Friday, October 30, 2015

I'm Ready

A couple days ago, Janet Avila of String Theory Yarn Co. sent off an email reminding knitters that November is NAtional KNIt a SWEater in a MOnth month. I've been all about sweaters lately, and I've decided it's time to run with the herd. Since the email came, I have spent ages trying to find the perfect yarn, hoping I could persuade myself into breaking the yarn budget on a really over-the-top sweater. Nothing sang to me. I faced the fact that I'm not really the over-the-top type. Then I realized that I could continue my slide down the Heidi Kirrmaier slope, and that if I did, I already I have the perfect yarn for the perfect pattern.

Way back when, in a fit of greed, I ordered a lot of (the now discontinued) Miss Babs Northumbria Aran.  At the time I only admitted to a box full. I'm still not coming clean, but suffice to say, I will have enough to knit a sweater for me and still have more than adequate yarn to complete the shawl (If the spirit should ever so move me. It should be noted that that photograph in that post, taken back in February 2012, is still an accurate depiction of my progress).

My current most favorite cardigan, beating out the fingering weight Vitamin D in the preceding post, is Heidi Kirrmaier's Fine Sand.  I have two finished and another one started.  That's news for another post or two.  I foresee Sweater V2.0 and V2.1 or something along those lines. Anyway. Fine Sand is a sport/DK/22 stitches-per-inch pattern.  Up until yesterday, I thought all my sweaters would be made from fingering to DK yarns.

Yesterday, the boiler failed.  Well, possibly the night before.  Not a quick fix either.  Something was leaking and needed to be replaced.  Even though the temperature here was in the 40's, it was cold enough inside to remind me why heavier sweaters and Chicago winters are like tea and cakes, needle and thread, milk and cookies. Aran weight yarn won't work for Fine Sand.  It will, though, for the companion cardigan - Quick Sand.

Not only that, it will give me a chance to try out my new Indian Lakes Artisans Made in Michigan Right Here in the USA hexagon shaped circulars (They came back to Stitches Midwest this year).

I'm winding and swatching and come Sunday, I'm casting on.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Sweater v1.0

I am trying to be inspired here.  If Kay and Ann can come back to blogging, surely there is hope for the patient, right?  And don't I want to keep said patient alive? Of course I do.  All of which makes the fact that I have knit three sweaters in the past six months and started two more and never mentioned a one of them in the blog, nothing short of reprehensible.

It started when I decided what I needed more than anything else in the world was a silk-blend sweater to wear to a spring wedding.  A careful examination on Ravelry led me to Heidi Kirrmaier and the Vitamin D Cardigan.  As an added benefit, I already had the pattern. I had bought it back in 2012. 

I spent I don't know how many mornings paging through the projects on Ravelry (there are a lot).  I did notice (probably around page 53 and/or Day 4) that the sweaters I liked best were knit with sock yarn, rather than the sport weight the pattern called for.  A thorough examination of the stash turned up nothing suitable. A great sale on Craftsy for Cascade Heritage Silk determined the yarn choice.  Too bad the color I wanted was out of stock.  Still, one must give credit where credit is due, and it was there that I decided the sweater would be knit in Heritage Silk or not at all.  I ended up with Cerulean  from the good folk at The Loopy Ewe (Good heavens. I checked. I ordered the yarn in March. I note that the Blog has absolutely no mention of yarn buying in March. Well, at least now I have a record of when the project started). 

In an astonishing exercise in discipline, I swatched. Even more astonishing, I got gauge (24 stitches and 32 rows/4 inches (US 6's). Most astonishing, I finished in time for the wedding. I knit like the wind, no mean feat for the world's slowest knitter.  The yarn was lovely to work with and the pattern one of the clearest and best written ones I have come across.  It made me a Heidi Kirrmaier fan for life.  And while I didn't wear the sweater to the wedding (too casual for formal wear, even with the beads I added to the cuffs and hem),

and am now regretting the beaded cast-off (too dressy for ordinary wear),  it ranks right up there with the three most favorite sweaters I ever knit. I did at least have it to wear at Stitches.

I will probably, someday,  remove the beads. 

 If only I didn't have to frog the front-and-neck trim so I can get them off the bottom hem.

Pattern: Heidi Kirrmaier's Vitamin D.
Yarn: Cascade Yarns Heritage Silk in Cerulean.
Needles: Addi US 6/ 4.0 mm for body, US 5/3.75 mm for the garter stitch trim at cuffs, hem and front and neck.