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-

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Coastal Pullover

The Coastal Pullover by Hannah Fettig is by far one of the most challenging sweaters I have made to date. With a relatively simple and modern shape, I thought I could finish this sweater in enough time to wear it on my Japan trip. I allotted myself two weeks as the sweater is made on US size 8 needles with worsted weight yarn. A sweater in two weeks? No problem!

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The cable pattern was a series of front and back cables that created a wave pattern over the entire sweater. I loved this sweater from the photos as the cables created an interesting texture that seemed timeless. I pictured myself being able to wear this sweater for years to come. It is one of those pieces that would look great for brunch as well as  something that would look nice at work.

I got into problems with the alignment of the cables along the armholes. This sweater is knit top down in a raglan style and for some reason I kept ending up with too much space between the raglan edge and the first cable. I ended up frogging the top half twice. This project was not a Netflix knit for me…well at least I couldn’t knit while watching any show of high interest. I really had to concentrate on the cables as I ended up with a few nonconformists.

I used some yarn that I bought here in Guangzhou. Using Google Translate, I believed the  label to say 80% wool. However, as I got to about mid way through the body I noticed that there had to be more acrylic content in the yarn. My sweater was getting a case of the fuzzies. I was too far into the sweater to turn around just because there was some slight piling. Plus, I wanted to show off this sweater in an epic photo in Japan. So I kept knitting on.

Well did I finish before the trip? NO! Did I finish this sweater on the trip? Yes! I got the last end weaved in two days before we returned  to China. I wore it one day (unblocked) as I just wanted some pics of me with the sweater on in the snow. Too bad these photos did not work out. The snow/sun combo was not picture perfect lighting.

With it all being said and done I really like the look and fit of this sweater. I made the small size and I would say it had 1/2-1″ of negative ease on me. I also like that this sweater as it is not too feminine. I love super feminine clothing, but I do like to change it up sometimes.

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

Chuck Sweater

Have you ever knit something that just comes together perfectly that you want to scream from the top of a building, ” I did it! I have created the ultimate fitted sweater!”

Well my Chuck Sweater is this knitted object. Everything from the color to the final fit just came together to form a fantastic garment. Often when knitting sweaters something goes a little wonky, but not with Chuck. The pattern and charts were easy to follow, I enjoyed working with the yarn and seeing the pattern unfold in my lap.

I used Cascade 220 Superwash in Dark Periwinkle (discontinued). I love Cascade 220 for sweaters as it has nice stitch definition and is an affordable wool.

In the past, I have had fit issues with Andi Satterlund’s patterns. My sweaters have either come out too small or too large. Andi designs with a retro fit in mind which generally means negative ease. My body shape (short torso, muscular frame) often isn’t compatible with her designs as written. I generally make modifications and/or give my sweaters to others. Figuring out the right garment proportions for my body is something I continue to struggle with despite me having 16 years of knitting experience. However, I had great optimism for Chuck. The design works from the back shoulders and over the chest area before it is joined under the arms. This construction was great for me as I could try on the garment as I knit.

My final result? A sweater that I love and fits my body shape wonderfully! I really enjoyed the Chuck pattern as it had just enough difficulty (cabling on front panel only) that I felt challenged without feeling overworked. I had never tried a project with this open cable pattern so I was glad I expanded my horizons.

What handmade garment have you made that has resulted in an amazing fit?

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

Simple Knitted Beanies

I have discovered one co-worker who enjoys knitting. Recently, she stopped me in the hall and asked if I knew any simple beanie (toque) patterns she could make. “Sure!” I said.

Here are some of my favorites that are easy to knit (and free!):

Barley Hat by Tin Can Knits- This is a great beginner’s hat. Tin Can Knits does a wonderful job with the tutorial within the pattern as well as creating a pattern that fits all ages.

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Bankhead by Susie Gourlay– I have never made this pattern, but I really like the wide ribbing. There is also a great backstory to the naming of the pattern.

Classic Cuffed Hat by Purl Soho– Love Purl Soho, love the simplicity of this hat. classic-cuffed-hats-wt-600-20-662x441

Graham by Jennifer Adams- Graham has a simple construction with a pretty easy texture pattern. It makes for great TV knitting.

What is (are) your favorite simple knitted beanie pattern(s)? 

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

Mimic Sweater

My Mimic Sweater by Veronika Jobe is finally blocked! I have to say it came out fantastic. I was so glad the pattern gave great tips on blocking. I didn’t use clothespins as suggested. Instead, I made sure to let the bottom on the sweater drape over the edge of a ledge while drying. By doing this, the pattern really opened up and the result was a garment with great drape. Lately it has been quite chilly in Guangzhou so I used my Mimic as a layer piece. However, this sweater is super lightweight so I can picture myself wearing it in warmer weather.

 

What have you been working on? 

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

In-Betweener Hat

Mimic is officially off the needles and drying from a good soak. From what I can tell the yarn stretched really nicely so I will have a nice flowy sweater. I wasn’t quite sure what to start on next so I pulled out some of my leftover yarn from my Pivot Cowl to whip up an infant beanie.

This beanie is so soft. I love the vividness of the jungle green color. I knit a 1×1 rib for about 1.5 inches. I then alternated the “Frankie Says Relax” and “Jaded” yarns from Magpie Fibers to make a hat with a 6.5 inch total height. I did end up with a little color pooling, but I don’t think it looks too bad.

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For me, infant hats are a great in-between project. They help use up my yarn left-overs while trying to figure out my next project. They also are a pretty quick and mindless FO to whip up.

What is your favorite in-between project? 

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

Knitting Mimic

Mimic is a pattern that needs you to make wise yarn choices. Early last year, I attempted to make this sweater with some older yarn from my stash. It was a wool/acrylic blend that I bought way back when. The pattern has a special note about swatching (hanging clothes pins from the swatch when wet to imitate the blocking process) so I made sure to follow it. My swatch looked pretty good.  About 1.5 sections into the sweater I noticed that the fiber I choose was not doing what I imagined it would do. The garment looked too stiff and boxy…not at all like the picture. I was dissatisfied with it so I frogged it. I still loved the pattern so I stashed it away for another day.

Looking at all of the yarn I bought in Beijing I thought this wine colored yarn would fit Mimic’s needs. This yarn is a lighter weight than my original choice and has a certain squish to it. I am again about 3/4 of the way done and things are looking much better. I believe I will achieve my desired look. I have just the back armholes to work and then I will be done!

When was the last time (if ever) that you put aside a project due to yarn-pattern incompatibility? 

Until Next Time,

-Whit-