Palette Sweaters #2 & #3

FO: Palette Sweater #2 & 3

Pattern: No Pattern
Yarn: Knit Picks Palette (#2: Rainforest Heather, Tidepool Heather; #3: Abyss Heather, Mist)
View My Ravelry Project: #2 /#3

After finishing my last sweater, I immediately cast on a second — but I widened the body and the sleeves, opened up the neckline a bit, and cropped the body a little. And ten days later: #newsweaterday. I rushed to block it because I couldn’t wait to wear it, and thank our sheepy friends, fingering-weight wool dries overnight.

Palette Sweater #2

I’ve found a reason to wear this sweater at least twice a week since I finished it on 6 March. I love the overall fit and how lightweight the fabric is. I deliberately made the sleeves extra wide and long, because the only thing I dislike more than sleeves that fall too short are narrow ones. So these are nice and spacious, and even though they’re almost always rolled up, the cuffs reach right down to the tips of my fingers, which is the sort of thing I find both physically and emotionally cozy and comforting. The body is wide enough to fit over all of the loose-fitting clothing I typically wear, and its cropped length seems to fit in well with my wardrobe.

I immediately wanted one in every color.

Palette Sweater #3

So I made another.

Number Two left some room for improvement, particularly at the neckline. It’s very prone to stretching out and losing shape. I had cast on with US 3 needles, knit 10 rounds of ribbing, then switched to US 4 needles, worked some short rows, and proceeded with the rest of it. The ribbing gets super stretched out though, and I find myself readjusting the collar throughout the day. It’s kind of minor, but I can do better!

I began knitting this version flat, working raglan and front increase rows in in lieu of short rows until I was ready to join in the round, and later picking the collar up with US 2s from the unfinished neckline. This version is definitely sturdier and crew-ier, but it still has a pretty relaxed fit. Number Four will probably have the same neckline.

But what I like the most about these sweaters? I’m destashing. (And no new yarn since August 2018!) I’m digging deep into my stash and finding yarn that I bought four years ago and ‘heck knows why I bought it in the first place, but I’m knitting with it now — finally!

And it’s also been a fun way to experiment with wearing colors outside of my comfort zone. For some reason I have sweater-quantities of yarns in colors I would never wear. And now I wear them.

Palette Sweater #1 / No Frills Sweater

FO: Palette Sweater #1 / No Frills Sweater

Pattern: No Frills Sweater
Yarn: Knit Picks Palette (Mineral Heather, Iris Heather, Turmeric)
View My Ravelry Project

I’ve started and finished a couple of projects since I last posted here, but I actually haven’t been too busy on the knitting front. (I also just realized that I never shared my Layla cardigan.) I usually have a small project with me at all times, and I squeeze in a row here and there — at lunch, on the subway, in a waiting room — but I haven’t been approaching projects with the same energy I had in 2017 (33 FOs) or 2016 (+60 FOs).

And that’s okay! But today, I have a finished project to share: my heavily-modified No Frills Sweater, or what I’m calling Palette Sweater #1.

Palette Sweater #1 / No Frills Sweater

I’ve been thinking a lot about sweaters. I’ve favorited and queued tons of them on Ravelry. But I haven’t cast on too many. Between actually sticking to my ban on purchasing yarn and being painfully aware that I already have tons of sweaters and simply being more aware of what I like to wear (versus what I think I like to wear), I’ve somehow become a slightly more discerning knitter, who tries to knit from her stash. But what’s in your stash? Personally, I have some weird purchases in my stash — colors and quantities that seem very uncharacteristic for me, such as the Mineral Heather and Iris Heather I used for this sweater. I have no idea what I had in mind when I purchased these yarns back in April 2015, but they’re a sweater now.

I basically only used the pattern as a casting-on point for a plain old raglan sweater. I added improvised short rows across the back and shoulders and then worked paired directional increases until I reached the proper depth. No swatching here, but I will confess that I started a No Frills Sweater (fingering plus mohair held together, as per the instructions), and I was able to make some educated guesses based on that gauge. The end result is a loose-fitting, but not unfitted sweater. I like the color-blocking (a first for me), but the colors take me outside of my usual black-blue-green-brown comfort zone. I’ve also been fascinated by the “balloon” sleeves I keep seeing in patterns, so I kept these sleeves loose and decreased 1/3 of the stitches before knitting a short ribbed cuff. I’m undecided but open-minded about this feature.

