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Right As Rainbow: The Final Stretch

23 September 2013

We’ve got 48 hours or so until the Right As Rainbow baby cardigan knitalong ends. On Saturday, I went to the Great London Yarn Crawl, and Sally and I established that not everyone has finished their sweater yet:

Two RARs in Progress

Sally’s sweater on the left; mine on the right.

I have to say that I’m really grateful to Sally for the “slow and steady” attitude. Really, those of you who rushed on through don’t get the treat of deadline knitting today and tomorrow. [Right? That’s a treat, right? Oh dear.]

Sally’s sweater is gorgeous; look at those colors.

Sally's Sweater as of Saturday

Sally’s Sweater as of Saturday. Isn’t it pretty?

Meanwhile, amchart and her sister cast on last night and are already into the second stripe of the yoke (in other words, ahead of me).

And then we have deepcovegrl, who has joined the finishers:

DeepCoveGrl: Finished!

DeepCoveGrl: Finished!

Mine is coming together well, if I do say so myself. I merged sleeves and body on the train from Oxford to London on Saturday morning, with only a brief crisis of faith; then I spent some of our travel between various yarn shops trying to place the markers correctly.

Those who are still knitting and who may feel at sea, marker-wise, I strongly suggest you take a look at Catherine’s blog post on the markers, and her latest post in the Ravelry discussion about how to place the markers (which gives guidance no matter how many stitches you have after the marriage of body and sleeves).

Lastly, we have had a bit of a tragedy in our knitalong; Sara (GoalieGirl33) left her knitting bag on a business trip to San Diego. The hotel is trying to trace is for her now, but she may well be out half a cardigan. Boo! Everyone send homing vibes to that little cardi…and look forward to more updates tomorrow and Wednesday.

In the meantime, don’t forget that you can get a discount on Silver Screen Knits by starting a Sophia Loren project on Ravelry by Friday – and you can get a chance to win some lovely Brooklyn Tweed Loft by knitting squares for Alli’s Campaign for Wool yarn-bombing. Enjoy!

Happy Birthday, Sophia Loren (and an offer)

20 September 2013

Today is Sophia Loren‘s birthday! I wasn’t thinking about this when I submitted the pattern to Knitty several months ago, but it does seem appropriate that the sweater came out in the same month that she was born.

Anna Crow in Sophia Loren Sweater

Anna Crow in the Sophia Loren Sweater: an outdoorsy outtake from our photo shoot.

The Sophia Loren sweater in Knitty Deep Fall was inspired by Loren’s performance in Woman of the River, an Italian film from 1958 in which she plays Nives, a peasant who falls in love with a smuggler.

Ann Weaver in Sophia Loren

Ann Weaver in another outtake. Both shots were taken by Brandy Crist-Travers, the genius behind all of our Silver Screen Knits photo shoots.

Despite her success and legendary sex appeal, Loren is known for staying true to her impoverished roots by playing women like Nives. Her film career began in the 1950s, when her bombshell figure and attitude shocked and delighted both Italian and American directors. Loren remains a beautiful woman and a great actress, and still appears in films from time to time (remember her turn in Prêt-à-Porter? But let’s not talk about Grumpier Old Men).

Silver Screen Knits: Volume I

Silver Screen Knits: Volume I

In honor of Sophia’s birthday, and of the release of Silver Screen Knits on Ravelry next week, I’m offering anyone who starts a project in the Sophia sweater a 20% discount on the ebook of Silver Screen Knits: Volume I. All you need to do is start a project on Ravelry and tag it “happybdaysophia” by next Friday, September 27. I’ll find you and send you a discount code for the book. I can’t wait to see what yarns and colors you choose! Check out my blog post from last week to see some color ideas I came up with.

Cozy Sweater, Cozy Cup of Tea

Have a cuppa in honor of Sophia! Or, indeed, something stronger.

More Yarn-Bombing: The Campaign for Wool

19 September 2013

Special alert: tomorrow is Sophia Loren‘s birthday, and I’ll have a special post and offer for you all on the blog to celebrate. Remember to check back, or sign up for the Silver Screen Knits Behind the Scenes list to receive special news and a discount code for the book delivered to your inbox.

