So I have frequently waxed poetic on the blog about shawls and my love for them, but my love has doubled, perhaps even tripled.
Everyone loves Hitchhiker shawls, right? You see them everywhere! I think it’s probably because they play so nicely with those variegated yarns that we feel compelled to buy and then have no idea what to do with. Well, they work just as well with crazy handspun.
I very frequently buy roving because I’m compelled by the colors, and then I spin it and it’s pretty yarn, but I know I’ll be mad about how it knits up. It turns out that I’m really bad at just letting things happen and feeling the zen. I like to know how things are going to work out, and I require balance and proper color mixing and well. I may be just the teensiest bit controlling about my knitting. (This is probably good actually, because it enables me to let stuff go in life. Knitting is probably responsible for how much I don’t pester Greg.)
Anyway, I bought some of the Malabrigo roving that everyone seems to have such strong feelings about. A lot of people have complained about felting, but I didn’t have that problem myself. Merino can be fussy though, so it wouldn’t be too surprising to get some felting in an industrial dyeing operation. I got the Archangel colorway, because it’s stunning, but it was all crazy sunset colors so I didn’t want to ply it and muddy the gorgeousness. So I decided to spin it as fingering weight singles, with the idea of eventually making a scarf or shawl.
Then I saw someone else’s handspun Hitchhiker and its destiny was revealed. I wish I could remember whose it was, but all I know is that it was on Instagram about four months ago. I have been working on it for a while, and now it’s finished!! Isn’t it beautiful? I totally love it!! The colors are lovely together, which is very typical of Malabrigo. I feel like it looks like a tropical sunset or the wings of a phoenix. It’s also incredibly soft. The slight unevenness in the yarn combined with the garter stitch makes it look like the striations of a rock formation in the desert, or the grain in a piece of petrified wood.
I do have one quibble. I ended up with one side of the shawl being longer than the other. The point definitely isn’t right in the middle. That may be because I knit until I ran out of yarn, and I had more than 500 yards. Has anyone else had that happen with their Hitchhikers? Is there a way to get it to come out more balanced? Mine has 48 teeth and the pattern recommends 42. I don’t really care that much, I still love it, and it will look TOTALLY SLAMMIN with my purple biker jacket. (yes, my shawls have their own wardrobe. why do you ask? 😝)
Until next time!
Remember how I promised to show you all of the yarn that was distracting me from my current socks in progress? I couldn’t wait, I’m doing it today. It involved another trip to the park across the street for yarn photography, but my neighbors already think I’m odd so it wasn’t much of a sacrifice.
I’ve decided to start a new series on the blog dedicated to self-striping yarns. I have a bit of an obsession with them, and I’m going to fill my sock drawer with handmade woollies that will cradle my tootsies in cozy warmth and insane colors. I purchased quite a few skeins with my birthday money, and I had a few hanging around already, but I’m having the hardest time just taking the plunge and knitting with them! They seem too precious. So I’m confessing here on the blog, and promising all of you that I will actually knit with my precious self-striping skeins. They will become my travelling socks for the foreseeable future. I’m going to compare and contrast all of them, so you can decide what you might like to get for yourself. )I’m nothing if not an enabler.)
I want to start with a baseline for comparison. I know that it’s discontinued, but I think that Knit Picks Felici is going to be my baseline yarn. It’s self striping and pretty, and it’s a commercial yarn. All the others in the series are hand dyed in small batches, and I’m interested in highlighting the differences between commercial yarns and yarn from indie dyers. So I’ll probably start with these skeins:
It’s Felici in the Jellybean colorway. They’ll be my basis for comparison.
I’ve got Yarn Enabler:
This should knit up into nice fat stripes, which I totally prefer to skinny ones. I can be seduced into knitting skinny stripes by lovely colors, but wide stripes charm me more.
I have this joyful amazingness from Fab Funky Fibers:
Appropriately titled The Big One, it is a 24 stripe rainbow. My love for it is pure. These socks are either going to be so loved that they have holes immediately, or so cherished that they only get worn once a year. Only time will tell, but I’m totally doing an afterthought heel so that when it wears out I can replace it. They may only be worn when I need exceptional good luck, because I have a firm belief that rainbow socks are lucky, and handknit socks made from hand-dyed rainbow stripes must be extra lucky.
I have this neon brightness from String Theory Colorworks:
This is their Orbit base, a nice tightly plied sport weight sock yarn. I’ve never knit sport weight socks, so I’m interested to see how much more quickly these knit up than my typical socks. The colorway name is Strontium-90, which I am enchanted with. Doesn’t it actually look radioactive?
