Friday, November 20, 2015

Furrowed Pullover

I can't believe I've knit something this massive and gorgeous and haven't posted about it once until it was finished.  That's the kind of busy I have been.  I had a lot of in-progress photos set up in a post, but I never got around to clicking "Publish."   So let me tell you about it now.

This is the Furrowed Pullover by Hope Vickman.  It's one of the gems from Midwestern Knits.  This is heirloom quality, if I may say so myself.  I love everything about it. The placement of the cabling, the type of cabling, that awesome cowl neck, and the City Tweed yarn.

I knit this in the Midwestern Knits KAL that will be going on for quite a while.  I have another sweater for this KAL too, but once I started these cables, I couldn't stop.  I also was putting off all sleeves, on everything, until the last minute.  But this last week has been all about sleeves, and I'm pleased to say I sewed these sleeves in with only a few false starts and they look very smooth.  I'm now almost finished with the sleeves on Blowing Snow.  Then there's Pomme de Pin, and I will, finallyfinally, be sleeveless!!!!

The details:  I used size 6 needles and some City Tweed in the Jacquard colorway.  I found this in a steeply discounted kit on Knit Picks.  I've always wanted to use Jacquard, so this was a great opportunity to get a sweater's worth.  I even have some left.

My only modification on this pattern was to wait a bit longer, up the sleeve, to start the increases.  My increases ended right before the sleeve cap.  I wanted a more fitted looking sleeve.  It's by no means fitted, there's plenty of ease, but my thinking was this:  Right now, the sweater fits me perfectly.  But I gained weight rapidly over the summer due to a failed experiment in hormone therapy for migraines, etc. Now I don't know if I'll stay where I am, gain more, or lose some of the weight.  I just don't want to spend the time knitting things only to have them look like they don't fit in a year.  So I'm playing it safe and only knitting things on my queue that I feel will adapt, no matter which way things go.  If it looks puffyon me, it's because 1) I am puffy, 2) I was too impatient to block, and 3) I am wearing a ginormous sweatshirt, wadded up underneath it for hastily taken photos.  My pullover truly fits great, with both a little ease and the potential to be a very cute, oversized sweater.  If that's ever the case, I don't want big, floppy sleeves.  Does this even make sense?

I also knit the collar before starting the sleeves.  I wasn't quite sure how the shoulders would fit with the collar finished.  If you'll notice, on the pattern sample, the collar is so lush it seems to push the sleeve caps off the shoulder a bit.  After finishing the collar, I could put my sweater on and hold my sleeve progress up to it for a good idea of how long to make them.

Let's follow my progression:

I love this pattern!  Did I already say that?  Anyway, it's not too late to join some of the knit-alongs happening in the Midwestern Knits Ravelry group.  Check out some of the finished knits.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Simcoe Headband

So, I guess it's no surprise that I've been test knitting exclusively for Good Night, Day  the last couple of months.  I don't think I've ever produced so many knits in such a short time.  I think this is my last knit to post on, no wait I have two more.  But I wanted to let you all know that the book is up for pre-order at Good Night, Day.  I feel like any knitter, from the newbie to the seasoned crafter, would enjoy these projects.  The fact that they're mostly worked with bulky yarn and big needles is a draw for those of us who learned to knit with those tools.  It lends a very nostalgic feeling to the process.  This also makes for quicker results, which I often crave.  That would be a draw for a new knitter, but the patterns themselves would keep them coming back.

I'm sure I'll say more about it later, but I've seen the finished layout and it's beautiful- rich photographs and clean, simple design.  I would've asked for this book for Christmas, with some bulky wool, were I not test knitting and tech editing for Tara- Lynn.  Since I already have a copy coming to me, I think I will want to get another as a Christmas gift to give.

The Simcoe Headband is a good example of this book's appeal.  Who wouldn't want to own this?  I wanted one.  I also want a cold, snowy winter in which to wear it, but that's another story.  My daughter has wanted one since Tara-Lynn published the pattern in that first knitting booklet a few years ago.  I wasn't being the greatest knitting mom to wait this long to knit her one.  But I did finally did it, and I knit one for myself too.

When Tara-Lynn asked me to test knit for her, I was in-between yarn orders (which means- big sales) and had very little bulky or superbulky.  This turned out to be a blessing in disguise, because I dug deep into the stash, combined some yarns in ways I might not have thought to, and used recycled yarn that had been sitting for a couple of years.

So these Simcoes are knit in a black wool-blend from a sweater I unravelled.  I've knit a shrug, part of the bear face on my Smokey sweater, these two headbands, and have another headband in the works, all with yarn from this, one recycled sweater.  There's another sweater just like it in a box to be unraveled another day.   But, guys, unraveling sounds like more fun that it actually is.

The details:  I held this thick and thin yarn double to approximate a super bulky weight, and used the size US13 double point needles I made a few years ago.  Ah, size 13's... I haven't had many opportunities to use them.

I knit my daughter's headband as directed.  For mine, I knit one less cable repeat and even reduced the ribbing a bit.  My head is smallish and I wanted a fit that wouldn't loosen up with wear.  You can see her Simcoe fit her perfectly, though.

