Queue Check — April 2019

I feel like nearly every time I make a list of things I intend to knit and/or sew, I’m almost guaranteed to make one or fewer of those things. Since the list I set out for myself last month, I added the possibility of a blanket/shawl for my niece, and in the interim I have worked on only one thing: the shawl-collar smock-vest situation above. Somehow it’s taken me a month to knit those three plain little pieces of fabric, but now the fun part starts!

I’ve had this idea before (for my vanilla cardigan) but am saying it out loud this time: I’m considering sewing canvas pockets onto this garment instead of knitted ones. I really like that combination and decided against it for the cardigan partly because it would have been too bulky to get under the foot of my machine. But it might work here …

Meanwhile, swatching for the prospective navy pullover.

I’ve also never really actively participated in Me Made May before, and probably won’t this year in any traditional sense (maybe the occasional mirror selfie on IG, dunno) but it seems like as good an excuse as any to dust off my sewing machine, which hasn’t been touched since last summer. So that’s my pledge: By this time next month, there will have been sewing. In addition to the patterns mentioned last month, I bought the new Wiksten Shift, so who knows what my Garment of Return will be. But I’ll be sure to tell you about it when it happens!

(Cocoknits Knitters Block kit and removable stitch markers from Fringe Supply Co.)

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PREVIOUSLY in Queue Check: March 2019, a whole new queue

Queue Check — March 2019: A whole new queue

Queue Check — March 2019: A whole new queue

Having wrapped up multiple projects for others lately and said “see you next year” to the bulky cardigan I started in December and won’t need till next December, I’m at a rare moment: A clean slate. And rather than rushing into anything that hadn’t been sufficiently thought through (which resulted in No. 2 below), I’ve been taking my time making my plans. But this is how they’re crystallizing:

1. The shawl-collar vest
After some deliberation (and discussion with you all) about using mismatched wool from my stash versus acquiring a more wearable cotton blend, I decided on the latter. I’ve bought a handful of skeins of Rosa Pomar’s Mungo — 50% recycled cotton and 50% recycled wool, all preconsumer mill waste — swatched a couple of ways, and am ready to cast on. The fabric is nothing at all like the Balance I know and love — it’s much more summery, more cottony, lighter — even though they’re both 50/50, so I’m eager to see how this goes.

2. The Luft mystery project
In the absence of any specific plan or outcome, and the presence of this swoony black Luft, I’ve been knitting it into a garter-stitch triangle, which may become a rectangle or a square, or may simply be ripped out. Only time will tell. But no moment spent with this yarn flowing through my fingers is wasted. It’s a therapy unto itself.

3. The navy pullover
I haven’t even so much as swatched, but I’m pretty certain the ultra-plain little navy pullover I’ve been wanting will be knitted from two strands of this deep dark blue Bummull. As it will probably be a simple stockinette top-down — a good pick-it-up-anytime project — I’m thinking of casting on and planning to knit it here and there between now and next fall, when I’ll be wanting it again.

4. The “kimono” jacket
While multiple brands have renamed their “kimono jackets” to the more accurate “haori,” the fact remains that this Assembly Line pattern I’ve purchased bears the name Kimono Jacket. But name aside, I’m super obsessed with this pattern, the shape of this jacket, and am planning to sew it up in navy linen, which I have a lot of in my stash from Eliz Suzann’s $2/lb garage sale a couple of summer ago — I’m just waiting for the pattern to arrive at my mailbox. This will be an excellent all-purpose garment throughout the year.

5/6. The pants
As previously noted, I’ve been thinking for a long time of sewing a pair of woven Hudson Pants, and think the guinea-pig fabric might be that stripe in my stash. (I still have those Jenni Kayne pants in my head.) But there’s also still the goal of the Carolyn Pajama pants in navy linen with black piping, for street wear. Not sure yet which will come first; either/both will be awesome with the jacket.

That should keep me busy for a little while!

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PREVIOUSLY in Queue Check: January 2019

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

Queue Check — the UFOs of 2018

Queue Check — the UFOs of 2018

Somehow tomorrow is 2019 — which means the start of the Steekalong — so I’m here today to confess about the knitting projects that were spontaneously started and not finished this month. While Bob’s vest parts were blocking, and again when it was awaiting seaming and I had a flight to catch, I unintentionally cast on two more black stockinette projects. So this is also known as The Tale of the Black Blobs.

The first (upper one) is the evolution of the idea of knitting another dickey in the black Wookfolk Luft. Rather than simply knitting Grete again, I got inspired by the Flying Solo, plus a simple funnel shaped stockinette cowl I made and gave away the first year I was knitting, plus my neverending thoughts about dickey possibilities. And what I originally cast on has grown and changed and seems not done changing yet, so I’m not sure where it will wind up. Maybe it will be a garment before I’m done! But wow this yarn. I wasn’t sure I would like it and I don’t — I love it.

