Tag Archives: knit

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?

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?

Treasure

Something wild happened the other day.

I’ve been cleaning out my studio (because what else are we supposed to do while still on lockdown?), and I’ve been discovering a bunch of half-finished projects.  I found part of an afghan from 2013 (according to Ravelry), and two quilts in various stages of completion (one’s easily a decade old.  I think I started it when I first moved to Seattle…).

And, I found a baby sweater!  It was 99% finished.  The ends were even woven in.  It was so cute and tiny, and just was missing a few buttons and a block.

And I have ZERO memory of making it. I don’t know the yarn or the pattern, or when I made it or why. All I know is that it must have been made way before I had my kid, because it’s white.  And who in their right mind would make a white baby sweater?  Me, apparently.

But it’s so cute!

It’s got kind of a “1950s Letterman’s sweater” vibe and just needed buttons.  I went digging through my button jar, and found 4 different sets, two sizes of white buttons, and two sets of gold ones (eagles and lions).

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After a little debate between me and myself, I decided the lions were too perfect not to use.  They’re a slightly warmer color than the eagles, and just so ridiculous. (Unfortunately, they’re completely impossible to photograph.  You’ll just have to trust that they’re lions.)

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And so, with about 15 minutes’ work (plus blocking time, I’ve got an instant preppy baby sweater!

Now just to wait for someone to have a baby (who doesn’t mind doing laundry).

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Have you ever left a project unfinished for so long that you forgot all about it?

Finally Finished!

I’ve had a little run of… we’ll say “projects that haven’t been too successful.”  There were the socks that ended up three sizes too small, the woven scarf that took a left turn (literally) and the sweater that didn’t go to plan.  What with *vaguely gesturing* everything that’s happening, it just seemed to make sense that none of my knitting is working out either.  This whole spring/summer/year seems cursed.

Anyway, with all that, I decided I needed to finish something.  I have had my Stonecroft shawl literally sitting on my desk, looking at me for a good 4 months now.  It was basically done, except that I had lost yarn chicken while binding off the last 10 or so stitches.  I got frustrated with it, couldn’t decide how to fix it, and just… let it sit there.

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So, last weekend I decided NO! I’m going to finish something.  And it’s going to be successful, by god!  I ripped out a couple rows and re-bound-off.  (I had been toying with the idea of ripping way back to make the border wider, but I couldn’t bring myself to do that.  A decision I’m glad I made.)

And, within an evening, I had finished the project that had been sitting, teasing me for months.

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I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out- I’m not even mad at the slightly-narrower-than-called-for border.  It’s lovely, and I’m so pleased with how it turned out.

Of course, now that I’ve finished it, the weather has turned and I have no use for a cozy shawl…  But isn’t that always the way?

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Have you finished any projects lately?

Pattern: Kells Wrap

I ended 2019 with a pattern, and I’m starting 2020 with one, too!

This one’s a little bigger, though, and a little more complex.

It’s a giant, cozy, wrap, every inch covered with intricate cables!  Introducing: the Kells Wrap!52761220_02.jpg

This bad boy is what you will reach for when you really just want to wander around town, wrapped up in a blanket.  It’s thick, it’s cozy and it’s (if I say so myself) really beautiful.

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I’ll be honest, it’s not for the faint of heart, or the first-time cable knitter, but it’s not so complex that it’s impossible to make.  The design was inspired by the illustrations in the Book of Kells (an illuminated manuscript, and one of Ireland’s national treasures).  It’s complex, but it repeats  in an orderly way, so once you’ve worked a couple repeats, you should be able to more or less memorize the design.

If you’re looking for this and other cabled treats, head over and pick up Knit Picks’ new collection, Entwined!

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Or you can get just my pattern here!

New Pattern: Olympic Pullover

I know- it’s crazy, but I’ve another new sweater for you!  Exciting!

This one’s feels pretty on the nose for me, as it’s just starting to get cooler out, and I’m dreaming of getting into the thick of fall.  And there’s nothing that says “autumn” to me better than a thick, cabled, over-sized wool sweater.  (Though, honestly, this is really more of a “deep winter” sweater if you’re a normal person, and not a cold-blooded lizard person like me.  My husband tried it on and managed maybe five minutes before he started to overheat.)

It’s the Olympic Pullover!52715220_06.jpgIt’s named after the Olympic Peninsula, the gorgeous part of Washington between the Puget sound and the Pacific Ocean.  It’s full of lush forests, misty coastline and snowy peaks.  (And it’s where Twilight was based, if that gives you an idea.  Though I imagine that people that live over there don’t love that reference.)  It’s the perfect place to traipse around in a woolly cabled pullover.52715220_15.jpgThis sweater is beyond simple- dropped shoulders mean almost no shaping, and everything’s worked in pieces and sewn up, so it would make nice travel knitting.  Plus, the cables look super-complicated, but once you get them established, they’re pretty simple. 52715220_12

You can get a copy of the pattern here, or grab the whole collection (highly recommended- there’s some great sweaters in here!) here.

Pattern: Piper’s Creek Pullover

Woo hoo!  It’s a pattern day!

And this one’s a little out of my usual wheelhouse, because:

  1. It’s a fingering-weight sweater worked on US3’s.  Why? Because I’m a crazy person.
  2. It’s colorwork!  I love how colorwork looks, but all things being equal, I think I’m more of a cables person.  I love a big squishy sweater. (OK, I love making a big cabled sweater.  I’d wear either in a heartbeat.)

Anyway, without further ado, let me introduce the Piper’s Creek Pullover!52724220_09It’s a long-sleeved yoked pullover, made with Palette yarn from Knit Picks (though you could use really any fingering-weight wool).  It uses at least 7 (count em) different colors (great for using up leftover scraps!), but could be easily modified to use as many colors as you have on hand.  I made mine for my husband with a gray background and blue, red and yellow details.  It’s a great unisex sweater, and a fun, simple knit (assuming you don’t mind miles of US3 stockinette).

52724220_13.jpgI will say one thing though- the neck on the sample in these pictures ended up kind of funny, so if you want to make a Piper’s Creek Pullover (which I highly recommend), here’s what I would do to avoid the weird neck.  First, make sure that you’re only doing the number of short rows called for in the pattern, or maybe even reduce the number by one or two, just in case.  Second, make sure to work the colorwork nice and loosely (tight shoulders will make the neck funnel up, like it is in the pictures).  And third, make sure to block the sweater so the neck goes nice and smoothly into the shoulders.  Worst case scenario, if the neck ends up terrible even with all those precautions, you can always rip it out from the top down (or cut it out), pick up your neck stitches and work the neck and collar that you prefer after the sweater’s done.  (Though, that seems like a lot of work…)52724220_14

Want to pick up a copy? Grab the Piper’s Creek Pullover pattern here!  Or get the whole Palette collection here!