Abalone Cardigan

I spotted Abalone on Ravelry and knew that it was perfect for the Morris & Sons cotton (color: Onyx) I had purchased in Australia. The construction fit my knitwear basics criteria (versatile, simple construction, short sleeve).

The main feature I really liked was that the cardigan was meant to not close completely. I don’t know about you, but I really hate when you wear a cardigan unbuttoned and the front panels flap around as you walk. Abalone’s shape made this issue virtually obsolete.

Warnings: 1) The pattern is more of a guide. So if you are not a size small be ready to do some math to calculate the number of stitches you need. 2) Be careful with the edging section. There is a high risk you can make it too tight (i.e., not casting on enough stitches) and the result will have the bottom of the cardigan not laying flat against your body. Therefore, the back of the cardigan may look like it is greatly enhancing your booty.

Until Next Time,

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Huatau Cardigan

It has been a long while since I have posted, but I am back and ready to continue sharing my knits and adventures.

For the last few months, I have been working on trying to build up my knitwear basics. Guangzhou, China is incredibly hot (think 30 degrees C/ 90 degrees+ F) for 9 months out of the year. I mostly wear tank dresses, but often need a light layer when I am sitting in the office. My preference is a short sleeve cardigan that is easy to throw on or off. I also like a solid color so I can wear it with a variety of outfits.

Enter the Huatau Cardigan. My initial thoughts were that I loved the basic construction of the piece and the added detail along the spine of the cardigan. It looked like the perfect piece to wear with casual wear as well as something to go with professional wear.

The Huatau pattern recommends using wool, but that would be waaaaaaay too hot. So I decided to take a chance and use a new to me cotton blend called Drops Belle in Valkoinen (or white). This yarn is cotton mixed with rayon and linen. Drops Belle was not my favorite. It had good stitch definition; however, when working with the yarn it shed a lot. While knitting, if I was wearing any dark colored clothing I would have to lint roll myself if I planned on going out afterward. I am hoping that since I have blocked the sweater there won’t be anymore shedding going on.

I am 90% happy with my final garment. Things I love about it:

  1. The yarn is light to wear and I since I choose white I can wear it with basically anything in my wardrobe.
  2. The pattern was well-written and easy to follow.
  3. The cardigan fits me well lengthwise.

Not my favorite:

  1. The cardigan is too loose in the shoulder and neckline area. Therefore, the back of the neck begins to pucker as I wear it because the shoulder area slides around a bit.

I am going to attribute this issue to the fact that I used a cotton blend of yarn, which is prone to not hold its shape as well as wool. If I were to make this cardigan in cotton again I would make the small size to get a closer fit in the shoulder area.

I continue to be a fan of Francoise Danoy over at Arohaknits. Her patterns are well-written, keep any level of knitter interested, and I just really enjoy how she incorporates texture into her patterns.

What are some of your favorite knitwear basics to knit?

Until Next Time,

Growing Yarn Stash

Is it me or is a large portion of the knitting community working on something with amazing colorwork? All over Instagram and the blogs I keep seeing a rainbow of color in everyone’s knitwear. It got me thinking it has been a hot minute since I have knit anything that wasn’t a solid color.

What to make? What to make? Well the first thing that popped into my mind was the Blue Snowdrop Sweater by Life is Cozy. The yoke looked challenging enough, but not too tough and I loved that the sweater fits snugly through the torso. So I headed to my LYS to procure some wool goodies.

From Life is Cozy website

One of the LYS I go to in Guangzhou is a little hole in the wall shop inside of a fabrics market (Highsun (Haiyin) Fabrics Market- Donghu stop Exit D). They sell mainly Chinese brands and are pretty affordable. My biggest qualm with going to this store is all of the yarn is in plastic and stacked from floor to ceiling. However, the sales lady is really nice and tries to be as helpful as possible considering she speaks very little English.

So what did I get? Well too much really. My colorwork sweater will be grey (main color) with navy, hunter green, and white. I can’t decide on the fourth color. I am between the fuchsia and the pink. I also found this lovely cotton yarn (green and white yarn) that I think I will use to make another Edie top. I also found bulky yarn! This can be pretty rare in China. I don’t know what I will do with it but I just loved the color so I had to have it.

