Tag Archives: sweater

Planning!

It’s the most exciting part of a new project (other than starting it, finishing it, or working on it, I suppose)!  It’s time to plan!

After hearing some very smart readers’ feedback, I have decided that my Papaya yarn will become… *drumroll please*… A sweater!

A cheerful orange sweater to perk me up in the middle of winter (or if I’m fast, a cheerful orange sweater that will allow me to hide among the changing leaves this fall).

Now all that I have to do (apart from knitting the dang thing), is decide what kind of sweater I want to make.

I like this flowy cardigan, with its interesting, circular shape.  I love the drape and the tiny eyelet details.

Vitamin D by Heidi KirrmaierAnd I love the reverse stockinette and shoulder cable details on this pullover.  (I’d make the sleeves longer, but the rest of the sweater is perfect.

Light Trails by Suvi Simola

Speaking of little details, I love this slouchy pullover.  It’s so simple, but the split hem and the little construction details at the shoulders and sides are to die for!  (Seriously- go look at the other pictures.)

Marklee by Elizabeth DohertyAnd I love this simple slouchy cardigan, too.  It’s knit at a large-ish gauge, so it would be light enough for layering. Plus, it’s knit top-down, so I will be able to use every inch of my precious Papaya yarn.

Loana Cardigan by Julia EggerWhat do you think?  What direction should I go in?  Or, do you have some favorite sport-weight sweater you think I’d like?

Inspiration: All Snuggled Up

I know it’s cliched, but holy cow do I need a vacation after my vacation.  I’m still exhausted, even though it’s been almost a week since we got back.

I think it must be a combination of the following:

  1. Too much traveling- a full day of air travel to get to the Midwest followed by a full day of driving to make it up north, and the same thing in reverse to go back.  (Plus all the driving we did over the week there.  I forgot how far apart everything is in the country!)
  2. I was surprised to discover that the part of the UP we were visiting was in the Eastern Time Zone, three hours behind Seattle.  I spent the whole week trying desperately to get on local time and failing miserably.  Now I’m back here, but I think my brain is still somewhere between Eastern and Pacific time.  I’m a mess!
  3. I picked up some nasty stomach bug somewhere on my trip back home, and I can’t for the life of me shake it.  I won’t give you the details, because ew… but suffice it to say that I’ve felt better.

Basically, all I want to do is snuggle up in some cozy knits and go into hibernation.

Let’s play the “what Allison wishes she had in her closet” game.  (I’m too sleepy to start any new projects right now… it’s that bad!)

I know this is a men’s sweater but man, I’d totally wear this.  I love the slightly variegated/tonal yarn and the cowl-like collar.

Cosy Hubby by Marzena KolaczekSpeaking of cowls- I can’t imagine anything cozier than this ridiculous cabled cowl.

Cozy Cable Cowl by Purl SohoBut really, this is what I want to wear right now.  It’s coziness personified… It’s halfway between a cocoon and a sweater (actually, it might be closer to a cocoon than a sweater).  I love the thick textured fabric, and the thigh-length oversized silhouette.  It would take about three pounds of yarn to make a sweater of this style for someone my height, but I think it might just be worth it.

Cozy Sweater by Anna and Heidi PicklesWhat do you like to wear (or knit) when you’re feeling under the weather?

New Pattern: Knits for Everybody Two!

You guys!  I can tell you about a fantastic new pattern!

I’m so excited… I can’t even express it.

So, last year I was part of a really cool Knit Picks collection called “Knits for Everybody,”  where I wrote a sock pattern.  It was a fun project- simple patterns for classic projects, sized for virtually every body- from babies up to great big adults.

Well, it’s back for round two!

