Tuesday, November 29, 2011


I really want to sew something. Something easy, that can be made in a weekend, that will look great.

Lord knows, I have enough patterns, enough fabric. I just need to find the time which, given the push to finish knitting, isn't there right now.

What would you sew (or are actually sewing??), if you could make anything, right now? Tell me! Maybe I'll want to sew it too. Maybe I'll try to find some way to fit in that project before Xmas.

I never thought I'd look forward to cutting fabric, but there you go.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Pick or Throw?

In my endless quest to knit better - which is to say more efficiently and more ergonomically and (ahem) more quickly - I've begun to look into different methodologies.

Those of you who don't knit might be bored out of your mind to learn that there are 2 predominant schools: picking (aka Continental or German or Left-Handed) and throwing (English aka British or Right-Handed).

Apparently, English knitting is the more popular North American style. Continental is the style most Europeans use (except some British, who learned from those who were quite political about using the English method, particularly during the War).

I learned the English method as a teenager, when I practiced the art for all of 3 weeks, and promptly forgot everything. When I began knitting again in April of this year, I automatically reverted to this method which, intriguingly, came back to me very quickly. I find my tension even and I am rather fast. Note: I'm a proficient typist and the kind of dextrous, obsessive compulsive sort who grooves easily with the handwork of knitting. I also get a shitload of practice.

As you know, this fall I've undertaken a stupid goal - the knitting or baking of all my Xmas items (or purchase of the odd few on Etsy). Mainly, I'm knitting, which means I spend every moment that's not earmarked for work or sleep doing some sort of project.

My back hurts. It's tight as a body-builder's and the tension is squeezing up into my neck and head. I am often in a lot of pain lately. I mean, I'm no stranger to headaches (which are the result of muscular tension), but this is out of control. I've actually done relatively little knitting this week because I just can't manage the pain I'm already in - never mind whether or not the knitting is actually contributing to the problem. I have to assume it is.

Note: I do yoga to assist me in staying limber and to undercut the pain, but it's barely scratching the surface at this point.

Long story short, I don't imagine I will be knitting in this volume again. But what to do about the 3 gift projects I've got left (and my own work, going forward)? It occurred to me I should learn Continental style.

Apparently Continental knitting is more ergonomic, more efficient (because it requires less broad movement), easier for lefties and the method that the fastest of all knitters use (except for wacky-ass Cottage knitting - scroll down to see the awesome video in Mardel's post).

I've spent the day learning and, so far, I have to say it's not so fabulous. No knitting is more left- than right-handed IMO, because knitting requires both hands and both sides of the brain. I'm an ambidextrous leftie - I do almost everything other than write, predominantly right-handedly - so maybe it's not surprising that "right-handed" knitting is easier for me. Of course, maybe it's just what I'm used to. Intriguingly, it's the left side of my back that's really struggling. And when one knits English-style, it's the right side that really gets the workout by "throwing" they yarn over the right needle in the action of creating the stitch. I should mention, there's a lot of fluidity to the action when you get into the groove. It's not all willy-nilly, as the term implies.

Today I also learned from Katy that one can knit English-style without actually throwing the yarn. I'm intrigued to learn more about this. Is it known as "lever-style" (something I found while digging around on the net for a few minutes earlier today)? Can anyone point me in the direction of a video that shows this style?

But enough about me. Whatch'all do when you knit? English? Continental? Some other fringe method I've never heard of? Any thoughts or feelings about pain when knitting? About the type of tension or speed you achieve when doing one method over another? Please share!

Friday, November 25, 2011

All Consuming

Check out this very thoughtful and articulate post on the nature and impact of first-world consumption, told from the very personal perspective of Zoe. I particularly appreciate her discussion of "new is a new concept".

This post really is worth reading.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Foot Hold

One year ago today, I broke my foot. Weary-brain-convinced that I was on the first rise, I turned around on my staircase and stepped down. In fact, I was on the fourth of 13 stairs, 19th-century steep. I landed in a seated position on my foyer floor. My left foot was twisted under the right side of my derriere. My body was entirely unprepared. I had no time to use my hands to break the fall (probably just as well, might have broken an arm.) It was sickeningly painful.

I freaked out. I was afraid to move or be touched. As I screamed at Scott to stay away (he was trying to help) while my kid chimed in to "leave Mummy alone. Don't touch her!", the common wall neighbours were obviously perplexed. (I learned this a couple of days later when I met them on the porch...)

