Sunday, July 27, 2008

No Martha Love for me......

At the moment.

Well. That's only partially true.

There are parts of Martha that I LOVE.

  1. martha

  1. I love the yarn - it is SO soft and warm

  2. I LOVE the concept of Martha - so simple yet effective

  3. I LOVE the construction of Martha - one piece

  4. I love the whole Skif 'go with the flo' concept.

There are parts of Martha that I UN-LOVE


  1. The fact that I KNEW she would sit like she does - and still I knit her

  2. The fact that others have knit her and she fits like mine does

  3. The fact that others have knit her and have had to heavily modify her

  4. The fact that she ate over 13 balls of yarn



You know - I am not opposed to the total frog. I don't mind re-knitting something if I know I am going to wear it. So for now I am going to go and ponder. And maybe start a new pair of socks. Or spin. Or maybe gaze at the beautiful woven HABU scarf I created on the weekend.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Halfway to Zena (Warrior Princess) is Finished!

I know many of you have been on pins and (knitting) needles fretting over my unfortunate blunder.

Not to worry. All is well. While the bodice of my Zena (Warrior Princess) is slightly smaller I can happily report the bust should fit just fine. I decided it was okay to sport more of a "Jane Mansfield" (or Jane Russell, or Marilyn Monroe) fit.

Not only am I beginning to feel very old Hollywood glam about my silk/alpaca/linen/camel*/cashmere/bamboo/mystery yarn loveliness, I am also 50% finished! Bwahahaha!

I will admit I was confused (really how could I not be confused since I can't count properly) when it came time to complete the back of the collar. For those who haven't done it yet, forget the schematic at this part it will just confuse you more. Those 40 stitches are going to be upside down on the back of your neck and at the end of each row (both sides) you will knit (or purl) it together with the side of the collar.

I kept trying to rationalize the "c/o 40 sts" instruction in my head and I finally just decided to take a leap of faith and try. I also remember thinking about Yoda in Empire Strikes Back with his "Do or do not. There is no try."

Yeah, I think about Yoda occasionally. I'm special that way.

The color changed a bit up by the collar to include some lovely mohair that kept calling to me. (Saucy vixen that goddess named Mohair)

If you squint your eyes a bit (or take off your glasses) you can see how the color will blend together from far away:

Nice right? I'm happy so far. I'm at the home stretch and I just have 17½ inches of stockinette to complete...

For some reason I'm reminded of the the scene in Lawrence of Arabia when they set out to cross "The Sun's Anvil".

*The Hereen of Hokulani Farms. They have good stuff.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Attracted to the dark side

Intense darkness with hints of light. An absence of colour. Deep, dark blackness cloaked in fantasy and romanticism. Almost haunting. Definitely edgy.

The process:
When I first started this project, I truly believed it would fly off the needles – basic pattern, lovely wool, some time to actually sit and knit. No problem I thought. Quick. Mindless. Simple.
I’d even planned how it would be worn: with dark jeans tucked into long suede boots. Casual. Elegant. Chic.

Enter the dark side.

The side where knitting time is limited as real life sets in and takes over. Where unique designs are mighty different to how they initially appear and severe modifications are called for. As we know, SKIF encourage a different type of knitting, but really, there’s a fine line between creativity and downright ridiculous [and while others have managed to stay within the confines, I’m not that confident]. A botched first attempt a few months ago added to the self doubt and let’s just say it got a little edgy over here for a while.
Then, suddenly, it all fell into place and the result is a wonderful, lightweight garment that has been worn almost every day since it’s completion.

The knitting:
This knit up reasonably fast. The pattern, at a glance, is easy to follow, although this changes somewhat as you move through it. I made a decision early on to modify the instructions, using the SKIF photo as a guide: I reversed the front and back sections, leaving the plain side at the back [which I knit from the bottom up]. The front was knit separately, top down, to accommodate the seam. I also deleted the exposed seams, freeform knitting style and buttons.

The yarn:
STR medium-weight in Black Onyx, lends itself to the casual, organic nature of SKIF designs and looks fantastic in reverse stocking stitch. I’d love to see this in Habu Lamb Linen, Tsumugi Silk or a Kakishibu Ramie/Extra fine merino mix – perhaps with some Silk Stainless Steel thrown in.

