Posts categorized "Sweaters"

Fair Isle Diversion

After seven blanket squares, it turns out I needed some knitting diversions. First was to cast on a quick and easy sweater, Gemma, using some old-stash Madeline Tosh merino in Tart. I love this yarn but didn't buy quite enough for it to be a lot of the garments I wanted. Note to self: don't be chintzy if you're stashing. 

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I also have a few work-wardrobe holes that could be filled by a simple red sweater, so I got swatching and got knitting. It's been a good knit while I watch Kingdom on Netflix as complicated knitting and subtitles don't work together.

Also if you're into light suspense with Zombies, watch Kingdom. So good. Set in 15th century Korea. Political intrigue fuelled by a strange zombie illness. Beautiful cinematography, lush costumes, interesting plot that has some surprises. 

I also got tempted by Kate Davies' club pattern, Knitting Season hat. It's so beautiful. I've been wanting a red hat to go with my parka and I had the pattern, stash yarn and inspiration so I dove in. 

I really like Fair Isle knitting and changing it up from the blanket squares was the diversion I needed.

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One week later, and I'm wearing it. It's -15C, so I'm bundled up.

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Such a beautiful pattern. Really fun to knit. I do find the corrugated rib band a tad tight and if you have a bigger head, I suggest adding at least one repeat as the pattern has you adding 36 stitches from band to hat. I'm hoping mine will stretch a touch more and I might reblock to see if I can coax it along. The ribbing isn't stretchy so there isn't a lot of play. I confess I didn't swatch, but it's the same Yorkshire Tweed I used for Strathendrick and the same gauge so I knew what sized needles to use. But I should have done a bit of the math to consider the sizing before jumping in. 

No matter, it's pretty and something I wanted for my hat collection. And I'm itching to get back to my blanket squares. 

 


Resolution Three: Longer Sleeves and a bonus tutorial

As I mentioned in my last post, I tend to make the sleeves too short on my sweaters. I really don't like them too long and I think I over compensate (that and I'm probably impatient to get the sleeves knit). Hence Resolution Three: Make your sleeves long enough Steph.

In the case of Maxfield it also seemed to mess with the fit of the sweater so much that I stopped wearing it. The sweater is a bit tight in the arm and the too short sleeve seems to make it feel constricting and it pulls at the shoulders. So I decided to lengthen the sleeve. 

This sweater has a different construction and there is no way to undo the sleeve, rip back to the armpit and knit on the length (well you can, but it means taking apart the whole garment).

I decided to do some surgery.

The plan was to knit an extra repeat of the 20 row pattern (the coloured zig zags and rows of blue) right after the cuff. So using a circular needle I picked up the right part of the V of each stitch just below where I wanted to remove the cuff. There were two set up rows which made this easy as I didn't have to pick up the k1p1 cuff or the zig zag pattern.

Then I took my scissors and snipped just above the picked up stitches. Yikes.

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Then I unravelled that row. The cuff was now separated from the sleeve. Yikes.

I picked up the cuff stitches and knit the extra repeat. Bonus points for not having to reknit the cuff. The attached sleeve was safe on the circular needles. I thought about knitting down from the sleeve, but the zig zag pattern wouldn't be pointing in the right direction so I needed to knit up from the cuff.

Actually, full disclosure, I started knitting down from the sleeve, realized the zig zag was pointing the wrong way, ripped back and then picked up the cuff and went the other direction. I might have been a bit delirious after cutting the cuff off.

Once the extra length was knit, the last step was to kitchener stitch the cuff and added length to the garment sleeve.

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The yarn must have faded a bit with washing, so the new part is a bit dark, but that'll change with time and there are lots of dark variations in this lovely hand-dyed yarn. Also having the original cuff helps keep things looking "together".

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Here is is with the new part grafted on

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First sleeve done-major improvement! The sweater fits better and I love it again! 

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While I don't have a finished photo, I can assure you that I did knit the second sleeve and it does cover my watch nicely. Totally worth taking the few hours needed to do this. 


The Skinny

My knitting mojo is back big time. On top of the few projects I already had on the needles, I started 4 new projects since Rhinebeck, 2 of which I started last weekend. Craig went off for his yearly Rhinebeck (deer hunting at Pineapple Lodge) and being alone all week made knitting all the things seem like the right thing to do.

