Tag Archive | handknit sweaters

This is a big deal

I’m going to make a sweater! Whoa, right? No, I know, I’ve done this before. I’ve actually crocheted one sweater and knitted three. My first knitted sweater was a Harvest cardigan that came out HUGE but is super cozy to bum around in at home. My next two knitted sweaters were pullovers that actually fit the way I wanted. That cardigan I made with cotton; it was soft but still not a high-quality yarn. The pullovers were both made with acrylic yarn. I love them, but I decided that I’m ready for the big leagues now: I want to make a sweater out of GOOD yarn.

I’ve never bought a sweater quantity of good (i.e. non-acrylic) yarn before, instead choosing fun single skeins. So for my birthday earlier this month, I told the husband that I wanted a sweater quantity of yarn. He’s a smart man, so he gave me the money for it rather than trying to pick it out himself.

But what yarn? What pattern? What color? Well, the yarn itself wasn’t too hard: Malabrigo has been one of my very favorite yarns for years. For pattern, I wanted something interesting and pretty, a little more intricate than the basic pullovers I’ve made. It took a lot of browsing but I settled on Penny by tincanknits. And color? Well, at first I thought about a neutral. But then I thought, NAHHH! Let’s have fun!

img_5618This is six skeins of Malabrigo Arroyo in the glorious Fucsia, which might possibly be the most difficult color of yarn to photograph. Subtle, it is not! But it will make a gorgeous sweater and I’m pretty sure I’ll be doing some swatching this weekend!

Take time to save time

I bet all my knitters know what I’m talking about! This weekend, in between increasingly long shawl rows, I swatched for a sweater. I’ve been wanting a selfish knitting project and the Funky Grandpa cardigan has been hovering in the back of my mind, so I pulled out the Knit Picks Palette and knit a swatch. And since I had to wash it anyway, I washed some socks too!

Before it was washed, I was sure I’d gotten gauge on my first try. I was only half a stitch short, and I figured my swatch would loosen up with washing. Nope. It pulled in tighter instead, so I had 22 stitches per 4 inches instead of 24.5. Figuring out gauge makes my brain hurt, but I was pretty sure I needed to try with a smaller needle, so that’s what I did next, along with snuggling a pup.

Fingers crossed I got gauge this time!

Another Sweater

My brain is not done planning sweaters from stash. After pondering two fade sweaters, which are still on my list, I saw all the Knit Picks Palette in my stash and realized I had a sweater’s quantity, if I could just find a way to use three to four colors. Ravelry was a great help, as always, and led me to the Funky Grandpa cardigan which is awesome. And in the projects for that, I found someone who had modified it in a way similar to what I was picturing. I pulled out the yarn and started playing around.

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After that, I took my limited non-existent art skills and tried sketching out what I was envisioning. (Warning, the boy legit laughed at me when I showed him.)

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I think it’ll work, guys! And since the Palette isn’t the softest yarn, having it be a cardigan is perfect, since it will always be over another layer.

But now I guess I better start doing some swatches if I want to make a sweater. Sigh.

Planning a sweater

I loved wearing my new sweater so much yesterday that I’ve decided I need more handknit sweaters in my life. And since we’re heading into spring, I thought it was time to try a lighter weight sweater. All my others have been worsted weight. I’m a little worried that it will take forever using fingering weight, and that I’ll get bored, but I won’t know until I try. I also figured it was time to make a sweater out of really good yarn, a fine merino instead of a rougher wool or an acrylic. Unfortunately, I don’t have the budget to buy a sweater’s quantity of yarn at the moment, and I haven’t bought with sweaters in mind. It looked like I was stuck and wouldn’t be able to plan a new sweater for a while…but then, I had a brilliant idea: a fade!!

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This set of four yarns came home from Colorado with me last year, and it’s been in the queue for a fade shawl. But what if it became a sweater instead?? I could find a solid purple, which I wanted to do anyway, if I need more yardage. Plus, when I knit stripes or fades, wanting to get to the next color keeps me motivated, so this might help with the boredom issue too. I’m leaning toward Drea Renee’s So Faded, but if you have another fade sweater pattern you love, let me know!

FO: SWEATER!!!

