Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I'm Going, and the Sweater is Coming

Big excitement: for months I have been plotting and planning to join a study abroad for Library and Information Science students. I kept it under wraps, because nothing is done until it's done, and I believe that fate can be tempted. But now that I'm 24 hours away from takeoff, I think it's safe to announce:

I'm going to England for a month. (!!!)

Thanks to an education that deemed world history unnecessary past 6th grade, all I know about the country comes from a strange admixture of literature, pop culture, and extensive readings on the history of the English language. So I'm going to the land of Wallace and Gromit and Chaucer, the venerable Bede and Harry Potter, Miss Marple and Adele, a Little Princess and the Young Victoria, Darwin and the Arctic Monkeys. It will be similar and utterly different. And I couldn't be more excited.

Mousie is coming with me, and of course the Pimlico Shrug. Everyone cross your fingers that all volcanoes stay dormant and no freak storms develop in the Western hemisphere between now and tomorrow. After that, let the heavens open up--I'll be in England.


Monday, June 28, 2010

Pimlico Finished

As usual, blog time is only an approximation of real time--although I'm just getting around to blogging it now, my Pimlico Shrug has been finished since Friday morning.

But I love it! The yarn is soft and warm, and the pattern has struck the perfect balance between slouch and stylish, as promised. I had to tweak the collar a bit--the increases, as many Ravelers have noticed, create a funny crease in the collar, and I worried that switching to a larger size of needle to approximate the same flare would result in too floppy a collar. Floppy collars and cuffs send me to despair. An attempt at camouflaging the increases at the switch from knit to purl ended in a small frogging session, so I went for option C: work the collar straight for the written length and bind off. This changes the look of the finished shrug, but so far I like it. And if I change my mind, I have plenty of yarn to go back and work a collar with increases.

Yarn: Vermont Grand View Farm Natural Romney, all of 2008's CSA share (~16 oz) and 1 skein from 2009's share (~4 oz)
Needles: Size 6, 7, and 8 circulars and size 6 and 7 dpns. If you are not obsessed with Kitchener BO like me, you can omit the size 6 needles.
Pattern: Pimlico Shrug, from Knit 2 Together, by Tracey Ullman and Mel Clark
Modifications: All pattern tweaks are listed in agonizing detail on Ravelry.

As I might have mentioned one or six times before, I've loved the experience of working with a single-breed yarn, and being able to follow the action at the farm where those sheep live has totally added to the experience. This, combined with rave reviews of places like Beaverslide and Imperial Stock Ranch has whetted my appetite for some more single breed/single-farm yarn!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Pimlico Via Vermont

Here it is, the project I've been hinting at for a couple weeks now: the Pimlico Shrug.

I'm knitting it with my Vermont Grand View Farm Romney. This year's share came at the end of May, complete with goodies as before, and I wasted no time getting started on my project!

The Romney is a great yarn: two ply, with slight variations in thickness, and very wholesome and sheepy-scented. Up until now, the only single-breed yarn I've ever used is Merino, so I'm loving the experience of using a different single-breed yarn. And the Romney is a perfect match for the project. It drapes really well, and although it's soft and a little fuzzy, eyelet pattern on the body is sufficiently giant that it doesn't get lost in the fabric.

I am also loving the pattern: the body is one large rectangle and there are a grand total of two short seams, with sleeves and edging knit right to the body. Expect a FO photoshoot soon!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

I Am Waylaid by Books

We interrupt this regularly scheduled knit-talk for a post about


Every summer and winter break, I reenter the real world, look around, see a book, and remember how much I love reading. Fiction, nonfiction, mystery, sci-fi, history, language--*gasp*. I love them all.

The beauty of working in a library is that I can pick through a completely random assortment of books at will, but the downside is that I am terrible at giving patrons suggestions--unless they happen to be fantasy addicts, anglophiles, or nonfiction fans.

On the off chance that any of you fit into any of the above categories, here are a few suggestions, recommended on the strength that I have torn through them all in the past couple weeks and loved them all:

The books in the Artemis Fowl series are technically children's books, but Eoin Colfer has a brilliantly wicked sense of humor that appeals to older readers as much as ten-year-olds.

The Anglo Files is American journalist Sarah Lyall's attempt to get her head around some of the quirkier aspects of her adopted country's culture. Crazy as some of these things are, her observations are as affectionate as they are pointedly funny.

The Ghost Map is among that best new breed of nonfiction book, the interesting, readable breed. Ostensibly about the 1854 London Cholera Epidemic, it's also about epidemiology, the history of London, and the evolution of the modern city, and made my inner anthropologist very happy.

So tell me--what have you been reading?!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Lace Leaf Pullover Reveal

When I said I was on a wooly wool kick, I meant it--my latest FO, as the temperatures begin pushing past 100 with depressing regularity, is a 100% merino pullover:

The Lace Leaf Pullover!

Started in a moment of possession by EZ, finished in a few days of marathon knitting, the Lace Leaf Cardigan is the latest installment of what is shaping up to be a line of sweaters that I've heavily modified/improvised to get them to fit the way I want.

First was my Undercover Cardigan, its pattern copied off a vintage sweater before I had any knowledge of pattern design or the fear of attempting it. Then, the Graphite Shrug, which I had to modify to fit my wonky effigy jar physique. As you'll remember, the inspiration behind modifying the Lace Leaf was the need for a sweater that I could wear in a place where it never gets very cold (not to mention the desire to not look like a caterpillar in a cocoon). I won't say I'm an expert now at pattern modification--the Lace Leaf has a few wonky bits, especially in the yoke area--but I am pleased to report I'm getting a better handle on it with each modified pattern.

Specs: 7 skeins Twisted Sisters Jazz in Olive Gold and not quite 1 in Chocolat.
Pattern: Teva Durham's Lace Leaf Pullover
Needles: Size 5 circular and dpns
Modifications: Lots. The two main ones were adapting the pattern to be knit as a standard bottom-up round yoke sweater, and in a light worsted/DK yarn

The color change was not planned--I started running out of Olive Gold yarn and elected to stripe in the Brown so it looked like I'd meant to have it there all along. One of the elements of the pattern I did not change much was the detailing--the lace rib up the side of one sleeve, the leaves on another sleeve and the body. I only omitted the leaf at the collar because I didn't want to mess around with a pattern among decreases, but I made up for it with a button. In my opinion, all these elements were improved by knitting with a relatively fine yarn: it rendered all the decorative elements both subtle and detailed.

My current sweater is keeping up the wooly vein, but is at the other end of the spectrum in terms of construction. Post to follow as soon as I get enough knitted as to be photogenic!