A friend at work will be spending her first “White Christmas” in Japan this year. I was super delayed about giving her a birthday present (it was in September 😳) so I decided a holiday gift that could be used on her trip would be the next best thing. Knowing her, I pictured a beautiful cabled hat with a furry pompom to top it off.
The pattern I used was The Cushy Beanie. The yarn was bulkier than the pattern called for so I only repeated the cable section 3 times rather than 5. This was a pretty straightforward pattern including a chart and written directions.
I used a new to me yarn called Nako Inca Alpaca, which is a wool/ alpaca/ acrylic blend. It was soft to work with, but I could tell it wasn’t pure alpaca. As you can see in the photo it is a “hairy” yarn yet, there was minimal shedding during the knitting and blocking process. The yardage on this yarn was only 53m so I used 2.25 skeins to make this hat. The yarn was super affordable due to a sale, but I don’t think I would use it again as a larger project would get pricey.
I made this cardigan ages ago. My friend was having a baby and I convinced myself that this sweater was going to be too small for a new baby. So it sat without buttons for over a year. Cut to me just having a baby and I realized how silly I was. Babies are small…duh!
My now two month old is just fitting into this sweater. I made it using a cotton mix so it is perfect for the now cooler temps we are experiencing in the morning. If you follow me on IG (@knitsbywhitsf) I was in a bit of a button pickle. I just couldn’t decide on which buttons to use. The giraffe ones are so cute, but as a follower pointed out they can be a pain to actually use. Considering babies are super squirmy I decided on being 50% practical (hehe).
I swear I have become hooked on making baby items. They are just so quick to make. Good old instant satisfaction! I think making baby sweaters is going to replace my previous love of hat making.
I whipped up a couple of quick items for the husband and baby to join the “Spooky Walk” hosted by our co-workers. 👻
The outfit was a gift that was too cute to resist. I made a simple wool crochet headband to top it off.
When my husband saw the cat costume he wanted to be a mouse. So I dove into the stash and whipped up a simple knit beanie with crochet mouse ears. The two of them looked quite cute as we walked around trick or treating.
Grey is such a versatile color. You can pretty much wear it with any other color, which in my mind makes a grey sweater an essential wardrobe staple.
I purchased this yarn in Tokyo over a year ago. It sat in my stash in waiting for the day to be made into a sweater as I didn’t have large enough needles to make anything with it. This summer, I purchased some US Size 15 Knitter’s Pride Dreamz. These are my favorite needles! The colors are fun and the slip is perfect for my personal tension. They have an interchangeable set that I am resisting buying.
I used Natura Just Cotton XL yarn in Nuage and the pattern Sweet Lady Blue from Drops Designs. Since I only had 5 balls of yarn I modified the pattern. I shortened the body of the sweater as well as the sleeves. I knit the body (to under the armholes) to 12”. The sleeves were made from the cuff up to make sure I had enough yarn. To do this I worked out an even spacing pattern to increase the sleeves to 32 stitches. The other modification I made was skipping the crochet edge on the neckline.
I can’t wait to wear this sweater! I have many ideas about how to fit it in with the clothing I have. It is still unbelievably hot here so I have a few more months to wait.
Test knitting is a great way to help designers create and publish patterns. It is integral to helping ensure that patterns are written clearly and correctly. I like to test knit ever so often as a way to learn more about the design process as well as earn access to the newest patterns. I mostly find test knitting projects via IG or Ravelry.
Such was the case for the Vanessa Earwarmers. Fiber and Fern (aka Brie Christine ) sent out a call via IG for test knitters for this interesting headband pattern. I like headbands as my ears are always cold in cooler weather and they can accommodate my voluminous hair.
I choose to use some remaining Cascade 220 Worsted to work up the pattern. Since this was a test knit the pattern was in progress so I made sure to contact the designer about the pattern directions when needed. The earwarmers took me about two days to create using worsted weight yarn and US Size 6 needles. The project was pretty gratifying. Not only did I get to try a new stitch pattern, but I used up some stash yarn AND got a Christmas gift completed. Talk about a triple score 😊.
