I Fixed It:: Hooray!


This yarn has been in my stast almost a year, and I have been wondering what to knit with it for nearly that entire time. Madelinetosh is known for its rich, tonal colorways, and Tart really lives up to expectations. Deep reds with a black shadow, this yarn is smooth and sproingy, begging to be knit into something deliciously textured.

I had a false start earlier this month when I cast on for Goodale, a project I’d been wanting to make for ages. And it looked good, but I knew this yarn could look great.

In the end, I decided to go with the Hooray Cardigan by Veera Valimaki. The cables, reverse stockinette body, and wide ribbed collar all make me so very happy, and I’m already fantasize about wearing it.  Which should go a long way toward motivating me to finish it up before the warm weather hits.

I’m a little short on yarn, so to help myself along I knit the inside of the turned collar in some leftover yarn of the same weight.  It felt like the ribbing took forever (8 inches!), but now I am finally into the meat of the sweater: the cables and raglan increases. Hooray!


But wait: I forgot to cross a cable…4 rows ago… What do I do?! In a miraclulous moment of mental clarity rarely reached these days, I remembered the Yarn Harlot writing about how to drop down and fix a miscrossed cable.  I decided that I could do it too, and if it didn’t work out, I could always tink the entire 4 rows and be no worse off.  And guess what? It worked. Hooray!


I isolated the 12 stitches to be cabled and dropped them one row at a time until I was at the correct cable-crossing row. Then I worked the cable as I should have the first time around, using the yarn in back (be careful to use the appropriate strand of yarn or you’ll have a mess!).

After finishing the cabling I slipped those stitches back onto my cable needle and knit them with the next strand up of dropped yarn (x2) and finally knit across the rest of the row. A Couple of the stitches are a little distorted, but it worked and I saved so much time. It has me feeling all confident about my knitting.   Maybe on the next cable row I’ll try to cross them without the help of a cable needle…

 

 

Steel Cut Oatmeal

Just before Christmas, I was in the mood to make a sweater. It couldn’t be anything too complicated, and I wanted it to knit up quick. Bulky yarn and a simple top-down raglan pullover to the rescue!

  • Pattern: Oatmeal Pullover, Ravelry notes here
  • Yarn: Sweet Georgia Superwash Chunky in Steel, 5 skeins
  • Needles: US size 11 and 10.5
  • Mods: Knit longer sleeves, shortened the body to better fit my torso, threw in a few decreases every few rows after the bustline…

Unfortunately, this wasn’t the instant-gratification project I was hoping for. Most of it was operator error as I made rookie mistake after rookie mistake! I think sometimes as knitters we take the basics for granted and it comes back to hurt us when we least expect it.

I cast on for this sweater three or four times, for various reasons: wrong number cast on, changed needle size, worked a few inches in grey and yellow stripes, ripped back, cast on again… I even played around with the increases, doing the every other row increase I was used to before I decided to rip out and just follow the pattern. Why is that so hard to do?! The resulting raglan and neckline are interesting, but not the greatest fit for me.

After all these hurdles, I was able to knit the body in about a week and a half. Then it sat. And sat. For some reason picking up stitches to knit the sleeves seemed too laborious, and I procrastinated. But once I went ahead and did it, each sleeve only took an evening to knit. Of course there was the slight issue where the second sleeve was knit on a half-size smaller needle. After a deep breath I ripped it all out, found the correct needles, and reknit.  It wasn’t until I was about to start the ribbing on the cuff of the third sleeve that I noticed I was one stitch short. I was not about to rip it out again, dammit! So I made a stitch and moved on. I think that’s called “making it work.” ; )

In the end, I am really happy with this sweater. The Sweet Georgia yarn was soft and lofty to work with, and the colors are stunningly vibrant and rich. I have my eye on just about every color way we carry at the shop!

Success!

I knew that although PB won the initial battle, I would ultimately win the wear-this-sweater war.

Granted, I snuck it on while she was busy at playing, but she did leave it on all day.  It’s a perfect fit, and I am back to thinking about making her another sweater this winter.  Cinnamon, Tea Leaves, Petite Facile, Milo, Phoebe’s Sweater, and Camilla Kid are all strong contenders.

What are you dreaming of knitting next?

Cowgirl, Butterfly, or Astronaut?

As my little daughter grows, changes, and begins to assert more and more personality I find myself thinking a lot about who she will become.  There are so many interesting things happening in her development; I have to wonder how much of who she is right now will remain as she grows older. How much of who we are as adults was around when we were small?  It’s a big question, and one that leaves me a little in awe of the power of nature and nurture to affect who our children are and will become.  To those of you with older children I have to ask: do your kids hold on to certain mannerisms, moods, and preferences as they get older? Is the essence of who we are as a unique person around from the time that we’re small? It’s fascinating!

