Instant Satisfaction

I always seem to lean towards complicated knitting patterns – especially for others. Let’s face it though, usually the recipient does not notice that you did Fair Isle, or short rows, or the most complicated lace chart in the world and had to rip it out 4 times before you finished! Ack! Que some projects for me…

I finally dug out my Rowan Lima I had stashed and decided to treat myself! I just finished a cowl and hat combo just for me-me-me. :)

My version of the Purl Ridge Scarf by Stephen West.

And my Awesome Rikke hat!!!

OK I cannot describe how much I freakin’ Love this hat. It is so perfect: casual, unique, soft, warm, lovely. You must make one. Now.

umm… So my birthday was this month and as a present to myself I decided to cast on Katie. Wow, what a lovey pullover. Absolutely loving this:

Beautiful! So simple too… Don’t let the cool patten at the waist fool you, even for a colorwork novice like me, this was cake! Mods: I omitted the YO’s at the raglan (I don’t really like holes in my sweater..), I put a half twist in my rib (as usual) so that it lies flat and pretty. I really love this, and it will definitely get lots of wear.

OK. Now, time to finish all my holiday gifts… Only a couple left to go!

Angry Knitting

Sorry for no posts in awhile. Life has been in the way of knitting lately. I have actually been chugging along with my projects, but unfortunately it seems like my knitting is just angry with me. I also misplaced my camera, and a post without pictures is just, well, sad.

My featherweight cardi is just about done but….

It just seems..not quite right. The front hangs all wrong, and the stitches I picked up for the collar are a little scrunched. I actually bound off the collar far far too tight on the first try. It looked absolutely ridiculous. Thought I would share for a quick laugh.

This is what NOT to do! So, of course, being the perfectionist I am, I ripped out the front and am now using Elizabeth Zimmerman’s sewn bind-off. It is definitely much stretchier, but still just seems a little off to me. I am tempted to frog the whole thing entirely *gasp! So I put it aside and decided to start some new projects for gifting.

My last post included a poll for a sock pattern to make for my grandmother. I was planning to CO for either the lingerie socks or the Fiori di Zucca socks, depending on which matched my gauge best, since both had similar vote counts. Ummm… The only problem was, well, apparently Dream in Color Smooshy is more of a DK weight than a sock weight. Yeah. Even though I was dying to try one of the beautifully complicated patterns I mentioned last time, no amount of modding (yes, I tried..and tried…and tried) would allow me to make either pattern smaller than a size only bigfoot could wear.

Plan E: find a new pattern that matches my goofy gauge. I decided on the Vinnland sock pattern. Well, kinda. I used the Lifestyle Toe Up Socks guide from Charisa Martin Cairn for the body, and then worked the Vinnland pattern over the foot and leg. In case you are interested, I used a US2 and my leg and foot have 56 sts. I am making them two-at-a-time also! I can’t believe I have never tried this before and they are moving along quickly. Just one more thing: this yarn is a MUST try. It is amazingly soft, the colors are vibrant, but still has great elasticity for wear.

Lovely! Hope she loves them as much as I do.

Bonus! I weighed the rest of my skein and I have enough for some fingerless mitts!

FYI these are the zombie viXen mitts by Susan Claudino.

I promise more timely updates of my projects as I go. In the works: gloves (lookin awesome so far), a couple of small items for me (!), another hat for a friend, and a beautiful pullover!

Happy knitting!

Christmas in September!!

I am so excited!!!  I got a nice surprise today; all my newly purchased yarn arrived on the porch!!!

Yay!!!  From the left:  Shalimar Yarns Breathless in Gunmetal (scarf), Dream in Color Smooshy with CASHMERE (socks!), Cascade 220 Fingering in Natural and Charcoal (colorworked gloves…), and of course the LAST skein of Mad Tosh Sock in Ginger for my Waffle Fries Pullover (almost done!!).  All but one of these will be for xmas gifts.  No one could be more excited about making their gifts than me!

Now the hard part… Where to start and what (exactly) to make?  For my breathless scarf, I am thinking about making the Marin scarf.

I am leaning towards this, as the future recipient (not gonna say who yet!) would probably prefer the warmth that this provides (mostly garter st) as opposed to some lacy beauty.  Plus, if I purchase the pattern then I have an excuse to make one for Moi!

