Roscalie Vest


It’s done. I’m happy!

If I had it to do over there’s are two changes I would have changed.

1. Work the decreases at the v-neck and under arms the opposite way as Eunny describes here. I remember reading about this in Anne Feitelson’s book but forgot until I pulled out her book to refresh my memory on tacking down the cut seams. Mine are OK and many folks won’t notice a difference. I checked Starmore’s book on this but found nothing.

2. Go down one needle size. My swatch was right on but overall I’m slightly off gauge.

What’s next?

The Kauni cardigan by Ruth of course. Here’s the swatch. Don’t look to closely because I made a few mistakes while reading the chart. It’s pretty much on gauge with 3.5 mm needles.


All wound and ready to go. An alternative cure for seasonal affective disorder.

Wool buzzards

I tried laying out that multi-color roving but the buzzards quickly started picking at it like it was cotton candy.

Here’s a picture of them attacking my Kauni yarn.

Yarn attack

Wool is like catnip to them. When I’m knitting Mittens (on the left) is vigilant in monitoring the situation, looking for any opportunity to swipe any unattended yarn balls. Sophie (on the right) is not so bad with yarn but is easily influenced by her sister’s bad behavior.

This week more Kauni arrived so I’ll start on Ruth’s cardigan as soon as I finish the last few details on Roscalie.

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been talking about matching up the shoulder seams without any photos to illustrate the problem. The following picture should help clarify things. It shows where I placed the shoulder seam (new) and where the pattern indicates they should be (old).

shoulder seams

Before I’ll officially call it finished I need to weave in the ends, dress it on the woolly board and take a picture of me wearing it.

Before dressing

Although no one would notice, there’s one more correction adjustment that I made to the pattern.

Notice the bands around the arm, neck and lower body that appear to mimic the blue/yellow 5 row peerie border in the body of the sweater? This peerie pattern is translated into garter stitch by repeating each color sequence twice; first with a knit round and then with a purl round. This means that the total number of rounds for each garter stitch border would be 10 rounds, right? But that’s not what the pattern says. One of the solid blue rows has only one knit round making a total of 9 rounds. I have no idea why. To me it doesn’t make sense.

What’s wrong with that you might ask? Look at the band around the neck. The pattern says to pick up stitches around the neck and on the next round start the pattern with yellow and blue. I did it and it looked odd not to have a buffer of solid color between the neck edge and the border pattern. So rectify the problem, I added a round of solid blue purl stitches before finishing the remaining 8 rounds.  It’s a small detail but heck, if I’m spending all this time to knit my own vest, I want it done right.

Of course when I start having doubts about the written pattern I tend to look more closely at the picture on the pattern card. On this one I noticed a few things.

  1. The picture has been touched up with an artistic brush stroke which kind of blurs the photo.
  2. The borders around the arms have an additional round of blue purl stitches while the neck doesn’t.
  3. The first XOX pattern (from the shoulder) is slightly different than what’s on the chart in the pattern.

Ok, I’ll admit it. I’ve spent way to much time picking apart this vest.

Odd number of stitch repeats

The 2007 NWRSA  Conference book showed up this week. Of course the class by Carol Rhoades called “Spinning Shetland Wool for Fair Isle Knitting” caught my eye.  I’d love to take that class but will have to skip the conference this year. I only get 15 days of vacation per year and this year my days have already been allocated to other trips. I briefly thought of making the long slog over to Coeur d’Alene on Friday night and then return on Sunday but I’m just not up for it. I’ve done that long hot trip countless times in my little Honda without air conditioning and let’s just say it’s not my favorite thing to do.

Earlier this week I got out my tapestry needle to weave together the shoulder seams of Roscalie and to my horror found out that motifs on the front and back don’t line up!

Front and back

So here’s the story.

The last row on the shoulder is half of a “XOX” border pattern with a red background and since the body of the sweater has a total of 19  stitch repeats (of 16 stitches), the front and the back don’t match. I tried to illustrate this in the picture by marking the front and back with green knitting markers. Notice that the center front (bottom marker) lines up with the middle of a “O” motif while the back front (top marker) lines up on an “X” motif. So if the shoulder is sewn together at the middle of one of these “XOX” border rows, the front and back won’t match. What was she thinking?

This left me befuddled and surprised that the famous Scottish designer would do this. I’m sure she knows that FI sweaters should match at the shoulder. My only guess is that when she translated her original design into her new line of yarns, she had to compromise the design to get a standard sized sweater. You see, her current line of 2ply yarns are slightly thicker than her previous line. This thicker yarn means a changes in tension and in turn making a straight translation of the design challenging. Painted roving

This inquisitive FI knitter can only speculate as to why her 2ply is thicker than Shetland 2ply.

