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On a Sweater Kick…

After finishing off two sweater WIPs in December (Cabled Turtleneck and Boxy), realizing that I have at least six sweater quantities of yarn in my stash, and the hubby reminding me that NH Sheep & Wool is coming up soon (in three months), I’ve been motivated to knit more sweaters.

Immediately after finishing Boxy, I cast on Sunshine Coast by Heidi Kirrmaier. I decided on this one first because the yarn was one of the older sweater quantities I had on hand, and because it would be nice to have a spring/summer sweater ready to wear when spring/summer eventually arrives here in New Hampshire. It was a fast knit – just 15 days from start to finish! I made some slight modifications:

  • Added 8 extra stitches in the bust, on the front only. I worked 4 additional increase rounds, and then decreased those stitches away below the bust.
  • Made the neckline narrower by picking up stitches around it, working 4 rounds in reverse stockinette (purl), and bound off in purl so it rolls inward.
  • I shortened the sleeves by eliminating the last ten-row repeat (which eliminated one decrease round as well). The sleeves would have been too long (more like full length instead of 3/4) without this modification.
  • Though this wasn’t really a modification, I opted for the garter stitch edging option on the bottom hem and sleeves instead of letting the stockinette roll up on itself.

This was an enjoyable project! I love how Heidi incorporates the increases (yarnovers) as a design element at the neckline and down the sides. And the raglan increases flow nicely into diagonal panels from the underarms to the bottom hem.

SunshineCoast

Sunshine Coast Pullover

And the very next day after finishing up Sunshine Coast, I cast on a Hiro cardigan using yarn I bought at NH Sheep & Wool in 2017. Of course, I knit a couple of swatches first! My gauge came out looser than the gauge specified in the pattern, so I ended up following the instructions for the smallest size (34″ bust) to end up with about a 42″ bust. I also added some more increase rounds to get 4 more stitches in the bust (on the front only). I decreased away these extra stitches on the second round after joining the sleeves and body together to work the yoke. Additional modifications made:

  • Instead of knitting flat in rows as the pattern specifies for the cardigan version, I worked in the round and added five steek stitches down the center front.
  • I despise the idea of knitting a buttonband separately and sewing/seaming it on. Instead, I followed Kate Davies’ steeking tutorial and knit stockinette facings in a “steek sandwich” with an I-cord bindoff. Mine had the added twist of being worked with a little intarsia where the colors changed in the yoke.

I knit this pattern by Julia Farwell-Clay before, but as a pullover. I really enjoyed steeking and I’m looking forward to doing it again on another project someday. I liked the idea of the steek sandwich, but wasn’t happy with how thick it made the buttonbands. The I-cord edging gave a nice finish, especially with the buttonholes worked right next to it so they sort of hide a little when the cardigan is unbuttoned. Next time I knit a steeked cardigan, I’ll probably finish the steek on the wrong side with ribbon or fabric instead.

The yarn I used isn’t available online anywhere that I can find. It’s called Cheshire Sheep Yarn (100% wool) and it came from a farm in Nelson, NH that had a booth at NH Sheep & Wool. It was extremely pleasant to work with; it had a bit of a rustic look in the skein but was relatively soft to the touch. It appeared to be a woolen-spun yarn and worked up to more of a chunky gauge, though the weight to yardage ratio was more in the Aran range. Once washed, it bloomed and evened out beautifully.

As I write this, the cardigan is still on the bed drying, and I haven’t yet sewn on the buttons. I’m going with these cat buttons from Katrinkles, and plan to sew them on using embroidery floss in the same colors as the yoke (making bowties magically appear on the kitties). The buttons are another thing I bought at NH Sheep & Wool, last year.

If you look closely at the photo below, you’ll notice the color changes in the buttonbands differ on each side. I knit the one on the right (left front) first and wasn’t sure I was happy with it. I’m not entirely happy with how it ended up on the right front either. But once I’m wearing it, I don’t think the difference will be quite as noticeable. When buttoned, the buttonbands will overlap; and when unbuttoned, they won’t be right next to each other.

HiroCardi

Hiro Cardigan

And now that I’ve finished knitting this sweater (in just three weeks!), I’m looking forward to the next one. I’ll be making another summer top, Novel-T by Laura Nelkin. I’ve already downloaded the pattern, but I’m making myself wait until I get the buttons sewn onto my Hiro cardigan before casting on anything new.

