The intersection of crafting, knitting, cooking, and more!
I'm a crafter, knitter, writer, gardener, and cook. I'm the editor of the website knittingdaily.com, and also a Stampin' Up demonstrator. I'm married to a wonderful gal, Mimi, who shares my interests in papercrafting, knitting, travel, but not so much with the cooking.
You guys, I’m out of control. I cast on another sweater—Mousa, by Marie Wallin, from her book, Shetland.
This is some intense Fair Isle, lemme tell ya. I choose 11 colors of Finull PT2, in slightly brighter colors than the original, which is knit in Jamieson’s Spindrift. Kris at KnitKnit The Studio knit Mousa a couple years ago, and I fell in love with it.
Mousa will be a good project for my weight-loss journey, because it has a lot of ease; as I get smaller, it’ll get bigger (obvs!), but since it’s designed to be big, it’ll go the distance for me.
I have two colorwork sweaters going at once, and I’ve learned something: I don’t love stranded knitting. I’m paranoid my floats will be too tight, so many times they end up too loose. This is happening in the Hintermost sweater, and I’m working hard to make the floats reasonably loose, but not too loose. This isn’t the kind of knitting I love, where I have to think about it so much! Luckily, Hintermost doesn’t have a huge amount of colorwork, and I’m almost through it. PHEW!
With all of that said, the Mousa colorwork seems to be more enjoyable than the Hintermost colorwork. I think it’s because the yarn is smaller—I don’t have to struggle with worsted-weight on 7s. We’ll see. After all, I’m only a few inches in.
But I need a good cable project. Next up, for sure.
Anyone have any hints for me for the floats? I did Hintermost arms inside out, and that helped, but Mousa is basically a tube, so it’s many inches more in circumference, and too floppy for the inside-out trick to work (I think).
I lied to you, and I lied to myself. I blame Kris from KnitKnit the Studio because she’s hosting a knit-along of Bristol Ivy’s GORGEOUS Hintermost knitting pattern cardigan, and when I saw it, I immediately started justifying knitting it:
“It’s a cardigan, so I can wear it with the fronts crossed and add a belt.”
“I’ll just look at the measurements for a size 10, and knit to that.”
“I can take it in if I need to.”
All of those things might be true (hopefully the size 10 part!), but the most convincing rationale is that I love it and I’m a sweater knitter. I’ve plowed through several small projects, including a couple of baby items, socks, and a hat. I’m almost almost finished my moss-stitch cowl, and I really need a big project!
I’m not a monogamous knitter, and I like to have a big project and a small project going at all times so I can switch back and forth. One has to be social-knitting appropriate, so I can take it to knit night and knit on it in front of the TV. (And who am I kidding, I have a million UFOs I could get on, but I want that sweater!)
I have failed on a Bristol Ivy pattern before (O’Keeffe, which I talked about here), but that wasn’t Bristol’s fault. I messed up my gauge somehow, and I take full responsibility. Bristol is a fantastically inventive designer, and Hintermost is proof of that.
The techniques in this design include:
The tubular cast-on
So. Much. Fun. I have never done a saddle shoulder sweater, so I’m really looking forward to that. And I love colorwork, so this’ll give me a chance to explore more of that technique.
I’ve got one sleeve almost done, so I’ve already done the tubular cast-on and the shaker rib (very cool!). And of course, some colorwork. There’s not a huge amount of it in this sweater, but what there is really makes a statement. Bristol’s attention to detail includes changing the color dominance as the main colors change.
What is Color Dominance?
This is an interesting colorwork concept, wherein the foreground color shows up more than the background color. I thought I understood color dominance, but after doing some research, I realize that I had done my sleeve correctly, but just by chance.
The dominant color should be the foreground color, which in the bottom half of the colorwork portion is oatmeal, and in the top half of the colorwork is blue. I thought I should hold my dominant yarn in my left hand, which is my normal way of holding the yarn, and the non-dominant yarn should be in my right hand. This was correct, because the dominant color was being picked up from beneath the non-dominant color.
The nuts and bolts of this concept is that the yarn that comes from below the other has to travel slightly farther than the other, so the stitches are ever so slightly larger, which makes them show up a tad better. The effect can be subtle, and you’ll probably also only notice it if you change the way you’re holding the yarn and change the dominance.
Usually, it’s very important to important to knit an entire project project with the yarns in the same position, so your colorwork is even throughout.
