that yarn from the other day

My arms are in great shape after a week of winding.

I turned Veronik‘s 2 cones of St. Denis Nordique, last seen looking like this:

Into this:

That’s 2 swatches, and 40 mini cakes, ready for our November MKG meeting.  I copied the gauge for a sample pattern using this yarn (Agathe, from the Spring/Summer 2010 issue of the St. Denis magazine), and knit 2 swatches using the required yarn and needles (with a moss stitch border). Our guild project will be to have everyone knit up the same swatches, and then to compare and see what a (presumably) vast array of actual swatch sizes we end up with, as a means to illustrating the importance of swatching.  You know, that just because you use the yarn and needles called for in the pattern, doesn’t mean you’ll end up with anything near the pattern’s gauge.

Each guild member who attends will get a little cake of yarn and a copy of instructions that I printed earlier.  It took me roughly 100 feet of yarn for my swatches, so I wound each cake to 120 feet to account for looser tensions eating more yarn.  (My yarn meter works in feet, and I’m too lazy to do the math right now.  Divide by 3 for yards).

My swatches will be used as examples by Veronik, who is bringing along her trusty steamer to show what a difference blocking makes.  One swatch will be steamed and become the “after”, while the other will remain as-is, as the “before”, and silently simmer and fume.

I also wound up the yarn that Maaike wound for me so I can finish my Linden.  I set up her ginormous wooden cake winder (because it winds ginormous cakes, not that it takes up a large desk footprint) and wound up (heh) with 2 BABs.

Yes, Maaike and I often speak in Three Letter Acronyms.  These babies?  They’re some Big A$$ Balls.


this new year is broken, i want a new one

I didn’t mean to let so much time go by between posts, but the (Jewish) new year has been rather unkind around here.  Starting the week between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, health and other issues around here went haywire.

There were some good moments, though, and some bust-a-gut, laughing-out-loud moments, like the night I went to check on the boys and walked in to find Henri asleep like this:

He stayed that way while I took the requisite pictures (a mommy’s right) and even slept through me cracking up.

This weekend brought these smiles, when we had a rare day all together as a family and spent some time at the park.

I’ve finished the back and both fronts of my Linden, and that bit up at the top is my first sleeve-in-progress.  That was also all the yarn I had left, so I took a break while Maaike used her spinning wheel to spin up the single cakes into double-stranded skeins, and then hung them to dry.  They’re currently in my basement, nice and dry, and I plan to spin them up tonight.

The break in Linden came at an opportune time, though, as my aunt had a hernia operation last Monday and I wanted to make something for her, so I’ve spent the last week knitting her a pair of cushy slippers.  I’ve just got about 7 more rows on the cuff and weaving in a few ends to go, and I hope to finish that tonight.

I also hope to knit a swatch from one of these babies tonight too.  Next month’s Montreal Knitting Guild meeting is going to be a swatching challenge, and Veronik Avery graciously donated these two cones of Nordique (in Carrot) for our use.  I need to knit up a swatch to know how much yardage one would take, then wind off about 40 mini-cakes- one for each member at the meeting.

Luckily I’ve finished my studying for the night so I can devote the next few hours to knitting.

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linden’s left front – done

Last night I finished the left front of my Linden jacket.  I remember reading on Ravelry that people said to not continue the cables in the collar shaping, so when I got to that part I was careful to pay attention, looking to see why so many made mention of the collar directions being difficult or to avoid the cable crossings within the shaping, etc.

End result?  I have no idea why so many people had problems with it.  The directions are all there, nothing is omitted or unsaid, if only you know how to read it properly.

Here’s how it works, and hopefully this will help others who haven’t knit this yet but wanted to, and maybe were nervous they wouldn’t “get it”.

After the majority of the front is complete, the st st portion of the front is decreased away  then bound off completely, and the cable is worked on alone until it is long enough to reach up around the back of your neck.  There are short rows worked 4 times to make the collar curve nicely over your shoulder and around your neck.

I don’t want to write out the actual directions here, because it’s part of pattern copyright.  But I think I can be vague enough to not infringe, while still being helpful.

The cables are on a 16-row repeat, with the cable crossings themselves on rows 7 and 15.

The collar shaping instructs you to work 5 rows of short row shaping, then 7 rows in est pattern, and then to repeat these 12 rows 3 more times.  Only the first 4 of the collar shaping rows are partial (short) rows, the 5th row (a ws row) has you working back across the complete row.  The pattern also has you only start the collar shaping once you’ve done a cable cross row, either row 7  or 15, depending on the size you are knitting.

For my size, I started the collar shaping after working a row 7 cable row.

I think what’s throwing people off is that they are looking at the 12 rows you work 4 times, and are thinking it doesn’t work out within the cable crosses.  What’s being overlooked is that you’re not working 12 COMPLETE rows in the cable.  You can ignore the first 4, and only count the 5th row, because that’s the only one that is actually worked across the whole row.


Collar Shaping Row 1 – WS – doesn’t count with cable rows

Collar Shaping Row 2 – RS – doesn’t count with cable rows

Collar Shaping Row 3 – WS – doesn’t count with cable rows

Collar Shaping Row 4 – RS – doesn’t count with cable rows

Collar Shaping Row 5 – WS – counts as cable row 8 (or 16, but I’m working with my size here.  You can adjust the row numbers for where you ended before “Shape Collar”).

Work 7 Rows in Est Patt:

Row 1 – RS – counts as cable row 9

Row 2 – WS – counts as cable row 10

Row 3 – RS – counts as cable row 11

Row 4 – WS – counts as cable row 12

Row 5 – RS – counts as cable row 13

Row 6 – WS – counts as cable row 14

Row 7 – RS – counts as cable row 15 – cable crossing row

And that’s the first repeat.  Then you do it 3 more times.

