The carrot on the stick

Pensacola should be fully dry after blocking tonight, so I can seam it this evening. I can’t wait to see it all seamed up and on the dress form. The project that pushed me to finish the knitting (because I wouldn’t let myself start something more fun and abandon it) was this:

wispersI’m making the Whispers top by Veera Valimaki.  I didn’t happen to have 600 plus yards in any one color of my fingering weight yarn, but I did have this lovely Terra Cotta gradient kit from Black Trillium, which has 635 yards total.  I won’t be able to make my stripes an even width, due to shaping in the sweater, but I think I will like the overall effect.

This kit is a nice color shock to the system. I’m starting with the darkest yarn and moving to the lightest.  I’m also making the 32″ size.  This sweater has a lot of positive ease happening.  Doing the math on this size, there are about 34.5 inches at the waist and 6″ ease at the bust for the pleats.  That should still be plenty flattering, and having a little more wiggle room on the yarn means I’ll get away with possibly adding some extra length if I want.

I’m so excited for springtime knits!  I’ve loved making a bunch of cold-weather sweaters this season, but I’m ready for something refreshing.  Matt is a little sad that he won’t see a new sweater until next fall, but I just couldn’t bring myself to knit a huge Aran weight grey thing right now.  On another fun note, Angela and I are going to do a little KAL with an incredibly adorable skirt starting mid-March.  Basically, Angela has impeccable style and she said on her blog that she was going to knit it, and I said that I needed to do that too.  Anyone that feels like making a skirt mid-March, please join us!  There will be no incentives, aside from some mutual skirt admiration and the implicit rewards that come from making these knit stitches over and over. The designer, Allyson Dkyhuizen, happens to have the skirt half off this week, so if you want to knit it, it’s a good time to get the pattern!

Teal Sweater #2

I’m happy to show my second teal sweater of the month, Blank Canvasblank canvas-10The yarn is Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool in Bahama Blue. It feels nice right next to my skin, and I hope the silk/wool blend will lend itself to some springtime wear. You can read more specifics about my modifications on my project page. I made the 34″ bust size, but added about an inch and a half in length, and did one less waist decrease.

blank canvas-6This shoulder shaping is simple, but genius. Ysolda really knows how to help people get a good fit. It fits me better than a traditional raglan, and it really only required a tiny bit more attention than a raglan would.

blank canvas-9All this stockinette knitting is good therapy.

blank canvas-8For the sleeves, I started with 48 stitches for a narrower fit and increased to what was specified for the 34″ size. I ended up making them 14″ to be a 3/4 length on my monkey arms.

blank canvas-7I love the fit. I can see myself making several more of these, perhaps a couple with full sleeves. It’s a great basic pullover that I think I will wear regularly.

I’m finishing up a couple of sock WIPs and I’m trying not to cast on anything new, because I’m a volunteer knitter for a historical knitting project and the yarn should arrive any day now! I will allow myself to cast on socks when I finish what I’ve got going, because c’mon, I’ve always got to have socks on the needles. It’s very exciting to be part of the project and honored that Annie asked me to knit something. More details on that soon!

Sweater in a week?

Hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season! I spent the last few days camped out at my parents, soaking up the opportunities to sleep in because my mom graciously got up with Zooey for her 5:45/6 am wake-ups. We had a lot of fun and I got to do plenty of knitting. antrorse-3Here’s a quick update on Antrorse. I’ve been working on this much more than Blank Canvas, because the aran weight yarn makes for FAST progress. I’m at the bottom few inches of garter stitch, then only sleeves and button sewing remain!

