2017 FO-3 : Sloper as a linen V-neck

2017 FO-3 : Sloper as linen V-neck

I tried two new things with this little summer sweater: knitting Sloper as a V-neck and holding (Kestrel) aran-weight linen yarn double for a bulky linen fabric. The former was straightforward enough and worked out great. The “bulky linen” concept is a bit of an oxymoron and I won’t really know how it plays out until I’ve worn it a few times. It’s heavy for a little linen sleeveless thing, clocking in at just over a pound (520g, to be precise, so just over ten 50g skeins), and I fear it may feel like I’m wearing chain mail on a hot day. But it’s cute! Looks just like my initial sketches.

To be candid, I have a serious love-hate relationship with this yarn. This is the third time I’ve knitted with it (see Togue Stripes and Flex, both in my sister’s closet) and hated every minute of the knitting but loved the finished fabric. Knitting with it held double on US13 needles definitely increased my unenjoyment of the actual knitting, but also made it blessedly brief! I think the fact that I keep doing it must be like what they say about childbirth. :/

My mods to the chart are documented here, and there’s a further rundown on all of the modifications/details below. There have also been several people having some fun with the pattern for the #sloperKAL this month, which I’ll follow up about in a separate post. But if you’ve got one planned or on the needles, please link it to the Sloper pattern page at Ravelry so I can see!

You can also scroll through my Instagram posts on this sweater here, and like it at Ravelry if you’re so inclined!

2017 FO-3 : Sloper as linen V-neck

Pattern: Sloper by Karen Templer (me)
Yarn: Kestrel by Quince and Co. in Ash, held double throughout
Cost: free pattern + approx $110 yarn = $110

Modifications and details: (see mod chart and notes here)
– Working at 2.75 sts per inch on US13 needles, CO 58 sts each (front and back); decreased twice along the way so it was 54 by the time I got to the armholes
– Knitted 6 rows of ribbing instead of 8
– Switched to Andalusian Stitch* on the 3rd RS row (i.e. row 9)
– Began the armholes (3 BOs per side, as per pattern) on row 61, the 14th Andalusian ridge, so it’s about 15″ from cast-on to underarm
– Divided the (48) sts in half for the V on the last RS armhole BO row and immediately began the V shaping
– Worked decreases for the V one stitch in from the edge; k2tog on the right side, SSK on the left side (so leaning toward the V): every RS row 6 times, then every-other RS row 3 times, leaving 15 shoulder sts per side
– Worked 34 rows from underarm to shoulder
– After blocking and seaming, on US11 needles picked up sts around the armholes and neck for edging: p/u 3 in 4 all the way around (wanted to cinch it all up a bit), then BO all sts purwise on the next round, binding off firmly to gird against the inevitable stretching

Size notes:
Assembled, it’s about 40″ at the bust, 42″ at the hem, and 24″ long — and it will definitely grow with wearing and shrink with washing and grow with wearing … It’s all fluid!

*Andalusian Stitch = k1/p1 every 4th row (aka every-other RS row if working flat). I love how simple it makes it to ensure that you’re doing things evenly across pieces and to match them up at the end.

OUTFITS

I had already done outfit ideas for this one during Summer ’17 Wardrobe week; here they are again with the actual sweater filled in:

2017 FO-3 : Sloper linen V-neck
2017 FO-3 : Sloper as a linen V-neck
2017 FO-3 : Sloper as a linen V-neck

IN SHOP NEWS: The new issue of Knit Wit is here, this time with patterns, and we have all three issues of Making back in stock again. Also, thanks so much for your enthusiastic response to the new Charcoal Field Bag! I’m always so glad when you love something as much as we do. ;)

Have a fantastic weekend!

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PREVIOUSLY in FOs: Camel Channel cardigan

New Favorites: Crocheted slippers

New Favorites: Crocheted slippers

Every single summer I say I want to do two things: crochet something, and make some socks or slippers. For some reason, both seem like perfect little summer projects, and yet I never do either. So I lit up when I saw that Churchmouse and Tolt had both released crocheted slipper patterns for their area LYS tour! AND I recently had to say goodbye to my most beloved slippers and am thus quickly wearing holes in my Simple House Slippers, so it’s a genuine need. It’s fate, I tell you.