Anyway… While pondering such questions, I came across the Cowgirl Butterfly Astronaut Vest from fawn pea, and the name truly resonated with me.  My little PB could be any and all of these things!  Oh, and the pattern is super cute, free, and uses buttons. Sold.

Unfortunately, PB wants nothing at all to do with this knit.  She usually loves wearing (and modeling) her hand knits, but for some reason this elicits quite a strong almost-two-year-old reaction. Hence the hanger photos!

This was a fun project to knit, though a little more detailed than I wanted at the time. It kept getting set aside after each step, awaiting the shoulder ruffles or button bands.  That said, this vest knit up quick, and the little touches that make it unique were the most fun!  The yarn is from the recently disbanded Portland company Pico Accuardi. I was sad to hear about this for two reasons: they’re a local company supplying yarn to Stash, and I loved working with this yarn! It’s naturally dyed, so the colors are truly special.

Are you knitting anything for a young person in your life right now?

FO: Secret Baby Sweater

We’re home!  It was wonderful to get away, spend good time with family, and just relax into a daily rhythm revolving around fun.  Today is catch-up day around here: laundry, sorting through mail, errands, chores, and blogging, of course!

This project has been done for a while, but I wanted to keep it a secret until I could present it in person.  As soon as I saw these colors together, I knew the little cardigan was destined for my sister’s new baby and got knitting right away. Then it was all about waiting: waiting for my little niece to be born, then waiting to make the trip to Idaho to see her for the first time.  The wait is over, and it was all worth it.

Of course, I knit the sweater to fit baby M this fall and winter, so no photos of a cute sweater on the cute baby; we’ll all have to wait a few months for those!

This sweater was a fun knit, though a bit fiddly (isn’t that true of most tiny projects involving more than one color?). Early on I realized there would be about 10,000 ends to weave in, so I took care to weave some of them in batches so the finishing didn’t seem as daunting.

The yarn was heavenly to work with. It was smooth and bouncy, and the colors were delicious. I really love this yarn and am already looking for an excuse to buy more. The good news is that after knitting up the sweater kit, there was quite a bit of yarn leftover. I made the bunny nuggets and still have enough to make a wee hat, I’m sure.


When sifting through my stash in search of the right buttons, I was delighted to find these sweet little pressed flowers. They match perfectly! The only problem was I had just 2 buttons; after a heart-pounding trip to the craft store, I happily found another card of 2 buttons and was set.

All in all, an extremely cute project. And the sweater’s okay too. ; )

FO: Green Tea

After knitting through a few sizing hiccups, making modifications, and pushing through all that delicious stockinette, I’m pleased with this tee!  This was a learning experience as usual, and while I like the finished piece, there is room for improvement next time.

  • Pattern: Rayonnant Pullover by Romi Hill, Winter/Spring 2011 Knitscene (Ravelled here)
  • Yarn: Rowan Belle Organic DK by Amy Butler 5.5 balls (about 790 yards), color 05
  • Needles: US 6 & 8/ 4 & 5mm
  • Mods: Made short sleeves and added some bust shaping.

This sweater pattern had its share of frustrations, mainly in the generous proportions as I wrote about here.  After knitting and ripping out the yoke and sleeves, I modified the sleeves and bust to fit my body.  You can see the detail of these mods on my Ravelry page, but the gist is that I created a customized size somewhere between 34 and 36.  Then I jumped back on the pattern bandwagon and knit it straight down to the hem without any shaping.  I tried it on multiple times and thought things were going great.  Then I wore the tee all day and looked at these photos and realized I didn’t need as much positive ease in the body as I thought I would to be comfortable.  Oh well, knit and learn, right?!

I love how the leafy lace yoke turned out.  The combination of pretty lace and casual fit is what initially drew me to the pattern, and I’m happy to say I still like it after all the work and changes I made!

The yarn was very nice to work with, as far as cotton blends go.  It’s soft, has a decent amount of stretch, and the wool content will hopefully help the tee retain its shape.  If I had one gripe, it’s that the yarn could be a bit splitty at times, but not so much that it was a headache to work with.  I’d knit with it again, although as I’m writing this it occurs to me that it feels a lot like Lion Brand Cotton Ease, which is a heckuva lot cheaper (no wool, though). Interesting.

Now that I’ve finished up a fairly large prject, I’m all set to tackle my knitting to-do list!  I’ve already cast on for Windschief, and it is coming along very quickly.  It’s the perfect antedote to a project that was on my needles for about 2 months.

Happy knitting this weekend, friends!

Too Big.

 

This is the Rayonnant Pullover by Romi Hill and it is Too Big.  There have been accounts about this pattern’s generous sleeve circumference, but since I planned on making short sleeves I thought this wouldn’t affect me.  I would would add some shaping and they would be perfect!  But after the doing the increases and separating the sleeves from the body it was easy to see that the armhole was simply too big.  The whole thing was too big.  Coming off the high of a perfect-fitting Shalom, I don’t quite know what to make of this result.  I swatched.  I washed my swatch; it shrank.  I chose a size just an inch larger than my actual measurements for a comfortable fit.  I guess the pattern must already be designed with positive ease in mind; I wish this was more clear in patterns in general!

 

before

 

It’s just as well that I had a generous glass of wine with dinner last night.  It provided the bravado I needed to rip out the majority of a project without becoming upset.  I ripped out about 1 1/2 balls of yarn, knitting I had enjoyed over the course of an entire week.  Rather than look at this as a setback and time wasted, as I usually would, I’m taking this opportunity to consider this a chance to right a wrong.

Anyway, after the aforementioned glass of wine, I showed up at knit night and riiiiiped this top with a vengeance.  Stitch markers flew onto the floor.  Other knitters marvelled at just how big 14 1/2 inches is with a tapemeasure loop.  Yarn balls rolled across the cafe floor.  And in the end I ripped back to just a few rows below the lace motif.  I plan on creating my own customized size from this point forward.

For now I’m still a little peeved, so I cast on a new project.  So much for monogamous knitting!

FO: Shalom!

With the timely arrival of some rescue yarn, I was able to finish my Shalom cardigan in about 2 weeks.  This was a fast, satisfying knit that should be a perfect transition piece as winter turns to spring.

  • Pattern: Shalom by Meghan McFarlane (free pattern and ravelled here)
  • Yarn: Cascade Covington in color 05, 3 skeins and a few yards of a leftover skein from a friendly knitter on Ravelry
  • Needles: US size 10 1/2, 6.5mm
  • Mods: The big modes: I cast on 77 stitches, giving the extra stitches to the body; made 3 buttonholes. More details on my Rav project page.

Here you can see just how much I changed the sleeves.  By adding stitches to the body and taking them away from the sleeves, I was able to close up the big gap that is shown in the original pattern.  When it was time to separate the sleeves from the body, I put them on waste yarn instead of binding off.  Then I went back and knit garter stitch to match the bottom hem.  This made for a bit more work, but I think it fits better and looks nicely polished..

The yarn, though beautiful, was a bit tough to work with.  It’s not bouncy and stretchy like pure wool, and the fact that I only had bamboo needles in the right size gave me problems.  The yarn stuck to the wood, so I had to push and pull it a lot which hurt my hands.  I thought buying the Addi Clicks last year would save me these needle woes, but the sizes are a bit different in millimeters, and I needed the 6.5 to get a gauge I liked.  Bamboo needles have their place, but knitting a bulky acrylic-blend yarn is not one of them!

And about that 3rd buttonhole: I only had 2 buttons!  This is a set of purple ceramic buttons I bought at Joann’s years ago that happened to match the purple in the yarn beautifully.  When I went back to the store to see if they had more, I was disappointed to see that while they still carry the same style of buttons, they did not have my color.  And so I ask you, dear readers: do you happen to have one of these buttons kicking around in your stash?  I would be willing to make a button trade.  This turns out to be my sweater of need as this is the second time I’ve asked for help finishing it! Humbling, indeed.

Ye Wee Owlet

What’s cuter than a baby in a hand-knit sweater?


A toddler in a hand-knit sweater with owl cables and zesty button eyes petting a kitty, that’s what!

I finished this project a couple of weeks ago, but it got lost in the shuffle and I am just now getting around to sharing it.  Sorry to keep the finished objects from you!

  • Pattern: Owlet by Kate Davies, Ravelled here
  • Yarn: Malabrigo Merino Worsted in Bobby Blue, 1.5 skeins (approx 325 yards)
  • Needles: US size 6 and 7
  • Mods: None

This was a great little project, and a good opportunity to practice some techniques on a small scale: it’s  a yoke sweater knit from the bottom up with some simple cables, a little short row shaping at the back of the neck, and grafted underarms.  Master those in a baby sweater, and knitting one up in your size will be a breeze!

As usual, knitting with Malabrigo was pure pleasure.  It’s lofty, beautifully dyed, and knits up into a lovely, soft fabric.  I’ve always shied away from using it for garments because it has a tendency to pill, but I think it’s fine for a baby sweater.  Sure, you have to hand wash it, but it’s worth it.