No list of self-striping yarns would be complete without a spot for Turtlepurl Yarns.
I absolutely had to get this set. It will stripe in the colors of Burberry plaid. That in itself is totally enough, but I am a little obsessed with Burberry. I can’t afford it at this point in my life, but at least with these socks I can pretend to be posh. The coordinating red is for matching heels and toes and cuffs. These will be some tall socks!
I couldn’t decide on simply one, so I got two skeins from White Birch Fiber Arts.
The skein on the left will alternate rainbow stripes with stripes of blue sky, and the skein on the right will be all Dark Side of the Moon style and alternate rainbow stripes with stripes of black. Very styling.
I got some lovely and coveted Vesper Sock Yarn:
It’s all peaceful blues and greens with a little bit of sand and a dark rich brown. I love these colors together, they’re perfectly harmonious. It looks like a forest spirit was trying to disguise itself as a skein of yarn. Doesn’t it seem just perfect there, nestled in the grass?
Last, but certainly not least, I got some yarn from Twisted Limone Designs.
Isn’t it perfect? Don’t you totally want to come over and fight me for it? The colors are, according to the shop description, blackcurrant, raspberry, dark charcoal, white, grass green, lime green and sea green. If that doesn’t charm you, I don’t know what will. (also you might need to look up some cute pictures of kittens, because your crankiness might be terminal.) I also love the presentation, the hand-wound ball feels like a special gift. I also know that it’s super labor intensive, but it’s so beautiful, opening the package was thrilling.
So that’s everything! A few other skeins may eventually join the party, (I’m currently stalking Coloring Book Yarns, I want some BMO sock yarn because I love Adventure Time.) One last picture with all the yarns together:
Doesn’t it look like almost too much fun? I feel like this will really motivate me to knit socks more and faster. (Also, I so desperately want to just be done with the socks from my last post so I can just enjoy all of these. Maybe they can be short socks. Ankle socks anyone? :P)
Which one is your favorite? I can’t decide.
I know that I must have previously rhapsodized over the lowly hand-knit sock. I absolutely ADORE wool socks. I feel like they keep my feet extra cozy, and with ow cold it gets in Boston, they’re actually a necessity for much of the year (and still wearable in summer, especially when camping, as Greg and I often do.) I like them as travel projects, because they easily fit in my purse or shoulder bag and don’t take up much space. Why is it, then, that my current sock project is leaving me thoroughly unexcited?
Reasons why I should be loving this sock:
1. It’s a new sock yarn to me, Yarn Pirate superwash BFL. I like the BFL sock yarn, it feels quite sturdy, but still lovely and soft.
2. It’s in three of my favorite colors, turquoise, green, and purple. (and somehow it’s doing perfect one row stripes, despite being a variegated yarn, not a self striping one.)
3. It’s in a pattern that I am finding quite interesting (Rye, by Tin Can Knits, but in a sock weight rather than worsted.)
However, it’s all to no avail! I want them to be done. I think some of the problem is that I knit up part of a sock in this yarn before. Unfortunately, it was a bad match between yarn and pattern. I picked a very complicated Cookie A pattern, but with the variegation the pattern was obscured, and honestly it was way too much work for a sock that was going to look mediocre at best. So those hit the frog pond, and now I’m working on these. It’s a much better match, and I like the socks a lot more. However, this sock yarn is pretty fine, so instead of knitting them on my normal size 1’s, I went down to a 0. And there might be the real problem. The smaller needle is making progress seem SO SLOW. I ditched these socks for Christmas presents, then I ditched them for projects I liked better after Christmas, then I ditched them for a pair of socks for Greg, and then AGAIN so I could knit myself a DIFFERENT PAIR OF SOCKS when I was feeling grumpy about not getting to go to YarnCon. (which I finished in nine days. I’ll tell you more about that later.)
The worst problem of all? My grandparents sent me money for my birthday and told me to spend it on YARN. (yes, they deserve a thank you note and knitted presents. I’m totally working on both.) I totally spent a bunch of it on yarn. Self-striping sock yarn, to be exact. Squee!! So I’ve got a pile of delicious yarn on my coffee table, taunting me. Waiting for my needles to be free so I can knit it up.. I’m determined to be virtuous and finish these socks first, but it is SERIOUSLY DIFFICULT.
