Savory Knitalong: Cruising Along

Our Amy Christoffers Knitalong kicked off on Wednesday, and I don’t know about you, but I’ve been cruising along on my Larch progress! I forgot to measure it this morning, but I’m guessing I’m about 7″ into the bottom of the cardigan.

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I churned out a good portion last night while watching the first disc of season 2 of Community (a show I would like to add to Allyson’s list of Mindless TV for Knitters, ahem). I’m making things a little more challenging for myself by adding to the overall length of the body. This is “challenging” because you probably know how much I hate purling, which is an integral part to back and forth Stockinette stitch. If you’re newer to the blog and have missed my anti-purling diatribes, just know that I hate it. A lot. But because I’m on the taller end of the spectrum and I have a belly I figured a little extra length was in order. Originally I’d planned to add a lot of length, but then I remembered that Berroco’s Ultra Alpaca Light is 50% alpaca, which means this cardigan is going to stretch out a bit over time (the other 50% is wool, which will help keep it in check to some extent, but if you’re using this yarn for Larch, expect some stretch overtime). So I worked an extra inch of length before beginning the subtle decreases, and I’m working two extra rows in between decrease rows, for an addition of 2″ in the body of the cardigan. Such a small amount of increase will be incredibly subtle but very helpful, I think. If I am indeed at about 7″ now, I’ve got about 10″ more to knit before starting the neck shaping. Thankfully I have a lot of other mindless DVDs to watch this afternoon and evening.

This part of the pattern is really super easy. The beginning is a smidgen tricky, in that you work in twisted rib for a few rows, bind off, and then pick up all those stitches. At first this seemed a bit finicky to me, but then I thought more about it, and realized that binding off the stitches and picking them back up makes for an extremely smooth transition between the ribbing and the Stockinette. You’ve probably noticed that when you move from ribbing to Stockinette, there’s usually a little ripple, a little ruching that happens at the beginning of the Stockinette portion. Not only does Amy’s pattern eliminate that ruching effect, it also provides an incredibly minor detail that I’m kind of in love with.

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Don’t ask me why, but I adore that little solid line that marks the change from ribbing to Stockinette. It’s almost like piping detail, and if there’s one thing I love, it’s small tailoring details.

In the scope of the knitalong, there’s no reason for me to be knitting this as quickly as I feel like I am. I have until March 31, technically, and there’s no ribbon or anything for finishing super early. However, I am insane and a little infected by the knitalong bug, and have decided to attempt to knit two cardigans in two months. See, Allyson is leading a Delancey knitalong (in case you don’t know, Delancey is this super sassy cardigan that I’ve been longing for since I first saw it). I tried to resist and say “No, I will not knit two cardigans at once!” but the more Allyson talks about it on her blog and on Twitter, the more I realized I had a perfect opportunity to wind up with two amazing cardigans in a relatively short amount of time. So I signed up to knit Delancey as well!

I’m cruising along on my Larch and ignoring my stripey socks almost completely right now so that I can get a good chunk done when it comes time to dig into Delancey. The hold up right now is that a) the knitalong hasn’t started anyway and b) I don’t have yarn yet.

YES, I’m going to have to order yarn for this knitalong. Which goes against my goal of not buying yarn this year, except for souvenir yarn. BUT (watch me justify!), I’m ordering specific yarn for a specific purpose and will cast on almost immediately upon receiving said yarn. AND I’m getting a better-than-expected tax refund, so what’s the harm in spending a little bit of money on yarn for a project I will make immediately? I’m not randomly buying yarn to make myself feel better about something (or simply because it’s shiny), and I will be using it up as fast as I can, rather than letting it languish in my stash for years. I’m okay with this decision. I’m planning to place my order tonight at WEBS for some Berroco Vintage DK in Cracked Pepper for the main color and Cork for the contrast.