How this works out is that you have some short row shaping (the first 4 partial rows), then 7 full rows of stockinette stitch, then a cable crossing row, 4 times total.

It’s actually really smart how the short-row shaping was worked into the cables without actually affecting them at all, and hopefully this will help anyone having trouble figuring it out.

My mother-in-law called this weekend to say that we’d be celebrating Thanksgiving next Monday at my sister-in-law’s place, and wouldn’t it be nice if I were to surprise B with her long-awaited  pillows?  Hmmm.  Subtle.  So unfortunately I’m going to have to put Linden on partial hold while I work on the pillows.  It’s frustrating because I’m seeing it progress so fast, but I think I’ve figured out a way to work on both, by bringing Linden as my “take-along-knitting” for the appointment I’ve got later this week, but keeping the pillows (and their accompanying “designing”) as my night-time knitting.

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my boys and linden notes

Two weekends ago we went to a birthday party for my friend’s daughter, and besides some really cute pics of the birthday girl, I also FINALLY got good ones with me and the kids.  (I usually get good ones of them…but I’m rarely in the photos myself).  Sorry they’re blurry- another round of iPhone photos.

Me and Jakob who has a grape in his mouth, which is why it is all pulled to the side.  He’s 4.25 now, and I think he’s part hamster.  Earlier in the month my mom babysat while I went to the guild meeting, and she gave them a “treat” of a Mike & Ike’s candy, one each.  After dinner they played for about 20 minutes, brushed their teeth, then went to bed.  My mom was reading Jakob a bedtime story when she thought his cheek looked pushed out.  She asked him to open up- it was the same Mike & Ike’s candy- even after brushing his teeth!

Me and Henri, who does not look only 2-and-a-half.  If Jakob is a hamster, then Henri is a parrot.  In fact I’ve started calling the boys “Pete” and “Re-Pete” (repeat) because anything Jakob does or says Henri will usually do.  He runs on a 4-second delay, and is pretty consistent.  🙂

Besides all the studying, I’ve also spent some time over the last week knitting.  I’m determined to not take on any (more) commissions or obligations until I knit something for myself, not counting the stocking stitch socks I’ve always got in my purse for “found moments”.  My current project, I think I mentioned in my last post, is Veronik Avery’s Linden.  I was originally planning on knitting it in a ribbon yarn- a strange choice, I know.  Instead of an outdoor garment, my original plan was for it to be a dressy-ish layer to wear over a dress or a tank and a skirt, the kind of thing I could bring to an event in place of a shawl.  I have the perfect ribbon, in the perfect color, had swatched and got gauge, and had even ordered the extra bit I was missing from a Ravelry seller.  And then some woman in Quebec contacted the guild to see about selling her handspun, and next thing you know both Maaike and I had swatched the wool doubled, got gauge and cast on.  She’s finished hers but I got sidetracked with my busy Summer knitting/school schedule, and am only now getting back to it.

I’m making some modifications, but only to affect the final size.  A lot of comments on Ravelry talk about there being excess fabric under the arms, and I know in its nature as a swing coat, there will be a lot of extra fabric at the waist.  I’m smaller now than I was before, and while I like the style, I don’t want to look like I’m drowning in it.  Therefore I’m trying something that I hope will work.

My bust size is around 40.5″.  I was originally planning on knitting the 44.5″ bust size, but that was when I’d first seen the pattern, before I lost weight.  Now I realized that my belly/waist is smaller than my bust, so while I’d get it to wrap-around over my bust, it would be huge around my waist.  Then I was going to knit the 40″ bust size, but I took a measuring tape held at the measurement for the lower edge, and still found it way too big.  My thing with jackets is that I rarely wear layers.  I may wear a thin layer over a tank top, but usually it’s just a tshirt or top/blouse and my jacket.  If this is going to be a Fall/transitional jacket, I don’t care if it closes at my bust.  I can put a scarf around my neck…it’s really only at the belly/waist I want it to be able to close.  And Linden doesn’t have buttons or any form of closure anyways.

So here’s my risky decision: I’m knitting the 35.5″ bust size.  I’m following it as written except that I’m modifying the length.  The pattern for the larger sizes has you knit at least 4.5″ before getting into any shaping.  The 35.5″ size has you knit 3″.  On Ravelry people say you can add extra length at the end by making the garter border longer.  I actually made the bottom longer instead, by knitting the back and will make the fronts 6″ before shaping.

I also want my armhole to be deeper than that of the 35.5″ size, so I added about 1.75″ of length in the area that will be above the armpit (‘cus there are no real “armhole” sections with this design).  I’m also lengthening the sleeves by about an inch, to keep them 3/4 length, but since my arms are more the length of the larger sizes…though I’ll probably adjust that as I work the sleeves themselves.

Oh, and for the left-leaning decreases I’m working them still as double decreases as written, but working them as SSKs instead of K2TOGs, so they mirror the other side properly.  (The decreases go against the slope, but I just found that while the twists in the decreases were left leaning, I wanted the decreases themselves to be left-leaning too).

So, yeah.  I’m making changes, but I go into this knowing full well this may not work out.  In other words- if in a month’s time I’ve finished it and end up frogging, don’t hold it against Veronik’s pattern when the fault will lie with me!  🙂

Here’s where I”m at with it so far.  The back is done, and seems to be the perfect length, falling mid-butt.  I used to want everything to fall longer but according to all those “What Not to Wear” shows you look slimmer when your clothes aren’t too long, so we’ll see how this goes LOL!

The short piece is the left front, so far.  I love how the cables look, and I think I’ll really enjoy wearing this sweater/jacket.