Cabled husband hat (2019 FO-2)

Cabled Dad Hat knitting in progress with cat

While I debate with myself about which yarn I want to use for the shawl-collar vest idea and which pattern (and stash yarn) for a wrap, I’ve knitted a hat for my beloved. On Christmas day, we had turkey enchiladas with our close family-friends, the elder of which was wearing a hat Bob took one look at and flashed me a face that said “please!” After some investigation, it was established that my pal Jo had knitted it from Alexis Winslow’s pattern called Cabled Dad Hat. And it seemed like a perfect use for some of the leftover yarn from Bob’s sweater vest, so that’s what’s kept my hands busy on recent nights.

If you’ve seen previous years’ posts about hats for Bob, you may recall he likes a skullcap — won’t wear a beanie that comes down over his ears — but we’d agreed he needed one that could at least fold down over them when needed. To arrive at this outcome, and following Jo’s lead, I began the decreases at 6″ instead of 7″, which for me meant 5 repeats of the chart. (If I make it again, I might stop at 5″.) And then I also shortened the crown portion by speeding up the increases and knitting fewer total rows, which I did simply by decreasing on every round starting with crown row 13.

As usual with hats, I didn’t swatch, and it’s a tiny bit big so we’ll make an effort to shrink it just a touch. But overall, we’re both very happy with it — it’s a great pattern that was obviously more fun to knit than his usual stockinette-everything requests, and it’s nice to see some texture on him.

Cabled Dad Hat free knitting pattern by Alexis Winslow

I realized while finishing this up the other night that, as much as I’ve enjoyed knitting for him and my as-yet unspecified niece, it’s officially been too long since I knitted anything for myself. Time to solve for one or the other of those aforementioned cast-ons!

(Drawstring project bag and Lykke needles from Fringe Supply Co.)

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PREVIOUSLY in Finished Objects: Sunny little Sólbein cardigan

Sunny little Sólbein cardigan (2019 FO-1)

I know, right? It’s so cute. This is my first finish of the year — my miniaturized version of the Sólbein Cardigan from the #fringeandfriendssteekalong. The palette was inspired by Mary Jane’s pre-steekalong remarks about the inspiration for this motif having been the idea of fractured daylight falling across the surface of the sweater, which made me want to do it in a sunny yellow combo. And you’ll recall I decided to knit it at worsted gauge and let it come out child-sized, in the hopes that it would fit one of my little nieces. (Details on how I scaled it down — including yarns, needles and gauge — are all here.)

The only changes I made were to leave off the colorwork at the hem and cuffs, and to do the button bands in garter stitch (on US6) instead of ribbing. I had used an incredibly soft merino for the middle yellow and felt it was not going to have enough heft as a ribbed button band. Garter has that added density, and I think in this case it also contributes to the little-girl looks of it. The bone buttons came from Fringe Supply Co., and the ribbon (a gift) came from Fancy Tiger Crafts.

Sunny little Sólbein cardigan

It’s not my very best work, if I’m honest. You can see my colorwork is a little bit bunchy, especially in the 3-color rows, and this was my first time sewing ribbon onto a button band — despite having sworn I would how many times? My whipstitching is, um, inelegant (although I kind of like that about it) and the act of lashing the ribbon onto the knitted fabric caused the bands to lengthen a bit. It’s all fine — it’s full of love! — and the imperfections just make it less precious. I’m definitely not worried about anyone wearing it and messing it up!

I just hope they can wear it. I opted not to do any math ahead of time and just let fate determine the outcome, and it came out smaller than I’d imagined. I was secretly hoping it would fit either the 11- or 8 year-old in the group and be handed down from there. But in the end, I’m concerned it may be a hair too small for the youngest, two 5-year-olds. After finishing, it clocks in at about a 24″ circumference at the chest, 11″ sleeves, and 15″ from shoulder to hem. Which is sort of a 4-5 range?

Time to send it off and see! With fingers firmly crossed.

Happy weekend, everyone—

IN UNRELATED SHOP NEWS: We’ve got the new MDK Field Guide No. 10: Downtown in the shop this morning, patterns by Isabell Kraemer, along with a fresh batch of Bury Me totes, the waxed plum Field Bag and lots more …

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PREVIOUSLY in Fringe and Friends Steekalong: Highlights and random winners


Idea Log: Everyday vest

Idea Log: Everyday vest

As my mini Sólbein awaits its buttons and ribbon backing and sleeve seams, and the bulky black cardigan I started knitting and didn’t finish in December is now useless until next year (if then), I’ve been really weighing my next cast-on, wanting it to be imminently wearable. Yet another mild winter here has proven that cardigans are smarter than pullovers, and vests are even better. And in addition to (always) craving a good shawl-collar cardigan, I’ve become fanatical about protecting the back of my neck. I’m also really into this photo, his whole look, but in particular his ivory waistcoat. So a garment has formed in my mind, and will hopefully soon be forming on my needles.

