I’m back from my trip and can’t wait to tell you about it, but it’ll take me a minute to organize my thoughts and photos. As a knitter will tend to do, I took too much yarn with me and knitted only a fraction of what I thought I might, but still, I did come back with a good 7 or 8 inches of my green cardigan after doing the math on the first runway and casting on as we took off. I even managed to keep my needles when going through security in India — counter to what some of you and google had warned me — and was relieved to have them for the long trip home.
I mentioned before I left that a top-down sweater is the ideal travel project for me, so while I re-adjust to Central Time and work on that recap, this is my Q for You: What’s your favorite kind of project to travel with, and why?
Do you recognize this yarn? This perfectly green Andorra that’s been on my Yarns in Waiting list since late 2017. I’ve been dying to knit with it but cognizant of how warm it is — a delicious wool and mohair blend — and whether it would be sensible for me to make a sweater in it. At this point, given that I have wanted this theoretical sweater for two years, I feel good about committing to it — at least on the level of “how well-considered is this make,” and “will it really be cherished?”
But there’s still the question of (excess) warmth. As much as I would like it to be a simple pullover, a cardigan would be safer, and after searching high and low for a less-warm green yarn that I felt anywhere near as inspired by — due diligence, y’know — I gave myself permission to just do it. Um, held double. Trying to get a sweater’s worth meant ordering from two different stores, and when a dear friend caught wind of my plan, she reminded me that she knitted a Weekender in Andorra-held-double and finds it too warm for our climate. So she loaned me her sweater, I wore it for part of an 80+-degree morning with the window open and then into some frigid a/c. And I found it perfectly cozy! Granted, this is a far-from-scientific experiment, but I want to knit this sweater and if it turns out I can’t wear it, I will find someone who will love it as much as I do. Which shouldn’t be hard, because it is going to be gorgeous.
So this is my travel project — a simple V-neck, stockinette cardigan, most likely with a shawl collar, knitted top-down over the next two weeks as I travel to and around India. (I’m of the opinion that a top-down sweater is the ideal travel project. You get to do the fun starting bits as you embark, then settle into the rhythm of the yoke during your journey, and it generally doesn’t get unwieldy before you get home.)
I leave tomorrow morning and will be back to blogging sometime the third week of October. I’m hoping to tell you a little bit about the textile workshop portion of the trip when I’m back, but I will be offline until then, fully present for my trip.
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If anyone is wondering about Slow Fashion October, I only alluded to it at the time, but 2018 was meant as my last year hosting it. I organized it last year around the notion of how to build a wardrobe you’re committed to, which is at the core of slow fashion — because loved clothes will be taken care of and kept, not treated as disposable — and left a note at the end saying it’s there for anyone to follow anytime. And that remains true! If you’d like to go through the process, it’s there for you in the feed and the entire history of Slow Fashion October can be revisited here on the blog as well. The conversation is obviously far bigger than me and I encourage you to keep having it, with or without me — feel free to use #slowfashionoctober this month to do so! Or start another and I’ll be happy to spread the word. In addition to everyone who’s ever been featured on @slowfashionoctober, I also recommend adding @thesustainablefashionforum and @melaninASS to your follow list!
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Given that I won’t be available to respond after tomorrow, I’ll be turning off comments while I’m away and will re-enable them when I’m back.
The blocking kit pictured above is via Fringe Supply Co. and I should note that my absence will have zero effect on anything with that — the shop is open and DG will be shipping orders just as efficiently as always!
Not all black clouds are gloomy, it turns out. In fact, this little cloud I’ve made to line my neck with is just the opposite!
Several months ago, as previously mentioned, I cast on an unknown object in the dreamy Woolfolk Luft I had originally acquired for another project. I knew I wanted it around my neck, but not what form it might ultimately take. I simply cast on 3 stitches and began knitting a garter-stitch triangle à la Purl Soho’s Triangle Garter Wrap, but with an undefined end goal. Along the way, I’ve imagined it growing into a giant triangle, a square (with or without some variation in the stitch pattern), a large rectangle on the bias … Basically, I was waiting for it to tell me what it wanted to be. Meanwhile, it’s been handy to have lying around for those nights when you can only manage a row or two of knit stitches … and then may not touch it again for days or weeks.
