Madigan, Revised

When we last we spoke of my Madigan pullover, I was thoroughly disappointed with how the sweater had turned out. I just didn’t like the way that it looked on me, primarily because I wasn’t a fan of the cap sleeves.

Madigan

As I kept looking at the photos of the sweater, I realized there were other, less obvious aspects of the sweater that I didn’t like. I hated the welted detail at the hip and it seemed a touch too long through the body. Add in the cap sleeves, which required a longer-sleeved tee underneath, and the one feature of the pullover that I really liked–the welted cowl neck–was getting kind of lost in the visual shuffle.

Madigan Pullover

When I initially finished this sweater, I was ready to just rip the whole thing out, but some encouraging blog comments got me to slow down and think about how I could save it. My friend Abby suggested 3/4 sleeves, which I decided to go ahead and add. I also ripped out the welted hem and replaced it with 2″ of 2×2 ribbing, shortening the body of the sweater by ~1″. The ribbing also eliminates the weird rippling I was previously getting around the bottom of the welted hem.

img_7443_medium2

The end result is more wearable because it doesn’t require any creative layering. But even more than that, the revised sweater is a more streamlined look that puts all of the focus on the cowl neck–I’ve basically eliminated anything that was previously a visual distraction from the cowl. People talk a lot about the importance of proportions, which I always find difficult to understand, but I think the new version of the sweater works because of the issue of proportions. The length of the sleeves and the slightly shorter length just look better on my body.

madigan before and after

Anyway, I’m really happy with how this sweater ultimately turned out and even happier that I didn’t just ditch the whole project. The changes were really easy to make since the sweater is knit top-down in the round. I think it took me four or five evenings to add the sleeves and the ribbing. That’s not very much time at all to take a project from being a loser to being one of the best pullovers I’ve made!

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Grandpa Cardigan

Finally! Finished pics of the Grandpa cardigan. I started knitting this in August as part of a knit-along with my friend, Abby. I’m pretty worn out on lightweight, fitted cardigans, but I’m really liking heavier-weight cardigans that almost more like jackets. I made the Girl Friday cardigan a few years ago, which is pretty similar in style, and I’ve been wearing it a lot over the last year. So I think the Grandpa cardigan will fit into my closet nicely. I used Cascade 220 in Atlantic. The pattern calls for a DK weight yarn, but I like the way this knit up in a worsted weight. The fabric isn’t too dense and the cables have great definition.

Before I get into detailing all of my fit modifications, I just want to say that this is a really excellent pattern. This sweater can be a bit challenging–there are a lot of different details to manage at once–but I think the pattern in written in such a way that makes tackling everything that you need to do as clear and as manageable as possible. As long as you’re keeping track of the numbers and charts that are relevant to your size, I think it’s pretty easy to stay on top of where you need to be.

I think this pattern also has some really great design details. I like that the cable pattern is specific to each size and that the ribbing on the collar, sleeves, and hem is all finished with a tubular bind-off. I don’t think I’ve used a tubular bind-off before, and even though it’s a bit to work around the length of the collar, the result is really nice. (I found this tutorial from Interweave especially helpful when I was working the bind off.) I’ve also previously tried a pattern with a seamless, set-in sleeve like this pattern uses and ended up with a sleeve that looked really weird and baggy. I’ve seen other people get similar results with this construction method so I was a bit hesitant, but I think the sleeves on this cardigan look really good and have yet to see another project where someone had something funky going on with their sleeves.

My upper torso, full bust, and hip measurements all fall into three different sizes, which I usually manage with bust darts and a lot of waist shaping using methods that wouldn’t work with this particular pattern. To work around this, I started with the 42-44” size for the upper torso, and then added extra stitches for the bust by following the neckline instructions for the largest size. This made the sweater ~46” around the fullest part of my bust. Then I added more room at the hip by working 4 extra sets of increases at the waist shaping.

The armscye seemed a bit shallow to me, so I added 1/2” before starting the armhole shaping. I made the sleeves 2” shorter than the pattern called for and added a couple of extra buttons. After I finished the sweater at the end of the September, I realized it was looking a bit short and hitting me at kind of a weird place. So I ripped out the collar and button band and ripped out the ribbing at the bottom so that I could add another 2” of length in the body. I’m much happier with the longer length—I think it works well with the style of the sweater.