TOP: Churchmouse’s Moroccan Babouche Slippers are the crocheted version of their Turkish Bed Socks (the first sock/slipper pattern I ever downloaded)

BOTTOM: Tolt’s Harvold slippers by Karen Crittenden have a 1970s+moccasin vibe I love, and bulky gauge no less!

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Banded ribs

Origin Stories: Wing and a Prayer Farm

Origin Stories: Wing and a Prayer Farm

BY HANNAH THIESSEN // If you have the pleasure of following @wingandaprayerfarm on Instagram, you know all about Tamara White and her merry cast of creatures: pot belly pigs and guinea hogs, goslings and chickens, ducks and turkeys. Ponies, alpacas, angora goats, sheep and farm dogs. You might even have seen Bilbo the miniature donkey chasing the mail truck. Tammy shares it all through photos and video, and her worldwide audience is eager to soak up a bit of Vermont farm life from the comfort of a phone screen. I certainly find daily escape from my own life of computers and chores that are so ordinary in comparison, so imagine my excitement when Katrina Rodabaugh offered to “introduce” me to Tammy after she returned from the Hudson Valley Textile Summit they had both attended.

Tammy began her history with farm animals early. The fourth of five children, she grew up in a family of makers, learning to sew, knit, crochet, can, bake and garden at home and through 4-H. The life of a big family kept her busy as a child, and she has carried that momentum into adulthood: She ran her own floral business, worked for a textile manufacturer, and eventually home-schooled her children for over a decade. The children were the impetus for the farm: In their first year of home schooling, Tammy and her husband invested in a dozen chickens, then purchased some Shetland sheep, and continued learning and expanding their skills and animal roster until suddenly they found themselves with a full-blown working farm.

Many of the animals she has brought into the fold have stories all their own, or have found their way to Wing and a Prayer Farm because of unique circumstances or lost homes. Many acquisitions are the result of neighbors’ life changes and an animal’s need for a safe place to land. Tammy has a way of finding just the right name and story for each creature, and has found the ideal balance between pets and livestock: a loving, warm welcome for all, and place for them in the farm’s future.

Many of the animals are fiber-producing, and Tammy has been carefully selecting the finest fleeces at shearing time and sorting them into unique blends for wool lovers: a 100% Shetland is in the works, while the Taconic Twist blend (long wool, mohair and a bit of fine wool) undergoes revisions each time. (This time, it will feature Wensleydale rather than Cotswold.) She eagerly works within her friend-and-farmer group to create new blends and projects, as well. Ellen Mason (Odacier) lent a bevy of Clun Forest fleeces that promise to become “The Happiest Yarn of 2017,” an ideal blend for colorwork and knitting creativity. Mary Jeanne Packer, proprietor of Battenkill Fibers Spinning Mill, lent the Wensleydales for this year’s Taconic Twist. A blend of her own alpaca and Shetland is also currently at the mill and due out this summer.

Tammy is one of many farmers who believed in their work and did not give up when their fleeces did not sell or move in years past, but simply kept experimenting and learning, and are now enjoying the rise in awareness and popularity of farm yarns.

These days she takes the time to educate not only herself, but others, hosting a rotating series of workshops on topics that range from homesteading to garment making. This year’s workshops promise pies, slow (practical) fashion, natural dyeing and shearing, with a culminating event at the farm titled the New England Fiber Summit. In a return to her roots, Tammy leads small groups of industrious students through tasks and skills that, for many, have been lost to time. One thing that I learned is that Wing and a Prayer Farm is ultimately about reclaiming the joy in hard work, stewardship of animals and individuals, and the simple pleasure of knowing (and making) your way in the world. I cannot help but admire Tammy’s advice for those of us who may feel too busy to enjoy wherever we are in our lives:

This is the time in my life when I am enjoying the hosting of events and the raising of fiber animals as much as I am enjoying spending time with my craft. Much of what I like to do sitting at the wheel — or with a pair of knitting needles in my hands or at the sewing machine — is something I will continue to do for the rest of my life. But this workshop hosting, sheep and goat wrangling, and alpaca handling is limited. One day my body will not want to carry 50-lb. grain bags or hoist hay bales into the loft. One day my body will be more than happy to sit tight in the morning, sip a cuppa and knit. But that day is not quite here yet!