As it reached a certain mass and I took to wrapping the super-soft WIP around my neck, I was reminded of the little kerchief I knitted for my mom many moons ago when I was a brand-new knitter. I’ve always wanted to repeat it for myself, and given Luft’s extreme lightness and softness, it seemed like it might be just the thing. Rather than leave it at pure garter stitch, I knitted a wide 2×2 ribbed edge, which gives it a little more grip, less slip. And I ceased increasing when I started ribbing, as I am not fond of the pointy ends on triangle shawls/shawlettes. It may block out a bit bigger, but at present it’s 18″ x 36″, and used 140g of Luft.
In the end, it’s a little gem of a thing and I can’t wait for the first day cool enough to leave the house with it draped around my neck.
Like any human heart, mine often wants what it can’t have. Or shouldn’t have, anyway. In this case: any more bulky sweaters! Ohhhh the joy of a quickly knit sweater, the profound coziness of pulling one on when the weather is right. It’s soooo goooood. I know I’m supposed to be focusing on lighter, less warm sweaters to bring my closet in line with my climate, but I’m gazing longingly at these —
TOP: ふっくらケーブル模様のセーター by Yokota/Daruma features a simple cable at dramatic scale (Japanese only)
BOTTOM LEFT: Ramsay by Whitney Hayward is fisherman-level cables in light-as-air yarn
BOTTOM RIGHT: Cleburne Cardigan also by Whitney Hayward is a simple cardigan made special with striking colorwork
Happy Friday, friends. I’ve got a nice varied stack of Elsewhere links for you below, but one tangential one first — from Grace Bonney as she closed Design Sponge after 15 years, a bit of advice I can simultaneously nod along with and continue to learn from, and I hope others will too: How to handle (and learn from) being called out. Please read and pass it along!
I’m still hosting an internal debate about my fall sweater. Now, in addition to the allover texture options, I’m weighing textured yoke possibilities. These are just a few of the contenders, along with previously mentioned Anker’s Sweater and Eldingar—
There’s a trick I have wanted to try for as long as I’ve known the term “short rows” but hadn’t until my Grace pullover — for reasons unknown. What finally prompted me to try it was that I was knitting this sweater out of chunky yarn and in pretty fitted proportions, the combination of which made the urge more pressing. What am I talking about? Making more room for my shoulders.
If you’ve been reading this blog for long, you know that (even before discovering the freedom of experimentation that comes with top-down sweater knitting) I learned to favor raglan sweaters at a young age because my shoulders are so broad that fitting into set-in-sleeve clothes is a challenge — if the sleeve cap seams hit at the tips of my shoulders where they belong, the garment will be too big for me overall, and vice versa. Raglans solve this in that there’s no sleeve seam to sit uncomfortably in the wrong place, but it can still be the case — especially on a snug pullover — that there’s not quite enough fabric to get over my big shoulders. It has always seemed to me that this should be addressable with short rows, and I’m glad I finally gave it a go!
This was an especially easy case for them, too, since the gauge of this sweater meant I could create extra fabric in only a couple of short-row turns. I’ve left my pink waste yarn in place for the pic up top so you can kind of see, but here’s all I did:
1) After separating my yoke into the sleeves and body and knitting a few inches of the body, as I like to do, I put my sleeve stitches back on my needles. (That’s the upper pink strand of waste yarn.) I’ve knitted my sleeves flat, as usual — picking up underarm stitches starting at the midpoint of the underarm (aka side seam), knitting across the sleeve stitches, and picking up the last few underarm stitches back to the midpoint — but this process would be the same if you were knitting in the round.
2) I then purled back across the WS of these stitches, stopping one stitch before the end of the row, and did a YO-and-turn. (You could wrap-and-turn, or whatever your favorite short-row method is.) Then knitted back to 1 st before the end of this third row, YO and turn. That’s one pair of turns.
3) For my second pair of turns, I placed them in line with my front and back raglan “seams.”
4) And then I worked my way back across the stitches one last time, closing up the YOs as I encountered them, to the end of the row. (That’s the lower strand of pink waste yarn.)
This amounted to a wedge of six extra rows of knitting at the sleeve cap before I continued downward with the full set of sleeve stitches as normal, giving me an extra 1″ of fabric to help accommodate my shoulders before worrying about my arms. For a finer gauge sweater, I would want to do the equivalent number of rows at whatever row gauge to create the same amount of extra fabric, and would distribute those turns within the underarm stitches.
This will factor into every top-down raglan I do from now on, stitch pattern permitting!