Audrey, Rowan 35!

Knitting Audrey! Okay, let's sweater's worth of Rowan Calmer in RED, check. A copy of Rowan 35, containing a ribbed sweater pattern entitled "Audrey" by Kim Hargreaves (designer extraordinaire who rocks my knitting universe in spite of her wacky team of pattern drafters), check. A virtual knitting meetup that puts me in the company of some very fine knitters and great people, check.

All I need now is a Vespa, chiffon-y scarf, and I am THERE. Vrooooooom!

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Let's start with a sleeve, shall we?

My Audrey, she has commenced! Oh la laaaaaaa...I feel like donning a pair of enormous shades and going window-shopping while munching danish.

I could use a little blocking.
[Click to zoom.]

Looks teeny, eh? I decided to start with a sleeve instead of a front or back piece. Such a knitting rebel!

The whole piece is in 2x2 ribbing, but I don't mind 2x2 ribbing while knitting Calmer. I wouldn't mind 1x1 ribbing, either. Heck, I wouldn't mind ANY stitch pattern while knitting Calmer. Just gimme Calmer, a pair of Addi's and I will whistle while I knit. Unless, of course, I am watching Pirates of the Caribbean starring Johnny Depp and the kohl eyeliner applied to his eyes with a trowel. Which is the case here, as I knit what you see in the photo above while avidly watching Pirates of the Caribbean on DVD. Incidentally, Johnny Depp is now on my list of actors that make me go "rawr" (along with Keanu Reeves and Alan Rickman), and I can't believe that Keira Knightley looks so darn good without makeup. No woman should be allowed to look that good unless it's through the magic of makeup. Because I say so. Hehe.

I already bought a pair of white linen cropped pants to wear with my Audrey. I think I'm going to cut my hair in a smart little bob, too. And speaking of haircuts, my bichon frise Lucy has just gotten groomed, so I couldn't resist sharing a gratuitous picture of her freshly-groomed poofy frou-frou self. [Awwwwwwwww.]

Ze plane, ze plane!

Welcome to Sleeve Island!*

I am Dance Rabbit, your host. Please join us on a short tour of the only things I seem to be knitting this week: Sleeves.

Oh, finish me already.

Our first sleeve wishes to reach sleeve cap shaping, because we have grown tired of knitting 4/2 ribbing in acrylic/wool even if we are using zippy Addi Turbo needles. We knit each row lovingly as the sleeve is for a sweater destined for The Husband, but as we trudge through all that ribbing we find ourselves lamenting the fact that The Husband, in spite of his many good qualities, appears to have been born with Gorilla Arms. Either that, or it is simply taking us ages to knit this sleeve.

DVD watched while knitting this sleeve: Part of A.I.: Artificial Intelligence. We saw this movie in the theaters while visiting London back in 2001, and we wonder now why we decided to watch it again on DVD. The three hours of the film seem no shorter even if one is watching it in the comfort of one's home.

I'm about to knit on stitches for the body.
It's going to be slooooooooooow.

Our second sleeve is of the year-long sweater we commenced a few months ago, and it is moving along at a nice, relaxed pace. However, this sweater is knit sideways in one piece from sleeve cuff to sleeve cuff, and we are about to reach the body shaping which requires that we cast on about 10,000 stitches at both ends. That means that this project, which was crawling along when we had shorter rows to work, is about to hit the same speed that our knitting took while knitting the chocolate Phil Ruban poncho. Alert Tita.

A good part of this sleeve was knit while waiting for oatmeal cookies to bake and at various sporadic times while riding in the car. This is our multi-tasking sweater. And the oatmeal cookies came out pretty good, thanks.

This is the sleeve to Audrey.
(A spot of blocking wouldn't hurt.)

Our third sleeve is completed, and we were almost sorry to cast off that last row as knitting Calmer has got to be among the most Luxurious Knitting Moments of All Time. We are thankful that we have stashed up on Calmer because we feel that knitting with it is even better than chocolate. Really, it is.