(I’ll show you the pretty yarn later, once the last of it has arrived.)
Hello darlings! Just a quick one today, but it should be exciting for you guys. Having thought about it long and hard, I’ve decided to give you control over my sweater destiny. Two posts ago, I listed out all the sweaters that I have waiting in the wings, with the yarn for each one. I can’t decide which one I should start first, so *gasp* I’m going to let the hivemind decide for me! That’s right, I’m taking a poll, and whichever sweater option gets the most votes is going on the needles first. So go back two posts and take a look at all the possibilities. Choose wisely..
So I seem to be all about the quick projects lately. My attention span is short, what can I say? I think it’s spring, and the feeling of infinite possibility that you get when you feel the sun on your face and an actual breeze in your hair (as opposed to a freezing arctic blast.) I want to KNIT ALL THE THINGS and then organize my leftovers. Odd, that, since (as my mom will tell you) I rarely feel the need to organize anything. But recently I wound up all my leftovers by hand into pretty little balls, and got a basket and giant mason jar to organize them. (and, incidentally, cruelly tricked my boyfriend into thinking that the jar was full of candy. Sorry Greg.) That is so terribly unlike me. I have been making an effort in my life to be more put together, and it actually appears to be working? I tidy my house more, I’ve started doing HAIRSTYLES occasionally (instead of just going with whatever wildness my mop of curls intends to dish out that day) and I’m gradually getting rid of the clothes I have that don’t fit. Seriously.
As I said, I think it’s all the energy I have from not being confined inside all the time. I’m totally a hippie earth-loving lying on the grass and absorbing the sunlight kind of person, and winter is brutal for me. So now that it appears to be over, I’m crafting up a storm and loving it! Case in point: these slippers.
These are crazy-sauce thrummed slippers for my Aunt Kelly (who isn’t my aunt by blood but I’ve adopted her. My mom was sensible enough to become best friends with her before I was born and I love her.) I’ve been wanting to try thrums forever, and since Kelly lives in a drafty (but beautiful) old house here in Massachusetts, and even better, she’s Canadian and I’m pretty sure they invented thrums.. I had to make her some slippers. Also? She’s a knitter and appreciates knitted stuff. I have a glorious red and cream fair isle sweater she made me that is so warm I only wear it in the dead of winter. (it’s somewhere in my Instagram feed actually, if you want to see it) She knit it for me my freshman year in college because it was my first time living in a place as cold as Mass and she was worried that I would be homesick.
She totally loved them, and put them on right away and wiggles her toes around in the glorious squishy merino goodness. Then her cats climbed into the gift bag. It was awesome!! For those of you who are unfamiliar with the concept, thrums are little bits of spinning fiber that you knit into things for extra insulation and coziness. I started with this:
The slippers were really quick! (for knitting, that is.) I really enjoyed making them, and kindof want a pair of my own now.. I used the Thrumbelina pattern by PDXKnitterati, and it was very clever and enjoyable. She has you incorporate an I-cord edging into the top opening of the slippers and it’s very sneaky and cool! (it took me forever to figure out that that’s what the instructions were having me create. At first I was just extremely perplexed.) I used a leftover skein of Ella Rae Classic Heathers, but I knit it at a much tighter gauge than I did last time so hopefully it won’t pill as much. The sweater I made out of it pills way more than I would expect from a 4-ply yarn. 😡
That’s pretty much it!! I seriously loved making these, and she’s never going to take them off, which delights me to no end ^.^
Friends, you might or might not know this about me, but I have kindof a lot of yarn.
(Greg is laughing like a hyena right now. Stop that Greg. It’s not cute. *cackling continues*)
ANYWAY, interruptions aside, I have a well aged and curated yarn stash at this point. Most of it is single skeins or pairs for accessory projects (shawls and socks mostly, with a few hats and cowls thrown in). I like knitting accessories, because I think that you get the most use out of them provided you live somewhere cold. You can wear the same few scarves every day for the entire winter and no one bats an eye. Also, I’m a wee bit on the impatient side, and I like to have the thrill of the finished thing reasonably often. However, lately I’ve been coveting more lengthy projects, eyeing everyone’s beautiful sweaters and feeling as though I should have a few of my own.. Plus, my Rhinebeck sweaters from the past two years are absolutely my two favorite sweaters. I absolutely ADORE them, and I wear them all the time when it’s cold out. I actually took out my sweater from two years past, and I decided to add a few more inches onto the bottom. I was getting annoyed with it riding up, and so I took destiny into my own hands and unpicked the cast off edge. I’ve added about two inches so far, and I think I’ll add maybe two more. It’s so much better already.
