Hot Tip: Mark your armhole depth

Hot Tip: Mark your armhole depth

If you’re ever knitting a sweater from the bottom up, there comes a point where you work the armhole shaping and then are told to continue knitting until the armhole measures X inches deep — and I think it’s a measurement a lot of people have trouble with. In the event you’re working the body in one piece and then dividing into front(s) and back at the armholes, you’ll be told to put some part of it (most likely the fronts) on waste yarn while you work the other bits. When you put those held stitches back onto the needles, if you leave the waste yarn in place, you have a clear point from which to measure. But without that, it can be tricky to tell exactly where you’re measuring to, as you attempt to measure straight downward from the top of your knitting to the exact row where the armhole shaping first began. And hard to be sure you’re measuring to the same spot each time you check your progress. One option is to pin a removable marker in that row, but I prefer a mini version of the lifeline. When working the first armhole bind-off row (or later if need be) I’ll just run a short piece of waste yarn through an inch or two of stitches that will line up with the armhole edge. Then all I need to do is measure from that line to the top of my work. You can see here I’ve worked just a little over two inches from my first armhole row, so I’ve got a ways to go.

p.s. Keep in mind the best “waste yarn” is anything non-fuzzy or grippy, so it doesn’t leave any fibers behind when you pull it out. Thin, smooth cotton or dental floss is best.

p.p.s. The knitting pictured is my Spiral-Spun Waistcoat in progress. I decided on 3×1 garter rib instead of the 2×2, thanks to a suggestion from Annri in the comments on my swatch post. Thanks for all your input!

New Favorites: Linda

New Favorites: Linda

I’m truly savoring every cold minute we have left to us, living in dread of the swamp heat I know will be here soon, but also trying not to lose sight of the coming loveliness of Spring. I am eager to trade in my heavy wool pea coat for a cozy scarf or shawl, and there is one that shot straight to the top of my list last week: Linda by Deb Hoss, from Quince’s Scarves Etc. 4 collection. I love the proportions of this thing. And the dense side fringe? Even better than how great it looks is that it’s very cleverly achieved.

I have the exact right amount of yarn left over from my Bellows. Wouldn’t it make it easier on me, when I must give Bellows up for the season, to have this to take its place?

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Modified ganseys

Bellows glamour shots and mod notes

Bellows glamour shots and mod notes

It’s been eight days since I attached the buttons to this Bellows cardigan, and — no joke — I have worn it for some or all of every day since then. Normally I hold off wearing a thing until it’s been photographed, but that was not an option here. A) It’s too good not to wear. B) It’s been bulky-shawl-collar-sweater-weather for rilz. Most of the time I’ve got the buttons buttoned and the collar up for maximum coziness. I don’t have a lot to say about this sweater other than that I love it so much so much I dread the moment when I have to take it off, and the idea of putting it on makes getting out of bed in the morning a little more palatable.

Three weeks of knitting, two weeks of neglect, one week of finishing — as much a dream to knit as to wear. Michele Wang, I love you.

There are a few mistakes: As previously noted, the cables all twist one direction because I forgot to switch on my second piece, so I just decided who cares. And I don’t! There’s a spot where I got off course with the broken rib for two rows. I meant to make it the left sleeve so the mistake would wind up in the rear underarm, but after letting it sit for two weeks before seaming, I forgot to worry about it and it wound up on the front of the right sleeve. Doubt anyone will ever notice. And there’s a minor booboo on the collar short rows. I hadn’t done yarnover short rows on ribbing before (I love yarnover short rows, by the way) and instead of reading the directions, I just assumed the purls would be p2tog’d with the yarnover, since the knits are k2tog’d. Wrong! (The correct answer is SSP.) The result is there’s a little float where each of those yarnovers was. But it’s on the way inside of the collar where nobody will ever see it.

For the record, I am definitely knitting this again (possibly more than once).

