Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Owyhee Vest

A few weeks ago, I inherited a mixed bag of Colinette Chrysalis from a long line of baffled knitters. I decided to accept the challenge, and see if I could make something wearable out of it. A most unusual yarn, it is a kind of unspun cotton suspended in a loosely bound tube of stitching, bulky, heavy, and soft.

After pouring over every pattern on Ravelry, a design started grow in my brain. A vest, loose but a little fitted, pockets, a shawl collar. I couldn't find exactly what I wanted, and I wasn't sure I had enough yardage to get me there. I went for it.

I made the back first, with some shaping. Next, I picked up from the side seams and knit forward, casting on to shape armscye, then knitting straight until I had a shoulder to seam, then casting on a little more to meet at the center of the neck. Here, I joined the front pieces to work the collar as one. When I was done, I picked up along the bottom edge for a few rows of ribbing. Finally, I picked up near my side seams and made some capacious pockets. 

I'm pretty pleased with the results.

I think next time, I'll add some short rows across the back to keep it from curving up so much, and some across the collar to make it a little larger. Next time, I think I'll use wool, or maybe an alpaca blend. I definitely need at least one more of these. 

This turns out to be a wonderful way to make a nearly seamless sweater; the only joining is shoulder to shoulder, sewing down pockets, and stitching the collar to the back at the neck. The changes in direction highlight variegated yarn, and any pooling winds up vertical on the front pieces. It is terribly versatile. I've worn it with skinny jeans and long skirts, over t-shirts and sweaters. The Pacific Northwest calls for a lot of layers, and this vest is a perfect addition to the heap.

The blending of colors reminds me of little lichens, and picture jasper, and the desert southwest of where I grew up, all dust and sky. I never would have chosen this yarn for myself, but I'm so glad it made it's way to me.

Sunday, November 6, 2011


What a busy weekend! And here it is Thursday, and I still have glitter stuck to some of my eyelashes. We've had guests, and even though we had more fun than was entirely safe, it is a relief to have my nice, quiet little space back, along with my nice, quiet life. In fact, I think I have a new found love of the mundane, the quotidian, the normal.
In a few days, all the Halloween decorations will have to come down and I'll be dreading Thanksgiving, but for now I'm curling up with a big, steamy bowl of old-fashioned steel cut oatmeal, with lots of brown sugar and cardamom.