Fabled Cabled Coat

Whew!  It’s done!  I’ve finished Cabled Coat.  For me, it proved to be a tortuous path to get here, wrought with dumb mistakes, vague instructions, and pattern errors or omissions but it’s all done now.

I rather like the design of it, in fact it’s quite special, but it is a bit flashy for the usual casual me. Maybe it’s time to get away from the usual casual me. Kudos to Norah Gaughan for her rockin’ creativity, design and spin on the ordinary sweater coat concept. Wouldn’t it be cool if car designers put that much creativity into the design of a car?

It may not be the best choice of design if you have hips, a pear-shape perhaps, not that that’s a big problem for me, but it’s a consideration if you’re thinking of making one.

Here it is all to pieces on the floor, with my cat Phinney inspecting my work (actually, she wants to know when I'm going to sit down, brush her and relieve her of her thick undercoat).

It’s a bit of jigsaw puzzle to assemble because the back and side panels are not shaped like a normal cardigan, but just laying them on the floor helped me visualize it better. My plan of attack: 1) sew the godet in place; 2) sew the collar panels together; 3) sew one side panel on only where it joins the collar; 4) sew one sleeve at the collar and next to the first side; 5) sew the back only at the collar join; 6) sew the next sleeve at the collar; 7) sew the remaining side panel at the collar; 9) sew the upper sleeves at the top part where they join to the sides and back; 10) sew the remaining lower part of the sleeves and the sides starting from the wrist down to the bottom of the coat.

Pieces set together before sewing.

I regret blocking it: it relaxed the cables and flattened them out, and I didn’t even pin it.  So next time I wash it, I’ll just fluff it out and not lay it quite so flat.

I may add a button, since it seems to beg for one, otherwise it hangs sort of funny and obscures the interesting design by all the fabric on the front just flopping down.

I’m just soooo relieved to have it done!  I didn’t realize how much it weighed on me that it wasn’t done and that I kept messing-up on it.  So many times I felt like giving up. A word on the yarn: Wool of the Andes is very nice and soft to touch, but it does get a bit knotted-up on itself. I spent numerous times undoing nasty tangles that mysteriously appeared. However, all my labor and persistence with the pattern and yarn paid off and now I have this warm sweater coat to wear.  Pretty cool!  And just in time for fall.

Cabled Coat by Norah Gaughan (Ravelry link)
Vogue Knitting, Fall 2007
Knit Picks “Wool of the Andes”, 19 skeins, 2090 yds. (I used exactly that amount with about 24 inches leftover)
Needles: U.S. numbers 5 and 7

Cables, man.

I can’t believe I am within 3″ of finishing the Cabled Coat! I don’t know if I dare say that I’ll have it done this three day Labor Day weekend. After all, you will recall that I’ve given projections for finishing it before, and then realized I’d made some silly error and had to rip back as much as 10″ of hard-fought work. But I think I may actually get it done—soon. I’m using my WordPress blogging application on my iPhone for the first time, which includes the ability to load pictures directly from the phone, but it places pictures at the bottom of the post, so that is where you can see a picture of the collar in progress.  By the way, it took a year for Apple to make iPhone a truly useful device when it opened-up its phone to third party software earlier this summer, and now with all of the handy applications out there such as this WordPress blogging application, I can say that I don’t miss my old Treo so much anymore.

Finishing is contingent upon how much car-riding time I get, of course, and I got some good riding in as we drove to Rick Steves’ Europe Through The Back Door store/office in Edmonds to see what was there for our upcoming trip. We’ve been taking our son on long car trips to get him used to sitting for similar rides in Europe.

While at Rick Steves’ I safely steered myself from breaking our pre-trip budget by not visiting Spin A Yarn across the street. Rather, we timed our Edmonds trip during the local farmers’ market where we found a bite to eat: I had a wonderful meatball sandwich (also known as a grinder) from a vendor who comes from just outside of Assisi.

Then there was the family dinner we had at a Korean restaurant all the way down in Federal Way. We picked-up my skates from the skate repair guy in the south Everett area earlier in the day. Distances like these are best accomplished with an eye on economy, so we used the Prius, as we do during all of our family drives, unfortunately we won’t have that capability in Europe.

So close, and yet so far….

