Knitting

Pink Basketweave Sweater

A new top for spring! And the way it’s been warming up lately, just in time. Sigh. I don’t really feel I got full use out of my winter wardrobe this year. It took so long for any cold weather to arrive, and it’s been so warm so often.

Pink Cable Sweater 2But I digress. The pattern is from Vogue Knitting, Spring/Summer 2012, pattern #28, “Cap Sleeve Top.” It was designed by Wenlan Chia for Twinkle Knits, those big chunky yarns that were popular a few years ago — and have since been discontinued. Oh well. I had a stash of Rowan Wool Cotton yarn (also discontinued) and I put it to work, using two strands to get the desired gauge.

Actually, the Twinkle yarn the pattern calls for also used two strands held together. I didn’t know that Twinkle had ever made a DK weight yarn, but that’s useless trivia now.

Anyway, I used size 11 needles for the body of the sweater, just as the pattern suggested. The ribbing required size 8 needles, but I used 9s for the bottom band. I did use 8s for all the rest of the ribbing, including the bands that were knit separately and attached.

Attaching those bands was a tiny bit tricky, You’re knitting two separate pieces together, and it’s easy to miss — and drop — stitches.

I’ve done this basketweave stitch before, and while I like the look, knitting it is a tiny bit tedious. You’re using that cable needle A LOT. The chunky yarn compensated for that, however, and it’s only in the front, so overall, this sweater knit up very quickly.

Even though I had the same yardage and weight as the suggested yarn, I was concerned it wasn’t going to be enough (as I said before, this was stash yarn that’s been discontinued, so I couldn’t get any more), so I knit the sweater two inches shorter than the pattern length. As it turns out, I was really close on the yarn, so that was a wise decision, but I think I would have liked the extra length.

Pink Cable SweaterI expect this to be a great transition weather sweater, one I could even wear as a vest over a blouse (I have one that would be just right, I think), but it will be far too heavy for our very hot summers.

I was surprisingly happy with the neckline. That’s such a tricky part of knitting, knowing whether or not the neckline will work for you.

Overall, this project was a success!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Knitting

Saturday in the Park Socks

red-saturday-socksI designed this sock pattern, which I call Saturday in the Park Socks, several years ago. When a friend gave me the fantastic gift of a skein of WollMeise “Pure” yarn in the color Vamp, I decided it was time to make a new pair.

I haven’t offered this pattern for sale (yet), and it’s a good thing I made this new pair following my previous directions! They were accurate but not very well written, so I spent some time updating the pattern during the time I was making the socks.

WollMeise Pure is 100 percent merino wool, fingering weight, machine washable, and best of all, one skein is an incredible 525 yards. More than enough for a pair of socks for almost anybody, with plenty left over — at least in this case.

It also has fantastic stitch definition, making it the perfect yarn for a pair of cable socks.

Wait, I’m updating my “best of all” — the comfort of the finished project is truly the best part. Downright luxurious.

I don’t want to take them off!

Knitting

Coral Socks

socksI loved these socks and they match an outfit of mine perfectly, so I was compelled to make a second pair. They’re longer than a lot of the socks I’ve made and when I’m visiting my family in Minnesota, they make great boot socks.

They’re knit from Koigu Premium Merino, and I’m sorry I don’t have the color or its number. I bought this yarn some time ago and over the years, the label was lost. I don’t even know if they make it any more.

The pattern is “Cable Rib Socks” from an old issue of Interweave Knits and was also published in their book, Favorite Socks, 25 Timeless Designs from Interweave. I’d strongly recommend that book if you enjoy knitting socks.

For that matter, Interweave Press has a number of good books for knitted socks.

This pattern was pretty basic and straightforward, knit from the top down (the way I prefer to knit my socks) but a little on the small side. I wear a 7.5 medium width shoe (that’s US sizing) and the socks are a teeny bit snug.

 

Knitting

My Favorite Gift to Give

Alec in sweater
Alec (a few years back!)

I love to knit sweaters for my friends’ babies, and over the years I’ve developed a particular fondness for this cable knit cardigan pattern. I generally make it in a size 3 (they’re likely to outgrow smaller sizes in faster time than it takes you to knit the sweater!) and a gender-neutral color so future siblings can wear it, although exceptions have been made. My friend Brianna’s little girl Lydia looked so much like a girl who “needed” to be wearing pink, I couldn’t resist making it in that color for her. (I’ve never seen a picture of her wearing it so I have no idea if my choice was right.)

Amelie & Alec2
Amelie & Alec

The pattern is from Double Knits by Zoë Moeller. I usually knit it in Rowan Wool Cotton, which wears so beautifully and seems to be just the right weight for active toddlers. Here you can see the same sweater first worn by my friend Melanie’s son Alec and now modeled by her adorable daughter Amelie (that’s Alec by her side).

As always, I only give hand-knitted sweaters to those I know will appreciate the work that went into making them and will care for them properly. Obviously Melanie is one of those people!

I’m inevitably told by the moms who get these sweaters that cardigans are the sweaters of choice (as opposed to pullovers). They’re much more practical and versatile.

Of course there are always reasons to make other sweaters, but the practicality of making a larger-size cardigan in a gender-neutral color for a first born baby is overwhelming, so I wanted to share these thoughts with my fellow knitters who may find themselves knitting for the expectant moms & dads in their lives (rather, you’re knitting for the baby, but the gift is for the parents, too).

Knitting

Red Wool Top

I was really pleased to find the pattern for this versatile top for my mom in the Holiday 2014 Vogue Knitting. It’s pattern #20, the Cable and Chevron Top. It’s  probably an intermediate level pattern, with some cable work, plenty of increases and decreases to create the chevron stripes, and a slightly different way than usual to shape the neck (but no more difficult).

red-sweater

The yarn I used was Ella Rae Classic Wool, which is not machine washable. (That brand also has a machine washable yarn in the same weight, but I believe the color choices are different and possibly more limited.) I found it easy to work with. It doesn’t split, for example, and is fairly smooth. Maybe a teensy rough, but it is wool, after all. It’s not scratchy to wear, and insulates but is lightweight. Unlike so many hand-knit sweaters, this one could easily be worn inside, even if long sleeves were added.

I used a size eight needle, although the recommended size is a size seven, but the gauge was accurate. I tried a sample with a size seven needle and I was off by one stitch over a 4″ piece, which as you know can add up over the entire width of the sweater.

Now I don’t claim I always knit to the suggested gauge with the suggested needle size, but unless it’s mohair, more often than not I do. Sometimes there are ridiculous suggestions, like a size 3 needle for 6 stitches to an inch, and then no, I don’t knit to what’s on the label.

This top is meant to be oversized, so if you decide to make it, be careful you choose the correct size.

The finished result is really cute and I believe something my mom will get a lot of use out of!

Update: I delivered the sweater to my mom for Valentine’s Day. It fits perfectly and she loves it! She’s found it works with pants and plans to make a skirt to go with it too. This sweater is a style I believe will work for all ages. I looked on Ravelry and saw it modeled on several women, young and old(er), and it looked age-appropriate on all of them.