FO: Bounce Blanket

A few months ago, one of my closest friends announced that she was expecting her first child, and I offered to make her a blanket. We talked about a few different elements (colors, patterns, and we agreed that I’d make a maize and blue Bounce blanket. I’d planned for it to be GINORMOUS. As both of the kiddo’s parents can tell you, I don’t do anything by halves. I was going to make the THROW sized blanket.

But then life threw a wrench in my knitting plans. I was supposed to knit the blanket at a leisurely pace while finishing a sweater for me. (The sweater was going to be done first.) Instead, the baby came a bit early, and I had to change my plans. The sweater had to go on the backburner. (Sorry, sweater!)  I wanted to get the blanket done as quickly as possible. I like to get the blanket done before the little one arrives if at all possible.

And…I was going to knit a big blanket. But I chose to make the shorter version of the blanket…admittedly with the width of the larger blanket.And in the end, I’m really pleased with the result. I love the way that this blanket turned out.

The mom, a graduate of the University of Michigan, had asked for maize and blue. Now, this was a hard pairing to find. I really wanted to use Madelinetosh tosh dk because I knew that was a good yarn for this blanket. I also knew that “fathom” from Madelinetosh pretty much is the Michigan blue, but fathom presents a problem. It (like most Madelinetosh) bleeds. So I had to prewash it to prevent the blue from dying the white or the yellow. There was much blue bleeding then. Then I had to play with cold water vinegar blocking to keep the colors form bleeding when I blocked. Again, this worked. No white stripes turned blue. No yellow stripes turned green. The blanket is a success as far as color and yarn go.

The pattern was also a huge success. I’ve seen this pattern around Ravelry for a long time, and I’ve always thought it to be very pretty. But the lace intimidated me. I figured it had to be H-A-R-D. Ha. I was wrong. It was super easy to memorize the lace pattern, and this is probably my quickest knit in a long time. I’m pretty sure that I’ll be revisiting this again.

Overall, this is a huge success. I’m thrilled. And I can’t wait to pass this off to the rightful owners.

Raveled here.

FO: Oaxacan Rose

I’ve recently finished another test knit for Thea Colman, and now that the pattern is published, I’m thrilled to show y’all how gorgeous this sweater is.

Oaxacan Rose is a fairly simple pullover knit almost entirely in seed stitch with a very simple cable motif in the middle of the front. 

I knit my sweater using Malabrigo Twist in the gorgeous colorway “Teal Feather.” I love how the seed stitch works with this yarn. The thickness of the yarn is perfect, and the color is delightful. The detail on the cable is just stunning. Fitting with the general pattern, it’s very simple. The pattern is very simple. It’s not a challenging knit in any way-as long as you know how to knit seed stitch and cable both right and left, it’s an easy pattern to knit.
I’m really glad that I was able to test this for Thea. I really love Malabrigo Twist, and I’d never even heard of it, let alone knit with it before this. But it came highly recommended, and it really lives up to the hype.

The only issue that I have with this sweater is that I finished it in April and the pattern is coming out in May. I won’t get to really appreciate this sweater until next fall. You’ll notice if you look at the pattern versus my sweater that mine is more fitted. I’m generally not much for loose-fitting clothing, so I made my Oaxacan Rose more fitted to better suit my comfort level. 

I love the neckline. It’s simple but classic.

Raveled here.

FO: Angostura

I don’t think that it’s any kind of a secret that Thea Colman is one of my favorite designers. (And I swear that it’s not just because we share a love of cocktails.) So naturally, when I learned that she was looking for knitters to test a new sweater pattern for her, I jumped on the chance. After some back and forth with Thea, I bought six skeins of Harrisville Shetland (from Spun in Ann Arbor; I love that place!) in Garnet and set to work knitting/testing Thea’s new design, Angostura.

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Angostura is all kinds of fun. The front and sleeves are simple-just straightforward stockinette. The sleeves made great movie watching knitting back in January. But the back…oh man, the back is where the action is. The back is a lively cable panel that looks far more complex/intimidating than it really is. img_2677

The sweater is knit bottom up and then the sleeves and body are joined at the yoke. Thea used saddle sleeves to make everything flow together smoothly. This is one of the best things about this pattern. I was talking to a friend on Skype while working the first saddle, and I was a bit wary of the saddle as I’ve only ever used it for Chartreuse before. However, the directions were clear and easy to follow. In no time, I was back to talking to Laura and barely looking at the pattern. img_2679

This was my first time using a Harrisville yarn, and it won’t be my last. Before I started, Thea commented that Harrisville was really going to “pop” the cables, and she was so right. I really love how the yarn looks with those cable. The tweeding of the dye is consistent, and subtle, which allows the cables to really show off. img_2685

Raveled here

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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: 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.