New Sweater Friday

I needed another knitting project. I finished my Rogue sweater almost three months ago. I’ve been dithering around, trying to find the perfect yarn/pattern match since then.

Here were my criteria for the perfect Next Sweater. It needed to be stash yarn. I have sweater quantities of yarn for over 20 sweaters. I’m not buying more until I use some of that.

I want a cardigan, shawl collar sweater. It needs to be knit in pieces and seamed, just my personal preference.

After a lot of research, I settled on this yarn.

This is actually from deep stash. We took a trip to Orcas Island in 2005, and I bought this from a farm we found there. It’s a gorgeous natural brown wool alpaca blend. It’s been patiently waiting in the stash for just the right moment.

Here’s the pattern.

Isn’t that lovely?

Here’s the pattern link, it’s Shinsetsu.

And here’s my start.

The pattern uses a new-to-me cast on, a ribbed cable cast on. It’s like a regular cable cast on, except you do every other stitch knit or purl. It makes a nice firm lower edge that works well with knit one/purl one ribbing.

In other news, it’s our anniversary today. John and I were married 24 years ago today. Here we are in a recent photo from our Italy trip.

134 Rows

That’s how many rows I have left to finish this shawl. Of course I currently have 425 stitches on the needles, and that increases to 693 by the end of the shawl.

I have 2 balls of this yarn, about 1700 yards total. The shawl takes about 1600 yards. Plenty, right?

I went looking for the second hank of this just now. It doesn’t appear to be in any of the usual hiding places.

I can see a house tear-apart in my future. This is not helping the migraine that I woke up with today.

Half a pair

I don’t normally have two pairs of socks going at once, but when we left on vacation, the sock that I was working on was on expensive sterling silver needles. I didn’t want to risk losing them to the TSA, so I started this pair on cheap Brittany birch needles. I finished the first of the pair today (during a particularly unsatisfying Seahawks loss). The yarn is Paintbox Sock yarn, which I won from Kim earlier this year in the Knitters’ Hunk contest. This is fairly inexpensive sock yarn, but very nice. I think it will make workhorse socks that wear well, but are soft and comfortable. I’m finding that some of the ridiculously expensive merino sock yarn doesn’t wear so well for socks. This is 25% nylon, which in my sock-knitting experience lasts forever. This isn’t as tightly spun as Opal sock yarn, which is my all-time favorite for long wear, but still should hold up well. I’ll report back in a year or so.

John saw this yarn and immediately claimed it as good “guy sock” yarn. It’s been a bit since I finished a pair for him, so he gets these.

Sistine Chapel

We leave Rome today, headed to Florence. The highlight yesterday was an evening tour of the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel. There were 22 of us, plus our two guides and the Swiss guard that escorted us. We were the only people there, which was magnificent.

We saw an exhibition at home recently of many of the panels from the ceiling, but the real thing, all on one ceiling, was breathtaking. Being able to see it at night, without the crowds, left me speechless.

Not sure what the rest of the trip holds, but It doesn’t really matter after that.

Hat for a friend

Project Details:

Yarn: Lion Brand Heartland

Pattern: very loosely based on Aesderina. I followed the pattern until after I got past the horizontal ribbing (knit 4 rows, purl 3 rows). The decreases start after that and I didn’t like how they looked so ripped it back and just winged it.

Needles: size 7

The hat is for a friend undergoing chemo for esophageal cancer. I don’t mind knitting hats, but my friends really just need to stop getting cancer.

I started this with a nice wooly wool but decided I needed something softer for a newly bald head. This actually is quite nice for an inexpensive acrylic yarn.

Those of you who follow me on FB know that we’re in Italy at the moment. Today is our last day in Rome, we head to Florence tomorrow. We’re having a wonderful trip, I’ll report back on that later. Ciao!

Baby Sweater

This one has been finished and gifted, so it’s time for a blog post.

And here’s a better shot of the sweater. It’s hard to take pictures of babies if they don’t want their picture taken.

Project Details:

Pattern: Buttoned up Cardi

Yarn: Cotton Ease, in Cherry Red

Needles: 5.00 mm

Started and Finished within the past two weeks

For: a coworker’s grandson

What I learned: I still love Cotton Ease for baby things. The bonus is that it’s machine washable.

