Sunset Highway.

Finishing a sweater is always a satisfying feeling. For that matter, finishing anything at all is satisfying to me. But when it’s a sweater that I loved from the moment it came out, but thought I couldn’t knit,  tried and failed to knit, and then finally finished it? Satisfying doesn’t begin to describe the feeling.

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My Sunset Highway is finished. I love it so much! It is so soft and cozy and comfy. I love the colors, the fit, and the overall look.

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As for the details, let’s get to it. This is Sunset Highway, by Caitlin Hunter. I used all Peepaloo Fields yarn, in the Twist Sock base:

  • Main Color (speckled yellowy cream) – Hush
  • Contrast Color 1 (deep teal) – Tide
  • Contrast Color 2 (speckled light blue) – Bluebird
  • Contrast Color 3 (speckled pink) – Delicate

One note, I absolutely adore this yarn. This isn’t my first all Peepaloo big project and won’t be my last. Her colors and speckles are just phenomenal. I used a fair bit less yarn than expected–because of fit adjustments detailed below–and am really excited to have plenty of leftovers.

I knit the sweater with considerably less positive ease than called for. The suggested positive ease is 5-9″ and I knit the small for somewhere around 3″ positive ease. All gauge and knitting details are on my project page. I also shortened it by quite a bit, around 5″. My torso is pretty short and I think this length suits me well–especially considering the sweater is more fitted than the pattern intends.

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I really like how it fits, it’s so cozy and comfy. Not overly boxy for me and not too fitted either. Like baby bear’s porridge, this is just right.

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Overall, I’m rather chuffed with myself. I started this baby twice in a row and then gave it up. I honestly thought I wouldn’t ever knit it, and yet here we are! I’m glad I persevered and didn’t completely give up on it.

This is number eight in my Make 9 for this year, by the way. Moving right along with my 2018 goals. At the beginning of the year, I had wanted to knit a garment and knit a colorwork motif and now–bam!–here they are together in one lovely sweater!

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Happy {sweater} knitting!

 

To-do list.

I’ve got a few things on the needles these days. I’ve really been thinking about my works in progress in terms of what is active, but now that we’re really moving through autumn I’m thinking how nice it would be to have a bunch of empty needles for the new year.

Right now, this is everything I have in progress:

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Well everything but my current socks. Above are my Sunset Highway sweater, Dotted Rays, Audra Wrap, and Baubles, at varying stages of doneness. Sunset Highway is close, only lacking the ribbing on the second sleeve:

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I’ve been working here and there on my Dotted Rays, but it’s still a long way off:

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I’ve barely even started my Audra Wrap, but I love it. The stripes and the floof are really calling my name:

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And then there’s Baubles. I really like this one, but there’s a sticking point with it at the moment. The yarn has a really high silk content and while very luxurious, it’s not very cozy. It makes it feel cool, which sounds weird, but really, it feels cool. I don’t want to change it or anything, but it’s not drawing me in for an autumn knit.

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With all of that, I really want to finish Sunset Highway, Dotted Rays, and Audra by the end of the year. I think I’ll give myself a pass on Baubles until spring, when a fresh and cool feeling knit will really hit the spot.

Of course, that’s not completely everything that I am or will be knitting. While I can neither confirm or deny that there is any holiday knitting happening, I’ll let you guess where some of time is going. And then of course there are socks. I’ve finished the first of my October rainbow socks:

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This is Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered, the October 2017 colorway from the Knitterly Things Rainbow of the Month Club. I’ve got these and two more pairs of rainbow socks to finish up this year. I also have a hibernating pair, but who knows when I’ll feel like picking those up.

Writing all of this up, it really feels like a tall order to finish all of this in the next two and a half months. I guess there’s nothing to do but settle in on this rainy afternoon and put some stitches down.

Happy making!

Moral of the story: pack more yarn.

This weekend one of Kevin’s best friends is getting married. Kevin is in the wedding and we’ve all come down from Maryland to Tennessee to celebrate. This morning we loaded up fancy dresses and shoes and ties, and kids, and a lot of yarn.

While I waited for Kevin to finish packing his travel entertainment–Dungeon and Dragons books if you’re curious–I tried on my Sunset Highway.

