2017 Remake-1 : Black linen slip dress + more camo mending

2017 Remake-1 : Black linen slip dress + more camo mending

Despite my careful planning and copious outfit projections, I’ve actually been struggling a little bit to get dressed so far this summer. For a few reasons: A) I haven’t replaced my ankle boots yet, which dampens my enthusiasm for all the dress-based outfits I want to be wearing. My poor old boots are just way too shabby. B) Many of the outfits in the rundown hinge on garments that are either still WIPs or that need to be mended, refashioned, lengthened or shortened, and thus aren’t actually available to be worn. And C) I really just want to wear my black linen pull-on pants every day, and I do! Yesterday, blessed with a few hours to spend in my sewing room, I decided the best thing I could do with the time was tackle the fix-it pile and get a couple of existing garments back to usefulness. So instead of cutting out the muslin of my Archer for Summer of Basics, as I had planned:

  1. I shortened my black linen slip dress to knee length and added patch pockets (which you can’t actually see in the photo, but I swear they’re there!), and
  2. I mended the 3″ tear in the side of my precious old camo pants.

Which means all of the above and below are now actual wearable outfits:

2017 Remake-1 : Black linen slip dress + more camo mending

2017 Remake-1 : Black linen slip dress + more camo mending

Please excuse the lack of a better (or modeled) dress photo — it was a seriously dark and stormy day. I’ll be sure to include it in a future FO post!

For details on the garments pictured, see my Summer closet inventory. And the more recently added black linen Sloper sweater and white linen shell.

Also, while at Squam I had the pleasure of chatting with Renee of the new-ish East London Knit podcast. Man am I fidgety when you point a camera at me! But if you’re interested, you can watch it here. Thanks again to Renee for inviting me on!

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PREVIOUSLY in FOs: The white linen shell

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2017 FO-5 : The white linen shell

2017 FO-5 : The white linen shell

I want to tell you about the incredible week I had, being and teaching at Squam, but I’m gonna need a minute to collect my thoughts. For the moment, here’s the little linen top from my to-make list, which I cranked out the Sunday before I left, believing it would be useful on the trip. Lori took this photo on my third day wearing it, so that seems to have been a good hunch.

This is the same as the two I made last year — the black silk gauze and the blue striped cotton — with a few tiny differences:

– the neck and armholes are finished with bias instead of bands
– the front is as long as the back (no high/low)
– there’s a center front seam
– the pockets are bigger than on the striped one
– the neck bias is attached with the seam slightly off-center in the front

The latter three of those things are the result of mistakes on my part, from working too fast. (Didn’t add enough fabric at the front for the intended gathers, seamed the excess back out; grabbed the pocket I had drafted for my black pants instead of the one from the blue stripe top; thought I was attaching an arm band and realized too late it was the neck hole I was working on.) And all are happy accidents — I even like the little bit of patchwork effect at the neck. I might add a few sashiko stitches or something.

I’m not sure why — guess it’s just the extra length in front — but this one seems roomier than the others … which I’m also ok with. This was the perfect layering piece for the unpredictable and wildly fluctuating New Hampshire spring weather, the perfect warm-up to get me back to sewing after 10 months away from the machine, and is guaranteed to be worn incessantly. I’ll try the gathered neck idea on the next one.

Pattern: my own
Fabric:  off-white pure linen via Fancy Tiger, $12/yard
Cost: free pattern + about $18 fabric = $18

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PREVIOUSLY in FOs: The Squam hats

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2017 FO-4 : the Squam hats

2017 FO-4 : the Squam hats

My latest finished object is actually a pair of them: the sample hats for my class at Squam this week. (Modeled by the lovely Silbia Ro.) I’m teaching (for the first time!) a beginner class in knitting cables and wanted to design a hat that met several criteria for that. 1) I want everyone to have a fair chance of leaving with a finished hat. 2) I want it to function as a good cable teaching tool while also being knittable in the social setting of a class, where there is all sorts of discussion going on the whole time. And of course, 3) I want it to be cute. I’m really happy with it on the third count, and will have to let you know how the other two work out! I’m calling it Debutant because it’s inspired by some vintage patterns in my old booklets, and because “debutant” is French for “beginner.” I hope my students will love it!

I haven’t decided yet whether or when I’ll be publishing the pattern — another thing I’ll have to let you know about. But for the moment, I’m at the lake, in the woods, in the classroom (and I’ll also be on Instagram) and taking the next two days off from the blog. If you’ve never seen my post about attending Squam in 2014, it’s full of lots of pretty pictures and might make a good stand-in if you need one. I’ll see a bunch of you at Squam — and at the Squam Art Fair; don’t forget about this little treat! — and will see the rest of you back here on Monday. Have a great weekend!

