Black VK Cardigan

A few weeks ago, I told you that I’d had a Eureka moment while knitting my Comfort Fade Cardigan and now knew how to fix another sweater. This post is about that other sweater.

The pattern is from Vogue Knitting Winter 2018 and is a cardigan designed by Cathy Payson in Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick. Simple Cardiganย is #9 in that issue. (That’s a Ravelry link.) I bought the issue when it came out, loved this sweater and bought the specified yarn – but in a tweedy black called Blackstone. (Here are some pix of the colourway on Ravelry.) I knit it up – it’s a quick knit with such thick yarn – tried it on and was disappointed in the fit. It was doing that thing of trying to fall off my shoulders. Hmm. It’s been sitting for almost a year, waiting on me to figure out how to get the fit right.

This January, I took it apart and ripped the fronts and back out to the underarms. When I reknit it, I made it narrower at the shoulders at the back. I also had found that it was bulky under the arms in the original version, so I added some short rows to make more of a sleeve cap.

Here’s the modified version – I photographed it with a long sleeve turtleneck inside it, to show the neckline and also the 3/4 sleeves. Mine are a little closer to bracelet length with that addition to the sleeve cap.

Black cardigan knit by Deborah Cooke

It fits so much better! And it’s so thick and warm that it’s perfect for these chilly winter days.

I love the mix of colours in the wool. Here’s a close up to show you that:

detail of Black cardigan knit by Deborah Cooke

Plus I finished another hat, just in time for the polar vortex. This is the same pattern (First Snow) that I used for my cupcake hats before Christmas. This time, though, I used a ball of tweedy wool that I found in the mill ends at Spinrite and added a purchased fake fur pompom.

First Snow hat knit by Deborah Cooke

These deep purple has a lot of great flicks of colour in it, in blue and red, which aren’t showing up very well. It’s pretty and I think I’ll keep this one. I have a second pompom and several more skeins of this mystery yarn in different colours, so I’ll make at least one more.

What do you think?

Teal Frost Mitts

Phew! I finally finished these! There’s something about knitting lined mittens that seems to take forever.Frost Mittens knit in LettLopi by Deborah Cooke

Frost Mittens knit in LettLopi by Deborah CookeYou probably remember that I’d also knit a pair in purple and taupe.

Frost mittens in Lopi Light knit by Deborah CookeWhen I started these mitts, I had two balls of LopiLett in taupe, two in purple and two in teal. By the time the two pairs of lined mitts were done, I had only a teensy bit of purple and teal, but still some teal. So, I knit a pair of plain mitts (without linings!) in taupe to use up the yarn.

Now it’s time to knit some different mitts…

Comfort Fade Cardigan

There is a new(ish) knitting trend to knit with colours dyed in a progressing, fading from one to the next. For me, this started with Andrea Mowbry’s shawl Find Your Fade, which was published in December 2016 and is enormously popular. There are over 8000 projects on Ravelry! Andrea has designed other knitwear that features this kind of colour shift, and I’m knitting one right now.

Her Comfort Fade Cardi is an open-front, shawl collar cardigan, which is knit from the top down. It has raglan sleeves and requires four colours to fade into each other over the length of the cardigan. Since I always find it a bit dull to knit cardigans in stockinette stitch, I thought that watching the colours might motivate me. (It worked for my Hebrides cardigan, knit in striped KidSilk Haze.)

4 Balls of Rowan ColourscapeFor this project, I raided my stash and chose my leftovers of Rowan Colourspun. I had knitted Mr. Math a vest in this yarn, then bought more to make myself a sweater when it was discontinued. Here’sย a post about his vest. The pattern is called Skye.

So, in my stash, I have a russet, a brown, a green and a taupe in the Colourspun. This yarn has a gradual gradation and is kind of heathered. I thought it would be a good choice for a fade. I don’t have the right quantities that the pattern calls for – I have enough yardage, but more russet than I need and less brown. The yarn is discontinued, so I’ll work it out.

