I finished a new hat this week!
Pattern: My own (probably will be released this month, depending if I decide the pattern needs testing)
Yarn: Madelinetosh Tosh Chunky in Natural. While the yarn was as squishy and delicious to knit with as ever, it was sort of bizarre to have colorless Madelinetosh. I really love the dyeing, so I think I’ll probably stay away from this shade in the future. I do like the color with my reddish hair, however!
Notes: The lace and cable pattern I decided to use seemed very straightforward… until I tried to convert it to knitting in the round rather than flat. Many swatches later, I figured out that the end of round marker needs to be moved forward one stitch at the end of each pattern repeat. That also gives the hat a neat spiral effect.
I decided to do a cable-cast on instead of my usual long-tail, because it plays more nicely with the garter stitch brim. The cable-cast on hurts my hands, and I find it much more fiddly than the long-tail, but I think the results were worth it. You can see the cast-on edge pretty well in this work-in-progress pic:
Here’s the official FO Friday post for the new vest! I put it up for testing yesterday and have several people signed up already, woohoo!
Pattern: my own, tentatively scheduled for release mid-May. Oh, and I decided to go with “Concord Grape Vest” as the name. Concord by itself was making me think of the Concorde–not exactly the vibe I’m going for.
Yarn: Cephalopod Yarns Traveller in Finger Lakes, 2 skeins purchased at Rhinebeck last year and about a tenth of a skein from a nice Raveler who destashed to me when it looked like I would definitely run out.
This yarn is delicious. It’s springy and nice to knit with, and the colors… well, those pictures are unretouched. That’s really what the colors look like in person.
I do highly recommend alternating skeins, however. My three skeins were all completely different, to the point where I know I would have had big blotches of color if I hadn’t alternated every two rows.
Notes: Although I usually try to avoid sewing seams, I wanted to knit something a little more portable than my recent projects (gray sweater, I’m looking at you…). A vest in pieces was perfect. And the seams are short enough that it wasn’t too bad. I’m starting to actually like mattress stitch, can you believe it? It’s fun to see the pieces come together like magic.
Knitting the front and back separately helped me concentrate on the slightly unorthodox shaping, too. Since I wanted the armhole and neck edgings to be knit along with the main piece, I couldn’t do any traditional binding off at the beginning of rows–so the whole thing is shaped with double and single decreases, just inside the twisted rib edging. It was challenging to get the right ratios for the curves I wanted (there are sections with double decreases every row, then double decreases every other row, then single decreases, etc.), but I figured it out!
All in all, I’m pretty dang happy with this vest. It came out just like I envisioned it. :-)
The sweater is done! I had plenty of the BFL sport left when I finished the last sleeve, so I couldn’t resist adding a cozy pocket on the front. I kept it small-scale to (hopefully) avoid the young teenager/sweatshirt look:
Next up in the design process is blocking. When I’m knitting someone else’s pattern, I sometimes skip blocking–especially if it’s an item that’s going to get wet anyway, like a woolly hat–but I always, always block designs intended for publication.
This pre-blocking picture illustrates why. See the wrinkles and uneven stitches?
The sweater fit me perfectly before blocking, which is good, since my swatch didn’t change in length or width when I blocked it. I took detailed pre-blocking measurements anyway, since the fabric usually gets stretched out and needs to be patted back into shape.
And here it is in all its pinned-out glory. Esme is guarding the sleeve (and was summarily ejected from the room after the picture was taken):
Next step in my design process: schedule a haircut/color. No, seriously. I’ll be the model for this design (obviously, since I knit it to my measurements), and I’m waaaayy overdue for a trip to the salon. While I’m waiting for my appointment, I’ll start in on the pattern writing–my least favorite part of the whole process, but necessary!
I finished the Owl Puff for my friend a few days ago:
Isn’t it adorable? Really simple, too. If I made it again, I might add a purl row between the base and the straight rows, just to make the owl stand up a little better. But my owl-loving friend got her package and adores it!
I also whipped up an apple mascot for a second writer-friend:
I used this pattern, and I think it came out pretty cute! (Check the comments on that blog post if you plan to knit the apple–there’s an error in the pattern as written.) I was a little worried the safety eyes took the apple into creepy territory, but my friend loved it and I’ve been informed it’s cute rather than creepy by several others. Whew. :-)
Oh, and I realized I forgot to show off some new yarn I bought last weekend!
I hadn’t heard of Good for Ewe before I saw their yarn in a local-ish shop, but it turns out they’re a new, Indianapolis-based yarn company! The Claddagh pictured above is the perfect St. Patrick’s Day yarn, isn’t it? And it’s sooooffffttt. I’m thinking a hat (because I’m pretty much always thinking a hat)… and maybe some short fingerless gloves to match?