So what am I doing now? You guessed it. I ripped it out and I’m correcting the problem. This time I’m increasing the lower half of the body by 10 rows. This will allow the shoulder seam to match at the end of one of those blue/yellow peerie rows.

As I knit this part for the third time my mind starts wandering to thoughts of spinning a painted roving that’s been in storage for a couple of years now.

It’s so intimidating.

If I make it into 2ply sock yarn will the colors look ok?

Danish Translation Tip:

Need to translate from Danish into English? Try this free translation service from a Danish University.

No cunning plan after all


My obsession with the length of the garment is over. I done futzing with it. All that is left to do is to weave the shoulder stitches together,  cut the steeks and knit up the bands around the arms and neck.

I had planned to lengthen this vest by 8 rows but realized too late (after knitting almost to the shoulders) that doing so would mean partial pattern repeats where the front and back meet at the shoulders. My cunning plan was to knit a few extra rows on the upper half until I reached an acceptable matching point. That seemed like a good idea until I did a check of the stitch & row tension of the upper portion. Turns out that my stitch tension had relaxed so that the upper front portion was about 3 cm wider than desired.

After pondering this change, I came to the conclusion that stretching the stitches around my 40 cm circular needle wasn’t such a good thing. I should have switched to a shorter needles as the circumference decreased. After a deep breath, I ripped back down past the start of the armhole decreases. This time I decided to stick to the pattern and work with two circular needles for the remaining portion. The length should be just fine after it comes off the woolly board.

Here’s a shot of the back.


Look what arrived on my doorstep late Saturday afternoon. It’s that yarn I ordered from The color way is so pleasing to the eye; very colorful but not shocking. The weight and feel of it brings Satakieli to mind. Perhaps it might think a bit scratchy but not unlike the feel of Jamieson & Smith 2 ply.

I found out through Naomi that there’s another similar yarn available in Europe called Evilla. I couldn’t resist and ordered Anne-Evilla from BendixGarn. It’s another design by Ruth Sorenson.

It puzzles me that these yarns haven’t made it to North America yet.

Tension confusion

When Nature is on Sophie can careless if I’m knitting.

Roscalie is coming along ok even though it’s taken a couple of tries to get the decreases right. After two decreases on each armhole the instructions say, “dec at armholes on next 6 rnds, then on every foll alt rnd 8 times in all. 16 sts decreased at each side of armholes in total”. At first I focused on the ‘8 times in all’ and kept getting the wrong amount of decreases. Finally I added it up. 2 sts + 6sts + 8sts = 16 in total. Doah!

Past armhole cast offToday I took some measurements. Tension is suppose to be 28 sts x 32 rows = 10 cm while I’m getting 27sts x 34 rows = 10 cm. I’m not so worried about the stitch count but I do worry about the rows. Gosh, didn’t this happen with Firebirds? It’s just dawned on me; I should have measured my swatch before I washed it and then after as a reference guide for moments like this.

Bamboo Marking Pins

If you were in Jean’s class and saw the pins she was using to set in a sleeve you might be interested in knowing Patternworks now carries them. Thanks Naomi and Caryn for the tip.

Must be a very popular item now, notice it didn’t take long before getting put on back order.

Here’s a different kind of Fair Isle cardigan, Ruth’s Kauni
trøje ( free download ). This yarn is from Denmark and apparently not available in North America. I ordered some from in Germany but it’s coming on the slow boat so I  don’t expect to see it for awhile.

Plugging along

reknitted body

There’s not as much progress as I’d hoped due to a false start and one major fix. Also since I’m not using “fresh” yarn, I have straighten out the previouisly ripped out otherwise stitches would tend to have a puckered look.

Until this week I straighten yarn by hand washing it gently and letting it air dry overnight. This week, while waiting for a few balls to dry, it dawned on me that I could get quicker results by just steaming the yarn.

I just wind the balls into small skeins then put a kettle of water on the stove and when steam comes out the stout I pass the skein back and forth over the steam being careful not to burn my hands. In just a few seconds the yarn is no longer kinky and is ready to knit.

On another note, have you ever wondered what designs are in The Scottish Collection? I finally got a look at this elusive book. Here’s what I found.

Allover – Traditional Fair Isle diced pattern in 2 designs; a button down vest in browns and light blues or a pullover in pinks and oranges.

Azeri Jacket – It’s the one on the cover.

