Just in time for FO Friday, I have completed my gray Turtle Dove II sweater!
It’s lovely and warm and cozy, though the neck does itch me a little. I did learn several things that I will use if I make another one: make it longer! I had almost a full skein of yarn left, so I easily could have added a couple of inches to the body. I’d also make the arms longer. I tried it on before binding off and thought they were long enough but as I wore it today, the sleeves rode up. I had already added 1 1/2” to each sleeve; I’d like another inch. But I’m going to block it and see if I can stretch things out a bit. Still, it was a simple, quick pattern and made a very attractive sweater. I even got a compliment from my very style-conscious boss so I’m calling this a win!
The last two weeks have been all about the Australian Open, at least during my non-working hours. Tennis needs simple knitting so first I finished the garter stitch sections for my Scottish Highlands shawl (designer’s website), then I focused on my Turtle Dove II (free on Rav).
The shawl is ready for an intricate lace border now, in that pale cream color, and it’s charted and has multiple charts for each row, and that means I really need to focus when I work on that. But the Turtle Dove is ready for its split hem ribbing now!! I’ve even tried it on (which was an adventure because my needles weren’t quite long enough and stitches were falling off left and right) and confirmed the length is good. I have one more match left — the men’s final — and I’m hoping it lasts long enough that I at least get one side of ribbing completed. Must wind more yarn first, though!
As excited as I am for my sweater, I’m equally ready to get back to some of my other WIPs. Not just the lace for the shawl, but also my fun Curiosity Cowl (only found it on Rav). I’d made good progress before the tennis started, but I’m still not ready to join in the round. Once I do, it’s going to ZOOM. I also recently ordered a copy of 52 Weeks of Easy Knits and there are at least three patterns in there calling my name, but I’m resisting any and all cast-on urges until I complete another project or two.
I was quite proud of myself yesterday: the husband and I went out to a couple of bookstores and we were VERY CLOSE to my favorite LYS … and I DID NOT GO. I was very tempted, but not for any good reason — just because I knew there would be pretty yarn and I like pretty yarn. But I resisted, whew!
I’ve also decided I’m going to try a new strategy to control my yarn spending when we travel: like most knitters (I’m guessing), I have a queue of projects I would like to knit. I do not have the appropriate yarn for all of those projects. So I’m going to make a list of said projects that details the yarn requirements, and then when I’m out and about and happen to be in a yarn store where I want my arms to be full of yarn, I can at least buy intentionally for things I know I want to make. Yes, I will still buy yarn just because it’s pretty. But if I could end up with more yarn destined for projects and fewer single skeins of fancy fingering weight yarn, I think that would be a good thing. I think our first trip is in April, when we’ll go visit the girl, so I have time to get my list prepped.
No, the sweater’s not called Sunday, though I think there is a sweater pattern called the Sunday Sweater. I’m just working on it on Sunday. I decided yesterday I was ready to start my Turtle Dove II. As you remember, I was pondering whether to knit the gray first or the teal, and I went with gray since it will be such a nice backdrop for all my purple shawls. I wound the first skein, gathered up all the needles, and prepared to swatch.
That’s a good swatch, right? Yes, since it starts with the neck, and is designed to fit loosely, I threw caution to the wind and just cast on! The pattern says to go down two needle sizes for the turtleneck, but based on advice from a friend who’s made a couple I went down just one. This morning, I put it on waste yarn so I could check gauge of the stockinette section and, more importantly, check the fit of the neck. I don’t want it TOO snug.
Results were mixed: my gauge is good, but the neck was a tad more snug than I’d like. Because I want to love this sweater and wear it all the time, I’m going to frog and start over, going up one more needle size for the neck. And see, this worked out well, because a gauge swatch never would have told me how I felt about the neck size, so doing it this way killed two birds with one stone! And it’s Aran weight yarn that knits up quickly, so I’m not losing much in the way of time.
Disclaimer: I do normally swatch for sweaters! Swatching is good and important. Except when you get better data just by casting on.
