Tag Archives: knitting

Blueberry

I love this sweater so, so much. I’m giving it a post of its own! This is my blueberry sweater (on ravelry for more photos). The pattern is Bluegold, the January sweater from Cast Iron, Cast On. This pattern was inspired by the coziness of winter and the pretty latticework on fancy blueberry pie*. This is not the only book sample which I knit in my own size. But for some reason it’s totally my favorite.

blueberry gaze

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve loved this book sample to pieces. I wore it almost constantly while pregnant. A cardigan is probably the best maternity sweater out there. The fabric has pilled a bit, but the superwash DK yarn from Periwinkle Sheep is brilliantly strong as well as holding those deep, saturated colors so perfectly. The biggest tragedy was the hole in the shoulder – pretty sure we have one of my cats to thank for that.

So before giving this sweater a photo shoot of its own I wanted to patch that up. I was thinking about the duplicate stitch darning I’ve seen tutorials for. But since this hole is in the knit/purl pattern I just didn’t have the mental energy to figure out how that would work. Instead I made up a system as I went. I started by putting in a framework:

foundation

Then I wrapped the yarn around that first strand – so that the working yarn is like a coiled spring that runs through the live stitches at the bottom and around the first rung.

The next set of coils went around the second rung and through the tops of the first coils. The final row goes through the live stitches at the top and the coils of the row below. It’s a patchwork job. But this coiled yarn maintains the stretchiness of the lattice work pattern in way that a traditional darning job wouldn’t. And (while being hard to describe) was easy to accomplish.

patching up

And then I took some new photos

blueberry back

So soft, so lovely!

blueberry texture

And that patch job? It doesn’t look half bad either!

blueberry patch

*Note that the recipe in this chapter ended up being a blueberry jam cobbler – no lattice pastry required. Sometimes the recipes evolved beyond the inspiration of the pattern. That’s the organic nature of our book writing process.

Roam again

I’ve picked up a long term work in progress. This is my Roam tunic, which I cast on back in 2012, and it’s been hibernating for THREE YEARS.

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When I started this, I didn’t want a sweater dress – so I made it shorter. I planned to make it either a vest or maybe a long sleeve sweater. I changed the gauge and took the pocket off. I knit the whole back, and the front up to the waist. Then I ran out of steam.

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But that’s actually a lot of knitting already done! I finished the front within the first five days of picking the project back up. I had a slight hiccup: I started the arms an inch and a half too early and had to frog it all back.

But I still haven’t slowed down. The cowl is half done, I’m making it longer and using garter rib for the second half to make it more cowl-y and less turtleneck-y.

roam in progress

The only other mod? Well, I’ve decided I need another sweater dress. So I took scissors to my knitting. I snipped a strand just above the ribbing, unraveled a row, and put the live stitches onto a holder. Once I finish the cowl and sleeves I’m going to knit enough ribbing to make this vest back into a dress again.

Does it count as indecision if I change my mind over the course of 3 years?

Gift wrap up

I never did a GAL wrap up after the holidays, mostly because I had a serious case of camnesia and forgot to take pictures of a lot of things. But let’s see what I can scrounge up.

I knit two of these Snowshoe hats for my two nephews. This is the smaller one, modeled by Windsor – and it doesn’t fit her very well…

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It’s a cute hat with a LOT of stretch (thanks to that gorgeous cable knot) I’ve always wanted to design a garment where 90% of the shaping comes from some kind of stretchy cable. Someday I’ll find the time for that…

I also knit Windsor a Puddle Duck sweater. Which she loves. Actually, she loves anything with pockets. The only thing better than pockets are pockets AND a hood.

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See? More badly lit cell phone photos. Aren’t you glad I’m not trying to photograph any designs right now? Winter is such a hard season for any kind of photography…

I also finally wrapped up the little Colin sweater that I’m knitting for a co-workers first baby. She doesn’t know if she’s having a boy or a girl, so she gets a red sweater:

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And I have actually, finally, finished this sweater. It’s blocking downstairs. We’ll see if I manage to get a final photo of it before I wrap it up and give it away. It’s more of a 9 month size. Which means I almost put it on my littler nephew for a photo. But that didn’t seem fair, since it’s not really for him…

And now that January is upon us I’ve fully embraced selfish knitting month. I dug a half-finished sweater dress out of deep hibernation and I can’t wait to finish it up. I’ve got three sweater dresses in rotation right now but I want more. More! Good thing this WIP is 3.75sts per inch. It’s knitting up FAST. Stay tuned!

January KAL

I have a January book KAL coming up and I’m hoping you’ll join in! January is a cold month (duh) and since it comes after all that gift-knitting in December it’s also an excellent time to start a new project just for yourself. May I suggest the Bluegold cardi from my book?