I think that fixing that sweater to make it perfect for me got me to thinking more about handknit sweaters and how superior they are to the purchased kind. So I started rifling through my yarn stash, and pulled out all of the yarn I have in sweater quantities. Surprisingly enough, it’s rather considerable.. I’m going to make a list of my yarn and the plans I have for it (if there are any. My plans are usually pretty loose and changeable.) I like to have yarn in the stash for a while before I knit with it, even if I have a strong idea of what I want it to become when I purchase it. I mull things over, consider them, and see if my idea is perfect in every way. Knitting is far too slow to rush into a project that becomes unsatisfying due to lack of forethought. When I finish something, I want it to be utterly fabulous. I know some of you are shaking your heads at me right now. It’s okay to do things a different way! This is just my style and I know it’s what gives me results I’m happy with, and however you get the results you want is fine for you. You do you, is what I’m saying 😛
So, without any further ado, here’s my sweater yarn stash!
This is some Lion Brand Fisherman’s wool and it’s going to be a Millisande, by Ann McCauley. (all photos will be shamelessly lifted from the Ravelry page for each sweater. I did not take these pictures, as you can probably tell by the quality of my yarn photography :P)
I absolutely love this sweater. It might just be the fabulously squishy shawl collar of awesomeness, but that all-over texture is equally amazing. I’m not usually all about cables on the whole sweater, but I’m a total fangirl for everything Brooklyn Tweed. (As you will see from the rest of the list.) I think that in a heathered tan, I could wear this sweater all the time. Plus it would totally look awesome sauce with my new hunter green skinny jeans. It was meant to be. I also love the less fitted silhouette. I have a lot of really fitted sweaters and I love them, but I want to branch out a little bit because looser sweaters look SO COMFY.
The next sweater quantity of yarn I have is *swoon* Tanis Fiber Arts Green Label in Seabreeze!
Isn’t it just utterly and insanely beautiful?? It’s going to be a modified version of a Beatnik Sweater by Norah Gaughan.
I had seen Beatnik before and liked it a lot, especially the really cool boatneck. However, I saw this modification by Tanis of Tanis Fiber Arts using some of her yarn in the same color, and I fell in love! I knew that I needed some of this yarn for a sweater, and I would put some of my own favorite cables on it instead of the ones in the pattern. I showed the modified one to Greg and he told me I should make mine exactly the same. I told him that that would make me super unoriginal, to do the same sweater in the same yarn and in the same color, and he countered with the fact that a) her sweater is basically perfect and the cables look much dressier than the ones I was considering and b) they sortof look like scales and so I could pretend to be a tropical fish, and who doesn’t want to do that?? He makes some good points (though he did concede that he was having a hard time picturing the cables I was thinking of using on the sweater). I’ll need to mull this one over for a while longer 😛
I love Knit Picks. I like that they provide natural fibers for those of us with pretty tight yarn budgets. The TFA yarn aside (which was a Christmas present from my parents) all of the options on this list are not too terribly pricey. It’s really quite a good deal, and when they do sales, wheeeeee!! (all my sweater quantities are bought on sale, because yeah.) This batch of lovely colorful goodness is going to be a Foxy Sweater by Natalie Moreva. (I love her colorwork, it’s too cute.)
I don’t even really need to say much about this sweater. I love foxes, and it’s just insanely cute. I will never take it off, once I finish it. I mean, seriously. It’s amazing. It’s going to be one of those sweaters where people walk up to you on the street and ask you where you bought it, and then you get to say that you made it and be all smug. (Don’t act like you don’t do that. I’ll know that you are lying.) Seriously though, every knitter needs at least one item like that, because it helps other people value our art form. Knitting isn’t just a craft, it’s a way for people to creatively express themselves, and I wish that more people realized that!
Alright, on to the next yarn! This is also from Knit Picks, but it’s their Palette yarn (which comes in a completely crazy number of colors.)
I love this pale lavender. And I have so much of it because I’m making Oshima by Jared Flood.
