Wild Grass Pullover

It’s Friday! Let’s talk about knitting.

Wild Grass pullover knit by Deborah Cooke in Swans Island washable wool sport

I’ve been working on a pullover with a beautiful yoke. The pattern is called Wild Grass and the yarn I’m using is Swans Island Washable Wool Collection Sport. For this pattern, you make a provisional cast-on, knit a few rows, then knit up, through the yoke and the neck. Then you pick up stitches from the provisional cast-on and knit down, dividing for the sleeves then to the hems. This means that the fun part is over early. 🙂

I may re-knit the neck on larger needles. Right now, it’s more of a turtle-neck, but the pattern shows it as a cowl, which is a big part of what I liked about the design.

I bought this yarn at Swans Island when we were in Maine last summer. They make the most beautiful blankets and dye their own yarn. The colours are amazing. This is a wonderful squishy and soft yarn which is spun from merino. Here’s a link to the yarn on the Swans Island website – I’m getting a security warning because of their certificate, but maybe that will be fixed by the time you click through. Here’s a Ravelry link, too. The colours I’m using are Mallard and Pesto. The Mallard is a little darker than it looks in this picture. The yarn is also incredibly soft, so I’m not worried about having this wool next to my skin.

What do you think?

 

Almost-Done Comfort Fade Cardigan

I’ve been working away steadily on my Comfort Fade Cardigan and have an update – it’s almost done!

The previous post on the sweater is here. I had finished the yoke and was comparing the fit to other sweaters in my closet. Here it is after I finished the body. (This one is top-down, so I did the bottom ribbing last.) It was tough to confirm the fit because the collar ribbing is so wide – at this point, when I tried it on, it seemed to be falling off my shoulders.Comfort Fade Cardigan in Rowan Colourspun knit by Deborah Cooke

I picked up the stitches to do the neck next (before the sleeves) to manage my yarn. I didn’t have enough of all the colourways, so decided to do the neck, then use half of whatever was left for each sleeve.

When I picked up the stitches for the neck, I forgot that the right side of the cardigan shows the purl side of the reverse stockinette. I also followed the directions and picked up with the first colour, which is my lightest one. At the bottom is my pick-up from the wrong side, which doesn’t look good on what will be the right side. At the top is my pick-up from the right side, which looks better.

Comfort Fade Cardigan in Rowan Colourspun knit by Deborah CookeI did decide to frog and reverse the order of the colourways on the collar, picking up with my last colour, which is the brown. It blends in better and looks neater. See?

Comfort Fade Cardigan in Rowan Colourspun knit by Deborah Cooke

The collar is shaped with short rows for this sweater and it’s huge. In the picture above, you can see the wedges of short rows that add to the depth of the collar. It’s quite squishy and luxurious.

I cheated on the sleeves and knitted them inside out. (Ha. This makes me feel so clever.) This way, I could knit them in the round instead of having the purl them. The only thing is that I had to remember to leave the ends on the side facing me, not the opposite side as usual.

Comfort Fade Cardigan in Rowan Colourspun knit by Deborah Cooke

The sleeves are a little long and I didn’t finish all of the decreases as specified. Here’s the almost-completed sweater – I balled up the other sleeve in the shoulder and you can see one of my DPNs peeking out there:

Comfort Fade Cardigan in Rowan Colourspun knit by Deborah Cooke

I couldn’t crop out that wonderful beam of sunlight. It’s so nice to see the sun again!

I’ll take some more pictures when the sweater is done. All I have to finish is that cuff. What do you think?

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 Cardigan 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?

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’s 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. 🙂

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?

More Mitts

I’m still knitting mittens. 🙂

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?

The Dark Dragon

Sounds like a book title, doesn’t it? Well, (surprise!) it’s a knitting project instead. This is Fiber Friday, after all.

