24
Jul

Grettir WIP

Written by Sarah. Posted in knits, sweater, WIP

grettir wip 2

Grettir is finally coming together. There wasn’t much to show you during the long haul of stockinette but now something interesting has happened. And, alas, now it’s basically over.

I’m quite pleased with the look of the yoke. It was a pretty simple colorwork pattern for me. Everything was straightforward there. Stranded colorwork really is my favorite thing. I imagine that if I were a dragon, instead of a cave full of golden treasures, I’d be sleeping on a big pile of fingering-weight colorwork sweaters.

grettir yoke

I recently looked back on the beginnings of this sweater and thought, “God, I’m such an asshole!” Can you believe I started this thing back in March? It’s July and it’s still not finished. I really have no excuse for this taking so long. Though, I suppose, the beauty of knitting for myself (and by that I mean knitting something that isn’t on a work deadline because clearly this sweater is not for me) is that it doesn’t have to be finished with any haste. But, still. It’s a little ridiculous that a worsted-weight sweater that is mainly single color stockinette has taken me months and months.*

I think this sweater is kind of telling of my mental state this summer. I’m really all over the place. I want to sew tank tops and eat ice cream and read comic books. I’ve allowed myself to become undisciplined after a year of hard deadlines and workaholism which was a big mistake! Give me and inch, etc etc.

grettir wip

All of that over-analysis aside, Grettir is almost finished. I have to graft the underarms to the sleeves which I just have had zero motivation to do. There’s a lot of waste yarn still hanging around the cast ons of this sweater. And he could use a nice blocking. It fits Jon well and he’s really pleased with it. I think it suits his style perfectly.

But, of couse, it was 90 degrees today so I have absolutely no desire to be finishing a sweater right now.

Do you ever get lazy with knitting? What keeps you on track on personal projects?

*Okay, stockinette stitch for miles is a good excuse for taking a long time. It just NEVER ENDS.

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02
May

I Have Startitis

Written by Sarah. Posted in cross stitch, embroidery, gift, knits, photos, sewing, shirt, sweater, WIP, wip

Welcome, I’m glad you could all join us for this week’s meeting. Who’d like to share first?

Hi, I’m Sarah. I have Startitis.

Maybe it’s the weather, maybe it’s the fact that I read two issues of Molly Makes and the new Martha Stewart Living while I was off on Wednesday. I want to do everything. I want to renovate an old house and start a garden and build furniture. I just want to make stuff.

grettir sleeve

I’m so frustrated because I haven’t had any FOs to share in such a long time. I’m working on everything at once so nothing’s done. I’m just wanting to do it all, I’m exploding with inspiration, I’m running in every direction.

tova

Some of this craft mania is due to the fact the weather is changing. I want to be sewing some summer pieces. I want to get rid of everything in my closet and start fresh which adds this urgency to it. I still don’t know what the heck I’m doing when it comes to sewing. I started working on the Wiksten Tova top. It’s kind of a mess but I really don’t want to get into that. I’m making something.

I’m still working on that Grettir sweater for Jon. There’s a lot of stockinette. ‘Nuff said. I have plans to make something for my grandma’s birthday. (And thanks for all of your helpful suggestions!) I still don’t know what it will be. I think I’ll end up working around my stash because I just did some spring cleaning and the amount of yarn I have should be illegal.

zelda cross stitch progress

And if you follow me on instagram, you know that I’ve picked up my Zelda cross stitch again. It was hidden away for a few months. (Okay, I forgot that I was working on it.) This project has been going forever but I’m actually quite pleased with how far it’s come. I think it’s actually nearing the home stretch. And every time I look at it, I get excited because goddamnit it looks like the real thing! It’s funny, although this has been incredibly tedious and time consuming and I hope I never try this again, I always enjoy coming back to this project. Something about the simplicity of it after doing an intense knit is really satisfying. It’s intricate, I won’t pretend it’s easy but it’s methodical to the point that it’s meditative. And, like I said, look at the result.

