Posts Tagged ‘wip’
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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!
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?
I’ve been working on so many secret projects recently, I can’t tell you how hard it is to keep all of these things under wraps! I thought it might be fun to just put out some hints.
All I can say is, this is a sewing and hot glue kind of project. It’s something I’ve never made before. And it’s full of stuffing. Here are some photos:
Any guesses? I’ll have real photos of the whole FO later this week!
ps. Speaking of secrets, check out my post on the Holla Knits blog to find out more about my design for the upcoming collection!
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.
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?
I will admit that blocking has only recently become my favorite thing ever. I used to really hate it. I’ve mentioned that once or twice before. But it’s the best. THE BEST. When I finished knitting up the Poolside top, I was really excited to block it. The lace definitely needed a little relaxing and I was hoping that the stitches would lay a little bit neater.
Here’s the thing. I’m still not the biggest fan of cotton yarn. It was fun to try out a top in this fiber and the Blue Sky Alpacas really does cotton justice. It made me re-think the way that I feel about cotton. That being said, the stitches are VERY defined. It’s a nice, crisp look but it also highlights wonky parts were weaved in and where new skeins were joined. And basically if my tension varied at all, you could tell. So this guy needed a blocking.
Here’s a before shot. Don’t mind the dramatic shadows…
It’s all pinned down but you can kind of see what I mean about the stitches being defined in the left sleeve. It’s not really meshing and smooshing together the way that wool does, the stitches just kind of sit next to each other telling all of the other stitches to bugger off.
Anyway, when I went to block this, I wanted to make sure I was doing everything properly. I think I’ve only made dishtowels out of cotton yarn and those really don’t need to be blocked. That just sounds silly. Anyway anyway, I turned to this helpful guide from Knitty. Remember, kids: Different fibers need to be treated differently! You can’t just dunk everything into a basin of warm water and Soak.
Cotton needs to be steamed. This is how I did it since my iron is a piece of crap and I don’t have a steamer.
I took an old pillowcase and soaked it in the sink. I wrung it out a little and placed it over my sweater which was laid out on a blocking mat. (I pinned it down since I wanted the lace to stretch out a bit. Whether you pin your blocking is up to you and the way you want the fabric of your sweater to turn out. Think about that!) Then I ironed it out and removed the pillowcase.
Another pro tip: Ask someone else to take a photo of you ironing. It’s really hard and probably dangerous to photograph and iron simultaneously.
Ta da! That’s it! There’s what it looked like immediately after ironing. I tried it on after it dried for 24 hours. Cotton is tough. It doesn’t want to stretch out the way other natural fibers might but the neckline did kind of lose its shape. The lace, though, looks really beautiful in this color and fiber.
I’m really pleased with how it turned out and it’s always fun to try some new blocking techniques! More photos of the FO coming soon!
Have you ever blocked cotton yarn? Any tips?
When I saw Isabell Kraemer’s Poolside top, I was bummed that the pattern hadn’t been released. It was one of those pieces that I instantly wanted to make. So I told her so and Isabell asked me if I’d like to test knit it. I love sneak peeks and previews so I was really excited to get in on the action ahead of time.
I wasn’t going to post a WIP for this project but since the pattern’s been released, I wanted to take some quick photos to show off how beautiful it is. As you probably saw before, I’m using the Blue Sky Alpacas Skinny Dyed Cotton. I’m loving it. I got a lot of work done on it on my trip to Chicago. A few hours of plane knitting put a good dent in the project.
The lace part of the body was so much fun to work on. I was worried about how it would hold up using the cotton yarn but I’m so pleased with how it turned out. I’m sure blocking will really make it smooth. I’m almost finished with the sleeves so I will have more updates for you soon!
What are your thoughts on cotton lace?
ps. Just a few days left to enter the Craftsy giveaway!
For today’s post. I’d like to take a moment of silence in honor of all of the knitters out there that we’ve lost to our most tragic epidemic in the community: Weaving in ends.
It’s happened to all of us at one point. Sometimes weaving in ends, you feel like you should just throw in the towel, call it quits, give up. If you know a knitter at risk, don’t be afraid to help.
Now I have to get back to weaving.
ps. I’m heading to Chicago next week! Any places I have to visit?
I may have mentioned before that my WIPs are a sad state of affairs when I’m not working on them. Generally I keep everything in a pile on the couch, shoved into the cushions so that I don’t lose odds and ends. I’ve been known to sit on three or four skeins of yarn while I work.
Here’s the gist:
That’s four skeins of yarn, three swatches, a sleeve, and a cross stitch all on one couch cushion.
That was before the move. Since we’re in our fancy new apartment, I promised that I would keep things here under control. I don’t need to grow a crazy yarn monster. So I plan on getting some type of container for my needlework. But what shall I use?
Right now, I have my faire isle sweater in a tote bag that lives on the floor next to the couch. I can keep all of the yarn and the pattern in there. It’s a pretty slick deal. I’ve also been focused on accomplishing one pattern at a time which helps tame the mess.
It’s also handy that I have my stash nearby. In the old place, my stash was kept above our closets in this little storage nook where we kept boxes and things that we generally didn’t need to get into very often. It was about 6 or 7 feet high which meant that Jon would have to get on a ladder every time we needed something from up there. Needless to say, he wasn’t thrilled about dragging out boxes of yarn so they stayed put. I started filling my nightstand and bedside table with bags of yarn. It was an unruly mess. Worst of all, it didn’t really encourage me to put excess yarn away after I was finished with it. Now all of my yarn is in a closet about five feet from my favorite knitting spot so I can put things away and (get this!) use yarn I already have in my stash with ease! It’s kind of changing my whole life.
I’ve been searching for a great vessel to keep my WIPs in. I have a yarn bowl but it isn’t really conducive for transportation or colorwork. I’m hoping for something big enough to hold a sweater but not too big as to condone couch-side yarn hoarding. Things that aren’t going to be worked on need to stay in the closet! I do plan on sewing some project bags but I want a box of some sort to live near the couch.
I think I’ve found my new WIP bin. It wasn’t what I was expecting (I was really looking for something with a lid) but I was browsing the Fringe Supply Co site and I kind of fell in love with these gorgeous baskets.
What do you think? Perfect, right? A good size and really handsome. Our apartment has some nice wood pieces so the color will be great. And Jared Flood has them. I’m sold. I can’t wait to buy them and put them next to my spot and fill them with yarny things!
But this all gets me thinking: How do you lovely people store your WIPs from day to day? Do you have a couch full of yarn or are you super organized? (No judgements!) Baskets, bins, or bags?
ps. I made a playlist to craft by for Kollabora. Check it out here.