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 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!
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!
When I was working at Interweave, I loved it, too, but it was so much a part of work, I didn’t look forward to it like I do now. I didn’t think about it at 3:30 p.m. the way I think each night about that first cup of coffee in the morning; I want to hurry up and sleep so I can have that delicious morning nectar.
Each night when Mimi and I sit down with our knitting—we call it “couching it”—I have a feeling of anticipation as I pick up my project. Where did I leave off? What’s next in the pattern? I hope I get to start on a knit row instead of a purl row! You know the feeling.
I once wrote a blog for Thanksgiving, about about why I’m thankful for my knitting, and I still feel that way today. Here are some of those reasons:
1. It encourages my creativity.
2. It introduces me to new people who share my love for the craft.
3. It loves to travel.
4. It likes the same TV shows that I like.
5. It keeps the same schedule as I do; if I want to knit in the middle of the night, it’s there for me.
6. It challenges me.
I was out at Alpaca Direct the other day, and I was inspired by a list I saw on the blackboard that’s behind the front desk/cash register area. There was a list of reasons to knit, and I hadn’t heard of some of them, so I reinvented my list, including some of those ideas. Check out my new Top 10 Reasons to Love Knitting!
Yours in loving knitting,
P.S. Did I miss your favorite reason to knit? Leave a comment and share!
Last year I wrote a post on Knitting Daily about my new year’s knitting resolutions, and I thought I’d do a follow-up and see how I did.
Resolution 1: Finish Kayleen Tee and Zuni Cardigan. Nope, these are still on the needles. But I did make progress. Kayleen is almost completed, I just need to finish the sleeves. This is a warm-weather top, so I’ll finish it this spring. Zuni is in rotation currently; I hope to finish it this winter.
Resolution 2: Knit a lace shawl. Yes! I achieved this goal (it’s not really a resolution, is it?). I knit 198 Yards of Heaven, which I love and wear all the time.
Resolution 3: Organize my stash. Nope. My yarn is in bins and storage containers, awaiting its final resting place. I have a plan, but it’s not been implemented.
Resolution 4: Donate or sell yarn I’ll never use. Nope, see above. I need to organize my stash first.
So, utter failure. What the hell did I knit this year? I need to look back on my projects, because this review has me seriously doubting I’ve spent enough time with my yarn and needles.
I guess this saves me from having to make any new resolutions this year, though, except maybe to knit more! Do you have any yarny resolutions this year?