Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Tracery Vest

It's New Year's Day and the holidays are officially over and we have about two more months of cold, wintry weather left before Spring. Now that I am finished with all of the decorating, wrapping packages and baking for Christmas, it's the perfect time to indulge in some of the knitting projects that I had planned. For the last two weeks I have been working on the Tracery Vest from the Unofficial Harry Potter Knits magazine. Even though I am probably the only person on the planet that has never read a Harry Potter novel, I still really like the designs in the magazine. While the designs are based on characters and places in the Harry Potter books they are suitable for every day wear. The Tracery Vest is based on Gothic architecture with stained glass windows making it a perfect project for me to knit.

The vest is knit in the round and the directions and chart are clear and easy to follow. I deviated from the written directions slightly. The directions call for placing markers and increasing four stitches with the main color (black) after the markers, every other round 9 more times and incorporating the increased stitches into the pattern. The sections after the markers had more stitches between the design than the other segments. Every thing worked out fine until I started to knit the segment with the round windows, then suddenly the chart became very confusing to follow. I ripped the work back to the solid main color segment before the beginning of the lower row of windows and increased the appropriate number of stitches evenly around the needle. This didn't make a big difference in the look of the vest but made it much easier for me to follow the chart. I am posting the work so far. The vest measures 9 inches from the cast on edge and it's time to divide the stitches for the front and back and start knitting the decreases for the armholes.

Tracery Vest

After the Harry Potter Knits came out Plymouth Happy Feet yarn color #27 was difficult to find. After searching for quite a while I found it on Amazon. Several other on line retailers now carry the yarn (Jimmy Beans Wool, Annie's Catalog and Yarn Barn).

Plymouth Happy Feet like many other yarns available on the market comes in hanks rather than skeins. Most yarn stores have a yarn swift and a ball winder are happy to wind the yarn into a ball for their customers. Since I ordered the yarn on line it was shipped to me in hanks. Winding the yarn from the hank into a ball (by hand) takes about 30 minutes provided it doesn't tangle or knot, then it could take 2 hours or more depending on how badly the yarn is tangled. Until recently I used my kitchen chairs to wind the yarn. The chairs have decorative spindles that extend beyond the top of the chair. I untwist the hank of yarn and loop one end over the end of one chair spindle and do the same with the chair next to it. Then I gently push the chairs (with yarn attached) apart until the yarn is taut, cut the waste yarn holding the hank together and start winding into a ball. This year my husband gave me a yarn swift and ball winder for Christmas. I really like the fact that the swift is collapsible so it can stored away when not in use. The swift and ball winder make winding the yarn easier and quicker-about 10 minutes total.