This is a Test!

I'm knitting like it's my job right now.
Or . . . I'm trying to! 


Because I'm doing a test knit for Elizabeth Smith.
And I have a deadline!

I've knit a few of Elizabeth's designs in the past (like this one and this one), and they are among my favorites -- to knit and to wear. I tend to like the basic simplicity of Eliabeth's designs, and I really appreciate her attention to detail. (She writes a great pattern, too. Clear, easy to follow, lots of photos and technique tips/tricks.) So when she showed a new design on her blog last month and put out a call for test knitters, I was All Over It. Because her new design is one I'd be wanting to knit - and wear - anyway!

I'm doing the no-sleeves version in the DK/sport weight "division" . . . in this yarn. (And I did check in with Elizabeth writing this post. I do have her OK to show my progress here, although I won't be revealing any modeled shots until she releases the pattern later this fall.) 


I really like the way it's coming together so far. I love the texture! It looks kinda like Brioche. But it's not. And it looks kinda like ribbing. But it's not. (Surprise - it's all just knit and slipped stitches.) The stitch pattern has a nice, easy rhythm, and the knitting clips along pretty quickly. (And it's glaringly obvious when you've miscounted, so when fixes are necessary, they're easy to manage.) (Ask me how I know. . . ).

This is one test I'm happy to take!


How about you? What are you making this week?

(And be sure to stop by Kat's today for more Unraveled Wednesday fun.)




That's Me In the Corner

(Click here for a soundtrack to accompany today's post.)
(In case you're not already singing along. . . )

I've knit a lot of sweaters over the years.
But I've never knit one sideways before.

Until now . . . 



That's me in the corner.
That's me in the spotlight.
Losing my religion. . .


It was kinda weird to knit a sweater from cuff-to-cuff, sideways. I had to wrap my brain around it a few times there . . . on the fly. Row gauge was a huge issue for me (on a sideways project, the stitch gauge determines length; the row gauge the width), so that had me flipped around, too. It's a little like knitting origami.


As I was knitting this sweater, I really liked the "wrong side" better than the "right side" (I blogged about that here) . . . but, in the end, I went with the "right side" out. I tried with the "wrong side." But the seaming was a nightmare. And the decreases/increases didn't looks so hot from the "wrong side" either.

I thought that I heard you laughing
I thought that I heard you sing
I think I thought I saw you try
But that was just a dream
That was just a dream . . . 
Overall, not a bad way to lose your religion!
(If you want the details, you can find my project notes on Ravelry here.)
How about YOU? What are you making this week?



Tortoise-ing Along


How's that sideways-sweater knitting coming along?
(This pattern.)


S - L - O - W - L - Y.

That's how!


I'm knitting at tortoise-speed this summer.
And that's okay.


I've knit one sleeve, the back and the front.
The rows are about to get a lot shorter again, so . . . Home Stretch.

And . . . I've reached the Most Exciting Part: dropping the stitches for the fringe!


Slow and steady wins the race, right?


How about you? Are you a tortoise. . . or a hare . . . when it comes to your "making?"


Be sure to visit Kat for more Unraveled updates today.

Taking Shape

So I've been doing a little knitting.

Not a lot.
But some.

I'm making this . . . out of this . . . and it's got a rather interesting construction.

First, it's knit sideways.

IMG_5658 2

And second, it promises future excitement (!) with Dropped-Stitches-To-Make-Fringe.
(I can't wait for that part.)

This is one of those projects that is super simple - in design and in construction.
The yarn does ALL the work and heavy lifting.


But it has taken more than a little thinking and even some algebra to get it into shape so far. Because with a sideways construction? Row gauge matters!
And I never get row gauge. 
(So I had to knit that first sleeve twice. I got over it.)

But that's not where the thinking ends with this project.
Because as I'm knitting, I'm pondering a design thing . . .
and at this point, I'd love to get your opinion.

The pattern is designed to have the smooth side of the stockinette showing as the right side.
Like this . . . 


