Indigo mitts (2018 FO-25)

Indigo mitts (2018 FO-25)

There are 410 finished pairs of Log Cabin Mitts logged in Ravelry at this moment, and only 7 of them are mine! There were the originals, the heather grey, the ebony and ivory, the toffee, the black-and-bluish, the mountain mist and now these, at long last. These are knitted in Pioneer from Verb (natural and indigo), one of my all-time favorite yarns, and have been awaiting their thumbs since March or April only because of the indigo dye. As much as I love it, indigo does get on your fingers when you work with it. It washes right off, of course, and sets when you block it. But it means it’s not a project you can toss in your tote to finish on a flight or whatever. Anyway, they were totally worth the wait, in their lovely indigo asymmetry.

The way we all feel about sweater season is how I also feel about fingerless mitts season. My hands are just happier when clad in wool, and these are really my favorite of allllll the mitts. I’ve been wearing the toffee pair nonstop since it cooled off, and there’s just something magical about the way the garter ridges of the log cabin patterning makes them mold just so to your hands.

Of the 7 pair I’ve finished, I’ve given away 2 and have an eighth in progress, with no doubt more to follow. I mentioned before that this collection of mitts feels like some kind of deeply personal art project I can’t explain. But I’m so happy to be back to it!

If you haven’t tried it yet, the free pattern is right here.

Indigo mitts (2018 FO-25)

PREVIOUSLY in FOs: Blue Bellows cardigan

Blue Bellows at long last

Blue Bellows at long last

Meanwhile, I’ve finished my warmest sweater to-date, lol, my second edition of Michele Wang’s Bellows cardigan. I was SO RIGHT back in February when I shelved this: My November self could not have been happier to get to finish a sweater exactly as the corresponding weather for it arrived. I mean, how often does that happen? When I put it away, I had seamed the shoulders, knitted the button band, and left myself some notes for record-keeping purposes. So all I had to do on Sunday evening, with the first overnight freeze upon us, was seam the sides and sleeves and sew down the pockets. And well, in theory, sew on the buttons, but I haven’t identified the right ones yet. This will definitely qualify as a coat here in Nashville for most of the season, and I still expect to wear it mostly on my couch on cold, drafty nights since the color is so weirdly difficult to pair with anything.* But I wore it to work on Monday with my natural wide-legs and black tee — the only outfit I’ve come up with so far — and it was cozy both indoors and out.

(Please pardon the grainy-splotchy photos, they were taken in the gloomiest light imaginable and brightened to within an inch of their lives. The yarn does not really look like that top photo — it’s the best I can do!)

My original charcoal Bellows (now my mom’s) was knitted at slightly finer than pattern gauge and scaled for a little more fitted fit. This one is slightly chunkier than pattern gauge, and while I made it the same length as before, it is both bigger and thicker. There’s just more of it, so I’m extra glad I kept it to this length, 16″ from cast-on to underarm bind-off. (Slightly shorter than the pattern; the model must be 7′ tall.) For this one, I mostly followed the third size but I think they’re basically size 2 sleeves with a size 3 sleeve cap to fit the armhole. I made the same mods as before: no cables in the ribbing, only three repeats of the cable chart. But I made two other significant changes for this one:

Blue Bellows at long last

1) I added pockets. There’s not really an ideal way to do it with this stitch pattern, so it’s slightly awkward but worth the trade-off. I have pockets! All I did when knitting the fronts was to knit the first chart repeat once, then 4 rows of ribbing between the two slip-stitch borders for the pocket edging. The pocket lining is 16 rows of reverse stockinette then the first 4 rows of the second chart repeat, so the ribbing on the pocket overlays the bottom 4 rows of the second cable, which makes it look a bit truncated. But pockets tend to hang open a little bit, giving you a glimpse of the cable inside the pocket, which I think optically balances it out a little bit. I’m not sure anyone would ever be aware of it if I didn’t point it out — they look more natural than I thought they would.

2) I wanted the button band to be a bit narrower on this one, but conversely wanted the shawl collar to be a little more voluminous than the original. With the difference in gauge I was really winging it on that adjustment. I removed 4 four full rows of ribbing, making the band a total of 8 rows rather than 12, and worked some extra short rows for the shawl shaping — 13 on the first short-row sequence, 11 on the second, according to my notes. (I no longer know how that compares to what’s in the pattern.) With the narrower band, I worked 3-st buttonholes, for slightly smaller buttons, so now I need to find the right buttons.

Ultimately, this thing is a beautiful beast, being extremely warm and also taking up an entire cubby in my little closet, so we’ll see whether it winds up getting worn enough to earn its keep. But for now, with the temperature having not escaped the 30s yesterday, I really am happy to have it! I love this classically woolly yarn and think it made for a powerhouse sweater, but there’s no question my original yarn choice (Balance held double) made for a more regionally appropriate version.

