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.
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.
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.
I somehow ended up with a copy of this book, 5500 Quilt Block Motifs, and every now and then before bed I browse it. The blocks in the book are all individually inspiring to me—as potential quilts. I have a long list of blocks from this book that I think would make great full quilts if blown up. I find it both inspiring and soothing to think about quilts before bed—in fact, if I’m having trouble falling asleep because of work stresses or something spinning around in my head, I shift gears and mentally plan quilts. Getting caught up in both color planning and actual math (calculating sizes based on internal blocks) is better than counting sheep for me—I zone out and drift off to sleep in no time. But I wake up with ideas solidified in my head, so it’s a win-win. My recent mini quilts are a perfect example of that. But this traditional square caught my eye; it seemed perfect for a Big Birthday present for my dear friend, Holly.
It came together over a few weeks last fall, using fabrics in a variety of colors that coordinated, many from my stash. Rather than make HSTs by stacking two squares and cutting on the diagonal, I cut each triangle individually, decided on my preferred placement, and sewed them together. I wanted all the pairings to be unique, rather than structured in pairs. It was also not that useful to work it as HSTs because there are a lot of triangles that don’t have an opposite one. The backing, which is hard to see in the photos she took, is just a zig zag using up extra triangles I’d cut, and the binding is the Kona Berry that I used as the background for Rosie’s Spoked. The quilting is just double lines along all the angles.
Holly took these pictures for me on her birthday weekend trip to Mexico. She took the quilt with her on her trip. Sniff. It’s just the best to make something for someone you love, and then find out that they love it exactly as much as you’d want them to, you know?
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?
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.
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!
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.
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!
A few months ago I got this idea in my head, and it’s been swirling around ever since. “Primary intersections,” I labeled the folder, and I sketched out some variations. Even though I have other crafting deadlines looming, this weekend I set to making them real.
I’m so pleased with these little rainbows! Someday, when I have an actual crafting space in my home, I’ll hang them up in there. And I can definitely see myself scaling the designs up and making them larger, maybe with all solids in a single palette (all greens, for instance).
All strips were cut 2 inches wide, and the finished tops are right about 20 inches square. I did all the cutting first, making the sewing very speedy. Both mini quilt tops were finished in less than a day, once I had the fabrics selected. The solids are all Kona cotton, of course; the background is Kona Snow. Next up, sandwiching them and finishing them up; will they be the ground on which I practice free motion quilting finally?