Comfort Fade Cardi knit in Rowan Colourspun by Deborah CookeHere’s the cardigan as of last Sunday. I’d just divided for the arms. You can see that the ribbing for the neckline has a good bit of space to fill – this sweater is designed to be worn open, so the fronts with the ribbing will just meet. It’s also designed so that the purl side is worn out, which makes it look even more blended.

I used the taupe first, then the green and have just started to fade into the russet. think it’s funny that the brightest bit of the taupe fell in the last two rows of it after fading into the green. ๐Ÿ™‚

Here’s a look at the many colours in this yarn – I’ve been knitting more since the other pix were taken on Sunday, so it’s longer now:

Comfort Fade Cardigan in Rowan Colourspun knit by Deborah Cooke

The top is the taupe, fading into the green – which you can see is striping on its own – then into the russet. At the bottom, I’ve just started to transition to the brown.

I have a hard time getting a good fit with top-down raglans, but I think I’ve finally figured out why – which means I know what to do about it in future. I hadn’t finished the specified increases but it looked big, so I took it off the needles to try it on. (This is a very cool thing about top-down raglans – you can try them on as you go.) Then I compared it with a sweater I already have, which fits – in this case, one of my Hebrides in KSH. The Hebrides has a closer fit and is in a finer yarn, but you can see that it was definitely time to break for the sleeves. If I’d knit those remaining 12 rows, the sweater would have been droopy.

Comfort Fade Cardigan in Rowan Colourspun knit by Deborah Cooke

And here’s where I had my Eureka moment. See how wide the neckline is compared to the other sweater? Of course, the style is different, but when I try it on, it’s trying to fall off my shoulders. I’m narrow in the shoulders and when I sew, I always cut a smaller size above the bust to accommodate that. I should be casting on a smaller size than the one specified for my bust when I knit a raglan sweater for exactly the same reason. Aha!

I’m not going to frog this and start over, though. It’ll be a little slouchier than the original design, but I really like it. I have a feeling I’ll be knitting this pattern again, and will incorporate my changes then. In the meantime, I can fix another sweater that’s been waiting on me because I know what to do.

What do you think of this cardi so far?

The Escher Quilt

Last fall, I told you about a quilt kit I’d ordered. (That post is here.) The pattern is called Escher and the kit came with Kaffe Fassett fabrics to piece the top. I pieced it in December and here’s what it looks like:

Escher quilt pieced by Deborah Cooke

It’s much MUCH more vivid in real life.

This pattern was pretty easy to sew and the instructions were clear. I enjoyed putting it together. There was extra of every colour, so when I made a mistake in the final piecing (I cut a block that I shouldn’t have) I had enough to remake that block. The black was used for the little triangles at the center of each block: I cut up what I had left to make the widest black border possible. It’s not very wide but I like how it frames the bright colours. The top is about 62″ by 64″. I tried a couple of borders but thought they made it too busy, so it will be a bit of a small finished piece.

Mr. Math loves the finished top, but it’s a bit too wild for me. I think I might do this again, with solids or with a more restricted palette. This will be the first top that I take to be quilted on a long-arm machine, and I’m curious to see how that works out.

What do you think?

More Mitts

I’m still knitting mittens. ๐Ÿ™‚

First, I wanted to show you those fair isle mitts in LopiLett, now that they’re finished. Here’s the previous picture of them:

Frost mittens in Lopi Light knit by Deborah CookeI knit the linings in the same yarn. The neat trick is that since the linings are knitted to the cuffs – you actually pick up the stitches at the top of the cuff and knit the lining from there – the wrong sides of both mitt and lining end up together. That means there are no ends or floats to catch your fingers inside. It also means the mittens are double-thickness and toasty-warm.

Here’s one turned so you can see the lining:

Lined mitten in LettLopi, knit by Deborah Cooke

I started a second pair in teal and have the first one done. I think I’ll line this pair with the taupe as I have more of that color left.

