Whatcha swatchin’

I wasn’t feeling inspired by many men’s knits recently. I knit Matt a sweater every year (sometimes two) but this year I wasn’t feeling the sweater mojo when it came to a guy sweater till about a week and a half ago. I love my LYS and the knitters that often frequent it. One of these knitters is a college senior named Levi, whose fingers fly and conquer Kaffe Fassett intarsia blankets and deliciously cabled sweaters like they’re no big deal. We have a similar love of Brooklyn Tweed patterns and recently I saw him knitting a Rift. I feel in love with that pattern instantly and went home excited to tell Matt that I was ready to knit for him again.

whelter-3I decided it was time to try Shelter. It comes in so many amazing colors. Matt and I settled on this gorgeous Faded Quilt, a grey-blue with little teal flecks. So far I have been pleasantly surprised.swatch

While I had heard that Shelter is more delicate, it’s not like it falls apart while you are knitting it. If you pull on it to break a strand it breaks easily, but I had no issues while knitting my swatches. It felt fluffy and bouncy while knitting the swatches. Before washing my swatches it seemed like I was going to have to go down two needle sizes to a US 5 to make gauge, but somehow after washing and letting them dry unpinned the size US 6 swatch came out perfectly. I will be casting on very soon, but I can’t forget about Z’s “wing sweater” because we talk about it often.

A half mile of purple deliciousness

keaton blockingRemember this old thing? I’ve been steadily working on a Keaton pullover since the end of September and I finished another big chunk: the front! This seems like it’s taking forever, but I am putting it down on a regular basis to work on smaller, more instantly gratifying things. Last week I was somewhere around the waist decreases and I decided to give it some major love. We’ve been monogamous for about a week now and things are progressing more swiftly.

I decided to go ahead and block these pieces so they would be as finished as possible, and just to make sure everything would be at the correct measurement. I was a good little knitter and did wet block my swatch before casting this on, but doubts can still creep in when one is whiling away in single ply fingering weight (about 800 meters in) and it’s not looking quite as large as it’s supposed to. Everything blocked out beautifully, so I confidently cast on the sleeves. I will have a little time off next week and maybe I can turn this into a finished object if I’m really lucky and dedicated. I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

Feeling tweedy

My Keaton sweater progress is slowly plodding along. I’ve interrupted this sweater so far to make two pairs of baby pants, and two toddler-sized hats. A fingering weight woven stitch (aka super slow) large project has my hands hungry for more immediate gratification, so I have to take breaks to feel like I’m making progress on things.

I finished the back on Monday night, then started on the front on Wednesday during a work meeting. I haven’t made any changes to the pattern so far, aside from adding a little bit of length to make it the same length as some other sweaters I love to wear. I’m really enjoying this Debbie Bliss Fine Donegal Tweed. It seems to be holding up well for a single ply, and the advantage of this single ply is that my spit splicing is completely invisible. Yes, my knits are full of spit and I don’t mind a bit.

keatonIt hasn’t been cool enough yet for me to feel like I have to finish this right now, but has been cool enough for me to want to work on some toddler and baby garments and accessories. They’re smaller folks that are growing all the time and I do have an excellent chest full of sweaters to keep me warm already.

Nakniswemo is soon approaching. This is the first year in quite a few that I’m considering not participating. I do so very much love a knitalong, but I don’t feel the urge to put myself under that pressure right now. I completely forgot about Socktober (knitting a pair of socks in October) and I sort of don’t mind. Knitting is my relaxation, not a job. I don’t want it to ever really feel that way. That’s why I say no to commission projects 99.9% of the time. I knit for love, not money. I love the idea of gift knitting, but I never really rally and try to make a bunch of things for Christmas. Occasionally I will make something especially for a person’s birthday, but I’m more likely to just decide a friend should have a lovely pair of socks that I didn’t know was for that person until it occurred to me halfway through knitting the piece.

Thanks for all the lovely comments on my last post. They made me feel all warm and fuzzy.

Delicious, delicious tweed

Keaton-2Behold the delicious single ply Debbie Bliss Fine Donegal that’s on its way to becoming a Keaton pullover. On Yarn Sub this yarn was recommended as a good substitute for Loft, so I’m giving it a shot. It was available at my LYS and I drooled over it for about a month before I couldn’t keep it out of my paws any longer. It got me gauge on a washed swatch, so I’m off!

