Yarny Goodness!

Another super exciting fun knitblog

  • November Knit Goals

    I'm prone to being a scatterbrain, so I try to make a short list of things to accomplish each month (lest I have 27 different non matching socks).

    Same as last month: Sleep more. Study more. Knit more. Sleep more.

  • Sweater-a-Month 2008

    Cabled Hoodie: Cascade 220 - Needs seams

    Urban Aran

    Mariah: Ella Rae Classic


    Tubesque: Noro Garden + ???

    CeCe: Silky Wool

    Lucy in the Sky

    Rogue: Handspun - Needs seams

    Elizabeth Zimmermann's Bog Jacket

    Ribbi Cardi: Cotton Ease (Blue/White)

    Ruffled Surplice (spring 07 Interweave): Yard TBD

    Red Carpet Convertible

    Silk Corset Top: Alchemy Synchronicity

    Eyelet Rib Cardi (inspired by Spring 07 Interweave)

    Bella Paquita: Shelridge? Karabella? Sublime?

    A top down set in sleeve sweater (a la Barbara Walker)


    Vintage Pink (Raspberry) Cardigan - FINISHED!!

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Archive for the ‘sweaters’ Category

My birthday present to myself: A new sweater!

Posted by Amber on December 30, 2008

I guess doing the same thing for two years in a row makes a tradition, right?  So my new tradition is to have a new sweater for my birthday!

It still needs a good name.  I have it in ravelry as “Lucy planted firmly on the ground” (there’s a story, there’s always a story)

The yarn is Shelridge Farms W4 in “Pink Lemonade” – I’m worried it’s a little too pink, in the “I’m 5 and I love princesses and I want a pony for my birthday!” sort of way.  But Judy says that with my new haircut [hair: here/here; I couldn’t turn 27 with bad hair] it just looks very preppy).  I like preppy.  I’m not usually preppy, but I’m also not 5 and I don’t love princesses (but a pony would rock).  I thought about trying to overdye to get a darker raspberry, but I don’t have enough yarn to really make test swatches.  Prep wins.

Needles: US 7; gauge 4.75 st/inch, 6 rows/inch.

The name story: I LOVE Laura Chau’s (CosmicPluto) “Lucy in the Sky” – I’m simply too stupid to knit it.  I’ve tried several times.  I can’t keep track of when I need to do a knit stitch on the wrong side.  I even tried doing it in the round with the intent to steek (looked much too big after about 3 inches).  There’s not a single thing wrong with the pattern, I just can’t count to save my life and couldn’t get the diamonds right.  So the yarn went back in the yarn closet for a while.

So then, I was knitting a pair “Diagonal Cross Rib Socks” [ravlink] in “Favorite Socks” and it had a twist stitch pattern, which had me thinking how if I did twist stitches going in two ways I could get diamonds.

And then, while looking for a motif for a hat in Barbara Walker’s Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns I found Knit-Twist Lattice” (page 149, original hardback printing), which is for a multiple of 16+2 (which, by the way, different from multiple of 18.  I’m a dumbass whether or not I’m following a pattern it seems!)  So I could do 16*11+2=178 (divide by 4.75 = 37.5 inches) or 16*12+2=194 divided by 4.75=40.8 inches.  I decided to do a little more ease than I’d originally planned, and went with 194.

I sort of followed the Elizabeth Zimmermann Percentage system … only not really, since I’ve never actually read anything beyond the picture with the percentages.   But it’s sort of intuitive.  I wanted little to no ease, so I went with a number very close to my bust.

Actually, I had wanted to make it all Barbara Walker, all the way – I was worried about running out of yarn and was going to do the sweater top down, so that I could make the sleeves shorter, if necessary.  But I couldn’t figure out how to start the pattern at the neck/shoulder edge, and have it expand out to where the edge of the lattice would be at the edge of the seed stitch button band.  So to get around this, I did a provisional cast on for the number of stitches to fit my bicep, and worked about one inch, then put those on a holder.  (In my case, 14″*4.75=66.5, and I rounded down to 66.)

