Archive for the ‘sweaters’ Category

Exercise Before Knitting Gifts

Exercise Before Knitting Gifts? Yes, go out for a little jog before committing to that queen-sized afghan for your cousin’s child’s girlfriend’s dorm room! Or, use the coupon code EXERCISEBEFOREKNITTINGGIFTS in my Ravelry pattern shop to buy 2 patterns and receive the 3rd free! The promotion will end 12/31/2010.

Otherwise, check out the Holiday and Winter issues of Interweave Knits for some new Exercise Before Knitting designs. These two colorwork patterns for Interweave Knits Holiday were inspired by that old Latvian mitten book I found last year.

Copyright Interweave Knits

Copyright Interweave Knits

Slanted Peerie Mittens feature a more unusual stranded pattern, one that moves diagonally across the fabric. The design reminded me of ribbons and wrapping paper, a good motif for the holidays. Although these have three different colors of yarn, the little bits of red are actually duplicate stitched on once the knitting is completed.

Copyright Interweave Knits

Copyright Interweave Knits

Parallax Hat came about as I went looking for an easy stranded pattern to work at worsted weight into a pointy little elf-like cap. I am mad for the spiral top on hats in general, and I think it looks even better in colorwork. Consequently, I made the two-color spiral the heart of the design, then worked out the rest from there.

Tuckernuck Cardigan, a baby/child (3 mos – 5 yrs) pattern appearing in Interweave Knits Winter 2010, comes with a bit of history.

Copyright Interweave Knits

Copyright Interweave Knits

While we impatiently awaited the arrival of baby #2 this time last fall, I thought I would pass the time in part by knitting Beatrix a big sister sweater with lots of lovely cables. Intending to self-publish the finished product, I sketched out the design, set up a spreadsheet, planned a list of sizes, and then powered through the knitting. Baby Odysseus interrupted my seaming, so this sat untouched for a few months. I finished it just as I was packing away our winter woolens. When someone from Interweave asked if I had any children’s patterns for Winter 2010, I sent off my sketches.

Normally, I dread selecting buttons because I have an incredible knack for making extremely poor button choices. One of my coping strategies is to ask other shoppers in the store what they think of my button choice. Did you know most knitters and sewers love choosing buttons? They do. AND they’re usually quite good at it, don’t you think? These particular buttons pleased me very much. They look great with the gray yarn, and don’t detract from the cables at all.

I realize many people do not want to think about baby or kids’ patterns, but I maintain the set-in sleeve is worth the (small) trouble. Well fitting knits look great on children, don’t you think?

Stay tuned for some more gift ideas, namely a pair of Latvian-inspired mittens from Twist Collective!

In need of finishing time

To think, just two months ago, I worried aloud medical school would rob me of every last bit of knitting time! On the contrary, I have far more time to knit now, but no time to think about my knitting: a fatal combination for a perfectionist knitter.

There’s even an almost finished sweater for me in that pile, probably buried near the bottom as it stews in Time Out – I am too annoyed to even discuss that one yet. Although I have plenty of time to knit while studying and sitting in lectures, I have little time to use my brain for things that do not relate to human anatomy (and I’m pretty sure fitting a sweater to a human form does not count in this respect). As you might expect, there have not been many successful projects around here: the three sweaters I swatched last week need different yarns, I have a stack of projects in need of button bands, buttons, or zippers, there’s a hat needing a lining, a baby sweater needing a fix involving a sewing machine and scissors, and several projects waiting on more yarn from the US Postal Service. Things will improve, but until they do, I will show you other people’s knitting, not mine.

Grumperina kindly sent one of her original Budgies to Odysseus, who, shall we say, fills things out quite nicely these days. I pulled it out of the drawer yesterday morning for him to wear on a walk, now that it’s cool in the mornings. Bonus? There are no buttons for him to attempt to eat. Odysseus is a big fan of grumperina knits! Thanks so much, Kathy!

Two of the striped sweaters in my unfinished knits pile are Budgies – it is such a perfect pattern for little ones who tug and pull buttons. I’m making two to use up some cotton stash and to knit for some new babies in my family. Only the zipper installations remain to be done. (Of course.)

O’s new Budgie conveniently matches his new Thorpe! Danielle spun and knitted both of my kids Thorpes for the winter. I think the hats are the same size, which is good, because O’s head is as big as his sister’s. Plus, he has long since outgrown the hat she made him last winter!

What I love about these hats is that they seem to come from so many knitterly people at once: the wool for the hat on the left is from Adrian (HelloYarn), the wool for the hat on the right is from Amy (SpunkyEclectic), the pattern is by Kirsten (Through The Loops), and the spinning and knitting by Danielle (aswiminknits).

Lastly, much to my surprise, a beautiful baby quilt arrived on my doorstep last week, sewed and quilted by my KBC friends.

The little boat on the back is embroidered with “S.S. OEB”, such a sweet personal touch for a little man named for a big sailor, don’t you think?

His chubbiness is lucky to know so many generous and talented crafters! As am I! Thanks so much, everyone!