Adding the extra length used up the extra ball of “just in case” yarn I ordered for this project. If I hadn’t used it to lengthen the body, I probably would have gone back and made the button band significantly wider. The shawl collar is a bit shallow and sometimes wants to flip up, but I could also use a little bit of extra width on the body. The cables pull in enough that make this feel pretty snug even though it’s knit to the measurements I typically knit to. The pattern recommends 1-2” of ease, which I ignored because I typically knit sweaters with zero ease or just a bit of negative ease, but I wish I had added more ease through the body to counteract the behavior of the cables. If I were to knit this again, I’d also lower the back neckline by about an inch.

Making this pattern was the most fun I’ve had knitting in quite awhile. I highly recommend it, and I’m looking forward to trying more Joji Locatelli patterns in the future. There’s really a glut of knitting patterns available right now, but I Joji is one of the designers that always stands out to me (Ysolda Teague and all of the regular contributors to Brooklyn Tweed tend to be my other favorites). Not everything she designs is something I would wear, but I really appreciate the originality of her work and the fact that she’s coming up with more challenging designs that make use of a variety of construction methods and techniques. Maybe I’ll have to try Even Flow next?

Basic Socks and a Wee Liesl

After I finished my Grandpa cardigan (which I still haven’t photographed yet, but which has been blocked and now has buttons and has been on my back every couple of days since then), I was feeling the need for some quick and mindless knitting. I started by finishing up two small projects that I’d had laying around for awhile. The first finished project was another pair of socks for Aidan. There isn’t much to say about these since they are pretty much the same as every other pair of socks I make for him—top down in 2×2 rib worked over 72 sts on US size 1 needles. This yarn is Regia 4 Ply Terra in the Anthracite colorway. I think this is something like the 12th or 13th pair of socks I’ve made for Aidan over the last seven years, and only one pair has bit the dust so far.

Anthracite Socks

The second finished project was a little cardigan that I started making at some point last spring when I was in the middle of a knitting funk. I had just finished up my Blank Canvas sweater, and I didn’t have a project that I felt inspired to work on but my hands felt restless. When I saw the pattern pop up on Ravelry, I thought: that purple yarn that I never know what to do with would be perfect for this. And so , even though I didn’t have a recipient in mind and didn’t even know anyone with an infant- to toddler-sized girl, I cast on. I managed to get about 3/4 of the way through the body of the sweater before I finally thought, “What the hell am I going to do with this sweater?”, shoved it in the back of my knitting bin, forgot about it, and settled back into my knitting funk.

Wee Liesl Cardigan

The pattern is Ysolda Teague’s Wee Liesl and the yarn is Serenity Sock in violet. The pink buttons were the only appropriate button choice I had on hand, so I decided to just embrace the super-princess look. I knit the 18-24 months size to use up the maximum amount of yarn. This was a fun and frivolous knitting project and the result is pretty cute. If I were a toddler, I would probably style this cardigan with rainbow striped leggings and heart-shaped sunglasses. In the time between me setting this cardigan aside and then finally finishing it, a friend actually had a little girl, and so this cardigan will now be going to my new little friend Yusra (who was also the recipient of the Pomander cardigan). She probably won’t fit into it for another year, but I’m sure she will look very cute in it when she does.

After finishing up the socks and cardigan, I was on a roll and managed to knit up a cowl and two hats in the span of a week. Now I’m in the middle of a fingering-weight pullover that I’m knitting. For a mostly sweater knit almost entirely in stockinette at about 8 stitches per inch, it’s going surprisingly fast. I’m still trying to plug along with sewing, but honestly, I have a lot on my plate right now and knitting is my comfort craft. So if I post a lot more about knitting than I do about sewing, it’s just because my hands and my brain are going with what they know best!

Pomander Cardigan

Right now, I have several knitting projects in the works at once, which is unusual for me since I generally prefer to focus on one thing at a time. It also means that I’ve been doing a lot of knitting but haven’t managed to finish much. My most recent finish is this little baby sweater I made for a friend in my doctoral program last month.

