Archive for the ‘stranded’ Category

Ultimate Stashbuster Vest

Done!

It’s done! And I love it. I was worried it would be an eyesore but I could not love it more. AND, it was free. Well, almost. I had to buy one skein of yarn because I ran out. A $3 skein hardly counts. At the outset, I had 11.5 oz of yarn in my stash, now I have 3.0 oz left. The remains will likely go into hats and mittens here and there. 

Stashbusting: from 11.5 oz to 3.0 oz

Pattern: I cobbled this pattern together as I went. None of the peeries are the same but many of them are variations on one basic pattern. For the stacking of patterns, I followed a few general rules. For example, every orange and white peerie is followed by a tan and red peerie, with occasional 3- or 5-row peeries thrown in for better transitions. Because the pattern repeats are all relatively small, I did not concern myself too much with centering the patterns. The exception, of course, was at the base of the V-neck. I made sure the last peerie before the neck shaping centered directly below the V. I thought about offering the pattern for this but since I made up instructions as I went, I can offer no information about standard measurements and yarn usage. Here is the chart image, feel free to use any or all of the patterns as you see fit. I also have the chart in Excel; please email me if you would prefer the Excel copy over the .gif file. 

Yarn: 8.5 oz Brown Sheep Nature Spun Sport in six colors – Bev’s Bear, Roasted Coffee, Bordeaux, French Clay, Sunburst Gold and Natural

Needles: US 4.0 (3.5 mm)

Gauge: 28 sts and 32 rows = 4″

Ultimate Stashbuster Vest

To fit this to my 34″ bust, I made a 32″ size for 2″ of negative ease. Eunny Jang’s Ivy League Vest taught me some important lessons last year about fitting a vest to one’s body. Primarily, a vest like this should not have any positive ease. I am much happier with how the garment feels with a full 2″ of negative ease at the bust. For the record, there is no ease (positive or negative) at the waist and hip, only negative ease at the bust. 

Ultimate Stashbuster Vest

The vest is knit entirely in the round. The armholes, neck opening and back neck shaping are all steeked open. Since Brown Sheep is not particularly good for steeking, I used the crochet method but reinforced the steek edges with machine stitching down the sides. I had intended to hand sew; however, machine sewing was much faster and I was desperate to be done! I took care to ensure the floats did not catch in my sewing machine, my greatest fear. After I added the edgings and blocked the vest, I tacked down the facings with a big blanket stitch. This last step is hardly necessary (especially with sewn steek reinforcements) but I like knowing that my facings will not move around.  

The guts

The steeking process is far easier than it seems it ought to be. I would encourage anyone to give it a go! I think my last few posts have linked to Eunny Jang’s steeking chronicles but it’s worth doing again. She takes the mystery out of cutting one’s knitting. 


With my favorite jacket

The edges are done entirely with 3×1 corrugated ribbing for about 3/4″.  I am particularly happy with how the pattern at the shoulder join looks – it is almost seamless! I thought about grafting it together for a completely seamless look but decided the seam would provide important support at the shoulders. 

Shoulder join 

For more photos, see the Ultimate Stashbuster Vest folder on my Flickr account.

Ultimate Stashbuster Vest

Down the rabbit hole

What started as a casual, ongoing, secondary project quickly grew into a terribly addicting, compelling project not long after I wrote about it.

Almost done with the knitting

It was bound to happen. I wanted my stashbusting vest to be a project to work on slowly throughout the year, adding scraps as they became available. Well, let’s face it: there is no shortage of Nature Spun Sport scraps in my house. Shortly after I posted about my Ultimate Stashbusting Vest, I felt a tremendous urge to FINISH! Right away! Sadly, a stranded vest with six colors and no repeated peeries requiring large amounts of math at regular intervals does not make for a good portable project. Alas! I have been dying to finish this for six weeks. Now, it is almost ready!

