Ten balls of Berroco's Zen yarn have been rolling around in my stash for ... years? Some frightening length of time. I've saved half a dozen patterns from every source out there - on-line, IK, Berroco's own - but nothing has ever grabbed me enough to get it made. A few weeks ago I bought a copy of by Knitting Simple Jackets by Marilyn Cohen, who also wrote Knitting Simple Sweaters From Luxurious Yarns, which I like too. One great feature of both books is that she gives you all the info you need to substitute yarns. The patterns are very simple, but exactly what I was looking for: easy to knit, easy to wear.
The pattern I've chosen, aptly named Simple Cardigan, is a dropped-shouldered box. I want to wear it over tank tops and skirts.
I've been looking for something that makes the most of the ribbon's shiny fiber and the ladder texture. It's a simple stitch pattern:
row 1: Knit (right side)
row 2: *K1, sl2 purlwise with yarn in back*.
Had an auspicious start when I got gauge right off using Addi Turbo US 10's. Wow, cool! Ran out to take Emily to gymnastics and whipped up the CO and first inch. Stopped for dinner, life, etc., and when I sat down late in the evening I suddenly worried that I wouldn't have enough yarn. I had thought I had 14 balls, but it turned out I only have 10, which left me with a 300+ yardage shortfall. Different yarn yes, but that's a pretty big difference. Decided to CO again in a smaller size on Crystal Palace (bamboo) in US 10 1/2's. Maybe the fewer stitches and bigger needles would stretch my yardage, kind of like Hamburger Helper ... oh my gosh, I should have never allowed that thought lodging in my brain, because it leads directly to Shake -n- Bake. I'm sure some of you remember that too-twangy country girl on the ads from the 70's - I'll be hearing her voice at odd moments all evening now!
Must find my Zen again ...Ommm ... OK, so I knitted the same number of rows on the bigger needles, then went to bed to cough all night. Woke up this morning realizing how to figure the yardage. Those of you whom spin will have jumped here long ago.
First I added the fronts, back and sleeves, rounding up for the sleeves and crocheted binding all the way around, and figured approximately 70 inches of knitting at the specified back width. I'd knitted about 1 inch on both needles, though the 10 1/2's yielded a bit more, which would definitely play out over 22 inches. Using my postal scale I weighed a new ball (to factor out the cardboard roll), then each of the balls. Six grams used on the larger needles compared to eight grams on the smaller ones. Some basic multiplication and division (I keep telling my daughter she will need it!) and I found that I would use only approx 8+ balls on the 10 1/2's compared to 11+ on the 10's. Perfect. 10 1/2 it is.
Got very responsible and unwound the knitting on the 10's very carefully, smoothing it flat while winding it back nicely. May need it and hate the thought of cursing myself for wasting that yarn. Recognize that quilt? I've got backing fabric for it now and will try to finish it this week.
So, what's the irony of gauge you ask? (Webster's definition 3 a for irony btw - I always second guess myself on that one and look it up since I don't want to pull an Alanis) Well, I got gauge on my good and proper swatch using the Addi 10's, and I'm sure since I measured it over and over. But when I knitted that test it ended up almost 2 inches too wide. The inch knitted on the 10 1/2's was visibly larger, as one would expect, but (wait for it) the exact width specified for the smaller size I'd cast on, expecting it to run larger. I'm coming to believe gauge follows the rules of an alternate universe. Guess even the needles want me to loose weight!
So far so good.
About those dahlias. Maybe not your head, maybe a baby's head. But big.
Sorry for the high-noon sun, but that was the window I had today. The wind was blowing so this whole thing got a bit comical. I bought a six pack of delphiniums way back in the winter and the others all died (and were a pink I didn't like anyway). This one is a magical color and lasts forever in vase.
Golden Celebration is coming into bloom again. I can see this from the kitchen window and the back door, which cheers me up to no end. I love the re-bar pyramids my husband built for my tall roses - heck of a lot cheaper than the garden store ones and after you tie on the vines the structure disappears anyway.
I so happy about how this path is growing in. I really wanted you to feel like you were moving between areas so I added the steps up and down to emphasize that since it's only about eight feet long. The flat-headed yellow, white and red flowers are yarrow, which I can't recommend enough. The bluish-purple balls toward the back left are throatwort, which I'm finding loves my garden even though it's not zoned for here. I'm finding zones are like gauge. Maybe they share that alternate universe?
This photo was taken while sitting in the glider next to the fountain. By next year the paprika yarrow will spill into the path on both sides to soften the edges. I'm moving one of them (too small to see now) to the front right (of this photo) next time I dig to balance the colors. The bench, backed by a Mexican weeping bamboo and red hibiscus, is a focal point but there will be more planting over there someday (that's my husband's bed). The big hulking trampoline just off to the right is not supposed to be a focal point, but it keeps trying. Very useful for bouncing ya ya's out of kids though.