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High Line Highlighted

I had every intention of finishing High Line on Molokai and taking some victory pictures on the beach on Molokai, like I did for Lotus last year.  After all, a great sweater deserves a great photo location.  And High Line is a lovely sweater.  But I forgot one key element: the single button that holds the sweater closed in the front.  And it didn't seem right to take the completion pictures without and actually completed sweater, especially since the button closure in the front is a fairly important element when it comes to bringing the look together.

So this weekend I dug through my small button stash, discovered I had the perfect button and put it where it belonged.   Et voila!  Completed High Line.

Project: High Line Cardigan, size Medium
Source: Tahki Yarns Urban Organics Leaflet
Yarn: Tahki Yarns Good Earth Cotton in "Adobe"
Needles: US 10.5

You can guess from the size of the needles that this cotton tape yarn knits up with a bulky profile.  The fabric is soft, elastic and squishy and luxurious without feeling overly heavy.  I used almost one more ball than suggested.  My stitch gauge was on target, but my row gauge was a bit compressed compared to the suggested.  

This piece is simple to knit, but requires care on the finishing to get a nice final result. Since the pieces are all worked in K1P1 ribbing, I cast on for each piece using a tubular cast on.  To create a smooth edge for the sleeve edges that make up the neck line, I also used a tubular cast off.  Both took longer, but created beautiful finished edges.  Since the neckline is such an important feature of the sweater, I'm happy I took the extra time to make it come out smoothly.

I also spent extra time on the seaming (I used the cotton tape yarn to mattress stitch everything together) to make it work out well, in particular that little seam in the back.  When the stitches are so big, it's easier to pick out flubs with the seaming.  Fortunately, it's easy to be relaxed when you're seaming when you're listening to the waves lap on the beach and relaxing in the island breezes (if only I hadn't gotten so focused that I forgot to move when it started to get too sunny... I wouldn't have those funny racer back tan lines).

The only thing in the instructions that I decided against was rolling up the sleeves.  When I tried the sweater on, rolling it up put too much bulk in a strange place, and i liked the 3/4 length.  

This sweater is simple and I love it. I'm sure it's going to be one of my go-to garments for the fall. The more experienced knitter I become, the more I find that there's a lot to be said for simple lines, colors and stitch patterns.   I've also become a good deal better at understanding what shapes flatter my proportions.   This sweater looks like a cropped sweater on the model.  On me, it's the perfect length since I'm so short waisted.   The neckline is dramatic and pulls your eyes up. While there's no real shaping, per se, the natural behavior of K1P1 ribbing helps it draw in where it needs to, but the open front keeps it from stretching and pooching over tummy area.  And it got two thumbs up from the husband, who I always can trust to be honest with me about my knitwear.

I'm looking forward to wearing it over tank tops with jeans, but it also looks pretty good over a turtleneck -- so it will also likely get a little bit of early winter wear as well.  

I've also been thinking about whether it would be possible to create a miniature one using smaller yarn and smaller proportions.  A certain little blond person saw me wearing it...

That sweater looks great mama, can you make one for me?  

I have some strawberry pink CottonEase that's been waiting for a project, so we wouldn't be all mother-daughter matchy-matchy -- and she's due for a new sweater.  Maybe I'll swatch and see if I can come up with something for Ms. Z

Busy Summer

There is a limit to what I can do with my current photographic skills to make neutral colored sweater pieces in K1P1 ribbing interesting. I am gradually making my way through this little sweater.  Two fronts and a back and the start of a sleeve (off camera).  It's a relaxing project to work on while the rest of the summer blows by.

It always seems to me like when I have the most going on, I say less.  Not a strange phenomenon.  Sometimes I just have to stop and be in the moment and not reach for the documentation tools.  This summer, more than almost any before in the history of this blog, has been about doing other things.  Visiting with family, chasing after a crazy active three year old, taking ownership of a full time job that tests what I know and pushes me out to learn what I don't.  It's been a summer where having my Kindle reader on my iPad has drawn me back into reading as much as I can, and time when I rediscovered my elliptical machine (assisted by that same iPad/Kindle combination) and now don't feel good if a day goes by without some time exercising.  I'm working on warping up a big blanket project in my weaving class, playing the occasional video game and just generally dipping my fingers into whatever feels good at the time, without a whole lot of consideration for what I'm going to put onto the blog.  I'm still knitting, but the pace is slow... and while I want to spin, the heat and concern about curious little fingers have left my wheel mostly silent.

