The Red Cardigan Completed

I finished my red Lunenberg cardigan (that’s a Ravelry link) and I just love it. This is a basic cardigan but using the Koigu KPPPM really made it spectacular.

Lunenberg Cardigan knit in Koigu KPPPM by Deborah Cooke

Once again, the colour isn’t true in the pictures. It’s a cherry red, but seems to photograph pink.

I was really pleased that the colours didn’t pool at all. The sleeve caps ended up looking a bit lighter than everything else, but it was just the way the colour worked out.

I showed this sweater to you earlier, without the sleeves, in this post.

I changed out the ribbing for garter stitch, because I really like how KPPPM looks in garter stitch. I used just over 8 skeins of KPPPM, so there could be another of these in my future. Here’s the link to my project page on Ravelry.

What do you think?

The Wingspan Shawl

It’s finally finished and here it is:

Wingspan shawl knit by Deborah Cooke

It’s so big that it was hard to take a picture!

Wingspan Shawl knit by Deborah Cooke

This is the Wingspan shawl, a pattern that was released this past spring. I substituted a yarn from my stash – Briar Rose Fibers Sea Pearl – because I thought it had a shine like raven’s wings. One skein was also the right quantity for the shawl. This stash-busting plan went awry, though, because I ran out of yarn and bought another skein to finish the wing tips. So, now, instead of having one skein of Sea Pearl in my stash, I have .9 skein in another colourway. C’est la vie.

I also went up a needle size, because I thought the fabric was too tight. That might be why the shawl is so big. I blocked it hard in a slight V and it’s 78″ from wingtip to wingtip.

Although it’s an amazing and unusual shawl design, it’s was less difficult to knit than I’d expected. If you’ve ever knit a chevron stitch, this is similar. I found it a little tricky at the beginning to get my bearings, but stitch markers were a big help. Once I got the hang of the pattern and could read my knitting, it became a bit repetitive (but not a TV knit for me.) The transitions – between each tier of feathers – were the challenging part for me and I had to follow them very closely. I don’t love the transitions, btw, and wish the spine of each feather started sooner in the transition, as soon as the stitches are available instead of all feathers beginning at the end of the transition, but it would be a lot more complicated that way. The transitions blocked out better.

Here’s a detail shot. It’s hard to capture the subtlety of the colours in this yarn. It really is lovely.

Detail of Wingspan shawl knit by Deborah Cooke

You can see the transitions I’m talking about, below the tier of feathers on the left and before the ones that hem the shawl (and fall to the right). They’re triangles of stockinette stitch, filling the space between each feather on the previous tier.

You can see that I added some beads, too. I really should have used a lot more of them.

Phew. I’m glad to have that one off the needles! What do you think?

The Red Cardigan

I haven’t had any knitting to show you for a while, because I’ve been knitting away on a couple of big projects. I’ve almost finished the Wingspan shawl – I’ve knit the wing tips and cast off half of the shawl width. I have to do the other side, then block it, so I should have that to show you soon.

Here’s a progress report on my red cardigan in Koigu KPPPM. I’m working on the collar right now – you can see my needle in the stitches – then have just the sleeves to knit.

Lunenberg Cardigan knit in Koigu KPPPM by Deborah Cooke

Once again, the colour looks a lot more pink in this image than it actually is. The yarn is a wonderful rich red and not very pink at all. (I talked about that in my last post about this project.) It actually matches the currant jelly I made this week. 🙂

The pattern is the Lunenberg cardiganhere’s a Ravelry link. The pattern is included in By Hand Serial #9 – you can see more about that publication on their website, here.

I’ve made some changes. Instead of ribbing on the hem, button bands and collar, I’m using garter stitch – mostly because I love how garter stitch shows off the colours of Koigu. I made a mistake in my calculations for the button band – there are supposed to be 8 buttons on the button band and one in the collar, but the way I figured it out, there are 9, plus the one in the collar. I’m not going to rip it back because I have another card of these buttons. Here’s my project page on Ravelry.

I am loving the softness and the colours of this yarn – which means, yes, we’ll be making another trip to the Koigu tent sale this August.

What do you think?

Additions to the Herd

I haven’t talked about my vintage sewing machines for a while, but there are two new girls in the herd, and I thought I’d show them off today.

