What I’m Knitting
I’m at the finishing stage for both the cable/lace baby blanket and the little baby top, yay! But instead of showing you those this week, check out my newest pattern release.
This is the Sprague Lake Pullover, my first adult sweater release in a little while:
This sweater was released in a special preview collection of the Interweave Knits Fall 2016 issue. You can check out the four patterns in the collection here, or purchase this pattern individually for $5.50 here.
My intention with this sweater was to create a traditional Aran-type sweater with some modern updates. You’ll notice it has closer shaping than many of the more boxy cabled pullovers, a flattering scoop neck, and some fun twine-y cables. It was a lot of fun to knit!
What I’m Cooking
Aside from yet another batch of lentil-quinoa-kale stew (can’t get enough of that stuff right now!), I also took another stab at perfecting vegan, gluten-free mac and cheese. This one was enhanced by the addition of GF seasoned breadcrumbs and some toasting time in the oven. I thought it came out pretty well!
I’m coming into the home stretch on baby incubating (due date is in less than three weeks!). I was hoping to get some meals made and into the freezer. Stay tuned to see if that actually happens….
What I’m Reading
Like virtually everyone I know, I picked up a copy of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child rehearsal script this week. I finished it last night and have to say that I really enjoyed it! I think people expecting a “real” eighth Harry Potter book were sorely disappointed, but I was viewing it more like bonus material, so I wasn’t at all. Two thumbs up from me!
What I’m Knitting
A fairly low-key day (not a day off—freelancers have it tough sometimes!) means plenty of time for knitting! I can’t show you the whole sweater I’m currently working on for a publication, but I can give you a teensy peek. Look at that gorgeous, rustic yarn:
What I’m Cooking
Family in town means lots of eating out, so not too much to show this week! I did manage to make a double recipe of this tasty tortilla soup, which everyone appreciated:
What I’m Reading
Is there anything better than getting a big stack of books for Christmas? I’m working my way through, starting with this one that’s been on my wishlist for a while:
What I’m Knitting
I finished all the knitting on the little nautical sweater (mark 2)! Here’s my son testing the fit. This is pre-blocking, so the white stripe won’t pull up as much in the center as it does here.
I’m going to be blocking the sweater this weekend and then whipping the pattern into shape for testing next week. (PSA: If you’d be interested in testing one of the sizes, join my Ravelry group where I post all my tests! You can even sign up to be notified when I have a new test up so you get first dibs.)
What I’m Cooking
Thanks to a dreadful cold that knocked me out for several days, I didn’t get much cooking done this week. I did manage some rice, lentil, and kale soup:
What I’m Reading
I just started the third in the Tiffany Aching series, Wintersmith!
What I’m Knitting:
It’s been a while since I’ve had an FO ready to show off for FO Friday!
Here’s my nautical baby pullover (actual name forthcoming, obviously…):
Pattern: My own. I started the pattern writing and am aiming to release this one at the beginning of the fall knitting season—hopefully early to mid September.
Yarn: Universal Uptown Worsted in Royal Blue (2 skeins) and Cream (1 skein). I liked the yarn a lot! For 100% acrylic, it was very non-squeaky and soft. I’ll probably use it again for super-easy-care baby gifts.
Notes: This was a fun, relaxing knit. It’s top down, all in one piece, so the only thing that was complicated at all was the short rows on the shawl collar (which, frankly, were a good thing after all that stockinette). I was aiming for a 1-2 year old size and was worried that it came out a little small, but I tried it on my son (1 yr) and it fits him well with a little room to grow. Perfect! Now the weather just has to cooperate for outside pictures.
What I’m Cooking:
Not something I made from scratch, but something I ate several times this week: I just discovered this new and amazing product:
That is dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free mac and cheese! And it’s delicious. I throw in some frozen peas and broccoli to up the veggie quotient and it’s a fabulous quick lunch or dinner. Plus my son loves it—bonus!
I did manage to make some yummy tofu Pad Thai, which I always crave in hot weather for some reason:
What I’m Reading:
I just finished The Dream Thieves (soooo good!) and am currently on the hunt for another MG/YA book to read. I think I’m going to take a break from intense and read something fun and quick before I tackle the third Raven Boys book.
(This is one of a series of design posts. The earlier posts can be found here.)
Remember I said we had a failed photoshoot for the gray sweater? Well, I was going through the pictures we got and realized something. Something not so fun.
I think I want to rip out and re-knit 30-50% of the sweater.
This is a really tough decision, particularly because it has nothing to do with the fit of the sweater. The fit is perfect, actually. See below:
What’s not so perfect (and even easier to see in these pictures than in life!) is the really terrible pooling of the hand-dyed yarn at the waist and below. This is particularly irritating because the upper body was knit with the exact same skein, but the smaller width below the armholes didn’t agree with the length of the color changes. What’s worse, I was working on this sweater mostly in the evenings in front of the TV and didn’t notice until the whole body was finished.
It’s also easy to see that the second skein I used for the sleeves and front pocket, while appearing virtually identical in the skein, included lots of dark bits not found anywhere in the first skein.
To tell you the truth, this is the kind of thing I’d ignore completely if I were knitting the sweater only for myself. The fit is perfect! The sweater is snuggly and cozy, just like I wanted! Who cares about some color differences?
But since I’m planning to sell the pattern, I know I won’t be happy with anything less than great pictures. And that is going to require ripping, rewinding, and alternating skeins.
Another factor is the season. This sweater is definitely more of a fall/winter piece. By the time I get it re-knit (sport-weight yarn, remember), we’ll be well into the spring/summer knitting season. So I think this is going into the WIP bin for a few months. I’ll probably revisit it in July and get everything ready for test-knitting during August, which will put me on track for a fall 2013 pattern release.
