Tag: knitting

FO Friday: Macoun Cardigan

 ©Water Oak Studio
©Water Oak Studio

Pattern: Macoun by Glenna C

Yarn: Sincere Sheep Bannock in Cumulus

Needles: US 5 (3.75mm) & US 4 (3.5mm)

Size: 38 (with mods)

Ravelry Link: here!

Started: March 3, 2017

Completed: October 21, 2017

 ©Water Oak Studio
©Water Oak Studio

The cabled shawl collar cardigan is a knitting classic – there are 600 patterns currently on Ravelry that meet those criteria. The moment I saw Macoun, I knew that it was my cabled shawl collar cardigan. The silhouette and the shapes of the cables and everything were simply perfect.

 ©Water Oak Studio
©Water Oak Studio

It was a beautifully written pattern, but I did make a few modifications. I have short arms and I prefer bracelet length sleeves, so I removed 2.5″ of length from the sleeves. I cast on the the sleeves the size up so that the sleeves were the correct circumference at my wrist, and then did fewer decreases so I got to the correct stitch count for my size by the sleeve cap.

I knit a size 38 for everything except the shoulders, where I decreased down to the width for the next smaller size, 36. As you can see in the picture above, it doesn’t solve the problem that I often have of sleeves hanging too low on my shoulder. It’s something I need to experiment with more on my cardigans.

Finally, I added 3 additional waist decreases on the back (and compensated the increases to put the stitches back). By the time I cast off and blocked the back I realized it was a mistake, and knit the fronts as written. It would definitely be better with the original amount of waist ease.

 ©Water Oak Studio
©Water Oak Studio

While there are ways I can be picky about fit, I love this garment. As expected, I wear this cardigan all the time. It is the perfect cardigan to toss on for a chilly morning in my office, or throw on top of nearly anything in my wardrobe. I tend to wear it open, it’s how I prefer to style my cardigans, and I love that it looks great that way.

Have you ever seen a pattern and known it was exactly the one for you? Did your love at first sight last? Let me know!

Style

Recently on Instagram there was the fantastic hashtag #myfirsthandknitsweater. It was so fun – seeing the knits that were so trendy 10 years ago, how many people used to take headless photos because we were scared to put our faces online, the pride that comes with the first handknit sweater milestone. My favorite part, though, was seeing how my friends’ style has changed since they were beginning knitters.

Lately I have been feeling bummed around clothing due to a medical device I now wear. I work hard making the clothes in my closet and they used to make me feel so good, but now they make me feel self-conscious about this device I prefer to conceal (and honestly, some of them cause the device to malfunction). I don’t want to have to change my style to accomodate my illness. So it was helpful to me to see this hashtag and remember that there are so many reasons that all of us change our style over time. I looked back at my catalog of FOs and found some comparisons to remind myself of the ways other life changes have effected my wardrobe.

 

On the left is one of my favorite outfits from 2009 – my Vintage Pink Cardigan with a camisole, skirt and red high heels. On the right is one of my favorite outfits currently – my Macoun over an Ebony tunic and jeans. In 2009 I worked in an office and had to dress business casual every day. Now I work from home and call it a win when I wear pants with buttons. I calculated perfect bust darts for the older sweater and it looked great buttoned up, but I have since learned I only like to knit wide front cardigans because I want to be able to wear them unbuttoned, too.

On the left is my favorite lacy-back from 2010, my Myrtle. I loved the close-fitting cardigan with floral lace, perfect to wear over tank tops to keep my shoulders covered in the office. In 2016 I loved the geometric lace and loose fit of my Delineate (blogged here). I used to focus on creating clothing that highlighted my hourglass figure, and now in addition to preferring more ease, I am drawn to clothing that seems fun to wear and don’t think about whether it meets the rules for what I am “allowed” to wear based on my body shape.

Seeing all this doesn’t make it any better that getting dressed is hard everyday. It doesn’t fix my dilemma about not knowing what to make next because I am still learning what I like to wear now. But it feels more like an opportunity to experiment, and less like yet another thing cancer has taken from me. How do you feel about your style over time? Have you had to adapt your style due to changes in your life?

TBT: Citron Shawl

TBT: Citron Shawl

Pattern: Citron by Hilary Smith Callis

Yarn: my handspun

Needles: US 5 (3.75mm)

Ravelry Link: here!

Started: December 15, 2009

Completed: December 19, 2009

I remember distinctly when this pattern came out. I was immediately obsessed and cast on the very next day. Mine was one of the first completed projects, done 5 days after it was released. I was excited to use a beloved skein of handspun, and I loved the look of the finished project. And in the 8 years since then it has mostly sat in a drawer.

This one is easy to post-mortem, I know exactly the mistakes I made.

1. I made a poor yarn substitution. I think the skein I used suits the pattern well in terms of color and hand. But it is 25% smaller than the suggested yarn and ultimately this shawl is just too small. It’s a half circle shape and there isn’t enough fabric to keep it wrapped around me.

2. I don’t enjoy wearing shawls. I think this is a particularly hard shape to wear, but I just never feel right with this on. It takes up a ton of attention to manage and I prefer an effortless accessory.

