Posts categorized "Sweaters"

More catch up

I slept just over nine and a half amazing hours last night and now I'm getting shit done.

I feel like I'm always playing catch up on the blog and can't quite seem to find my way out of that. I always have something to say and I say a lot of it on Twitter, but feel like I should be taking those ideas over here to a better space where I can express my ideas more fully except I don't have the time for that kind of reflective writing. Or, when I do, I'm just too damned tired because I have a mentally demanding job and the brain just tells me that I need knitting, or running or TV or just stupid Two Dots on the iPad instead (omg can I please just get the last level and make it end?)

Enough of that, now let's look at something pretty. I finished my Rickenbacker Shawl and I'm so happy with it.  I made this out of handspun and I spun the yarn so it would stripe and it all went so well.  The shawl is a tad small but that was all the yarn I had so I have no complaints.  

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I would also knit this pattern again--super easy and really fun.

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And I finished my Rhinebeck Sweater: Brandied Orange (aka Brandied Cherry).  This was a fun knit.  It didn't come out quite as I imagined it in my head, but I love it all the same.  I had this idea it would look great with a skirt and well it doesn't.  But it is a perfect cozy on the couch, skinny jeans sweater and I'm wearing it a bunch for casual wear.  The Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted is divinely soft (though it does pill) and I'll be wearing it a lot.

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It did stretch a bit funny in the photo, but I was also in the car for 10 hours coming home from Rhinebeck so I'm a bit rumpled.

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I should say more about Rhinebeck, but that deserves a post of it's own.  Instead I'll show you what I knit on the annual pilgrammage.

Smile and Wave.  I needed a new portable project and didn't feel like knitting socks.  So I grabbed a skein of Indigodragonfly Mergoat sock in Obviously You're from District One and got knitting.  I LOVE the colours and the planned pooling.  

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While Emma is modelling, so far these are mine.  I might make the next pair a bit shorter for variety--these are in heavy rotation for biking to work right now--just a little extra warmth for the morning.

Well, that's a start.  Now I need to get some stuff done around the house and I'm going to bake bread because it's November and snow flurries have already happened and today is about woolies and soup and warm fresh bread.

 


Lost a month somewhere

Ack! It's October!

I knew it's been a while since I've blogged, but over a month!  Where did September go?  I'm very sure I didn't fall asleep August 31 and wake up now (even though that running out of yarn thing was rather traumatic) and I'm still surprised it's October, even though it's the 10th...

September was a wee bit busy at work.  And at home.  Here's a little wrap up:

I celebrated my 20th wedding anniversary September 30th.  That seemed like a pretty big deal.  You can see our wedding photo on my 10th anniversary post here.  That I have a decade of blogging also feels like a big deal.

Kids started school.  Both are now in High School.  How did that happen?  Here's what you get for a back to school photo in grade nine:

 

And grade 10

 

(that's actually cheating--she wouldn't pose for a photo...)

I ran and played ball hockey and even scored a goal! (A slap shot from the point which was one of those things I've always wanted to do.)

And when I wasn't falling asleep on the couch after a long day at work, I would work on my Brandied Cherry sweater.  It was slow going only because I didn't have a lot of time.  It was quite fun to knit and I think I'm going to get a lot of wear out of this one. 

 

It's off the needles and blocking.  This weekend I seam and then I'll have my Rhinebeck sweater.

Rhinebeck is a week away.  I'm SUPER excited.


Knitters, we have a problem

I have knit all my travel knitting.

I thought I brought ample supplies. I had two easy projects and a difficult one. Lots of yarn for a family trip to Ottawa with a short stop at the cottage in Tweed. Usually I don't have a lot of time to knit. In fact, I played a lot of Two Dots and didn't knit when I opportunities. My knitting was even confiscated during out tour of the Parliament building.

It should have been enough.

I finished Rickenbacker before we left Ottawa. It needs a solid blocking and then it will be a perfect little scarf.

I finished the second sleeve of my Rhinebeck sweater (Brandied Cherry) on the drive to Tweed and the first few hours at the cottage. Frankly, that was unexpected...I got into the groove of the stitch pattern and just chugged along.