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Whew that’s some rough super early morning lighting! I’m thinking I’m really close on this one. I’m going to add an inch-ish of ribbing and I know that it will grow some when blocked. I knit it a whole lot shorter that called for, but I haven’t paid close attention to my row gauge so my yoke could longer than the pattern intends. When I get home, the body of this sweater is first on the list.

I didn’t bring the sweater on the trip though, it’s a bit unwieldy for travel knitting. What did I bring, you ask? Well, first up, socks:

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I’m so into this fall rainbow. I really wanted to finish these up this weekend, but on the drive down I discovered that I didn’t bring my long circular needles for the heels and toes. I guess I’ll finish the tube part of the knitting and do heels and toes when I get home. Don’t worry though, I brought more knitting.

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This is a fairly new cast on, Dotted Rays. It’s the last item in my 2018 Make Nine and I just couldn’t stand it any longer. I cast it on and knit fairly obsessively on it for two nights. It’s a really fun pattern. The short rows make you just want to knit one more wedge all the time. This is a pattern by Stephen West, who is up there on my list of favorite designers. I love how his designs lend themselves so well to wild and crazy color combinations but look equally as stunning in soft or subtle colors. I’m knitting my Dotted Rays out of Primrose Yarn Co. Sophia in the Dark Cavern colorway.

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Since that isn’t enough, I brought two more projects. These are secret knitting, so I can’t show them but I’m really glad I packed them, or the absent long circular needle would be a much more dire situation. In fact, at the very last minute I grabbed a ball of yarn and needles and tossed it in that fox bag. Whew! It’s never a bad idea to grab one last skein.

I’m really excited to be back down south, we get to see family and friends and celebrate a sweet couple. I think this is going to be a lovely weekend.

Happy {travel} making!

Killing me softly.

Socks. I talk of them often. A self proclaimed sock addict, I have a pair on my needles at all times. But lately, I find these oh-so-light-and-portable projects are weighing me down.

You may recall at the beginning of the year, I set out to knit two pairs of socks every month. One rainbow and one light colored. Well, I have faithfully kept up to that, I’ve knit two pairs every month. Now that I find myself staring down the fall and the end of the year, I find myself looking longingly at other projects.

I’ve got holiday gifts on my mind, a new hat for Kevin, and this year I’ve promised Astra a sweater! Of course sweater knitting for myself is a high priority. I pulled out my Sunset Highway and have been giving it a bit of love the few days.

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I’m about 3″ into the 11″ or 12″ I’ll need for the body of the sweater. I’m actually kind of looking forward to the sleeves for this one, since there’s a bit of colorwork to be had. Of course, I can’t forget the swatch for my next cardigan, I pet it every day.

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And in yet more sweater news, I caked up yarn to swatch for a new top, Mount Pleasant. This is Woolberry Fiber Co. in the Hayride colorway:

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It’s dreamy and I really want to have this top for the fall before it’s too cold, but I was deterred by having no 3.5 mm needles free and the thought of these socks:

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Every time I’ve picked up these socks this week, I’ve been bummed out. It’s a little bizarre, the yarn is so pretty and squishy and I love how it’s working up. But really, I want to be working on other things. My sock committments are really dragging on me at this point. I think I will compromise with myself and finish out the rainbow socks for the year and just pick up on other socks as I feel like it.

On the one hand, I feel a bit disappointed in myself that I’m giving up. But on the other hand, I knit because it brings me joy. If something makes me sad or bummed, why am I working on it? Do you ever set goals for your making and then feel down about not reaching them, or giving them up for something else?

With the decision to set these socks aside, I feel lighter. I am excited for all the other knitting I can finish in the time I would have devoted to those other 6.5 pairs. So little time and so many projects.

Happy making!

Learning curve.

One of the challenges that I set out for myself for this year was to sew a garment with a zipper. It seemed like a pretty easy challenge, to be honest. Low hanging fruit, one might say. As I mentioned last week, I was right on the cusp of inserting said zipper in my second try at the Hollyburn skirt.