Pomander Cardigan

This is the Pomander Cardigan pattern, which I knit up in Valley Yarns Huntington in the Sea Gull colorway (you can find all the knitterly details on Ravelry). This is a light-weight circular-yoke cardigan with a cabled yoke and an i-cord finish at the neckline, and the pattern comes in sizes 3 mos – 18 mos.  You work the body of the sweater from the bottom up, using a provisional cast-on for the sleeves at the start of the yoke shaping. Then, once the body is complete, you undo the provisional cast-on and knit the sleeves from the top-down. I’ve never made a sweater with this construction method before, so it was an interesting knit.

Pomander Cardigan yoke closeup

Overall, I really like this pattern—I’m not a huge fan of the wide button band, but I love the way the cable detail works at the neckline. I made the 9 mos size and am crossing my fingers that it will be just the right size to see a late-summer baby through most of Central New York’s lengthy sweater season.  I didn’t make any significant changes aside from working one-row buttonholes instead of the yarn-over buttonholes called for in the pattern. I seriously dislike yarn-over buttonholes. Yes, they are easy to make. But I think they can also look kind of sloppy and can be difficult to locate when you’re actually trying to button a sweater up—especially in a fingering-weight baby sweater.

Pomander Cardigan back view

All in all, it was a fun little knit and a well-received gift. I know some people balk at the idea of knitting sweaters for babies and toddlers since they grow so quickly, ooze various kinds of bodily fluids, and are generally sort of messy. But in my experience, a simple sweater in an easy-care yarn gets a lot of love, especially given how quick they are to make.

Regia 4 Ply Terra in Silver and Denim

Sock in Regia 4 Ply Terra Anthracite

As for my other in-progress knitting projects, my Grandpa cardigan is still on hold while I do the finishing for my Apres Surf Hoodie (and there is basically a metric crap ton of finishing for this pattern). Thanks to all of that tedious finishing work in front of my and a particularly stressful week, I ended up impulse buying 3 balls of discontinued Regia 4-Ply at 50% from Webs. I’ve already cast on for a simple pair of socks for Aidan in the Anthracite colorway. I’m glad to have some mindless knitting at the ready, and I’m also seriously doubting that I will manage to finish the Apres Surf Hoodie while it’s still seasonally appropriate to wear. So it goes. Knitting adheres to it’s own timetable!

Sewing for Knitting, 3rd Edition: Pleated Tote Bag

I’ve been doing some more meta-crafting, as Aidan calls it, and sewed up a larger knitting project bag. It has taken me ten years to appreciate the purpose of a project bag. Sure, it keeps all of the stuff that you need for your project together, but more importantly–and this is the part I wish I had realized sooner–it protects your knitting from the constant onslaught of cat hair that is an inevitable part of life in a multi-feline home.

Pleated Tote Knitting Project Bag

This is the Pleated Tote Bag from The Long Thread, which is a free tutorial with very clear and easy to follow instructions. It’s a fully lined tote bag that is about 17″ wide at the bottom, 13″ wide at the top, and about 15″ tall. It’s the perfect size to hold a sweater-sized knitting project.

Close up the pleat detail on pleated tote bag

The outer and lining fabrics are both from JoAnn’s. I walked into the store without a clear sense of what I was looking for, but I must have been feeling inspired by the ’70s, because this is the only fabric that jumped out at me. When the woman at the cutting table asked me what I was making and when I told her I was planning to make a knitting bag, she said: “Well, it’s not your grandma’s knitting bag, is it?” But I suppose it depends on how tacky your grandma is.

Whatever. It is bright, it makes me happy, and it’s very unlikely that I will misplace my knitting.

Pleated Tote Lining close-up

I followed the tutorial instructions closely, with the exception of the top-stitching. The tutorial suggests two rows of top-stitching at the top and on the handles, but I was feeling lazy and only did one. (Although, I’m pretty sure that the tutorial samples also show only a single row of top-stitiching.) The outer fabric is all stabilized with fusible fleece, and the thickness of the fleece made folding the pleats evenly a bit tricky. The only other challenging part was top stitching the handles–I found that one of the handles wanted to twist while it was being sewn shut. I’m wondering if maybe I pressed the troublesome handle a little off grain and maybe that’s what caused the problem? Still, everything turned out fine in the end.

