Knitting has been a bit slow around here lately, as I mentioned a couple of posts ago, but I’m beginning to see harbingers of its return.

First, I finished a sleeve.

Isn’t it amazing how big those sleeves look? It always amazes me that the sleeves take almost as much fabric as the body. I know it makes sense, but it always surprises me to see the pieces all laid out.

This has been hiding as a background project for so long now that you might even have forgotten that it exists. (I think I almost did.) It’s a reknit of the lace ribs sweater, which we last saw in February. The second sleeve has been inching along as my travel knitting project, mostly advancing by a few rows here and there at knit night. But it’s finally done, and the pieces are all blocking in preparation for seams. I’ve been writing and sizing the pattern as I go along, which is part of why it’s been so slow. It is almost there, though. A few more tweaks to the charts, and some more sizing calculations for the sleeves and I think it’s done.

Since I’m finishing one pattern project, I thought that it might be time to start another. Last weekend I did some swatching for the updated version of my Falkland lace sweater.

Since I am not short on yardage this time, I can make the fabric much more solid than before, and more like my original vision of the piece. These swatches were the result of me slowly lowering my needle size to get the fabric I wanted; something solid and firm that still shows off the lace. I’m also converting the pattern to be knit flat and seamed, because I think the structure is worth the trouble (though I much, much prefer knitting in the round). This sweater will be a far less fitted version than the last, with similar shaping but a lot more ease. It’s knit in Madeline Tosh Sport, and I am loving the fabric that it makes. This is another knit where I am writing the pattern as I go, so it will probably be a while in coming, but I think it will be worth the wait.

I’ve also been swatching for the fall colors sweater.

Isn’t that an awful, lumpy looking swatch? I’m still working out how to tension a fairisle swatch knit flat. The back looks like this:

I also haven’t blocked it yet, so that might also have something to do with the unevenness. Even though it’s not pretty, I think it’s told me what I need to know. First, I need to knit on size 0 needles to get the fabric that I want. (This sweater is going to take forever.) Also, the yarns didn’t come out quite as different as I’d expected them to be. You can see how the complicated stitch patterns tend to disappear, because the orange and brown are sometimes quite similar  in tone. Look at the difference in this pattern knit in the high-contrast region

(at the very bottom edge there) and in the low-contrast region

See how much it gets lost there?

I’ve debated whether to dye the brown yarn darker or whether to work with it as-is, and right now I think I’m going to stick with it the way it is. Much as I like to think I control how my yarn will come out, I generally prefer to take my design cues from the fiber rather than forcing a yarn to fit. In knitting the swatch, I found that I really like the subtle color play of these yarns when knit in patterns with big, solid blocks of color.

I’m thinking of using this as an allover body design, possibly bordered with another blocky pattern as an edging or an accent detail. I’m particularly fond of this one:

This design is still settling into place in my mind, so I have a feeling that it will be a while yet before I cast on. But it’s starting to come together, slowly turning into a train knitting project for the months to come.

One by one, new knitting projects are sending up shoots. I’m hoping to have a few on the go by the time I start my new commute in a few weeks. Yay for dedicated knitting time!