Progress All Around

After what has been a frustrating few weeks, I felt like I made some real progress on things this weekend in both life and knitting. I hunkered down and took care of business on Saturday, before drawing the line and allowing myself to have some fun and visit with some friends in Boston. Lots of passenger-seat-driving means lots of knitting time occurred, and I made good headway on my NaKniSweMo project:

Overdyed Cypress. Click for project page.

After all my bragging about how surprisingly well the tubular cast on went even while less-than-sober, I realized at the transition from ribbing to pattern stitch that I had used the wrong size needle for the ribbing section! I was supposed to begin the cast on with US 4 needles and then transition to US 5 for the bulk of the ribbing before switching to US 8 for the main pattern. In stead, I used US 4 all the way through the ribbing. I think I’ll do a little swatch with 5’s later to see how much a difference this will make for my gauge, but unless it’s a drastic difference, I’m not ripping back. If anything, I could just knit the ribbing of the front piece on larger needles to compensate for lack of stretch in the back… right?

Haphazard, caveat-ed progress it might be, but progress nonetheless!

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IS #80: NaKniSweMo, For Real!

If you’ve heard of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), you might have heard of NaKniSweMo which is the knitterly equivalent. The goal is to knit an entire sweater, start to finish, during the month of November. According to this ancient post on the KnitGrrl blog, it needs to be a sweater of 50,000 stitches (like the novel length requirement). You can check out the Ravelry group here. And this year, for the first time ever, I’m joining in!

Copyright Brooklyn Tweed / Jared Flood. Click for pattern page.

I’ve finally begun the Cypress vest I swatched for a few weeks ago with my overdyed yarn. I’m actually rather surprised at how well the cast on went. After working ridiculously late last night and coming home to ALL THE HALLOWEEN CANDY BEING GONE ALREADY (the horror!) and too late to see a single tiny person dressed up like something fierce, I consoled myself with a couple of seasonal bourbon drinks that I had found on the internet. Turns out that hot buttered bourbon is rather horrifying, no matter how lovely the bloggers make it sound. So the Fiasco made me some sort of pumpkin spice liquor drink instead while we played a board game into the wee hours. He conked out and I decided that a post-midnight sweater cast on with a belly full of bourbon and pepita brittle would be an EXCELLENT IDEA.

IMG_1607

Overdyed Crypress. Click for project page.

I guess the sugar high and alcohol buzz canceled each other out, because the tubular cast on (which I’d never done before and still don’t really understand, it was like magic) went swimmingly and I’m already a couple of inches into the ribbing! I’m actually not sure if this sweater will fulfill the 50,000 stitch requirement, I’m still too fuzzy-headed to do the math, but considering it will be my first completed sweater ever, I think just finishing it during the month of November will be achievement enough for me.

Are you planning to join in with #NaKniSweMo this month? Is there another KAL happening that’s been inspiring you, lately? Share with us!

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WIPWed #66: Taking the Plunge

All that dyeing over the weekend paid off, because I swatched for my Cypress vest and I LOVE IT!

Overdyed Cypress:

Woolen Diversions

BMFA Twisted, colorway Aurora Borealis, overdyed by me.

It’s dark and moody, still colorful but more subdued, and from a distance it appears to be a neutral shade that I think will make a really nice garment. I’ve yet to become a sweater knitter, but I have no fewer than 3 different sweaters on my MUST KNIT NOW mental list, so we’ll see what this season brings! I think Cypress is a good one to begin with since the shaping is simple, the texture is fun to work, and the sleeves are short — which should all lead to relatively quick turnaround (fingers crossed).

Fiasco Deconstructed:

Woolen Diversions

BMFA Sock that Rock Lightwright, colorway Sigur Ros.

Some time spent in the DMV this week means that I am now on the toe of my Fiasco Deconstructed socks! My knitting on these socks has been rather leisurely, a little here, a little there, they’ll get done when they get done… but fall is here, and my toes are cold, so I’m going to need to step it up!