In 2018, I completed:

  • 7 pairs of socks
  • 7 hats (including 1 headband)
  • 4 other accessories (2 cowls, a shawl, a crocheted scarf)
  • 2 sweaters (one of which was cast on over 3 years ago, and one of which I cast on last year)
  • 1 baby blanket

Of the items above, 3 of them were knit for work – for blog posts and/or photo shoots.

In chronological order of completion:

Not pictured above, 1 pair of socks I never took any photos of!

If you want details on any of these, and you’re on Ravelry, check them out in my Ravelry projects.

The Cube Socks were particularly interesting. They’re knit using a new-to-me method of intarsia, and I wrote two posts for the Interweave blog – one for WIP Wednesday and one for FO Friday.

I started the Cabled Turtleneck last year, in November. It then sat in my knitting bag from March until this past November, when I finally pulled it back out, knit the second sleeve, and finished it off. I used Ann Budd’s The Knitter’s Handy Book of Sweater Patterns for the basic set-in sleeve sweater structure, and incorporated Barbara McIntire’s cable pattern from The Great American Aran Afghan booklet.

After finding the Miki hat pattern on Ravelry, I liked it so much I ended up knitting four hats and a headband out of it! I may end up using it for socks at some point as well.

Finally, my Random Stripe Boxy sweater. I started it on May 3, 2015 and finally finished it on December 28, 2018. It was absolutely worth weaving in a ridiculous number of ends created by all of the color changes! I had three semisolid skeins of Caper Sock that I bought to knit a Color Affection Shawl… then later came to the realization that I simply don’t wear shawls. I also had another two skeins of Caper Sock in the Nerrivik colorway that I bought sometime after the other three skeins, but before I accepted the fact that I’m not a shawl person. Fortunately, the Nerrivik colorway coordinated nicely with the semisolid shades, so I combined them for the sweater. I still have enough Nerrivik and Peridot (the lime green colorway) to knit a pair of socks with contrasting toe/heel/cuff or some other two-color accessory.

Yet another hobby…

(Well, I had what I thought was a really great post nearly finished except for images… and then it disappeared. I don’t have the energy to recreate it in all its glory, so you get this less spectacular abbreviated version.)

After more than a year of sourcing materials for beadwork kits (among other craft kits), I’ve succumbed to the lure of beadweaving. I was first inspired by this article on prismatic right-angle weave (PRAW), and bought some assorted supplies (seed beads, thread, needles, and assorted findings) at Michael’s in late May of 2017. Those supplies sat around for more than a year before I decided to do anything with them.

First, I made a simple 5-wall PRAW rope bracelet. It turned out too small for me, but it fits my best friend perfectly, so it’s hers now. The only thing I wasn’t happy with was my thread choice – a dark thread would have been better.

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5-wall PRAW rope bracelet with bronze and rose gold seed beads and antique gold clasp. White thread was not the best choice here.

Next, I made a couple more 5-wall PRAW rope bracelets, which aren’t pictured here since they’re gifts that haven’t been given yet.

I then moved on to flat right-angle weave (RAW) for another bracelet. This one is now with my friend Cyn.

IMG_9328

Flat RAW bracelet in dark brown and dark grey faceted beads with antique silver extension clasp.

For my friend Tina’s bracelet, I got a little more creative and stitched three 3-wall PRAW ropes, which I attached to a three-strand extension clasp.

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Red, silver, and hematite seed beads in 3 strands of 3-wall PRAW with an antique silver extension clasp.

I then used up most of my remaining beads from the May 2017 purchase to stitch a 5-wall PRAW rope necklace for myself (not pictured). I just kept going until I ran out of one of the colors.

On another trip to Michael’s last weekend, I picked up a bunch more colors of Toho seed beads, as well as some strung beads (at 50% off!) and some antique brass and copper clasps.

Inspired by Jann Christiansen’s That’s a Wrap bracelet from the February/March 2017 issue of Beadwork, I stitched a RAW base in matte brown (sort of antique brass colored) seed beads, which I then embellished with 4mm jasper rounds. I didn’t have Japanese drop beads for the edges, so I filled in at the corners between the squares with matte cranberry seed beads. It looked like it still needed something, so I added RAW picots in the same matte cranberry color.