Down the rabbit hole

With the major knitting done, I steeked the vest yesterday and picked up stitches for the first armhole edging this morning. 
I can't stop

The other armhole and the neck edging remain to be done. Oh, and then there’s this little matter of weaving in ends…

Pod of Cetaceans Cardigan

Pod of Cetaceans Cardigan, button band

Pod of Cetaceans Cardigan

Growing up on Cape Cod in the 1980s, I have many memories of nautical themed sweaters, with boats, anchors, captain’s wheels, or whales forming the yoke. With these sweaters came Nantucket jewelry baskets, alligator polos (collars flipped up, of course), plaid pants, embroidered pants, and any other garment with the shape of the Cape Cod arm littered gratuitously about.

This cardigan was inspired by a pullover my mother started for me and finished several years later for my brother, if I am not mistaken. I thought it might be a fun design to revive. Since winter is almost over and I will soon be packing away her size 2 winter clothes, I knit Beatrix the size 3-4 yr for next year. The garment is knit from the bottom up in the round and then steeked open. Those unfamiliar with crochet steeks are encouraged to read Eunny Jang’s definitive steeking tutorial before proceeding. Only feltable wools with plenty of grip should be used for steeking purposes. Neither superwash wools nor plant or synthetic fibers will hold. Although it would be easy to modify the pattern to work back and forth without steeking, the instructions are written for construction in the round.

Note of caution: Any knitter who chooses to abuse this pattern by making matching whale sweaters for the family Christmas card should be flogged, or at the very least have his/her knitting needles confiscated.

This pattern is available as a Ravelry download for $5.00.

or add to cart

Difficulty: Advanced

Skills used: knitting in the round, increasing/decreasing, reading a chart, stranded knitting, steeking, picking up stitches, hand sewing facings, and optional duplicate stitching

Sizes:

0-3 mos (6-9 mos, 12-18 mos, 2 yr, 3-4 yr, 5-6 yr)

Finished Measurements:

Pod of Cetaceans, finished measurements

Gauge:

17 stitches and 24 rows = 4” in stockinette on US 7 (4.5 mm) needles

20 stitches and 25 rows = 4” in stranded pattern on US 7 (4.5 mm) needles

Note: Swatching the stranded pattern in the round is imperative. I chose to cast on 36 stitches for three whale pattern repeats plus 7 stockinette stitches for a steek. In addition to checking gauge, this extra swatching will provide a valuable opportunity to practice steeking.

Shoulder yoke

Front yoke

Pod of Cetaceans Cardigan, back yoke

Yarn:

Harrisville Designs New England Highland (100% wool; 200 yd [183 m]; 100 g [3.53 oz]): 1(2, 2, 2, 3, 3) skeins #33 Midnight Blue, 1 (1, 1, 1, 1, 1) skein #44 white, 1 (1, 1, 1, 1, 1) skein #7 Tundra.

Needles:

US 7 (4.5mm) circular (length appropriate for size) and set of DPNs

US 6 (4.0 mm) circular needle (length appropriate for size) and set of DPNs

Materials:

Crochet hook, any size between 3.25 -4.0 mm will do

Wool waste yarn in contrasting color (not superwash wool or any plant fiber)

tapestry needle

5 (5, 7, 7, 9, 9) 3/4″ buttons

Working the little hair she has...

Shown here with optional duplicate stitched water spouts over each whale:

Pod of Cetaceans Cardigan, optional whale spouts

The steeked facings are tacked down with a simple blanket stitch.

Pod of Cetaceans, facings

The ultimate stashbusting challenge

In my stashbusting efforts this fall, I discovered Brown Sheep Nature Spun Sport comprises the majority of my remnant stash. While not a fancy or exciting yarn, it is a nice, inexpensive wool that comes in a million colors. I heart Nature Spun. Most recently, I used Nature Spun Sport for Ida’s vest, a DROPS sweater for Beatrix, and my Winter Sunrise hat. It is also the yarn used in the never ending Katharine Hepburn Cardigan, which I will finish sometime in my lifetime. Excepting the two cones I bought from Whitney’s recent destash, it is worth noting that most of the NS in my remnant stash predates my blog. This means it is at least three years old. I must use it up or throw it out. Period.

