Summertime pursuits

Lest anyone reading this blog lately fear that I’ve forgotten how to knit, I can offer two pieces of proof to the contrary.

First, I’ve been working on a Cecilia cardigan for a friend to wear at her wedding (or at least, at the reception). With my friend Johanna, I dyed some 100% silk to match the bridesmaids’ dresses, and I’ve been knitting that up — with pauses to find appropriate purple rhinestone buttons!

Cecilia cardigan in progress.

In one of the photos of the yarn skeins, you can see a little chip of purple paper; that’s as close as I could find to the colour of the bridesmaid dresses (and the groomsmen’s ties, etc.). I think we did a pretty good job at matching it, though I’m a little nervous — our dresses haven’t come in to the shop yet, so I haven’t seen this next to them in person.

The cardigan is coming together quite nicely. I’m making  a few adjustments as I go, because the (unlabelled) silk yarn I have is heavier than what the pattern calls for, and because I have a finite (and undetermined) amount. I knit up the raglan-style body first, but then, rather than doing the sleeves as directed, I put on the button-band next. The sleeves can be shorter or longer in the end, but a button-band is a button-band, you know? It can’t really be cut short because you’ve run out of yarn. With that done (Saturday evening!) I weighed the remaining yarn (27 grams) and split it into two small balls, one for each sleeve, to ensure I would be able to finish them evenly.


Photo copyright Elin Berglund, designer

I love the sleeves on the original design (pictured above) but I knew they wouldn’t work well in silk — it just doesn’t have any memory to spring back, and I knew it would go all droopy at the elbows. So, in a way, it works really well that I have to shorten the sleeves due to the yarn quantity — let’s call that a deliberate design decision, okay? In the end,  there’s about an inch and a half of lace on the sleeve past where the sleeve and body separate, and then about 2.5 inches of ribbing, to match the waistband, so the sleeve will come about halfway down the upper arm.

When I went up to Ottawa with my parents (the trip that sparked the whole Scott Carpet series of posts), I was on a hunt to find buttons for that cardigan. I lucked out at Darrell Thomas, which is a great, very fashion-concious fabric store that happens to have a really unusual selection of buttons. (Thanks, Natalie, for the recommendation!) I had scoured Etsy and found some great buttons, but it was really nice to have a chance to actually handle the buttons in person and see them with the cardigan before buying.

Meanwhile, the sweater was on hold, because I couldn’t make the buttonholes until I had buttons, and I couldn’t make the sleeves until I’d finished the buttonband. And I was about to be a passenger for the 7-or-so-hour drive to Ottawa, and clearly I needed something to knit! So, I went stash-diving, and came up with a single skein of another very special yarn.

My other local dyer-friend, Lindsey of Waterloo Wools, and I dyed this skein of her Algonquin merino-silk together some time before she went on maternity leave; she later gave it to me as a thank-you gift for some graphic design work I’d done for her pattern line. We dyed it during the lead-up to my sister’s wedding, when I had peacocks on the brain (the source of her wedding colour scheme). This skein is a dark variation on the peacock theme — lots of forest green shifting into teal shades, with a scattering of coppery browns and a deep plum.

Pea Vines shawl in Waterloo Wools’ Algonquin yarn, Peacock Feathers colourway

I decided to try Anne Hanson’s Pea Vines shawl with this yarn, as I think the motif is lovely and leafy, and can stand up to the variegation in the yarn. It’s hard to see the leaves in the unblocked lace portion just yet (much less the little nubbly nupps!) but when I tried pinning the shawl-in-progress out, the design was much clearer.

(Oh, that white crochet cotton at the bottom of the shawl? I forgot to bring a larger size of needle to work the cast-on for this bottom-up shawl pattern, and couldn’t cast on loosely enough. So, I did a provisional cast-on with the crochet cotton I keep on hand for lifelines, in order to get going on the shawl, and I’ll go back and bind off once I’ve knit the whole thing. Not an ideal solution, but when you’re stuck in the back seat of a car for hours on end, you’ll go with whatever works!)

One other little summery note: this is our first summer in this house, and it’s been an adventure, seeing what pops up in our garden. This is my favourite surprise so far!

Raspberries in our backyard!

Raspberries in our backyard!


Filed under Dyeing, Knitting for Gifts, Knitting for Me

2 responses to “Summertime pursuits

  1. Nice work on the cardi – and those shiny buttons are perfect.

  2. Pingback: Oh Cecilia, you’re breaking my heart | AnnieBee Knits