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Top: 4mm green unakite rounds in a flat RAW base embellished with rose gold seed beads and finished with a copper toggle clasp. Middle: matte brown/antique brass seed beads in a flat RAW base embellished with 4mm jasper rounds and matte cranberry seed beads, finished with an antique brass lobster clasp. Bottom: 5-wall PRAW rope bracelet in silver, rose gold, and hematite seed beads, finished with a silver toggle clasp.

The next day, I tried to mimic Kim West’s Quilted Pearls bracelet from the same issue of Beadwork, but without the O-beads it just wasn’t working. So I improvised and added pairs of rose gold seed beads between the 4mm green unakite rounds along the edges and in the center of each RAW unit. I finished each end with a Y-shaped piece to which I attached the clasp.

I also whipped out a quick 5-wall PRAW rope bracelet in silver, rose gold, and hematite seed beads.

My goal is to become as comfortable modifying and improvising in beadwork as I am in my knitting, and I think these projects are a step in that direction.

2017 in Review

Here’s how 2017 turned out:

  • 16 finished projects
  • 5 pairs of socks
  • 3 pairs of mittens
  • 3 scarves/cowls
  • 2 shawls
  • 1 baby blanket
  • 1 sweater
  • 1 hat
  • 1 poncho
  • 5 gifts knitted
  • 4 items knit for work
  • 2 new designs for work
  • 2 items knit with handspun
  • 2 spins of 4 oz. each completed (and knit into the 2 handspun projects listed above)

Finished since my last post were two pairs of socks, and a poncho I knit as a photography sample for work.

In order from most recently finished to earliest finished:

Also started in 2017, but not yet finished:

ZickZack Scarf using Queensland Uluru (solid) and Uluru Rainbow (self-striping) yarn. It’s much further along than it is in the photo above, I just haven’t taken another one recently. I haven’t yet decided if I’ll keep this or if it will be a gift.

Big Granny Square Sock Yarn Scrap Blankie using a variety of leftover sock yarns, many of which are the same yarns I’m using in my mitered-square sock yarn blankie. I started this after Interweave published a blog article on granny squares. As with my other sock yarn blanket, this is an ongoing project that will get done whenever.

Cabled Turtleneck Sweater using Knit One, Crochet Too Meadow Silk yarn. I picked up this yarn at the Keepsake Quilting/Patternworks tent sale this past June (along with several other sweater quantities of other yarns). I’m generally following the adult set-in sleeve sweater from The Knitter’s Handy Book of Sweater Patterns by Ann Budd. I will, however, make this seamless by working a three-needle bind-off on the shoulders, and picking up stitches around the armholes and knitting the sleeves downward toward the cuffs.

Fall Night Hiking Socks using Regia Design Line by Arne & Carlos sock yarn (in the Fall Night colorway). I finished a pair of socks and needed another pair for car knitting. However, all but the first three inches of this sock so far has been knit while walking on the treadmill. I’ll probably pick back up with knitting these in the car again soon, though. I also have a plane trip coming up shortly, and will probably take them along for that.

I feel like I haven’t gotten in as much knitting this year as I usually do… here are a couple things I wasn’t yet able to reveal the last time I posted, as well as several things I’ve finished since then.

Kata Asymmetrical Shawl (photos by Evelyn Lamprey for Patternworks)

This is a quick and easy pattern I designed as a free pattern download with the purchase of Queensland Collection’s Uluru Rainbow yarn, for Patternworks. The yarn is now sold out – but I’m planning to make this available as a free download on Ravelry as soon as I get a chance to reformat the pattern in my own template.

StripyMiters

Stripy Miters Baby Blanket (photo by Evelyn Lamprey for Patternworks)

This is another pattern I designed for Patternworks, featuring DMC’s Natura XL cotton yarn. I love mitered squares, and this was a really fun construction. It’s completely seamless, constructed modularly, and finished with a crocheted edging. The pattern is available as a PDF download on the Interweave site.

Hot Flash Cardigan

I think I bought the yarn for this last year, or maybe it was fall of 2015, shortly after Laura Nelkin released the pattern. I loved working with the yarn, Soie et Lin from Knit One, Crochet Too, and I’m in love with Laura’s modular “Novus” construction! I definitely want to make another sweater in this structure – whether that actually happens remains to be seen…

More mittens – Since I had yarn left over from a 2-color hat I knit a couple (a few? several?) years ago for a catalog shoot, I made a pair of matching mittens. These are essentially the same as the red/orange ones from my previous post, but in two different colors of Ty-Dy Wool by Knit One, Crochet Too.

