The Gyro Experience

I thought I could do it. A test knit. Test a pattern for accuracies before publication. I counted the weeks, predicted how much time I could dedicate to knitting each of those week . . . and calculated. Yep, I could do it, I thought and then . . . nope, notta, nothing. The due date came and went. Much like one fails at fostering and adopts, I failed with this test knit and knitted a beauty.

I first saw this design called Gyro on fb. It immediately caught my attention, as to me, it looked like the model was wearing a sort of shawl over a knitted dress. Oh, I thought, that shawl would constantly be falling off my shoulder. Annoying. I looked twice and came to realize it was a one-picee affair and immediately, my love affair. All my knitting plans shifted, the search for yarn (in the house) ensued, and I became a test knitter for the designer.

Linda Marveng‘s patterns are sophisticated and not for the faint of heart. Small needles, yards and yards of yarn, intricate cables; her mucho finishing details are abundant. Her patterns are thorough in direction and Linda, herself is very approachable and appreciative of all suggestions to her patterns. (Within the time frame, I was able to help with a thing or two.) And, when I realized the deadline could not be met, she was very understanding of that, as well.

Well, in life, who knows what the next day is going to bring. And, in knitting, what is planned sometimes goes south.

I’m all about utilizing stash, especially leftover balls of yarn. This pattern offered two opportunities to do that.

Yardage figured out, tissue paper pattern made to help visualize the shape the knitted piece needed to be, my needles in hand and soon learned my gauge was off.

I had to ditch the scottish tweed for the sleeve sections. Could the felted tweed be used for the sleeves?

Yup, almost, as while the stitch gauge was right on, my row gauge was off causing me to need more yarn than what the pattern called for. No problem, I thought. I see all kinds of felted tweed still available. What I didn’t realize was the discontinuation of THIS color and two of the sleeve sections had already been completed. Ravelry to the rescue.

Reaching out to the very few Ravelers who had this dye lot in their stash, I received a friendly and helpful response. She said she could help me but to be prepared as, in her experience, dye lots look very different with this line of yarn. I received her bundle, and to my dismay, she was correct, and attempted some sort of blending by alternating knitting two rows of one dye lot, then two rows of the other on the last two sections of the sleeves. You can see the result, below.

Well, turns out I fell in love with the ‘striping’ and had enough of the darker dye lot to be creative on the solid pieces. So, well . . . you know. (When you think of ripping out as opportunity for more knitting, it doesn’t feel so bad.)

When it came to the sewing, it became strategic to make sure the striping lined up at the sides, and across the back and the front. You can make out the subtle striping, here that does just that.

Here’s a better view.

The cable section ended up being knitted in Tinde, a delightful new yarn to me, written about, here. It is of a lavender hue that shows its magnificence in the light of day.

The rest? Just a lot of knitting. The only change I made to the pattern was to create a selvage by knitting the first stitch of every row. I used the twin stitch method for short rows, and I did not find the need or want to block.


Oh, and one final thing . . . this is my first photo shoot with Sally, my iphone tripod. You can see the remote in my hand in the photo, below. Let’s just say, from beginning to end, it was quite the ride to create this epic look.

Meet Sally

Coronavirus lockdown certainly has the ability to squeeze the optimism out of the best of us. It has also brought on our collective creativity. What we seek to do is what we did before. Who we seek to be with is who we wanted to be with before. I am noticing we, as a people, are finding alternative ways within the parameters of social distancing to adjust and make change. Car parades or gatherings on front lawns to celebrate birthdays, zoom meetings to visit loved ones, or making large signs on poster paper to communicate feelings to those we cannot visit are a few visible signs of finding creative solutions. An abundant amount of creativity is seen online such as four second videos on TikTok that make us laugh or ponder, stories on Instagram for promotions or otherwise, song writers being inspired to write new songs such as Kelly Clarkson’s Dare to Love. There are a myriad of examples of people finding creative solutions so life can move forward; just look at what is happening in the field of education, itself.

Such was my motivation to find a way to do what I do. Knitting, of course has been no challenge, in fact the added time at home has in itself been helpful. I have knitted more, organized my yarn more, and been able to plan future projects with a clearer head.