(As close as I have to a picture of the sleeve – this was post join, pre-sleeve-down knitting)

Okay, so I cast on for the body (194 stitches), and working flat — worked seed stitch for one inch, then work the body until it’s as long as I want the sweater to be.  Even though it’s a cardigan, I can think of there being a front and a back – 97 stitches on each side.  97/2 = 48.5 – so 49 stitches for each of the fronts and 96 for the back.  I wanted 10 stitches at the underarm where the sleeve joins the body (I find this reduced bulk in the armpit – but I’ve seen lots of other patterns that have you just join straight across), so I knit over the first 44 stitches, put the next 10 on a holder, joined the sleeve, working 56 sleeve stitches and putting 10 sleeve stitches on a holder.  Worked 86 stitches on the back, next 10 on a holder, join the second sleeve, and then work the last 44 front stitches.

Now I had to decrease the sleeves and front neckline (I like deep, wide v-neck sweaters).  I had 44 front stitches and 56 sleeve stitches.  For a raglan you take away two sleeve stitches at a time, and I wanted them to be about 1.5 to 2 inches wide at the top (so, 8 to 10 stitches) – 46 stitches eliminated, or 23 decrease rows.  But every row will also eat one front stitch, and I want a few stitches at the neck edge when I finish, so I can’t decrease at the same rate on the neck edge and the sleeve edge.  I sat down with some graph paper and plotted a few different rates of decreasing, before settling on decrease every RS row 5 times, then do a plain (no neck-edge decrease) on the 6th RS row.  This way I’d decrease 20 stitches on the neck-edge, 23 stitches on the sleeve-edge, ending with 3 front stitches. (3 front stitches, 10 sleeve stitches and 40 back stitches; 66 stitches total, for 13.9 inches).

(As an aside – has I been a better planner, I’d have figured out a way to get the lattice to run along the very edge of the neck better.  Wasn’t worth ripping again.)

I could have easily decreased the sleeves and front at the same rate, and done 22 rows of decreases instead of 23 – the yoke would be a little shorter, and I’d have had 2 front stitches, 12 sleeve stitches and 42 back stitches — or 70 stitches total, which would be 14.7 inches).

(Also, the first time I was knitting the yoke, I realized I had cast on 66 stitches for one sleeve, and only 56 for the other sleeve.  I realized this after about 12 decreases in the yoke.  There was much cursing.)

So then I picked up stitches from the front edge, around the neck, and down the other edge, with 8 3-stitch button holes.  On the one hand, 8 button holes over 15 inches was probably too much.  On the other hand, it sort of pulls as it is, so fewer button holes would probably make that worse.  And I love the buttons I found (at G Street Fabrics; but I also found some awesome ones at ButtonDrawer.com)

This is where I feel so clever.  After finishing the button bands, I weighed my remaining yarn, split it into two equal balls, and unpicked my provisional cast on from the sleeve, and knit the sleeves until I was almost out of yarn, ending with another one inch (6 rows) of seed stitch to match the cast on and button band.  I had already knit one inch of plain stockinette, so I knit one more inch, then I began decreasing about every 6 rows (one inch) on either side of a center maker.  I did that 5 times (10 stitches decreased) which was just about right for a comfortable fit around my elbow (neither too tight and constricting nor too loose and breezy).  They ended up a very nice elbow length.  Which is sort of silly for a wool sweater, on the other hand I push my sleeves up all the time anyway, so now I just won’t have fabric bunches around my sleeves.


Posted in fo, lucy, sweaters | 2 Comments »

Almost there. And: Free Stuff! Seriously. Stuff-ing.

Posted by Amber on October 24, 2008

I just finished the bind off on the Boatneck Bluebell sweater from “Fitted Knits.”  Except it isn’t really blue, and clearly isn’t a boatneck.  Looking at the ones on Ravelry, it seems the boatneck instructions were HUGE.  (Let’s be honest here – my gauge is different, the measurements are different, the only thing the same is the long torso ribbing and the sets of p2rounds/k2rounds/p2rounds offsetting the ribbing.  Which is one of the things I love about top down raglans – so easy to modify!)  Plus, I was worried about running out of yarn.  So I decided to go for the more flattering (and less yardage needing) V-neck.  I have about 37 grams left from the original two balls I got at Maryland Sheep & Wool this year, or about 90 yards.  I decided that a short sleeve 70% wool sweater was sort of silly.  I wrote to Brooks Farm to see if they had more not listed on the website.  No answer.  :-/  So I gave my swatch and ball band to Rebecca and she was going to scout the booth at Rhinebeck for me.