So I started the front. The hard part. The cables for which I must follow a chart. I haven't knit cables in a long while and it was great. I sat on the deck, half watched the lake and knit. I almost ran out of battery on my ipad which has the chart. That would have bought me some later knitting time now that I think about it.

Then I ran out of the yarn so had to shelve that project. Totally surprised me.

I didn't knit again yesterday because I knew I only had one project left. My always-in-my-purse project. Socks. Almost done socks. Crap, why didn't I bring more knitting socks.

It was a lovely afternoon again on the deck. Interspersed with some Twitter and Two Dots and Netflix. Then they were done. The ends woven in.

I guess I can wear them home in the car. Where I have a 2 1/2 hour drive and NO KNITTING.

NEXT TIME I BRING ALL THE YARN.

 


On Swatching

Some of the great minds in Toronto knitting have been taking about swatching, and I don't mean me. Funny thing was, I was on a swatching spree whilst this conversation was happening on Twitter. Kate and Steph, aka WiseHilda and The Yarn Harlot took apart the myths of swatching in a great thread and exposed the knitter's dirtiest secret: swatching is important. Knitters know it and most of us treat it like flossing one's teeth: they get that we all should do it, but most don't do it all the time, some don't do it at all.

For the record, I came around to daily flossing about ten years ago and almost never miss a day. I feel gross if I don't floss my teeth.

I haven't yet come around to feeling the same way about swatching.

I know the reasons:

  • To make a sweater that fits
  • To see how the yarn behaves at the pattern gauge
  • To test stitch patterns, colours etc.-- if I hate the swatching process, I'll hate knitting the project.
  • To figure out if I have enough yarn to make the project
  • To avoid the anguish of any of the above.

All good reasons, all the bran of knitting. All good for you. Yep. Yawn.

That being said, I discovered this weekend it's not all that bad to do. I knew that, but sometimes I have to do it again to remember.

I decided it was time to figure out my Rhinebeck sweater and to knit from stash. I had some patterns in mind and some yarn I want to use and needed to see what fit in terms of gauge and design. I started with Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted in Brick. This is pretty and somewhat precious yarn that's been waiting for the right project. One ball was attacked by moths and was living in the freezer. I took it out and just knit with 5mm needles to see what would happen.

Here it is washed (washing your swatch is essential since water can change the yarn and I expect you will wash the project at some point).

I got really smart and attached a note so I know what I did. It's a fine swatch but I found the fabric too loose. That disqualified it from a few project ideas.

I decided that I wanted to try Oshima again so got out yarn two: Briar Rose Charity. It's not the colour I remember (I swore it was blue) but knew it was likely the right weight so I swatched away.

The bottom was knit on 6mm needles and was too loose to get gauge so I did a line of garter and went down to 5mm needles. That worked and stayed consistent after washing. I also swatched the brioche stitch which is integral to the pattern and got gauge there too. Swatching also made me warm up to the yarn and colour. It's a mix of greys and blues that I dubbed Stormy Seas. It'll make a pretty Oshima.

Then I thought it might be too hot to wear that sweater at Rhinebeck so I went back to the orange yarn and swatched in pattern for Brandied Cherry. The designer, Thea Colman does a great job explaining what to do if you want to substitute yarns including swatching the cables, thinking about the weight of the finished sweater and ease.

Up to the marker I used a 4.5mm needle and realized it was too tight so I went up to a 5mm needles. I like the cables so decided to focus on the twisted rib which is the pattern needed to establish gauge and worked on that until I was satisfied. I'm a tad worried I won't have enough yarn for the size I plan on making but that is another post!

You will notice that I'm a lazy swatcher. I do four inches to get stitch gauge but fudge my row gauge. I should stop doing that. One day it will cause me problems.

Baby steps.

 

 


Carnaby Street Sweater

I have a new sweater! And I'm feeling like my knitter-self again!

The formula seems to be a fantastic yarn (Indigodragonfly Uber Mergoat in Squid Viscious and Already Frogged) and a pattern with a little bit of challenge but not too much: Carnaby Street. Stripes seem to make the knitting go faster.