What I really want is for this girl, here, to try knitting for real.  I think it would be an excellent outlet for pent up energy.  It might also save her fingernails.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Minto Chevron Cowl

The Minto Cowl is a new pattern from Tara-Lynn Morrison that will be featured in her soon-to-be-released pattern book.  I really love this cowl.  As with her other designs, they're not too tricky but interesting enough to work on that you don't get bored.

There were no mods.  It was straight-forward, chunky knitting.  I used size 10 needles for mine and, in lieu of super bulky, bulky Cascade Eco with a strand of worsted Lion Wool.  I really like mixing yarns for a marled effect, so I didn't mind not having the perfect super bulky on hand.  Yarn shortage is also why I knit the funnel version of the cowl, when I would've liked the longer one.  The thing is, I need a good, warm funnel cowl anyway, so it all worked out.

This child really looks like a child here.  She modeled for this phone photo so I could post a photo in the Big Cozy KAL thread.  This was my first finished object for the knit-along, I think.   I've been lax in the photography area lately, but I have knit a crap ton of things this Fall, many of which were test knits for the Good Night, Day book.  I think it was well worth the scanty blog posts and cell phone pics.  

This design is for sale now on ravelry, but if I were you, I'd order the book.  There is nothing in it that I wouldn't want to knit.  It's up for pre-order now and will ship at the end of this month.

Monday, November 16, 2015

My First Welland Sweater

I don't like this yarn.  I'm just saying that up-front because it's not the yarn I'd choose for this and I hate for bad yarn to bring a good pattern down.  But I did want to talk about this design.  It's the Welland Sweater from Tara-Lynn of Good Night, Day and I so enjoyed this project.

It deserves an interesting thick and thin yarn of natural fiber to show off it's drape and style.  While I'd prefer using yarn like this or this, what I had in my stash was Lion Brand Homestyle.  I needed to start the test knit, so I used what I had on hand.  So, I'm going to call this a true test knit for me.  I now know I like the pattern, and so I just need to find the right yarn for it.

If you're like the rest of the knitting world, you'll want wool, and there's many bulky wool options out there.  But for my Welland, I would like to use a thick and thin in cotton because... it's cotton, and there's always a place for cotton in Texas.  I used Asian Trends' Lecco for the Belleville Shawl and I really liked it as an alternative to a high quality wool yarn, but I think it's been discontinued and I can't find anything like it online.  That would've been perfect.  So I'm left with  Tahki Rosa.  In fact, Webs has free shipping right now, if I order the bulky needle set I've been wanting.  Can you hear the wheels turning?

Okay, but, given that it's acrylic yarn, doesn't it look cute?  This is a very flexible shape.  It can fit me at about a size medium or my daughter, who is very tall but also more of an x-small.  I appreciate the flexibility in design.

I knit this with size 19 needles and about three skeins of Hometown. (Is it yarn snobbery for me to  cringe every time I type that?) That is not a lot of yarn for a sweater!

It's an easy to follow pattern.  I made no modifications, but if I can only find the yarn I like in a bulky weight, I think it would be easy to adapt.  This one will be included in Tara-Lynn's upcoming book.  It is just days away from being released, too.

Not too many photos for this one.  I love my husband, but he has taken the most unflattering photos of me ever lately.  It's not that a change in medication has caused a bad breakout, because that can be edited.  No, it's like he holds the shutter down to get those cheesy "model-in-motion" photos that you see in photoshoot scenes of 80's movies.  Only, in real life,  "models-in motion" looks more like "town-drunk-unsuccessfully-walks-straight-line."

So, here ya go. These were the most sober of the bunch.  Stay tuned!  There will be another Welland.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Lambton Extra Chunky Cowl

My last Big Cozy KAL project is the Lambton Extra Chunky Cowl, by Tara-Lynn Morrison.  I want to make more of these.  Lots more.  I would happily watch all of the meh action movies my husband wants to see if I had an infinite supply of super bulky for this cowl.  New James Bond?  Of course.  Old Mission Impossibles?  Why not.  Fast and Furious # whatever?  Suuure.  Because this is a soothing treat on size 35 needles.

I pulled out my old Denise needle set for this.  I used the heck out of those for years, but I've found the cords untwist too easily on me now.  I'd like to try this set maybe as a Christmas gift, hint hint.
I have mentioned that I had a very limited supply of super bulky yarn when I set out to knit all of these chunky accessories and sweaters.  So I had to do something I wouldn't normally do: buy acrylic, and from Wal-Mart, no less.  I was there to get some school supplies for my son when I saw Lion Brand Hometown yarn on sale for less than $2 a skein.  It's not that I'm too good for acrylic.  It's not even that I pretend I don't shop at Wal-Mart.  It's just that I wouldn't normally choose that yarn from that store, but I had test knitting I needed to hurry with, so I came home with 8 skeins.  I ended up only needing it for two of my projects, which wasn't too bad.

