March 24, 2006

Now do it again

Tink sweater #1 is finished. (But unblocked)


Dudes, I am so happy. I admit that it still needs buttons. (I'm looking for little pewter ones like this, except I'd like to find them locally, just for the sake of speed. You know me. Instant gratification takes too long.) There's gotta be one or two of you observant enough to notice that in the pictures of this sweater from the other day there was lime green, even though there's none to be seen on the finished sweater. It's a knitters trick. I was enchanted by the lime and really wanted to use it, but thought it was such a bold colour that the Tinks mum might not feel the same way. (What? Doesn't everybody want lime green stripes on their traditional norwegian baby sweater?) I couldn't give it up though, so check out the inside.


I love that the sweater has a little surprise inside. The lime green is the facings that cover the raw edges of the cut steeks. This entertains me to absolutely no end. (Admittedly, I am easily entertained.)
I'd feel even more pleased with myself, except for the other twins sweater looks like this...


and the twins look like this. I need to knit faster. Much faster.

Book Review the first

This is Fiona's new book


Inspired Cable Knits: 20 creative designs for making sweaters and accessories. (You guys know that I always link to Amazon because it's easy and fast, but I'd encourage you to support your local independent bookseller or yarn shop, if you have one.)

I feel like I should post a bit of a disclaimer before I wax poetic about the brilliance of this book. Some of you will know that Fiona Ellis lives here in Toronto, and some of you will also know that she's also a friend of mine. I know that makes all of the wonderful things I'm about to say about her book sort of suspect, I mean... if a friend of mine had written a bad book, I'd be in a fine mess. I thought a lot about what exactly I would say if her book sucked. (I didn't really think that it would, what with Fiona having such a good track record with knitwear design, but you never know. She could have landed a psychotic editor or a nasty photographer. All things are possible. ) I lived in fear of this book arriving and me being in the position of having to say something about it and needing to be honest, because I wouldn't want a knitter to waste sacred yarn money on a bad book, but at the same time, not wanting to hurt Fiona's feelings. I imagined myself avoiding her calls and telling her that I forgot to review it when she finally pinned me down. You can only imagine my relief when the book appeared and was not only brilliant, but beautiful.

Check this.


Nice eh? It's a beautiful sweater called "Gathering Intentions" and it's pretty close to the top of my What I'll Knit Next list. The book is full of sweaters designed with inspiration drawn from the ideas of Change, Nature, Energy and Time. There's knitting resembling bark, sound waves, sand dunes, yoga poses....this sweater is based on the idea of an intention. The idea that you have that will eventually become an action. (Fiona writes about this more beautifully than I do.) Thus the sweater and the cables spring up from the intention...


This beautiful i-cord accent that leads the cables out into three dimensions. Beautiful. (I admit that when I knit this I'm likely going to leave off the i-cord at the wrists. I'm completely the dork who's going to have those dunked in a cup of coffee, dragged through the sink or slammed in a car door 10 minutes after I put it on. I'm like that. Perhaps you are more graceful.)

Fiona's a smart cookie too...(though that's likely been proven just by designing that...) the sweater comes in sizes that range from a 91.5cm/ 36 inch bust all the way to a 132cm / 52 inch bust. Something for everybody, which is grand, because this book is full of the classic, durable sweater shapes that look marvelous on most body types.

If sweaters aren't your bag, or you're new to cables and are feeling like cabling your way through a sleeve cap might not be the place to start, there's wonderful, simple pieces to begin with. A hat and scarf set, a wrap (the wrap is a thing of wonder), a yoga bag, pillows...even a wee baby sweater to cut your teeth on. There's sweaters for men too, often woefully neglected in knit-design.

My only complaint was also mentioned by Susan C. yesterday in the comments. It's that the patterns call for specific amounts of specific yarns (easy to get, very accessible yarns) but don't list the specific amount of yardage required for each sweater. (So it says 5 skeins of yarn X, vs 750 yards.) Now if you're like me, the odds that you're going to knit all of these sweaters in the yarn that Fiona suggests (even though her suggestions are very good) is about zip. I'm going to go stash diving, or pick something on sale, or substitute a yarn that comes in colours more to my taste, whatever my taste is that moment. This means that I have to do a little homework to find out the yardage. Google the yarn she suggests, find the yardage per ball...multiply. (That sounds like math. I hate math.) Still, it's a problem easily solved in about 2 minutes, so I don't see it as a barrier. Especially when the charts are like this.


Nice eh? Clear, big, easy to read. Perfect. (If you are anti-chart, I don't understand you at all, but Fiona does. Each chart is accompanied by written out row by row instruction so you can pick your preference.) Also in the book is really nice instructions on how to work cables, short rows, place markers, make increases. One stop shopping.

This sweater (I believe I may eventually knit everything from this book) calls my name while I sleep.


I imagine myself very elegant in this, and in my dreams, it makes me look very tall and thin while lending my frizzy bedraggled curls a celtic flair. The sweater is just that good.

I really think that this book is a classic work, and deserves to be on pretty much every knitters bookshelf if they like cables, are thinking about liking cables or sometimes think about cables a little bit. It's downright inspiring. (That might have something to do with the title.)

I ran out of time to do Ann and Kay's book today, but I'll get there, don't worry.

Posted by Stephanie at March 24, 2006 2:07 PM