Monday, January 15, 2018

Marley and How I Conquered Brioche

I finished it, a giant shawl of just brioche stitch!  I feel like I could run a marathon, or try a back flip.  I will probably just waller a hole in the couch, watching a podcast and eating dark chocolate, but the point is I can do anything!

I've been needing to learn this for so long, but I always had something else that needed to be knit or I didn't have the brain space for new techniques.  This summer, I made the room for it and cast on my Marley, by Andrea Mowry.  Then I promptly forgot while working on the Summer Sweater Knit-along and had to re-learn it a few weeks ago.  Hopefully, I will keep it fresh on my mind for a while by knitting some other designs that incorporate the stitch pattern:  What the Fade, Exploration Station, etc.

I'd link you to the photo tutorial I used to get this straight, but it's long forgotten.  That's okay, I'm sure you have already mastered brioche by now.  I held out for a long time.

This is the squishiest.  I now totally see why every knitter is crazy over brioche.  I think I prefer the darker side of mine.  I love the simplicity of this shawl design, once you learn the stitch.  It's meditative and can look vibrant in high contrast colors or subtle in neutrals.  I am also crazy about the marled, garter border too.  It was the most satisfying way to finish an all-over brioche project.

I saved money by combining variegated, indie-dyed skeins with a more affordable tonal colorway.  The pinkish orange and black looked so good together, without being too Halloweeny.

Details:  I used sizes US 2.5 and 4 needles with 2 skeins of Gynx Yarns Strong Sock in Sunset and 2 skeins of Knit Picks Hawthorne in Blackbird.  I remember hearing that brioche can look sloppy if it stretches out too much with blocking, so I tried for a nice, tight tension to begin with.

I made note of a few things to keep in mind that helped me:

1) It helped me to remember which side of the shawl the increases were on- whether dark or light.

2) I kept track of my increase rows by counting the number of rows between the hole made by the last center increase to the point where I was about to make another center increase.  I kept in mind that there should only be four rows between the "holes".

3) All Sl1yo's begin to the front of the work, whether the stitch worked after it will be a p2tog or k2tog.  If it is a p2tog, then I must wrap my yarn from front to back, around the stitch to make the "shawl" around it.  Then, I p2tog.  So the trickiest part is to not forget to bring the stitch forward, no matter what, before a sl1yo.

Did you get that or did it just read like the sound made by a test of the Emergency Broadcasting System?   Don't worry, I've already forgotten what all of this means, too.

So, I saw Stacy of StressKnits' color combo for her What the Fade and fell in love with it.  But, there's no way I needed to buy 5 skeins of indie-dyed yarn to make one brioche shawl.  I did, however, already have one of the colorways she included, Sweet Disposition, and she was having a Black Friday sale, so I picked up I Smell Snow and My Jam.  I think I can fill in the color palette with some skeins already in my stash.  I am hopeful it will have the same calming vibe.

(more on ravelry, instagram, and flickr)

So that's one skill off of my To Do list.  I still have to steek, but that just doesn't sound as exciting as brioche, so.. meh, it will happen when it happens.

My other post on this knit is here.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Cobblestone Pullover- My Christmas Eve Cast Off

Literally.  I knew I would end up doing this.  I just knew, deep down, that no matter how much I budgeted my time and planned my holiday knitting, this would be a last-minute finish.  And it was.

But, friends, my son-in-law's Cobblestone Pullover is completed.  I enjoyed knitting it, or at least knowing who it was for.  I'd be lying if I said all of that stockinette and garter in-the-round was thrilling, because it wasn't, and striped Christmas socks were calling to me from a bag next to the couch the whole time.  I can say that it was satisfying to finish it and to make it for someone so knit-worthy!  Also, did I mention it was supposed to be one of his Christmas gifts last year?

Details:  I used Wool of The Andes Tweed in Reindeer Heather and US size 5 needles.  I think I used 12 balls of this yarn, including the bit of sleeves I had to cut off to re-knit in the correct length.
 I don't mean to complain about the WotA yarn.  I love this stuff, it was just a lot of brown stockinette- a color and stitch type I like to wear, but just get tired of knitting.

This pattern is from a decade-old 2007 Interweave magazine I have from my early knitting days when I bought every knitting magazine I was lucky enough to find at the bookstore. (I flipped through it on Vlogmas Day 20 to show that early 2000's style.)  Anyway, it is a Jared Flood pattern; my first, actually.  I have admired his designs, and those he curates, in his Brooklyn Tweed collections, but never made one.  So, that was a pleasant first.

This sweater was very simple construction, with sleeves joining the body, knit bottom-up, to finish the yoke.  I was just insecure about the sizing.  I've seen some on Ravelry that I thought were too fitted and I didn't think he would like that.  But as I knit it seemed like it would be too large.  I'm hoping I struck a good balance.  I had him try it on Christmas Day and it was clear that the sleeves were too long and maybe the body too.  I knew I could shorten the sleeves, but there was no way I'd get the bottom of the body re-knitted before they went home.  Also, I was kind of done with the sweater at that point.

Since the sleeves were a cast-on edge, I just cut the garter cuff off of each one and ripped back to the point the garter should begin.  I joined my abundant leftover yarn there and re-knit the sleeve cuffs.  I am so thankful I ordered extra yarn for this project!

I took an inch off of the sleeves and left the hem as is.  What do you guys think?  This is where I or my husband would want a sweater to hit us, so I'm hoping he enjoys the fit.  And I think he looks really cute in it :)

(all photos, except the ones with a doofy dog and yarn balls, by Julia Gros)

See more on Ravelry, Instagram, and Flickr

Another post on this knit is here.

I still have one more knit to re-do for someone.  The Ribbed Watchman's Hat turned out floppy and huge, so that will take a couple of evenings of watching Dark with my husband to finish.

More on my New Year Plans to come, but for now Happy New Year, friends!!!!