Now, the socks… that’s a toughie.  I got the Smooshy with Cashmere with luxury in mind for my Grandmother (yes, I can admit that here, because she does not have access to internet – aka my blog).  So I would like to choose a pretty conservative pattern, with maybe a little lace detail for interest.  Also, def wanna choose from patterns I already have access to (the yarn was pricey enough!)
Some ideas:

Fiori di Zucca:  These look difficult, but I am up to the challenge!

Vorticity: Traditional-ish cables with a little open lace.

Lingerie: Lacy look with eyelets (PS – not sure why they are charging $6 on Ravelry when this pattern is free on knitty.com???)

Yeah, um, I can’t decide.  I was thinking maybe I could get some help?  Choose which sock you like the best and vote below!!  Remember, these are for my Grandmother.  I would like to make her some socks that are not only beautiful and soft to wear, but make her think of me whenever she slips them on.  Please vote!  Or, maybe list a suggestion (links are helpful).

And as for the Cascade fingering (which I have never used and am dying to try)… these will be gloves for a dear friend (by request – no big surprise here).  Last Christmas, I made her a Selbu Modern hat.

BTW, which she actually wears and loves (yay!).  So, I will be incorporating this pattern into the cuffs of the glove.  Wish me luck!

WIPS:  Still chugging along on my Hannah Fettig Featherweight cardi.  Loving this one so far!  Everyone says it’s a bit boring, but I like having some endless stockinette to keep me occupied during X-Factor :)  Just started on the collar!  Waffle Fries is also almost complete!!!  Got my last skein I need for the sleeves, PATTERN UPDATE SOON – stay posted!

As always, Happy Knitting!

Knitting in Public + Project Updates

I have been so busy lately!  Especially now that football season is in full swing – my DH and I are avid football fans – go Hokies!

George in his Virginia Tech snuggie!

I have been knitting on the go for the last couple of weeks in order to get my projects done.  How many knitters out there like to wave their needles around in public?  If I want to actually finish the mountain of projects on my list, I pretty much have to.  You would be surprised at how many idle moments you have to work on your knitting on the go!

Some tips for knitting on-the-go…  When I am getting ready to go out, I grab the simplest (ie, lots of stockinette) project and stuff it into my knitting bag and take it with me.  Any idle moment I have, or even as a passenger in the car, I use to knock out a few rows.  But, when out in public, I always ask myself, “Is this a knitting-appropriate event?” For clarity, pretty much any time is knitting-appropriate, but you will get strange looks now and then.

Examples of a NON-knitting-appropriate event:

  • At a sporting event:  Shame on you!  You are a real fan, and all attention must be given to your team!  Granted, during a tailgate or while watching on TV is allowed.
  • At a bar:  Actually pretty much anywhere where a lot of alcohol is involved, KWI (knitting while intoxicated) is not usually a good idea.

  • When the dude-chick ratio in attendance is greater than 10:1:  Yeah, women give weird looks too, but most of the time, men just don’t get it.  “What on Earth are you doing??”  Although, what better way to inject some estrogen in the room than pull out your DPNs and whack out a sock!?  Honestly, a lot of men are actually fascinated that you can make fabric out of sticks.

Don’t be ashamed!  Knit in public!

Knitting status update:

Projects completed:

  1. Owlie socks!  I have deemed these my lucky VT gameday socks.
  2. Levenwick is done – with buttons!  PS, buttons are annoying!!
  3. Turn A Square hat v.4.0 – per request :)

In progress still: my Waffle Fries pullover.  I made it to the sleeves! Fits like a glove so far.  Pattern write-up is almost complete!!! So excited about my customizable knitting pattern!

I started another cardi for moi a couple of days ago: Hannah Fetig’s Featherweight Cardigan.  I am using some lovely Madelinetosh Tosh Lace in the Manor colorway I was saving for myself – yay!

After casting on, I remembered why I don’t particularly love using laceweight yarn.

Aaak!  It’s like knitting with dental floss!  My gauge is a little screwy on this one, so I am fitting it as I go (not usually advisable, but oh, well).  In order to get gauge the way the pattern was written, my knitted fabric looks like a fishing net, so I went down a couple of needle sizes (US4).  I love the way it is starting though.

