Bending to the siren song of sweaters

I haven’t made a sweater in a while – in fact, other than a shell I made that didn’t really turn out all that well, it’s been over a year!

There have been a couple of stall outs along the way. I bought a bunch of Miss Babs Yowza to make this cardigan from Knitty, called Wisteria, because it was a triple-threat for me: a cardigan, with set-in sleeves and a shawl collar (!), but after looking at the Ravelry projects, it turns out that many people had trouble getting their sweaters to fit, so it sat for a long time, and I decided to frog it and think a while.

Then I got the idea to make Copperplate, a lovely top down, set-in sleeve open front cable pattern, and I was going to make it part of the Ravellenic Games (aka the Knitting Olympics. I even copied all the pages of the pattern in the lovely book by Elizabeth Doherty, but other than putting everything into a project bag ready to swatch and start (my previous swatch was on gauge), well, nothing has happened.

In the meantime, I started thinking about the people for whom it is worth it to me to knit sweaters (a stunningly small universe because of all the time involved). They are all relatives, in case you wanted to get in line. Ha-ha! I told my cousin Marie about this – and she said she wanted a drapey kind of sweater, which is fine. And her daughter, Allison, who is due to have a baby next month, will need a sweater than is flexible size-wise.

And then I had bought that sweater kit with yarn I wasn’t using, so I needed to find something to knit for me as well.

In the deep dive into my pattern library and the general Ravelry contents, I’ve come with:

  • knitting another Sara Lace Cardigan for me – I really liked how the first one worked. My skeins of yarn are two very different dye lots, so I am alternating every two rows – there’s a slight stripe-effect, which I am ok with. Current progress: finished the yoke and working on the body…

  • knitting a Fancy Cardi by Joji Locatelli for Allison – it has fronts that can drape or be over-lapping, which seems to be the best for flexible sizing and nursing coverage. The yarn I’m going to use is Coast by Holst Garn. I love me a wool/cotton blend, and since this is washable, it’s good for a new mom(have yet to swatch). It’s also very reasonably-priced, so if I like it, I’m going to get more of this! I’ve also considered knitting this pattern for myself too – we’ll see once I’ve knit this for Allison. Here’s what the yarn looks like:

Either of these patterns would be possible for Marie, but I’m seriously considering the Hitofude cardigan because I think it would flatter Marie’s cute figure, and it looks good on people of our height. I’ve made two of them, in quite different yarns! We’ll see, I don’t have yarn yet, so this is theoretical at the moment.

So, what sweater patterns are beckoning you with their siren song?

 

Download PDF

What did I do with those Stitches purchases


Going to Stitches can be an overwhelming experience – it is a sensory rich event, with yarns of all textures, colors, fibers and weights squished into one humongous room for your buying pleasure.

My early attempts at purchasing yarn there definitely had mixed results. I bought a really cute baby sweater kit that turned out great, and the pattern is still one of my go-to patterns. Other times I would get home and realize I had fallen in love with the color of the yarn but had no earthly idea of what to do with actual yarn. Sometimes it took many years to figure it out.

I like to think that I’m better about using the yarn I buy at yarn shows, but let’s take a look at what I bought in 2015 at Stitches West.

Photo:

In this photo, up at 12 o’clock, and going clockwise we have: a gradient yummy 2-ply mini-skein set from Miss Babs, Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies (yum!), a couple of random mini yummy-2-ply skeins to add to the mini-skein set, a skein of Anzula Nebula, a skein of fingering weight rainbow yarn from White Birch Fiber Arts, and a sweater kit bag from A Verb for Keeping Warm with 4 skeins of Even Tinier Annpurna yarn, plus a pattern, and a shawl pin.

Total amount of yarn – probably about 4,000 yards. While I still love all the yarn, the reality is that in 3 years I’ve only used a fraction of it, but I now have specific plans for much of it!

What I Did Use

  •  a gradient yummy 2-ply mini-skein set from Miss Babs and a couple of random mini yummy-2-ply skeins to add to the mini-skein set

It took a bit of figuring out, but on my trip to Paris and Munich I ended up making an On the Spice Market Shawl, subbing out a couple of the colors of the gradient

I went with the bottom set of colors, minus the variegated yarn:

There were some leftovers that are bagged with a couple of purchases from the most recent 2018 Stitches awaiting inspiration (new stuff shown):

  • Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies (yum!) – eaten within days if I held to form. Yes, I have absolutely no resistance to them
  • a skein of Anzula Nebula – This past fall I finally broke into this loveliness for a shawl, Ametista, that’s part of a pattern club from Janel Laidman called the Armchair Traveler’s Club. I still have leftovers from it, so someone else will get sparkly yarn!

Future Plans (This year!)

  • a skein of fingering-weight rainbow yarn from White Birch Fiber Arts:

I’m surprised that this has marinated in the stash this long. It’s really fun and makes great socks (except I probably wouldn’t wear them, and I can’t figure out who would). The longer term plan was a baby thing, and since there is a baby on the way, perhaps its use is coming very noon.

  • a sweater kit bag from A Verb for Keeping Warm.The big yardage was in the sweater kit which was an end of the day impluse purchase. There was a lovely kit and sample from two of my favorite vendors: Rosemary Hill and A Verb for Keeping Warm, and I talked myself into thinking I’d make the sweater, which really is better on taller, more straight bodies, and not the shorter, curvier body I actually have.

I did start knitting the sweater, but bogged down pretty quickly. So, at this Stitches, I bought another skeins of the olive green yarn, and will probably make a flow light cardigan out of the color ways. The yarn is wound, stay tuned!

Overall

Well, I managed to knit about 1/2 of the yarn, which isn’t too bad considering the major error on the sweater kit. Hopefully I get through that yarn this spring and I’ll be doing better.

Download PDF

Needles and Blades: the Ravellenics

The Blades

I might like figure skating a whole lot. Ok, I’m one of those superfans. It’s legal in most states, thank goodness.

You can imagine then, how seriously I take the Winter Olympics, which has not only the for individual competitions that we get every year – mens, women (aka Ladies in the US), Pairs and Ice Dance, but also something that began in Sochi four years ago – the team event!

In a way, it’s like getting two competitions in one. The top ten countries battle it out against each other, which means that many (not all) of the top contenders skate first for their team.

By one week in to the games, I was exhausted from watching skating literally every evening. But so much drama and a lot of great performances.

The Needles.

I’ve participated in every one of them and have all the pins to prove it.

This year, I signed up for three projects with Ravellenics: baby booties, short socks, and a cardigan.

Shortly into the games, I realized that I didn’t have the bandwidth mentally to make the cardigan. I’m always adapting the patterns to fit me, and I knew it wasn’t in the cards.

The baby booties you’ve already seen and only took two days to finish:

and then I finally used some commercial Yarn I bought in Munich on my trip in 2016. I love the colorway:

The pattern is a heel called the Thumb-joint hat-top heel from Sock Architecture. It’s actually done as a fore-thought heel and works nicely with variegated yarns.

That’s it for this year! Next stop: 2020 in Tokyo.

Download PDF