Mireille

This sweater was almost a year in the making—I started it on June 1st last year, and finally bound off the neckline on May 23rd. This was a project that I worked on in fits and starts, knitting steadily on it for a good bit and then laying it aside for long enough for me to forget where I was or what my plans were. I made the knitting unnecessarily confusing for myself by not taking any notes as I was progressing through the pattern. I at least had the sense to get this finished up before having a baby. If I had tried to pick this up in the fall or winter while balancing an infant, I knew the sweater would be a lost cause.

Mireille Pullover

This is the Mireille pullover from The Shetland Trader (Gudrun Johnston). This is the third Gudrun Johnston pattern I’ve made—I’ve previously made Audrey in Unst and Little Wave—and I really enjoy her work. Her sweater patterns have such great attention to detail and thoughtful construction methods that I really feel like I learn something new from each piece. With its loose fit and dropped shoulders, the design lines of this sweater are unusual for me. But I’ve had some success with a few boxier and oversized sewing patterns. Plus, I started knitting this at a point in time when my measurements were in flux and trying to knit something more fitted would have been kind of pointless.

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I ended up knitting the 48.5” bust size—my bust measurement was ~43” when I started and has more recently been ~41”, so I’m looking at wearing this piece with 5-7 inches of ease at the bust. The pattern calls for holding two different yarns together, which I didn’t want to mess around with. Instead, I substituted Berroco Ultra Alpaca in Charcoal, which worked well in terms of matching the pattern gauge and getting enough drape for the style.

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I pretty much followed the pattern instructions exactly. I swapped the cable called for in the pattern with a simple rope cable (when I was swatching, I just couldn’t get the charted cable to look neat enough for my liking) and changed the rate of decrease for the sleeves to get the right length, but I didn’t make any modifications otherwise. That makes it seem like knitting this piece was pretty straightforward, but it wasn’t. I actually attempted several different pattern modifications like adding width at the hip, adjusting the length of the body to account for the growth that my swatch showed, and widening the sleeves a bit based on my measurements. These are all pretty typical sweater alterations for me, and they all turned out to be completely unnecessary. Indeed, a big part of the reason that I kept picking this sweater up and then putting it down again was because I needed to rip out so much of the work that I had just completed and I kept getting frustrating.

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The failure of my attempted modifications had nothing to do with the pattern. A small part of it was simply that my gauge swatch lied to me—when I blocked the body to check the length, for instance, it turned out that the piece simply didn’t grow like my swatch had so my length adjustments were for naught. My changing measurements caused another set of issues since fit adjustments that I had planned out when beginning the piece ended up being unnecessary six months later. But I think the biggest factor was simply that this is the first time I’ve knit a loose-fitting sweater like this, and I was just at a loss for being able to visualize how the schematic measurement would or would not work for my body.

Mireille Pullover stitch detail

I really love the texture of this design, as well as the shaped shoulder, and I’m hoping this sees frequent wear in the winter. I’m going to have to wait until then to post modeled shots and really evaluate the fit, however. I can easily get the sweater on, but all I can see is how obviously wrong the fit is for my current (pregnant) body, which makes me feel frustrated with the sweater. Better to stash it away for a good bit, and evaluate the fit at a more appropriate time. Until then, I’m just glad this piece is no longer hogging space in my project basket.

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Baby Knits, Part 1

I love baby knits. They are fast and cute and help use up those random skeins of yarn leftover from bigger projects. Knitting for my own baby is all the more fun since I know that I will be one of the primary beneficiaries of all the wooly baby snuggles. These are just my first few finished baby projects—there are more in the works.

Linus Security Blanket

This is the first baby knit I started. I ordered the yarn just after we moved into our new house in January and knit on the blanket slowly when I had the energy during my first trimester. The pattern (available here) works well for knitting while exhausted because it is a very simple repeat. The yarn is Berroco Weekend in Mallard, which is hard to photograph but is a deep blue-green color. The first picture is a truer representation of  the actual color than the second. I’ve previously used Berroco Weekend DK for some gifted baby sweaters I made a couple of years ago and am really impressed by how well the yarn has held up to washing and wearing, so I figured it would be a good choice for a blanket.

