I am a stripes gal, they’re the pattern you see most in my wardrobe. When the lovely ladies at Mason-Dixon Knitting gave me a kit for the Breton Cowl and a copy of the Field Guide containing the pattern I was thrilled to knit some more stripes for my closet. They didn’t ask me to review the kit, this is just me proudly blogging my FOs 😌
Not only does this pattern contain stripes, it contains my other knitting love – garter stitch. I really love the contrast of the squishy garter background and the stripes in a different fiber and texture. It gives a bit of visual interest to the cowl and makes it the perfect thing to throw on with a simple top.
Do you have go tos that are hard for you to resist in a pattern? I’d love to hear about them below!
I love the process of setting goals and assessing how I progressed towards accomplishing them. I have more uncertainty in my near future than average, thanks to my chronic colorectal cancer, but I find I can’t quit planning for the best case scenario. So, here is what I would love to accomplish this year.
Top of my list are the 3 outstanding projects I have for other people. I started a quilt for my husband’s 40th birthday, which was back in 2015. I also promised my sister a dress for her birthday last January. And finally, I am making a baby quilt for a friend who is due next week. I need to get those finished before I make anything for myself. Once I do knock those out, I have a long queue of projects planned. I’m most excited about a pair of Persephone Pants in denim, and a Wilder Gown in ochre gauze. I also want to make a few new to me items – a jumpsuit and a bra.
I am feeling really excited about knitting lately and have been tearing through my latest project, a Pamplemousse sweater. I have Arete in my queue as well as socks for my husband and some little crocheted bowls for the house. I set my goal for the Ravelry Project Challenge to 6 projects, which is what I aimed for and hit exactly last year. I would love to knit mostly from stash, though I am not going to make any vows not to buy new yarn, just to check first to see if I can use what I have.
I still have a large pile of unread crafting books – 30 according to Goodreads. I am going to get through as many of those as I can this year. Next on my list is to research color, finding my colors, and building my wardrobe using that info.
What are your goals for 2020? Learning something new? Improving a skill? Just enjoying the ride? I’d love to hear in the comments below!
One of the highlights of my 2019 was how I grew as a crafter. In June I went to a jeans-making retreat at Fancy Tiger Crafts and while there was no flash of knowing I was changed, I can see since coming home the difference it has made in my sewing. I made underwear and overalls, both of which I would have assumed were beyond me. But I made jeans! So I can figure out underwear (which, it turns out, are actually really simple!). This was also the year I began to feel more comfortable making pattern adjustments – grading between sizes and shortening pattern pieces.
Above are the 16 projects I completed and shared here this year (there are 3 more done but not blogged, but that’s a different story). I have sewing, knitting, and crochet projects. I’m sure this is the first year in my crafting life that my sewing projects outnumber my knitting, and I suspect it will continue that way in the future.
As I sometimes touch on, I am living with chronic colorectal cancer. This year I received 21 doses of chemotherapy, will continue to get treatment every other week for the foreseeable future. Every stitch I hooked and sewed and knitted this year was with cancer in my lungs and bones. These pictures are celebrations on days that I felt good. I think crafters in particular know the joy that comes with finishing the creation of a tangible thing and while I will never lose that, I want to value the days where I make nothing but carbon dioxide as I exhale.
I’ll be back soon with some thoughts and goals for 2020. I hope you’ve enjoyed following along here. If you want to keep up with my health, I have a cancer blog I update (more) regularly (than this one).
One of the yarn companies I return to over and over again is Jill Draper Makes Stuff. I love that she uses domestic wool to create interesting yarns. I think I’m also drawn to them as a native upstate New Yorker – so many of the yarn and color names are familiar to me from my hometown of Ithaca, NY. Last year at Rhinebeck I was thrilled to take home some of Jill’s new yarn Kingston, a woolly, heathery wonder. I cast it on this fall and was able to make this pattern in time for this year’s Rhinebeck. Is there a name for knitting up last year’s festival yarn for this year’s festival? There should be, because it always feels so satisfying to accomplish!
I chose this pattern because I love garter stitch. And when it is knit with three strands held together it is especially squishy and textural and delicious. In this pattern you start holding three strands of one color and gradually replace one strand at a time of a different one to create a subtle color gradient. It makes a lovely effect, and combined with the subtle shaping to create a fold to warm your neck, adds up to an easy pattern with lovely details.