Grandpa Cardigan progress shot

This pleated tote is currently holding my in-progress Grandpa Cardigan, which I am knitting along with a friend. I’m using Cascade 220 in Atlantic, which is a much more attractive color than it appears to be in the above progress shot (kind of a light navy blue). Grandpa is a bit of a tricky pattern, but I’m enjoying the challenge and have to keep tearing myself away from it so that I can do, you know, actual work. I also told myself that I was going to put it aside once I finished the neckline shaping so that I could finish up my Apres Surf Hoodie, but I am weak-willed and just ended up knitting my through another ball of yarn. I can’t wait until this one is finished–it’s going to see a lot of wear this fall and winter.

There are more knitterly details about my sweater progress on Ravelry if that’s the kind of thing you’re interested in.

Sewing for Knitting, Round Two: Small Project Bag

I haven’t had a lot of sewing motivation lately, which I blame on summer. I’ve seen a few other bloggers explain that their motivation to sew or blog has slowed over summer because they want to take advantage of the nice weather and romp around outside. I need to be very clear: I am not one of these bloggers. I am like a shade plant that wilts and burns and shrivels up in direct sunlight and extreme heat. I am truly a winter soul and summer weather has a way of zapping me of all of my creative energy.

Temporary sewing space

Anyway. Aidan is spending the next six weeks at a ridiculously long work-related training program and while I get to visit him on the weekends, his absence has left me with a lot of empty time in the evenings to sit on my hands and feel sorry for myself. Rather than indulge that self-destructive urge, I rearranged our dining nook into a temporary sewing space so that I can sew while the TV keeps me company. It might not be enough to keep me sewing on the really hot and humid days, but it’s enough to get me excited about sewing again.

Pac Man Knitting Project Bag

To break in my new space, I spent an evening making a small, sock-sized knitting project bag using various leftover scraps of fabric. The Pac-Man inspired fabric is leftover from a pair of pajama shorts I made for Aidan to take on his trip. I ordered it from Hart’s and but it says they are out of stock now.

Project Bag Lining

I used this free tutorial from Very Shannon for a basic flat-bottom drawstring bag that is lined in a way that effectively makes the bag reversible. It was really easy to make. I read through the instructions once or twice before I started, and then was basically able to construct the entire bag without needing to refer back to the tutorial.

Project bag drawstring casing close up

The tutorial has you construct a casing for the drawstring that seems a little non-traditional that basically leaves a 2” opening at the top of the casing for the end of the drawstring. I’d prefer the look of a more traditional drawstring casing, and if I were making a project bag for someone else, I’d probably go to the trouble to make one. But as is, the drawstring is perfectly functional and eliminated all of the more tedious parts of making a casing so it really was very simple and very quick to make.

Knitting Project Bag

All in all, this was a very satisfying little project. And now, back to making some clothes!

Beach Robes

I’ve been sewing for small people! I made up some beach robes for our nephew and our godson–both boys are 3, and I’m sure they’ll both be eager to do a lot of swimming this summer.

Beach Robes via sweetalchemy.wordpress.com

I’m not sure what possessed me to take on this project, other than that these are pretty cute and they seem useful. In my experience, little kids will play in the water until they are shivering and their lips are blue, but that doesn’t mean you can get them to sit still wrapped up in a towel long enough to really warm up. Plus, a lot of parents have made these and like them so that seems like a good sign. After planning out this project and gathering all of my supplies, I actually started to get kind of intimidated by the idea of sewing these robes. I was a little nervous about sewing terrycloth and even more nervous about all of the bias binding these robes require. For whatever reason, I was also imagining that it would take me weeks of work to get these done. But I was pleasantly surprised to find that they were not difficult and that they come together a lot more quickly than I had anticipated.

Beach Robe via sweetalchemy.wordpress.com

This is the Beach Robe pattern from MADE, which is a PDF pattern. It comes in three different sizes that seem like they’ll fit most kids in the infant-to-kindergartener crowd and has several different design options: short or long sleeves, lined or unlined hood, and full or partial ties. The robe itself is just a handful of pattern pieces that are very simple to sew together, and then the whole shebang is bound in bias tape for a punchy little contrast finish. The purple robe is the Large (4T+) size and is cut from two 30×54” towels from Kohl’s (they were called BIG towels—I think it’s a store brand?). The red robe is the Medium (18mos-3T) size and is cut from two 30×54” quick dry towels from Target. For each robe, I used 3 packages of pre-made bias tape to bind the edges of both robes and used 1/2 yard of fabric from the nursery print section of JoAnn’s for the hood linings.