Thank you for visiting Sleeve Island. And I have no idea why I used the royal "we" throughout this entry. There's no one here but me and a bag of tortilla chips. Oh, and a couple of sleeves on needles.

*Remember Fantasy Island? If I could go to Fantasy Island I'd ask to be let loose into a yarn emporium for 48 hours straight with a credit card that has no limit. And Mr. Roarke would foot the bill.

Back to Audrey, skippy.

You see a Piaggio scooter.
I see a message from the knitting gods.
[Please, click here to zoom out.]

The heat wave of the past few days appears to be over, and we're back to cloudy weather for a while. The other day, while walking through La Croix Rousse, what do I see? A Piaggio scooter*. It's a message from the knitting gods, I tell you. They're calling out to me, "Finish your Audrey...NOW."

Oh, alright. Now bring us back the nice weather, already. And don't go over 25 degrees celsius, thanks.

In case you were wondering, this is where I am with Audrey right now:

Block us, already.

Both sleeves finished. No blocking, but they could sure use it. Knitting the second sleeve was enjoyable and uneventful, except for when my skein of yarn ran out before I was able to bind off the sleeve cap. See the ends where I joined new yarn? Argh. There is nothing that annoys me more than having to join new yarn just to bind off a row. Grumble, grumble.

The sleeves have been completed, but neither the front nor back have been started. Maybe tonight or tomorrow evening. I still haven't decided if I'm going to work the shaping of the front and the back pieces as instructed in the pattern, which is probably why I'm being pokey about starting them.

*That Piaggio scooter is always parked there, so I'm sure that whoever owns it lives or works in the vicinity. When my Audrey is finished, I feel like leaving a little note taped to the scooter that reads, "Hello, dear owner of the fabby Piaggio Vespa! I will be sitting on your scooter on [insert date] at [insert time] so that I can take pictures of myself wearing my finished Audrey sweater. Please don't call the cops on me. Thank you. Much obliged."

How about...some short rows?

Oh, but there's more.
[Click to see the rest.]

I'm all recovered from my nasty head cold and was feeling chipper enough to get my hair cut today. I've got teeny-tiny pixie bangs that require the use of "hair wax" in order to make them look "wispy". Oh, how fancy!

Now, on to knitting news: Audrey is a-rolling. Back piece has been completed, and here it is looking all skinny and long in its unblocked state. (Look how narrow it is! I could work a few more rows on that and use it as a scarf. Okay, I'm kidding.) As for the front, I cast on for it last night and managed to get a few rows in before falling asleep with my glasses on. Gads, how I hate doing that. I end up waking up an hour or two later, glasses askew, wondering why there's an addi turbo poking me in the side.

Anyway. Back to Audrey. You just knew that I was going to mess with the pattern now, didn't you? Those who have seen Audrey know that it utilizes darts for a fitted look. I like the fitted look that darts give (I worked vertical darts on my Elfin), but I decided that I want my Audrey to be straight simple ribbing with no visible darts in the middle of it. I still want a fitted look, however, so I am working waist shaping at the sides, near the selvedges. In order to keep the sweater from being too tight across the bust, I will work horizontal darts on the upper part of the front piece via short rows. The thread in the fabric of my back piece is there to indicate where I plan on working the darts on my front piece, and the resource I used to determine where and how to create this type of dart via short rows is the design section of Vogue Knitting.

P.S. I always have fun working short rows. I once knit a sweater for my son because of the way the raglan sleeves were constructed; they were knit from side to side and shaped using short rows, and I was almost sorry to bind off the last row on the second sleeve. It gives me a kick to see how the knitting takes shape simply by turning the work. Yep, I am easily amused.

Early morning seaming party.

What a busy weekend! Saturday was spent shopping and running errands, and Sunday* was slotted for the movies [Shrek 2!] and skating in the park. I didn't knit very much, but I did block the pieces to my Audrey and today I started seaming. Oh yeah! Click below for a little graphic tour of my early morning seaming party:

It's a seaming party! [Breaks open a pińata.]
[Click here for the graphic tour.]

