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

Lovely Grey Shawl

Just finished this shawl, and I’m looking for a place to wear it. (Of course the weather has just gotten very warm here in my area, but I trust it will cool off again before spring truly arrives.) Great design, one that looks more complicated than it was to make.

Grey Lace Shawl

The pattern is from Vogue Knitting Holiday 2016, pattern #4 “Faux Cable Shawl.” I’m not sure I’d really call it a “faux cable,” more of a “medallion lace,” but no matter, the result of this lace pattern is desirable. As you might guess, you knit the same pattern repeat for the bulk of the piece. It’s a twelve-row pattern, one that increases by 12 stitches with each repeat. It knit up very quickly and was a pleasure to work on. I seemed to get through each pattern repeat so quickly, despite the increases!

I used five skeins of DK Merino Superwash by Plymouth in Light Gray (love the simple way they name their yarns!), which knit up to gauge with a size seven needle. The pattern called for a 48″ circular needle, and while I eventually outgrew my 24″, the 40″ I ended up with wasn’t necessary to comfortably accommodate all the stitches. I believe a 32″ would have been fine, and maybe a little easier to work with. But, to each his own.

The yarn I used isn’t as dressy as the yarn used in the pattern, but it knit up beautifully. I’m very pleased with my choice.

I wet-blocked the shawl, and initially it stretched out several inches wider than the finished size listed in the pattern. However, as it dried, due to the nature of the lace pattern, it regained some of the “bubbly” texture it had as I was knitting it, which pulled it back to the listed size.

The picot edge didn’t come out quite like the picture in the magazine, however, it did pull those points out and give it the intended swoopy-edge (you can’t really see that in the above picture, but the final result had the swoops).

I was going to put this on my sofa and use it as a convenient decorative piece I could wrap myself up in on cold evenings, but once I took a good look at the throw currently serving that purpose, I changed my mind. My cats somehow think knit pieces on the back of the sofa are akin to scratching posts, and that poor throw is so pilled from being clawed. I don’t want that to happen to this shawl!

Knitting

Bandana Cowl

Another sample for the yarn store, and this one’s a winner — the Bandana Cowl. It calls for a bulky weight yarn, but for this project I used two strands of worsted weight yarn held together. The look, along with the colors, are fitting for the bandana style.

bandana-cowl-3I used Stonehedge Fiber Mill Shepherd’s Wool, which has worked well for me with other projects, in the colors “Red” and “Beaches,” the latter being a bit more taupy than sand-colored, as the name would imply. One skein of each was more than enough, in fact, it likely would come close to being enough for two cowls.

The gauge is 4 stitches and 6 rows to an inch, a somewhat standard bulky weight gauge, and, as I mentioned, easy to achieve with two strands of a worsted weight yarn.

The pattern is from Purl Soho and is available as a free download on Ravelry. I can’t provide the link for the download here since it isn’t my pattern, but you can find the link to the Ravelry page for the Bandana Cowl  here. It’s well-written and easy to follow. The “pointed” section is made with short rows, and the rest is worked in the round with some simple decreases.

bandana-cowl-2It’s a quick and easy pattern with satisfying results. The yarn you choose is going to determine the look more than the pattern since it’s such a simple style, but the shaping adds a special touch, suitably named after bandanas.

One thing to make note of: this is worn close to the face, great for cold weather, but beware of anything scratchy. Everyone has a different tolerance level for the various wools available, so if you’re making it as a gift, I’d suggest erring on the side of super comfy.

The project worked so well and I’m looking for gift ideas for Christmas, so I knit up another cowl today (it took most of the afternoon and evening) using Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Worsted and Noro Kureyon. It knit up a little tighter than the first cowl (I used the same size needles), but the gauge is the same. It’s just a bit stiffer, but still attractive and probably warmer. I’m a little concerned it may be scratchy, but when I tried it on that didn’t seem to be a problem.

 

 

Knitting

Crazy Socks for Cold Winter Days!

noro-socksWhen I was in junior high, I was the first in my class to buy toe socks. I guess my wacky sense of style goes back aways, and these socks, while they don’t have individual toes, are reminiscent of that beloved pair from my youth.

But you need something to make you laugh when temperatures drop into the negative single digits, don’t you? And these socks, which felted a little when I washed them, are perfect for wearing with boots on those miserable days.

The yarn is Noro Kureyon Sock and I believe the colorway is Multi, but if you look at stash pictures on Ravelry that colorway varies considerably from one owner to the other. It was relatively easy to work with, but hand wash it! I still don’t understand this tendency to make hand wash-only sock yarn — it seems akin to making scratchy shetland baby yarn, totally inappropriate for the intended product. Anyway, I mistakenly machine washed it (fortunately, didn’t machine dry it) and it felted somewhat.

Of course for dead of winter socks you may want to knit the socks a little bigger and deliberately felt them.

I made this with my own pattern of a 2×2 rib, top down, with a standard turned heel. I’m sorry I don’t have the pattern available, but I promise you there is one out there that would work just as well, if not better, than mine.

I generally like to think of myself as a sophisticated, stylish dresser (oh, who am I kidding?), but we all need our secret crazy, wacky pieces of clothing. If no one else sees them, maybe that’s just as well. But it’s the kind of secret that will keep you just a little warmer on a cold winter’s day.

Knitting

Potholders (my attempt at intarsia)

I’ve been knitting for 37 years now, and I still haven’t mastered intarsia. I can’t honestly say I’ve tried that hard, and my early attempts were with cotton (so unforgiving!) so I got discouraged and set it all aside for a long, long time.

PotholdersNow I’m ready to try again. I figure I’ll make potholders out of scrap wool yarn, felt them a little bit to compensate for some of my errors, and see how it goes.

My first attempts aren’t so bad. They’re about 8″x8″, made of worsted weight wool, and felted just a teeny bit. Next I’m moving on to a rose, I think. I have a pattern for one I like.

I sketched out this pattern on some knitting graph paper (always use knitting graph paper since the number of stitches per inch will rarely be the same at the number of rows!)

I wove the ends into the matching yarn, which made it a little lumpy until I felted it. Then you couldn’t tell the difference.

I’m not sure I’ll ever do this in a major project. I don’t have anything in mind. It’s just that I feel I should be able to master the skill by this time and I haven’t done so, and I’m up for a challenge, as small as it may be.

Look for the rose, hopefully coming soon!