The only negative thing I have to say about this project is that when I finished it I realized I would never wear it here because it’s far too warm. Luckily, Rhinebeck is a magical place and it found a home with my housemate Marissa. She is a fellow garter stitch lover and has never made herself a cowl. It will get lots of love around her neck in the Northeast, which makes me very happy because I believe wool wants to be worn. Do you like to give away knits to loving homes?
Twitch was one of those patterns that sent me straight to my LYS so I could cast on immediately. I loved the panels of different lengths and widths covered with differently sized stripes. My original goal was to finish it in a month and bring it to Rhinebeck 2018, but I knit so much I injured myself and had to take months off of all knitting. Value your fingers over a deadline, y’all! Once I healed up I was able to get back to this project at a much more reasonable pace and debut it at Rhinebeck 2019.
You can see my only modification in the picture above. After spending a weekend sewing that I realized my sleeves were too tight and it was throwing off the fit of the entire sweater. I did not have it in me to take off and reknit the sleeves, so instead I decided to work with the sweater design and make an inset stripe. I knit a 1.5″ wide white stripe, which was easy to knock off and insert at the underarm seam without touching the sleeve cap. It was exactly what I needed to be able to wear the sweater comfortably.
I really love all the stripey junctions across the sweater and how beautifully they all line up. The designer did an incredible job of thinking that through and it makes an exquisite FO. The sort of thing that makes even fellow crafters say, “Did you make that?” I did and I love it.
Have you ever been so enthusiastic about finishing a project that you hurt yourself? Did you learn your lesson or do you still get caught up in deadlines?
In my continued quest to expand my warm weather me-made wardrobe, I made this swing-y tank out of a cotton/wool blend. It’s so pleasant to toss on in the worst of the heat and still feels cute. If you’re going to sweat on your clothes, natural fibers make it a more comfortable experience.
My one complaint about the pattern is that the armholes are much too big. I had read this in the project notes on Ravelry, but entirely forgot to compensate for it when I was knitting. Since taking these photos I have been wearing it with a cute bralette like my Josephine Swing Top and I am finding I like that look better. The oversized armholes definitely are not going to keep me from wearing this top a ton!
I really like how the stripes worked out. I’m not sure how well it reads in the pictures, but this tank is knit from a pale blue grey and a mint-y blue in single row stripes. I like how it reads as solid-colored from a distance and the colorwork is only visible once you get nearer.
Are you a fan of colorwork with colorways of similar values? Let me know!
I am lucky enough to know many talented knitwear designers, as well as many talented knitters. And for the most part the only thing that separates those groups is that one publishes patterns and the other doesn’t. But there is one topic that I have found these two groups tend to treat differently – garment ease.
What is ease? Ease is the difference in size between the finished object and the person wearing it, generally measured at the bust. So positive ease means the garment is larger than the person’s bust, no ease means they’re the same size, and negative ease means the garment is smaller.
Generally, I see designers embracing ease. They publish patterns with many inches of positive ease and encourage their customers to knit with the designed fit. And I see so many knitters nervous about following the suggested ease. They feel like they’ll drown in an oversized garment and knit smaller sizes they feel comfortable with.
I think many knitters are uncomfortable with ease because they think a larger garment will make them look fat. They find it scary to make a garment as big as an oversized one. First of all, this belief is false and oversized garments do not automatically make a person look larger. And second of all, so what if they do? Why is it so important to signal thinness?
The other thing I think knitters who reject ease end up rejecting is comfort. Garments with more ease are literally easier to move in. The word “oversized” immediately conjures images of sweats, worn while lounging. Don’t we all deserve, and need, more comfort in our lives? It is such an act of self-care to spend time crafting something that will bring you comfort each time you wear it.
There are many wonderful styles of clothing in the world, and I want more of us to consider positive ease as part of our sartorial playbook. It can look put together and fashionable just as much as close-fitting clothing – that comes down to proportions and fit in specific areas like the shoulders. I want us to worry less about looking fat in our clothes and focus more on how they make us feel. I want us to clothe ourselves so we can move freely and feel enveloped in comfort. I want us to be at ease.