Late winter and early spring weather brings warm days and storm days. One day the crocuses are peeking through the ground. The next day the ground is covered in snow. The snow melts and those hardly little crocuses are still thriving with their tiny pop of color. Before the really hot weather sets in, check your stash and find some sock yarn that you’ve been saving for a special project. The yarn I used has tiny and larger flecks of color which remind me of early spring flowers growing in the soil.
I’ve been knitting through these quiet days, but I haven’t finished as many things as I thought I might. Yes, there has been knitting in the evenings, but also sewing, stitching, and general peaceful projects to try my hand at.
First, I’ll mention that I bought an embroidered wool skirt at a second hand store (4 years ago?!), not because I wanted the skirt, but because I wanted to turn it into something else. I finally settled on turning the skirt into a bucket bag. Wow! That’s a change, huh? Check out the pictures:
OK, so I cheated and bought some leather handles from Amazon ($15) even though it took a week for Amazon to ship because everyone was obsessing about toilet paper in March.
I knitted some socks too. Two pairs. From 100 grams of the main yarn. To squeak out two pairs, I used some contrasting yarn for the cuff, heels, and toes for the larger pair. I just made a stockinette stitch leg and used the Arne and Carlos afterthought heel to show off the yarn and to just get this yarn out of my stash! Someone at church passed this yarn on to me. Thanks!
I hope you have found some peaceful quiet times during this pandemic to relax and work with your hands!
So. Cold. Here.
The last part of October gave us temperatures in the teens and twenties! Time to pick up the knitting game a little bit more to stay warm. I came up with these leg-warmers with cables and ribbing, both of which help to keep the leg-warmers in place. They’re a fast knit because there is very little shaping. AND if you know how to cable without a cable needle, you’ll get warm legs even more quickly! Enjoy this free pattern, but remember to abide by the rules of copyright.
It’s been cold and rainy here in the valleys of the mountain west, while a few thousand feet above us in elevation ski resorts have had a banner year of snow, a whopping 700+ inches!!! We did have one warm spell, and my feet were hopeful that winter was over because they were clad in sandals. During those few warm days, I was knitting a summer sweater.
But the cold has settled in again and I’ve changed back to winter knitting. I’m knitting a dress, something I haven’t done in a LONG time! When I lived overseas in a house that was very chilly, I knitted a bulky dress. This time I’m knitting a fingering weight dress which, of course, is taking much longer, but it is keeping me warm as it gets longer and the cold sticks around.
This dress pattern is from Justyna Lorkowska called Hanke dress. It’s an above the knee dress in fingering weight yarn. Fingering weight and dress = a ton of knitting. At least I can read and binge watch something while I’m working on this dress.
The yarn is called Poems Puzzle by Wisdom Yarns. WAIT! That’s a super-bulky yarn! Yes, it’s a chain yarn and the suggested needle size is from 11 up to 50. What gives? Well…
I bought a batch of Poems Puzzle yarn on eBay along with a Vogue Knitting magazine containing a cowl pattern using 4 skeins of the yarn. BUT, the cowl was to be sewn, not knitted together. Uh, no.
So I stared at the yarn and then decided to unravel it. To my surprise, each skein of the Puzzle yarn became 200 grams of Wisdom’s Poems Sock yarn…over 800 yards. With 4 skeins of the Puzzle yarn, I figure I’ve got 3200 yards of yarn! That’s how I settled on a dress.
My hope is to get the body of the dress finished before the warm weather sets in (3 days away!) and I still have about 9 inches to knit. I’ll give it my best shot, especially since school is winding down and after-school meetings are at a minimum.
Burning question: is this my favorite yarn? No, not by a long shot. But it’s what I had and I think this will be a colorful way to celebrate the dead of winter.
My February Bang Out a Sweater came to a screeching halt when I ran out of yarn. New (and different) yarn came, and it is slightly more yellow than the original yarn. Mind you, it’s a different kind of yarn. But since I’m joining the new yarn slightly before the outward turn of the turtleneck, and since the turtleneck is a ribbing with the sweater body being stockinette stitch, the difference in color is not noticeable, even to me. Well, maybe I can see it a little bit.
