When I have time

When I have time to knit, these days, little things are often best. Finishing something up quickly feels like progress even when it really was just a couple of rows per evening.

The toddler socks were finished at knitting camp this summer.

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I ended up using leftovers from three different skeins of yarn. Once again I’m left thinking there’s no good way to keep socks on this child’s feet. These are not too tight in the leg, the instep (which I knit higher than usual) or the foot. Yet somehow they slip down any time she’s wearing them. She has very chunky feet, I might just have to wait a few years…

As if those weren’t speedy enough, I knit a coffee cup cozy next.

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And I’m wondering what would happen if EVERYONE got one for Christmas this year. So quick, and so satisfying.

WIP: Meristem

That’s not a typo- I actually have another meristem vest in progress right now just for me! The sample I knit for Twist is a 34″. Which isn’t a great look, since I really think this garment needs a hint of positive ease, see what I mean?

meristem me

So I’m knitting another one for me. And I’m making some changes (don’t look so shocked.) first, the yoke is knit in two colors, with the cables in some handspun from the deep stash.

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That coral/pink/sherbert is my handspun, the other yarns are cascade 220 sport (gray/brown) and Elisabeth Lavold silky wool (dusty rose). Both are functionally sport weight yarns, which tells you my second change: gauge. If you want to know all the tricks for working this chart in two colors please check out my Ravelry notes. The process is a bit complex…

Cabled yoke for my very own meristem vest!

But once I got past that yoke the garment has been smooth sailing. I’m knitting the 40″ size and hoping the vest will be around 38″ because of the difference in gauge. Will my plan work out? Will I have enough yardage?? Stay tuned…

Meet Meristem

My latest pattern was published yesterday in the 7th anniversary edition of Twist Collective. Meristem is a tunic length vest designed with casual elegance in mind. It is a simple, cozy garment perfect for the transition to autumnal weather. The front yoke features a slipped branching cable pattern. You can favorite and queue Meristem on Ravelry. You can also see more pattern details, over at Twist Collective.


(thanks to Crissy Jarvis for the lovely photos!)

The yoke of the vest is knit sideways, with stitches picked up along the bottom edges and knit down for the body. The cables look simple enough, but I went through more than a few swatches to get them figured out! The cable over garter stitch looked so good in my submission swatch, I was sure that with the stitch definition of Valley DK it’d be a breeze. But once I had the yarn in hand I couldn’t get the cables to stand out the way I expected in my first swatch. So I tried twisted stitches (looked lumpy). I slipped the cables on the WS rows (too elongated). I was preparing myself for an awkward email to the editor saying the chosen yarn wouldn’t work – then I tried one more thing. I blocked my swatches.

And you know what? That made the initial swatch (from my very first try) look gorgeous. Lesson relearned yet again. Always block your swatch.

Like many (most) knitters out there I remember when the first issue of Twist was unveiled. I remember because there was nothing else like it at the time. And it was gorgeous. I’ve been lucky to work with Twist on several other occasions (Verbena, Trefoil, and Cambridge Cables) and every time I have loved the experience.

The Twist Collective team includes wonderful photographers, brilliant technical editors, and people behind the scenes making all those pretty PDFs and magazine pages. I hope you’ll take a moment to click through a few ads and support the people who support Twist. And of course please buy a pattern or two ;-)

in progress

I’ve been at a conference all week. It’s wreaking havoc with my schedule, but I have gotten a lot of knitting done:

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That’s an almost complete pair of toddler socks. An almost complete boot topper design. And an almost complete toddler sweater. Notice the “almost complete” everything needs ends woven in and a good round of blocking. The toddler sweater still needs one quarter more cable edging knit. I love cables and I’m still so done with this edging…

The socks are just scrappy little things that have been my glove-box project for months now. They’ve actually been in progress so long that her feet grew. I made the second one with a longer foot than the first, then ripped out the toe on the original and made it to match.