Ghost Ranch Shawlette CAL – Yup, I crocheted something! This was a project for work. I joined in the crochet-along with the Interweave team. You can read the Interweave blog posts about it here, here and here. I really enjoyed the pattern, and it worked up super fast.

B to the Three hat – During a visit to Interweave back in May, Anne Merrow challenged me to spin more. So, shortly after returning home, I got right down to it and quickly spun up some Mad Color Fiber Arts polwarth that was hanging out in my stash. I made this super-squishy, delightfully slouchy brioche hat with a ginormous pompom, which I gifted to my BFF, Mela, during our girls’ weekend in July. (I also spun up some alpaca fiber, which became the Winternet Scarf mentioned below.)

Cat’s Mittens – While hiking Mt. Adams in August, the topic of mittens came up (since we were all wearing mittens or gloves at various times above treeline due to chilly winds). I forget the exact course of the conversation, but it ended with me offering to knit some mittens for Cat. She’s an artist, and truly appreciates handknits, so I was glad to provide her hands with some toasty warmth for this coming winter!

Hiking socks for Devon – So, I’ve knit hiking socks for Lucy, and mittens for Cat. Of course I had to knit something for Devon, who is the fourth member of our core hiking group. I took photos of several skeins, and she picked the Crocus colorway of Knit One, Crochet Too’s Crock-O-Dye. After seeing how it was knitting up, I wanted a skein for myself – and luckily we still had some left (on sale!) in the Patternworks shop. This is my Fill-In-The-Blank Socks pattern, in plain stockinette.

In the past seven months, I’ve also finished a Winternet Scarf (which I had to reverse-engineer from the designer’s photos on Ravelry, since the pattern wasn’t available), knit from handspun alpaca and gifted to my friend Cyn during our girls’ weekend in July; a brioche cowl, gifted to my friend Tina on the same trip; and a pair of plain stockinette socks in Plymouth’s Forever Heathers self-striping yarn for myself, which I just haven’t gotten around to taking a photo of yet. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a photo of the scarf and cowl before I gifted them to Cyn and Tina.

Polwarth on the left, Alpaca on the right.

Something old(ish) and something new. The Polwarth fiber was from Mad Color Fiber Arts, purchased at NH Sheep & Wool Festival in 2015 (two years old). Colorway is Berry Patch. I used the larger skein to knit the hat, and the smaller skein became the ginormous pompom of the B to the Three hat. The black/grey Alpaca fiber was purchased from the Skye View Alpaca Farm booth at NH Sheep & Wool this year. I basically returned from the festival, then spun and plied the yarn the very next day! Super-fast spin. The larger skein became the body of the Winternet scarf, and the smaller skein became the tassels on each end.

Yeah, it’s been quite a while since my last knitting blog post. I’ve been blogging much more about hiking. But I’ve still been knitting! (Just not writing about it.) There are a couple new things I can’t reveal just yet, but here are some highlights of 2016 and early 2017. First, let’s catch up with 2016:

For further details on these projects, see my Ravelry page (login required to see the page, but the specific projects below are set for public viewing).

Next, here’s what I’ve completed so far this year (except for the stuff I can’t share yet):

Further details on these are on my Ravelry page – direct public links to the projects appear below.

2015’s Stats

So I finally got around to entering my projects from the last few months into KnitMeter…

There was also a little bit of weaving, but only one project, so I didn’t count it here.

It’s amazing how low my yardage is when I only knit one sweater during the year. I hope to remedy that in 2016.

2015 in Review

Highlights: Lots of hats, lots of socks, and several projects for work.
Lowlights: Only one sweater done. 😦 And I would have liked to do more spinning and weaving.

Here are some of my favorites:

Click any of the pictures above to enter the gallery and see captions.

Further details available (including links to patterns, where I used one) on my Ravelry projects 2015 tab. (You must be logged into Ravelry to view.)

I already have a good head start on 2016 with a bulky-gauge sweater on the needles. At 3.5 stitches per inch, it’s working up very quickly.

