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Tres Chic Veronique


Happy Halloween!

You've all read Bridget Jones, right? You know those tallies at the beginning of each entry? Number of cigarettes smoked, current weight etc... They just sum it all up. Let's try one:

Number of complex knitting projects I brought to a scary movie party to distract myself from the scariness of said scary movies: 3
Number of those projects that I knitted on for longer than 10 minutes: 0
Number of stitches drunkenly dropped during the few minutes I knitted on those projects: 3 or 4
Number of all stockinette projects on large needles that I worked on all night that aren't mine: 1 (thanks Rebekah!)
Number of delicious machine gun-shaped chocolate cakes eaten: 1 (thanks Rick and Betsy!)
Number of dynamite stick-shaped tomato/spinach/feta wraps eaten: 2? 3?
Number of blogs featuring awesome Halloween knitting: 1

By Veronique
On Sunday, October 30, 2005
At 10/30/2005 01:30:00 PM


I've been tagged

Marie just tagged me with my very first meme. Thanks Marie!

What is your all-time favourite yarn to knit with?
Anything sproingy. I hate tightly spun, dense yarn: it shows how uneven my knitting is and it hurts my hands. You want names? I'll name names: Koigu, Debbie Bliss Cashmerino, Rowan Calmer and ASC.

Your favourite needles?
Well, I own mostly Addis, but I've learned that each project has a perfect needle: Bryspun for lace (nice and pointy), bamboo for dpns (the stitches stick nicely to the bamboo).

The worst thing you’ve ever knit?
I'm giving you 3: the 3 first sweaters that I knit. I never completed any of them.

  • #1 was black, 100% acrylic, I used yarn of a different gauge and I changed the stitch pattern from moss to stockinette. And yet, I was surprised that the sweater came out too short and too wide...
  • #2 was 100% acrylic, I used yarn of a different gauge and I changed the stitch pattern from 2:2 ribbing to stockinette. I knitted the back and realized I should just give it up.
  • #3 was 100% acrylic (are you detecting a theme?), but I used yarn of the right gauge and I used the same stitch as the pattern. See? I learned a little from my mistakes. Just a little though: I decided to transform a sweater into a cardigan. I abandoned that project too.
Your most favourite knit pattern? (maybe you don’t like wearing it…but it was the most fun to knit)
Kate Gilbert's Elizabeth collar. I made 5 or 6 of them. It's a quick knit, it's intricate enough to be stunning but not too much that it's hard to make. Even the cast-off is fun (picot!). And my mug is on her website.

Most valuable knitting technique?
I have to agree with Marie: using a crochet hook to fix mistakes.

Best knit book or magazine?
Best reference: Vogue Knitting and Nancie Wiseman Knitter's Book of Finishing Techniques. (When I first got the Nancie Wiseman book, I was disappointed: it's short and I felt like I knew all these techniques already. But I use this book so much that it has earned a permanent place on my couch and never gets put back on my bookshelf).
Best patterns: Teva Durham's Loop-d-loop
Best magazine: Interweave Knits

Your favorite knit-a-long?
I think my fave KAL was one I did not participate in! It was the Audrey KAL, by the Keyboard Biologist. It was the first KAL where each participant could post on one blog specifically created for that purpose, as opposed to several knit bloggers reading each others' blogs. I learned so much about techniques but also how knitters would help each other out!

Your favorite knitblogs?
I read Knit and Tonic every day. Wendy cracks me up. And she knits like a fiend. I just downloaded her top-down raglan V neck sweater pattern today.
And the ubiquitous Yarn Harlot.

Your favorite knitwear designer?
Teva all the way! Kim Hargreaves too. Jean Moss. (And can I add Veronik Avery? Just because we have the same name? Although she spells hers differently).

The knit item you wear the most? (how about a picture of it!)
This one is easy! The DB Jacket with ribbed collar, from Simple Living, in Cotton Cashmere. (I had long hair back then!).

I'm now tagging: Jewel and 'Tina.

By Veronique
On Friday, October 28, 2005
At 10/28/2005 04:21:00 PM


All orange all the time

As I started knitting on the Brioche Capelet from Wrap Style, it occurred to me that many of my projects are orange. Don't believe me?

(I know Sarah will approve).

