Tag Archives: sweater

Inspiration: Dreaming of Pullovers

My love of pullovers is well documented, even if I haven’t said it in so many words.  I’ve written a dozen sweater patterns.  Only two of them are cardigans.

I don’t really have anything against cardigans, but there’s something just so wonderful about throwing on a pullover and being totally enveloped in lovely, warm wool.  It’s the closest I will ever come to my dream of it becoming socially acceptable to wear a blanket out and about.  Especially since the weather has started turning distinctly fall-ish around here, there’s nothing I want more than to snuggle up with a big, soft pullover, a book and a mug of steaming tea.

But, since I have a little baby now, (ahem) access is the major concern with all my outfits .  So, it’s cardigans for me for the foreseeable future.  (And cardigans worked exclusively in superwash wool, because… well… baby.)

But, I can still dream, can’t I?  I can comb through Ravelry and pick out all the pullovers I would totally be wearing if only I had the time to knit them up.

I love a simple, classic silhouette on patterns like this.  There’s nothing more versatile than a perfect, plain sweater.  As long as we’re daydreaming, I’d make seven of these in seven different colors/yarns so that I could wear a different one every day for a week. Heaven.

No Frills Sweater by PetiteKnitIngen_Dikkedarer_Sweater_4_medium2But, I might get bored making seven of the same plain sweater.  I could throw a few of these into the mix.  I love the twisted stitch details at the raglan seams and the cool, understated cable/twisted stitch pattern at the bottom.  It’s just enough to make the sweater a little fancy without being fussy.

Opteka by Isabell KraemerIMG_9756_medium2But, really, I want to make this sweater.  I’ve had my eye on it for years.  I think I even picked out yarn for it a few years ago (but then used that yarn for something else).  I don’t know why it’s so appealing to me- it’s just a basic, boxy raglan sweater with nice wide stripes.  (It has pockets too, which I like in theory, but I’d probably omit.)  Maybe it’s the 90’s kid in me; I do appreciate a good striped sweater.

Tea with Jam and Bread by Heidi Kirrmaierfullsizeoutput_a137_medium2If you could magically have a new knitted wardrobe, what would you include?  Lots of pullovers? Cardigans? Ponchos?

Inspiration: GBBO

Other than knitting, I think my favorite hobby is baking.  I love making cakes and cookies, pies and buns.  The more complicated the better.  Last year I even made a dozen mini fruitcakes for my family for Christmas.  It involved a lot of baking, about 5 pounds of dried fruit and a whole bottle of brandy.  I even had a cookie baking blog back in the day.  I definitely love baking.

So naturally, one of my favorite shows is the Great British Bake Show (or Great British Bake Off, if you’re outside of the USA).  The contestants are all so talented!  I had been baking up a storm (pre-baby and pre-middle-of-summer-without-air-conditioning), making Victoria Sandwiches, Tea Cakes, and Swiss Rolls.  My husband has been working to perfect his Kouign Amann technique (which I’m happy to help him test).

And this season (Season 5 if you go by PBS, Season 3 if you go by the original BBC order), there’s something that makes Bake Show even better! That’s right… you guessed it…Sweaters!

Precisely, sweaters worn by one particular contestant and resident of the Shetland Isles, James!Every week he rolls up to the tent with yet another gorgeous Fair Isle sweater, vest, or cardigan.  I look forward to his knitwear almost more than the baking!

And in the spirit of James, let’s look at some amazing, full-on Fair Isle vests!

I love the neutral palette of this sweater, and the classic shape.  I could totally see wearing this to go compete in the tent!

Edward by Rita TaylorThis one is a little more modern, a little brighter, and a little more my style.  I like the slimmer cut and bright color choices.

#03 V-nek vest by Yoko HattaBut, I think this one is my favorite!  I love the interesting edging- no plain ribbing here! Plus, the Fair Isle pattern is crazy complex and absolutely gorgeous!  (Not that I’d ever have the patience to knit this guy up!)

Fair Isle Vest WG 54 (aka April in Wisconsin aka Traditions) by Meg SwansenDo you watch GBBO?  What’s your favorite baked good?

Cruising Right Along

I’m making headway on my Provincial Tweed sweater.

But, I’m still not exactly sure what I’m doing.

(I once heard that the most interesting people were those that still didn’t know what they were going to be “when they grew up.” If that’s true, then this is going to be the most interesting sweater ever.)

I think I’ve committed to the “straight, tunic-length, and with an asymmetrical hem” option, but I honestly haven’t really spent that much time thinking about it.

This project has turned into my “I just put the baby down, so I might have 5 minutes or I might have an hour” knitting.  It’s been great to have such a simple project to pick up and put down at will.  No counting, no worrying about patterns, not even any dpns to lose in-between the couch cushions.  Just lots and lots of knit stitch.

About 10 inches of it so far.I know I’ll have to come up with some more concrete plans down the road, but for now, I’m enjoying just cruising along.  I suppose when it gets long enough, I might start doing some ribbing.  Or maybe start working flat to create a split hem.

