Tag Archives: knitting

Quick and Finished!

You guys know I’m a big sweater knitter.  I love a great big, weeks- (or months-) long project that I can really sink my teeth into.  And if it’s a pattern that I’m making up as I go along, and documenting the whole thing, even better!

But sometimes, there’s nothing better than finding a great pattern and banging out a project in a little over a week.

This little cowl is one of those projects.

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It’s finished!  And it’s super cute!

It’s not perfect (the decreases are a little weird, and I don’t love how the CO edge pulls a little, compared to the super-stretchy brioche fabric), but I don’t mind.  The pattern was quick to work up, and the finished object is cute and totally wearable.  It was a super fun little knit.  I’m not going to say it was “easy”, but once I got my brain around the whole brioche thing, it was pretty straightforward.

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One thing I really love is how it’s totally reversible!  The big color-blocks on the right side are fun, but I kind of love the way the contrasting colors peek out between the bright blue ribs.  (It’s even prettier, and more glow-y in person!)

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This is definitely a piece that I intend to wear a lot in the future!

Have you finished up any fun, quick projects recently?

A Little Something New

It’s been a while since I tried something truly new in knitting.  I’ll try a new cable or stitch pattern, but even the most complicated stitch pattern still just uses a combination of the same handful of stitches.  And I’m not afraid to try a new pattern or come up with a new design, but it’s all really just putting the same stitches in different order.  I’m not complaining, I love my usual knitting, but none of that is really a new skill.

So I decided to try something that’s truly new to me.  Brioche!  (This isn’t a tutorial about brioche knitting- I’m not even finished with my first piece, so I’m very much not an expert!) Brioche is super cool! It’s knitting, but its stitches are just different enough from regular knits and purls that it’s a little tricky.  It took me a few evenings to really get the feel of it.  The finished product ends up with a sort-of two-color ribbing, and is seriously fluffy.  It’s kind of magical.

I browsed Ravelry and found the Fingering Brioche Bandana Cowl by Lavanya Patricella.  It looked simple enough and like something I’d actually wear.  (These days with a very grabby kid, long scarves and shawls aren’t terribly practical, but my neck is still cold!)fingerbandanacowl01I pulled out those mini-skeins of Tosh Merino Light, fired up Google to look for instructions, and after a few false starts, I was cruising along. img_1234I love how the royal blue peeks through to the outside of the cowl, and I love how squishy the fabric is!img_1236(Though I might actually like the “inside” better.  The color-blocking is a little more subtle, just peeking through between the ribs of blue.)img_1240I’ve still got a way to go before I perfect my brioche knitting though, my gauge is a little bit all-over the place and my decreases are a weird and sloppy (though I might be able to block them out a bit).  At least I have a reason to keep practicing!img_1247Have you tried any new techniques lately?  What were they? How did it go?

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?

Pattern: Nordic Dishcloth

Guess what?  Christmas might be over, but the gifts keep coming.  I’ve got a new (free!) pattern for you!

It’s a lovely, squishy, heavy-duty, cabled, dishcloth!

Hello, there, handsome:

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It’s the Nordic Dishcloth.  It’s a knit-all-in-one-piece dishcloth featuring a nice, simple garter-stitch border around a generous panel of reversible cabling.  The cables make this dishcloth nice and thick, perfect for even the stickiest kitchen messes.

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Want the pattern?  Head on over to Knit Picks to download your free copy.

T’was the week before Christmas

If you’re still knitting gifts for Christmas, good on you.  But I’m afraid that I have some unwelcome news.

You have just about a week before Christmas is officially here.

I’ve got faith in you that you can make it- you’re a knitter, after all, and knitters Get. It. Done.

But, if you’re a knitter who has to make a lot of gifts in a short amount of time, well, might I recommend one (or two… they’re small) of these little patterns.  They all take less than 50 yards of yarn, which means they should work up pretty quickly.

Plus, they’re totally cute!

