FO: Miel

Miel
Pattern: Miel
Yarn: Valley Yarns Northfield Hand Dyed by the Kangaroo Dyer (Lupine)
View My Ravelry Project

I finished knitting my second Miel cardigan on Saturday. In the bright sun, it’s surprisingly difficult to photograph, and the shade is no better. But the sweater is nice, and hopefully purple is still the favorite color of the four-year-old Vivian, who is receiving this on Thursday.

Miel
Miel

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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.

FO: Miel

Miel
Miel
Pattern: Miel
Yarn: Valley Yarns Northfield Hand Dyed by the Kangaroo Dyer (Limoncello)
View My Ravelry Project

My boyfriend’s sister is expecting her second child later this month, so knitting for the tiniest of humans has been back on my radar again. (I knit her first child seven sweaters before she was one.) I have a handful of patterns already picked out, but as soon as I saw Miel in my “Pattern Highlights,” I had to make it, and these two hanks of this Northfield yarn, which had been kicking around my stash for almost two years, seemed well suited for the pattern.

The day I cast on, I knitted to an inch and a half or so past dividing the body and sleeves. It is apparently an astonishingly fast pattern. I can’t decide if it was the combination of yarn and pattern or if I’ve somehow become a fast (English style) knitter, but this cardigan seemed to knit itself. I finished the body in a couple hours over the next two days. The sleeves materialized before me while I played board games and drank beer on Saturday night.

Miel

Not only was this a fast project, it was really enjoyable. The cardigan itself looks impressive, as, in my opinion, cables always do, but it’s also simply a pleasant, intuitive pattern. It’s the type of project you can multitask while working on. You can drink beer. You can play board games with friends. You can wait in line while you knit. You can watch TV and have conversations. And then you look down and see that, instead of needles and yarn, you’re now holding a sweater.

I think I like this yarn too. I’m curious to see how it wears, as some people complained about pilling on Ravelry. I already have plans to knit another — possibly two — in Northfield. We have friends with two young daughters, and I’d like to make their oldest a cardigan in the 4yo size. And I think my boyfriend’s niece will receive one of these when she turns two later this month. And really, that is, I think, one of the signs of a really good pattern: planning the next project before the first is off the needles.

WIP Summary: April 2017

April was kind of a busy month. What with all of the madness at work, I completely forgot that I had made those steek swatches! And it took me two weeks to finally make it over to my LYS to pick up the yarn they special ordered for my Fusion cardi! (And truthfully, I brought it home this past Tuesday and haven’t had a moment to even line the hanks up and confirm that my colorway looks how I pictured it would.)

But I also completed a few projects and — naturally — I started some new ones.

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

This pattern is written for sport-weight yarn, and this West Yorkshire Spinners yarn is supposed to be DK, but it seems more like something that fluctuates between fingering and sport. So I decided to take a chance and cast on a Coloring cardi. This is probably one of those times I should have swatched, but I didn’t. Because I almost never do. So fingers are crossed for this project. Right now, I’m working the sleeves two-at-a-time, then I’ll finish the body. If I have enough yarn left, I’ll probably work a vertical button band.

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

This was the project I had in mind when I purchased the West Yorkshire Spinners yarn, but it’s definitely the wrong weight for this pattern. Since I’m between sizes, I’m knitting one of the sleeves first, and from that I’ll determine my gauge and figure out how many stitches to cast on for the body. The Llama Una is very soft, which makes me worry about pilling, and it also feels light and airy too. The fabric is quite nice, but I do wonder how it’ll wear.

Palmyre
Pattern: Palmyre
Yarn: Madelinetosh Farm Twist (Oeste)

And, because I’m rarely without a quick and easy shawl project, last night I cast on Palmyre with some Farm Twist that I just got in the mail the other day. I’m curious to see how this yarn looks as it turns into shawl.


Seasmoke is also still on my needles (and still unphotographed) but I don’t think I’ve touched it in a month and a half. I’d like to move it back into my active WIP rotation in May. This also reminds me that I have a few 2016 WIPs languishing on my needles — a couple since last July — and I need to make some finish-or-frog decisions.

FO: Meadow Road

Meadow Road
Pattern: Meadow Road
Yarn: Malabrigo Arroyo (Black)
View My Ravelry Project

What a busy month! As a purchaser at a record store, I was swamped at work leading up to Record Store Day, so I wasn’t able to knit as much as I would have liked to this month, but 22 April has come and gone, and I was finally able to complete my Meadow Road pullover on 24 April! My goal was to finish it in time for the spring, and I’ve definitely accomplished that.

According to my Ravelry project page, I started this on 9 January, but I worked on it very sporadically at first. This pullover can definitely be knit in fewer than three months. The center pattern is incredibly intuitive and easy to memorize, and it’s otherwise just lots of stockinette. Lemon squeezy, as they say.

Meadow Road
Meadow Road

Meadow Road is the pattern that made me love twisted ribbing. I really like how it makes those columns of knits and purls so neat and tidy. The hem on the body is only twisted on the knit stitches, but when I worked the cuffs and the neckband, I twisted the purl stitches too.

