Tag Archives: knit sweater

A New Season, a New Sweater and a New Silhouette

I am *this* close to finishing my brother’s wedding blanket (and only about a month late… so not too bad), which means it’s time for me to start planning my next project.

Here’s what I’m thinking:

  1. I want to make something for myself.  Just about all my knitting for the last year or so has been for work, or for someone else (mostly the kid, so I can’t complain too much).  And, while I like knitting for other people, I feel like it’s time for me to do a little selfish knitting.
  2. I think I want a new sweater.  And not just the same plain pullover I’ve made myself thirty-seven times.  I love a nice plain pullover, but I’m feeling an itch to try something new. Right now I’m thinking about doing some color-work.
  3. I don’t want to design it.  I want to follow someone else’s pattern.  I don’t want to figure out charts or do a whole bunch of math.  I just want to sit down with a tried-and-true pattern and just go to town. I might not even make a swatch. (I know… heresy.)
  4. I want this sweater to be a little trendier and girlier than I usually go.  My usual style is basic, almost unisex, straight-ahead.  I want to do something a little more interesting and fashionable.
  5. And, if this pattern could take less than thirteen years, that would be appreciated.

So, after a long troll through Ravelry, I’ve come up with some ideas, and I need your input to decide what to do. (Though, fair warning, I might decide to do a completely different project and come back here next week with a half-knitted squid or something).

I think I like the idea of making a sweater with a cropped-yet-oversized silhouette.  It seems like it would be flattering.  Or maybe not?  I’m not sure.  It’s very different from what I usually wear, but maybe that’s the point?

This sweater could be knit with long sleeves or without, to make a sleeveless summer sweater.  But maybe it’s too simple?  Other than the silhouette, it’s not that different from my usual knits.  Lots and lots of stockinette.

Aqua by Trin-Annelieaqua_015.jpg

This sweater has a very similar shape- real boxy and simple, but I like the ribbing detail across the shoulder and the color-work at the bottom.

Navelli by Caitlin HunterProcessed with VSCO with fs4 preset

Speaking of color-work, I’ve been ogling everyone’s Soldotnas.  And I do mean everyone,  there have been more than 2000 of them added to Ravelry.  I really like the color-work yoke (and I do like a yoked sweater), but for some reason the combination of the yoke and the cropped length seems a little less flattering to me than the boxier dropped-shoulder sweaters. But maybe I’m just crazy?

Soldotna Crop by Caitlin HunterProcessed with VSCO with fp1 preset

Or, I could just go along with the cool kids and make myself a Shifty.  I love the color-work/mosaic-knit fabric, and I have an idea for what yarn I’d substitute. (Spincycle is lovely, but I don’t want my sweater to cost three thousand dollars.) I just wonder if this sweater is a little too close to my usual sweater, if I’m trying to make something new.

Shifty by Andrea MowryIMG_1227_medium2

I guess I’ll just have to keep thinking as I finish up the last few rows of that dang wedding blanket.

And no matter what I pick, I guess I’m going to have to get myself some high-waisted jeans or a couple linen dresses to go with my new cropped sweater.

Which sweater do you like best?

Off my needles

Woo!  I finished!

God, it feels good to finish a project.  It’s been a while.  I’ve been working on that dang wedding blanket for my (now married) brother for what feels like a decade, and before that, I was working on a sweater for my husband that I ended up setting aside because I am an insane person who decided that knitting a full-on men’s sweater on US3’s was a good idea.

So, it’s been a minute since I was able to weave in that last end, break out the blocking boards and say “I’m officially done!”

And I’m here to say, “I’m officially done!”  With this baby sweater.IMG_1840

I mean, look at this kid.  He’s looking dapper in his little tweed sweater that’s still a bit big for him, which is great- it should be just about perfect in the fall.  (Don’t mind the fat lip.  He’s trying really hard to learn how to walk, and had a little run-in with gravity the other day.  It looks worse than it is.)