Beautiful, isn’t it? I’ve coveted this sweater for a while, but I’m a little afraid of seaming. However, I may be getting over that. I learned how to mattress stitch for my mom’s christmas present, and it turned out quite nicely! I think I may be ready to tackle this sweater soon. Plus, every time I see someone else make one I feel jealous and think about my yarn just waiting for me to turn it into this awesome sweater. It will also take less time than I think, because the lightweight yarn is held double and knit at the gauge of a worsted weight. There’s nothing wrong with that! I also need to learn to brioche.. But it’s so popular now, there must be dozens of tutorials online. I mentioned before that I loved Brooklyn Tweed (that styling tho! The photography is just gorgeous and totally suckers me into thinking that I would be that cool if I had that sweater.)
Next on our list, we have more Wool of the Andes Sport in a beautiful heathered dark green! I just have to point out that Knit Picks knows me. If you discount something so steeply that I can knit myself a sweater for less than twenty-five dollars, I will buy a lot of it. I will be compelled.
I don’t actually know precisely what I’m doing with this. I think I’ll probably end up designing the sweater I want, because I haven’t found the right one yet. I know that I want cables, but not all over, and probably fitted or at least body skimming, and dense for the gauge so it’s nice and cozy. It’ll be a pullover almost certainly, because I prefer them. It’s odd, because I wear cardigans constantly, but I like to snuggle into my sweaters. There are, however, a few exceptions, and I’ve saved them for the end.
Oh, how shocking, more Knit Picks!
This, however, is fancy Knit Picks yarn. It’s their sock weight merino yarn with just a touch of lovely cashmere.. It’s soft like kittens and I love it. It’s going to be a Wispy Cardi by Hannah Fettig.
Those of you with good memories may recall that I made one of these for my mom for Christmas. I love the pattern, I think it’s very practical and goes with basically everything. I need a black cardigan/shrug that’s a little heavier than my stash of cotton ones I wear to work. It’s also a different shape, and I like that. The Wispy Cardi originally calls for a laceweight knit at about a sport weight gauge, but this is a heavier weight yarn than is required. I labor under the delusion that this will lengthen the life span of the sweater, since it will be knit a little more tightly and thus be more resistant to pilling. In reality, it has cashmere in it, so I have no right to expect anything of the sort. I still love it though. I’m not actually hugely enthused about knitting it, because, hello. Miles and miles of stockinette in black yarn? It’s not exactly going to be thrilling. But I think this will be a “knit while reading” project, which should make it okay.
Last, but most certainly not least, more Knit Picks! It’s the same color in both a worsted and a fingering weight yarn.. (And yes, I totally took advantage of their most recent sale on Palette.)
It’s a lovely dark ruby red, isn’t it? As an aside, I love heathered yarns, or very subtly variegated ones. I think that they add a lot of depth to a piece of knitwear, and it’s somehow more fun to knit than a solid color. It’s going to be another Norah Gaughan sweater (and another entry for Brooklyn Tweed too!) the Marshal sweater.
Don’t you love it??? I totally do. The pattern has you use the lighter weight yarn for the body, and then the heavier weight for Brioche stitch collar, cuffs, and pockets. I think that that is crazy brilliant. (Though if you’re at all familiar with Norah Gaughan’s designs, it’s not in the least surprising. That lady is clearly not thinking like the rest of us, and I like it.) You get a little extra coziness on your extremities, which is always a plus. However, this simply smashing sweater isn’t for everyone. I showed it to Greg, thinking that he would be as enthused about it as I was, and he just said “hmmmmm…” I asked his what his objections were to the sweater, and he said that they weren’t OBJECTIONS per se, but in his opinion, and I quote: “I think that if you wore that, you would look like a lesbian cat lady professor.” he paused for a moment “Not that I’m saying that that’s a bad look.” I laughed and laughed. I’m going to make it anyway. I think that it will be lovely in red, and perhaps he was moreso reacting to the very military-inspired palette of the photos.
So that’s it for the sweater madness friends! If you’ve stuck with me thus far, wow. I’m impressed. This has got to be one of my longest posts ever! I’ve actually reached over two thousand words, which is crazy! Who knew that I had so much to say about sweaters?? I’ve got a few more list-style blog entries percolating up in the old noodle, (Wow that was a weird phrase. But I can’t change it now, it amuses me too much.) and we’ll just have to see how long it takes me to get around to doing another. It’s funny, all of these pictures were taken out in the park by my house, and although quite a few people walked by (and a couple of them were completely unable to hide their curiosity) not ONE PERSON asked me what I was doing. They totally wanted to, but I think they were afraid of the answer. This tickles my funny bone immensely. Until next time!
Knitting friends, I think I’m in love.