Like my recycled “yarn caddy”?  :D  This is a pretty ambitious project, so it will probably have to make some room for items on my xmas gift list.

Happy knitting!

Designer Aspirations

My original sweater design is coming along beautifully.  Of course, it is nothing like what I had originally designed… the thing has a mind of its own.  I am loving where this idea has taken me, though, and excited to be able to wear it – this must be a good sign!  I am hopeful that I will be able to write it up for public use (more on that at the end of this post)  I am unofficially calling it the Waffle Fries Pullover.

Here’s a sneak peek…

This is a top-down style pullover with set-in sleeves.  I am loving the waffle stitch “strips” running vertically along the sweater.  They are a really simple way to add noticeable texture and interest.  This pattern looks especially good with a variegated or hand-dyed yarn (shown in Madelinetosh Tosh Sock), as the perpendicular lines are in harmony with the subtle color changes.  I never much cared for the way cables look in these types of yarn, but the pattern would work just as well in a solid color with cable panels.

I have a small idea in the back of my brain.  It has been there for several months, and I have been debating whether or not I could accomplish it.  After much careful thought, I think it is possible and I want to share my thoughts with all you knitters out there…

I came up with an idea for: A Dynamic, Customizable Knitting Pattern.  Yeah, sounds crazy, but I think it is possible, and I am super excited to share my ideas and progress!

So… Let me backtrack a bit and explain.  When I begin to work up a design for knitting, I create a spreadsheet (I’m an engineer here, remember!).  I figure out my gauge and I create something that looks like this:

Knitting design is 50% creativity and 50% math (we’re talking addition and multiplication here, not calculus!).  Granted, I am a bit more of a nerd than most.  Anyway, I go through this in case I need to make a change, such as: my gauge changes during design, I need to alter a particular shape, or maybe I decide to make another for a different person.  In particular, I thought this would be especially helpful in grading my patterns if I decide to publish a design.

So you are probably used to a pattern with a sentence such as this:  “…rep until armhole measures 6 ¼ (6 ½, 7, 7 ½, 8,  8 ½)…”, or, “…BO 5 (5, 6, 7, 8, 8) sts at beg of next RS row…”, or, “…place first 42 (46, 52, 54, 60, 64) sts on holder for right front…”  First of all, not only are those instructions confusing to keep track of, but they are also written for STANDARD sizes.  Wouldn’t it be nice if your pattern adjusted the number of stitches, rows, etc. based on YOUR desired measurements??

Then I got my idea!  Why should I (the designer) be the only one able to access this tool and create such detailed modifications?  We all want to be able to create that special one-of-a-kind garment that fits beautifully, afterall.  At the moment, I am attempting to create a knitting pattern for my Waffle Fries sweater, in PDF format, using customizable inputs.  The pattern will allow the user to input their measurements and desired ease and then spit out the correct instructions.  It will also likely have pre-determined inputs for XS, S, M, L, based on the standard sizes from CYC.

This has been my pet project for the last month, and I am so excited about it!  I am basically using a simple JavaScript code that will be embedded into my pattern PDF.  My hope is that I will be able to create a template to re-use for other designs in the future.  Some versions of this idea have been done before (I’ve checked), but not usually for a specific downloadable pattern.

Here’s a couple screenshots to get a taste…

I truly hope there are others out there as excited about this as I am.  Having more flexibility and freedom in your handknits with an adjustable pattern will hopefully inspire even more knitters out there to pick up their needles! More updates on this to come – hopefully very soon!  Wish me luck!  Please, leave a comment about what you think and if you would be interested.  If I get enough interest in it and the pattern goes public, I will need some “beta-testers”/test knitters within the next month.

Happy knitting!

Yes, You Can Knit a Sweater! Part 2/2: Finish It With Pride

I hope that the previous post about sweater fit was helpful and inspiring to all passionate knitters out there.  My posts are meant to give insight into some of the information out there that I have found most helpful in my knitting journey.

So, you decided to knit that sweater (or dress, tank-top, etc.).  First of all, good for you!  This is a big step in your knitting career and you should be proud of your work!  You finally finished, *hallelujah!*  and are now laying out all the pieces, however many there may be and… now what??