Bellows pattern by Michele Wang in limited-edition yarn from Harrisville Designsall Bellows posts
Town Bag from Fringe Supply Co. (I don’t have to hide it anymore!)

*For everyone who keeps telling me it’s not a hard color to wear, please try to understand that you really can’t know — unless you’ve seen this yarn in real life — and take my word for it? I can’t even get a photo to reflect the actual purpley-dusty-tourquoiseness of it, much less demonstrate how it really does not go with denim like you’d assume it would.

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PREVIOUSLY in 2018 FOs: Hozkwoz Hat

Marlisle, you’re fun (2018 FO-23)

Marlisle, you're fun (2018 FO-23)

Oh look, I finished up my Hozkwoz Hat (from Anna Maltz’s amazing book Marlisle) quicker than I thought I would! So cross that one off the list. Although I have to say, overall it took me a whole lot longer than I imagined. This was sort of slow going for me (cast on during the Fringe Marlisle Knitalong). The marlisle sections are far enough apart that I never needed to figure out how to hold yarns for this, so I just dropped one strand when I got to the solid sections, then picked it back up again. I tried to be super cautious about the length of my float, but there are spots where it’s a hair short and slightly pinching the ivory tower of stitches, but I do not care in the least — its lovely and warm and clever as could be.

This hat is knitted top-down, which means the crown can serve as your gauge swatch. My measurements were confusing, though — the X measurement is bigger than stated in the pattern, while measuring my garter suggested I was more or less on track. No matter, though, since it’s top-down: I figured I could just forge ahead and if it was proving to be on the large side, I could always decrease some stitches before working the ribbing. But there was no need to. All is well!

This is Sincere Sheep’s Covet (CA Rambouillet/alpaca/silk) in natural, and my mini skeins of Kelbourne Woolens’ Scout (100% wool) weren’t quite enough to do the job, so I subbed in some blackish tweed from my leftovers bin for the last inch or two. Were this solid-colored stockinette, you’d no doubt be able to tell I switched yarns, but in this context it’s perfectly invisible. And I knitted the whole thing on a US9 needle, including the ribbing.

I’ve seen a lot of amazing variations with this hat, but the gorgeous tonal one at the top in this photo has me thinking along those lines for another …

Hozwkoz Hat in Sincere Sheep Covet and Kelbourne Woolens Scout
Drawstring bag, blocking board and Lykke needles at Fringe Supply Co.

(The sweater is L.L. Bean.)

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PREVIOUSLY in FOs: The dickey I didn’t know I needed 

Queue Check — October 2018

Queue Check — October 2018

Raise your hand if you thought I would go another month without casting on a sweater. Anyone? Not me. I contented myself with that dickey for a little bit, and have been test-knitting my own mitts pattern — the Cascara Mitts they’re called — which Tolt is publishing on Saturday as part of their 5th-anniversary collection. (I’ll be at the store/party on Saturday and am actually teaching this pattern on Sunday but the class is sold out!) And I think Bob recognized an opportunity and rushed into the void, requesting a sweater vest for himself, and even picking out the yarn — the skein of Plucky Knitter’s Yakpaca that I bought at Stitches West earlier this year. He’s convinced that since it’s a vest, it won’t be overly warm for him; I’m dubious but I love the man so I’ll knit the vest and hope! I’ll be using Churchmouse’s simple little His Vest pattern, but probably raising the neck a tiny bit.

I do think I’m narrowing in on a final decision for my next sweater, but in the meantime I want to focus on Bob’s vest and on finishing up the unfinished:

My Hozkwoz hat is within an inch of done
My blue Bellows just needs a couple of seams and some buttons
My lilac pullover-to-cardigan-conversion is just one fun steek experiment away
– And I have a pair of Log Cabin Mitts awaiting their thumbs

It had been my plan to do these things for Slow Fashion October, but I have had myself stretched wayyyy too thin for that. Fortunately, they’ve all been waiting patiently for both me and the weather, which has more or less arrived, so I’m excited to tackle it all.

