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Category Archives: Purls

Drape Happens

I began knitting the Lush and Lacy cardigan a few weeks ago with my lovely alpaca-silk yarn. If you know me, this may surprise you as I am not really a ‘lush and lacy’ person, but I was tempted by the idea of a tomato red silky cardigan in a feminine vintage-ish style. I would wear that, oh yes.

As you can see by the photo, I am no longer knitting a cardigan nor is my work-in-progress particularly lacy. What happened?

Drape happened.

If you are used to working with textiles, you know that drape is important. It is how the fabric falls or hangs. When you are planning a knitting project, you try to match the drape to the pattern. Some patterns call for a rather indiscernible drape while others incorporate drape into the design. When choosing yarn, it is important to remember that silk and cotton drape more than lambswool or merino which both have good stitch memory.

When I chose my yarn, I knew it would have a lot of drape. The cardigan would put the drape to good effect. Perfect. Except when I had pretty much finished knitting the back of the cardigan, I was looking at the floppiest flap of fabric that had ever flupped. And I still had to knit the two fronts, two sleeves, sew it all together and pick up stitches to knit details. I knew it wasn’t going to happened because the end product would look like a giant tomato had just coughed up a dead alpaca goat on top of me. Not exactly a stylish vintage-ish knit.

So I ripped it all out and started over. This time I am knitting a very, very simple top-down raglan* top as you can see in my photo. It is knit in one piece and because the pattern is so minimalistic, the drape will be able to work to its advantage. I’m using St. James as my template although I am going to modify the pattern slightly. The sleeves will be much longer (because I live in Scotland) and the neckline a tiny bit different. And I’m very happy with how it all looks thus far.

And in related knitting news, my knitting group was filmed by Scottish TV last night because we are so damn hip. I was goaded into being interviewed by TangledFrog but I think I managed to sabotage the interview by mentioning astrophysics. I am not sure if the programme will air outside Scotland but I will keep you posted. Unless I feature heavily, of course.

I Have Four DPNs And Know How To Use Them

Yes, I’m a process knitter – not a product knitter.

I finished my take on the ubiquitous February Lady Sweater earlier today. I had been weaving in ends as I went along and the buttons were already fastened, so all I had to do was steam-block the cardigan. And so by the middle of the afternoon I was wearing my warm (organic) cardigan to the supermarket. I was chuffed, I was.

Then it dawned on me that I no longer had my project in process and that I could either a) pick up that Lilac Top O’Doom that has been in hibernation longer than I care to remember, b) work on a Christmas gift or c) cast on for a new project. I ruled out the Lilac Top O’Doom (because it pretty much means trying it on, figuring out that, yes, it does not fit and then ripping it out to start all over). The Christmas gift is nearly finished and I’m now trying not to work on it too much since it’s so enjoyable I don’t want the process to end too soon (see, PROCESS knitter!).

So I tried to cast on for a new project.

Actually I cast on two new projects and ripped them both out within ten rows. They just didn’t feel right (plus I couldn’t find my 5.00mm DPNs). And now I’m in a really, really foul mood because I’m between projects and I need to find the next process that I’ll really enjoy.

PS. This shawl is no more. Hallelujah.

Where To Go From Here

When I was a teenager, I had to rely on the local library for instructions on how to knit sweaters. I never did make one, although I crocheted a rainbow coloured top out of granny squares. Nowadays there are a plethora of sources, both on the internet and in my local magazine pusher.

Knitty is the mother of all free pattern sites. It features young designers and designs that are both versatile, wearable and fairly easy. Clapotis has become ubiquitous, it seems.

MetaPostModernKnitting is quite new and I love it. I love how they have a clear fashion editorial style, how they think about emerging trends and how they pull it all together in trend reports. It’s clever, it’s fashion forward and it’s very cool. I’m seriously considering their Prism sweater although the construction is unlike anything I’ve attempted before. The designer kindly mailed me to say that a) she liked my projects file on Ravelry (!) and b) she knew I could pull it off. Thank you, Caroline.

Knotions is a UK-based site designed to replace an earlier one called Magknits which was inexplicably pulled down one day in an apparent hissy fit by its Hipknits owners – I quickly decided never to deal with the Hipknits people after seeing how poorly they handled that situation (as well as other situations). not associated with anybody but itself. US-based but feeling international, Knotions is currently on its second issue. I’m considering making Autumn Leaves in red grey with a few modifications.

Popknits is a completely new site with vintage inspired garments. I’m waiting to see where they take this ‘vintage inspired’ site before deciding whether or not I like them. Yes, I’m on the fence.

The Twist Collective does not offer free patterns, but it offers some very, very nice patterns. Little Birds is gorgeous (although I probably wouldn’t be able to wear it).

Any I have missed?

Ripping Back..

Word to the wise: never knit whilst talking to your mother over Skype. You may think you’ll be able to easily knit the gull lace pattern of your cardigan whilst going “Mmm..” and “Oh, really?” but afterwards you’ll need to rip back your three rows.

But other than that, my cardigan is coming along nicely and I’m still ignoring that fateful row on my Tracks & Trails shawl.

Tracks, Trails and Tribulations.

Let’s be frank: I am a process knitter. When I choose to knit something I go for patterns that will a) challenge me, b) make me count every single stitch and c) see me collapse into a broken heap at some point. And so I enjoy knitting lace shawls even if I rarely wear them.

My current pet peeve/project is Evelyn C. Clark’s Heartland Shawl (link goes to another knitter’s version). I’ve nicknamed my version “Tracks and Trails” to reflect the patterns used. I am about halfway through the repeats of the second lace charts and I’m yet to find my rhythm. Usually I have my ‘collapse into a broken heap’ moment fairly early on and then I come out on the other side to work the stitches in a fairly fluent manner. But this? I still need to shut out the world and count, count, count. I’m using Design.club.dk’s Duo merino in a petrol colourway. And I’m not sure about this yarn either as it compares unfavourably to other fingering weight merinos I’ve used. It is splitty and rather stiff.

Could this be the project that will make me become a project knitter instead? Seeing as my other project is an actual wearable garment – the ubiquitous February Lady Sweater in nice, tweedy Scottish organic wool – I fear this might just be the case. Will I ever knit another lace shawl? Ask me once I’ve completed the Heartland/Tracks & Trails shawl.