Archives for category: In Progress

Well, midterms are over. And the BrooklynTweed tumbleweeds are blowing again. How is it November already? We gained an hour yesterday and the first early sunset really makes it feel like winter doesn’t it? My sincerest apologies for neglecting blog updates. With my current schedule I can still cobble together time to knit (it’s a must for my sanity) but time to write about knitting… that’s where I’m suffering. But I’m trying. Today I promised myself I’d give you all a status report – it may not be the most exciting thing on earth, but a report nonetheless. And I’m thoroughly enjoying myself with new projects so I guess I should share!

Sweater knitting has come to a temporary halt in favor of more appropriate projects for overworked, tired student types. Not only has sweater knitting (or any other remotely complicated knitting for that matter) stopped, I’ve temporarily removed purling from my knitting altogether. It’s just straight knitting knitting knitting on two new, big, mindless projects.

I received 6 beautiful skeins of unspun Icelandic wool from Sigga when she visited a few weeks ago. I’ve never knit with this stuff before and have always wanted to. It’s beautiful and the wooliest stuff I’ve knit with in a long time… not the type of thing you’re dying to rub passionately against your neck, but amazingly warm and even more amazingly light.

Unspun Icelandic

The new acquisition inspired me to start a project I’ve wanted to undertake for a while: EZ’s (genius) Pi Shawl. Pure mindless bliss. Stockinette in the round with very little shaping (only 6 increase rows in the whole number). I like the look of the simple Pi Shawls that utilize concentric rings of yarn overs. Liz shows some really gorgeous ones in the lace episode of Knitting Workshop, which I’ve been known to watch (obsessively) from time to time.

Pi

Never satisfied with only one EZ project, I also have something in the works to satisfy my garter needs, and to downsize my stash (although as it turns out, I’ll need to acquire more yarn to finish this project).

Beefy

I’m knitting a big, beefy winter blanket on US 13′s, following Elizabeth’s pattern in The Opinionated Knitter. Her pattern calls for Sheepsdown, knitting at 2 sts per inch, and while I have dreams of an entire blanket made out of that stuff, I’m using what I have and knitting up a bevy of Cascade EcoWool. My gauge is 3 sts per inch, so I’ve modified the pattern a bit to compensate for that. The most important information, I guess, is that I’ll never have more than 36 stitches on the needle at one time. You can’t get much more mindless than that. This thing is gonna be warm, squishy … and HUGE.

I’ve been spinning to, but I’ll save that for another post (I gotta stretch out my material!)

I hope you are all well and enjoying the chill we deserve after that long, dreadful summer. My apologies if you’ve e-mailed lately and haven’t gotten a response – I’m doing my best but don’t think I’ve ever been this behind in my inbox.

Happy knitting!

Blocking
Blocking
Blocking
Don’t you just love this part?

I’m housesitting. They have central air, cable, and good beer in the fridge. What do you think I’ve been doing every night?

Ominous Doily

Circular lace is a blast – no purling! A Top Chef Marathon kept me company through the last slough of repeats, (lets just say it’s probably better that I don’t have TV at my place.) and at this rate I’ll definitely have a new blanket before the autumn chill gets here.

Everyone expressed so much interest in this project, I thought I’d give a quick update for fun. It isn’t my pattern, but I’ll be sure to post all the juicy details upon finishing so anyone can make one!

Until next time, I’ll be feather-and-fanning myself into oblivion.

For all of you who think I’ve sold my soul to the spinning gods and will never be coming back, rest assured – I am still knitting! Rather a lot lately I might add! I have so many small to medium sized projects going on that I’m having a hard time keeping track of them all. A few are gifts that I’ll get to share with you sometime in September, but for now I’ll show you a couple of the things that have been brewing in the shadow of the wheel.

I can’t remember the last time I didn’t have something by Elizabeth on my needles. I’ve learned that this is a pretty solid strategy to have with my knitting. And since I was having some serious chunky-tweed-garter withdrawals after finishing off the Tomten, there was one pattern I had in mind that would be a perfect transition away from the warm tomten nest I spent most of the early summer in.