But I'm actually loving the way the reverse side of the stockinette looks.
Like this . . . 


Reversing things is simple. I just need to decide before I seam.
(And I have plenty of time to decide, as you can see.)


Fairy Tale Knitting

Sometimes, when we finish a knitting project, it's like finding a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Sometimes, we are granted at least one (and maybe all) of our three wishes. (That it fits, that we don't run out of yarn, that our gauge swatch was true, for example.)

Sometimes, we really can spin gold out of straw.

And sometimes?
Not so much.


My face . . . says it all.

Fee. Fi. Fo. Fum.
This disaster was supposed to be this

But my gauge swatch lied.
I hate the yarn. (It's thick and twists a lot.)
I don't think a good-soak-and-a-toss-in-the-dryer would help at all.

No pot of gold at the end of this rainbow!
(Sometimes Rumpelstilskin wins . . . and you really can't spin gold from straw.)

Some knitting fairy tales . . . are just Grimm.


I hope your knitting this week is full of fairy tale magic and that all your wishes that come true!
(And don't feel bad for me. I'm on to a new story already . . . )


Be sure to visit Kat today for more Unraveled tales!

July is Dressed Up and Playing Her Tune

There is nothing like an old song to bring the memories flooding back, is there?

Today's post really needs a soundtrack . . . but you'll have to click here to listen because I couldn't embed the video (any video). That is . . . if the title of this post didn't already conjure that song in your brain. Remember that song? Summer Breeze. Seals & Croft. It is just a major, major nostalgia tune for me . . . bringing back one of my best junior high school memories. C'mon back to 8th grade with me for just a minute, okay?

There I was. . . gawky in my Olive Oyl body, with braces on my teeth, and hair that was trying hard to be like Marcia Brady's (but not cutting it) (at all), quiet and concerned all.the.time about saying/doing/wearing something stupid . . . and wishing for so much more (like a teenage sitcom life). And then, one day after band class, Nick Mizell asked me to stop by one of the band practice rooms after school. What could he want with me? I mean . . . Nick was suuuuper cute. Very cool. A drummer with dreamy hair. So very far out of my league. But I went to meet him anyway, hoping it wasn't going to be some embarrassing prank. I played it really cool - just in case - and tried my best to look like I was just casually down by the band room, y'know . . . looking for some sheet music, after school (like one might do in a teenage sitcom life).

But, no. He did actually want me to meet him. He and a couple of other band guys (Steve and Jay) were all set up in this practice room with Nick's drum set. (Steve played an electric guitar, and Jay had his trumpet). They were practicing for the school talent show, and they wanted me to listen while they played (you guessed itSummer Breeze. And it was so awesome! I'd never seen a drum set up close. Or an electric guitar. And it sounded so good, so . . . exotic! (Not to mention how exotic these boys were to me.) And you know what they wanted? They wanted ME to play my flute in their group for the talent show. Seriously. I thought I had absolutely DIED AND GONE TO HEAVEN. Like I was freaking Grace Slick or something! This was one of the highlights of 8th grade for me. (Right up there with the night Alan Richardson asked me to couple skate at the skating rink . . . and then skated with me the whole night long.)

Anyway. Big nostalgia for me . . . that song.
(Oh. We didn't win the talent show, but we did get far enough along that we got to play in the school assembly.) (And, unsurprisingly, Nick was only interested in my flute playing and ignored me for the rest of time after that.)

That's a long story. . . and not really what I was planning to blog about today at all.
But I've always loved that song!
And I heard it on the radio just as I started to knit this summer tank top.


Sweet days of summer, the jasmine's in bloom
July is dressed up and wearing a tune

IMG_5159 2

Summer breeze makes me feel fine
Blowin' through the jasmine in my mind

It's kind of nice . . . when your summer knitting project brings a welcome song and fun memories for each stitch!

I can't play it on my flute anymore, but . . . 
Eat your heart out, Nick.