I came within 8″ of finishing Cabled Coat over the weekend, then realized that I had left out an element of the stitch pattern which is found everywhere on the coat, and which I’d included at the beginning of the collar.  I ripped about 10″ of work the other day.  Silly mistake, and a clear sign that I am rushing to get it done.  Serves me right.

That wasn’t the only in a string of calamities that have befallen me on this project, because last week I also broke the Knit Picks Harmony circular needle I’ve been using for Cabled Coat.  I stepped on it.  Wooden needles aren’t meant to be stepped on, in case you didn’t know.  Actually, what happened, was that my knitting was on the floor at my feet, and I stood up right on them.  Poor pretty dears never had a chance.  I think I heard faint wail as knitting needles around the world empathized with my needles.  So I ordered another set of needle tips for my circular.  They came a couple of days ago, and I was relieved because the clunky bamboo circular I was using was killing my knitting mojo.  And so it goes…

And peace fell upon the land…

Happy Fourth of July! I really do believe in celebrating our country’s Independence Day, but I’m glad it’s over. As with New Year’s Eve, I don’t quite get the need to purchase your own fireworks and set them off in your yard. I don’t think my childhood suffered any loss when we drove to the fireworks display and didn’t have them at home. Our neighborhood resounded with fireworks last night, keeping our son up and crying until very late and terrifying pets and wildlife. Not that I want to go out and hug a coyote or anything, but during lulls in the din they could be heard whimpering and howling in the woods. I felt sad for them.

It’s hard to believe it’s July. July is synonymous with Massachusetts for me.  I used to spend my summers as a kid visiting my father and grandparents in the Boston area, visiting historic landmarks, smelling the freshness of the ocean, going to the beach, eating Atlantic lobster and Ipswich clams, going to antique stores, and taking-in the beauty that is New England.  I miss it.  Having spent most of my life in the Pacific Northwest, I don’t think I could ever live in New England, and having spent so much time in New England, I don’t think I will ever feel like I am completely living in the Pacific Northwest.  July just never seems quite right to me anymore.  In honor of summers past, I made clam chowder last night. Afterall, it was the Fourth, and there had to be New England clam chowder.

Something I used to do a lot was beach-combing, especially for rocks on this beach south of Boston.

They don’t look that great in the photo, but I don’t know how many times I made the 3,000 mile flight home with at least 5 pounds of these pretty granite rocks in my suitcase. I still have many of them.

On the knitting side of things, here are the pictures of the finished side panel for Cabled Coat and the right front for Rib Knitted Shrug.

Progress on the other side panel for Cabled Coat is coming along nicely now and I’m really bent on finishing, I hope, by the end of the month.

The clock is ticking as we look ahead to our trip to Italy in September, we’ll be in the area of Pistoia for a week and then we’ve added a second week during which we’ll visit the French Riviera, Provence and then go to Switzerland (Geneva) for a short bit, and going back to Paris for a couple of nights, where we might meet-up with my French cousin and her family. I’m a bit intimidated about going to France, since none of us speak French (although I was taught some in school when I was 4), but armed with a phrase book, and being open to trying to speak a little French to get by, as we’ll also do in Italy, we’ve been assured by friends that we will be okay.

Dyeing to know.

Okay, so a friend of ours who lives in Russia stopped by for a chat the other day with his Russian wife and, of course I just had mention my Orenburg shawl to her. Blank stare. And then she realized that I was talking about the shawls of Oh-rrhen-boorrg, and we proceeded from there. It’s funny how you learn to say a foreign word in you’re own native language, and then someone who speaks the language associated with that word corrects you, and you just realize, “Well, duh! How stupid of me to pronounce it with American English pronunciation!” I know, if you don’t speak that language, how are you to really know how it is properly pronounced? But then, one of my favorite obsessions throughout my life has been linguistics (I guess I should’ve majored in that in college). Okay, back to the shawl.

After we got my pronunciation of Orenburg closer to what it should sound like, I showed her my shawl. Her reaction was immediate: “But this is not the traditional color!”

“I know.” I wailed, and went on to explain how it is that I ended-up with that color.

So this brings me to the title of this post, because I’m thinking I should dye the shawl: what I’ve done so far and the other hanks of Orenburg. Is that crazy? Probably. I think of crazy things like this often. I suppose it’s possible, but I’ve never done anything that crazy. Well, maybe.