Chances are, your garment will require some (now take a deep breath) seaming.  Even if you are creating something with a top-down construction you will likely have to endure some type of finishing requiring a tapestry needle.  This guide is meant to serve as a reference for some common ways to piece together a professional-looking handknit garment.

Once again, this is not all encompassing.  If you are looking for a more complete reference material, may I suggest Deborah Newton’s book Finishing School: A Master Class for Knitters.

This book contains patterns, but they are mainly meant to serve as mini-workshops on demonstrations for common finishing techniques.  Her advice in the book is quite invaluable.  What is her best piece of advice?

Think about finishing before you begin your garment!  *Groan… well, once you begin gleaning information about finishing (from my post or any other source), you will begin to see that there are certain techniques where the item itself was designed to be put together a certain way.  At the very least READ your pattern through TO THE END!  Hopefully, the designer will have done this thinking for you and you can better visualize how the pieces will come together.   Once you have had some experience, you will begin to understand how you can make simple modifications to create the type of seam you prefer.

OK, now on to the good stuff.  I will attempt to explain some of the most helpful techniques I have come across and when to implement them.  The goal was to have a post with all main finishing techniques in one handy location.

First things first…

Blocking

Yeah, you read right.  A lot of new knitters do not even know what this means.  All knitted items go through the ringer while we are working on them, they curl up, wrinkle, the dog takes it and decides it is his new favorite toy…

OK, maybe I have the only dog in the world that loves yarn as much as I do.

Oh, George.

Blocking basically means washing, or at least steaming, a piece of knitting and then laying it out flat to shape it.  Yes, that is all it is.  It is particularly important to do this before seaming if you have several pieces that are meant to be “flat”, i.e. – a front, a back, sleeves, etc.  You will probably have to do this again once your item is completely finished, and some knitters prefer to wait until the very end, which is fine too, but I think that it is easier to line up seams while the garment was tamed a little bit.

Since this subject has been written about many times by authors much better than I, I have included some references for how to block.  This does not have to be such a complicated process though, if you are using a type of wool or blend, even a quick steam with an iron or garment steamer will help tame your items.

Why should you block and how?

http://knitty.com/ISSUEwinter02/FEATdiyknitter.html

http://techknitting.blogspot.com/2008/03/why-block-hand-knits-heres-why-and-how.html

http://www.knittingdaily.com/blogs/daily/archive/2007/07/25/the-basics-of-blocking_2C00_-part-one.aspx

Seaming

This is the “fun” part.  Imagine that you have completed a garment with a front and a back that need to be pieced together, like this:

Source: http://www.elliphantom.com/socks/jaywalkers/

Notice first, that the top stitches along the shoulder seams are open or “held” stitches, and that the other areas that need to be seamed are the sides and the shoulders (unless the sleeves will be picked up later).

Let’s focus on the shoulder seams first.  The shoulders of a garment carry the bulk of the items weight, so they should have a very sturdy seam along them.  Notice that these stitches are also HORIZONTAL (they run North-South along the garment, but they will be stitched perpendicular to this direction.

1) Horizontal Seams

If you have open stitches (such as those pictured above on the holders, these are also called live stitches), there are two main techniques for seaming them together: 3-needle bind-off, and grafting.

3-Needle Bind-Off:  This is my preferred technique for shoulders especially, it is very sturdy, but also leaves a distinct ridge or seam along the inside of the work.  Also, (hooray!) no tapestry needle required.

Check out this video explaining how to do the 3-needle BO:

Grafting:  This is another way of seaming live stitches together.  It is not as sturdy as a 3-needle BO, but it creates a seam that is practically invisible.  It looks as though the two finished pieces you seam together are continuous knitting!  This is usually done with Kitchener stitch.  There are two main ways to do this, depending on whether your fabric has a stockinette or a garter stitch on the right side.

Check out this video explaining how to graft live stitches in stockinette stitch:

Note that her working yarn is coming from the back piece that she is seaming together.

