Vodka Lemonade

image from images4-d.ravelrycache.com

No, it's not an alien mutant or a sweater for a small elf in Santa's workshop.  It's the adolescent phase of my Vodka Lemonade.  It looks a bit wonky, with the collar unblocked, the sleeves partially done for later pick up, and only a couple of inches worked on the body.  But it's P-R-O-G-R-E-S-S and I'm really happy with it.  I'm hoping that it will blossom as I get a bit more work done and become the sweater of my dreams.

On the plus side, this color, The Plucky Knitter's Fiona on Crew, is everything I could have hoped for!

My decision to alternate two skeins was a good one.  The yarn has just enough variation that not alternating would have been an issue.  I think it might have been even better with three skeins in the rotation.  It has been relatively easy to get a nice, clean, edge, carefully bringing the alternating skeins up the side of the project.  And the color looks lovely knit up like this!



A New Start & A Near Finish. And Something in Between.

In this week's knitting:

A new start.  The Forest Park Cowl in The Plucky Knitter's Primo Aran in Heirloom Green.  With all of its bonny cables, this pattern feels like it fell right off the pages of Outlander.  I've started this as an easy project to carry around, but plan on finishing a few in-the-works projects before I get serious about it.

image from images4.ravelrycache.com

An "almost there." Frostline is all done and just awaiting its lace edging.  And I'm in love!


Vodka Lemonade.  Will it ever end?


Just kidding Vodka Lemonade.  I really do love you.  The 7" of seed stitch in the collar on all 300+ stitches was sort of a bummer.  And then keeping the various columns of seed stitch and ribbing straight, along with the right side increases, as I worked from the top of the shoulders shoulders down to the point where the sleeve stitches can go on a holder and the body be worked alone was a bit of a challenge for me.  But I'm almost to that point, and it should be quite simple from here on out.  I'm looking forward to the lace bits at the bottom.

Fit is still a challenge for me with sweaters.  But I'm going to work on that.  In September I'm going to a knitting retreat and taking "Knit to Flatter" with Amy Herzog.  In the meantime, I'll give Vodka Lemonade my best effort, because I love the pattern, the yarn, and the color.


Knitting A Sweater

Sweaters have always been a knitting nemesis for me, so let's just get it right out there.  I'm not a math geek.  It took me a long time to appreciate both stitch and row gauge.  I have a lot of bloopers in my knitting past (I'm thinking about you pint-sized Agnes that was meant for me and you Little Red, that looks to be turning out even smaller), although I've also had some successes.  Those were mostly despite myself or on baby sweaters.


So now we have Vodka Lemonade, the first of my post-self awareness about gauge sweaters.  Isn't it pretty?  That's the Plucky Knitter's Crew, a cotton and merino blend that feels great to knit with and that I'm convinced will be light enough for spring in Alabama. I've also become convinced that the color is a neutral, or at least it is for me since my wardrobe is mostly black and gray.

But, the question is going to be fit.



Here are the start of the raglan increases.  The pattern suggests about 30 of them in my size, and yes, I am good on gauge so far.  But since this is top down, I'm going to try to take advantage of the opportunity to try on, to measure me, measure the knitting, measure other sweaters that I like the fit of, and NAIL this one.  Or at least end up with a sweater that fits.

I am not a fast knitter at the best of times (plus the kids do seem to like having dinner on the table at night) and this yarn is a light dk weight.  So this sweater is, in some ways, going agonizingly slowly for me.  At the same time, it's a very pleasurable knit once you establish the rhythm of the border edges and the increase stitches on either side of the sleeves.  And I am apparently a freak of nature because I enjoy knitting seed stitch.  So I'm not in any hurry to finish, although I do want to wear the sweater this spring/summer.

I'll share my progress on this one with you over the next few weeks, although I plan to knit it along with Drachenfels, so expect slow but sure progress.  And please keep me in your thoughts on the issues of gauge and fit.  I'm going to need all the support I can get!


Knitting Catch Up

With apologies — my long lovely weekend with this child


kept me from blogging.  But, not knitting.  In addition to reporting that she thoroughly enjoyed visiting Georgetown and had a great time auditioning at the Washington Ballet, I have some knitting progress to share.


