Tag Archives: knitting

All done*

*For the most part, anyway.

And, I’m pleased to say, my sweater turned out pretty great!

I was worried it was going to be too short, but it ended up a surprisingly flattering hip length! And, I had plenty of yarn! I had about an egg-sized ball of the handspun and a half a skein of the blue when all was said and done.

I finished the body with a whole skein of blue left over, then picked up a whole mess of stitches for the button band. (Pro tip- when picking up a button band, you pick up 2 stitches in every 3 rows as you go up the sides, then pick up 1 stitch in every stitch across the neck. Then, check to make sure the two sides are more-or-less equal and if you have the right number of stitches for the ribbing you’re doing. If one side has too many stitches, instead of ripping out and re-picking up the stitches, just work the appropriate number of decreases on that side in the next row as you establish the ribbing. And, if you need to change the number of stitches to make the ribbing come out evenly, do the same thing, but at the back of the neck. So much easier than ripping out, and no one will ever know!)

I threw in some button holes after a couple rows, and finished off the button band in pattern. OK, it turned out I threw in too many button holes (in my defense, I wasn’t paying attention), so I used a little matching thread to sew up the extra one.

Then I blocked it and added on some buttons that I happened to have that were the right size and more or less the right color (or so I thought).

Once they were on and the sun came out (I added them late at night, and it turns out I couldn’t really see them), I realized they were definitely not the right buttons. But they’re the ones I have in my stash, and they’re functional, so they’re staying on for now. The moment I get to go to a yarn shop again, I’ll get something cute (and probably silver) for this sweater.

But for now, I’m really pleased with how this has turned out!

What have you guys finished lately?

Inspiration: All Creatures Great and Small

So, I’ve decided I need a new aesthetic. I’m no longer going to dress as a 21st century 30-something mom. Nope. No more t-shirts or leggings or hoodies for me.

I’m now officially dressing as a country vetrinarian from the 1930s.

It’s all tweed and knit vests and crisp white shirts from now on.

Why yes, I have been watching the new All Creatures Great and Small on PBS. (And yes, I know I’m several months late to the party).

And if you haven’t watched it yet, what are you doing?! It’s a delight. It’s like a warm cup of tea poured by Mrs. Hall in the surgery kitchen. Which is exactly what I want these days. (My usual media diet of old Star Trek and true crime documentaries hasn’t been great lately).

Anyway, now that I’ve decided to totally overhaul my wardrobe to accommodate my new dream, we should probably talk vests.

Because, y’all, there are some very good vests.

Take this amazing Fair Isle number. I mean, I’m not a huge fan of stranded knitting generally, but I could get behind making up something like this. It’s gorgeous, it’s super fancy, and still manages to be understated. Plus, how much fun would it be to pick out all those colors?

Machrihanish by Kate Davies Designs

Or I could go the absolute opposite direction, and go super simple with super-wide ribbing. Classy. Classic. Cozy.

His Vest by Churchmouse Yarns and Teas

But, I think this is my favorite of all the vests. (And I think it’s James Herriot’s favorite, too, since he wears it all the time.) It just looks so soft and comfy, and you know me and cables. Cables+me=BFFs.

Delius by Bristol Ivy

Well, I’m off to watch the Christmas Special (which is very timely… ha!) and go online shopping for tweed and button-downs.

What are you currently watching?

… Maybe Too Improvised

So you know last week when I was so full of myself about my improvised sweater? When I was all “I love this sweater! I love figuring things out as I go! Measuring? Math? Who needs ’em? There’s no way this is going to go wrong!”

Well. As they say, pride cometh before the fall.

And boy howdy how I’ve fallen.

I had the yoke done, I’d split for body and sleeves, and had made it a full skein of yarn into my body. Then, I put the body on pause while I made the sleeves. That way, I’d be sure to make the sleeves long enough, and I’d know exactly how much yarn I have for the body. Smart. Or, at least a good plan.

Before I tell you what happened next, let me say that in my defense, I actually did a swatch. However, my swatch came to about 4.5 sts/in. My beloved Ann Budd book has the math done for 4 sts/in and 5 sts/in. So, instead of picking different needles or actually doing my own math, I’d just chose a larger size, and decided to follow the 4 sts/in pattern. Not a great plan, not terrible.

But, I forgot that her sleeves are a little slimmer than I like to begin with.

And I forgot that they’re also a little short.

And I forgot to try on my sweater as I went.

Once I had the first sleeve knit down to the cuff, I finally tried the sweater on. Y’all. It was bad. My arm looked like an over-stuffed hotdog that had been cooked so much it was about burst.

It was so bad, I immediately ripped it out. Which (while not a great move for a blogger, since I don’t have a picture of just how awful the sleeve was) is a move I stand by.

Anyway. Now I’m back to basically where I was last week. And after all that, I think the yoke and body will be fine, though the silhouette will probably be a bit more fitted than I had envisioned. But I’m definitely going to have to do some math for my sleeves. Sigh…

When’s the last time you had to re-do a significant part of a project?

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.)

Sweater!

So, I’ve been whining about wanting to do a sweater, but not having enough time/energy/yarn to knit a sweater.

Well. Turns out that, while I don’t have the time or energy to make a sweater, I do, in fact have the yarn for it.

And when has being low on time or energy ever stopped me from starting a project? Never.

I really dug deep into the stash this time, and found about 8 skeins of Wool of the Andes in Sapphire Heather (one of my favorite colorways). I say “about” because a couple of the skeins had already been partially used. On what? Who knows.

And I found a big hank of handspun that I made years ago. I don’t remember how many yards it is, it’s very inconsistent in weight (and not on purpose), and I have no memory of what the fiber content was. But it’s a very pretty blend of blues, greens and purples that I love, but is entirely impossible to photograph.