All and all I am happy with my purchases. I spent 410RMB or $61USD. All of the yarn is predominantly wool. Not bad right? I CANNOT buy yarn for the rest of the year. I am not one to keep a lot in her stash and I have about 4 sweaters worth of yarn in addition to other random yarn that I need to handle. I better get knitting!

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

Gemini Top

Fist off I am in love with this color. I really love jeweled tones and this yarn was such a rich shade of teal I couldn’t resist using it twice! (See my Bankhead Hat). The yarn isn’t a natural fiber, but it passes the ‘pet test.’ Meet my newest finished garment Gemini.

This pattern features a lace yoke panel that can be worn to the front or back depending on your mood. The pattern was very straight forward and the yarn/needles size combo made for a quick knit. I worked the small size and have about 2-3″ of positive ease. I did modify the length of the body as I am petite and have a shorter torso.

Another short sleeve top to add to the stack! Since my Gemini top isn’t straight cotton it will make a good layering piece when the weather does finally cool down. I am thinking a collared shirt might look cute underneath. The endless possibilities that come with creating your own wardrobe!

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

Bankhead Hat

I finally got around to making the Bankhead Hat by Susie Gourlay. I originally found this hat while doing some research for a coworker. She wanted to make a basic-ish beanie that was gender neutral.

The Bankhead Hat is a great project for beginners. The pattern is well written and has a lot of photos to guide you along. Along with being free, Bankhead can be created with pretty much any yarn. I used a solid color, however, Bankhead would look lovely in striped or with variegated yarn.

I am not quite sure if I worked the crown decreases correctly. If I did then I really like the finished look. If not… I still like it (hahaha).

What is your favorite basic-ish hat/beanie pattern?

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

Zigzagular Socks

The Zigzagular Socks are a free knitting pattern on Ravelry. The construction is top down with a textured heel flap. Along the sides of the socks runs a basic cable pattern that moves back and forth in a zig zag pattern.

I made the smallest size using my Daruma Superwash Merino wool yarn. This is a Japanese brand. I was first attracted to this yarn as it looked super soft and cozy. I have to say I wouldn’t use this yarn for socks again. It was too loosely wound for me. I like a very smooth yarn that is tightly plied and has at least 25% nylon. I like how the nylon helps keep a tight fit on my teeny tiny feet.

The pattern for these socks was well written. I liked that there were written direction as well as charts included. I also love a pattern with lots of pictures. It helps give me a better idea of what I am going to end up with.

I will not be wearing these sock for a looooong time. It will be 90° F/30°C for pretty much everyday for the foreseeable future. So no socks required 🙁. But, if you are looking for a sock pattern to stock up on your cold weather gear during the summer months I highly suggest the Zigzagular Socks.

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

Back In Action!

Hello Readers! Thank you for your kind words of encouragement. I made it through the storm and feel like my creative juices are flowing again. It also helped that some of my family came to visit us in China. When living abroad it can get quite lonely. There is nothing like being able to laugh and just be yourself around the people who know you best.

Even though I was silent on the blog I was most certainly still knitting. I finished the Van Gough socks my husband requested. I bought this yarn in Tokyo and only indulged him because I thought the yarn concept was really cool. The color scheme was influenced by Vincent Van Gough painting Cafe Terrace at Night. This was my first time using this yarn (Opal 4-ply) and I really liked it. It has good stitch definition and good stretch (75% wool, 25% nylon). The colors on this sock are more muted than I usually choose, but my husband likes darker colors.  The finished socks are a little rough feeling, however, I have a feeling they will soften up in a bubble bath.

I used the Toe Up Socks with a Difference pattern by Wendy D. Johnson. I was drawn to this pattern as I wanted some practice with making toe up socks with a heel flap. This pattern instructs you to make increases in a triangle formation under the heel rather than using short rows. I liked this idea, but I don’t know if I could recall this method off the top of my head like I do afterthought heels. Nonetheless, I think I like the fit of a heel flap better.

The socks came out great and I am sure I will visit this pattern in the future. One can never have too many socks!

Until Next Time,

-Whit-