Great Pattern, Not So Great Yarn

In May,  I was asked to test knit a sweater for Life is Cozy. I just happened to have 5 skeins of hot pink alpaca yarn (from my trip in Ecuador) that needed to be knitted up, so I said yes. I have test knit for this designer before and love her designs. They are simple constructions with interesting and delicate details. The Forever April Sweater was no exception. The design elements that caught my eye were the shaped waistline and the off the shoulder neckline.

The Forever April Sweater is a top down raglan sweater with bell shaped sleeves. I did bump up a needle size (US size 2 and 4) as my yarn was a little thicker than the recommended yarn. I didn’t want the piece to be too dense. The only other modification I made was to shorten the length of the sweater as the recipient is on the petite side. I ended up keeping all of the waist shaping increases and decreases and just began the ribbing 3 inches before my desired end length. 

So why does my title contain the words “not so good yarn”? Well this yarn was by far the worst yarn I have ever worked with. It shed EVERYWHERE! Anytime I worked on this sweater I would end up having a layer of hot pink fuzz covering me. This yarn was was also not very tightly wound. I have a pretty tight knitting tension so at one point I broke the yarn 4 times in one row 😫. To make matters worse I tried it on and it was SO itchy. Ugh! This “not so good yarn” made finishing this project a pain. 

Despite my dislike for the yarn, the sweater came out quite lovely. I made sure to give it a long soak and it doesn’t seem as itchy.  Buster (my “fur brother”) seemed to approve.

I am a little bummed that my yarn choice was a let down, however, The Forever April Sweater is a great pattern. It makes a lovely sweater for the spring or chilly summer nights. I highly recommend you head to Life is Cozy and download this free pattern.

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

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Cardigan Blues

In my closet I have two large plastic bins. One is for my stash and one is for my FO who are waiting for homes. I recently was looking through the FO bin and unearthed my “shame sweater.” 

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Shame sweater?!? Yes it is a shame that I messed this sweater up so much. Back in November 2014, I decided to make Miette by Andi Satterlund.  This design was perfect. It is a top down design with no seaming and had lacy elements 😍. I love and admire Andi’s designs. They are super cute with just the right amount of retro-flair. I purchased my yarn (Cascade 220 in Persimmon), downloaded the pattern, and got to work.

So I thought I was doing all the right things. I made a swatch, checked the gague, then blocked it, and checked again. I made sure to check my body measurements and compare them to the sizing measurements. All good right???

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My Swatch

As the sweater kept growing my brow kept furrowing. The sweater was working up way too small. What was going on? Well friends I did not look at the line above the gauge. This sweater’s sizing clearly stated there was an expected 2″ of NEGATIVE ease. I thought I was making a sweater with a 34″ bust, but in reality it was going to measure up as a 32″ bust. Ugh!

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At this point I had knit almost the whole sweater and I couldn’t bear to rip it out. It was a Make It Work moment. I decided to add some extra paneling to the front of the sweater by picking up some stitches and creating a simple ribbing. Yet, by the end of it all I was not feeling my design mods. All my mind could think about was the original. So in the bin it went. It was incredibly depressing. How could I make such a huge mistake?

A sad sweater experience it one thing, but it would have been even sadder if I didn’t learning anything from the experience. After reflecting for a bit I made a promise to myself: I Whitney, solemnly swear to always check my gauge AND the garment ease before creating handmade sweaters. ✋🏾

Good thing I have a cousin who is thinner than me. She is about to get an awesome Christmas present. 

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

Knits in Action

My fiancé recently commented that he always sees me knitting, but I never really wear my finished objects. I was shocked think that this was true. Yes it is hard to wear my sweaters when it is 60+ degrees most days, but I haven’t even really been wearing my headbands or cowls lately.  So I decided to prove a point.  This week I will be rocking a hand-knit everyday. 

Here is my Monday look featuring my Karl Sweater. This chunky grey cardigan was named after the fog that is always rolling through the bay.  