Check out this video explaining how to graft live stitches in garter stitch:

Preferrably, you will leave any horizontal stitches live, so that you can either use 3-needle BO or graft the stitches together. (As an aside, if you want to find a way to leave CO stitches live, search for how to do a provisional type cast on) But, if your horizontal stitches are closed, or bound off, you will need to use another method for seaming.  This is the most helpful video I have come across to demonstrate:

The main take-aways are: go under each “V”, alternating top and bottom pieces, and always beginning the next V where the previous one ended.

2) Vertical Seams

Now, you need to know how to seam up the sides of your garment.  There are many different ways to do this, depending on how you want the seam to look.  The most common method is called mattress stitch.

Mattress Stitch:  This is a great way to seam vertical pieces of knitting that produces a practically invisible edge.

If your pieces need to be joined in stockinette, check out this video explaining how to do mattress stitch:

You may also have a garter stitch fabric that needs to be seamed a long a vertical edge (such as the sides of your sweater or along sleeves.  Check out this video for a helpful demonstration:

3) Weaving in Ends

When you are finished, you will also need to pull out your handy tapestry needle to weave in any ends of yarn that stick out from your work.  You will simply thread your needle with the end of yarn sticking out and weave in in on the back side of the garment to hide it.  There is no rhyme or reason to how you do this, but I like to always weave one direction, and then change directions at least once and weave back the other way.  This will prevent the end from coming loose after wash and wear.

See, this wasn’t as complicated as you thought, right?  Do a quick search online for other explainations or methods that may clarify things for you as necessary.  You are on your way towards that perfect handknit garment.  Just wait until someone comments, “I love your sweater!  Where did you buy it?”  Ha!

As always, leave any comments or questions and I will do my best to help.

Happy knitting!

Yes, You Can Knit a Sweater! Part 1/2: Make It Fit

I can’t believe how many knitters, even experienced ones, shy away from knitting sweaters – especially pullovers.  I too have had plenty of horror stories.  Remember the months you spent creating that beautiful sweater – you followed the pattern to the letter, assured by the designer that it would fit a perfect size M.  The model looks great in it, and you know you would look just as good.  You sew up the item, block it to death, and, low and behold, it is 3” too big around the waist, the sleeves are too short, and the seams are puckered so badly that thing looks like it is about to fall apart!  #*(%(*@!

The poor sweater you labored for hours on is now sitting at the bottom of your knitting basket collecting dust.  For those who are thinking that this is the designer’s fault for creating a sloppy pattern, I am here to assure you that there are ways to make sure your sweater turns out beautifully with a few simple tips on fit and finishing.  Part I of this tutorial will focus on sweater fit.

George is yawning, but his expression is pretty funny :) Poor pup, Mom tortures him so!

FIT

1) Measurements

The first thing to do when planning a sweater or garment is to take CAREFUL measurements of yourself, or whomever the garment is intended for.  Even if the item is intended as a gift, you should always ask the recipient for his/her measurements.  They may get a hint as to what you are making, but they will be much more pleased with the result when they can actually WEAR the item as intended.

Just because the designer says the sweater is a standard size (S, M, L, etc), do not go on their word alone.  If the pattern is well written, it should come with a schematic that looks something like this:

Source: http://sophie-and-me.com/tag/knitting/

Find a friend and have them take careful measurements.  Wielding a tape measure can be a bit tricky; I have found that the most accurate method is to take some heavier scrap yarn and drape it around your body, then measure the amount you used afterwards.  The Craft Yarn Council has an excellent resource for measurements for standard knitting: http://www.craftyarncouncil.com/sizing.html

After measuring, compare your measurements to the one given by your pattern’s schematic.  These will almost never match up exactly, but you will find one that will work best.  It is usually easiest to choose the size in the pattern with the most accurate bust size, as bust shaping is the trickiest to alter.

2) Checking Gauge

Next, MAKE A GAUGE SWATCH!!!  I cannot stress this enough.  Every time I hear a knitter say, “I knit to gauge,” it makes me cringe.  I say a little prayer to the knitting gods that their garment works out for them.  Please, please, please, just take a few minutes and at least knit a few rows in the pattern as directed, with the needles you intend to use, slap a ruler on it and check to see if you are even close.  When using a heavier yarn, even being off by one stitch will make a large difference in your finished size.  Even changing needle materials will affect your gauge (yes,the same size with the same yarn).  I will not delve into this subject here, as there are plenty of very helpful articles on the subject.  A couple of sites with helpful information on creating a gauge swatch are:

http://www.twistcollective.com/collection/component/content/article/35-features/877-got-gauge

http://www.double-ewe-yarn.com/gaugeschmagepart2

Find a safe place (on the pattern itself is desirable) and write down how many sts/in and how many row/in you have obtained.

