Saturday, June 30, 2018

I think I found my perfect oversized sweater.

I really wanted to write about graduation but my heart feels full, so I'm copping out with a sweater post instead.  This isn't just any sweater post, however.  It's a big, fat, Icelandic, image-dropping post.  And yes, that is a knitting needle you see hanging from my left sleeve.

Birch is one of a collection of beautiful, classic designs by Pam Allen in Plain and Simple Knits. It's one of those books from which I could knit anything and love it.  As much as I say "I love this" and "I absolutely love that" here, I can't say I love every pattern in many knitting books.  It is true of this one, though.

The yoke is excellent, but the combination of that and the oversized fit of the sample is what grabbed me.  I am in search of the perfect oversized, handmade sweater, you know.  In hopes of getting that My Closet-circa 1992-fit, I knit the third size.  This was another one of those commercial knits for the Commercial KAL that never even got entered into the KAL at all because I was really too busy to be knitting three sweaters at once.  However, just knowing the KAL existed, and it's purpose, was motivating.

I talked about how my plan to knit the sleeves en route to Iceland was a fail in Episode 10. In my haste to pack light, I left the yarn at home.  So these are not quite FO photos, but still memorable, taken by the Skaftafellj√∂kull (a glacier) in Skaftafell National Park.  So if you want to see this sweater with the sleeves, hop over to the podcast Episode 10 at about 42 minutes in.  Yes, I know.  I'm talky.

Details: I used size US 5 and 6 needles and Patons Classic Worsted in Moss Heather and Aran to knit a size 44.25" version of this.  I was surprised to find that my ten year old skein, mixed with new ones in the Moss Heather colorway didn't match.  So I actually alternated balls of Patons yarn. I wondered what level of hell this was.  Not worrying so much about dye lots is one of the joys of commercial yarn.  But, whatever, I did it all the way up to the yoke.  Then I just used one color of Moss Heather and the Aran colorway as the contrasting color.  When all was said and done, had I not started in my ancient ball of Moss Heather, I wouldn't have even needed it and could have chilled with all the alternating strands tangling up everywhere.

My only modification hardly counts as one.  I just picked up two extra stitches at the armhole gaps, one after the first 4 underarm stitches and one before the last 4.  These extra stitches were more like picking up the side of a stitch one row down.  I then decreased to get rid of them on the very next row.  This always works for the inevitable armhole holes.

There is an error in this pattern chart and it's a pretty big one.  Some of the books have been corrected, but mine was not.  It has taught me an important lesson: to check for errata before starting a pattern. If I had, this would've been an FO shot in Iceland instead of an In-Process photo.

The error were, firstly, that the main color and contrast color markings for the main chart are reversed.  So, You can see in the photo, below, how it didn't match up to the pattern sample.

It wasn't so bad on the first little colorwork section, but it didn't look good for the second one.  The second mistake was the omission of a 2 round CC border for that second colorwork section.  I have since looked for an acknowledgment of the errata online, but couldn't find it.  If you do knit this, just keep an eye on the sample in the book to make sure yours looks the same.

So I got to the second colorwork section before I realized the error.  I'm glad I compared it to the photo instead of just powering through.  I did see that another raveler reversed the MC and CC for a section too.  Ripping back and starting over cost me precious Icelandic sweater knitting time, but it all worked out okay.

Even with all the skein alternating and color variation, I love how this yoke turned out.  And I love it's roominess.
I know, for sure, that I will be knitting Larch one of these days.  Maybe for the Summer Sweater Knit-along.  Another Pam Allen knit I want to knit in Cotlin is Bobbie.  I'm sure you remember Edith and Paulina from the Home Collection, too.  So good!

(more on ravelry, instagram, kollabora, and flickr)

More about this sweater on podcast episodes 7- 10, especially episode 10.

Monday, June 25, 2018


Somewhere between starting a podcast and my son finishing his senior year, I have gotten really behind on posting about my knitting projects. It stops today!!! 

I said that out loud. Could you tell?  I miss you, little blog, and all the bloggy friends. (Sidenote: autocorrect always changes bloggy to bloody.) So much has happened and I am sure I will back track with posts until readers are thoroughly confused about whether or not my son graduated high school or kindergarten and wether or not I am 29 or 44.  But, first I need to talk to you about something very important:

My Weekender sweater. :)  It didn't get a lot of attention once I finished it. I wore it during one freakishly cold weekend of DFW Fiber Fest (it was recognized and complimented a few times there.) then folded it, and shoved it in the armoire 'til next winter.  That is no indication of how I feel about it, though.

It was a good knit- a great knit, and perfect for that busy time in my life. I cast on before going to Peru. (A trip I haven't posted about here but it is discussed at length in Episode 5 of my podcast.)  I worked on it during the flight and finished it just before leaving for Iceland. Don't I sound worldly?  "Just before jetting off to Iceland..." I'd better enjoy dropping these exciting phrases now because, if the flooring specialists that came to my house earlier this week are correct, I will be spending all my extra money in the coming year or so on completely gutting and rebuilding the floors of our 100 year old home. Weeee!  Hurricanes can create excitement too. Apparently, I was due for a little of this.