First, there’s a Singer Stylist 457:

Singer Stylist 457

This one was quite clean, although I want to refinish its box. It was made in St. John’s, Quebec, in 1961. Here’s a bit on that plant, which opened in 1904 and was closed in 1986. The Stylist isn’t a machine with a fabulous reputation, because its gears are plastic, as you can see on this page on the Singer UK site. Since it was in good shape, though, and a zigzag machine, and just $10, home it came to join the herd. That button in front is to drop the feed dogs, which is cool, too.

Then, I found this Pfaff 360:
This picture is from its arrival here, and you can see that it was pretty dirty. I think someone was a smoker. It ran well, though, and is very clean inside, as if it was well maintained. I like that it has a similar free arm design to my old Elnas. The serial number indicates that it was built in 1959.

This one didn’t have all the goodies with it – in fact, it needed a new bobbin case – but it ran beautifully and was only $20 so it joined the herd, too. I have another Pfaff, a Pfaff 30, which is in a wooden cabinet. It’s a sturdy machine that sews a straight stitch.

I haven’t shown you the herd for a while, so here are (most of) the girls.

First, my Elnas. The first green one is called a Grasshopper. This was the first Elna design and was in production from 1940 to 1952. It was intended to compete with the Singer Featherweight and is a light little machine. That thing coming out the front right is a knee lever.Elna Grasshopper Sewing Machine

Next is a Supermatic from 1954 and then (the taupe one) another Supermatic from 1956. These two have little doors on the top, which are for cams for decorative stitches. They both have their original cases, which can be used to create a larger sewing surface – you can see how that cut-out fits around the free arm of the machine. The taupe one has the original Bakelite box for bobbins and accessories. It slides under the free arm when you pack it all away.Elna Supermatic from 1954 Elna Supermatic from 1959
Then there’s a Hugin, which is a similar machine that was made in Sweden. This one sadly hasn’t done any sewing, because it needs a belt and I haven’t found one the right length yet. It’s also a straight stitch machine. I just like that it’s named after one of Odin’s ravens. (I blogged about it once before in this post.)Hugin sewing machine

Next are the Singer machines: first a cute little 185K. (I don’t have a picture of my Featherweight – it’s just a plain black one.) My 185 was made in Scotland in 1958. That box in front is a buttonholer. I like that the box matches the machine so well.

Singer 185K

Then there are two old Singer machines. The first has a stencil design called Venezia, and some original wiring. (Hmm.) The second one is a handcrank with decals called Victoria. I think they’re just so pretty. They’re both Scottish lasses.Singer handcrank sewing machine Singer handcrank sewing machine

Finally, there’s the treadle machine in the cabinet. This is a King Rotary, which I haven’t been able to find out much about. It was likely made in Buffalo, New York – here’s a bit about the King sewing machine company and you can see that the heraldic emblem on mine is like the one on that website. Look at those lovely iris decals:King Rotary treadle sewing machine

Do you collect anything vintage?

Red Koigu KPPPM Cardigan

It’s Fibre Friday again, and time to peek in on my knitting projects. Progress on my Wingspan shawl came to shuddering halt this week, when I realized I would run out of yarn. You might remember that I went up a needle size and wondered if I’d run out. Well, I will. So, I stopped knitting and ordered another skein of the same yarn – it’s Briar Rose Fibers Sea Pearl. The yarn is 50% merino and 50% tencel, and has a lovely sheen. I didn’t think that mixing in another yarn even for the border would look right.

The colour and dye lot aren’t marked on mine and it’s been aging in the stash for so long that there’s no way the colour would match anyway. I had a look at their website and think mine might be colour 1841. (It’s also possible that it’s a colour they don’t dye anymore.) I ordered a skein of 1901 (it’s on the second page of colour samples) which is a grey. It looks quite similar to mine but without the pink, which should make the hem look a bit darker. And the grey is probably the same dye.

While that project is on hold, I wanted to knit something other than socks. I had another poke through my needle stash and found a pair of 3.5mm circulars. Yay! They’re only 60 cm long, but that’s plenty for a cardigan knit in pieces. You know what happened next – I cast on the Lunenberg Cardigan in my red Koigu.

Here’s what it looks like so far:

Back of Lunenberg Cardigan knit in Koigu KPPPM by Deborah CookeIt’s interesting how pink this shot looks on my computer. The yarn is actually a gorgeous variegated cherry red and I just love it.

The colour number is 329. I had a look at the colours on Koigu’s site, and it looks even more vividly pink there. It looks more like #859 on this page.

This cardigan is knit top down but in pieces – this is the back from the shoulders down. I have a few more inches to go before doing the ribbing (which will give me time to decide whether to knit ribbing or another edge) but I’m very happy with how it’s coming out.

