Knitcation: sweater edition.

This week, I am creating a long weekend for myself. I’ve got a bit of a personal challenge in mind, so I’m giving myself the time and space for it. By hook or crook, I’ve managed to map out minimal housework, the simplest of meals, and plenty of knitting time.

The challenge you ask? Try to knit a whole sweater. I’ve had the idea of a four-day sweater on my mind since I started swatching for the Beekeeper Cardigan a few weeks ago. I didn’t love that pattern, but the intrigue of challenging myself to channel all of my knitting energy into one big project over a short time has been irresistible.

Now, I know there are limitations to this sort of idea. I don’t know that I can knit a sweater in a long weekend, but I am trying to set myself up for success. So, fingering weight is out, major patterning or colorwork is out, oversized is out. What are we left with? A simple, worsted weight, fitted cardigan. Enter Marion.

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Image copyright Andi Satterlund.

Marion is a top-down, seamless cardigan. Knit in worsted weight yarn with a simple cable down the front, it seems to fit the bill nicely. I purchased my yarn and swatched it right up. I went down two needle sizes to start, and nearly fell over when I was right on gauge on the first swatch. That never happens to me!

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The yarn I’ll be using is KnitPicks Wool of the Andes, the yarn called for in the pattern. I wanted something that would really fit into my wardrobe, and work with lots of my clothes and other knit accessories, so I chose the Dove Heather colorway. I’m really loving this soft grey color.

On the subject of really fitting into my wardrobe, as much as I adore the vintage-y feel of the cropped at the waist look, I don’t think it will work with what I currently own. At some point, I would really love to have a trove of dresses that fit that silhouette, but I’m not there yet. With that in mind, I want a less cropped sweater. But that means altering the shaping since the extreme waist shaping for a cropped sweater doesn’t translate well for a longer shape.

I took out my current favorite cardigan and made some measurements to get an idea of how I want this one to fit. I found I’d need to lengthen the body by about 4 inches to have it fall where I’d like. I followed Andi Satterlund’s instructions for lengthening a cropped sweater and calculated my new decreases and increases.

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At this point, I’m all ready to cast on. The yarn is all wound up, I’ve read through the pattern and highlighted my size, and written out my modified shaping instructions. All that’s left to do is cast on, which is happening right after work on Thursday evening. I’m excited to see how much sweater I can knit by the time Sunday evening rolls around.

Happy making!

Like molasses.

Things seem to be moving along at a snails pace here. Sometimes that happens, it feels like I’m knitting and knitting and knitting but the progress seems slow. I’ve got a secret make that feels like it’s been on the needles for forever, one day I’ll be able to show that one off. If I ever get to the bind off, that is.

I’ve also had a fair bit of knitting that I ripped out. Below, notice the two skeins not attached to my sweater. The top was destined for a pair of socks, the bottom for a sweater swatch.

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I cast on the swatch first. The yarn is that beautiful Madtosh that I’ve already swatched with once. I’m thinking now that it will be a Kirigami by Gudrun Johnston. I finished the stockinette portion of the swatch, and got out a ruler to do a gauge check. Too big. The gauge was too big. Since, in my experience, wool rarely shrinks when blocked, I pulled the whole thing out. Just ripped it right back. We’ll return to that swatch on smaller needles soon.

After that frustration, I thought I’d cast on a pair of socks. I’ve been dying to knit up the Beekeeper Socks by Jenn Emerson. Even purchased that lovely skein of Legacy Fiber Artz–Macaron colorway–to knit them in. Well, I cast those on, got through the ribbing and started on the cables. Frustration ensued. I’m teaching myself to cable without a cable needle, and the stitches just seemed to slip apart like water. The yarn has a healthy dose of cashmere–and is some of the softest MCN to grace my needles–and that seemed to not be the best choice for learning a new technique that involves letting your stitches freely slip off the needles. So I ripped the whole thing out.