Today I want to remind you all of the day I arrived here in England, almost exactly two years ago (Sept. 22, in fact). I was jet-lagged and intimidated, and really unsure of what we were doing moving far away from everyone we loved. [Also, my stash was a lot smaller.]

At Dulles Airport, September 2011

At Dulles Airport, September 2011: A little overwhelmed.

And then I saw it: a sign for the Campaign for Wool. Kitten with a Whiplash had written about it in the comments of one of my stash giveaways, but I couldn’t believe there was an ad at the airport, for goodness’ sake. I had no idea what a big deal this thing was.

Royal College of Art Fashion Competition

When I arrived in 2011, the Campaign for Wool had inspired the Royal College of Art to hold a competition in which students designed all-wool garments. Amazing!

The campaign was convened by The Prince of Wales and is meant to encourage the use of wool in fashion, interior design, and even buildings as an environmentally sustainable choice. Wool organizations and industries that use wool join in the campaign to encourage the use of wool and to support sheep farming and the textile community.

As part of this year’s Wool Week, there will be a yarn-bombing display at the John Lewis Oxford Street in London. The display with start out a bare, white room, and its furniture will be taken over by yarn-bombings slowly throughout the week. I think this sounds lovely, and certainly in line with my teeny tiny yarn bombing initiative last month.

Alli of Champagne and Qiviut (as well as the Great London Yarn Crawl; for goodness’ sake, how does she get it all done?) is working with knitters to donate brightly-colored square bits of knitting (sound an awful lot like gauge swatches, don’t they?). The campaign has asked that yarn in which you make the squares have at least some wool content.

So you know what’s coming, don’t you?

Brooklyn Tweed Loft

Brooklyn Tweed Loft: 100% American Wool, for a British Wool project. In the background, a slice of our new back garden.

This yarn is gorgeous – Brooklyn Tweed Loft in Meteorite. I hate to let it go, but one lucky person who knits at least two squares for the project will receive it. Knit your squares, photograph them, and email me the photograph (then send the squares to Alli using the information on her site). I’ll enter you into a drawing to win this yarn, which is soft and tweedy and somewhat rare in England. A friend brought it to me when she came to visit last year, and I would love for one of you to use it to make something gorgeous.

Get knitting! Get gauge swatch locating! Alli needs to receive all squares by October 7, and I’ll use the Random Number Generator to choose the winner that day as well. And, hey, use the comments to let us know you’re making squares, and what they might look like.

Right As Rainbow: In Which I Am Slightly Behind

18 September 2013

Those of you who check the Right As Rainbow discussion thread on Ravelry with your morning coffee will have noticed that my partner-in-crime, Catherine, has finished her cardi – and so has Rachel of Porpoise Fur. Curses! Here is where I am:

Sleeves and Hem at the JC

Sleeves and Hem at the JC: Photographed these at our favorite coffehouse in Oxford, The Jericho Cafe.

And lucky to be there, I have to say, because the last couple of weeks have just gotten away from me. All good things, but suddenly fall is so busy! Do the rest of you find the same? Part of it must be the fall season – knitting starts to look more appealing, and there’s that old back-to-school thing as well. At any rate, yesterday I spent the day at a conference for those of us interested in 18th century miscellanies (only in Oxford, right), which culminated in an evening entertainment that included a sewing lesson. If you guys are really, really good, perhaps I will show you the results of my efforts. [Note: I am not a seamstress. Results sure to be hilarious.]

But back to the knitalong. There are photos of some beautiful works-in-progress up on Ravelry, including Sally’s and ScattyParis’ –

S&C ScattyParis

ScattyParis has joined the arms and body – and she only joined us last week! There’s still time, people.

SallyWool's sleeves are gorgeous.

SallyWool and I clearly had the same idea – add a little colour to the hem and sleeves.

And over on Catherine’s blog there are photos of her FO and also some wonderful hints on both joining the arms to the body and finishing. She found herself on a Greek island (darn the luck!) with no buttons, so…she made her own with a crochet hook, some yarn, and those pesky 1¢ pieces no one likes to have weighing down their bag anyway. [Seriously, I might make all future sweater buttons this way, just to get rid of loose change.] I feel so lucky to know Catherine and get to read her blog. She is like the MacGyver of knitting, or possibly the Jeeves (so smart, so well-informed, and always has a solution to the knottiest of problems).