So she’s checking out the booth at Rhinebeck, and they tell her sorry, but that dye lot sold out at MDS&W.  So sad.  And so I start scouting Ravely for it.  But almost as soon as I post on Ravelry, I get an email from Dena at Brooks Farm – they in fact have TWO, but they’d been packed up for Rhinebeck, so when they were unloading for the booth, she snapped them up and put them in her suitcase, and didn’t tell anyone, so they would be safe for me.  Yay!  So I was able to buy one more, and it should be here any day.  Much love for Brooks Farm!

Now, I’m so moved by the way the stars have aligned for me that I’m giving stuff away.  Literal stuff – Poly-fil!

10.3 ounces!

Okay, maybe not 100% the goodness of my heart so much as the desire to downsize STUFF(ing).  I used a few handfuls to stuff the Bobbi bear; but I don’t know that I’m going to be making Gracia anymore toys in the near future.  The bag was originally 12 ounces, but now my wee kitchen scale is showing 10.3 ounces.  Not sure how accurate it is, what with falling over the edges.

Free to the first person who wants it!  Come on lurkers, come out and leave a comment!

Posted in sweaters | 3 Comments »

The Cursed Sweater

Posted by Amber on October 16, 2008

I know, the Sweater Curse is suppose to be about knitting sweaters for boyfriends before you’re married.  This is different.  This sweater is cursed.

First.  I finished knitting the cable front and the plain front and the back.  And at first I thought the plain side was too long, so I ripped it back and reknit to be shorter.  Then I realized BOTH fronts were too long – so now the plain front was the right length and the back were right; and the cable/lace side was too long.  Too hard to put in a life line.  Put it aside to ignore and be angry with for a while.

Then. Ran out of yarn, got more of a different dye lot.  Tried to alternate balls.  Got stripes.

AND NOW.  I was thinking how awesome my mattress stitch was looking:

And then I went to seam the second sleeve:

Yeah.  One sleeve has 2.5 inches of ribbing, and the other has 4 inches.  But it looks like the stockinette part is the same on both; so I’m going to put in a life line, and knit the ribbing down.  Then weaving ends, then sewing buttons, then washing.

I probably shouldn’t want to wear this to the baby naming…

Posted in sweaters | 4 Comments »

FO: Skeptical

Posted by Amber on August 31, 2008

Do you ever see a pattern, and think “I’ll get to it someday…” and then someday comes, and you finally go to make it, and the website is gone? Yeah. Well, welcome to reverse engineering. This is my knockoff of Jenna Adorno’s Hopeful (rav link) – with some obvious mods. I had actually emailed Jenna at the email address listed on some of her knitty patterns – I got an auto response “out of office” email … and then nothing.

I’m not going to write up a pattern, but I can give detailed notes on reverse engineering it for yourself.

The yarn is Blue Sky Alpacas Skinny Dyed Cotton. I got it back in February when it was brand new. Several swatches later, I had a fabric that I liked, and wasn’t going to kill my hands when I knit with it. I did some math – just a little. I knew I wanted negative ease because of the tendency of cotton to grow. So I have my bust measurement with -2 of ease. I don’t typically make my sweaters long enough that I need to deal with hip measurements, so I just provisionally cast on the of stitches for my bust.

So, I have a lot of stitches on a provisional cast on. Knit for an inch. Do a picot turning row – K2tog, YO. All the way around. Do another inch, then put the provisional cast on back on a needle, and knit one stitch from the provisional cast on with one stitch from the normal needle together. Makes for a nice, neat edge.

Waist shaping! I just did plain old faux side seam shaping (I had placed a marker for beginning of round and at the halfway around point). I knit about 1.5 inches (so it measured about 2.5 inches from the picot) before starting my decreases – an ssk before the marker, a k2tog after the marker. I spaced the decreases out by about an inch. After decreasing 4 times I knit about 2 inches straight. Then I started increasing, with M1L/M1R – about every 1.25 inches.

The spacing of your increases/decreases is totally up to you. In pictures I’ve seen of the Hopeful, it seems that the decreases were even above and below the waist. But if you have a long torso and you’re making more of a tunic style, you’ll want to make sure the long stretch at the “skinniest” part of the waist actually hits your waist.

For the sleeve cap, I actually had to knit the upper body twice. The armhole was a little too long the first time. So make sure you don’t make it too long. I more or less used Ann Budd’s Handy Book of Sweater Patterns for the numbers in terms of how many stitches to bind off/decrease to make the set it sleeve.

