Tag Archives: Vogue

Swatching – A Necessary Evil

Blocked Cotton Swatches

Blocked Cotton Swatches

I always swatch before starting projects which need to fit (clothes versus warshrags and shawls). As recommended, I then wash and block my swatches. While I don’t always make my swatches to a minimum of 4 inches by 4 inches, I do test the various repeats.

For the next attempt of the Botanica Medallion Sweater, I need to re-swatch since I am using three different colors of Tahki Cotton Classic in white (from a yarn swap), aqua (from Purl by the Sea in Montauk) and forest green (from Purl by the Sea in Montauk). As a result, I want to ensure that the colors don’t bleed which would ruin the top. In addition, I am going to increase the size of my needles to make the top more lacy. Hence, more swatching.

While I’m swatching, I am also preparing for another project, the Eloise Sweater which is a free pattern from Lion’s Brand. This sweater was on show in the Lion’s Brand Studio and looked multi-purpose. Further, the pink Lion’s Brand Recycled Cotton has a candy cane impression (from the Lion Brand Studio) so I am hoping that this will be fun to knit and a great gift for a little girl.

I strongly recommend swatching and getting projects ready in advance while you’re working on or finishing another project so that you’re ready to just start when the spirit moves you. This prevents lustfully starting to knit only to find that you’re way off in your gauge on the real thing!

Submitted by Knitted Yarns Editor-in-Chief

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Shiri Mor’s Botanica Medallion Sweater from Vogue Knitting

   

Shiri Mors Botanica Medallion on Vogue Knitting Cover

 

Shiri Mor's Botanica Medallion on Vogue Knitting Cover

When I started knitting lace doilies, one of my friends suggested that I check out the pattern on the cover of Vogue Knitting Summer 2009. It’s an unusual pattern by Shiri Mor. It’s more of a vest than a sweater. It consists of a center circle knit in the round like a doily and a separate border knitted with a variety of lace stitches so that it is larger at the outer edge than the inner edge. 

 

Interestingly, the sample is knit in Blue Sky Skinny Dyed Cotton for summer wearing. Given the way that the pattern is knit, it is a strong candidate for a Noro type yarn which would add a wonderful pattern to the center and stripes to the outer circle.

When I first thought about doing the top, I wanted to combine several colors. I wanted to use the watery blues and greens that have been showcased in Eileen Fisher’s windows on Fifth Avenue this spring.

Due to the fact that I’ve been on a yarn diet (of course, those of you who are regular readers know that I allow myself yarn treats and occasional splurges like MDSW and Webs Tent Sale.)  Therefore I decided to use some Tahki Cotton Classic from my stash. The 4 1/2 balls of white Tahki Cotton Classic (or 432+ yards) that I got at a yarn swap  wasn’t enough to make the top.  Combined with one or two other colors, it was a good start.

Tahki Cotton Classic in White, Aqua and Blue-Green

Tahki Cotton Classic in White, Aqua and Blue-Green

After studying the Botanica Medallion pattern, I realized that it was difficult to adapt to multiple colors in the way that a vintage doily might be. Therefore, I bought 5 skeins of aqua at Purl By the Sea (or 540 yards) in Montauk.

Flower Medallion of Shiri Mor's Vogue Cardi

Flower Medallion of Shiri Mor's Vogue Cardi

32 rows of Botanica Medallion in Tahki Cotton Classic

32 rows of Botanica Medallion in Tahki Cotton Classic

While it’s a rare event that I get gauge (of course, I was using needles that were 2 sizes smaller), I set out to knit the  medallion centerpiece of the sweater. After knitting about 34 rows of the 54 rows needed, I realized that, while my gauge was on target, the piece even after blocking was way too small to work for me.

Given that the centerpiece of the Botanica Medallion consists of close stocking knit and reverse stocking knit, I chose not to increase the needle size to make the piece larger. Also, I am using 100% cotton which should be knitted tightly for garments. Therefore, I decided to look for another doily to use in lieu of the flower / starfish pattern medallion of Mor’s piece. 

Having made several different doilies, I estimate that I will need a pattern with about 70 rows. Although a pattern which allows me the flexibility to add more rows to reach my goal is optimal. Further, it’s important to take blocking into consideration. For example, my Heirloom Doily Placemats grew from 15″ to 17″ in diameter when they were blocked. I assume that the piece will grow about 10-20% due to blocking the lace (which is different from non-lace blocking.)

While some of you dear readers might be upset at this change, I am thrilled since it will allow me to use a variety of colors and to have a unique design at the center. I am thinking about making the border striped but I am not sure that I will like the color changes. I will need to test knit them.

P.S. For those NYC based knitters, Shiri Mor is teaching a class focused on making the Botanica Medallion at Knitty City.

Submitted by Knitted Yarns-Editor-in-Chief

Green Mitered Tank Top Done!

My Green Mitered Tank Top in 100% cotton with slubs is finished. I used Norah Gaughan’s pattern in the Summer 2009 Vogue Knitting and love the shaping as I have mentioned before. I can’t recommend this pattern enough. Like many of Norah Gaughan’s patterns, the shaping is unusual. It starts with almost twice the number of stitches that there are in the bottom of the average sweater. By making a double decrease at two strategic points, the material drapes wonderfully. Of course, you need to be careful with the decreases since they need to be decorative.

 

Norah Gaughan's Mitered Tank Top in Green

Norah Gaughan's Mitered Tank Top in Green

 

Norah Gaughan Mitered Tank Top in Green with Extend Skirt

Norah Gaughan Mitered Tank Top in Green with Extend Skirt

 

 

I adjusted the K1P1 rib to ensure that the line from the double decreases was followed up the garment. Further in the front, I moved the increases to build on this line to form darts. Since I inadvertently decreased too many stitches on the back, I didn’t change needles for the ribbing. 