Honey Cowl:

Woolen Diversions

Cephalopod Yarns Traveller, colorway Hobart, IN.

I’m still completely in love with the slipped stitch patterning on this cowl. So simple, yet so effective! I’ve somehow misplaced the other half of the yarn intended for this cowl, which I better find soon since I’m nearly done with the first half.

Earthy Bubble Crepe Handspun:

Woolen Diversions

Miss Babs Merino/Bamboo/Silk.

I didn’t have a whole ton of time to sit down and spin this week but I snagged a few moments to work on this handspun. (Also, can we just take a second to admire that photograph? Yay, new camera! *happy sigh*) I can’t believe it took me so long to attempt the little trick shown in the photo: if the take up of your wheel is too strong (which it almost always is on my Babe) you can thread your yarn across two hooks on opposite sides of the flyer to reduce the pull and allow you to draft more easily without fighting the wheel. This fiber is a little slippery and I am spinning fairly fine so it kept flying out of my hands, but with it threaded as shown, the take up is much less forceful, so that trick really works!

Super Duper Extra Mysterious and Subtle:

Woolen Diversions

IT’S A MYSTERY!!!

(I call that photo Fun With Filters, btw). The above project that was on and off my needles in a jiffy! I will reveal what it was on Friday, when I will also review the yarn and pattern I used and host a giveaway. Do come back in a couple of days, I promise you’ll be extra glad you did, especially if you love alpaca!

Check out more WIPs at Tamis Amis!

IS #67: DK Cardigan Roundup

Following up on my DK weight pullover/tee/top roundup from last week, here are some of the DK weight cardigan patterns that have caught my eye lately. Which would you knit with 4 – 6 skeins of Cephalopod Yarns Traveller?

Copyright Jane Heller. Click for pattern page.

First up is Lanata designed by Amy Christoffers. I like the wavey lines of lace, the simple raglan shaping. This one is pretty classic in style and feel, with just a little bit of fun detail from the lace. I think I’d probably need closer to the full 6 skeins for this pattern, which is a slight problem since they are mismatched, so it might not be ideal right now but it is still lovely.

Copyright elinor. Click for pattern page.

The Bayview Street Cardigan designed by Elinor Brown is similar to the Lanata in that it is a classic shape in a lace stitch pattern but this one has set-in sleeves. Since I have yet to knit a sweater I’m not sure which sleeve method I would like more, but I do tend to like the look of store-bought raglans on me, even though I’d read that raglan shaping isn’t the most flattering for larger sizes or larger-busted ladies. So I could go either way, I suppose. Do you have a favorite sleeve method? Flippant by Nora Hinch is pretty much the same idea as the Bayview cardi, just with a different lace pattern.

Copyright Carrie Bostick Hoge. Click for pattern page.

The Estelle Cardigan designed by Melissa LaBarre was recommended to me when I asked for advice on the CY Ravelry board. I like the wavy lace details and the subtle ribbed waist shaping. I’m not sure I would love a cardi without closures on me but it does look really great here.

Copyright Bonne Marie Burns. Click for pattern page.

Exploring the no-closure idea further, I came across Vonica designed by Bonne Marie Burns. I love the mixing of solid panels of stockinette (which I had actually thought was garter stitch before until I just looked more closely at it… weird) with zig-zag lace. It creates a really nice visual interest and breaks up the body in a flattering way.

Copyright Jonathan Herzog. Click for pattern page.

Then I had a ‘DUH!’ moment and remembered Amy Herzog. I love almost everything that Amy designs and she has that cool CustomFit software that I could use with a pattern recipe to get a perfect fit without worrying about modifications. This lovely thing is Aislinn. I love the lace panels and the interesting waist tie detail. It’s very feminine and flirty.

Copyright splityarn 2011. Click for pattern page.

Another Amy Herzog pattern I’m digging right now is Petrea. It still has the lace detail but is not all-over so it serves as more of an accent. I love the lace on the sleeves, as well, and that this is a short-sleeved cardi. I have a few store-bought short-sleeved pullovers that are great to wear at work so even though it wouldn’t be the warmest thing year-round, it is probably perfect for spring through fall. The scoop neck is pretty, too, and I think I could make this in my size with just 4 skeins.