The next day my (very kind) manager came to take me to the hospital. Stupidly, I'd waited out the whole night at home as Scott had convinced me I was over-reacting. By the time the doctors saw my foot, it - and my ankle - had swollen to 3 times its normal size. They took xrays and ultrasound and told me I had a particularly bad sprain. They gave me crutches and a prescription for a boot cast. When things were practically as ugly a week later, my family doctor had a look and freaked out. She was convinced it was broken and sent me to a clinic to be retested. Those tests revealed a minor break, in addition to the torn ligaments and tendons the hospital doctor had already diagnosed.

I spent 3 weeks at home thinking constantly about, and documenting, ways to ameliorate the healing process. I did 90 minutes of non-weight bearing yoga per day. I lay with my legs elevated (often right up the wall) for hours. I took supplements to diminish inflammation, used analgesic creams, had physiotherapy three times a week for 3 months. I had a lot of time to think.

Before I broke my foot, I imagined I'd go crazy if I couldn't walk, as per usual, an hour plus per day. I did not imagine how hard it would be to get up and down the stairs on my ass or the complexity involved in making food on one limb. I did not imagine the near impossibility of taking a shower. I couldn't imagine that I'd have ongoing foot pain for 8 months (though totally bearable, rather unpleasant) or that my brain would be really fuzzy for a good 6 weeks.

But I'm here to say that I did not go crazy (at least not over relative immobility). I did become a proficient online shopper. (If only I'd known how to knit!)

The great thing about Thanksgiving is that you don't have to cebrate the holiday in order to celebrate the concept.

So, here's a list of the things (in no particular order) I continue to be grateful for, when I remember this time last year:
  • That my workplace was incredibly accommodating and facilitated my ability to work at home.
  • That my manager took me to the emergency room.
  • That I didn't break something more serious.
  • That I managed to find zen, in my own small way, in being unable to walk normally for a few weeks.
  • That I had a great house in which to convalesce.
  • That I healed incredibly quickly, in the scheme of things (according to doctors and my physiotherapist)
  • That it didn't happen in January, which would have required me to negotiate everything in snow and ice.
  • That my husband and kid were supportive (and very helpful with the logistics).
  • That I had Xmas to look forward to.
  • That I live in a place with universal health care.
  • That I have good benefits.
  • That I could afford the deductibles and supplemental care without stress.
  • That I know how to use yoga therapeutically.
  • That I was also able to use it to maintain my sanity and to give me activity and pain relief.
  • That I have many friends, including those in my online community, who provided ongoing support.
  • That the injury gave me perspective in a fairly benign way.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Zig Zag

Here's the latest Xmas gift finished:

Rambler's Scarf by Elizabeth Sullivan

Actually, it just occurred to me that this is the third from latest gift. A shrug and tea cosy followed it. And now I'm back to making another one of these scarves in a different yarn and colour...

But isn't it pretty? Plus, it's easy, though I did alter the pattern by increasing the width by about an inch (4 stitches) and neglected to adjust one element of one row in every 8. Just slightly. Don't tell.

OK, crafters (and apologies to the non-crafters - I have to finish the 20 gifts I've committed to by next week(ish) before I'll have much energy to speak about other topics. Don't worry, though, I've got a few lined up...):
  • Do you think making rectangular scarves is ultra-boring? I mean, I know they're lovely and everyone needs a great rectangular scarf, but man, the repetition!
  • How far along are you on completing your knitting or sewing gifts?
  • Are you starting to resent everyone cuz they're about to get some seriously stylish and useful objets, while your 18 projects languish in the corner?
After the knitting, I start the baking. I've decided to make, as my core gifts, sable (see this ye olde post for a summer presentation of the shortbread) and fleur de sel caramels. I just ordered, and received, the most adorable packaging! I don't know that I'll order wrapping online again - the experience had its drawbacks, though client service wasn't one of them. I think there must be a great packaging place in downtown TO that can sell me the same calibre of item at a lower cost.

At any rate, I'm going to put the cookies in perfect gift-sized windowed cookie bags and the caramels in these little velcro-sealed boxes.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

An Autumn Tableau

I was totally transported by this photograph:

Photo courtesy of Desire to Inspire

What is it about sunlight through a denuded forest? Or that table? Or the adorable cake tray and lid? Don't you want to have a snack and a glass of wine looking at that scenery?

Check out the rest of the post. I don't actually love the majority of the interior design (I find it cold), but what a gorgeous home.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

High on Drugs

Honestly, at this point, I have a habit. If I were to photograph the array of knitting goods receipts I've racked up in the last month, you would be horrified. I spend so much time at the freakin' yarn stores, it's a miracle I have time to knit. And, btw, I desperately need to knit. Like, every second of the day.