By Veronique
On Wednesday, October 26, 2005
At 10/26/2005 04:25:00 PM


Kool Aid dyeing

I've looked at the Scarf Style/Wrap Style knit-along, and I can't find a single completed wrap. I don't understand: this book came out in July or August, right? I know there are many out there who mock the poncho, but come on! This book is more than just ponchos. I am dying to make the Evelyn Clark shawl (in fact, I have the yarn for it...). Anyway, I was actually looking for pics of the Brioche Capelet by Nancy Marchant (who also designed the brioche sweater in IK Spring 05). This capelet is adorable, and I want to knit it NOW.
So, I dropped the Rebecca Apricot Jacket, the gauntlets, Mermaid and the mystery shawl, and looked through my stash to find appropriate yarn. Although the capelet is knit on US 5 needles, the yarn is actually worsted weight. In fact, this dutch yarn, which is hard to find (only 3 online stores carry it, 2 of which are in Canada), should be knit on a US 9 needle for stockinette. I swatched with all sorts of yarns from my stash and then I found it: Knit Picks' Andean Silk. I had purchased 10 balls in cream, thinking they would make a beautiful Angelina. Well, move over, Angelina! The Brioche Capelet takes only 300 yds of each color, so I have 4 skeins left over. Perfect for an upcoming yarn swap...
Since the focal point of the Brioche Capelet is the contrast of the 2 colors, I decided to use some of that Kool Aid I've been saving.
After much debating, I finally chose: red (3 packets of Cherry and 2.5 packets of Jamaica) and orange (5 packets of Tamarindo--brown--, 2 packets of Orange, 1 packet of Pina/Pineapple, one packet of Mango and half a packet of Jamaica).

  • I let the yarn soak in cold water for 20 minutes and squished out all the air bubbles, then heated it to almost boiling.
  • I dissolved the Kool Aid in a mug with boiling water and added the concentrated mix to the pot (it turns out this was not the smartest thing to do because the color is not perfectly distributed. I couldn't figure out how to lift boiling hot yarn out of my pot to add the dye).
  • I let the dye simmer, but not boil, for about 20 minutes, then let it cool for about an hour. For the orange dye, I could definitely tell when the yarn had absorbed all the dye: the water turned milky white. Just a little note: my fingers also absorbed dye, even though I didn't boil them.
  • Then I rinsed the yarn, still in the pot, with warm water and hung it to dry over my bathtub overnight. It wasn't completely dry this morning (damn rainy weather!) but I hope to wind it and start knitting tonight...

Here is a photo tutorial:

By Veronique
On Tuesday, October 25, 2005
At 10/25/2005 05:44:00 PM


The life of a left gauntlet

After all the calculations, sketching and swatching for the gauntlets, I was itching to start, but I also had reservations. What if they are too big? Too small? (I'm still 99% done with the Vesper Socks but they are too tight in the calves. The idea of ripping it out to the ankle, calculating how many increases to add, and re-knitting both socks just kills me. For now, the socks are beautiful draped on the couch. Socks as art, and not as a wearable item).
I bravely cast on saturday morning, following instructions for the tubular cast on in Nancie Wiseman's book. Oooh! Tubular! Here is the life of my left gauntlet from saturday morning to sunday night:
I only had one cable needle, and this fancy cable necessitates 2 cable needles, so I used a toothpick.

But you know what? It's fitting a little too tightly. Can I stretch them out upon blocking? Will they stretch all by themselves when I wear them? *sob*

By Veronique
On Monday, October 24, 2005
At 10/24/2005 11:59:00 AM


how I met the Spiders

I've been so busy this week! (I've done everything but write my dissertation...). Not only did I start a blog, but I also decided to meet up with a group of knitters, the Spiders. And to make it even better, these are blogging knitters! Perfect.
So the next thing you know, I'm attending their weekly meetup at The Point . There was only one slight mishap: how would I recognize these Spiders? I ended up going to a random table and asking them "are you the Spiders?". They were slightly confused ("are we what?"). Fortunately, the Spiders were sitting at the next table and overheard me. There were 7 of them! Do you remember the first thing that the Yarn Harlot said at Lord & Taylor's? "I'm sure that individually you're very nice people, but collectively you're a mob". (And then she giggled her first giggle).
The Spiders:
Sarah was my email contact. She was knitting a retro rib sock with some Claudia's Handpainted, purchased at the Point. Sarah told me that Lisa would be there. Lisa bravely turned her first cable! She and Stephanie were both making the same cabled and ribbed socks, as gifts (not in the same color though). Virginia (who I really want to call 'Tina) was bravely making a lace runner of her own design. Katie was making the cover tank top of Sarah Dallas' Vintage Knitting, using Artfibers Chai. (I even recognized that it was Artfibers yarn because of the black foam core!). One latecomer Amanda , was wearing a beautiful Clapotis. Eventually, it was down to me, 'Tina and Lisa, when the girl sitting at the next table introduced herself: it was Marie, a newcomer (like me!) to the Spiders. Marie knits, spins, makes her own jewelry AND sings opera. She also talked about dyeing yarn and nonchalantly mentioned about showing us how. Don't think I'll forget that, Marie...
It was great to be able to hang out with real knitters! Thank you ladies and see you next friday. (And next time, I'll bring my camera. I think that's how you can spot a real knit blogger).

