The hot week we had a month ago, and the sporadic hot days that have been interspersed with some cool, rainy weather and some quite delightful days have kept this tune in my head. Until I checked Wikipedia for a link, I thought it meant “summer is coming” and that it was a madrigal. (And when my college chorus learned this song, our conductor did not enlighten us about the flatulent stag.) Well, regardless, my thoughts have turned to summer projects, and it beats having some dumb advertising jingle stuck in my head.
The Cherry Tree Hill Rustic Silk in linen stitch blocked out well, and it will definitely work for a July-August project. I need to try out edging and decide on the sweater shape, so it is still in the planning stage.
A better project to knit now is Thora, but I think the design will need some massive changes to fit me. Blocking my “perfect” seed-stitch swatch made it less perfect. It is no longer 4 inches wide, but nearly 5 inches.
I don’t know why this works. I usually knit a medium size sweater for me. If I’m not getting gauge, I find that if I knit the number of stitches for the small size, I get the finished size I want. A quick check of the pattern instructions shows that this will be the case for Thora too, but the row gauge also isn’t working out, and it matters. The cable motif that goes down the back, front, and arms will help me adjust. According to the instructions, those cables should be 1 inch for each repeat, and I’m getting about 2 ¼ inches for two repeats. So I’ll need to shorten. But once I do this, and draw a much more careful schematic than appeared in Knitter’s Arans and Celtics, I will be ready to cast on. Zara is thin yarn (it says DK, but I’m knitting it on size 1’s), so it will be ok as a summer project until the heat and humidity descend. It looks as if this will be NaKniSweMoDo Sweater #4, unless I finally get inspired and finish a WIP.
I’ve decided to practice project polygamy, and not stick to one sweater only for the summer. One reason is that I can suit the project to the temperature. Another is that I’m ready to tackle a major intarsia sweater.
This is Susan Duckworth’s Deco sweater, which I had fiddled with before.
The colors in the photo don’t look much like the heavenly colors of the yarn, which is a mix of Rowan Designer DK (the discontinued variety) and Kid Silk (not Kid-Silk Haze, but a DK weight). You can see the fuzziness in the swatch, which is a mix of the DK and the Kid Silk. The swatch is a little crude, but I learned a lot about the yarn tension from knitting it, and I didn't take the trouble to weave in the ends.
Aside from being boxy, the pattern comes in only one size with a 51-inch chest circumference. That is bigger than any bathrobe I’m likely to own, and so after some deft adjustment of the motifs and sleeve shaping, I came up with what looked like a plan (my crude, pasted up schematic). I’ve also spent the last few weeks studying Lucy Neatby’s DVDs on intarsia knitting, and she wisely recommends knitting intarsia only for a short time, when you can pay attention to the work. And so, this can’t be my only project.
These projects were planned before my Japanese stitch dictionaries arrived, so also on my Official Swatch List are yarns that have enough yardage for trying out many different stitch patterns.
The maroon is Brooks Farm Acero, the pearl gray is Jo Sharp Alpaca-Silk Georgette, the light pink is Tess Designer Yarns Silk&Ivory, and the rose is Brooks Farm Solo Silk (merino-silk). And on the bottom is some purple Blue-Faced Leicester yarn I got at Maryland Sheep & Wool two years ago, from Spinning Flock Farm (unfortunately, no web site). I had considered for some time knitting a simple sweater in the BFL with edging from one of Nicky Epstein’s books, and that is still possible. Although mostly (or all) wool, at least a couple of these should get me through the summer.
One thing that is not disagreeable about summer is my garden. This is the first year I managed to keep my spinach from succumbing to leaf miners. We’ve been pigging out on fresh spinach salads for a week, with a few more to come.
I spent most of the weekend weeding and thinning beets and carrots, planting herbs, and watering. And I started two flats of summer lettuce to replace the spinach (150 plants—I’m planning to eat a lot of salads).
Ed has been working on our massive new cage to protect not only our tomatoes from the deer, but pole beans, cucumbers, zucchini, eggplants, and peppers.
Row covers (with the boards to hold them down) are protecting two rows of broccoli and lettuce (bottom left), one row of mustard greens, and my spinach (upper right). The rows that don't look like much yet have beets, carrots, and herbs (chives, sage, parsley, and basil).