Tag Archives: knit

I DID NOT THINK THIS THROUGH

Or, rather, I did think it through, I just don’t like the answer.

So, it’s my sweater from last week. I like it. The design is going to be solid (at least it is in my head). The yarn is nice and soft. It’s fun to knit stripes.

But here’s the thing: This is a not-small adult sweater being knit on US5s. When I finish the raglan increases (knitting around the chest and shoulders, just before I split for arms), I’m going to have more than 400 stitches on my needle. That’s more than I had when I was making my big blanket. Ridiculous. It’s going to take forever.

Here’s what happened: I’ve used this yarn before, and while Swish is a super soft yarn (superwash merino), it’s really not hard-wearing. I’ve used it for sweaters before and they end up pilled about fifteen minutes after you try them on for the first time. I’m hoping to combat that by going down a needle size or two. So here we are with US5s (4s on the cuffs). I think it’s the right decision in the long term, but, man. It’s going to be a heck of a slog.

But, honestly, there’s something to be said for just miles and miles of stockinette. Nothing’s more meditative. Right? …Right??

Have you ever miscalculated about how much work a project was going to be?

It’s… FINALLY… Finished

I can’t believe I’m actually writing this, but the wedding blanket is finally, finally finished.

I made it through 10 of the 12 skeins of Simply Wool Bulky, but couldn’t keep going. The blanket was just so big and heavy, I couldn’t keep going. It’ll make for a fantastic snuggling, but it’s not the most fun to knit on (my poor arms would ache any time I worked more than a row or two). So, I finally gave up, bound off and declared it done.

I even blocked it! That’s how done it is! I soaked it in the sink and spread it out in the basement (where the children and dog can’t get to it) on a clean drop cloth. (I know… such a fancy setup.) And, lucky for me, it’s been super dry here, so it blocked in just a couple days.

The blanket ended up roughly square, which is fine with me. I just love how it turned out. I even took it out into the snow for a few glamor shots.

It’s taken me 9 months since I received the yarn, and I’m only 7 moths late for my friend’s summer wedding. But, dang it, I finished this thing. And that’s what matters.

Now let’s see how long it takes me to get it in the mail…

Have you finished any big projects lately?

Long enough?

I’m officially at the “Are we there yet” phase of this ding dang blanket. I’ve made it this far, but is it far enough?

And while every big project has this moment (at least for me), this blanket is giving me extra trouble deciding when enough is enough.

There’s a “ribbed” quality to this pattern that I underestimated when I was swatching, and I’m having trouble figuring out what it’ll look like blocked. For example, when I just lay the blanket flat, it looks long and narrow:

Surely, it’s ready to bind off, right? The goal is a square-ish blanket, maybe slightly longer than it’s wide, but I certainly don’t want a long, skinny blanket.

But then, a moments later with a little futzing, and suddenly my long, skinny blanket is short and chubby and could definitely use a couple more skeins.

I think with blocking it’ll end up even wider, which means I should do more knitting. (Which is not the conclusion I was hoping for.) But then, on the other hand, after it’s been used for a while, will it just relax back into its long, skinny shape?

I’ve got 2 and a half more skeins. I’ll probably do at least one more full skein (plus whatever I need to do to get to a stopping point). Then, I’ll have a debate with myself about stopping. And then convince myself that I need to keep going. And then I’ll keep knitting until I’ve accidentally run out of yarn, at which point I’ll have to debate about ripping back or ordering another skein to finish the project. What? I’m sure I’m not the only one.

What would you do? Call it, or keep going?

Double Double

They’re done! They’re done! And just in time for the baby to turn 6 months! (It might not be a very punctual “Congratulations on having a baby” present, but oh well. New sweaters are better in October than April, anyway, right?)

That duplicate stitch nearly did me in. It was such slow going. Every night I sat down to work on it I’d think “This’ll be the night I finish these ding dang sweaters,” and I’d end up only finishing one half of one letter.

But, finally, after much whining and several bad movies, I managed to finish! A little blocking later and, tada! Matching sweaters for Luna and Albus! (Or maybe Lupin and Aberforth? Or Lord Voldemort and Aragog?)

I’m so pleased with how they turned out. The duplicate stitch (while a slog), ended up looking just lovely. I love how it blends into the knitting, and how much the blocking made everything so nice and even (I swear blocking is some kind of magic).

Now that I’ve got these guys done (which took surprisingly longer than I had intended), I guess it’s time to get back to the wedding blanket that was “due” last June… Oops!

Have you finished any big projects lately?

New Pattern: Call & Response Throw

A new day, and a new pattern!

It’s the Call & Response Throw, part of the Knit Picks 12 Weeks of Gifting program, which means: it’s FREE!

I’m super happy with how this monster of a blanket turned out. The chunky yarn plus the squishy garter stitch make it extra cozy and extra snuggly- it almost feels like a weighted blanket! It’s exactly what I want to be under (or working on) on a cold winter night.

It’s constructed in separate blocks. Each mitered block (there’s 3 variations) is worked from the wide edge to the point, and you use intarsia to create the colored squares along the diagonal. The blocks are then all sewn together and a quick log-cabin-style border is added to finish the whole thing off. Super simple, but such an impressive finished product. Plus, because it’s worked modularly, it makes a great travel project, and is easy to modify!

Head on over to Knit Picks to grab your free copy of my Call & Response Throw today!

Keeping it Chill

I’m keeping the pressure off, and I’m making headway… slowly. In the last week (when previous versions of me would have already finished an entire pair of socks), I’ve turned a single heel.

