My Cables & Lace Capelet: Not A Success Story, At Least, Not Yet

Cables and Lace Capelet was a pattern I wanted to knit as soon as I saw it.  It had this Outlander/Scottish Highlands vibe and looked like it would be great to throw on as I walked out the door for yoga or coffee with friends.  The pattern photo looked great.

image from images4.ravelrycache.com
(c) Berroco

I walked into this one with my eyes wide open.  There were a couple of red flags: The pattern was an older freebie and of the 15 finished projects besides the sample, virtually everyone commented on size problems, as in the finished project was way too small. One commenter said it fit her 10-year old.

When my gauge swatch, properly blocked and all, revealed that I was going to have an extra 10" or so around, I figured that would make the fit just right.  And, of course, I was wrong.

It looked good finished and blocking. (Blocking tip: I no longer weave and clip my loose ends before blocking, they will stay in place more firmly and look neater if you wait until after you block.  So you can see my tails hanging in various places).


I was still a bit worried about the length, but I was delighted by how the lacework opened up and how good the stitch definition on the cables was.  The biggest worry, though, was the collars.  I had carefully knit them to pattern legnth, but upon wet blocking, the weight of the yarn seemed to urge them onward into expansion. They looked huge. I carefully patted them back into shape, but they insisted upon growing, no matter what I did.


As it turns out, they're at least twice as long as they should be.  And the shoulders too are overlarge.  As you can see below, they slip off, instead of giving a nice snug fit.


And I mentioned that the collar had grown ridiculously long, right?  It's a horror show.


Despite these flaws, I love the capelet and I love the yarn (Madeline Tosh).  And, I'm incredibly glad I didn't do the finishing work on the collar before blocking so that I can try to fix it.

My dilemna is choosing among the two potential solutions I see.  The yarn is superwash, so I could just pop it in the dryer and hope for the best.  I've never done this before, but I know that it works in theory.  My biggest concern doing this is that I'll lose length, which is perfect right now, as opposed to circumference, which is the problem.  And, really, does anyone think that donkey ear collar is going to shrink enough?  I should have known that a yarn this bulky would expand beyond what the swatch predicted.

My Second option is ripping back to before the start of the collar, faking another lace repeat with reduced stitch count to give me a better fit in the shoulders, and then knitting a collar that is about half what the pattern calls for, knowing it will block out.  This is probably the safer option and I'm leaning that direction.

So what would you do, gentle knitters?  Any advice about superwash yarns and the folly of knitters who don't trust the pattern and listen to what their gauge is telling them?  At least future knitters for this pattern will know that in my case, the pattern was written perfectly and the proper gauge, properly blocked in the small size would have produced a perfect fit for my size medium body.


Knitting The Cables And Lace Capelet

14 - 2

I finished up my Cashmere Gadabout last night.  It's blocking and there will be photos later on this week. Once it was drying, I picked back up with my Cables and Lace Capelet, which has been languishing for weeks while Christmas knitting got finished.  And I'm so glad that I did!  This project has a lot of virtues.

First is the yarn.  I love Madeline Tosh.  Sometimes, I cherish her skeins so much I become hesitant to knit with them while waiting to find the perfect pattern.  But this yarn, her Super Bulky ASAP in the Weathered Frame colorway, was ordered just for this pattern and went straight onto my needles when it arrived. 

The second virtue of this pattern is that the yarn knits up fast and pretty in the super bulky weight.  I'm not a huge fan of knitting on large needles, and the size 11s are at the outer edge of comfortable knitting for me, but still within it.  And overall, they are worth dealing with because it is so stinking fun to watch this pattern take shape, so quickly.

The third virtue is that it is making me feel very accomplished.  If you've looked at this pattern before you know that you knit the bottom band and then, after grafting the ends together, pick up stitches to knit the body of the capelet.  I'm notorious for avoiding picking up stitches, but have been gently encouraging myself to do so over my last few projects.  I'm happy I've been doing that, as last night, I picked up the 133 stitches around the edges of the band without a hitch and went onto the lace.  Success!

My gauge is good, even in the round.  But I'm aware of pattern notes that say this project comes out too small for an adult, even though the sample project is beautiful and clearly adult sized.  It's difficult to get a sense with it all bunched up on the needles, but I'll likely take it off on some waste yarn once I get a foot into the body to get a sense of whether I need to make some adjustment.  Hopefully once finished, my notes on sizing will help anyone who wants to knit this down the road to get a sense of how it fits.  It's such a beautiful project and this is an ideal yarn.


Nangou: What To Knit Next?

Before I start this post, I need to say: I have too many works in progress (WIPs).  I know this.  But it doesn't change my desire, at a certain point every summer, to start casting on new projects.  I get one started and then suddenly, like June lightening, a new pattern calls me with an irresistable pull and I'm off again.  Fortunately, I tend to have a fall spate of finishing up all those projects, but still, I view this  riotous approach to knitting as something of a character flaw and envy those who are more restrained.

That said, I have fallen in love with Nangou.

Nangou is a simple garter stitch with simple eyelet lace patterning rows scarf that was written for a fingering weight silk-merino blend yarn, so think light and delicate but gently warm.

German coffeeThis version, by German knitter Blauregan, is knit in the pattern yarn, with the clever twist of using an undyed skein for the lace eyelet rows.  It's one of my favorites.

Gold_medium2Lismete's gold on gold variation is really eye catching as well, and I like the looser gauge she used for her project.

Purple nangouAnd AniaBKnits' version in a rich purple with darker eyelets looks like something I could toss around my shoulders every day.