So I have a bit of Startitis. I just can’t commit to any one thing. Maybe once I finish something I’ll feel relieved. Maybe I’ll finally be able to figure out what’s next. But until then, I’m just going to keep stitching away.

Because it’s all about the process isn’t it?

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24
Mar

Plans for Grettir

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

Let me be honest with you. When I wrote about how I wanted to bring Timberline on vacation with me and have this really complicated project  to focus on, I was lying. I didn’t know it at the time because I was lying to myself and I ended up lying to you, too. (Please forgive me.) Every time I’ve thought about working up a swatch for that sweater since my first attempt, I get a little dizzy. Maybe I was hoping someone would talk me out of it.

I finally admitted to myself that I wasn’t confident enough to move ahead with that cardigan. I think it’s more of a commitment issue than an actual fear of the pattern. I’ve knit aran sweaters before. Now just isn’t the right time. I’m just not excited about it and I can’t get started unless I’m really psyched out of my mind. I’m ok with that. All in good time.

Of course, that means that I had to admit to Jon that he wasn’t going to get a Timberline any time in the near future. I think he was a little bummed. This boy loves cardigans. But I have something else up my sleeve.

Grettir

While I was browsing the Brooklyn Tweed site a few weeks ago, Jon caught a glimpse of Grettir over my shoulder and made me show him all of the photos. Then he forgot that he’d pointed it out to me. But I remembered and I decided that he should have this sweater in his wardrobe. I love colorwork and I haven’t knit that many circular-yoke sweaters so this will be fun. Besides, it’ll look really handsome on him and it’s very different from the rest of his clothing.

I stuck pretty close to the sample pallet. I decided to go with Cascade 220 instead of Brooklyn Tweed for some budgetary reasons but also because my LYS didn’t have all of the grey shades of Shelter in stock. Really, I fell for this blue-grey for the main color. It’s really a pewter which is one of my favorite colors.

Jon did seem a little disappointed that the main color yarn isn’t heathered the way that Shelter is. (He asked, “How will you get those dots in it?” to which I answered, “Uh…it won’t.”) But I’m confident it’ll still be a beautiful sweater. He’s pretty easy to knit for, not afraid of color or being bold. He’s a pretty stylish guy.

What do you think? Am I chickening out? Do you prefer colorwork or cables?

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21
Mar

Sweater Sketches

Written by Sarah. Posted in art, knits, KYC Presents, sweater, WIP

I have always been really obsessed at peeking into other people’s sketchbooks. I love to see how artists think and how their process evolves. I even like looking at my old sketchbooks just to have the memory of the challenge and the excitement. I don’t do much drawing anymore but I do have a journal that’s filled with ideas for knitwear.

When I started working on The Crash, the furry loop stitch concept was fresh in my mind. I was feeling really inspired by what I was seeing people wear on the street. I started drawing out some ideas for how to make that real. A lot of it was absurd capelets that would be impossible to wear let alone knit but I just kept drawing it over and over again, tweaking it here and there and ended up with this.

sketch

This was the first real incarnation of the sweater in my mind. I like to write lots of notes to myself. Everything is pretty specific even when I don’t know what I want. The loopy shoulders were so vivid in my mind. There are lots of shoulder drawings in there, just trying to figure out how it all should fit together.

sketch 2

I remember thinking about doing a simple moss stitch sweater under the shoulder pads. I also played around with the idea of a cabled aran sweater. In the end, I kind of split the difference with the masculine diamond motif.

the crash style

As you can see, it stayed pretty true to itself from beginning to end. Once I know what I want, I have a hard time moving away from that, even when I know that there are other options that will work just as well. While that sounds lovely, it was a real challenge since this piece is so wild. I really wasn’t sure how to make the shoulders work and fit but I had a picture in my mind of that final product.

