Wednesday, February 27, 2013


For better of for worse, I decided to just move onward with my pink, teal, and cream Bartok's Tunic. I've spent the better part of two weeks screwing around with this one sleeve. It's time to press on - or block as the case may be.

This sleeve is in desperate need of blocking, but I think it will be okay. The sweater is mostly white when taken as a whole; the stranding on the sleeves offers a little punch of color which is softened by the field of snow around it.

Most of all, I love how my sleeve shows off the beautiful chart created by Julia Farwell-Clay. Her inspiration came from Bohemian embroidery, but the design reminds me of the hex signs from my Amish and Quaker roots.

Onward to the second sleeve...

Saturday, February 23, 2013


Hmmm. Not sure what to do. I've been working on my Bartok's Tunic, a pattern by Julia Farwell-Clay in the latest issue of Interweave Knits. As usual, I started on the sleeve, because if anything goes wrong, it's less painful to rip back - which is exactly what I've been doing.

I started knitting with Amy Butler Belle Organic, a heavy worsted wool/cotton blend. Goodness, is this yarn a delight. It knits up plushly and becomes even more so after blocking. I was certain this was a good choice for the pattern.

I knitted up to the colorwork portion at the top of the sleeves and then I started pacing in circles. Unhappy with the colorwork, I frogged it back and started again. And again. And again. It just didn't look right to my anal-retentive self. With wool, the yarn forgives and naturally fills in little spaces between stitches. But this cotton/wool blend does not behave. Twists and turns show up everywhere. Or so I thought anyway. Now I look at it and wonder what I was thinking. It looks fine, don't you think?

But I decided that I didn't have the correct yarn, so I got some Berroco Remix. I've knitted this this wool/cotton/silk/rayon blend before and really like it. I already have some left Remix in Strawberry, so I ordered some off-white and knitted a swatch. The gauge is too large - I need to use a size 7 needle instead of an 8. But you can still see the differences between the two yarns.

This all happened several days ago. Ever since, I've been wandering around wondering what to do. I like the Amy Butler yarn but not particularly the colors, which seem like teal and salmon from the 1980s (although maybe they're all the rage now, who knows). I prefer the color in the Remix swatch, but unfortunately that color isn't availabe in the the Amy Butler yarn which is being discontinued; there are only a handful of color left.

Now I'm wandering around my own personal labyrinth trying to figure out which yarn to use. It's a conundrum. I'll let you know when I decide. Let's hope that's soon because I'd certainly rather be knitting than worrying about knitting...

Thursday, February 21, 2013


I rarely drink or gamble - I'd rather stay home and knit! But I'd love to go to this casino...

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Bartok's Tunic

Now that I've finished Spencer's Dr. Who scarf, it's time to get back to sweater knitting.  I feel like I'm cheating when I knit smaller projects like scarves, mittens, and Christmas ornaments. I am indeed a monogamous knitter; I am devoted to sweaters (and maybe a vest).

My next project comes from the Spring 2013 issue of Interweave Knits. I'm making Bartok's Tunic by my favorite designer, Julia Farwell-Clay.

Julia designed the last sweater I made, the Hiro, my best cardi ever. Bartok also involves colorwork, but this time it's intarsia inspired by Hungarian embroidery. I went searching to see what this embroidery looks like and discovered an amazing 90-year-old Hungarian tunic. You can see just what Julia had in mind when you examine this Bohemian beauty.

For my Bartok, I'm using Rowan Belle Organic Aran by Amy Butler in Moonflower, Peacock, and Tomato. I'm envisioning a white background with blue birds and pink trim but we'll see how it goes when I swatch the motif (I am waiting for the Peacock and Tomato colors to get here).

As always, I cast on for the first sleeve. So far, so good. Unfortunately, the pattern only comes in sizes up to 48 inches. I wish Interweave Knits would get it. On occasion, the magazine throws in a larger size, but not usually. In a world where 60 percent of Americans are overweight or obese, you'd think Interweave would want the business. Apparently not. This simply-shaped garment is fortunately easy to upsize - for the six knitters nationwide who know how to upsize patterns. I'm being both hyperbolic and honest.

I'll explain how I'm upsizing this sweater as I go. For the sleeves, it's a simple fix: the entire sleeve is the same width as the widest part of the sleeve before decreasing for the armscye. On the pattern, the measurement for the largest size 17.75 inches. My upper arm measurement with ease is 20 inches, so I cast on for 20 inches of stitches and am knitting upwards. Easy peasy. 

To figure out how many stitches to cast on for the sleeve, I multiplied the gauge by the total inches needed and then added two stitches for the seam. So:

4 stitches per inch X 20 inches finished width = 80 stitches + 2 seam stitches = 82 total stitches

I'll keep you posted as I go, so come back soon!


My youngest nephew, Spencer just celebrated his 15th birthday and I'm happy to say that my gift was his very favorite. I made the beloved kid a replica 14-foot-long Dr. Who scarf from.

Who? That's what I said. For those like me who are also not in the know, Wikipedia reports:
Doctor Who is a British science fiction television programme produced by the BBC. The programme depicts the adventures of a Time Lord—a time travelling, humanoid alien known as the Doctor. He explores the universe in his 'TARDIS', a sentient time-travelling space ship. Its exterior appears as a blue British police box, a common sight in Britain in 1963, when the series first aired. Along with a succession of companions, the Doctor faces a variety of foes while working to save civilisations, help ordinary people, and right wrongs.
As least Dr. Who isn't a gun-toting, anti-social drug addict! But the main character does wear a crazy-long striped scarf and Spencer wanted one BAD. His wish is my command.

I used Tara Wheeler's free pattern for the scarf from Season 12 - apparently someone reknits this thing in the same colors but with different stripes every year (!). The pattern calls for Cascade 220 but Spencer didn't want even-remotely itchy wool around his neck, so I used Berroco Vintage instead. Vintage is an uber-soft wool/acrylic blend that is a step above most non-natural fiber yarns. 

On Spencer's birthday, I posted my birthday wishes and a photo of the scarf on Facebook. His response made me cry: Aunt Julie, Have I ever mentioned how Awesome you are, because You.... ARE AWESOME. I'll tell you who's awesome. It's that kid! I've made a lot of knitted gifts in my time and no one has made me feel more appreciated than Spencer.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Monday, February 4, 2013

I understand

I understand this... thought you might, too. From the incredible Gemma Correll.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Two new Marly Bird designs - and a giveaway

Marly Bird published two new ample patterns - and I'm giving away a copy of each! Both designs are waterfall cardigans, the height of style this winter.

Her first design appears in the current issue of Love of Knitting. Called Opening Night, "dramatic trim and luscious yarn are coupled together in a pattern that will quickly become a fav," Marly writes. She made this comfy cardi in Classic Elite Montera, an aran-weight wool/llama blend, which means this project will knit up quickly. The sweater comes in finished bust sizes up to 57 inches.

Marly's second waterfall cardigan, Honeycomb Swing Jacket "may just become your go-to garment when the temperature dips. Knit in an appealing shade orange. Belted or unbelted, the Honeycomb Swing Jacket is a day-to-night accessory that will make you look good and feel good. The simple rectangular shape creates a lovely draped front beautifully accented by the delightful honeycomb cable edging. The sleeves are picked up and knit down from the armhole opening. Shown here with short sleeves, it would be equally dramatic with long sleeves or as a vest." Marly designed this cardigan for Rowan Felted Tweed Aran and in finished bust sizes up 50 inches.

I'm giving away one copy of each. Just leave a comment below telling me which pattern you prefer. Winners will be announced next week. Good luck!