smocking

smocked-bamboo-cardigan1.jpg I'm still in love with the fabric that the Rowan Bamboo Soft makes, even if the splitting is a total pain in the arse. But it feels like a much loved, well worn t-shirt. Except maybe softer and silkier, and heavier of course. I'm making a round-yoked cardigan with not a bit of shaping in the body. Sounds like a recipe for a boxy unflattering disaster but the yarn is so drapey and the weight makes it hang so well that I think it's going to work.

smocked-bamboo-cardigan7.jpg

A few days ago I showed you pictures of the puffy hem, and while I loved how it looked I wasn't sure it would look right in the garment. As the giant rectangle of stocking stitch grew the weight has made it hang perfectly flat, there is no longer any puffiness at all.

smocked-bamboo-cardigan6.jpg

Unless this yarn wears horribly I think I might be a little in love with it. Which is just as well, because I have some more of it. Spot the purple cable? My knitpicks options arrived, with no postal or customs issues, so if everyone else in this trial had a similar experience it looks like they might start shipping to the UK. I love them, although they have been unscrewing occasionally after a lot of use even though I tighten them with the little wire thingy. Hasn't caused any problems yet though and it's only happened a couple of times. Luckily they can't totally unscrew before the yarn catches on the join and alerts me to the problem. And I do knit a lot so I can forgive this. Obviously there have already been a gazillion reviews of these, so lets just say I'm happy with them and having fun with the way the extra tips make handy-dandy cable needles and the cords and end caps make 'try-as-you-go' simple. I wonder how long it's going to be before I'm emailing one of my US blog friends looking for extra tips, I got some extra cords in the lengths I use most.

smocked-bamboo-cardigan5.jpg

The sleeves are just provisionally cast on at the moment for a few reasons. Firstly I have never made a round yoked anything so I wasn't sure how much yarn the yoke would use up, a lot it turns out, and how much would be left over for the sleeves. Aside from that practical issue, I bought ten balls of this on sale so don't have any more, I'm still undecided about how long to make the sleeves or what style. One of the, many, many, things I'm considering is whether to cuff the sleeves with I-cord or hems. This will depend on the sleeve style, but crucially I-cord would be easier as a bind off, while the hems would be easier as the beginning (no sewing). Although it has just occured to me that I might be one of the only knitters who would rather graft 264 sts than whip stitch hems up. Of course if that was what I did the pattern would work the sleeves before joining the yoke. By provisionally casting on the sleeves I've got the option to knit them in either direction. You might have noticed this already, but I generally design things as I go and I really think I need to finish the body of this cardigan before I'll know what the sleeves should be like. Hopefully then I'll just know or at the very least be able to make a decision. At the moment it is looking like the amount of yarn I have left will make some of the decisions for me anyway.

struanssouffle1.JPG Living with my family has some perks, other than the pretty furniture to drape knits over and the stocked fridge, my brother made these amazing wee chocolate souffles for dessert last night. There were even leftovers and I'm already thinking of what they'll be like chilled and mousse-like. He got the recipe here. It filled 6 large ramekins. Thank you so very, very much to everyone who has bought Briar Rose, or blogged about the pattern or queued it on Ravelry or shown your love for the design in any way at all. Your support means so much to me. I know that some of you have been concerned about how flattering the puffy shoulders will be, especially if you already have wide shoulders. The yarn you choose will make a big difference to how puffy the top of the sleeves are - look at the difference between my pink and green versions. They both have the same number of stitches at the top of the sleeve but the drape of the yarn makes a big difference to the appearance. If however, you want to get rid of the puffiness completely I'll be putting up a tutorial on how to modify the sleeves soon. In the meantime, if you want to get started on the pattern the body up to the underarms won't be affected by the mod. I'm sure that there are some people out there who get the same 'must-start-now' urge as I do.

smocked-bamboo-cardigan3.jpg

One reason I started designing was because I kept getting that urge late at night when all the shops were closed and I had to find yarn in my, very limited, stash. Finding yarn was hard enough, let alone matching yarn and pattern. I started off making a lot of free-form hats. Luckily I had some rather crustyish friends at that point, who were very happy to wear my odd creations. Still haven't got much stash really, although more than I've ever had before. I have lots of random small amounts of yarn, but realistically I have enough to actually make 4 sweaters and maybe 4 smaller tops. Seeing as I mostly make such things this is really the stash that matters. I have a feeling that the desire to be able to satisfy that 'must-make-now' urge at any moment is the motivation behind the huge stashes some of you have collected (you know exactly who you are!). Personally, aside from the cash involved, I think I'd find that a little overwhelming. I'm certainly planning on using most of this yarn before I buy more. I'm actually finding, despite my earlier experience of the 'must-make-now-only-have-this-yarn-I'll-design-a-hat' thing I really prefer to buy things with some idea of what I'll make. All of the sweater/top yarn is matched to a project at the moment. Seems like a way to balance the guilt of having lots of unused yarn potential designs and satisfying the urge to start right now, when right now is almost always when the shops are closed, any shop that does next day delivery on orders placed late in the afternoon is magical. How do you approach this sort of balancing act, or is it even something that matters to you? Of course this question is really for anyone who makes anything, not just the knitters. Although I fear that if I ever did have non-knitting readers I've lost them by now with all my technical gibberish. If you're reading and not a knitter (or someone who knows me outside of the internet) come say hello.

Enjoy the remainder of your weekend, my dears.

little details

Briar Rose Pattern