I’m still filling up my notebook with sweaters. Sometimes it drives me crazy! I wish I had time to take them off the page! It’s way easier to scribble out a hat than it is to sit down and make it real. But, for me, putting pen to paper is the best way to make an idea grow.

Do you sketch your knitting? How do you plan designs?

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02
Jan

WIP: The Selfish Sweater

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

Happy New Year, everybody! I hope you all forgot your old acquaintances and drank tons of champagne.

While I’ve made lots of goals and plans for this year, I’m going to be a little selfish this month. I was totally floored by the amount of work I completed in 2013. Most of that work I haven’t been able to share with you guys yet but, trust me, I was busy! The last time I finished a knit that was purely for my own enjoyment and wear was back in the spring (remember the Poolside test knit?). I spent the second half of the year just designing my little heart out and I loved it. So making something just for me feels like a guilty pleasure but every once in a while, I need to indulge! (I also bought myself a pair of new boots. All of my shoes have holes in them so when I say “every once in a while” you know that I mean RARELY. It’s time!)

I have really been dying to get Faro on my needles for a few good months now but I was halfway through a big (secret) project when it came out. Then I had to work on design swatches. Then the holidays happened. Now Faro is happening. It’s jumped the queue, in front of all of the sweaters and socks I’ve been promising to knit for Jon (and, not to mention, in front of some real work I should be doing) but I don’t care. It’s happening.

Choosing a color is always a difficult task for me. I love wearing blues but when I knit, I try to stay away from navy and turquoise so I can change up my wardrobe. Anyway, I went looking through my Pinterest board to see what kind of sweaters were living in my hopes and dreams to get some inspiration. I found a few photos of apricot cabled sweaters so I figured that was the way to go.

faro inspiration

I decided to go with Quince and Co’s Osprey in Apricot. It’s just the right color and a fabulous yarn to work with. It’s soft yet sturdy and chunky but light. And it’s working up so quickly.

faro wip 2

Since casting on, I had a few issues. It’s really embarrassing that I was mis-reading the chart. Then I worked about four inches before I realized that the under arm increases were supposed to be worked into the chart pattern. Then after knitting up the arm I realized that, though I thought the half sleeve would work since I’m short, I really wanted a 3/4 sleeve. I did a lot of ripping but I never felt discouraged and I am SO happy that I didn’t just let some of the mistakes slide as I usually might. Note to self: Go back and do things right!

And even after all of my mistakes, I feel like this sweater is coming together insanely fast!

faro wip

This pattern is really fun because it’s worked from sleeve to sleeve. So what you’re seeing above is a sleeve on the left, the back is up top and the front is where I’m working on the bottom. Then they’re going to be rejoined after the neck opening and the other sleeve will be worked. After seaming, ribbing will be added to the bottom to lengthen the garment. It’s so ingenious. I’ve never seen another pattern execute that construction as elegantly as Amy has here.

Now, as usual, I’m paranoid that it’s too small. Maybe I should just start knitting a size up so I stop freaking myself out. Also as usual, I’m assuring myself that blocking will help. Besides, I already ripped out the first sleeve about fifteen times so if I have to re-knit the sweater, I probably won’t even notice at this point. Just kidding. Blocking will fix it. I don’t mind if it’s a little cropped since I plan to mainly wear this over a button down. I plan outfits for my WIPs way in advance, don’t you?

What are you knitting for yourself these days? Do you knit mostly for you or for others? Have you knit a sweater sleeve to sleeve?

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30
Sep

WIP: Holiday Knitting Already!

Written by Sarah. Posted in DIY, gift, holiday, knits, socks, WIP, yarn

I don’t have big plans for holiday making this year. I know that I just don’t have the time for it. But I did want to make one or two gifts. I mean, come on, what’s the point of being a knitter if you don’t make a gift? I figured a few gifts would be manageable (Christmas is still a few months away, right?) until I found out that Chanukah is the same week as Thanksgiving this year.