I took the first 8″ of it with me on my flight to Palm Springs for my birthday, only to realize I had brought everything but the yarn. Fortunately, I had brought a back-up knit: a Carbeth Cardigan to cast on. My hope, honestly, was that the cowl-dickey-whatever project would occupy me for the trip and I’d have packed the back-up unnecessarily. But as soon as I sat down on the plane, I discovered my mistake. So really, I had no choice!

If you’ve been reading, you know how much I’ve been debating with myself about the color and yarn for the Carbeth. I so loved Shannon’s off-black one, but I have a cropped black cardigan (but I’m forever on the fence about that one) and it would be so gorgeous in the toffee OUR Yarn, but then would I hate myself for not making it black? And if I made it black, what yarn? There’s the OUR Yarn in black, but for this particular garment, I wanted it less black. One night it struck me that I could hold something together with it, and that in fact I had enough black Pebble left from my striped sweater to do the job. So I knit a swatch and it’s lovely. The Pebble lends a bit of lightness and heatheriness, and I matched row gauge and am only slightly off on stitch gauge. So whether it’s defensible or not, it is now on my needles.

I’d hoped to finish one or both of them before the year came to a close, but my workload has not allowed for it — not to mention the difficulty of limited late night knitting time with three black stockinette projects to choose from! Needless to say, my Sólbein will not be black.

(Fringe Town Bag and Lykke needles from Fringe Supply Co.)

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PREVIOUSLY in Queue Check: November 2018

Queue Check — November 2018

Queue Check — November 2018

I did that thing where I convinced myself I was going to come home from my Thanksgiving road trip with nearly finished front and back pieces for Bob’s sweater vest. (Details on the pattern and yarn here.) Instead, of course, I knitted about two inches on the drive to Atlanta, an inch on the drive back, and not a stitch while we were with my family. Too many meals to prepare, kids to fling around, dominoes games to lose. But I have, at least, done my alt-gauge math and made it into the armhole shaping on both pieces, so it’s downhill from here!

Which means it’s about time to decide what I’m casting on for myself when this is done. As you know, I’ve been deliberating. And deliberating some more. Based on the notes in my mood board post last week and an assessment of my stash — as I continue to make slow but steady progress on my cleanout — I’ve got three yarns vying for my attention.

LEFT SKEIN: While I was at Tolt a few weeks ago, I bought a skein of black Luft to swatch with for another Grete, and when I got home a box arrived from my sweet friends at Woolfolk with enough to finish the job. This one is pretty much a sure thing, so very likely the next project on my needles. All there is to think about is the mods I want to make this time, beyond what I did with my first one.

MIDDLE SKEIN: The Our Yarn I’ve been saying I want to use for a Carbeth Cardigan, amplified by my trying on Shannon’s on that same trip. Shannon’s was knitted in the soft black Quarry and it really felt like a sweater that belonged in my closet, so as confident I am that I would absolutely love it in the toffee, I’m questioning whether I’ll regret not making a replica of the sweater that felt so entirely perfect to me. Especially since I also have other ideas for the toffee.

RIGHT SKEIN: The other sweater quantity in my stash that’s crying out the loudest is the YOTH Neighbor I bought at Stitches West back in February. I really love this nubbly, heathery wool and am dying to knit it up, but I’m also being mindful about my quest for less warm sweaters, which led me back to Kram, which has been on my shortlist for three years. I’m leery of these kinds of sweaters (basically triangular garments meant to sit on a square frame), so I still regret not trying on Tank’s when I had a chance at Knitting With Company two years ago, but it looked great on her and the fact that I’ve had it in mind for so long is a good sign. I’d probably need to hold this yarn triple, and believe I have just enough to pull that off, but I’m also considering holding an ivory or lighter blue with it to brighten up the color, since this is a pretty grey blue.

And then there’s the sewing queue. Writing about my wool muscle tee the other day made me think I might want to make another with the toffee-colored wool I have in stash, which was actually woven from the same yarn above. And fueled by the winter mood board, I pulled this purple fabric off my shelf. It’s a gorgeous deep eggplant with patterning in a lighter shade of lilac, woven in Thailand. I bought it a few years ago at Craft South when they had a pop-up with a woman who buys indigenous textiles on her global travels. (I can’t remember her name or brand!) I’ve been waiting for it to tell me what it wants to be, and I’m now thinking a pretty little sleeveless top of some sort. This fabric will go with every cardigan I own (including the to-be-steeked purple lopi) as well as my army and denim shirtjackets, and a little sleeveless top is of course useful year-round. I don’t know what exactly, but I’m picturing something feminine, with maybe a little gathering or pleating at the waist? If I can find the right pattern, I might have the time next weekend, and it would be my idea of a perfect little #sewfrosting project, just in time for the holidays.

(Fringe Town Bag and Lykke needles from Fringe Supply Co.)

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PREVIOUSLY in Queue Check: October 2018

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

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