Oh, and I have been knitting: the last sleeve of the Rebecca Apricot cardie is growing and then I can seam and finally wear it! I also started Clue 4 of the Mystery Shawl 2. Here's a pic of what the shawl looks like after Clue 3. Last night, I bound off all st and picked up 231 st along the 2 sides (115 per side plus one at the tip). 231. Good thing I bought a new US4 needle at The Point, 35" long!
Edited to add: Hey, I forgot one of the Spiders... She's making a Clapotis out of the most gorgeous handpainted yarn in Cherries 'n Chocolate from Claudia's Handpainted. I drooled a little. Hopefully she will forgive me for blanking on her name. Sorry!

By Veronique
On Saturday, October 22, 2005
At 10/22/2005 10:32:00 AM


pumpkin gauntlets

I actually have many WIP which I haven't mentioned here or added to my WIPs sidebar... One of them is my very own design. It's a small foray into design though: gauntlets. I fondled some Debbie Bliss alpaca/silk DK at The Point , in a burned orange color (#4), and ended up buying 2 balls, without a specific project in mind. I've accumulated many twin balls of yarn, assuming that brilliant inspiration would strike me... But I digress.

This yarn will become... pumpkin gauntlets!

While swatching, I came up with a few ideas:
-use smaller needles (US4, not the recommended US 6) so the fabric is nice and dense to protect my numb-from-the-cold hands
-throw in some cool cables pilfered from Teva Durham's Renaissance sweater (IK winter '02) - took me a while to figure those out, as I couldn't find a pattern for them in any of my knitting books. Let me just say it involves 9 st and 2 cable needles.

-make them as long as possible. Hey, if these reached my elbows, I'd be very happy. The apparent solution? Knit the gauntlets from the "fingers" up until I run out of yarn. (Not toe-up, fingers-up!). However, all glove/gauntlet/glove patterns are intended to be knit in the opposite direction (from the wrist down to your fingers). So how do I work my thumb gusset?! Normally, you to do paired increases, then put the thumb st on hold. I want to do it backwards, so with paired decreases. I grabbed some scrap yarn ( some Cotton Fleece left over from Teva Durham's Ballerina T) and tried doing a reversed thumb gusset. Here are details of that experiment:

  • CO 10 st, work a few rows
  • add the thumb gusset st : k5, k10 from a provisional crochet cast-on in purple yarn, k the last 5. Yes, this stretches out the interval between the 5th and 6th st; put it on a dpn if you want.
  • Work a dec row: k5, k2tog, k to last 2 st fr prov CO, K2tog tbl, k5
  • work 1 row even
  • rep the last 2 rows until you are back to the original # of st (here, 10)

It works!!

Then I got carried away, and decided to do a picot hem, using Marnie McLean's no-sew hem. Well, I have the technique down pat, but it turns out it looks too loose. It's one of those things that becomes painfully obvious once you try it. Half of the gauntlet (covering the palm) will be worked in 1:1 ribbing, which obviously pulls in. If the hem is made in stockinette, it will be wider than the gauntlet. Duh. So I ripped and I will try my very first tubular cast on.

By Veronique
On Thursday, October 20, 2005
At 10/20/2005 11:49:00 AM


Who translates these patterns?!

Over a year ago, I bought the Rebecca magazine with the now famous Apricot Jacket (or "Jacke" in german). I gazed at the picture longingly, but could never decide what yarn to use. Until eBay! I scored a bag of Rowan's All Seasons Cotton for $24 this summer. Plus $10 shipping from England, but still. I immediately knit up a sleeve, just to get a feel for the ASC. Yummmm. It's so soft, it's not a heavy, dense cotton yarn, and best of all, it knits up quickly.
But here's the hitch: the pattern and the pattern translation. Sure, the translation is very bad and occasionally makes no grammatical sense, I can get over that. But there are technical issues. For example, they recommend doing an "edge stitch" (which is never defined, by the way, I assume the first st of each row is slipped). But if the edge is to be seamed later, instead of sewing 1.5 st from the edge, you have to seam a full 2 st from the edge. Considering how bulky this yarn is and how form-fitting the sleeves are, this is a very bad choice. Ask me how I know.
Also? The chart is wrong, the instructions are incomplete... I ended up looking at the photo more than the pattern.
Anyway, the only good thing I can say is that it makes me feel like a super knitter to have overcome these difficulties.

By Veronique
On Wednesday, October 19, 2005
At 10/19/2005 11:53:00 AM


First post!

Well, after knitting for several years and reading knitting blogs regularly, I finally took the plunge!
Let's see if I can post a picture. This is Rowan 37's Butterfly, my greatest accomplishment so far.

By Veronique
On Monday, October 17, 2005
At 10/17/2005 05:53:00 PM