Gosh you guys, I was overwhelmed by the lovely comments on my last two sweaters. Way to give a gal a big head! I started designing because I had trouble finding simple designs that suited my figure, and it’s so gratifying to hear that other people appreciate them too.
So of course, today’s FO Friday post is someone else’s design, haha.
Remember how I said I was addicted to baby knits?
(I don’t think the intended recipient of this little sweater reads my blog. But Laura, if you’re reading this, act surprised, okay?)
Pattern: Baby Sophisticate (Ravelry link) by Linden Down. I modified the pattern quite a bit. One thing I love about designing is that it has given me the confidence to make extensive mods to existing patterns with confidence. I have my favorite techniques that I know work well, and I sub them in frequently when I’m not a fan of the technique given in the pattern.
That said, sometimes I like trying a new technique too! This is a top-down pattern, and it uses the backwards-loop cast on for the raglan increases (instead of the more usual kfb or M1 increases). I’d never considered doing them this way, and to be honest, they were a little fiddly to work, but I like the clean lines they made.
Yarn: Berroco Vintage in Indigo. I’ve used this yarn for a few baby knits now–it’s probably my favorite acrylic/wool blend. Soft, great depth of color, non-squeaky, and washes really well. I used one full skein and maybe a fifth of another.
Which brings me to my main modification: a very different gauge. The pattern specifies 15 sts over 4 inches with size US #8 needles, which I knew right off the bat I wasn’t going to get from anything thinner than a chunky yarn (and it would be pretty bulletproof on size 8s, at that). Most of the people who’ve posted FOs on Ravelry used worsted or Aran weight yarn and did modifications for gauge, too. Mine ended up being 4.5 sts/in on size 8s, which gave me a nice fabric.
Notes: I detailed all my modifications on my Rav project page, so I won’t repeat them here. One thing I wanted to mention, though, is a confession: I usually hate doing short rows. It’s not so much the wrapping and turning, but the picking up the wraps and making it look decent that gives me problems. This pattern has you pick up the wraps, so I was resigned to gritting my teeth and getting through it.
BUT, I learned on this project that you don’t have to pick up the wraps in garter stitch–they’re pretty much invisible anyway!
This immediately fills my mind with garter stitch-short row ideas.
And the pièce de résistance: robot buttons! I found out the parents-to-be are going with a robot theme for their little boy’s bedroom, so I found these from an Etsy seller. I think they’re perfect!
Thank you for all the nice comments on my Full Circle Cardigan! It made it to #6 on Ravelry’s Hot Right Now list the day after I released it, which made me extremely happy. I can’t wait to start seeing other people’s versions!
And today, I have another FO/pattern release for you. Lest you think I’m some sort of insane knitting machine, I should tell you this sweater was actually finished last summer. It just happened to come out a few weeks ago, hence the FO post.
This is Descanso, a design I did for Dream in Color Yarn (all photos © Dream In Color Yarn):
Pattern: my own Descanso pattern. Available for purchase through Dream in Color Designs (Ravelry link).
Yarn: Dream in Color Everlasting DK in Tang.
I have to admit to a bit of skepticism when I saw the color yarn they’d sent me for the sample. Don’t get me wrong, it was beautiful–Dream in Color Yarns are always stunning–but this particular bright pinky-red isn’t one I could ever wear. When I saw the pictures, though, I was blown away. Doesn’t the model look amazing in that color? It’s like it was made for her!
I’m a teensy bit jealous.
Notes: I’m going to have to knit myself one of these to keep, because I love the way this sweater turned out. I was going for an easy, slouchy look (while still keeping figure-flattering waist shaping and a flattering neckline). It’s a little hard to tell in the pictures, but there’s a slip-stitch rib around the hem and cuffs of the sweater–enough to keep the edge relatively flat, but still let it roll a little for a more casual look.
The sweater is knit from the bottom-up in the round to the neck split/yoke joining, and then back and forth in rows (my favorite construction!). The little cable detail at the neck turned out really well. I love the way it adds interest without bulk:
I named the pattern after one of my favorite botanical gardens. Descanso Gardens is only a few miles from where we used to live, and I’ve done photo shoots for several sweater patterns there. I thought it would be nice to remember the name by giving it to a comfy sweater pattern.
I hope you like this sweater as much as I do!
I thought it might be fun to look back at my knitting progress this year, so I went through my Ravelry project pages and tallied it all up. And holy wow–I finished 27 projects this year. Nine of those were full-sized sweater designs.
That’s a lot of knitting, yo.