I made a few mods. Angela mentioned something in a comment on my last post about using the high bust measurement as a guide for sweater sizing (a tip from Amy Herzog) to ensure a good fit in the shoulders. Since my high bust is more like 35″ and size 34″ of this sweater is closer to that measurement, I changed tactics on the yoke and opted to make the 34″ size instead. I made a couple of mods to help it work out how I envisioned. antrorse-2I added one extra underarm stitch to each size, so the bust measures 36.25″ (the 34″ size factors in a couple of inches of ease on this garment). I did a little waist shaping too. About 7″ from the underarm I decreased a stitch on both sides of the waist using mirrored ssk and k2tog decreases. I did two decreases on a decrease row and did that 3 times (6 total decreased/about 1.5″) spaced 4 rows apart. I knitted at this decreased number for about 1.5 inches, then brought increases back in, mirroring M1R and M1L increases, spaced 4 rows apart. I increased 4 times. Then I knit about 6 more rows and increased 1 more row before the garter bottom.  All in all, I have 6 stitches more than the 34″ size should, at the bottom, because my hips are bigger than the size 34 accounts for. I’ve been pretty pleased with the result as I try it on.

I could finish this in another day or so, making it about a week-long sweater. This Cascade Eco+ yarn knits so quickly that I’m actually tempted to make Matt one more sweater this season…as long as it’s in aran weight yarn.

A day to spare!

Ha. All last week and this week I kept thinking the 12th of December was Wednesday (yesterday). It’s my wedding anniversary. I was knitting like a madwoman, and then Matt pointed out on Monday night that the 12th was Thursday and I had a whole day to spare! That was a nice relief, but I still worked as fast as I could to get it done. I was ready.  

I had it half seamed yesterday morning and Matt really wanted to wear it, so I worked as fast as I could to get the seams finished and ends woven in before he left for school. It wasn’t blocked, so I confiscated it later in the day to give it a bath, but it still looked good enough to let him leave the house in it. It was also lacking buttons, but I finished that later. Voila!hugo-5

Behold, Hugo. I used Cascade 220 in Mallard and it took about 6.35 skeins, 1396 yards. WEBS was not able to match the dyelot when I had to order the 7th skein, but the dyes were so close that I couldn’t tell a bit of difference. There was no need to stripe at all! I love that.  I hope I’m not boring the hell out of you all by using the same yarns over and over, but I’m a girl on a budget and these yarns fit that budget.hugo-2-2

I cast on an amount for the body and sleeves exactly in-between the two smaller sizes to get a finished product closer to a 40″ chest. Matt doesn’t like as much ease as the second smallest size, and the smallest would have had negative ease. This worked out pretty well. The extra stitches were in the moss stitch, so it was very little adjustment.hugo-3

I added about an inch in length to the front and the back. I left the sleeve length as written. When it came to decreasing and increasing on the pieces, I ended up making those more like the 41.75″ size more often. I didn’t take super specific notes at each step along the way, but my Ravelry project page has a little more specificity. I made buttonholes instead of purchasing snaps because I like the way they look, and I was snowed in for nearly a week and didn’t read the pattern closely enough to realize I’d need snaps! Ha. The buttons work well.

Set-in sleeves are quickly becoming my favorite, and I’m also starting to love finishing on sweaters. It’s a slower end process, but sometimes that’s nice. It’s like when you race to finish a really, really good book that was long and lovely to read. When it’s over, you’re a little sad. The finishing process of seaming and blocking a sweater helps you let go more slowly, and treasure your hard work for a few more minutes.hugo-4

I know I’ve posted this before, but this video really helped me to understand how to seam set-in sleeves. Now I cut a super long length of yarn and after I seam one side of the shoulder, that extra yarn becomes the yarn that seams either the side of the body or the sleeve seam. I’m all about having less ends to weave in.

Matt loves it, I love it. I consider it a fine 1st anniversary gift.

Couldn’t help myself!

