Recently in Kaleidoscope Category

Some More of Kaleidoscope


I wish my knitting projects were a little more photogenic right now. By that, I don't mean they're ugly, I just mean that they haven't changed too much since the last photo, or showing off the progress on the second of two socks seems a bit repetitive. But today, while I was sitting on my deck knitting on Dad's Kaleidoscope Vest, I had some realizations -- and not just that it was incredibly amazing that I could sit outside in August with a lapful of wool and not be sweating profusely.

Kaleidoscope Right Before the Armhole Shaping

I have to start out by saying that the gauge on this sweater is a bit odd: 21.5 stitches and 44 rows to 10 cm (4"). I did knit a gauge swatch, and I did get something almost exactly the same, that was a fabric I liked so I decided to cast on and get going. Now that I have a 60 cm x 42 cm piece of fabric to measure gauge on it has become clear that my gauge is not quite perfect. I'm getting 21 stitches and about 42 rows to 10 cm (I'm using the metric measurements here because that is what Jo Sharp uses and that's what I'm remembering right now).

The reality of the situation is that even if I had gone down a needle size, it probably wouldn't have made that much difference -- it's hard to change a needle and expect a change of .125 stitches per inch, when I'm in the needle range that can only really be varied by .5 mm. This means that the fabric is about 2 cm wider than it should be (not a big deal because this vest is meant to have a lot of ease in it anyway -- I'm making the second smallest size for my dad of a pattern that is also supposed to be woman compatible -- clearly this design comes from boxier era). It also means that I can't use the row counts that the pattern calls for as a determination of when to do things. I have to actually work with measurements. Fortunately, this is not a problem with this pattern. even though there's stripes, there's nothing fancy about how they are used. Instead of 158 rows before the armhole shaping, I'm going to have 150-152.

No, the only real concern is whether the extra width is going to mean that I run out of yarn somewhere. I bought this yarn on Elann about three years ago, so there's not much liklihood that I will be able to find another ball in the same dyelot of one of these if I come up short.

Kaleidoscope Texture Detail

I still love the texture, though. It looks complicated, but its very easy to knit. And in this colorway, I think it's very man-friendly. Even though my dad is willing to experiment with color, I wanted to go with something that would have a little subtlety to it.

And Now A Word From Our Sponsor

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Summer Doldrums


I am just feeling sort of deflated right now. Perhaps it is the the low barometric pressure brought on by yet another rain storm? While many of you are suffering with really terrible summer temperatures, Chicago is running a bit hot (high 80's/low 90's) and humid. All in all it's been a relatively mild summer except for the almost weekly torrential downpours. Very strange, it is. And not much fun when you have to walk home in one of them, even when you did remember to bring your umbrella. Note to self: wet linen really does not work well in a skirt.

Anyway, with my first batch of Sloopy finished and the idea that I thought would be neat for showing of the stripes not working out the way I want it to, I decided to go back to my WIP pile and see what might make for good, simple summer knitting. The Kaleidoscope vest very politely reminded me that it had been some time since I had picked it up and made any progress. And didn't I have a very nice father who could really use a new fall vest?

Halfway Up the Back of Kaleidoscope

This picture represents roughly the halfway point up the back of the vest. While I find that it takes me quite some tme to get through 1 twenty row repeat, it is very satisfying to watch the fabric come together. The presence of some garter stitch rows helps to make the fabric lay quite flat and the combination of color and texture are engaging. The knitting is very simple, over all, and even though there is a reasonable amount of color changing, the number of ends that will have to be woven in is not overwhelming because it is possible to carry the colors up the side. And I must say, the thought of not having to deal with knitting a pair of man-sized sleeves is also quite pleasureable.

So I will work on Kaleidoscope while I contemplate socks. Amazing that relatively small sock projects can require so much thinking.

Dear Unfinished Projects,

Now that I have finished the Pearl Buck Swing Jacket, you'll be happy to know that it is now time for me to decide what to tackle next. As I began to do a little spring cleaning in my fiber room, I realized, however, that a number of you larger sized projects have been hiding out, waiting to be found. Some of you, in fact, have been waiting a shamefully long time with relatively little left remaining to make you complete. I have decided that I just can't justify starting something new until a few of you become the finished projects you were meant to be.

Top Left: Jo Sharp Kaleidoscope Vest, Bottom Left: Handspun Spiral Rug, Top Right: Liberty Wrap Top

In order to help me combat project neglect, I thought I would engage in some self-analysis.

Handspun Spiral Rug. Poor rug! I knitted through all your garter stitch monotony, figured out how to connect your edges together in a way that appealed to me, and then neglected to give you the border edging that you deserved. The word "neglect" in that last sentence was not one I chose without reason. I literally lost track of where you went. Yesterday I discovered you in a basket on the high shelf in my laundry room under a table runner waiting for a bath. How did you get there? I suspect that a well meaning husband, straightening things up before our cleaning lady came to clean, put you out of harms way in the basket and the basket got moved to a place that is above eye level for me, and since I was in denial about dealing with your applied I-cord edging I did not put to much effort into finding you. Clearly I must work harder to make sure that future projects are stored away more carefully when I am not working on them. And deal with my deep-seeded issues relating to applied I-cord.

Liberty Wrap Top. Beautiful and soft, but plagued with two issues that can bring me to a total standstill every time. The first, and more surmountable, issue is that after your pieces are complete, I will have approximatley 1,324,926 ends to weave in. If I avoid colorwork, it is almost always because of the issue with weaving in ends. The second, and much less tractable, issue is the my constant fear of running out of yarn. I have finished your back and am but a short distance from having both fronts finished. Two large sleeves and a significant amount of ribbed edging finishing still remain. And all the yarn I have left is what you can see in the picture. So in this case, the fear of running out of yarn, also exacerbates the fear of weaving in all the ends. I don't want to weave them in as I go along, because what if I run out of yarn and can't complete the sweater? All that weaving in of ends will have gone to waste. I didn't buy an extra ball of that grey and orange yarn because I've been okay with Rowan patterns in the past and because I am a cheapskate who didn't want a bunch of extra, somewhat expensive, yarn left over. I am paying for that cheap-heartedness now.

