24
Apr

WIP: Savory KAL: Blocking!

Written by Sarah. Posted in cardigan, knits, sweater

The sweater is finally almost finished! I know I promised all of these pictures but before the blocking, everything looked like a blob. But everything is laid out and lovely. I know I’m far past the KAL deadline but I’m very pleased with how it’s turned out and I’m so excited that I’ve conquered lace!

The collar construction is really interesting. I think it’s very unique and I’m not surprised since the shawl collar on the Larch Cardigan was so much fun. The left and right fronts are joined around the back of the neck and the back is attached to the join, creating the arm holes. It’s such an interesting idea but I like the way it makes the garment hang. It feels very relaxed.

The sleeves were finished a while ago. It’s hard to see the lace pattern laid out flat. That was definitely my fault for picking such a dark yarn color. It’s somewhere between olive green and olive brown. I love it.

Have I mentioned before how awesome my blocking mat is? My mom got me the Coco Knits Knitter’s Block for Chanukah last year and it’s been so useful! You can connect as many squares as you need in any shape which is great for bigger pieces like sweaters but also smaller blocking like mittens and socks. I would definitely recommend it if you’re short on space like me! Thanks, Mom!

I love the thick ribbing at the bottom of the body and sleeves. It feels so casual and wonderful. I can’t wait to see it all put together!

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28
Feb

FO: Hamburger Sweater

Written by Sarah. Posted in art, DIY, knits, new york city, photos, style, sweater

It’s done! I’m a little baffled by the fact that I finished Jon’s hamburger sweater in 21 days. That’s less than a month, people. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised since the Blue Sky Techno is pretty chunky and I was working on size 8s and it was all stockinette. But I don’t think I’ve ever knit anything that quickly besides maybe a little hat.

Come on. This is a record, ladies and gents.

Alright, I admit, I didn’t block the sweater before we took these pictures. I’ve since done that and it really loosened things up. I think it looks a little snug in the photos and the neck sits weird and the back ribbing kept flipping up. But after the blocking, it looks fantastic. It fits him really well and it’s big and comfy and so so soft.

 

I hope this sweater has broken my curse with boyfriend sweaters. Now I just have to put that other one back together…

I’m most excited about the fact that he looks like a big hamburger! Couldn’t you just eat him up!?

 

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17
Feb

WIP: EZ Seamless Raglan

Written by Sarah. Posted in knits, photos, sweater, yarn

Remember that sweater that I knit Jon? It was his birthday present and it had special stripes for the date of our anniversary? Well, I realized he wasn’t wearing it because somehow (and I’m pretty sure I did a gauge swatch and all of that good stuff) it ended up being gigantic.

(I’ll chalk it up to being a secret surprise knitted gift. These things should be avoided at all cost. You cannot gift anything that has not been fitted properly. You will spend a majority of the time holding up the piece and thinking “Is this too big?” and having restless knitmares that ask”Is this too short?” and worrying yourself to pieces and then it either fits amazingly and you wasted all that time worrying or – 99% of the time – it doesn’t fit at all and you end up in this scenario. I know we’ve all done it before so don’t even pretend like you haven’t! Let’s promise not to engage in this behavior until Christmas. Then it will be the least of our worries.)

Also, the sleeves are a different dye lot than the body which drives me out of my mind. I suppose it’s some kind boyfriend sweater karma…if we’re still together, the sweater must die! Long story short, I ripped out all of the seams and promised him I’d take it in as much as I could so that it would at least fit okay. (I’m not steeking it, that’s for sure!) That was the biggest mistake EVER and with every stitch I made towards putting that humpdy dumpdy back together, I heard a voice louder and louder saying “I’m just going to make you a whole new sweater.”

And here we are…

I’m in the midst of my first EZ sweater. I attempted the percentage system a few years ago but I was really intimidated by how loose and abstract it seemed. I guess I just wasn’t prepared to do any math. Right now, though, I can’t believe I ever let it phase me. It’s so brilliant and yet so unbelievably simple. It feels as though Elizabeth Zimmerman reinvented the sweater.