My goal is for this vest to be the sort of thing I throw on over whatever else I’m wearing on any given day — the sweater-vest equivalent of a smock. I want it wide and slouchy, but not too much, with deep armholes (similar to my converted Clyde vest) so it can go on over all shapes of sleeves.

For optimum wearability, it should be ivory, of all things, and I have enough natural worsted in my stash to pull it together, albeit in the form of mismatched yarns that are identical enough in color that I think I could knit different pieces from different yarns and all would be fine. But it would be even more useful if it weren’t 100% wool. So I’m torn between patchworking it together from stash or acquiring a cotton or cotton blend for this.

Not sure yet if I’ll adapt it from the Anna Vest or create it from scratch.

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PREVIOUSLY in Idea Log: Shrunken crewneck Charles

Queue Check — January 2019

Queue Check — January 2019

After knitting the body of this Carbeth Cardigan last month, I finally got to knit the yoke over just a few evenings at the end of last week, before finally casting on my kid-sized Sólbein for the #fringeandfriendssteekalong yesterday, on a sunny January Sunday.

The Sólbein is kid-sized by virtue of simply knitting the smallest size with worsted-weight yarn (details here) on size US8 needles, and it looks like it may be coming out even smaller than I anticipated. My plan is to finish the yoke chart, block and measure it, and see where the math puts me. I’ve been thinking it will go to whichever niece it winds up fitting, but it might actually be too small for the two smallest of them (they’re 5). I won’t know till I block it, which I expect to be able to do in the next couple of days, so the recipient is still TBD for now! But I’m loving how it’s knitting up.

The Carbeth fabric is so seductive — the black OUR Yarn bulky held together with Shibui Pebble — and every day that’s cool enough for a sweater, I find myself wishing for this one. My plan here is to knit the bands and collar before the sleeves, then see how it looks with a little bit fuller sleeve. And I think I might not do the I-cord buttonholes. For those of you who’ve knitted this and worn it awhile, how are those holding up — have they stretched out or anything? I may do vertical bands for it instead.

Both of these cardigans are relatively quick projects and I wish I could knit them sequentially, but instead it’s a race to see which will get done while there’s still hope of appropriate weather. And actually, it’s a three-legged race.

Meanwhile, no change in the status of the cowl-dickey-question-mark thing I also started last month, but I’m eager to figure it out. And then I’m still mulling what’s on the horizon. I have lots of thoughts and ideas about the sweaters I’m unable to wear and what to do about it, but not ready to put anything in writing just yet …

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PREVIOUSLY in Queue Check: UFOs of 2018

The day I almost steeked

The day I almost steeked

I haven’t gotten to knit the past couple of weeks — was hoping to cast on my Sólbein for the Steekalong this weekend, but work intervened. But there was a brief and shining moment yesterday afternoon where the sun peeked through the clouds for the first time in about 10 days and it made me suddenly desperate to do something in that momentary spot of light. So I grabbed my purple lopi sweater, ripped out the neckband, and placed a couple of stitch markers to mark the center front stitch and where I want the tip of the V of the new cardigan front to sit. Then I threaded some hot pink waste yarn onto a tapestry needle, basted a line where the center front cut will go, and continued upwards each direction toward the raglan seams. I basically just eyeballed it, since I can’t think of a more accurate way to do it that isn’t more tedious than I could bear.

The plan is to run two rows of machine stitching alongside these basting stitches before cutting it open, but as soon as I slid the sweater under the foot of my machine, the sun disappeared for the evening and I went back to what I was supposed to be doing. Which means if anyone has any advice they want to give me before I do this, here’s your chance!

Speaking of Sólbein, Mary Jane put up an IG post showing button bands picked up before the steek is cut. She’ll have a longer blog post on that approach soon!