Brocade – Vest or pullover with large pink and purple flowers outlined in gold, regularly staggered on a black background. Also has a large zig zag motif around the bottom edge in same color scheme as the flowers.

Catriona – Tradition Fair Isle cardigan with main motif being vertical Nordic stars alternating with traditional X motifs in light turquoise, purple, pink and blue on a white background.

Cold Duck – In this picture it’s the one she (the designer) is holding. She’s wearing the Oregon cardigan. Instructions for either a cardigan or pullover.

Entrelac – Designed by Carol Lapin. Jewel toned pullover with large entrelac squares.

Five Triangles – Designed by Nancy Marchant. No instructions included just a picture. Originally appeared in Threads Magazine Aug/Sep 1992.

Luskentyre – Pullover in yellows, golds and pink.

Mara – Cardigan or vest

Mardi Gras – Cardigan or pullover

Marina – Cardigan or pullover. Photo in the book has a very dark background compared to other versions I’ve seen.

North Country – Designed by Nicky Epstein. Pullover with large  white silhouettes of bears, reindeer and trees in rows that alternate with snowflakes on a black background. Between the large rows there are smaller ones with abstract motifs in red and black.

Oregon – Cardigan or vest

Plaid Jacket – Jacket with either red or orange/yellow background. Stripes are grouped in threes with each group being several inches apart.

Quartz – Vest which is very similar to Mara but in  blues and reds that are more toned down. Large border pattern has flower type motif.

Rannoch – Traditional Fair Isle pullover in green, brown and oranges. Large border pattern is same as in the Quartz vest.

Squares and Diamonds – Designed by Nancy Marchant. Large squares with diamonds in the corner where the squares meet. Has two color ways; blue or red.

Thoroughbred  – Vest with Nordic stars running vertically down center and trellis on either side.

Tokyo Rose – Large abstract roses in an allover pattern with gold lines that link them together. Reminds me of tiles.

The more traditional designs are made with Shetland jumper weight yarn which I gather means J&S. Some of the motifs in these designs look very similar to ones in the book “Charts for Colour Knitting”. Of course the most popular ones are available as kits from Virtual Yarns.

Back to square one


Here’s the vest neatly packaged into small plastic bags by row motif. This might disturb the faint of heart, but yes it’s as bad as it looks. I ripped out the whole vest yesterday just as I was about to start the steeks.

I did a trial fit and realized that it would turn out much too large, even though it was a medium. Normally that’s the right size for a sweater that sits at my hips but got thinking about how short this vest is. It will sit well above the largest part of my hips so I can go ahead and make it a few inches smaller to fit the bust area better.

I’ll just add that this is my first vest ever so it’s been a little hard to tell what would be a good fit.  I’m sure the second time around it will knit up just as fast and I should be able to show some progress next week.

Needles are flying


Lots of progress on the vest since last week. All the pattern changes are so interesting and fairly easy to remember that I can’t seem to put it down. So far changes between colors is no longer than four stitches which makes it darn easy to knit.

The weather here has been gloomy so it’s hard to get a good shot in natural light. The colors are much deeper and appealing in person. I love this update take on a traditional Fair Isle.

As you might have noticed in the photo, I went ahead and started off with the garter stitch border. The down side of working from a kit is that you only get enough yarn for a specific design, making it hard to do any significant adjustments. I suppose I could have done an invisible cast on, knit the patterned part and then added a corrugated rib later if I enough yarn was left over.

Happy New Year

I wish every one a wonderful and peaceful New Year.

Roscalie Vest

Roscalie_swatch The swatch for the Roscalie vest is off the needles and has been blocked. Correct tension has been achieved using 3.25mm needles. That’s kind of a surprise since I used 3.5mm needles for Firebirds.

One thing I didn’t catch before ordering this kit was that the edgings on the waist, arms and neck don’t have corrugated ribbing the  version in the book “In the Hebrides”. This one has a garter stitch version of the motif with the blue background. I can’t help wondering why she changed it.

So with no sleeves, buttonholes or corrugated ribbing this design has got to be one of the easiest Fair Isles offered by Virtual Yarns.


Sunrise-Sunset Socks


Can’t believe I have two active projects on the needles at once. For those  of you unfamiliar with my knitting style, I tend to stick to one thing at a time. It my way of keeping momentum going and hopefully finishing almost every project that I start.

Here’s those socks I started a couple of weeks ago.

I’ve reversed the pattern and started at the toe. Although I’ve reversed the work order , I’m sticking to the traditional heel shown in the pattern by adapting the heels from  “You’re Putting Me On” socks to fit these socks.