I love these tiny, adorable long-johns (complete with butt-flap).  They look a little bit fiddly, but, man, they’re cute.  They’d make a really sweet little Christmas ornament (especially if you bent a bit of wire into a teeny-tiny hanger).

Little Long Johns by Susan B. Anderson
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If your recipient is more of a “classy Christmas” type of person and less of a “butt-flaps are funny” type of person, I think these little wreaths are just darling. (Ugh… they’re so fancy that they turned me into a person who says things are “just darling.”  That’s real fancy.)

Holiday Wreath Ornament by The Big String
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And these little guys are just straight-up cute.  They’re somewhere between Dr. Seuss and the kind of window displays you might see at a really nice department store in New York.  I kind of want a tree covered in trees.  How cute would that be?

Wee Three Trees, by Tricia GilbertOtober_Still_Life111052_medium2

If you’re still working on your Christmas knitting, good luck!  You’ve got this!  If you’re done (or just not bothering, like me), congratulations!  Sit back and have a cup of hot cocoa.

Are you making any gifts this year?

Not Shopping

I’ve always taken a weird kind of backwards pride in my stash.  It’s not impressively large, or full of any really fancy or special yarn.  In fact, it’s usually quite the opposite.  I’ve always been proud that it’s pretty well under control.  I try only to buy yarn that I plan on using for a specific project, and I try not to start any new projects until I finish my current ones (within reason… I’m no superhero).

But, I was cleaning out the closet in my studio a few weeks ago, and, well, I realized that my stash isn’t as under control as I thought it was.

I’ve got quite a lot of yarn.

Like, sweater-amounts of yarn.  (Well, baby sweater amounts of yarn, at least.)

Which has made me decide to start on a using-up-stashed-yarn quest.

I began with two skeins of a gigantic mystery yarn.  And I mean gigantic.  It was almost more roving than yarn, crunchy, itchy, bright blue wool.  I pulled out some US19s (really, they’re more like vampire-hunting stakes than knitting needles), and whipped up a quick garter stitch bowl with short rows.  I love how it turned out, but I’m never working with such a big gauge again- such a pain!IMG_1001I’ve also been blowing through a big moss-stitch scarf.  I usually hate scarves (not sure why, when I’ll happily make a shawl or a sweater, or even a gigantic garter stitch blanket), but I’m enjoying this one.  And I think I’ll have enough yarn left over to make a matching hat!  Leftovers on top of leftovers!IMG_0985I’ve already picked out my next projects!  I’m going to make a Zagged Cowl from the green yarn. (I made one years ago when I wrote the pattern, but I can’t find the danged thing for the life of me.  Luckily, I’ve got another skein ready to go!)  The blue on the left, plus the mini skeins are all Madeline Tosh Light- I think they’ll become some kind of color-work, maybe a hat?  I’ve had the mini-skeins hanging on my bulletin board for years, waiting for inspiration to strike, and I think the time might be right to get to work on them.  And, the mystery purple fingering weight on the right- I think that will be a baby sweater, maybe in combination with some other little odds and ends of mystery yarn from my stash.IMG_1009It feels great to be using up yarn (and making room for more!).

Have you ever gone “shopping” in your stash?  What did you find?  What did you make with it.

It is the sweater that doesn’t end…

Yes, it goes on and on, my friend!  Some people started knitting it, not knowing what it was, and they’ll continue knitting it forever just because it is the sweater that doesn’t end…

(Lamb Chop’s Play-along, anyone?)

Yes, I’m still working on the never-ending Provincial Tweed sweater.  The thing is, it’s so close to being done, I can taste it.

Look!  Only 1 cuff to go!IMG_0956I finished the right sleeve (and it’s nice and long)…IMG_0960I worked up the neck a nice simple crew neck that fits pretty perfectly…IMG_0946I even finished the split hem…IMG_0970But holy moly, that hem is unflattering.  it’s like a big, ugly arrow pointing to the widest part of my thighs.IMG_0968And why, oh, why did I decide that a garter stitch border on a stockinette stitch flap would be a good choice?  It’s all flap-y and roll-y and weird and disappointing.