So now I’m a little stressed out. Deadlines, deadlines, deadlines!

I feel like hand knit socks are amazing gifts. They’re warm and lovely and they look really complicated like you spent a long time on them but they’re actually pretty quick. Something about giving a gift to keep your toes warm makes me really happy.

Luckily, socks make great car knitting and there will be plenty of opportunities for that in the near future (Rhinebeck!). Also luckily, Jon got me a subscription to Yarnbox for my birthday so last week I received some beautiful of Candy Skein yarn. Everything about this yarn is perfect for socks.

fruit loop socks

I love solid colored fingering weight yarns! Especially for cables. I was trying to find a pattern slightly more challenging than Hermione yet easy enough that I could put down for a few days and not get lost. Also a big must was doing a pdf or web-based pattern because I need something I can carry around on my phone. I don’t like fumbling around with books while I’m in the car.

When I went over my Ravelry queue, I found the Froot Loop pattern by Kristi Geraci. I can’t believe I haven’t knit this pattern sooner. It’s really really easy without being boring but it looks really gorgeous and the cables are super satisfying. It doesn’t require a cable needle so it’s the best for knitting on the fly. (I’ve knit cabled socks on the subway before. It gets messy.) It’s basically just exactly what you’d want in a sock.

The pattern knits up so quickly, I’m not nervous at all about finishing in time for the holidays. Socks, you are the best! (Sorry, sweaters, nothing personal.) Now I just need to keep my sanity until Thanksgiving.

Have you already started your holiday knitting? Do you have big plans or are you staying small?

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28
Aug

WIP: #kollabsockalong

Written by Sarah. Posted in holiday, knit-a-long, knits, kollabora, socks, WIP, yarn

Today is my birthday! So let’s talk about socks!

Well, first I want to talk about brunch. And we will because (did I mention) it’s my birthday! I had a really lovely brunch at my place over the weekend with a bunch of my best friends to celebrate (and also as a very belated housewarming). I just felt super lucky to have so many people that I love there and FINALLY being able to have a proper party since we decorated a bit. It felt kind of grown up and lovely! My friend Holly made me a birthday cake which was so super special. I think that as long as I’m surrounded by awesome friends and family, this is going to be a great year!

birthday

Anyway, you’re here for the socks. I’m pretty happy with the way my first Hermione sock is turning out. It’s been a few months since I’ve worked on a sock, boy, I love sock knitting! Did I mention that before? I just love the tiny little needles and the shape. They’re so simple yet so complex!

Speaking of complex, I ripped out the heel flap four times before I was happy. I think that I was reading the pattern wrong but I  ended up knitting the WS on the RS (kind of wish that the pattern had specified which rows were which) a few times and then I was worried that it didn’t look right. I was thinking that it should look like a regular slipped stitch heel (so, more like a faux ribbing) than the eye of patridge (more of a dimple texture). Jill and I chatted about it and she set me straight. I was just over-complicating things.

heel

I’m not much of a top-down sock knitter. I really love my toe-up socks. But this pattern is starting to sway me. The garter stitch edge to the heel flap makes picking up gusset stitches seamless. Everything looks so neat. I absolutely love it! I will be making all of my heel flaps with garter stitch borders from now on, thank you very much.

heel2

Now, I want to talk about turning the heel. Turning a heel is just like knitting magic. It’s like turning a boring tube or a flat piece of fabric into a three dimensional object. I mean, it was always 3D, obviously, but I mean something that goes from being just a blob of stitches to being an actual recognizable garment. It’s like origami with needles. Is there any other knitting technique that is as satisfying and simple yet clever and ingenious!? I’d love to hear what you think. I don’t really know how to explain it but if you’ve done it before, you know what I mean.

The best comparison I’ve got for you (and it’s not very good but, hear me out) is that moment when building a ship in a bottle (I’ve never done this but I’ve seen it on TV) when you pull the string and the whole thing stands up and you’re like, “Yay! Look it’s a ship! Magic!” That’s what turning a heel feels like. (Yes, I Youtubed ships in bottles. It’s my birthday, you cannot judge.)

