Reunion Cowl of Yum; or Gauge, a Cautionary Tale

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Remember this post from last winter? Scroll down. No, farther down…to the blue Reunion Cowl (pattern: Natalie Selles)

Now, I love that Cowl, but really it was more of a residence than a garment. It is HUGE! Cozy. Warm. But HUGE!

This summer I set out to knit one that was the correct size.

And got this:

Reunion Cowl

Reunion Cowl

And look! It doesn’t touch my knees when I unwrap it!

Reunion Cowl

Exactly how much bigger was the blue one? This much bigger:
Reunion Cowls

Reunion Cowls

Both used the same yarn, Merino Cashmere…and interestingly enough, both used almost the same amount: 2.5 skeins.  The red one is definitely denser and more solid.

(by the way, this yarn is OMG SO SOFT! and warm and cozy…)

So what made the difference? Gauge. With the blue one, my gauge was off by 1/4 of a stitch. ONE QUARTER of a freaking stitch. (times several hundred stitches…well, clearly it makes a difference)

Moral? Knit a fucking gauge swatch.


Full of Grace

A small piece of advice: picking up your last paycheque at a job you just lost and trying to exit gracefully…should not include falling down a full flight of stairs and breaking your toe. Really.

Finally photos!


…has been finished for a few weeks now.  And today has been the first day I’ve been home during daylight to take photos!  It’s Anne Hanson’s Obstacles Shawl (rav link) in Briar Rose Fibers’ Legend…quite possibly the squooshiest yarn ever…acquired during the Great Rhinebeck Adventure I love the way Chris’s colours play themselves out.  No pooling…just short jags of colours that randomly bounce through the knitting.  Not at all what I would have expected from looking at the skein.

And Legend really holds the texture with amazing depth.  Like you could just dive right into it and be lost for days.   No blocking for this shawl!  I swear it makes it feel so much warmer.

And Off-Kilter

I’ve loved Skif sweaters for years.  The asymmetrical shapes, the many different ways they can be worn…love them…but the prices are out of my league. So when I found out they were producing knitting patterns — well, it’s obvious where this is going, right?  Hence Off-Kilter, based loosely on Skif’s Martha pattern.  I made a ton of adjustments to this to make it right for me.  I widened every piece considerably.  If you follow the original pattern, the top balloons slightly over the lower waistband and I didn’t like that look.  Instead, I knit a longer strip so that the transition from the top to the waistband is more relaxed, and love the result.  The yarn:  Sundara sock yarn in Deadly Nightshade.  The skeins came from many different sources and were very different, ranging from very light with random flecks of dark, to almost completely dark purple.  Knitting double-stranded completely eliminated that problem.

Here’s the back…

And remember this? Yep, had to do it again with this one, but through the body.  (Don’t worry…no documentary photos this time)  Not that I’m knocking myself out looking for opportunities to practice the cut, knit and graft back together thing…

Are you sitting down? Sedated? Good…let’s begin…

I had visions of dragging out this saga over several blog posts…a photo by photo, day by day serial, if you will.  But in the interest of keeping Mel from becoming an 8:45 am alcoholic, Tracey from causing an international incident at the border, and Leslie from calling the Sweater’s Aid Society on me…well, just watch and see.

First let me say this is all the Techknitter‘s fault.  Do you know of Techknitter?  LOVE the Techknitting blog. It’s made my left leaning decreases oh so Beauuuutiful now, instead of all lumpy and bumpy.  And just when I thought I’d have to live with the way too long Susie-sleeves, well along came a Ravelry link to the Techknitter’s article on SHORTENING too long knitting (or lengthening, which I’m sure is important to someone out there…just never one of my problems)!   

So we were here:

Which led to this:

And this:

(notice the important live stitches all safe and accounted for…Leslie, take your finger OFF speed dial)

Then it was time to unravel the extra length down to the cuff.  (Dude, I seriously over estimated how long my arms are!  There was about 4 inches of unnecessary knitting there!)