Linus Security Blanket

I sometimes have the idea that I should knit an afghan for our living room. But this project was an excellent reminder of why that is a terrible idea. Knitting a blanket is SO BORING. I think of myself as having a fairly high tolerance for boring knitting, which I demonstrate in my willingness to knit lots of basic, vanilla socks and sweaters that are primarily just stockinette stitch. But there’s no shape or variation in a blanket—it’s just a giant gauge swatch that feels like it goes on forever. Now that I think of it, I generally have a very low tolerance for square- and rectangle-shaped projects since I also hate knitting basic scarves and dishcloths.

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Don’t get me wrong: I’m very glad that I knit this blanket, I love the finished product, and I am very much looking forward to wrapping my baby up in it. But unless I forget about what a slog this project felt like (a distinct possibility given the sleep deprivation I’m inviting into my life), I don’t see myself jumping to take on another blanket project unless I have a second baby. And even then, I think I’d be better off making something like a Pinwheel blanket in a variegated yarn to keep myself interested.

Wee Envelope

This little pullover pattern from Ysolda Teague is a fun knit because of its interesting construction. It’s a seamless knit that starts by knitting from the cuff of one sleeve, through the garter stitch yoke, down to the cuff of the second sleeve, and then you pick up and knit the stitches for the body. I knit the 3-6 mos size up using 2 skeins of Cascade 220 Superwash Sport in Moss that I received as a gift from Aidan’s sister and her wife a couple of years ago.

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This should have been a very quick knit, but I ran out of yarn about 1.5” short of the necessary length for the body and had to rip the entire thing out and make some adjustments. I realized in the process that my row gauge in stockinette was off, resulting in sleeves that were way too long. So I saved a bit of yarn by working the sleeve shaping rows more frequently. I then reduced the width of the yoke by cutting out a single garter ridge from both the front and the back, and then picked up 4 fewer stitches for the body. Although the body is a bit narrower than the schematic measurements, I still think it’s plenty wide for a 3-6 mos size garment, and making those adjustments gave me enough yarn to get a decent length in the body.

Wee Envelope Sweater

My real concern with the fit of this particular pattern is that the armscye doesn’t seem deep enough for this style. I’ve read before that with a basic drop sleeve (which is more or less what this style is replicating), you need a deeper armscye and wider sleeve to allow for greater movement. This, however, has a narrower sleeve that looks like it will be a lot more fitted. Of course, when this actually fits, it’s not like the baby is going to be mobile or engaging in active play that requires a large range of motion, so maybe it won’t be a problem at all? We’ll see.

Tokyo Hoodie

This little pullover was truly a fast knit (I think it only took me two days?), was completely drama free, and is possibly one of the cutest things I’ve made to date. I can’t wait to see this on a little squish. I knit the 6 mos size using ~1.5 balls of Encore Worsted leftover from the Wonderful Wallaby sweaters I made our nephews for Christmas last year.

Tokyo Hoodie

This pattern was designed by Carrie Bostick Hoge, who also did the super-cute Maddie Hoodie pattern I’ve made before. I think the Tokyo Hoodie would make a great project for a baby gift. It’s really simple, knits up fast, and doesn’t take much yarn. Plus, it’s a basic piece that you can throw on as a little jacket, which should result in lots of wear.

And now I have to focus my attention on some unfinished adult knits—I need to free up some needles so I can get going with even more baby projects.