But not with some mysterious stranger who has swept me off my feet (he would have to work EXTREMELY HARD to match the awesomeness that is Greg.) No, I’ve fallen in love with beaded knits.
Now I’ve seen them before, and always thought that they looked super snazzy. Adding a little bling to shawls seemed totally awesome. Especially dark colors with that hint of silver glitter like a night sky. Yum! But it seemed super difficult and time-consuming and I was just too intimidated. BUT THEN! My friend Rachel aka allnightknitter, a fellow knitting insomniac, sent me a voucher for Sundara Yarns that she had won in a contest. (aren’t you jealous??) I was THRILLED. I had long coveted the beautiful bright and saturated tonal colorways, but there was no way I could afford yarn that nice. However, with a pretty steep discount, I was able to snag two beautiful skeins of their sport weight merino yarn.
That green!! It has little glorious hints of turquoise too. Just divine. Once I opened the package with the yarn in it, I knew that it needed to be an enormous shawl. And it was so stunningly beautiful that I decided it needed beads. So I went hunting, and I found some that were a perfect match! They’d give a touch of glamorous glitter, but not so much that I would look like I had a bad run-in with the 80’s.
Some of them are even matte rather than sparkly!! They’re very exciting.
I searched endlessly for the perfect shawl pattern, but in the end I decided to do the Holden pattern again, but GIANT this time. I like shawls with a stockinette body and a reasonably easy lace border. I think they look a bit more modern than shawls with lace all over. Also, it was very easy to add beads to the lace, so it was good for a first project. Only mildly intimidating instead of insanely so 😛
I knit this shawl while I was working on applications, because I wanted something that was REALLY nice to take the edge off the stress. Then I ran out of beads and couldn’t go get more for a while, so I started my Light and Up shawl, which also gets a lot of action around here. But eventually more beads were obtained, the shawl was finished, and then I had to figure out how to block this monstrosity. (The end result involved two towels on the ground and positioning it diagonally. It’s big.)
But now that I’ve blathered on about it for a significant amount of time, you want to see it, right? I figure I really owe you all pictures, because I wear it all the time. It’s beautiful, and the color fits perfectly into my wardrobe.
And now a closeup so you can actually see the beads I worked so hard on!
They’re really lovely and subtle, but they give it a fantastic weight and drape. I will definitely be using beads again. I already have yarn and beads for the next shawl, but that’s a story for another day. I used the crochet hook method for placing the beads, and I loved it. I most certainly do not have the patience to thread hundreds of beads onto the yarn before casting on the project. That sounds to me like a swift road to crazy town.
I only made a few small mods to the shawl. It’s not totally triangular. For the plain portion in the center, I increased four stitches on every right side row, and two on every wrong side row until I got to the correct stitch count to begin the lace. I find that doing that makes the ends you wrap around your neck longer, and I was worried that since this shawl was going to be a behemoth, the point would drape unattractively down to my crotch when worn in the front (which is really the only way I wear my shawls, so that was a non-starter.) I switched to the regular rate of increase when I got to the lace portion. It makes a subtle but positive difference to the shape of the shawl, and I think it helps it stay on my neck better. I also left off the picot bind off. I started doing it, but it looked strange and chunky in the sport weight yarn. I did a stretchy sewn bindoff in the style of Elizabeth Zimmerman instead. I love the edge this bindoff produces, so I almost always do it if the edge is going to be visible. It’s lovely and I like the scalloped edge just as much without the picots.
One last pic of me wearing it-I promise that I adore this shawl, I just look unhappy because it was far too cold outside when I took this pic. Spring has clearly not sprung in my neck of the woods.
This is how I always wear it, bunched up around my neck, and I love it. It’s huge and cozy! It keeps the chill out when I wear it under a coat, which has happened more often than I’d like lately. I love this project so much!! I didn’t want it to end, and usually I’m a total product knitter. The yarn was just so lovely to work with, and the beads were so much fun, and now I have something that I adore that I get to wear all the time!