I think Petrea, Aislinn, Vonica, and Snowflake (from last week) are the front-runners right now, but I’m still so torn! What would you knit? Anything inspiring you, lately? Please share in the comments!

 

IS #66: DK Weight Top Roundup

A couple of months ago I did a DK Weight Sweater Roundup and, well — I’m still at it. I’m still trying to find the perfect thing to knit with either 4 or 6 skeins of Cephalopod Yarns Traveller.

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CY Traveller, colorway Kalamazoo.

I say 4 or 6 because sadly, as you can see, my skeins are quite mismatched. CY has generously offered to take them all back and send me 6 matching skeins, but I’m not quire sure I need all 6 skeins, it depends on the pattern, and I really kind of love the 4 on the left and would rather just use them. (Plus I’m being lazy about shipping things around.) So, I’ve been combing Ravelry for tops I can knit with only 1120 yards to fit a 42″ size. It hasn’t been easy but I’ve found some lovely patterns!

Photo copyright Interweave Knits. Click for pattern page.

This Ruched Yoke Tee designed by AnneLena Mattison reminds me a lot of the wee baby sweater the Yarn Harlot just finished. It’s sweet, simple, and just the kind of thing I would wear to work in the spring/summer since it’s classier than a normal t-shirt but still relatively cool temperature-wise. The sample is knit in a cotton yarn, which makes me wonder if I would prefer it in cotton, rather than superwash wool.

Photo copyright Jiminez Joseph. Click for pattern page.

This fun little number is Boss. by Jiminez Joseph. I had a storebought sweater kind of like this one (lacey openwork t-shirt shape, drop shoulder) that I wore like crazy last year but I’ve since lost a bunch of weight and had to pack it away. It has a really simple construction, the front and back are just two panels that are seamed up the sides, which might be nice for a first garment. This is written for a wool/silk blend and one of the suggested yarns is actually Codex (a light worsted weight) so perhaps I should use that instead of the Traveller.

Photo copyright Knitscene/Harper Point Photgraphy. Click for pattern page.

This Balas Ruby Raglan by Vera Sanon is just a really cool-looking top. I love the lace and the accent color sleeves. The color values in mine would probably be reversed: using the purple for the main lace and a light grey for the sleeves. Or, I could always acquire enough grey to do the body and then use the 2 mismatched purple skeins for the sleeves! (More yarn, more sweaters, yay!)

Photo copyright Gudrun Georges. Click for pattern page.

This Layered Ruffle Sweater by Kristina McGowan is just gorgeous. I love, love, love the ruffle detail, and it’s knit in a DK weight Merino so my version would likely be similar in look. The ruffles sound a bit difficult to attach (crocheted elastic chord, what?!) but check out this amazing dress-length version.

Photo copyright Mary Annarella. Click for pattern page.

My love for this pattern might be a case of just really loving the name: Girl on Fire, by Mary Annarella. (Reminds me of Katniss!) I like the lace panel and the square neckline, too. I’d probably shorten the sleeves to 3/4 or elbow length to make the best use of yardage and because I like those lengths in pullovers.

Photo copyright tin can knits. Click for pattern page.

Snowflake by tin can knits is another pattern where I could grab a contrasting skein for the lace yoke and do the body in the purple yarn I already have. Plus it would involve finding fun buttons! I love fun buttons. This one might be nudging its way to the top of the list…

But then there are cardigans, too, which I haven’t even touched on today! We’ll leave those for another post. Have a favorite DK weight pattern? What’s been inspiring you, lately? Please share in the comments below!

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IS #54: DK Weight Sweater Roundup

Good Saturday, folks! Seeing as one of my goals for 2014 is to (finally) knit myself a sweater, I thought I’d spend this morning gathering up some sweater inspiration. I currently have 3 sweater quantities of yarn in my stash: one sportweight, one DK, and one bulky. I’m going to focus on DK weight patterns here because I already have ideas for the sport and the bulky.