Handmade Christmas Gifts 2016

I ended up making way more gifts this year than I have in a long time. It’s not because I have any desire to foist handmade stuff on everyone on my list or that I think a handmade gift is the best kind of gift. It’s really more that I hate Christmas shopping and I’m not particularly good at gift giving. Frankly, making gifts is kind of nice way to give someone something kind of generic like a hat or a scarf but in a way that feels highly personal. Yes, it’s just a hat, but it’s a hat I knit in my pajamas while I rewatched Battlestar Galactica and drank a beer. Also, that mark right there might be melted chocolate from the fistful of Reese’s Cups I was eating at the same time. How much more personal can we get? Anyway, here’s this year’s gift roundup:

Star Bellied Wallabies

Wonderful Wallaby with star pocket

Pattern: Wonderful Wallaby

Yarn: Plymouth Encore Worsted in Light Gray, Neon Orange, and Neon Blue

Recipients: Our twin toddler nephews

Notes: This is one of my favorite patterns–so cute and wearable. I made the size 2 but added an inch to the length of the body, sleeves, and hood. I also charted out a star to add to the kangaroo pouches, which I knit using intarsia. I love how they turned out!

Modern Classics Christmas Stockings #8 and #9

Modern Classics Stockings

Pattern: Modern Classics Christmas Stockings

Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in Cloud and Aurora Heather

Recipients: My in-laws

Notes: This is now the eighth and ninth time I’ve knit up this pattern. I mixed the charts from the “Modern” and “Classic” stockings like I’ve done every other time. This is, frankly, not one of my favorite patterns to make but they are at least quick to make. And that’s good, because I’m more or less locked into making these for all future family members on my husband’s side.

Ballydesmond Mitts

Ballydesmond Mitts

Pattern: Ballydesmond

Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash Sport in Summer Sky Heather (for the blue pair) and Malabrigo Rios in Sandbank for the brown pair

Recipients: The blue pair went to one of Aidan’s co-workers and the Malabrigo mitts were for my sister, Kayla

Notes: This is a great pattern. It comes with instructions for making these in either a sport or a worsted weight yarn. I kind of prefer the way the sport version looks, but the worsted version knits up super fast. Either way–they’re easy and they look great.

Honey Cowl

Honey Cowl

Pattern: Honey Cowl

Yarn: Malabrigo Rios in Aguas

Recipient: My sister, Jenna

Notes: I’ve made this pattern once before for myself, and it’s a very soothing and meditative knit. Sadly, I got about 60% through the cowl before realizing that my skeins were noticeably different from one another so I ended up ripping back and alternating skeins. The final product is definitely worth the extra work, but it put me under a bit more time pressure than I would have liked.

Petal Pouches

petal-pouches

Pattern: Petal Pouch Pattern from Noodlehead

Fabric: various quilting cottons

Recipients: Three of my sisters–Sarah, Grace, and Kayla–and my dad’s girlfriend, Jess

Notes: I was inspired to make these after my youngest sisters visited us this summer. They are both big into sketching and drawing and carried all of their art supplies around in ziploc bags. Maybe that’s just their preference, but I thought these pouches were cute and practical. There are a thousand free zippered pouch patterns available online, but I’m glad I went ahead and bought this one. It’s not just the unique shape that makes it worth the purchase–as a novice bag maker, I feel like I learned some really useful techniques that will make any future pouch-making much easier and give me a nicer result. I really love how these pouches turned out. I even used some of the leftover skull print to make a small version of the pouch for myself.

So that’s Christmas 2016 wrapped and gifted. Now back to making things for me.

Outfit Along 2016: Mireille and Ginger

Despite my terrible track record for actually finishing knit- or sew-alongs, I decided to participate in this year’s Outfit Along, which is co-hosted by Andi at Untangling Knots and Lauren at Lladybird. The idea behind the Outfit Along is that you make two garments–one knit and one sewn–that can be worn together as an outfit.  It’s a fun, and kind of rare, place where the online knitting and sewing worlds come together.

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I’ve followed the OAL for the past two summers and have really enjoyed seeing the combos that people come up with, but I hadn’t ever really planned to participate myself. Like I said, I’m terrible at seeing things like this through so I’ve kind of given up on them. Also, the OALtends to lean towards a particular aesthetic that, while lovely on other people, is not really my thing.But when this year’s OAL was announced, I immediately had an idea pop into my head, and I just decided to go for it.

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My plan is knit the Mireille pullover from The Shetland Trader and sew a pair of Closet Case Files Ginger Jeans. For the sweater, I’m using Berroco Ultra Alpaca in Charcoal. For the jeans, I have some black stretch denim that I think will work really nicely for a pair of skinny jeans.