The verdict:
A lovely textural piece that is lightweight and fluid. I've worn it layered over a fine merino knit and adore the way it falls away from the body without being baggy. The neckline is incredibly soft and skims gently across the collarbone - total love!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Counting Stitches (and the panic it induces)

Well I finally realized why I cast on so many times... I can't count.
Call it a testament to the level of education we receive here in the States, but somehow I managed to get past Algebra III and deep into Statistics without being able to count properly.

Some how the instructions "CO 104 sts" equals (in my little brain) "CO 102 sts"

Oh, just wait, it gets better...

I bound off the appropriate number of stitches for the armscye, knit until I needed to evenly divide the stitches for the neck shaping, worked the appropriate number of stitches (which should be half the total number of stitches), went to place the remaining stitches (which should also, coincidentally, be half the total number of stitches) on a stitch holder and....

Not half. (?)
Not evenly divided. (??)
41 stitches (Wha'???)

Hmm. Let's recount the number of stitches worked. Perhaps we got a tad overzealous. We are enjoying this knitting experience so much we simply lost track of the number of stitches worked. Let's count again.

Not half. (?)
Not evenly divided. (??)
42 stitches (Wha'???)

Somewhere in the 14½ inches of straight knitting required to get to the armscye, I managed to dwindle 102 stitches to 95....

Good times right?
Oh, just wait, it gets better...

Then, as I was counting and recounting, as I desperately tried to make sense of the madness, in a pivotal moment, I remembered.

The moment was akin to the remembrance Mrs. Dalloway experiences as the scent of fresh flowers envelops her while shopping and she is instantly transported to the summer evening parties in the days of her youth.

It was that profound. But, instead of scent acting as the catalyst, I believe texture was the agent.

Deep in the cockles of my little brain, there is a slightly dusty and battered memory of "customizing" my Zena (Warrior Princess) with some waist shaping.

Thursday, July 3, 2008


(Warrior Princess) I'm sorry, silly as it is I just can't help myself every time I think of how I'll feel once I'm done with my SKIF knit. Allow me to make introductions: I'm Terrisa G. AKA "The Knit Purl Blogger". The picture is (of course) an accurate representation of me if I was a young Grammy Award-nominated American R&B singer/songwriter. The only thing I can think of to make myself even hotter in my Grammy Award-nominated-ness is to create and wear Zena (Warrior Princess).
I've just cast on, and cast-on, and cast on. I think I finally got the mixture right now:

That's the "wrong" side. Here's the right side:

I tried to use only yarn from my stash-beast, but it was too difficult. If I start a new knit I have to have fresh-out-of-the-bag yarn to go with it.

Some of the yarns are:
A lovely sport weight, chocolate merino-camel blend I picked up at O.F.F.F.
There is some Fleece Artist Flaxen in Midnight (my heavens I love this yarn).
Alpaca 1 (that's royal alpaca baby) in Raisin by Catherine Lowe.
Both the alpaca and flaxen were purchaed at my LYS, where I work.
I also tried to "go with the flow" by frogging a custom design and adding it in. It was a tunic made from a mixture of Habu Tsumugi Silk A-1 (color 54) and two colors of Bamboo XS-45 (Wine and Charcoal). I was heartbroken when I lost my instructions to my tunic and it just seemed like too much chaos to reverse-engineer what I had. So ripit ripit ripit...
In the very beginning you can see I had some Blue Moon Fibers Silk Thread in a rest-in-peace color: Shibui. See it here on the cast-on:

I really liked this colorway. It's a combination of demure beige, tramp-red, and sophisticated charcoal. But in this combination it looks red, white,and blue. I think it will make it back in though. Somewhere on the sleeve maybe?

I was really proud of that combination of Habu yarn. It felt like I discovered how well chocolate and peanut butter go together. It does feel good to reknit the yarn in combination with other yarns. What would you consider the new combination? Perhaps peanut butter cup icecream?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Martha how I love thee

What do you take to a knitting camp when you have 5 other WIP's?

A NEW project....Martha (rav link) no less, enabled from the lovely Yarn Studio as quick as I could blink (after seeing the pattern).

What a great pattern - easy - clear - and , d'oh, so OBVIOUS I wish I had thought of it. 24 hours of knitting over 2 days let me get well on the way....I'd say a couple more days I will be able to flash a finished Knit....well, here's hoping.

I am using some lovely stashed Rare Yarns Surino that I have been searching for the right pattern to use. I've mixed it up a little by knitting in stocking stitch for sections and then randomly changing to's looking fabulous.