I feel like we’re pretty clear on the fact that I love cables, Thea Colman patterns, squishy yarn, and cocktails. I don’t need to explain that anymore, right?
So, when Thea gave me the opportunity to test her new Pamplemousse pattern, I jumped on it. It was partially an effort to try YOTH’s Father yarn, but it was also because I love me a good warm squishy cable…and this sweater also has a squishy cowl. The color I chose is Rutabaga, which is a stunning purple that I can’t say enough good things about. I loved working with Father, and I’ll definitely use it again.
This pattern doesn’t disappoint. The pattern as written is fairly loose-fitting, but my sweater is a bit more fitted due to some gauge issues. (YOTH Father is a wonderful yarn, but it doesn’t block out as much as the Taiga that Thea used does.) The pattern is easy to follow, and it’s a fun knit. The sweater is cropped, so I styled it by layering it over a tank top with leggings but I can also see myself wearing it over a dress or with high-waisted jeans.
I really love this sweater. I’m looking forward to wearing it this winter.
In early May, Thea Colman announced a Knit Along (KAL) for her Greyhound Shawl in her Ravelry group. The shawl is quite pretty, and I thought that it might be fun to join in. The pattern is written for sport weight yarn, but it’s been knit up using fingering weight plenty of times. And I have more single skeins in fingering weight than I really know what to do with. So I grabbed two skeins of Hedgehog Fibres sock yarn and set to work.
The two colors that I chose contrast well together, but they’re an interesting mix. Harajuku is a gorgeous bright pink. Boombox is a loud variegated skein. I chose to do the lace in Boombox, but I won’t try to tell you that I wasn’t nervous about knitting lace in such a busy colorway.
But the funny thing is that it worked. Somehow the lace pattern and the busy variegation worked well together. I love the way that it looks. It’s perfect shawl to brighten up a simple outfit…hence the fact that I’m wearing it with a black dress in the pictures here. I can also see it going well with a pair of jeans and a plain top. The other day, Joy said that it reminded her of ice cream, and the more that I look at it, the more that I see the bubblegum ice cream that I loved to order when I was in elementary school. (My elementary school self loved nothing more than going to The Parlor and getting a small bowl of bubblegum ice cream.)
The pattern itself is easy to follow. The garter sections are intuitive from the get-go. The lace takes a bit of time to master but once you’ve got it, it’s like potato chips; you just can’t stop. It’s a fairly easy, almost mindless, knit, and the end result is delightful.
To begin, we’re going to review a few points. I really like cabled knits. I love Thea Colman’s designs. I love a good sturdy cabled cardigan. My Oban Pullover might be my favorite sweater ever. (Do I need another one? I’m thinking yes. Watch this space…) I love Brooklyn Tweed Shelter; I think it’s divine.
At some point after she published the Oban pullover pattern, Thea started making noises about not being done with the world of Oban. (There’s a hat too. I need to knit me one or two of those.) She specifically was making noises about a cardigan. The idea of an Oban cardigan really spoke to my heart, and I knew that I needed one in much the same way that a duck needs water. Naturally I began to pester her for this pattern to become reality, and she kindly assured me that she’d contact me when it was ready for testing.
Well, on March 2, Thea made me happier than anything in this world could other than Chris Evans showing up on my doorstep with peonies…and sent me the pattern for testing. Naturally, I (like the totally normal and rational person that I am) immediately drove to Spun and bought a whole bunch of BT Shelter in this beautiful ice blue called “Iceberg.” The Good People of Spun wound it for me while I sat on their couch and knit a sock…and chatted with other customers about the beauty of a good handknit sock. Once they were done, I went home and immediately started the sweater.
So what can I tell you about this sweater that’s supposedly better than Chris Evans with peonies? Well, it’s a v-neck cardigan with cables and pockets. Guys, it has pockets. Like real, usable pockets. It also has a shawl collar, which is darling.