But it’s not all doom and gloom on the pattern-writing front! I started a new vest design with more Rhinebeck yarn, these two beautiful skeins of Cephalopod Traveller:
Learning from my mistakes, I’ve been alternating skeins the whole way. I’m pretty sure I’ll run out of yarn before I reach the end, but I found a Raveler willing to sell me a skein of this colorway and it’s already on the way, so no worries there. The vest is really, really cute so far. A great cure for the meh of the gray sweater.
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 missed WIP Wednesday this week (probably just as well, since I keep showing the same sweater–I imagine people might get sick of it eventually!), but I thought I’d do a little progress report anyway.
The gray sweater is moving right along. I made a design decision when I reached the sleeves to knit them twice as long as I originally intended, so they can be cuffed or flipped over to cover the hands if it’s especially cold. I thought this worked well with the cozy vibe of the sweater.
Of course, that means I have to knit 2×2 ribbing on little needles for twice as long. Ugh. But since that picture was taken, I’ve knit the second sleeve up to the ribbing. I’m hoping to grit my teeth and power through the rest tonight.
But when that’s done, I’ll have to make another design decision–front pocket or no? Hmm.
In other news, I’ve gone kind of nutty with yarn buying this week. I swear I didn’t mean to! One of my favorite online retailers, Doodlebug Yarn, sent me an email announcing a sale on Imperial Yarn Columbia. I’ve been dying to knit a sweater out of this yarn since my husband used it to knit his first hat, so I snapped up a sweater’s worth:
And then I spotted a single skein of Mint Julep Sundara Yarn Merino Worsted in someone’s Ravelry destash. Yum.
And just to make me look really hedonistic, I realized I forgot to show off the skein of Malabrigo Rastita I bought a few weeks ago (my mom suggested a visit to a yarn store! Really, was I going to say no??):
I better finish the gray sweater soon, because I’ve got a lot of yarn calling my name….
The sweater design is still rolling along! I just started the bottom ribbing on size US #3 needles, ugh. But I should be done with the body later tonight.
Last weekend, I was working merrily along on the neck increases below the sleeve split when I realized I’d made a pretty serious math error when I set the whole thing up. This is, unfortunately, as much a part of my design process as sketching or swatching. (That’s what I get for trying to crunch numbers while watching Supernatural episodes.)
So I had two choices at that point–rip out the entire yoke of the sweater, back to the point when I started the neck decreases–about an inch from the cast on–or rearrange the numbers so they worked with what I’d already done.
Guess which one I picked?
Turns out I like this neckline shape better anyway, though. I’m calling it a fortuitous accident. :-)
I also cast on a little mini-project yesterday:
It’s an in-progress Owl Puff (Ravelry link)! A friend of mine has helped me tremendously with the fiction-writing side of my life and loves owls, so she’s getting a little surprise in the mail as soon as I can get to the craft store to buy some felt and safety eyes.
And along those lines: I signed with a literary agent for my fiction yesterday! It means I’m that much closer to my goal of writing for a living. So it’s been a very good week all around. :-)
Earlier posts in this series: Design Process Part 2: Sketching, Swatching and Math ~ Design Process Part 1: Inspiration
The next step in the design process is, of course, to knit the sweater. (Actually, I shouldn’t say “of course”. There are plenty of designers who work out the whole pattern for the sweater, grading and all, before they knit a stitch of the actual sweater. That just doesn’t happen to be my process.)
I’ve been working on it for a few days, and I just split the sleeves off last night:
I’m very pleased with the sweater so far! The only hiccup I experienced was a slight change in row gauge from my swatch to the sweater. In the swatch, I got 8.5 rows to 1 inch, which didn’t change when I blocked it. In the sweater, I’m getting 8 rows/in. Luckily I noticed this in time to realize I’d need to shorten the yoke depth by a few rows. Not a big change–but something I always check now, after being burned by gauge swatches before!
And look, it fits rather well (these pics were taken at about 11:00 last night, so please forgive the messy hair and lack of makeup):
Another reality check I do as the sweater progresses relates to the amount of yarn I’m using. There have definitely been times where I assumed I’d need a certain number of skeins and completely mis-estimated–and that’s much nicer to figure out at the beginning of a sweater, so I have time to order more.
But it looks like I’ll have plenty of yarn. I still have well over half the giant skein left, which should hopefully get me the rest of the way through the body. And if that works, I won’t have to worry about alternating skeins at the changeover point (a real concern when working with handpainted yarn). So bonus!
From the pattern page:
Have you been dreaming of a lightweight pullover for indoor wear, changing seasons, or winter in temperate climates? Look no further than Dream a Little Dream. This stylish but still casual pullover is light as a feather and easy to knit. Mock cable rib at the hems and upper back adds texture and keeps the knitting interesting.
This sweater is constructed from the top down in the round and is completely seamless. The only finishing is picking up and knitting the neckband and buttonband placket.
XS (S, M, L / 1X, 2X, 3X)
Finished bust measurement:
30.5 (33.75, 37, 41.25 / 44.75, 49, 53.25)”, or 77.5 (85.5, 94, 105 / 113.5, 124.5, 135.5) cm
Shown in size M with 1” of negative ease
madelinetosh tosh merino light (100% merino; 420 yds/384 m per 100g skein): 3 (3, 3, 4 / 4, 4, 5) skeins in Worn Denim
If substituting yarn, you will need approximately 900 (1000, 1150, 1300 / 1450, 1600, 1750) yds, or 825 (925, 1050, 1175 / 1325, 1450, 1600) meters, of fingering or sport-weight yarn.
NOTE: This sweater is designed to be knit at a loose gauge. A DK or worsted weight yarn won’t drape like the original, even if the gauge is right. Fingering or sport-weight yarn is recommended.