But never mind the 8 zillion gifts I'm going to make (4 zillion of them are done!), there are so many things I want to knit for me. I just found a shawl pattern that wasn't online for purchase anywhere (I saw a photo of it on Ravelry). I ended up sourcing it at an LYS in Michigan. They're mailing it.

And don't think I've forgotten about sewing. I totally want to sew - but there's just no time right now! Furthermore, I absolutely don't need anything new - nada on the shirts, pants, dresses and skirts. How can I justify making another garment. Where will I put it?

What can I say? These are the problems to have.

A couple of other things...

I've decided to buy all of my wrapping supplies online this year - from a small business in Niagara-on-the-Lake. I'm sick and tired of shopping for them (I do recycle a lot of wrapping, but not that for gifts I give to friends). I found a place and I'm about to put in an order. Can't wait to see how this works. It means I'm going to have some super wraps for my baked goods.

I really am trying to make as many items as I can this year. I'm sick of inconsiderate consumption. I would love to receive any of the things I intend to give. So that's this year's plan.

And, a propos of that, here's a couple of shots of my latest gifts:

See my Ravelry projects page for more info about the good, bad and the ugly...

So tell me: How are you going to give this season? Is it homemade all the way? Business as usual? Total austerity? Do tell.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Clip Trip

The inimitable Patty wrote a great post today that reminds me of this one I wrote back in 2009. You know, I just wore my Cashin sweater this week. It's not something that sees a ton of action, but it makes semi-regular occurrences. I love it tremendously with every wear. That's intelligent fashion.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Moss Stitch

Gaptastic Cowl by Jen Geigley

Check out the knitting deets about this on my Ravelry page...

This is just a quick break between knitting stints to show you the latest Xmas item I've created. I chose the pattern based on Tasia's recommendation. I did modify the size based on the recipient and the need to conserve yarn, but I don't think it has impinged on its loveliness.

This yarn was kindly gifted to me by a work colleague who bought it to knit up a sweater and then developed wrist unhappiness. I am blown away by her generosity (700 yards!) - and by the baby alpaca fabulousness. I likely would not have purchased chunky weight wool. As you know, it's not my preferred gauge. But now I've learned that great projects come in all needle sizes.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

This is SO My Style...

Photo of Public Chicago, courtesy of Remodelista. Click on the link and check out all the pics. You will not regret it.

Y'all know I love me some good design - pared down (veering toward modern, but never cold) - and I love me some hotels.

I really want to try this place out... And, go figure, it's in the realm of affordable.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

In Which I Remind You That You Can't Judge A Bra By Its Size

Fascinating occurrence here: I just got another parcel (that's 2 in one week, in case you're counting) from Figleaves UK. I've spoken about this online experience numerous times (just use the search and see). You know how up I am with the Figleaves experience.

This time I was shopping for basics - specifically beige bras to wear under all kinds of tops requiring, well, beige bras. I didn't want too lacy, too bumpy - observable.

The ones I purchased are the Triumph Doreen - see the links for my previous posts on this bra. I have strong feelings about it. And since I've owned the black version for about a year, I'll offer up my latest perspective: It's MEGA retro. I don't mean "modern nod to vintage". I mean, hands down, exactly like they designed it 60 plus years ago. From hardware to fit.

I will say it fits large. Go down a size at least. (Unfortunately no one seems to stock it in a back size smaller than a 34 - but it's not a stretch-er. A 34 on the second hook will serve you well if your back is a 32.) If your size is, say, a 32F, I'd suggest buying a 34D. Remember, for each back size you increase, you should decrease the cup size. In this case I'm advocating, depending on a few factors, going down one additional cup size.

I'll also say, it's much chicer, IMO, in "poudre" i.e. beige than in black. But, even given that I bought it one size down, next time I'll buy it an still another cup size smaller.

The fit is seriously high and pointy. Lord, I love that silhouette. I don't care if you tend towards "modern" or vintage - that's a great shape, IMO.

The second bra I purchased is the Panache Melody. It's a balconette that veers towards (but doesn't descend into) a demi. This one, I chose in my "regular size" and, while it fits, it is definitely smaller in the cup than the "smaller" Doreen bra. It gives a nice, smooth (despite a bit of lace), round shape. Very practical, but lovely. What I appreciate about this design is that it's high on the sides but delicate from the front. This improves the supportiveness without sacrificing the look. But ain't no way this thing compares to the Doreen in terms of support. The Doreen is a freakin' tank.

