FO Friday: Entrelac Butterflies Cowl

Lookit what I made!

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Project: Emo Butterflies

Pattern: Knitted Scarf Butterflies

Designer: Svetlana Gordon

Available: $3 on Ravelry

Yarn: White Birch Fiber Arts 100% SW Merino, DK in “Emo Enough?” (self-striping)

I first encountered White Birch‘s amazing self-striping colorways at Stitches East.  I picked up two skeins of her DK-weight 100% SW Merino, in part because I recognized the base yarn (Crazy Eight, from Wool2Dye4).  I’m familiar with Crazy Eight, because Kate uses it too!  I love this bouncy 8-ply yarn that straddles the line between sport and DK. Knowing the base made it easy to invest in the dyer at White Birch — and her self-striping colorways are fantastic, so I really wanted to take some home.

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Finding the right pattern for this spectacular colorway — “Emo Enough?” — took some time.  I cast on a number of projects and ripped, ripped, ripped. Eventually I settled on the Knitted Scarf Butterflies pattern, marking my first time doing entrelac.  To my surprise, the back-and-forth rhythms of entrelac knitting were soothing and fun! Each tier of tilting rectangles feels like an accomplishment. Each rectangle has a single cable cross, further livening things up.  This isn’t entrelac for newbies, but it certainly is a nice, chewy knit — and the results speak for themselves.

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Alas, my yarn didn’t go as far as I’d hoped … my FO was not quite long enough for a scarf or doubled-up infinity scarf, and was a bit long for a single-loop cowl.  No amount of thuggish blocking got me anywhere near the length I needed, so I played a bit with it in the mirror, and decided that some buttons and i-cord could bridge the gap.  I’m quite happy with the result, and may use this “shape” again with an otherwise-awkwardly-short scarf.

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FO Friday: Tappan Zee Pulled Taffy

I finished a sweater for me!  This is not something that happens every day.

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Project: Tappan Zee Pulled Taffy

Pattern: Tappan Zee Cardigan

Designer: Amy King

Available: FREE! on Knitty.com

Yarn: Decadent Fibers Pulled Taffy in Red Hot Pepper

I bought this yarn on spec back in June, at the 20th (and final) Granite State Knit-In.  I’m sorry to say that a LYS had brought all their merchandise and were selling it off at 2-for-1 because they were closing their doors.  I’m glad to say I found two skeins of this astonishing fiber, each normally $35.  I decided to take a leap of faith and buy both — almost-a-sweater for $35 was too good a deal to pass up.

2384 Decadent Fibers Pulled Taffy in Red Hot Pepper

Once I had it home, it proved to be a bit of a challenge.  First of all, though it claims to be DK, it really feels and knits up closer to worsted.  Also, it turns out that 980 yards is not quite enough to make most things, at least not in size large-enough-to-fit-me.  I finally settled on Tappan Zee — a pattern I queued in large part because I love the eponymous bridge!  I used to drive back and forth from DC to Boston fairly frequently, and every time I saw signs for Tappan Zee it made me happy.  Try saying it aloud — you’ll be happy too!

Swatching told me three things: first, I should expect worsted-ish gauge.  I decided to follow the pattern for a proportionately smaller size, which ended up working great.  Second, blocking the swatch told me that this yarn would bleed dye something awful.  This turned out to be a good thing, because the fully saturated color was a bit much — I prefer the toned-down color after blocking.  Third, the fabric is also appreciably softer after a good wash-and-block, which reassured me while I was knitting — the WIP sometimes felt a bit crunchy and oh-my-god bright red and orange.  Thank goodness for swatching to tell me the truth.

One thing I changed in the pattern was the armholes.  I really hate tight, binding armholes, so instead of casting off for the arms, then bridging the gap directly, I chose to cast on a handful of stitches under each arm.  I must have goofed the math a bit, because my sleeves ended up a little ruffled — too much fabric up there.  It bothered me at first, but my knit group claims they like it, so I’m slowly coming around.

I was about two dozen rows shy of the official “start the edging” point, when I noticed that the yarn ball hand dwindled to an ominously small size.  I got out my new and wonderful super-accurate digital scale and weighed the ball before and after the next two rows … and discovered I had barely enough to finish the edging, but only if I started it RIGHT THEN.  As it was, I had to rip out the swatch in order to bind off the last few inches.  I think the finished cardi is long enough — any longer would have been odd, actually, which implies I shouldn’t have been doing quite so many rows in the first place.

The luckiest part of this project was that I found the perfect buttons. They seem as if they were dyed-to-match — and they were cheap, and they were the first ones I saw at the shop, and they came in a set of three!

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