2017 FO-4 : the Squam hats

PREVIOUSLY in FOs: Sloper as a linen V-neck

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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

2017 FO-2 : Camel Channel cardigan

2017 FO-2 : Camel Channel cardigan

Being that this was nearing completion so close to takeoff, I thought I was going to refrain from doing an FO post about it until I had photos of myself wearing it on the trip, but as soon as I snipped the last woven-in end yesterday, I knew I wouldn’t be able to stand the wait. So here it is in all its glory — albeit on a hanger and an armless dress form. I’m sure there will still be Paris photos to come. ;)

In short: LOVE.

Sooo it’s not the sweater I originally set out to knit — different proportions than expected and, as a result, not shawl-collar — but I couldn’t love it any more for what it turned out to be. When I slip it on, it feels utterly perfect: like it’s exactly as it was meant to be, and like it suits my frame perfectly.

It’s a modified version of Jared Flood’s incredible Channel Cardigan pattern, knitted in Jones & Vandermeer’s Clever Camel, and like my Gentian hat of yore, this was a magical combination of yarn and stitch pattern. Every minute I spent with it in my hands was heaven, even when I was ripping back and redoing, and I am sad that it’s over! The fabric is beyond words. (And I wound up using far less yarn than I thought, so it wasn’t even as expensive as I was prepared for it to be! Although still definitely an investment, and very definitely worth it.)

There was a moment early on when I got nervous about using this natural camel color for this particular project. Halfway into the first sleeve, I realized the combination of color and texture was going to feel very ’70s to me, and the question was whether it would be good ’70s or bad ’70s. In the end, it does feel like a really great thrift-store find (and just a tiny bit like I pinched it off Mr. Rogers). But I’m glad I went with it. My only regret is not making the pockets about two chevrons deeper, but they’ll serve their purpose just fine.

Most of all, I want to say that this sweater is, somehow, truly next level. It terms of how polished and professional it feels, it easily surpasses everything I’ve knitted to date. I couldn’t be prouder — or more excited to wear it. Thankfully we’re traveling somewhere it stands a chance, because it’s too late in Nashville!

2017 FO-2 : Camel Channel cardigan

Pattern: Channel Cardigan by Jared Flood
Yarn: Clever Camel by Jones & Vandermeer in Naked (undyed)
Cost: 10 skeins @ $19.80/ea (spent in 2016) + $7.50 buttons + $8 pattern (spent in 2014) = $213.50
Buttons: 20mm bleached horn narrow-rim buttons from Fringe Supply Co.

Modifications:
– knitted sleeves flat and seamed
– added side seams (via basting stitch at each side)
– added inset pockets
– omitted waist shaping
– omitted eyelets/belt
– omitted seamed shawl collar; worked a plain, picked-up, garter-stitch band instead (US5)

Size notes:
I knitted the size 38.75 size at a very slightly larger stitch gauge, so it’s a more like 40-41″ in circumference (about 5-6″ positive ease on me), but all vertical dimensions (sleeve length, V depth, total length, etc) match the pattern/schematic.

You can scroll through all of my posts on this sweater hereInstagram posts here, and favorite it at Ravelry if you’re so inclined!

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PREVIOUSLY in FOs: Black yoke sweater

St. Brendan: Outfits!

St. Brendan: The outfits!

Yesterday’s post about my finished yoke sweater got a wee bit long! I am determined to compile outfit ideas for every FO this year, so in this case I decided to save them for today.

One of the reasons I shy away from (buying or knitting) really distinctive clothing is it’s really distinctive — if I run into you somewhere in a standout garment, you’re gonna remember if I had the same thing on the last time you saw me. Also, really distinctive garments tend not to be combinable in a lot of different ways for a lot of different looks. The point being only that I don’t want to feel like I’m wearing the same outfit all the time — to me, the fun is in mixing things up — thus all the solids and neutrals in my closet. But this particular sweater is an example of how none of that is automatically true. The key is that this beauty goes with literally every “bottom” in my closet. It’s possible to get mildly creative with it, as seen in the two sketches up top—

Dressed down = layered over my favorite b/w flannel shirt with jeans and ankle boots
Dressed up = paired with my black-on-black embroidered skirt and tall boots

But the joyous part is even if all I do is reach for the next pair of pants on the pile and a pair of black shoes, they add up to decidedly different looks, sparing me from monotony …

St. Brendan: The outfits!

(Fashionary sketch templates from Fringe Supply Co.)

