Well, at least it’s done.

OK. So, I finished my “

OK. So, I finally finished my “Quarantine Sweater,” and the best thing I can say about it is that… it’s done.

It might be the least-flattering sweater I’ve ever made. I might even go as far as to say it’s ugly.

I mean, the shape ended up super weird (it’s way too wide, the sleeves are droopy, and the armpits start around my belly button). It’s not even worth taking a flattering picture of myself wearing it… sorry…

The colors are… fine, but I really dislike how some of the sections ended up super-marled (but I suppose that’s what happens when you knit exclusively to use up the random half-skeins of yarn in your stash without a lot of planning), and why did I include that puke-yellow color?

And the fabric itself is… odd (it’s nice and soft and warm, but also the stitches are very open and loose. I much prefer a wooly, structured sweater; this one is altogether too drapey and shapeless).

But, it’s done, so there’s that. Maybe I’ll grow to love it? Or maybe I’ll find a very wide, short friend with very long arms that grow out of their rib cage I can give it to? Or, I wonder what would happen if I tried to felt it? Does alpaca even felt?

Oh well. At least it used up a bunch of yarn.

Have you ever finished a big project, only to hear a great big sad trombone?

,” and the best thing I can say about it is that… it’s finished.

It might be the least-flattering sweater I’ve ever made. I might even go as far as to say it’s ugly.

I mean, the shape ended up weird (it’s way too wide, the sleeves are droopy, and the armpits start around my belly button). It’s not even worth taking a flattering picture of myself wearing it… sorry…

The colors are… fine, but I really dislike how some of the sections ended up super-marled (but I suppose that’s what happens when you knit exclusively to use up the random half-skeins of yarn in your stash without a lot of planning), and why did I include that puke-yellow color?

And the fabric itself is… odd (it’s nice and soft and warm, but also the stitches are very open and loose. I much prefer a wooly, structured sweater; this one is altogether too drapey and shapeless).

But, it’s done, so there’s that. Maybe I’ll grow to love it? Or maybe I’ll find a very wide, short friend with very long arms that grow out of their rib cage I can give it to? Or, I wonder what would happen if I tried to felt it? Does alpaca even felt?

Oh well. At least it used up a bunch of yarn.

Have you ever finished a big project, only to hear a great big sad trombone?

Teeny Tiny Pants!

I finished my tiny Felici pants, and they’re just about the cutest things ever.

They’re super small- each leg is probably about 3/4 the diameter of a standard adult sock, and the way I got the stripes to match up is just *muah* perfect! Even pre-blocked, I kind of love them. (I’ll probably block them up when it’s time for them to meet their new owner, but I’m just not feeling it right now.)

It’s funny, though how on the “butt” part of the pants, the stripes are so much skinnier. Which makes sense, because of math (he butt is about twice as wide as a single leg, so of course the stripes there are half the width), but for some reason it didn’t occur to me until I was halfway up the front. I considered ripping back and fussing with two balls of yarn or grafting in chunks of different skeins to keep the stripes even, but 1. That’s a lot more work than I wanted to commit to, and 2. I think it’s pretty cute as is.

The only problem now is that my 2-year-old wants a pair, too. And a pair of toddler-sized pants is going to take a lot more work (and yarn) than a pair of newborn ones. Oh well- that’s just how it goes, I suppose!

Switchy Swatchy

OK, I totally hadn’t planned on going forward with the Helge Doppler sweater vest from last week. Sure, it was cute, and I really liked the texture, but lord knows I’ve got enough half-finished projects sitting in my studio right now.

But, well, it kind of got stuck in my head. Like a weird knitting version of an ear-worm. An eye-worm maybe? Ew. A knit-worm?

Anyway, one thing led to another and I was swatching before I knew it.

I started with US2s and some leftover Hawthorne Fingering. (I’ve since come to the decision that a kettle-dyed yarn is not right for this pattern, and that I need to go down at least one size (maybe two) to get the stitch definition I want. The swatch isn’t super clear, but bear with me.)

