Cashmere Dreamz

This summer when I purchased this yarn I had no plans for what would come of it. Cut to a week ago when I realized I brought no real cold weather clothes to China. Now that the weather is finally changing, and I have some trips planned to head north, I need to whip up some cold weather accessories.

First, I was going to make the Duotone Cowl with a matching hat. However, the colors I was using didn’t contrast enough for my personal liking. I did a little more research and found the Pivot Cowl by Purl Soho. I loved the simplicity of the pattern and knew it would let my yarn shine. The Pivot Cowl is super easy to create yet, has construction elements that keep even the advanced knitter interested. I made some modifications to the pattern that you can see here on my Ravelry page. Basically, I made the cowl shorter to fit my measurements better. I also used a variegated yarn (Magpie Fibers in Frankie Says Relax) on the front panels to give the cowl an additional dimension.

While I was knitting, I used my Knitter’s Pride Dreamz fixed circular needles. I love these needles. They are lightweight, perfectly pointed at the ends, and have good slip. The glide of the wood and the super soft yarn made this project fly off the needles. I have to say the rhythm I developed while knitting was quite addicting! On Sunday, I couldn’t put the project down. I ended up finishing my Cowl while a binge watching Sons of Anarchy on Netflix.

Sadly, yesterday when I sat on the couch I pressed my hand into the cushion as well as my needles! One needle snapped clean off the joint! 😭 My beautiful needles!!! I immediately went into fix it mode. I have to save these needles. They are some of my favorites! I may be able to fix the situation with some super glue. The break was pretty clean so there may be hope!

Despite this tragic hit to my needle collection, I am super happy with my new cowl. I am loving the slight sheen and drape that the cashmere combination adds to the wool. If you have the chance (and the budget) I highly recommend picking up a skien (or two or three or five!) of Magpie Fibers’ Swanky DK.

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

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Unblocked Blaster Sweater

The Blaster Sweater by Andi Satterlund has been on my “To Knit List” for awhile now. When I first read about it I really enjoyed the backstory of the design’s creation. Andi detailed the inspiration behind the sweater on her blog:

One of the main characters on the show [Halt and Catch Fire] loves video games, and it gave me the idea for a cropped cardigan with triangle motifs at the waist that shoot up columns of eyelets, like little blasters on pixelated games. 

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As with many of Andi’s designs this is a top down sweater with a close fit. Blaster, like Zinone, is made starting with the upper back first and then progresses to the front panels. The tops sections are then joined at the underarms. I worked up the small size, but I could have made the x-small to as close of a fit as in the photo. Yet, to be honest, I prefer my cardigans to be on the looser side. IMG_6529

Since I live in an incredibly hot climate (well at least for most of the year) I opted to use a cotton blend. For the yarn, I used Drops Cotton Merino in Vanilla (Color 17), which is a 50% wool and 50% cotton combination. I have to say this yarn is very soft and has great stitch definition. I highly recommend it for adult and baby items.

I also shortened the sleeves. I decided to end the sleeves just above my elbow. I am hoping that by doing this I can wear my Blaster cardigan for more days during the year. Overall, I am pretty happy with the end result. I still need to block it and find some buttons before it is ready for its debut. I would love to find some beautiful glass buttons with a floral motif.

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Andi Satterlund continues to be one of my favorite knitwear designers. I have knitted 4 of her sweaters with Blaster now checked off the list. I am looking forward to getting started on the next sweater on my list…Chuck.

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

B Is For Baby (Sweater)

Awhile ago I bought this cotton yarn from a small store in Guangzhou. I purchased royal blue with a special person in mind. Well I should say “almost person” as he hasn’t been born quite yet. One of my good friends is due to have a little boy in December. Her and her husband live in a mild climate so I opted not to use wool. I used the Baby Sophisticate cardigan pattern by Linden Down. I love shawl cardigans and the fact that this is baby size made it even more cuter.


This pattern is quite easy to follow and best of all instantly gratifying. Using size US 8 needles and worsted weight yarn made for a speedy knit. I finished the sweater in about 3 days. It looks so tiny, but the chest measurements came out to be 16 inches, which was the dimension in the pattern. I looked it up and newborn chest sizing is about 16-17 inches. I think some heavy blocking will give me an inch of wiggle room. 

I don’t  have any of my finishing  tools with me right now so you will have to imagine it with buttons. I have wooden ones picked out, but I might go to the shops to see if there is an alternate choice. 

I had about a half of a skein left of yarn so I started making a little beanie to match. This hat is pretty basic. It is 45 stitches with a garter edge. 

