Posts Tagged ‘sweater’

Now that I’ve got my computer back up and running, and the Universal Toque pattern tested and posted, it’s time to revisit my FOs, WIPs, and wistfully, the frog pond as they’ve been in the last six weeks.

First up, here’s my current love affair: Stephen West’s Spectra, knit from Little Red Bicycle worsted (grey; purchased at Knit City, and sadly I think in-person sales are currently the only way to buy this awesome yarn) and my early handspun, in Hydrangea BFL/silk gradient-dyed fibre from Everything Old!

spectra scarf close-up

More (pics, projects, pontification) under the jump.


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The winter solstice is still almost a month away, but oh man it gets dark early already.  By the time I get home from work at 5, it’s full dark, and really, if I want useful light for photography on these mostly overcast days, it’s got to be before 3.  All of which is to say that I’ve been taking some terrible flash photos of my latest misadventures and they’re awful but they’ll have to do.

First up, the socks that aren’t.  Not any more.  I frogged them.


The pattern was Mince Pie Mayhem from Socktopus by Alice Yu.  It’s a cool pattern and I look forward to knitting it down the road, probably on a size larger needles than those I got gauge with (2.25mm), definitely when there’s no deadline involved.  The stitch pattern has cable crossings every second pair of stitches on every second row and there was just no way I could envision myself finishing them in time to give them to Mr. Salamander for Christmas, plus I was not happy with the way the yarn was spiral pooling.  So I ripped them out and started again with a different pattern (which is turning out well enough to deserve Saturday afternoon light, no pics yet).

And then an uninspired doll shirt.


I think this is the third time I’ve tried to knit a distressed-look doll sweater, and every attempt has either languished on stitch holders or been frogged into oblivion.  I think it’s the drape – or lack thereof – at this scale that causes my dropped-stitch sweaters to look dumb instead of badass like their human-scale counterparts.  Drape is definitely an issue with this handspun I was using (singles from the Tour de Fleece), and I was also really disappointed with how not handspun it looks.  I was trying to spin thick and thin, why didn’t it come out that way?!?  So that’s frogged as well, and the yarn is in time out.

I do have one flash photography success story, though, but I’ll put it under a cut for anyone who’s not ready to see *gulp* Christmas-themed decor yet…!


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OMG DEARLI IS DONE.  Now that it’s November, I’ve finally finished my summer sweater, aw yeah!


It took over a week to block that ruffle.  Now I never want to wash the thing for fear of having to block it again (I am pretty sure I could get it down to about 5 days now that I understand it’s imperative to block a section upon waking and before bed, not just once per day).  But I’m sure it will happen because, as I suspected, I LOVE THIS CARDIGAN.


I went for a modern/urban and yet Mori-girl inspired look today.  I’d really love to super-Mori-style this with a big fluffy hat, a pair of loose leggings over the tights, and maybe a long scarf…but these were the pieces I actually own.  Seriously thinking about knitting a hat, though.  Like, now.


All my hard work shaping and re-shaping the body paid off.  The shoulders aren’t quite perfect (although some of that awkward pooch is from blocking and should fade after a couple wearings), but can I just say how much I dig the turned cuffs?  I love how smooth and simple they are, providing a super-subtle contrast to the excitement of the ruffle.  They’re also really comfy!


And check out the cute purse I got for $2!  It’s pretty small (I usually go for big sack purses), but so cute, and just right for this outfit.  Only problem is, I can barely stuff my next knitting project inside it and still have room for wallet & phone!  What’s the next project?  Oh, you know, just yet another sweater…!


When it grows up, it’s going to be a sweater I heard about from the gals over at the Just One More Row Podcast: Wanda Nell, a cardigan with such small yardage it can be knit from about 300g of fingering weight yarn – perfect for 2-3 skeins of indie-dyed sock yarn you might have impulse bought without thinking what you would use them for!  I actually bought this yarn specifically for the cardi when I was at Knit City; it’s Sweet Georgia Tough Love, and I am totally loving the subtle tonal variation, as well as the incredibly funky mix of grey and pink.  Hey, maybe I can do this colour pairing thing after all!  Since it’s a top-down seamless raglan, it feels like it’s clipping along quite nicely right now, though it will slow down by the time I get to the main body.