Say you’re knitting mittens, and you change the dominance from one mitten to the other. You’ll probably notice that the foreground pattern isn’t as prominent on one mitten as it is on the other. Here’s an example:
In Hintermost, as the color emphasis changed from blue to oatmeal, I switched the yarns, carrying the oatmeal in my left hand the and blue in my right hand. This automatically changed the yarn dominance, with the oatmeal coming from below the blue.
Bristol clearly marks this change on the chart, so you know when to change.
There’s a Mistake in the Sleeve Chart!
I’m knitting the size 47½, and when I got to the chart I wasn’t working out. I thought I had the stitch count right, and I did. There are four stitches at the beginning of the round, before the repeat, and four at the end of the round, after the repeats are complete. I had 60 stitches, and the repeat is 12 stitches, so I finally realized I just needed to knit the repeat five times, which equals 60 stitches. Mischief managed.
The sleeve length is 21 inches for all sizes. That’s way too long for me; I need about 17 inches. To make the sleeve shorter, I’m simply decreasing faster. The pattern calls for the increase row every 6 inches, but I’m doing it every 4. I’m winging this, so I hope it works out!
That’s the story so far. I’ll keep you updated on the progress of this project.
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.
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:
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
I promised a blog post on my successful finished object, so here it is: The Zuni Cardigan!
This beauty was technically finished last November, but the sleeve caps were giving me fits. I changed the pattern because of my crazy-short arms, and when I looked at the photos on the pattern, I though there were a couple of gathers at the top of the sleeve. I knit the sleeve caps with lots of stitches across the top so I could fold it into gathers, and it looked ridiculous.
So I did just one gather, and I liked that better. Looking more closely at the pattern, though, it didn’t call for gathers at all. But I was done, and mine has a gather! It’s cute, I think, although I really don’t need the extra bulk. But like I said, it’s done!
Mods I Made
Since I changed the sleeve length, and I got lazy, so I only did one colorwork section on the sleeves. What do you think?
Another modification I made was omitting the belt. I don’t look good in belted garments, so this is just an open front cardi. I can close it with a shawl pin, or add a snap later if I want to.
I made the back and fronts longer by adding a few rows to the cream sections between the colorwork rows.
In an earlier blog post, I detailed the progress of this project, so check that out for more info.
I used Universal Yarns Deluxe Worsted in Gold Spice, Charcoal Heather, and Oatmeal Heather, as shown at right. This yarn was great to work with, and it’s super economical. Love that!
I loved these colors when I saw them in the original pattern, so I decided not to mess with a good thing. Jesie Ostermiller knows of what she speaks.
I’m really happy with this sweater, and I’ve worn it a lot. The length is perfect, and although I thought I’d want a closure in the front, I enjoy wearing it open. It’s a warm sweater, so wearing it open helps with that.
Years ago, when I worked at Interweave, I designed the free sock knitting pattern, Cable Rib Socks. It appeared in a free eBook called Knitting Patterns for Knitting Accessories. A new version of this eBook is on the site now, and the sock pattern isn’t in it. Since people have asked me for the pattern, so I decided to put it on The Craftermath.
Sorry for the HORRIBLE PHOTOS. Funny story, I only knit one of these, and through the magic of Photoshop, two appeared in the eBook. Yeah, fake news. I’m going to knit these again so I can have a better photo, and a complete pair of socks.
The original pattern was knit from Zauberball Crazy, which I love, but I really think the stitch pattern would shine with a solid yarn. I’ll have to search my stash and see what I have. Probably nothing—yay, time to shop!
I’m not the most prolific sock knitter, and truthfully, I don’t really enjoy knitting socks. I tend to have a death grip on those tiny needles, and my hands aren’t happy. Maybe I should try knitting on bamboo needles. Do any of you sock knitters have advice on this?
I’m heading to Phoenix in a couple of weeks, and this will be my travel project. Here’s hoping I can finish them up!
As soon as this hat was done, Mimi put it on and she’s worn it almost every day this winter! So cute on her, right?
Her hair is perfect for it, too.
I had so much fun writing this pattern; the first part of the joy was choosing the yarn. I looked through all of the yarns at Alpaca Direct, finally settling on Berroco Vintage. I love knitting with Vintage—it comes in a wonderful array of colors, it’s washable, and it’s super-economical.
I chose charcoal for my main color and purple haze for my contrasting color. The purples and blues make nice color changes for the snowflake motif.