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In my last blog post, I talked about how a lifelong emphasis on practicality and lack of interest in style has led to me having an aggressively boring wardrobe. As soon as I envisioned both of these patterns together, my inner censor started hounding me: It’s not seasonal. Why would I make an oversized pullover when all advice suggests I will look best in something fitted? I’ll always be too hot in an alpaca-blend pullover. I’m not competent enough to sew jeans. I’ve only owned one pair of skinny jeans before–shouldn’t I pick a “safer” style if I’m going to go to the trouble of making jeans? This is just going to be a waste of good fabric. That censor voice (which is discernibly different from the quieter moments of intuition that tell me when something in a project isn’t working out quite right) is fucked up, so I’m ignoring it and forging ahead with the original plan. Basically, I’m using the OAL as a way to push myself to pay closer attention to my impulses and my intuition, like I talked about in my previous post.

Anyway. I haven’t done anything on the jeans, beyond buying the pattern. I also bought the Sewing Your Own Jeans e-book that Closet Case Files put out–I’ve read through most of it at this point, and it seems really helpful. The OAL goes through the end of July, so I’m hoping to gather my jeans-making supplies, get the pattern assembled, and maybe get a muslin started by the end of June, which will give me plenty of time to actually finish my jeans in July.

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Mireille, on the other hand, is off to a very strong start. The OAL started on June 1st, and I cast on for my sweater at about 12:05 a.m. In about a week’s worth of knitting time, I’ve made it entirely through the yoke and am now into the body of the sweater. The construction of this sweater is interesting and entirely new to me. Mireille has a drop shoulder. But unlike the the uber-boxy drop shoulder of the 1980s, this sweater is knit from the top-down, working from the shoulder seam and using short rows to create a carefully shaped, sloped shoulder that looks more modern. It’s meant to be loose-fitting, but the body still has some shaping and the sleeves are slim fitting, so I think it’s going to look really good once it’s done.

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I’m making the 48.5″ size, which puts me right around the lower end of the recommended 5-10″ of ease. I’ve swapped out the cables written in the pattern for a more traditional rope cable and I’m altering the waist shaping a bit to give me a bit more room at the hips, but otherwise the knitting should be pretty straightforward. I’m just keeping keeping my fingers crossed that the Ultra Alpaca doesn’t grow more than expected during blocking. I’m watching my row gauge carefully, but alpaca is always a bit of a gamble. I’m going to try to finish this sweater sooner rather than later so I have time to go back and shorten the sleeves or the body if necessary before the end of July.

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.

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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.

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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!

Madigan

This sweater was part of the stack of projects I finished up before the year ended. It’s a first attempt to deal with the lack of knitted pullovers in my closet, but I’m frankly not sure how I feel about the style on me. Aidan expressed some serious doubt about this sweater when I finished it–he was deeply skeptical of the concept of the short-sleeved sweater and said something along the lines of “Is this an actual thing in fashion?” Seeing the photos, I’m skeptical now too and think it looks better on other people who have made this than it does on me.

Madigan

The upside is that Madigan is a pretty straight-forward knit. After working with some truly massive, page-intensive patterns like the Grandpa Cardigan and Little Wave, it was refreshing to work on a piece where the actual instructions for the sweater, from cast on to bind off, fit on a single page. It is knitted from the top down in one piece, and the majority of the body is knitted in stockinette, which makes this a really easy pattern to adjust for fit.

Madigan

I started with the 42.5” as my base size, following that set of instructions through the cowl and yoke shaping. I needed to add about 3” worth of stitches for my full bust, so I cast on for a few extra stitches under each arm and worked a set of vertical bust darts after I finished the welt pattern in the yoke. I also added 3” of length to the front through horizontal bust darts and substituted my own shaping for the waist and high hip.

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By the way, I’ve been doing the standard wrap-and-turn short rows for my horizontal bust darts. But with this project, I tried using German Short Rows following this tutorial from La Maison Rililie. It’s a great tutorial and I’m really happy with the result—the German Short Rows blend in so much better than what I was doing before.