Long story short, I hope you’re all uploading your sock progress to Kollabora! I want to see more sock photos! I demand sock photos! My birthday wish is more sock photos and world peace and to eat a piece of chocolate cake for dinner. Three birthday wishes!

Also, and possibly most importantly of all! Jill is still offering free shipping to everyone in the US using code KOLLABORATION13. It is not too late to cast on a pair so check her shop out!

How are your socks coming along?

ps. Since we’re talking coupon codes, turns out Bristol Ivy and I have the same birthday! I must encourage you to buy one of her gorgeous patterns since she’s having a birthday sale! 28on28 for 28% off! Happy birthday, Bristol!

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22
Aug

CO: Getting Started on #Kollabsockalong!

Written by Sarah. Posted in knit-a-long, knits, kollabora, socks, WIP, yarn

I’ve already cast on for my KAL Hermione socks and I’m making good progress. It’s been a few months since I’ve knit a sock and I’ve forgotten how fun they are! I really love love love working with small needles although my wrists aren’t so happy about it anymore. I guess it’s time to break out the support gloves! (Do you guys use those? Do they work?)

I used this tubular cast on for the socks. It’s a really clear description To be completely honest with you, I don’t use tubular cast ons as often as I ought to. They’re a lot of work and I always manage to screw them up. That being said, there’s something so satisfying about the clean, finished edge it leaves. It’s definitely worth using for socks.

kollabsockalong

Of course, I was very busy watching Ghostbusters and totally stopped paying attention to the stitch pattern and screwed everything up. This always seems to happen to me when it comes to knit/purl patterns. I can knit huge cabled insanity and eye-straining faire isle without batting an eye. But P1, K3 needs extra attention from me. After about 1/2″ of wonky stitching I realized that I was reading half of the chart backwards and the other half forwards. I know. Like, the pattern is so simple it doesn’t even merit me reading a chart.

Anyway, I ripped back to the ribbing and now everything is beautiful. And knitting with Jill’s yarn is absolutely amazing. It’s fab.

How’s your sock coming along? It’s not too late to cast on!

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15
Aug

Knit-a-Long with Kollabora and Jill Draper (and me)!

Written by Sarah. Posted in knit-a-long, knits, kollabora, socks, WIP, yarn

New York has been wonderfully cool this week. The weather has me day dreaming about big comfy sweaters and apple cider. And socks! I can’t think of a better occasion than this autumnal preview to announce this knit-a-long! I really love making socks and I want to make them with you!

Kollabora has partnered with Jill Draper Makes Stuff to organize a fun sock knit-a-long to ring in the fall. 

So here are the details I’ve been promising! We’ll be knitting the Hermione Everyday Sock pattern which is available for free under that link. The KAL begins Monday (August 19th) and will end around September 9th. Jill will be helping to select her favorite executions and there are prizes! Three winners will receive Jill’s newest yarn Esopus, a hand dyed fingering weight 100% superwash merino at 500yds/4oz.

scarffacesHermione’s Every Day socks by Scarffaces

I’m really excited to have Jill involved in this KAL. Her yarn is absolutely gorgeous and filled with love and she is just lovely. She recently announced some big changes to her brand and I think it’s going to be wonderful. All Jill Draper Makes Stuff yarns will be entirely sourced and spun in the US. Hooray for keeping small farms and the American textile industry going! I must say that I highly recommend casting on for this with some of her yarn. (Check the update below for ordering info!)

jill draper

To participate, upload your Hermione socks to Kollabora. It’s really that simple. Be sure to post WIP pictures, too! Go crazy, make them your own, and have fun!