And just to remind you, this vest is my goal: (Again, sorry for the poor-quality picture- it was the best screenshot I could find.)

I began with the pattern I sketched out last week, and rapidly discovered that it was wildly wrong. (It’s the bottom section of this swatch.) What I thought was diamonds of stockinette and reverse stockinette clearly was not. The diamonds were super small and squished- hardly even diamonds.

So, I went back to the drawing board and tried using garter stitch instead of reverse stockinette, which looked a lot better (the top part of the above swatch). I wasn’t sure about the transition from one repeat to another, so I tried a few different varieties (you can see that each repeat is slightly different) until I landed on one that looked more or less the way I wanted it to.

I sketched up the new design, and here we are:

Now I’m off to swatch this new pattern out with finer needles and some machine-dyed sock yarn. Wish me luck.

The only question left is, “Do I want to knit a sweater (even for a 2-year-old) on US0s?” Eek!

Knitting on the TV

It’s been a minute since I’ve gotten really excited about knitting in a movie or on TV, but I think I might have found my next project. (Ha! Like I need another project.)

Ya’ll know I’ve been watching Dark on Netflix. It’s very moody and (well) dark. There’s lots of rain and nighttime scenes, and of course lots of knitwear and very good coats.

Plus, part of the story takes place in the 50s- the heyday of knitting, in my opinion. Knitting in the 50s was all vests and sweater sets worked on tiny needles with fingering weight yarn. It would drive me nuts to do it, but man, I love how the finished product looks.

Speaking of the finished product, look at this amazing sweater vest! (And don’t worry- no spoilers here, unless you consider a kid with a very good sweater vest a spoiler.)

And a close-up:

I mean, that color, that all-over texture, the 1×1 rib edging, the v-neck. It might be the perfect sweater vest. So stinking cute. I kind of want to make one for everyone in my family. Or at least for my kid. After all, making a vest for a 2-year-old on US2s is much less daunting than making one for myself. I’m thinking I could even use sock yarn to make sure it’s machine-washable and can stand up to a very busy toddler.

The thing I think I like most about this sweater is the geometric knit/purl texture. It doesn’t look particularly tricky, but when it’s worked all over the whole piece, it really packs a punch.

In fact, I like it so much I couldn’t stop myself from “sketching” it out and making up a little chart. (Empty squares are knits, dots are purls. Also, for what it’s worth, I haven’t actually swatched this out yet, so it might be wildly off. It’s just my best guess, based on obsessively looking up screenshots of this vest.)

I’m not sure if I’ve got the time/energy/follow-through right now to actually make this sweater become a reality, but man it’s fun to daydream. Maybe it’ll become a pattern?

Has any TV knitting caught your eye lately?

Well, That Just Flew By

Both this knit and the show I was using to knit it up.

That’s right, my Dark knitting is finished, and I love it. (I also love the show, which was amazing. At least Season 1, which is as far as this shawl got me. I’ll have to come up with something new to knit for Season 2).

This shawl was more-or-less the Deep Winter Shawl from Lisa Metzgar (I modified it slightly on accident because I wasn’t paying attention, and didn’t feel like going back and fixing the bits that were wonky). It was a super simple project, a fairly straightforward garter-stitch triangle with big bands of openwork every few inches. It was a pattern easily-memorized with just enough challenge to make it interesting without requiring me to look away from the closed-captions.

I love the finished shape: it’s a slightly-skewed triangle that is really cute and flattering draped around the shoulders, and you know I love me some garter stitch. I even like the dull gray-brown of some stash yarn I was using up. It’s incredibly neutral-y, which means I could see it going with just about any color coat, but there’s enough warmth in the color’s undertones that it looks nice and flattering. (Also: Look at all that hair! My quarantine hair is getting crazy!)

In summary:

Dark is a dang good show.