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I’m using the Seamless Yoke – Adult sweater pattern from Ann Budd’s Knitter’s Handy Book of Top-Down Sweaters. The majority is knit in Cascade Yarns Eco Wool (Bovska undyed cream colorway), and the contrast color in the yoke is Targhee from Spunky Eclectic that I handspun (purchased at the NH Sheep & Wool Festival in May 2015 and spun the week after). At this point, most was done with one 200-gram skein of Eco Wool and 57 grams of the handspun. I just started the second skein of Eco Wool a few rows back, and I’m planning on using the rest of the handspun for a rolled reverse-stockinette edging on the cuffs, bottom hem, and neckline. Buttonbands will be done in Eco Wool in garter stitch. The whole sweater is garter stitch as well. Easy-peasy.

Quick catch-up

Here’s what I’ve been up to lately…

Back around the end of September, I finished a pair of Trellis & Cable Socks (my own pattern) using yarn gifted to me by a yarn shop friend prior to moving to NH more than 6 years ago.

T&C2 Socks

In November, I finished up a design for a knitted dog leash (yes, a knitted dog leash). It’s currently only available from Patternworks as a kit in 4 color choices (kit includes the pattern, 1 skein of Peruvia Quick, and a swivel hook).

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Photo by Evelyn Lamprey.

Also in November, I knitted Craig a new Batman hat to match his new Batman sweatshirt with the modern bat logo. “But the greys don’t match,” he said. Tough.

batmanhat

And just today, I whipped up two mini-cup cozies to fit the teeny 8-oz. cappuccino to-go cups at the local coffee shop. (The standard cardboard coffee cup sleeves are too big!) These tiny cups are approximately 6.75″ circumference at the bottom.

Instructions for the one on the left:

Using #6 (4.00mm) needles and leftover bits of worsted-weight yarn… CO 32, join in round.
Knit 1 rnd.
Rnd 1: K2tog, (yo twice, ssk, k2tog) rep ( ) to last 2 sts, yo twice, ssk.
Rnd 2: Knit around, working double yo’s as knit in first yo, knit in back loop of second yo.
Rep Rnds 1 & 2 to desired height, ending with Rnd 2. Knit 1 rnd. Bind off loosely.
(Yes, pattern biases a bit.)

Instructions for the one on the right:

Using #6 (4.00mm) needles and leftover bits of worsted-weight yarn… CO 32, join in round.
Rnd 1: K1, (p2, k2) rep ( ) to last 3 sts, p2, k1.
Rep Rnd 1 until work measures 1” from CO.
Inc Rnd: K1, (pfb, p1, k2, p2, k2) rep ( ) to last 3 sts, p2, k1.
Next Rnd: K1, (p3, k2, p2, k2) rep ( ) to last 3 sts, p2, k1.
Rep last Rnd to desired height.
BO in ribbing.

Happy October! It’s my favorite month of the year, and fall is my favorite season of all. Just this week, I released two new hat patterns in my Ravelry store:

NavajoHatsForest Fronds Beanie (right) and Slouch (left) hats

A twisted-rib brim flows into panels of baby-fern stitch, each separated by a column of single twisted stitches. The crown decreases are worked into the baby-fern stitch panels for a smooth transition at the top.

These hats feature Tahki Select Navajo yarn, a self-striping, rustic yet soft, single-ply 100% wool. Pattern includes instructions for two sizes for each hat. The beanie takes 1 ball for either size, and the slouch takes 1 ball for the medium size and 2 balls for the large size. Medium size for each is shown in the photo. Slouch is shown in color #3, and beanie is shown in color #5.

Get all the details on Ravelry, and download the pattern from Ravelry or my blog.

And if you’re looking for Navajo yarn, I’d be really, really happy if you ordered it from Patternworks!

photo by Evelyn S. Lamprey

900398_EssentialAcceMo3_medium2Big Cable Slouch Hat

(My friend and coworker Alison can really rock the slouch hats, can’t she?!)

This little gem was originally the third installment in the Patternworks Essential Accessories club. Now you can purchase the pattern on Ravelry apart from the club. (Clubs are still available – 12 kits, one each month for 12 months – which you can join here!) Hat above is shown in color #3653, Stormy Sea.

I. Love. Big. Cables and I cannot lie! This hat has ’em, separated by columns of garter stitch. It features Ty-Dy Wool by Knit One, Crochet Too (one of my favorite yarn companies run by some of my favorite yarny people, in my neighboring state of Maine). Just one ball is all you’ll need!

Get all the details on Ravelry, and you can purchase the pattern there, too (you don’t have to be a Ravelry member).

photo by Ashley Wakefield