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Well, I finally settled in to insert the zipper this weekend. It went very smoothly. Putting in that zipper was actually pretty simple. Looked nice all sewn in, and everything. I pulled it off the machine, zipped it up… and the waistband didn’t line up. At all. I’ll save you the pain of a long explanation of the 5 hours of insanity that ensued and boil it down to a simple list:

  1. I took out the zipper, re-sewed it. Still out of whack.
  2. I took out the zipper, ripped out the back seam, redid both. Still out of whack.
  3. I took out the zipper, pinned it in again, and noticed that the shape of the two back pieces seemed different. Turns out I had put one back piece in backward.
  4. I ripped out the back seem, part of the waistband, the back panel, and about three miles of serged finishing. Re-sewed it all.
  5. Inserted the zipper. Still out of whack, but not nearly as bad as before. The top of the waistband lines up, so I’m going with it.

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This is the finished top of the zipper/waistband. You can see how the top of the waistband lines up, but not the bottom. From the best I can tell, things got janky when I did the waistband in the first place. But it’s wearable and cute, and to be honest, I love it.

This is the Hollyburn Skirt by Sewaholic Patterns, in Kaufman Chambray Union Worn Indigo. I made view B with the belt loops from view A. I cut a straight size 10 and made no modifications. Although, let’s be honest, I don’t know enough about anything to make modifications in garment sewing yet. I do want to point out that all of my frustration has nothing to do with the pattern itself. It is clear and well written, nothing was confusing or over my head. Total user error.

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This was quite the steep learning curve. This one turned out better than my first attempt, and I hope to solve the waistband issues with the next one. After struggling with the skirt half the weekend, I turned to my ultimate comfort make… socks.

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And, I finished them. These kind of happened without me noticing. I just needed to work on a project that wouldn’t be frustrating, something I know how to do. So I knit that second sock over the weekend and we have a pair.

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The yarn is Knitterly Things Sparkle Vesper Sock in Misty Mountain Rainbow, the August 2017 rainbow of the month colorway. I did 29 rows of 2×2 rib (one full stripe repeat) and cut in my afterthougth heel at 6.5″ down from cast on edge. For the heel and toe decreases, I used one of the options in the Smooth Operator Socks pattern.

This is pair 8 in my rainbow box of socks, and pair 16 overall for the year. Not too shabby. I really like these socks, the speckly stripes remind me of that hazy look things get in August when it’s just too hot and summer has gone one a bit too long.

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Whew. Two finished projects: one extradordinarily frustrating and one amazingly comforting. I love having both possibilities. I’m not planning to start any more socks until September 1, but I do have the replacement fabric from my first Hollyburn attempt. Maybe this one will go even better.

Happy making!

Back in the saddle.

When I was around 10 or 11, my cousins got a go-cart. Judge and I were eager to try it out and being the oldest and bossiest, I went first. I promptly slammed my foot on the peddle and ran the go-cart straight into a tree. With a busted chin and bruised ego, I swore I’d never ride another go-cart. My dad told me in no uncertain terms that I was, in fact, getting back on the go-cart. He told me that if you fall off of a horse, you get right back in the saddle and show yourself and the horse who’s boss.

Fast forward a decade and I had a major car accident. I was in various hospitals for a while and eventually came home and went to stay with my dad for a while. I had not driven a car for over a month, not since the accident. I was so afraid to drive again, but my dad once again told me, back in the saddle you go. I managed to live through the harrowing 3 mile drive to my aunts and I’m happy to tell you, I’m still driving to this day.

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Fast forward another decade plus and I am happily not wrecking any vehicles. But still, I’ve been balking at the idea of getting my serger back out. The last (and only) time I used it, it didn’t go very well. Well, I finally dredged up my dad’s advice and got the serger out this weekend. I’ve eased into things with some practice and have now been doing a bit of finishing. Finishing what, you may ask. Garments!

My first try at getting back into garment sewing and using a serger to finish raw edges:

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Not too bad! It was slow going, but I made it work, more or less. This is the Ogden Cami, by True Bias patterns. The fabric is some Art Gallery quilting cotton I had lying around. This fabric is far from ideal with very little drape–I wanted something stable and sturdy and easy to work with for this first try.

This is a great little pattern, pretty easy to do with some new techniques for me. After whipping this one up on Sunday morning, I thought I’d have a go at another Ogden in drapier fabric Sunday afternoon. And voila!