I'll probably finish up the neckband this evening, if I get a chance. I'm looking forward to completing Audrey, but the weather is getting hot, so I doubt I'll get to wear it until fall. Or, I can just forget about the neckband and wear it now, singing "She's a Maniac" when I do. After all, I wore sweatshirts with similar necklines in highschool.

Pass the legwarmers, Jennifer!

Neckbands? We don't need no stinkin' neckbands.

Just kidding. Incidentally, I blocked the pieces by placing them on a table, spread them out a bit without pinning, covered with a damp lightweight cloth and lightly steamed. I used mattress stitch to join the sleeves to the front and back pieces.

*Sunday was a blast! We saw Shrek 2, which I really liked. And right after the movie we went to the Parc de la Tęte d'Or so I could try out my new skates[!]. Last week we went to Go Sport to pick up a bike helmet for Captain Destructo, but ended up walking out with two things: the bike helmet (for the kid) and some roller blades (for me). We bought the skates on a whim, and in the car on the way back home I wondered how many bones I was going to break while using them, and if strapping a pillow to my butt would be a useful safety measure. The last time I had been on skates [both roller and ice] was when I was TEN, and that was, oh, in the late seventies. (Oops! My age is showing.) Still, I tried them out on Sunday and had such a good time. I pulled on the skates, thanked myself for all those glasses of milk I've had over the years, and just took off. I didn't fall once! I was zooming up and down the asphalt and skating in circles by the time we left. I deserve a gold star on my forehead.

Live from Lyon.

NEWSFLASH! This just in:

Our sources inform us that Skinny Rabbit, upon sending her son off to school early this morning, remained in her jammies and cloistered herself in her apartment from approximately 8:30 to 10:00 a.m. During such time she ingested two enormous mugs of coffee laced with sugar and milk, and avoided any all social contact (including the door buzzer which rang twice) so that she could finish knitting the neckband of the sweater known as "Audrey". Upon completing the neckband, she immediately commenced sewing the neckband to the body of "Audrey" and continued such activity until she got sick and tired of sewing and of being in her jammies, and decided to take a shower, already. We have pictorial evidence of her frenzied morning sewing:

[Click for an expanded view.]

Partially pictured in the enlarged view: A tupperware container used to store Skinny Rabbit's knitting tools, Rowan 35 (opened to show the charming photo of a completed "Audrey" that does not help IN THE LEAST because the model is striking a whack pose and is wearing a scarf that obstructs part of the neckband), the guilty enormous mug containing dregs of the second serving of coffee, the tv remote (The Nutty Professor was in the DVD player), and "Audrey" in a revealing seaming pose.

Skinny Rabbit is currently feeling punchy from sewing overload, and has decided to recover by planning an excursion to the bi-yearly yarn sales which start in her city tomorrow.

Why, it's a completed Audrey!

Why, it's a completed Audrey!

This is the stand-still-like-mannequin shot.
[Click here for the really big sweater picture.]
Psst...wanna see the neckband?

Audrey's been finished for over a week, but I thought I was going to have to wait to wear her because the weather has been so hot. But I got lucky, because storms came in and it was raining this morning. People were actually walking around wearing lightweight sweaters! So I pulled Audrey out and decided to wear her for a late afternoon stroll around La Croix Rousse. And here she is, making her debut as she walks down the side steps of the town hall on the main boulevard:

Here is the action shot, taken at the town hall.
[Bonus: "Vintage" shot of Audrey on a Piaggio Vespa!]
[Click here for customary dance shot in technicolor.]

I love this sweater! I wore her with white cotton capri pants and some snappy patent leather flip-flop sandals with heels. That little ensemble made me feel like I should be sitting on a vintage-style Piaggio Vespa*. So I did! Hehe.

*Big props to my husband, who came with me to La Croix Rousse and is the one who took the pictures. The boulevard where the Vespa is parked is busy, and there's a cafe right smack in front of it. Four or five older men were sitting outside the cafe, and they grinned and waved at us while I posed on the Vespa [hello, I'm a dork] for the shots. It was fun, and we couldn't stop laughing!