Posted in Knitting

Feeling Sheltered (the Sweater)

I wrote a little about Sheltered last week, and I’ve been wearing it almost constantly, because it’s winter, I’m cold, and I love this knit! So I thought it deserved its own blog.

My Sheltered Swancho

This pattern is essentially a poncho, but clever Andrea Mowry seamed a few stitches under the arms, making it a swancho, the new construction that’s taking the knitting world by storm. I think they’re cute, how about you?

Here are a few examples of swanchos that I love:

Knitted swanchos
Left, Wisteria by the Berroco Design Team; middle, Baby Swancho by Sue Farley; right, Ninilchik Swoncho by Caitlin Hunter

That Wisteria swancho is especially dreamy. I may have to knit it, and it’s a free pattern! I’m not a bobble-hater, so I think I would enjoy this one.

One of the reasons I love Sheltered is because it’s written to have a ton of ease. I knitted the medium, so as I get smaller, the poncho will continue to fit. In the photo below, Andrea is also wearing a medium, but hers has 31 inches of positive ease. I can only hope to get as small as Andrea, so I think my Sheltered will stand the test of time!

The medium-sized Shelter on designer Andrea Mowry


Some projects say they look good on all body types, but Sheltered really does. I do have some advice for potential Shelter knitters, though: Take a look at the finished objects in the Ravelry gallery. Many look too large to me, and that’s why I decided on the medium. At some point mine will be looser, but I wanted it to look like it fit me, not like it was dwarfing me.

This is an issue for us shorties, and I battle it all the time. I like tunic length tops, because they hide all the “bad stuff,” but they can also add to the dumpiness, so I try to choose shorter lengths that cover just what I want them to, and aren’t too large otherwise. These can be hard to find, which is why I spend a fortune at J.Jill.

In my knitting, I stay away from tunics, simply because I don’t want to knit that much on one sweater—or use that much yarn—and I won’t get the drape I like unless I use fingering-weight yarn. I don’t have all the time in the world to knit a sweater, so no thanks!

Sheltered is perfect for me—not too long, not too wide (yet), and worsted-weight! I used Shepherd’s Wool Worsted from Stonehedge Fiber Mill, in the color chocolate milk. It’s a gray-brown that goes with everything. I can’t emphasize how much I LOVE this yarn. It’s wonderful to knit with, has great stitch definition, is affordable, and comes in a bunch of great colors. Highly recommended!

Andrea incorporated several interesting techniques into Sheltered (did I mention her cleverness?!), which was really fun. There are faux seams, the slipped stitch that runs up the front (and back), and a textural twisted stitch on the top of the sweater. Here’s a closeup of the details:

I didn’t say it was a GOOD closeup picture. Sorry about that—I hope you can see the stitches. You can see where the stitch pattern changes from stockinette to twisted-stitch stockinette, though. The twisted pattern is knit through the back loop on the right side and purled on the wrong side (thanks Andrea, purling through the back loop is a pain in the butt!).

The diagonal seams are created by slipping stitches with yarn in front, but the real inventiveness is the straight seam across the top. Those stitches are bound off and then picked up through the back loop. So the “seam” you’re seeing is the front loop of the bind off. CLEVER! I learn something new from Andrea every time I knit one of her patterns. Love her.

Now about that screw up noted in the top right of the photo. I have to be honest—I don’t remember exactly what I did wrong, but I think I went a row too far before binding off. I do remember thinking that it was no big deal, and I still don’t think it’s the end of the world. You can’t tell unless you get really close, and who’s going to be getting that close to the boob area?

I didn’t make the same mistake on the back, so that’s a smoother transition. People can get as close to the back as they want to!

So that’s my journey through Sheltered. I know Andrea named it for the yarn she designed it with, but I really feel so cozy in this piece, and yes, sheltered. I’m writing this blog on vacation in warm Arizona, but the polar vortex is going on right now, and we have family in Cincinnati who are literally sheltering from the storm. One of them is a knitter, and I know she’s hunkered down with her needles clicking.




I have one full skein of Shepherd’s Wool left, plus a ball that’s a bit less than half a skein. Leave a comment, and I’ll put you in a pool to win it! It’s enough to knit a hat, mittens, or ??? So tell me what’s up with you, and you might wind up with a little something to add to your stash!