A while back, maybe a year or so ago, I bought four skeins of navy blue fingering weight yarn to make a Doctor Who shawl. I ended up not liking the pattern so I gave up and frogged it. Recently I thought it would be nice to use that navy blue for a sweater, so I cast on a simple pullover. After a month, this is what I had:
It was knitting up nicely, was very soft … and VERY boring. I had zero motivation to work on it. That got frogged this morning and now I’m trying to figure out if I can do another sweater where I hold a solid with a variegated, and use up four variegated skeins along with the navy. Fortunately, both purple and pink look marvelous with navy, but I’m not sure I’ve got enough coordinating skeins to make it work.
The one on the left is amazing and I love it, but I only have two skeins of the pink sparkle yarn, that dyer has gone out of business, and I can’t find anyone selling any remaining skeins. Only 800 yards of that probably would not make a sweater that would fit me! So the skeins on the right are the more likely option, and I love 3 of the 4. But that one on the far right just sticks out to me, and I don’t know how well it would knit up with the others, even if I did alternating skeins. What do you think?
My Riprap top is blocked and dry and I even managed to get a couple of photos! They’re not great photos, mind you, but they’re photos. Voilà!
I used Malabrigo Arroyo, which is superwash, which grows when it’s soaked, so I knit the smallest circumference and extended the length by about four inches. I meant to extend it by two inches but things happen and it’s four and I’m not mad about it at all. As far as yardage goes, I didn’t need the fifth skein I purchased, but I’m glad I got it and mixed it in so the color changes are more subtle. It’s designed to be cropped, which is not the best look for me, and I love the length now. I soaked it in Eucalan, put it through the spin cycle of the washer, and put it in the dryer for five minutes before pinning it out to dry. And the nice thing is that if I decide it’s too oversized, I can just soak it again and dry it for longer!
I had it on for the photos and didn’t want to take it off. I think it’ll be great for late summer/fall with a sleeveless tank underneath, and then in winter with a long-sleeve tee. I kind of want to knit another one now! Maybe in non-superwash worsted weight? That could be interesting!
While in Omaha last weekend, I happened upon some Malabrigo Arroyo in Lavanda, which just happens to be what I’m using to make my Riprap, the sweater with the unfortunate color change. I took a chance and bought the skein that looked the lightest, just in case I could use it to balance out the shift. In skein form, it looked lighter but once I wound it, I wasn’t so sure. Was it worth frogging over 4 inches of lace? Eh, what the heck, it’s DK weight and I knew the line would bother me forevermore if I didn’t at least try. So here’s where we’re at now:
As you can see, it’s not a huge difference but it’s enough that I’m glad I did it. At this point, I’m very glad this sweater does not have sleeves, and I’m looking forward to being done soon!
I’m disappointed in myself. Some of you may remember that I’m a big fan of Malabrigo yarns. Love their colors. I KNOW that they don’t do dye lots, that their yarns are kettle dyed in small batches. I KNOW that when you knit a larger object with multiple skeins, you really need to alternate skeins for a balanced color. I know all that and yet this is where I am right now:
Nothing subtle about that switch! I had four skeins of this, bought at three different times, and one skein is obviously quite a bit darker. Now here’s the thing: this sweater is knit in the round from the bottom up and then you split for the front and back and knit those individually back and forth. I did pretty well with the first side — I alternated skeins until the last inch or so of ribbing. One skein ran out and I figured I could get by with just the one color.
The darker color is there, but not quite as strikingly obvious as the other side. The problem is…well, the problem is me. I chose this pattern (the Riprap Top) because I could make it with just four skeins, but as I knit, I realized it was designed to be rather short. Oh, I can add a couple of inches to the length, no problem, I thought. And it probably would have been fine…if I hadn’t also accidentally made the front two inches longer. All of that means I now have one skein of yarn remaining, and it’s the disturbingly dark one. I don’t even know if it will be enough to finish the darned thing. Once I finish the back, all that’s left is ribbing around the armholes and seaming the shoulder closed, so those might not look quite as bad with the stupid dark yarn. I do have a small bit of a partial skein, so one option is to rip back those four inches and reknit, alternating as much as I can to at least ease into the dark and just assume that nobody cares what the back of my sweater looks like.
Another option is to buy another skein and try to color match the lighter skeins, but that defeats the stash-busting purpose a little bit.
The option I have currently chosen is to put it in timeout and work on something else. Before I choose either option for moving forward, I’m going to sort of try it on and see if I even like what it is so far.