Beach Robe Hood Close Up via sweetalchemy.wordpress.com

Like I said–these are pretty simple to sew and the pattern has very clear instructions. But here are a couple of additional tips for tackling this project:

  • If you use two towels lay them both out at once and map out the layout for all your pattern pieces before you start cutting. This will reduce the likelihood that you A) screw up the nap from one towel to the next and B) forget to cut out the hood piece and find yourself having to piece the hood together from scraps. Not that I have firsthand experience, or anything…
  • Use a heavyweight needle. I used a 110/18 needle, which I worried would be overkill, but it made it easy to power through the bulky seams.
  • Also use a longer stitch length. I set my stitch length to 3mm.

Beach Robe via sweetalchemy.wordpress.com

  • Unless you are a Level 4 Bias Binding Wizard, consider attaching the binding in two steps, as outlined in this tutorial. The pattern tells you to just sandwich the fabric edge between the binding folds and sew it on in one pass, but a lot of people who have made this commented on the difficulty of getting the binding evenly attached using this method. Attaching it in two steps requires a second pass through the sewing machine, but it’s a trade off for the various heartaches and anxieties  and messiness that can result from trying to cut a corner. Given that each one of these robes required about 8 yards of binding, I say go with the method that’s more of a sure bet.
  • Accept that the ends of the ties are going to look a little f’d. That’s a tight corner to get your binding around. Remember that it is for a small child to wear to the pool/beach and that no one really cares. (I’m mostly consoling myself with this tip.)

Beach robe hood close up via sweetalchemy.wordpress.com

  • Attach the sleeves flat. Dana included an update about using this method in this blog post. As drafted, the sleeves fit into the armscye nicely if you set them in as described in the pattern. However, they are tiny child’s armholes that can be a bit of a struggle to sew around depending on the size of your sewing machine’s free arm.
  • Consider top-stitching the seam allowances to one side after you finish them. You might not be able to top-stitch the sleeve seams if you do the long-sleeved version, but it’s worth doing where you can. It helps to manage the bulk of the seams. Plus, if you don’t have a serger to finish the seams, it adds another level of anti-fray protection on top of zigzagging the seam allowances and helps give the inside a clean finish.

My finished seams (zigzagged and top-stitched). Looking pretty clean inside!

I had a lot of fun sewing these. My stitching is far from perfect but these turned out so cute, I don’t care. When Aidan asked our godson how he felt about his robe, he shrugged his shoulders and said, “It looks all right.” I’m counting that as a win.

Beach Robes via sweetalchemy.wordpress.com

 

Long-Term Wearability Report

I haven’t been participating in Me-Made-May (my limited handmade wardrobe is as much a disincentive as the thought of taking pictures of myself everyday), but I have been following the various Me-Made-May hashtags on Instagram and was inspired to reflect a bit on the garments I’ve made so far this year. The enthusiasm that comes with having finished a new piece of clothing doesn’t always last beyond the first wear and blog photos can’t always capture how well a piece fits or how well it wears once you get into the business of daily life. So here are some brief thoughts about how well the things I’ve made in the first part of 2014 are working out for me. And since I was deep in grading mode when I started drafting this post, I’ve even given each item a score for overall wearability out of 5 points. Teachers know how to make everything fun!

Knitting:

Squared Cardigan – 3/5: I like this cardigan but it’s low neckline limits what I can wear with it. It looks best closed and I like it with a collared shirt, but that gives me few styling options so I only wear it every once in awhile.

Audrey Cardigan – 2/5: I’ve worn this a few times, but I don’t feel good wearing it. It’s just a smidge too big—not enough to make it unwearable, but big enough that I feel a little dowdy in it. I need to make a decision about what to do with this one. I either want to rip it out and make something new or try some sweater surgery to bring it in at the sides. Right now, I’m leaning towards the latter.

