A Sweater Place

It struck me the other day when someone asked me what I liked most to knit, that I was in a sweater place.  Most of what has been on my needles the last few months has been sweaters.

There’s been this little guy.  It’s the Zip Up Cardigan by Hannah Fetig.   I have to admit, I was a little intimidated by the zipper.  I almost outsourced this to a tailor shop, but I was determined to try to sew the zipper in myself.  I signed up for a class at Stitches Midwest on putting in zippers.  It was much easier than I had expected.  The only hitch came when the sweet lady next to me at class informed me that I had purchased a non-separating zipper!  Darn!  I ended up having to purchase a new zipper from Zipperstop.com Once that arrived I was able to pull out my class directions and “zip” right through it.  I would definitely make this pattern (with the zipper) again.

 

Then, I made these two sweaters.  They are the Anthropology Inspired Capelet made with Plymouth Baby Alpaca Grande.  I made these for the girls to wear at my little sister’s wedding at the end of October.  Not to be content with following the pattern as written, I lengthened the arms and made each sweater longer than the original.  I really wanted these sweaters to be cozy on a cold fall day and I wanted them to have a bit longer of a life than just the one day.

I remember a day when I thought making a child size sweater was so neat because I, “couldn’t possibly knit something as big and involved as an adult size sweater!”  Child size sweaters just went so fast.  Now that my girls are in adult sizes (mostly), their sweaters still seem to move pretty quickly off the needles.  Plus, I can steal their sweaters and hand knit socks!  It’s a beautiful thing and I think I might have to savor it while it lasts, because I’m pretty sure my girls are going to take after their Daddy in height.

 

Last but not least is this little cutie.  It’s the Clayoquot Cardigan by Tin Can Knits.  This is knit in the round and steeked.  While I’ve steeked before, this was my first time using a crochet reinforcement.  I will definitely be doing this again as I really liked the way it worked to hold everything in place and I liked the way the crocheted line made a nice edging on the inside of the cardigan.  I also think that all of the Tin Can Knits patterns are well written.  I always learn something new from them and very often they make me stretch my knitting skills.

So, basically, I’m in a sweater place.  I’ve got several more started or in the line up.  After all, how many scarves do I really need?

 

Making a List, Checking It Twice

So here’s the deal.  I’m not a “work on one project at a time” kind of gal.  I like to have several projects going at once so that I can work on whatever I have the brain space for.  That means I usually have a garter stitch or stockinette stitch something going; I usually have colorwork or lace; and I usually have a little something with construction like a sweater.  Plus, I believe that knitting this way keeps my hands happier because I am not fatiguing them from knitting on the same weight/needle size too much.  I knit because I love to knit, not necessarily because I want the end product.  Which is kind of weird when you stop to think about it.

Zippered Cardigan

So when I was at Stitches Midwest last weekend the subject of how many projects some of us have going at once kept coming up.  I guess it’s a natural conversation piece when you’re around a lot of knitters.  Barry Klein from Trendsetters Yarn put it this way, he only works on one project at a time because that way he gets projects finished.  He is knitting for a season and to showcase a specific yarn.  I get that.  And yes, my projects are not going to win any speed race records any time soon.   And overall, I’m completely ok with that.

The Queue as it Stands Now

So I decided to take a look at what I was actually knitting along with the things that I know I have to knit soon.  It was a little alarming to know I had so many things on the needles.  And this does not include projects that are in hibernation.  (This list includes 2 things that are not cast on yet).  Now, some of these are just a touch or two away from being finished.  For instance, the orange cardigan just needs a zipper.  I took a class on putting in zippers at Stitches and if it weren’t for having bought a non-separating zipper, this would have been finished.  (Talk about a frustrating moment as my neighbor pointed out that my zipper did not separate at the bottom!)  As soon as the new zipper arrives, I will be 20 minutes of sewing time away from done.  At least 3 other projects are just as close to being finished.

The plan as it stands in my head right now is to not stress about the queue.  However, I am going to make every effort to cull it down.  I really want to get the Owl and the Cowl out of the way before I start the Cedar Leaf Shawlette.  The Cardigan is a shop sample so that gets done as soon as the new zipper arrives.  The Sockhead hat has no real due date and that tends to be my purse knitting – so it can finish any time.   And although I love the knitting, I think it’s going to be very satisfying to X the projects off the list when they are finished!