Doughty Dragon knit by Deborah Cooke in Noro Kureyon Sock I knit this dragon out of Noro Kureyon Sock from my stash. It used about half a skein. I’m not actually sure what to do with it now that it’s done, but when I saw the pattern, I just had to cast on. The pattern is called Doughty Dragon and it’s a free Ravelry download. (That’s a Ravelry link.)

Above, he is clearly as outraged as I am that some squirrel has sampled my pumpkin two weeks before Halloween.

Doughty Dragon knit by Deborah Cooke in Noro Kureyon SockHere, he looks like he’s going to eat something off the steps. (Bad dragon!)

I seriously lost my enthusiasm after making the body of the dragon – I think the toes nearly finished me – so he’s been waiting headless for me to get back to him. This summer, I made his head, then he waited in two parts – because I didn’t enjoy making the teeth and still think I did them wrong – until about two weeks ago. I was trying to clean up my office, and there he was, on the floor, in parts. How sad. I picked up my needles and worked away on those back scales – which I also did wrong. There’s supposed to be two rows, and you’re supposed to pick up every second stitch on the back as you go – alternating would be a good idea – but I misread it and picked up every stitch. Rather than frog back, I just kept going but only did a single row of scales.

Trust me. By then I was done with this project. It was fiddly knitting and slow going.Doughty Dragon knit by Deborah Cooke in Noro Kureyon Sock

I think his back scales look good, even if they are wrong!

Making this dragon took even longer than I thought: when I went back into Ravelry to mark my project done, I saw that I’d cast on in July 2015. More than three years to completion! Ha. I won’t be making another one of these.

Although he is kind of cute, isn’t he? I have to find him a perch in my office.

What do you think?

My Juicy Gloss Cardigan

A while back, I showed you the cardigan I was knitting from Koigu KPPPM, using the pattern called Juicy Gloss. (That’s a Ravelry link.)

Juicy Gloss cardigan knit by Deborah Cooke in Koigu KPPPM

I’ve finally finished knitting the body of this one and have it off the needles so I can show it to you again.

Here’s the older post. It shows the colour of the yarn better than these new pix do – here, it looks a lot more mauve than it is. And here’s the front:

This is a looooooong sweater. A big part of that is because of the changes I made to the front at the top. If you look at the pix for the pattern, you can see that the fronts are much shorter in the original design. I didn’t think this was as flattering as I wanted it to be, so added rows of stockinette to the front at the top as I was doing the raglan increases. In the original design, there isn’t any stockinette on the fronts: the lace starts at the raglan line. I like this better.

Juicy Gloss cardigan knit by Deborah Cooke in Koigu KPPPMHere’s the back of the cardigan. It’s hard to see in the variegated yarn, but there’s a garter stitch ridge at th waist, then there are increases to flare the lower half of the sweater. In an ideal universe, that garter ridge should be just above the waist, I think. Because of my increases to the front, mine is about an inch below my waist. This is less flattering than would be ideal, but I’m not going to rip it back.

I’m quite impressed that the yarn didn’t pool at all. It’s beautifully soft, so soft that I know I could wear it next to my skin.

I haven’t knitted the sleeves yet: you can see that I’ve put my sleeve stitches on circular needles already.

Juicy Gloss cardigan knit by Deborah Cooke in Koigu KPPPMHere’s a picture from the side. You can see that swooping angle of the waistline, which is a very pretty feature. If I knit this again with the same modifications to the front (ha), I’d make the back waist swoop across closer to the point where the lace ends at the sides. There are short rows shaping the back, and I’d knit a lot fewer of them. That would bring up the waist.

And now, on to the sleeves! I feel as if I’ve been knitting this sweater forever, but progress should be quicker now.

I really like the I-cord edging on this cardigan. It’s on the fronts, worked as you go, and the hem is bound off with I-cord. That makes a lovely neat finish all around.

One thing that puzzles me about this pattern is the name of it. I read the pattern notes again and wonder if it’s a reference to the yarn used in the sample photographed for the pattern – it’s a beautiful red, which she calls “juicy”, maybe because the color is reminiscent of ripe cherries. (?)

What do you think of the sweater so far?