And so it begins. Yesterday, in between chunks of reading and note-taking, I wound up a skein of Knitpicks Shadow in Redwood Forest with an intention to swatch. After struggling with attempting to cast on/join laceweight yarn on circular 6s (which I was going to try first after reading some rav comments), I gave up on the magic looping because I was too lazy to dig up a book to refresh my memory on the start-up part of it and went looking for dpns.

Take 2: Bamboo dpns, size 6. AKA the dullest dpns in my collection. I cast on 76 st and knit a few rows of k1p1 ribbing (a popular rav mod to prevent rolling), cursing all the while. Then I remembered these needles, given to me by someone quite dear. Maybe there were sixes in this set?

Nope. But there were dpns in size 7s (which the pattern uses), and they were pointy. The needles determined my plan of attack: with only one set of viable needles for starting the project without wanting to poke myself in the eye repeatedly, I dove in, SANS swatch. I mean, if the results of the swatch do not matter because there is only one set of needles in the house that will be enjoyable to knit this yarn with, what could a swatch really DO for me?

Famous last words, I know, but if the knitting isn’t enjoyable, why do it?

Here’s how it is working out so far. On this sleeve, I’m getting 7 st/inch and 8 rows/inch on 7s. The pattern gauge is 6st/inch and 8 rows/inch. I’ve read that some folks have found that Shadow will grow, and the sleeves are pretty big on a lot of people. With this pattern’s particular construction, my st gauge is not as important for overall size (notwithstanding the arms, but I am happy with them being a little smaller), because the pattern moves from sleeve to sleeve across the back, rather than down, and my row gauge is on, and then the back gets picked up and worked down. Does that make sense? I think so…

Also, I am aware that I need to keep an eye on all of this, and laceweight yarn on bigger needles seems particularly responsive in the land of blocking. Yay!

I’m glad my needle dilemma reminded me of these needles. It feels good to be using them.

Back to the books…


weekend update

On Friday, my box of yarn from WEBS arrived. Full disclosure will come, all in good time. I am sleepy, even though my clock says it is not yet 10 PM, this rooster’s body says it is 11. A few pictures of the weekend, then.


Yesterday, I was here. The leaves have fallen from the cottonwoods, but the air was crisp, and, though I love the place when it is bustling with activity, I value the chances I have to see it when it is still.

When I returned, I decided to honor the swatch gods, and comply.


Notice that I did not one, but two swatches: one on size 10.5s and one on 11s. The yarn is Araucania Nature Wool Chunky, in color olive — it is a bit brighter than I was expecting, but I’ve decided that it is perfect for me because I tend to wear muted solids, and this will brighten up my jeans and a button down or a long sleeve tee considerably. The gauge for the pattern (which, of course, calls for Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Chunky) is 14 st/20 rows over 4 inches. My first swatch, with the recommended needles, was 8 st/10 rows over 2 inches. I decided to see what would happen if I went up a needle size, to 11s: 7 st/9 rows over 2 inches. Both close, neither perfect. I decided to wash the swatches and leave them overnight: after a dunk in the sink, the swatch knit on smaller needles was 7.5 st/10 rows, whereas the larger needle swatch was in between 6 and 6.5 st. The yarn became considerably softer after washing, and I liked the drape of the smaller needle swatch better. Also, the sizing is S, M, L, with the M being 36-38. I am a 38, and debated making the next size up, so that 1 st over 4 inches may give me an extra inch of ease in the sweater, which should end up to be ideal.

Anyway, today, instead of doing the things on my list, I made a large recipe of pie crust, and baked a kitchen sink kind of pie, with all the fruit leftover from my CSA box: 2 big green pears, a pluot and a bright, shiny apple. The pie is delicious (eating while I type), and is a wonderful dessert to the roasted beets I ate for dinner. The 4 remaining pie crusts are in the freezer for next time.


I also managed to turn those swatches into this:


I can’t believe how quickly this is coming along. I am very excited about this sweater, and I am working up the courage to seam that baby kimono I’ve been working on forever. I promise. I’ve told myself I need to seam that, as practice for finishing this one. Also, remind me: I need some longer circulars for picking up the ribbing on this sweater, when I get there.

Yawn! Time for bed. It was wonderful to wake to the sunrise at 6:10 this morning: a welcome change from waking to the alarm in the dark. The only bad part about “falling back” is that the sun will soon be setting before I even leave the office. I do love the cold; I just wish we could keep the sunshine.