Introducing: Knits for Everybody Two!And this time, I’ve contributed a very nice (if I say so myself) yoked cardigan pattern.  I wear my cardigan all the time, and I even made a teeny one from sock yarn to give to my friends’ new baby (it’s even cuter than mine).  The cardigan is written out for a huge range of sizes (that took so much math!), and it can be worked in fingering or worsted weight yarn, which makes it even more versatile. If you get the book, you also will get the pattern for this crazy cute V-neck sweater.  (I’m tempted to make this guy for myself.  I love a classic pullover.)And there’s a really cute pattern for gloves!Plus, a great top-down hat pattern with brim options- or even ear flaps!I’m so happy to be included in this collection- I think it will become an indispensable part of a lot of people’s knitting libraries.

Grab a copy of the book here, or my pattern here!

Inspiration: Wonder Woman!

You guys!  I watched Wonder Woman this weekend, and holy cow!  It’s so good!  Back in high school, I used to be 100% in any time they made a movie about someone with superpowers (superhero movies were new and exciting then).  But the last decade or so has so over-saturated the market with too many crappy superhero movies where overly-muscled dudes in spandex level cities in an attempt to show how they’re stronger/better/right-er than their arch nemesis.

Enter Wonder Woman!

I mean, look at her!  She’s amazing!  She fights her way across no man’s land between WWI trenches with a freaking sword! She speaks hundreds of languages!  She fights to end war!  Her whole thing is saving people!  I’m pretty stoked about her.

And, there’s her aunt, Antiope, played by Robin Wright (Princess Buttercup!  The Princess Bride was one of my favorite movies as a kid, and it’s awesome to see Princess Buttercup do some fighting).  She’s a totally bad-ass general.  At one point she flips off the back of a horse while shooting three Nazis simultaneously with the three arrows she had nocked in her bow.  So good!

But it’s not just the good guys that are kick-butt women.  The bad guy, Dr. Poison is a totally creepy mad scientist lady!  She’s got a super icky mask (because she melted the bottom half of her face in a lab accident), and a penchant for inventing chemical weapons.

Of course, there are men in the movie, too, but it’s just amazing to see women headlining a superhero movie- and totally kicking butt!

So, let’s tie this to something knitting-related (this is a knitting blog after all).

This tiny Wonder Woman will save the day using her cuteness!

Wonder Woman Amigurumi by Clare Heesh

I love this classic Wonder Woman-style hat!

Great Hera! by Jensen Reyes

And this sweater would be perfect for days when you need to feel your most Wonder-full!

Wonder Woman Jumper by Kirsty Lothian

Have you seen Wonder Woman yet? If not, what are you waiting for!  (Just be aware, you’re going to go around kicking things and sword fighting after you see it.)

Inspiration: Silicon Valley

Sometimes I search out knitting;  I go to the library and look through books.  I spend hours scrolling through Ravelry or visiting yarn shops.  I’m not complaining, obviously, I think it’s fun, interesting, and a pretty pleasant way to spend an afternoon.

But, sometimes knitting just jumps out of the weirdest places, without any warning.  For example, I was catching up on last week’s episode of Silicon Valley (episode 36, “The Keenan Vortex”), and BAM! Knitting!

Jared, my favorite character, the dorky business manager with a heart of gold, was rocking some great knitwear this week.  (There was a whole subplot where there was a cold snap, so everyone was getting out their winter gear, but Jared’s was my favorite.  Everyone else had boring ski jackets on.  Why wear a ski jacket when you can wear an amazing wool sweater?  But I’m getting ahead of myself.)

He starts out slow, with a simple ribbed-scarf-and-pea-coat combo.  Classic.I need a nice simple scarf- maybe I should follow Jared’s lead and knit up one of these.

Fisherman’s Rib Muffler in Three Gauges by Churchmouse Yarns and TeasThen he stepped up his game with a mustard sweater vest. Now, I’m not usually a fan of a sweater vest, but if I really wanted to stay true to the Jared spirit, I’d knit up one of these bad boys.

Nathan by Jones & VandermeerBut the best knitwear is definitely saved for last- Jared comes out of nowhere with this amazing cabled gansey turtleneck.  The guys on the show tease him for it, but I gotta say- I love anyone who can unironically rock a cabled sweater.  Those are my people.It’s not as great as Jared’s sweater, but this one’s pretty good, too.