I had a few bumps along the way, including the fact that I forgot to plan my body and sleeve stripes so they would match when I seamed them, meaning I had to rip and re knit the caps, but overall it was an easy, fun, fast knit.

I ended up with the comfortable boxy sweatshirt style I wanted and I'm happy! I plan to spend the long weekend snuggled up with it in a semi-reclined position as often as possible.

Especially because it's a wee bit buggy at the cottage right now (the photo shoot was a bit silly).

 

 

 


I'm Back!

What a difference a weekend away with friends and wine and lots of yarn makes.

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Especially the friends and the yarn (which I might have rolled in a wee bit--Keri is demonstrating for photographic purposes, but I also participated).

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This winter seemed to be a series of minor knitting disasters which I chalk up to a combination of lack of inspiration and just plain old tiredness from overwork.  Now Spring is here, I'm getting more exercise (I'm back on my bike and back to a sensible running program), and I have some pretty new yarn to serve as inspiration.

I'm making Carnaby Street--a comfy, loose spring sweater with kicky stripes and a bit of fun knitting.

After much fussing with a more neutral palette, I chose the colours that beckoned me the minute I saw them: Indigodragonfly Uber-MerGoat in Squid Vicious (blue) and Already Frogged (green).

It's tricky to photograph, but this one is about right.  The colours are bright but not crazy.  Just like me ;)

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I'm so much back to knitting: the back is done and I'm at the armholes on the front in a mere two weeks.

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This yarn is FANTASTIC.  Soft, pretty, easy to knit with.  Read about the MerGoats here (they're special).  I'm actually thinking of how possible it would be to have this sweater finished this weekend (I'm so back, I'm delusional).

I think I'll consider more of this yarn at the Knitter's Frolic.  That's more realistic.

Oh ya, I'm even spinning a bit.  I took poor Imogene out of my room where she has been stashed since the kitchen renovation and started on some pretty fibre.  I remembered why I bought the Little Gem--it's a sweet wheel.

 Getting reacquainted with Imogene, I haven't spun on this wheel for over 18 months.

Feels good to be back doing the stuff I love. 


Reality Bites

I have to face facts. I'm not going to have enough of my special over dyed cork to make Oshima. The yarn was specially over dyed so there is no more. I've been hoarding it because I love Cork and the colour is so fabulous.

Finding this out earlier (or rather, getting past my denial earlier) would have been nice since I have the sleeves done and am almost at the neck shaping on the body.

Instead of abandoning it completely I'm thinking I could make a plainer sweater. I love the brioche stitch but find it too stiff with the Cork at this gauge and it EATS yarn. I also have 3 skeins of orange cork that I could use too.

I figure these are my options:

Option 1: knit on and use the orange cork in the cowl. I could still be short of yarn and this colour combo could look weird.

Option 2: rip back the brioche stitch on the body work the body in stockinette to generally conform to the pattern, knit the collar in brioche or even just rib I lose some of the design but get a big cozy sweater.

Option 3: put the the whole thing in a bag and put it away. Next Fall find another pattern for the cork (probably a Custom Fit) and find another yarn for Oshima (this pattern is fantastic). To console myself, immediately cast on something that I know will work.

Right now I'm voting for option 3. Especially the casting on part.

Thoughts? I think I need some knitter perspective.

 


Custom Fit: My first custom sweater

Pssst, have you heard about Custom Fit?  

I just finished my first custom sweater and it's pretty fantastic.

While I haven't said anything about actually knitting this sweater, it's mostly because from a knitting perspective that makes this remotely interesting.  But now that it's done,  I thought I should give a quick review of custom fit by Amy Herzog because this sweater is a perfect fit!

Custom Fit is the brainchild of Amy Herzog.  She's built a website with a "method" whereby you get a sweater pattern that fits both your measurements and your swatch.
 
She has a number of plain recipes and some of her designs now have custom fit recipes where you input certain things like sleeve length and neckline and ease to generate the pattern for you.  Then you get the pattern embellishments like cables to add in as needed.
 
