After my last post, I got together with a bunch of my girlfriends for dinner at a Tunisian restaurant.

There was wine and, well, belly dancing.

See, here's the thing about me, there's really not much more than a thin veneer of self decency that keeps me from breaking into dance at the drop of a hat (or in this case, drape of a scarf). I love to dance. So when my friends hoisted me, bodily, at the belly dancer who was trying to coax another of the group up to dance, well, I didn't put up much of a struggle. And hey, just because I've never belly danced before, doesn't mean I won't try to fake it.

And if you aren't having an hearty laugh at my expense yet, I will add that while I had had a little bit of wine, I wasn't even buzzed. I act this way sober.

Anyway, enough of that.
I've been knitting some trim onto my cardi.

There are something like 1500 stitches going around the edge of this piece, and it is taking me days to cast off. The saddest part of all is that I'm not sure if I like this treatment. I'll bind off and see, but I'm thinking I might want something a bit softer, less ruffly. I did try it on up to this point and it looks pretty cute, but, it's not quite what I envisioned.

Would you like to see that ruffle a little closer?

It's a completely reversible ruffle that I designed for this piece, though I'm sure others have come up with the same sort of idea. If I do end up ripping this out and trying again, I'll probably try the same thing again but with fewer increases and a wider ruffle. Or, I'll get fed up and try a different style.

And since I'm in a non sequitur kind of a mood, here's a dog in a raincoat that I saw yesterday while walking to Leo's office after work.

I actually knit this hat a while ago but didn't finish it until yesterday. I've been wearing it to walk Panda early in the morning, but I knew it needed a big pom-pom before I could really show it here.

It's made of GGH Aspen, knit on US# 10.5 needles.

This is one of those ridiculously easy hats that can be knit up in a day, if you have nothing else to do. It's a chunky yarn made of merino and microfiber so it's warm but soft enough to wear against the skin. I usually can't wear hats with any wool content, without feeling itchy, but this hat gives me no problems. I think the combination of the simple stranded pattern, funky ribbing and huge pom-pom, make for quite a hat. Panda, however, finds it rather gauche for her taste.

Cardigan Trim

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I have been working on the trim for my machine knit cardi, for a couple of days. I started by trying to pick up stitches around the whole piece but found that none of my circular needles were long enough. Next, I tried crochet, but I couldn't quite get the effect I wanted. Crochet just tends to be denser and less drapy, and I wanted to keep the trim soft.

So today, I went to an LYS and picked up a longer circular needle. It's funny, really, while it only took me a couple days to knit the piece on the machine, it's taking me much longer to actually finish it.

Not much to look at, really, though I tried it on before picking up to knit and I am very happy with the fit.

When I'm not working on the cardi, I've been spinning up more of my sunflower colored roving

I've spun just over half of the 4 ounces that I bought. The left skein is my first and the right, my most recent. It's a little finer than the first round but not by much.

I've also made one last addition to the shawl.

It's a little rose crocheted from the same yarn. I think it'll be a nice way to close shawl without tying or holding it.

Moving on

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The shawl has been so much fun and I'm very excited about it but I'm pretty sure I cannot maintain a knitting blog on that one shawl alone. So I was sitting around, trying to decide what to knit next and what yarn to use. I definitely plan to do more with my handspun but I wanted to work on something a little different.

So this weekend, I knit this:

But I didn't knit it by hand, I used my trusty knitting machine.

The yarn is Silk City Soft Stretch which is a cotton yarn with 4% Elite.

It's hard to see what's going on, because the yarn is a bit dark and everything is curly, but I've worked up the main pieces on my machine and am sewing them together. It's a very fitted cardigan, with a deep v-neck and a hem that descends from the natural waist to just about the hips. What got me thinking about this design was Jody's post about this design. I love the hem and I think the piece is lovely and flattering on the model, but having read Jody's description of the construction, I wasn't sure it'd be something I would be able to use a lot. Like Annie's Vogue Knitting cover design, the basic construction is that of a circle, which forms the front, back and collar. I'm oversimplifying here, but you get the idea. While I think that's a brilliant idea, knowing my body shape and what I like to wear, I wanted to mimic that curved hem, but I wanted it to be a bit more fitted throughout. So this piece is basically a hip length cardigan, fitted, set in sleeves, very simple overall. The only difference is that the front hem starts at around the natural waist and slopes to the lowest point, center back.
It's worked bottom-up, in separate pieces. The front pieces curve with a series of increases, while the back gets a very gentle curve by way of short row shaping.

Once I'm done piecing the main bits together I'll work all the edging. With my knitting machine, I find the cast ons and bind offs sub par, so everything was done with a provisional cast on and bind off and all live stitches are held on waste yarn. I'll be playing around with different treatments, but it will probably be one of a few ideas I have.

  1. A simple ruffle that runs all the way around the edges, including the sleeves to make a simple bell at the end.
  2. A crochet border, very simple with a delicate picot detail for interest
  3. Lace, much like the ruffle idea but much lighter
  4. Shawl collar and i-cord bind off, for a more classic and simple look
  5. Whatever else comes to me in a fit of inspiration

Shawl Project Notes

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All the notes after the bump

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