59-6 Sweater by DROPS DesignHave your favorite TV characters ever shown up in knitwear?

WaHoo!!!

You guys!

Hey!

Guess what!

Blocking is the best thing ever invented!

Remember my Cursed Sweater?  (I really wish I could show you real pictures of it…  Some day.)  Well,  I think I finally got the curse to lift!  Woo hoo!

So, last you heard, I had finished the sweater, but it fit me… not great.  In fact, it fit me so poorly that I thought I had messed up my math.  I spent the week worried, going over the math again and again.  What had I done wrong?  Did I misplace a parenthesis or a plus sign in my spreadsheet?  Did I accidentally cast on the wrong number of stitches?  WHAT DID I DO?

It didn’t help that the sweater made me feel distinctly like a plump sausage in too-tight casing.

(I can’t show you pictures, but I can show you poorly-Photoshopped representations of the sweater in question.)

The collar choked me, the sleeves were a good 6 inches too short, the body rolled up on itself.  It was awful!Awful!

Well, I went ahead and blocked it-  I didn’t have much hope, but I figured it couldn’t hurt.

But, holy knitwear, Batman!  It blocked out perfectly!  It fits like a glove, the sleeves are the perfect length, and I can swallow while wearing it.  It’s the best!It turns out, I had blocked my gauge swatch before I measured.   So, all my math was based on a blocked gauge (THE WAY YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO DO IT!), but for some reason, my brain had completely forgotten how pattern designing works and assumed that I had just really, really messed up again.

Come on brain, don’t stress me out like that!

This sweater is DONE!  It was a slog, but I survived, and I have a pretty killer new sweater in my closet (where it will stay for the next six months, because summer just started here… sigh).

Have you finished any big projects recently?

Also, if you are interested in having your project featured on On the Needles, send a photo with a short description to knittingontheneedles@gmail.com!  (Any project is welcome- not just knitting!)

Well, it’s done, I guess

Phew!  It’s done!

Well, 99% done.  I still have to weave in some ends on my cursed project, and it’s got to finish drying out (it’s blocking right now).

And, I’ve gotta say, it turned out…. OK.

I love the pattern; the textures and the cables are great.  I love how it looks, sitting on the table, or pinned out for blocking.  But, I gotta admit- I don’t love the fit.

I tried it on when I finished knitting yesterday (after ripping the neck back several times-because this is the cursed sweater, after all).  And, I don’t know what happened with the measurements- I swear my math is right, so on paper, this sweater should fit like a glove.  But, instead, it’s too tight, and the sleeves are too short!  How on earth did that happen?!

As far as I can tell, I probably messed up in one of two ways:

  1. My gauge is off, or my math is somehow wrong.  In which case, I can fix the written pattern fairly easily.  However, I refuse to re-knit another stitch on this sweater.  If this is what happened, I’ll just have to find someone skinnier and shorter than me to take this prototype.
  2. I designed this sweater to use some really stretchy stitches- stitch patterns that block out almost twice as wide as their unblocked counterparts.  I got gauge off of a blocked swatch.  In theory, simply blocking this sweater will make it fit.  In theory.  I really hope that this is the problem.

Fingers crossed!

Have you ever finished a big project and ended up less-than-thrilled about the result?

“Last Night Allison” Strikes Again

You all remember the last time Last Night Allison struck.  It wasn’t pretty. I mean, I managed to fix it, but it was touch and go for a while, and way more difficult than I expected it to be.

Unfortunately, Last Night Allison struck again.  But here’s the worst part.  I have no excuse for my bad decisions.  It wasn’t late (actually it was about 3:00 in the afternoon).  I hadn’t been drinking (except a cup of decaffeinated tea).  And, I really should have been paying attention.

I was starting the prototype of a sweater I’m working on.  The pattern begins with (spoiler!) a 1×1 rib for about 2 inches.

