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.)

Advertisements

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.

WIP Summary: March 2017

Meadow Road
Pattern: Meadow Road
Yarn: Malabrigo Yarn Arroyo (Black)

I’ve finally taken a picture of my Meadow Road pullover. I divided for the front and back on Wednesday night, and I’ve actually knit a couple of inches of the back since taking this photograph. I’m really looking forward to this wearing this sweater this spring. I have a large-ish pile of black Arroyo that I’ve accumulated over several 3-4 hank purchases, and I haven’t been paying much attention to the dye lots, and I already noticed that I have some mixing going on. It’s pretty subtle. I shrugged my shoulders when I saw it. Kind of funny to think that I’m a perfectionist in many other parts of my life, but not in my knitting?

Pathway
Pattern: Pathway
Yarn: Cascade 220 (Christmas Red)

Last scarf. Stay focused. That’s what I keep telling myself. I’m knitting this as a favor to the mister’s step-mother, and I kinda-sorta have a deadline. It’s actually knitting up quickly since the rows are short, but I might not definitely won’t finish by next week. The cable looks nice, but I can’t wait to block this project, because I think it’ll look even nicer once the fabric lies flat. I’m hoping that the columns of purl stitches also stand out more after blocking, because, right now, it’s difficult to see that the cable and textured panel are flanked by two columns of stockinette.


And I’m still working on my second Seasmoke shawl. This is my weekend project, which doesn’t always get attention on the weekends. It’s progressing slowly, but I’ve decided that I’m not in a rush.

FO: Grettir

Grettir
Pattern: Grettir
Yarn: Ístex Léttlopi (1407, 9421, 9426, 0867)
View My Ravelry Project

I finally bound off Grettir on Monday night. The moment was perhaps robbed of its usual excitement, because I had gotten home at 22:30 and I was tired (and hungry), but I’m very satisfied with the completed project. Although I think that I’ll take a break from knitting Icelandic-style sweaters for awhile…

When I picked the colors for this project, I had woods and lichen and the hiking we do in the Catskills on my mind, and I think the color scheme works well with this pattern. There were moments when I wasn’t sure whether the dark green and brown or two greens would be contrasty enough, but once I started knitting the yoke, I realized that all of the colors work together. As with the Riddari yoke, now that I’ve knit this, I see even more color combination possibilities, and I think it would be fun to work in additional shades of greens and golds. Why stop at four colors?

Grettir

I made very few changes to this pattern, and the ones I did make were minor. I skipped the tubular cast ons and sewn bind off, because #lazyknitter. Instead I went with my usual stretchy cast on and bind off. I knitted extra long cuffs, because I like the look of folded cuffs. I skipped the waist shaping, because I don’t really care about having a “feminine shape” on the sweaters I wear with lots of layers in the winter. I went with a plain, ribbed collar, because that’s what I like.

As far as Things I Would Do Differently (And Other Small Quibbles), I think the sleeves could be longer. When I measured the length of the sleeves, I measured them with a folded cuff, so I added almost 2″ to the length spec’ed in the pattern (assuming I wear the cuffs unfolded), but I could have knit at least another inch of stockinette. When they’re cuffed, the sleeves stop just above my wrist, which is a little bit too short for my tastes.

Grettir

Additionally, I have a smallish frame, and the yoke is definitely too deep for me. As I move around in it, the fabric stops lying flat across my chest. I was aware of this situation before I started knitting, because the Grettir chart has more rounds than my final Riddari chart, which, even after I reduced the number of rows in the yoke, is also a little bit too deep. By contrast, both of my Strokkur sweaters have a yoke depth that’s more appropriate for my body and, as a result, they don’t bunch or gather. (The only solution I’ve found is to periodically pull down the front of my sweater, but if you have better advice, please do share.)

This fit issue is not, however, a show-stopper for me, so I proceeded with the Grettir pattern. I still wear my Riddari regularly, and I’ll likely end up wearing this sweater frequently too. (My black Strokkur gets the most wear, as it’s the closest thing I have to a black lopapeysa and, in the final analysis, I will still always prefer to wear all black.) My wardrobe preferences gravitate much more towards the practical, with warmth and layer-ability taking the lead. If I can comfortably bicycle 20-miles in it in the winter, it’s a keeper and funny fit be damed.

And on that note, it’s 40°F outside and dropping: time to take this sweater on its inaugural bike ride to work!