What do you think?

Sunny Socks

We’ve been having so much rain here that Mr. Math and I have been discussing the merit of building an ark. It’s a bit frustrating as far as the garden goes – the weeds keep growing, but the weather isn’t very conducive to getting out there and cleaning up the beds. I did a lot of work in April but have been kind of stalled since then, and the thistles are taking advantage of their moment.

Rain is good weather for writing, though, and it’s also good for knitting. I’ve been working away on my Wingspan shawl and am getting down to the feather tips. It’s all bunched up on the needles though so I can’t take a good picture. I’ve added some beads, which I really like, and currently am playing yarn chicken. Will I run out? (I think it likely.) What yarn will I use for the wingtips if I do run out of this yarn? That’s a really interesting question and I haven’t decided yet. I’ll take some pix when it’s finished and blocked.

In the meantime, I’ve knit myself a pair of socks. Wingspan isn’t TV knitting at all. Socks are. These socks are very bright, which is welcome this year.

Socks knit in Sugar Bush Itty-Bitty by Deborah Cooke

The pattern is my usual one, but the yarn is a new for me. It’s Sugar Bush Itty-Bitty, which I found in the mill ends bin at Spinrite. The colourway is Sailor’s Sky Delight. The yarn is a blend of merino and nylon with a bit of cashmere. It’s a lot thicker than I thought it was, and these socks are both thick and big. I should have used 64 sts instead of my usual 72. I used just over two balls.

Sock Twins socks knit toe-up by Deborah Cooke

I’ve cast on another pair of sunny socks for myself. I bought this yarn at Spinrite, too. It’s called Sock Twins and includes two balls of yarn that are gradient dyed. The idea is that you easily knit socks that match. I want to use it all so I’m knitting this pair toe-up, starting with the yellow. I like the colours but am not loving the yarn so much – it feels thin and splitty – but maybe it will full when it’s washed. They’re not showing all the colours on the website – you can see mine, which is called Sunset, on Ravelry right here.

I also found the loveliest magazine this week. It’s called By Hand Serial, and the issue I found is number nine. It features a region and the makers in that region, with lovely photographs, interview and projects. Number nine is about Nova Scotia. You can see a preview on their website, right here. As a bonus, I’m not really motivated to finish my Wingspan, because I need those 3.5mm needles to make the Lunenberg Cardigan!

The Wingspan Shawl

If you’ve been conscious over the past two weeks in the knitting world, you’ve probably seen the Wingspan shawl. This is an incredible design that looks like a bird’s wings. The original is very striking because it’s knit in a hand-dyed ombré yarn that shades once over a colour progression in 800 yds or so. The kit went on sale last Saturday at the Knitter’s Frolic in Toronto, and the pattern went on sale on Ravelry the same day.

You know I bought both. 🙂

Here’s the Wingspan pattern on Ravelry.

Here’s the kit at Blue Brick Yarns.

There’s (predictably) a backlog on yarn orders – this pattern has gone viral – so I cast on the shawl in Briar Rose Sea Pearl, a yarn in my stash which comes in an 800 yd skein of fingering, just like the specified yarn. This is a handpaint, not an ombré, so the wings won’t shade. Sea Pearl is 50% merino and 50% tencel, so it has a shine. This skein has always made me think of a bird’s feathers, so it seemed the perfect choice. I’m not sure what colourway mine is as it’s not marked on the tag and there seem to be a few contenders on the Briar Rose site – if they even dye this colourway anymore. My skein has been well-aged in the stash.

Here’s the skein before I caked it up:Briar Rose Sea Pearl

And here’s my progress on the shawl.

Wingspan shawl knit by Deborah CookeYou can see that I’ve finished the second row of feathers. (There are four rows altogether.) I’m really pleased that there’s no pooling of the colour. My beads have arrived (they’re pewter with silver linings) so I’ll be adding them to the rest of the shawl.

This is a really lovely knit. It’s quite addictive. Although the instructions are written, not charted, once I got the hang of what is going on, I didn’t need to read every line anymore. (I’m not sure that this pattern could have been charted.)

What do you think?

More Sparkle for the Hoard

Dragon pendant and earrings with blue glass made by Deborah CookeI’ve been doing some more beadwork and making shiny things for my dragon hoard. I’ll take these to Romancing the Capital in August.

Today, I wanted to show you these necklace and earring sets. I found dragon pendants that match my dragon charms, so putting them together was an obvious choice.