It’s an easy knit. The cable pattern is easy to memorize, and the directions are, as always, really straightforward. The technique for knitting the pockets was new to me, but the directions were clear AND this would work as a swatch as well. You knit the sweater flat, then seam the shoulders, and then pick up stitches first for the sleeves, which are knit in the round, and then for the collar and buttonband. The directions for doing this are quite clear. They require focus, but they are easy to follow.
I love this sweater. It’s warm and cozy. It also dresses up well with a dress but could easily be dressed down with a pair of jeans. I’m looking forward to getting it out of my closet next fall and enjoying it. It really is better than Chris Evans with peonies…not that I’d say no to Chris Evans with peonies…but this sweater is better. (Also, this sweater could easily be adapted into a man’s cardigan if you wanted to make one for Chris Evans, that stupid bearded sweater wearing dork.)
Back in the spring of 2014, Hilary Smith Callis released her Anthi pullover. I thought it was lovely, added it to my Ravelry queue, and bought three skeins of a light pink fingering weight yarn from Eat.Sleep.Knit. so I could make the sweater. The yarn (a merino/cashmere/nylon blend) came from a dyer who has since gone out of business, but the pink was lovely.
For one reason or another, the yarn languished in my stash, and the pattern slipped from my memory. At some point in the past two or three years, Joy wound the skeins into balls for me after a cat had played with tangled them, but they continued to languish…until a morning in early June. I was on my floor looking at my stash bins when the lovely balls of pale pink yarn caught my eye. I’ve been wanting to make more spring/summer tops, and this yarn was perfect for that. I remembered the pattern for which I’d originally purchased the yarn and found it. And one very specific design detail caught my eye.
This particular pullover is a relatively simple pattern. It’s just top-down stockinette and following the yoke increases with ribbed hems until you’ve got a sweater. The most unique feature is the ties at the neck. They have a Jazz Age feel to them, and I’m personally of the opinion that “In a world where you can be anyone, be yourself…unless you can be Phryne Fisher; in that case, be Phryne Fisher.” The neck ties felt very Phryne to me, and I knew that this had to join my wardrobe.
I really enjoyed knitting this. It is a more or less mindless knit. You have to keep track of the yoke increases, which isn’t hard honestly, but beyond that it’s great TV or movie watching knitting. This sweater went to the movies twice (it really enjoyed both Late Night and Spiderman: Far From Home) and has been subjected to much of my recent “Oh crap, Death in Paradise is getting pulled off Netflix at the end of July; let’s quick watch seasons 3-7!” lifestyle.
Overall, I’m really thrilled with this sweater. I’m glad to have another summer piece in my wardrobe. I really like that I could wear it with jeans or dress it up a little. And I really, really like that I have a new Phryne-esque piece in my wardrobe. That makes me very happy.
I like to knit socks. I have a good stock (although I always think that I need more) of hand-knit socks. At some point last winter, I started thinking that I needed to make some socks that were heavier than my usual fingering weight socks. Don’t get me wrong; I love those socks. But I need something warmer for those really cold days that we can get during a Michigan winter.
Fast forward to late April when Joji Locatelli posted a testing call for a new sock design. She needed the design tested in both fingering and DK weight. Now I didn’t think that I could knit a pair of fingering socks in four weeks, but I could do a pair of DK socks in four weeks. And that would get me one pair of warmer socks for those really cold days that we can get during a Michigan winter.
I knit these beauties up using a skein of Tanis Fibre Arts Yellow Label (which she doesn’t make anymore) that I’ve had in deep stash for more than four years. Slate is an utterly glorious grey; I adore it. And it knit up beautifully for these socks. These socks are cozy.
This pattern is easy to follow. I also found it to be a quick knit. I knit it up in sixteen days. Much of the pattern is quite easy to memorize. The lace pattern on the leg is intuitive. How intuitive is it? I memorized the lace pattern by looking at it for several minutes, and then I went to the movie theater to watch Avengers: Endgame on opening night. Then I knit the lace portion (without the pattern) while sitting there watching the film. A friend who was watching the film with me said that she knew things were getting serious in the movie when I put down my knitting because I really needed to really focus on the movie. (I finished the foot of that sock while watching Endgame a second time a week or so later.) I knit almost the entire second sock during a two day conference for work. These socks are pretty darn easy to knit.