My major change was that I didn’t use any metallic yarn or beading to highlight the trim as shown in Vogue Knitting. Further, I just followed my instincts on the neck decreases. If I were to make it again, I would make the neckline square to imitate the bottom of the garment (both front and back using mitered stitches to match.)

Unlike many of my knitting friends, I like to sew my knitted pieces together. I think that the clothes fit better and it gives me a sense of accomplishment.

Submitted by Knitted Yarns Editor-in-Chief

Sunset on a Knitting-filled Fire Island Vacation

Good bye Fair Harbor Vacation

Good bye Fair Harbor Vacation

 

The end of vacations is always bitter sweet, especially summer ones on Fair Harbor’s car-free beach. While the weather wasn’t sunny and bright every day, it allowed us space to re-charge our batteries and get away from the everyday routine. 

One great advantage of vacation knitting is that you have a tangible reminder of your joy-filled hours of sitting by the beach adding stitch after stitch to your projects.  As I mentioned earlier, I like to have a few different projects to keep me busy and depending on other factors some may not be appropriate. For example, I brought the Black Malabrigo Fountain Pen Shawl which I’m making out of Malabrigo sock yarn. It was too thin to knit in the oceanside wind. (So much for finishing it on vacation!)

Some of the sunsets we experienced during our vacation. Sunsets in Fair Harbor are spectacular even if the weather has been poor. The third sunset occurred miraculously between thunderstorms.

Fair Harbor Bay Sunset

Fair Harbor Bay Sunset

Sunset on Fair Harbor with Sailboats

Sunset on Fair Harbor with Sailboats

Post-storm Sunset in Fair Harbor June 2009

Post-storm Sunset in Fair Harbor June 2009

Here’s the progress that I made during our Fire Island stay:

– Black Malabrigo Fountain Pen Shawl – Using  Malabrigo Sock Yarn bought at The Point NYC.  Source: Interweave Spring 2009. Finished 6 out of 10 repeats. Although given how the yarn is being used, I may add 1 or 2 repeats (if I have the stamina.) This pattern is relatively easy with only one nupp per 16 row pattern. It borders on being boring.

– Carnation Pink Nightsong Shawl – Using cobweb weight cashmere yarn from Silk City Fibers and a free online pattern. The pattern is interesting in that there is no center spine. It is probably better done with a single YO in the center but I decided to keep mine consistent. I like the way that the patterns expand and squeeze in. If the yarn wasn’t so TINY, I would probably be done with it. It hurts my eyes to do.

– Hemlock Ring Blankie – Using the pattern by Brooklyn Tweed, I am having fun with this project (although it out grew the needles while I was on vacation!) It turned out to be the perfect yarn for the weather. Thick enough to with stand the wind. I had fun changing colors. I finished 6 out of the Feather and Fan repeats. I think that it will look good once it’s done. It lays flat (unlike the sample in The Point).

– Heirloom Doily Placemats– I finished 1 1/3 of the Liz Snella Heirloom lace pattern using Cesari Wool. I think that this wool will hold up for this use. I find it rough on my hands. Also, since it’s not a very processed wool, there are bits of stuff that haven’t been cleaned out of the wool. (The plus for those who want to wear the yarn is that it has lanolin which helps for rain protection. (I also finished 1 1/3 of the Two Color Lace Doily which I frogged.)

-Green Mitered Tank Top – Out of a 100% cotton with a slub (which is great for those of us whose knit stitch isn’t perfect!) It’s a hospital green that seems to be in all of the windows along Fifth Avenue this spring/summer. The pattern is a Norah Gaughan from the Vogue Knit Summer 2009. It’s an under rated pattern since it is great for all types of figures. I finished the main knitting portion (I didn’t do any sewing, etc. on vacation.) I was very proud of myself for making the increases in the front following the mitered corner to look like darts. 

– Long Sleeve Linen in Grey, Beige , White – I think that I finished the front of this long sleeved ribbed sweater and plotted out the sleeves. It’s been taking WAY to long to finish but I’ve lost interest and keep plodding along. 

Do you keep track of your vacation knitting? Do you find that it gives you special joy? Please let me know in the comments section.

Submitted by Knitted Yarns Editor-in-Chief

 

 

Mitered Tank Top on Fair Harbor Beach

 

Peaceful Knitting Venue on Fair Harbor Beach

Peaceful Knitting Venue on Fair Harbor Beach

Norah Gaughan’s Mitered Tank Top from the Summer 2009 Vogue Knitting shows off Norah’s genius for designing tops with unusual shapes that are flattering for women to wear. At the bottom, the Mitered Tank Top starts with enough stitches on one side to make the bottom of most sweaters! It uses a decorative decrease to form a flattering line which I adjusted my knitting to ensure that it flowed through the waist band ribbing.

Among my modifications were:

  • Only used one color of cotton. It was a wonderful light green with slubs which are a godsend for those of us whose plain knit may be imperfect! I am not adding any glitter to the top as shown in Vogue.
  • Knit the waistband without changing needles since it made the top too small for my waist.
  • Made increases for the bust at the same point as the decorative decreases below the waist. I increased stitches on the outside of the stitch so that they form a decorative detail and look like darts!

Knitting on the beach in Fair Harbor, the wind and dampness hampered my speed but I had fun putting my knitting on the sand for pictures. Although for some reason, the colors are off in some of the photos.

Mitered Tank Top to Waist on Fair Harbor Beach

Mitered Tank Top to Waist on Fair Harbor Beach

Mitered Tank Top Back with a view of Atlantic Ocean on Fair Harbor Beach

Mitered Tank Top Back with a view of Atlantic Ocean on Fair Harbor Beach

 

Submitted by Knitted Yarns Editor-in-Chief