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

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.)

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.

#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.

#stEEkal: Prompt #1: Swatch n’ Steek

One of the things I want to do this year is to learn to steek, with my goal being to knit the Fusion cardigan by Elizabeth McCarten. And conveniently, Shannon Cook, Caitlin Hunter, and Drea Renee are hosting a steek-along.

I was at work the day that the KAL was announced, so I’m posting this a few days late, but here’s a picture of the yarn I’m using to knit my swatch, along with my scissors. I dug into my stash and pulled out some leftover Knit Picks Wool of the Andes and Valley Yarns Northampton, which I’ll use to knit the Fusion chart. The pattern actually calls for sport-weight yarn, but for the purposes of learning, I’ve decided to go with worsted.

The other thing worth noting is that while I’d love to learn the crochet method of steeking, Fusion calls for the sewn method, and I’ll be sticking closely to the pattern and knitting eight steek stitches. I’m also curious about whether there’s a difference between knitting a checkerboard or striped pattern in the steek stitches, so I might knit a few swatches.