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Ramona carefully supervised the blocking process.

The yarn is Valley Yarns Northampton in Medium Grey. This project is a testament to the healing powers of blocking. When I first finished it and tried it on, it felt like a sausage casing and the cowl was completely stiff. After a nice, long bath, the yarn relaxed, the fit was much more comfortable, and the cowl has enough drape that it lies nicely now.

Madigan

Still, even the wonders of blocking aren’t enough to save this one for me. I’d much prefer a lighter weight pullover–worsted weight just feels too bulky to me for a garment like this. Plus, the style just isn’t my favorite. At this point, I’m about 90% certain that this one is going to be ripped out and turned into something new. Such is the beauty of knitting. I’m thinking a second version of the Grandpa Cardigan in this gray would be especially useful. We’ll see.

Little Wave

It’s taken me a minute (by which I mean several years) to figure out what I really like in a hand knit cardigan. As I recently established, I’m not feeling the open front cardigan. But I’ve also made a handful of more traditional, fitted cardigans like my Audrey in Unst cardigan and my Squared cardigan, and I don’t really enjoy wearing those styles either.

Little Wave Cardigan

 

The cardigans I do reach for are relaxed and cozy heavier-weight cardigans with shawl collars. My most-worn cardigans have been my Girl Friday and my Grandpa cardigan. I wear them regularly as a top layer in winter, and throw them on in lieu of a light jacket in spring and fall.

Little Wave Cardigan

This Little Wave cardigan is very similar in style to those favorite cardigans, and I’m confident that I’ll be wearing this one all the time. I love all the design details on this pattern—the little wave stitch pattern, the pockets, the saddle shoulder, the garter stitch elbow patches. For me, this sweater represents all the best things about being able to make my own clothes. With this piece, I get all of the design details I like about more masculine clothing, but made to fit my body.

Little Wave Cardigan

The Little Wave pattern is actually written as a unisex pattern, with a separate set of instructions for men and women. I think this is a really smart design move. The men’s and women’s versions aren’t radically different, but are simply adjusted for different bodily proportions and design preferences. So the sleeves and body on the men’s version are longer while the women’s version has some waist shaping, a more shallow yoke, and slightly narrower shoulders. Including two versions results in a fairly long pattern (16 pages), but it’s a great pattern overall. The instructions were clear and easy to follow and the construction of the yoke is clever and results in a great fit.

Little Wave Cardigan

My measurements (hip 52”, waist 41”, full bust 47”, high bust 41”) mean that my body typically spans about 3 conventional size ranges. Since this is a heavily patterned piece with a new-to-me yoke construction, it took me a bit to figure out how I wanted to modify the pattern to fit me. In the end, I decided to use the 46” size as my base for the body. I added some extra stitches to the garter panels on the sides so the sweater would be 50” at the hips. Then I worked extra decreases and decreased at a faster rate to get down to the correct stitch count for the waist of the 46” size.

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The next challenge was decreasing from the 46” size so that I could follow the yoke instructions for the 41.25” size. I did this through a combination of methods—starting the neckline shaping early to work in a few extra sets of decreases, adding a couple of extra decrease rounds early on in the yoke shaping, and binding off a few extra stitches under the arm. The only other change I made was to shorten the sleeves by about 2”. As many people have noted on Ravelry, the sleeves on this are really long, even when you factor in the cuffed sleeves. In the end, I’m happy with how all of my modifications worked out. The sweater still has a casual, relaxed feel but is fitted enough to keep it from looking sloppy.

Little Wave Cardigan

The yarn is Valley Yarns Northampton in Ocean Heather. Northampton is my go-to worsted right now–it’s equitable in quality to my other favorite, Cascade 220, but with better yardage at a better price. I’ve got a bunch of Northampton in Charcoal that I’m going to use for my first sweater of 2016. As you might have guessed, I’ve got another cozy, relaxed, shawl-collar cardigan style planned: Mari Chiba’s Solitude Jacket. I just have a few lingering 2015 projects to finish up so I can start a new year of knitting off fresh.

