Thursday, September 21, 2006

I'm So Sorry

I'm just apologizing up front for the gratutious temptation I'm about to post. I got my first order from the new Patternworks catalog today. Note that I'm already acknowledging that this is the first order. I'm not even going to pretend that there won't be more to follow.

First of all, there is the kit for the Jewel Socks. I'll pause while you admire the picture. Aren't these fabulous? Look at the way the colors shade from toe to cuff and the nifty black framing on the diamonds. And they're stranded so they'll be soft and cushy on your tootsies.

The package says these are for experienced knitters. I've used stranded knitting on one tote bag. Do you think that's enough experience?

If you're not reaching for your catalog, your phone and your credit card already, don't breathe a sigh of relief yet.

How about the 50s V-neck sweater I mentioned last week? This is from Jo Sharp's Knit Issue 1. To my mind, this is a perfect example of a classic sweater. This is the kind of thing that endures through all fashion fads. It looks great with jeans or with a narrow little skirt. (That's assuming you can actually wear a narrow little skirt without looking like your butt is six ax handles and a plug of chewing tobacco across, which I can't but for those of a skinnier persuasion, this would be a great look.) It looks great in any color and, unlike that skinny little skirt, the sweater actually looks good on a pretty wide variety of body types. It skims rather than clings so it emphasizes curves without adding inches and that lovely v-neck creates a graceful frame for the face.

(As an aside: Why aren't there more v-neck sweater patterns out there?)

Lest I lead you astray, I do have to admit that this sweater has one serious drawback. It's knit in a sport weight yarn on U.S. size 3 needles. And it's all stockinette or ribbing. Let's have a moment of silence while we contemplate the sheer horror of that thought. Seven million stitches - a rough but I think reasonably fair estimate - on little bitty needles doing mind numbingly simple stitches. Obviously, only a knitter of dubious mental stability would actually start a project like this.

[Insert embarrassed pause.]

I just ordered the yarn in a lovely soft green. But I'm going to attempt to convert it to knitting in the round so instead of knitting back and forth for eight million stitches - yes, my estimate is growing - I'll be knitting round and round. So I may be nuts but I'm not stupid.

And last, but not least, how about this pattern from Classic Style, a new book from Rowan. I don' t usually go for boleros. I'm not sure why but they've just never really buttered my muffin. This one, however, seems to have all the best things about a bolero - that graceful curved line, the inherently feminine shape - and have a little extra length and a particularly soft drape to it that I just think is very flattering. The original yarn is Rowan's gorgeous new Wool Silk DK but I've got some Debbie Bliss Cashmerino in a wonderful duck egg blue that looks like it would be perfect for this.

And those are just the three worst tempations. There's a darling vest in the Rowan book and a couple of nice cardigans and another v-neck sweater in the Jo Sharp book and I got a pattern for a Nordic hat and a lace shawl pattern and...

Sigh. There are just way too many neat patterns out there and way too much pretty yarn. I've just got to find a way to knit in my sleep.


Blogger Jamie Denton said...

Dallas - I've decided that while you are one of THE most talented writers around, there is a part of you that is truly too evil for words. You must be stopped!

Do you have any idea what a bad influence you are on a poor writer on an impossible deadline?

My fingers are itching to move in that perfect rhythm and not the one required for the keyboard. Socks! Sweaters! Oy!!

5:04 AM  
Anonymous Denise said...

Just as I was thinking of trying Fair Isle, you show those socks! They are absolutely stunning. I don't have that catalogue but I am now on a mission.

7:50 AM  
Blogger Barbara Bretton said...

I finally stow the Patternworks catalog under a sofa cushion so I wouldn't be tempted to go totally insane with desire and what do you do, Ms. Schulze, but POST SOME OF THE MOST GORGEOUS ITEMS and send me into a hideous tailspin of "gotta have" agony. What kind of friend are you anyway?

8:13 AM  
Blogger Jamie Denton said...

Denise - I just went to and ordered a catalogue.

I'll never learn.

8:41 AM  
Blogger Dallas Schulze said...

Jamie - Everyone knows that impossible deadlines go smoother with plenty of knitting at hand.

