Lili’s Nantucket

Lili’s Nantucket is done and it went pretty smoothly after ripping it out after having knitted about 7″ and then switching to a smaller sweater size. In the above photo, on the wall behind me is an actual watercolor of Nantucket from the early 1960s when I lived there as a small child. It wasn’t planned that the painting be incorporated into the picture, but it’s ironic that it got in there.

In making the smaller size, but needing a little extra, ahem, through the bust-line, I added 8 stitches in both the front and back, while the waistline was kept at the original smaller size. I also added about an inch to the sleeve length, but I wish I’d added about that much to the length of the sweater. When it was all done, I tried it on and it was too snug. However, after having washed and blocked it, it’s now too loose all around (even in the waist). I’m glad I didn’t make the bigger size; must be something about the yarn. The buttons are glass buttons from the 1920s that I bought at an outdoor market in Piccadilly in London when I was there in 1995; I bought 6 for £4.

Details
Pattern: Nantucket Jacket by Norah Gaughan, Interweave Knits, Winter 2006
Yarn: Knitaly (discontinued) by Lane Borgosesia
Needles: 4.0 mm/US 6

It was altogether an enjoyable knit, it went quite smoothly, and the yarn helped make it enjoyable—lovely stuff.

Tweedy-dee

Lili’s Nantucket Jacket is nearing conclusion and I look forward to adding it to my wardrobe.  While green tweed is not a colorway I might have selected for the project if I’d bought the yarn today, being close at hand from my stash it was the ideal candidate, and the tweed is subtle enough that it’s barely noticeable.  It turns out that I love this yarn. Knitaly (Ravelry link) by Lane Borgosesia has a durable feel to it and a wonderful softness at the same time.  So why was it discontinued? Beats me.

Dinner last night was risotto with prosciutto and peas, which is always a big hit with my son, but not so hot with his visiting playmate.

I used the recipe, Simple Risotto with Prosciutto and Peas from Real Simple magazine, the September 2006 issue, in which there was section on 6 basic recipes with enough changes to get 30 different meals out of. This risotto recipe is fantastic and amazingly easy. It never comes out soupy, dry, or mushy, but al dente as it should be.

Color me green.

Nantucket Jacket is progressing nicely now that I’ve determined where to put additional stitches in the pattern so that I end up with a size between the finished sized of 36″ and the 41″.  Unblocked, you can’t really tell I’ve added 8 sts into the bust shaping on the back, so as I start the left and right fronts simultaneously, I’m hopeful it will turn out decently.  Besides, I really like this yarn (Lane Borgosesia Knitaly wool from my stash), and it’s too bad I never really appreciated it before, because it’s discontinued.

I’ve dubbed the project “Lili’s Nantucket” after yours truly.  Lili (pronounced lee-lee) was one of the terms of endearment my mother called me by back when I was quite small, when we lived on Nantucket Island. I would love to go back to Nantucket someday, but on the other hand, maybe not. When I lived there, it probably had a winter population of about 200 people, and it was a sleepy little place where life was quite simple, and if anyone told you that someday there’d be houses priced well into seven figures located there, you’d probably laugh. So, instead, I’ll knit a sweater and remember Lili’s Nantucket.

Non-progress happening here.

Well, I actually do have something finished to report on.

Ribbed Chameleon II

During our very briskly cold December past, my son got to wear my Ribbed Chameleon I scarf and soon started to lay claim to it. It became clear that I would have to make him one.  It turned out the yarn was on sale at Village Yarn & Tea, so there weren’t a whole lot of color choices in Karabella Chameleon, but I chose a blue/yellow combo. The whole thing was knitted up in a matter of a few car rides and he’s quite pleased with it and insists on wearing it even in the mildest of weather.

Details
Pattern: Ribbed Mini-Scarf by Celeste Glassel
Yarn: Karabella Chameleon, colorway 3214 (one skein)
Needles: 4.0 mm/US 6

On the “non-progress” front—

Grand Duchess is in limbo until I can figure out how many stitches I dropped, and even a life line isn’t much help.  For such an undertaking I need about 2-3 hours of uninterrupted time during the day.  Now, where am I going to get that?  Here’s a thought that crosses my mind when I knit this:  mohair and lace are two words that probably should never be mentioned in the same sentence and, therefore, should never even enter anyone’s mind for a knitting project.

Nantucket Jacket is currently stalling for time, because I’m now almost back to where I frogged it the first time when I decided the size I originally chose would be too big. Now I’m trying to determine where to incorporate extra stitches for the bust in the smaller size without making huge changes to the stitch pattern.  If it weren’t for the sizing issue, this would breeze along, but I find it very refreshing to knit, and I particularly like knowing that I’m using stash yarn as I work on it.

Bird’s Eye Shawl is back out of hibernation because I went to a concert at Benaroya Hall last Monday to hear the amazing violinist Julia Fischer play with Academy of St. Martin in the Fields (what a wondrous match-up that is).  I really wanted to take something with me, so Birds Eye happily volunteered itself for the mission.  And good choice it was, as it made a perfect concert companion.  Since then I’ve been enjoying it’s companionship in car rides or during occasional quiet times in the afternoon while my son plays with his toys.  I know it well enough now that I’ve become pretty good at fixing it without ripping out one single row when I make a mistake.  I just wish it didn’t take so long to make one row.

Matcha Market Bag, for those of you wondering, is in hibernation until spring.  After all, it’s really another lace project and I truly love lace, but at this time in my busy life, lace is probably the last thing I should be knitting.

Rib Knitted Shrug is also in hibernation, and at this point, may never see the light of day again.

Purple Autumn, of which I have not said much, is also hibernating.  It’s a sweet little project, but how many lace projects does one need to make at the same time?

