Tag Archive | handknit sweaters

FO: Tea with Jam and Bread Sweater

I finished my sweater yesterday! I’d set it aside while we were the throes of a heatwave, as many of you are too, but since it’s relatively tolerable right now and I’m in Finish Everything Mode, I picked it up yesterday. Only one sleeve was left, why let it linger in the WIPs for one little sleeve?  In between laundry and taking the girl shopping for dorm supplies, I knit around and around and around. After dinner we watched Troy, and I knit around and around and then somehow I was binding off even before the battle between Hector and Achilles. It needs washing and blocking but it’s done!

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I ended up liking the color combination a lot, even if the tonal stripes seem a little unusual. And I like how the navy stands out. Really, I think they all play well together. And best of all?? It has pockets!

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The two main colors are Berroco Ultra Alpaca and it’s not my favorite. It does play nicely on needles, not slippery at all, and has great stitch definition. It’s a more earthy yarn, with a rougher texture, so not only does it grab and hold onto dog hair, but it’s also scratchy against my skin. I tried it on to make sure it fit, and it does, but I definitely won’t be able to wear it without something long-sleeved underneath.

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It’s not a perfect fit. There’s not as much positive ease in the body as I’d wanted; the result of swatching flat instead of in the round. The sleeves are long, maybe even a tad longer than I like, and I’m not convinced they match each other, but I’m also not convinced you can tell by looking at it. The bottom edge has a terrible urge to fold up, and I really hope blocking takes care of that. But even with all of that, I look at it and I love it. I made this pretty little sweater! And now I feel confident enough to make a sweater with better yarn, maybe Malabrigo, that won’t be itchy against my skin!

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Pattern: Tea with Jam and Bread by Heidi Kirmaier

Yarn: Berroco Ultra Alpaca and Ultra Alpaca Tonal, Plymouth Yarn Baby Alpaca Worsted

I made a sleeve!

This sweater is going so fast, I can’t believe it! I finished the first sleeve last night, and it went so much faster than with my last two sweaters. I think it’s because before I was managing two skeins all the way through, either doing stripes or alternating skeins. Just having one skein and doing stockinette all the way makes it zoom. And now that I have that extra color on the sleeve, I love the color combo so much!

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The girl is still coveting the sweater. I’m waiting to see how it fits me before I decide who gets it. But the nice thing is, even if it fits her better, I could make myself another one!

Since I’m so close to finishing the sweater, part of my wants to power through that second sleeve this weekend. But I’m also drawn to a new skein of yarn…

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This was a gift from a friend as a thank-you for helping her with knitting and for taking her with me to a concert recently. She was at a yarn store where Potion Yarns was doing a trunk show and picked out this little beauty for me. It’s Seductress Sock in the color Her Wicked Ways, and they recommended the pattern Changing Staircases for it. Since that pattern was already in my favorites, I figure that’s what this yarn needs to be, and I’m eager to cast that on this weekend too. So hard to choose! Which would you do, sleeve or shawl??

 

It has Pockets!

My Tea with Jam and Bread sweater is zooming along! Last night I knit the pocket linings and finished the row where I knit the pocket lining stitches together with the body stitches to attach the linings. Today I finished the bottom ribbed edge, and then I won yarn chicken as I bound off, using just one skein for the last big block of color.

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I know the pockets won’t hold anything heavy, but they sure are cute, and I can slip my hands in them to keep my hands warm! The instructions for making the pockets could have been clearer, but I fumbled my way through it and am quite happy with how they turned out. The only thing I would have done differently is left longer tails to sew down the sides of the pockets.

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The color combination still seems a little strange, with that one variegated stripe, but it’s growing on me, and I think once I get the sleeves done with more of that color, it’ll look awesome.

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The gauge is a bit off, since I forgot that I needed to swatch in the round if I was going to knit in the round, but I’m optimistic that it will fit. I’m just not brave enough to try it on yet!

FO: Monkey Socks

Thank goodness these socks are finally done! They lingered on my needles for four months! Yes, FOUR. That’s eons for a sock, I’ll have you know. The first one went quickly because I was eager to see how it looked. And it was cute! I liked it. But man, the SSS (second sock syndrome) hit hard with this one. Turns out, I don’t really like knitting with brown. Brown isn’t pretty or fun or interesting to me. So I had to force myself to finish it just so I could call it done and put the yarn at the back of the shelf where it belongs, freeing up the needles for yarn that is beautiful! Anyway, bottom line, this squeaked in at the end of the month to become the fourth pair of socks finished in May.

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I am quite pleased with them; I think they’re adorable. And I’ll have fun wearing them. But the brown is destined to become an accent color for future socks, and any other sock monkey knitting will have to be self-striping yarn! If you’re interested in details, you can see the project page on Ravelry here.