I went straight to my stash and pulled out some good ole’ sticky BFL. Hedgehog Fibres Twish Sock in the Teacup colorway to be exact. I cast it on, finished the ribbing, and got to cabling. I’m happy to report that it is going much more smoothly.

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That wee cuff represents hours and hours of knitting. Ah well, at least yarn, project, and needle are all working together to make me happy. The Legacy Fiber Artz yarn might just have to become a cowl or something–it’s so soft! Speaking of soft, my sweater is still going.

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I left sleeve island last night and now have only the massive collar to go. I picked up 323 stitches and have 20-something rows of ribbing to go.  Forget sleeve island, I think I’m lost in collar canyon.

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Hopefully the sweater and the secret will both get bound off this weekend. I need to get back to swatching!

Happy making!

Cut your losses.

This week has been a study in patience. We had a lovely snowstorm here in Maryland, which meant a fair bit of time working in a house full of kids. In my free time, I started, ripped back, started again, and frogged a sweater.

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The sweater in question is my Sunset Highway pullover. When last we spoke, I had discovered that I had made an error and was planning to start over, which I did. I worked and worked on it and thought it was going fairly well.

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I love the colors, the mint and grey are perfection. A few rows past this, though, and I was getting increasingly suspicious of my floats. The floats in the mint yarn–carried in my left hand–were actually pretty good. The floats in the grey–carried in my right hand–were looking far too tight. I popped the yoke onto some waste yarn and sure enough, it was a puckery mess.

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And so, I decided that it’s time to frog. I don’t want to put all that time and yarn into something I’m not happy with. Probably time, also, to practice colorwork on a smaller project. I think some mittens are in my future.

For now though, I am really in the mood to knit a sweater. Perhaps something a bit simpler, single color. The other sweater in my make nine is the Madewell by Joji Locatelli. It’s a lovely, simple cardigan, knit top-down with raglan sleeves.

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The swatch is beautiful, if a little on the big side. I’m thinking about trying out a needle size down to see what the fabric is like. You know me, I apparently like to swatch 100 times.

Miraculously, with all this sweater knitting and unknitting, I’m still making progress on my socks. They’re humming right along–only a foot and a toe to go!

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I’m surprisingly happy to have decided to frog the Sunset Highway again. It was beginning to stress me out. Last night I was thinking that maybe colorwork isn’t for me and considering revising my make nine. But I used to be bad at knitting socks and I had never knit a sweater at all before a month ago and maybe I just need to practice.

Letting the sweater go with the resolution to get a bit of practice under my belt and revisit it felt good.  Cutting my losses and starting a new sweater that I feel more confident was just what I needed.

Happy making!

Weekend WIP Roundup

It’s been quite a while since we had a proper WIP roundup. I don’t really have very much on the needles at them moment, which is a miracle in and of itself. I’m feeling a bit lazy this fine Sunday afternoon, so let’s just look at some pretty WIPs.

First up, my New Year’s Eve Socks:

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Bubbly, Nomadic Yarns

I have no motivation to finish these. I love them and the yarn, but I am constantly distracted by my other stripey socks. This is the latest rainbow iteration:

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Rainbows after Rain, Knitterly Things

My sock mojo is actually pretty low at the moment. I want to cast on all the sweaters and shawls and other big projects. I’ve gotten started by doing a little swatching for my next big cast on, Sunset Highway:

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Half Naked, Baerenwolle

I went up a needle size and am a quarter stitch off per inch. I think I’m just going to go down a pattern size and go with it. While the swatch dried I picked back up a languising WIP. My Half Moon Oracle, which, holy smokes, I am in love! I’m kind of feeling like putting a lot of work into this beauty:

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Princess Bride, Marilyn, Tropical Vintage, Swift Yarns

I really want to finish everything and cast on all new things tomorrow. Or maybe just cast on new things tomorrow. I did have a finish yesterday, it’s blocking now…

I think I’ll make a cup of coffee and at least finish the brioche section on the Oracle. That will give me some time to figure out what to knit next.

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Happy making!