Hallett’s Ledge

Didn’t I tell you twist collective’s Fall 2010 issue would be amazing? If you have not yet seen the 30 beautiful patterns, I encourage you to check them out! I feel so honored that my latest design, Hallett’s Ledge, is included among them. Allow me to share some of twist’s photos, taken by the talented Jane Heller. Hallett’s Ledge is a modern interpretation of a fisherman-style sweater. It takes its name from a shoal in Nantucket Sound, off the southern coast of Cape Cod.

Copyright Jane Heller

Copyright Jane Heller

Knitted in Rowan Felted Tweed Aran, Hallett’s Ledge is a tailored and textured women’s cardigan that will prove both interesting to knit and easy to wear. The garment employs ribbing below the empire waist, garter eyelet rows marking the empire waist and echoed at the elbow, and an interesting cable pattern at the bust, upper back, and upper arms. It is intended to be worn with about 2″ of positive ease at the bust.

Copyright Jane Heller

Copyright Jane Heller

The body is worked in one piece from the bottom to the armholes, after which point the fronts and back are treated separately. The close fitting sleeves are knitted in the round to the armhole, and then the sleeve cap is worked flat and sewn into the body. The neck band and button bands are picked up and knitted onto the body.

Copyright Jane Heller

Copyright Jane Heller

This was another project I swatched last fall, hoping to create a modern, flattering interpretation of an aran sweater for women. As you may know, it is my firmly held opinion that heavily cabled garments should be trim fitting, with as little excess fabric as possible, due to the weight and bulk of the cabled stitch pattern. After all, there is nothing worse than a heavy, droopy, bag-shaped, boxy sweater. Nothing!

Copyright Jane Heller

Copyright Jane Heller

I received my yarn only days after learning we would be moving 800 miles away in less than a month’s time. Consequently, I did all of my math and worked out pattern sizing before we left, and knitted the bulk of the garment on the road between Kansas and Ohio. Let me tell you, this was the most compelling sight along the interminably dull trek!

The sweater itself knitted up quite quickly, although blocking took forever (DAYS!) because our washing machine had not yet been delivered to our new house. Who blocks the old-fashioned way? The spin cycle reduces drying time a hundred fold!

Of course, as with any ribbed garment, blocking is key. Look at the difference between the shriveled up in-progress body and the neatly blocked one.

Because the ribbing shrunk up so much on itself, I also aggressively pinned down the button bands.

The design element I love most about the garment is the centered cable running down the top of the sleeve. I love the symmetrical look of centered sleeve cables; consequently, I use them frequently.

As with the sleeves, the cabling on the upper back is also centered.

This requires a bit more math to set up the stitch pattern, but I feel it’s math worth doing. After all, I did not suffer through 7th grade algebra for nothing! Why didn’t anyone ever tell me algebra could be so handy?

Although I intended 2″ of positive ease at the bust for this cardigan, I had to try on my sample despite it being a size too small for me! As you can see, this is a much closer fit (roughly 1″ of negative ease at the bust) on me.

I do think the drape is better with positive ease, although your mileage may vary.

For more information about the pattern itself or to purchase a copy, please see the pattern page at twist collective. I hope you enjoy it! Please be sure to check out all the other lovely patterns, articles, and photos in the Fall 2010 issue. There are stunning works from many of my favorite designers in this issue!

Panicked pattern queuing

Nothing gets me more panicked about knitting for my kids than July and August. The school year approaches, you know! What’s that? You say my kids aren’t in school yet? Hm, yes, well there is that. However, as many of you know, I will begin medical school in less than a month, so at least one of us has to prepare for the school year. As you might expect, I feel a bit panicked about losing my knitting time; naturally, I’m spending my last month of freedom planning lots and lots of projects!* I must remind myself that because I knit while I study, August 2010 does not mark the end of my knitting days. Whatever you do, please do not leave a comment asking how I will ever knit again, OK? Thanks.

Despite my impending lack of time, I have been planning what I will make for my kids this year. I thought I would share my ideas with you. For Beatrix, I would like to cast on for a Morgan’s Flower Garden by Amy Herzog.

Copyright Amy Herzog

Everything is red with Beatrix these days, so I will probably have to change the main color to appease her. Although the pattern calls for Cascade 220, I intend to use some Berroco Ultra Alpaca bits floating about in my stash. With shrinking knitting time, I need to make sure what I knit for the kids is both cute and functional; this definitely fits the bill.

For Odysseus, I hope to make an Ella Funt by Pamela Wynne before Chubby outgrows the pattern sizes. Perhaps I should get started on this first, since my tubby seven-month-old is already 22 lbs. He wears things for a week before outgrowing them.

Copyright Pamela Wynne

The pattern calls for sport-weight yarn, and boy, do I have sport-weight scraps! In fact, my stash seems to be comprised almost exclusively of them. I am somewhat embarrassed to admit I have only made one sweater for little O in his life and I made it before he was born. That is to say, of course, it doesn’t count. The little man needs some woolens for the winter when his mama is away in the anatomy lab, don’t you think?