I highly recommend the Vanessa Earmwarm pattern if you are looking for a headband pattern that incorporates a little bit more of a challenge than just stockinette stitch. They are quick to make and generate a trendy accessory for fall/winter.
I love a good stitch dictionary. I swear by my Barbara Walker book (A Treasury of Knitting) for inspiration. Sadly, my book is still in the US as it isn’t an essential to living abroad. Lucky for me I stumbled upon this blog called String Geekery during a 3:00 AM feeding. It is awesome! The author posts lovely lace and mosaic charts for free!
Itching to start something new I decided to work up Naomi Parkhust’s water-inspired mosaic chart into a infant hat. Hats are a great canvas for work like this. You can get in just enough practice without having to commit to a huge project. Naomi only provided a chart so it was up to me to form a pattern around it. All was good when I started the hat, but as I got to the crown decreases I need to use my thinking cap. How could I preserve the colorwork pattern while decreasing?
I figured it out on the fly (aka just went for it) rather than charting it. To the average eye it looks fine, which was a-ok with me. After doing this I tried to write what I did down. However, I had trouble charting the decreases so that someone else would understand it. So I gave up. A bit fixed mindset I know, but I need some more education around making colorwork charts that include decreases.
Overall, I am happy with how the hat turned out. It was a good use of stash yarn and a great way for me to keep practicing my colorwork skills. I plan on trying more of Naomi’s mosaic charts in the near future. I am thinking I would like to use a green and grey color contrast.
The French Macaroon Sweater is a really simple baby sweater. How simple? If you know how to cast on, knit, and bind off you will pretty much have yourself a sweater. French Macaroon is a boxy design that can really act as a base for a more advanced knitter to make endless modifications. For my first French Macaroon I kept pretty much to the pattern.
Instead of using two colors, I used three so that I could do a little stash busting. The yarn is Rowan Handknit Cotton and I really liked working with this yarn. It is super soft considering it is 100% cotton and comes in a variety of colors. Instead of making the sweater as two pieces, I worked in the round until the arm holes. At this point I put one side on a stitch holder and worked the sleeves for the front and back separately. By working the project this way I cut down on 2 seams! That saved about 20 minutes of working time.
With my second sweater, I used the pattern as a guide for the math. I worked with some StyleCraft yarn (sorry I lost the label) that was bulky weight so the gauge was completely different than my first sweater. My aim was to create a cropped sweater for a toddler. I used the math for the smallest sizing. The sweater seems a little wide when laid flat. However, it is a boxy design so I am sure it will not look as wide when worn. I had some yarn left over so I made a simple bow headband to match.
The French Macaroon Sweater is a great choice for a simple baby sweater mostly due to the endless design possibilities. I am not one who likes to do math so I enjoy using basic patterns such as this to act as a creative jumping point. I can certainly see some more French Macaroon Sweaters in my future.
In 2013, I went to Hoi An, Vietnam with my then boyfriend on a 8 week Southeast Asia backpacking trip. The town continues to be one of my favorite in Vietnam. The old section was a mix of history and beauty. The beach was such a relief in the oppressive heat. We rented bikes for $1 and had the time of our lives. One of my favorite memories was sitting at a local restaurant, while it rained, watching life go by with a “fresh beer” (beer from a keg) and a bowl of rose dumplings. Hoi An holds a very special place in my heart.
When I came across Hoi An Top I knew I had to make it. A beautiful lace tank that was inspired by the lanterns of Hoi An? Pattern sold ✅.
Sandra from Nomad Stitches made a well laid out pattern that included different colors for the different sizing options. My gauge was slightly different so I went with the large sizing. The lace chart is easy to work with and eventually I had it memorized. I repeated the chart four times as I wanted a shirt length top rather than cropped. The part of this pattern that dragged out for me was the I-cord bind off for the armholes and neckline. This is not my favorite bind-off method, but in this case I went with the designer’s judgement.