So friends, if I have taught you nothing else, I hope I have taught you to alternate your skeins of Malabrigo if you didn’t buy them all at once!
I logged in today to discover that the post I thought I published Monday was still stuck in draft mode. Oops. I guess I’ve forgotten how to blog. Anyway, I’m learning a new knitting skill this year! I cast on for a Douglas cardigan and the pattern calls for afterthought pockets. Because I’m obsessed with my yarn choices and can’t stop knitting this, I’ve got my waste yarn and lifelines in (look down in the lower right part of the sweater), and I’ve moved on to separating the fronts and back. So far, afterthought pockets are super easy and I don’t know why I’ve avoided afterthought heels on my socks all this time!
Also, that yarn?? Omg. It’s Old Rusted Chair Squish DK in Bijou (purple), Offworld (speckle), and Ridin’ the Storm Out (charcoal) and it’s SO yummy to knit. This week I’ve also had something of an epiphany. I would like to read more, and I would like to not get bored knitting stockinette sweaters. Enter Libby, the library app on my iPad! I can easily and happily read while I knit simple and boring stockinette! This might be a game changer for me. I’ve already read four books this year (one was a re-read but still counts, right?) and have made so much progress on my sweater. I don’t think I’ll finish it before I go back to work next week, but I can get awfully close.
Speaking of next week, this guy will be having surgery on Monday.
Two years ago at this very same time of year, Duncan had to have TPLO surgery to repair a torn CCL in his left leg. Well, he started limping on the right leg on New Year’s Eve, and sure enough, we’re set for a second TPLO. And this time, since I’m in a new job, I can’t exactly just say “Hey I need to work from home for a week!” so we’ll be muddling through somehow. I will be working from home at least two days a week, maybe three, and I’m hoping my first week will be a little light. When he has to be alone, he’ll be contained in a tiny nook of the kitchen, doped up a bit with a mild sedative, and I’ll just have to check on him as often as I can. The boy will be around periodically too, so he’ll be able to help. Last time, I slept on a mattress in the living room with him because I felt bad for him being in a cone and contained so much, but I can’t do that again. I didn’t get nearly enough sleep doing that and I need to be able to function during the day. I’ll still feel bad, but he’ll be fine. It’ll be fine, it’ll all be juuuuust fine. Right? Right. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to visit the liquor store to stock up on essentials.
Oh sure, I could have saved this for next Friday, but I was too excited to share: I finished my rainbow sweater!! This is the Apogean sweater in Manos del Uruguay Alegria in the color Locura Fluo.
I’m so happy with how it turned out! The fit is perfect, I love the v-neck, and I love the wild and crazy colors! This is probably my best effort at sweater-knitting; it’s nice when you can see your experience making a difference. I really liked this pattern too. It was simple and easy to follow, and even though at first I wasn’t sure about how the neckline was done, now I think it’s fantastic. I do wish she’d given more guidance about how many stitches to pick up around the neckline instead of just “pick up the stitches around the neck and knit” but I’m gonna say I nailed it. I could definitely see myself making another version of this pattern.
Now I have a sweater, a scarf, and a cowl in this colorway, and I’ve got socks on my needles in a yarn that’s very close. But I have two skeins of this yarn left — what should I do with it?? Maybe a hat! And fingerless gloves!
Oh yeah, I also have something else new to share:
This is Bella. She’s a Dodge Challenger in a color called Hellraisin that’s prettier and more sparkly in person. She’s also zippy and super fun to drive, and has all kinds of modern features my older car didn’t have. I think this is what’s called making lemonade out of lemons.
Along with socks, I’ve been plugging along on my Apogean sweater, the one with the Manos del Uruguay Locura Fluo. I’m sill in the thick of the long stockinette body, just going round and round. After my last post, I got some suggestions to try helical knitting to help with pooling and that’s been both fun and helpful. Though my first effort at googling helical knitting didn’t lead me down the right path, Kath set me straight and shared a great video about how to do helical knitting with two strands (which she also calls the jogless join) and guys, it’s so cool!
The last inch or so is with the helical knitting, and as you can see, I’m still getting some pooling so I’m not sure it’s made a huge difference, but I love the look so I’m just going to roll with it. I have also discovered the secret to happily knitting a lot of stockinette: really fun yarn. I can’t believe I’ve done this much already and am excited to do more!