This is another one I should let go of, despite how pretty I think it is. I want to have room in my drawer for pieces that will really get worn.

Have you ever rushed to complete a FO only? Was it magical or did it fall flat? Let me know!

FO Friday: Little Girl Winter Gear

FO Friday: Little Girl Winter Gear

Hat

Pattern: Top This! Hat by DMC

Yarn: DMC Top This in Butterfly

Needles: US 9 (5.5mm)

Ravelry Link: here!

Started: January 30, 2017

Completed: February 4, 2017

Mittens

Pattern: Dulaan Easy-On Mittens by Julia Farwell-Clay

Yarn: BFL/Silk handspun from a friend

Needles: US 8 (5.0mm)

Ravelry Link: here!

Started: December 12, 2016

Completed: December 13, 2016

It will hit 90 degrees here this week, so it seems like a good time to post about the winter gear I made for my daughter this past winter. They’re not really matching, but they still feel like a coordinating set to me (for the rare days when she needs this much gear!).

The hat came from a Top This! set my MIL gave me for Christmas. Marlowe immediately fell in love and couldn’t wait for me to cast on her hat. It took a couple tries to end up with a version we liked. The pattern as written was much too big for her head, and she had a strong preference for the shinny and fuzzy yarn over the variegated. So I ended up splitting the yarn by type and making it into a new ball using Russian joins. I cast on way fewer stitches than the pattern called for and knit until it was Marlowe sized. She loves that fuzzy butterfly pom pom so very much.

The gloves are a tested favorite in this house. Each year I knit them in a heavier weight yarn to size up for her current hand size. They came out a little bit shallow this year – I wish I had done more ribbing and stockinette before starting the thumb. I’ve made a note of it for next year!

I love that my daughter grows enough to need new winter gear every year. They’re fun projects to knock out, and I love collaborating with her to make something to fit her style each time. Do you have any projects you make again year after year?

TBT: Vivian Sweater

TBT: Vivian Sweater

Pattern: Vivian by Ysolda Teague

Yarn: Rowan Cocoon in Crag

Needles: US 8 (5.0mm)

Ravelry Link: here!

Started: October 27, 2009

Completed: November 26, 2009

Vivian was not my first sweater project, but it is my oldest sweater project that remains in my wardrobe. Looking at my notes, I can see how much effort I put into customizing the fit for myself and it really paid off. I shortened the body and sleeves, knit larger sleeves than body, and substituted a collar for a hood. That plus a pattern in a silhouette I like to wear and yarn in a flattering neutral have made this sweater one I reach for year after year. The only modification I would make in hindsight is to include some increases and/or short rows as I knit the neck ribbing, so it would lay flat in the back (a personal pet peeve in knitting patterns).

While I can tell by looking at the pictures that the sweater has aged, I am pleased by how well it has held up. Rowan Cocoon is a single made up of 20% mohair. As it has pilled more of the mohair has loosened and the sweater appears more grey than 7 years ago. It also looks like the torso and sleeves may be slightly longer. It deserves some time with the Gleener and then should be all set to stay in my closet for a long time.

Fun fact: this photo was the one they used in the Ravelry blog post announcing my employment. I got a message saying that this photo looked like I was trying to impress the guys and was inappropriate.

TBT: Robot Mittens

TBT: Robot Mittens

Pattern: Love Bytes (Robot Mittens) by Grace Schnebly

Yarn: Cascade 220

Needles: Uhh, I forgot to note this

Ravelry Link: here!

Started: November 17, 2009

Completed: November 22, 2009

My favorite kind of colorwork to knit is stranded mittens. It is a perfect place for patterns you wouldn’t wear on a garment. The shape is ideal for colorwork patterns. They’re so quick and satisfying! Yet sadly I live in a climate where it is only mitten weather a dozen days a year.

These mittens have held up well over 7 years, probably because they’re worn rarely. As I write this I realize it’s probably time to pass them along. They’re adorable, but they are too big for me, and I have another pair of mittens I prefer on the rare occasion I need them.

What FOs have you recently let go of?

TBT: Handspun Thorpe

TBT: Handspun Thorpe

Pattern: Thorpe by Kirsten Kapur

Yarn: my handspun

Needles: US 10 (6.5mm) & US 11 (.80mm)

Ravelry Link: here!

Started: October 18, 2009

Completed: October 23, 2009

It is time for another knitwear Throwback Thursday, featuring my Handspun Thorpe. Eight years later I still remember spinning this yarn. It was beautiful merino roving, so fluffy and soft and delightful. I spun and plied it in a single day. I wanted to knit it into something that would reflect that character and Thorpe’s simple shaping and textures were perfect.

I probably should have given this hat away years ago. I can probably count on one hand the number of times I have actually worn it. It is comfy and soft but it makes me feel so goofy that I always end up changing to a different hat before I leave the house. It is a really nice FO that just isn’t really me. It reflects the struggle I have with my handspun – the yarn that is fun to spin does not lead to the projects I want to wear. After reading Yarnitecture I have been trying to spin more mindfully as a practice, which I hope will also pay off in producing yarn that I will be more eager to knit for myself.

Do you have any lovely FOs that you keep even though they aren’t really your style? Tell me about them below!