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PREVIOUSLY in Queue Check: September 2018

The dickey I didn’t know I needed (2018 FO-22)

The dickey I didn't know I needed (2018 FO-22)

There was a night a couple of weeks ago where I was frantically looking for something to knit. My plum Anna Vest was blocking; I’d left my marlisle hat at work; I no longer have the thumb instructions memorized for the Log Cabin Mitts, and picking up my unfinished pair wasn’t going to take up that unexpected chunk of knitting time anyway. And so on. I could have cast on a sweater, but it would have been both underconsidered (I can’t make up my mind) and wool (since that’s what I have in my stash in sweater quantities), and I obviously didn’t want to do that. So I pulled up New Favorites and scrolled through looking for something I’d been wanting for a decent amount of time and that I also had yarn for in stash, and I landed on Grete, the crazy dickey I can’t get out of my head. PERFECT. Then I remembered it’s written for bulky yarn, which I don’t have meaningful amounts of in stash. ARGH. And then it slowly dawned on me: the exquisite single-batch, toffee-hued, Oregon-raised bulky I’ve been dying to knit with. I only had one skein on my shelf at home, but I had plenty in the webshop and had set aside a pile for myself at the studio. (Hilariously, I had made this connection last spring when the pattern published but had forgotten it in the meantime.) So I cast on.

The only thing I didn’t like about knitting this was how quickly it was over. I have friends who say the thought of coffee gets them out of bed in the morning. I had one morning where I woke up thinking “the sooner I get up and get through my workday and my workout, the sooner I can knit those cables.” Although, I did extend it by making some changes and revisions and re-knits along the way.

When I first blogged about this pattern, I mentioned that I wanted the neck to be snugger, and we talked about various other mods in the comments, including putting a back on it, which I did. But I was surprised to discover when I started knitting that the neck ribbing folds down over cables, as opposed to ribbing folding onto itself, and I couldn’t imagine wearing that, so I ripped it back. In total, here are the changes I made:

The dickey I didn't know I needed (2018 FO-22)

– Cast on 8 sts fewer (on US8 needle) for snugger neck
– Ribbed for 8″ (instead of 10″ of half ribbing/half cables)
– Worked an increase round at the end of my ribbing to get to the original stitch count
– Instead of binding off for the back neck, put those sts on waste yarn
– Worked the front panel exactly as written, on US10 needle for main fabric
– Returned the back sts to needles and worked a back just like the front, but only two repeats of the chart
– (I’m wishing I had added another repeat or two on the front so it hits me more like the one on the model, but that’s ok — I never did check my gauge so don’t know how it compares!)

In the interim, I tried two other ideas for the back (involving stockinette and short-rows and altered stitch counts to adjust for the gauge …), thinking it might not lie flat or sit right if I didn’t account for neck shaping somehow. But that was time wasted, because this totally worked. The back flap gives it a little visual ballast, plus I couldn’t stand the thought of cold air on the strip of skin between a shirt collar and the bottom of the dickey. And while I thought it was just a visual thing, it does actually help it stay seated better as well.

I also couldn’t be happier with my yarn choice for this, the OUR Yarn, and love it most because it’s a way I can feel like I’m wearing a luscious wool turtleneck sweater in a climate that doesn’t really allow for that. And did I mention it looks amazing with my matching Log Cabin Mitts?

The dickey I didn't know I needed (2018 FO-22)

So I’m eager to knit another one — wider somehow to account for my broadness, and with another variation for the back — and am thinking it should be black. I’m just debating between this same yarn for that (a deep, rich black which would be gorgeous) and trying it in the intended yarn, Luft, which is a wool-cotton blend and lighter, more heathery black.

Pattern: Grete by Woolfolk Yarn, with mods listed above
Yarn: OUR Yarn from Fringe Supply Co. in toffee (8.8oz, 2.25 skeins with my mods)
Pictured with: Fringe Field Bag in waxed camo

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PREVIOUSLY in Finished Objects: Plum Anna Vest (pattern now available)

Queue Check — September 2018

Queue Check — September 2018

Confession: I’m in jeopardy of not finishing my Hozkwoz Hat for the Marlisle Knitalong on time! (Speaking of which, review the prize instructions on that if you’re participating!) After a botched first start, I got the top of it squared away (literally!) and blocked before boarding my flight to SF, thinking I would knit the rest of it on the plane. Then it occurred to me that it would be the perfect thing to knit during the trip — you know, those times when you’re visiting with people and participating in the goings-on but your hands still want to be knitting? So I concentrated on my purple Anna Vest on the flight out there, finishing the back and starting the right front, and then I didn’t knit another stitch until my last day, when I got to spend the afternoon knitting with Mary Jane — and briefly with Anna Maltz! I knitted another good chunk of the right front that day, finished it on the flight home, and blew through the first half of the left front, which is the stage at which it’s pictured above. I’ve since finished the left front and returned to the hat, but it’s surprisingly slow going for a seemingly simple tube of knitting. So while I thought I would be done with it too quickly and likely casting on a second Marlisle project, I’m instead feeling nowhere near done! Of course, I’m not eligible for prizes and we’re nowhere near hat weather here — plus it’s fun to knit — so there’s no need to rush. And I’ve been so enjoying all of the creativity on display in the #fringemarlislekal feed this month.