And speaking of the cuffs and neckband, I made some changes to the original pattern, which called for gathered sleeves and reverse stockinette edging. I omitted both of these. Working the sleeves two-at-a-time, I continued decreasing to what seemed like an appropriate width, and then I added 8 rounds of ribbing before binding off loosely. For the neckband, I picked up either 132 or 134 stitches and again worked 8 rounds of ribbing. I didn’t change my needle size.

I’m very happy with how my Meadow Road turned out. In my experience, Arroyo grows in length and, to a lesser degree, width, and this ended up being the perfect size after blocking. It ends a couple inches below my hip and is has a comfortable / casual fit throughout the body and sleeves.

FO: Carina

Carina
Carina
Pattern: Carina
Yarn: Madelinetosh Tosh Sock (Onyx)
View My Ravelry Project

I finished knitting my Carina pullover last Wednesday, and I wore it all day yesterday. It was a little too warm during my ride home from work last night, since it was 60°F outside, but I think it’ll make a fine spring sweater. And it’s my first black sweater of 2017.

I made a few modifications, both big and small, to the pattern. The small change is that I twisted the stitches on the faux seam-like columns. The big change is that I replaced the garter trims with twisted ribbing and I added a more traditional neck band. I’m really pleased with the results. I really like the way that the twisted rib looks, and I’m glad I finally tracked down a vertical double decrease with twisted stitch for the v-neck.

If I did this again, I could see reworking the neck band in order to make it a little more relaxed, but that’s my only real complaint.

Carina

Of course, I ignored best practice and didn’t alternate skeins while working on this project, which explains the lighter band of color along the midsection of the body. And not only did I not alternate skeins, half of my first hank of Tosh Sock was kinked up, frogged yarn. I think that contributed to the color changes. (The photographs might also exaggerate the differences.)

I’ve noticed that Tosh yarns aren’t usually saturated with dye throughout the entire strand of yarn. The core of the yarn, when cut, often looks natural or only very lightly dyed. My theory is that the yarn plies became disturbed and consequently revealed more of the undyed / lighter colored parts of the yarn after I frogged the previous project. When I reknit the yarn, the fabric was a different shade of black. I started knitting the pullover from the unknit end of the ball, so the neckline and the majority of the raglan-increased fabric is more black. The kinky frogged yarn begins around the last third or quarter of the raglan increases and continues into the body, which is where the fabric becomes less black.

My thoughts on this might be way off. My first hank might have simply been more uneven in color. But I could, in theory, test this by knitting, frogging, and reknitting some large swatches. I could also see if soaking the frogged yarn changes the fabric of the second swatch. But I don’t think I’m that motivated. (I would appreciate it very much if someone else is.)

Ultimately — and probably unsurprisingly — I don’t mind the differences in color. It may not be perfect, but I’m happy with the sweater and I enjoyed wearing it yesterday. At the end of the day, it didn’t matter that I was wearing a pullover knit in mismatched blacks.

FO Revisited: Passing Showers

Passing Showers (April 2016)Last April, I finished knitting my short-sleeved Passing Showers cardigan. At the time, I was quite pleased with it, but, in the last 11 months, I’ve never worn it. As it turns out, I don’t actually like short-sleeved cardigans.

One of the things I want to accomplish this year is the continued assemblage of a functional me-made wardrobe. It’s so very satisfying to pull on something I made. The mister pretends to not understand when I gleefully point out the garments that I knit that we both regularly wear. But he does know the joy and sense of accomplishment that comes with riding a bicycle that he picked the parts for and built by himself. I’m quite certain this is a feeling all makers can relate to.

At this point, I’ve got a lot of winter-weight sweaters. And I’ve got a lot of colorful sweaters — colorful by my standards. But, until recently, I’ve always worn black. The Icelandic sweaters are a lot of color for me. Almost too much. So, along with being a year of wardrobe shaping, I hope 2017 will also be my year of black. Because not only should my me-made clothing fit right, it should look right. And more of it should be black.

This brings me back to the short-sleeved Passing Showers, which has been languishing in a drawer. I wanted a black long-sleeved mid-weight cardigan, and this neglected cardi, knit in sport-weight Malabrigo, was more than halfway there. So I picked out the bind offs and garter trim on the short sleeves and turned it into something more wearable.

And I’m already wearing it. This cardi is perfect for sunny mid-50°Fs weather. Throw a denim jacket over it, and it’s good even on a windy day like today.

Passing Showers (March 2017)

In addition to adding long sleeves, I also added six rows of garter stitch to the edge of the body. When I worked the bind off back in April, I had done a very elastic bind off, and I didn’t like how unstructured the edge was. I also didn’t like that the point where the collar and the body met didn’t look very unified. The two fabrics — the garter stitch collar and the lace edging on the body — behaved differently. The new garter stitch edge fixes all of that. And this time, I worked an Icelandic bind off, which creates a less stretchy and more structured edge.

Pattern: Passing Showers
Yarn: Malabrigo Yarn Arroyo (Black)
View My Ravelry Project


Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get a good photograph of the finished sweater. It was quite windy this morning, and it was impossible to take a picture of the hanging garment.