We just celebrated Ms. Z's third birthday (complete with iPhone shaped birthday cake) and since then she's been coming into her own on many things.  That whole potty-training thing is moving forward... she can wear real, live under-drawers most of the day. She discovered that she could climb over the bars on her crib and wake us up in the morning.  She moved into her big girl toddler bed and has discovered that there are no boundaries to hold her in bed at all.  What to do with that new found freedom?  She is a wizard of iPhones, iPods and iPads.  She is beginning to spell out every word she sees, can identify a few written words and her language skills routinely surprise adults who haven't met her before.  At the same time, she has the activity level of a hummingbird drinking espresso-infused nectar and no fear of anything at all. She seems to have mellowed on the tantrum front, but the better her language skills get, the more definitive she is about telling us what she wants to do and how she wants to do it. To listen to my parents talk, she is like my brother and I combined into one child -- and either one of us alone was enough to keep multiple adults busy.

At the end of many days, I look back and wonder where did the time go?  It's not like I haven't had a full time job before.  It would be easy to say it's all the kid, but she has gotten to the point where she can watch a movie or play peacefully for reasonable stretches of time.  When I started my new job, with all the new stuff that came with it, it's like I also opened up a door to letting myself indulge in some of the hobbies that had been dormant for a while.  I also think I really used my fiber hobbies as a stress reliever... and while my current job is not stress-free, the previous job came packed full of it.  The needles helped me unwind, focus on my hands and colorful thread.  I don't need that as much right now... so my hands and mind turn to other things.

But I do still definitely have fibery goals.  Ms. Z has been clamoring for a new sweater (every time she sees me knitting she asks if it's for her) and some socks.  I want to have High Line done as August recedes and chillier air floats in.  I can't wait to start weaving the two blankets I have planned (the warping is almost done)  and John's sweater still looks forlornly at me wondering when it's going to get a zipper.  

I'm going to do something crafty tonight.... but maybe not until I find a good recipe for oatmeal cookies...

It's always something this summer.  

High Line

Julie and I did something that we haven't done in what seems like forever: we searched out a yarn store and met for some shopping and chatting.  At one point in time, it seemed like our mission was to visit every possible store in the Chicago metro area.  There was always something new to see. After a while, though, that changed.  There's really only so much yarn being made, and it becomes harder and harder for any individual store to raise the novelty factor. I think it's been several years since we actively trolled a yarn store together, but last weekend we wanted to get together, and the best option looked like a yarn store. Julie found Knitch in Downer's Grove -- notable for the presence of an espresso machine.  It turned out to be a lovely store.  And while we didn't get coffee (which, if you know us, is the most surprising part of the day), I did bring home a new project and the new Rowan (which is fabulous!).

The project is this:

The High Line cardigan from Takhi's newly published Urban Organics book (there are actually several nice pieces in this book, making the purchase price a little more reasonable).  And the yarn is this:

Takhi's Good Earth Cotton, a cotton tape yarn with a lovely hand, in a peachy neutral called "adobe".  The sweater is worked on US 10.5 needles in a K1, P1 rib, making for simple knitting.  I swatched by knitting up the front left portion of the sweater and my gauge appears pretty much on target.  To be honest, I always have a hard time really estimating gauge on a ribbed fabric, and while it looks about right, what really convinced me was that the texture and density of the fabric seemed "right" for the yarn.

The feel of the fabric is soft and sproingy and I was pleasantly surprised to find that knitting this yarn is very easy.  The tape format gives it a little more elasticity than you normally expect from cotton and I like the ribbony texture that is visible in the fabric.  The left front knit up in no time at all (in fact, I've already cast on for the right front).  The one bit that makes me particularly happy is this:

A tubular cast on.  While it's more effort than a long tail, the look it creates for a K1 P1 fabric is so polished looking that it makes it seem negligible.  It's probably my favorite cast on in terms of the beautiful finished look it creates.  

I've chosen to make the medium size sweater -- its only a 36" bust, but for this sweater, 40" would be way to much easy on me, and since it only buttons at the neck, instead of all the way down, it should be good.  I'm hoping that I can get it knit in time to enjoy it as an end of summer piece -- I think it would be just perfect for when it's a bit too cool for a sleeveless top, but I'm not quite ready to pull out the fall garments yet.


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