Then, I followed Barbara Walker’s Knitting From the Top (scroll down) directions on how to knit a sleeve cap from the top down. It looked pretty assy at first, but when I blocked it, I smoothed it out, and it looks fine now. Basically you figure the size of the finished arm (diameter), multiply that by your gauge, pick up stitches across the bind of portion (the armpit), subtract the number you picked up from the bind off, and evenly pick up the remaining number around the sleeve cap. Work about 2/3rds of the stitches, then work back and forth, picking up one stitch on each pass. (This is a bitch, by the way. I was using a 12″ circ – my hands cramped like crazy, but you have to pick up all the stitches, but then only work a portion – so a 24″ (and even 16″) will be too long. Magic looping it might work… otherwise, you could of course use double points). You can fudge it, and do a few increases/decreases to prevent puckering where you pick up your stitches.

(Sleeve cap: Not assy. Hair: still kind of assy. Spider on the yarn: super creepy!)

Top down picots on the sleeves — I just did a regular bind off, and then carefully sewed it down with some matching embroidery floss. It didn’t add any bulk.

The neckline was my OBVIOUS change. I was worried that I was running out of yarn (I’d already run out once, and ordered more from kpixie.com – who totally confirmed that they had my dyelot before sending my yarn. Love!) I’d worked a fairly wide V-neck (if I did it again – I’d make it less wide, and also less deep — I’d have probably worked another inch or so vertically before starting the neck shaping). Right, so I was worried about running out of yarn if I did the ribbing like Jenna. I figured with more picots, if I ran out I could do the backside in a different color or even a different yarn, and no one would know. I had enough for the picots, but I probably would have run out if I’d tried to do the dangly ties. Someday, I’ll do dangly ties on another top when I’m not running out of yarn.

On the neck picots, I used the working yarn to sew down the edge, sort of like if I were grafting the final stitches to their picked up counterparts. It didn’t add bulk, but it did add a headache, so if I were doing it again, I’d have just bound off and sewn down with the embroidery floss again.

I also would have done a double decrease right at the center of the V – it doesn’t waffle or pucker, but would sit flatter if I had. No biggie.

I have a new photographer, and she was being silly, so I was throwing yarn at her. Note the levitating pink yarn in the lower corner. The blue yarn made for a tasty, high fiber snack.

Overall, I like the sweater. And even though it grows a bit during the day, pop it in the dryer, it will shrink right back up! Just like a pair of jeans.

So I think I’ve hit all the main points – but if you have any questions, feel free to let me know!

Posted in fo, sweaters | 1 Comment »

Tell me what to do!

Posted by Amber on July 10, 2008

Crisis time here people!  I finished the body of Camellia about a week ago.  I finally got around to finishing the cap sleeves last night – I probably should have sewn the one I’d finished in place BEFORE I knit the second one, because I don’t know how I feel about them.

(hm, I should wash that mirror)

So straight on, it isn’t so bad.  Kind of short.  A little tank top-y.

It’s just kind of … eh.  Like, way to highlight the grandma arms, you know?

So – tell me what to do!

1 – Leave it.

2 – Knit the flutter sleeve (see again).  I’m worried – some of them on Ravelry look sort of big and flappy.

3 – Knit a normal sleeve, and add the leafy detail from the hem at the bottom.

Posted in camellia, sweaters | 2 Comments »

Many new things! (Picture heavy!)

Posted by Amber on July 1, 2008

So many new things to tell you about!

First off, last Tuesday while fretting about a Thursday doctor’s appointment, I ordered some shoes. On Wednesday when I got home:

However, I’m worried that my new shoes are too similar to some older shoes:

Slides are new; skimmer is old. Plus, I don’t think the slide really goes with my white skirt that I bought it to go with. However, I like them. Should I …

  1. return and get actual white shoes;
  2. keep and get actual white shoes;
  3. keep but don’t get more shoes, they look fine


On Saturday when I got to work at the Capitol Hill store for the 4th birthday party (and got to eat lots of cupcakes), Jessica stopped by and sold me some yarn she was destashing (apparently we got that backwards, with her selling me the yarn…):

Socks that Rock-Lightweight in Peaseblossom. See, I’m not totally not buying yarn for SOS’08.

Plus, tonight I got home and in my mailbox:

My order from Birds-n-Yarn! I ordered Friday, and Monday here it was! And with candy! You know how I love people that put candy in with my yarn!

Specifically I got:

Lorna’s Shepherd Sock – Grumperina; and:

Shepherd Sock – Raspberry Ice. Both of these colorways are only available through Birds-n-Yarn.

