Tag: knitting

FO Friday: Twitch Sweater

a woman in a yellow and white striped sweater stands in a field with her back to the camera, one arm blocking the sun from her eyes

Pattern: Twitch by Kim McBrien Evans

Yarn: Shibui Knits Staccato in Brass and Ivory

Needles: US1 (2.25mm)

Size: 1

Ravelry Link: here

Started: September 17, 2018

Completed: July 27, 2019

a white woman in a yellow striped sweater stands in a field facing the camera with her hands in her back pockets

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.

close up of the yellow striped sweater, showing half the front torso and an arm akimbo

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.

top down photo of the yellow striped sweater showing off the seaming junctions

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?

FO Friday: Swing-y Tank

a white woman in a knitted blue tank faces the camera

Pattern: Tarmac Tank by Anna Maltz from Pom Pom Quarterly Issue Summer 2018

Yarn: YOTH Best Friend in Oyster (trim color) and Mint.

Needles: US2 (2.75mm)

Size: 3 (37 3/4″ bust)

Ravelry Link: here

Started: September 10, 2018

Completed: September 10, 2019

white woman in blue knitted tank leaning against a wall with her back to the camera

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.

a white woman in a blue knitted tank with her side to the camera

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!

white woman in a blue knitted tank with her back to her camera and her face turned towards it, too

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!

Why Do We Fight Ease?

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.

DFW Fiber Fest Recap

I am very lucky that my job affords me the opportunity to attend a lot of fiber events, but one experience I’ve never had is going to a big event as a yarn civilian. So, when I saw the teacher line-up for this year’s Dallas-Fort Worth Fiber Festival I decided to take the plunge and sign up. I had a full weekend of classes (7 of them!) and managed to sneak in some marketplace time as well. Here’s some of what I learned during this lovely weekend.

These are my swatches from Knitting for Speed and Efficiency with Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (bottom) and My Aching Wrists with Carson Demers (top). In the former class I learned a ton about the history of knitting before we talked about how we can improve our personal knitting rate. It was interesting to take at this particular time in my life as a sick person, because the disability community talks a lot about not measuring our worth in productivity and my brain was really trying to figure out how to hold onto an interest in knitting quickly with not feeling like it reflected on me. I learned that I knit 28 stitches per minute, which is mid to top of the average range for North American knitters: 10-40 stitches per minute. We talked about a very efficient way to knit if we’re willing to learn a new technique, as well as ways to increase speed in our current knitting style. You can’t really practice both, you have to pick one, and I’m still undecided which I’ll do when I’m done with one of my current projects and am ready to take on a speed-practice one.

I put these swatches together for the picture because they both show the same tendency – when I start practicing a new knitting technique my gauge gets smaller. I am a very loose knitter, often needing to go down 3 needle sizes to get gauge, and I finally learned why in Carson’s class. When I make a stitch I do so on the shaft of the needle, so my stitches are the diameter of two of the needle size, not one like it would be if I formed the stitch on the tip. I don’t have a problem with being a loose knitter so I’m not sure if I’ll attempt to change this practice of mine, but it is nice to understand why I have to knit on such tiny needles.

I also took my first two weaving classes this weekend – Knitting for Weavers with Deborah Jarchow and Saori Weaving with Kathy Utts. Above are my samples from the former class. It was such a great set up – there were half a dozen different types of beginner looms in the class. We each warped the one in front of us and wove a sample on it, and then moved around the room and tried out other looms we were interested in. It is amazing how different the models can feel in your hands, and how tiny style differences make using it harder or easier for your body. During the entire time we were warping I was thinking how glad I was that I took a class and didn’t just buy a loom, because this activity was not for me. And then the moment we started weaving, as I saw cloth being created in front of me, I had such a visceral reaction – I was part of an ancient textile art, sisters with the Goddess Arachne. Now that the fumes have worn off I’m still not sure I’ll take it up as a hobby, I don’t know if I have the mental energy to properly learn a new kind of making, but I also don’t know if the siren call will overwhelm my senses at some point.

My favorite class experience was definitely Saori weaving. I love everything about the philosophy – it is about creating imperfect art and knowing ourselves in the process. Sitting at that loom felt so good, as did playing with techniques and making up my own. The Saori way is to machine wash your weavings, which puts fear in my stomach but I am going to do anyway to really go through the process. After that is done, I cannot wait to hang this piece that I love in my office. It’s definitely not in my budget to buy a Saori loom anytime soon, but I may visit the local studio and take some more classes.

I can’t believe it, but I didn’t take any pictures while I was there! So just imagine a picture of a great marketplace full of interesting vendors. I also really liked the hotel/conference center set up – they’re across the street from each other and right next to a bunch of restaurants. My favorite was Nosh and Bottle, a deli/market. I had one of the best sandwiches of my life there and will definitely eat there again next time I’m in Dallas. Maybe for next year’s show? If so, hopefully I can convince some of my knitting group to come with me!