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Bluegold is knit up in Periwinkle Sheep’s Merino DK yarn. This is a scrumptious high-twist merino. The plies of the yarn make it the hardest wearing super-wash yarn I’ve knit with. I lived in the book sample of this sweater for two winters after it was finished and it still looks really good. Even better? Karin is offering kits on sale for the whole month of January! Head over to her Etsy shop and you can pick up yarn in one of three colors for 15% off:

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Check out the Ravelry page for Bluegold to figure out how many skeins you need for your size. Or check the book, unless you’re still waiting for Amazon to deliver it ;-)

The KAL will start January 1st and run (officially) through Feb 15th. But of course I’ll be around the Ravelry group long, long after that for anyone who has questions later on! I’ll be posting prizes and ways to enter next week. So please join in!

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Meristem

Remember waaay back in August when I was knitting a second of my Meristem pattern? I probably finished the knitting in September? I don’t remember exactly. I even got the ends woven in. But then is sat. And sat and sat and sat. I really don’t know why it sat for MONTHS waiting for me to sew the shoulder seams. When I finally got around to it, it took about 10 minutes.

meristem yoke

Rather crazily, over those months, I dropped a garment size. And I’d been knitting this vest with positive ease already. What to do? Instead of giving up on it, I decided to block the crap out of it and see what I could do. Instead of blocking it flat I blocked it by hanging it upside down – the goal was to stretch out the body. Essentially I blocked it to throw the row to stitch ratio all off and make the garment longer and narrower.

meristem side

And it worked! Well, pretty much. This vest is still a bit loose at the edges. Mostly the underarms, but honestly also the garter stitch hem is mis-sized compared to the body now.

meristem whole

Not too much, but if you’re looking you can see it.

Luckily somewhere over the fall I decided I needed more sweater dresses. So adding this one to my collection is a pleasant surprise.

meristem back

The biggest problem is the static. The trim is handspun, but the body is silky wool – and apparently this fiber blend is static-prone? I didn’t know, until now. And the dress could probably benefit a LOT from a slip (especially over my microfiber leggings) except that my slip is too long.

meristem perched

But still, I finished this weeks ago. But it was late fall, or early winter, and I couldn’t take photos because it was dark. Until this week I finally took my camera with me to work. And the remote, the sweater dress, and I, we had a little photo shoot in the freezing fog.

meristem fog

I’m so glad to finally be able to share! Obviously, there have been some (ahem) changes to the pattern. The two color yoke is the biggest, and I love it. The length is different, but if I were doing this again I’d actually add rows, not just block it all wonky. Details, detail…

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Here’s my second finished gift-along project of the season! It’s the Laura cowl by Jennifer Dassau.

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This is a snug little cowl perfect for wearing under your coat collar and keeping the wind out.

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It’s also perfect for using up small amounts of magical yarn. This one took just two skeins of Road to China aran weight. The yarn is an amazing blend (65% Baby Alpaca, 15% Silk, 10% Camel, 10% Cashmere) and I only had 150 yards in this color. I think my cowl is a tad longer than the pattern calls for because I just kept knitting until I ran out of yarn.

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I highly recommend both the yarn and the pattern. I love them as a combo too, since I got the yarn from last winter’s retreat and I met Jennifer there too!

Next up I’m knitting this slip stitch beanie. And the pattern is really doing brilliant things with my colorful and variegated yarn. I might need to try this stitch pattern again with other yarns…

GAL Ideas

This is the third year for the Indie Designers Gift-Along – I’m quite good at keeping track because it’s also the THIRD holiday season I’ve been a mom. Yup, I didn’t participate the first year because I was busy nursing a six week old. Last year I had barely any knitting time since my one year old wasn’t sleeping in her own room yet, and I stuck to knitting accessories and quick gifts.

This year my knitting time is starting to rebound! But I’m still knitting small things: toddler mittens, cowls, boot toppers. I have a list, but the projects on it are still nothing big. So for this post I want to dream about the big things that I WISH I was making! Remember, all these patterns are 25% off until the end of today!

Like Carol Sunday’s Milkweed Capelet

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I almost linked Shakespeare in Love again, but seriously – I know I featured it last year too… Carol’s designs are gorgeous, sculptural things. And I so SO wish I had time to knit one of them this year.

Want more cables? What about Julia Trice’s Elia?

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I love that neckline! Julia has used it on a couple of sweaters and someday I WILL knit one!

If lace is more your thing, I’m also in love with the neckline on Ruth’s Echoes of Winter pullover:

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That’s another style that I’m dying to try…

If this seems like too many sweaters I’m also eyeing Alicia Plummer’s 11pm cowl (scarf, thingy)

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Clearly I’m on a sculptural cables kick today, huh?

