Market Jacket just in time for spring

The yarn store I used to work at hosts a monthly knit-a-long. Back in 2013, the January KAL was the Market Jacket by Tanis Gray from the book November Knits. The book has several sweaters that I plan to make eventually, including this one and this one.

I started the KAL as a way of hanging out with the knitters, but once the month ended I didn’t do much work on the sweater because I had other things going and it wasn’t a “priority” project. You’re thinking… Do you have an excuse for why every project takes you two years to finish?… The answer is yes, yes I do.

Market Jacket

 

Unfortunately crappy indoor light is all I have for you. This is a top-down raglan style sweater. There are cable panels down each front, each sleeve, and one down the back. Otherwise the sweater is stockinette with garter stitch borders. It’s a nice combination of mostly-mindless with some fun when you get to the cable panels.

Market Jacket

 

 

That sort of shows the detail of the cable panels. It’s hard to take a picture of a sweater you are wearing. Inside the cable panel is a bit of lace, just to make it that much more interesting.

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That’s not intended to be a picture of my breast… just another good shot of the cable/lace. The color of the yarn is just dark enough to make taking photos a pain. In real life the detail is actually quite easy to see. The yarn is Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Worsted in colorway Waistcoat.

Market Jacket

 

The only modification I made to the patter was to make the body of the sweater longer by 3 inches and to make the sleeves full length. To make the sleeves longer I continued the decrease row as established until the sleeves were wrist-length then I added the cuff. Because the torso was longer I had to add a few more button holes, keeping the same pattern as established to add the buttonholes required by the project.

Market Jacket

 

If I made this again, the only other thing I would change would be not to use YOs to make the raglan increases. I think they are pretty, but they make for not very stable shoulders. By the end of the day my sleeves have grown about 3 more inches in length and I have to shove them up behind my elbows. I think using a stronger increase, like a M1, would help combat the droop. There’s just too much stretch with a YO.

Market Jacket

 

This, plus the Wildflower Cardigan I finished in February make two new sweaters for the year so far. Of course, now it’s too warm for a wool sweater, so they’ll both have to get put away, nearly unworn, until next season. My train knitting right now is a lovely cotton, rayon, linen summer tee. Given my trend, I’ll probably get it finished just as summer is ending…

Hibernate

A ver long time ago I bought enough Rowan Purelife British Sheep Breeds Chunky to make the Rosamund’s Cardigan from the Fall 2009 Interweave Knits. I couldn’t get gauge. Even though the pattern calls for chunky yarn, it’s knit at more of a aran gauge, and my fabric was practically bullet proof. So the yarn went back in the stash to wait.

I decided I really did want a sweater/jacket from this lovely rustic wool so I went to Ravelry to hunt up a pattern. I settled on Hibernate by Christina Harris. It’s certainly not the most popular pattern on Ravelry (there are only 4 projects) but it had exactly what I wanted. Oversized, styled more like a jacket than a sweater, and in the proper gauge.


At least I thought it was the proper gauge. I was a very irresponsible knitter and did not knit my swatch. The yarn relaxed quite a bit width wise, so my sweater that was supposed to have 4″ of positive ease ended up with 8″ which turned it from cutely “oversized” to “sack.” It’s being modeled by my mother in these pictures, and it lives with her now.
I cut it extremely close on yardage. I knew it would be close and figured I would do the sleeves last and make them 3/4 if I had to (how I thought I would live with a jacket with 3/4 sleeves I don’t know…) Luckily, I had just enough to make the sleeves full so crisis averted. This is how much yarn was left over.
The Rowan yarn is extremely “rustic” there is no way it could be warn next to the skin, which is why I think it’s great for this pattern. It has lots of little bits of vegetable matter that was spun into the yarn and, while I didn’t notice while I was knitting with it, the yarn is filthy. I washed it after I was done in my laundry machine (didn’t use the machine, just filled it up with water and let the sweater soak) and the water was GROSS after the 30 minute soak. See.
The pattern has a few small typos, but overall was very easy to follow and I would recommend it for anyone who already has a little sweater experience under their belt. It’s not quite as comprehensive as an absolute sweater beginner might need, but if you were adventurous and willing to look up a technique or two it’d be doable as a first sweater.
I love the pockets. This particular construction was extremely easy and it would be a fun way to work in a pop of color, because you could do the pocket lining in a fun contrast color. I chose to do mine in some similarly colored Cascade 220 because that was the best option I could find in my stash, but if you planned ahead you could have some fun with it.
I know I say this about every project lately, but despite what my Ravelry account will tell you, this was actually an extremely quick knit. The problem was I just kept getting distracted. I knit big chunks of this in single sessions, but put it on hold over and over. This easily could have been done in two weeks with focus. I’m just really short on focus lately.

February Baby

As I mentioned in my last post, there were a few new babies born to my coworkers this summer. In addition to the little Harvest I knit for Megan’s baby, I also knit a little sweater for Jason’s brand new baby girl. Baby girls are such a delight to knit for because all of adorable details you can choose from–lace patterns, pico edges, bows, there’s just so much. I decided on the classic Baby Sweater on Two Needles (February) by Elizabeth Zimmerman. The pattern is from The Knitters Almanac and is only about a paragraph long.

Zimmerman seems to be a lover-her or hate-her figure in the knitting world for her casual writing style and her “recipe” style instructions. Her patters do assume that you’re bringing a lot of knitting knowledge to the table and she doesn’t spare many words for the “how”–her patterns are all about the “what.”


Unfortunately, this was the only picture I remembered to snap just before I gave it to the dad-to-be. It’s on my messy desk under fluorescent lights. Lots of people were saying that using the recommended fingering weight yarn resulted in a newborn sized sweater. I wanted a 6mo size so I followed the same instructions but bumped up to a DK weight yarn. I used Socks That Rock Heavyweight. Color is unique. It was a mill end skein. The colors range from a medium gray to a magenta. I love the way it knit up. Girly without being overpoweringly pink.
I did not add any buttons. I think open cardis look adorable on babies over a onesie, no potential choking hazard if they fall off, and (lets be honest) I hate sewing them on in the first place.

Baby Harvest

This summer we had two babies due around the office. Luckily I have an hour long commute each way on the train, so I was able to whip up a little sweater for each of them. The first was for a baby boy due at the end of May. Can I just say, there are way fewer adorable knitting options for baby boys. You’re basically stuck with either super plain, or heavily cabled. I decided to go the plain route and chose Harvest by tincanknits. I chose the 6-12 month size hoping it would be big enough to fit when winter rolled around.


I used some old Knit Picks Swish left over from a different sweater project. Obviously machine washable is a must for baby things. The colorway is called Jade. It only took 2.5 skeins to nock this little guy out. A very fast and gratifying knit. The pattern is extremely well written for a free pattern. I would absolutely recommend it. It would also be a great first sweater pattern for someone hesitant to jump into the garment world. It’s top down knit in the round so you can try it on as you go. Shaping is minimal and you end up with a classic goes-with-everything cardigan.

Shapely

I know that when I focus I can knit up a sweater in 3 to 4 weeks depending on how complicated it is. I don’t know why then I always end up spending at least 6 months to make one. I’m just not good with project monogamy. I know I would have more things to wear if I could focus on one project at a time, but I am fickle. (So maybe I do know why it takes me so long to finish things…) Here is my latests 6-month sweater.