Hopefully, mommy and baby will like the set! 😊

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

Back To Reality

Well my week of vacation is over. We enjoyed our time visiting the Phillipines. I loved that our trip had a combination of the beach and mountains. As much as I love a beach, I also love standing on top of a mountain and staring down at the world around me.

I was able to get in quite a bit of knitting during the holiday. My cardigan is measuring in at ~5.5 inches . I could have knit more, but my progress was halted as I ran out of the burgundy yarn.

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I am using an intarsia method to add a little geometric element to the cardigan. I always have the tendency to pull the floating yarn too tightly across the back. Some of the stitches look a little wonky, but I think they will get worked out when I block the final piece.  Hopefully, I will be to the armholes by the end of next week [fingers crossed]. This may be too lofty of a goal considering I have 4 parent meetings coming up this week. In any event, please check back for my progress!

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Until Next Time,
-Whit-

Jet Setter

Hello all! I realize I have been super inconsistent about posting. There are several reasons for this. 1) The internet in my new home is sooooooo slow in the evening. Therfore, if I try to load photos it can take 30+ minutes . 2) Work has been busy and I just have less time to knit. 😩However, this week the husband and I are on vacation in the Phillipines so I plan on logging many knitting hours! 

This week, in China, is National Holiday. I am picturing it to be similar to the 4th of July in the USA. We heard from many co-workers that China gets VERY busy so we opted to take our first international adventure. Currently, I am in Boracay and boy is it gorgeous! Do you like white sand beaches? Crystal blue water? Delicious food and drink? Well then Boracay might be for you.


So what am I knitting? Well I am making a short sleeve cardigan. I plan on the cardigan falling around my waist and having a boxy silhouette. I made a swatch and a sketch, but I am not using a pattern for this one. I started vacation with 3/4 of an inch so please check back to see how far I made it! 

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

P.S. I plan on moving more of the travel related content and how my life is going in China to another space. Please follow me at Smithberrys Abroad. 🇨🇳

Cotton Cardigan

Before I left the USA, I knit up a lovely cardigan called Summer Lace Cardigan Shrug by Vera Sanon. I used GGH Linova in Knospengrun (cotton/linen blend), which I purchased from Love Knitting. Sometimes there is great cotton yarn and sometimes there is not so great cotton. In this project’s case, I ended up with a scratchy cotton blend that didn’t really soften up until after a few washes.

Despite this, I ended up with a really cute finished project. A lot of my summer dresses are tank tops so this cardigan will make many of my outfits workplace appropriate. The cardigan pattern was easy to follow and included a chart for the lace detail. I really liked that it was made from the top down in one seamless piece.  Since I was traveling, I didn’t want to have keep track of all sorts of sweater parts. The cardigan was intended to have a button at the top, however, I opted not to sew one on. I made the button hole anyway in case I change my mind and/or find one amazing button in the future.




Here I am modeling my new cardigan on top of the Canton Tower in Guangzhou, China. The Canton Tower is the 4th largest freestanding structure in the world. It stand about 604 meters in the air making for an excellent view. Lucky for us we went on a pretty clear afternoon. We got to see most of central downtown and the Pearl River.

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I have to say I am glad to add this bright and cheery piece to my warm weather wardrobe. It has been a little lacking in color.

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

FO: Calais Shawl

My Calais Shawl is complete! Well it was completed about two weeks ago. The issue with posting was the photos. I’ve been having a tough time finding the perfect photo spot in my new apartment. I defiantly need to invest in some white poster board. All of the floors and ledges are tile and the reflection is terrible.Overall, I am quite happy with this shawl. However, the sizing  was a little tricky for me. The pattern stated the blocked sizing should be “48 inches wide by 22 inches deep.” I will admit I didn’t make a swatch and wet block it. MISTAKE! Lace is super deceptive when knitting as it bunches up until blocking time. I knew this, but convinced myself I could skip the prep work. Due to my laziness, the body of my shawl came out shorter then desired. Thankfully, the edging of the shawl allowed me to make up for it. I continued the edging section for a total of 7 inches.This pattern called for a Double Strand Estonian Bind Off. I have never used this technique before. It was simple to execute. The result was a really nice border that reduced the amount of curling at the edge. I most certainly foresee myself using this bind off method in the future. Previously, I had concerns about using a variated yarn with this lace pattern. I am glad I took the risk because I really like the combination I ended up with. The colors did not interfere with the pattern making the piece look too busy.

If you are looking for a lacy shawl pattern, I recommend you consider the Calais Shawl. It is a great way to practice knitting lace patterns.

Until Next Time,

-Whit-