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: Ease

After I finished Recoleta, I wanted to a quick and easy project. Worsted weight, stockinette-something comfortable and straightforward; I didn’t want to have to spend hours looking at charts. I just wanted to knit and see progress quickly.

A few years back, I had queued Alicia Plummer’s Ease. Ease is pretty much exactly what I was looking for-stockinette, top down, worsted weight. I had a sweater quantity of the Plucky Knitter’s Primo Worsted in a gorgeous gray-purple called French laundry. Looking at it, I knew that it was meant to be Ease. It just made sense that this color would be Ease.

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So after finishing Recoleta, I started on Ease. It took me exactly four weeks, but I made it. It is simple and gorgeous. The color really was meant to be Ease. The yarn, the color, and the pattern suit each other very well.

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I did have a few issues with the pattern. From reading over others’ project pages, I determined that I wasn’t going to get gauge with the recommended size 10 needles. Instead, I went with size 8 needles for the stockinette, size 6 for all ribbing, and size 7 for the neckline. I’m pleased with the resulting fabric; I made the right decision.

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The sweater is loose-fitting, and that works. The fabric of the primo worsted is soft and squishy; it keeps me warm on a chilly day. It’s something that I can wear when it’s cold or I don’t need to impress anyone. It’s a Saturday sweater, and everyone’s wardrobe needs a Saturday sweater.

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Raveled here.

FO: Recoleta

As I’ve mentioned before, I enjoy knitting projects that challenge me and force me to grow as a knitter. My most recent finished object is one such project. For a while, I’d been lusting over Joji Locatelli’s Recoleta pattern.

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Then I came across the Cold as Ice colorway from the Plucky Knitter, and I knew that I needed to own a sweater in that color. As a few of my friends commented, it is a very Cecilia color. So last winter, I bought a sweater quantity of Cold as Ice and began pondering what to use it for.

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The more that I thought about it and talked with various friends about it, the more that I knew that this yarn was destined to be Recoleta. I cast on in October and finished it a few days before Christmas. The sweater is beautiful. The yarn is smooshy and glorious. The color and the lace blend majestically. I adore this sweater. img_0252

So why was this pattern a challenge? The lace. The back is one chart, the front is another. And you work the front chart from right to left on one side and from left to right on the other. That was a challenge for me. I never managed to memorize the whole thing, which meant that I could never work on the project without the charts-and those were on my computer. Regardless, I love it, and I’m looking forward to wearing it often this winter. img_0253

Raveled here.

If you’re wondering, this is the necklace I’m wearing in the pictures. I love it, I just gifted one to a friend, and I’d recommend the shop to anyone.

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.

 

FO: Sazerac

If you pay much attention to my knitting posts, you may have heard that I really like the work of a designer named Thea Colman. In February, Thea released a sweater pattern that I knew that I needed to make. It’s name is Sazerac, and it looked like the comfy sort of sweater that I love. Thea had used YOTH Yarns Big Sister, which is DK weight. I’d never heard of YOTH before Thea started referencing them on Instagram and in her Rav posts, but I thought I’d try them out. Thea spoke highly of them, so I sprang for a sweater quantity of Big Sister in Thyme. Thyme is a brilliant blue-green that spoke to my mood back in February. As soon as it arrived, I was in love.

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Sazerac is not a hard knit. The pattern is well-written. If you can follow a chart, the cable chart is really straight forward. To be honest, I had the chart memorized fairly quickly. The reason it took me a little more than three months to finish the sweater is that I was busy and it requires focused attention. The cabling is NOT hard to do or to memorize, but it does require that you focus on the pattern. This is not mindless knitting. This is not a pattern that you can work on while you watch War and Peace or Captain America.

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It is, however, a pattern that is definitely worth the time and the effort. Prior to this sweater, it had been quite a while since I’d made a sweater worked in pieces and seamed together. But this was worth the time. This is a gorgeous piece that I’m thrilled to have in my wardrobe for the winter.

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It’s only about 80 degrees Fahrenheit today. This sweater was only worn for the photo shoot. IMG_3135

Overall, the sweater took me five and a half skeins of Big Sister, which leaves me with a skein and a half leftover. I’m hoping to make myself a cowl for winter with that selvedge. But for now, look at more pictures of the sweater! Aren’t those cables glorious? I’m really thinking that I’ll need to make a baby blanket using this cable pattern some day. Heck, maybe that cowl I’m dreaming up will use that pattern.

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Those cables! All those books…I love books. I think that I need more books.

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Raveled here.

FO: Jackson Creek Cardigan (Again)

A little over a year ago, I knit myself a delightful cardigan using Glenna C’s fabulous Jackson Creek Cardigan pattern. I love that sweater, and I wear it quite regularly-read almost once a week. I knew that I needed another Jackson Creek because I want to wear it so often, and so about six/seven weeks ago, I set to work knitting up another one. I used Tanis Fiber Arts amber label dk weight in the Jean Jacket colorway that Tanis created for the September edition of the TFA 2014 Year in Colour. And the marvelous Tanis graciously dyed a sweater quantity of Jean Jacket for me. And naturally, I had to make it into a Jackson Creek. I finished it on Thursday, and I’m unbelievably happy with the result. The yarn is so comfortable. The fit is divine.IMG_2138I finished it on Thursday, and I’m unbelievably happy with the result. The yarn is so comfortable. The fit is divine. IMG_2139

I did make a few modifications. Like I did previously, I knit the body in one piece to make the process go faster. As you can see above, I did raise the neckline from the original. This was NOT because I got distracted by the West Wing, but rather it was because Michigan winters are cold, and a higher neckline means a warmer me. IMG_2140 IMG_2141 IMG_2143 IMG_2144 IMG_2145 IMG_2147 IMG_2149Simply put, I love this sweater. and I wouldn’t be surprised if I made another at some point.

Raveled here.

 

FO: Lady Sunnyside

About a month or so ago, the good ladies of the Tanis Fiber Arts group over on Ravelry have been (and are still having) a knit-along with Tanis’s new pattern, Lady Sunnyside. I’ve been participating with a Tanis one of a kind color, Ravine, in green label. I finished knitting the sweater and blocked it on Thursday, sewed the buttons on it on Friday, and today I wore it for the first time.

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(Photoshoot was taken at East Bay Park in Traverse City, Michigan. All squinting is due to the sun.)