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2018 Yarn count

2018 Yarn count

While doing my usual year-end review posts, it occurred to me one thing I’ve never done is tallied up my yarn usage. I have a tendency to find a yarn I really like and knit with it several times, while yarns I’m longing to try — my yarns-in-waiting, plus — sit and wait. So knitting around more has been on my mind, and knitting so many accessories last year gave me a chance to change things up more than I maybe have in the past. I wanted to take stock to see what, if anything, I could glean from it. Here’s how it breaks down:

Log Cabin Mitts 
Original: Brooklyn Tweed Shelter, stash+purchased, used before
Grey: Hole & Sons, stash, used before (no longer available)
B/W: Brooklyn Tweed Shelter, stash, used before
Toffee: OUR Yarn DK, via Fringe Supply Co. stock, new to me (no longer available)
Black/blue: Brooklyn Tweed Shelter, stash, used before + Harrisville Color Lab, stash, used before
Verb kit: AVFKW Range, purchased, new to me (no longer available)
Indigo: AVFKW Pioneer, purchased, used before

Lancet Hat: Brooklyn Tweed Quarry, purchased, new to me
1898 Hat: Woolfolk Får, purchased, new to me
Første Hat: Woolfolk Får, purchased, used twice in a row
ScandinAndean Hat: Sincere Sheep Cormo Worsted, purchased, new to me (with leftover Far)
Cascara Mitts: (half samples) Tolt Snoqualmie Valley, pattern yarn support from Tolt, new to me
Unblogged Hat: Retrosaria Rosa Pomar Beiroa, purchased, new to me
Hozkwoz Hat: Since Sheep Covet + Kelbourne Woolens Scout, both purchased, new to me
Grete Dickey: OUR Yarn Chunky, via Fringe Supply Co. stock, new to me
Bellows Cardigan: Harrisville Color Lab, purchased, new to me
Sweatshirt Vest: O-Wool Balance, stash, used before + Shibui Pebble, stash/leftover gift from Shibui, used before
Aran-gansey: O-Wool Balance, purchased, used before
Plum Anna Vest: Kelbourne Woolens Germantown, pattern yarn support from Kelbourne, new to me
Bob’s Vest: Plucky Knitter Yakpaca, purchased, new to me

WIPs
Black cowl-dickey: Woolfolk Luft, purchased+gift from Woolfolk
Carbeth Cardigan: OUR Yarn Chunky, via Fringe Supply Co. stock, used before + Shibui Pebble, stash/leftover gift from Shibui, used before

. . . . .

19 FOs + 1 Partial/sample +  2 WIPs
Total number of unique yarns used: 18 (all small/independent businesses)
Yarns used more than once: 4 (Shelter, Far, OUR Chunky, Pebble)
New to me13!
Purchased for projects16
From stash8
Gift/yarn support3

I had no idea I knitted with a whopping 13 new-to-me yarns last year.

My ongoing objectives are to find ways to use some of the wool in my stash such that it will work for my climate, and to branch out into non-wools, which means almost certainly new to me. For those not from stash, I want to be more deliberate about seeking out yarns with recycled content and from companies with non-white owners.

[Edited to add: I believe all of the yarn companies listed here have white owners, except for the Snoqualmie Valley. Anna, who owns Tolt, is of mixed heritage.]

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PREVIOUSLY in Year End: Top posts and highlights of 2018

Bob’s deluxe sweater vest (2018 FO-26)

Bob's deluxe sweater vest (2018 FO-26)

I finished knitting Bob’s sweater vest in plenty of time for him to wear it out to dinner on New Year’s Eve, and the man could not be happier! Nor could I, honestly — this vest turned out so much better than I imagined. And that’s due to two things: a highly detailed pattern paired with some very nice yarn.

You may recall I had bought a skein of this at Stitches West last winter, and Bob basically picked it off my shelf one day and said “I want a sweater out of this.” It’s Plucky Knitter’s Yakpaca in “Pinstripe” — a 50/50 blend of yak and alpaca — and there’s no way he would wear a full sweater in such warm fibers, so thankfully what he wanted was a vest. And after poking around a bit, we settled on Churchmouse’s His Vest pattern.

My gauge was slightly bigger than the pattern gauge (I knitted the yarn on US6 needles at 4.75 sts/inch) and for such a straightforward garment, it would have been super simple to just wing it. But there were so many subtleties to how the pattern is written — very fine attention to the armhole shaping, shoulder seam placement, neck treatment — that I wanted to try to use the pattern. Since all my numbers were different, that got to be a bit of a headache (and I wound up not doing their tidy little neck selvage trick) but I’m glad I did it, and if I were to make this again, I would knit it precisely to the pattern.

Apart from the slight difference in gauge, the only change I made was to tweak the length — we wanted it to hit right at the front pockets of his jeans — and raised the neck, which meant going my own way on that whole part.

It’s a really lovely, simple garment, and a perfect case of how much yarn choice can matter. The fabric this yarn creates is so soft and elegant that I had this hanging on the door to my room for about 24 hours and I just kept staring at it having that “wow, I made that” feeling, even though it’s such a simple thing! It just looks so luxurious.

It was 70 degrees on New Year’s Eve and he wore it anyway, looking perfectly dapper. Sorry I didn’t get a photo!

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PREVIOUSLY in Finished Objects: Indigo mitts