Luscious Gracious! Look What We Made Today!

A blog devoted to the art of the Luscious Gracious clan.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Dragons, Sweaters, & A Dragon Sweater

Steve built this dragon for Lily's birthday. She is named Wyvernia. This was one of Steve's knit-as-you-go creations pulled from his head to the needles.

She is made from SWTC "Gianna" and Louisa Harding "Fauve", with a little Colinette "Jitterbug" Fire for the fire. Thanks to Dentist Letoya for the awesome teeth!

Speaking of Birthdays, back in October Pam received an "eye oh ewe" from Steve. He was working on this scarf. He hit a block with it back in October, and it only ended up being about 6 inches long.

So he made this creature to wear it. The creature (Pam named her Anastasia) came with a friend or pet, named Schmuubert.

Here she is without the scarf. The scarf was Kiki's handspun. The creature is Cascade "Pastaza" and some feltable gray yarn that Steve can't recall.

She has one hand that is detachable via a snap. Steve also created the 6 interchangeable hands above. She is hollow and has a storage compartment underneath for all of her extra hands, like Mr. Potato Head. Now that October birthdays are done, maybe we can move onto Hanukkah (we owe A LOT of gifts that are still on the needles).

Oh yeah, back to Lily's Dragon Birthday. She had a super party at the park with her friends, and some fun kite flying with an amazing dragon kite from Papa. She must talk about dragons a lot at school, too, because most of her gifts were books about dragons, stuffed dragons, or other dragon-related treasures (including a dragon's treasure chest!).

Kiki made her this super cool dragon sweater from a design that Lily drew herself! Lily's dragons and other creatures are awesome creations, and it's so cool to watch her lose herself in sketching and creating. And she's ten now. HOW!?!?!?!

Its neck wraps around the side ...

... and the back.

Lily & Mom added a button for the eye.

The sleeves say "Dragons


Kiki knit this using two colors of Cascade "Fixation". It is Fair Isle using Meg Swanson's Extreme Trapping technique, and Kiki insists that it is much easier to do than it looks.

If you are very good and leave us lots of nice comments, there will be a chart of this dragon coming soon.

Perhaps you read the comments from the last post, in which Zann described the image she has of Kiki waking up, reaching for needles, and creating clothing to wear that day. Well, she's kind of right. Just like in college, when wearing dress clothes didn't mean a special occasion, just that you were out of clean laundry. The rest of the family has to wear stinky shirts: Kiki just knits herself a new one. She smells bad enough already.

By the way, you really, really, really need to go see what Zann is doing with Kiki's Random Lace technique. She (Zann, not Kiki) is a genius. And it's always fun to see how other artists feed off of each other. Yummmmm......doughnuts. I mean, symbiosis.

So far this year, Kiki has made a few sweaters for herself too. This one is from some hand-dyed wool we bought in Sedona on our holiday trip. Kiki's special no-pattern pattern. She did alternate two colorways in Fibonacci stripes, just for fun - that and to please The Universe and Mother Nature and the Spirits of Dead Italian Guys.

We do like the way that this double decrease looks. If you are knitting from the bottom up*, simply do this increase every other row at each of the four raglan points. Slip two stitches to the right needle as if you were going to knit them together. Then knit the next stitch from the left needle. Then pass the two slipped stitches back over the stitch that you just knit. In "knitese", this 3 into 1 decrease looks like this: "Sl2K1PSSO". Or something. If I'm not motivated enough to find those yarn labels (I think the skeins are from Australia?), I'm sure not going to try to find where I first found this stitch. You have it in a book somewhere, I know that you do. Anyway, we like the way that this decrease creates a single stitch ridge. I use it a lot in lace knitting too, even when the pattern doesn't call for it. That's just how I roll.
*And if you are knitting top down, too bad for you.

Speaking of top down, this beautiful sweater was knit from only 2 skeins of the fantastic Spritely Goods "Sylph" superwash merino wool yarn. We are slowly trying to buy Stephanie's entire inventory because her work makes even plain knitting into a work of art. This sweater is knit in the "Peppercorn Blend" colorway, which is so gorgeous that is has to be seen in person to be believed. Currently on the needles, her "Arizona Ironwood" colorway.

I like your sleeves, they're real big.
Thanks, I made it myself.
Lately Kiki has been experimenting with different, but all short (curses, Arizona), sleeves. Here she used a K2, P1 rib, in which the knit stitches are twisted (knit through the back of the stitch). It's also a good rib for sock tops. There are also extra increases above the ribbed cuff to make the sleeves puffy.

To accentuate the shaping, and to alleviate the boredom of circular stockinette, Kiki added seed stitch panels under each arm. She did the increasing and decreasing for the sweater body alongside the panels, which makes them blend in more.....maybe.

Other little details include matched increases at the raglan (top down this time) and a squared garter stitch modified collar. The little "v" in front is seed stitch, and was the inspiration for the side panels and the bottom hem, which is split in two at the sides. Ahh, good old seed stitch. Takes care of curling, boredom, and looks great with variegated yarns.

This linen top is knit from Gedifra's "Korella", which is a very nice, drapey linen yarn that comes in some fantastic colors (of the 8 available at Tempe Yarn and Fiber, we wanted all of them, even light blue. What's up with that?). The trim is "Lino" by Austermann, and has a little shine because of some rayon mixed with the linen. Our Luscious Gracious Wool Campaign is withdrawn when spring comes around (usually by the first of February).

Puffy sleeves again, and some simple Yarn Overs to make eyelets at the fake-cabled raglan increases. Kiki knit this sweater from the middle up, and then down, using a provisional cast on. We find that some yarns just want to be knit the moment you get them in your hands, and if you cast on a reasonable number of stitches without a plan, and use some waste yarn to start, you can make the resulting garment fit someone, somehow. Kiki used a smaller needle and seed stitch to make the blue collar, and a bunch of decreases then rib stitches for the cuffs.

For added drama, lace up some crocheted cords corset-style through more yarn over eyelets along the back. If you look carefully, you can see the same 3 into 1 decrease in the green yarn under the blue cords to compensate for the yarn overs in the stitch count. She also used some standard shaping along the sides of the sweater, but the ties look pretty, and provide another chance to use the striking midnight blue yarn. Also notice the way that the stitches stand out where the color changes....just purl the first row of the new color any time in your knitting for that effect. We like the way that it looks like simple running stitch details in hand sewing.

To complete this sweater, we turned to Barbara Walker and selected a simple horseshoe lace pattern to make the trim at the hem. Kiki made the back longer than the front by adding one lace repeat at the bottom, which is good for some sweaters. We think this style will only gain popularity as tattoed teenagers age and widen and no longer wear low-slung jeans and thongs (please, Fashion Police, make that soon).

Steve made this felted mosaic bag for Kiki. The yarn is Cascade "Pastaza" (llama and not felt in a non-ventilated area, and do not attempt to dry it inside of your hot car, very stinky!) and the pattern is Barbara Walker's "Mosaic 88". It's the carpet bag of Kiki's dreams!!

The opposite side uses the colors in the opposite way. Cool! This is a very subtle detail, but allows you to try both ways of a two-color pattern. Which is your favorite? By the way, Steve feels guilty whenever doing mosaic knitting. It feels like he's cheating on Fair Isle, plus that right hand just feels naked without one of the two yarns in it.

Coming soon - Yarn reviews, Charts, Patterns & whatever else we get around to sharing. Sorry for such huge posts, but at the rate we're going, you only have to read one a month. So, have a great May, and Knit On.