IMG_5700The DK weight yarn in question is Traveller from Cephalopod Yarns in the colorway Kalamazoo. It’s a variegated purple, with deeper blacks and blues and brighter purples mixed in. While I love the variegation, it will make choosing an appropriate pattern a little more challenging. Let’s see what DK weight sweater patterns I have queued, shall we?

Copyright cosmicpluto. Click for pattern page.

This is the B-Side Cardigan by Laura Chau, which I queued way back in 2010. There are many things I love about this cardigan. The neckline is fabulous, I love the way it folds over in the back. I also like the asymmetrical cable very much, it’s enough to add interest but not so much that I’ll be cabling my life away. I’m a little worried that I’ll get bored with so much stockinette (I hate purling) but the plainer fabric will not compete with the variegated yarn.

Copyright Nora Hinch. Click for pattern page.

Next up is Flippant from Knitty Deep Fall 2013, designed by Nora Hinch. I don’t think I can stress enough how much I love lacy cardis. They’re great for layering and they’re not something you can easily find in a store, they definitely showcase your mad knitting skillz. I also feel very motivated when I’m knitting lace, I’m always trying to cross off another row, so it makes the whole process feel faster.

Copyright Tin Can Knits. Click for pattern page.

I loved this Windswept pullover by Tin Can Knits from the moment I saw it. I likely will not choose to knit this with my yarn because I think it is too perfect in a lighter colors so you can really see the details, but I wanted to feature it nonetheless. I love the way the lace panel provides interest in the front and the way the garter edges compliment the garter stitch in the lace panel.

Copyright Amy Herzog. Click for pattern page.

This easy, breezy pullover is Shore Ledges by Amy Herzog. While I feel like I might wear a handknit cardigan more often, I do love deep-V pullovers, and I have a storebought one with bell sleeves that I’ve bee really digging lately. I think the simple body and seed-stitch details would work well with the variegated colors in my yarn. Plus, I signed up as an early user of Amy’s amazing new sweater-knitting program, CustomFit, and I could use the ‘recipe’ that comes with this pattern in that program to input my measurements and get instructions that would create a sweater to fit me exactly. That’s a pretty tempting idea for a nervous first-time sweater knitter!

So, as you can see, there are many DK weight sweaters that I love and I’m not quite sure which one I’ll go with yet. Do you have a favorite sweater pattern? Anything else inspiring you lately? Please share with us in the comments below!

 

 

 

 

IS #18: Spring Cardis

I’ll get right to the point with this week’s Inspiration Saturday post: the new Spring 2013 edition of Twist Collective is a veritable smorgasbord of adorable spring cardis. There are more sweet, feminine, delicate wardrobe pieces than you could shake a flower-bud-studded-stick at, and though I’m normally drawn to the shawls and accessories I pretty much want to knit every single sweater in this issue. Here are three I really loved.

Copyright Jane Heller

This design is Floriston by Elizabeth Doherty. That lace detail continues along the open fronts of this one-step-up-from-basic cardigan but I chose to show the back because I love the pleating. It’s such an unexpected, pretty detail that creates a gorgeous silhouette.

Copyright Jane Heller

This pretty-in-pink creation is Cayley by Amy Herzog. Amy actually has two designs in this issue, both of which I loved. I like the classic shape of this one and how the lace details on the cuff repeat across the upper back, giving it a delicate feel. I tend to favorite so many of her patterns on Ravelry, so I think whenever I get around to knitting a sweater for myself one of her designs might be the first. She had a great fit-to-flatter series of blog posts that she’s now turned into a book and a Craftsy class, all about how to modify your knitwear to fit your body type, which is super helpful for people with curves and different proportions.