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PREVIOUSLY in Wardrobe Planning: April in Paris (part 1)

2017 FO-1 : Black yoke sweater

2017 FO-1 : Black yoke sweater

I had a realization about yarn and seamless sweaters while knitting this gorgeous thing: The more a knitting project feels like playing with Play-Doh, the more fun I find it. The joy in being able to mold and remold a thing until it’s exactly what I want …

Let’s recap: When I first set out to knit this sweater — which began from Courtney Kelley’s St. Brendan pattern — it was going to be my least improvisational act of knitting. I loved the black-and-tan sample sweater so much that my plan was simply to copy it, straight from the pattern. Same yarn, same colors, same bottom-up construction. I was knitting on US9s instead of suggested 8s, to match gauge; I planned to make the size 45 lower body and decrease to the size 38 counts by the time I joined the sleeves; I used my favorite tubular cast-on; and I knew I was going to shrink and shape the neckhole when I got there. Minor stuff.

Instead, I knitted the body and yoke as intended except with phantom sleeves, had (my own) fit issues with the yoke depth, and severed the yoke from the body, at which point I also realized it might suit me better without the colowork on the lower body and sleeves. I put the yoke back on the needles and reknitted the body and sleeves downward to my own fit specifications, omitting the colorwork. Then for the upper few rows of the yoke and neck, I did the following:

– Modified the last three rows of Chart E — the one that takes us from the colorwork to the neckband — since I no longer had a CC1 (tan) to transition to, and instead was transitioning back to my MC (black). I basically created a grey diamond but with a decrease in Row 4, so it’s more of a diamond-blob than a true diamond. Or a sawtooth — let’s go with that. This additional decrease round brought the stitch count from 108 to 81 sts, and I made it 80 on the following round.

– On Row 6, I worked a set of short rows (with 6 turns) to raise the back neck a bit, which created the wedge of black you see between the colorwork and the neckband in the back. I also worked my last pass around that short-row round as my bind-off round, closing the short-row gaps as I encountered them. So Row 6 was the last row, the short rows and the bind-off all in the same round. (For the short rows, I placed the first 4 turns at the equivalent of each “raglan” position, then the last 2 in the back, slightly closer together than the raglans. I have no idea if that’s how anyone who actually knew what they were doing would do it!) It’s a pretty slight drop between the back and front neck, but just enough to make a difference. If I were to do it again, I’d put a set of short rows just below the colorwork yoke.

– And I then picked up 72 stitches (at a rate of 7 out of 8) and worked a folded neckband. This sweater, with this yarn and my changes, feels very vintage ski-sweater to me, and I wanted to play that up by giving it a sort of retro neckline — high and round and with the folded ribbing. It’s already stretched out a bit (as neckbands will do, which is why I insist on working them from picked-up stitches, and even then try to make them smaller than I ultimately want them, knowing they’ll grow) and I’m tempted to pull it out and pick up 68 sts instead.

2017 FO-1 : Black yoke sweater

I’m head over heels in love with this sweater. Visually, the most obvious changes I made are that it’s 3 colors instead of 4, and there’s no colorwork on the lower half of it, which definitely makes it a very different sweater from the original. But for me the more meaningful change is in the fit. If you look at the left sleeve cap in the two photos below, you can see the difference in the yoke depth. The pattern has only 4 or 5 rounds of MC knitting between the underarm (sleeve join) round and the start of the colorwork. I wound up putting more like 18 or 20 rounds in there — bringing the total yoke depth to 9″, which is much more comfortable for me. No longer being beholden to the stitch counts for the lower colorwork charts, I was also able to simply knit to all of my own desired measurements (most notably a 42″ bust measurement for 8-ish inches of ease).

2017 FO-1 : Black yoke sweater

Oh, and of course I also knitted the sleeves flat (with 5″ fold-up cuffs and tubular bind-off) and added a basting stitch for side seams.

Now can we talk about the yarn for a minute? This is the new Arranmore and I would like six or seven sweaters in it, please! It reminds me a lot of the first yarn I ever fell in love with — the discontinued Kathmandu Bulky — but in aran weight. I adore it. Between the yarn and how good a circular-yoke sweater feels sitting on my shoulders, I would love nothing more than to wear this sweater every single day.

I’m calling it my Tennessee Lopapeysa, since I can get away with wearing it as outerwear here, the way Icelanders wear their lopi sweaters — although this winter, it’s not even that. Our upper-60s January has given way to mid-70s February, so I’m afraid I may not get to wear it until next year. Maybe it will be my Rhinebeck sweater! Finished well in advance.

2017 FO-1 : Black yoke sweater

Pattern: St. Brendan by Courtney Kelley
Yarn: Arranmore by The Fibre Co., in Malin Head (black), Glenveagh Castle (grey) and St. Claire (ivory)
Cost: $7 pattern + $168 yarn = $175*

You can scroll through all of my posts on this sweater hereInstagram posts here, and put a heart on it at Ravelry if you like!

*Given the frogging and extra skeins purchased and there being no way to know what percentage of the sweater’s finished weight is the MC yarn, I’m guessing at how many skeins of black actually got used, but then I also used less than a skein each of the ivory and grey. So this is a rough estimate that probably slightly overstates the true cost.

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PREVIOUSLY in FOs: Striped pullover