Koigu Navelli

I’ve been knitting a sweater, too, and even though it’s not done, I wanted to show it to you. The pattern is called Navelli (that’s a Ravelry link) and it’s designed by Caitlin Hunter. I’ve never knit a cropped wide sweater before (or worn one) but I really like this design. I’ve also been admiring sweaters lately that use a variegated or gradient dyed yarn along with solids in fair isle work. When I found several skeins of a really pretty colourway at the Koigu tent sale, I wanted to work with that.

The colourway that started me off is P528, a mix of teal and pink and blues, even with a bit of purple.

I found one contrast colour at Koigu: a teal in KPM, 5513. It looks kettle dyed, in that there’s variation in the tone, but not additional colours. There was only one skein so it had to take the place of the light pink in the original pattern.

When I got home and checked the stash, I discovered that I had three skeins of Shibui Knits Sock in purple. It was a perfect match, so that became my “brown”. The variegated colourway is my main colour for the body of the sweater. (This yarn is discontinued. I’d bought it originally to knit these opera gloves from Vogue Knitting Winter 2008/2009. Since then, I’ve realized that I’m unlikely to ever wear long knitted gloves, so the yarn has aged in the stash. It’s good to see it being put to work.)

Here is my Navelli before I split for the underarms:

Navelli knit in Koigu by Deborah Cooke, in progress

The variegated yarn is a bit more emphatic than I’d expected. The tips of the fair isle in the purple kind of disappear into the pattern of the yarn, but what really surprised me was the pooling—and the big swirl. It looks a bit like the way hard candy swirls – like this image to the right. (That’s a stock image with its watermark intact.) The left lollipop really looks like this sweater to me!hard candy swirls

The strange thing is that I am knitting from alternate skeins (two rows from one, then two rows from the other) which should (theoretically) break up any pooling. This yarn, though, is determined to pool. I wondered what would happen when I split the sweater for the underarms – with half as many stitches being worked, I thought maybe the swirl would break up. It did, but it’s worse:

Navelli knit by Deborah Cooke in Koigu KPPPM

It’s actually making vertical blobs now. Ugh. That decided it. The patterning in the yarn is distracting from the fair isle – and I think it’s ugly.  I’m going to frog back to the fair isle and reknit the stockinette with the colour that’s in the skeins at the top. It’s closer to a semi-solid than a variegated yarn, so should pattern like my Koigu Lunenberg. There’s purple in this colourway, too, but the blue in the fair isle might end up looking a bit off. I think it’s in there, but it’s not the dominant blue. This gives me a chance to make another measure of my gauge – it looks like I might need to stay on the smaller needles for the plain stockinette as well as the fair isle.

R-r-r-r-r-r-r-rip it! I’m sad to do this, especially as I bought this variegated colourway specifically for this sweater, but that’s the way it goes.

Here’s my project page on Ravelry.

 

Koigu Nightshift

Dragon's Kiss, book two of the DragonFate novels, a series of paranormal romances by Deborah CookeI haven’t posted about my knitting for a while. I like to show you finished knits, but right now, I’m in the middle of a lot of projects, and casting on more. This is typical of me when I’m beginning a new series – in this case, it’s the DragonFate Novels – and both doing more research and making series plans. I tend to end up with a lot of new projects on the needles when I’m in that phase of writing, and that’s certainly the case right now. So, rather than remaining silent for the next few months 🙂 while I catch up with my knitting ambitions, I’ll show you a few projects that are in the works.

The first is my Koigu Nightshift. Nightshift is a shawl pattern by Andrea Mowry, designed to be knit with six colours of a gradient yarn. Two colourways are used at any time, resulting in bands of colour with dots and dashes in the contrasting colour. It’s a striking piece, and quite substantial since the yarn is worsted weight. I cast on with worsted weight yarn but felt that the result was too thick for me to actually wear. I dove into the stash and came up with an alternative – Koigu KPPPM.

Here are my colours:

Koigu KPPM for Deborah Cooke's Nightshift shawl

This photo was taken in bright sunlight. The colours are a little deeper than they appear here, and a little less pinky. The red is the leftover from my Koigu Lunenberg cardigan – there are almost four balls (just over 600 yards) of 329P left. This will use it up. (This is one colourway I bought the first year I went to the Koigu tent sale in 2016: the second was the grey mix I’m using in my Juicy Gloss cardigan. If I ever knit the sleeves on that, there probably won’t be much of that colour left.)