In sharp contradistinction (as we sometimes say in the academy), I have been kind of blundering along trying to figure out the correct way to highlight the colors of my sweater. You’ll notice that I took some liberties with the colors on the sleeve edges and in the garter stitch hem:

S&C Colors

Note the odd-sock colors on the sleeves. I *think* I like what I have done there…My photos are not as pretty as Catherine’s, but then not all of us have a Greek island as a backdrop!

Spent longer than I should have fiddling around with the color combination in the hem…and still think I could have done better. Indeed, I might just change it again…perfectionism kills, people.

I have a lot more time this week than I have had, and I am off to the Great London Yarn Crawl on Saturday (any other purple route-rs out there?), so there is plenty of time (right? right?). As inspiration, of course, I have Rachel and Catherine’s sweaters, which are both so beautiful, and show off the versatility of this pattern so well.

Catherine Finished!

Catherine Finished!

Rachel Finished!

Rachel Finished!

Knitty! Alternate Colors for the Sophia Loren Pullover

13 September 2013

Something rather incredible happened to me: I submitted a pattern to venerable knitting website Knitty, and they accepted it. The Sophia Loren pullover is inspired by a photo of Loren from the movie Woman of the River, and is knit in The Fibre Company‘s beautiful yarn Canopy Worsted.

Sophia Loren Sweater, available in Knitty's Deep Fall 2013 issue.

This pattern will appear in Silver Screen Knits: Volume II, which is coming out next spring (Volume I this fall!). But I digress.

As sometimes happens (sadly…sadly) two of the colors used to knit this sample of the sweater have been discontinued. Chicklet Tree and Cat’s Paw are no more, but that doesn’t mean you can’t knit the sweater. Here’s one combination, which I’m modeling in the D size (37.25″ bust).

Sophia Not A Model

I am not a model. But, hey, here’s the sweater! Photo by the divine Lynn Ainsworth.

This also gives me the opportunity to talk about ease in the sweater. The models who are wearing the green and yellow version are wearing it with very little ease. In the photos here, I’m wearing the blue and black sample with 1.25″ of ease. You can see that more ease gives you a slightly different look.

Cozy Sweater, Cozy Cup of Tea

Cozy Sweater, Cozy Cup of Tea. Photo by Lynn Ainsworth (still divine).

The silver lining, as it were, to these colors being discontinued is that you have lots of room to imagine other color combinations for yourself. [Did you know that more than half the people who knit a pattern do it in the color in which it’s pictured?] So now is a time to play with the beautiful colors in which Canopy is available and see what’s right for you.

I could also see this sweater knit in Wild Ginger, Laguna, and Sarsaparilla, which are highly contrasting the way that the blue/black/white sweater is:

Canopy Worsted: Wild Ginger Canopy Worsted: Laguna Canopy Worsted: Sarsparilla

Or River Dolphin, Purple Passion, and Crocus, which sort of merge into each other the way the original green/yellow/white combination does:

Canopy Worsted: River Dolphin Canopy Worsted: Purple Passion  Canopy Worsted: Crocus

What color combination might you use? Three contrasting colors, as in the black and blue version, or three that slip into each other, as in the green and yellow? Hop on into the comments and make suggestions!

Her First Mistake

7 September 2013

I blame it on the move.  I do!  It’s got to have been the move.  Just a few miles north, but still. The pressure! Moving! Boxes! Ikea!

Or maybe I’m just a little dopey.

I forgot to cast on in the border color for the Right As Rainbow baby cardi. I was probably also a little hasty in starting, because I am excited about the knitalong. You know how it is.

RAR Cast-On

What’s missing here?

Anyway, you guys will notice in this photo from Wednesday’s post that the contrasting yarn that should be at the edge of this sleeve is not there. Those of you doing the knitalong were kind enough not to mention it to me, but I eventually noticed the difference between my sleeve and, say, Catherine‘s.

As I ripped out the entire sleeve, I cheered myself by humming Lyle Lovett‘s Her First Mistake. Hey, you have your thing and I have mine. Did I tell you guys about how Mr. Trask and I went to see him at South Shore Music Circus this summer? I didn’t? You haven’t lived, people. You haven’t lived until you have seen Lyle and his band in concert on a rotating stage. But I digress.