I think that’s pretty much it! Until next time knitting friends ❤
Hello once again friends! It’s a lovely Easter Sunday, and it makes me think of buds and leaves and new life. This is especially apt, as my dear friend Katica was given a lovely surprise on April Fool’s day. She was expecting a baby in May, but little Ema decided to play a prank on us all. She’s certainly early, but doing well. She has to stay in the hospital until she gains some weight, which is probably for the best because she doesn’t have any clothes that fit! Katica and her husband were quite sensible, and decided to purchase mostly clothes that would fit her a little while after she was born, since a lot of people stock up on newborn clothes that barely get worn. But surprise! She’s only about five pounds, and newborn clothes are too big. I was lucky enough to visit her and her mum in the hospital, and when I saw her tiny perfect self all wrapped up in the bassinet, something inside me just totally snapped. I’m just going to put this right out there. I love babies. I have no interest in having any of my own right now, because for one thing I believe you should have a pretty good handle on caring for yourself before you try to take care of someone else. (I also know myself well enough to know that if I have kids before I reach a certain point in my career, there’s no way I’ll be able to balance the two.) However, that means that I’m extra excited whenever any of my friends gets pregnant. It’s just thrilling to me. I love knitting for babies, I love how quick it is, and I love how adorable babies look in handknits. I love doing it because it’s certainly become less common, and thus it’s more special to the parents. Handknits are heirlooms, and in this world where everything is mass-produced and fast and disposable, they make an especially perfect welcome gift for a baby. That’s a long way of saying that I knit Ema some tiny preemie clothes.
The yarn I used is not machine washable (I know, scandalous) but I don’t think that really matters because these things are going to fit her for all of five minutes. It’s Luna Grey Fiber Arts Terra yarn in the Moss colorway (I think, the ball band is MIA.) It’s a lovely variegated green, which I chose after Greg reminded me that green was the main color in her nursery. I was thinking about doing something purple, but he was totally right to pick green. (Don’t tell him though :P)
The bootees I’ve actually knit before, they are the lovely Chaussons Mignons, and they’re definitely going to be one of my go-to patterns for babies. You knit an odd T shape, and then fold them up, sew some seams, and Voila! Adorable bootees that look like fortune cookies. They knit up super fast, and they are very very cute. I sized them down just a smidge for teensy feet, so they just flew!
The hat is the Garter Ear Flap Hat from Purl Soho, and I can say with certainty that she looks like a tiny gnome wearing it. (In the cutest possible way.) They didn’t have a size small enough for her little head, so I had to improvise a bit. It worked out though! Her mom ditched the hospital hat immediately, and now she’s wearing mine! It was stunningly cute, and a guaranteed way to get an entire roomful of adults cooing and making fools of themselves. It was awesome.
The sweater is Olivia’s Wrap Cardigan, but I didn’t knit the sleeves and I cropped it quite a bit. I didn’t want a full-length cardigan, but a cute little bolero. I also sized down the body from the newborn size by using smaller needles. I love how it came out!
The crazy thing is, all of these things took less than one ball of yarn. Insanity! I had a fair bit left too, probably 15-20 grams? Knitting this stuff was crazy fun. I still plan to make a few other things for when she’s bigger, (because her knitting was started but not finished. I wasn’t ready for her to be born!) and after that I’ll try to practice some restraint. We’ll see how that goes. She was born during a very cold spring here in Mass, and I’m thinking that she’ll need some cozy knits to cope with the chill. I need to start thinking about stuff for the other babies on my list though! Hopefully they’ll be born after a full term, but that means that they’re knits won’t be as insanely fast. Until next time friends!
So, I have to admit, I’m starting to get the appeal of hats as perfect quick projects. The instant gratification factor is astounding. I cast on a hat at 11 pm on Sunday, and by 9pm on Monday it was finished and drying after it’s bath. Tuesday I wore it!
So let’s back up. A few years ago I grabbed two skeins of 80% angora and 20% merino at the closing sale of A Good Yarn in Brookline *sniff* It was lovely yarn, but quite fuzzy, and I wasn’t sure what to do with about 200 yards of worsted weight angora. So it sat in my stash looking quite pretty.
I was reading through the archives of Ysolda Teague’s blog (what, you don’t do that with designers you like??) and I came across her Icing Swirl hat. I was smitten. It is just so terribly cute, slouchy and with swirling simple lace that has a lot of visual impact without being at all difficult to do. Now, the yarn weight was all wrong, but it needed a bulky weight and I had two strands of worsted weight.. I figured I could make it work. And I did!! I followed the pattern exactly as written for the larger size, but it was actually going to be too slouchy. So I did some extra decreases in the back (about six?) and slapped some ribbing on there so it would at least try to stay on my head. I did the SSK castoff and let me tell you guys, I LOVE IT. I sized up on needles to get a nice stretchy edge, and it worked a treat. It stays on my head, but slouches and looks super cute. It was fast and delightful and so fun. Also? I played some totally epic yarn chicken and won. This is how much was left when I was done.