Right, The Weekender. You know the pattern. Every single person with an instagram account has knit one. Seriously. And that Andrea Mowry! She makes my goal of slowing down on the pattern hoarding really difficult. If I knit only her patterns, I still don't think I could keep up with her output.   And I knit a lot, guys.  Remember the first year of her designing career, when she offered a giveaway for a year's worth of her patterns on instagram? (I can't believe I spent this much time looking for that photo on instagram- but it was cute!) Well, I was the winner. My Ravelry pattern count jumped substantially that day. I could not believe how much she created in a year!

When I saw this sweater, I knew it had to be mine. As in, Emotional Rescue. (click link and fast forward to 3:00.) I don't hear that with every pattern I choose. Just certain, special ones- like the Clarke Pullover. This was one of those.

Anyway, I knit this for the Stranded Podcast's Commercial KAL, where we used commercial yarn brands for our projects.  My commercial yarn was Cascade 220 in the Stonewash colorway, a very wearable, blue jean-like color. I did all three of the sweaters below in commercial yarn.  They're all completed and still haven't been talked about here...

..but, look, I did learn how to use the portrait feature on my phone for completely natural-looking photographs.

Details: I used size US 5s, I think, and knit the small size. My only modification was to pick up 4 extra stitches for each sleeve.

I wanted it to be a bit shorter than my other sweaters but not too cropped, so I added a little length.  I have a long torso, though.

Here's what I love: the fit, the knitting of it inside out, that slipped stitch down the front and back,

and those shoulders!

(more on ravelry, instagram, and flickr)

I am afraid some podcast viewers think I am really frugal and self disciplined with the yarn buying.  I am...getting there. But before I even started trying, I bought enough Patons Classic Worsted in a Dark Grey Marl for another one of these sweaters.  And it "will be mine, it will be mine, all mine..."

See this knit in other posts here and here.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Episode 12: Ravelry Member #187,412

This is where I record the eleventy billionth knitting podcast.

My question for you: What's the main thing that has jumped started your health after sickness, crisis, diagnosis, etc?

Stuff I mention in Episode 12: Ravelry Member #187,412

Zara Tee by Dianna Walla:

knit in Lindy Chain yarn:

Mae by Andrea Mowry:

Fruity Knitting interview with Jess and Casey of Ravelry:

My Ravelry page:

My Flickr:

Konami code:

Truly Myrtle interview with Great Ocean Road Mill:

Zida by Libby Jonson:

knit in Red Sock Blue Sock Yarns:

reusable produce bags:

nutritious movement website with podcast, good blog posts, and book links:

my current read- Move Your DNA:

Vivobarefoot shoes that you MUST transition into slowly:

Walk The Block MKAL by Cassondra Rizzardi:

origami bag by Yarn Carnival:

Maker's Merch enamel pin:

Ben Pobjoy's Democratic Movement interview:

Mobility Justice:

Multicultural Communities for Mobility:

Article about homelessness in LA:

The story of Adam and Eve and their shift of focus:

Our KAL - #JunkoJuneandJuly:

Check out all of Junko's patterns:

My sweater choice is Plum by Junko Okamoto:

knit in Moeke Yarn's Elena. Read their story here:

Overdressed book:

Article on Potato Chip News:

The Attention Merchants by Tim Wu:

Monday, June 4, 2018

Zara Tee

I am particularly proud of this tee that I knit for the Tops, Tanks, and Tees Knit-along.  It's Dianna Walla's Zara pattern and involved some things I've never done before.

I've never mixed crochet and knitting on a project. I've barely even crocheted anything, so this was very engaging. It really wasn't fiddly, either.

I've also never knit colorwork with linen/ cotton yarn. The windowpane style it created is a new addition to my wardrobe, too. I love it!

On top of all of that, I don't think I've ever knit an oversized summer top that was also cropped. I have only admired them on Ravelry, so it was nice to actually have my own.

And did I mention is is very appropriate for my climate?!?  I used Lindy Chain that washes well and is just a bit heavier than t-shirt jersey because, within a week or so, it will be so hot I will undergo a yearly ritual.  If you live in the Southern U.S. you may experience this same phenomenon.