Featherweight: The Sweater of Nope

Let us discuss disappointment.

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Because that’s what this cardigan is: a disappointment. It doesn’t necessarily look disappointing in the photos, but I won’t wear it. I shoved it in a closet after I took these photos and it will stay there until it gets shoved in the next donation box.

Featherweight Cardigan

This is Hannah Fettig’s Featherweight pattern, but it’s the version of the pattern made using CustomFit. I made the original version of Featherweight several years ago but didn’t like the end result—it was too short in the body, it slipped off my shoulders, and I didn’t really like the fabric that resulted from knitting a lace-weight yarn at a really open gauge. I thought that a version of the cardigan with set-in sleeves and knit at a tighter gauge might work out better for me. Plus, I figured it was a good opportunity to try out CustomFit.

Featherweight Cardigan

You can see some of the problems with the sweater in these photos. The neckband ripples and doesn’t want to lay correctly. The sleeves grew too long during blocking. And there is a strange bubble at the front of both sleeves at the armscye. I’m frankly not sure what’s causing the bubble, although I’m pretty confident that it has nothing to do with seaming (especially since it occurs at the same point on both sleeves). It could be that the shape of the sleeve cap in the pattern doesn’t work for me. Or it could also be related to the yarn growing during blocking (I used a wool/silk blend). I’m thinking this last one is the most likely explanation.

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Those issues probably wouldn’t be enough to stop me from wearing this if I really liked it, but I’ve decided I’m just not that big a fan of the open cardigan. I always wear my cardigans open, but I don’t like these cardigans where the fronts aren’t designed to meet. Plus, I feel like the shoulders on this cardigan have been made so narrow (to accommodate the ribbed neckband) that there isn’t enough to anchor the cardigan to the body, even with a seamed shoulder. And this is really the biggest reason that I won’t be wearing this cardigan—because this is what it looked like after I put it on and walked down the stairs and out the door of my apartment:

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NOPE.

As far as using CustomFit for the first time goes, I’m pretty pleased with the results. Particularly since I’m leaning towards yarn growth as the culprit for the sleeve bubble, I think the things I dislike about this cardigan come down to the design and the style and not to the fit of the actual pattern produced by CustomFit.

Featherweight Cardigan

I entered all of measurements that I typically use when planning and making my own sweater adjustments, and the fit at the back is really nice. I don’t mind making adjustments to existing patterns—in fact, it’s become one of my favorite things about sweater knitting. Plus, I’m pretty happy with the results I get and appreciate the flexibility that comes with being able to alter any pattern, regardless of construction style, by myself. But if I were going to attempt another project like my Jet Pullover, I’d definitely use CustomFit to generate a pattern.

So to sum up: CustomFit seems all right, but I do not like Featherweight and probably should have been more judicious in my pattern choice. Luckily, the next sweater I have to share turned out much better, so look forward to less disappointing projects.

Another Faded Stripes Tee

My sewing has been extremely slow going lately. Life just keeps getting in the way. Between being totally overwhelmed by this semester and my dad having heart surgery a couple of weeks ago (he is thankfully doing well), I’ve only found very rare and brief bits of time to sew. And given how busy the end of the semester is, that is likely going to continue to be the case. Such a drag!

Ottobre Woman 02/2015 Faded Stripes Tee

So despite the extensive fall sewing plans I made awhile back, the only thing I’ve managed to finish so far is this one very simple shirt–a second version of the Faded Stripes Tee from the Spring/Summer 2015 issue of Ottobre Woman. This is exactly the same as my first version, except that it features a self-fabric binding rather than using ribbing.

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The striped fabric is another rayon-spandex blend from Fabric.com. It’s incredibly soft and nice to wear, but the stripes are hard on the eyes. It actually made me nauseous when I was cutting the shirt out. Luckily, when I pair it with a cardigan and a scarf (which is how I’ve been wearing it to work), it tones down some of the psychedelic effects of the pattern.