Charlotte's Web shawl, knit by Deborah Cooke in KoiguFor my contrast for the Nightshift shawl, I chose four purple colourways. In 2017 at the Koigu tent sale, I bought a pack of ten different shades of purple. I knit Charlotte’s Web with five of them – there it is, in progress on the right, but still have the other five. You can see all of the colours in this photo: two are already knit up in the shawl, with the three balls that I planned to use (and did) lined up on the right. The five skeins below are the ones I have left now. One of them – the far right one – doesn’t go as well with the others, to my thinking, especially when combined with the red. I chose the other four to use with the red for my Nightshift.

This (inevitably) reminds me of the Jenny Joseph poem:
“When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple,
with a red hat which doesn’t go and doesn’t suit me.”

I’ve never understood why anyone had to wait to wear red and purple together.

This stash-dive gives me (4 x 160) 640 yards of purples and about 610 yards of red. I’ll knit until it’s gone. The pattern calls for 6 skeins that are 150 yards each, so I have more yardage. This yarn is thinner, though, so I’m hoping the shawl still comes out a good size.

Because Koigu KPPPM is fingering weight, not worsted, as specified in the pattern, I also cast on with smaller needles than specified in the pattern. I’m using 3.75mm. It’s a bit loose, which gives the yarn room to bloom, but I could have used 3.5mm.

Also, the red will appear in every band of colour in my shawl, although it will switch from being the main colour to being the contrast.

Here’s a close-up of my progress so far.

Deborah Cooke's Koigu Nightshift Shawl in progress

The first repeat had a red background and contrast in the lightest purple. The second repeat was inverted – lightest purple background with red contrast. The third repeat, which is almost half done in this picture, has the darkest purple as background and the red as the contrast colour. My project page on Ravelry for this shawl is right here.

How do you like the beginning of my red and purple Nightshift?

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?

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!

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?

 

Almost-Done Comfort Fade Cardigan

I’ve been working away steadily on my Comfort Fade Cardigan and have an update – it’s almost done!

The previous post on the sweater is here. I had finished the yoke and was comparing the fit to other sweaters in my closet. Here it is after I finished the body. (This one is top-down, so I did the bottom ribbing last.) It was tough to confirm the fit because the collar ribbing is so wide – at this point, when I tried it on, it seemed to be falling off my shoulders.Comfort Fade Cardigan in Rowan Colourspun knit by Deborah Cooke

I picked up the stitches to do the neck next (before the sleeves) to manage my yarn. I didn’t have enough of all the colourways, so decided to do the neck, then use half of whatever was left for each sleeve.

When I picked up the stitches for the neck, I forgot that the right side of the cardigan shows the purl side of the reverse stockinette. I also followed the directions and picked up with the first colour, which is my lightest one. At the bottom is my pick-up from the wrong side, which doesn’t look good on what will be the right side. At the top is my pick-up from the right side, which looks better.

Comfort Fade Cardigan in Rowan Colourspun knit by Deborah CookeI did decide to frog and reverse the order of the colourways on the collar, picking up with my last colour, which is the brown. It blends in better and looks neater. See?

Comfort Fade Cardigan in Rowan Colourspun knit by Deborah Cooke

The collar is shaped with short rows for this sweater and it’s huge. In the picture above, you can see the wedges of short rows that add to the depth of the collar. It’s quite squishy and luxurious.

I cheated on the sleeves and knitted them inside out. (Ha. This makes me feel so clever.) This way, I could knit them in the round instead of having the purl them. The only thing is that I had to remember to leave the ends on the side facing me, not the opposite side as usual.

Comfort Fade Cardigan in Rowan Colourspun knit by Deborah Cooke

The sleeves are a little long and I didn’t finish all of the decreases as specified. Here’s the almost-completed sweater – I balled up the other sleeve in the shoulder and you can see one of my DPNs peeking out there:

Comfort Fade Cardigan in Rowan Colourspun knit by Deborah Cooke

I couldn’t crop out that wonderful beam of sunlight. It’s so nice to see the sun again!

I’ll take some more pictures when the sweater is done. All I have to finish is that cuff. What do you think?

Black VK Cardigan

A few weeks ago, I told you that I’d had a Eureka moment while knitting my Comfort Fade Cardigan and now knew how to fix another sweater. This post is about that other sweater.

The pattern is from Vogue Knitting Winter 2018 and is a cardigan designed by Cathy Payson in Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick. Simple Cardigan is #9 in that issue. (That’s a Ravelry link.) I bought the issue when it came out, loved this sweater and bought the specified yarn – but in a tweedy black called Blackstone. (Here are some pix of the colourway on Ravelry.) I knit it up – it’s a quick knit with such thick yarn – tried it on and was disappointed in the fit. It was doing that thing of trying to fall off my shoulders. Hmm. It’s been sitting for almost a year, waiting on me to figure out how to get the fit right.