I’m a little skeptical about how Palette will wear over time, but my Freesia Shawl is my most frequently worn shawl (or hand knitted thing, period), and it’s aged pretty well the last two years. Certainly, it looks worn, but it hasn’t pilled like crazy. That said, it’s just a shawl. I’m expecting a sweater to pill. But, at this point, I’d rather put this yarn to good use, even if it ends up looking a little shabby with wear.

FO: Babies Sophisticate

Babies Sophisticate
Pattern: Baby & Child Sophisticate
Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Worsted Weight (left: Evergreen, Avocado; right: Indigo Heather, Seraphim)
View My Ravelry Project #1 / View My Ravelry Project #2

Baby Sophisticate is a fun, quick pattern. I chose it because I wanted a cute, mostly stockinette cardigan in a variety of sizes that I could customize with mosaic knitting. I used the charts from the Rusted Roof Shawl and Walk in the Woods.

In addition to the obvious addition of mosaic knitting, I also cast on two additional stitches, which I used for a slip stitch edge while working the garments. I then picked up the collar stitches from the slip stitch and cast on edges at a ratio of 1:1, because I’m a #lazyknitter and instructions like “pick up 1 sts for each garter stitch ridge, 3 sts for every 4 rows along sweater sides and 1 st for each cast on st around left edge” make me cringe. I’m happy with how both collars turned out.

If I did this again (and I might), I’d probably play around with the mosaic patterns a bit more. For the green version in particular, I should have added a stitch at the center back so that the fronts would be even. I also could have removed one mosaic repeat in favor of longer horizontal stripes in the front. I don’t totally love the way the fronts look on the green Sophisticate. But on the whole, I’m pleased with how these turned out.

Baby Knits for June

I’m not entirely sure what I was thinking, nor do I think this is even necessarily possible, but I’ve decided to set aside my personal knitting this month in order to focus on baby knits. Because there are several patterns I’ve wanted to knit for awhile, and my boyfriend’s sister is due towards the end of June. In theory, I’ll finish those two WIPs pictured above and transform all of that yarn into sweaters and maybe a diaper cover. Plus a cardigan sized to fit a four-year-old.

On one hand, it seems a little too ambitious. I work 46 hours a week, and I don’t have an abundance of spare time. On the other hand, I can usually finish a three to six-month sweater in about two days, if I don’t have any major distractions. But I’m also going camping for six days later this month, which will provide me with lots of free time while simultaneously diverting some of my attention away from my usual activities. (I’ll be without my bicycle for six days!)

Baby Knits for June

But rather than thinking about what I could accomplish or typing about what I’d like to do, I should probably just be knitting. (And in fact, I’ve completed half of this sleeve while not so carefully considering my words for this post.)

WIP Summary: May 2017

Find Your Fade
Pattern: Find Your Fade
Yarn: Madelinetosh Euro Sock (Antler, Havana [Minimal / Optic], Crudo, Burnished)

If I had to pick a “WIP of the month,” it would probably be my Find Your Fade. I’ve been chipping away at this very consistently since I cast on and, on Monday, while I sat on a lawn chair at an annual Memorial Day party, I finally reached the point in the pattern where the increases and decreases cancel each other out (Section Seven). I’m on my fourth color of six and seem to be at approximately the halfway point.

Gull Island
Pattern: Gull Island
Yarn: Mirasol Yarn Llama Una (Black Dahlia)

Gull Island was my second most-worked-on project this month, however it’s still just 3/4 of a sleeve and most of a body. I’m still have one or two inches left on the body before I set it aside to finish the sleeves and join all of my stockinette tubes. I would like to see this project finished before the end of June, but I’m not sure how serious I am about this goal.

