Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Beach House

I'm so proud of my Beach House.  I've been messing up on my knitting projects a lot lately.  So, to have an advanced pattern like this come out so nicely, even though my yarn was not what I expected, feels very good.  Obviously, it's just yarn, and what's the big deal? but sometimes these little victories are the only ones we have for days on end.  So, I'm going to relish mine a while.




I've mentioned, here and here, how much I've been screwing up when I work with fingering weight yarn.  Well, this sport weight linen blend was more like fingering and it took me knitting most of the top to realize that, once again, I just wasn't staying in gauge.  My lace looked sloppy to me.  Being that the yarn was already thinner than the pattern sample, a sloppy mesh just didn't look good.  I might have blundered on but I spotted a mistake in my lace, several rows down, and tried to rip back that spot to the problem area.  Ha.  With each row I ripped back, my mess got bigger and bigger.  It was all for the best, though, because it pushed me to just start over.   Thankfully, I was sick and confined to the couch most of the weekend.  Did I just say thankfully I was sick?  Huh.  You know you need to hide and have some "me time" when you find yourself saying stuff like that.  Anyway, I listened to podcasts and watched Netflix and finished my re-knit in two days.  I'm so, so glad I did because this is glorious.




Now these photos are not so glorious.  I had three FOs to photograph, yes I said three, and it was miserably hot.  To speed things up I had my son take the photos of me and he was rushing to get back to Dark Souls or some other upbeat game he was playing.   So they are what they are.

Okay so about Teresa Gregorio's pattern:  It is so creative.  There's so much going on in this little knit. I love the pleats in back, the mixture of garter and lace textures, along with the geometric shape of the garter wedge.


The asymmetric hem works wether cropped or extended.  Plus, it requires very little yarn or time.   I think of a better way to try a slightly advanced pattern.


I say advanced not because it requires any special techniques.  It doesn't.  It does, however, require your focus.  As you may know by now, I tend to zone out when I'm knitting, so this was a challenge for me.

I do have a few tips to help with the focus thing, though:

1) At the beginning and end of each row, check to see if you need a yarn over.  Ditto for before and after the garter stitch portion.   If your mind wanders like mine, that means you check, knit to the garter center, check again, finish the garter, check again, knit to the end of the row, then check again.  The garter part is over in no time, though, so all the checking is no big deal.

2) When you're working the mesh stitch pattern flat, watch out when you turn to work a wrong side, making sure you don't drop any yarn overs (they'd be the second WS stitch) because they can look kind of messy if you're not careful.

3) Definitely use stitch markers to separate your garter portion on the back.  Just make sure you remove them to knit the next stitch, then replace them in the correct position.

4) Last but not least: Don't forget your knit-only rounds when you switch to working in -the--round.  I did that several times and didn't realize it for a few rows. Boo.


I know these are completely basic.  They could be summed up as "Hey, why don't you just read the pattern?"  But I thought I'd share anyway.

The rest of the details:  I knit the second size, using size 5 needles and Feather yarn in the Splendid Sunbird color.  This yarn felt like fingering to me, but what do I know lately?  I like the blend because it feels more linen than cotton, however it can get splitty if you rip back and reknit a bunch of times like I did.  It also bled a little when washed, which I totally expected.

I made no modifications at all.  I also think this is a very flexible pattern.  You can block it out a lot and go for either length or width if you have preference within your pattern size.  It also looks good with more or less ease.

Another thing that's forgiving is your stitch count after the short rows.  If you end up with a couple of stitches extra or a couple too little, it's easy to fiddle with it and fix it.  For instance, I ended up with two extra stitches.  I just went with it and added them to the front of my top when it came time to separate front from back.  This made me add one decrease row to each sleeve before casting off, so the stitch count would match the pattern.  No big deal.  I guess I still have some skills after all.

(more on ravelry, kollabora, flickr, and instagram. Also, isn't this
necklace completely cool?  It's Native Clutter, which you can find here.)

I cannot recommend this pattern enough.  It's a smaller project, but full of cool knitterly stuff, and is so of-the-moment with the cropped and asymmetric hem.  I want another one of these, like right now, while my tension is still fresh in my muscle memory.  I can't decide if I'd want my second one to be longer or not.  Teresa made a video showing styling options.  I wouldn't have thought of making this longer and wearing it with a wide belt, but that would look really cute and would double as a good length for a swimsuit cover-up.   I also think I have some blue bamboo in my stash that would work perfectly for it.  Hmmm.

For participating in the Holla Knits Summer Knit-along, I got to choose from any of Teresa's patterns as a prize.  I want to knit Draperie.  Now before you say, "But Michelle!  It's another fingering weight sweater!"  just know that I'll be knitting the smallest size from the start.  I have to do it.  It's garter stitch, which I love with all of my heart, and I have the perfect Stroll yarn for one of the colors.  I'm thinking Raven and Thunderhead. Nice and neutral, but the Raven has all of that purple goodness to keep it from being boring.  I also love the way it can be flipped and worn "upside-down" for a different look.  That's the thing about Teresa's designs, they're so clever.  She's working on a Twin Peaks inspired collection, Great Northern, with Leah Coccari-Swift right now that I am so excited about.   I think they're kickstarter will begin in a matter of days, so check it out.

Some other patterns of hers I long to knit soon are Harris, Estivate, and Solstice Stag.  And I still have my Drift's Ridge to finish on my new needles which I feel certain will help me keep a steady gauge.

Tomorrow I'll post photos of my other Hkkalsummer project: Bowdoin Hat, which I will definitely be making more of.  I'm on a finishing streak this week, guys.

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