This one is blue glass beads that have some opalescence. I matched them with cut glass beads of light green and Czech glass 2/0 beads with the same opalescence as the big beads. The fastener is a magnet. I wasn’t sure it would be strong enough for the weight of the necklace, but it is – and it ensures that the wire doesn’t get twisted. Ha.

Dragon necklace made with glass beads by Deborah Cooke

Next is another one with glass beads. I love how sparkly this one is! The larger beads are faceted crystals with an A/B finish. They’re matched with smaller faceted glass beads with the same finish to make a glittery result. The picture doesn’t do its sparkle justice!

Third, a necklace set with fire agate semi-precious gemstone beads and black glass beads, The black beads have a bit of gold detail. There are Czech glass 2/0 beads in gold, too. The fire agate has been dyed to be a brighter orange. I like the pattern in the stone.

Dragon necklace with fire agate semi-precious gemstone beads and glass beads, made by Deborah CookeFire agate is linked with fire by those who use gemstones for healing, and so it has associations with passion and earthly desires. It is also said to be a protective stone and to be revitalizing. Doesn’t it sound like an excellent choice for a dragon?

I have some other semi-precious gemstones that I’ve been using to make these necklaces. There’s a set with lapis lazuli and freshwater pearls. Lapis lazuli is associated with tranquility, self-awareness and healing. These beads are not dyed and are a natural deep blue. I also have some labradorite, undyed, which I’m still trying to pair with something sparkly. Labradorite is said to increase the wearer’s psychic and magical powers, which also makes it a perfect choice for a dragon.

Dragon necklace made with gold and purple beads by Deborah CookeThe fourth set I have to show you today is one of my favorite combinations of glass beads with these dragon charms. There are purple glass beads with an A/B finish and gold ones with the same finish, along with some Czech glass 2/0 beads in gold with an A/B finish. I love this combination as all the beads seem to be reflecting shades of gold and purple.

That’s just four of my dragon necklace sets. What do you think?

A Tiara for a Dragon Queen

I’ve been playing around with beads and charms, making some shiny trinkets to take to Romancing the Capital in August. I decided to try to make a tiara fit for a dragon queen.

Here’s my first attempt.

Bead and crystal tiara made by Deborah Cooke

I used a metal hairband as a frame. The crystals are dyed quartz and have been drilled, which made it a lot easier to secure them in place. I used 24 gauge wire for the wrapping. I arranged the crystals in order of size first, with the biggest ones in the center, then attached them to the frame. Once they were in place, I added glass beads of various shapes and sizes.

Detail of bead and crystal tiara made by Deborah Cooke

The result is quite sparkly. What do you think?

I’ve also been making some necklaces with gemstone beads, using wire. Here’s one of Dragon’s Eye Agate, with matching earrings:

Necklace and earrings of dragon's eye agate and beads by Deborah Cooke

And here’s one of Fire Agate – the agate has been dyed to enhance the colour, but it is quite spectacular. The black beads are onyx:

Fire agate necklace and earrings made by Deborah Cooke

I’ve been making earrings, too. Here’s a selection with the fun dragon claw drops:

Dragon claw drop earrings with glass beads made by Deborah Cooke

I’m going to make another tiara in different colours – if not two – and will show you them when they’re done.

What do you think? Would you or your favorite dragon queen wear any of these?

Wild Grass Pullover

It’s Friday! Let’s talk about knitting.

Wild Grass pullover knit by Deborah Cooke in Swans Island washable wool sport

I’ve been working on a pullover with a beautiful yoke. The pattern is called Wild Grass and the yarn I’m using is Swans Island Washable Wool Collection Sport. For this pattern, you make a provisional cast-on, knit a few rows, then knit up, through the yoke and the neck. Then you pick up stitches from the provisional cast-on and knit down, dividing for the sleeves then to the hems. This means that the fun part is over early. 🙂

I may re-knit the neck on larger needles. Right now, it’s more of a turtle-neck, but the pattern shows it as a cowl, which is a big part of what I liked about the design.

I bought this yarn at Swans Island when we were in Maine last summer. They make the most beautiful blankets and dye their own yarn. The colours are amazing. This is a wonderful squishy and soft yarn which is spun from merino. Here’s a link to the yarn on the Swans Island website – I’m getting a security warning because of their certificate, but maybe that will be fixed by the time you click through. Here’s a Ravelry link, too. The colours I’m using are Mallard and Pesto. The Mallard is a little darker than it looks in this picture. The yarn is also incredibly soft, so I’m not worried about having this wool next to my skin.

What do you think?