The Deep Winter Shawl is a dang good shawl.

And I might knit up a second one for Season 2.

Have you got any TV knitting going at the moment?

Itty Bitty, Teeny Weenie, Multi-Colored, Striped Pantinis

I got my yarn last week! And by “my yarn” I mean my yarn! My colorways of Felici from Knit Picks (Dragonboat and Fiesta)! And they’re so cute! I’m so pleased with how they turned out. (Fair warning- my pictures do not do the yarn justice. Some day I will learn how to take a photo with color that’s true to real life. Today is not that day.)

I was particularly excited about the Fiesta colorway- It’s way more “It’s the 80’s, so let’s wear our geometric design windbreakers to the mall and show off our ponytails” than I had intended, but in a really good way. I just had to start knitting something with it.

Anyway, I threw aside all the projects I’ve been working on/I’m supposed to be working on and had to cast on something with my new yarn as soon as possible.

It’s self-striping sock yarn, so of course I started a pair of socks.

Ha!

You don’t know me at all.

No! I started making a pair of baby pants! Because why? Because the world needs a pair of 80’s-tastic striped baby pants!

I’m kind of winging the pattern (which will definitely not backfire on me) based on a pair of my kid’s pants, so we’ll see how they turn out. But, they look so cute so far! (Speaking of the kid, he saw me starting one of the cuffs and said “A tiny sweater!” He’s learning so fast.) It was a pain getting the leg stripes to match up, but not too bad. It’ll be worth the futzing when they’re done.

And, don’t worry- I’ve got enough yarn to make myself a pair of socks, too.

Are you getting any Felici? What’s your favorite pattern for self-striping yarn?

Obsessed

I have been BUSY. Not knitting or anything that I’m “supposed” to be doing, but I’ve been busy, powering through my quilt.

I guess the secret to actually finishing a quilt is to let it sit for 7 years in your closet, then be stuck in quarantine for months. Who knew?

Anyway, I’ve made major headway. I’ve done (almost) all the quilting, sewing two lines on either side of each two-color seam. It looks really cute, but man, that was a lot of sewing.

And I like sewing.

I really like how the back looks on a hand-quilted blanket. It’s all cozy and wrinkly around all the quilting. It reminds me of my mom, who was always quilting when I was a kid. (Though, she hand-pieced as well as hand-quilted. She’s crazy. But, her quilts were (and still are) beautiful.)

Once the quilting was pretty much done, I trimmed the batting and the backing, and did a rolled hem to finish the edges. It looks great, except for one section where (years ago) I trimmed the backing way too short, or maybe I’m just did a really bad job centering my quilt top on the backing? So, that section has some scrap yellow fabric sewed on. It’s mostly unnoticeable. (Except for me. I notice it, and it bugs me. But do I ever finish a project without it having some element that I want to fix? No.)

There’s just one little spot that really irks me, though… It’s right here:

That’s right, there’s a tiny scissors-cut, right at the edge of the quilt. Why is it there? When did it get there? Did I do it? If I did, what was I thinking?

So many questions, and no way to easily and invisibly fix it. So, I think I’m going to pout about it for a while, then sew on a patch. Ugh.

Well, I’m almost done- I’ve got to finish up one corner of the border, take out the basting, and probably quilt a little square at the center of each block (I’m a little worried about how puffy the centers will get without any more quilting, but I also want this thing to be DONE).

I’m so close, I can taste it.

Caption Knitting

I’ve been cruising through my quilt (or as much as you can cruise through a quilt… it’s such. so. going), but I’ve hit a bump in the road. And it’s not the bump that I expected.

The bump is that we’ve started watching Dark on Netflix. We’re only a couple episodes in, but I’m hooked. (I know, it’s a show from 3 years ago, so it’s not like I’m on the cutting edge or anything.) But it’s a very well-made show; beautiful, well-acted and really compelling. I’m a sucker for a unique sci-fi show, especially a time-travel story.