NOTES AND MODIFICATIONS:

– My stitch gauge was slightly smaller than pattern gauge, so I knitted the third size and wound up in between second and third, about a 40″ bust, roughly 6″ positive ease. Which is exactly as roomy as I had hoped for. (And still the shoulder seams don’t quite reach my shoulders!)

– My row gauge matched pattern gauge, so because I was hoping to wind up nearer the second size, and blocking accordingly, I aimed for the second size with regard to the sleeve cap and armhole shaping. The sleeves fit the armholes beautifully.

– Left out the cable in the ribbing except on one sleeve; will leave it out everywhere next time.

– Knitted body in one piece with a basting stitch at the side seams.

– Worked only three cable repeats on fronts; began armhole shaping at 15″ instead of 17″. (Wanted it to hit me where it hits the model.)

– Love love love all of the neck, shoulder and armhole shaping in this pattern. That sloped bind-off is exquisite. Wasn’t wild, though, about trying to seam the shoulders with this fabric. Next time will do 3-needle bind-off to make sure it’s exactly 1:1.

– Started working the neckband and was super bothered about the back neck being worked from live stitches. (I’m a little over-obsessed with everything to do with the back neck.) So I actually ripped out the band, bound off the back neck stitches, and picked up all the way around.

– Adjusted the pick-up counts and button placement because of changing the length. Picked up 3/4 stitches, 55 sts on each front. (The rest as written.) Might pick up two or three more per front.

– Wish I had worked the third-size collar shaping — a few more short rows up top for a more voluminous collar. Next time!

– The only thing missing is pockets. I am constantly trying to put my hands into pockets that aren’t there! I had toyed with the idea of adding patch pockets (and still might) but after wearing it, I think I want side seam pockets in the next one.

– This is my second sweater in a row in this yarn and I couldn’t love it more.

Pattern: Bellows by Michele Wang
Yarn: Balance by O-Wool, in Graphite, held double
Buttons: from Haus of Yarn

Additional photos on Ravelry. And here are the complete posts about this sweater.

Bellows glamour shots and mod notes

The lovely Audrey

The lovely Audrey - free knitting pattern

This whole Fringe Hatalong Series idea was a good one, I can already tell. I finished my lovely Audrey hat — my third FO for the year — and feel confident it would not have happened had I not invited you all to knit along with me. I would have gotten sucked into the next sweater without a palate cleanser or quick finish to bolster me, as this has done. And I know I already said this, but it’s such a joy to watch hat after hat appear on the #fringehatalong tag at Instagram. (140-odd posts and counting!) There are far fewer listed on Ravelry — if you’ve made a project page for your hat, I’d love it if you’d add “fringehatalong” in the tags field so yours will show up with all the rest. I’m sure I’m not the only one who wants to see every color and pompom and modification. Meanwhile, I love this pretty little hat and am debating whether to leave it au naturel or toss it in a pot of avocado pits.

If you haven’t cast on yet, it’s not too late! The free Audrey Hat pattern is right here, and there’s no schedule. If you have questions, you can always ask them on the pattern post.

I also hope everyone has made the Seattle Children’s Hospital donation of a dollar or two that Anna requested in offering us the pattern for free. Part of my original idea for the Hatalong series was to feature a charity in each installment — a potential recipient for those of you who are knitting with the intention of giving it away — so I was very pleased that Anna was one step ahead of me in suggesting a small monetary donation for this round. From here on out, I’ll be directing attention to charities in need of hats. But if you are wanting to donate your finished Audrey, check with your local hospital hospice or chemo unit.

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Jen Hewett for Fringe Supply Co. limited edition project bagUNRELATED NEWS YOU’VE BEEN WAITING FOR: The fourth and final installment of our limited-edition Jen Hewett project bags has arrived! As before, when they’re gone they’re gone! For this edition, we went back to the linen and jute drawstring bag from edition one. So if you’ve collected all four, you’ll have two linen and two cotton. The preorders have shipped and that left only about 70 bags available in the shop, so if you want one, don’t hesitate! We also got partial shipments of the amazing skim balm and Bento Bags this week, so see if what you’ve been wanting is there while you’re at it! If not, don’t worry, there’s more on the way.