Posted in Knitting

Getting Smaller = Smaller Projects

A “before” picture, modeling my seed stitch infinity scarf.

Hello Friends! Sorry for the long absence. I’ve been freelancing, living life, and starting a new beginning for myself. I’m on a weight-loss journey, and it’s changed my perspective on just about everything, including knitting.

In December, I had weight-loss surgery. It’s a huge thing, and I’m so happy I did it. I’m down 50 pounds, and feeling great. (Seventeen of those pounds were lost before surgery.)

I’ve struggled with my weight since grade school, and I’ve tried everything from Jenny Craig, to Weight Watchers, to the LapBand. I got the band 13 years ago in Tijuana, and it worked okay until it didn’t; I had to get it removed because it slipped.

Since I had some success with the band, I started exploring the other surgical options. I have a wonderful surgery group here in Spokane, and this whole thing has been an amazing experience.

Many who go through this process are hesitant to share it with others, which is something I don’t understand. I mean, you’re going to notice a big difference, right? And I want to share my success with people, including all of you!

So here I am, the incredible shrinking woman, forced into a sweater-knitting hiatus. That’s my favorite type of knitting, although I’ve had a couple of disasters in the last year. You all know about Veronica, but I also had a total fail on O’Keeffe, from Bristol Ivy’s gorgeous book, Knitting Outside the Box.

O'Keeffe Sweater knitting pattern
O’Keeffe back when I loved her. I still love the yarn though. It’ll become something beautiful. Maybe O’Keeffe in size small.

The sweater turned out HUGE on me, and this was before any weight loss. I thought I had gauge, but I think I loosened up. I was close to finished when I figured this out, and that was part of the fail—try on your sweaters as you knit them, people!

I did have a great success with Andrea Mowry’s Sheltered. I knit this with Shepherd’s Wool Worsted, which is a delight to work with. It’s one of my new favorites; my local knit shop owner, Kris from KnitKnit the Studio, introduced it to me. I knit Sheltered in the medium size, which was snug for me when I first finished it, but now it fits great. The pattern is written with a lot of ease, so I’m hoping it’ll fit me forever.

Lovely Andrea Mowry modeling Sheltered.

Vanilla Latte Socks

Isn’t that cute? It has a hood, but I didn’t add that. I just did the cowl neck all the way around. I’m not a fan of knitted hoods; they take so much more yarn than you think, and they just add bulk, IMHO.

So, what am I working on now? Socks. I know, the self-described non-sock-knitter is on her second pair. What brought this on is my freezing feet. I’ve never suffered from cold feet, but I guess it’s common when you’re losing weight quickly.

I just finished the Vanilla Latte Socks (a free pattern on Ravelry), which I knitted with Cascade Heritage. I choose a pretty gray, because it’ll go with my wardrobe, and because it was in my stash. I really enjoyed working with this yarn.

I’m working on a pair of Rose City Rollers now, cute little footies that I’m knitting with Tofutsies. These are roll-top socks that I’ll be wearing around the house. I love the yarn colors, so springy and bright. I find I’m constantly wearing socks now, even in my slippers, and I think this pattern will be a good one to use to knit multiple pairs.

I’ve also got yarn set aside for some Turkish Bed Socks, which I love because I can wear them with my myriad Danskos.

Rose City Rollers. My progress on the right. I need to start knitting two at a time!

Road to China Light, which I’m using for a moss stitch cowl

Next up, a moss stitch cowl of my own design. I’m so much colder in general, and I’ve been wearing cowls around the house. It’s amazing how much warmer I am when I wear a cowl, and I love knitting them, so win-win.

I’m going to use two skeins of GORGEOUS Road to China Light in the colorway Sapphire. I’m using a size 4 needle and casting on 151 stitches for a finished measurement of about 25 inches in circumference. This yarn is so soft, and the color is saturated and beautiful. It’s slightly variegated, which I’m not sure you can see from the photo.

So that’s what’s happening with me. I promise to blog more and keep you up to date with my weight-loss progress. Leave a comment below and let me know what’s happening with you!