No fooling. Maybe four inches left. Now I couldn’t find anyone to take pictures of me, so I took a bunch of selfies. I know that we hate selfies, and they’re silly, and all that jazz, but they’re a knitblogger’s best friend on occasion. So you’re just going to have to deal with it.
I think the hat goes very well with my turquoise skinny jeans and the dragonfly scarf from my mom 🙂 Also, since I didn’t have the presence of mind to snap a pic of the back while I was outside in good light, you get instead a photo from indoors. But it will at least give you the right idea.
Isn’t that little knot in the middle super cute?? I love that little detail.
So a few specs. I knit this with Takhi yarns Jolie, 80% angora/20% merino. This yarn sheds like CRAZY. I think that’s probably why they discontinued it. There’s a light halo of angora over my entire apartment now, alas. However, I thought I’d try to minimize the shedding in the finished project, so when I blocked it I gave it a bath in warm water and agitated it for a good five minutes (just swirling it around I. the water.) I know you’re not supposed to do either of those things, but I did and it totally worked. The finished hat doesn’t shed at all, and I wore it with a black sweater, so believe me, I’d know 😛 I didn’t want to shrink it, just full it slightly so that the fibers would stick together. I now have something I’m totally happy with, and the agitation brought up an absolutely gorgeous halo.
I needed a happy little palette cleanser after that monkey sweater, and this for the bill perfectly. I love it!! And of course, this is me now.
Friends, I have been a knitting machine lately!! I have quite a few projects awaiting their turn for a photo shoot, as the weather has been singularly uncooperative in the last few weeks. The last you had heard from me, I had ditched all of my projects for a baby sweater.. and I’m happy to tell you that now it’s done! And it is insanely cute. It’s rare (at least for me) to have a project leap fully formed into my brain, and then be knit out of my brain in the exact way that I had imagined it. But, wonder of wonders, that’s exactly what happened with this sweater. I was organizing my yarn leftovers (I’m working on displaying them rather than having untidy half or quarter skeins lying around getting fuzz on them, but more on that later.) (as another aside, am I the only one who has a seemingly infinite amount of lint in their house? It’s got to be at least partially a byproduct of knitting and spinning, but I sweep, dust, and clean, and then MERE MOMENT LATER my entire apartment is once again covered in fuzz.) Wow that was a lot of digressions. Back to my story.
I was trying to organize my leftovers, when I realized that I had a lot of Berocco Ultra Alpaca in a very pleasing color palette. I had been mulling over the idea of a striped raglan cardigan in a baby size, but then I saw these balls of yarn together and I had an Idea.
I knew that the sweater would need wooden animal buttons, and my LYS (Stitch House in Dorchester, lovely store) totally had my back.
They are absurdly, wonderfully perfect. I know that some of you are all like “OMG you can’t give a baby a sweater made from non-superwash wool!” and the truth is, I know he’s going to drool on it, and get food on it, and all those things that small humans do. However, I have previously gifted two washable sweaters to my Aunt Chantal, Colson’s mum, and she refuses to put them in the washing machine anyway. She might as well get proper good wooly sweaters if that’s the case, just in my humble opinion. Dude, she’s got seven kids, and takes the time to handwash his knits. And he wears them all the time!! She mentioned over Christmas that his first sweater seems to resist getting dirty. That’s part of the magic of wool, though that one also has a touch of angora for extra cuddliness. There’s a reason why Colson gets the knits. His mom takes fantastic care of them and loves them, and he’s just about the cutest little nugget imaginable. So after all my blathering, want to see the sweater? Of course you do.
And naturally there must be a closeup of the all-important monkey buttons.
It’s quite a simple top-down raglan. I didn’t work from a pattern, just cast on and knit until things looked right to me. The shape is a pretty simple and classic one, and I got some sizing info for babies off the Internet so I could at least make sure my dimensions weren’t way off.
Now this came out a little big, because I was trying to use up all my yarn. I’m actually totally okay with that though. It’s more like a 2-3 year old size, and it’s a well known and oft-lamented fact that babies grow extremely fast. He will be wearing this in no time, although I wish I could get modeled shots sooner. I’m sure that they will be super cute when they do materialize. Now off to do more baby knitting, my friend Katica from the office is expecting her first on May 4th. You better believe I’ve been making ALL the Star Wars jokes. (For those who don’t get it, “May the Fourth be with you.”) Until next time peeps!