The boot toppers are a quick knit using up some leftover Fleece Artist BFL that I adore. This pattern will (with any luck) be out in the fall. I need some photography. And some layout time. Oh yeah, right, that…

And the sweater is Camden. Poor, long neglected Camden is almost done! Pretty sure I’m knitting the 2T size – and also pretty sure it’s bigger than all the 2T clothes she owns so far. It’ll actually be perfect for growing into this winter.

crafty

We held a silent auction at work as part of an ongoing fundraiser. The organizers asked us to bring in things we crafted – we have a lot of talented people in my workplace! These were my contributions:

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It’s a lavender neck and eye pillow. You can freeze them, or heat them up in the microwave for aromatherapy and relaxation. The lavender is mixed with jasmine rice. If you’ve never tried this, rice makes an excellent hot pack. It forms to your body and holds heat well.

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And I also did a little acrylic dandelion painting. On slate, because I just think these make cool wall hangings. I’ve got a few around my house as well.

slate painting

My theory on silent auctions (and secret santa/yankee swap types of occasions) is that whatever I bring should be something I’m happy to take home again. If I love it that much, then I know others will too!

Access denied

Why does this chicken look so cranky?

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Because access to her favorite hang-out has been revoked. We had a new porch built last fall (but I should note: not sided or roofed…) And ever since the decking has been the chickens’ favorite spot to stand around. And poop.

We finally got the siding hung up this weekend! And then we made a gate.

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And the day after the poor birds spent a surprising amount of time standing on the stoop, looking confused.

They’re free range birds. The could go literally anywhere else. I refuse to feel badly for not letting them poop on the porch.

Winnie’s Vest

After a bit of an unexpected hiatus I’m super-excited to share Winnie’s Vest with you all!

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The pattern is available in sizes ranging from newborn to childs’ size 8! Windsor is wearing the 12 month size in these photos, but she’s still wearing the vest now, at 21 months. Vests are a versatile children’s garment.

You can find the pattern details and yarn requirements on ravelry. The PDF is available there, or right here:

winnie preview

This vest is knit up in knitpicks wool of the andes – the superwash version. I don’t often work with superwash, but I bought this yarn specifically to make this vest and I have to say it’s pretty amazing stuff. She wore this vest all winter long, still wears it on cool summer days, and it still looks pretty much brand new. Well, it would if I blocked it once in awhile… But what I’m trying to say is the fabric hasn’t pilled at all, and holding up to the rough and tumble play of a toddler is EXACTLY what I needed from this yarn.

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Seriously, I don’t mind handwashing her stuff, but when it wears out unexpectedly fast I get sad…

What can I say about this vest? I started the project almost a year ago, back in August. Windsor was still just a crawling baby then and I wasn’t getting a lot of knitting time. It went into hibernation a couple of times and I finally finished it in December but didn’t want her to wear it until we’d had our photo shoot. Which didn’t happen until February. But after that she loved it, she’d actually dig it out of her bin of clothes and ask to wear the “sweawer” (that’s toddler-speak for sweater).

Winnie hero

wee Cria

I finish my little cotton wee cria!

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This is and adorable sweater with just a hint of twee. I went with some colorful, fun buttons to contrast with the natural cotton and silver garter stitch, and I think they make the project pop, like fancy icing on an adorable little cupcake.

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The pattern is a fun, smartly designed sweater with no seaming and very intriguing construction. In spite of being a simple looking little sweater this design is fun to knit – all without being too challenging*

cotton sweater unbuttoned

I do want to revisit the SilverSpun cotton yarn I reviewed last month. Now that I’ve finished the design I specifically wanted to address the issue of shrinkage. The good folks at SilverSpun are very up front about the fact that cotton shrinks. And if you know anything about fibers (or wear cotton clothing at all) you shouldn’t really be surprised. But it does take a few adjustments.

They recommend swatching before you begin knitting, and washing your swatch as you plan to wash your final garment. This is 100% the right answer and the correct thing to do.

