Jacob’s Delight

The one and only, Jacob’s Delight is done. What a fish tale it was!  There were some ups and downs and Jacob’s Delight sometimes seemed like a soap opera, but it’s done and I can no longer refer to it as the fish that got away, and no longer is it relegated to that sector in my mind where it once inhabited, the What Could Have Been sector.  I am really happy that this pattern, that which I first saw in the first ever knitting book I bought in 1984, the very same book from which I made my very first knitted item, has become a dream realized.  Not only that, but something I can actually wear, knowing it turned-out quite well, unlike that other ill-fated sweater I made from the same book which turned-out pretty poorly.

I managed to work around the pattern error indicating the wrong amount of purple yarn (too little), and all visible areas requiring purple are purple, and in the end I was able to make the picot edging for the pockets in purple without shortening the edging afterall, even though I’d done that in my previous post. The only place where I had to do something different to make up for the shortage of purple was the insides of the pockets, which I made in brown, instead, using a bit of purple for the insides where it would be visible from the opening. By the way, I can’t let it go and just have to say that there’s some kind of irony in the fact that purple was the color I ran low on, since isn’t the only place in the bible that my name (Lydia) occurs is where it says she was a merchant of purple fabric? I don’t know why that seems ironic to me, but it does. I mean what are the chances in a biblically-titled pattern involving 8 colors that purple would be the one I’d have to scramble for? I’m just sayin’….

Picot Pockets

Pattern: Jacob’s Delight by Pip Hues from The Sweater Book by Amy Carroll (Copyright 1983)
Yarn: Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Worsted
Needles: US 10/6.0 mm, US 9/5.5 mm, US 7/4.5 mm

While shooting pictures of the coat, the first bee of the season stopped by and tapped on my window. I was so happy to see her I had to take a picture of her, as well.


Wild Ride

If Jacob’s Delight were a novel, it would be an epic. Such twists and turns, such drama, such joy. Maybe that’s overstatement. You see, I’ve made cardigans and sweaters using top-down, sleeve-to-sleeve, and bottom-up methods, but never anything like that of Jacob’s Delight and it makes for a wild ride. Overall, the coat is knit cuff-to-cuff, but it’s not that simple. It starts at the left cuff, works up the left sleeve, then divides the stitches with half to a stitch holder and the other half worked and added onto to make the front left panel, binding-off after the buttonband. Then we go back to the saved stitches at middle upper arm and cast-on additional stitches to work on the left back, and from there to complete the back all the way to the right side, and then down the length of the right sleeve, pick up saved right upper arm stitches and complete the right front, ending at the right buttonband. Got that? Oh, and the pockets are cast on as you go around the sweater, with the cast-ons put on stitch holders to be worked at the end. There will be seams of about 8″ long running lengthwise from the middle upper arm to the shoulder to sew-up later, and the collar and the hem border along the bottom will be pick-up and added on at the end.

Completed left front, left sleeve, and beginning of left back.

I tried reading ahead before I started, but just couldn’t grasp how it was supposed to go, and now that I’m almost done with the left side, I am amazed that anyone could come up with such configuration. It has to be just about the most entertainment I’ve had in a long time, and it’s entirely doable, but just very, very different. It certainly dusts the cobwebs off my brain. I just can’t imagine how anyone would come up with such a configuration, but then that’s probably why I don’t design sweater patterns.

To top off last week’s mayhem in my life, I ended-up with a nasty case of Pink Eye in both eyes. I’d never had it before and it never occurred to me that that’s what I had, so I went most of last week with my eyes in a miserable state until a friend who works for an opthamologist told me I had pinkeye. I learned a few things about this highly contagious ailment: that you don’t just catch it from other people, but you can also develop it from being sick (as I did), that high doses of vitamin C (2,000-4,000 mg) throughout the day reduce the intensity and aid with healing, and that very warm compresses also alleviate the symptoms (thanks to my ever so handy Prescription for Nutritional Healing book for these at-home solutions). That Thursday night after my friend’s observations, I had 1,000 mg. vitamin C (Emergen-C), and put very warm compresses on each eye; these two things reduced the pain and blurriness sufficiently. I finished-off sleeping with a wet compress on my eyes that night to keep my eyes from pasting shut, which wasn’t easy because I that compress got cold at night, but I just couldn’t stand my eyes being crusty one more morning.  I was glad to get started on optical antibiotics the next day.