For details and more photos, click here for my Ravelry project page.


And don't forget to visit Kat to check out more Unraveled posts today.

Summer Ease

I am all about the ease this summer. 

No big plans. No big events. No big expectations. Just . . . ease.

Kick back.
See what unfolds.
And drink it in.

That's my plan.

My knitting right now is all about ease, too.


This is the back piece (now complete) of this summer tank top. The yarn I'm using - Berroco Mantra (stonewash variety; it also comes in solid colors) - is 100% silk. It knits like a dream. It drapes like a dream. I'm hoping it fits like a dream. 

It's a perfect project when your goal is . . . summer ease.


How about you?
What are you making right now?


Be sure to visit Kat today for more Unraveled posts.

You're My Blue Sky

[Click here for accompanying soundtrack.]
(As if the song hasn't already started playing in your head. . . )

This time, I managed to hit the sweater/weather match right on the nose!


I actually knit a wool sweater I can wear for the next couple of weeks (given the current local forecast). This is a looser gauge, kinda swing-y sweater that screams "spring" to me -- especially in this particular yarn colorway. (It's called "Mother Earth" and it's from Miss Babs.) It's perfect for cool, spring weather -- when you still want to ward off the chill, but want to feel breezy and . . . not like "winter carnival." (Y'know?)


You're my blue sky,
you're my sunny day.
Lord, you know it makes me high
when you turn your love my way.
Turn your love my way . . .


You can find all the details here on Ravelry if you're interested.

And . . . here a little treat. You can watch the Allman Brothers perform Blue Sky (my favorite Allman Brothers song, by the way) for a little lift in your day!


When Spring Gives You Snowflakes . . .

There has been some knitting happening here . . . 


Nice and springy. (Just ignore the fact that as I took this photo out on my back patio, snow was falling.) (Spring is so very fickle.)

The pattern is Sun Dog by Laura Aylor. (Here's a Ravelry link.) It's a great spring sweater, and by the time I finish, the weather should be Just Right. (That's my story and I'm sticking with it.)

What are you making these days?

Playing Those Mind Games

[Click here for a soundtrack to accompany today's post.]

Sometimes, with knitting, it's really a . . . mind games . . . kind of thing.

Will these colors work for this design?
Do I have enough yarn?
Will it fit?
Will I wear it?
Do I have the skills?
Can I persevere through the hard parts?
 . . .  and the boring parts?
And, of course, there is that whole gauge thing.

It's always nice when it works out in the end.


We all been playing those mind games forever
Some kinda druid dude lifting the veil
Doing the mind guerrilla
Some call it magic the search for the grail


Yep. This time, I found THE GRAIL!

Of course, now that I've finished, spring has arrived in my corner of the world (it was in the upper 70s yesterday!), so I will be packing this sweater away until fall. 

Mind games, I tell 'ya!

(You can find all the details on Ravelry, here.)



A few of you asked me last week how I divide up the "progress bars" for my projects. I'm here to tell you . . . it ain't rocket science! With some projects, there are a clear number of steps (or zones or whatever), and it is easy to divide a progress bar into those steps. With other projects? It's a bit trickier. Knitting projects, for example. I mean, I know you could go through the trouble and the maths to figure out how many stitches you'd be knitting in any given project and create a bar that reflects that. But, for me, in a project, I divide it into chunks of work that make sense for me. For a top-down sweater, the project chunks generally look like this:

  • Get ready: gather materials/needles, wind yarn, mark up pattern, do a gauge swatch, etc.
  • Cast on and get yourself "situated" with the start
  • Divide for sleeves
  • Body
  • Sleeve 1
  • Sleeve 2
  • Cast off, weave in ends, block

Of course, those project chunks are not equal in terms of time and effort, but . . . they work to move the project forward anyway.
(So, basically, I fudge it.)
Hope that helps.


Be sure to hop on over to Kat's for more Unraveled posts today.