 

Blank Canvas – 4/5: I love the way this pullover fits, and I like having a basic pullover sweater in my closet. It’s very comfortable and easy to wear, and I would totally knit this pattern again. My only complaint about this particular sweater is the color. I think I like this shade of blue more in the world than I like it on me.

 

Sewing:

Kwik Sew T-Shirt – 1/5: I only wear this around the house, and even then I only wear it when all of my other lounge-type shirts are dirty. It has lots of problems ranging from a neckline that doesn’t lay flat to really crappy hems and I just don’t love the pattern. Plus, I hate the fabric. The silver lining with this project is that it’s made me a lot more discerning in my knit fabric choices–I’ve had much better luck since I started avoiding polyester-blend jerseys.

Gray M6844 Cardigan – 4/5: The sleeves on this were a bit too long and the hems were rather inelastic. I ended up cutting off the existing sleeve hem, turning the sleeves up by 5/8” and re-hemming the sleeves using a narrow zig-zag. This quick alteration has significantly improved the wearability of this cardigan since it feels a little less sloppy with the shortened sleeve length and since I can easily push the sleeves up (something I do a lot with my clothes). Overall, this is very comfortable and very easy to wear. The polyester content in the fabric makes it warmer than I expected from such a light-weight knit and the fabric is starting to pill, but I really like this style and will definitely be making this pattern again in the fall.

 

Day-to-Night Drape Top – 4/5: I ended up not liking the hem bands I used on this shirt, and I still think that the elastic across the back neckline is too short and the shoulders too narrow, so I feel a bit self-conscious about how the shirt lays across my shoulders.  But I still wear it quite a bit since I love the color of the fabric. I also like that this is basically just a T-shirt, but makes me feel more put-together.

 

Underwear – 5/5: I absolutely love these. I’d wear my handmade underwear everyday if I had enough to get me through from laundry day to laundry day, and I have plans for a few more pairs to help me reach that goal. I’m especially pleased with the way that the enclosed gusset is working out. Overall, I prefer the pairs that have some spandex content in them, since they have better recovery throughout the day. The ones without spandex are comfortable, but they do tend to stretch out as the day goes on.

 

Gray Birgitte Long-Sleeve Tee – 4.5/5: I love this shirt so much I have very little to say about it. I do wish that I had slimmed the sleeves a bit, but otherwise it’s nearly perfect. I’ve already finished a short-sleeve version of this pattern and have another in progress.

 

Black and White Chevron camisole – 3.5/5: I’m struck by how comfortable this is, probably because every other camisole I’ve owned in my life has felt a bit like a sausage casing. The next time around, I’ll use the plush side of the fold-over elastic since I’m finding the shiny side a little itchy. This is another piece that is limited by the fact that I have very little to wear with it. I’ll probably end up making a few more of these in more basic colors to wear with cardigans.

 

So that’s the run-down so far. All in all, I’m pleased with the things that I’ve managed to make so far this year, and I end up wearing something that I’ve made almost everyday. It’s a good feeling and a great motivator to keep sewing.

Outside of challenges like Me-Made-May, how often do you wear your handmade garments?

Vogue 8951: Return of the Black Hoodie

Continuing my trend of impossible-to-photograph projects, I’ve finished my May MAGAM project—a black hooded pullover with a contrast hood lining. I know hoods aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I love them. When I was a broody, angry teenager, I wore a black hoodie almost every day. I wouldn’t describe myself as angry or brooding anymore, but there is still something comforting about having a piece of clothing that reminds me of a younger me. Now that the semester is over and it’s just me and my dissertation hanging out all day long, I feel like this hoodie is helping me channel some of my adolescent moxie.

Vogue 8951

To make this, I used Vogue 8951, view B, which has a lined hood and a kangaroo pocket. The main fabric is a medium-weight cotton interlock and the hood lining is a lighter-weight cotton/Spandex jersey blend, both purchased from Fabric.com. The pattern has a self-lined hood, so adding a contrast lining is just a matter of cutting the lining pieces from a different fabric rather than from the main fabric. This is the first time I’ve worked with an interlock and I can see why people recommend it for those new to sewing with knits—it definitely behaves more like a woven than a less stable knit, making it not only easy to sew, but easy to cut as well. I started with a size XL at the shoulder and graded out to the XXL at the armscye. In addition to adding the constrast hood lining, I removed the weird extra flap of fabric at the back hem and folded out 1” of length at the hip. I also narrowed the shoulder 3/8” and should have narrowed it even more.