KeatonSo far it’s been a pleasure to knit. I can’t stop staring at the beautiful tweed flecks as I knit it. It’s also got a teeny bit of cashmere which makes it softer as it’s worked than it would seem from the feel of the ball. I know this will go a bit slower in a fingering weight and a woven stitch, but I think the finished product is going to look incredibly elegant, so I’m happy to put in the time.

What are your favorite new fall knits?

I can almost smell autumn.

I’m hardly ever wishing for cold weather, despite having an arsenal of sweaters. Right now I’m longing for temperatures with a wee bit more chill. Hovering around the 50’s and 60’s Fahrenheit would really be my cup of tea. That’s good playing outdoor weather and is just barely sweater weather. I’m at least ready to wear this Carpinocarpino

I used Cascade 220 Fingering in Olive Oil. I have almost 6 full skeins left out of the 10 I purchased since I wasn’t sure if I’d be doing a larger project with it. If you’re interested, I’m offloading the rest on Ravelry. I love this color but I can’t imagine having two sweaters in the same color since it’s pretty distinctive.

The raglan shaping is a little more interesting than the standard every other row increases, but definitely not difficult. The lace is four rows and memorizable fairly quickly. I enjoyed knitting this, but towards the end I was ready to move on. I didn’t get a great shot of the back, but it’s all stockinette, so you’re not missing much. carpino-2

I knit the 39″ chest. I’m really missing my pre-baby bust size. Nursing is a fabulous thing that I’m not longing to end anytime soon, but I miss the days of a less ample bust line. I am often struggling to pick a sweater size that will look good on me now and later when the rest of the baby weight and baby-related bust have gone away. carpino-3Up next is Keaton!

Snow day Smithfield

smithfield-2Smithfield is finished, just in time for a second snow day. This sucker is super warm. I used Cascade 220 in Provence. I used exactly 6 balls of it and had just enough to complete a tubular cast off for the neck.
smithfieldIf you look at this pattern (free on Knitty), you might notice that it starts at the neck. Well, after I finished it I didn’t like the regular 1×1 ribbing with my added length since it was right up against my neck, so I chopped it off. I picked up from the row where I cut and I used instructions from Oshima to make the collar more like a loose cowl. I knit it about 2.5 inches shorter than instructed in Oshima because a) I didn’t feel like breaking into a 7th ball of yarn and b) I was ready for it to be over. smithfield-4You’re looking at unblocked work here. Normally I’d do a wet block, but I just didn’t feel like it today. I finished the cast off, wove in the ends, and just didn’t feel like putting anymore work into it at this time. I’ll get around to blocking it soon, and I anticipate that the neckline will be even more loose and cowl-like at that point.

smithfield-3I added 4″ in length before the bottom ribbing to make sure this hit me at the tunic length I wanted. I think I added about 1″ to the sleeves. I also knit this at a looser gauge, making the 37″ chest size and ending up with about 41″ for the chest. I love the fit.

Twenty eight weeks pregnant here! Crazy crazy.

Selfish Smithfield

smithfieldAfter my brief Smithfield snafu, things are back on track. I’m several inches past the armhole separation and enjoying this as a semi-autopilot project. It has been rhythmic enough to read to and it kept me company through much of The Rosie Effect (which I loved). It has also been an excellent companion to The Wire, which has become an addiction since I discovered it was available to stream on Amazon Prime.

I’m making some minor changes. I decided to do a slightly larger gauge (16 sts over 4″ rather than 18 sts over 4″) by going up a needle size. I’m making the second size, which would be 37.25″ at the specified gauge, but at this gauge will be closer to 41″ for the chest. I’m adding a tad bit of waist shaping, going down about 1.5″ total, or maybe 2″ (I haven’t decided), by decreasing at the edge of the side ribbing in the back every 3/4″ or so about 4″ below the armpits.

The larger gauge is the result of laziness. I feel like I’ll get the results I want faster this way, and I like the way it looks, so why not. The waist shaping will do nothing for me in my current pregnant state, but one day when I have a waist again, it might be flattering. I used to get more hung up on the size I was making, thinking something had to be close to my bust size for me to feel like it would be an attractive garment. It turns out that my favorite sweater, ever, is an Oshima I made, which is about 40″ in the chest. I also tried to imitate that collar for this sweater, but it’s not quite as loose and cowl-like as I want so far. I will see if blocking and some pinning while blocking make this neckline into the magical unicorn of necklines I want it to be, or maybe I’ll rip that part out and knit it with a different stitch or looser gauge.

The selfish knitting continues.