First of the best of Fall 2015: Wool and Gang walks again

First of the best of Fall 2015: Wool and the Gang walks again

Following last year’s Eek hat for the Giles Fall ’14 collection, my friends over at Wool and the Gang had more knits walking the runway at London Fashion Week yesterday. This time they collaborated with Christopher Raeburn on his shark-themed Fall ’15 collection. As seen in the photos here (from @woolandthegang and @jade_harwood) the pieces include a pair of shark-shaped mittens plus a killer multi-color slouch beanie and big fringed scarf. The mittens, dubbed the Bruce Knitmitts, are available on their site straight away, both as finished goods and a knit kit, and they’ve promised to let me know when the hat and scarf patterns are available later this year. My compliments to the Gang on what must have been another thrilling ride. And to Raeburn, who looks pretty pleased with those mittens.

p.s. They were kind enough to send me an Eek hat kit when I was crying for a fast break from my four months with Amanda, but I haven’t knitted it up just yet. Love. That. Hat.

p.p.s. If I had the sewing chops, I would totally be making my own version of that olive-drab duffel coat with Grainline’s pattern. That is my dream coat right there.

 

Swatch debates

Swatch debates

Going back to my to-knit list from January, my Bellows is done. (Photos as soon as I can get them, but for now let me tell you I haven’t taken it off since the minute I attached the buttons on Sunday afternoon, and don’t foresee taking it off until April.) The idea of knitting a Uniform cardigan out of the army-green Shibui Merino Alpaca in my stash has been rethunk, and Channel is tabled for fall — I’m thinking it’ll be my Rhinebeck sweater, so I better not put it off too long. And meanwhile, along came the idea of the vest. So I’m swatching. And debating.

Up top is the Spiral-Spun Waistcoat from last week, and my Hole & Sons Wool swatch for it. I never would have thought to knit this DK-weight yarn on 5.5mm needles, but it totally works, and I’m getting gauge for the pattern. I’m just not 100% convinced about the garter rib. I knitted that little bit of stockinette at the top of the swatch and am so tempted to keep it that simple, but I think I might hate myself. Plus there’s already a lot of stockinette on my horizon. But do I love the look of it? I like it better in the sketch I did of the sweater, where it’s as baggy as this garment would be on me, but maybe I’d like it best if the garter rib was 1×1 instead of 2×2. Might have to swatch that before I cast on.

And the change in the army-green Uniform plan is to knit it in Knightsbridge instead of the Merino Alpaca. This is to replace a pair of J.Crew cashmere cardigans I had to let go of before we left California — one grey, one blue, both worn to shreds — and I want it to be as light and thin and soft as they were, without knitting a fingering-weight sweater. This Knightsbridge swatch is perfect. I’m thinking of doing the button bands and pocket edging in garter but ribbing the waistband and cuffs, so I’m debating between the 1×1 and 2×2 ribbing. The bigger debate, though, is whether it makes sense to cast this on right now. The only spring/summer sweater in my closet is a thin grey cotton cardigan in the same style (seen here), which I’m utterly dependent on for trade shows and such but which is not especially nice-looking. It might be better to knit a near-term Uniform out of a magnificent cotton-linen blend or something. So if you have any brilliant suggestions in that realm, I’d love to hear it!

New Favorites: Modified ganseys

New Favorites: Modified gansey sweaters

I’m always hearing people talk about the gansey — relative of the cabled aran jumper in the classic fisherman-sweater family — and its characteristic underarm gusset. One of these days I’ll knit one and understand more specifically what the traditional construction is like. But it might have to get in line behind these recent interpretations, which are both calling out to me —

TOP: Eastbound Sweater by Courtney Kelley has an “exploded gusset” and slouchy shape, looks like the perfect spring/fall sweater to me

BOTTOM: Alvy by Jared Flood might be gussetless (not sure) but borrows the gansey look for a nicely androgynous sweater

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Foldover mitts