Vogue 8951

This is an easy pattern, but it still stretched my newbie sewing skills. This was the first time I’ve attached a pocket to anything, worked with facings, worked a buttonhole, done a split hem, or done any significant amount of top-stitching on a garment. Thankfully, the pattern instructions were pretty clear and easy-to-follow. I got tripped up trying to figure out the weird pocket origami, but I think that was mostly reader-error. Otherwise, I took my time and kept my seam ripper close by, and things turned out pretty well in the end.

Vogue 8951

I’d like to make a less loungey version of this pattern in the future, especially since I really like the hood and the split neck with this pattern. All of the other versions of this pattern I’ve seen have been made up in a sweater knit, and I think I’d get a lot of wear out of a sweater-knit hooded pullover. When I make it again, I would cut a straight XL and do an FBA to get a more fitted look through the bust. I’d also narrow the shoulder a bit more and take out some of the excess width from the upper back. I’d also like the sleeves to be a bit more narrow.

Vogue 8951 Hood Detail

I have a couple of heavier, slouchy cardigans that I wear around the house all the time during winter but I wanted something lighter weight for spring. And I think Aidan wanted me to stop wearing his hoodies. Given this goal, I’m really happy with how this turned out. The fit is relaxed and very comfortable, the fabric is just the right weight for cooler spring days, and the hood is useful for hiding from the world when the writing is especially trying.

If you’ve got any tips about successfully photographing a black garment that don’t involve washed out, over-exposed photos, I’m eager to hear them!

Magine

I finished this project a long time ago—sometime last summer. But I let it sit on a shelf for ten months before I finally got around to blocking the damn thing. To put that into perspective for you, between the moment I bound off the final stitches and the moment I put the scarf into a bath of warm water, I could have created an entire human being.

So what took me so long? Pins. As in, I knew I would need to stretch and pin the lace pattern during blocking and that seemed like enough of a PITA to keep me from getting around to it. So it goes.

The pattern is Magine from Ambah O’Brien, and it’s a shaped scarf  that is widest at the middle and tapers to a point at each end. The pattern has two different sizes, a “small” size that makes a more traditional scarf size and a “large” size that is wider, more along the lines of a wrap. My finished scarf (which probably stretched out a wee bit too much but I was being sort of quick/lazy about blocking) ended up being about 9″ wide at it’s deepest point and about 90″ long. This was a quick and fun pattern to knit (from what I can remember), and my only complaint about it at the time I did the actual knitting was that it wasn’t charted. I find it a lot easier to follow charted lace and cable patterns and it took me awhile to get into the groove of reading the lace pattern as it was written out, line by line. But, wouldn’t you know, in the eternity that has elapsed since I finished this, the pattern has been updated to include charts!

The yarn I used is Dream in Color Smooshy in Lost in Plum. It’s a springy yarn with good stitch definition and great color saturation. I’m always looking for yarn in this particular shade of purple, but I feel like it’s hard to find. I have another scarf made out of Smooshy and it wears really well—it’s comfortable to wear against the skin, but not so soft that it pills up immediately. Unfortunately, this yarn turned out to be really difficult to photograph. The photo below is really the most accurate indication of the color.

Now I’ve finished this scarf at the tail-end of this year’s unusually long scarf season so I probably won’t get to wear this for a few months. Knitting sometimes has it’s own timeline. I also have another scarf that I finished around the same time but haven’t blocked yet. It’s the Windward scarf from Heidi Kirrmaier knit up in a solid light gray. I like the pattern and the yarn is soft, but I’ve realized I don’t want a light gray scarf. It might be different if the yarn were more silver-ish, but it’s not—it has a bit of a warm undertone to it that just doesn’t look good wrapped around my neck. I thought about ripping it out and using the yarn for something else but I like the pattern so I’m thinking of dyeing it. Anyone have any experience over-dyeing something? The yarn is a merino/nylon superwash blend, and I was thinking I might try to dye it blue. I’ll take any tips you’ve got!