I’ve also been getting to know Tamar (my wheel), spinning away at the alpaca I picked up at Fibrations.  Here’s about 2.5 oz of mixed natural-coloured alpaca, spun up “que sera sera” style to approximately fingering weight 2-ply. It really turned out quite even considering how little I was trying to spin it accurately – I am starting to get the hang of this wheel thing!  I have one more “practice” bump of fibre to spin, and then I think I will be ready to spin something I really care about (I totally agree that life is to short to spin crummy fibre just because you’re learning, but I also believe there’s value in learning on middle-of-the-road stuff and saving your totally dreamy indie-dyer batts from heaven until you have a modicum of skill)!


It’s soft and floofy as alpaca ought to be, but it does have a little vegetable matter still stuck in, despite my best efforts to remove it.  I am thinking it will either be a hat (see above post re: Mori girl style) or perhaps a möbius cowl.  I only have a little under 300 yards, though, so although I was dreaming of being able to do both, I think I’ll have to choose just one.  Time to start pattern diving!  Any favourite hat patterns out there, especially for gals with bangs they don’t like to compress?

P.S. I totally found the white balance setting on my camera!  I feel like a total doofus that it took me almost 2 years, but holy crow did that make a difference in how accurately I was able to photograph colours!  Live and learn, eh?  Maybe now I’ll be able to take indoor photos and have them look decent too, who even knows?!?

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It took a lot of ripping and a lot of knitting, but I got Dearli looking the way I wanted it to!  Here’s how much yarn I took out of each front:


And here’s how the sweater is looking right now:


This is seriously the best fitting sweater I have ever owned, and it’s not even sewn together yet (notice how my black t-shirt showing on the right makes my arm look disembodied?)!  Yesterday was a day of epic busy-ness: I finished knitting the sweater.  I went grocery shopping.  I photographed the sweater.  I put ONE MILLION LOCAL SQUASHES in the oven (okay, it was one pie pumpkin and 1.5 kabocha squashes but still, the oven was full).  Meanwhile, Killira decided that actually it was her sweater:


I washed the sweater.  I made delicious pumpkin pie filling (for Thanksgiving, you know).  I blocked the sweater.  I made amazing squash soup.  I washed ALL THE DISHES (I think I broke the hot water heater).  Then I collapsed on the couch.

Now I’m still waiting for the darn thing to dry so I can sew it up and see if I can knit the ruffle while wearing it.  I know once I put this one on for real I will never want to take it off.  But why does wool have to take so long to dry?!?

Oh, and the pie was delicious!  My grandma confessed that in all her 71 years, she’s never had a pumpkin pie that didn’t come out of a can…so thankful for the opportunity to share the yumminess!  I also used the leftover pastry to make pumpkin tarts to share with my friends over the next few days so we can all enjoy the local squashly bounty.

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my Dearli sweater-in-progress

Just a quick webcam pic to show you where Dearli was at as of the first of the month (and incidentally, the day after the KAL concluded).  Guess I’m on my own with this one now, though I sure did have fun keeping up with other Luvinthemommyhood knitters-along (knit-along-ers?).  By now, I’ve almost finished the second sleeve, and I’m plugging along re-knitting the back & fronts to the correct length (almost done the back, hooray!), then it’s on to the ruffle!  I think that will take a long time…but it will be glorious, because it will mean the sweater’s almost done!  Hoo boy, I just can’t wait to start wearing this one!