I bought both of these bras sight unseen. Yes, that's risky, but I did have some understanding of how the Doreen fits. Panache bras seem to be all over the map in terms of sizing so I went with the size that usually works on me, and it did. I was prepared to return them. I'm happy I won't have to. In truth, I've tried on so many bras that I have experience and intuition on my side. The only way you can gain those, is by trying again and again (though not nec. online, if complex returns don't appeal).

So, let's get to the interactive part of this post:
  • Thoughts about the pointy silhouette? I don't think it's universally flattering - I mean, it takes all kinds, but it is one I love. What do you think? (Note: Gertie wrote a good post on this recently...)
  • Have you worn either of these styles of bra? If yes, tell us more.
  • Do you buy your bras online? Do you return as many as you keep?
Let's chat!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Pins and Needles

The title of this post is utterly apropos given that I've waited more than 3 weeks for Canada Post to deliver my tiny (but lovely) sweater clasp. It came from the eastern seaboard, people. As the seller wryly observed, I could have walked there to pick it up by now. You know, I loathe paying big time shipping costs to have things couriered, but the way our postal system is going, I can see the allure. My parcel got held up at Customs?!? It was entirely properly labeled. It is what it purported to be. I wonder what Customs was doing with it for 2 plus weeks as I waited with bated breath...

Let me say that my love of Etsy persists. Pink Rhino Vintage is a terrific shop. I can't say enough for good client service. Despite the lag in delivery time, I would happily purchase from this vendor again.

But onto the pics of the Split Neckline Cap Sleeve Tee, yes?

You may recall that I made substantive changes to the original pattern. Just have a look at my Ravelry page for deets. You may also recall that the yarn turned into mush when I blocked it - a truly unpleasant experience.

It did return to its original dimensions, largely, after 30 minutes in the dryer, but it's not quite as tight (let's not mince words) as I'd like it to be. Nonetheless, I think the sweater pin gives it some ballast. I'm going to try to get with this thing.

Whatcha think?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

It's That Time of Year

If it's the beginning of November, I must be getting ready to give you all kinds of advice on how to get with the Season. I have my more festive years, and my less festive years, but I can always relate to good gifts. (Spoiler Alert: If you are one of my peeps, and you like surprises, don't read on...)

As it happens, I somehow managed to commit myself to the construction of 15 knitted Xmas items. Some of them are done (6 things) but, by the math, I figure if I knit my fingers to the bone every minute between now and Dec. 20, everything should be perfect! Nothing like setting practically unreasonable goals and calling them learning opportunities.

In truth, as I work, I happily imagine all of the stunned impress-edness of my giftees as they stare at their new special thing. (Regrettably, I just read an old post on Yarn Harlot's blog in which she mentions that her sister - whom she knit for incessantly - doesn't actually like the quality of hand knit items. And I can sort of understand that. I don't like nubby, floppy, open weave, hairy yarn things. I just hope everyone loves the kind of handmade I do! And, while we're talking about this, can you imagine having the world's most famous knitter as your sister and not being blown away by her presents?? Just goes to show...)

I'm chronicling the fabulous journey on Ravelry but, in case you don't hang there, here are a few pics to set the scene:

Vancouver Fog - Long Version

Vancouver Fog - Short Version (There's a medium length but I haven't made it. Short version is great because it doesn't take up too much yarn... Seems that when I don't have enough to make the long version, I only have enough to make the short one.)

You'll note that the cable on each grey glove is exactly mirror-image. I forgot to do that on the shorter ones. I don't think it makes a tremendous difference, but the asymmetry bothers me.

And here's the beginnings of a scarf with an interesting repeat (K1, bring yarn to front, slip stitch purlwise, K3). Note, I mean the result is interesting - not the actual knitting:

Yes, I am using my overage of the questionable Debbie Bliss Rialto DK. Since I've learned that it can be washed and heat dried, and since scarves don't have to fit like sexy sweaters, I think it's a good bet. What I like about wash and dry yarn is that the recipient doesn't need to worry about going to extra measures when cleaning.

So, are any of you hand making gifts this year? What kind? Even if you don't give them, how do you feel about homemade gifts? Be honest!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Everything's Coming Up Crumble

The irony's not lost on me that, no sooner do I post about body change borne of moderation, I am compelled to bake.

