Goodbye tools, hello Bellows

Goodbye tools, hello Bellows

This may look like a swatch, but let me point out that it’s the jumbo bento bag and size 11 needles you’re looking at. And that this is, in fact, about half of the first sleeve of my Bellows cardigan-to-be, knitted in about two hours on my flight to Phoenix on Friday. I was shooting this pic on the bed of the hotel room when I realized I had left my tool pouch in a hotel lobby chair after knitting a couple of rows while waiting for our room to be ready. By the time I ran back down there, it was gone, and despite putting out an APB on Instagram for other trade show attendees and checking with lost and found incessantly, it was not to be recovered. That makes two things I can remember losing in recent years: 1) my tool pouch and 2) the tool pouch before it, lost somewhere in Utah in July while driving from CA to TN. Nice work, KT.

Of course, tools are replaceable, but this pouch happened to have several of my most-used needles in it — including the needle I needed to finish the buttonband and neckband on Amanda. As previously noted, I had not brought a back-up outfit. But Amy Palmer loaned me a circular that night. Anna loaned me a tapestry needle at breakfast Sunday morning. And a kind yarn shop owner gave me a pair of teeny little snips when she saw me sitting on a bench outside the exhibit hall trying to sew on buttons without any scissors. (Thankfully, I had put the buttons and thread into my bento and not the tool pouch.) So in the end, through the kindness of knitters (in contrast with the one who made off with my pouch), Amanda got done and worn and highly praised. I hope to have photos soon.

But let’s talk about Bellows! I spent the first part of my flight studying the schematic and weighing it against my swatch. Once again, my stitch gauge is smaller than pattern gauge, but this time my row gauge is right on. I’m aiming for 4-5″ of positive ease, and I’ll get there by knitting the third size (43.25″) at my smaller gauge, which will come out to about 38.5″ in the bust. But once again again, that would give me almost zero ease at my 38″ hips, which I do not like. For the body pieces, I might cast on the fourth size (48.5″ would be 43″ at my gauge, about 4.5″ ease at the hip) and decrease down to the third size, which is my preferred way of giving myself the A-line shape I require. Or in this case, given the scale of the allover stitch pattern, I might just start out on a larger needle and then go down a needle size at the waist. Haven’t decided yet, so I started with a sleeve.

I only worked on Bellows on my flight out and back, plus about an hour in the airport — a grand total of six or seven hours — and I was just a few rows from finishing the first sleeve! After spending four months on my Amanda, you can imagine how I feel about this.

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15 thoughts on “Goodbye tools, hello Bellows

  1. I can’t wait to see your pictures of Amanda. It looked really nice just folded up before your trip.
    It’s nice to have a fast project after a slow one. I have recently started Bellows also. But the difference between sizing is huge. What I really want falls between sizes and I have started the larger size to see how big that really will look. I’m sorry this isn’t one that you can try on as you go.

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  2. Ooh that was the test msg to see if it would go through and obviously did….. I purchased the Bellows pattern last month so it will be in the queue for later in the year for me but will be following your progress with great interest. Can’t wait to see you in your final Amanda result…… every article you wrote on that pattern was such useful information…… and so glad that you encountered generosity after losing your work pouch :-)

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  3. I read that you lost your toolkit, but I didn’t realize that you were out of town. Terrible luck. I’m glad you were able to cobble together the necessities. I’ve been reading your interesting and informative posts about the Amanda KAL. Now you’re dealing with a problem I have. (38″ hips and 35″ bust) I’m starting at the larger size in my current sweater project, hoping there’s enough length to decrease to the waist measurement for the next smaller size and then increase to the smaller bust measurement. It would be easier to just follow A-line shaping and not decrease for the waist. How important is waist shaping when the hips are larger than the bust?

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  4. Ha – I am also on a Bellows – but I made an intarsia out of it – I started with the body and then I knitted the shawl which I was really scared of – But it worked out, I finished the shawl, was a bit difficult because my mother tongue is german not english – but somehow I managed :-)

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  5. Hey Karen! I love the colour you’re using for your Bellows! I recently ordered Beaverslide Dry Goods yarn in morning mountain for mine (its similar to the colour worn by the model), but your sweater is giving me serious second thoughts! Especially after reading about your Amanda and making a 3-season sweater.

    What is your experience from using O-Wool Balance? Does the dye in the Graphite bleed a lot? Does the fabric stretch out a lot? I’ve only had minimal experience using wool/cotton blends, but from what I understand its not as elastic as wool… So should I knit at the smaller size? Sorry for all the questions!

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    • Hi, Dennison. Amanda is the first sweater I’ve knitted in it, so I can’t speak to how it holds up over time or anything. And I just started Bellows but the one sleeve I’ve blocked didn’t bleed at all. I soaked it with my Amanda.

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  6. Hi Karen. I also love your color choice for this sweater! Just having read your previous experience with the graphite o-wool yarn and its hand-dye nature of the yarn, do you still find a tonal differences when you double up – or does that solve the problem?

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    • Yeah, holding it double automatically blends the skeins. I also started with one full skein and one partial so the new skeins get staggered into the mix, rather than ending two skeins and starting two new ones.

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