Let there be light

Finally, here are some much delayed shots of my Obsidian. Sorry for the delay all!

It was caused by a combination of lack of daylight for decent shots in this dreary London winter and the fact that I am not 100% satisfied on this one.

This weekend was finally bright, so I threw this on really quickly and got the man to take a few quick snaps before we went out into the light to try to catch some Vitamin D.

(Apologies for the slight blurring – the light was still a bit too low, and I was also anxious to get out in the sun while it lasted!)
The neckline with this pattern is still an issue for me, as  no matter what I tried the edge is a bit too scrappy looking for my taste. Using a larger needle to grow the cowl as the pattern suggests is just too noticeable and even though I increased stitches it still looks uneven. (For the life of me I could not figure out how people managed to get 100sts at that gauge to fit over their shoulders! I tried various needle sizes but it just wouldn’t give a satisfying result.)

Also, I was running out of yarn so in order to get the length of the cowl long enough to do this with –shoulder

I had to take length from the sleeves and finish the body a bit too short.

(To top it all off, I will never wear it over the shoulder, as I discovered it is uncomfortable and feels silly! ;-? )

Next time I will also increase the rate of decrease on the arms, as the garter stretches so much that they are quite loose. I hope to go back and fix these things one day soon…and take the extra length from the cowl for the hem.

On the plus side the top pattern itself (minus cowl) forms a nicely fitted, light gauge top. The top down construction is much easier, especially for fitting the arm diameter, and that garter slip stitch is just genuis. I was so lazy I even used it on the underside of the arms!back
I will definitely use this pattern again with mods!

The Habu N-80 creates a very nice fabric and I have gotten a lot of compliments on this sweater.
habu n80
Just a note, though, that it took much more yarn than expected – 6 balls!


Schnabu Three

I thought I was nearly done my Schnabu, but should have known it wouldn’t be that easy! I got the elbow length sleeves done and then decided they weren’t really me, so have extended them…twice. They were too loose the first time around. I hadn’t really considered how loose/stretchy garter is and what that does to an edge.

Anyway, round three and hoping to be done today. Sleeves, that is!

I thought I might flag some interesting things I have been watching lately. I purchased Edie Eckman’s Craftsy course  ‘How to Say It: Pattern Writing for Knitters‘ and started it the other day.

So far it is pretty interesting. A HUGE amount of information for the price. Definitely value for money on these courses if the others follow this pattern!

I started by watching the free taster sessions ‘Short Rows‘ by Carol Feller, which was very interesting, and ‘Know Your Wool‘ with Deborah Robson, which was less useful (I thought there would be more in this one on how the different yarns knit up, but it was very basic and mostly on sheep breeds.). Looks like this site will grow to be quite a useful resource as they get more classes up.

As they currently have an xmas sale on their classes, I have purchased 2 more of the full length classes(technically from my mom, as xmas money came super early this year! Thanks Moo!). Merry knitting xmas to me!!

I will be learning how to size patterns with Faina:

And FINALLY – knit socks with Donna:

I love learning new things! yay!

Schnabu Two

I have put my Toasty on mico- hold as I sort out a yarn order, and am completely addicted to my Schnabu.

The pattern is so simple once you sort the neck cast on out. I am not sure how anyone would have gotten the right diameter neck with a 6mm, knit cast-on and 100 stitches! But all the power to the ones who did. It wasn’t going to happen for me.

I ended up trusting my swatches rather than the pattern  (which I should have done in the FIRST place! Swatches don’t lie. Well, mostly they don’t!)and cast on 165 stitches with a 5.5 needle…a little smaller for a bit of a tighter fabric on the neck. I just felt the loops from the 6mm would have looked too big and lacey compared to the body.  I should really have gone with 160 as the garter is so stretchy, but I can live with the extra inch+ in width. It still looks good and fits over the shoulders.

Unfortunately, I have realised, once again, that I should have done a provisional cast on with the neck as it looks a bit sloppy. When will I learn? Casting on is another achilles heel (along with sleeves). I always get to the end of projects and realise I want to re-do the start. Sigh.

Anyway. The endless garter is a JOY. I had forgotten how satisfyingly mindless it is not to have to agonise over a chart! I can read/watch tv without hardly having to look down, and people watching on the tube is a breeze! And even though it is garter, which usually takes up tons of yarn, when you do it in a bigger needle it stretches out flat and inches fly by. I LOVE the slip stitch trick that keeps you knitting the garter on both sides – even though knit in the round.

Below is a close up of the slip stitch seam up the back. It is a pretty sexy detail, and definitely something I will be using in future designs:

Unfortunately, I managed to drop the marker at the back at one point. Of course, I got all the way down to the end and preparing to bind off before realising I had created a jag in the line by putting it back  in one stitch over. Sigh. Frogged back to the waist and lost all of Sunday’s knitting.

Pattern gushing over…a bit more on the the Habu N-80 that I am using for the first time:

I searched for ages for the right project for the yarn. It is a strange silk/merino, as the silk is wound around the merino core, sliding about and bunching in places to form nubs of colour. I had assumed it would have as ‘fluid’ a hand as other silk/merino yarns, but it reminds me more of a linen in its almost crisp drape. It is hard to describe.

As mentioned in a previous post, I love the look of the Habu packaging – precious little bundles wrapped with simple paper. However, once the wrap is off the balls are actually a little annoying as the yarn slides off the bundle in chunks instead of spooling out as you need it.

Also, the yarn itself is a bit hard on the hands at first – unpleasantly like what I imagine knitting with rough twine would be like – as the rough wound silk scrapes over your fingers with every stitch. You wouldn’t think it would hurt, but after a few hours my fingers were pink, raw and sore! They have toughened up a bit since, but be prepared for some pain when you first start working with it!

All that said, the fabric it makes is quite pretty and totally unique:

A subtle variation of colour, and in the larger needle size rather sheer (not sure this is what I want in winter wear, but it will make it a year-round piece with layering!).

Here was my progress 2 days, ago. I am now past the waist. This was approx 3 balls of yarn:

I got a bit of help from the lovely Gail From Today’s Agenda on how the top down process works, as I was struggling a bit with the concept and couldn’t figure out if you knit to the top of the arm or down to the armpit before doing anything. Apparently it is the latter. Bless her for her non-judgmental help! It is so obvious, now that I have done it.

I am a little worried about the uneven-ness in the cowl stitches, though. Fear I may have to go back and re-do part of the cowl at the end, as usual, to get it looking a bit more cohesive.

I am just praying it all evens out when I wet block at the end (as steam blocking it is still leaving it a bit wibbly!). Fingers crossed.


Finally swatching my Habu N-80 in earnest for Obsidian.

It is knit in the round, but WITHOUT purling! A fantastic technique that uses a wrap, creating a sexy seam up the back of the garment.

Here is a detail of the seam from Lisa Mutch: