Luscious Gracious! Look What We Made Today!

A blog devoted to the art of the Luscious Gracious clan.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Sweater Fever

Not only do I have sun poisoning (again), in February (again), but I have also been afflicted with SWEATER FEVER. Please, a warning. If you are under the age of 12, or elderly, or suffer from any type of autoimmunity, please DO NOT read this post. Or if you are fiber-impaired (as this post will be boring).

Here is Ms. Lily modeling our new "Out of the Blue" sweater. Lucy named it, after asking over and over again, "What are you going to make out of that blue?". The yarn is South West Trading Company "Optimum" (100% wool, color 560). The red and black at the top is Malabrigo of Uruguay (100% merino wool, color Torero - the red one...the other one is just Black).

Above is the lace rib stitch that I used at the bottom. I think maybe I made it up, but I won't put out a pattern for it because it is so poorly documented in my notes, and I don't want to give away someone else's pattern for an edging inadvertently.

Also, I know for sure that I used someone else's beautiful cable for the top part. It originally went down the front of a man's sweater in the Schoeller Stahl Winter 2002/03 pattern booklet. And was brown. And there were several of them, so just imagine this cable criss-crossing itself across the front of a handsome European man's handsome chocolatey brown sweater.
But here I wanted to use a cabled top on the horizontal to hold the sweater up. It can be worn as a loose collar around the neck, or like here across the shoulders.

The second sweater that I made these last two weeks was this one. It's in the round, and also out of the Malabrigo wool shown above. By the way, I bought 3 skeins (215 yards each) and made both of these sweaters. I still have quite a bit, one entire skein plus a largish ball, left. I LOVE this stuff, and highly recommend it. The colors are sensational, and it feels so good to knit with, you should totally go buy some right now. Or not. Because you live in Arizona, and how practical is that, really?

The cable is an open cable that is based on the one on #37 "Interlacing Cable Sweater" in Rebecca #25. I used wool with a different gauge, and repeated it several more times than the one in the pattern to get the size I needed, but the stitches are the same, and it is a fun knit. I converted it to the round, and made up the rest of the pattern (shaping, armholes, straps, back), but I really think that the pattern straight from the magazine would work for you if your wool were big and chunky, and if you have very little "shaping" of your own to do, if you know what I mean. Let's just say, this red sweater looks GORGEOUS on Letoya!

Remember how Lucy designed the LusciousGracious Valentine Sweater? Her sister is also quite the designer. She came up with this over-sized t-shirt pattern, and even chose the yarns and colors. The orange is a Cascade 220 heather yarn that I bought so long ago that it no longer has labels (I used to be really handy and think it would be a good idea to put all of the yarn labels off of new skeins purchased in a bag and keep them separate from the yarn. Two moves later, I can't find them). I did originally buy this yarn with Lily in mind, as she has always adored orange. The green stripes are more of that leftover Rowanspun dk that keeps haunting me. After this sweater, where I even used it doubled, I STILL had more than 8 skeins left over. But, I finally gave it to a worthy recepient last night. Let's not say "unloaded", please.

This sweater is called "Lily's Orange T-Shirt". I knitted this one in such a hurry that I almost made a huge mistake. I forgot that Lily had wanted the stripe repeat on only one sleeve! Luckily for all of us, Pam was with me, and she remembered. Thanks Pam, for contributing to family unity once again!
It is kind of hard to see here, but the cuffs, as well as the bottom ribbing and the collar, are ribbed with a baby cable (knit 2 sts btwn any number of purl sts, and on every 4th row, "turn" the baby do this by knitting the two sts tog but NOT taking them off of the left needle....instead, you knit again into the first stitch and take them both off of the needle at the same time - If you didn't get that, have someone show you, or look in any knitting book of good or even fair repute).

And here comes Number Four. The idea for this one came from some iron-ons that Stephen had as a kid. He got them at the Burger Chef. They were so fancy, and made his t-shirt say "I'm the boss, apple sauce" and other catchy phrases. During that same time (think late 70's, people) I had a shirt with Frankenstein's monster on it that said, "If I wanted your opinion, I'd beat it out of you". Nice for a tiny first grade girl. And then, Stephen's dad and stepmom owned a silkscreening business when we were growing up and when we were in college. One shirt that was a popular one for many groups pictured a bedraggled, skinny cat and the words "I have pms and a handgun. Any question?". Classy.
Now, all of the "cool kids" have shirts that say crazy things. We even have some at our house. Lucy is partial to the ones from Napoleon Dynamite, and one that has a calculator instead of a heart (I "calculate" math). Lily's favorite says "Science Rocks". And when Steve dons the bright red "Chick Magnet" shirt, I know it's time to end the laundry strike.

I dreamed up the idea for this design while talking to Illanna and Stephen about crazy things to write on knitwear. A few days later, I decided to cast on, and surprise Lucy with her own t-shirt. Instead of orange, I went with her favorite shade of 22o, color #7809, which is a nice lavendar. I used some of the huge amount of a burgundy that I have (also 220, also pre-label) to do the Fair Isle writing.
Can you read it?

This side says, "I like your clever t-shirt",

and the back, "now go knit something".

A call to arms for knitters everywhere! And along the bottom of the back? LUSCIOUSGRACIOUS.COM ....because that's just how I roll.

The front has a bottom border of hearts and x's, which is how I sign my letters.

The best thing about all of these sweaters? They all fit me! Hahaha! I am Evil-Mom!! Increasing my sweater wardrobe at the expense of my own offspring.
The reason for all of this crazy knitting (and not sleeping)? Dearest Becca (our college sweetheart and new mother of beautiful Ezra)

sent me this gorgeous yarn last fall. It's Noro "Kureyon" and Cascade (yeah!) "Pastaza", which is a half-llama, half-sheep hybrid. I think I saw one at the zoo.
Anyway, suddenly I was taken by the wild desire to make this sweater! Immediately! No matter what!! I had Sweater Fever!!
So, I started designing, but nothing I did on paper seemed worthy of this yarn. Especially since Becca had made it so clear that the sweater was for me, and me only. Oh, she loves me.
So I want it to be perfect. I decided that all of the other yarn in my closet was fodder for practice, and I started trying different techniques and styles that I want to (maybe) incorporate in my Magic Hybrid Sweater.
Just look at this yarn. What does it say to you?

You say that you want to see more magic yarn? Here it is!!!!!

We set foot for the first time in a long time in a fabric store (read: Big Chain), and found this. Yes, Target Yarn. I think. Wasn't this the same stuff that was in those kits at Target? I know that this store was also selling the yarn from the Target Dollar Section for the low, low price of $1.50. And they were also selling the Target kits that are no longer on the shelves at Target. Not that I am a Target expert or something. Sometimes entire weeks go by without me looking things over there.

Anyhoo, I bought this "$39.99 Value" for a desperately discounted price. Who can resist yarn as big as your head? (Just so you know, there is a big ole styrofoam ball in there....600 yards of skinny string is not so much). I like the kitsch value. But the real reason I couldn't resist? This post at Good To Be Girl. She is making something spectacular out of a yarn that she otherwise wouldn't even let into her stash. So, I decided that we needed a little bit of that at LusciousGracious. I must say, though, that if you decide to follow in our footsteps....I recommend only the gold color. Something in the process of making the silver, black, or rainbow (what were they thinking?) colors makes the yarn/string very stiff. I actually knitted a small swatch, and could stand it! Wow! Who would have thought it? No, I totally see the place for cheap-o yarns in knitting, so don't bust my chops. But come on, this stuff is 70% polyester and 30% sparkle. I don't even know what that is.

What didn't turn out to be worth even a dollar (at the cute dollar store next to the Fabric Store of No Name) was this circular needle. The original idea was to "force" myself to knit with inexpensive, perhaps even - dare I say it? - poorly made, products. But the needle was too much for hands accustomed to Addi Turbos. I couldn't stand the feel of the actual needle, which was something akin to powdery sandpaper, so don't ask me how the cord works. I didn't get that far. The crochet hook may be ok, which makes the price of the useless circular only 50 cents.

Make sure that you check out the "feeding hole" included on the sparkle yarn box. Lucy used to stick Cheerios into every small space she could find, and all I can think is that someone should feed this yarn some cereal. Through that special hole. You know.

Believe it or not, I have already designed a sweater (yes, another sweater) with this yarn. I hope to knit it soon. Seeing how I have Sweater Fever and all, I bet it will be done shortly.

And I am not the only one. SF has already creeped into the lives of several International Knit Circle members. My own daughter is exhibiting signs.

Here Ms. Lucy shows the progress on her new pink sweater. It's made of Malabrigo wool and she is writing the pattern as she goes along. Ahhh. My offspring are good for so much. I hope it is big enough for me....I love the color. And that cable down the front! What a clever girl! Much better than a t-shirt! She's using Moss Stitch for the bottom.