I just had to finish Oshima. I was thisclose, you guys. It was gnawing at me. After the endless Hugo sleeves, I just kept looking at my 3.5 inches of knitted Oshima collar and I really really wanted to finish the rest of it. It was all put together with ends woven in, aside from finishing the collar. That’s almost done! Then the snowy icy weather hit us, and I really wanted a new warm pullover to wear. So, I did it.oshima

We’re in love! I used Jo Sharp DK Wool Tweed. This isn’t even close to the yarn called for in the pattern (2 strands of Loft fingering weight yarn held together), but it got me gauge, and I got to use up most of this lovely yarn I’ve had stashed since 2007! It was soooo cold, so I only got a couple of shots outside, then I had to come in. Most of the shots made me look really cold and hunched, so I settled for some indoor ones.

oshima-2I love the details of the upper body on this sweater, especially the shaping on the back.

oshima-4I’m not used to this much positive ease on a sweater. This is the 38″ size. The recommended positive ease is 4-5″, so this seemed like the best size to make. I wish the back had a little less fabric. If I ever make this again, I’m going to use the 38″ front numbers and the 34″ numbers for the back. It is really comfy though. I’ve been living in it since I took it off the blocking board this morning. I like the long turned cuffs, and the cowl neck is perfect: extra warmth without being up against my chin.

oshima-3This yarn is also much softer than I expected. It doesn’t have a super soft hand when knitting it, but I’ve been wearing this with just a tank top underneath and it hasn’t made me itch even a tiny bit. I really like the yarn, but unfortunately I don’t think it’s distributed in the United States anymore. I ended up using 1,428 yards of the yarn. That’s a bit more than called for in the pattern, but I did add about 4 inches in length overall.

Now I can fully focus on finishing Hugo! I’m 10.5 inches into the front in about a day’s worth of knitting, so I think I’m in decent shape to finish on time in the next few nights! Thanks to timely shipping from WEBS, I will receive the last ball tomorrow, which I will definitely need. I’ll have more progress on that soon. Happy knitting!

Endless sleeves!

I thought I would wait and post about these Hugo sleeves when they were finished, but it seems that they will never end, so I’ll go ahead and tell you about them now. _DSC0034They’re pretty straightforward, with a narrower version of the pattern that’s on the body and increases in the moss stitch. I spaced out the increases a little differently than written in the pattern, somewhat between the increases recommended for the 38″ and 41.75″ size. I worked to the length specified for the 41.75″ size before the shoulder cap shaping. I’m finally there. I’m bet it will seem a little faster now with decreases cutting into the row length.

After these babies are finished, that puts me at about 2/3 done! I love the look of this sweater, but the allover pattern definitely slows me down. At least I’ve memorized the chart, so I don’t have to glance at the pattern anymore. I know I’m going to love this on Matt, and I’ll be so proud when it’s finished, but my mind has definitely been wandering to other present and future knits.

I’m obsessed with Antrorse from the new Journey Collection by Shannon Cook and Jane Richmond. Yesterday I bought some Cascade Eco+ in Satine, a gorgeous teal/gray shade. It’s coming in the mail so there’s no chance I can cast it on right this second, keeping some focus on Hugo. I also have a couple of small things to whip up before Christmas, and I’m at the collar on Oshima! I’m about 3.5 inches into the collar, which feels like I could be done very soon. If it seems like there’s time for a pause, I may have to take a day off from Hugo this week and finish up Oshima. Ok, Hugo, let’s get through this!

Forgotten knits

In the whirlwind of NaKniSweMo knitting I nearly completely forgot my beautiful Oshima, until I saw this Instagram picture of Cara‘s Oshima, and I remembered my sad little sweater, shoved in a project bag and set aside for almost a whole month. Unlike the misbehaving Hugo, Oshima wasn’t on an intentional time out. There were just so many deadline projects all in a row, and then NaKniSweMo started and it seemed appropriate to begin a new sweater for the challenge, so I pulled her out over the weekend and finished up the front…oshima

You can see the sleeves on this post. I just need to finish the back shaping (not much at this point), then I can put it together and work that glorious cowl neck! I did add about 3.5 inches to the body because it seemed way too short for my long-waisted torso. Look at this gorgeous shaping: oshima-2

Hugo is still on a deadline, yes, but maybe I can slip in some work on Oshima here and there. It feels like it’s only a day and a half of work at this point!

So many knits, so little time! My brain is working on designs too. Can I just retire from this dissertation work and go full-time with knitting already? Sigh. Back to the needles.