Since I'm trying to knit from stash these days, I took a look on Ravelry, which let me know I had a number of possibilities already in my stash.

DandelionMy Tosh Dandelion has a lot in common, color-wise, with several of the projects I like and the addition of 10% linen to the merino woud give it a nice drape.  Plus, I've been dying to find something to knit with this yarn.

Image_medium2A lot of knitters have used Tosh Merino Light, and it just so happens that I've got three skeins of Spruce tucked away.

And then, I could always dye some yarn just for this project.  I've been impressed with the BFL/Silk sock yarn I've been dyeing for the last month, so I may dye some in a brown-gray colorway just for Nangou.

Currently, Ravelry includes 333 projects and Nangou has a rating of 4.7 stars out of 5, so it looks like it has made a lot of knitters happy.  I'm looking forward to joining them!



This Week’s Knitting Round Up

I spent this week out of town, which was both good (flight delays and hotel insomnia = extra knitting time) and bad (Iphone camera photos of my knitting are very unsatisfactory).  Here's the round up:

(1) Before I left I put in a little time dyeing which yielded both this fabulous dye pot

Random dyeing

And this choice of trim for finishing off Ollie's Crayon Ragman.


Any thoughts on which color you think will look more like a design choice and less like a screaming "I ran out of yarn" advert?

(2) On the road I got through the better part of two (of four) repeats on the Orchids and Fairy Lights Hat.


This pattern is SO much fun to knit and have I told you I'm knitting it in a thick, soft, buttery cashmere?  This hat feels incredible.  And the bobbles are fun, the cables are a challenge to keep straight, and all in all, this hat makes me feel good about myself — a pretty big pay off for a little bit of careful pattern reading.  Stephanie Dosen is the designer behind Tiny Owl Knits.  She is a fabulous designer and articulates a great, clear pattern.  I can't wait to knit her Amy March Slippers and her Catching Butterflies Mitts as well.  You should really look at every single pattern she has, but if you look at only one thing, check out the incredible Bee Keeper's Quilt.  I definitely have a crush on Stephanie and her beautiful patterns!

(3) I've finished (except for a line of crochet trim on the bottom edge I need to teach myself to do this weekend) the Honegart Hat.

Finished on ollie

I love the pattern.  The details are clever and it is a very satisfying knit.  Several members of my household are vying to keep this, but it's a birthday present for the oldest child (who doesn't read my blog), so I suspect I may knit a few more.  I like the way the skeins of yarn play together — as I mentioned, two skeins were originally dyed together and then I overdyed one of them, so that some of the original color shows through.  It's hard to display in a picture, but if you look closely below, you'll see some of the green from the band showing through in the blue "honeycomb" top.

Finished on ollie2

(4) I also got in some time working on the body of Ellie's Tiny Tea Leaves Cardigan.  I'm well into the "miles and miles of stockinette" part of the body which, while not the most exciting knitting is possible to do while carrying on a conversation or catching up on the news.

Body progress

I'm hoping to finish up the body this weekend so I can get to work on the sleeves and button bands.  I'm knitting this sweater in Madeline Tosh, Tosh Vintage Merino, which is a wonderful yarn.  I'm wondering if it would be possible to consider this yarn a collectible item so I could justify buying some in every one of her amazing colorways.  It's great to work with and the softly dyed colors are very pretty.

That's the wrap on this week's knitting, and a satisfying collection it is!  Usually I'm in varying degrees of frustration, but all of these projects seem to just want to go well.  The knitting gods seem to be smiling on me at the moment, which I'm going to try to enjoy, because I'm sure it will be fleeting.



Ellie’s Tiny Tea Leaves Knit Cardigan

Here is the start of Tiny Tea Leaves.


It just couldn't be any cuter.  I'm knitting this sweater, which is meant to be Ellie's fall cardigan, in Madeline Tosh's Vintage hand-dyed superwash Merino yarn.  The pattern starts at the yoke, and is knit all in one with raglan sleeves.

Progress on this one is going to be slow, but it's so much fun to knit I'm going to have to make time for it.  There are lots of beautiful examples of this sweater on Ravelry if you want to see it knit up without waiting for me.

P.S. – Make sure you check back in over the holiday weekend as I'll be posting a giveaway for some hand-dyed Elliebelly organic Merino yarn.


Knitted Swatch Complete. Gauge Perfect. Oh Joy!

I am a good person.  I will surely go to heaven when I die.  For I have swatched.  I have swatched and gotten gauge.  Not only did I knit the full number of stitches called for, surrounded by a garter stitch border, I blocked my swatch after it was complete.  Yes, surely I will go to heaven.

knitting gauge swatch tiny tea leaves cardigan madeline tosh vintage yarn

Even if I don't make it to heaven, I have high hopes that Ellie's fall sweater (the Tiny Tea Leaves Cardigan, knit in Madeline Tosh's Vintage Merino) will fit because my gauge is perfect.  It's perfect after blocking.  And this must be a good omen from the knitting gods that all is well.

gauge swatch tiny tea leaves cardigan madeline tosh vintage yarn knitting

I am fascinated by this yarn.  I don't think anyone does single color variations as well as Madeline Tosh.  I adore her yarns.  This one is a superwash merino, and it has an odd texture, almost coarse but not unpleasant.  The surprise came when I washed my swatch and it softened up nicely into something you would want to rub against your face.  Hopefully I'll get to spend some time with Tiny Tea Leaves this week.  I can't wait to get started, now that the swatching is done.