A mixed post today. First on knitting, I’ve embarked on a quickie project – a pullover for Younger Daughter. I’m starting with this commercial pattern, the Empire Waist Top Down Pullover, from Vermont Fiber Designs (#172):
But I’m making two changes. The first is that I’m knitting it in Cascade Yarns UltraPima cotton DK. The original is written for a wool or wool blend DK. That means that the piece will be more massy and less elastic than the original designer’s intent. The other is that I’m shortening the sleeves. I’m moving the garter stitch band up somewhat, so that it aligns better with the band at the waist, and proceeding with the belled sleeves from there, so that the whole sleeve is closer to 3/4 length than back-of-knuckles length.
And here’s my initial progress on the back:
On the yarn – I like it. It’s relatively painless for a multistrand cotton DK. It isn’t splitty, and it’s a bit more forgiving in stitch irregularity appearance than is Cotton Classic, my go-to all-cotton DK. It’s also shinier than the Cotton Classic.
On the pattern – I note that the range of sizes it includes is superior, from extra small all the way up to 6X. This does make for a confusing pattern presentation though. I made a photocopy and have highlighted all of my chosen size notations. Those who struggle with tiny type will probably want to photo-enlarge this one, too. (To reassure copyright protection advocates, under Fair Use provisions I can do this provided I own the original, and either keep the resulting copy with my original, or destroy it after I’m finished. I cannot give away, sell or otherwise share the copy).
So far the pattern has presented no problems, although I would not call this a pattern for those who have not worked from an classic style one before. For example, you’ll need to know that a hypothetical direction that states something like “increase 0(2,4) stitches 0(3,1) times” means that for the smallest size, you’d increase nothing no times (in effect, skip this direction); for the middle size increase 2 stitches 3 times; for largest third size you need to increase 4 stitches 1 time. The “increase 0” direction can cause distress.
I’ll keep posting progress here as I wade deeper into the project.
On the India Travelogue side of the house, I present more monsoon scenes and contrasts. First, It’s been pretty uniformly cloudy here over the past month, with only one morning showing a breakthrough sun. But there have been many afternoons of spectacular cloudscapes. This is a view over my shoulder:
And here’s the promised view of the hills near Younger Daughter’s school, near Manas Lake in the Bhukum area on Pune’s outskirts:
Contrast this lush verdure with a dusty shot of the same area taken this past January. And January isn’t even the depths of the dry season. The driest time is May and the beginning of June, just before the rains arrive in mid-June.
I am back from over a week of waiting on lines at the government visa office to renew our residence paperwork. Let’s just say I’m relieved not to be up close and personal with the bureaucracy today. Sadly, I was unable to take my knitting with me to civilize all those hours. It would have helped.
Here’s my latest progress on the big blanket knit from Marble. The current state is on the left, the previous attempt is on the right.
You can see that true to my word, I’ve narrowed down the edge treatment. I’ve also eliminated the mitered corners in another bid to conserve yarn. Instead I just ran the I-cord along the edge of the corner unit diamond. Much faster and simpler that the previous treatment using short rows. In order to prevent cupping, I did do a couple of rounds of I-Cord “free” at each corner point of the diamond, to provide extra ease. I’m at roughly the same point in yarn consumption as my earlier attempt (seen on right, above), but you can see that I’m further along the march around the piece. Fingers are crossed, but with what I’ve got left, I think I’ll be able to finish. I do prefer the older treatment though, and if more yarn was available, I’d have continued with it. Those extra four stitches between the fill-in diamonds and the I-Cord, plus the thicker I-Cord and mitered corner made a smoother, more uniform presentation, and “absorbed” some of the natural rippling that happens when the fill-ins are made. So it goes…
Monsoon continues here, with heavy rain days interspersed with misty, overcast days. The humidity is through the roof. I’m experiencing a bit of climatic dissonance. We do get long periods of grey, dank skies in New England, but they are in the dead of winter, usually when temperatures are down in the low teens or below (that’s -10ºC and under for you Celsius folk), accompanied by intermittent snow. To have this many dark but warm days in a row is new to me.
In spite of the greyness, the omnipresent mud and the acne-like spread of potholes in the imperfectly footed brick surface streets, I’ve mentioned the up-side of the monsoon before. Everything is quite lush, and the city is transformed. Even the dusty, trash-strewn vacant lots in town are covered in deep growth, with occasional splashes of wildflowers. This weekend past we went to a patio restaurant, where we dined under a large open air tent. There was a large tree just outside the tent, hung with dozens of child-size umbrellas and spans of tiny bells. Rain fell throughout dinner, making music as the drops hit leaves, umbrellas and the bells.
Today we travel out into the surrounding hills where Younger Daughter’s school is. Because we went back to the US before her last semester ended, she had special dispensation to take her 9th grade finals all this week, before school resumes at the beginning of August. I’m looking forward to seeing what effect the rains have had on the countryside and hope to take pix to share. And in addition to my camera, I can bring my knitting!