I just had to use up some gorgeous, peaking pears sitting in a bowl on my counter top. Sure, I could have sliced them into a salad but seriously, is that as fun as making pear pistachio crumble?!

I haven't capitalized the recipe name because it's not technically a recipe. It's the outcome of my style of cooking: great ingredients, good materials, a modicum of experience and a pragmatic nature.

To wit:

Here they are, pre-baking... So horrified to show you the world's most beat up cookie sheet. But it still works, so what's an environmentally friendly cook to do?

These tarts are simple. I had 3 pears (each one got its own tart ramekin), sliced them, added some citrus, vanilla extract, a smidge of corn starch (these things are wet!) and coated them with a crumble made of 60 g (ish) of butter, equal parts pistachio, flour and brown sugar (1/2 cup of each in this case). Man, I am so schizo when it comes to units of measurement... Then I put them in a medium hot oven (350 degrees) for 30 minutes. They're baking as I write, so they may need a bit more time.

I don't think we spend enough time - maybe I should just speak for myself? - reveling in beautiful things. The smell of vanilla, butter and pear on a bright November day is a gift. That I can see it, smell it, taste it...That I can create and share it... That I can afford the food and heat to make it... That I will enjoy this after a dinner of beef tenderloin, rice and roasted veggies... Wow. My life is awesome.


Friday, November 4, 2011

Worth Its Weight / Wait

Remember the recalibration? It's been a while since I've spoken about it but I did some recon this morning and things are ticking along.

It so happens that my preferred method of assessment is the measuring tape. Let's extol its virtues for a moment, yes? It can fit in the smallest of purses (not that you're carrying it around, necessarily, but you can't say the same of a scale). It costs a dollar - so why not own 10? It comes with two systems of measurement - you can feel free to be metric or whatever the non-metric system is called. But best of all, it actually gives you the information you require to determine why your wardrobe is now fitting or not fitting and/or what size of clothing you should be looking at next time you make or buy something. The scale ain't gonna do that.

I heartily recommend that everyone check her measurements prior to a shopping spree - just to get a sense about whether she's going to be looking at one general size range or another. Even though RTW sizing is all over the map, the tape tells you about you - relative to the last time you checked. That's useful. Having said that, I'm the woman who customizes her dress forms to her own personal measurements. Perhaps mine isn't the median perspective.

When your body changes shape, for the myriad reasons and in the myriad ways in which it does, the transition does not always occur where you imagine it will (or should). Just ask those who lose a lot of weight while still it clings to one long-standing spot. Or the women in perimenopause who gain mass in the midsection- even if that has never been the tendency. It's useless to know, for example, that your weight hasn't changed in 10 years, if every time you go to put on a certain garment, it won't close. Measuring tapes can give you more information than a scale ever will.

Which brings me to my point: The measuring tape only cares to tell you about how things will fit. It's not prejudicial. It doesn't fuck with your mind by going up and down and sideways 5 lbs on a whim. To what, exactly, does your weight correlate? (Let's not veer into discussion about diabetes or heart disease - this isn't a post about physical health.)

Intriguingly, though, even when one uses a measuring tape to advise about the specifics of body proportions, it doesn't necessarily tell the full tale. My 5-second, angst-free measuring tape moment this morning told me that my bust, waist and hip measurements have each decreased by 1 inch since the beginning of September.* (BTW - I had a similarly unemotional moment 2 months ago when I learned my measurements had increased over the summer. It's not like my clothes and photos didn't tell me the same thing...) But let's consider this for a moment.

I can tell you that my bras are fitting differently. As you may know, I have a selection of bras in slightly different back and cup sizes to address previous fluctuations. The ones with the smallest back measurements were off limits for a while, until recently. Happily, I have equally nice lingerie in the next back size up. (Why should I be punished for my body's propensity to fluctuate??) The fact is, my bust measurement has changed largely because my back has lost fat. It hasn't toned (I don't see how it could have - unless knitting counts as conditioning!). My breasts have not shrunk. They are a smidge smaller in the upper cup perhaps, but not notably.

Turning attention to my hip measurement: At least to date, my body doesn't store fat at the high or low hip. How can I have lost mass here?? Simple: I've lost it in the (captured by the equation) derriere.

The one measurement I take at face value is waist circumference. As a person of Italian and Hispanic heritage who tends to gain in the midsection, when I lose mass here, it means I've lost weight. But never mind that - what it really means is I can fit into more clothing I already own.

The point is that my recalibration exercise has yielded the desired result. I wonder if, in another 2 months, I might be down another inch in each of these spots - cuz then I'll be back into the full range of smaller garments in my closet.

