Le Hobble Skirt--Premiere

Yes, it's been a while since anything has come out of the atelier.

Publishing this pattern reminds me to thank every knitwear designer everywhere. For the labor and care and attention you put into your patterns. Boy, do y'all work hard!

Let me introduce you to Le Hobble Skirt, a handknit pencil skirt with sexy striations of twisted rib.

Many thanks to the lovely Christine for modeling; doesn't she look fab?

And to Cheryl Oberle, whose Organic Merino yarn makes this piece.

Dying to knit one yourself. The pattern is available on Ravelry. Happy hobbling!

Old knitters, new tricks

Say "hello" to Herringbone Stitch.

I have evil plans for this stitch, instructions for which can be found on this handsome scarf pattern. All it involves is a series of increases and decreases to get the arrow feature into your fabric, but the increase in question is the Knit Right Loop (KRL).

Off to Knittinghelp.com.

Speaking of Knittinghelp.com...don't you love her? She doesn't bite her nails, deploy the ef-word even when executing complex maneuvers, and she can do everything, English and Continental-style (backwards and in high-heels, too, no doubt).

Anyway, scroll down to find her videos for the KRL, they are most illuminating. Then give Herringbone Stitch a whirl. Would make a smashing men's sweater, though I have other plans...

Knitting Finished Object: Habu White Cardigan #115

This post should probably begin with: I hate my neck. But instead let's go with: I love this cardi!

The finished object pictured aboved is Habu Textile's White Cardigan #115, a less refined version than the one pictured on Ravelry, but no less loved for its wabi-sabiness.

The construction is something of an origami wonder to this Western mind. The back is knit, sleeves, then two unusually shaped fronts that are kitchenered together at the neck, sewn to the back (side seams) then the bottom edge of the collar is mattressed to the top edge of the back. These instructions had me, my mother and an entire yarn shop flumoxed until we realized I had screwed up the armhole shaping--and a few other things.

For someone who pays more attention to detail than the knitter does here at Nake-id Knits, this is an easy, clever knit--one strand of soft pencil roving combined with a strand of black and a strand of purple ramie (the colors of the ramie can be customized to the knitter's taste--the olive and khaki would be smashing!) to create a dusty, variegated effect.

I suspect this sweater will get a lot of wear.

Some skinny on short rows

Short rows are so meta aren't they? Perform a little fancy stitchwork and you've got rows within rows, three dimensions, space where none existed before. Short rows are almost like cheating or crochet, allowing you to take your knitting into a spatial direction, a final frontier of heels, busts and sleeve caps.

It helps if you have one of those minds that conceptualizes things in space. Maybe you know your right ankle from your left hand so the yoga teacher doesn't have to untangle your limbs. Maybe you can walk through a room without bruising a hip or tripping on a rug. Maybe you can load a dishwasher or remember where you put the mango chutney in the fridge.

For those of us who are more spatially challenged, throwing short rows into shoulders and yokes and their ilk creates head-scratching short circuits. This will work, how? The shoulder will slope, really?

Big Red (for lack of a better working name), a funnel-neck pullover I'm designing top-down just because, is lousy with short rows to accommodate shoulders and upper arms and it's a mystery how a few wraps and turns can make a garment contour better to the body.

In workshopping this garment with two knitter friends, I worried out loud that I might not be short-rowing correctly. Do you pick up the wrap or stitch first? How do you purl them together on the wrong side? For a review on the subtlties, look to the excellent Knittinghelp.com, scroll down until you see "Short Row with Wrap." The video shows that indeed you pick up the wrap first as well as how to check that you've "hidden" your wrap correctly. Now if I could only keep from twisting my stitches.

Nake-id and Dangerous with a Mac

It's been a bit of an adjustment for Nake-id IT and the cats.

The fancy sibling-sourced laptop doesn't exhaust hot air, so Stanley's put out. Tech support is fussing about cutesy versus functional. But I'm smug as only an aging style monger could be.

In other news, taking a moment to remember this icon; she was a knitter:

Knitting: My Funny-Good-Sport Valentine

An FO emerges from the atelier (cue the sound of Cupid giving Ms. Nake-id a high-five). The hat in question: Windschief by Stephen West in Berroco Ultra Alpaca Charcoal Mix, the largest size using US 7 and 8 needles. (Mr. Nake-id has an extra big...cabeza.)

This is a working piece and the recipient needs ear coverage, so I knit it extra long. Should this pattern ever find its way to my needles again, I would leave it shorter. Wear it in good health, Baby!

Change-your-life (a little) Monday

Pomegranate raspberry rose chocolate. Basil lemon truffle. Hibiscus cream. Salted caramel. The discovery of a local artisan chocolatier is our gift to you this Valentine's Day: Black Star Chocolates. Divine.

Finished object: Tree of Life Knitted Pillow

Ready for a little pillow talk, anyone?

The above is a long-delayed wedding gift for a couple who live in the mountains. I used the intertwined-tree motif from Nicky Epstein's Tree of Life Afghan and some Araucania Chunky I scored on sale. As you can see I framed the motif in a border of seed stitch (seeds, get it, trees.come.from.seeds--soooooo metaphorical) and knitted a corresponding seed-stitch panel for the back.

After blocking, I tucked in a 14-inch pillow insert, seaming with mattress stitch.

I hope it finds a place on the couple's leather sofa amidst a jumble of afghans, kitties and other pillows.

Tree of Life

You may recognize this as a panel from Nicky Epstein's Tree of Life afghan and you would be right. Right now it looks more like the "tree of dead limbs"; blocking should handle those gnarly branches.

The square above is scheduled to become a pillow, a much-delayed wedding gift (a year-and-counting). Emily Post is still dead, isn't she?

Knitting Finished Object: A Clever Vest


Meet Elysium. She's a clever little vest from TroubleDog Designs, a miracle of short-rowing for extra cuppage in the proper spots. I am in awe of people who can think architecturally. Jennifer Dassau, who designed this piece, imagined a vest knit side-to-side in three dimensions (and no seaming!) then realized it. Extraordinary. To have that kind of spatial intelligence, well, you could just kick Google Maps to the curb couldn't you? She fits like a glove, too. Maybe a bit too much like a glove, but that's the prude in me talking. 

Check out the short rows!

The yarn was a dream: Voodoo in the Africa colorway, a DK-weight, merino superwash from Creatively Dyed Yarn. Though it makes for a darling garment, the variegated yarn obscures those sweet short rows. Next time, a semi solid. 

All in all a tremendous success. Elysium is a great summer project: Not-too-heavy, easy-on-the-brain, and perfectly packable.