Tag Archives: knit

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!

Improvised Sweater

You guys, I kinda love how this project is going!

After the swatch went so well last week, I couldn’t wait to start knitting my new sweater. Did I want to plan? No. Did I want to do math? No. Did I want to follow another person’s pattern? No.

I just wanted to start knitting!

So, I pulled out my trusty Ann Budd top-down sweater bible and set to work on a raglan sweater (my favorite) in 2×2 stripes of blue and handspun. After a few rows, I decided, “Yeah- it’ll be a V-neck.” I never make v-necks for myself, so why not give it a shot!

Then, when I got to the bottom of the V, I had to decide between cardigan and pullover. I literally hadn’t thought that far ahead. Which is wild. You guys know me, I’m always such a planner, especially when it comes to my knitting.

I sat for a few minutes, and thought about what I had in my sweater pile. I have a bunch of pullovers, but I really don’t know the last cardigan I made for myself that’s really wearable. The cardigans that come to mind are cute and all, but not terribly wearable day-to-day. They’re more of the “decorative” variety than the practical. And you know I’m all about practical garments these days.

So, I’m off to the races. I’m doing a v-neck cardigan!

My current goal is to be as efficient with my yarn usage as possible. I’ll continue in stripes until I’m just about out of the handspun, then do the rest of the body/arms in the solid blue. Hopefully, that’ll let me make the best of every last inch of my yarn.

Fingers crossed that it all goes to plan! (Even if there really isn’t one.)

Inspiration: Sweaters I Wish I Was Knitting

I’m really having trouble getting inspired about knitting these days. Or at least I’m not feeling inspired about my knitting.

Like I said last week, I’ve run through most of the fun yarn in my stash, or at least the easy-to-repurpose yarn. Just about all the sweater-quantities have been used up, and I’m even running low on groups of the same yarn base in different colors. Sure, I could cobble together little bits and bobs of different yarns into a sweater… but that’s a lot of effort. And who knows how that’d turn out.

It’s been waaaay too long since I set foot in a yarn store. All I want to do is go to my LYS to pick out a new, fancy sweater pattern and go a little wild picking yarn, spending way too much time agonizing about color and texture, only to go home with the same oatmeal-colored wool that I always gravitate toward.

Sigh.

(Also, as I write this, I’m 2 weeks out from having a newborn in the house, so starting a new fancy sweater is an utterly stupid idea. Which isn’t to say that it will stop me.)

Anyway, I figured that instead of starting a new pattern, I might just write about the patterns I wish I were knitting.

First up: A sweater I find utterly beautiful, and one (if I’m being honest) I would never actually work up (baby and pandemic notwithstanding). It’s utterly gorgeous- those colors! I would be so tempted to pick different colors, which would take about 30 hours of me second-guessing myself the whole time. I mean, it uses 14 (FOURTEEN!) different colors. It’s so freaking gorgeous. It would drive me up the wall to knit. Maybe I can find someone to knit it for me? Ha!

Foxthoughts Pullover by Hiroko Payne / The Hare And The Crow

As beautiful as that sweater is, if I’m being honest, what I’m really itching for is a big ol’ cabled/textured sweater. I really want to get my needles deep into a sweater like this. 5 (or so) different cables? Yes please. Lots of seed stitch? Yep. All-over texture? Definitely. Cool saddle-shoulder detail? Sign me up.

(Plus, it would look pretty great in my “signature” oatmeal/gray.)

Yule Sweater by Anne Podlesak

Or maybe I could combine the two. Why not have color and texture? Why not jump on the Shifty bandwagon? Heck, I might even be able to actually find enough scrap yarn in my stash to cobble together a workable version of this bad boy. Though, I shudder to think about all the ends I’d need to weave in…

Shifty by Andrea Mowry

I’ll get to go to a yarn store again some day, and I’ll get to knit a sweater again, too. It’s just going to be a minute. In the meantime, the daydreams will have to satisfy.

What are your current dream projects?

So many stripes- so few ends

Y’all. I couldn’t be more pleased with how my self-striping socks turned out. They’re totally cute, totally functional, and totally done, with only a couple weeks’ work and the bare minimum of ends!

You know how I feel about ends (anti), and how I feel about stripes (pro), so these self-striping socks are just about perfect for me- the best of both worlds. I love how the little addition of slipped stitches gave the socks just a smidge more character than regular-old vanilla socks, and I’m beyond happy with how evenly the stripes worked out.

For some reason, I never really trust self-striping yarn to give me evenly matched stripes for both feet. It’s probably some weird deep-seated trust issues or something, but I always assume that self-striping socks will turn out as fraternal twins at best. But, look at these guys! They’re just about perfect!

Such a satisfying little knit!

What’s your most recent satisfying project?

A little Christmas Cheer

It’s early, as I write this from the past (ooohh!), but it’s never too early to be thinking about Christmas. Especially if you’ve got plans to knit for Christmas. And boy, howdy, do I have plans.

Well, plan.

Just one. I’ve given up knitting Christmas gifts, because… well… it’s a lot of work, it’s stressful, and I just don’t wanna. Sure, I might make a pair of Christmas socks or a particularly special Christmas sweater from time to time, but I’m not doing the whole “everyone on my list gets a pair of mittens” thing this year. (And not just because we have a new member of the family this year.)

But I love a tradition, and one tradition we have is hanging stockings by the fireplace. We haven’t really filled them ever, but I love how they look, just as decorations, and I kind of love making them.

Plus, since our older kid and our dog both have stockings, it would probably be unfair if the baby was stocking-less.

So, I’ve dug the stockings out of storage, and re-ordered more Cascade 220 (thank goodness I actually kept the yarn tags from the last time I made a stocking, or I wouldn’t have had any idea about what shades of green and red to buy), and set to work knitting up a stocking for the little one.

Of course, I never took decent notes or wrote up an actual pattern, so I’m kind of guessing/using an old stocking as a general template. It’s simple enough for the leg of the stocking, but we’ll just have to see how it turns out… I really don’t remember how I did the heel…

And, while you read this, the baby will probably be born already (if there’s any justice in the world, anyway… I’m still a month+ out from my due date as I type this, and let’s just say, I’m ready to move on to the next phase of this thing), and should have a name. But, for now, I’m leaving the name blank, and will go in later with a little red yarn and duplicate-stitch in the letters.

It’s going to be so weird having 5 stockings hung up this year! (Assuming I can figure out the heel turn on this thing…)

Have you ever tried to re-create a project years after you made the first version? How did it go?

Two by two, stripes of blue

I’m cruising through my kid’s Leftovers Sweater, and I gotta say, I love it!

It’s the perfect amount of mindless knitting- just switching between main and contrast colors every two rows, then breaking the contrast color after every fifth stripe. Couldn’t be simpler, or more striking. I think it might just be the perfect pattern for a little kid sweater!

And, I’m really digging the blue in-between each contrast stripe. I think it will make the whole color scheme more cohesive. (Which is a feat, when pulling together 6 (I think) random colors leftover from several years’ worth of projects.)

Plus, my favorite thing about 2×2 stripes in the round- it looks like you’re going to have a million and a half ends to weave in, but you don’t! I just carry the unused yarn up the inside of the sweater, and you only have to weave in ends when you break to change color. Easy! (I’d probably use this trick to carry over 3 or 4 rows, but maybe not more than that- the floats start to get a little long and start pulling funny if you do wider stripes.)

Now, am I still going to complain about having to weave in the (few) ends left when I’m done? Of course. I’m still me. But for now, I’m going to pat myself on the back and tell myself that I’m doing a great job.

Are there any little details on your knitting that have really been pleasing you lately?