And, dear lurkers (hello!), if you’re maybe nervous about starting a sock for the first time but possibly ready to take the plunge maybe! Kollabora has just added this really cool feature for those of us in need! Besides WIP and FO statuses, if you’re having trouble, you can mark you projects as “Stuck” and the lovely people and community at Kollabora will lend you some advice. I am totally loving this feature. It’s such a fantastic way to encourage online knitters to help each other out and hopefully to get those that are tentative to dive in! We’ll be your life jacket!

I’ll also be doing some sock-centric posts along with WIP photos in the upcoming weeks to help you along so check back for more!

So, will you join us? Tell your friends!

Quick update! Jill is offering free shipping in the US for KAL-ers with coupon code KOLLABORATION13. Do it!!!

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23
Jul

Sometimes I Make Mistakes

Written by Sarah. Posted in cardigan, knits, WIP, yarn

Sometimes. Not often. But every once in a while, I screw up. I’m just kidding. If you know anything about me, you’d know that I’m kind of a disaster but I don’t like to focus on my faults and, when it comes to knitting, I’m pretty good at making a stumble look like a dance. Usually, I don’t screw up in a big way so I can gloss over it. Nobody has to know. But sometimes I just get myself into a mess and I make mistakes.

Coming off of a knitting high of some recent knit-related ass kicking, I dove right into the BT Men’s lookbook, ready for a new challenge. Like I said, I was immediately itching to make a Timberline for Jon before the release day was over, I’d ordered a box full of Shelter. Since the sweater was for Jon, I asked him to help me pick out a color. I want to make sure he wears this damn thing. He liked the color of the Slade cardigan so I ordered Cast Iron. (I really thought he’d want a cream colored cardigan but he wasn’t excited about that anymore. Boys, always changing their minds!)

The yarn came in two days! I never order just one skein and swatch until I like the yarn and then get the rest later. I am all about instant gratification. I want to swatch for a maximum of 15 minutes and then I want to GET KNITTING. I can’t wait. I am not patient. Knitting is not for the patient! So I ordered 15 skeins.

I started getting into the pattern. It’s 24 pages long (a full page of construction notes, three pages of charts, two pages of cast on instructions, etc). To say the very least, it’s intimidating. I’m not sure why but looking over the charts made me feel dizzy and tired and then laugh maniacally.

But I’m very confident. I can knit anything. I’ve never doubted myself when it comes to following a pattern. I’ve certainly ripped out and messed up before but I can’t remember the last time I looked at a pattern and thought, “I can’t do this.” So I dove right in.

Timberline swatch

I swatched a little bit and I started working up the sleeve and then my worst fears came true. Two things happened: I screwed up some of the cables and I hated the color. I was prepared to frog the piece. It’s not like I haven’t ripped out two days of work before. (We’ve all been there, right?)

So I decided I’d go back and do a bigger swatch to really get a good feeling of the cables. I was really breaking a sweat doing these cables. It was certainly a knitting work out. But the whole time I was looking at the piece thinking that I just wasn’t happy. I know this feeling. I can’t knit a whole sweater with this feeling. The yarn was just too dark to show off the details. It was nice but it wasn’t stunning. I don’t want to put in days and days of work and not get stunning as a result. I won’t even be motivated to finish it.

Last week I decided to exchange the yarn. I’m impatient so it’s super frustrating to have to wait even longer to begin but I think it’s for the best. I’m going to go with Long Johns. I think it would be a better color way, still masculine but bright enough for the cables to really shine. I think it’s the right thing to do.

I made a mistake. Luckily, it’s easy to fix but it’s still a bummer that I have to wait longer before I can get started on this sweater. It’s probably for the best. I have a few projects with loose ends that need tying up (pun intended) before I jump into a big commitment. And, besides, maybe next time I’ll be more careful before I jump in, do more research and really get a feel for the yarn before making a big purchase. And, as always, I need to trust my gut. Jon really liked the dark grey but I knew deep down that it wouldn’t be what I wanted. I’ve got to trust myself!

Do you like to admit your knitting mistakes?

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