I guess I’ll finish off my left sleeve, then rip back my split hem.  I might come up with something more interesting, but right now, I’m thinking a nice long 1×1 rib hem to match the cuffs.  So much for my plans for a super-cool over-sized, positive-ease sweater or something complex and cable-y.  But, if I’m being honest, a simple pullover in a lovely, soft (and machine-washable!) yarn will probably get more wear these days.

I just wish it was done already!

Do you have any projects that just. won’t. end?

Finished Fair Isle

I finished my baby Fair Isle sweater!  And just in time, too, because my baby’s giant head is already threatening to outgrow the neck hole.  But, I suppose that’s most of the challenge with knitting for babies- getting the project done before they outgrow it.

Anyway, pictures!IMG_0760.JPG Here he is, beginning what I’m sure will be an illustrious career in knitwear modeling.  (He looks a little grumpy because he just got up from his nap and I immediately shoved his head through this slightly-too-tight neck hole.)  Otherwise, this sweater fits pretty well.  It’s even got some growing room lengthwise in the arms and the body.  Perfect!IMG_0817I love the way my speckled, variegated and hand-dyed yarns all play off each other, making the yoke look more complicated than it was.  And, of course, I love the colors. I think they look especially pretty with the boy’s bright blue eyes and adorable pink cheeks.  (But I think most things look especially adorable on him.)IMG_0806.JPGHave you done any knitting for kids lately?  How did it go? Did you manage to finish while the kid still fit in it?

The Scintillating Sweaters of Sabrina

I know, I know, I’m a little late to the party.  Everyone was talking about the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina when it dropped around Halloween.  I rarely stay up past 9:30 these days, and my TV-watching time has been drastically reduced, so I only just finished watching the 10-episode season.

I remember watching the original Sabrina the Teenage Witch when I was a kid (if the weather cooperated enough that we got got a decent signal… aaah the days of antenna TV), but I honestly don’t remember a ton of specifics.  I know I liked it, and thought that Sabrina was a super cool teenager.  And, of course I loved Salem the talking cat.  What middle-schooler wouldn’t like a show about a very cool teenage witch with a talking cat?

Unfortunately this new version of Sabrina doesn’t have any talking cat in it.  (Salem does show up, but he’s not in the show much, and he never talks- bummer.)  But, the show is fun, dark, and campy, perfect for watching late at night (or at 7:30, if you’re me) on a blustery November evening.

But the best part?  (Or my favorite part, anyway.) The sweaters.

The show is set in an unspecific east-coast state where it’s always about 40 degrees and there’s a little bit of drizzle- enough for a nice pea coat or a few layers of flannel, but not enough to break out the real winter coats and rain gear.

In other words, perfect sweater weather.  And Sabrina takes full advantage.

She wears fluffy angora turtlenecks that she somehow manages to make look chic.

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You could break out some fluffy wool and make your own version with this pattern (plus long sleeves, of course).

Willow Creek by Justyna Lorkowska

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She rocks the dumbest of sweaters (in my book, anyway)- the cabled turtleneck t-shirt, and makes me want to make one. (Honestly, what’s the point?)Sabrina

It might be dumb, but this sweater is kinda cute…

01 Cabled Tank by Debbie Bliss

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And she even makes this bizarre-o button-bedecked cable number look like something that a very hip teen would actually wear.  (Or maybe teens are actually wearing this stuff and I’m just an old lady who has no idea what the teens are doing these days.)Sabrina3

Knit up this bad boy, and sew on a gross of color-coordinating buttons in-between the cables, and you’ll have something resembling Sabrina’s fun pullover.

Carrick by Martin Storey

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Whatever your thoughts on her sweaters, it’s worth your time to go check out Ms. Spellman and her Chilling Adventures.  (Just be aware that if you’re expecting the OG Sabrina, you’re going to be disappointed… that’s really not what this is.)

Have you watched the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina yet?  What was your favorite sweater?