Saturday, December 02, 2017

Endings and Beginnings

Hello! How did it get to be December already? Oh, yeah. I think I ask that question every month, don’t I? Though December is the sneaky month and always comes up way before you expect it. OK, you can bring on the Holiday Stuff bigtime now. Sparkle, trees, lights...action!

However, I’m here to crow about finally finishing my Combers Dress. Yay! To begin at the beginning (usually a helpful place to start) a long time ago I saw a photo of this dress:

That’s the Bressay Dress by Gudrun Johnston and sadly only available in an Interweave book from 2013 that I do not own, “Fair Isle Style”. I wasn’t desperate enough to buy it just for the one pattern (not like I don’t own zillions of books that I’ve never knit anything from!) and searched about for something similar that I do have access to. Although those half-circle pockets are darn cute, aren’t they?

DROPS Design obliged with two free patterns for stranded yoke tunics:

Autumn Flurries (above) and Kristina (below):

But I would still have to do lots of rejigging of pattern instructions since they’re written for a DK weight and I wanted to use my Cloudborn Fibers Highland Fingering yarn. And of course to plan my own yoke pattern! So in the end I pretty much did my own thing. Kind of a mashup of all the above plus a large dollop of serendipity. I made good use of my computer and 2 obsolete Windows programs: Knitware (for the shape calculations) and Knit Visualizer (for the charts). And I got lots of practice knitting the Salish technique that I learned in Victoria this summer and proving that it not only works as well in fingering yarn as it does in thick singles but I can also knit it flat. Being the steek-averse knitter that I am.

The final effort I had to do was try to figure out how to place the pockets:

My original plan was to put them on an angle. It didn’t look quite right. These pockets were somewhat bigger than my sketch. Next attempt:

Wrapping the pockets around the sides. Nah. Adds width where I least need it. Lastly, the good old tried-and-true:

Somehow that looked best and was comfortable in use so that’s where they went. Now I totally apologise for the artificial lighting. It’s been dark and rainy and miserable around here for the better part of a month. But I did my best while in a hurry to git ‘er done:

I might get a better shot someday if the sun ever shines again. Hah! Or maybe after 3 months and more I’m just done with this project! I mentioned on my Instagram that it’s an almost perfect record of our vacation this year: sunshine, mountains, forest and beaches. All it’s missing are the many ferries we took! It also includes my garden in the summer dye sessions for the yellow, green and orange-brown colours while the Stone Heather, Oatmeal Heather and Espresso Heather belong to Cloudborn.

I still have lots of Espresso (2 balls) and Stone (1.5 balls) and small lots of each of the others left so another project or 2 may happen some day. This stuff goes a long way at 494 yards per skein. It’s a light 2-ply woolen spun yarn so it isn’t particularly durable and pills quite quickly. So I’m going to have to be nice to my dress and not wear it out too fast after all that work. It was a really fun learning experience though. Obviously I’m getting more and more comfortable with modifying, adapting and creating my own patterns that fit me and my personal style. {pats self on back}

So now I have a rash of new cast-ons! First up I started a Wurm hat (free pattern by katushika) using my new skein of Fibre Art Studio Sparkle yarn dyed by my friend Yoriko in the Grape Garden colourway:

It’s purplish browns, muted greens and lavender with a hint of Stellina sparkle and I really love it. I’m calling my hat Garden Wurm for obvious reasons! Of course I tried to knit a pattern written for worsted yarn in a fingering didn’t work. So I frogged and started again using the yarn doubled and following the pattern properly. The colours look quite different this way and although they are blending they’re also pooling in an interesting way:

I quite like it. This is going to be the warmest hat I own especially with the doubled band around my ears. I know our climate isn’t exactly a cold one - especially for Canada! - but it’s particularly damp and clammy and somehow that feels even colder. And after last year’s snow and ice, who knows what to expect?

And now that I’ve finished 2 large fingering-weight sweaters featuring acres of stockinette...I’ve started another:

This is my embryonic Folded by Veera Valimaki. The yarn is again Cloudborn Fibers but this is the rest of my Wool Fingering Twist left after my Seagreen Tunic. Only of course I dyed it differently in acid dyes instead of natural ones. The Twist is a much more hardy 3-ply worsted spun 100% fine Peruvian Highland wool with 402 yards per 100g skein. It’s not superwash (handwash, dry flat) and no nylon or other synthetics. Bouncy, soft, dyes like a dream and knits up easily. I quite adore it and still have lots in my stash after a couple of orders to Craftsy when it was on sale. You will be seeing more as time goes on. I don’t know how it would wear for socks but it’s lovely for everything else. I’m really too hard on my socks but I might try it if I have a ball left sometime. Maybe summer shorties?

I have a couple of more sweaters that I’m trying to avoid starting yet. I want to carry on with my poor languishing spinning and weaving projects! That blanket has been waiting for over a year and I have need for it’s warmth this winter.

Moving right along...


Sue @ A Colourful Canvas said...

Of course you pretty much did your own thing! And beautifully too!

Melanie said...

Are you writing in English here? Hahaha. My ignorance of knitting is showing bigtime! Your Combers dress is amazing. Seriously. What a piece. And I like your pocket placement decision too. Yes, December, out of the blue. ?!?

pao said...

Say what? The knit dress is amazing and with pockets too! December! Time goes by so quickly. Is that an older thing?

Sharon in Surrey said...

Nothing wrong with that tunic!! Perfect layering piece for our dank winter days too - I just wish I could find leggings or something other than thick men's sweats to wear UNDER a knit tunic to keep the knees warm!! I'm beginning to think we need to start knitting long johns . . .

Louisa said...

Thank you for the kind comments, my darlings! Sorry if I get a wee might technical sometimes. You can always ask me for translations!

Sharon, I actually knitted some long johns years ago and they are not only warm but pretty darn colourful too. I also have several pairs of kneesocks but I definitely think they need to come up higher than that!

And yes, pao dear, I think speeding up time is an age-related issue. It also means we aren't bored, right?

Tobie said...

Love that dress/tunic.
And I think you are the person who sent me that Vitadini yarn--thank you! Recvd a while ago and forgot who sent it. Not sure what I will use it for????

Louisa said...

Sorry, Tobie, that wasn’t me! You have a Sekret Santa! Lol!!