Frost mitten knitted in LettLopi by Deborah Cooke

I’ve also been knitting mitts for charity, although I have fewer completed this year because of the hats and these fair isle mitts. All year, I add odd balls and ends to a bag, stashing wool that I think will make good mittens. Every November, I dig out that bag (and sometimes add to it) then start knitting mittens for the food bank. I usually use an old Patons pattern for worsted yarn – it’s a single sheet that wool shops used to give out free. Mine looks about as worn as that one on Ravelry, but has scribbled notes on it, too. This year, though, I had some chunky yarn, some odd balls of Patons Alpaca Blend that I found in the sale bin at Spinrite. I found this wonderful pattern from Tin Can Knits called The World’s Simplest Mittens. It includes instructions for four weights of yarn, and five sizes of mittens, and it’s free!

Here are my first three pair, in that Patons Alpaca Blend. The two pair on the left are a children’s size and the one on the right is the medium adult size. Aren’t they cute?

Mittens knit in Patons Alpaca Blend by Deborah Cooke

I also am knitting some in ends of Rowan Colourscape Chunky. Since this is a self-striping yarn, I’ll knit as many as I can from the ends, then figure out which look the best together as pairs:
mittens knit in Rowan Colourscape Chunky by Deborah Cooke

I really like Colourscape Chunky and am sad it was discontinued. I love the colours and the way the variegation shifts so gradually. I also like that there are tweedy flicks of other colours throughout. Kaffe Fassett designed the colourways and it shows. These green ends are from this vest that I knit for Mr. Math. I have some more bits – left over from this vest for me (which isn’t as nearly as neon pink as it looks in these pix) and also this cardigan for me – plus one more sweater-lot for a cardigan for Mr. Math. I might cast that on in January.

What have you been knitting lately?

Stars!

This week, I knit some stars.

Twinkle Stars knit by Deborah Cooke

The pattern is called Twinkle Star and it’s a free Ravelry download.

I knit mine with some yarn in my stash. The gold is Patons Alpaca Blend and the purple is Louet Bonnie. I changed the needle size to get a nice tight fabric with each yarn. They’re stuffed with polyester fiberfill and I think they’re just cute.

What do you think?

Mitts!

As so often happens this time of year, I’ve been knitting mittens.

This first pair are knit of an Icelandic wool called Lett-Lopi. The pattern is Frost (that’s a Ravelry link). The designer’s company is called Kniterations and I was intrigued to see that she has a Patreon site. I know some authors who use Patreon.

Here they are!

Frost mittens in Lopi Light knit by Deborah Cooke The purple is a bit darker IRL than it appears here.

I did make a couple of changes. The pattern specifies that the star be on both the palm and the back of the hand of each mitt, but I only put it on the back of the hand. It was pretty easy to continue the lice across the other side. (Yes, that allover pattern of stitches is really called lice.) I got into the habit of catching the contrast colour on either side of the thumb gusset, too, as sometimes the floats were longer on the back than I thought ideal. I also changed the shaping at the top of the fingers.Frost mittens in Lopi Light knit by Deborah Cooke

This was a project that I frogged again and again. First, I didn’t read the pattern correctly. I knit the smaller size, which meant starting on row 4 of the chart for the mitt. I didn’t realize that I was working row 1 of the thumb gusset chart and then row 5 of the mitt chart until I reached the star and things didn’t line up. I copied the charts then and pasted the thumb gusset chart beside the mitt chart, lining up the rows beside each other that needed to be knit together.