Denise - I'm not sure the socks are the best first stranded knitting project. In looking at the chart, there are places where you're using three colors in the same row, which I assume is a little trickier than using two colors. Still, they're so gorgeous that love of the project just might overcome all barriers.

If you want a nice first stranded knitting project, I can recommend the felted tote in Sally Melville's Color book. It's easy but, if you use something like Kureyon, you get lots of bang for your knitting time and the final felting hides any uneven tension. I'll have to see if I can get a decent picture of the bag I made and post it.

Barbara - If you expect an apology for leading you into temptation, you've got a long wait ahead of you. Who was it who introduced me to Kureyon? Lucy Neatby's DVDs? And, most damning of all, sock knitting? We're not even close to being even!

9:45 AM  
Blogger Brenda said...

The socks are gorgeous but a bit beyond my abilities at this time. However, I had been admiring the 50s V-neck sweater--and I too want to know why there are so few V-neck patterns, or even more importantly, why there are so many crew neck patterns--but I didn't think I wanted to knit so much st st in sport weight (I'm not one of the smaller sizes). But on the other hand, everything you said about the fit of that kind of sweater is absolutely true. Maybe it would make a good project to take on the plane when travelling home at Christmas time--lots to do without a lot of thinking.

12:52 PM  
Blogger Fran Baker said...

Dallas: If you convert the sweater to a knit-in-the-round, will you decrease some of the lower body/waist stitches for a proper fit?

Those socks are gorgeous. But given I've never even made a pair of regular socks, there's no way I could tackle them. I'm going to use a pattern from THE Wendy's book for my first pair of socks. And I'm waiting for the Magic Loop book(let) to arrive.

Writing? Who's got time? Eek!

1:46 PM  
Anonymous Jill said...

Love the socks. I want to try to make them! Try being the key word here . . .

2:30 PM  
Blogger Nicole said...

Now see, I can avoid the temptation of the socks. I want a simpler first colorwork pattern.

And I can avoid the 50's V-neck sweater. Too much stockinette for me.

But the bolero. THAT I want! Badly! Ack!

3:50 PM  
Blogger Dallas Schulze said...

Fran - I'm not sure what you mean by reducing some of the body/waist stitches for a proper fit. I've never converting a flat knit garment to knitting in the round but I thought it would be a pretty simple proposition - cast on the number of stitches suggested for knitting the front and the back, maybe reducing by four to allow for the stitches that would ordinarily be lost to seaming and then just knit pretty much as usual. The pattern already has waist shaping so I figured I'd put markers in where the sides will be and then do the decreases and increases on either side of the markers.

It should be simple, right? Please tell me it's going to be simple.

I'm a big fan of the Magic Loop method, by the way. I learned to knit on double points and liked that method but Magic Loop works much better for me. I'll be interested to hear what you think of it.

Brenda - I agree that the real question should be why there are so many crew neck patterns. It's not a wildly flattering style for most people. I suspect the reason is that it's simple to knit but I'd rather fuss a bit more with a v-neck and end up with something I really like.

4:54 PM  
Blogger Nancy K. said...

The socks are way too advanced for me (although I did do an entrolac bag), but the bolero is gorgeous! I love it for all the same reasons you mention. I particularly like that is is longer than most bolero patterns. Might just have to try that one....(yeah, my SPARE TIME!)

6:46 PM  
Blogger Jamie Denton said...

Everyone knows that impossible deadlines go smoother with plenty of knitting at hand.

Well, okay. Maybe you're right about that.

4:29 AM  
Blogger Dani said...

Hi Dallas-- I'm knitting something from the Knit1 book too :) The green vest they show in there with 8" of ribbing.. Yep, US3 with Ambrosia! I am also using the green... The socks are gorgeous too!

9:33 AM  
Blogger Dallas Schulze said...

Dani - I like that vest, maybe even enough to make it worth knitting 8" of ribbing on size 3 needles.

1:10 PM  
Anonymous Vanessa said...

As soon as I saw those socks in the Patternworks catalog, I knew I had to have them. And since I love them so much, wouldn't it make more sense to buy the pattern separately and then get whole skeins of Louet colors so I could make more than one pair? And then I saw ALL the colors that Louet maybe instead of spending $39 I can spend $393 and knit 14 several different soon as I learn the Fair Isle technique...

10:10 PM  

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