With small amounts of at least 13 colors, I suppose I could knit hats. Many, many, many hats. However, I noticed nearly everything could be grouped into shades of orange/brown or shades of blue. Starting with the former color grouping, I decided to knit up the biggest stashbusting project ever: a fair isle vest like the Ivy League vest I knit last year, using only what I had. I will buy more of one particular color if I run out. However, I will not buy additional colors to use in the project.

With the ribbing

Using the same 3×1 ribbing as Ida’s vest, I cast on last October.

Ongoing Brown Sheep Nature Spun Stashbuster Vest

The vest grows slowly, in part due to the stitch gauge and in part due to its relegation to secondary project in my knitting basket. Now, several months later, I have reached the V-neck divide.

Ongoing Brown Sheep Nature Spun Stashbuster Vest

I’m still not sure the bright orange and white peeries jive with the darker peeries. I think they look good from a distance but it’s a little jarring from the knitter’s distance. I added them in the first place because the other peeries blended together into one dark blob.

My favorite panel

This is my favorite peerie of them all. I intend to use it in other designs, I like it so much. From some angles, it looks like the standard XOXO; but from other angles, I see orange butterflies. Do you?

I am willing to accept this may turn out to be the ugliest thing I’ve ever knit. After all, orange and brown are not exactly my favorite colors. However, I think it might be a nice fall vest under a jacket. Furthermore, the planning stages alone taught me valuable lessons about stacking and centering peeries, and stranded knitting in general. I remain hopeful.

Francis: visited, revisited, and revisited again

Francis Revisited

As I said a few weeks ago, there comes a point in the middle of the winter when keeping warm becomes my primary life goal. There are many sweaters I aim to knit this winter but how can I even think straight with chattering teeth and a shivering body? In November, I cast on for the second of three sweaters (this was the first, and the third will be done soon) knit for the express purpose of staying warm. Unbelievably, I knit this in less than one week, knitting only in the evenings and during a few breaks in the day. So this is why people love to knit bulky weight sweaters!

Francis Revisited

Pattern: Francis Revisited by Beth Silverstein (Ravelry link)

Yarn: Cascade Eco Wool, 2 skeins

Needles: US 10 (6.0 mm) for the body, US 9 (5.5 mm) for the cuffs and hem, US 8 for the cowl

Modifications: I used long sleeves, garter stitch in place of seed stitch, a hemmed bottom edge and I used my own shaping instead of the pattern shaping.

The low light conditions of winter

I lengthened and tapered the sleeves, ending with a long garter stitch cuff. I intended to carry this along the cowl and bottom edge; however, each time I tried a garter edge on the bottom, it looked like a large fat roll – not exactly flattering!I reknit the bottom edge at least four times before settling on the hem.

The hem that nearly killed me

Although I am not entirely happy with the hem, I must remember that the primary purpose of this sweater is to keep me warm this winter. Period. In fact, who knows if it will even make it to next winter? I rarely knit with bulky yarns because I doubt their durability. On the other hand, Cascade Eco Wool has a surprisingly tight spin so perhaps it will make it to next winter without pilling and fuzzing.

Francis Revisited

I also recently finished a pair of fingerless mitts in the same frenzy as these sweaters. Sitting at a microscope in a cold room in the middle of winter is probably one of the underlying reasons why I have felt so cold lately. I have not yet decided if these provide enough dexterity for me to do my work but I hope they will.

Endpaper mitts

Pattern: Endpaper Mitts by Eunny Jang (Ravelry link)

Yarn: Reynolds Soft Sea Wool

Needles: US 2.5 (3.0 mm), US 0 (2.0 mm)

In general, I think fingerless mitts are fairly useless when it comes to keeping one’s hands warm. Aren’t the fingers the first to feel cold? Why would anyone take the time to knit mittens that leave the fingers open? I fail to understand the appeal of the fingerless mitt. Nonetheless, I am willing to try them out in a vain attempt to warm up!