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!
This 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!
I love summer and I don’t really want it to end, but I’m also kind of happy that it’s almost sweater weather! At the very least, it’s knit-a-sweater-weather. Yesterday I decided I needed to double my WIPs so I cast on three new projects, and yes, one of them is a sweater. And before you ask, yes, I am swatching before I cast on the sweater itself. I knit a proper swatch on circular needles so I can accurately measure my in-the-round gauge, since I know that it differs from my flat-knitting gauge enough to affect size.
I decided I’m going to use five skeins of purples to make a Faded Boxy sweater. I’m not exactly sure how I’ll decide when to fade the colors, but I might just take the length of the body and divide it by five. Wouldn’t that work? Or wait, should it be 10, since I’ll have 10 sections (Color A, Color A & B, Color B etc)? Yes, maybe that would work. I just want to make sure I have enough yarn to fade the sleeves too. I know there are other Faded Boxy projects on Ravelry, so I’ll have some reference points to help. It’ll be fine. The real question is how long it will take me to get bored of miles of stockinette in fingering weight yarn!
I’m starting my Fade with the gray/purple variegated on the far right in that photo, and the swatch has been washed and is currently drying. The middle purple/gray is from Herd of Cats, a Colorado dyer. It’s a worsted merino that is going to become an Estonian Lace Medallion cowl. The non-purple blue/white is a color called Rocky Mountain High from Andromeda Socks, and I’m trying the Chevron Socks pattern to see if it creates a subtle mountain look. Now I have a wide variety of knitting to carry me through the second week of the US Open!
For my U.S. friends: enjoy the Labor Day holiday today!
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.
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.
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.)
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.
Yeah, I think I might be a little crazy. After thinking about fade sweaters recently, I was idly going through my stash to think of other yarns that might make good sweaters. And it hit me that I have a large quantity of yarns that all go together beautifully:
Now, maybe you’re thinking, Hm, I think I’ve seen that combination of yarn before! You have! This is the yarn for my Mermaid Shawl, which has been on my needles since September 19.
And that’s pretty much where I still am. I’m on row 18 of the first color. That’s slow progress for me. I worked on it last weekend and only managed about three rows. I’m not sure I like enormous shawls that start at the outer edge. Each of these rows takes an eternity, and clearly I’m not loving this project or else I’d be itching to work on it.
What if…I frogged it?
Eek! Scary! This mermaid shawl idea has been in my head for ages, but…what if it was a Mermaid Cardigan instead? I think I’d wear it more often, and it would be the same gorgeous fade of colors. I’m thinking something like Gelato, though mine would have to be a little shorter, but I suppose I could find any cardigan pattern I like and make it a fade.
Tell me: Should I frog? And if so, what’s your favorite fingering-weight cardigan pattern?
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!!
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!
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!
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!!
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!