It’s done it’s done it’s really really done!!! I finished my Clarke Pullover last night and I’m quite pleased with myself, I have to say! The stripes look so nice and even, and the bust measurement came out the way I expected it to, which is even more amazing given that I used worsted instead of DK and had to do math to figure out which size to knit!

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It got a little rough on my hands toward the end, because I had to use smaller needles than recommended for the yarn to get the right gauge. Plus I used 12″ circs for the sleeves, which was kind of amazing because they’re faster than DPNs, but my hands were feeling it by the end, just feeling kind of cramped. Still, totally worth it!!

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And I’m totally wearing it today, unblocked, because spring is coming quickly and I wanted to wear it at least once before I had to pack it away! My only minor complaint is that it’s a little shorter than I’d like, so when I wash it, I’ll lay it out flat and try to encourage it to stretch out a bit. I’ll let you know how that goes!

The yarn is Lion Brand Jeans in Classic and Vintage, and the best thing about it (besides being really soft) is that I can wear it without a layer underneath and it doesn’t itch!

Stuck on sleeve island

I really need to clear out some WIPs. My knitting is not inspiring me lately but I can’t bring myself to cast on anything new right now. It’s dumb, because I only have four WIPs on the needles, but my brain won’t let me accept more. Really, I’m a little blocked with my knitting. I recently had a big load of dirty handknit socks, so I decided to be bold and try to machine wash and dry them, partly to save time and effort and partly to get rid of most of the dog hair stuck to them. And for the most part, they’re fine, or so I thought. A couple of pairs might have felted a tiny bit, and a few looked a bit smaller, but hey, they’ll stretch. Then I found a solitary sock that didn’t make it into the dryer.

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That is…not ideal. Maybe they shrank more than I realized? I guess I’ll find out when I wear them. I think I’m just feeling a little defeated with my knitting. I love knitting socks, but they’re high-maintenance, they don’t stay snug, the heels felt, and they shrink. I don’t wear hats, you can only have so many fingerless gloves or shawls or scarves, I have yarn in my stash I won’t wear now that I have purple hair (I refuse to wear red and purple together) and what’s the point even of having so much yarn and making things?

Oof. That’s not a pretty thought. I mean, maybe my head wasn’t in a great place yesterday anyway, but I had to fight this because in my heart I know there is value in making pretty things, so I picked up my sweater. I love to wear my handknit sweaters, and since I wear a layer underneath, they don’t need to be washed with each wear like socks. Sweaters are useful and practical as well as fun. So I knit a sleeve yesterday.

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This morning I picked up for the second sleeve and I’ll work on that while watching movies I love, and with any luck, I’ll feel better about my knitting by the end of the day.

And I’m not going KonMari my whole stash, but if you’re interested in a gorgeous skein of Zen Yarn Garden Serenity Silk Single for $30 including US shipping, let me know. I would much rather have a skein of this yarn in a color I’d love to wear all the time.

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Reading AND knitting

I’ve read two and a half books in the past week, and two of them were actual, physical books! I’ve been trying to encourage myself to do a little bit of reading at night, after some knitting, and I like it. I like spending time with a book in my hand. Going forward, when I take a break from knitting, I’m going to try to redirect myself toward a book instead of my phone, and we’ll see if we can get back into the reading groove. But photos of books aren’t as interesting as photos of knitting, so I’ll share some of that too. Since I finished my Granola socks, I switched my focus to my Clarke pullover and made good progress.

HQueF4y2TLe9Bv6jH78L4wAck. I just realized how bad this photo is. Well, whatever. It shows that I have an almost-complete sweater body anyway! I have just a few rows and then a split hem, and the body will be done. It’s so close that I might just work on this today and see if I can power through it.

I also worked on another sock project, but it’s still in the beginning stages, just a bit of leg. The yarn is Tibetan Dream sock yarn from Bijou Basin Ranch, and it’s a yak/nylon blend. I’m loving these purples! Stay tuned — I’ll have a review later this month.

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More snow fell overnight, so we have a couple of inches of bright, powdery snow. It’s pretty but I am tired of it and it can go away now. The only good thing about it is that I can stay cozy on my couch with a blanket and my knitting and not feel any guilt, because that’s what you do on snow days! Hope you’re all safe and warm too!