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Aside from this easy tee, I’ve been very slowly making progress on the Get Moving Hoodie from the fall issue of Ottobre Woman. After squeezing in a decent sewing session last night, I’ve got everything but the hood finished, and it’s looking good. I’m hoping to share a finished hoodie soon.

I’ve also finally started work on the Style Arc Misty Jeans, although I’m only as far as having the pattern assembled and cut out. The good news is that the crotch curve on the pattern matches the jeans I normally wear almost exactly–I just need to shorten the front rise a bit. Given the similarity in the crotch curve, I’m thinking about playing things fast and loose, forgoing a muslin, and just fitting as I sew. I might end up regretting that decision, but I don’t have the patience for the muslin process right now. We’ll see what happens.

While I haven’t been getting in much sewing, I’ve managed quite a bit of knitting. I think that since I’ve been knitting so much longer than I’ve been sewing, it’s just easier for me to manage knitting projects when I’m stressed out or pressed for time. Over the last month or two, I managed to finish both the Featherweight Cardigan and the Little Wave cardigan that were part of my Fall Essentials Sew-Along plans. I’m working on posts for both of those right now and will hopefully have them up soon-ish. (A preview: I hate one and love the other.)

Madigan Pullover

I’m also about halfway through knitting up Madigan, which I’m making up in Valley Yarns Northampton in Medium Gray. I’m through the cowl neck, yoke, and bust shaping, so that project should be pretty smooth sailing from this point on. But I’m going to need to start some Christmas knitting soon so it’s hard to say when I might finish that sweater. How is it already the middle of November!?

Jet Pullover, or, The Sweater That Would Never F*****g End

Knitting this sweater was a major slog. I worked on it intermittently for nearly a year, throwing it aside when I was too frustrated or bored with it to even look at it and picking it up in fits when I could convince myself that it was worth finishing.

Basic Knitted Pullover

The idea for this particular sweater came after the yarn refused to work with two different patterns. I decided if it wouldn’t play well with a pattern, I’d just improvise a plain, no frills v-neck pullover. I wanted something similar to my Blank Canvas sweater but in a dark neutral that I’d be more likely to wear on a regular basis.

Since I had extensive notes on the way I had worked the shaping on my Blank Canvas, knitting the body of this pullover went smoothly and pretty quickly, given that it’s knit up in a fingering weight yarn (Cascade 220 Fingering in Jet, more specifically). It’s when it came time to work the sleeves that things took a hard turn towards the miserably tedious and frustrating.

My first plan was to work a seamless, top-down sleeve shaped with short rows, which is the same sleeve method used in the Grandpa cardigan I finished around the time I began this sweater. But the short row sleeve caps looked terrible, so after trying twice to get it right, I ripped it out completely and decided to do a regular seamed, set-in sleeve. I used an armscye calculator to help me figure out how to work the sleeve cap shaping and decided I would knit full length sleeves with a deep ribbed cuff.

Knitted Pullover V-neck Detail

So I knit up the first sleeve which seemed to take forever, especially since the cuff ribbing was never-ending. And when I got to the end of the sleeve, I realized that the sleeve was about 2” too long and, more importantly, there was no way that I had enough yarn for two full-length sleeves. So I ripped out the entire first sleeve (which at that point represented endless hours of joyless, painful knitting) and reengineered my sleeve plans to give me ¾ sleeves. My third sleeve plan was, mercifully, a charm but the knitting still took forever—mostly because I had started to actively hate this sweater project and was alternating between knitting a bit and thinking very seriously about ripping the whole thing out.

I finally finished the second sleeve in early August. It took me another month to stomach picking it up again to knit the neckband, sew in the sleeves, and weave in the ends. But once I put it on, all the hate and resentment was gone. I love this sweater. The fit is relaxed and casual, it’s soft and lightweight, the neckline is just where I wanted it, the yarn goes with pretty much every other piece of clothing I own, and this particular shade of charcoal/soft black is my favorite. I will wear this sweater all the damn time.

But I will not be improvising a super basic, fingering weight pullover again any time soon. Or ever.