Don’t forget – tomorrow is July 1! That means Jimmy Bean’s will be putting up their special limited edition Lorna’s Laces colorway! And they also put candy in the package!

And finally, as proof that my hobby isn’t just collecting yarn:

A nearly finished Camellia! I have one sleeve cap to knit, and then sewing them into place (and the neckband). Well, a sleeve, some sewing, a neckband and …

Okay, so I need to block them hem, but do I really need to sew the side hem? I tried like 3 times to do this all seamlessly, but failed 3 times, and knit the lace part flat, then joined in the round (and subtracted a stitch on each side where there would have been a seam). But I sort of like the unseamed way. I know, I’m lazy. I’ll seam. I’ll whine about it, though!

Posted in new yarn, sweaters | 3 Comments »

FO: Labyrinth

Posted by Amber on June 16, 2008

Pattern: Labyrinth, by Wendy Bernard via Stitch Diva

Yarn: Be Sweet Bamboo (7 balls, with tons left over) for the main body.  Tilli Tomas Beaded Lace in “Equity” (Stitch DC exclusive) for the trim.  I held the Tilli Tomas double; haven’t weighed the remaining balls to see how much is left.  The bamboo was splitty – I had to pay lots of attention to it to make sure I caught all the strands – and it made my hands hurt, but I loved it anyway.  Everyone who sees it asks if it’s silk.  And the subtle handdyed nature of the Be Sweet really comes out in the finished fabric.  It looks solid in the ball, and it doesn’t look variegated or anything.  It’s just a nice subtle reminder that the yarn was dyed by a person, and not a machine.


  • Changed gauge from 5 stitches per inch to 5.5 spi.
  • Since it’s top down raglan construction, I increased the size to 38″ – about -2″ of ease.  As written, I could have had either exactly 40″ or 36″.  I thought -4″ would be too tight; but 0 would be too loose.
  • Used M1 increases instead of KFB on the raglan.
  • I didn’t do any ballooning on the sleeves.  From the pictures with the pattern, I thought only the long sleeve version had ballooning.  It worked out perfectly – I had 77 stitches around — perfect for the 11 stitch ripple repeat).
  • Moved the shaping to the side “seam” (it’s seamless, so not really a seam, but you get what I mean, right?) instead of having it under the bust.

Suggested Mods: The only thing I would have done differently would be the ripple stitch:  I followed the pattern exactly:

But instead of doing two KF&B twice; I think (although I haven’t test knit this yet to see if it’s the right sub) it would work better and look nicer to sub: K2tog, K3, M1L, K1, M1R, K3, SSK.  More symmetric and a little cleaner.  (But then, I always prefer M1L/M1R to KF&B.

I also made it a touch shorter than I usually knit my sweaters – only 14″ from the underarm to hem.  I think this might be the first time I’m hoping it stretches a bit under it’s own weight!  But it’s still fine — I always wear camisoles under my handknits.

In all – I’m a big fan of this sweater.  It’s been a while since I managed to knit a sweater I like (aka, that I haven’t screwed up and needed to rip back) – so I’m thrilled to get to wear this one out.

Posted in fo, labyrinth, sweaters | 4 Comments »

Not surprisingly: I underestimated yardage needed

Posted by Amber on May 29, 2008

I was so close to finishing my Labyrinth with 6 balls of Be Sweet Bamboo. I had to tap into ball 7 for a mere FIVE rows.

Here’s hoping I don’t have this problem with the contrast yarn (Tilli Tomas beaded silk). One inch-ish of ribbing to go around the neckline.

Posted in labyrinth, sweaters | 2 Comments »

Have you seen…

Posted by Amber on April 5, 2008

Camellia by Kate Gilbert?

I think I’d probably leave off the ribbon ties, and maybe make the sleeves ever so slightly longer, but I really like it.  And now the real problem: WHAT COLOR??

Posted in new yarn, sweaters | 3 Comments »

All the interesting parts are done

Posted by Amber on February 24, 2008

I finished off the neckline today, and now all the interesting parts of my Vintage Pink (Raspberry) Cardigan [ravelry][interweave – buy the pdf!] are done.   I finished one sleeve and the back last week, and now I have one more front side and one more sleeve to go.  All ribbed cuffs and stockinette, all the time.

Posted in sweaters, vintage cardi | 1 Comment »