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….
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?
Earlier posts in this series: Design Process Part 1: Inspiration
Now that I have a pretty good idea of the general look and construction I want for the sweater, it’s time to think about the details. First up, I do a rough sketch of the design.
I also included the targeted measurements for my size. Before, I would need to look up standard guidelines for this bust size, but I’ve knit enough size M fitted sweaters now that I know most of these measurements off the top of my head. A few of them are specifically tailored to my preferences–I like a little bit of positive ease on the upper arm, for example, but I tend to like an inch or two of negative ease at the bust. I also tend to like slightly longer sweaters (probably because a large bust tends to make shorter sweaters ride up at the bottom!).
Next up, choosing yarn! Fun!
It was pretty easy in this case. I have this gorgeousness in my stash:
This is Blue Moon Fiber Arts BFL Sport in the “Manly, yes, but I like it too!” colorway (great name, eh?). I purchased two giant skeins (about 1300 yds) at Rhinebeck last October. After checking Ravelry, this looks like plenty to knit this type of sweater in a 36″ bust size. The great thing about top-down, too, is I know I have the option of knitting shorter sleeves or a shorter body if it looks like I’m running low on yarn.
Swatch time! As I mentioned in this post, the recommended size on the label for this yarn is incorrect. After a quick check on the yarn’s Ravelry page, I started with US #4 (3.5 mm), and I liked the fabric I got after I wet-blocked the swatch:
My measured gauge after blocking is 6 sts/8.5 rows to the inch. A little thinner than I usually prefer (I’m generally a DK and up girl), but the yarn’s soft and nice to knit with. Due to some kind of distracting life stuff going on right now, a stockinette, finer gauge sweater is just what the doctor ordered!
If I were knitting a bottom-up sweater, this is the point where I’d usually do some quick, rough calculations and then dive right into the knitting.
BUT… this is going to be a top-down sweater. So that means I have to do a whole bunch of math before I know how many stitches to cast on.
Some designers prefer to grade the pattern for all the sizes before they start knitting the sample in their size. I confess, I’m not one of those. I work out the numbers for my size, tweaking them as I go, and then grade the pattern for the rest of the sizes when I’m finished with the prototype.
Next up: casting on! Woohoo!
Bonus picture: one of the kitties “helping” me photograph the swatch.
This is the post where I get to show off my Rhinebeck purchases!
First up, two skeins of luscious Cephalopod Yarns Traveler in the Finger Lakes colorway. This colorway is hard to photograph, but it reminds me of fresh purple grapes:
I think those are going to grow up to be a hat and mitts set (or possibly a scarf).
Next up, two skeins of Blue Moon Fiber Arts BFL sport in colorway “Manly, yes, but I like it too!” (Really, that’s the name of the colorway.)
This yarn is squishy and delicious, but I made a mistake when I bought it. Although the name should have tipped me off that it was a sportweight yarn, an error in labeling printed a worsted gauge instead of a sportweight one. You can see it in this picture if you squint:
So instead of the 1300 yards of light-worsted weight yarn I thought I was getting, I actually have 1300 yards of sport. I really do like the yarn and the colorway, enough to keep it rather than go through the hassle of returning… but I have to psych myself up to tackle a sweater on size 4 needles (what should have been printed on the label, and the size the Blue Moon website recommends).
This next lovely skein wasn’t actually purchased for me. My husband took one look at the wall of Stonehedge Shepherd’s Wool and insisted on buying one so he could knit himself another hat. As you can imagine, I didn’t argue. This is the Berries colorway:
I also got a sachet of moth-repelling herbs and a book of stitch patterns:
Not pictured: the maple candy and half-sour pickles that were eaten before the weekend was over. Yum.
I think I did pretty well for my first Rhinebeck! I purposely didn’t decide I had to have any one type/brand of yarn, since I’d heard too many stories of people sprinting to booths the second the fairgrounds opened, or standing in lines for hours. We were there to see the sights, eat good food, and spend a little (but not too much) on yarny goodness.