3) Compare Measurements

Now that these two tasks are complete, go back to your measurements and pattern schematic.  Ask yourself, how to I want this item to fit?  In other words, how much “ease” do you need?  If you want it to fit snugly against the body, the sweater should have measurements of very close or equal to your actual body measurements.  For a very tight-fitting garment, up to 1” of negative ease (1” less than your measurements) will work, and for a looser-standard fitting garment, up to 2” positive ease will suffice (2” greater than your measurements).  If you are not sure, find a sweater that you love (it fits you perfectly), and measure it as well to decide.

4) Determine Any Pattern Alterations

Before you begin knitting, determine how you will adjust the pattern to accommodate any fit issues.  This may be as simple as knitting a size L for the body, while knitting a M size for the sleeves.  But, what do you do if you need a more complicated alteration, for example:  the sleeves on your schematic measure 17” in length, but you have monkey arms (like me) and need about 17 ¾”.  How do you add length to accommodate this without changing any other size aspect of the sleeve?  First, figure out which WAY the sleeve is knitted: commonly, the sleeve will be knit lengthwise (up from the cuff or fromt the shoulder down) in which the stitches run this way:

You will need to add ROWS to your sleeve.  Go back to your gauge swatch.  How many rows do you have per inch?  Let’s say you have 8 rows in one inch on your swatch.  Since you need to add ¾”, you will need to add (3/4) x 8 rows = 6 rows!  Usually, this will be added to the forearm, or spread them out along the length evenly.

What if you need to adjust the waist of a sweater?  Let’s say that all measurements are good except that the waist will be ½” larger than you would prefer.  Now, you need to make an adjustment based on STITCH count.  Assume your stitches run lengthwise again, like this:

Now, you guessed it, pull out your handy gauge swatch measurements and determine how many stitches you have per inch.  Let’s say that you have 6 stitches/inch.  You will need to subtract (1/2) x 6 stitches = 3 stitches in order to decrease by ½”.  When you reach the waist of your garment (determine where this change will occur in the pattern and mark it on the schematic), find a handy place to decrease 3 stitches.  When making an alteration that will affect the shaping (especially bustline and waistline), either include these changes with the shaping as the designer intends or subtract/increase stitches along the sides of your piece (underneath the arms) so that they cause as little disruption in the pattern as possible.

Take the time to make sure your garment will fit properly and you will be extremely happy with your finished item.  If this will be your first sweater project, I highly recommend trying a top-down raglan style sweater.  With this type of sweater, it can be tried on as you go so that you can adjust on the fly!  Some recommendations:

Margot by Linden Down

Mud Season by Elizabeth Smith

Brick by Clare Lee

Stay tuned for part two, where I will explain some common finishing techniques and how to use them to create a professional looking knitted garment.  Please leave any questions in the comment area and I will do my best to help.

Have fun and happy knitting!

If you are in the Cincinnati area, stop by Fiberge, where myself or any other lovely lady available will help you with your sweater concerns.

Fall = Sweater <3

Fall is my favorite time of year!!  The weather cools, the scenery is picturesque, and football season begins.  But this is one of my favorite reasons:

source:  Glamour Magazine

Fall sweaters!!  Loving some of the newest trends:  stripes, oversized sweaters, and a resurgence of Fair Isle.   A big color trend right now is cobalt blue… I’m on the hunt for a vibrant shade to start a new creation for my own wardrobe.

Some sweaters I’m loving:

From left:

1)   I love the look of the asymmetric openwork, and this color is spot-on.  (Anthropologie)
2)   Subtle stripes look beautiful in a casual pullover.  (Anthropologie)
3)   The colorblock trend is still going strong.  This would be a super easy way to add interest to a simple crew-neck or raglan.  (Gap)

I have the beginnings of an idea for a sweater.  I’m dying to use an awesome skein of Madelinetosh Tosh Sock in Ginger.

