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.
It’s been a while since I posted last. Hectic doesn’t begin to describe it. Kitchen finish, work-related deadlines, college graduations, and last – a blissful vacation week on Cape Cod in our new beachside condo, full of kayaking, golf, good food, and the active pursuit of doing absolutely nothing. All in all too many things to accomplish, with too little time to document any of it.
But through it all, a modicum of sanity-preserving handwork has happened: three pairs of hand-knit socks (my default no-thinking project of choice); plus some others.
First, thanks to the generosity of Certain Enablers who shall remain unnamed – a vintage shrug. I began working on this just before the vacation break. On US #9 (5.5mm) needles, this one was a quick knit. At left is the photo from the pattern. At right is my piece.
Those projections on the side are the sleeves. Obviously, I haven’t seamed the thing up yet. A bit of pretzel-type manipulation is slated to happen that will result in a T-shaped seam in the back, and the graceful drape of the simple drop-stitch rib pattern curving in the front. Or so we hope. I have the piece left on the needle because I haven’t decided yet on whether or not I will be doing some sort of live-stitch seam. It’s hot and sticky right now – too hot to sit with this tub of alpaca boucle on my lap. I’ll go back and finish this piece off when it cools off a bit. I’ll have to rush though, so Target Recipient can take the completed garment off to university with her next month.
Second is also a time-linked project. The first of two, in fact. I am edging off the two inspirational samplers I did for the girls, backing them and readying them for simple rod type hanging. Here’s the first. I’m hand’ hemming the backing/edging cloth to the stitching ground. The backing cloth is in one piece, strategically folded to be a self frame. I’ll baste a length of chain threaded on some thin woven tape in the bottom fold to provide weight, and leave small gaps in the two top corners for insertion of the hanging rod:
The second one will be close behind – the other sampler I did this fall/winter past. Also finished out for hanging from a rod. More on that after I’ve laid it out. In fact, if folk are interested, I’ll use the second one to illustrate the folding and stitching logic required to do this.
And finally, just for fun with no deadline attached (so you know what I’ll be working on tomorrow evening), an Autumn Lace shawl out of some unknown Noro fingering weight yarn, augmented by some Noro Taiyo Sock. The unknown Noro was also from the same Enabling Anonymous Donor, and was perfect for a project I’d been planning on working up for a long time:
Here you see the first course of leaves (worked bottom half, then top half). This is not a particularly difficult pattern, but it is an exacting one, with a pattern that has to be closely followed, and that is not within my capability to memorize. More on this one as it develops.