Edie spring t-shit sweater

Hi! Happy New Year!

I know we’re a few days in already but I’ve been slow to start this year. Something about the first just didn’t feel like New Years. After a quite few days that “new beginnings” feeling is starting to sink in and I feel like trying to clean house (metaphorically!)

I spent a day doing my traditional new years stash toss. Going through what I have to make sure nothing crawly has gotten to it in the last year, but also to remember and re-feel everything.

I also updated my Ravelry account with some things I’ve been lax in getting posted. 2015 wasn’t the most productive knitting or blogging year for me, but I did finish a few things I have yet to show you.

Edie

That is the Edie sweater by Michele Wang. Yarn recommended was the 100% wool Brooklyn Tweed LOFT. I’m sure that would make a great layering piece for fall and winter, but I wanted a summer tee. I substituted Rowan Panama for the LOFT.  Panama is 12% linen, 33% cotton, and 55% viscose. Perfect for spring!

I started knitting this because I was asked to teach the pattern as a class. As it turned out, not enough people signed up for the class so it didn’t end up happening. After that I put the project away for a long time. I found it this spring and thought it would be a good wardrobe addition so I set to work. Mostly I knit for the process and don’t generally care when things get finished. (If you’ve read any of this blog and can feel you rolling your eyes and signing “I know!”) This time though, I wanted the sweater.

The yarn is so comfy to wear. It feels nice and cool and soft. It’s not so comfy to knit with. Cotton and linen doing have the spriong that wool does and the lack of give is just murder on my hands. Especially on those cable rows.

Edie

The end result was totally worth it though. The viscose in the yarn is a bit shiny. The cotton and linen are not shiny at all so the knit fabric has a subtle depth of color.

I pretty much followed the pattern. My gauge with the Panema was a bit bigger than the pattern gauge. It worked out pretty easily that I could just follow directions for the size smaller and end up with the right size for me. The only “alteration” i made was to make the waist 3 inches longer. since I’m not wearing this as a layering piece I didn’t want it cropped.

Edie

I did cast on a New Year’s day project (I wasn’t that off my game.) It’s Fractal Danger by Martina Behm. I have the first 10 rows done!

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.

Warmish Release

It’s been a long time since I published a pattern on Ravelry. I have lots of lovely ideas, just can’t seem to find the time to work things out properly and make sure I write a good pattern. About a month ago I finally settled in and got one of my ideas down on paper. Warmish is now available for sale.


It’s a beret-shaped hat that sits loosely around the ears and a simple dimple-texture pattern. It doesn’t get that cold in Portland in the winter, so I don’t like hats that are very tight against my ears and forehead. This is fitted enough to not fall off in a gust of wind, but not snug. However, for those who do prefer a snug brim, I’ve included instructions for using a smaller needle size on the brim to give a tighter fit.
I knit my sample with one ball of Rowan Lima Colour in the creatively named colorway 711. I love the way the fiber blend (84% alpaca, 8% wool, 8% nylon) allowed for a lot of relaxation in blocking and really let the beret shape come out.
To achieve the beret shape, blocking is absolutely necessary. The circular decreases happen quickly and the finished hat will look a little “lumpy” until it is blocked. I used a 12″ dinner plate and got just the right amount of slouch. Some of my test knitters commented that the hat looked small when it came off the needles but after they blocked it, it grew to the right size.
I always love to hear feedback (and constructive criticism) about my patterns. If you happen to knit this one you can leave me a message here or on Ravelry and I’ll get back to you right away.

Iced Hat

I couldn’t quite muster the oomph to blog yesterday. I was doing too much actual knitting. I have four sweaters at various stages in progress right now and I’m trying to bust out the bulky one. It grew by 5 inches yesterday.  Bulky yarn is my friend.

But that’s not what I’m here to tell you about. Five inches of stockinette is not that interesting. Cables are interesting and boy do I have some cables for you.

