FO: The Idiomatic Stripe Parade

At some point in the past six or eight months, I started thinking that it would be really nice to have more lightweight sweaters-sweaters that I could wear in the spring and fall. Maybe it might even be nice to have something lightweight that I could throw on over a dress on a summer evening or in an overly air conditioned restaurant. Now I could buy such garments, but I wanted more hand-knit garments of that ilk.

Now I had a goodly amount of fingering weight yarn at that time, and I’ve accumulated more since. But I had to decide what to make with them. I had three skeins of Plucky Primo Fingering in Pinky Swear and two skeins of the same in Sprinkles on Top, and I knew that they needed to become something together. Somehow, I found myself led back to Amy Miller‘s fabulous Stripe Parade. I decided to use the knitting directions for Stripe Parade but play with the striping directions. And in my humble opinion, the result was a real winner.

This sweater took a long time (over four months) to knit up. Here’s the thing: It was not just because fingering sweaters take longer than worsted or dk. It was actually largely because I was working on Angostura, Oaxacan Rose, and the Bounce Blanket while I was working on this. I was not making this the focus of my knitting until about the past two weeks. And this baby flew once it got to be the center of attention. So…there will definitely be more fingering sweaters in my future.

This sweater includes numerous modifications. I cast on for the smallest size possible but then knit it to fit a size 36 bust. I wanted to raise the neckline, which I did, and I really like this modification. I’m tentatively planning another revisit to this pattern later this year, and I think that I’ll do this again.

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My real play came with the stripes. The yoke was a time for me to play with stripes, and I didn’t really have a rhyme or reason to what and how I did the striping. Then, after I divided for sleeves, I started a silly but fun pattern. The first stripe in Pinky Swear was 14 rows, then four rows of Sprinkles on Top. Then came 13 rows of Pinky Swear followed by four rows of SOT and then 12 rows of Pinky Swear…do you see the pattern? I kept this up until I had a stripe of four rows of Pinky Swear followed by four rows of SOT. The next row in Pinky Swear was five rows and I began increasing rows of Pinky Swear again. I really like the effect this created, and I want to play with this kind of striping again sometime.

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I have to say that this really is the sweater that I wanted it to be. The sleeves are a little baggier than I’d planned for, but that’s the only thing that I don’t LOVE…and it’s my own fault. The fabric is delightful-soft and light, and it reminds me yet again why I love Primo Fingering as a base. It’s a nice sweater for wearing in my overly air conditioned office. I’m thrilled that I have something that I love so much, and I definitely plan to continue making myself lightweight sweaters for a few months.

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On my third revisit to this pattern, I still really love it. I’m planning to visit it again as I said earlier, and I can’t wait to see what I do with it next.

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Raveled here.

FO: Stripe Parade for Laura

It was my beloved C.S. Lewis who once said, “Friendship … is born at the moment when one man says to another ‘What! You too? I thought that no one but myself…'” A few years ago, I became friends with a young woman with whom I share many common interests. We share (among many other things) a love of fashion and creating clothing. She sews; I knit.

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So when she asked me to knit her a sweater, I jumped on the opportunity. This is someone who I knew would I appreciate what I knit for her. She’s always admiring my knitting. She likes to look at my patterns and feel my yarn. She once took the yarn from my Birkin to pet-and then her mother took it and started petting it. She’s knitworthy.

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We agreed on a pattern-Stripe Parade, one of my favorites. She picked out the colors she wanted, and I bought the yarn. Then, I knit the sweater.

Man, that sweater traveled while I was knitting. It went to several baseball games. It saw Bridget Jones’s Baby three times. (What can I say? It has the hots for Colin Firth.) It went to Canada and saw three plays. (It really likes Sondheim musicals; Arthur Miller plays make it cry.) It went to Canada a second time and learned that I get really cranky during the last day of the baseball regular season.

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And then, I finished it early in a day of Poldark binge watching. I blocked it. And last night, I gave it to Laura. Okay, first I let several of our friends touch it, and I got a lot of praise for it. But the best compliment of all? I gave it to Laura and she immediately went to the bathroom to put it on.

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I think she likes it. She definitely looks good in it.

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Raveled here.

FO: Birkin

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At some point early in 2014, I discovered the Plucky Knitter. I was intrigued by her colors and the collection of bases. (And she’s from Michigan!) Somewhere in there, I bought four skeins of her Traveler Sport yarn, which is a wool/silk/yak blend, in vignette, a beautifully deep purple. I’m not sure what I originally intended for it, but it sat in my stash unused for months. Last December, I found it and began looking for the perfect sweater for it. I settled quickly on Amy Miller’s Birkin. In February, I wound the yarn. In March, I cast on, and for about two months, I worked on the body ribbing here and there when I had time. I was working on other projects during that time, and while I liked the yarn, I wasn’t committed yet. When I finally finished my Sazerac in late May, I buckled down on Birkin. It took me a while to finish the sweater, but during the Opening Ceremonies of the Rio Olympics, I finished it. IMG_2465

The pattern is well-written. I like Amy Miller’s patterns because they pull me out of my knitting comfort zone and help me to grow as a knitter. Despite having some new to me to things in the design, the directions were easy for me to follow. I figured out how to do these new things, and now I have new knitting skills.

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I adore the lace pattern. I screwed up a little at one point, but that’s the result of trying to knit a sweater while trying to watch the Tigers play the Yankees AND trying to buy yarn in Comerica Park. (Yes, I have now used the CoPa wi-fi to buy yarn. It was during a Plucky update, and I really wanted a sweater quantity of Primo Fingering in Plucky’s new Cecilia colorway.) Anyway, my screw-up fits with the rest of the design. The lace pattern was easy to memorize, and I love the way that it looks. I’m planning on using it for a cowl later this year. IMG_2472

The yarn was a dream to work with. Traveler sport is a wool/yak/silk blend, and it’s like holding a dream in your hands. I loved it. While it is a little pricier than I prefer, I definitely want to use it again. I loved the way the lace looks. IMG_2479

Aside from my baseball game mistake, the only other modification that I made was an applied i-cord edging on the neckline in place of the recommended ribbing. I was afraid of running out of yarn, and I did this to make sure that I had enough yarn to finish the sweater. I really like the way it came out; I think it adds a little class or elegance to the sweater. IMG_2482

I don’t know how well you can see her, but this picture is your first introduction to my new kitten, Madeline. I’ll blog later about who she is and why she’s in my life. But for now, that’s Miss Madeline. IMG_2494

I’m in love with this sweater. I enjoyed making it, and I love wearing it. And I might need to make myself another one someday soon.IMG_2509

Pattern: Birkin by Amy Miller

Raveled here.