However, how was I ever going to pull off the photo shoot? That involved another. Could we keep our safe distance and figure a way not to share in the equipment? Was asking another adding potential exposure to the virus and ultimately that person’s health risks?

Issue/what ~ I began researching the possibility of a home photo studio. I studied the needed equipment, thought about available space in my home, wondered if I had the know how of sophisticated tools. I watched many videos for ideas for backdrops, lighting and the like. I even viewed a video on making a DIY backdrop by painting splatters of color. The more I researched, the more involved I felt a home studio would be to create, and ultimately more time away from what I want to be doing and that is knitting. Also, I was not motivated with the end product of an indoor photo against some artificial backdrop. And, most certainly this was going against everything we, late hubby and I, had ‘invented’ when planning fashionscape.

Issue/who ~ This brought me back to desiring photos to be taken outside and the ‘who’ of the problem. What could replace a person? I went on Amazon just to peruse equipment. It was there that I discovered tripods. I had always known about tripods for serious photographers, however, I did not know about tripods for iphones. And, then I learned about a tripod with a remote! bingo! Would I really need any other equipment? I realized then that this one simple tool could be a game changer. I could go anywhere, anytime, set up the iphone in its holder, and when ready, I could snap the photo.

Well, here ‘she’ is. I’ve affectionately nicknamed her Sally. She is a tripod from Ubeesize, lightweight, pulls out to 60 inches, holds a wide variety of phones, and doubles as a selfie stick. I am now able to go out during coronavirus times, be safe and respectful to others, and keep the photos to the aesthetic I desire when sharing my knitting online.

Label Lovers, Anyone?

I love knitting from past issues of VK magazines. And, it appears I am not the only one as seen by the continuing invitation threads posted on Ravelry from the Vogue Knitting group. These invites are meant to inspire and motivate and they indeed do, not to mention they are just plain fun sharing enthusiasm with other knitters who have a similar passion.

Recently, an invitation entitled Label Lovers caught my attention. The idea was to choose a designer pattern from a past issue. There was considerable discussion at the onset as to what constituted a designer pattern. I just knew I love labels. Whether on wine bottles or on printed bands around skeins of yarn or on designer wear, labels, themselves are little works of art to me. Memorable is the word I have used when choosing patterns and while I was perusing possible patterns (posted with the invite), designer James Coviello caught my attention. His patterns have lovely, feminine details; the little short-sleeved jackets drew me in. I wondered why I had never knitted anything designed by him before and figured it was time so I chose pattern #21 from Vogue Knitting Fall, 2008.

Frustrating for me, however is how these older patterns use yarns that have long been discontinued. So, I was not surprised that this was the case. This forced the search for replacement yarn. Even in understanding weight, textures, ply, and fibers it is my experience that yarns simply knit up differently even having similar characteristics. Two unfamiliar yarns, Universal Yarn Deluxe Chunky Tweed and Universal Yarn Eden Silk were held double throughout the pattern I wanted to knit.

What a bit of luck I had! When looking these yarns up to find their characteristics, I wondered, fingers crossed, if perhaps anyone might have them in their yarn stashes. (How fortunate are we that we have Ravelry and some people post their stashes there.) And, pay dirt. Two separate stashes, I found each yarn and in ample amounts.

Would they look good together? I gambled and here is the result. The solid grey held with the purplish tweed make a sort of marled look.

The knitting of this was fast and easy, seams crocheted together, my preferred method,

one row buttonholes so buttons do not pop out and the buttons themselves are sewn on with split yarn. I did add seam tape around the neck to prevent stretching.

This photo shoot was back in February and the sweater hasn’t been worn, due to our home bound decree. How I look forward to enjoying it once lockdown lifts.

The project as seen in Ravelry has a few tips regarding yarn overs. Oh, and stay tuned for “LL2” (label lover 2) later this year. Here is a sneak peak.

Happy blessed Mother’s Day, everyone!

Modern Argyle

Utilizing a quiet day during lockdown, I am catching up on writing about a project completed a few months, ago. When I received my Vogue Knitting Holiday, 2019 and excitedly turned the pages to see the new designs, which has been a total thrill for me for over 40 years, I turned to this, #07 called Parallelogram designed by Laura Zukaite.

Under my breath I said, you’ve got to be kidding. Argyle? Didn’t I knit argyle 30 years, ago? Continuing turning the pages, the argyle stayed with me. I’ve been in conversation many a time with knitters talking on how we choose the projects we choose. I have noticed that one technique I consider is if the garment is memorable. I very much liked the modern twist of the cropped length and the way the diagonal lines of the argyle finished around the shoulders. Upon further noticing, I realized I had the perfect yarn in my scrap stash. (I’ve talked extensively about stash here and again, here as examples. Another word I use is remnants.) The grey is a workhorse yarn, a classic wool from Patons that actually was a hand me down yarn from another knitter. I figured the other colors simply had to be of the same weight.

Have you noticed the variety of techniques designers use of knitting fabric, then adding embellishment over that fabric? Appliqué, perhaps? Such is the case in this beauty I knitted many years, ago by Norah Gaughan, from Vogue Knitting Spring/Summer 1994. Oh, how I wished I either still had this or had taken a photo of me in it.

Recently, I saw this exquisite number by Alexandra Davidoff from VK Spring/Summer 2019 working cross stitch with an embroidery needle after knitting a grid-type fabric and yes, it is now in my queue.

Plaids are often created by knitting horizontal striped fabric, then adding the vertical lines of a plaid in duplicate stitch, again with an embroidery needle. My argyle came to life in exactly this way. First, the diamonds of the pattern using bobbins were knitted.

A tip on the usage of those bobbins: shaking or simply holding up the knitted fabric after a row allows the bobbins to dangle freely and they literally spin untangling themselves.

And, then the diagonal lines were applied over the stitches. Tips on duplicate stitch:

  • Use your thumb to guide yarn over stitch for fullest coverage.
  • Keep the work loose. When you pull tight, the yarn sinks in and the coverage is minimal (ugly).
  • Work from the bottom and go up.
  • Focus on not splitting yarns.
  • Keep slow.
  • Weave in ends, sew the sweater together.

This is a design that has a center that is to fit within the top and bottom of the garment. To assure that this would happen in my sweater, I paid particular attention to row gauge. See that little blue marker?

To center the argyle pattern, I had to add an inch below and above what the pattern stated. I only knew to do this because I knew my row gauge and the length I needed this to be. If I had not done this, my sweater would have been 2 inches too short.

Other than that, this project was clear sailing and is easy to wear. The photo shoot was in the neighborhood about 1 1/2 months, ago.

As seen on my Project Page on Ravelry

Comfort or Shout-Out

Maybe, it was the thrill of the package. Maybe, it is the yearning for something positive as we live in social distancing parameters, or maybe it is the fact that I have never knitted with this yarn before, but this post is nothing more than a shout-out for the exquisite yarn called Tinde.

Hillesvåg Ullvarefabrikk Tinde pelsullgarn
is a plied, dk 100% wool Norwegian yarn that I ordered online from Ysolda. I have knitted with wonderful yarn in the past, of different fibers, variety of weights, but somehow this particular yarn has caught my attention. It just begs to be knitted. It is as simple as that. I ‘found’ it via a test knit for Linda Marveng‘s new pattern called Gyro. Let me share this awesome bat-wing sleeve dress pattern with you, also could be thought of as a tunic. I was particularly drawn to, what I call, the double layer look. To me, it looked like the model had on a knitted dress with a knitted shawl over it. The fact that it is one piece is captivating.

I won’t discuss my well-intended thought and subsequent failure regarding the test knit (due date has come and gone), rather the fact that this well-intention did lead me to the introduction and eventual purchase of this yarn. Difficult to photograph and capture the essence of its color which is truly as lush as the yarn, here is my best attempt.

Maybe, you can see it better paired with the sides of the dress, already knitted in Rowan’s felted tweed. (Not to veer off topic, but there is a story about this yarn choice, as well.)

You can see the cable section started for the center of the design utilizing Tinde. I think it is the yarn’s body that I am so appreciating.

I am working my way up as you can see and am also stopping to snap a picture of the cable work.

I have learned this strategy of taking photos along the way to help spot mistakes in my knitting. Whatever the pattern stitch, (cable, color work, etc) somehow, seeing the entirety of the fabric from a distance defines the mistakes and they jump out. It is amazing what you see in a photo that you do not see when the knitting is directly in your lap. I mentally prepare myself for ripping out if mistakes are spotted.