My latest FO is another project that I started in the dead of winter and didn’t finish until…well…now. I started the Pop Crop Cardi by Ambah O’Brien in January as a part of the Eat.Sleep.Knit. Aussie Ambah Knit-a-Long. Then I decided (in the middle of the Polar Vortex) that it was too cold to knit a cropped cardigan. So I finished the Pink Pretty, started the Lady Sunnyside, moved on to the still-secret-test, moved back to the Lady Sunnyside, and finally circled back to the Pop Crop.
I made the Pop Crop with Hedgehog Fibres DK yarn in Ghost (a pale pinkish-purple) and Concrete (a gray with purples and teals variegated in). I chose to thwart Pop Crop convention by making the “louder” color the hems/accents and the softer color the body. I did it because I was stashbusting and I had more of the Ghost than the Concrete. But honestly? I like it like this. I like the way that these two colors play together.
If you look at the pattern and then at my sweater, you’ll see a few differences. Mostly, you’ll see that the pattern calls for a longer cuff than I knit. I didn’t do that because I was trying to make some grand artistic choice. I did it because back in March I took this sweater with me when I went to see Captain Marvel (SO. GOOD.) with the knowledge that I was going to need my skein of Concrete to knit the cuff while in the theater. I really thought that I’d brought the Concrete with me. But I didn’t. So I just knit more of the sleeve in stockinette with Ghost. We’re going to call it a fun design quirk instead of a mistake.
I really like this sweater. The knitting wasn’t hard-it’s just a top-down raglan with some ribbing and a collar that you pick up. But I’m a fan, as I’ve probably mentioned before, I like simple basic pieces that will go well with a variety of outfits. This is such a piece. It’ll go well the way that I styled it for this photo shoot-with jeans and a simple top, but it will also look lovely over a dress. (True confession: My original plan when I started this was to wear it over my Easter dress. But I didn’t finish it in time, and it wouldn’t have looked good with the dress that ultimately was my Easter dress anyway.)
Something that I’ve learned as a crafter is that if you find something that works for you, like REALLY works for you, you should hold on to that thing. Case in point? Tanis Lavallee’s Lady Sunnyside pattern. I like this pattern. It’s easy to follow. It’s easy to knit. It’s a simple and classic style. It’s easy to modify by using a different yarn base or a different color. It’s a good solid pattern.
Back on the day of the 2017 Total Eclipse, I bought seven skeins of what was then called Primo Worsted (now Primo DK) from the Plucky Knitter in the utterly gorgeous color Gertie. Gertie is this sublime deep purple with lighter purple, grey, and pink notes. It’s named after Drew Barrymore’s character in ET, and I just Do. Not. Understand. the connection. (I get the connection between the color and ET, but I don’t see how it’s a Gertie color. The kid wore pink yarn as ribbons on her pigtails. Shouldn’t a Gertie color be pink? But I digress…)
I’ve always intended to knit a Lady Sunnyside with this yarn. It’s pretty much been the only thing that I ever wanted to do with this purple. Finally, in early February, I was really cold one day and decided that now was the perfect time to start my sweater. So I worked on it diligently for three weeks or so…until a test knit came across my path that meant putting my Gertie aside until early May. And then I had the sweater finished by the first of June. All of this is to say that it really was a quick knit despite what the start and finish dates might say.
Ultimately what matters is that it’s done. And it’s beautiful. The sweater took me five skeins of Primo DK (formerly worsted). I’m not utterly thrilled with the natural halo that cashmere brings, but the sweater is soft and snuggly. I’m not looking forward to fall or sweater weather right now, but I know that I will enjoy wearing it when time and place should suit.