That is Shapely Boyfriend by Stefanie Japel from the 2011 Deep Fall issue of knitty.  I taught a seamless sweater class on it at For Yarns Sake last spring and worked through it in advance of the class. The class focused on the shaping of the body, so I didn’t bother to finish the sleeves before the class. Once the class was over it went into hibernation–hence the 6 months to finish.
The only alteration I made to the pattern was to shorten it. As designed, it’s a below-the-bum sweater but I tend not to like that look unless it’s a looser coat-style. For something I’m going to wear all day as part of an outfit it prefer waist-length styles. Because I shortened the cardigan I made fewer button holes than called for. Other than that, I knit this exactly to pattern.
The yarn I used is Malabrigo Rios in the colorway Teal Feathers. I did not behave like a good knitter and alternate skeins. If I were teaching I would tell all my students that the must alternate skeins, but in my own personal knitting, I take risks. Luckily my skeins were very well matched and I didn’t end up with any striping. I used just under 5 skeins, but if I had made it as long as recommended I would have needed to break into a 6th.
The yarn is super soft and I love that I can just throw it in the washing machine and dryer. The magic of superwash. I love it. The buttons were cheap ones I got a Jo-Anns, but they work really well with the sweater I think. I finished back in August, so it didn’t get a lot of wear right off the needles. This past winter it saw a lot of wear though. It’s experienced some mild pilling, but nothing surprising for a 100% merino yarn, and nothing my sweater stone can’t easily take care of.
My current knitting continues at a snails pace, but I still have a backlog of projects from last year that I can show you.

Wildflower Cardigan

I love the monthly knit-a-long we do at the shop. The ladies are great, and the projects are always something I wanted to make anyway. That being said, the fact that they move on to a new project every month has left me with quite a few knit-a-long victims. Projects that I started, and worked on dutifully for the month, only to drop like a sack of potatoes when the next month’s project came along.

Meet one such victim.

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That is a completed back, completed sleeve, and partial sleeve of Alana Dakos’s Wildflower Cardigan from Coastal Knits.
It’s a very lovely sweater, but it’s 99% stockinette and done in sport weight yarn. It’s boring. I need to line up some really exciting movies to watch while I work on it. About the only “fun” part is the scallop at the bottom of all the pieces.
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It only takes four rows though, then it’s back to the stockinette. There will be a few cables and bobbles when I get to the pockets on the front, but they will also be over quickly.
I pick this up for a few rows now and again, but it’s seriously slow progress now that the knit a long is over and there’s no incentive to show progress each weak.

Hibernate

Just because I’ve been working obsessively on my Swallowtail Shawl, doesn’t mean I don’t have other WIPs waiting in the wings for me to feel like picking them up again.

One of the projects that I would love to get back to (soon) is the Hibernate sweater by Christina Harris that I started in October. I cast this on and feverishly knit to the point where the fronts and back are connected at the underarm then got distracted by… I can’t remember.

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I have had this Rowan Purelife British Sheep Breeds yarn in my stash for a long time, just waiting for the perfect project to come along. It’s a bulky 100% undyed wool. The color of the yarn is determined by the color of the sheep. The label says this comes from a Black Welsh sheep. I love it.
The yarn has that lovely crisp wool feeling to it. A big difference from the merino Malabrigo I’m using but pleasant in its own wooly way.
I was a little hesitant to buy this pattern since there are only two projects on Ravelry. I have found a few little typos in the pattern, but nothing unusual or difficult to decipher. So far it’s worked perfectly. I’ll give a full review of the pattern if when I finish.

Not quite

Well, once again, I didn’t quite finish my Olympic project before closing ceremonies.  I was trying to make my dad Basic Cardigan: Two Ways by Bruce Weinstein from the book Knits Men Want. My dad picked out the pattern and bought the book so that I could make it for him. Mom bought the yarn. My contribution was the knitting.

I made this my Olympic project so that I would be done in time for my dad’s birthday on the 11th. The lawyer in me wants to point out that I did finish all the knitting and really I said I would knit a sweater for the Olympics, not necessarily piece or finish a sweater. Another party of me realizes that this sort of loop-hole finding is part of what’s wrong with the world. I’d call it a bronze medal effort.