I’m making progress on Jacob’s Delight, but not as quickly as I’d hoped. Time is at a premium, and these days knitting time is shrinking.

Soon after starting with Lamb’s Pride, I just couldn’t stand how bright it looked, so I made my latest change to the color scheme, swapping-out the orange (Lamb’s Pride Autumn Harvest) for Lamb’s Pride Bittersweet and I sighed a sigh of relief. I just can’t fathom walking around in something that is really bright, you know? I mean it was looking downright collegiate, and I don’t want to play favorites. I could hear myself say, “These two colors together look like University of Washington colors and these two together look like University of Michigan colors, and…” I just couldn’t stand it. It doesn’t matter what college I went to, or whatever, I just didn’t want to feel like a walking sports booster. I’ve seen enough of that stuff in my years of work with a collegiate licensing department and I just don’t want to go there in my knitting. So, out went the orange and in went Bittersweet to tone it down.

Before the switch.

After the switch.

Rather than ripping back what I’d done, I just removed the offending orange and replaced the now vacant stitches with the new color using an embroidery needle.  I’m sure there’s some technical term for doing this out there, and if you know what it is, let me know.

This whole issue of bright colors wouldn’t be a problem if Lamb’s Pride were produced in more natural colors, like more heathers and such, because I like the yarn, but I just want a better range of colors to choose from. Anyway, now I feel better, and I think I can live with my color choices pretty well…although there is that bright yellow I’d like to tone down….

I’ve been having fun lately in my real life.  Let’s see…. Sunday we got a fraud notice on our primary charge card, so we shut it down.   Monday I discovered a sizable puncture to one of my car’s tires; it was so big that when I got out of the car I could hear it blowing out and by the time my daughter and I made it to a tire repair place (4 miles away) the tire was completely flat and we missed her Kindermusik class, to boot.  Today in downtown Seattle, Pioneer Square, without my handy VISA credit card (because of fraud) I found that paying for parking was practically impossible, plus I had only $10 on me in the form of two $5 bills, so I couldn’t even use a city parking machine; I finally found a manned garage that would take my American Express and arrived for my appointment 30-minutes late, but not before my open purse flopped out of the open car door at one point and into a 2″-deep disgustingly black puddle of God-knows-what kind of city skum in a Pioneer Square street (I wiped it down with anti-bacteria wipes), losing only a stick of lipstick.

On the plus side, after my appointment I followed the lunchtime crowd to Hole in the Wall BBQ on James between 2nd and 3rd and had a nice bowl of chili to make up for all the nastiness.

The sun came out today…

And suddenly, everything seemed more doable.  I feel like I’ve been living in a cave for the past few weeks.  Normally, January doesn’t hit me like that since the days start getting longer; rather it’s December that affects me that way.  Even Zephyr was happier and today seemed a good day to post.

Feeling good, despite the beginnings of what may be the flu, it just seemed like a good time to throw my knitting down on the floor and take a picture.

I dropped a teaser in my last post, way back on December 25th (sorry!), saying that I’d begun work on something that isn’t another My So-Called Scarf (which I personally find borders on addictive) and is from the first knitting book I bought in 1984. I have long categorized it as one of my dream projects, you know “the one that got away”, or almost got away. When I first saw it in the pages of Amy Carroll’s The Sweater Book (Copyright 1983), I said, “Wow! That would be nice to make. If only…” But being new to knitting and living on a college student budget at the time, it was not the time to delve into such a project. Happily, now is the time.

Photo Copyright Amy Carroll (1983)

The kick-off was not without its set-backs. There were four re-dos of the first cuff (it’s knit vertically from cuff to cuff) alone because I couldn’t decide if I liked close-fitting cuffs for a coat (decided to leave the pattern alone), especially since the edging for the rest of the coat isn’t fitted, and then I totally messed-up on the original yarn selection and was way, way off on the gauge.  So I ended-up with good ole’ Lamb’s Pride.

I present the team for my dream coat:

Lamb's Pride Worsted by Brown Sheep

Then I discovered a typo, in which the pattern calls for no more than two colors per row in the Fair Isle tradition, and suddenly there was the odd appearance of a third color at the seam ends of the row.  Caught that before I was too far along.

And then there is the inconsistency (or is it another typo?) of one of the striping sequences that doesn’t match-up with the photo in the book.  Both striping sequences call for white/natural but in the photo one of the sequences shows brown where white is indicated, so I caught that one too.