To add “psychotic” to the current moniker of “insane” that I’ve given myself, I really really really want to have both cardigans finished before I go to NYC at the end of March. For no other reason than I want to wear my sassy new cardigans in one of the sassiest cities on the planet. So, if all goes to plan, you’ll be getting a double-whammy of cardigan knitting, starting in a week or so.

If you’re knitting along with the Amy Christoffers KAL, please be sure to let me know if you update your blog! And don’t forget, use and follow hastag #savorykal on Twitter to see what other people are saying. And be sure to rest your wrists if you’re a nutjob like me.

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Almost there!

Our Amy Christoffers Knitalong is about to start. The official cast on date is February 1, and we’ll go with whatever time zone you’re in, so as long as it’s sometime after 12:01 AM in your country, you can get knitting! Though I suggest sleeping, myself.

If you’re interested in joining, or already joined in via the previous blog post, please let me know if I may link to your blog, so we can have a running tally of everyone’s progress. Also, we do have a good discussion going on in the Sweater Odyssey Amy Christoffers Knitalong thread on Ravelry, so feel free to join in there!

I swatched for my Larch cardigan, and washed my swatch, though I didn’t block it much at all. Since there’s no lace pattern or anything that needs to open up, I decided to simply let the swatch dry and see how the yarn changed as a result of a simple dip in water. Well… it didn’t change at all. I don’t know what that means, but as my stitch gauge is really very close to the suggested gauge (24 stitches instead of 23 stitches), I think I’m just going to go with it. My row gauge a bit more off, 31 stitches instead of 29 stitches, but in this particular pattern, row gauge is a little less important than in others.

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In the meantime, I’ve been working on my stripey socks, and I’ve discovered that I kind of hate knitting socks two at a time. While the appeal of knitting socks simultaneously is certainly present, the actual process becomes, for me, an exercise if tedium and fussiness. And since I’m planning to knit these until I run out of yarn, I’m afraid that the socks will become heavy on the single cable, as the sock that’s “on-deck” weighs down the entire cable while I’m trying to knit the other.

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I tested out knitting two at a time on two-circular needles. I’d ever tried the two-circular method before, but here’s to adventure and learning and all that. This method was distributing the weight a little more evenly, but it’s fussy in a different way.

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So as of last night I split the socks onto two different circular needles and am just busy working away on one sock at a time. If the process isn’t broke, don’t fix it, right?

Knit-a-long: Chambourcin

Back in July, I mentioned Ruth Garcia-Alcantud’s Chambourcin sweater in a Friday Finds. I immediately fell in love with the idea of a lacy hoodie—they’re season-spanning, probably a fast knit (I find that fingering weight yarn on size 5s goes fast, but maybe I just have a warped sense of time), feminine and cute but never quite twee.


All photos © Ruth Garcia-Alcantud unless otherwise noted

And then there was Ruth’s post about Chambourcin over on her blog, Rock and Purl. The amount of detail and thought that went into not only the design of the sweater but also into describing the sweater to a knitter totally sold me on making this the first pattern by Ruth that I would knit (her Montview Cardigan from Knitscene and Nordic Yoke Pullover from Vogue Knitting are also in my queue). Just look at this example from her detail post.

I purchased the pattern during a sale Ruth was having a few weeks ago, and then bought the yarn: Sweet Georgia’s Tough Love Sock in Berry Tart. Here, have a terrible photo I took of it (purples and reds are SO HARD).

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AND THEN, I saw Ruth mentioned on Twitter that Chambourcin was in the running to be the Quarter 4 knitalong for the Official Sexy Knitters Club on Ravelry. And it won! So now I’m determined to knit this sweater before the end of the year, and I feel I should pull someone into this adventure with me. Ruth’s offered a coupon code in the KAL thread on Ravelry, so if you have some fingering weight yarn lying about and an itch to knit a perfect layering piece, join me and the other Official Sexy Knitters!

One skein of Berry Tart and two other purple skeins to wind tonight. My yarn bin is going to look even more like a grape.