It’s also NOT what I did. But then I like to live dangerously. (Hey, if I ruin a sweater, it’s still good blog content, right?) I swatched and was getting slightly fewer stitches to the inch then the gauge recommended. I figured that would help with the shrinkage. But since cotton shrinks more in length than width I also took the precaution of knitting the “knit even” parts of this pattern for a couple of extra rows.

cotton sweater folded

The finished baby sweater before blocking measured 8.5 inches from shoulder to hem and 9.5 inches across at the bottom hem (so 19″ circumference, I’m just measuring straight across because I’m lazy). Now I plan on giving this adorable tiny baby sweater to the mom of an impending adorable tiny human. And new moms aren’t really interested in hand-wash garments. So I figured I’d better put this sweater through the wringer. Well, not literally, because no one uses those for washing clothes anymore. But I did put it through the washing machine and dryer using my normal laundry settings. Once out it was pretty crumpled so I did a gentle steam blocking** to help it lay flat. After all that it measures 7.5 inches from shoulder to hem and 8.5 inches across.

So yeah, it shrinks. But it’s shrinking very predictably. And the yarn is still very stretchy, I have no doubt that it’d make lovely socks. They wouldn’t get lazy and slouchy at all. And if you knit them just a touch long that would account for any actual shrinkage. If that seems like a lot of planning keep in mind I could name 2 or 3 superwash wool sock yarns with the same problem…

*If I want a challenge I’ll start one of the bajillions of designs I want to actually knit someday…
**in other words, I ironed it folded between two towels. Cotton does like being ironed!

More Snippets

I like to keep in touch with my designs once they’ve been released, each takes on a life of it’s own and I love to see how knitters interpret the pattern with their own yarn, ideas, and modifications.

My Snippet Scarf has really taken off (in spite of being a very simple pattern) And this is why I chose it as the first pattern to be re-released in my new layout!

Snippet preview

It’s a free download, so please check it out. All my forthcoming indie designs will use this layout. And as I have time I might go back and reformat some of the old ones (you know how much “free time” I have these days.)

I should not be surprised it’s such a favorite for so many knitters. I knew it was an addictive pattern because I knit two of them – and I rarely ever re-knit a pattern! Some lovely knitters out there have far surpassed me, knitting 4, 6, or more of these cozy scrap-busters. I wanted to take a chance to show you a few:

This is Lori’s 5th snippet scarf – her Scraps o’ yarn #5 project on Ravelry. She made it a bit shorter than the pattern calls for, because variety is good.

Ibeckste's scarf

TJ actually knit this scarf first, then found my pattern – but I don’t mind. Her gorgeously coordinated yarns came in a scrap bag. Which is a great way to knit up this scarf without having to worry about colors and fiber types.

TJ's scarf

Finally Laura knit her Tropical Punch scarf out of handspun! I love handspun yarns, they’re such a special treat to work with.

Laura's scarf

The simple garter stitch and loooong rows in Snippet mean that it handles colorful handspun yarn or those brightly multicolored yarns easily. No pooling and the colors blend happily. I used my very first handspun – all knobby, over twisted, and uneven – in my first Snippet scarf. I think this design would also be perfect to feature those more unique handspun yarns with beehives, slubs, and even art yarns with flowers or googly eyes spun into them…

What would your Snippet look like?

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Nothing to see here

Been busy around here! Neil and I celebrated our 10th anniversary, not this past weekend but the one before. If your on instagram you saw me taking photos of skyscrapers. We managed a dorky Boston selfie too:

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When we got back to vermont I bought a car! I’ve been joking that would be my present when Neil graduated… And it turns out I miss the fuel efficient diesel jetta that I drove for years and years. So I got another:

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Except this one is 13 years newer than the one I finally gave up last January…

In related news, know anyone looking to buy a reliable toyota corolla? It’s just not my style.

All that has left me very little time for crafting. The closest I’ve come in the last week is two rolled and tacked hems and a couple of kam snaps:

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In case you have no idea what that is, it’s a dolly diaper. Yup:

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