More fun has been my new sweater project! Despite the continuing heat, I have been merrily knitting along in the evenings and am over halfway through the navy stripe. Eight more rows and I’ll be ready to divide the body and sleeves! I’m looking forward to that; these are LONG rows right now. But look how pretty it is:

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My goal is to get the sleeves on waste yarn and a good chunk of the body done this weekend, though I do have a recital and graduation reception for the girl tomorrow. With the exception of the sweater, I have a bit of finish-itis right now, so I think this sweater and the flower socks will be the focus of my knitting efforts for now. That is, if I can resist the siren call of the new Wonder Woman sock yarn I bought from a Ravelry destash…

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New Sweater

As I mentioned the other day, I decided the heat of summer was a great time to start a new wool/alpaca sweater. I chose Tea with Jam and Bread and I was so excited about it that I cast on a swatch as soon as I decided on colors. Then I swatched again because my gauge was off. Then I swatched one more time because it was still off.

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That is my biggest complaint about knitting sweaters:  you either have to swatch, or do math. I don’t really care for either, but of the two, I’d rather swatch. I finally got gauge with the third swatch, after going down two needle sizes, and it was totally worth it because I got both stitch gauge AND row gauge! Go me! Then it was off to the races! I knit on this sweater all afternoon yesterday, stopping only around 9:30 last night when it was time to switch to the next color.

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Maybe it looks a little small there, but it’s all bunched up on a 24″ circ. I’ll switch to the 40″ once I get going on the next color, navy. And do you like my stitch marker there? I chose that one in honor of the French Open, which just started. (Go Rafa!) I can’t wait to get home tonight and see how the navy looks with the purple! I can tell already this is going to be a tricky one to photograph well. The bottom color is more true, but even that’s a little too dark. It’ll be a good exercise, I guess!

Summer Knitting?

I did indeed finish my Mab shawl as I said I would, so it is currently pinned out and drying. (And it is stunning, if I do say so myself. I’m hoping to do a photo shoot tomorrow.) So what am I doing with my pruned down stash and fewer projects on the needles?

I’m planning a sweater, of course.

It’s over 90 degrees outside. Our downstairs A/C isn’t working so it’s 86 degrees in my living room. (Thankfully we have two units and it is blessedly cool upstairs in the bedrooms and my craft room.) You get the idea: it’s hot. So why in the world would I be working on a sweater, a wool/alpaca sweater even?? Because while I was going through my stash to pull out unwanted yarn, I found four skeins of Berroco Ultra Alpaca, all the same color and the same dye lot. What are the odds, right? Especially since I know I bought it back when I thought I’d never knit sweaters. It was probably on sale, and since it was purple, I probably just bought what they had left.

Sadly, four skeins isn’t quite enough on its own to make a sweater that will fit me. So I dug through the stash a little more and found two more colors, two skeins of each, and the three colors together easily get me enough yardage for a pullover. I’ve got four skeins of the top color (Berroco Ultra Alpaca in this unusual light purple), two skeins of the middle (Plymouth Baby Alpaca Worsted in Navy), and two skeins of the bottom (Berroco Ultra Alpaca Tonal in … magenta?).

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I’m planning to make Tea with Jam and Bread by Heidi Kirrmaier (I even have my gauge swatch already laid out and drying too!) but I’ll alter the stripe pattern a bit. I don’t think I’d like the navy as the bottom stripe (can’t tell you why, just my brain saying no don’t do that) so I’m going to do the top stripe navy, and then the bottom stripe and the bottom sleeve sections in the magenta.

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(LOOK! It even has POCKETS!)

And if I get to that bottom stripe and don’t like the color variation of the magenta with the lighter purple, well…I’ll figure something else out. But until then, I’ll be working on my wool sweater in June in the midwest!

The Sweater, She is Done

I officially finished my second handknit sweater, and it turned out so much better than my first! (You can see my Harvest cardigan here) This one actually fits, and fits well! I adore it, and I know I’ll be wearing it a lot and making at least one more.

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The pattern is Joji Locatelli’s Textured Pullover and I made the size large. I think it’s designed with enough positive ease that it fits just how I like it, not too tight and not too oversized. I liked knitting a pullover in the round, rather than a cardigan back and forth, so I see more pullovers in my future.

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My gauge was just loose enough that I feel like I need to wear a layer underneath for modesty, but it’s fine because I can do a tank in warmer weather, or a long-sleeved tee when I need to bundle up, and the extra layer doesn’t affect the fit.

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The stripes and texture were great, and really helped keep my interested throughout the project. I only lost steam at the second sleeve, which seems pretty good for me. So I’ve learned that when I make sweaters, I can’t just do miles of stockinette or it will take me years to finish.

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The yarn is acrylic, Loops & Threads Value Pack from Michael’s. It’s nice and soft, but it does fuzz up quickly, so I’ll need to get a fabric shaver soon.

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And now I think I have totally earned the right to buy a sweater quantity of good yarn, like Malabrigo!