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Oh dear!  It’s not looking like I’ll have time to finish my Dearli cardigan by the end of the month for the Summer Sweater KAL!  I am feeling a bit disheartened as the FOs pour in over on the Ravelry group for Luvinthemommyhood…some people are wrapping up their second sweaters and I’m only halfway done my first!  Here’s where it’s at at the moment and I’ll tell you why I don’t think I’ll make it to the finish line…after you enjoy how well it ended up fitting my waist in the new & improved version.  Not to mention how perfect that shawl pin is!  If it looks equally good with the ruffles, I won’t need to do a belt at all!


Okay, here’s the problem.  See that section of increases/decreases around the centre of the front?  The one where the fullest part is just below my breast and the decreases start right at my bust line?  Those are my bust darts, and they’re supposed to be about 1.5″ higher so that, you know, the fullest part of the dart would match up with the fullest point on my bust (crazy, I know!).  I’m not sure what happened in the armhole portion, but something went horribly wrong with my stitch count and this is the result of me having fudged things to get that right, only to apparently add over an inch too much length.  Sigh.  I will be ripping back yet again to make this right – I thought I was quite carefully following the “decrease at neck edge every X rows Y times, then every Z rows Q times” directions, but when I achieved the full length of armhole I was supposed to have, there were several decreases left to go…so I just did them.  Nope.  Don’t do that, kids, it brings nothing but tears.  At least this time I’m not ripping back to my cast on – it’s only about 8″, no big deal…

The other reason I won’t be finishing this sweater in the next 11 days is that I’m working hard on a super secret project for which I juuuuust finished spinning this yarn!


I’m really looking forward to having a proper blog about it in October…and wearing it at Knit City on the 13th & 14th!  The yarn, a heavy fingering/light sport, is spun from Everything Old fibre, a merino/bamboo mix that I’m really enjoying, spun on my favourite sparkly spindle.  Over the course of this project I’ve also decided that I really need to get into proper supported spindling, since I currently just use my pointy-ended drop spindles as makeshift supported ones.  Any suggestions for brands/styles you’ve enjoyed?  I will be checking out Ancient Arts Fibre Crafts at Knit City, as I’ve heard they carry spindles, and if not there I’ll be ordering online soon after!

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Don’t you just love that feeling of clearing something off your to-knit list?  Especially when it’s been hanging around for a long time!  I have two such success stories to share with you today!  In fact, from a certain perspective, I have three thrilling tales of projects I’ve happily wrapped up!

You see, last September, this is what our computer/craft/spare room looked like:


Before you judge my housekeeping too harshly, this was in the midst of Mr. Salamander renovating the landlords’ deck as well as our laundry/utility room underneath it, so there were appliances and bicycles everywhere.  Still, this room is a magnet for junk.  But right now, it looks like this:


(Sorry about the weird bending effect – I thought it might be fun to take a panorama shot and only realised after uploading the photo that I’d changed the alignment somewhat midway)

There are a few things left to do, but the spare room is looking great right now – and the rest of the house is pretty close!  While we were tidying in here, though, I noticed my Ivy sweater (which I started more than a year and a half ago) balled up on top of one of my yarn storage towers where I’d tossed it when the Tour de Fleece started.  “THIS CANNOT BE!” I thought.  And after an afternoon’s work, it isn’t!


I love Mary-Janes and cardigans so much, this outfit almost makes me wish I was going back to school next week instead of back to my nannying job!  Like the spare room, it’s not perfect – the collar is quite floppy in the back and although I am hoping I can block it into shape I suspect I may have to re-do it.  But that’s for another day.  Right now I’m enjoying wearing it – it fits pretty well, although it wants to fall off my shoulders.  Not sure if that’s because I am not well endowed in that area, or if, like with my Regent, I should have knit a size smaller in the back and a size larger in the front instead of just picking the size that fit my circumference best – it will be fine when I’m wearing it over a shirt, but with just a camisole underneath here, I had to re-take this photo several times to make sure my undergarments were not making an appearance!