Origin Stories: Wing and a Prayer Farm

Hannah Thiessen is a freelance creative & social media strategist who specializes in yarn and fiber. She knits and dabbles in other crafty pursuits on her blog, www.handmadebyhannahbelle.com, and you can follow her on Instagram as @hannahbelleknits

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PREVIOUSLY in Origin Stories: Upcycled Wool and the Gang

Photos © Wing & a Prayer Farm; used with permission

Hot Tip: Test your pick-up ratio

Hot Tip: Test your pick-up ratio

When it comes to picking up stitches along a vertical or slanted or curved edge of knitted fabric, have you ever wondered why so many patterns tell you to “pick up X sts for every Y rows” instead of stating a specific number of stitches? A lot (most?) of the time when we pick up stitches, it’s to create an edge treatment that will be worked perpendicular to the direction of the original knitting, such as a ribbed button band on a cardigan. If stitches were square, aligning those two bits of knitting perpendicularly would be a 1:1 situation, but stitches are generally wider than they are tall. So if you were to pick up one stitch for every row of your cardigan fabric, your button band ribbing (to stick to this example) would be wider than the length of edge it’s attached to, causing it to flare or even ruffle.* Since row gauge can be hard to match, and you might also have decided to make your cardigan longer or shorter than the pattern — or it blocked out a bit different than you intended, etc — it’s often best for the pattern writer to give you the formula to go by, rather than a fixed number. But even that’s not foolproof: You might do exactly as the pattern says and still find your ribbing is splaying the original edge a bit. Or there’s the inverse: If you pick up too few stitches, you’re gathering the fabric along that edge, causing it to be shorter than it started out. So if you run into trouble — or you’re not working from a pattern, or you’ve deliberately made changes — how do you know how many stitches to pick up?

My incredibly knowledgeable friend Kate over at Kelbourne Woolens advocates for an elegant mathematical way of figuring it out, by breaking your gauge down into a fraction (or potentially a compound set of fractions). I’ve used that as a loose jumping off point since first hearing her talk about it in a class at Squam a few years ago. But even then, I adhere to advice I first read in Pam Allen’s Knitting for Dummies when I was a newbie: Test it. Especially when you’re picking up along a lengthy edge, such as a cardigan front or a shawl border, it’s worth taking the time to pick up only along a few inches first, knit your edging, and see if it lays flat.

You can also do this on a swatch, although I prefer testing on a larger area than just 4 inches. The beauty of a picked up edge is that it takes very little time to knit — it’s generally only a few rows of knitting — and can be ripped out without having any effect on the original fabric. So it’s a simple thing, and completely worthwhile, to engage in a bit of trial and error.

*Same as if you pick up too many stitches around a neck hole — you wind up with a ruffly, stand-up collar. Pull that sucker out and pick up fewer stitches around the sloping parts to get it make a nice round shape that lays flat.

. . .

EXAMPLE:
In the photo above (previously seen on Changing the Channel), I’ve entirely departed from the original treatment of Jared Flood’s Channel Cardigan — working a picked-up garter-stitch band instead of the pattern’s seamed English-rib collar. First, measure (maybe even mark off) the section you’re using for your test, so you’ll be able to tell if and how it’s changed once you’ve picked up into it — I used just the straight part of front edge here. I picked up 4 out of 5 for the first few inches (alongside the ribbing), then 3 out of 4 for the rest. You can see just looking at the photo that the lower part is being stretched — 4/5 is too many stitches here — and the rest of it was pulled in just a bit, so 3/4 is not enough. The correct ratio was somewhere in between, or rather a blend of the two. In order to effectively pick up 7 sts for every 9 rows, I picked up 3 out of 4, then 4 out of 5, repeat to the end. Make sense? Here’s how it turned out.