You'll note this transition has not been quick but it has been steady. It has not shocked my body. It has not forced me into the domain of extremism. Were I to guess, I'd say I've lost 6 lbs but, seriously, what do I know? I haven't stepped on a scale in a year. Point is, 6 lbs would signify a loss of only slightly more than half a pound a week - well below the 1.5 - 2 lbs "they" say is healthfully feasible and optimal. And still, it works for me because a) I feel better b) I look better in clothing IMO and c) my aim was to lose inches, not weight.

Some of you mentioned you might do a version of recalibration when last we discussed this. Has that occurred? If yes, how's it going for you?

*I should also add, I could easily record many additional measurements, were I so inclined. Upper leg comes to mind, since it's such a challenging spot for many re: fitting. Upper arm and ribcage measurements are very useful for those who are about to embark on a formal-wear adventure.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Sweater Tee Update

In full disclosure, there are no photos of the SNCS Tee yet cuz the freakin' sweater pin still has not arrived. I'm almost about to get worried. But not quite.

This post is to tell you a bit more about the pattern - what I did right, what I could have done better...

  • I decided to make the XS (thank God cuz this thing fits very large by everyone's estimation). I don't understand how all of the measurements from the schematic matched up mathematically in accordance with gauge - and still the overall outcome is large. Note: I was knitting slightly tighter than the gauge, so that outcome is even less comprehensible. All I can say is that most people on Ravelry note the same concern. So beware...
  • I used Debbie Bliss Rialto DK - which goes insanely limp as soon as it hits water. It's totally disturbing. Add that to the large fit factor (see above) and this XS fits, well, suboptimally.
  • Given that, in accordance with the schematic, the XS was supposed to be 34" in the bust (as opposed to my 37"), I decided - after much debate and recognizing that I basically had no choice - to sew horizontal bust darts using short rows.
  • While the link (above) shows you how to do the wraps and turns that comprise short rows, they don't tell you how to determine the number or placement of short rows within a garment. That's a big-time process that took me a few hours with a calculator and I could not have done it without the bonus tutorial in this Craftsy course. Seriously, if you have large boobs and you knit, you need to take this class.
  • It's well worth it to learn the method for inserting horizontal bust darts (an additive process in knitting, rather than the reductive process that sewn darting employs). Even though you'll need to figure out the specifics for each pattern, the premise is the same - as are the baseline calculations. I'm choosing to believe that it's hard the first time, and progressively easy thereafter.
The Good
  • I am super proud of myself for taking the time to figure out all of the convoluted details involved in creating the short rows. They worked well: They look good and the depth of the darts is just right.
  • I also shortened the sweater from the bust to waist and waist to hip - and increased or decreased the stitch count to create curves that match my own. Really, I redesigned this pattern and it worked!
  • The yarn knit very nicely - relatively little splitting (though it is known for splitting) and excellent stitch definition.
  • I determined how to make the trim a bit slimmer and to ensure that the facing (the inner hem) wasn't too long. See my Ravelry post for more technical deets.
  • I think that the camel/black colour scheme is rather chic.
  • I found the perfect sweater clasp and, if it ever arrives, I'm sure it's going to work well at the neck...
The Bad
  • The yarn did not respond as planned to the wet blocking. I suppose I should have blocked my swatch. Live and learn. Now I have to decide if I ever intend to use this yarn again. Or, if I do, how I'll make future garments adequately small to accommodate the yarn-grow.
  • When knitting the yoke (the top part of this top-down garment) I artificially altered my tension to get gauge. (My natural tension was slightly tighter than it should have been.) This totally screwed with the fabric and created unnecessary lumps and bumps (which, thankfully, largely blocked out). As soon as I realized this, I stopped trying to work my will on the fabric. They tell you not to try to change your gauge -and now I know why...
  • Never mind how things grew in the blocking, the pattern is dowdily large-fitting. I made the smallest size and it was still large. I don't know that I'd recommend it - even though the model looks great...
  • The yarn - which I did love till I blocked it - and which looks great even after being heat dried (size notwithstanding) - does seem to show the transition from skein to skein. This is despite taking special care when aiming to weave in the ends seamlessly. Not a selling feature.
So, have any of you worked with Debbie Bliss Rialto DK (or any of the other weights of this brand)? If yes, what was your experience of the yarn? Has anyone made this pattern with similar results? Have you short rowed to insert horizontal bust darts? How did it go? Let's chat...