So, of course, I searched Ravelry.  I decided I really wanted a pullover.  I was shocked to discover that there are very few patterns using a fingering weight yarn.  What you people are scared of using your US2/3 needles??  I have been into experimenting with combinations of knit and purl for texture.  With a fingering or sock yarn, the textures could be implemented without adding a lot of bulk.

A test swatch:

Design idea:

I am loving the waffle stitch texture.  I was playing with continuing the “waffles” up in vertical lines to create stripes that look almost like graph paper.  I will let the “waffle lines” move in and out with the waist shaping to emphasize the figure.  Like this:

The different colored vertical “stripes” are not actually a different color, they are the small “shingles” that move up the garment.  Otherwise, this will be a traditional crew-necked pullover with set-in sleeves that are to be picked up as I go.  Stay tuned for some progress pics.

Even experienced knitters are wary of knitting sweaters… I have had my own difficulties until I realized that the real problems are FINISHING and FIT.  I am putting together a post with some advice for achieving a perfectly fitting sweater and some finishing tips that I have found helpful.

In other news, my Scalene scarf is complete!  In order to keep my xmas gifts a surprise, I have posted pics to my Ravelry project page.

Happy knitting!

Inspired

I am frequently searching Ravelry and reading blogs from designers I love.  New ideas and inspirations pop into my head daily – seeing a knitted hoodie someone is wearing and thinking about how I could make it and what yarn would work best.  I really should write down some of these ideas and notes as I go… I will be updating some design ideas as I finish them and post soon. In the meantime…

Patterns I’m Loving:

  • Cookie A has a beautiful new collection of patterns.  She is known for her sock designs, but I am loving some of her new items.  Her Rotation cardigan caught my eye… This one’s a beaut, plus it looks really easy to modify.  The open shape would be very flattering, so sizing would not be such a challenge.
  • Another of Cookie A’s patterns from her new book: Lateral socks. These are so understated and pretty.

  • Veera Valimaki’s Color Affection Shawl.  Just beautiful!  A fellow knitter at Fiberge is teaching a class on how to make this lovely item for all who are interested!
  • Ysolda Teague’s Marin scarf.  This would have to be for me to keep!  Fall is coming so soon, and I can always use more scarves.

George wants me to make him a hat.  Look at the little theif…

Yarns I’m Itching to Get My Hands On:

  • Quince and Co Osprey:  Heard great things and seen some beautiful pieces made.  Stitch definition looks like it will be nice, so maybe a cabled sweater?
  • A Verb for Keeping Warm Annapurna Cashmere:  This name keeps popping up under designers I love, and the colors are stunning.  And, c’mon, it’s cashmere! I have not met a cashmere I did not want to pet.  The Marin scarf pictured above was made using this.
  • Zealana Eco Merino/Possum:  There is a possum in my yarn!  Yes, quite seriously.  I was intrigued by a Vogue Knitting Design Contest that is built around this yarn distributor.  This article gives a nice review.  Warmer than cashmere??  I must find out – mittens or a nice cozy hat?

George gets his hat:

2 rows a day keeps the stash at bay!

Puppies and Yarn!

George models my newest FO. Aww, ain’t he cute?

Hahaha I couldn’t resist.

Spent some time with my friends at Fiberge (LYS) trying to plan some projects, and I picked up these lovelies…

Ella Rae Lace Merino in sage and cream.  I have the rest of the day free, and I should probably be doing laundry, but my lovely new yarn is calling to me.  Swatched when I got home and the yarn is absolutely great.  It’s 100% merino but feels like silky, squishy yumminess.  These babies are going to be a striped shawl (sage is my Mom’s fave color *hint, hint).  I’ve decided on the Scalene Scarf.  I think it’s going to be a beauty.

Not sure yet whether I will post pics in order to keep it a surprise, but I will be adding photos to my Ravelry Page if you want to check it out.  Bonus: the scarf looks complicated, but it is entirely garter stitch… knit, knit, knit… This will be my “multitasking” project; I can knit and read journal articles at the same time!  Yes, I do have other priorities besides knitting.  :)  Too bad I can’t knit while I do housework :P

Recently added to my knitting playlist: “The King and All of His Men” – Wolf Gang