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Lucky Me

Lucky Me in Cassis

I should probably avoid taking pictures of finished items late at night, but since my schedule has leaned it that direction lately, that's when the pictures get taken. Here's my second finished Phildar project: my "lucky" top in Phil Ruban, color Cassis. The top, in this picture, has a little more sheen than it has in real life (I, on the other hand, always look a little shiny).

This top looks a little more complicated than it is. In fact, there is almost no finishing. The armholes are simply the edges of the fabric curling under a bit. There isn't even any armhole shaping. Nothing is picked up at the neckline and there's nothing at the cast on edge.

I did get wild and crazy on one element: instead of casting off for the shoulder seams I decided to do short rows and follow them up with a 3-needle bindoff. HooBoy! Am I in love. The shoulder seam looks so neat and clean. I'm not sure why I thought it would be difficult, but you can bet your sweet petunias that this won't be the last time I convert a pattern to join the shoulders this way. Once again I have to say "thank you" to Sarah for talking about this technique on her blog.

This was a pretty simple pattern, so the "what did I learn" component of this post will be short:

  • Short-row shoulder shaping and three-needle bindoffs are your friend.
  • Cotton ribbons/tapes seem to be easier on my hands than regular cotton yarns. Perhaps the woven construction of the ribbon gives it just enough give.
  • Phil Ruban, while delightful, is easy to split while knitting with it, at least in my hands.

My only regret at this point is that I don't have a whole bunch of Phil Ruban stashed away for a rainy day. It knits up into a soft and lovely fabric that, unlike most cotton that I've worked with, doesn't seem to immediately feel the effects of gravity. It has the right balance of weight and loft. When blocked, it makes a lovely smooth fabric.

I was able to preserve my swatch, so the next test for me will be to dump the swatch in the wash and dryer and see how it fares. A tiny bit of shrinkage wouldn't be entirely unexpected (or undesirable) in a 100% cotton yarn.

Can you guess what I will probably wear to work tomorrow?

Block Party

The Back of the Phil Ruban Top

Gosh! There's just too much excitement here chez Keyboard Biologist. The back of the Phil Ruban top is finished. A big thank you to Carolyn who helped me with some French knitting terminology.

The back was a long slog. I decided to spice it up a little bit by short-row shaping the shoulders in preparation for a three needle bind off. I've wanted to try this ever since I read about it on Sarah Peasley's blog a long long time ago. It's hard to tell from the picture, but the shortrows are pretty neat. I'm looking forward to attaching the back to the front.

The one thing I still have to figure out is how I am going to finish the neckline. The pattern doesn't describe much, but I think the cast off edge on the back is a little raw. Of course, a lot will depend on how much yarn I have left after the front and the back are done. I've used just about 2.5 of my 5 skeins.


Oh! Look! A Knitted Square!

So what do I have to show for my weekend's efforts? Nothing, really, but a knitted (mostly) square. It is a wonderful, soft, square, made of Phil Ruban, but a knitted square none-the-less.

Well, maybe that is not entirely true. There is an itty bit of shaping (increasing past the waist that is almost imperceptible). But not really enough to hardly even notice. The back of the Phil Ruban tank top would be pretty mind-numbing, if not for the tactile pleasure of the Phil Ruban running through my fingers, my efforts translating the pattern, and the fact that it is knitting up so quickly. There's only a few more inches left until I get to the shoulder shaping. It would have been done tonight (probably) if I hadn't had some things from work that needed to be attended to.

I should be able to complete the project this week. I'm going to be spending a fair bit of time on airplanes. Good for knitting, bad for blogging, as I probably won't have an internet connection Wednesday night. Then I have another trip out-of-town Sunday through Tuesday. After that, I get to keep my feet on the ground for a while. So for the forseeable future, it's going to be small, portable projects.

Getting Lucky


It's a fun thing to have friends in neat places that like to trade yarn. On my first trade with Becky, I asked her to surprise me with something interesting. The box she sent me contained (in addition to the requested Phil'Onde) 4 skeins of Phil Ruban in Cassis.

4 skeins of Phil Ruban in Cassis in the top center

Very pretty, I thought. I just love the saturated not quite wine, not quite purple not quite maroon color that is Cassis. Becky also helped to find me a pattern to go along with the yarn. I was psyched! With a happy summer tank top on my mind, I sat down to dig into the Phildar pattern... only to discover that I was going to need one more skein of yarn than I had.

Becky very kindly agreed to help me track down another skein. Only her first trip to Phildar resulted in finding nothing at all -- she would have to come in when the new shipment arrived. I started considering stripes because I figured that there was no way that I would get another skein in the same dye lot as the first four. But some magic happened and the store did in fact get in more Cassis -- from the same dye lot as the one I had!

How lucky is that? I felt even luckier when I found out that Phil Ruban is being discontinued (at least in this color, I don't know if it is the whole line or not).

Once I had the last of my Phil Ruban in hand, I decided it was safe to swatch. After my third Phildar swatching experience, I can say one thing for certain -- the knitting standard is looser than for more most US and UK patterns. Before anyone takes that the wrong way, let me explain: I have to go up a needle size from recommended on every Phildar pattern or swatch I've done so far., and that rarely happens to me with other patterns. And the Phil Ruban is no exception. Instead of 4.5 mm needles, I get gauge on 5.0 mm.

Phil Ruban Swatch in Cassis
click the image for a close-up

Phil Ruban is a 100% cotton tape and it's a real delight to knit with. It's fine enough to create a pleasantly un-bulky fabric, perfect for summer, but big enough to knit up quickly. Knit up, the swatch has a pleasant texture and a reasonable amount of give. And I had no problem maintaining even happy stitches.

Lucky Beginnings

So this evening, since I got home from work too late to head out to the KIP, I sat down with the pattern and started to work my way through the French. After I felt pretty confident about most of the instructions, I cast on. The pattern doesn't really have a name, so given the bonne chance I had locating another skein of Phil Ruban, I think I am going to refer to this tank top as "Lucky".