I would say mission accomplished :-)
I was planning to blog about the rest of my birthday presents (first post here) last week, but I’m participating in a few writing contests and the time just got away from me.
Without further ado, the rest of my yarny presents!
My mother-in-law isn’t a knitter, but she is a painter. To my delight, she decided a few years ago that choosing from all the scrumptious Madelinetosh colors was her idea of a seriously good time. Remember Blue Betty and Chandail? Yep, the yarn for both of those sweaters came straight from her.
I think she outdid herself this year.
That’s five (count em! Five!) skeins of Tosh Merino Light in Worn Denim. Is that gorgeous or what? I love blues and greens, so this is pretty much nirvana in skein form.
Just looking at the pictures is making me drool. I’m thinking a sweater with lace details for this.
And just when I thought no one could top the presents from both of my fantastic mothers, my husband gives me this:
That’s a skein of yarn he hand-dyed in my favorite color, just for me. The picture doesn’t do it justice–it’s a stunning tonal green, with perfect darker and lighter bits interspersed throughout. I’m thinking a hat for this, but I’ll have to choose carefully, because I’m not about to waste this amazing skein.
I am seriously the luckiest person ever.
My birthday was a few days ago, and I have to tell you–I was stunned by the quality of my knitting-related gifts! My nearest and dearest know I love yarn and yarny things, obviously, but this year they seriously outdid themselves.
In fact, I have so much to show that I’m breaking it into several blog posts!
First up, my lovely mom:
(Please note: Mom is a non-knitter. This makes the following all the more impressive.)
On her own, she found a friendly LYS (Always In Stitches). She asked the ladies there for advice on what to get, and when they recommended a ruffled scarf yarn she nicely said, “Well, she’s not that type of knitter, actually.” She then proceeded to proudly show them my Ravelry design page and project page so they’d understand!
After that was established, Mom said they all had an absolute ball picking out yarns after that (a LOT of yarns. She went sort of bananas in the store, let me tell you). I had just told her my favorite colors for yarn were blue, green, and purple, and obviously she was listening.
Here’s what she got me (looking at these pictures, I’m still a little overwhelmed!).
4 skeins Malabrigo Worsted in Purple Mystery and Emerald
JoJoLand superwash in a few different colors/weights:
Crystal Palace Kid Merino in two different (gorgeous!) colors:
Debbie Bliss Angel Prints:
Crazy Zauberball Self-Striping:
And as if all that weren’t enough, she also got me a bunch of notions and fun things:
That’s a Knit Happy sticky note organizer, HiyaHiya Puppy Snips, a Lantern Moon sheepy tape measure, and my personal favorite, an absolutely adorable Black Sheep umbrella. The umbrella is from the Dublin Gift Company, and the ad copy for the product says, “Adorning this umbrella is one black sheep with a shamrock on his arse among a flock of white.” Love it!
The last item was this awesome shelf sitter:
So I may have mentioned a time or two that my husband is awesome. Today, I present further proof. He was looking for an artistic hobby, something to combine his love of color and his desire to work with his hands.
He decided to try yarn dyeing. Yes, that’s right.
Be still my heart.
He finished up his first mini-test skeins today and I got some pictures!
The skeins are small, but I think there’s enough for me to make a killer striped project. I think the colors will play nicely together. Maybe a pair of fingerless gloves or a hat? (They’re worsted weight.) Anyone have a suggestion?
I won a contest in one of my Ravelry groups and received my prize a few days ago: a gorgeous skein of yarn!
This is panna worsted weight by numma numma (which is really fun to say, try it!). It is SO SQUISHY. I can’t properly express in words how wonderfully squishy it is. It’s like Malabrigo Worsted, but MORE SO. And I don’t say that lightly, people.
So obviously this needs to be a mega-special design, one that’s worn right next to the skin. I’m thinking mittens, maybe? Not sure I can get two mittens out of 200 yds of worsted, though. Fingerless mittens? A cute beanie?