Tag Archives: sweater

Smaller and Smaller

I’ve been complaining about my dwindling stash for a while now, but I’m still making it work. Sure, I don’t really have enough of my usual favorite yarns to make full sweaters or afghans or shawls (my go-to projects), but I do have weird remnants of odd weights of yarn.

For example, I found 2.5 balls of yarn at the back of a drawer the other day. It’s chocolate brown, super-bulky, extra soft (and clearly ready to pill if you look at it wrong). I think it’s Knit Picks’ Biggo, but I could be wrong- the tags were lost years ago and I can’t remember what I bought it for. It’s not really enough for even a scarf, much less a full-on sweater or a blanket (which would have been my project of choice if I had more of it).

I estimated the yardage, based on the yarn weight and the ounces I had and figured I should have just enough for the smallest kids’ size in my favorite Top-Down Sweater book. I cast on and got to work on a raglan with a Henley collar (one of my favorite boy-styles, and so easy to do- you just start making a cardigan, then cast on a couple extra stitches at the front and start working in the round).

It’s looking good so far- I’ve made it most of the way through the body, and even went to the trouble of finishing the neck. I’ve only got one more skein of yarn, so I think I’m going to make the sleeves next, so that I’m sure I have enough to finish them off properly, before finishing the body. My theory, anyway, is that a body can be an inch or two short without looking too wild, but sleeves have to be long enough. (Is that my baggage from being a very long-limbed teenager who had a whole wardrobe of accidental highwaters and inadvertent 3/4-length shirts? Perhaps.)

I know, I know, another yarn-chicken semi-improvised sweater. Will I learn?

No.

No, I will not.

Fingers crossed that I’ve got enough yarn for this bad boy.

Also, fingers crossed that it ends up fitting the kid. It’s looking a little small right now, but it should block up pretty big, if I trust the swatch. I suppose if it doesn’t work for the kid, I can always save it for next year (or the year later) when the baby gets big enough… I knew there was a practical reason to have a second kid- more opportunity for my knits to get worn!

How’s your stash holding up?

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?

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!

… 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…

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?

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?

Big ‘n’ Little

It’s true. I think I might be that mom (or at least I want to be that mom). The one who gets matching clothes for both kids. Because I can’t get over how cute these two sweaters are.

(OK, honesty time. I’m actually that mom that hasn’t gotten her kid to wear actual clothes in over a week. PJs at night, and sometimes during the day, sure, but mostly he just parties around the house in a diaper. If we leave the house, he has to wear clothes, but these days, is anyone actually leaving the house?)

(Further honesty time. I haven’t even gotten the kid to try on his sweater. I assume it’ll be worn at some time. Right now, I’m just enjoying the idea that he has a new sweater that he will be wear at some point. Hopefully before he grows out of it.)

Anyway. I love the “fraternal twin” vibe these sweaters have. Essentially the same, but just different enough.

Plus, they’re cute, even if they’ll never be worn at the same time.

If the kid ever deigns to wear his sweater, I’ll be sure to share a picture. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

I’m sure the baby will wear his- after all, he won’t be able to fight back as well as the two-year-old. Yet…

Have you ever made a project that you half-knew would never be worn?

Another one!

I enjoyed making my kid’s striped sweater so much, that I’ve decided to keep going.

(Or, if you’re feeling less charitable, I’m having some real designer’s block, and can’t think of what else to make.)

But either way, I’ve decided to keep going, and make a newborn-sized version of the same striped sweater. I’ve still got a good chunk of Hawthorne, and I know how I made the big one, so I can crank out a bitty one pretty easily.

So I’m cruising through, I’m about halfway through the belly, and already thinking about the arms. It’s crazy how small this one feels after the 3-year-old-sized one. It’s going so fast!

Anyway, that’s how I ended up being that mom, who makes matching clothes for her kids. Sorry, kids.

Do you ever make favorite patterns in different sizes?