archives: knitting

lace batwing top

I finished! I finished! And I can still type, grasp the pole in the subway, hold a book—and look good while I do it.

lace batwing top

When last I wrote my hands ached and hurt so badly I didn’t even know what to do. I iced both wrists on and off for the rest of the evening and took as much Aleve as was possibly recommended. That night I slept with my only brace on, prioritizing my left hand, which is generally worse than my right. When I woke up in the morning it was better. Friends came over for brunch so I was cooking and using my hands differently. When we all sat down in the living room after we ate, I picked up the knitting and discovered that knitting wasn’t torture any longer!

lace batwing top with mom

I took it very slowly, and it was done later that afternoon. I could not believe it. It went into a tub of water and the new Soak scent, yuzu (so bright and springy!), and the sweater was blocking that night. A three-needle bind-off two days later, and I was ready for the Bridesmaids’ Luncheon the day before my cousin’s wedding! (Because I was doing a reading at the wedding, I was considered part of the bridal party.) Paired with a khaki skirt, pearls, and a sock bun, and I was feeling very appropriate for the event. The sweater was actually comfortably warm on what turned out to be a chilly, dreary day by the beach, and so soft. So soft!

lace batwing top detail

Setting aside the pain, I really enjoyed knitting this. My only modification was to do another whole round of the increase chart to add both length and width. Thanks for cheering me on while I worked my way through the pattern! As a reminder/for posterity: Pattern is the Lace Batwing Top from Vogue Knitting Spring/Summer 2012, designed by Brooke Nico. I knit it in Artyarns’ Ensemble Light, the called-for yarn in the color it calls for, even!

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slow, slow progress

It’s been a full month since I posted my swatch of the lace pattern in Brooke Nico’s Lace Batwing Top from the latest Vogue Knitting. And I’m pleased to report that I’m nearly finished! I thought I would be done by now but my hands are in incredibly bad shape, so I can’t knit for long periods anymore.

lace batwing top progress

Turns out I love, love, love knitting this pattern though. The yarn (Artyarns Ensemble Light) is a dream to work with (50% cashmere, 50% silk: how could you go wrong?) and, best of all, it seems, to me, to work together perfectly with the needles I’m using (addi clicks) so the experience is nothing short of lovely. However, tiny needles and fussy lace (oh how I hate ou double decreases!) mean aching thumbs, wrists—basically my whole hands.

The pattern, which at first seemed so daunting, is nearly memorizable. The only thing I couldn’t be confident I’d remembered every row was how many stitches were at the edges, outside the repeat. A quick glance at the chart was all I’d need, though. Because I hoped to finish this quickly, I employed a few time-saving measures, such as wrapping the ssk stitches backward on the plain rows, so that they are sitting on the needles correctly when it comes time to decrease them.

lace batwing top

As I type this I am taking a break from the sweater, but I’m about 10 rows shy of a completed front. I really really want to wear the sweater in a week at my cousin’s bridal luncheon, so I’ve got a deadline but I’m also trying to preserve the feeling in my hands! Wish me luck I can do both in the coming days.

WIP Wednesday?

Every year I resolve to post more WIPs, but I almost never do. This is the year, I swear! In fact, I swatched the other night so I ought to get some credit for that, right?

Artyarns Ensemble Light, Vogue Knitting Lace Batwing Top Brooke Nico

This is Brooke Nico‘s latest pattern in Vogue Knitting, the Lace Batwing Top, and I’m using the exact yarn called for—Artyarns Ensemble Light, in the same delicate blue color even. It’s been a long time since I knit any complicated lace, and whoa. The pattern has a long repeat, and while I bet I’ll eventually memorize it, well, it did not click for the short duration of the swatch. I’m going to have to employ some of those tried and true tricks for following a chart—a long Post-It should do just fine. But I’ll admit it’s kind of pleasant to be knitting something that’s actually mentally challenging as opposed to all the mind-numbing garter stitch I’ve knit of late! This one is going to take concentration.