FO Friday: Snowshoe Hat Cowl

FO Friday: Snowshoe Hat Cowl

Pattern: Snowshoe by Amy Miller for the cowl, the hat I improvised based on the cowl pattern

Yarn: Foxhill Farm Cormo Silk DK in Natural

Needles: US8 (5.0mm)

Size: 58” long and 9.25” wide

Ravelry Link: the cowl and the hat

Started: March 8, 2018

Completed: September 8, 2018

I love matchies. I love matching mom and daughter sweaters. I love matching kid and doll clothes. So it is no surprise that I love a matching hat and cowl set. What is surprising is how few of them I had in my wardrobe, so I set out to fix that with these accessories.

I fell in love with the Snowshoe cowl pattern as soon as I saw it – a big reversible cable and garter stitch are what my knitting dreams are made of. I went shopping specifically for this pattern at Rhinebeck 2015 and came home quite happily with 2 skeins of Foxhill Farms Cormo Silk. It is a luscious yarn, soft and drapey and such a gorgeous natural shade. I looked a little bit for matching hat patterns, but quickly decided I’d rather make up my own based on the Snowshoe pattern so they’d match perfectly. I’m so pleased I did, I adore how they go together.

Are you the kind of maker who loves a neutral matching set, or do you love the opportunity to show off lots of different colors and textures at once?

2019 Plans

Hello! At the start of 2018 I didn’t want to set any goals or make any plans. I was living with a lot of unknowns and wanted to avoid adding self-made responsibilities to my plate. As 2019 dawns I have answers to many of those questions and they make me want to approach this year differently. I try to keep this space devoted to my crafting, but I’m going to briefly share an update on my health, as it’s the motivation behind all of this. I have chronic colorectal cancer, which means that my at least with current medical treatments my disease cannot be cured. I’m going to be doing chemo every other week for the foreseeable future. There’s a rhythm to the cycle, and I’m ready to have some goals to work towards, wherever I may be each day.

Reading

I love crafting books, and I’ve amassed a huge collection of unread ones. This year I’d like to get through all my unread paper books, most of which are craft books. You can see the list of all these books on the associated Goodreads shelf here. I’ll be sharing some of my favorites on the blog, starting with Kate Davies’ Handywoman later this month.

Sewing

Thanks to a night of sleeplessness earlier this week, I went through my entire pattern and fabric stashes and set up an exciting queue for myself. Sewing has been hard for me the past year – between pain and exhaustion it has seemed out of reach to accomplish the physical tasks involved in getting projects going. With the mental work of this queue done, I am ready to tackle my fear and go for these projects. At a sewing weekend later this month I’m hoping to add some much-needed knits to my closet with a new dress and a couple new tops. My goals for the year include a jumpsuit and pants, both firsts for me.

Knitting

My knitting was side-lined last year when I developed carpal tunnel (Listen to your bodies, y’all! Don’t push through pain!). I took 2 months off entirely, and since then have been working on it in PT. I can do some knitting know and hope to increase my stamina in the coming months. For the Ravelry Project Challenge I set a goal of 6 projects – definitely on the list are a bunch of boxy cropped sweaters and I’d also like to knit up some accessories with some kits and other perfectly matched skeins in my stash.

Blogging

To make sure I hit new year’s blog post bingo, I have to include that I would like to blog more regularly this year 🙃. But truly, it is one of my goals to get back to weekly posting. I’d like to include more writing about crafting, and not just my personal projects. If you have something you’d like to hear my thoughts on, you can tell me in the comments below or email me from the contact section!

Looking forward to another year with you, dear readers! And, if you do want to keep up with my health, you can read about that on my cancer blog at bearingthewait.com.

Fireside Cardigan

Fireside Cardigan

Pattern: Fireside Cardigan by Kate Oates

Yarn: Windham by Jill Draper (colors weren’t labeled)

Needles: US6 (4.0mm)

Size: Newborn

Ravelry Link: ta-da!

Started: December 1, 2017

Completed: January 2, 2018

When one of your best friends is pregnant you want to send as much love as you can. When that friend lives in another city you have to be crafty in finding ways to send your affection. I knew I couldn’t be there in person to snuggle Mary Heather’s baby, so I decided some special knitwear was the next best thing.

I started with yarn, selecting my favorite – Jill Draper’s Windham. I think merino is generally overrated, but this one is so bouncy and just pleasant to feel in your hands as you work. Jill is a mutual friend of Mary Heather and I, so adding some more friend-love to the gift was a bonus. I selected a mixed color bundle at Rhinebeck; I was so excited by all these yellows and the chance to make a bright baby knit.

Choosing a pattern worked out similarly – Mary Heather and I both love garter stitch, babies in shawl collars are adorable, and Kate Oates, the designer, is another friend of ours. I was short on white yarn for the collar so it’s a little sad, I wish I had had a bit more to beef it up with. I love the detail of the knit stitch column at the sides, like you can see in the photo above. The pattern is written for a solid and I just picked a random number of rows to knit to make the stripes. The other modification I made was to reduce the number of sleeve decreases because they looked tiny.

The best of knitting a love-filled sweater for your best friend’s baby is that you get pictures of said baby in said sweater. It was thrilling to see sweet Adisa grow into (and eventually out of!) the sweater. I’m mostly a selfish knitter, but this baby/mom pair is quite knitworthy. Have you made a beloved project for a friend far away? Tell me about it below!