So here we are at the beach again, seizing a weekend unoccupied by renters, to enjoy our place in North Truro. It’s not as warm as it can be in full summer, but it’s plenty comfortable enough for lounging on the beach, wandering the shoreline, and nosing around Provincetown.
And what’s lounging on the beach without a knitting project? It can be difficult to knit from a complex pattern on the beach – hard copy pages get damp, and tend to blow around. It’s often too bright to knit from designs stored on the iPad, the screen washes out in the sun. So I tend to look for projects that are mindless, memorized, or free-form.
So here’s the latest, photographed in full sun on our deck.
I’m working entirely without a pattern, using a rustic style Aran weight wool. I’ve got several skeins of well-aged Bartlett two-ply Maine wool, that are taking up all to much room in my stash boxes I’d prefer to put to other use.
I have a couple of heathered garnet red; a couple that are ragg-mix of one ply of the garnet, and one of a navy; and a couple of a medium blue which is too light to use in combo with the others. None are enough for an entire adult sweater but it’s time they earn their keep. Also the ragg style blue/red mix would overpower most texture work. So what to do?
A unisex, simple raglan, worked top down was the obvious choice. No pattern, no gauge. I started by casting on 100 stitches, and working a rolled stockinette collar on a US #8 (5mm) needle. I changed to a US #10 (6mm) needle. I’ve now got about 172 stitches around – roughly a 44-45-inch chest circumference. The fit is slouchy and sweatshirt-like, and the high lanolin content rustic yarn (though a bit itchier than Merino, and hand-wash) guarantees a hard wear sweater ideal for cool weather hiking, and winter sports. It’s a bit small for me, but between spawn, and a huge army of nieces and nephews, plus lots of outdoorsy friends, it’s bound to fit someone.
So, what do I call this no-pattern piece? The Wesley Crusher, of course. Named for the ubiquitous shoulder-colorblock casual sweaters and uniform blouses worn by him and the rest of the STNG crew.
Minor discovery during the course of this one. Many circular needles in larger sizes have a noticeable “bump” where the needle part slims down to the cable’s thin diameter. It can be annoying to shuffle stitches up that steep incline as you knit in the round. But you can minimize the problem if you are using an interchangeable needle set. I’ve outfitted one of the circs with a size #10 on one end, and a #8 on the other. Since stitch size and gauge is dictated by the needle you are using to form the stitches (as opposed to the one being knit from), the smaller size needle sits on the “feed” side of the round, and its slightly smaller diameter presents less of an impediment when shuffling the stitches around into “knit me” position. Give it a try!
And in other knitting news, I have finished the leaf shawl/scarf:
It looks like work/home will crawl back to a more manageable schedule, so I hope to be posting more regularly again in the weeks to come. Next up is a tutorial on a simple method to finish out a sampler into a backed hanging.