Because the cuff is knit sideways and the sleeve knitted up from the cuff, there were no live stitches to worry about on the cuff side.  All that was left was to stitch the cuff to the live stitches.  I tried a few things (3 needle bind off, stitch to stitch sewing, mattress stitch) before deciding on a modification of kitchener grafting which left a nice flat seam.

See?  All better! 

(Susie thanks you all for your notes of concern and assures you that she is quite attached to indigodragonfly…thanks in part to the unraveled yarn that keeps them tied together.

Done, done and done

First of all, congratulations Jen!  I challenge anyone to find a mum with more strength of heart and fabulous sense of humour than you.

   Tilted Duster is finished!  I like it better with the collar folded over like this.  I want to get a hook to hold it closed.  Apparently living in the textile district and working a few blocks away from here, is not enough incentive to get my butt into a fabric store to pick one up.  Is this the kind of thing I can send my staff to do??  (imagining the blank looks with expressions ranging from “like a cup hook that you screw into the wall?” to “and what exactly does this particular errand to do for me?”) 

Many requests for these…

The Tom Bihn on a real person:


The stats:  I’m 5’0″ tall and am wearing a few layers, including a sweater and fall jacket…a combination thicker than my winter coat.  The bag fits very comfortably over my shoulder.  I can also carry the bag in my hand and clear the floor.  To be able to do both at 5’0″ tall??  THAT’S good design people! 


…enough room for the “one-handed-scoop-the-bag-up-onto-your-shoulder” move!

Old and new…

I don’t think it’s a big secret to anyone in my life that I haven’t been happy at my job for a long time. I took this job to expand my own learning, but the learning stopped a long time ago and it’s not at all satisfying. I’ve tried taking some initiative and it’s become obvious that this place is not willing to let people work outside of their little box. So it’s time to move on. I’ve been applying and interviewing a lot over the past few months. It looks as though there’s one good prospect…and I’m waiting while they go through their various check phases. So we’ll see.

Now, in the middle of all this, I was made an interesting offer today. I met up with an old friend today, someone I haven’t seen in 15 years. It’s interesting how parallel our lives have been in many ways…career shifts and family health issues. She’s very talented and is now at the place in her creative career that I always knew she’d end up in. And she’s offered me a job. She needs help managing her career and my weirdo, mixed-up work experience over the past 15 years looks like just what she needs. Not the least of which, I know she needs someone who actually cares about her and someone she knows and trusts.

This would be taking a risk. A risk based on how successful she may actually get. A risk on trusting what I’ve worked very hard at learning how to do over so many years.

We’ll see.

In the meantime, I’ve finished the Clara tank…


clara-finished.jpgclara-finished.jpgSummary of modifications:

  1. changed the lace pattern at the hem to Beehive and Faggotting Lace from Barbara Walker 1
  2. added short rows at bustline – this definitely helped the fit of the top…the bottom edge at the front and the back are at the same length! Yay!
  3. changed the lace pattern at the neck to Honeybee and Faggotting Lace from Barbara Walker 2
  4. reduced the number of rows in the top (v-neck) section of the pattern because I’m short and even one more repeat of the pattern would have made the v-neck too deep.

beginning at the end…

I’ve been thinking about starting this blog for a long time, trying to find exactly the right time to do it. In the end, I think it’s important to just jump in and start. So I am!

Tuscany unblocked

This is Amy Singer’s Tuscany Shawl in Handmaiden Silken. I’ve actually loved even before I knew fully what it looked like. A simple shawl with a lace pattern that’s not too fussy. The pattern was easy to memorize, yet kept my interest throughout…not an easy thing to do and with the amount of time I spend on public transit, that’s becoming a deciding factor in how I choose my patterns. And when I first saw the yarn, the colour just glowed. The shawl’s since been blocked and has held the blocking very nicely. Better photos soon…