More Garter. More <span class=

This is one finished half of Liz’s Ribwarmer pattern – and I use the term pattern loosely. It’s more like a little sneeze on one of the pages of Knitting Workshop. (I like to think that she was so brilliant, even when she sneezed something wonderful came out.) Thank God for the sketch!

The Ribwarmer is a short-row shaped vest with a miniature shawl collar worked in two halves that are seamed together down center back (right half pictured above). The pattern calls for a worsted but I had this beautiful Rowan Chunky sitting around harassing me and figured I’d just plug in my modified numbers and get going.

It’s right about this time in August when I start losing all my patience with summer. I’m ready for the big chill – wool, hats, sweaters and all the other things we knitters live for. I’m pretty tired of relying on the air conditioner to get me through a moviesworth of knitting, or any knitting for that matter.

In anticipation of the cooler seasons to come, I’ve launched into one of the wintry-est things I could think of. A wool afghan. Except it’s not so much an afghan as a giant doily made with chunky wool. Awesome.

A Blanket Begins

The goal is to transform this old vintage doily pattern into a big wooly throw. We’ll see what happens. I’m sure having fun though – those are the biggest holes I’ve ever put in my knitting – intentionally or otherwise! And the yarn is a yardage dream.

There’s more things still, but I think I’ll need to be sharing in moderation for a bit. The next three weeks will be absolutely crazy. I’m off to London on the 20th of August and have an impossible amount of things to do before I leave.. the most daunting of which is moving. (I’ll still be Brooklyn tweed, just another-part-of-Brooklyn tweed.) I’ll do my very best to keep the house clean in these parts, so hopefully you won’t even notice that I’m going crazy behind the curtain. Hope everyone is well – and happy knitting through the last summer push.

Handspun Amoeba

It’s time for a little knit-origami magic. Stay tuned for EZ Baby Sweater Week here at Brooklyn Tweed.

I’ve been sitting on some beautiful yarn for far too long, and it’s time to share with you. Aside from spurning each other on towards Tomten glory, Adrian and I have been talking handspinning for the last few weeks. Since I’ve never knit with handspun before, can you think of a better way to start than with my very own stash of HelloYarn? Check out this eye candy:

Pluot
4.5 oz/240 yds ‘Pluot’ 100% Corriedale Wool
 

Hunkered
1.9 oz/116 yds ‘Hunkered’ 100% South African Fine Wool
 

Trodden
3.4 oz/190 yds ‘Trodden’ 100% Corriedale Wool

I feel absolutely gluttonous over here. I’m not used to such luxury! In considering all the possibilities, there is really only one project that deserves to be knit with these skeins. Wound and ready for … yep you guessed it, more garter stitch. Will it ever stop?

Hello Trio

I am happy to report that I am officially on vacation (thank the heavens!) and will be spending the next 10 days in Portland, Oregon, one of my very favorite places in the world. There will be Oregon Coast knitting and camping and a whole host of much needed relaxation. Don’t you worry though, I’ve stored up plenty of blog fodder to power through. There is a wireless connection waiting for me there. (My dependency on the Internet is nothing short of shameful, but I’ll own up to it).

Oh! And I also got one of these…

My First Single!

Hey. What did you expect in the face of all this beautiful handspun?

I have so many things that I could babble about today, but I promised a proper Tomten Update and I plan to keep my word.

At present, I estimate that I have about 60% of the knitting done. Although hoods, I assume, eat up more wool than most of us expect, so my calculations are subject to interpretation. The body is knit in its entirety as well as 2 sleeve caps, only one of which will make it to the final version of the sweater.

