There are knitters out there that approach a new project with reflection and careful preparation. They peruse their meticulously organized pattern collection and choose the sweater that suits their body type, is season-appropriate, and fits nicely into their existing wardrobe.
Yarn selection comes next. After exhaustive Ravelry research, a potential yarn is chosen. One skein is purchased and then used to knit the designer's recommended swatch, which is washed and blocked before measuring. If the stars align and gauge is achieved, the careful knitter then ponders the fabric's appearance, drape, and hand. If there are any concerns, the yarn is abandoned and the process repeated.
Once the perfect yarn is chosen, the knitter carefully reads through the pattern and consults her laminated wallet card needle inventory to confirm that she owns the correct sized needles in all recommended lengths. Any missing needles are purchased on the second trip to the yarn store, where she picks up the recommended # of skeins + one. That last skein will not be wound unless needed, the receipt tucked neatly into the label for easy return.
No, no, I don't mean it. I'm sure these knitters are fine, upstanding citizens and may even be fun at parties. I am also certain that I will never ever EVER be mistaken for one of them.
Case in point is my latest sweater. It was born not out of careful consideration or even casual reflection. I needed something easy to knit in the dark when I went to see "Despicable Me". (Totally awesome, by the way. Loved it!) My brain gears whirred momentarily and I thought "sleeveless raglan, top down, garter yoke, lace body...brilliant!" I ran up to my yarn closet and perused the Encore. I had three skeins of a gorgeous orangey-pink called Summer Coral. I can't make a sweater out of three skeins, right? Well, maybe if the sleeves are short and it is more of a top. Or maybe I can find another skein later. Or maybe I'll add in another color. Grabbed the long 9 circulars and headed for the door.
I knit the yoke back and forth in garter stitch with double increases at raglan lines and icord edges.
When it looked long enough, I slipped some of the stitches on a long second needle and tried it on. Of course, it wasn't long enough yet, so I gartered some more. Second try-on looked good, so I placed the sleeve stitches on hold and joined the body stitches to work in the round, tossing in 5 more stitches at each armhole just for kicks.
I chose feather and fan for the lace pattern for the simple reason that it is one of the few lace patterns I carry around in my head. Because feather and fan ripples, you lose some width, so I knew I needed to increase some stitches before I started the pattern. K1, M1 around sounded like too many and K2, M1 around didn't sound like enough, so I settled for K1f&b, K1f&b, K1. I established the lace pattern on the next row and only had to throw in three extra K2togs to get the stitch count to work. (Good omen if ever I saw one!)
Now I have worked 6 lace repeats and my sweater is 6.75" long below the armholes. I am into the third skein and watching with interest to see how far I get until I run out of yarn. At that point, I'll try it on again and devise a plan. I am leaning toward a few lace repeats with a darker contrast yarn and then the same color for the abbreviated sleeves. I still haven't decided if the yoke opening will be in the back or front. If I like it in the front, I'll get a nice pewter clasp to close it. If it looks better in the back, I'll use a simple button. Maybe I'll love it and wear it, maybe it will look like the dog's breakfast. I am enjoying the suspense. (I hereby apologize to the careful knitters for the eye twitching I just caused. Reading Rowan patterns in a semi-reclined position for 10-15 minutes should put you right again.)
The beach was awesome as always. Smoking hot the whole time, which made the ocean feel really good. I put on SPF 50 all week and sat under the umbrella if I wasn't swimming and I still got really brown. No burn though, so that's a win.
For the first few days I worked on finishing my lace fan shawlette/scarf. Because I was using fingering weight instead of DK, it is not shawl sized, but I actually think I am more likely to use it as a scarf anyway.
I was already in love with the colors, but I love them twice as much now that it is blocked.
Turned out about 47" wide, 14" tall.
Once that was done, I worked a little on my coral experiment and unpacked the loom. Didn't get much done. I'm not sure it was worth dragging it all the way to Delaware, but it was nice to sit in the AC and weave a little while in the afternoons.
On the way home I worked on the coral sweater a little more, then I dug out a spindle and the Louet fiber I bought in Montreal. This was nice to spin and I got it bulkier than I usually manage. I ended up spinning 2 spindles worth and Andean plyed each of them.
Altogether, I estimate that I have 65 yards of a heavy worsted. I don't know what you make with 65 yds, but I really need to knit what I spin!
Speaking of spinning, I have really been itching to get a little portable wheel. I love my Ashford traditional, but it does not exactly fit in a tote bag. I have held off due to sticker shock, but then I found this. There is a whole group on Ravelry of Fidelis and Bellus owners and they seem to be pretty happy with these funny little wheels. Would not be surprised if a Fidelis came to live with me sometime soon. I will keep you posted.