The two things you have to do to start a custom fit is a) get someone to measure you in a lot of places (we had a measuring party at Rhinebeck) and b) swatch a big piece for each sweater.
 
You join the website (free) and add your measurements and your swatch (your measurements are stored and you add a swatch for each project).  Then you let the site take you through the process of generating a pattern built for your body and your gauge.  There are lots of instructional videos to explain things and the interface is simple to use.
 
The nice part is that it will make a pattern in any gauge.  Even if one of Amy's designs is in dk and you want fingering, her elves do all the work.  Sure I could do the math, but I'm happier to have it done for me!  
 
With all that, you input some things on the site and it generates a pattern for you.  It's $10 for the pattern and an additional $2.50 for the recipe if it's from one of her designs.  That might seem like a lot, but you're getting a pattern written specifically for your measurements for $10.  And if you want the specs to add her pattern beauty to your custom fit, it's $2.50.  A made-to-measure pattern in your gauge with her design flare for less than a 3-D movie.
 
Based on what I read in the Ravelry forums, and in talking to my knitpals who are over the moon happy with custom fit (I link to their testimonials below), I decided to start with something simple to see how the whole process works.  And I like knitting stockinette sweaters.  
 
I swatched my Miss Babs Yowza Whatta Skein! worsted and asked for a simple vee neck.  The pattern gave me the sleeve length I wanted, with the hem hitting me exactly where I like it and shoulders that fit.  It was also knit to the gauge of the swatch I made.  It's perfect.  
 
 
I will confess I don't have a complicated figure compared to many women (there was only 2 waist decreases and 1 increase) but I hate swatching to someone else's gauge so I LOVE that feature.
 
My pals Keri and Kim however have more complicated shapes and both of them are converts to this system.  They're making beautiful sweaters that fit them perfectly.  
 
 
There's a Ravelry forum: http://www.ravelry.com/groups/customfit
 
And here's Keri's testimonial: http://www.amyherzogdesigns.com/2013/10/11/ff-from-scratch-iii/ (she is rather busty and has never had a sweater that fit well until now).  
 
And Kim is a freakin' knitting machine!  She's cranking out a wardrobe of beautiful sweaters.
 
Pretty nifty eh?  Check it out.  I'm already plotting my next one.

 


Doing it all (fibre-fun edition)

There aren't a lot of weekends where I get to do it all.

I just about always knit:

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That's the second sleeve of my Tangled Yoke Cardi in Bugga (Lubber Grasshopper).

A few weeks ago I literally washed the dust off poor Martha Matchless and resumed spinning up some superwash merino destined to be 3 ply sock yarn.

This is the last 3rd of the batt

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And, I found time to warp the loom.  Here's a peek.  This warp is so nifty it deserves it's own post.

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And we were dog sitting Ruby.  Who got lonely and wanted to be right on me while I wove.  She wasn't even very upset about all the movement, she just kept muscling her way back in.

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I didn't get much accomplished on any of these things, but I got to do them ALL so it was a great weekend.


Owls at 14

On January 14th, my baby turned 14.  Champagne birthday.  Full-on teenager. 

Whoa.

She's now taller than me, growing up to be a great person and she's a riot.  

To celebrate she had her two best friends over for movies (Dirty Dancing, Perfect Pitch and Strictly Ballroom), music (from A-ha to Florence & the Machine), boy chat (the cast of The Outsiders and boys in popular culture that I have no idea about) and not-much sleep.

Emma, may your life have lots of moments like these:

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Happy Birthday Em!

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In a nice coincidence, I also finished the sweater I was making for her in the wee hours before her actual birthday.  It wasn't a surprise, but it was still a nice gift.

It's Owls with some modifications.  Emma wanted a loose sweater so I made the 38" size with no waist shaping.  By request, I also made the extra long cuffs with thumbholes.  It's two colours of Debbie Bliss Luxury Donegal Tweed chunky because that's what I had in the stash.  I rather like it.

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My silly teen-model likes it too:

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It still needs to be blocked and Emma decided she wants all the owls to have button eyes. 38 buttons.

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Good thing I love her so much.

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(and the sweater fits me too!)