I really enjoyed this pattern- Flax Light is real simple, and a nice quick project that used up a couple leftover skeins of Knit Picks Provinicial Tweed. (It’s marketed as a worsted, but knits up like a sport or a DK, so it was pretty perfect for this pattern.) I love that Tin Can Knits grades all their sweaters from baby to big adult, which means that I can make more Flaxes for the kiddo as he grows up. (And maybe matching ones for my husband and I?  Though, that might be a little much, even for me.)IMG_1823

One thing that was odd, though, was the lack of a front/back in this pattern.  No short rows at the back of the neck or stitches bound off at the front.   It’s the second time I knitted a sweater for the kid that didn’t have a specific front/back.  I wonder if it’s a baby-sweater thing, or something that I just haven’t run into until recently.

Have you finished anything lately?

Gauge Gripes

Do you ever get halfway through a project and start questioning everything.  Why did I pick this yarn? Did I really need to make the extra-large version?  Why is there just so much stockinette stitch?  And was the pattern designer a little bit of a sadist?

I’m halfway through a pattern like this.  (OK, full confession, I’m barely a third of the way through, but I like to dream.)

It’s a top-down sweater knit on US3s with fingering-weight wool.  The shoulders were fun, with lots of color-work, but the rest of the sweater is acres of stockinette.  IMG_1311It’s going to be lovely when it’s done, but man, I gotta wonder about the sanity of the designer.  Who designs a men’s sweater on 3’s and 2’s? I’m currently working on the body, and each row has almost 300 sts.  It’s not even that big of a sweater.

Oh… wait… It’s my sweater.  I designed it…  whoops.

I just hope it turns out OK, because my fingers are going a little numb from all the thousands of tiny stitches.

(Keep your eye out for this pattern some time next fall.  In the meantime, I’ll be plodding away through this tiny tiny gauge, and dreaming of worsted weight yarn…)

When’s the last time you over-estimated your enthusiasm for a pattern?

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

So, I’ve been trying to prune some of my stash.  I used up a bunch of that blue Provincial Tweed for my big old sweater that I finished the other day.  I knit that fair isle sweater for my kid a couple months ago, using up a lot of leftover sock yarn.  And, I’ve made a couple scarves, cowls, and other little in-between-big project projects.

Sometimes I actually use up my yarn.

Sometimes I end up with more yarn than I started with.

So, I’ve had these two little balls of purple yarn for years.  (I got them to make a baby sweater for a friend’s kid.  I think she’s in kindergarten now.  It’s been a while.)  I lost the label, and couldn’t figure out what kind of yarn it was, but I know it was superwash and baby-appropriate.  So I though, “Hey, let’s use up this yarn and make a cute little purple sweater for the boy!”  Seems like a good idea.

Except that I apparently have no idea how much yarn a baby sweater takes.

You’ll notice that I ran out of purple  just about halfway through the sweater. (I knit it bottom-up, so it’s easy to see where I ran into trouble.)IMG_1226.JPGI also kind of guessed on the size, so it’s very, very big on the boy.  Of course, he’ll grow into it, but I was kind of hoping he’d be able to wear it now, when it’s cold out, instead of in 6 months when it’s a million degrees out. (Well, 80.  We live in Seattle after all.)  Oh well.img_1205And, I ended up having to buy a whole big skein of sock yarn to finish the top part of the sweater.  Because, of course, I didn’t have any yarn that matched that particular shade of purple in my stash.  So now I have 3/4 of a skein of sock yarn to add to my stash. So much for paring down my collection.img_1230At least the kid seems to like his new sweater!img_1200How do you use up your yarn?  Or do you just keep buying it, like I seem to be doing?

Ding dong!

The witch is dead!

Or, I should say, The Sweater is Finished!

It’s been over 9 months since I started this bad boy, and it. has. languished.  I’d pick it up every few weeks, work a couple rows (complaining the whole time), then put it down and somehow be shocked (shocked!) when the sweater wasn’t any bigger when I went to pick it up again the next time.