I'm pretty sure he was just out of the driveway when I got out the loom and warped it using my Miss Babs Yummy Toes mini skeins for a Mad for Plaid scarf.

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Then I did a bit more work on my first panel for Twitch.

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Then I got really ambitious and starting this:

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The Shieling blanket by Kate Davies. I love knitting blankets. They're always the right size, they're incremental--one square at a time--and who doesn't love snuggling under a blanket? 

This one might be a challenge...it's fingering weight AND fair isle. And completely addictive. Two squares done and I'm smitten. It's beautiful and fun to knit.

I have a few other things on the needles and I noticed they're all fingering or lace weight. Skinny yarn and big projects.

While I love a chunky cowl or a worsted weight sweater, there's something more refined in a thinner-yarn garment. They're more  clothing and less hand made. There's more space for a motif or colour. And really there's more knitting which isn't ever a bad thing.

Go little on something big...or go home.
 


Bang Out a Carbeth


I already had a Carbeth in my Ravelry queue when MSK declared February as Bang Out a Carbeth month for a knit-along. I loved the simplicity of the pattern; it’s a raglan turned sideways so the diagonal shaping line crosses the front and back instead of the shoulders. That’s a good shape for my body and broad shoulders and at 3.5 sts to the inch, it’s something easy to knit up. 

And the photos. I'm knitting the whole, wear a gorgeous skirt and frolic in the winter highlands lifestyle...

Finding the right yarn in my stash was the bigger problem. I made four swatches.  The roughly Aran weight handspun was a bit too floppy. The two strands of sport/dk together was delicious squooshy merino silk cashmere but I couldn’t get gauge. The Queensland tweed too thin to even finish the swatch. The Cascade Ecological wool was just right, except I only had one skein each of two colours (they were a gift). 

I did some colouring (my new iPad Pro is going to be great for knitting stuff) to determine how to use the two colours in a way that maximized the design. 

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I chose the dark bottom with the light top (just above) I casted on and a week later I have the body done, one sleeve attached and the next one started.

All good.

Except I knit myself into a corner.

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If I want to continue with knitting in the round, I'm going to have 4 skeins on the go. Light left sleeve, dark back, light right sleeve, dark front. I also have to figure out how to do the decrease so it's pretty. I was trying to think up a latvian-braid like effect with the decreases. Any hints or ideas on how I might do these 2 colour decreases? 

I could also do each piece separately and sew as was done with this beautiful colour-block Carbeth

I'm not against seaming a sweater, but will avoid it for this one if I can.

 


Startitis

I’m back knitters. BACK. Knitting. Thinking about knitting. Writing about knitting. 

Swatching

I knit 5 swatches this week. Not counting the mitten I started which was to serve as a swatch if I didn’t get gauge. I got gauge and the mitten is half way done.

Could be that my Fitzcarraldo knee socks were the stopper. Two years to knit two socks. I got that done and bam! I’ve knit a sweater in a month, start planning two more and got to making new mitts before the winter is over. 

And after only posting 3 times in 2017, it’s time for me to use this blog again. Sure it’s very 2009, but it’s a space I like. I’m fine with Instagram and Twitter and would be lost without Ravelry, but all of them are only parts of my story. I like that here I can consolidate. A place that’s partly social, but not driven by stupid algorithms and that I mostly control. 

So here goes...

Fitzcarraldo Knee Socks by Kate Atherley, the smartest knitter I know, and who’s instructions I should read and follow the first time. Ripping out and reuniting 5 inches of twisted rib is my punishment and I took it willingly after putting the first sock in a time out for a year. I am not always a patient knitter.

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Cold Breath, by Joji Locatelli, made from recycled Indigodragonfly merino silk. This sweater is perfect. I want to wear it everyday.

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New basic mittens following Kate Atherley's instructions in her new (and fantastic) book: Knit Mitts. Yarn is my handspun, Into the Whirled Merino/Yak in Captain Tightpants

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The other two projects are where all the swatching is happening. I'll leave that to my next post which is about Kate Davies, her beautiful work and the West Highland Way Club. I joined after seeing a sweater that had me entranced, and it's been a complete delight. 


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).