Then I was on a roll and I had my yarn needle out anyway, so I decided it was time to finish up the Puerperium Cardigan I cast on in February, so sayeth my Ravelry project, intending to mail it to my baby cousin who was expected to appear in mid-late March…and then put away when I still hadn’t finished it by the time she was 4 weeks old.  I needed more time to finish, and then it would have taken a couple of weeks to get to her in the mail, and it would have been so sad if it didn’t fit, and I became full of self-doubt and lack of willpower.   So I’m hanging on to it for now, maybe to add to my hope chest or maybe to give to another family, as I seem to be reaching the point in life where people I know make babies.


My Puerperal Pansy was a fun knit.  It was easy and quick – don’t let my problems getting it finished deter you!  I am definitely considering buying the extended version (Beyond Puerperium, for multiple yarn weights and sized up to 2 years), since it’s such an adorable gift knit and lends itself so well to embellishment!  I was thrilled to find that I had just enough yarn left over from knitting the original pansies to do an entire baby cardigan in pansy colours and then a pansy decoration, and I love how sweet it turned out.  This would be freaking adorable paired with a headband that had a pansy on it as well…hmm, must see if I have any of that yarn left!

Here’s hoping I can keep up the momentum and knock a few more items off my WIPs list!

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Dear me!

First off, here’s a picture of the deer I have started calling “my Dearli dears.”  They are always hanging around when I am heading home from work late and I’ve taken to saying hi and telling them off for being so bold!  People walk and bike by them, and they just stare placidly at the interlopers, like “you’re not a tulip, why do I even care?”


Dearli, if you’re wondering, is a Chinese TaoBao shop selling Mori Girl outfits and accessories, and since I named my Regent cardigan “Dearli” (in part because I intend to style it Mori-fashion, and in part because the colourway is named “Doe”) I have had deer and Dearli on my mind a lot this summer.


Recently at knit night we were discussing what to do when a project doesn’t fit.  Some people felt strongly that if a sweater doesn’t fit you, that just means it’s destined to belong to someone else!  One woman said that she’d given away handknits before and that she would go to great lengths to find just the right person for a garment that didn’t fit its intended recipient.  Personally, I’m a selfish perfectionist and once I’ve put that many hours into something, I will do whatever it takes to get the finished project I wanted.  Which brings me to this week’s update!

When I got to the armholes and separated the fronts from the back, I figured it was about time to try the thing on and make sure the bust darts I’d added were working out.  That’s when I discovered that although the total circumference of the sweater was pretty close to what I wanted, the back was so wide that the centre of the armholes wanted to sit about 3″ forward, more on my bust than my torso!  So this weekend I sat down with some apple-ginger cider to dull the pain and ripped the whole thing out to start again.

more than 6 extra inches - whoops

I’m now working the next size smaller, with an additional change: after carefully checking my own measurements against the schematic (which I had done circumference-wise, but I’d neglected to take separate back and bust measurements), I’m placing the back shaping and armholes as for the smallest size.  I think this will mean I can dial back the bust darts slightly too, as there will now be more material in the fronts to start with, but I haven’t double checked that math yet.

In addition to wanting a sweater that I will love passionately for its well-fittedness, I had a reason for ripping right back to the cast on: I tried to mess with the design and regretted it!  Lately I’ve been moving away from Kfb increases because they create a purl-like bump that distorts stockinette.  For some reason, instead of trusting the designer’s instructions, I decided to place a marker and use M1 increases from that point.  The shape of the front was fine, but I was not happy with the very visible line where I’d been increasing.


This time around, I tried following the actual directions as stated in the pattern (crazy, I know) and what do you know, it looks amazing and no more line-that-adds-nothing on the fronts of my cardigan!


So let this be a lesson – always measure twice, and respect your designer!

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I love a good craft-along!  They’re just the thing to give me a kick in the butt to finish things and photograph things, and it’s so much fun to hear what everyone else is working on.  So for the past 11 days, I’ve been participating in the Tour de Fleece, a spin-along whose members (by and large) pledge to spin every day the Tour de France rides, from June 30th to July 22nd.  Some people add extra challenges throughout the tour or on the most challenging mountain climb (this year it’s Stage 18: Pau/Bagnères-de-Luchon on July 18th).  For my personal challenge, I’m learning to spin flax!  So far it’s a lot harder than spinning wool – my first ounce is hairy and occasionally quite uneven, but by the end I was starting to get the hang of it.