My only problem with the finished result is in the sizing.  I think the proportion is a little bit off; the body seems short in comparison to the length and width of the arms.  I didn’t look over other knitter’s notes in Ravelry beforehand, or else I would have seen that plenty of people added length to the body.  This was size 5 in the pattern, meant to fit 24-36 months.  I thought I was getting a head start on next fall’s knitting for PB, but as you can see it fits her perfectly right now.  Part of this may be a result of the fact that I accidentally knit it on size 7 needles when I thought I was using 8s… In any case, it’s now going to be a gift for a dear friend who is expecting her first babe this spring.  The sweater ought to be perfect for her baby next winter!

FO: Climbing Vines Pullover

Well, it took me from November to finish this sweater, but I did it!  I was beginning to think it would be one of those seasonal knits that gets finished just in time to wave winter goodbye, but we’ve had a return to the cold temps so a wool sweater has been a necessity.  My little family spent some time playing in the backyard this weekend and Sweetie snapped these shots in the lovely morning light.

  • Pattern: Climbing Vines Pullover by Joelle Meier Rioux from Interweave Knits Winter 2008 (Ravelled here)
  • Yarn: Dream in Color Classy in the Happy Forest colorway, 4 skeins (approx 1000 yards)
  • Needles: US 7 & 8/4.5-5mm
  • Mods: Added length to the body and sleeves.  See Ravelry notes.

What can I say about this project? I learned so much along the way, it’s hard to know where to begin.  Let’s start with what I love about it: the simple shaping, scoopneck, and leaf motif.  That’s why I chose the pattern in the first place. I think it’s a very wearable piece that looks good over a t-shirt, tank, or even a button-down shirt as it was shown in IK.

The yarn and colorway are stunning and lovely to work with.  Classy is a sturdy, superwash merino that produces smashing stockinette and makes those leaf motifs pop.  It’s also soft enough to wear against your skin.  I did not choose to alternate skeins, and was happy with how the color looks over the whole sweater.  Cheerful!

Brrr...need more wool...

It is a fairly straightforward knit, but my inexperience in knitting a sweater in pieces psyched me out, and I did a lot of second-guessing; this is probably why it took me so long to finish.  In fact, the knitting has been done for weeks, the pieces blocked and waiting for me to gather up the gumption to tackle the seaming.  Seems like a shame, now that I’ve done it and realized there was nothing to fear!  I took a lot of time and care getting the seams just right, but still ended up with some bunching at the shoulders.

I did encounter a few tricky bits during the making up of this sweater.  My first flub came way back at the beginning when deciding on sizing.  I had a 38″ bust at the time (subsequent weight loss only ads to the following misstep).  The sweater appeared to have very little positive ease built in, and I wanted something that would work as a layering piece.  The sizing options were such that I felt compelled to knit the size 42″ instead 38″ bust.  This ended up working out for me in the hips, but being large everywhere else. I didn’t make the connection that as I was adding length to the body, I could have also removed length and/or width from other areas, essentially creating a hybrid of more than one size sweater.  I’m comfortable making these types of modifications in top-down raglan style pullovers, but didn’t know how to go about it with the sweater in pieces.

In the interest of being totally transparent, let me show you what I’m talking about:

Too much positive ease, armhole too tall, wonky shoulder seams

My hand indicates where my actual underarm is...

Remember, knitting is not homework, but it can be helpful to do your homework before you start knitting.  Here are a few tips I learned on this project:

  • Have someone help you take measurements of your body.
  • Knit a swatch.  Wash and block this swatch.  That way there will be no surprises after you’ve spent hours and hours knitting a sweater to your measurements, only to find it outgrow them when wet.
  • Don’t be intimidated by new techniques.  There are loads of resources out there to help you tackle them, from resource books, helpful videos, and generous knitting group friends.  Seaming is nothing to fear!
  • Just because your bust is one size doesn’t mean the rest of your body is.  I’m a classic pear shape with a long torso and slight shoulders.  Choosing to knit a size based on my bust measurement and my desire for positive ease left me with a too-large armhole and shoulder.
  • Customize the fit where you can.  Having knit a couple of tops with my long torso in mind, I knew I would have to add at least 2 inches to this sweater to get a comfortable length.  I also added a couple of inches to the sleeves to make them full length.

In case you’re a novice sweater seamer like I am, here are some resources I found helpful on my journey.

And when in doubt, it’s always a good idea to take your bag of sweater pieces to knit night and ask for help and support.  This is what I finally did, and it gave me that final push I needed to get finished.  Thanks, Laia!

When the Official FO photo shoot ended, I joined PB in the garden for some exploration and compost churning.  It was chilly, but Spring is definitely in the air.

frozen Brussel sprout, anyone?

Have a great day today, and come back tomorrow for a little giveaway!