Soggy recap

I have been wearing the hell out of my Dragonflies jumper since finishing it in March. This thing really has been worth its weight in gold as the weather has been freezing in the UK and it has been keeping me warm nearly daily.

We had an unusually bright day on Monday so I managed to get it photographed after giving it a good shave to make it look fresh again.
dragonflies_jumper_Kettle_Yarn_ Co
Unfortunately the weather turned back to cold and wet the next day so I haven’t been able to get some decent photos of my Silver Bells, which now is completely finished with shell buttons. The best I could do was this low light blurred mess below!
Nightingale_Kettle_Yarn_Co

Let’s all pretend it is a ‘romantic shot’, k? ¬†ūüėČ

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Behind the scenes

So we didn’t get much more light, but I wanted to take some photos of this on for my Dragon-fly project page so just got on with it. Apologies for the slight graininess of the photos. Still dealing with low light London¬†winter conditions!

front
dragonflies jumper
back
back2
stockinette seam – I added 10 stitches under the arm for a bit more boxiness in the body.
side
And just so you all don’t think I am taking this too seriously – here is a full body shot so you can see what I am actually wearing. Fashion plate that I am. hah!¬†
candid
(like the slippers and hat combo? That’s right, ALL class, baby.) ¬†;-D

Done and dusted

12 days…¬†12 DAYS!!!

I just entered the end date on my Dragonflies Ravelry project page and saw that I actually managed to knit this whole thing in … yup – 12 days. I am all of the following:¬†awed ¬†amazed ¬†proud ¬†pleased…and a little disturbed.dragons
Just a little, mind. I accept that I can be very single minded when I have a project on the burner, but wonder if this last one was all that healthy an obsession as I begged, borrowed and stole time to finish this as quickly as I could. I have lived and breathed almost nothing but this sucker and Netflix for the last nearly 2 weeks. My wrists ache and my brain has been numbed by the ‘om’ of following a lace chart!

That said, I currently had the satisfaction of looking out just now to see that it is STILL snowing. Yup. In March. (has the world gone mad?) But this means that – hooray- I will get some good wear out of this before it is time to put it away for the season, which is exactly what I was after. It has been freakin freezing in this old house the last couple weeks and this jumper is thick, warm and cosy.

The bamboo stitch that I used on the back makes a thick, heavily textured fabric in the spongy merino aran. I will definitely use this again, and you can see below how it creates an almost lacey effect between the ribs which would be enhanced in a thinner yarn with larger needles. Something to play with in future.
bamboo
On the back panel it is simple and beautiful while having the intended effect of breaking up the drawing in effect of the lace pattern so I could have my intended boxier fit.
back
I¬†have to say, I really like the way my dye job on the yarn shows up on the lace pattern. Exactly what I was after – slight colour variation for interest that doesn’t obscure the lace stitch but enhances the cables:
lace2
Surprisingly I even like it in the stockinette! It grew on me the more I looked at it as the sleeves grew.
stockinette
I did my usual of knitting the sleeves two at a time and ended up doing a few other simple modifications to the pattern –¬†adding sleeve length and more decreases to the wrist dimension +1″, and 2×2 rib¬†for all edges as it felt more appropriate in the thick aran wool. (The i-cord would have been too thick, and I don’t generally care too much for garter edgings.)sleeves
Frankly, this pattern has been such an unexpected, breezy joy!

The process was more meditative than I have ever, yet, experienced thanks to the clarity of the pattern -so clear and well written with detailed explanations and charts for the different sizes.¬†This experience has renewed my faith in purchased patterns (which were nearly quashed by the previous and noxious Picard), and I will definitely be checking out more of Joji’s patterns in the near future.¬†I highly recommend. This pattern made me feel like a confident and experienced knitter.

I can’t say enough good things about it right now! Yay!

Dragon-fly

I have been in huge denial on the amount of project fixing I need to do and decided to finally cast on my Dragonfly jumper the other day in official procrastination. As the weather has dipped back into the minus¬†Celsius¬†in the UK I feel justified in halting everything else to get this last aran jumper out before the weather (hopefully…someday) warms up. Everything else has been put on hold as I try to churn this one out.