Big news:  for my belated Christmas/every-other-2008-gift my husband gave me a Nikon D300 DSLR and it arrived this week.  The crazy thing is, I’ve been using a simple point-and-shoot all along, and I feel like I’ve been driving a minivan and have been put behind the wheel of a Maserati and can’t even figure out where the ignition is.  It’ll probably be a while before you see any product of this camera, but while wandering around 1st Avenue in downtown Seattle in the sun today with all the tourists, I kept looking at different things to photograph and I am delighted with the possibilities.

Let’s just paste this on the hips…

Have you noticed that my posts are more about food these days than anything else?  I guess you could say I’m feeling deprived right now, but I ordered this huge 1-pound jar of Bob’s Sugarhouse (www.mainemaplesyrup.com) Maple Cream Butter a few weeks ago before I knew that I would be giving-up sugar for two weeks, and it arrived like a godsend on a day when I was feeling weak (such a wimp).  I treat myself to a spoonful every now and then, since it’s too good to go on toast or anything else you can think of.

Maybe you don’t like maple-flavored things much, but maybe you have not tried real maple products from northeastern North America, and I think the stuff from this area is the caviar of the maple world.  Really.  You know I can be quite chatty about the most ridiculous stuff, but let me wax on about Bob’s Sugarhouse Maple Cream Butter a little more.  It’s amazing. It’s slightly grainy, but as soon as it hits your tongue it liquifies into something dreamy.  It’s pure maple, but it leaves a buttery aftertaste causing you to re-examine the ingredients for dairy products or other additives. The best quality maple product (syrup, cream, candies) doesn’t taste so maply that it tastes like maple, the best stuff has a light, pleasing maple taste that makes you want more.  I want more.  Thank you, Bob’s, for this timely deilvery.

Another sweet fave of mine is my jar (I’m very possessive of my splurges, and I don’t share them with anyone) of Airborne New Zealand Rata honey that I bought on a trip to the Town & Country Market on Bainbridge Island (just west of Seattle). I don’t know anything about a rata plant, and I don’t need to, because this is good stuff. I’m always buying jars of honey and I don’t know why because I don’t usually like it, besides it’s usually just too cloyingly sweet. But Rata honey is really nice, it has a slightly whipped consistency, and has a light honey flavor that doesn’t coat your tongue and make you want to run for a bag of salted potato chips. I also have a jar of New Zealand Kamahi honey also from Airborne, and it is a lot sweeter, but it has a smokey flavor to it.

I could go on more about my indulgences, like my morning fave of Vegemite on toast with butter, or my love of freeze dried mangosteen from Trader Joe’s, but I suppose you’ve had enough for now.

The 7′ of work I’ve done on Nantucket Jacket was frogged yesterday because it was just too big. It’s odd that the pattern offers making a 34” size and a 36” size, and then jumps way up to a 41.5” size; that’s just a ridiculously huge jump in size. So I’m going to have to figure out how to customize it somehow. I hope to be able to add enough to the bust-shaping so that it’ll fit me without looking absurdly loose everywhere else. So I’ve cast on for a 36” size hoping that it’ll become clear to me how to add enough stitches in the bust-shaping, but without a noticeable change in the stitch pattern. On the other hand, if I keep indulging in alternative sweets, I’ll need to frog the size 36 and cast on again for the 41.5.

Still to come: I’ve been to the used book store lately and have come away with two needlework books that offer some decent sections on knitting and crocheting, with some fun and different stitch patterns. I will post about these later.

Sugar-Free Living

So I went to a naturopath a few weeks ago for an upset stomach and a bad case of eczema and found out that I’m quite anemic and magnesium deficient, and was advised to go off of eggs and sugar for two weeks to see if they are causing the eczema. It’s day 7 of sugar-free and egg-free living and it’s going alright, but I’m really missing a lot of good-tasting and healthy stuff. Specifically, my morning fried egg with toast and, of course, anything chocolate, especially my favorite chocolate chip cookies. It seems that sugar-free living means pretty much means chocolate-free living and it’s rough. I am able to put my usual unsweetened baking cocoa powder in my morning mocha, and instead of using sugar in the drink, I am using agave syrup as a sweetener. If I wanted to, I could buy an egg substitute and use a sugar alternative and bake something, but something tells me that whatever I make just won’t hold a candle to the real thing. Breakfast consists of oatmeal with slivered almonds, dried blueberries, milk, and maple syrup, but I feel hungry afterward, so I may have to look into adding some sausage or bacon to the morning repertoire. I almost messed-up today, though, when I gave my son the rare treat of some cotton candy he got at a birthday party last week, and he wanted to share it with me.

I’ve frogged what little of Shawl Neck Cardigan I’d done.  The gauge was off, especially after I decided to do something different and actually block the swatch.  Luckily, I hadn’t progressed very far so it was no major loss.  I’ll probably start the project again it in a few months.  However, I’ve cast on Nantucket Jacket (Ravelry link) by Norah Gaughan from Interweave Knits, Winter 2006.  I’m using stash yarn I’ve had for about 9 years, Lane Borgosesia Knitaly in dark green tweed.

In blogging news I’ve discovered some fellow makes a habit out of copying entire posts from other people’s blogs and then he posts them in his blog as if they are his work.   I found that he completely copied my post of January 3, 2009.   It’s rather odd to come across your own post on someone else’s blog, and if I think about it too much, I get pretty ticked about it, so I am trying not to think about it too much.  He just collects posts from a broad spectrum of blogs and puts them on his blog without permission, without giving credit, and without linking to the original blog.  Watch out bloggers, there are people out there who are willing to steal your work!  Urggh!

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