There is some urgency about the vest, though. I’ve been promising you guys for too long that the pattern would soon be available for individual download, but now it really is coming! Here’s the hard evidence. The point of knitting this new sample was to recheck the pattern (which has been graded and edited since I first wrote it) and add an alternate button band option. And I’m aiming to have it published in the next few weeks!

So that’s it for me for now — just finishing up these two little gems, unsure what’s next.

Has there ever been a Queue Check that’s really so purely just a WIP Check? I’m not sure there’s been a minute since I started knitting in 2011 that I haven’t had a list of things I intend to cast on (or an assortment of things already on the needles). Don’t get me wrong: There are obviously plenty of patterns I love and think would fun to knit and all of that. But I will likely only make one more sweater this year (if that) and I want to be more deliberate than ever about making sure it really is a good mate for the rest of my clothes, suits my climate needs, and rounds out my existing sweater inventory. And I haven’t quite decided what that is yet! So next up is the plain little hat my husband has been patiently waiting for, while I decide on a sweater. Or perhaps I’ll cast on a Grete, if there’s a suitable yarn for it in my stash.

Hozwkoz Hat in Sincere Sheep Covet and Kelbourne Woolens Scout
Anna Vest in Kelbourne Woolens Germantown
Drawstring bag, blocking board and Lykke needles at Fringe Supply Co.

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PREVIOUSLY in Queue Check: August 2018

The ivory aran-gansey (2018 FO-19)

The ivory aran-gansey (2018 FO-19)

Hey look, I knitted a sweater! Crazy how long that took me. Inspired by Daniel Day-Lewis’s perfect gansey but bearing in mind what works best for me and my frame, I sketched out this little aran-gansey mashup as part of my Summer of Basics plan, and cast on in the middle-row bench seat of a van lurching its way through the winding roads of rural Portugal. I hadn’t done any actual math or planning. All I had was my inexact-texture-but-gauge-ly predictive swatch plus the little sketch taped into my notebook. So in that van seat on that steamy late June day, I did just enough math to calculate a good-enough cast on, and in I went.

Because it was a slapdash start and I didn’t expect it to work, I also didn’t put any basting stitches in the raglans, or take many useful notes. I thought I almost certainly was just knitting a bigger, more texturally accurate swatch, which I’d eventually rip out. But I never did! And I just kept winging it the whole way. (Albeit with lots of intermittent blocking to make sure everything would work out ok.) So while I normally share all my stitch counts and measurements for any Improv sweater I knit, I’m sorry, I don’t have that for you today. Plus if I were to do this again, I’d make a thousand tiny tweaks. So perhaps at some point I will do this again (in navy!), make those tweaks, and take proper notes for sharing. But the short version is that it’s just a standard top-down raglan with a stitch pattern thrown in for the first 9.5″ or so — double moss stitch broken up every 3″ with two bands of garter stitch. And I put garter along the top of the waist ribbing as well. And used my favorite folded neckband technique.

Natural sweater inventory

You may recall the overarching aim of this one was to make myself a much-needed, easygoing, 3-season-ish pullover, and I couldn’t be happier with it in all those respects. I’ve knitted quite a few sweaters with O-Wool Balance at this point — organic, machine washable, 50/50 cotton-wool blend — and am thrilled to have a mostly stockinette one for myself, as I covet Bob’s every time he puts it on. This fabric is so incredibly cozy. (I like it best after a machine wash and a few minutes in the dryer, but do mind your gauge if that’s your intention! Don’t wet-block your swatch and then machine-wash your FO.) And if you’re thinking back to my recent sweater inventory, you’ll note this rounds out my collection of natural sweaters quite nicely: There’s the shrunken cotton fisherman (L.L. Bean 2010), this new cotton-wool gansey, the heavy-duty wool fisherman and the wool cardigan.

I also made those pants I’m wearing above, which I wouldn’t actually intentionally wear with this sweater — that’s a bit of a blah combo even for me! But it was convenient to take the sweater photos while I happened to be wearing the pants, so I’ll tell you about those tomorrow.

Speaking of the wool fisherman, I also sent it through the washer and dryer last week — being incredibly vigilant the whole way — and it finally fits the way I always wanted it to! (Assuming it doesn’t grow back to its former size when worn.) Officially all set in the ivory department!

Pattern: Improv
Yarn: O-Wool Balance in Natural

You can browse all the posts about this sweater and save/fave it at Ravelry.

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PREVIOUSLY in FOs: Wiksten Kimono, pajama-style

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