Second, I didn’t get gauge so had to frog and reknit on smaller needles. This happens when you don’t swatch and I often don’t. Third, I didn’t like the shaping of the tip of the mitt (possibly because I didn’t read the instructions correctly), so I frogged that and redid the shaping in the old familiar way. Fourth, I knit the lining for one mitt in a coordinating yarn, but it was too small and I didn’t think it actually coordinated that well once it was done. I frogged that, too. I had gone down another needle size for the lining, as the pattern instructs, but I’d already dropped a size for the mitten. Now I’m going to knit the lining in the same purple wool on the same size needles as the outside. I think there should be enough yarn since the lining doesn’t have ribbing. (You pick up stitches for it at the top of the cuff.)

The second one went much more quickly than the first. Once they’re lined, I’ll knit another pair in green.

I really like them. What do you think?

Cupcake Hats

I’ve been knitting hats!

These are knit from a self-striping acrylic yarn called Caron Chunky Cupcakes. It comes in six colourways: each ball has enough yarn to make a hat, and includes a matching pompom.

It was on sale one day when I was at Michaels and (of course), I bought all the colours.

I didn’t knit the pattern on the ball band, but went looking for another one on Ravelry. I found this free pattern called First Snow, which I followed for the first six hats.

Here they are:Cupcake Hats knit by Deborah CookeYes, it’s true: I still have more of the yarn to make more hats.

I’ll probably try a different pattern next, although I really like this one.

Cupcake Hats knit by Deborah CookeOne of the things I liked about this yarn – even though I’m not a fan of acrylic – is that there are dye flicks in each colour band of some of the other colours. That reminds me of hand-painted yarns. It also is a nice squishy yarn.

One irksome thing was that two of the balls had knots in them, and the striping didn’t continue properly after the break. (Can you guess which ones?) I understand that most yarn manufacturers say that one to two knots per skein or ball is acceptable, but finding one never makes me happy. When the yarn is dyed to stripe, a break often creates a challenge. We could suggest they discount balls with knots, but these were discounted and I was still annoyed to find the knots. :-/

What do you think of them?

New Socks for Me

I finished a pair of socks this week. Not only are these for me, but I like them a lot.

Socks knit of Diamond Sock Yarn by Deborah Cooke

This is my usual pattern. The yarn is Diamond Luxury Collection Foot Loose, which I had in my stash from half a zillion years ago and discontinued. It’s in a red mix colourway. (This pic makes the socks look more pink than they are in real life.) The blend is 90% merino and 10% nylon, and is quite soft. When I was knitting, I thought it might be too soft and worried a bit about how the socks would wear, but they did some magic with the twist – now that the yarn is knitted up, it feels sturdy but yet still soft. It’s also superwash, but doesn’t have that superwash feel.

Here’s hoping they wear well!

Next week, I’ll show you some hats I’ve been knitting.

What’s on your needles right now?

 

A New Quilt Top

I told you a few weeks ago about the Escher quilt pattern I’d bought, and mentioned that I needed to finish another quilt top before starting that one. Today you get to hear about the quilt in progress. It took me a bit longer than expected because I had to rip back the borders and redo them.

I saw a quilt made in this pattern during the summer (it was red and white) and I thought it was pretty, so I doodled down the pattern. I don’t know the name of the pattern, but here’s my version:

green quilt sewn by Deborah Cooke

It’s just half square blocks sewn into larger blocks. I chose to make the central diamonds in each block darker in the middle section, then also alternated florals and stripes all the way around. On the outside borders, that protocol doesn’t quite hold. ๐Ÿ™‚ I sewed the outside blocks on and ran outside to get a picture before the sun was gone, so it still needs a good pressing. It’s a bit more green than it looks here, and it needs another outside border. I think I’ll use that dark blue/green batik that is in the last border before the outside blocks. It’s about 72″ on a side right now.

I like it, and that it ended up with a contrast between stripes and florals. As usual, I was more concerned with pattern than value, and I did let the pattern placement fall randomly, but I still am pleased with the result. Many of the fabrics are Kaffe Fassett fabrics – all of the stripes and many of the florals, too. Those mustard dots and the blue/green batik are rogue. ๐Ÿ™‚ Once the borders are on, I’ll need to quilt it.

What do you think?