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.

IMG_2805

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.

IMG_2811

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.

IMG_2810

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.

IMG_2802

Raveled here.

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.

img_2675

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

img_2693
img_2695 img_2696 img_2697

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.

img_0365

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.

img_0367

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.

img_0378

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.

img_0372

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.

img_0250

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.

img_0251

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.

img_0026

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.

img_0028

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.

img_0029

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.

img_0030

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

img_0033

Raveled here.