Tape & Trim

 

Project monogamy is a difficult task for this knitter. I've been working on Epistrophy for months now (right?) and despite some obvious progress I still feel so far away from the end goal. To inspire me to keep on keeping on--I'm on the sleeves right now and I firmly dislike knitting sleeves--I'm looking ahead to the finished piece and the super necessary button band tape selection. Kate Davies has some great suggestions for places to find and buy tape on her site and I've assembled an Etsy list of my own below. Not quite sure what I'll be picking for Epistrophy. The cardigan is pink and purple...yikes! Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

 

In My Own Knitting Corner

 

My craft supplies, from my yarn and fabric stash to my knitting needles, have always dominated a good chunk of my home. In recent years that's meant the dresser top in Eric's and my bedroom. But now that we have our own place with a home office I've created a corner just for crafting. (Actually, my knitting stuff is everywhere, including the living room and our bedroom, but let's not get into that.) 

The truth is I rarely knit in this little corner as I prefer to work on projects in front of the TV or on the go. Still, I spend a good deal of time kneeling on the floor in front of my tools and notions brainstorming new and exciting projects. Having all my fabric and all my needles in one place is divine! Someday I'll hopefully pair down my stash enough to keep a basket of yarn by the chair too.

Where do you keep your craft supplies? Do you have a corner designated for tools and stashes or is everything everywhere? I'd love to hear about it!

 

Moroccan Nights: In Progress

 

As of this posting I'm nearly done with my Moroccan Nights sweater! Still to do: knit half a sleeve, rework the ribbing at the bottom of the body, and knit an applied i-chord around the neckline. Sounds like a lot but I think I can get 'er done this week.

I am having so much fun knitting this sweater! The pattern is excellent and the combinations of stockinette, garter, cables, and double moss are keeping me glued to my work. There's no getting bored with this baby! 

Still, as per usual, there are a couple things I'm wishing I'd done differently at the outset:

  1. Use a smaller needle. I did knit up a swatch for this project and I achieved the correct gauge (size 6 needles with about 1 inch positive ease on an XS). But after doing the sleeves with a size 4 needle so that they'd fit more closely to my arm, I'm kind of wishing that I'd done the whole body with a size 5. That said, I'm a fan of the roomy pull-over (a la James). It all looks a-okay when I try it on (the finished look is supposed to be drapey), but I can't help thinking "what if?" Luckily the thought isn't strong enough to make me frog the body and start over again!
  2. Get creative with the body shaping. I took the liberty of decreasing at my own pace on the sleeves (with great success) and I wish I'd done the same with the body. The part that comes out of the side cables is a little too loose (you can see it below where the stockinette and d-moss meet) and it's bugging me. Actually, on further inspection I should be able to fix this in the blocking phase. The cables/stockinette along the sides pull in the fabric so that it poofs out when the cables end. I'll just block the heck out of the sides and hope for the best!

All in all, this is a fantastic project and I know it will get a lot of wear! For pictures of the original sweater click here.

 

Never Mind!

 

So you know how I just wrote that post about designing my own colorwork sweater? Well, I was sketching and swatching and looking up more patterns for inspiration, &c....when I stumbled upon the colorwork sweater of my dreams:  

Epistrophy by Kate Davies! It is everything I wished for and more! Plus, the yarn weight matches my Rowan and I have just enough skeins! I couldn't be more pleased.

Epistrophy is actually 1 of 11 patterns in the digital book Yokes by Kate that was published late last year. While I usually buy individual patterns when possible, I'm actually glad that in this instance I was forced to purchase the whole book (as you can guess, patterns from Yokes are not sold separately). The first 43 pages contain essays on the history of yoke design, and are replete with interviews and photographs.

In this exciting new book, writer and designer Kate Davies unravels the tale of one of the Twentieth Century’s most distinctive sweater styles - the circular yoke. From Shetland and Iceland to Canada and Sweden, Kate’s essays and conversations take you on a journey around the North Atlantic, exploring the yoke’s intriguing and often surprising regional narratives.
A garment with unexpected national and political resonances; an important marker of personal and cultural identity; a fashionable barometer of trends and technical transformations from the 1920s to today, yokes have connected the lives and livelihoods of many different women.

Fascinating! I can't wait to read more!

This will be my first foray into Kate Davies' designs and I just have this feeling that we'll get along well!  My plan is to learn all I can about colorwork and elegant pattern design at Kate's virtual feet, and hopefully at a later date this year I'll tackle a colorwork sweater design of my own! Huzzah!

 

 

Colorwork

 

E's mom sent me a whole sweater's worth of Rowan Yorkshire Tweed DK earlier this month (thank you, Mary!) and I've been spending all my free time thinking about what I'm going to make. In addition to the nine skeins of tweedy pink there's one skein of tweedy purple. Inspired by Felicia Semple's cardigan, and one of the lovely colorwork designs on it, I thought, "Hey! That could work here!" and then, surprisingly for me, "Lemme swatch that!" And so I did.