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PREVIOUSLY in Hot Tips: Slope your bind-off

Q for You: How do you decide what to make?

Q for You: How do you decide what to make?

I’ve been thinking about the urge to knit or sew things for myself and how it compares to the old urge to shop (which are at once the same and very very different). Obviously over the past few years — and increasingly the past few seasons — I’ve put a lot more effort into wardrobe planning than I ever had before. But even with all of that, I find myself pondering what are my actual criteria for when I add something new.

It’s definitely still a gut thing, framework aside. Any new garment has to fit into my wardrobe, sure — has to follow the old “makes at least three outfits right off the top of my head” rule — but it also has to meet or exceed my notion of how I want to dress, how I want to feel. It must have appeal for more than a season. I have to be realistically able to make it: a fingering-weight stockinette sweater will never get finished. It should fill a gap rather than being redundant with things I already own. But most of all there is good old raw, instinctive WANT. I need to feel excited to wear it — not just “yeah, that’s useful” — or else, again, it’s in jeopardy of never being finished and/or dulling my love of making. Bonus points if it can be made from stash or with a known yarn/fabric I’ve been trying to find a project for. (My stash is not very big and I rarely acquire anything anymore without a specific project already planned for it, so there aren’t that many “shopping my stash” opportunities. But to the extent I have a sweater quantity of something that’s not already earmarked, that is a definitely a decision driver.)

So I guess for me it’s about finding the sweet spot between fashion lust and practicality — it has to win over both of those judges in my head — but my favorite thing about humanity is how different we all are, and I love hearing about all those countless differences.  So that’s my Q for You today: How do you decide what to make? Do you follow a list or a whim? Are you driven by your stash, your Pinterest, the Hot Right Now page at Ravelry, your budget, your color sense, your desire to use certain skills … How does it tend to work out for you? And is it the same decision-making process for making as for buying?

(Porter Bins and Field Bags from Fringe Supply Co.)

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PREVIOUSLY in Q for You: Are you a repeater?

New Field Bag! + Elsewhere

New Field Bag! + Elsewhere

BIG FUN over at Fringe Supply Co. today: the new CHARCOAL Field Bag — so swoony, so hardworking, made right here in Nashville — and the new issue of Making, Dots! Both are more beautiful than my photos can describe, but there are lots of pics over in the webshop, so go take a look. You can also find the Charcoal Field Bag today at our Limited Goods stockists listed right here. (And in case anyone missed my heads-up about it, please note that Toffee is going on haitus when our current stock runs out!)

I also have some fun and thought-provoking links for your Friday/weekend perusal:

Girls knit their way to a math career (via)

– “I knit where I want” — persist, lady, persist!

– Love this brief history of Bohus Stickning

Crochet bowls make a pretty awesome wall display

– If you’re in London, please go see this for me

How evolutionary instincts drive modern-day shopping behaviors (via) (and have you heard about J.Crew?)

– And reissue alert: Frank Lloyd Wright’s fabrics (gah!)

Thanks for choosing to spend some of your time here this week. I hope you have a yarn-filled weekend and I’ll see you back here Monday!

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PREVIOUSLY: Elsewhere

New Favorites: Banded ribs

New Favorites: Banded ribs

I don’t know if this interrupted-ribbing stitch pattern has a commonly accepted name (if it does, fill me in! and is it ribbing or brioche?) but I fell in love with it upon first seeing Helga Isager’s Pine/Marie Cardigan (top photo) from a few years ago, and now again upon encountering Anker’s Sweater (“My Size”) (bottom photo) by PetiteKnitDK. Both are seamless, circular-yoke sweaters — a perfect marriage of construction and stitch pattern. PKDK’s pullover has it contained to the yoke, and I’m a sucker for a yoke sweater that’s done with texture rather than colorwork. But there’s also something I find entrancing about its allover puckered glory on Isager’s cardigan. I could look at that photo all day long.

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PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Bits to borrow