I freaking hated this thing by the time I got to the end of it.

So, it’s surprising that when I finally finished it (just before Christmas), I absolutely loved how it turned out!

IMG_1141.JPGIt might be my favorite sweater right now.  (I’ve worn it basically every day since I finished it, and didn’t even bother blocking it because I didn’t want to wait for it to dry).

It’s a super simple sweater, no fancy shaping, just a regular old Ann Budd top-down set-in-sleeve sweater with a crew neck and lots of extra length.  But, it fits like a glove, and the Knit Picks Provincial Tweed is crazy soft.IMG_1158It’s super comfy, and (despite the unflattering angle on the above photo), looks pretty nice, if I say so myself.  I couldn’t be happier (or more surprised) with how nicely the finished sweater is.

Have you ever finished something, only to be pleasantly surprised by how it turned out?

Stuck in the Doldrums Again

It’s my most favorite part of a sweater.  The torso.  Nothing like knitting skein after skein of plain ol’ stockinet stitch with no end in sight.  I’m definitely not bored or anything.  Definitely not letting Grandma’s sweater sit, neglected in a box on the floor of my studio. Nope.  Definitely not doing that.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere’s my usual process for making a top-down sweater:

1.  Casting on/neck/upper shoulders:  Exciting! I just started on a new project, and I’ve only got a handful of stitches to a row.  I’m flying along!

2.  Lower shoulders:  Sure, I’ve increased up to a couple hundred stitches, so any one row is a pain, but I get to work some cool colorwork.  It’s still pretty fun, and the added fair isle keeps it interesting.

3.  Split for arms:  I get do do some math, and even break out the stitch holders.  Excitement abounds!

4.  Body:  The worst.  Really, pattern?  You want me to knit 12 inches of stockinet over 200 stitches?  No.  I will set fire to the sweater instead.

5.  Bottom ribbing:  Hallelujah!  I am just so happy to be knitting something other than the body!

6.  First arm:  Woo Hoo! Look how fast I can knit when I only have 70 stitches to work per row!  It’s practically flying off my needles!

7.  Second arm:  Didn’t I already do this?  Hurmph.  I think I might get bored, but at least If I finish this step, I’m almost done!  I can power through.

8.  Collar and button band:  Aren’t I finished already?  I’m pretty sure I should be finished.  Oh well, I guess I’ve got to keep going.

9.  Finishing:  Yeah!  Nearly there!  Maybe I if I don’t go to bed until 2:00, I can get this finished in time to wear it to work tomorrow?  That’s acceptable, right?

 

So, wish me luck, cheer me on, and hopefully I’ll get past Step 4.  I’ve still got a looong way to go (and I have to make it before Christmas)!

Stellar’s Jay Sweater: Changing Plans

I’ve been hard at work on my Stellar’s Jay sweater.  The body is almost up to the armpits!

I’m following my pattern as I wrote it, except for a couple (sort-of) minor details.

First, I decided that I didn’t like doing the scallop rows the way I had planned it out, so I modified it a little.  Now, it is slightly shallower (worked over two rows, instead of three), and I think it looks much better.  I’m probably the only one who would ever notice, but I’m picky that way.

Second (and this is a larger change), my pullover had turned into a cardigan.  I don’t know what happened- I was casting on and some knitting spirit whispered in my ear that I needed a cardigan, not a pullover, and one thing led to another.  I’m still following the pattern as I designed it, but instead of working the sweater in the round, I’m knitting it flat.  When I finish up the sweater, I’ll pick up stitches along the selvedge edges and knit on some button bands.  It should look pretty good (I hope!).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s important to remember that regardless of how much planning goes into your knitting, it’s still possible to change plans as you work.  You’re in charge of your project, and being flexible when you don’t like how something is working up will end up giving you a better finished project.

What changes have you made to projects as you knit them?