This is what I knit:Allison, that’s not a 1×1 rib!  That’s a 2×2 rib!  That’s a 2×2 rib that you worked on for about three hours before realizing your mistake!  (There was swearing.)

So, then, I had to decide, do I rip out the whole thing?  Start over?  Or, do I painstakingly go through with a crochet hook and change half the knits to purls, and half the purls to knits?

I bet you can’t guess what Last Night Allison chose.  (That’s right!  She picked the most fiddly and difficult choice possible.)I ripped each column of stitches out, one by one, carefully picking them back up in the proper orientation.  Which is totally not a super annoying process.  Ha!Amazingly, the fixed ribbing actually looks pretty good- I was afraid it would be a little wonky, but it looks OK.The only problem is I’ve still got well over halfway to go.  I think my “quick fix” is going to end up taking longer than re-knitting the whole thing would have.  Of course, at this point I’ve sunk too much effort into it, so I’m here for the long haul.What would you have done?  Would you have ripped the whole thing and re-knit, or do you have agreed with Last Night Allison?  Or, do you have a magical solution that would have been better than either?

I Have Made A Huge Mistake

So, you know the other day, when I told you all the changes I was planning on making to my Chuck sweater?

Well.

It’s going… not great.

Last night, I managed to get to just under the armpits.  The big cable down the front is turning out gorgeous.  I love the way each column of stitches peels off, weaves through the other columns, then joins back together.  I even managed to figure out the changes to the neckline.  I brought in the sides and raised the back of the neck slightly.  I’ll have to wait to see how it looks with the collar added, but I feel pretty confident about it.

However,  I made a huge mistake.OK, maybe not a huge mistake, but I’ve done something super dumb.

I wanted to add a cable down the back of the sweater, but instead of actually working the cable as I went, like a smart person, I kind of forgot about it until late last night.  So, like the genius I am, I dropped the six stitches I planned on using for the cable, and ripped almost all the way back to the cast-on, and started knitting them back up, cabling as I went.(Full disclosure: my husband made me a very tasty tropical drink after dinner last night, which could have been the source of last night’s excessive confidence as I ripped back these stitches.)

In the bright light of morning, I have some regrets with regard of how I’ve been going about this project.  But, I’ve got a hot cup of coffee and I’ve got my fingers crossed, so I should be able to fix the mayhem that “Last Night Allison” created.

Have you ever sat down with your knitting, only to realize you did something really dumb the night before?  What did you do, and were you able to fix it?

Ch-ch-ch-changes

I’ve finished my swatch and got my gauge for my new Chuck sweater. I was just going to follow the pattern as written, but you know me.  I can’t leave well enough alone.

I love the general shape of the sweater- the natural-waist hem is perfect.  And, the cables down the front are so cute.  But there are things I think I’m going to change.

First, I like the boat-neck collar, in theory, but I think it has to.  I have pretty narrow shoulders, so I usually end up fussing with drooping shoulders all day if I wear anything with a boat neck.  (Also, I’m constantly cold, so I’ll take any opportunity to be a little more covered-up.)So, that means I’ll keep the neckline shaping more or less the same, but move the sides of the neck in toward the middle just a bit.  To do that, I’ll cast on more stitches for each shoulder, and take away the same number of stitches from the bottom of the neckline.  A little math, but nothing too tricky.

Also, I gotta say, that big ol’ stockinette back makes me a little sad- I think it needs some extra decorations!  (Of course, I tend to like my sweaters to be totally covered with texture or color, so maybe I’m not one to talk.)So, I’m going to add a cable (or maybe two) down the back.  Nothing as elaborate as the front of the sweater, but just something to add a little something special.

I also think I might make the sleeves a touch longer (but I do that on almost every sweater, since I’ve got long orangutan arms).  I won’t have to decide about that for a while, though.

I hope it’ll turn out OK- I love the original pattern so much, I don’t want to ruin it.  In my head, my changes will only make it better- but we’ll just have to wait and see when it’s done.  In the meantime- cross your fingers for me!

Have you ever given an existing pattern your own spin? How did it turn out?