Proof of sweater

Proof of sweater

I wanted to get pictures of my brother in his finished Hugo, but I gave him the sweater when I saw him over the weekend and it just didn’t work out. It does fit, though it has some negative ease in the chest and arms I wasn’t quite anticipating. All in all my brother is happy with it and I got to hand it off before he goes back to the soon-to-be-tundra Minnesota. Fortunately, as a precaution for the upcoming busy weekend, I took some shots of Matt in the sweater. Here he is looking a bit like a Sad Etsy Boyfriend.


Hugo-3 The yarn is Cascade 220 in Japanese Maple. I used about 6.5 skeins of it for this sweater. This time I used snaps instead of buttons as I did for Matt’s. I like the snaps. I think I’d stick with that if I made this sweater a third time (but I probably won’t).  Hugo-2 I love this color on Matt. See how much he loves modeling for me when he’d rather be drinking coffee on a Saturday morning? HugoI’m glad this is off my knitting plate. I’m thisclose to finishing Carpino and I think I shall be starting something new soon. I keep thinking about doing some baby knits for Charlotte, but I haven’t really been inspired by something I have to make right this minute (which is about as long as a knit for a 5 month old takes compared to adult stuff) so I’m waiting to be struck by a gorgeous piece of pattern inspiration. Or maybe I’ll dream something up.

Much ado about blocking.

Much ado about blocking.

If you don’t block sweaters…why the hell not? Nothing makes a piece look as professional and finished. I almost always block a sweater before seaming, like I’m doing with this Hugohugo-2Blocking before seaming lets you make sure you get the pieces to the exact measurements you want and it smooths out all of the slight imperfections in the stitches. Pre-seaming blocking also allows the sweater to dry faster since it’s still in pieces. You need to block the pieces to get it to the gauge of the swatch you washed and blocked, right?

hugoI know, I know. It’s a pain. You need to soak it in some wool wash, like Eucalan, and squeeze out the water gently, then roll it up in a dry towel and smoosh the water out with your feet. Then you finesse the pieces into the finished measurements and maybe you pin it lightly. Maybe you pin it aggressively if it’s lace. I think the sweater pieces should be fairly relaxed when you pin them because if you’re getting aggressive at this point you might not have made the correct gauge or size in the first place. I’ve learned that lesson a couple of times.

But seriously, if you’re not a dedicated blocker, try it next time you do a sweater. It’s well worth the effort and I know you can hold on just a little longer on the finishing. Just cast on something new while you wait for it to dry. Read this Knitty article for more specific tips, especially for dealing with different fibers.

This sweater is now so close to being finished! After seaming it just needs the ribbed collar and some buttons. It’s for my brother and I’ll see him next weekend for our little sister’s wedding. Then he can cart it home to Minnesota where it will surely get lots of use. I should probably send him home with some wool wash and washing instructions. I made this out of Cascade 220 (non-superwash).

Sweater for my brother

Sweater for my brother

My brother lives in Minnesota. From what I hear, it’s hella cold up there in the winter. I refuse to visit during that time (and actually have yet to visit period). To assuage that guilt a bit, and because he asked me last winter, I decided to knit him a sweater. He loves Matt’s Hugo sweater and said he wanted one just like that. He said he wanted a rust orange kind of color. I found this Cascade 220 Japanese Maple on sale last January and got some. I was still hemming and hawing over when I would actually work on this sweater, but since my big destashing last week I began to think of this as one more way to reduce my stash. Knit it and get it out! hugo

Charlie (remember this ham?) has a 41″ chest, so I went between the 41.75″ and 45.5″ sizes by adding some extra stitches in the moss stitch area, just like I did with Matt’s sweater. I’m aiming for about 2-2.5″ of ease for comfort without looking baggy. At first I thought I wouldn’t love knitting this again, but the chart is only 12 rows and it gets addictive. hugo-2

It happens to be his birthday today as well. This sweater isn’t in time for your birthday, Charlie, but it will definitely get to you before the cold comes. Happy birthday, baby brother.

If you are all interested in some bulky wool, silk, tweed, or a paper linen/silk purse kit, please please check out my destashing post. I reduced some of the prices because I WANT THESE GONE. I’m doing the KonMari method throughout the house and these need to go.

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.

Waiting for the mail to come

Here is my Hugo progress: HugoI’m a couple of inches into the armhole! This front went so much faster than the sleeves. Maybe it’s a mental thing. I think some of it has to do with the shorter rows on a sleeve interrupting the rhythm of the pattern more often. Either way, it’s definitely possible to finish this and get it on Matt by Wednesday for our anniversary. I just need the mail to come!

Hugo-2That’s all the yarn I have left. I’m holding off on a little knitting right now because I want to make sure the next ball is a good match so I know whether or not I will have to alternate any rows. Snowmaggedon continues in Northwest Arkansas, so I’m not surprised that the mail may be a little slower, but the yarn’s status is “out for delivery” so I should get it at any moment…

Maybe I should distract myself by casting on something new. Hahahaha.

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!