In conceiving an adaptation of the original Tomten, there were a few areas of the pattern that I knew would need some serious revision to fit my personal taste. The most obvious and problematic for me being the sleeve construction. The current pattern has a schematic that resembles a capital “T”, utilizing a sort of very-deep modified drop shoulder. [Here's a good example I found searching flickr.] Now, not forgetting that this pattern is best suited (not to mention intended) for children, this construction is fine and in fact a truly “modular” one, which is by all means part of the Tomten’s charm. For me, it won’t work though and I welcomed the challenge of figuring something else out while keeping the main design principles intact.

I schemed up a few ideas for tackling this problem, one of them involved a gusset, others involved short rows and still others a combination of these and other tricks. In the end, I decided to try the most interesting thing I could come up with – working a set-in sleeve from the top down in the (somewhat odd) space provided. I wasn’t sure if it would work, mostly because of all that garter stitch, which has a completely different row-to-stitch-gauge ratio than stockinette. And I’ve only ever seen this technique successfully executed in stockinette.

Sleeve Cap Acrobatics

Pictured above is the armhole just before the set-in sleeve shaping begins (aka boatloads of shortrows). I’ve blogged this trick before – it’s one of the genius techniques found in Barbara Walker’s book of all things top-down – and an addictive little trick. (Hark, heel-turners of the world, this one is right up your alley.) Remember, it saved me from pattern issues I ran into with Jarrett.

The difference with this situation is, as I mentioned before, an atypical gauge ratio. Since the ‘turning’ of the sleeve fuses together a horizontal gauge measurement with a vertical gauge measurement within one cylindrical tube, garter stitch threw my numbers off. Following the top-down method as-is, I would have ended up with the upper portion of the sleeve at almost 50% of the body. WAY too many stitches. (In this case, that meant an upper arm circumference of about 21″!) The standard sleeve usually maxes out at the upper arm around 35-40%.

<span class=

In an nutshell, I devised a rate of increasing to be worked throughout the short row shaping of the sleeve cap that more or less lands me at the target 35-40% sleeve number at the conclusion of the shaping. I’m sure this is not nearly as complicated as I’ve made it sound. Either way, the second picture is the successful cap and the beginning of the regular sleeve knitting (from the top-down, naturally).

Now I just have to replicate this on the opposite side (can I decipher my notes?), finish the sleeves and then it’s on to the hood. The hood is really what’s gonna power me through sleeve monotony. Lord knows I’ve had some other fiber related distractions tempting me.

Garter stitch resumes with an almost untarnished voracity. Stay tuned for more Adult Tomten coverage.

For weeks Adrian and I have been taunting each other with ideas of big, garter stitch EZ jackets. (Don’t we all need one?) BSJs and Tomtens are happily abounding in all corners of the world (thank god – I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of seeing ‘em) but the elusive ‘adult versions’ of these sweaters have always been a somewhat intriguing and rare occurrence.

Well, in our common pursuit for modern elvish clothing, an entire wardrobe of garter stitch, and by-the-seat-of-your-pants knitting, Adrian and I have committed ourselves to a whopping two-person knitalong in hopes of one day dawning the hood of the true Zimmermann disciple. The Adult Tomten Jacket. (See some particularly fetching child versions here and here)

Pyramid

After securing the perfect yarn for the job (straight from Northern Montana) it didn’t take long to get a quick garter stitch swatch underway and start Tomten-ing myself into oblivion. (Adrian’s yarn is equally luscious, if not moreso – she’s working a slightly chunkier version than mine!)

Garter4Life

Of course there are a gang of mods that will be involved. The original design isn’t famous for its flattering fit on adults, although this can be easily remedied with some commonsense shaping and fit modifications. I don’t think EZ would have it any other way.

Adult Tomten aka Oversized Garter Swatch

Until next time, we’ll be floating away down garter river dreaming of that pointy hood at the top of the mountain.

As knitters I think we’re constantly in a state of transience between our sense of inspiration (impulse) and our sense of duty. We swing back and forth, sometimes violently, between casting on for the next project which is sure to be absolutely perfect… ahem.. and that ne’er empty basket (or closetfull?) of half-finished projects whose days of divine inspiration have long since passed.