A few days of seaming and zipper installation after the ceremonies concluded and I had this:

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Ryan took on the role of model for me, isn’t he handsome? I think so. As you can see, the sweater is a bit big on him, but my dad is about 5 inches taller so I think it will fit perfectly.
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The sweater is very plain. It’s composed entirely of panels of stockinette and reverse stockinette. Perfect for watching lots of Olympics. But now I’m ready for a nice intricate lace pattern or some colorwork, or cables… something not so incredibly plain.
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The yarn was lovely. I used Berroco Ultra Alpaca which is a very sturdy worsted weight yarn. It is 50% wool 50% alpaca. The wool gives it stability and the alpaca gives it lots of warmth and a bit of drape.
I was very nervous about installing the zipper because I’ve heard horror stories about how hard it is to install a zipper in knit fabric and seen some really bad projects on Ravelry to back up the stories. The problem is that zippers are not at all stretchy and knit fabric is very stretchy. If you accidentally stretch the knit fabric when sewing in the zipper, you end up with that weird ripply sweater front that looks pretty bad. I followed this tutorial and it worked perfectly! You’re welcome.
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I love the double-thick collar. I think it is the perfect neck edge. The pattern was a bit vague in places. I think the designer sacrificed some clarity to get the layout to fit on the page better. Nothing too terrible, but I always get annoyed when designers sacrifice the pattern instructions for aesthetic concerns. I mean, the pattern is all anyone cares about, not how pretty the page is. I will take a well written pattern over a pretty page every time.
I’m going down to visit my dad in about a week and a half and I’ll deliver the sweater then. I’m sure it won’t get any wear until at least November, but at least he’ll get it relatively close to his birthday.

False start

Like many participating in the Ravellenic Games this year, I eagerly cast on as soon as opening ceremonies started. I loved watching the ceremonies and thought London did a beautiful job. The cauldron lighting was amazing. I knit like a fiend and in less than 24 hours I had this:

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That’s about 12 inches of the back of a sweater. About that time, a little voice in the back of my head started saying “Gee, this looks pretty small.” I fought it for a while then decided to check my gauge. It was way off. That can’t be, I thought to myself, I actually knit a good sized swatch this time and dutifully measured it. Back to my swatch I went. You guessed it. I had mis-measured the swatch in the first place. Ouch. In a matter of seconds my lovely half-done sweater back turned into this:
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Not to be deterred in my quest for Ravellenic gold, I cast back on and dutifully re-knit. It feels so good, when, after ripping back, you finally hit that place where you’re knitting with “fresh” yarn again. After several volleyball matches, a little swimming, a little rowing, and a lot of gymnastics (all viewing of course) I finished the back of the sweater.
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Only two sleeves, two fronts, piecing, and a zipper to install in the next 13 days. What do you think? Can I do it?

Relief

Sorry for dropping of the map for a little over the past two weeks. I got sucked into the hole that is the bar exam.  Tuesday and Wednesday I sat for the test and now I have eight weeks to wait before finding out if I passed or not… It was definitely not the most fun I’ve ever had.

Now that it’s over, I can turn my attention to looking for a legal job and working in the yarn shop. Much more fun that days and days of studying. And, even better, lots more knitting time.

A few weeks ago, before I got swept up completely in studying, I finished the sweater I was crocheting.

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I think it’s lovely. The sleeves came out a bit big, but other than that it’s great. That wonderful little closure is from Plover Designs. They’re local to Portland and For Yarn’s Sake carries some very lovely ones.
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The pattern is Bluebell Cardigan by Edie Eckman from the Spring 2011 Interweave Crochet. It worked up so fast once I finally put some energy into it. I found the patter a bit vague and hard to follow in places but I think it was because they tried to cram it onto two pages so it was heavily abbreviated and vague in places. I still managed to figure it out.
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I used some yarn that was available through Knit Picks about two years ago. It was yarn that their mill overspun so they sold it for $1 per ball. It’s basically their Wool of the Andes sport but overspun. The colorway is called amethyst heather. The sweater’s got about 4 inches of positive ease so I will be able to layer it in the winter. (Ryan says a sweater made of holes is impractical, but I think he just doesn’t understand the magic of layers.)
Opening Ceremonies start in 9 minutes and I’ve got a cardigan to cast on. You’ll hear all about it.