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That, my friends, is Iced Hat by Irina Dmitrieva. I bought her whole Cabled Hats 3 collection the minute I saw it. They are all lovely cable-y  masterpieces. So many cables, some rounds have as many as 36 cables per round.
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I’m teaching a whole series of classes at For Yarn’s Sake about hats that feature different techniques. This was the project for Hats: Cables. There will also be Hats: Color, Hats: Short Rows, and Hats: Lace. (Can you tell I like hats?)
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I made mine out of Rowan Felted Tweed in the color “150”. Felted Tweed is 50% merino, 25% alpaca, and 25% vsicose. It’s a little crunchy when you’re knitting with it, but it softens up SO much when you wash it. It also weighs next to nothing. Each 50g ball has 198 yards! I got the whole hat out of one ball.  It’s light and airy to wear but still nice and warm because of the merino and alpaca.
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I blocked mine around an 11″ dinner plate to get a nice beret shape. Looking at the projects on Ravelry, it looks like quite a few people have left it in more of a beanie shape. It looks cute both ways. I’ve had it done for about 3 weeks and I’ve worn it about 15 times.
I am still dutifully reading Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell but I’ve thrown in an audiobook of Black Sun Rising by C. S. Friedman to give myself something a little more exciting. It’s the perfect sort of blend between Science Fiction and Fantasy, if you’re into that sort of thing.

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.

White Christmas

Hello all! Are you having a good Christmas? Did you have a good christmas if you live in one of those far-away time zones? Christmas is just starting here and I’m waiting for the fam to show up in a few minutes.

There’s no chance that today will turn into a white Christmas here in the Pacific Northwest, but there’s still snowflakes in my apartment. See:

That, my friends is a double knit hot pad. TPHPE to be exact (the prettiest hot pad ever.) The pattern, by Heather Zoppetti, is free on Ravelry. It’s basically just a chart though, don’t expect instructions on how to do double knitting.

The cool thing about double knitting is it makes reversible fabric. Those two pictures are actually the two sides of the same hot pad. On one side your color A is dominant and your color B is the background. On the other side it is reversed. Don’t believe me?

See. Pretty cool. I made this because I was scheduled to teach a class on double knitting. Sadly the class didn’t happen, but it was good practice anyway. I used two colors of Rowan Handknit Cotton, a DK weight 100% cotton yarn. The colors I used are the creatively named 239 and 347.

Hope you have/had an awesome Christmas/holiday. Did you have real snowflakes?

Machine

You guys, I have been a knitting machine lately. I have been finishing things left and right. I have so many things backlogged to show you I could post for the next weeks straight. The trick? Accessories. Granted, some accessories (socks, lace shawls, etc.) take a good long while to finish too, but I’ve been busting out the quick kind of accessories like my needles are on fire.

Case in point: the Tala Hat by Martin Storey from Easy Winter Knits.

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That, my friends, is a seriously bulky hat. It’s knit from Rowan’s new yarn called Tumble which is a super bulky super fuzzy 90% alpaca 10% cotton blend. 77 yards to 100 grams. This hat took about a skein and a half.
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Ignore my Margaret Hamilton nose
 
I knit this as a sample for For Yarn’s Sake so that people could see how the yarn knits up. The pictures above show the pattern as intended. I did modify the patter to be knit in the round though. Rowan writes EVERYTHING to be knit flat. I don’t mind knitting flat and seaming if there is a reason to do so, but there is no possible reason why this hat should be knit flat. None. I subtracted two stitches and altered the wrong-side row instructions to reflect that I was knitting circularly.
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As written, there is no pompom, but the hat was sticking up a bit stiffly giving a serious conehead-type look. I added the pompom to put some weight on the top of the hat and pull it down for more of a slouchy look.
I think this is definitely the type of style that only a certain sub-set of the population can pull off, but I love it. If I were still in Wisconsin I would not think twice about making a hat like this for myself. For the Portland winter, it might be a bit overkill.

It’s so fluffy!

First, if you haven’t seen Despicable Me do so now. I’ll wait. Your appreciation for fluffy things will be increased 10 fold.

Yesterday at the shop, the owner remarked that we could really use a sample for the store knit in a new Rowan yarn called Tumble. I jumped at the chance because I have been wanting to try this yarn since it arrived at the shop. It’s 90% alpaca, 10% cotton, and 100% FLUFFY.

Sadly, all I have right now is a crappy late-night iPad photo since my camera seems to be playing a one-sided game of hide and seek.

I’m knitting this on size 15 needles. They feel like giant sticks and I can only knit on it for about 45 minutes before my wrist starts to hurt because of the giant gauge.

It’s so soft and going very quick. I may have a hat to show you on Friday. All camera-finding vibes are much appreciated.