Well, I thought they looked nice together. They’re roughly similar weights on average, and, when combined, they probably have enough yardage for a sweater.

So, I got to swatching, and I have to say, I’m pleasantly surprised with how it turned out. I did a quick 2×2 stripe, which I figured would be the easiest way to combine the yarns together for maximum yarn usage with the least fuss/planning.

I’m excited to get started. Now to figure out what I’m actually going to do with this…

New Pattern: Comfort Mittens

It’s really been a while. Or at least, that’s what it feels like. But, I’ve got a shiny new pattern for you guys!

It’s a super-cozy, oversized, cabled to the gills, just right for the middle of February pair of mittens!

Everyone say hi to the Comfort Mittens! (“Hi, Comfort Mittens!”)

These bad boys are so cozy and warm, and nice and long (because who wants cold, drafty wrists?), perfect of the bitter winter weather we’ve been having. I love the simple-to-execute, but impressive-looking cables on the back. Would you believe they’re worked with only 2 different crossovers?!

These mittens are worked in the round from the cuff up, with an afterthought thumb and a fully-charted cable on the back. The yarn they use is Knit Picks’ Twill, which might be my favorite yarn they sell. It’s super plush and cozy, and also wears (and washes) like a dream. Perfect for mittens.

So, hop on over to the Knit Picks website to grab yourself a copy of the pattern, or why not treat yourself to the whole (equally-cozy) collection?

And It’s Done

Well, that was fun while it lasted. I know it wasn’t a full-on sweater. Obviously. But still! I thought that my Ben-ish Cowl would take me a little longer than it did. (I think I finished it about 3 days after I wrote my last post about it. And I’m being pretty slow about knitting these days…)

Oh well…

At least it turned out super cute!

The colors are slightly off here, but about as close as I could manage. The red is more burgundy (think: cranberry sauce) and the gray is slightly more blue (a slightly overcast autumn sky… if you’re feeling poetic).

It’s super cozy and soft. Maybe too cozy for Seattle…

But, the takeaway for this project is that I want to put this cable/texture pattern on every garment I make for the rest of the winter. Socks? Yes. Hats? Yes. Scarves? Yes.

And sweaters? Definitely.

Why do the most fun projects always go the fastest?

A Sweater-ish Cowl

I’ve gone through phases as a knitter. There was a while when I started knitting that I almost exclusively knit mittens. Then it was stuffed animals. Then socks. And lace shawls (for some reason…). Lately (as in the last few years), it’s been sweaters.

I love making sweaters. I’ve probably made a couple dozen over the last few years (more, if you include baby/kid sweaters). I find sweaters to be just the most satisfying project. I love everything about them, from designing them to adding details to picking yarn to thinking about the practicalities of their construction. I love knitting sweaters that are my own designs, and I love knitting sweaters other people have designed.

However, two factors are getting in the way of my sweater-dreams these days.

  1. Covid means I haven’t been to a yarn store in 8 months. I’ve been slowly draining my stash of any sweater-quantitates of yarn. Sure, I could probably cobble together a sweater’s worth of sock yarn or something, but… that sounds difficult. And annoying.
  2. As I write this (in late October), I’m less than a month away from the birth of my second kid. Which, needless to say, will cut into my knitting time.

So that means I’m making a point of knitting non-sweater projects.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t dream, does it?

This is one of my favorite men’s sweaters to make (and wear). It’s a super easy, FREE, cabled, comfy, pieced sweater. I’ve knit it twice- once for my husband and once for my father-in-law. I have since more-or-less adopted my husband’s sweater since apparently it’s “too warm for Seattle” for him. It’s the perfect “I’m having a day and just need to be comfy” sweater.

I kind of want to knit another one.

But instead, I’m going to hold myself back and use up the skein-and-a-half of Knit Picks’ Twill I have in my stash drawer to make a nice, cozy Ben Cowl. (I had hoped the gray-blue would have been enough, but it’s not quite as tall as I wanted. Luckily the burgundy looks nice enough with the blue, so we’re going to pretend it was supposed to be color-blocked.)

What other small projects should I work on? Do you have any favorite one-skein patterns?

Happy Holidays

It’s Christmas this week, and you were totally going to knit that thing for your mom/sister/neighbor/uncle/whoever. And now you’re out of time and don’t have the yarn or the pattern picked out. Well, I’ve got the perfect alternative for you!

Instead of stressing, just have your recipient fill out this Knit-Lib (like a Mad-Lib, but knitting-themed), to tell them all about their new gift!

That’s right- why spend hours trolling through Ravelry and weeks picking out just the right skeins of yarn, when you can have someone else spend 5 minutes choosing random words to design your project instead?

Sounds like a win-win to me!

Happy Holidays!

Printable version here:

FO #2

Hey guys! Guess what? I did a thing! I had a baby! He arrived at the end of November, and in my unbiased opinion, he’s pretty perfect.

Plus, it’s nice to have a kid in the house who doesn’t fight me when I try to dress him in seasonally-appropriate knitwear. (I swear, the big kid hasn’t worn anything warmer than a t-shirt in months… it’s 40 degrees out!)

The baby is a big fan of being snuggled, especially in his cozy garter-stitch baby blanket.

He likes wearing his big brother’s hand-me downs (and rainbow-colored bootees from Grandma).

And, frankly, my favorite thing about babies is that you can dress them up in ridiculous outfits, like this rainbow-sweater-pants-and-storm-cloud-ensemble. Too stinking cute.

Anyway, pretty pleased with this kiddo (and his big brother, who’s being very sweet about “his baby”). I think I’ll keep him.

And as far as this blog goes, I’ve got a few months’ worth of posts already written, so there won’t (or at least shouldn’t) be a break in the blog.