Both girls have been busy with some amazing writing projects. I think that a post in the near future is FINALLY going to be a poetry post. To give our non-fiber readers something else to bore them. No, really, we are good writers. For my own part, I just can't spell. Or speak. Hey, don't listen to me at all.

In other news, Illanna and Steve have been sitting here knitting without me for hours. Even I am getting bored with my writing.

So, just a quick thank-you to our readers, especially for the ones who left awesome comments and sent links and photos of LusciousGracious designs that they have made. We may even have some of those available for you soon, but we want to check with them first to see if it is ok. I do know that Rebecca won't mind you taking a quick tour of her blog to see the lace shawl she is making out of pink merino that she spun herself. She's using my Random Lace technique, which is a fun and easy way to introduce yourself to lace knitting, and a good "knitting with company project", as it requires very little attention to attain stunning results. I am honored that Rebecca is using it for such a special project. Based on her other work, I have no doubt that it will be a beauty.

I, for one, think that no knitter should have any outside distractions (work, school, family life, romantic entanglement, travel, chores, etc.) to take away from the pleasure of knitting. Hey, I pretend that I don't all of the time. Maybe I'd be a better writer if I did less knitting, but I sure wouldn't have as much fun. Or as much to write about! Sorry for the four sweaters in one post. Hopefully it takes you a week to read, which is about when we will get around to posting again. Hey, we've got knitting to do!

You too!

Knit on,



At 2:27 AM, February 26, 2006, Blogger illanna said...

I love these sweaters, and the pictures of the sweaters, and the pictures of the yarn. Sounds like the circular dollar store needle feels like orange julius tastes! Delicious! My hybrid sheep llama had her first day at school and, well, you know the rest so where's my free stuff? I can't wait to see what you make with your "The Yarn Ball," but more importantly, I can't wait to watch you knit with something that isn't wool. Good thing there are no ends to NOT spit splice, or you might start cursing. Happy Knitting, from Foxbot Queen of 2006 (Illanna).

At 10:35 AM, February 26, 2006, Anonymous lucy said...

By the way, I loooove the sweater I'm making for my self,and ONLY myself. To bad for you mom!

At 11:59 AM, February 26, 2006, Blogger Maura said...

While reading back issues of Knitty, I came across a link to your website, and I have to say that I am absolutely impressed! You're such a talented family. I love your DIY (design it yourself ;) approach to knitting. I know I'll be stopping in often to see what you guys are up to.

At 11:45 AM, February 27, 2006, Blogger Creative Genius? said...

WOW - y'all have been busy!!! I am sooooo glad you have posted! I love to see what you guy/gals have been up to and I love even more knowing that everyone is ok!!!

Your works are beautiful as always and keep on posting!!!

Love the SF -- hopefully it's catching!

:-) AL

At 1:16 PM, February 28, 2006, Blogger Stephanie said...

oooh! Stunning :) each and every one is absolutely beautiful! Sorry to have missed out on the International Knit Circle last week...hopefully I'll be able to catch up with the LG family soon :) And show my sweater of my own!

At 4:07 PM, February 28, 2006, Blogger 'Zann said...

It always perks up my day to find a new LG post, chockful of inspiration as always.

Malabrigo. sigh. I love it, too - not much can beat it for tactile pleasure. I ordered 2 skeins of it after reading a post here from Steve awhile back. I keep using it here and there in multi-yarn projects, so one skein is going a long way.

I was also delighted to read about your Target yarn--
this is funny: i just wrote a whole bunch here and deleted, realizing I was writing what should be an entry in MY blog! So you'll have to look for that one in the next day or so over at LitL.
as always, wishing you wellness, knitting delight,

At 5:09 PM, March 01, 2006, Blogger Kate said...

You got sun poisoning? I should be so lucky - my latest blog entry tells the full story of the "black dog" and all. I love that jumper with the cable across the top; I love your photos; I love what you do and the way that you do it.

Feel good? Knit - you'll feel better!

At 9:01 PM, March 02, 2006, Blogger Jenny said...

I saw your comment on vanilla vodka, and we do that in my family too. Except we use brandy and use it for vanilla flavoring when we bake. so, yeah, not at all the same. Thanks for staying out late with me the other night. I hope no one woke up cranky. I too will try to make it tomorrow night.

At 10:26 AM, March 12, 2006, Anonymous Siri said...

30% SPARKLE!?!?!? Who could resist that?


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