Or maybe I’ll just keep knitting, and it’ll turn into a floor-length tank dress. (That sounds practical!)

Do you ever keep a super-mindless project on your needles?

Pattern: Georgetown Henley

What?!  Two new patterns two weeks in a row?! Crazy!

That’s right!  I’ve got another new pattern in the newest Knit Picks collection, Dapper!It’s a collection of super-gorgeous menswear.  Handsome sweaters!Snazzy accessories!And a pullover from yours truly that I’m really proud of!Introducing the Georgetown Henley!  It’s a two-color pullover with raglan shoulders and a buttoned Henley collar.  The body is worked in my favorite stranded broken seed stitch (which means the colorwork looks really intricate, but is actually a cinch to make!).  And the cuffs, hem and collar are worked in solid color, contrasting with the main body.A sweater that’s perfect for just about any man in your life (or for yourself… I’ll be honest, sometimes I steal the one I made for my husband), the Georgetown Henley is a great addition to anyone’s sweater collection!

Grab the pattern here!

It Has Begun

I finally started my blue sweater- the one that I’m using my Knit Picks Provinicial Tweed for.  The one that I’ve been putting off, because I didn’t know precisely what I wanted to do with it.

Well, I still don’t know what I want to do with this sweater, but I’m not letting that stop me right now.

I do know a few things about my plan, however:

  1. I know my gauge.  I’m using my favorite US8s and they give me about 4.75-5 sts/inch.
  2. I know I want to make a pullover.
  3. I know I want to make a sweater with set-in sleeves.  (It’s been a hot minute since I did the whole set-in sleeves thing, and I want to give it a go again.)
  4. I know that I have a lot of yarn, so I should make something tunic-length or billowy to use up some yardage.
  5. I know that if I start from the top and work down, I’ll have time to figure out what I really want to do.

So that’s exactly what I’m doing.  I’ve started a top-down pullover with a crew neck and set-in sleeves, based on Ann Budd’s genius book, The Knitter’s Handy Book of Top-Down Sweaters: Basic Designs in Multiple Sizes and Gauges.  I love this book, and find it’s an indispensable tool when designing my own sweaters whether they’re one-offs, just for me (like this sweater), or they’re turned into published patterns.  She walks you through making a simple sweater (that you can jazz up any way you like) with virtually any gauge and any size.  I like math more than your average person, but the amount of math that Ann must have done to write this book boggles my mind.

Anyway, enough fan-girling (though, you really should pick up this book if you’re interested in designing your own sweaters).

I started knitting, following the instructions for the appropriate size set-in sleeve pullover, and I’m currently a couple inches down from the armpits.  And now I’ve got to make some decisions.My original impulse was to pick a few points around the bustline (maybe two points on the front and two on the back, or maybe just at either side along the “seams”) and increase as I knit down, making an A-line sweater, something that fit nicely through the shoulders, then flared out below the arms, like this:But, now I’m not sure.  That shape seems a little girly for me.  I’m now thinking I might just make the sweater straight and let it get extra-long (maybe hip length or longer), then splitting the hem and working in a little extra length (like this sweater, but even longer).What do you think?  What would you do?  I’ve pushed off making this decision for long enough!

 

Button Time!

It’s my favorite part of a project!  Time to pick out buttons!

I finished up my two Baby Surprise Jackets over the weekend, sewing up their shoulder seams and leaving them out to block.  And, then I dove into my big jar o’ vintage buttons that I inherited from my Grandma, and managed to find the perfect little quarter-inch buttons for both sweaters.

The Purple BSJ ended up with opalescent pink buttons.And the green sweater ended up with shiny, cream-colored buttons.The sweaters turned out great!  I love how the gradients turned out, and they’re super soft and squooshy (that’s totally a word, right?).  I even like how the backs ended up!I’ve always thought the little mitered stripes on the back of the cuffs/arms are the cutest.  I realize that’s kind of a silly little detail to really care about.  After all, who looks at the back of the cuff when determining  if a sweater has “turned out”?  But, hey- I can like whatever I want.I particularly like the two sweaters together, they look like they should be worn by fraternal twins, or very close-in-age siblings.  (They were worked from the same yarn base, but on slightly different needles, so the pink/purple sweater is just a scootch smaller than the blue/green one.)I gotta say, that Elizabeth Zimmermann really knew her stuff- this sweater always turns out super cute!

Have you finished anything fun lately?

On A Roll

You know what?  That blue-and-green Baby Surprise Jacket was so much fun, I think I’m just going to keep going!  (And I’m still writing these posts from the past, so I’ve got nothing but time as I wait for this gigantic baby to decide to show up.  Seriously!  I’m a really fun combination right now of bored and uncomfortable, and I need something fun to keep me entertained.  I’m sure that by the time you read this, I’ll more than have my hands full, what with keeping a baby alive and happy, but for now I’ve got to keep myself occupied.)

I dove into my stash again, and this time, I found a bunch of bits and bobs of really lovely pink and purple yarn!I’ve already started chugging away, working my way through the my first couple mini-balls of rich violets and royal purples.