One thing I have come to accept about myself is that although I can pack a week's worth of clothing in a carry on bag, my "personal item" — the second carry on airlines allow — is exclusively devoted to knitting.  For this four day trip, I had four projects along with me.


Top to bottom you can see my newly cast on Tipperary Shawl, the French Laundry colorway  portion of my Sugarloaf Cowl peeking out, a wee bit of my Vodka Lemonade sweater in the bag with the green zipper, and Olivia, which grew a lot on this trip.


I'm indulging my inner geek here, and sharing my Da Vinci drawing style Dr. Who meets the Daleks project bag, which is Olivia's home.  


My big knitting news is finally finishing the fisherman's rib portion of Olivia, and moving on to the short rows.  For some reason, short rows and I have never been friends before, but we are getting along famously this time.


There was, however, the predictable knitting disaster without which no trip would be complete.  Forgive the late night/hotel room/bad lighting photo, but it portrays the exact moment at which my lurking suspicion that the game of yarn chicken I was playing with my third skein of Plucky Primo Aran was going to end badly.  See the little bit of yarn that trails across the right front side of Olivia?  That would be the 12" of yarn left from my last skein.  And, at this point, I still have 50 short rows left before I get to the lengthy cast off row.

This was the first project I cast on with Plucky yarn, and I didn't stop to realize that the yardage for the pattern yarn, Plucky Traveler Aran, is different than the yardage for the Primo Aran that I substituted. Several other knitters noted the need to shorten the rib when knitting in Primo to conserve yarn for the garter portion of the pattern, but apparently oblivious, this girl knit a fulsome seven inches of rib and then came up short on the garter.

Thankfully, a kind knitter has already put one of her precious skeins in the mail to me.  I'm hoping for a good match and a bit of time this weekend, as I'm ready to wrap Olivia's squishy goodness around my neck. Love, love, love this pattern.


Works in Progress

The week I go back to work after the holidays is always a bad week for knitting (as much as it is good to be back with good friends and getting the job done).  I manage to get in a bit of knitting when I wake up and a bit at night, so this week wasn't a total knitting loss.  But progress was slow.


Thea Coleman's  Vodka Lemonade pattern is my most challenging project at the moment.  It's a sweater pattern knit in The Plucky Knitter's delicious Crew yarn, a merino/cotton blend.  That is the collar that you see above.  It's knit in seed stitch. I'm in the decided minority of knitters who enjoy knitting it.  It's slow going and time consuming, but it's very pretty.  At this rate, it will take me quite some time to finish the collar before I get on with the body of the sweater, but I don't mind at all.


Paddle Mitts are a Tin Can Knits pattern.  Like the other patterns I've knit from this designer, the pattern is straightforward and the finished item is utilitarian.  And I have managed to create a small disaster with what should have been a simple project.  I decided to use my favorite skein of yarn, this beautiful skein of Plucky Scholar, which is a worsted weight blend of cashmere and merino in a rustic spin.


That would have been just dandy, had I seriously contemplated the fact that Scholar was a bit heavier than the yarn the pattern was written for and sized down, but no, I did not.  That was okay in the body of the hand, where the ribbing made it work.  But there was drama with the thumb and I overcompensated with rapid decreases after picking up the stitches for it.  I've pulled that all out and am starting over for a thumb that works with the rest of the mitts. This will go into the man-sized pile for gift giving, darn it.  I hope I have enough yarn to do a second pair for myself.


When The Plucky Knitter introduced her first collection of patterns, All Bundled Up, last weekend, I enjoyed looking them over and admired several enough to add to my Ravelry queue of patterns to knit this year.  I even contemplated buying yarn for one of the sweaters in the near future.  But then it hit.  The Sugarloaf Infinity Scarf pattern was so tempting.  It was written for my favorite yarn, Snug, and it just so happened I had the perfect colorways for it in my stash.  So on my needles it went, and it's unusual little rib was an enjoyable knit while we watched a move on TV last night (The Life Acquatic with Steve Zissou, which you should watch if you haven't seen it and like slightly snarky, self-indulgent humor).


I have plans this weekend to work on my Olivia wrap, and I wanted to get in more work on Vodka Lemonade's collar, but I'm afraid Sugarloaf has captivated me, and may end up as the attention-getter in whatever time I have this weekend.  Fortunately, it's cold outside and there is a lot of appeal to sitting inside where it is warm and this is hot tea and I can knit.