S&C Ball

Let’s try this again…

At any rate, I could have just skipped the edging, but the contrast color looked so nice on Catherine’s sleeve. I decided on purple as the edging color, partly because it’s dark and the edges of a toddler’s sweater are bound to get dirty. I’m making slow progress:

Looking nice, right? The purple is still difficult to photograph.

Looking nice, right? The purple is still difficult to photograph.

Meanwhile, I wanted to show you a sweater I’ve been waiting for Little Miss Feisty to grow into for more than a year. Friend and former student Consuela knit it for her our of (what else?) Spud & Chloë Sweater and mailed it to us here in Oxford. I was blown away when it arrived – I always am when someone knits a gift, let alone mails it internationally, but look how cute this one is, and check out the buttons. The pattern is the Little Coffee Bean Cardigan by Elizabeth Smith of The Brown Stitch, and I am thrilled that this sweater finally fits LMF.

Lately, when I try to take her photo she has ideas of her own:

Too Early For Photos, Mommy.

Too early for photos, mommy.

Give me the camera!

But not too early for cameras. Give me the camera!

I finally had to pull in reinforcements; friend Heather took these shots of LMF and me outside a coffeeshop in our new neighborhood.

I'm walking! On the street!

I’m walking! On the street!

I still would like to have the camera.

I still would like to have the camera.

The winner of the Silver Screen Knits updates list giveaway was Claudia! There will be another giveaway for subscribers next week, but I won’t be posting about it on the blog, so do subscribe if you have any interest at all in a book about knitting and the movies (or, I suppose, in free yarn). I’ll be doing giveaways here as well, of course, but must admit I have saved some of the lusher yarns for subscribers.

Meanwhile! In her latest post, Catherine rightly warns us to pay attention to the modified pattern that Stephanie put out last week – the sleeve increases are different – so you’ll want to check your Ravelry inbox, which should have an update link. Post on the Ravelry thread, the Facebook page, or in the comments below about how your sweater is coming along. Are you still on the sleeves, like me? Or, like Catherine, are you almost ready to knit the body of the sweater?

Right As Rainbow: At Last…

4 September 2013

…the day has arrived. We’re casting on for the Right as Rainbow cardigan knitalong!

Catherine is blogging from Greece (ooh! aah!) and I am blogging from…our move. We are moving just a few miles away, but with a kitty and a one-year-old baby and perhaps a little bit too much yarn any move is kind of crazypants. Do send good vibes, won’t you?

I’ve started the first sleeve:

RAR Cast-On

Ta da! I used the long-tail cast-on, as I generally do. What did you use?

It took 10 rows for me to get 1.5 inches of ribbing. This pattern asks that we increase every fifth row until we reach a certain number of stitches, leaving up to the individual knitter what increase she uses and where she places the increase. I am using the knit-front-and-back increase, and placing it one stitch from where I joined to work in the round:

Bar Increases

Can you see the bar increases (knit front & back) in the right edge of the sleeve?

If my sense of the pattern is correct, this will put the increases under Little Miss Feisty’s arms, out of sight. You can see the increases by the little bars that appear two stitches in, every fifth round. [Indeed, sometimes kfb is referred to as the ‘bar increase.’] This makes it easy for me to know where I am in the pattern, too – I count the number of rows from the last bar to see how many I have to knit before the next increase. This also makes it easy for me to know how many total rows I have knit – I count the number of bars and multiply by five. If you need help with kfb, check out this video from or the one below:

You’ll see that I am using the magic loop method for the sleeve, rather than the DPNs that Stephanie recommends. I actually love working with DPNs, but in this case I know that I’ll be carrying this project around with me as we complete our house move over the next week. So I can’t risk losing a DPN (or breaking one, as I did last year). Magic loop it is, then, and I do enjoy it:

Now, that said, Stephanie has provided a very helpful collection of photos showing you how to join DPNs without a hitch. [I’m really impressed with the way she presents this pattern. Anyone else?]

So – which are you using, magic loop or DPNs (or even two circs)? Have you settled on your colors? Tell us all about it on the discussion thread or my Facebook page, or in the comments below.

Finally, giveaway news. The winner of the Alpaca Silk was Eva – congratulations! And don’t forget that you have until Friday to sign up for the Silver Screen Knits update list and be entered in the drawing for the Fyberspates Sparkle Silk.