Oh haven’t you heard? My boyfriend is obsessed with hamburgers! I wanted to do a single stripe across the chest with color changes that represent the parts of a hamburger. I didn’t want anything too obvious but the colors had to read well and then when someone says “I love your sweater. Did your girlfriend knit it for you? She’s great!” and he replies “Yeah! She is great. It’s a hamburger!” I want them to reply, “It IS a hamburger! That’s so cool! I didn’t notice it but now that you brought it up it’s SO COOL!”

So, you know, subtle.

The problem is, I didn’t take that many photos. I mean, 70% of the sweater was just boring stockinette in this lame tan color. It was pretty underwhelming and not something that merited much reporting. I believe, in the whole body, I knit about 20″ in stockinette. Luckily, with size 8 needles and Blue Sky Alpaca Techno, it went rather quickly.

By the way, Blue Sky Alpaca is CRAZY soft and fluffy and just so light and warm and yummy. I am going to have to make a hat or something with whatever is left over. It’s definitely going on my list of favorites.

Pattern: Elizabeth Zimmerman Seamless Raglan Sweater
Yarn: Blue Sky Alpaca Techno
Needle: 8

My secret plan is finish this sweater over the long weekend. I think I can do it! What are your yarny plans for the holiday?

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05
Jan

FO Larch Cardigan

Written by Sarah. Posted in cardigan, knits, sweater

I’m not really sure where to start! I’m trying to revamp everything for 2012 and I have a lot of new projects coming up in the new year. I guess let’s start by saying that I hope everyone had a great start to the New Year. It sounds like a lot of people were doing the low-key thing this time around. We did too.

Becaaaause we’re so exhausted/exhilarated/busy from our big move. I can’t wait to show you the new apartment. This year is going to be all about redesigning this little gem.

Anyway, maybe I can start by showing you a long-overdue post about my larch cardigan? Tie up the loose ends of last year. It’s been such a long time since I finished it. (Before Thanksgiving!) Let’s see…

The construction of the collar really confused me the first few times I read the pattern. When I finally got my head around it, I realized how brilliant it was! The collar is worked around the neckline and then back and forth picking up a little more on either side to make a really beautiful roll collar. I’ve never knit anything will a roll collar so I love it!

The beautiful tortoise buttons are from an adorable little you’ll-miss-it-if-you-don’t-know-it’s-there button store on the Upper East Side called Tender Buttons. I’m so in love. It’s one of those shops that doesn’t really exist anymore and is so small and unique it feels like magic. They are just wall to wall buttons! And all kinds including some vintage and antique wonders. I bought about 4 buttons just in case something unfortunate happens to the ones I put on.

I’m not terribly pleased with how the cardigan fits across my chest when the buttons are done. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m not the size I thought I was or if my gauge wasn’t spot on. Maybe the length isn’t right? I was going for something tighter than I usually wear as I’m trying to break the giant comfy sweater habit (at least when I’m going out.) It’s not that bad but I think another more serious blocking will do the trick on it. I’m pleased otherwise.

So love how this MadTosh knit up. How many times can I say that? I’ll say it again. It’s tops.

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07
Dec

Throwback FO: Fisherman Sweater

Written by Sarah. Posted in knits, life, style, sweater

It’s getting cold outside! Slowly but surely, fall is descending on New York City! Which means it’s time to pull out some hand knit sweaters! I got this one out of the closet and I just had to share it. Please forgive my nostalgia but I’m quite attached to this thing.

I love big comfy chunky fisherman sweaters. This is made from the Lion Brand Comfy Inishturk sweater pattern in their Fishermen’s Wool in the color oatmeal. Nothing warms you up like wearing a color called oatmeal. I bought the yarn and kind of decided to tackle this ambitious knit just before starting my junior year of college on a visit from my mom and aunt. I’d recently moved into my first apartment in Williamsburg. I was pretty much unstoppable. I’d knit a sweater and an intarsia vest before this so I was confident I could pull it off. I got all of the yarn on sale and immediately went home and cast on.

Straight needles!? I never use them anymore! How did I fit that in my bag?

 

I’m just as proud now as I was when I finished it. The cables look incredibly complicated and they’re definitely screwed up in a few spots especially right in the front where I wouldn’t want them to be but I couldn’t rip out once I’d realized. I wonder if I would go back and fix it now?

Back when I finished. I had pink walls. And orange nail polish.