The great thing about knitting stranded colorwork with variegated yarn is that the yarn does the work for you. The snowflake section of Flurries is so colorful and wintry, and it’s all done with just two yarns, the main and contrasting colors! You’re welcome.
Several years ago, I designed my Faux Isle Hat for Interweave (also a free pattern!).
I loved the technique so much, and I wanted to use it again—so here you go!
The pattern includes an adult version (20″ circumference) and a toddler version. Make matchies for you and your little one.
I spent about three months on and off knitting my Veronika Cardigan, all the while picturing myself wearing it everywhere and being cozy, warm, and stylish.
When I was finished, I tried it on, all excited about my life-changing finished object, and nope, nope, nope! It was absolutely hideous on me. HIDEOUS! No one believed me, and when I tried it on for my knitting group at our holiday party, one of my favorite people said, “Yeah, it’s not good.” I love her.
So I gave it to my friend Edie, who’s also in my knitting group. She is taller and slimmer than I am, and it looked great on her. She hesitated to accept it, until I told her that I wanted it out of the house, and if she didn’t take it, I’d give it to someone else. She put it on and didn’t take it off.
Now I don’t want you all to think I’m trashing the pattern, because I’m definitely not. It’s just terrible for my body. Because this was a knit-along, I’ve seen it on several people, and it looked great on them all. I do have to say, however, that it looks best on people who are taller, like 5′ 6″ or more. Although now that I think about it, my friend Terry is about my height, and her’s looks great. So . . . maybe it’s not for chubettes. Or just my brand of chubette, because it looks fine on the Ravelry folks.
Anyway, lesson learned: don’t go for oversized, boxy items!
Honestly, though, I was pretty upset. I had spent so much time knitting this beast, and I loved my yarn choice. I felt bad about my body, and I had a thought that I’d just knit accessories from now on, because sweaters in my size take FOREVER, and it’s such a crap-shoot on fit. At least for me it is.
But then I had a stern conversation with myself, and thought about the successful knits I’ve made, including another cardigan I just finished; blog to come after I take some decent pictures.
This Veronika process also helped me realize that I need to make better choices (in many things, but I’m talking about knitting here). Why on earth would I think an over-sized sweater would look good on me? I am already over-sized, and I need to flatter my shape, not expand it! Total fail on the pattern choice. I just loved the look of it on the model and in The Studio, where I saw a finished sample and joined the KAL. So, again, lesson learned.
My next sweater will be a well-thought-out project, with much consideration of how the sweater will look on me, not how it looks on other people, especially the model. Kris from The Studio is a master of fitting knits, so I’m going to be asking her for advice.
Leave a comment and give me your advice,and tell me about your fails. I need some company here!
Hand-dyed yarns always draw me in. There’s something so magical about them; the hard work and creativity of the dyer just shines through in each skein. I’m so lucky to be friends with one of the best indie dyers out there, Sarah from SeraCraft yarn. She and her family live on their 10-acre farm north of Spokane, Washington, and she’s in one of my knitting groups.
I love following Sarah on social media and seeing her gorgeous colorways pop up in my Facebook and Instagram feeds. Just stunningly beautiful yarn!
The really neat thing about SeraCraft yarn is that Sarah’s kids help her dye and name the yarn. One of my recent favorites was called Shark Week, name courtesy of Sarah’s son, and the colors were cool blues and grays. It’s all sold out, but Sarah does dye to order!
Sarah has a degree in fashion design and merchandising, and she studied art in London and at the Academy of Art in San Francisco, and you can see that expertise in her yarn. She puts colors together unexpectedly and beautifully, and her kids obviously inherited that artistic spirit, too.
Sarah started knitting in 2004, after seeing celebrities knitting, and remembering her grandmother knitting and cross-stitching. Because she lived in Florida when she started knitting, there weren’t a ton of knit shops around, so she got a copy of Stitch ‘n Bitch and taught herself. Sarah’s first project was a wonky scarf (sound familiar?), but she’d been bit by the knitting bug, and she never looked back!
When she moved to the Inland Northwest and discovered local yarn shops, she was introduced to beautiful yarn and talented teachers, and she really stretched her skills. Now Sarah test-knits for designers, as well as making gorgeous knitwear for her family and herself. And she’s one of the most prolific sock knitters I’ve ever met.
Sarah came across indie dyers in yarn shops, and saw their videos on YouTube. She was inspired and decided to give it a try. She got a book on the subject, ordered some plain yarn, and started in! After going through a box of 20 skeins of yarn in a weekend, she ordered some mini-skeins so she could try even more dying combinations, and a cottage industry was born.
