Skylark Stole

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Introducing my latest finished project: Skylark Stole from the book, Custom Knits Accessaries, by Wendy Bernard. It was knit with four skeins of Frog Tree Meriboo MW yarn in purple (7511).

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My friend T visited me from Portland a few months ago, and brought with her four skeins of lovely, 70% merino wool / 30% bamboo blend from her neighborhood yarn shop called Dublin Bay Knitting Shop for my birthday. The awesomeness was two-fold: I’ve never worked with these soft blends before and I was dying to try; and this wonderful gift came from a non-knitter! How cool is this? Someone who’s never knit got me one of the softest and lovelies yarns I’ve ever owned!

She told me that staff at the shop who recommended this yarn was confident that I would love it. They were absolutely correct about that!

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Blocking an intricate lace is such a treat. I love watching the design come to life simply with a pull of the blocking wires. This is when you realize your time and energy spent knitting this garment was totally worth it. (It can also be a major heartbreak, however, when you discover a mistake or two you didn’t notice until now … eek!)  By the way, I folded the stole in half to block because I didn’t have enough room to stretch out the entire thing flat.

As for the knitting, I have to confess that I got confused by the pattern at first. Looking back, I’m a bit embarrassed to even admit this since Wendy’s patterns are always, always impeccable, and this one was no exception. I just didn’t read the direction carefully enough. Mea culpa.

My confusion was from the eyelet pattern repeats. I needed to add this 4-sitch eyelet repeat before each, 21-stitch chevron pattern plus one at the end  (for a total of four times) and not just at the beginning and the end of each RS row I incorrectly interpreted. Because of this, I had eight wandering stitches that I just could not find a home for!  Once I figured it out, knitting this stole was a breeeeeeeze.

The pattern is simple but interesting enough that kept me engaged throughout the entire project. I think placing markers after each pattern is key. I recommend that you utilize those little rings as much as possible. I even put one after two garter stitches at the beginning and end of rows for good measure!

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I had to think of an interesting way to photograph the finished stole. I thought about just laying it flat on the floor to showcase the design but I was afraid that my two year old will get to it and rip it out before my eyes (and she will)! So I decided to just hold it against the white wall.  I hope you can see the lovely lace pattern from these photos.

Here are other ways that I’ll be enjoying this stole.  It’s so versatile, I can wear it as a stole or a scarf.  I have a feeling that I’ll get a good use out of this garment all year long!

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In Progress: Cerulean Cardigan

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I’ve expressed on more than one occasion here on this blog that I dislike seaming in the knitting process — with passion!evil But I always thought it was one of those things that I cannot avoid and I just have to live with the torture … until I discovered a miracle called the top-down knitting method!  Who knew that there was a way to knit a garment from the top down, in one piece!  Thank you, Wendy Bernard, creator of one of my favorite knitting blogs, Knit and Tonic, and author of the book, Custom Knits, for introducing me to this amazing alternative!

I spent many hours reading the instruction for the method in her book.  Just like her blog, Wendy’s instruction is very well written, but for some reason, I just couldn’t decipher how garments were constructed. Everything was so new that I just couldn’t wrap my head around it.  Determined to crack the code, I purchased her DVD tutorial and after watching it, like five times, I finally saw the light.  Once I had the “a-ha” moment, everything started to make sense, and I was finally ready to tackle a project – and I selected Cerulean Cardigan that accompanied the DVD.

I am not done with the cardigan yet, but I decided to post some of the photos that show the cardigan construction.  I found some of the Raverly posts with in-progress photos extremely helpful and I wanted to share mine as well, in case some confused souls stumbled upon this blog.

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The Back: The first picture is what the piece looks like when both the back and two fronts (right and left fronts) are knitted. As you can see from this photo here, the initial cast-on row is now on top. The piece makes more sense when it’s draped on a form.  (There’s a yellow yarn on the cast-on row because I used Provisional cast-on with waste yarn.)

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The Shoulder:  Because you pick up stitches from the Provisional cast-on, there’s no need to sew the back and the fronts together. I love it — there are no seams!

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The Body:  This is what the front of the cardigan looks like. It looks like a sexy bikini at this stage!lol

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Armholes:  The extra stitches that you casted on on both the back and the front allow these pieces to come together in the middle.

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Knitting Together:  Here’s what it looks like when you knit the right and left fronts with the back panel together.  Although a circular needle is used to knit these pieces together, you don’t knit all these pieces in the round because this is a cardigan with opened front, unlike a sweater.

Okay, off to knit some more! Now that the more confusing parts of the construction are over, I hope the rest of the knitting will go, well, seamlessly.lol

Update (1/9/13):

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Making progress. OMG, NO SIDE SEAMS! I’m doing a happy dance right now!

Update (1/13/13):

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Front and Back / Ribbing: I finished the front and back, as well as side ribbing. I like how it came out, but the caveat here is that I used two circular needles in a different size (size 7 and 8) and the rib sizes came out inconsistent! eek Once side is definitely smaller than the other! Oh well, I hope it’s not too noticeable when I wear it.

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Eeek, my arm pain came back while knitting this cardigan.cry Could this be from being pregnant? It’s not atypical for me to knit for hours and hours but I never had this kind of pain until I conceived. I know that carpal tunnel syndrome is common for prego ladies, but I’m not certain it this is it, or just Tennis Elbow for knitting too much (and a bit too tight). Whatever the cause, I spent two horrible days and nights with frozen fruit bags wrapped around my arm, battling this incredibly uncomfortable dull pain on now my right arm. I know it’s my body’s way of telling me to take it easy on the repetitive motion of knitting so I will probably take a few days of sabbatical from this garment. It’s probably also the Universe’s way of telling me to get off the couch and clean the apartment!