If you’re waiting for some colorwork, I’ve loved the Wild Flower caplet by Jennifer Thompson since the day it was published:

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So much gorgeous knitting, so little time. Please stop by the Gift Along group sometime before the end of the year! We’re getting a lot of knitting done, and having a lot of fun doing it!

Gift Along FO

Like many other designers I use the gift along as a great excuse to kick back and knit other people’s stuff for awhile. The first project off my needles this season is for Windsor. The silly girl LOVES mittens this year. Which means she’s wearing them everywhere, and then taking them off and leaving them everywhere. The solution to the lost-mitten-crisis of 2015 is clearly a set of them with icord ties:

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These adorable little things are from CJ’s Garter Cuff Mittens by Denise Balvanz, except with icord. I knit them traveling home from a conference last week. I’d thrown the yarn and needles into my bag figuring I’d find a pattern later. I was able to search Ravelry and download the pattern to my phone while sitting at a short layover. Have I mentioned I love living in the future sometimes?

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I followed the pattern exactly as written, except for how I didn’t (you know me) instead of a standard cast on I knit some icord first, and then picked up stitches from there to make the cuff. My only other change was that the mittens are about 4 stitches smaller than the smallest size, because Windsor’s hands are so wee.

She loves these mittens. And I’m either pinning them to her coat cuffs, or sewing them on. Whatever it takes…

Interview: Triona Murphy

Every year around the Indie Gift-Along I like to do some GAL inspired features. I’ll talk about some GAL patterns I love and GAL designers who inspire me. Today I’ve got an interview with Triona!

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Welcome! I’m excited to be interviewing you for the indie gift-along! First can you tell my readers a little about yourself:

Where do you find inspiration for your designs?

I’m always on the lookout for things to inspire my designs! I’m an incorrigible Kinnearer (see the Yarn Harlot’s extremely informative post for an explanation of the term). Sometimes I think I wouldn’t design anything without my trusty iPhone. I take pictures of interesting clothing and accessories, architectural features, nature, fences, rugs, and lots more.

How did you first get started designing?

I bought a sweater in Paris because it was freezing there in December. While I wore it a lot after I got home, there were all these things I didn’t like about it. It was boxy with no waist shaping, had an unflattering neckline, and the cables were all out of proportion. So I decided to design my own roughly-inspired version. When I posted it to my Ravelry project page, I was really surprised when a whole bunch of people said they would purchase a pattern for that sweater. I had just left my job and had some time on my hands, so I studied every pattern I could get my hands on and then gave it a shot. That sweater (Chandail) is still my most popular pattern to date!

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What’s your favorite thing to knit? (either for designs, or on your own)

I love knitting hats, especially in worsted weight. They’re the perfect vehicle for messing around with new stitch patterns, and they’re always done before I have time to get tired of the pattern.

What do you do in your down time?

I’ve been working on writing sci-fi novels for children and young adults for a number of years now. I’m hoping to get published someday!

 

Now about this GAL thing:

How many years have you been in the GAL? When/how did you first hear about it?

This is my third year participating in the Gift-A-Long. I loved the concept right from the beginning. Now it’s when I give myself permission to knit patterns from other designers, so it’s rapidly becoming one of my favorite times of the year.

Pick one of your own designs that you think makes the perfect gift and tell us why you think that.

I just released a new hat pattern last week, Land Under Wave, that I think is perfect for gifts. Since it’s knit in worsted-weight yarn, it can be worked up in just a few evenings.

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Name one thing you hope to finish during the gift-along. Or, if you’re not knitting gifts this year, what’s one other designer’s pattern you WISH you were knitting?

I’m going to knit myself a pair of cute cabled fingerless mitts for sure. If I have time, I’m hoping to find a small steeking project—I’ve never tried steeking before, and this seems like a good opportunity!

Gift along 2015

I’ll be participating in the Indie Designer’s Gift Along again this year, and it starts this evening!

If you haven’t heard about this before it’s a group of indie designers (over 300 this year!) who band together to offer you a brilliant pattern sale right before the holidays. All participating patterns will be 25% off from tonight at 8pm until November 27th at midnight (Eastern time).

Along with the two week sale, and continuing until the end of December, we have a group knit along, fabulous prizes, and support for everyone during the holiday knitting rush.

My Bundle of sale patterns is on ravelry and I hope you’ll check it out. I included eight patterns and tried for a broad sampling from the very new:

Kinsman
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To the very old:
La Moelle
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The popular:
Clarina Irene
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And the hidden gem:
November Guest
November Guest draped