Despite these little speed bumps, the project is now under way and I hope to see it done before it gets too warm to wear it.

So that’s what I’ve been doing, knit wise.  In between waiting for yarn orders (I tried to buy locally, but the yarn selection wasn’t good for a project like this), picked-up Birds Eye Shawl and finally made it to the end of the first skein.  Almost 4 years after I started it.

And now, for something completely different…

It’s a finished object! Vine Lace Cardigan went amazingly fast, so fast that while working on the body, I was surprised to find that I had come to the bind-off. Of course, that was while I was at the Seattle Knitters Guild meeting listening to Jared Flood talk about his knitting and photography.

The beauty of Vince Lace is that not only is the pattern written so that it can be knit in one piece and from the top down, but it also calls for chunky yarn and therefore an equally chunky stitch gauge. This, I figured, this is the project for time-crunched me, and it was. After ripping-out the first 10 rows a few times because I kept misreading the instructions, the whole thing went along quite well. Before I knew it, it was done. I finished within in my projected time frame of 3-4 weeks, in fact, I was just one day over 3 weeks.

After all the knitting was done, it was tenderly steamed, buttered—oops, that was dinner—it was tenderly steamed and I tried it on. I couldn’t believe my eyes in seeing that one sleeve was about 1/2″ shorter than the other. I don’t know how that happened, but, oh well, I figured, No problem, since it was knit top-down, I’d just undo the offending sleeve’s bind-off and add a few more rows. Yet when I laid the two sleeves side-by-side one more time to see if my eyes were playing tricks on me, I saw that not only was the same sleeve a bit short, it was also vastly too narrow! No idea how that happened. I’m glad it was the same sleeve so that I wouldn’t have to re-do both. It was easy to do, and to be on the safe side as far as stitch count went, I took it all the way out, down to one row short of where the underarm was stitched to the body. That turned out to be a good move, because it was then in line with Row 41 of the instructions for the sleeves and a perfect re-starting point. Anyhow, the error was easily fixed and soon I was wearing the sweater.

Pattern: #77 Vine Lace Top Down Cardigan by SweaterBabe (Ravelry link here)
Yarn: Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Bulky
Needles: US 11 (8.0 mm)

I think if I were to knit it again I would make a few changes. I would omit the waistline ribbing, because I think only the skinniest of women would look good with something that makes you look thicker in the middle, and I believe that omitting the ribbing will give it a more timeless classic look. I would also use a yarn that sheds less.  I have some old skeins of Lamb’s Pride Bulky from a few years ago, and they shed no where near as much as this stuff does; it’s like wearing a cat all day, and I shed wherever I go and on anyone I come into close contact with. The car now has mohair fuzz in it, and all around the house there are these mohair fuzz balls I keep picking up in addition to the usual cat fur, and my children go about the day sporting mohair on their clothes. Despite this, I still like the cardigan very much and thoroughly enjoy it.  It’s wonderfully comfortable and warm enough to be worn on it’s own when temps are moderately cool.

Before I dash off, here are pictures from our Thanksgiving dinner:

Wine-basted turkey---Yum!

Pecan Pie

Have a great rest of the weekend!

How do I spell relief? Vine Lace Cardigan

It’s about time for me to decide what I’m going to make for dinner tonight, and as is typical, what am I thinking about instead? Knitting. I suppose it’s a delay tactic to think of something fun rather than something mundane. Whatever.

Vine Lace Cardigan (Ravelry) is progressing at a fast clip. How refreshing it is to have something that I can actually see take shape with minimal effort and time. There were some times at the beginning when I thought it was going to be another Cabled Coat experience, because I had to start over a couple of times after I realized I was doing something wrong, but once it got going for real, Vine Lace has become a breeze. Mind you, at 12 pages long, even though the pattern is quite thorough, it’s quite easy once you get your bearings. I don’t think it is for the novice knitter, unless the novice is able to get some help from time to time to get back on course. The pattern is mostly stockinette stitch, with very basic lace panels, so that’s not a problem, but the instructions require close attention because they are quite detailed, and necessarily so. But what a great project, and I have fallen in love all over again with Lamb’s Pride Bulky; it’s just so squishy and warm. Worked from the top down, I’ve finished the sleeves and am now on the waist. I seem to be on schedule, if you could call it that, to finish within my projected window for completion (3-4 weeks), so if it’s not done by the end of this week, it should be done by the end of next.