Well, I’ve spent the last week or two at the bottom of the barrel with my Works-In-Progress and, while I may have nothing terribly substantial to show for it, at least I feel like I’ve chipped away a bit at that compressed mass of wool that I so often try to ignore.

Most importantly, The Swisher has gotten some play. I was expecting to get more done on this in the last few days, but I picked up some last minute photo gigs that kept me in the city late into almost every evening last week. I did get some work done on it this weekend however.

A Sleeve Grows in Brooklyn
A sleeve grows in Brooklyn.

The body is complete (the fit is spot on!) and I’m almost finished with sleeve #1. Since I’m working top-down I’ve been able to try it on as I go. This sure takes a lot of stress out of the process. Not only is checking fit a more fluid process, you can really nail your length measurements. A perfect sleeve length is one of those things that really makes one sweater stand out above the others for me.

And at long last, the February Baby Sweater saga is coming to a close. I’ve finished the knitting and now just need to retrieve necessarily charming buttons for this one. You’ll get a full post with more photos and all the juicy details in the near future.

Needs Buttons and Blocking
Once again a down comforter works as an amazing stand in for baby.

I’m right on the brink of a wave of new projects that I’m itching to start. While I wait for new yarns to arrive in my mailbox, I’ll continue answering the call of duty with these old favorites. If nothing else to minimize guilt in starting what can only be called the Great Garter Wave of 2007. Stay tuned.

Hey there! I’ve been out of commission for a few days. I got tonsillitis. It hurt. Bad. But things are back on track thanks to Dr. Cho and her magic pills. I’m finally feeling like a normal person again, even if it’s a normal person with semi-serious seasonal allergies. Hey, I can deal with a runny nose and slightly itchy eyes if it means my throat no longer feels like it has knives playing hopscotch inside of it. This is a day to celebrate western medicine (I’m not always so enthusiastic about such things, but I’m happy about regular sized lymph nodes today)!

I was home sick for a number of days, which for me (and probably you) is always great because it means knitting knitting knitting. I did get a significant amount of knitting done, but definitely not as much as I would have on a ‘regular’ sick day (which sometimes isn’t a sick day at all… don’t tell). I actually had to sleep and veg out for a significant number of hours – hours that could have been occupied by an otherwise prolific amount of knitting. Ah well. Bygones.

Scott is progressing quickly (3 sts per inch), although I’ve lost a bit of momentum on it. Despite my best efforts to reduce bulk (namely working the pattern as a seamless raglan), this thing is still a beast of thick, squishy wool. I’m honestly wondering if I’ll actually wear it, even in the winter. I left a bunch of ease but at this point the fit is anyone’s guess. We’ll see what happens. I’m giving you fair warning that I reserve the right to rip this up after its all over and repossess the yarn for a single layer (read: not stranded) garment that is more practical. I love the yarn so much, this wouldn’t be such a huge trauma. I’ll give it a chance though, and at least take pictures of the finished piece for documentation’s sake, why not?

Scott Yoke in Progress

Here you see the yoke, knit just about halfway to the collar. The colors are great and the motifs equally so. No matter what happens, I’m enjoying myself thoroughly.

As my doubts grew about the future of Scott, I started some lace. One night I had the sudden urge for a lace-hit and I had this beautiful alpaca/merino/silk Queensland staring up at me from the floor needing some love. I think it must be the warmer weather, and maybe an unconscious response to the stranded bulk-fest of the sweater that spurned me into shawl territory.

Lacin' It Up

I also picked up my February EZ Baby Sweater from the dregs with hopes of finishing in the near future. I’ve been reading Knitter’s Almanac this week on my commute and enjoying it as ever. I usually read through it every few months because I find EZ’s writing that entertaining. Yes, commuter, I’m the guy sitting across from you on the A train laughing aloud to himself with a knitting book in my hands. What can I say, she can knit a mean baby jacket and write some sassy, intelligent prose.

Good luck getting over the hump, my sights are already set on the weekend. Happy knitting.