The result, while a little wonky around the edges, is so fabulous that I think I'll have to do it! The variation in color is certainly subtle but I think it will knit up nicely.

I haven't yet decided if this project will be a pullover or a cardigan. If I go the cardigan route, I might just try my hand at steeking (thanks again, Felicia, for the inspiration!). Here's some more simple colorwork inspo from Ravelry:

1. Strokkur by Ysolda Teague// 2. Lady of the Lake by Susan Mills // 3. Stasis Pullover by Leila Raabe // 4. Sundottir by Dianna Walla

So even though this sweater isn't technically a Better Sweater, I'm still planning on documenting the process of knitting it in this journal. My goal is to make up the pattern myself as I go, which should be hilarious. I am pretty badat math (a huge bummer as a knitter) so there will be many foibles to share. But if it all works out in the end maybe I'll start crafting my own patterns for future Better Sweaters! I've designed a few hats in my time...how much harder can it be? I'll keep you posted!

Before I can get this new show on the road, however, I need to finish Better Sweater No. 7! Almost done with the first sleeve woohoo!

Also, my Addi Click Interchangeable Needle Set arrived and I am SO STOKED about them (see image above)! Knitting the little colorwork swatch was a breeze with the yarn slipping so easily off the needles. How I wish I'd bought these years ago. They are indeed an investment but certainly one worth making!

 

Stitch & Bitch

 

Last night the old Stitch & Bitch crew got together again to cast on some new projects for the new year! And, in Kamaria's case, pulled apart an old sweater to make something better. Julia and Kelly are both working on seed stitch cowls, the former in a super bulky weight rust colored wool (yumm!) and the latter in worsted Berroco Vintage like this one (Kel's also the lovely model in these Ravelry pics).

I'm nearly done with the body on my Better Sweater No. 7 and am loving the pattern. The little cables and the combinations of double moss, stockinette, and garter are so much fun to knit! I highly recommend it.

 

Madder Anthology 2

 

Oh my goodness. Have you seen Madder Made's Anthology 2? It's amazing! These three sweaters in particular have caught my fancy (in order of appearance in this post): 1. Lucia Hoodie, 2. Barn Sweater, 3. Lucinda. Are they not magnificent? I may have to push aside all the items on my knit-list to cast on Lucia. Gotta find me a worsted weight sweater!

 

2014 TBSP Year in Review & Plans for 2015

 

I should have posted this before New Years but...Sibella...so today will have to do! Here's my 2014 knitting year in review and my pattern plans for 2015!

Projects: 1. Campus Jacket // 2. Hypatia // 3. James // 4. Acer // 5. Sibella // 6. Woodland & Palmyre

It was a great first year for The Better Sweater Project! I knit five sweaters--six, if we're counting Uniform--and two shawls. I learned some new tricks like short rows and the mattress stitch, and improved my cabling and lace knitting skills. I also learned two important lessons:

  1. Fiber quality matters! While I absolutely love all the sweaters I knit this year, there are some that I love a little more than the others. Acer (a wool/acrylic/mohair blend) and James (cotton/acrylic) probably get the most attention when I'm reaching for something warm. No doubt it's because they're so soft and comfy! That said, Campus became a closet staple this December as the weather turned cold and Hypatia got a lot of use in the spring and summer months since it pairs so well with dresses and tunics. Still, I wish C and H were a wee bit softer to the touch. This year I plan to be more choosey with the items I frog.
  2. Swatching is a must! So I know I say "always always swatch" on my DIY page because, heck, it's important! But often one to ignore my own advice, I rarely swatch...or rather, I rarely swatch properly. Instead I'll cast on 30 or so stitches, knit a couple rows, measure, make sure I'm within the gauge limits, and then get going. If the gauge is off I'll go down a needle or two without re-swatching and hope for the best. This has led to some pretty serious gauge shame and frogging. Sibella was one of those gauge disasters. I had nearly finished the body and a sleeve when I thought, "Hey, this looks a little loose." To my nonsurprise my gauge was off. Rip rip rip. This year I plan to swatch properly. Any resources on the subject would be greatly appreciated!

As for 2015, I am very excited to embark on new knitting adventures! Some patterns I'd like to tackle include:

1. Bressay Dress by Gudrun Johnston // 2. Backbay by Jared Flood // 3. Ondawa by Michele Wang // 4. Stasis Pullover by Leila Raabe

The Better Sweater Project has been a real gift to me this year. It has provided me with a sense of purpose when I've felt lost, and highlighted a resourcefulness I didn't quite know I possessed. It has allowed me to further explore my passion for knitting and transformed the way I look at the craft. I am so happy to have stumbled upon the wonderful world of recycled yarn and better sweatering!

Looking forward to knitting the Better Sweaters of 2015, transforming meh into yeah!