Finally, I’m planning grumperina’s Budgie Striped Sweater for sometime this fall/winter. Isn’t it adorable? True, I am a sucker for anything striped, but the zipper is what makes it a very useful, day-to-day garment. Once they start teething, little babies tug every button in sight to get it into their little mouths, which is dangerous for them and disastrous for their sweaters.


Copyright grumperina

Stacey recently sent me some of her own handspun, and it is burning a hole in my stash. I have never used handspun, and this stuff is gorgeous. I only worry about selecting the wrong project and wasting it! It would look great with this pattern, but a baby sweater might be a waste of handspun, don’t you think?

Like grumperina, so many of my friends and relations are expecting babies right now. I feel like my list of baby standard sweaters has dwindled to a few about which I’m not terribly excited. It’s time to shake things up a bit and find some new go-to baby knits. I think both Ella Funt and Budgie will fill the void.

I’ve also been swatching a little bit on my own for some baby items, playing around with gauge and color values, but I have not yet found anything I must knit.

What baby and kid patterns excite you?

*This can only fail.

Hedge Fence Pullover

Center cable, Hedge Fence Pullover

For as long as I can remember, I have been searching for the perfect cabled pullover. Sometimes, I wonder if this is the real reason I learned to knit. I have very strong opinions about aran-style sweaters. As far as I am concerned, they must

1.) feature symmetrically placed cables;

2.) be heavily cabled, but not be so overwrought so as to include bobbles or a waffle stitch cable;

3.) include some kind of set-in sleeve (no matter how traditional the drop shoulder, I find it sloppy and droopy looking)

4.) not include a mock turtleneck;

5.) not be knit with 10″ of ease;

6.) not make me look 30 lbs heavier.

Is that so much to ask of a sweater? Off the top of my head, Lucy Sweetland’s Lillian and a bobble-less version of Kim Hargreaves’ Demi are the only ones I can think of that come close  – both are in my queue to knit! I have yet to make a sweater that satisfies all of these criteria, but I think this new pattern comes close to meeting my standards.

Front view, Hedge Fence Pullover

Aaron owns and wears more sweaters than anyone I know (knitters included). Unfortunately, it is difficult to find a store-bought sweater to properly fit a very tall, thin man with monkey arms. If something fits in the chest, the arms and body are 4″ too short. If the arms and body are long enough, the body is impossibly wide. Consequently, most of his sweaters are ill-fitting and gigantic. He has been asking for a cabled pullover for years and indeed, I have always wanted to make him something that actually fits. However, I could not find the right pattern. More importantly, I doubted whether he would actually wear what I made him. After all, he has been wearing too-big clothes all his life. Once, when I convinced him to try on a 40″ shirt, he reacted like a cat with tape on its paws. “It’s so tight, I don’t think I could concentrate,” he protested, as he squirmed around in 7″ of positive ease. Sometimes, I wonder if he thinks my clothes fit like spandex. I refused to knit him a sweater as ill-fitting as anything he could buy. But after years of listening to him talk about wanting a handmade cable sweater, last summer, I decided it was time to give it a go. I took some cable patterns from stitch dictionaries and put them together until I found a combination I liked.

Side view, Hedge Fence Pullover

I measured his favorite sweater and found it to have a 46″ chest, 13″ larger than his 33″ chest measurement. We split the difference, and I planned a 39″ size. With still 6″ of ease, I had to aggressively decrease at the armholes to achieve a fitted shoulder width. We are both delighted with the result. I know this pullover will enter Aaron’s winter sweater rotation. And if it doesn’t, there’s always divorce.

Hedge Fence Pullover

Pattern: Hedge Fence Pullover

Yarn: Ram Wools Selkirk (which is really Briggs & Little Regal, don’t ask me why there are two different names for the same yarn) in Brown Heather, 7 skeins

Needles: US 7 (4.5 mm)

I am happy to offer the unisex pattern in 12 sizes: 31 (33, 35, 37, 39, 41, 43, 46, 49, 51, 53, 55)”. The garment takes its name from Hedge Fence Shoal, a shallow sandbar on the far west side of Nantucket Sound, just northeast of Martha’s Vineyard. I have been contemplating a series of fisherman-style sweaters and I decided to go with a naming scheme based on the waters I sailed so much as a child.

The pattern is available as a Ravelry download for $8.50.

The body and sleeves of the garment are knit in the round to the armholes, after which point the knitting is done back and forth. The only seaming required is the sewing in of the sleeve cap. The shoulders are joined by a three-needle bind-off, the underarm stitches are grafted together, and stitches are picked up around the neck for the neckline ribbing. The pattern comes with text instructions, a set of body charts for each size, and a set of sleeve charts for each size. None of the cable instructions are written out – they are all charted. In addition, I have included several pages of notes on how to modify the pattern to achieve the best fit for your body while maintaining the integrity of the center cable panel. Fortunately, the side cables are small enough to allow for quite a lot of flexibility in terms of sizing. The only real challenge in modifying the pattern is to ensure the center cable still flows cleanly into the ribbing at the bottom edge and neckline.

Hedge Fence Pullover

More information about the pattern and a detailed schematic can be found on the Hedge Fence Pullover page or on the Ravelry pattern page.

More photos of the finished garment here.