Posts categorized "Sweaters"

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:
And here's Keri's testimonial: (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:


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


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


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.


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. 


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:


Happy Birthday Em!


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.


My silly teen-model likes it too:


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


Good thing I love her so much.


(and the sweater fits me too!)


I finished on time! (except for the ends)


Terai.  I love it.


Perfect Fit (thanks for the fit advice Laura), lovely yarn (Indigodragonfly held with Miss Babs), great pattern.


Things got a bit hairy on the finishing front.  Not only did I have that flu (I'm feeling much better), but then one sleeve wasn't the same length as the other--I suspect my gauge got wonky with the illness.  Then I fixed that and tried the sweater on and didn't like the 3/4 sleeves so I ripped back the cuffs and worked longer sleeves.

Finishing might have stalled my recovery a bit, but I'll catch up on my sleep now that I have this beautiful new sweater.


And the knitting with 2 strands of laceweight--I love it.  It makes a soft, light sweater.  And since I don't like knitting lace, it gives me something to do with the small amount of laceweight in my stash.

NaKniSweMo 2012

After 2011's successful cardigan in a month, I've decided to do the NaKniSweMo again this year.

The stars all aligned...

Pattern, the gorgeous Terai from Laura Chau's Afternoon Tea Volume Two

Yarn (1/2 from stash even), Indigodragonfly Merino Silk-quel Lace in You know you're doing it right when your mother and Jane Austen would disapprove and Miss Babs Yasmin in Deep Sea Jelly Fish (the pinkish one)


No sweater on the needles

A swatch (I even have photographic proof above)

And go...


As of last night I separated the armholes (no photo, just imagine a slighly bigger blob) and I'm loving the knitting.  Laura's patterns are always great and I needed this sweater the moment I tried to rip it off saw it on her.

The colours are super pretty--grey with all sorts of pinks and warm browns.  Yum.

I can't wait to get to the nifty cables!


Which was more challenging?

What a weekend!  Two big things happened:

1. I finished Breakwater (Rhinebeck sweater number 2)

2. I finished my first Half Marathon

Which was more challenging?

The sweater.  It was a total slog.  I realized a few things about what I like to knit when making a sweater getting through this one.  

I have no problem with endless stockinette but I hate top down sweaters.  The endless rounds with no end in sight, the flipping around of the sleeves and the dpns, the monotony just about killed me.

This is no slight on the pattern which is simple and straightforward; it's about my knitting style and it's good to know what that is.  


The yarn is Indigodragonfly MCN sock in The World is Doomed! (Giles) and I love it.  The colour is a pleasant neutral and while it seemed loose and wobbly in the sweater while I was knitting it, after a wash and a dance in the dryer it came out full and soft and fantastic.


This is a knitted sweatshirt and it's great.

I skipped the waist shaping because it doesn't work on my body but should have tapered in the body a bit after I divided for the sleeves.  I needed the 38" size for the shoulders and bust, but not the rest of me.  I know better for later (note to self: remember and listen to myself when this arises!)

Now for the Half Marathon.

It was awesome. I had so much fun.  Even two days later, I'm still riding on the crest of accomplishment (and perhaps endorphins--I still hurt).

The day didn't start out promising because it was raining.  Hard.  I hate running in the rain.  

At least the temperature was a warmish 14C so I put on my big girl pants and my running hat and made myself a garbage bag rain cape and fretted about a wet race on our short drive over to City Hall for the start.

I also had on the most awesome armwarmers.  That helped my mood.

Arm warmers











After a wet and long wait for the porta-toilet (a pre-race must), I got myself over to my starting coral and the rain stopped.  Perfect timing.  I started to feel the good anxious instead of the impending doom anxious.

I decided the day before that I would run with the 2hr 15minute pace bunny since I knew I could run the race in that time and thought the pacer would keep me on target.  

We started and it was all good.  Except I was having trouble keeping to the pace.  It was too slow.  