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This is some “silky chiffon” from Joanns that I found on sale. It’s definitely drapier, so it was good practice. I’m not completely convinced of the fit. I think you can see that it pulls across my back a bit and the front seems pretty voluminous.

I wore this one to work today. I’m still undecided about the fit. Maybe the fabric is still not drapey enough? I don’t know if I should try to adjust the pattern or look for something else. After making these two tops, I thought I’d step it up to a bigger project. Enter the Hollyburn Skirt, by Sewaholic. I had some navy poplin that I had purchased just to give this skirt a try. This pattern has a lot of finishing involved, so I kept going with serging seams to finish them. They were looking pretty snazzy, if I do say so.

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On the very last seam before installing the zipper, the worst happened. I caught a bit of the skirt fabric in the serger… and it serged.

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The kids find this hole in the seat of my skirt much funnier than I do. I was so frustrated. I had to take a step back from sewing. It’s scary to think of trying again and ruining something else. So I did the safe thing. I worked on a sock. With the serger safely in the craft room, I knit on. But in my mind I could hear my dad telling me to show it who’s in charge. And so, with trepidation, I cut out another skirt and got to work. I’m pleased to say that it’s going even better than the first skirt, serged seams and all.

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This will be hopefully by my first finished Hollyburn. I can’t wait to get it done!

I’m proud of myself for sticking with it.  I’ve got no issues with go-carts and cars these days and I’m happy to add sergers to the list.


Happy making!

Four sweaters behind me, four thousand more to go.

I’ll just come right out and say it. I love knitting sweaters. I don’t know where they’ve been all my life. I think that I want to have a sweater on my needles at all times. There are so many beautiful patterns out there! At the beginning of the year, I had knit zero sweaters. I’m now up to four. Four! Yes, that means that I finished a sweater.

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Zweig is almost dry and then we’ll be ready for some pictures and I’ll call it done. I knit the whole second sleeve on Saturday and Sunday, it just seemed to fly. Since I can’t seem to stop myself, on Sunday morning–before finishing the sleeve–I swatched for the next sweater. It’s nice and warm here in Maryland, so the swatch was dry by the time the Zweig was taking a bath. I immediately wound up my yarn and cast on a new sweater.

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This is my third (yes, there was a first and second) attempt at the Sunset Highway by Caitlin Hunter of Boyland Knitworks. The yarn is all from Peepaloo Fields on her simple sock base, the 75/25 merino nylon. Left to right, Hush, Delicate, Blue Bird, and Tide. I’m so excited about this one I can’t stand it. I really love the deep teal and how it’s working with the paler blue.

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I could be farther into the yoke of the sweater, but last night I got a bit distracted. I’ve been planning to knit Void by Melanie Berg for quite a while and something just came over me last night. I cast it on and knit two repeats before bed. I woke up this morning and knit another half repeat before Joshua came and made me get up to go to work.

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I feel an addiction coming on strong. This yarn is the absolute perfect pink and so round and bouncy it is heaven flowing through your fingers. The yarn is MadelineTosh Longrider DK in the Scout colorway. I believe this base is discontinued, I purchased the yarn on a ravelry destash. The Longrider DK is a fairly heavy DK which works well since this pattern calls for worsted. This yarn has tried to be a cardigan and a pullover but I think it is perfect for this shawl. The stitch definition on those little cables is divine!

In other news, I’m starting to feel the sewing bug coming on. In particular, I’ve been thinking about sewing up some camis to go underneath all of these sweaters. I’ve also got a bit of an outfit in mind for the fall. I purchased this yarn first, then found the fabric and I think they are a match made in heaven. I’m going to sew a Hollyburn Skirt and knit a Mount Pleasant top to go with it.

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Cloud 9 Sweet Nothings poplin and Woolberry Fiber Co. in “Hayride”

And finally, I’ve wound up the yarn for my August socks. I’m over the moon about my soon to be birthday cast on! I’ve been saving this pretty pink skein of Tilting Planet for a year, just waiting. The colorway is Cosmic Cake. Perfect. The other pair will, of course, be rainbow socks. I’m digging this murky, speckly rainbow.

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I think that’s it. I’m taking the day off for my birthday on Thursday and I think I will just veg out and knit on my birthday socks. As one does.

Happy making!