Not sure about this blogging thing…

Since I’m already on Ravelry and have a hard enough time keeping projects updated there I’m not entirely sure that I’ll be terrific at this blog business. However, there are so many knitting blogs that I enjoy reading that I thought I might just give it a try and see what happens. Also, who doesn’t need another distraction from studying for finals? Politics and Human Nature BAH! Temporal Monarchy, Autonomous Collective, Representative Democracy… who needs it. Anyway don’t expect any sort of gushy life details in this thing it’s going to be purely about knitting… with the occasional complaint about school thrown in. And anyway my life doesn’t have any gushy details to share so bugger off if that’s what you want.

Now knitting.

I have three (maybe four depending on how you count) WIPs.

The first and most urgent is the Baby Baseball Tee from Knit2Together. It is for my boss who is preggers so there’s kind of a time line on finishing. So far, the back is completely finished, the pocket lining is finished and knit into the front (but not sewed down) and I’m up to the decreased on the front. I am very happy with this as the baby is not due until September. While I could care less about the Green Bay Packers the mother is a huge fan (I mean HUGE) and the baby is a boy, so I’m knitting the sweater in Packers colors, gold body and green sleeves. I’m knitting it in Plymouth Encore which is 75% acrylic and 25% wool so it’s machine washable, cheap, and baby skin friendly. I’m not a big fan of acrylic and, like I said, I don’t care about the Packers so the yarn/color scheme isn’t too appealing to me but it makes me happy to knit something for Jenny because she’s a good boss and cool person.

Baby Baseball Tee


Second WIP is going on a full year now. It is an acrylic and nylon blend boucle wrap/shawl/wide scarf. The yarn is fun to look at and touch but terrible to knit with–it’s splitty and impossible to frog; the stitches might as well be glued together. It Jo-Ann’s Sensations Rainbow Boucle I like the fabric that I have so far, but I’m only half way done. The pattern needs 36 4-row repeats over 80 stitches and I have 20 done. It’s not at all a hard pattern, it’s a simple drop stitch patter–basically a way easier version of the Clapotis. It’s boring and fussy which is why progress is slower than a snail’s pace. Hopefully I will like the finished product as I like the bit I have now. Otherwise, I will cry bitter bitter tears of sad regret for my wasted time. Obviously it needs some blocking…

Rainbow Boucle
The last WIP is coming up on a few months shy of a year now. It started out as a sweater for my brother who is pretty skinny but 6’8” tall and makes me look like a rag doll when I stand next to him. I quickly realized that even though he’s skinny I would not have enough yarn/time/sanity to finish. My dad said he hates wool because it’s scratchy after glaring at him and making him hold my softest merino sock yarn until he admitted that it’s not too bad gave up on him. I thought about just wearing it myself since I had cast on for a 36” chest anyway but then my boyfriend said hey that’s a cool sweater who’s it for. I told him if he liked it is was for him and the darling accepted. Sweater curse be damned. It’s in Cascade 220 wool and is a pattern from the Rowan Pure Wool Collection: Eden.

 

Edan

The last WIP is sort of not mine, but really it mostly is. It’s a pair of socks out the Trekking Pro Natura done one-sock-at-a-time, cuff down, on two circs. It’s supposed to be Andrew’s, he said he wanted to learn to knit. (OK maybe I pushed a wee little bit but he agreed to learn in the end.) He didn’t want to buy any yarn In case I don’t like knitting, instead he wanted to knit out of my stash. No problem, I love the kid so I went through my stash and laid out before him all the things I was willing to part with for him to learn on–of the two balls of sock yarn he chose the green one and not the pink, green, purple, and yellow striped one… go figure. Now I know that socks on size 1.5 needles is not the most encouraging fist project but he didn’t want to buy his own yarn and that worsted weight already has a project assigned to it damnit. And just so I don’t come across as selfish, that sock yarn was supposed to be my first pair of Monkey socks… now that’s sacrifice. Andrew dutifully learned to cast on, do the knit two purl two ribbing, and the simple garter rib pattern for the leg. The pattern is from Sensational Knitted Socks The sock is on Knitpicks fixed circs which I love because they are very pointy but Andrew has no knitterly blisters yet and his fingers start to hurt after one or two rows of 72 stitches per row. I frequently pick up these socks and work on them when I’m in his room because it’s knitting and it’s there so I’ve probably done more of the knitting on them than he has… but it’s still his project right…

Alright I’m going the “publish” this now and then try to figure out how to go back and add links and photos… we’ll see…

ETA: Success! I’m a natural born blogger.