Her favorite yarn bases are wool and wool-nylon blends, because they work well for her favorite projects, sweaters, shawls, and socks. Currently, the SeraCraft Etsy shop is stocked with fingering- and worsted-weight options. Sarah is considering a cashmere blend in worsted- and DK-weights, and bringing in a bulky base yarn for those quick-knits. Yes please!
Drawn to colors from nature, Sarah also enjoys mixing in the occasional bright or neon. Her kids have given her ideas, such as a collection based on fish, and her seven-year-old son, Liam, suggests colors and sketches ideas for her. He names seventy-five percent of her colorways! I just love that.
Amelia, Sarah’s darling daughter, is also interested in yarn, and she thinks there should be much more pink in the world. I agree!
Sarah’s business is run out of her kitchen, but her husband plans to build her a studio in a garage on their property. I predict she’s going to need that extra room sooner than later—her business is bound to take off.
Sarah and her family truly live a handmade life. They raise chickens and ducks, have a big vegetable garden that provides canned goods all year, and they make soap every year, just to mention a few of her homesteading activities. They’re thinking about getting some pygmy goats, and I am first in line to hug them!
Sarah’s philosophy for SeraCraft is bringing joy to people through her yarn. Whether they admire it for a while in their stashes or cast on a project right away, Sarah’s goal is for all of her customers to be happy with their purchases. And judging from the reviews on SeraCraft, she’s achieving her goal!
I hope you’ll check out SeraCraft and support my friend’s small business. She’s offering 15% off through March 2018 (enter the code CRAFTERMATH) to all of my readers, so go crazy!
Who’s watching The Orville? Or Star Trek Discovery? I love The Orville so far. It’s half Trek, half Galaxy Quest. And yes, I’m going to angerly, yet eagerly, subscribe to CBS All-Access in order to watch Star Trek Discovery. (Smooth move, CBS, preying on Trekkies to sell your online streaming service. I could go on about this, but I’ll stop.)
I super-duper love sci-fi, especially Star Trek. I’ve watched all of the series multiple times, (except the original series; it’s my least favorite), and all of the movies. The Voyage Home, right?!? I even liked Insurrection. That’s dedication. Plus, I’ve read a bunch of the Star Trek books. Nerd-alert.
If you’re still with me, I need to talk about (the most recent) Battlestar Galactica, too. It was brilliant and wonderful, and I miss it. So say we all. I watched the original Battlestar Galactica, of course, when I was little. My brother, sister, and I just loved it, and our dad got us each a Cylon Raider and a Colonial Viper action-figure as stocking stuffers. We were way too old for those items, and way to excited to get them! I wish I still had those.
Where is this going, you may be asking. Well, I’ve noticed a love of sci-fi among knitters. The Ravelry Nerdy Knitters group is fun, and there have been patterns inspired by all sorts of sci-fi and fantasy TV shows and movies. Star Trek iPad cover, anyone?
If anyone knows where to buy the patterns for these, let me know. I can’t find them on Ravelry. I followed a Pinterest link to neatorama.com, but that’s as far as I went.
Fantasy, although not my preferred genre, has been a big inspiration to designers, too. When I was at Interweave, we put out a collection of patterns based on costumes worn in Outlander, and it was really popular. And the shrug based on Katniss Everdeen’s costume in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is pretty cool. There are a lot of patterns out there for that shrug, but this one by Dahlia in Bloom is my favorite.
I can’t leave out Star Wars, of course. My nephew loves all of the movies, and I gladly watch them with him whenever we’re together. He thinks I’m cool. Of course, I knit my way through them, so to me, knitting is related to Star Wars in that way, too.
I trace my love of sci-fi to Horton Hears a Who. I remember vividly the first time I ready that story, and how it affected me. Could there be a tiny planet on a speck of dust? Of course there could! I think often of the quote from the movie Contact, “The universe is a pretty big place. It’s bigger than anything anyone has ever dreamed of before. So if it’s just us … seems like an awful waste of space.” There’s certainly room for a few Whoville residents!
If Horton Hears a Who ignited the sci-fi spark for me, A Wrinkle in Time lit the bonfire. I can’t wait for the movie version! I wonder if any knitting patterns will come out of it. Maybe I’ll write one.
P.S. What’s your favorite sci-fi book, TV series, or movie? Leave a comment so I can check it out, too!