Here are the self-designed sweaters (minus two that are secret designs for yarn companies–I can’t blog about those until they’re published next year):
I hope everyone out there in blogland is having a great holiday season! I took advantage of the free time during the 24th and 25th to whip up a set of slippers for me:
Pattern: Options Slippers for Women by Kris Basta (Ravelry Link)
Yarn: doubled Araucania Toconao, left over from a large sweater design I have yet to blog here, but will soon (it’s in testing and should be released pretty soon!). The yarn is squooshy on its own, but holding it double on size 8 needles makes an incredibly thick fabric I want to squish all the time. I used about a skein and a half for both slippers.
Notes: The pattern is pretty interesting–there are lots of options (duh, see the pattern name). You can go with a bulky yarn or a worsted held double, several different types of soles, and use one of several methods to attach the soles to the uppers. I went with the knitted sole, but broke out the crochet hook to “sew” them together.
I’m pretty proud of my crochet job, actually. I am not a crocheter by any stretch of the imagination, and I sort of winged it (wung it? Surely not) on the exact technique… but the join turned out fine and, dare I say it, even pretty!
And I finished these just in time! This is what the backyard looked like on December 26th:
I don’t know if you can tell, but it’s snowing in this picture. Hard. We got about 7 inches of snow in four or five hours… nothing insane, but definitely conditions that make me appreciate having warm, squishy slippers.
Two FO Fridays in a row! Baby sweaters are addictive, yo.
Again, apologies for the non-modeled, craptastic blocking shot. My niece lives about 1500 miles away, so getting her to model the FO wasn’t really feasible.
Pattern: Latte Baby Coat by Lisa Chemery (Ravelry link). I made the largest size (3T-4T). The pattern was well-written. It included tons of options, which makes for a slightly more cluttered pattern, but I always appreciate having choices.
Yarn: Cascade Eco+, 1 skein in Purple Jewel Heather. The pattern calls for 1.5 skeins for the hooded version in the largest size, but mine took only one, and I had a good sized ball left over. I did rip out my swatch, though–if I had kept a decent-sized swatch, I might have been closer to the end of the skein.
This yarn has been marinating in my stash for more than a year, and it was good to finally use some of it up. I usually avoid baby/toddler knits with non-superwash yarns, but since this is more of a coat anyway and likely won’t fit her next year, I’m not going to be terribly upset if it gets ruined. Plus it was really quick on #10 needles!
Notes: It turned out really cute! I was worried about rippling on the edge, so I bound off very tightly the first time… and then had to rip it out and re-do it when I realized her face wouldn’t fit into the tiny head opening. Doh. But I think I got the tension right the second time.
The balloon is something I’ve recently started using to block hoods. It works like a charm! No more flattened or weird-looking hoods.
When it’s dry, I’ll sew on buttons. I’ve got these neat Celtic knot ones in my button stash that should be perfect.
And it’s good that I’m done with baby knits… because a huge box of yarn just arrived for two commissioned designs that will be due in the new year. Unfortunately, they need to be kept secret, but I can tell you I’m about a fourth of the way through a gorgeous cabled pullover in one of my favorite colors. More on that later….
Remember my baby sweater dilemma?
I decided to go with with Sweet Peasy for my niece’s Christmas present, because it had just the right blend of pretty detail and mindless stockinette. I’ve gotten rather, ahem, addicted to the show Castle lately (Nathan Fillion, witty humor, romance, and mystery–be still my heart!). I wanted a sweater I could make whilst being riveted to the TV.
(Apologies for the non-modeled picture… I don’t have a small person around to put it on, and modeled shots on dolls or stuffed animals freak me out a little, to be totally honest.)
Pattern: Sweet Peasy by Heidi Kirrmaier (Ravelry link)
Yarn: Malabrigo Arroyo in Plomo, about 1.5 skeins. The yarn was really lovely to work with, as per usual with Malabrigo. I’m not a hundred percent happy with the way it striped up in the FO, to be honest… but it’s not too bad. I’m just a perfectionist. :-)
Notes: I raided my vintage button stash and came up with these textured dark green ones, which I think look neat with the grayish-purple.
I thought the pattern was fairly good. I’m something of a discerning customer, haha. The pattern tells you to knit the sleeves first and then pick up body stitches from the underarm. I did it in reverse (body first). I also picked up a few extra sts when joining the sleeves and decreased them on the first round, which closes gaps at the sides of the underarms nicely.
I also added a couple of rows to the garter stitch trim on the bands, since I noticed many of the FOs on Ravelry were curling. It seems to have addressed the problem nicely!
Of course, as soon as I finished this, I spotted another little kids’ pattern that I MUST MAKE… so the nieceling may be getting more than one sweater for Christmas. We shall see.