This was my first experience with Rosários 4 Alfama Eco Friendly 100% linen. The color of the yarn is such a lovely lilac. This yarn was easy to work with, but it did shed. I had to be careful about knitting prior to work so I didn’t end up a linty mess. Like any linen yarn there was a loss of fiber flexibility while knitting so I made sure to keep my weaving ends on the longer side. I used about 3 skeins for this project. Originally, I thought of making a tunic length so I overbought on yarn. Midway through the project I decided to keep it simple. I have several skeins leftover so I may make a mini version for the baby if I can get the math figured out.
The Hoi An Top was a rewarding garment to create. The construction was interesting and the lacework was right up my alley. Only order of business now is to find a nice occasion to wear it outside of the house.
Part of the reason for my blogging hiatus was that I was expecting my first child 👶🏽. Well she is finally here! She is about two weeks old and we are adjusting to our new lives bit by bit. Thankfully my mom is here so there is someone in the house who has an idea of what to do (hahah). We also have this great “manual” that has really helped answer the thousands of questions I have had about things. If you are expecting or know someone who is I highly recommend it.
Since the week before baby arrived, I have had a knitting slow down. Due to this, I am going to backtrack a little bit and show off some projects finished during my pregnancy. You may have seen this item on IG if you follow me (@knitsbywhitSF). We didn’t know the gender of the baby until birth so I made quite a few things in gender neutral colors.
One of the first items I made for baby was the Linnie Cardigan. I used the remaining cashmere yarn blend String Theory Casper Sock in Beach Plum I purchased in Vermont many summers ago. Such a dream to work with! The cardigan knit up quick as lighting as I made the newborn size. So tiny!
I made no modifications to the pattern except to shorten the sleeves as I was running short on yarn. The buttons are simple wooden ones I purchased online. I like the simple geometric shape on them. Interesting but not too fussy.
The temps here have been 95°F+/ 35°C everyday. Way too hot to wear cashmere. She could possibly wear it when we are in the A/C but looks like this may be a photos only FO for now.
Recently, I have been super focused on getting our personal finances in order. I want to make sure we are being smart with our money for the long term. Through all of my research, I keep hearing this term “Debt Snowball. ” Essentially, you begin paying small debts first then move to large ones. Think like a snowball headed down a mountainside. Yesterday it struck me that I don’t need to snowball my money, but I do need to snowball my knitting.
There are a lot of WIPs going on in Casa de Whit. So much so that I needed to take a hard look at myself and commit to finishing some projects before even thinking of casting on one more item. So far I have 7 WIPs that range from sewing in ends to partially complete.
This is so unlike me. I am a pretty monogamist knitter. I like to keep focused and get the finished object (aka I am a product knitter). Nevertheless, I just can’t keep focus on a single item lately. I start something and then *poof* my attention has gone elsewhere. So a dedicated plan is in order. The first step of my knitting snowball is to list all of my “debts” from ‘almost there’ to ‘needs some TLC’. Here we go:
Unnamed design hat- add pompon ( I am working on samples for a design I am trying to publish)
Big Flax Sweater- I am making Christmas sweaters. My husband’s has been approved by him in terms of fit and needs the ends woven in.
Hoi An Top- When it came to making the icords for the arm holes I stalled. So I have an armhole, neckline, and ends to weave in.
Medium Flax Sweater- My sweater has 1/3 of a sleeve and ends that need weaving in.
Unnamed design baby hat- I got inspired by a colorwork mosaic and had to dig in. This project is 50% there.
Sweet Lady Blue – This chunky sweater is so close. I have one sleeve left and I am making 3/4 sleeves due to limited yarn.
Vanilla Socks- I bought a ball of Cascade Heritage Prints this past July and embarked on some toe up vanilla socks. I am trying to think of something a little spicier than 2×2 ribbing for the leg section.
Okay step one done! Tomorrow’s mission is… make a pompon and take some photos. Easy enough right?