sweater

Better Sweater No. 9: Brighton

 

Well, it's a Christmas Eve miracle! Brighton is DONE! I was really hoping to finish this baby before the New Year and am so pleased that I did. I began this jumper in September 2016, just after getting married and starting my last year of graduate school. I worked away at it very very slowly in the interim. It's a fun and mostly uncomplicated pattern and one that I recommend. Here are a few of my edits:

Front and back panels: I knit these longer than what the pattern calls for since I didn't want a cropped look. 

Back panel: Did absolutely no shaping on the back panel as I wanted this to have more of an A-line loose fit. I knit it to be slightly longer than the front panel by a few rows.

Sleeves: Did only a few increases since I have small arms and didn't want wide sleeves. I had to mess around with the sleeve cap shaping given that I did not have the same number of stitches as the pattern.

Stitching it together: I love the look of a split side seam at the bottom. The two panels didn't quite match up so it was good that I'd pre-planned keeping the ribbing separate. 

Overall, I really like this sweater. The lapped shoulders are very fun and nothing I've ever done before. I'm super into it!

More images and info about the pattern over on the project page

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Olsen Sweater by Karen Templer

 

Growing up, the turtleneck was my least favorite item of clothing. In an effort to prevent my brother and me from catching colds, my dear Dad pushed us to wear them whenever the temperature dropped below 65 (to this day my Dad still abides by this rule for himself). For my pre-school graduation I wore a paisley turtleneck underneath my favorite frilly dress, not because I wanted to but because the padres thought the venue was too cold to wear the fancy dress on its own. I was only 4 and I still carry that memory. I cried a lot that day! Poor baby Kylin.

It wasn't just that I found the collar-like neckline of the turtleneck restrictive, I also thought the design was generally unflattering. All the cute LL Bean kids prints in the world couldn't incite me to want to wear one. I told myself that as soon as I grew up I would never wear a turtleneck again! 

Fast forward 15 years and I'm now pretty down with turtlenecks. They're classic, protective, and only occasionally restrictive. (Younger Kylin was also anti nose-piercings, armpit hair on girls, and compost...would probably strongly dislike older Kylin.) Audrey, Jackie O, and Marilyn knew what was up:

This week I stumbled upon Karen Templer's Olsen Sweater and became instantly obsessed. A note on her Ravelry project page mentions that she's:

"Been calling this my Olsen Sweater because in addition to being a tribute to a couple of beloved sweaters from my past, it was partially inspired by recent one from the Olsen Twins’ second line, Elizabeth and James."

The pattern has yet to be released (fingers crossed it comes out soon). In preparation I'm going to begin the hunt for some bulky yarn (i.e. head on down to the Goodwill). What a perfect winter staple, especially in the Bay Area where it's cold but not that cold. 

Anyway, to bring this whole post back around, I'm thinking of investing in this LL Bean top as a sign of my own maturity and growth. And also because it's damn cute. 

Images: 1. Karen Templer's Olsen Sweater on Ravelry // 2. Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face // 3. Classic Jackie O. // 4. Marilyn looking fiiine // Karen Templer in her Olsen Sweater.

 

Let It Be Known

 

A few missing buttons notwithstanding I'm ready to say... my Epistrophy cardigan is complete! Hurray!

And just in time for our San Francisco summer (think cold gloomy weather)! I've been wearing this cardi nonstop since it came off the blocking board. Thank you, Kate Davies, for an incredible pattern! And thanks to Mary for the yarn! All my project notes (of which there are many) and a few extra photos can be found on my Ravelry page.

 

Better Sweater No. 7

 

Better Sweater No. 7 is complete! As I mentioned recently, I loved knitting this sweater. Garter stitch, stockinette, cables--gah!--I'd knit it all over again!

For the first time ever I took detailed notes on the process and included them on both the project page and on Ravelry. The biggest mods I made had to do with needle size and decreases since I'm quite small. I also added a line of crochet on the right side of the neckline just below the cast on edge. This kept the edge from rolling too deeply in the back (all that stockinette stitch!). It looks like it's rolling a bit in the picture below but that's just because my shoulders were back. It normally lies completely flat.

In other news: I'm going to be taking a wee break from better sweatering in the to knit up Kate Davies' Epistrophy with legit yarn. We'll see if the project monogamy lasts. If I get too restless I'll start harvesting yarn for Better Sweater No. 8. I already have the sweater picked out and it's lace weight! Exciting!

 

BT Winter 15

 

Chainlink - architectural cabled tunic

It's here! It's here! Brooklyn Tweed's Winter 2015 pattern collection dropped this morning and it couldn't be more fabulous. 

From Jared Flood:

I’ve had the idea of doing a collection of designs inspired by art historical references for years. I loved the idea of bringing together my post-academia love of art history together with our work at Brooklyn Tweed in some way. In college I spent 9 months abroad in Rome studying art history and fell in love with the lighting and composition of paintings from the Baroque period, especially those of the Dutch Masters like Vermeer and Rembrandt.
I thought it would be a fun creative challenge to create imagery inspired by this genre of painting for a knitwear collection, and to use art historical references as a springboard for our designers to begin concepts for their garments. Last November, when our Design Team convened in NYC for our regular design retreat, we took a field trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to gather inspiration for some of our newest patterns in the Winter 15 collection.

Check out the video below for more details on the lookbook and collection.

Of the 17 new patterns, I am especially smitten with Carpeaux & Midway. The textures are so inviting and the little details--like the reversible cables along the front of Carpeaux and the chevron panels on Midway--add extra flair. It's not really cold enough in the Bay Area for giant wooly sweaters, but I'd suck it up just to wear them. 

1. Carpeaux - blanket front brioche cardigan // 2. Midway // textured a-line pullover with cowl

 

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!

 

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!