But here’s the thing. It’s in German.

I took German in high school, and still remember enough to ask for directions or order dinner, given enough time and a German-English dictionary, but watching (and understanding) a TV show? That’s beyond me.

Which means we have to bust out the closed captions. And that means my eyes have to be glued to the TV. And that means, no quilting for me.

So, I’ve started a new project, just for working on while watching Dark.

It’s a super simple shawl, featuring lots of garter stitch and a really simple repeating pattern for shaping. I’ve based it more or less on the Deep Winter Shawl by Lisa Metzgar. I started by actually following the pattern, but somehow got lost (I blame the closed captions), so I just kinda kept going.

I’m really enjoying my new show, and my new knitting. It’s coming along pretty well, and I think it’s going to be a nice little shawl/scarf when it’s done. Just interesting enough to be fun, but simple enough that it won’t interrupt my TV show (much).

Do you have a dedicated TV project?

Stitching (Instead)

So you guys know I’ve been trying to finish up abandoned projects and use up yarn that’s been languishing in my stash for far too long. I’ve made some progress. It’s kind of satisfying, if I’m being honest. I do like finishing things.

But if we’re talking about unfinished projects, there’s one that I can’t ignore. The Grand Kahuna of WIPs. The White Whale of UFOs.

One major project that’s been languishing for far (far, far, far) too long.

It’s been in my studio since… before we moved (almost 7 years ago), and honestly, probably several years before that. If you told me this was a 10-year-old project, I would believe you.

And the ridiculous part? It’s probably been about 75% finished for the better part of a decade.

It’s my monster quilt.

It’s huge- about 80″ square. No idea why I picked that size. It’s not a standard bed/quilt size, and it’s freaking huge! I don’t know where I got the design, or if there was a pattern, or why I picked the colors I did (yellow is not a color I usually gravitate to…). But, I know I put the quilt top together, made the sandwich, basted the layers together did about half of the quilting before I got bored/distracted and forgot about the quilt. Every few months/years I’d see it in my closet and go, “Huh… I should work on that,” then forget about it again.

At the beginning of quarantine, I really started to buckle down on this project, alternating hand-quilting a square or two with working up a baby sweater sleeve or a few inches of scarf. It’s coming along, I’ve only got about 9 more squares to go (plus the edges and sewing on the binding… but let’s not dwell on that yet).

It’s a satisfying project, but if I ever say I want to make a quilt again, maybe don’t let me…

Have you ever actually finished a ridiculous unfinished project?

I MADE SOME YARN!

I usually try to write something clever, or at least do a little funny intro to my posts, but the only thing I can say today is:

I MADE SOME YARN!

YOU CAN BUY IT!

IT’S SUPER PRETTY!

A few months ago (actually, quite a few months ago, because apparently it takes a while to manufacture yarn), I collaborated with KnitPicks to design a couple colorways of their eternal-favorite self-striping sock yarn, Felici, and my yarn has just become available!!

My skeins are the bottom two- the bright, multi-colored ones! They’re both inspired my my (sometimes unrequited) love of gardens and gardening. (They both had garden-y names when I designed them, but I guess the KP marketing folks decided to rename them… who knows?)

The first one, Dragonboat, is a mix of greens and bright red, yellow and orangey-pink, the colors of my favorite zinnias, which always remind me of a summer garden. Not my summer garden, since all my zinnias are kind of sad and stunted this year, but still.

My other skein, Fiesta, is inspired by my neighbor’s garden. She’s a much better gardener than I am, and her yard is always teeming with vibrant dahlias, powder-blue hydrangeas, vivid roses and golden sunflowers.

I can’t wait to see the yarn in person- my skeins are en route as we speak! I think I’m going to start with a classic pair of stockinette socks, but then who knows where I’ll go… hats for everyone? A stripey sweater for the kid? The sky’s the limit!

Grab your skeins here!