 

I’ve been knitting since I was 14 but this sweater is kind of a turning point in my career as a knitter. I knit a lot of things before this sweater but most of them were of little consequence and made with little care. I can’t recall many of those things besides a few hats and badly-designed scarves. That other sweater and the vest I knit before this I never wear. They don’t fit right and the yarn I chose isn’t comfortable against the skin.

I’ve learned a lot since I bound off and put those gigantic sleeves onto the even more titanic body. (Don’t get me wrong, I love how big it is…and it is a size small…but it’s a little bigger than a “comfy sweater” should be. Who knows what size it should be. I didn’t knit gauge swatches back then!) Putting the fishermen’s sweater on now, I can see that I clearly had not ever heard of the mattress stitch. I laugh and think about how far I’ve come with my technique in only a few years. It’s exciting to think that I have such a thorough understanding now but, of course, I have a lot to learn still. Who knows what I’ll be making in another two years or so.

I still love this sweater.

Long story short, I’m still in love with this oversized lump of a sweater. It really turned me into a full-time knitter. And, even though I’m critical, no one notices the messy seams or misshaped cables. I’d love to see what I’d make if I re-knit this pattern but I don’t think I want to go back. I like my imperfections and I have too long a queue to start back tracking anyway!

Have you ever re-knit a pattern you knit before? How do you feel about your old FOs? Do you love how silly they are or do you hide them in the bottom of your stash?

ps. Please forgive the Photobooth pictures. I guess I didn’t have a real camera back then. It’s a fun contrast, though, isn’t it!

pps. Happy birthday to my Dad who turned 60 last week!

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07
Oct

WIP: Larch Cardigan

Written by Sarah. Posted in cardigan, design, DIY, instagram, knits, photos, sweater

I am so bad! I promised myself I’d take lost of pictures and document every step in the Larch cardigan but, of course, I’m already half finished! So let me go back to the beginning…

I was planning on starting the Larch cardigan on my birthday which, of course, was the same day that Hurricane Irene decided to blow into town. Which ruined the big self-indulgent birthday trip I had planned to my LYS. Of course, I’m a terrible person for bemoaning my lack of yarn shopping. Hurricane Irene effected so many people outside of New York City. Which is why I was excited to buy the Larch pattern during Amy Christopher‘s sale for the Vermont NOFA Farmer Emergency Fund! (She raised $2410!)

Anyway, I love the color of Amy’s sweater and I wanted something similar. I finally made it to my LYS by myself which meant about an hour of staring at skeins of MadTosh Pashmina. Can I say for the millionth time that I cannot get over how gorgeous Madeline Tosh yarn is? The colors are so intricate and deep it makes choosing one so difficult! Each shade is like a completely different hue.

I finally ended up with Glazed Pecan which sounds as yummy as it looks. (And got my birthday discount late since they were closed!) Of course, I was so excited to start knitting, I didn’t even take a decent photo of it. Excuse my Instagram.

 

Within a week I was finished with the sleeves. I wanted to start with them before I dive into the more complicated bits. And, taking advice from Little Red in the City, it helps to ensure that my gauge is correct before I screw up the whole sweater. It also helped me ease into some of the more confusing techniques. (I’m actually working it on my gorgeous interchangable ebony Lantern Moon size 5s.) I suppose, best of all, I won’t feel like I’m not making progress on the body and give up with a sleeve-less sweater. (We’ve all been there.)

Also, I’m actually not stranding the yarn. For those of you that don’t work with hand-dyed yarns or have never had an emergency of the run-out-of-yarn-need-to-buy-this-random-skein-of-a-different-dye-lot-because-it’s-the-last-one-on-the-planet variety, knitting two rows from alternating skeins throughout will “blend” the colors and hide the fact that they are slightly different. (This Jimmy Bean’s video is the best I can share with you on stranding. I think it over-complicates the idea…maybe I should write a post about that!) I debated for about thirty minutes before I cast on about whether or not I’d strand the yarn. While MadTosh has NO dye lots, I didn’t think that any of the skeins looked particularly different from the others when I stared at them by a sunny window. As I cast on I thought to myself “You’ll regret cutting this corner!” as I so often do but I think I really lucked out!

I’m actually almost finished with the body. I’m really flying through this.

Aren’t you excited it’s sweater season!?

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