 I have to say I really hate this picture. However, I was in a rush to take it before my dinner burned in the oven 😳. Check in tomorrow for more Knits By Whit!

FO: Peach One Way Tee

I have finally gotten around to taking pictures of my new sweater! I must say, this pattern came into my life at the perfect time. The back story: I was feeling a little bummed that I didn’t really get to wear any sweaters this year. The weather has been unseasonably warm (~70 degrees everyday). Since the cold weather decided to skip the Bay Area, I decided that short sleeve sweaters were a must. Boy was I pleased when the Interweave Knits, Spring 2015 issue arrived. The designs this season were awesome! I immediately put 4 of the sweaters in my queue.

The One Way Tee by Debbie O’Neill was a fairly easy knit. There is a lot of stockinette in between the lace panels, which means it was quick knit as well as TV watching friendly. One pattern change I did make was to knit the body in the round. I am glad I did this as it significantly cut down on my finishing time. I mean why weave in more ends than needed? When trying on my finished sweater, I was so pleased with the fit. I mean after all the work I put into creating a swatch, I was a little nervous that my efforts would have a bad result. I think most knitters biggest fear is an ill-fitting garment that took weeks to make.

Here are some pics of my new “baby.” The details of the pattern and process are here on my Ravelry page.

Now that my sweater is complete I have entered the all too familiar cycle of…What next?

WIP Wenesday

Last week I got started on a new sweater for spring. My One-Way Tee is going well. This is a great knit for watching interesting TV shows. It is basically stockinette aside from the lace panel. Therefore, I pretty much can knit without looking until I hit the stitch markers. I made the executive decision to knit the torso in the round rather than in panels as the pattern states. I know by the time I finish this project I will not be in the mood to do much seam sewing. 

 I am loving this color. Originally, I was going to go with the lime green color as shown on the model. However, when I was at Stitches West and found a giant cone of peach colored yarn,  I knew that my sweater should channel springtime. Since this yarn choice is worsted weight rather then DK I ended up swatching and found out that a US size 6 needle was most appropriate.



Can’t wait to show the finished project soon! 

To Swatch or Not To Swatch?

I hate making swatches. They just keep me from diving into a new project.

I am beginning the One Way Tee by Debbie O’Neill ( Interweave Knits Spring 2015) today. Yay! I purchased  a worsted weight 100% wool yarn (on sale at Stitches West) and the pattern calls for DK weight. I could just make the x-small size to compensate for thicker yarn and bigger needles. However, since I will be spending a lot of time creating my garment, I have convinced myself to do it right. No cutting corners! Hopefully, my gauge matches as I really hate to do the math.

What are you working on this weekend?

FO: Chunky Grey Cardigan

Remember that project I just couldn’t put down? Well it is done! What was I creating you might ask? A chunky cardigan! Lately, I have been in the sweater mood and this project was instant gratification (It took me 2 weeks to create!).

It all started when I saw these on Pinterest…

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I loved the texture of the grey shrug (Moss Stitch). It was simple, yet added a dimension of complexity to the garment. The orange cardigan had the length I wanted for the sleeves and torso sections. Since I wanted to combine elements from both sweaters, I embarked on making a sweater from scratch. I am by no means at the level of creating my own sweater patterns so there was a lot of research as well as trial and error during the knitting process. My swatch and tape measure became my best friends.

I had concerns about how this all would turn out, so I decided to select an economical yarn. I used Hometown USA yarn in Dallas Grey from Lion Brand Yarn. This yarn is quite soft and was only $7.00 a skein. It defiantly withstood multiple froggings, which was a good thing in this case. I highly recommend it for bulky items such as scarves or blankets. It makes for a quick knit and it is machine washable.

Well here it is! My Karl Cardigan. I named it Karl after the gloomy fog that frequently visits San Francisco. It is perfect for those slightly chilly fall days. I picture myself throwing it on to run errands, go out to brunch, or even wearing it on a casual date night.

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Until Next Time,

Whit