I’ve found that the Orenburg (a.k.a., Grand Duchess) is just too challenging for me at the end of the day when my attention span is less, my eyes are tired and my patience is greatly lacking, so Cabled Coat has become my evening project, and as bonus, when I make a mistake the yarn is a lot more forgiving. But Grand Duchess is the primary project I’d work on if I had more time.

Cabled Coat is coming along…slowly. I really would like to finish it; the design is so interesting. This is one side panel, and it would’ve been further along, but I frogged most of it a week ago when I realized I’d misinterpreted the instructions, once again. I hope I’m doing it right. I think it’s right….

Below is Matcha Market Bag. Not much to say about it, except that I like the stitch pattern:

Bird’s Eye (not pictured) is sitting at the bottom of my bag; a jealous child thinking it’s been forgotten. I’m letting her cool her jets.

Life returns to normal.

While recovering from the flu, I actually did manage to do some work on Cabled Coat, albeit for short bits when I wasn’t lying in bed staring at the ceiling. And then I frogged it when I realized that what I’d done was wrong again! Boy, if I have to knit each piece at least twice, I might as well give up. Partly it’s me, and partly the instructions are a bit…um…challenging. I must be in some sort of knitting purgatory, because I keep getting into projects that seem easy enough, and then turn out to be anything but. But it’s a beautiful sweater—if I ever get it done, maybe I’ll wear it.

Here’s part of the godet of the coat. Of course, this is the second try:

Here’s the back of coat. This is also the second try:

At this point, it looks like the beginning of really swinging ski pants they used to wear in the 1970s. Well, doesn’t it?

Last night I made risotto with prosciutto and peas; something mild but filling for tender stomachs after the flu. Mmm, nice and creamy!

Oh, and about the Italy trip? It’s on, baby! You see, my sister won a trip for all of us! Location and date have yet to be determined. Stay tuned! Ciao!

Cabled Coat

My newest project is Norah Gaughan’s Cabled Coat from Vogue Knitting’s Fall 2007 issue.

With the lack of decent daylight these days, this picture is the best I can give you to show the 25″ or so of moss stitch I’ve completed so far using Knit Picks Wool of the Andes yarn in Winter Night. The pattern caught my interest because the coat is unusual in that it lacks the usual squares and rectangles found in most sweaters; intriguing to knit, intriguing to wear.

Meanwhile, I’m waiting for spring.

Normally, by September I would be bemoaning the loss of summer and the arrival of the holidays, specifically Thanksgiving and Christmas, but since we moved into this house, the winter/holiday blues haven’t really been all that big of a deal. It’s such a nice home, with lots of windows and lots of nature on hand, and lots of really nice neighbors, and when we go away for a night or two (that’s the most we’ve been away, so far), I come home not just feeling like, “Okay, so we’re home. Whew! It’s nice to be home.” Rather, what I feel now is, “Oh, it’s so very nice to be home. Do we really live in this place? What a treat!” I know not everyone can say that, but I hope that you can, at the very least, make your home a place that gives you that feeling.

About the holidays: I think Thanksgiving and Christmas are wonderful holidays, really, but they just get a bit overdone and their significance is a bit lost. Then there’re the holiday dinners we host because it works best for other family members, except me, who doesn’t enjoy cooking (I just like eating well) and for whom hosting is out of my comfort zone. But it’s all getting better. I’m learning to accept the fact that everyone wants to come here, and that it’s best that I do most of the cooking because otherwise, it means coordinating the meal to meet everyone else’s expectations to make specific parts of the meals. You know, like…we don’t need three appetizers, two dozen rolls of bread, two green bean side dishes and three desserts for eight adults and one child; besides, no one wants to take the leftovers home, so we three would end-up trying to eat it all over the following days to keep it from spoiling and we don’t have a big freezer to put it in.

So on that note, I have to say looking forward to January! Because for me, post New Year’s Day means spring is practically here. Afterall, at this very moment the camelia are in bloom and the winter blooming cyclamen in my garden are in bloom right now (even though they’re “winter blooming”, I think of them as spring-is-practically-here blooming cyclamen). So, instead of a picture of my winter blooming outside, I give you slightly fuzzy (sorry!) pictures of orchids.

Merry Christmas!