Vivid Blanket

Knitting Round Up

Can I just tell you how incredibly pleased I am with these sock blockers?  For many many years I used homemade sock blockers.  They worked ok, but it was slow going on the drying process as these were made out of vinyl placemats and they held water.  Then I upgraded to plastic sock blockers.  That worked ok too, but my house is a bit chaotic sometimes and certain members of my family maybe don’t put the same importance upon sock blockers as I do.  (Not that I’m blaming anyone)  So the plastic broke.  I still used them, easing the wet sock over the broken pieces and trying not to snag the inside of the knitting.  Finally, one day at work, I “splurged” on these metal frame sock blockers.  They have the nice hanger end – with the end piece covered so as not to cause problems with knitting that might be stored nearby.  The hanger means that 1.  You can store them easily in a closet.  2.  You can actually hang up your socks to dry.  3.  Lots of air circulation means that socks dry super fast!  Pretty cool, huh?

As for the socks, they’re a basic sock pattern with a little purl section here or there to keep things interesting.  I sort of made them up as I went along.  The gauge is a little looser than I would normally like, but they work well as socks for around the house.

I’m looking forward to a long holiday weekend where I can knit and sleep and (hopefully) enjoy the return of the sun.  (Sorry folks, the rain and cool weather is all my fault, I actually put away my warm sweaters this year to make room for summer clothes before mid-July)  This weekend I’m working on a little baby sweater for my cousin’s new baby and a bigger child sweater as a Christmas present.  I’m also bringing out the spinning wheel again as I’m determined to participate in Tour de Fleece this year.

I hope everyone has a great weekend filled with knitting, campfires, and a few s’mores – or whatever it is that you like to enjoy around the campfire!

Knitting in the Wild

Our family took a short vacation to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area about 5 minutes after school was out for the year.  Actually, it was two days after, but it felt like 5 minutes.

We travelled with my father-in-law and my husband’s good friend from college who just happens to now live in Alaska.  We were so happy to have them on the trip!  We did a little canoeing, waited out a hail storm, fished a little, and generally just enjoyed the peace and quiet.

One of the friend’s daughters is our Godchild.  So what does a knitter do when they’re in the BWCA for 4 days?  Knit socks of course!  Child size socks are the perfect camping knitting project.  The bag fits very easily in a Duluth Pack or regular backpack for daytrips.  I may have over packed when I packed my little oilcloth knitting back with 3 half knit socks and the start of the child size socks, but at least sock yarn is light!

I almost knit two socks in the time we were up there.   Not too shabby since I was also the camp cook!  We decided that I would make tube socks since the size of a 6 year old’s foot is sort of a moving target.  This would give her the most wear out of the socks.

In case you’re wondering, (and really, why wouldn’t you be?) you can get a pair of women’s size socks and child size tube socks out of one skein of Roam Fusion 4 ply sock yarn.   Now that’s a lot of bang for your sock knitting buck!

Return of a Highly Caffeinated Knitter

The school year has ended and I feel like I can cut back a little on my high caffeine consumption.  Just a little mind you.  After all, my day does not truly start without coffee.  OK, so I go and work out before coffee, but that’s only because I don’t have to string words together into a sentence at the Y.  And if I am not stringing words together, I’m not really awake yet.

So, what have I been knitting in this highly caffeinated state?  Well, a little of this….

It’s a Foolproof Cowl out of Knitting My Way Home handspun for a class at Yarn Harbor.

and that…

That’s a Find Your Fade out of mohair.  (And if you’re thinking I took the crazy train to make a massive shawl out of mohair, hold onto your hats, you’ll be stunned by what I say next.)  I’m thinking it should be called, Find Your Sanity as I try to rip back and fix a mistake in the lace portion.  Ripping mohair is not a fun activity.  It might just become a very unique Find Your Fade.  I’m even thinking of just doing the lace sections at the very beginning and the very end of the shawl and keeping the center knitting easy peasy.  I’d like to get this one moving again as it is currently in Time Out.  Plus the weather is going to heat up and mohair is not something to play with when it’s 90 degrees F and humid.

some of these for a class…. they are Smooth Operator Socks.

 

I’ve been doing a lot of the Smooth Operator Socks lately.  It’s a great pattern and I really like how the heel fits.  And no kitchenering, well how can you beat that?

oh yes, and there has been some of this Joji Mystery Knit Along going on….