I had heard that flax wanted to be spun fine, so I tried it out on my sparkly lace spindle, but I think it was too light.  It seems like the flax fibres require a lot of force to add twist, compared to wool, so I had a lot of problems with backspinning.  But I just got a new spindle that’s similar in design to the lace spindle and about an ounce, and hopefully the next 3 ounces will go a bit more smoothly.

I’m also working on finishing the second skein of My Preciousss.  All the wool is spun up and I’m about halfway through the first plying pass.  Maybe by the fall I’ll be ready to knit with it!


Speaking of knitting, my summer sweater is coming along nicely.  I did take some pictures to show how much I’ve knit, but they weren’t very interesting – I haven’t made it to the armhole shaping or anything, so it’s just a curled-up not-really-a-rectangle, so instead I took some more detail shots of my pretty pretty stitch markers.  I’m loving the fabric so far and as much as I’m enjoying the beautiful weather right now part of me can’t wait for fall!


I’m also making progress on the second pair of wedding socks!  These ones are for my sister.  Since this photo, I’ve finished the first sock and got a good start on the second.


The pattern is Alice Yu’s Crowley, from her book Socktopus.  I got this book for Christmas and opened it right to this pattern.  I thought it was so pretty, and I squeed over the fact that they shared a name with one of my favourite Supernatural characters…and then I squeed even more when I read the pattern description and realized they were in fact designed with the self-same King of the Crossroads in mind!  My sister is the one who introduced me to Supernatural, so I thought they were exactly perfect for her, and I’m so happy with how they’re turning out so far!

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What’s that?  Everything Old and A Stitch In Lime posting about Luvinthemommyhood’s summer sweater knit along just as I received a sweater quantity of yarn?  I think it’s time for another knit along!


I have been drooling over Marnie MacLean’s Regent since it came out in this spring’s Twist Collective.  I’ve even been playing with it in Polyvore (side note: if you like fashion & knitwear, you should check out the Twist Collective Polyvore: new style ideas every Friday, so much fun)! Here’s my concept for Regent, paired with a flowy dress, funky boots, and a big straw hat for an autumnal ramble through field and forest.  Okay, so maybe the heels aren’t super practical.  But the sweater is!

Regent, Mori style

Finally, a little sale over at KnitPicks featuring Gloss, their merino/silk blend, in the very lovely Mori Girl colour of “Doe,” convinced me I had to make one for myself.  I just may have been so enamored of this colour that I bought it in multiple bases, maybe, perhaps…I can neither confirm nor deny…


I wish I’d had my camera as I was leaving work Friday on my way to knit night, because a young buck deer was watching curiously as I cycled past the Native Plant Garden at the University.  Our local deer are much redder than the yarn, but I still felt it was somehow portentious.  And then I absolutely had to cast on, although I did have another project with me and had not finished washing/blocking/measuring my gauge swatch.  It was the deer.  I couldn’t say no!  Here it is after a night and a morning of work, sporting some beautiful Exchanging Fire stitch markers.


Of course, in order to feel respectable about all this, I’ve had to finally put in the time to finish my Ivy, which has been languishing pretty much forever.  One doesn’t start a new sweater before the old one’s finished.  Or at least not until everything but the collar is finished…


I’m alternating between the two, plus other projects of course.  I’m hoping to get a lot of wear out of Ivy this summer – it’s the perfect summertime office cardi, lightweight but warm enough to protect a gal from overzealous air conditioning, and super cute layered over a skirt and blouse.  And then by the time the weather cools down, Regent should be ready to cozy up in (and boy, will it be cozy!  I keep stopping to pet the yarn as I knit!).  What more could a gal ask for?

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