Pattern: Coloring
Yarn: West Yorkshire Spinners Wensleydale Gems DK (Jet)

This is probably the project I’m most in need of, but I worked on it the least this month. I keep switching between knitting the sleeves two-at-a-time and working them separately, unable to decide which method I prefer for this particular project. (I generally prefer knitting sleeves simultaneously.) Despite my indecision, I somehow managed to half-complete both sleeves, and I’m hoping to buckle down and put a big dent in this project next month. I suspect I won’t be finished with it by the end of June.

Baby Sophisticate
Pattern: Baby & Child Sophisticate
Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Worsted Weight (Indigo Heather, Seraphim)

I cast on this little three-month-sized cardigan yesterday afternoon. My boyfriend’s sister is due next month, and I’ve been squeezing in baby sweaters throughout May. (Hence the slow progress on my own sweaters.) I actually knit two Flax sweaters this month — both of which still require finishing — as well as a Miel cardigan. This Baby Sophisticate has some mosaic work on the back, but I don’t love it. More on that in a later post.

Seasmoke is still languishing on my needles. It’s ignored, but not entirely forgotten. Instead of working on it this month, I impulsively cast on a Cameo Flower shawl, which I’ve enjoyed working on. Currently, I only work on it on Saturdays, and only on the foul-weather Saturdays, so it too has recently come to a bit of a standstill, but I might move this into my at-home rotation in order to get it off my needles.

#stEEkal: Prompt #3: Snip Your Knits

So, this morning I snipped my swatches. I reinforced all of the soon-to-be edges with a fingering weight 100% wool yarn that was hanging out in my stash, and then I picked up my scissors and cut into my knitting. It was all rather straightforward and easy and not at all the anxiety-filled moment I thought it might be. Either I reinforced my stitches correctly, or I didn’t. Either my swatches would unravel, or they wouldn’t.

They didn’t.

#stEEkal - Steeked Swatches

I am, however, not entirely convinced that I did it correctly, because the entire process seemed too simple. Surely, it can not be that easy. I must have done something wrong. Except my swatches are intact. I tug on them, and everything (more or less) stays in place.

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This is the first of the two hand sewn swatches. I reviewed this tutorial before I got started. The steek stitches were knit in a checkerboard pattern, and I sewed down the center of the fourth and fifth stitches. I also cut between these stitches. Of the three swatches, the edges on this swatch seem least stable. The cut stitches seem like they could come loose quite easily. I do, however, like that the edges look neat.

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This is the second hand sewn swatch. This time, I reinforced the center of the third and sixth stitches while cutting between the fourth and fifth. The steek stitches were also knit in vertical stripes. I definitely prefer the vertical stripes, which were easier to see when I was sewing the back stitch. Initially, I didn’t think I liked the excess yarn ends, which result from moving the reinforced stitches further away from the cut line, but the edges seem more stable.

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Finally, here’s my swatch that uses the crocheted reinforcement, which follows Kate Davies’ tutorial. This would probably be the easiest of the two methods, except that I have two left hands once you put a crochet hook in one of them. The cut edges are definitely stretchiest using this approach, but I wonder what all of that stretch means for the snipped stitches over time.

I think I’m going to explore Kate Davies’ steek sandwich as a way of further reinforcing and hiding the cut edges. The Fusion cardigan — my end goal — has picked-up front button bands, but the steek sandwich could be too bulky for that application. I definitely have some more experimenting and swatching to do before I cast on for Fusion.

#stEEkal: Prompt #2: Preop

I finished knitting my #stEEkal swatches on Saturday afternoon. Since I work all day on Monday, I’ll be doing the reinforcement and snipping my knits on Tuesday, but here are my “preop” swatches.

The top left swatch uses the Fusion chart minus one background color. It has eight steek stitches, which are knitted in a checkerboard pattern. I’m planning to reinforce the edge stitches using the sewn method, since that’s what the Fusion pattern calls for. I’m planning to do the sewing by hand.

The bottom right uses a chart I made in Google Sheets moments before I began knitting the swatch. As I’m planning to try the crochet method of reinforcement, this swatch has five steek stitches.

The third swatch is also a chart I threw together in Google Sheets. It has eight steek stitches knitted in vertical stripes. I will again hand sew the fabric to reinforce the steeked edges. I made this swatch to see if there’s a difference between knitting the steek stitches in a checkerboard pattern vs. stripes.