, although it rides low in the design and was hard to capture. The crown on the first pattern is preferable to this one, I think. This one looks like a Dalek. And everyone knows that hearts and Daleks don't really mix, much less Daleks and Christmas -- except when they do...


Friday, June 22, 2012

Hillhead Finale

At long last, after three months, the Hillhead Slipover from Ann Feitelson's The Art of Fair Isle Knitting is complete!

Although I finished it last weekend, I didn't want to model it until I'd bought a new blue dress shirt and my first ever real bow tie -- and then learned how to tie it. I was able to get the shopping done this afternoon, after which I rushed home to watch some YouTube bow tie directions. I wanted to do it all today while it was still "just" in the mid-90s. It's gonna get hot this weekend, and Tuesday's high is expected to be 108. I know wool is supposed to be fire-resistant, but really...

Turns out tying a bow tie is very similar to tying one's shoes -- only with really fat laces that you can only see in a mirror. I think I'm pretty close to getting it right.

This sweater is everything I hoped. I love the colors, I got gauge by swatching thoughtfully, I made a modification in length that was sorely needed, and, despite needing to purchase an extra ball of one color, I still have enough yarn left over to make a Polar Chullo for some lucky soul with a smaller melon than mine.

Whew! It's good to be done with the wad of wool on my lap for now. Now all I have to do is await some cooler weather so I can wear this thing, bow tie or not. And my other project is just the thing to bring on thoughts of wintry weather.

Stay cool!


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Got My Best Vest

Long time readers might get the Gypsy reference in today's blog post title, in addition to the one that's in this blog's subtitle. Or maybe not -- it's kind of obscure. "Paris silk! Harris tweed! There's only one thing I need!" (A clip from the otherwise dreadful 1962 version is available at TCM).

And that's to wait for this thing to dry, because right now, the Hillhead Slipover is done and blocking! I knuckled down and cut the armhole steeks, knit the armhole edgings, and then overstitched and trimmed the steek edges -- all in the last few days.

I wasn't sure about the stitching and trimming. I just wanted to be done, and as I learned with the Vaila Slipover, it's not necessary. But it does reduce the bulk around the openings and makes it look neater on the inside. I'll post a picture later once it's dry. I skipped Ann Feitelson's instructions to baste some thread around the neck opening and draw it in to neaten the edges during blocking. My edges look good enough, I think.

Modeling shots to come...


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Christmas Balls Video

My friend Staci over at Very Pink has recently posted another of her very helpful and well-produced knitting instructional videos. I always watch her videos, even if they cover something I think I already know how to do. There's always something new to learn.

This week's video is about adding beads to knitting, and as an example, Staci used the Christmas Balls I had finished so far for the shoot. They look crisp, clear, and quite a bit larger. Maybe the camera does add a few ounces, as they say? I especially like how the red and white are both so contrasty and visible and true-to-color, and how they still pop against the white background.


My favorite part of the video is when she pushes them all away -- it looks like they weigh a ton! Thanks Staci (and Parker) for making my knitting look so good!


Saturday, June 09, 2012

So to Steek

I took some deep breaths and left the sweater alone this week. I wanted to immortalize some steek cutting on video, so I needed to wait until there was good light and lots of quiet. This afternoon, Jeff went to the grocery store and the dogs were snoozing; I just had to wait for the air conditioner to cycle off. When it did, I grabbed my sharp scissors...


You should have seen the crazy rigging I had to do. I don't have any kind of tripod, so I ended up propping my iPad in a wine bottle rack and using some heavy things to keep it from flipping over the edge. I originally shot this vertically, but flipped it so it reads better. That slight tremor you can detect in my hands is from a heady mixture of terror and excitement. Gasp as the threads are cut! Thrill to the authentic sounds of snipping!

Now, to add the neck border...


Sunday, June 03, 2012

Over the Shoulders

The patterning on the Hillhead Slipover is done, and the shoulders have been bound off.

This is such a clever design. The shoulders are bound off using 3-needles -- nothing too strange there -- but, if done correctly, the pattern flows over the shoulders. I know this, because I managed to drop a stitch during one of the shoulders, and thus was off by one stitch on one side, breaking the pattern. It was a major pain to undo those bound off stitches and get them back on the needles to start over, but it had to be done.

I'm so happy to have all the hard parts done. Now comes the fun part -- snip, snip, snip! You can see the front steek for the v-neck pretty clearly in this photo. Don't you want to just attack it with a pair of scissors? So, the three steeks need to be cut, then the edging added to the armholes and neck opening -- similar to that which is at the waist, but not as wide. Then a bunch of soaking and blocking. There's a riot of yarn ends on the inside that must also be cut, but weaving in won't be necessary, since they're at the beginnings and ends of rounds, hidden in the left armhole steek.

If you've been following events, you'll know that the additional yarn I needed for the vest arrived this week. And, the beads I needed to continue with the Christmas balls showed up, too. Way more than I'll probably ever use, in fact. I was able to knit the two patterns from the chapter called The choir of angels, from left to right, Angel and Harp. Heavenly!