Kaleidoscope Vest. More wonderful colorwork, but fewer unpleasant ends to weave in because the incredible Jo Sharp decided to design you in such a way as to make it not so difficult to carry yarn up the sides. I started you not so long ago, with much enthusiasm (it is hard not to be enthusiastic about Jo Sharp DK weight wool). Why did I cast you aside, even after putting you in one of my cute new Longaberger baskets? Apparently in addition to my fears of weaving in ends, interminable amounts of applied I-cord, and running out of yarn, I also have a fear of garments being too small for the intended recipient, and I do not trust my own measurements, even when I have calculated them several times and know they are correct. Especially when combined with having to break the continuity of a ball of yarn into multiple pieces that cannot be re-attached if the sizing is off. Nothing would help me go further with this project unless I could hold you up against the intended recipient. Since he doesn't share a house with me, that didn't happen until February. And in the meantime my eye was drawn by the seductive Pearl Buck and the call of some long ignored yarn in my stash.

I want to let you know that there is good news for all of you. Because all of these issues are issues with me, not you, I am going to work to overcome my problems.

To my Handspun Spiral Rug, the closest of all to the finish line, requiring only blocking and a finishing edging, I promise that I will block you soon. I will also look through all my books on edgings and trims and find out if there is something that can replace that dreaded applied I-cord. Perhaps a simple crocheted edging is in order? If not, I will suck it up, pour myself a glass of wine and queue up an audio book, and deal with the applied edging like the dedicated knitter you deserve.

To my Liberty Top, although the issue of weaving in ends cannot be solved, other than by weaving them in, I will finish the remaining front piece and work on the first sleeve before I decide to be too concerned about running out of yarn. In the meantime, I will contact the place where I got the yarn from and see if they have any more of the grey and orange yarns in the same dyelot. If they do, I will order them even if I don't end up needing them. Consider it penance for being cheap (a stupid thing after you have already spent a bunch of money of the recommended amount of yarn) on a sweater that I should not have purchased yarn for if I was only about cheap.

To the Kaleidoscope Vest, abadoned because of my issues and because I am easily drawn by another pretty face, there will be no more big projects started until I have worked some more to bring you to fruition. I will curb my wandering eye. Whenever I think about buying yarn for another sweater project for myself, I will think of the two pounds of moorit CVM roving waiting to be spun, and I will sit down in front of my wheel instead. It takes me much longer to create temptation than it does for me to buy it!

In closing, I hope you all realize that I am working hard to overcome my fears and to get beyond my shortcomings. At least, I can honestly say that I think in picking you, I have picked good projects that I will look forward to wearing and using or sharing. I have come a long way from the time when I would cast anything on, even if it was not quite right for me. Clearly, I still have a long way to go in considering techniques that I will see through to the end and keeping my roving new project eye at bay, but if you will give me another chance, I will keep working through my issues and hopefully you will all be finished soon, and future projects will not be tormented so much by my lack of attention.

Sincerely yours,

The Keyboard Biologist

Basket Case

A Lovely Basket and the Beginnings of a Vest

This picture is really just an excuse to show off one of the beautiful new Longaberger baskets that I acquired with Julie's help. This lovely round basket is the "Darning Basket". It is unlikely that I will ever do any darning in my life, but it sure makes a nifty project basket for the Kaleidoscope vest.

I started the vest with a tubular cast on. I'm always kind of mystified and amazed by this cast-on -- it's like some wonderful knitting slight of hand that anyone can do with a little patience -- and it creates the most beautiful stretchy edge for K1 P1 ribbing. When you combine it with a wonderful DK weight wool yarn like the Jo Sharp wool that I am using, it makes the perfect start to what I hope will be a beautiful garment. I want my dad to have something truly wonderful to add to his cool weather wardrobe. And that means pulling out all the stops to make sure that the detals really are thought through -- using the tubular cast on, adding selvedge stitches at the edges to make seaming easier and more neat when I mattress stitch the edges together.

And I'm a bit embarrased to admit this, but I love the idea of a project that doesn't involve sleeves! I get all the joy of working on something colorful and happy, but none of the pain of having to deal with sleeves. And I really do think the pattern is lovely (and very easy to work -- it looks like two-color work, but every row is really just one color). I'm looking forward to getting the next couple of intervals on there so that I can give everyone a really good look.

Ribbing and Stars


I guess yesterday's swatch and hints were pretty obscure -- that, and it's pretty hard to compete with both the arrival of a new Knitty online and a new Interweave Knits in the mailbox (at least, I got mine yesterday). So here's a bit of the start of the project -- along with a little paper star art courtesy of the Paper Source.

Sable Ribbing and Silver Stars

That esoteric bit of swatching is for Kaleidoscope from Jo Sharp's Knitting Bazaar pattern book. I wish I could find a picture to link to for vest. No doubt, since this book was published in 1999, and there's been several interations of yarn distributors and color palettes, there's probably not much interest on the part of internet vendors on making pictures of these garments available. Oh well. Hopefully it will be just that much more interesting to watch it come together.

And, as a quick review of the paper stars -- these are easy to make, but time consuming because there is a lot of precision scoring and folding that has to occur. And not likely to be small person friendly because of the amount of fine motor control required. With a little patience, I think it's not too difficult to get nice results, and I'll be making a few more as window accents for my party. However, right now, even I don't have the patience to make 40 of them!