I won’t bore you with the whys and wherefores of my busy spring, because we’re all busy.  Suffice it to say that summer has its own rhythm around here and it is different from the late winter/spring rhythm.  It’s nice to take a deep breath and enjoy the sunlight that we’ve been soaking in.  I’m hoping to see the flat surface of my desk sometime soon at the office, and I’m hoping that my house looks less like a middle school locker exploded in the entry which then set off a secondary explosion of a camping store in the rest of the main living area.  And maybe, just maybe, I’ll spend a little time knitting in the sun this summer.

Blame It on the Cold Meds

Confession is good for the soul, right?

I confess, I might have done something that flies in the face of all my knitterly instincts.  I might have done something that is a crime against the yarn itself.

Or… it might turn out really cool.

I had this lovely delicious skein of Single Silky Targhee from Blue Moon Fiber Arts that was staring at me all weekend.  I had several days off with nothing planned and was trying to bounce back from a cold.  I was on a lot of cold meds.  It was 696 yds of amazing.  I also just happened to have a skein of Sweet Georgia Trinity in Nightshade that perfectly complemented the Silky Targhee.  All of a sudden I had a sweater’s worth of worsted weight yarn.  Just enough yarn to do a 1999 Sweater from Tin Can Knits.  I cast on, adjusted the pattern to allow for sleeves to be knit in the Nightshade and the body in the Targhee, and away I went.

So what’s the problem?

  1. I would always always recommend against doing a sweater with a single.  Something this light and fluffy and unspun looking almost always pills when you look at it sideways.
  2. Lace, in a sweater, with a single, just screams a pilling nightmare of a sweater.
  3. I’m really afraid I’m going to have to walk around carrying a sweater stone with me wherever I go.
  4. I McGyvered the sleeves so that I could use the two different skeins of yarn in the pattern.  I just sort of winged it, and we know how that sort of thing usually goes.  There will be sewing up at the end of the sweater as I needed to work the yoke back and forth rather than in the round because of the 4 ends of yarn I was working with.
  5. I’m knitting the women’s small.  Which while it will technically fit me, it does not give me the 1-2″ of positive ease that the pattern recommends.  Then again, if it looks bad on me, it should fit Addie.  I hope.  I’m going to put it on some Try It On Tubing tonight to check.  I did a gauge swatch, so at least there’s that.

So basically what I’m saying is, “What could possibly go wrong?”

Oh January….

Oh January, why do you act this way every year?  You start with a day or so off filled with the sparkle of the New Year, and then you push straight through to the hustle of crazy busy at work, short days, and cold, gray gloominess outside.  January is filled with projects and events for me.  Tax receipts need to be sent by the end of the month, and I feel the weight of that as the holidays wrap up.  The decorations are down, all the cookies have been thrown away or we are pretending not to see them on the counter, and veggies have once again filled the crisper drawer.

On the flip side, every time it snows, the world is covered in a fresh, clean layer of white.  January is a good time to toss the stash and remember which yarn you have that you adore and want to work with.  It’s a time to knit without thoughts of giving something as a gift or the pressure of a deadline.  (By the way, there was no gift knitting at my house this year.  None.  It felt kind of weird, but maybe weird in a good way.)  It’s time to pick out pretty yarn and knit for the love of knitting.

It’s also a good time to be OK with being in the middle of a project (or three) that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere fast.  Somehow, I managed to bind off several projects at the beginning of the month and promptly cast on another two.  I’m in that mindless slog through the middle of each project where I feel like there’s never going to be an end.  I even have a sock (the second sock!) that is in the middle of the foot.  I’m trying to be patient with myself and tell myself its ok.  There’s no rush to get to the next project.

Gothic Lace Cowl

Yarn:  Malabrigo Rios – 2 skeins that I had in my stash.

Mods:  None.  I am working the large size and planning to do the crochet button holes.

This is a relatively simple lace pattern that my brain is having trouble with.  For some reason, I cannot remember if I should be K2tog or SSKing.  Really, it’s not hard and I should be able to glance at my knitting to see which way the decrease lays.  However there comes a point at night where I just need to put this away and work on something simple.

There was a bit of a tragedy with the yarn bowl you see above.  The bowl usually sits on a small yarn storage bin end table beside the couch.  This spot on the couch is what we call “the sweet spot.”  It’s the spot that everyone tries to get first because of the way our tv is placed.  Well, my husband took the spot on the couch and so I was at the opposite end.  I had the bowl on the couch beside me and as I jerked the blanket out from under my husband adjusted the blanket, the bowl fell on the floor and broke.  My husband was kind enough to repair it, I’m just waiting for the repair to dry fully before using it again.

So what are you working on this month?