Wharf ‘n’ Weave Top, Update

I’ve been working a lot on this top, and have now finished the right front.

right front finished

I am well on the way to finishing the left front, as well. I have finished it up to the start of the decreases for the arm and neck openings. And I have drawn up a chart for the left front, much as I did for the right front, so I can more easily knit the decreases without losing my place in the stitch pattern. The end is in sight.

Pattern: Wharf ‘n’ Weave top, by Ilga Leja.

Earlier posts on this project: Wharf ‘n’ Weave Top, Current Projects – Jan. ’09

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Current Projects – Jan. ’09

I’m currently in the middle of a few things, so I don’t have finished items to post about. In the meantime, I thought I’d post an overview of my current active works-in-progress.

In knitting, I am working on two things right now. The first is the Wharf ‘n’ Weave top that I started last February, and then set aside for a long while. I’ve now finished the back, and half of the right front.

Finished-back-003

For the front, I decided that I needed to make a chart to keep track of where I am in the stitch pattern as I do the decreases for the arm and neck openings. Here’s a picture of the chart I drew up. It’s just a simple chart on graph paper, but it helps me know where to start the slip stitches, etc., of the stitch pattern. I had a lot of trouble with this when I was working on the back.

chart-for-right-front-004

Also in knitting, I’ve started a new sock. This one is the Baroque sock from the Fall 2008 issue of knitty.com, in a blue sock yarn from Holiday Yarns. I’ve just started it. I’m very happy with how the yarn shows off the stitch detail. This pattern isn’t really difficult, but it does require paying attention.

first-sock---cuff-003

I’m also reading the classic mystery novel The Nine Tailors, by Dorothy L. Sayers, before I go ahead and start working on The Nine Tailors sock kit from The Tsarina of Tsocks that I bought in Rhinebeck. I figured that if I was going to be knitting based on the bell ringing in the book, I might as well understand the significance of it. So far, it’s a great read.

I think I need to start one more knitting project, something very simple that I can work on when I am tired, or out somewhere. Both of these other ones require either charts or multiple balls of yarn – neither of which lend themselves to travel.

In quilting, I am still working on the large feather stitching on my On the Road to Minnesota mystery quilt. I’m still at 3 finished out of 10.

I’ve also been slowly adding embroidery to Space Girl, the quilt that I started in a class in Houston in 2007.

Space Girl

I just need to add a little more detail to her space suit. Then I can start writing her story on the background, before layering and quilting her. She has been my handwork during my quilting group meetings for the last little while. Slowly but surely.

Of course, I have a lot of other UFOs, but these are the active projects at the moment. Also on the horizon are more ATCs. Plus a reorganization of the yarn stash. That should keep me busy for a while.

Wharf ‘n’ Weave Top

Current knitting: I’m part way through knitting this summer top, which is really more like a vest that laces up the front. It’s a design by Ilga Leja, from Nova Scotia. I bought the pattern a few years ago in Halifax, at a nice yarn shop called The Loop Craft Cafe. The pattern calls for a dk or worsted weight yarn. For mine, I’ve picked a nice silk yarn called Estelle, in three colours: a natural cream, a heather green and a dark brown.

Estelle-silk-yarn-1

The stitch used is a simple slip stitch pattern that is really effective in blending the three colours. It’s easy, too, being mostly knits and slips, with a little bit of purl for good measure.

pattern-stitch-detail

I love the way the slipped stitches pull the colours from one row to the next. I am currently working on the back (I decided for some reason to do back and sides separately (per the pattern), rather than all together without side seams. I’m not sure why, except that I haven’t knit a top for years, and thought I’d start slowly.) I recently finished the arm-hole shaping.

back-in-progress-3

I think it’s looking quite nice, except that when I measure it, it’s about 2 inches smaller than it should be. I’m counting on the Goddess of Gauge to be good to me, and let the fabric grow during wet blocking like my gauge swatch did. I feel like I should be making some sort of offering at this point, to increase the odds of that happening.

One problem I had during the arm-hole shaping was keeping track of where in the stitch pattern I was on each row. I started out trying to figure it out in my head, then resorted to pencil and paper, writing out k k sl k sl k sl etc. and crossing out for each decreased stitch. It wasn’t until I’d finished that it dawned on me that I should have made a chart. I’m not used to knitting from charts yet, I’d always found them a little daunting until recently. So, it isn’t the first thing I think of doing for a pattern that comes as written out instructions. But this is definitely a place where a chart would have saved me from a lot of frustration. I am definitely going to make one for the neck shaping, and for the fronts.

back-in-progress-5

As for the yarn, it’s pretty nice to work with, but it’s quite sticky on the needles. I started out using a bamboo circular needle and found it hard to move the stitches forward as I was knitting. I switched to an Addi Turbo circular and it made all the difference in the world. The yarn just moves along the needles like a charm, and the knitting has gone very smoothly ever since.

The pattern didn’t specify a circular needle for the straight stitching, but I found that the back was really too big to comfortably fit on straights. It also didn’t list the 3.5 mm needles for the garter stitch lace border. I didn’t know I needed them until I went to cast-on, when I was away in Florida and only carrying what I thought I needed. Oh well, I didn’t complain too much at having to find a yarn shop to buy needles. Lesson learned, though – it really does pay to actually skim through the pattern before starting (or packing the suitcase).