Knitting Vine Lace has mostly been accomplished while catching-up on all of this season’s episodes of ABC’s Dancing With The Stars. We’ve watched Seasons 5 & 6 previously, and for some reason, we never watched Season 7 and even deleted it off of our Tivo, having never found the time to do catch-up viewing. We’d missed watching all of this seasons episodes, but kept them on the Tivo and we’ve been watching 1-2 episodes at a sitting, time permitting, after the kids are asleep. I have really become quite a fan and when my husband reminds me that it’s past my bedtime, the protest he hears from me is not, “One more row of knitting!”, but “Just one more dance! One more dance!  I’ve got to have one more dance!” I have become a DWTS addict, my friends. Despite all that glitter and spray tan, despite how ABC is using it in excess as a vehicle to promote it’s other TV shows and its recording artists, and despite that I haven’t a clue who many of the celebrity competitors are, it’s a great show. I just love the way the celebrities come on the show and really try their best to accomplish something that has very little to do with their real “day” job. There seems to be little room in the competition for big celebrity egos, because they are worked so hard to learn the dances and compete. It’s unusual for me to watch reality-type shows, but this one is well worth it.

I’ve been busy….

When all else fails, start another project…. Vine Lace Cardigan (from Sweaterbabe.com) in Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Bulky, Sable colorway.

Originally, I used my $30 Knit Picks gift certificate from Christmas for this project, and ordered Cadena in Thyme colorway for it.  To my dismay, Cadena was all in hanks instead of the skeins Wool of the Andes was in when I made Cabled Coat last year.  Despite that, I made a swatch of one skein and found that Cadena really wasn’t right for the project anyway and returned it.  In technical terms, Cadena didn’t have enough fluff to it, and when knit up to achieve the proper gauge, the resulting fabric was loose, holey and lacking character.

It’s nice yarn though, and is a pleasure to knit with on a project better suited for it.  The color was perfect: not quite deep olive green, not quite light brown, and somewhere in-between, but I’m also quite pleased with my color choice of Lamb’s Pride Bulky.

I’ve also started Shoulder Cozy from Wrap Style.

Actually, I started that sometime in September, swatching and swatching, trying to find the right gauge, but by the time I cast on for it, it was mid-October. I’m using stash yarn for this, which is Reynolds Smile in a green-yellow-teal multi colorway. Smile was supposed to be for crocheted slippers that never made it to the hook.

Meanwhile, I haven’t given up on Shawl Neck Cardigan, but it’s become my on-the-go project to carry in my purse. I’ve passed the halfway point on it, but it will probably be finished in January.

What else?  Here’s my order from Frenchy Bee:  a bottle of almond (orgeat) syrup for my coffee, chestnut paste as a topping for ice cream, 4 tins of Anis de Flavigny violet flavored drops or mints (not minty, but tastes like violets—an old favorite of mine).

Then, I needed to re-stock on my Vegemite, and tired of having to find a local place that carries it because supply is unpredictable, I boldly ordered a 400-gram jar of it from a vendor on Amazon.com.  Normally, I get a 150-gram jar but my kids have taken a liking to it, and even though they get just a scant amount on their toast every now and then, we’ve been going through my little jar quickly and since it lasts forever, I went for the big jar.

I shocked my family the other day, and made a full, real meal, the prime focus of which were these delicious split Rock Cornish Game Hens, broiled with a vinegar and broth sauce from How To Cook Everything by Mark Bittman, Smashed Red Potatoes from marthastewart.com, and roasted broccolini from The Gastrokid Cookbook by Hugh Garvey and Matthew Yeomans.  The silence at the table was deafening as they feasted.

I’ve been going through stuff to get rid of, and one thing I came across was this helpful book that my dad gave to me a long, long time ago; I guess he was concerned that I wasn’t married yet.

That book always irks me.  Still.  Time to get rid of it.

Then there are the bags and bags of clothes for my daughter that have been passed on to us, and have been waiting for me to sort through.  The best item I found, which I find bewildering in so many ways:  a pink 100% cashmere sweater.  Cashmere.  In a 2-year old size.  Barely worn (I can imagine why).  Cashmere for a 2-year old?  Cashmere sweater given away.  We’ll take it.

We’re back into the rainy season.  I find it rather soothing to hear it on our roof, even though it makes for blurry views from the windows and dim lighting inside.