Originally I thought I’d tweak the pattern—oh it would be so simple, I thought—by making the knits twisted. I thought it would give a little more depth, and I honestly love knitting twisted stitches. But then I started knitting it and I realized how foolish I was being. There are decreases, and much of the pattern is worked flat, and who am I kidding? That was overly complicating the lovely design, and was entirely unnecessary. I did make one small change, though: Instead of a sk2p for the double decrease, I’m doing a centered double decrease. It just seems slightly more elegant even if it’s a bit more fussy to execute.

Artyarns Ensemble Light

Knitting this complicated lace, which is going to definitely mean slower going, is going to be completely rewarded by using this yarn. You guys. I actually said to Jason that I don’t know how I’ll go back to knitting with normal yarn again. Because 50% silk, 50% cashmere? This is the stuff. I’m going to go block the swatch to be thorough, but I can’t wait to get going on the knitting. Casting on for the ribbing asap!

honey cowl

honey cowl

I made a Honey Cowl too! After several people suggested it to me when I asked for pattern ideas for worsted-weight yarn, I jumped on the bandwagon.

honey cowl details

The yarn is Cascade 220 Superwash, and I actually took advantage of that by hand washing it and then throwing it in the dryer (because wet-blocking makes it grow to at least double the size!). I checked on it every five minutes for the first fifteen but then grew tired of sitting in my apartment building’s basement, so I went upstairs for the last 30 minutes and left it to its own devices; when it came out it had juuust started to slightly felt to itself, but it was easily pulled apart. Phew! I’m ridiculous, aren’t I? I started out so cautious but then got lazy—I’m super lucky it worked out in the end. Putting it in the dryer got it back down to the original size and firmed it up a lot, which is what I wanted. I love the color; the slight heathering gives it a lot of depth.

It was knit for my friend Allison, who works in our industry but doesn’t knit (yet) and didn’t have any handknit items! The honey cowl was an easy, mindless knit, great for knitting on the subway—it would be ideal for group knitting, too, because you’d be unlikely to mess it up. But it didn’t capture me the way it has for so many people (I won’t make the pattern again, that is). I also couldn’t bear to go the full 11 inches in height; I quit at about 9. She likes it just fine, though!

happy honey cowl recipient

color affection

color affection shawl

When I bound off my Color Affection the other day, I did it with loathing. I had been working on this pattern since March of last year. Every row was a small torture—the final length is something like 7 feet long!! Now that it’s done, though, I must objectively admire its beauty. The colors are just what I wanted.

color affection

But I’m ambivalent. It’s a million miles long, so it can be wrapped around and around, which I like to do with scarves, but it’s unwieldy. I don’t understand how to wrap it successfully like a shawl. What have I done??

color affection shawl

 

color affection shawl

I kind of can’t believe I knit something so enormous; it’s no surprise it took so long. I know I went too far with the first color and decided not to rip, so I actually made it longer than the pattern expects. Despite my lack of affection for it, I’ll tell you that I saw so many Color Affections in the aisles of the Vogue Knitting LIVE Marketplace this past weekend, and every time I did I thought to myself “I made that too!” It made me feel as if we were all in some club, like those who’ve climbed Mt. Everest or survived a harrowing experience together. We’re the war-worn, the triumphant, the ones who made it to the end. And for that, I do feel pride and kinship. (Don’t even tell me how much you adored knitting it and disagree with it being a torture, ok? Let me pretend we all feel the same way.)

color affection shawl

Details: Light gray is Hazel Knits Artisan Sock yarn, which I bought at Twisted in Portland. Dark gray is Periwinkle Sheep sock from Rhinebeck, always my first stop at New York Sheep & Wool. Green is Sweet Georgia Tough Love Sock that Felicia kindly gave to me when I told her my whole whiny story about choosing a third color (my first color, a mustard yellow, turned bumblebee with the grays and I hated the look, so I frogged). I used a size 6 needle (though I wish I’d used 5s). This was technically cast on in June; the one I started in March did not use any of the recommended methods you’ll find on Rav to make the edges looser (ultimately I wrapped the first stitch twice, which made a huge positive difference), and I was unhappy with the color. So it took about six months in all, with a ton of breaks.

Photos taken by the fantastic Kriegs, on a walk we took down to the Verrazano Bridge to see—or, rather, not see—it in the fog.