For my Lambton, I paired a strand of Plymouth Outback Wool with the Hometown.  Outback is a discontinued non-superwash worsted yarn.  It was variegated shades of blue, so it gave the scarf some interest and a bit of heft.  I don't think it looks bad at all.  My daughter ended up taking it home with her after she and her husband came by for a visit.  That's how I know it turned out nice.  She's a bit of a clothes horse.  I mean that in a most loving, motherly way.

So, I would completely recommend this for gift knitting.  You could use anything from a higher end super bulky, like Rowan Big Wool Silk , to the bargain basement with Lion Brand or Knit Picks Brava.  It's warm enough where I live to get away with wool blends.  We mostly wear scarves as decoration.  Unless you're a soccer mom at winter tournaments.  In that case, you dress like Randy.

The Big Cozy KAL is ending in a couple of days, I think.  I've gotten plenty of yarn and pattern ideas.  Though I wish I'd finished my Campside Shawl during this KAL, I am very pleased to have knit a lot of stuff I've been wanting to knit in just two months.  Besides, there's always this weekend.

(ravelry, kollabora, flickr, and instagram)

Can you tell I took photos for my last 3 or 4 knits on the same day.  Gotta love that metal shed as a backdrop.  Ooh but look at the pretty necklace.  It's from my favorite jewelry designer, Stephanie at Native Clutter.  Just thought I'd mention it since I've asked you to stare at it for three or four days in a row.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Meaford Cowl

The Meaford Cowl is one of my favorite knits from Good Night, Day.  It's been one of the most satisfying things I've made recently.  It's the kind of knit you don't want to stop working on- methodical enough to get a good rhythm going, but never boring. 

Moss stitch is the only thing redeeming about knit, purl, knit, purl... knits.  For some reason, I hate 1x1 ribbing, but I adore moss stitch.  This cowl provided plenty of it.  There are modifications to make it a wrap or just a plain scarf, but I like it as a doubled cowl best.  

The details:  I used size 11 needles and two strands of Wool of the Andes Bulky, in the beach glass color, held together to make this.   I also used The 100 as entertainment throughout.  I like the plot of the show.  I like all of the adult actors and some of the teenagers.  But sometimes, especially in the beginning, it's like watching an Abercrombie Spring Break promo.  Even my teenager got cheesed out by it.  But I kept watching and am now re-watching since I heard a third season will be released.  My son says I'm just desperate for something sci-fi that's semi-decent, but it's not a bad show.  I've had to face the fact that I've been spoiled by Firefly and Battlestar, seasons 1 and 2.  So shows like The 100 and Dark Matter have a lot to live up to.  Also, they're not as good.

Back to the cowl.  This is my fourth knit for the Big Cozy KAL.  Could it be that I'm not a sweater knitter anymore?  Nah, I have three finished sweaters, waiting for sleeves at the moment. 

Guess who else likes moss stitch?  Here's a few hints.  She found us on a walk a month ago, has taken over my daughter's old room, made us cancel a camping trip to tend to her, and is worming her way into even our aggressive, older cat's heart.  We're calling her Hazel because I'd see her eyes and start singing Hazel, by Tweedy, which is not very appropriate for a playful kitten, but whatever.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Bloomfield Lace Blanket Wrap

My Bloomfield Lace Blanket Wrap has been finished for some time now.  I knit it as part of the Big Cozy Knit-along with Lara of The Fawn Knits Podcast.

Bloomfield is also another test knit for Tara-Lynn of Good Night, Day.  This was one I'd wanted to knit since the pattern was published.  I just wasn't sure what yarn to use.  She often uses super bulky, thick and thin wool, which looks like art yarn.  That would be my first choice in yarn for most of these projects, but I didn't have time to source the amount I wanted at an affordable price.  I needed to start knitting these patterns asap, so I had to improvise.  For my Mono Toque, I held a strand of plain Cascade Eco together with a beautiful bulky semi-solid from Sweet Georgia.  It gave me the bulk I needed plus an interesting marled color.  I used bulky Wool of the Andes leftovers for the Jarvis Fisherman Toque, with just enough of each yarn to colorblock it.  Then, with the Perth Cardigan, I used an alpaca blend with such a halo, and color, that it might be overwhelming in a full length sweater; however, it worked well, held double, to make a cropped cardigan for wearing over neutrals.
In the same way, I decided to hold a strand of super bulky Bernat roving together with a strand of worsted Plymouth Galway Heathers for this wrap.  The fact that the two are not quite the same shade of grey adds a little color depth, while the combo adds heft to the finished wrap.

I know I'm not alone when I say that bulky yarn is extreme comfort knitting.  Other participants in The Big Cozy KAL agree.  I was pleased to see that this pattern requires mega needles.  I love giant knitting needles.  I had some wooden ones that I made, but they got too heavy for my shoulders and wrists, so I switched to those great, big plastic ones that every beginning knitter seems to have.  That was fun.

I still haven't blocked this one, so it's not quite the length I want.  It springs back when I stretch it to put it on.  I know, from experience, that both yarns will relax when washed, though.

 Altogether, the Good Night, Day patterns have given me four finished knits for that KAL.  Not bad.