That’s right. I have taken a whole week to make a heel on a sock. Something I’ve done a million times and usually will take me no more than an episode (or maybe two) of whatever crime documentary I’m watching. I can’t even say I was using that time to make the sock leg longer, because, I didn’t add any length at all to the leg since the last time I told you about it. I could probably count the number of times I’ve made socks this short on one hand.

But, you know what, I’m kind of digging this length. It’s cute! I like the zig-zag pattern, too. I think it could be nice as an embellishment on the top of a long sock, or even a repeating pattern down the length of a sock. Who knows, maybe this’ll end up as a self-published pattern with options on the length. It’s been a minute since I’ve written up a pattern just for myself.

And, after all that grumping about how slow this sock is going, I just want to pause for a second and say: I love a slip-stitch heel. It’s so cute. It’s sturdy and attractive. I’ve seen people checkerboard the slips, which is nice enough, but I really like the faux-ribbing that happens when you stack them up. It’s definitely my favorite sock heel.

Are you working on anything currently?

The Lowest of Low Pressure

The last few weeks have been rough, but I think I’m slowly getting back in the saddle.

I considered a few very cute little toys to make, and thought about making some Barbie clothes. (Do I own a Barbie? No. Has my kid ever shown even the slightest interest in dolls? No. Do I want to make Barbie clothes anyway? Kinda.) I almost picked up something from my “To Be Knit” pile, but decided against it, since that’s what I’m “supposed” to be doing.

But, instead of trying something new, I knew I needed something easy, comforting and quick. And when I need a project that’s easy, comforting and quick, I can’t help but break out my sock yarn.

I found a mostly-full skein of this nice tonal sky blue. Is it enough for a pair of socks? Eh. Probably not. But whatever. I’ve got more of this yarn in different colors, so I might end up with fraternal twin socks, and that’s fine. This project is all about being the lowest of low-pressure knits.

I cast on my usual 60 sts, worked a 1×1 rib for… a while. Then did my best guess at replicating an old favorite pair of socks I made years ago. When I was a few rows in, it became clear that I was not even close to replicating those socks, so I kinda… just kept going. I added a second zig-zag row and had planned to keep the leg going to my usual calf-length, but… I kinda don’t want to.

I think the leg on this sock might be done. Or maybe I’ll add another couple rows of stockinette. Like I said before, these are low-pressure socks.

I’ll keep working on these, a few rows (or a few stitches) at a time, until I get back in my groove. It’s slow-going, but I can tell I’m starting to get my momentum back.

What do you like to work on when you’ve lost your knitting mojo?

Indecisive

OK, so. I need help deciding because… well… I’m indecisive.

Buttons.

This sweater has 3 button holes, but it turns out that I only have 2 of the buttons I had intended to use (these adorable little vintage stick-buttons from the button collection I inherited from my Grandma a few years ago). Bummer.

So, now I’ve got three other sets that could work:

Blue ceramic buttons I made years ago when I worked for a ceramics artist who let me put my own projects in the kiln when I fired the tiles we were actually paid to make:

Plain creamy sage(ish) green buttons that I’m pretty sure my grandma cut off of a blouse in the 90s.

These slightly shimmery caramel-colored buttons from (I can only assume) 1976.

Or, should I just go with the original stick buttons, and just pretend that I didn’t make 3 button holes? It’s not like it’ll ever be all the way buttoned-up anyway.

I think I’m currently leaning toward the caramel ones, but will they make my kid look like an extra from Laverne & Shirley?

Help me decide!

And a biiigggg stretch

I just love blocking. Of course it’s magical on lace and fancy cable projects, but it’s just as satisfying on simple projects. I’m always amazed how much even the simplest (for example) bulky stockinette sweater benefits from a good block.

Observe:

Looks fine, right? Nothing too rough about it. But give it a solid block (or even a half-effort one, like I did this time… because my pins were upstairs and I didn’t feel like getting them) and it transforms! Also, it’s still slightly damp, because even though I started it blocking several days ago, it is a very solid sweater, and is taking a million years to dry.

But look at the ruler- it’s grown a good 2″ across the chest (maybe more), and the drape and feel of the fabric has absolutely changed. The stitches are so much more even and the collar looks so much better. It’s gone from stand-up-on-its-own-stiff to smooth-and-velvety. Honestly, I’m kind of jealous of this sweater. I wish it was in my size!

What’s the best blocking transformation you’ve done?

Back on Track

It was touch and go there for a minute, but I have made up with my striped sweater. I’ll be honest, I really considered frogging the whole dang thing after the sleeve debacle.

But I’m glad I rejiggered my math and reworked the sleeve. Because it’s turning out super cute, and the fit is so much better. (I’d show you a picture, but I’m still in my PJs. My “daytime PJs,” to be fair, but still.)

Now the only question is: How long is this sweater going to end up?

I’ve finished the sleeves and I’m working my way down the body. I’ve got three skeins of the blue left and a ball of the handspun that’s about the size of a lemon (and who knows how many yards that is?). I figure if I save one skein of the blue , that should be enough for the button band. And most of the second skein will probably be used for the waist ribbing.

So that leaves one skein of blue and an indeterminate amount of handspun. I was hoping I could leave the bottom of the sweater stripe-free, but I think I might need to add some to make sure it doesn’t end up an awkward length.

This whole project feels like playing yarn chicken. At least it’s looking cute.

Cross your fingers for me!