This project has taken a bit more prep than usual, as I dyed the yarn and the first go wasn’t to my liking. The above swatch is the initial try, which just felt dull, lifeless and way too stripey. Yuck.
swatches
Learning from my mistakes in dye placement, I tried again. The above is the 2nd and winning colour attempt. Closer to the mint I have had in the back of my mind than the grey I had originally intended for this jumper, but I just felt that the lace pattern needed a bit more colour variation to make it interesting and for the ‘dragonfly wings’ to shimmer.

Here are a couple shots of the yarn in sunshine, just because they turned out so darn pretty (if I do say so myself!):

(I really need to set up some sort of light box for photos, as the light is so low these days, even on bright days, that getting good shots is a huge challenge. On my screen the yarn cake below is the closest to the actual colour of the yarn.)

In the end, the Cartridge Rib just seemed a bit too fussy for lazy old me, and I just wanted to be able to focus on the front lace panel…but not have it be a form fitting jumper.¬†The bamboo stitch I finally chose for the back panel does the job – unelastic and a simple 2 stitch repeat.¬†¬†Also colour variations in the yarn show up nicely with the slip stitch:
bamboo stitch
I am not a big fan of striping in semi-solid and variegated¬†yarns so¬†I meant to reverse stockinette the sleeves to break up the variegation but got caught up with making the bamboo stitch fit the back panel and forgot for the first 20 or so rows…so left the stockinette. I know some people really like this effect, but I need the tones to be quite close for my own tastes. This is borderline…it is fairly subtle, but still a bit linear for my tastes. It is growing on me, though, the more I look at it.
yoke2
This is the yoke on Saturday morning:
yoke
And here it is as of 15 mins ago:
monday
I have pulled a few 12 hour+ sessions and am hoping to have it finished by next week (please tell me I haven’t jinxed myself by writing that!!) ūüėČ

Just one more…

Like many people at this time of year I am feeling a little seasonally confused on the knitting front. My head tells me I should be starting on spring/summer wear but my body tells me I am freezing and have 6 hanks of John Arbon organic merino aran calling to me from the stash!

I hedged bets by starting my Sakura (aka Amimono’s ‘Robin’) a few weeks ago, but figured I would see if I could squeeze one more in before things start to warm up.

After nearly 2 weeks of plotting I decided to go easy on myself and go for a pattern, and one that has glowing reviews on how well written it is, to boot – the gorgeous¬†Dragonflies Jumper¬†by¬†Joji Locatelli. Here is Isa’s¬†perfect version below (God that girl can KNIT!):

There have been a few mods on the pattern thus far. Another prolific knitter, Momo–¬†better known by her Raverly alias Jettshin-¬†made it into a set-in sleeve 50’s styled number that is stunning (not least in her use of this amazingly saturated but still subtly tone on tone Madelinetosh colourway):

I told myself that this next project would be one in which I would try either top-down inset or saddle sleeves, but since I am planning other mods on top of the lace (which still makes me nervous) I wonder if I should risk another mindfuck project when I need to get this done asap! (chickenshit that I am!).

Those of you out there that have top-down in either before Рis it really that much more complicated than top-down raglan?  Having troubles visualising, as I have only down top down a couple times now, so it is still new.

I am most worried about the short rows causing me a world of pain, as the last pattern gave me a brain rash in that department. (!)

There won’t be any lace on the sleeves, just reverse stockinette, but¬†I am trying to figure out how to do the back and front neckline the same ‘depth’, or close, so that it can be reversible.

The dragonfly stitch is very stretchy and pulls the fabric in, so can’t do that front and back as I don’t want it fitted – so¬†planning to do a chunky textured but unstretchy Cartridge Rib on the back to make it more boxy,¬†and then give it a back zip. That way I can wear it as a pullover occasionally but also flip it around and wear as a cardi with a lace back (cardi’s are always my go to sweater).

Thing I want to know is – what happens if you forgo the short row shaping in top down?¬†Does this make the neckline squared off, or do you just end up with front and back the same height (so you need to make sure to get it low enough so the front doesn’t choke you). That is what I am hoping for.

Am I making any sense, oh knitting gurus? Can anyone answer that one?

Help my last two little brain cells clap…