This January, I took it apart and ripped the fronts and back out to the underarms. When I reknit it, I made it narrower at the shoulders at the back. I also had found that it was bulky under the arms in the original version, so I added some short rows to make more of a sleeve cap.

Here’s the modified version – I photographed it with a long sleeve turtleneck inside it, to show the neckline and also the 3/4 sleeves. Mine are a little closer to bracelet length with that addition to the sleeve cap.

Black cardigan knit by Deborah Cooke

It fits so much better! And it’s so thick and warm that it’s perfect for these chilly winter days.

I love the mix of colours in the wool. Here’s a close up to show you that:

detail of Black cardigan knit by Deborah Cooke

Plus I finished another hat, just in time for the polar vortex. This is the same pattern (First Snow) that I used for my cupcake hats before Christmas. This time, though, I used a ball of tweedy wool that I found in the mill ends at Spinrite and added a purchased fake fur pompom.

First Snow hat knit by Deborah Cooke

These deep purple has a lot of great flicks of colour in it, in blue and red, which aren’t showing up very well. It’s pretty and I think I’ll keep this one. I have a second pompom and several more skeins of this mystery yarn in different colours, so I’ll make at least one more.

What do you think?

Comfort Fade Cardigan

There is a new(ish) knitting trend to knit with colours dyed in a progressing, fading from one to the next. For me, this started with Andrea Mowbry’s shawl Find Your Fade, which was published in December 2016 and is enormously popular. There are over 8000 projects on Ravelry! Andrea has designed other knitwear that features this kind of colour shift, and I’m knitting one right now.

Her Comfort Fade Cardi is an open-front, shawl collar cardigan, which is knit from the top down. It has raglan sleeves and requires four colours to fade into each other over the length of the cardigan. Since I always find it a bit dull to knit cardigans in stockinette stitch, I thought that watching the colours might motivate me. (It worked for my Hebrides cardigan, knit in striped KidSilk Haze.)

4 Balls of Rowan ColourscapeFor this project, I raided my stash and chose my leftovers of Rowan Colourspun. I had knitted Mr. Math a vest in this yarn, then bought more to make myself a sweater when it was discontinued. Here’s a post about his vest. The pattern is called Skye.

So, in my stash, I have a russet, a brown, a green and a taupe in the Colourspun. This yarn has a gradual gradation and is kind of heathered. I thought it would be a good choice for a fade. I don’t have the right quantities that the pattern calls for – I have enough yardage, but more russet than I need and less brown. The yarn is discontinued, so I’ll work it out.

Comfort Fade Cardi knit in Rowan Colourspun by Deborah CookeHere’s the cardigan as of last Sunday. I’d just divided for the arms. You can see that the ribbing for the neckline has a good bit of space to fill – this sweater is designed to be worn open, so the fronts with the ribbing will just meet. It’s also designed so that the purl side is worn out, which makes it look even more blended.

I used the taupe first, then the green and have just started to fade into the russet. think it’s funny that the brightest bit of the taupe fell in the last two rows of it after fading into the green. 🙂

Here’s a look at the many colours in this yarn – I’ve been knitting more since the other pix were taken on Sunday, so it’s longer now:

Comfort Fade Cardigan in Rowan Colourspun knit by Deborah Cooke

The top is the taupe, fading into the green – which you can see is striping on its own – then into the russet. At the bottom, I’ve just started to transition to the brown.

I have a hard time getting a good fit with top-down raglans, but I think I’ve finally figured out why – which means I know what to do about it in future. I hadn’t finished the specified increases but it looked big, so I took it off the needles to try it on. (This is a very cool thing about top-down raglans – you can try them on as you go.) Then I compared it with a sweater I already have, which fits – in this case, one of my Hebrides in KSH. The Hebrides has a closer fit and is in a finer yarn, but you can see that it was definitely time to break for the sleeves. If I’d knit those remaining 12 rows, the sweater would have been droopy.

Comfort Fade Cardigan in Rowan Colourspun knit by Deborah Cooke

And here’s where I had my Eureka moment. See how wide the neckline is compared to the other sweater? Of course, the style is different, but when I try it on, it’s trying to fall off my shoulders. I’m narrow in the shoulders and when I sew, I always cut a smaller size above the bust to accommodate that. I should be casting on a smaller size than the one specified for my bust when I knit a raglan sweater for exactly the same reason. Aha!

I’m not going to frog this and start over, though. It’ll be a little slouchier than the original design, but I really like it. I have a feeling I’ll be knitting this pattern again, and will incorporate my changes then. In the meantime, I can fix another sweater that’s been waiting on me because I know what to do.

What do you think of this cardi so far?