Tag Archives: sweater

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?

Chuck

I’m a big fat liar.

Sort of.

So, last week, I wrote a whole big thing about how I am a process knitter only.  I said I would never knit something simply because I want the finished project.

Well, I shouldn’t have been so insistent about that.  Because this weekend, I went looking through my Ravelry Queue, trying to find something to do between work assignments.  And I re-discovered a sweater I has been living, half-forgotten in the back of my brain for the two years since I put it in my queue.

It’s Chuck!

I first saw this sweater at a knitting convention in 2015.  A group of impossibly cool ladies were all wearing the same sweater (this one) in different colors, and each had paired it with a unique vintage skirt.  I knew immediately I needed a Chuck of my own.

I have a bunch of high-waisted dresses that I love wearing in the summer, but none of my sweaters really go with them, so I end up having to wait to wear my dresses until the weather gets really warm (June or July in Seattle).

I love the shape of this sweater- the length is perfect with a skirt or dress, and the wide ribbed hem is super flattering.  I love how the sweater is fitted through the waist, and that cable is to die for!

I also happen to have a bunch of dark-chocolate yarn just waiting in my stash for a project like this.  (It was on sale years and years ago, and I miscalculated how much I would need for a different pullover by a couple skeins, so it’s just been sitting in my closet, waiting for me to figure out what to do with it.)

Anyway, I’m very excited to get started on this project.  (Or, rather, I’m excited to have this finished sweater.)  I think I’ll cast on this afternoon!

Have you ever made a project solely because you wanted (needed) the finished object?

And, don’t forget!  You’ve got until Friday to be entered into the Flourish giveaway!

New Pattern: Golden Gardens Pullover

That’s right, boys and girls!  It’s time for a new pattern!

It’s a lovely cotton tunic, with drop shoulders and bracelet-length sleeves, with just a touch of cabling.  It’s a perfect spring sweater (if I say so myself).

It’s the Golden Gardens Pullover!Cute, right?  And with tons of positive ease and super-soft cotton yarn, it’s crazy comfortable.   I’m particularly proud of the one-stitch cable that runs from front hem to back, and up each arm.  But wait!  That’s not all!

My pullover is part of a lovely new spring-y collection from Knit Picks.  Introducing: Flourish!

I’m not a big knit tee person, but this one is adorable.  That lace/texture combo, and that lovely shade of pink.  Too cute for words.

Whitwell Tee by Kate HeppellBut, I think this cardigan might be my favorite from the collection (other than mine, of course).  It’s so light and feminine, and I love the way the lace wraps from the back of the sweater, all the way around the front.

Spring Thaw Cardigan by Kephren PritchettWant to win a free copy of Flourish?  Comment below and tell me about your favorite part of spring (I love it when the cherry tree outside my studio window starts to bloom).  I’ll hold a drawing next Friday!

What?! More Patterns?

That’s right, knitters!  Surprise!  Another pattern- and it’s one I’m super proud of!

Introducing: The Laura Shawl!521622201It’s a gorgeous (if I say so myself) cabled wrap, almost six feet long and two feet wide.  It looks great wrapped around your shoulders, or cozied up under your chin.  And, frankly, it’s big enough to act as a lap blanket when you go out to eat, and they set you too close to a drafty window.

The Laura Shawl is knit in gorgeous tweedy wool that works great with cables.  Four wide panels of complex cables are interspersed with some knit/purl texture, and the whole bad boy is finished with thick fringe on either end, just to make it feel extra-luxurious.

52162220_21The best part?  It’s part of another beautiful book from Knit Picks, the Woodsmoke Cable Collection.331101This book is absolutely breathtaking.  It’s chock full of 16 lushly cabled patterns- sweaters, blankets, scarves and hats.

I mean, look at these:331101111Really, I want to work up all of these for myself.  (Or maybe have someone else do it so I don’t have to wait?)331101151What’s that? You want a copy?  Buy yourself a copy here!

Or, comment below with a description of your most complicated cable project for a chance to win a free copy!  (The winner will be named next Friday, so stay tuned!)

Christmas Post-Mortem: Another sweater

Guess what?!

I made another sweater.

I know, I’m a masochist.  (Or, maybe I really like making sweaters.)

This one was for my dad.  He’s a pretty classy guy- he wears a suit to work and if you see him in a sweater, it’s more likely he’d wear a thin, understated merino one from Nordstrom than something I’d knit (I do lean toward cables and bright colors, after all).

But he hasn’t gotten a sweater from me yet!  We can’t let that stand!

So, I got a big pile of Knit Picks’ Swish in Cobblestone, and broke out the “Knits for Everybody” book.  (I love a top-down raglan.)  I started making the sweater just as written- all stockinette all the time- but the smallish gauge and the simple pattern made me feel like I was knitting at a glacial pace.

So, I decided to add a little interest.

Stripes were out (Dad’s not a stripes guy), but I thought I could do a little texture.  I didn’t want to add any cables, since those can mess up your gauge, and I had already started knitting.

A little poking around on Ravelry, and I found Flaxsc-flax-08_medium1I liked the garter band down the sleeves (garter is my favorite).  So, I carefully ripped back a few stitches at either shoulder and re-knit them in garter.  And, because I love to embellish, I added garter panels down both sides of the body, too.img_4407The sweater turned out pretty well, and (I think) pretty classy, which is not something I usually strive for.

(Ollie thinks so, too)

img_4398Have you ever “fancied up” a pattern as you were working on it?  How did that go?