I’ve come down a needle size (I’m using US6s instead of US7s), and the fabric is turning out a little more sturdy than the blue-and-green sweater (which is super loose and drapey, but still lovely).  Because it’s a smaller needle, the sweater is going to end up being a little smaller, too.

I think that’s OK, though.  After all, babies tend to be pretty little, at least at first.

Have you got anything fun on your needles these days?

Wheee!

Sometimes you just get cranking on a project, and before you know it, you’ve finished!  (Or nearly finished).  I love those projects- I’m in the zone, my needles flying.

And, this Baby Surprise Jacket was definitely one of those projects.

I had intended to use a bunch of blue and gray yarn, but it turns out, that I didn’t have as much of those colorways as I had originally thought.  I was a little worried at first, but then I realized, I could just add more colors!  The more colors the merrier, right?  Plus, you know how much I love using up scraps from my stash.

So, instead of plain ol’ blue stripes, I ended up with a very cool (if you don’t mind me saying) blue-to-green gradient!

I finished up the knitting on the sweater yesterday, and as much as I love the gradient, I think my favorite part of this (or any) BSJ is how it folds up- it’s the most satisfying feeling ever!  You start with this weird, wobbly-looking piece of knitting, then you fold up one side…and the other…And, ta-da!  you’ve got a beautiful little baby sweater.

Sure, it still needs a little seaming along the sleeves and some buttons, plus a nice round of blocking wouldn’t go amiss, but it’s essentially finished.

I’m so happy with how this little cardigan has turned out- I think the Baby Surprise Jacket might just be my favorite sweater pattern ever.

Putting On My Thinking Cap

It’s been nice to be finished with my Papaya Sweater.  But it was on my needles for so long that I kind of got used to having it as my easy go-to when I had a few minutes of knitting time.  It was something that I always knew I could pick up and get to work on without thinking about what I had to do next.

Now that it’s done, I’ve actually got to put a little thought into what I’m going to do next.

I’ve already decided that I want to use the Provincial Tweed yarn that I got from Knit Picks.  It’s a beautiful colorway, it’s super soft, and I have enough for a whole sweater, so how could I say no?

I spent yesterday morning winding up all the skeins, and now I have a very satisfying bowl of yarn cakes, ready for action!And then, I spent the afternoon working up a nice-sized swatch on US8s.And, I gotta say… I was not expecting this yarn to make such lovely, silky fabric.

I’m not complaining, but I was really surprised how this yarn knit up.  I was expecting something with a little more texture, a little more stitch definition, but that doesn’t seem to be what this yarn wants to do.It’s possible that if I go down a needle size (or two or three), this yarn might get a little more backbone, but I don’t know if I want to futz with that.  It might be better to just go with the flow (or rather, go with the nice flow-y fabric that I’ve already got).

I had been planning on making some sort of  cabled pullover, something like this one (except maybe a little less fancy).  But, I don’t think that’s going to work with the texture of the Provincial Tweed yarn.Instead, I’m now thinking I might need to make something a little looser and drapier.  (And something that possibly looks a lot more like my Papaya Sweater than I had originally intended for this yarn.)  I might try a cardigan like this, or design something myself.I’ve got to put my thinking cap on for a bit and see if I can’t figure out what I should do.  (Or, in true Allison fashion, I could leave the yarn to percolate in my studio for the next six months or so before I ever actually knit anything with it.)

What would you do in this situation?

FINISHED!!!!

I did it!  I kind of didn’t think I ever would, but I’ve proved myself wrong!

I finished the Papaya Sweater!  It only took me six and a half months, but I did it!

Now, before I show you the “finished” pictures, I want to show you this:This is literally all the yarn that was leftover from the original 11 skeins.  I managed to call it perfectly.  I finished binding off, and had about 4 feet of yarn left (plus little bits and bobs from the other parts of the sweater), so I didn’t even have to really play yarn chicken.  So satisfying!

Anyway, you want to see the finished sweater!

It turned out really great!  It’s blocked up nice and drapey and comfy.  The sleeves are the perfect length, and the fabric is a nice medium-thickness, not so thin that it will have trouble keeping me warm, and not so thick that I’ll start sweating the moment I put it on. It’s going to be a perfect transitional piece, which is exactly what you want for Seattle.  Not too warm and not too cold.

(FYI, I’m writing this from the past, so I’m super duper pregnant in these pictures… hopefully as you are reading his, I will be less pregnant.  Fingers crossed!)

Anyway, here she is in all her papaya-y glory:I even love the big plain back- it ended up being a really flattering length on me (not that I really planned it that way- I just stopped knitting when I was about to run out of yarn).  It’s not fancy, but I can see myself wearing it for a really long time.I like that it’s open, without any fastenings, but I could totally see fancying it up with a shawl pin, or maybe adding a button or something, if I decide I need to be able to close it up.Whoo!  It feels great to be done with such a big project!

But, now, I guess I have to figure out what to do next.

Have you finished anything lately?