It goes something like this, the details vary but the outcome is always the same:  You remember you have to bring a dish to some event, only hours before said event begins. After sweating over the stove for thirty minutes, you realize your are missing a key ingredient. You begin to feel flushed. You turn off the burners, rush to throw on shoes, spend 10 minutes looking for your keys, all the while a "Danger" warning flashing in your head. When you find them and are a mile from home, your tire goes completely flat. You are instantly drenched when you step out of the "Max AC" of your car to check out your tire. At this point your eyes are a more vibrant green than normal. Your husband, who always calls/ texts/ calls/ calls kids/ texts/ calls/texts/ calls kids again... until you answer his phone calls, won't pick up. It's ok. You're prepared. You had him oversee you changing a tire years ago on a Sunday afternoon, when your Uncle and Aunt drove by and looked puzzled as your husband sat in a lawn chair, chilling, while watching you lug a tire out of the trunk. You are ready for this. As you lift the spare from the trunk, you suddenly realize, truly realize, that it is hot. It's not just hot. It is so hot that you are practically cooking inside of your body. It is angry hot. Then the lug wrench won't budge and... oh just watch the clip!! Southern women, you know how this ends:

So I am trying to choose summer knits that won't cause me to freak out, with no warning to those around me, ripping the clothing from my flesh (except for purple capris) as I flip my car, you know?

Here are the details of this knit.  I said on my podcast that I was adding a one square repeat in length. Maybe I thought that I did, but I didn't.  Now that it is completed, I am glad I accidentally knit it at pattern's length because I really like the cropped shape.

Details:  I knit a size 45", using US 4 needles and 6 skeins of Lindy Chain in Black and 1 skein in Linen.  The linen was just scrap yarn. The pattern didn't require very much. For the crochet, I used hook size D.

Though linen is harder to find a knitting rhythm with, I think the cotton helps out and I didn't struggle too hard with this project.

Modifications: It is worked in pieces, and for some reason I knit one side a few rows longer than the other.  It must have been Senior Mom brain.  As in- my son is a senior and I am his mom.  I'm not quite a senior yet :) Anyway, when I realized I'd done this, I just used the longer side for the back. I laid the front on top of it and about 3/4 of an inch from the bottom of the front, I began the mattress stitching to join the sides.  This made a little split hem and hi/lo hem effect.  It's kind of cute.

That was unintentional; however, I purposely planned to make the sleeve opening deeper (6.5") and so picked up 8 extra stitches per sleeve. It fits perfectly.

Note:  I would do the applied crochet vertical lines on each side before seaming them together, as it is just easier to work from front to back on a piece of flat knitting.

Another thing I love about this top is that there is no I-cord edging, or finishing, to do to the sleeve and neckline edges.  This leaves little to drag your feet about, when finishing.

Even the ends weren't a big deal to me. I just wove them a bit away from the edges and tied them into a few knots, then snipped with about 3/4" remaining.  If there were two ends near each other, like at the side seams, I'd tie them together and repeat the knots and snipping. I have never had a problem with any of the summer knits I have handled this way unraveling or peeking through to the right side of the knit. So far, so good.

I wore this yesterday at high noon for these photos and, though it was hot, I didn't get heat angry. That's good because you wouldn't like me when I'm heat angry.

It's amazing how often I hear this theme music in the summer.

(image via Pinterest)

More on this knit on Ravelry, my podcast episodes 10-12 (I think), Kollabora, Flickr

Friday, June 1, 2018

Episode 11: Moving More

Recorded this before graduation madness. I may be a bit scattered, but I missed you guys.

I didn't hear about it until after filming this, but Cassondra Razzaldi, RizzaKnits, is holding a MKAL called Walk the Block MKAL that encourages us to move while knitting!  Meant to be!

This is where I record the eleventy billionth knitting podcast.

So many Questions:

How are you managing plastic waste when shopping? When buying bulk ingredients for skincare, food, etc?

While getting outside or moving what new thoughts have come to you this week?
Stuff I mention in Episode 11:

Tops, Tanks, and Tees Knit-along:

Zara by Dianna Walla:

knit in Lindy Chain by Knit Picks:

Mae by Andrea Mowry:

knit in recycled fiber- Berroco Remix Light:

using helix striping method when alternating same colorway skeins:

Try it on Tubing:

Educated: A Memoir:

And an interview with the author (I haven't had a chance to listen yet):

The Android's Dream:

Our TTTKAL Compiled Book List, thanks to a lovely KAL member:

PBS Great American Reads List:

Some of your podcasts I mentioned: 

The Yarn Junkie Podcast:

Katinka of Aknitak Creations Podcast:

Lindsey of The Wooden Nest Podcast:

Ruth of Everyday Yarnworks Podcast:

Zero Waste article:

La Leche League Whole Foods for the Whole Family:

and my favorite LLL book:

More movement stuff:

Katy Bowman Nutritious Movement blog:

Her Podcast Move Your DNA:

Move Your DNA book by Katy Bowman:

Katy's interview with Ben Pobjoy:

I'll be knitting a Junko pattern this summer under this hashtag: #JunkoJuneandJuly

Junko Okamoto:

and Rug pattern is free:

I'm knitting Plum pattern:

in Moeke's Elena yarn:

Moeke's IndieGogo Campaign:

Bed of Roses Knitting Bags and Notions:

RizzaKnits Walk the Block MKAL: