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Posts Tagged ‘fair-isle’

I’ve been on a knitting tear since the summer on Protection Island. I think I made four adult sweaters since April.  I started the Dublin Pullover in August. I knit it with Jamieson’s Shetland spindrift yarn, which turned out much softer than expected and will definitely use again. It took me about 5 months to knit and a week to sew in all the ends. Here’s one night’s waste yarn.

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I needed a wooly board to block it and found plans online. You can buy one for $150 or spend $8 on material and have fun in the process. Mine can block sweaters from 32″ to 48″. I will warn you however, dowels in the hardware store are WEAK! They snapped in seconds on my first attempt to stretch a sweater. I perused the hardware section (one of my pet pleasures) and found an alternative, a 1/4″ metal something or other.

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I initially hang the sweater in the boiler room, because there’s a drain in the floor,  then move to the wood stove where it dries in 1/2 a day. The stretcher doesn’t stand on its own but balances nicely.

This is the Dublin pullover.

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It fits Tim much better than me so he wins.

This vest had gradually gotten smaller and shorter. Now it fits again! I’m pretty sure it was the sweater shrinking, not me getting larger, although I’ve been a little lazy this winter.

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In contrast, this last sweater, knit in Lopi bulky yarn, took one week to knit! It was a little big so I purposely shrunk it but went a bit too small. The wooly board let me stretch it to a proper size. The neck remains a little wonky and I have to do something about that. Back to planning and looking for more sweaters to knit and stretch.

 

 

 

 

 

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I am rounding the home stretch with my hand spun fair isle vest, the Ivy League Vest designed by Eunny Jang. It is knit like a tube with placeholders where the arms and head will be. When the knitting is finished, you cut apart the placeholders and turn the tube into a vest. It’s a fabulous, fitted pattern with a lot of lessons learned along the way.

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Because I used all sorts of yarn, which could be slippery, I stabilized the knitting by crocheting stitches on either side of the planned cut before I snipped .

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Then I gingerly cut between the crocheted border and it worked! A mantra from my surgical days resurfaced. Don’t cut unless you can see the tips. Works on knitting as well as bodies.

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The pattern included waist shaping, happily I could use a few decreases, a deep “V” neck and fits like a glove, or a vest.

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It’s hard to believe it ‘s Spring in the Adirondacks. We have two feet of snow on the ground and the temperature was three degrees f today.

But the sun is stronger, the days are longer and I have heard a few new bird songs.

My gift to me is a fair isle vest, knit with three commercial yarns and three handspun skeins (one skein was dyed from all the onion skins we collected during our three month idyll at Deal Island Lighthouse, Tasmania).

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My cleaning and organizing obsessions continue. This time in the spice rack. Last fall, I hung several bunches of herbs and peppers to dry and it was time to put them to use. One big mistake I made was not labeling them in the fall when they looked like the actual plant and not dry , shriveled weeds. I could confirm sage but the rest were more subtle. One I made into a tea to sample and am calling it Lemon. Perhaps it was lemon balm or lemon basil but Lemon it is. I’ve called two unidentifiable bunches parsley. One may have been parsley and the other possibly cilantro. Who can tell?

Once the herbs were store in jars, They needed to be easier to find. I keep my spices in two baskets: one with sweet spices for baking; and the other with savory spices for cooking. I could never tell from the top what was in each of the jars. So I decided I needed to label the tops. I was able to use a permanent marker for the later tops and opted for nail polish for the black tops.

The nail polish did not work so well so I had to get creative with the names. Chili powder became “Hot”, Rosemary became the picture of a rose, garam masala is GAR M. I hope I remember my creative code.

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Snow is great and the private ski area right next door was open on Sunday so we threw our skis on our shoulders and walked next door to go skiing. Just pinch me. I had to relearn how to use a rope toe, a very fast rope toe. I brought old leather lined mittens for the task but they weren’t strong enough. I had to trade them in for a pair of industrial cowhide gloves which worked beautifully
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I seem to have a lot more time now that I am no longer running a cat hospice. Sad but true. I wallowed for a day, maybe it was just a cold coming on, then got back to work.

Who wouldn’t be cheered up by three little fair isle hats knit for my friend’s daughters?
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I played around with twined braids, stranded colorwork and thoroughly enjoyed the design process. I was surprised to find how well small fair isle motifs work up in worsted weight – and fast too.

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Then I decided to finally knit something for me again. It’s a hat made with combination of tumbling blocks stranded and twined knitting made in super soft, smooshy Malabrigo worsted yarn.

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The optical illusion didn’t really work though. The shadows seem off, I think I have to swap out my lights and darks. I tried flipping it upside down and they still don’t really look like blocks. But the stranded color work keeps it warm and even pretty on the inside as well.

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The yarn was so soft, I had some leftover and I’m tired of my old mittens so I designed a non-delusional mitten to match, with the palm lined in alpaca. Luscious.

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Conditions have been good for skiing, skating and playing indoors. I finally tried a no-knead bread recipe. It couldn’t have been easier and made a country style, hard crust bread, sturdy enough for sandwiches. I had to stir it once and fold it once! Hoo boy. I highly recommend it for a day when you are hanging around the house.

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My digital VHS movie conversion was a huge success. I laughed, I cried, while watching them all. Plus I found inspiration. Tim’s been looking for comfortable skates, since the ice is so good this year, to no avail. Then I saw a movie with my brother at 4 or 5, at Christmas, wearing an army helmet and strap on skates, skating around the basement. So I looked up strap on skates for adults and they exist! There are two types, shown here. One can be latched onto any hiking boot and the other uses cross country ski bindings. Just like Hans Brinker. He ordered a set of the cross country ski type. I just have to find him an army helmet.

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