Pattern Rating: This is a really easy pattern, all garter stitch. I made a few modifications. The pattern calls for picking up stitches and knitting the sleeves, I just cast on the right amount of stitches and then sewed them in. I remembered to put in the buttonholes on this one. And I made it just a bit longer than the pattern called for.

All but the buttons

One of my coworkers has a new grandson, so I knit him a baby sweater. It’s washed and blocking while I head out to forage for buttons. I’ll post a finished project photo once it’s dry and has the buttons on. I consider this a win, since it’s done before the kid got to first grade.

Millions of Tomatoes

It is that time of year again. Our patio tomato plants have finally started to get their act together.

That means we are putting tomatoes in pretty much everything we are eating right now.

Last night I made a French tomato tarte for dinner.

Here is what it looked like before it was baked.

And after:

We ate the leftovers for breakfast with a fried egg alongside this morning.

Here is the recipe I used. I modified it a bit. I partially baked the tarte crust, for about 10 minutes, so the filling wouldn’t make it soggy. I also thinly sliced a yellow onion, and caramelized it, then tossed in some chopped garlic for a few seconds. I layered that between two layers of sliced tomatoes. I used a mixture of fresh herbs from our garden, parsley, rosemary, marjoram, oregano. And I topped it with shredded Comte cheese instead of goat cheese since that is what I had. This is one of those recipes that is sort of endlessly modifiable. You could add other sautéed veggies (zucchini, red peppers, etc.), or use different kinds of cheese. You could vary the herbs, or make it spicy with either hot peppers or pepper flakes. You could add various meats as well, although this with crusty bread and a salad was plenty hearty for supper. Unlike a quiche, it doesn’t have a custard base, so it keeps better, though it certainly didn’t last long here.

What are you all doing with your fall harvest?

Amaranth Rogue

Project Details

Pattern: Rogue, by Jenna Wilson
Yarn: Peace Fleece worsted, color Amaranth
Needles: 4.0 mm
For: Me
Started/Finished: Started 10/4/15, Finished 9/8/18
Modifications: None
What I Learned: I still adore Peace Fleece wool. I knit this same pattern many years ago in a heavier Aran weight, it was too baggy, though I’ve worn it a million times. This one fits much better. I also love the cables on this.
Pattern Rating: ***** Well written, cable charts clear. No major errors. This is perhaps not a “first sweater” kind of pattern, but her directions make it easy to follow.

Here are a few more photos, since it’s not every day that there is a finished sweater around Chez Knitting Doctor!

Holy Sock Holes, Batman!

I posted some time back about always getting a gap at one of the gussets when knitting sock heels. I was roaming around on the internet this morning and found this video. Why on God’s green earth did it take me nearly 25 years of sock knitting to discover this?

5538D9CD-F266-43B6-BF6F-A37995CA8A30

I’ll let you know how it works out!

One Sleeve Short…

I’m going a little blurry-eyed from seaming, so the second sleeve will have to wait until I’ve had a break.

And the color is all wrong in this photo. It’s way more red than pink.

Well I’ll Be Damned

It’s finally a sweater! At least it will be once I get the sleeves sewn in. I finished the hood today and couldn’t wait for the sleeves to take a photo or two.

The cable grafting on the hood was also fun. When I knit this before, I just grafted it straight across like they were all knit stitches. It looked OK, but up close you could tell the difference. I got out my knitting references and figured out how to graft garter stitch. Once you can do that, you just graft stockinette for the knit stitches as they face you, and garter for the purl stitches as they face you.

In progress–

And done!

The sewing needle is just below the grafted seam.

And here is my grafting cheat sheet.

Last but not least, the hood!

Winter is Coming

It’s still very much summer during the day here, but there are signs that it’s nearly over. Some of the leaves are starting to turn, and it was only 52 degrees here early this morning.

I am almost done with the knitting on Rogue. I have 19 rows of the hood left, then I can sew in the sleeves and call it done.

And Miss Ripley helping me this morning.