Copyright Jane Heller

Finally, this is Haussmann by Kate Gilbert. I love the wrap style of this piece, which I find very flattering to my body type, plus you all know how I feel about ribbons. What’s also really interesting about this one is the semi-sheer fabric knit from a lightweight linen yarn. I’m not sure if I’ll ever knit it since it involves linen yarn on size US 3 needles and a crocheted scallop border all around the edges, but it sure is pretty to look at.

What are some of your favorite new designs? Did any of the others in the issue speak to you? Please link along below if you’re feeling inspired!

Work-In-Progress Wednesday #9

Have I mentioned how much I love lace vests knit with bulky yarns? My first garment is coming along at a breakneck pace and I’m super excited about it! (Thanks for all the encouragement, by the way.) Here are all the things I’ve been working on lately.

First Garment:

Vally Yarns Berkshire Bulky, colorway Stone Blue

I have finished knitting the back and the left front of this vest. I should be able to finish the right front today and block all the pieces. Drying will probably take a while because the yarn is a very thick 85% wool 15% alpaca blend and it’s been damp and dreary around here weatherwise. But then it’s just seaming (eek!) and picking up stitches for a bottom edge and a front/neck edge. Guys, this thing is definitely going to be done by Rhinebeck. Woo!

Hall Pass:

Yarn from Old Sturbridge Village and leftover Mondegreen

The Fiasco needed an item that could be identified as his hall pass that the kids couldn’t forge, so I tried my hand at some colorwork for him. My tension was too tight on the M swatch, if you look closely you can see the the green bits are raised up and the sides pull in because I didn’t leave the floats of the yellow yarn long enough. Not good for a garment, but should be ok for this. I’m going to sew these pieces together, stuff them, and add an i-cord loop for a handle. I’d like to see a kid try to forge that!

Beautiful Briny Sea:

SG Bugga in Box Jellyfish and CY Bugga in Blue Ringed Octopus

This shawl is in that endless, anti-progress stage. No matter how much I knit, it doesn’t seem to get any larger. That center spine needs to measure 15″ before I can move on to the next bit and I still have about 3 inches to go. It doesn’t help that I dropped a couple of stitches in one of the garter sections and still have to fix them. Delays!

Lillypad Take Two:

The Verdant Gryphon Bugga, colorway Yellow Fringe Doris

I’m at the heel of my second attempt at Lillypad socks… so of course I’ve stalled out. Heels take concentration and socks are my zone-out-knitting so that’s a bad mix for me. I’ll get right on these, though, after I finish my vest and the hall pass. Click on the image below to check out other WIPs!

Exciting Times

Guys, I have big news!

You excited?

You should be!

Valley Yarns Berkshire Bulky, colorway Stone Blue

I’ve started my first ever knitted piece of clothing! Well, I started a couple of sweaters long ago but never got very far. This one is going to be different. I’m ready to commit now. This one is The One, the Mr. Right of garments. The pattern is the Montague Bulky Lace Vest from New England Knits. As you can see, I’m taking it easy on my first foray into sweaterdom: bulky yarn, huge needles, interesting lace, minimal shaping, sleeveless. This avoids many of the possible procrastination pitfalls that would lead to sweater failure for me: too many stitches on the needle, the feeling of no progress being made, too much boring stockinette (for some reason I love garter but hate knitting stockinette), too many pieces to deal with in the end. And I did everything I could to ensure success this time: I swatched, I compared the pattern schematic to a vest I already own to determine size, I started with the largest size and realized it was too big early on and fixed that, and I chose a style I think will be flattering for my body type. I think I can really do this thing!

I’m actually modifying it, too. If you do a search on Ravelry for the larger sizes you will see that the lace panels are very widely spread apart in a most unflattering way with huge expanses of reverse stockinette between them that I just did not find appealing. I liked the way the small size looked, its proportions, so I tried to preserve that in the way I’m knitting it. I added regular stockinette to either side and centered the lace panels better. I don’t yet know if this well screw something up for me near the neck, but I looked through the pattern and tried to knit it in my head and didn’t see anything major about how the various decreases interacted with the way the patterns lined up.

Here’s hoping this sweater and I will live happily ever after! 🙂