I stuck with him for 6km and then noticed I was creeping up on my pace and just went with it.  I chatted with a really nice seasoned runner during this time. He was in his 60s and this 1/2 was a warmup to his full marathon this weekend in Amsterdam!  He told me I looked comfortable and could up my pace and was really encouraging.  

So I did.  And I got faster.  We met a few times more and he said something really interesting: "I bet right now you're thinking, I wonder how much further I could run?"

And he was right.  I had such a good time and felt so good, I am thinking that. It's crazy.

Here are my splits (according to my Garmin, so they won't be perfect) and I ran the last 5km fast.  

Half marathon splits




















My brother who came to see me at 8km and 17km said I looked good and like I could have ran faster (he's very sporty so I welcome his advice).  

I had a great race finishing in 2 hours, 11 minutes and 30 seconds and I'm happy with that, but also think I could have started faster and maintained a faster pace throughout.  

21.1km in 2:11:30. Go me.

(I was totally hurting once I stopped running.  But man that post-race burger tasted good!)

It wouldn't take off a lot of minutes, but probably a few and I realize that while I want to let go of time goals, I am motivated by them and I need to work with that.

I guess I'll find out on my next one.

Awesome Ahni

My Rhinebeck sweater:

I love it.


The pattern is Ahni from the Fall 2012 Twist Collective.  I knew it was a) the perfect sweater for me--work wearable, a design that flatters my figure, an interesting knit.


And b) it was the perfect pattern for the Indigodragonfly MCS worsted in my stash (that's merino, cashmere, silk...yum).


The colour is Unemployed! In Greenland! (google Princess Bride) and it's gorgeous.  The only snag was with one of the transitions which I mentioned here.  I ripped it back and re-worked the front and now it's perfect.


(Emma and I got a bit silly during the photo shoot)

Added bonus: I got it done by Thanksgiving--almost 2 weeks before Rhinebeck. That gives me time to finish Breakwater in time for Rhinebeck too.

You'd think I'd learn

Hand-dyed yarns are beautiful.  I love the subtle variations in the solids, the way it creates depth in the garment you're knitting.  I like hand-dyed yarns so much I find regular yarns a bit boring (though tweeds are rather nice).

But these yarns also require a bit more thought when knitting.  Those variations can really show at the point at which you change skeins--even when they look identical wound up.

I know this.  I know the rules: alternate skeins.  Or if you want to take a chance alternate skeins near the end of a ball--for 30 rows or so to ease the transition.

Did I do that with Ahni?  


I'm going to blame my cold and that I was at Xander's soccer tournament and the pretty colour and pattern and anything else that doesn't make me not remember that you need to alternate (because I've done this with my Vino coat and a few others; none of which I've documented here because of the **shame**).

And, of course, that one ball that's a tad lighter than the's the front.


Right at the chest line.  Nice.

It's blocking right now (on top of the back--I like to block the pieces this way to ensure they're the same size).  When it dries, I'll rip back to a few inches below the underarm and alternate skeins.  It's probably a few hours work, but it's the right thing to do.

Hopefully this time I'll learn my lesson.

At least I have this pretty sleeve to keep me happy (and yes, I alternated near the end of the skein).


This is a much more accurate photo of the colour.  Another thing about hand-dyed  yarns--they're tricky to photograph.

Fall is Coming

I've been a one project girl for the last 2 weeks.  I like when I get taken in by a project and just want to knit it all the time.  Must be because Fall is coming.

The sweater is Ahni from the latest Twist Collective.  It's chugging along very nicely--I finished the back last week and am at the armholes of the front after a weekend of watching Xander play soccer (second place in the tournament AND second in the league!).  

The yarn is Indigodragonfly MCS worsted in Unemployed in Greenland.  It's super nice to knit with--that silky shine, cashmere, a tight twist to show off the stitch pattern.  The pattern is easy to follow and I think the colour is glorious.

Here's the colour at it's truest (all the indoor photos don't do it justice)


And, I'll be finished in time for Rhinebeck.  Whee!