Mind you (again) that I am a little more than ticked at Dale of Norway (Dalegarn) for no longer distributing their most excellent yarn here in North America. Add to this the fact that the pattern is a little wonky, the knitting of this sweater was a trial. The sleeves are set in with a sleeve cap (think of a sewing pattern on a shirt with a large and curvy part on top), and the shoulders of the sweater came out super-wide. SO, when I sewed in the sleeve, the whole area looked like a mistake at best, or something one would wear with football shoulder pads underneath.
My knee-jerk reaction was to throw everything away. BUT…I let the sweater sit for a week, and while I thought of some options. Here’s what I came up with:
Sew the sleeve deep into the shoulder where a set-in-sleeve usually sits (ahem, pattern writers and editors). This would bury that extra drop-sleeve fabric. Then I could cut that part off (HEAVEN FORBID!!!) and reinforce the seam with my sewing machine. I’ve steeked and cut and sewn before, but I wasn’t willing to cut this sweater. My fear was that the seam would pucker and ripple, and then I really would have donated it to a thrift store!
Ignore the issue and join a ladies football team and hope their uniforms have eight-point Norwegian stars on them.
Option 3 (the option I chose)
Treat that extra-wide shoulder as a modified drop shoulder, measure how long the sleeve should be, and unravel the sleeve cap until the sleeve made a modified cap. That means I took off about 5+” of the sleeve cap making the shape of the top of the sleeve look like a very shallow bell curve.
It worked! I ironed the devil out of the sleeve seam (using a damp washcloth and “wool” setting on the iron) to help it lay flat. While I had the iron out, I also flattened the duplicate stitch with the iron and the damp washcloth. All of this happened Monday and Tuesday evenings since it’s already mid-March and Wednesday was slated to be snowy, perhaps our last snowy day for the year, perhaps my last chance until next winter to wear this!
The “For Now” Part
It’s finished…for now.
Because if I ever see two skeins of Dale of Norway Falk Color 0020 (any dye-lot) for sale, either on eBay or Ravelry, I’m snatching it up and re-working that turtleneck, all in one color, and on one size smaller needles (US 3).
The sweater looks retro, like something that a skiing grandma would have kept in her cedar chest. It’s slightly yellowed and aged looking because of the yarn color which is perfectly suited to the design and my modifications.
DONE! (For now)
A few years ago I bought a 6 skein set of gradient yarn at a fiber festival in Idaho Falls. Those skeins sat around and I admired them, but now in my motivated state to knit up the yarn that I have, I started to knit this yarn in a few patterns, but none of them seemed right. So I decided to just start knitting a sweater, without having a pattern. You can find the link below to this pattern. It’s really more of a formula for making a top down sweater.
Off Piste Cable Sweater Link:
Interested in this yarn? I bought it from Blue Savannah. Check out her offerings on Etsy!
Here I present the end of an era. It’s the end because I started this leftover sock yarn blanket in the fall of 2008. After almost 9 years, a lot of changes have happened. It’s inevitable. The kids grew up, we moved almost across the country, went from a house to a condo, and now we own e-bikes, for crying out loud! Change happens! It is time to knit other things. Or, finish other things, because of the way my year went, with teaching almost a full schedule at school, and then throwing teaching 3 graduate classes for SLC teachers on top of that! I have about 5 projects that are mostly finished, but need a little more attention.
Back to this blanket-afghan-throw thingie. I wasn’t sure how big I was going to make it; I was just enjoying the process. But 8.5 years later, I’ve decided to finish. And by finish, I mean, squaring it off, not adding any height or width to it, and most importantly, edging it in i-cord! The edging, you see, is like a stopper; it prevents me from adding more rows. Smart, huh? Done.
But at the end of this crazy-sock- leftovers-turned-into-a-blanket era, I have a crazy urge to come up with something else “scrappy” because I’ve still got a small tub of sock-yarn leftovers. Maybe in a year I will have a new pattern to show.
I briefly entertained the idea of putting this on Etsy for a ridiculous sum of money. I was thinking something over $2500, just to see if anyone would “bite.” But that’s cheap. Way too cheap. I calculated my labor at $10/hr (hey, I’m a skilled knitter!), 30 minutes per block which takes into account tucking in loose ends and knitting the i-cord edging. So, with 380 blocks @ 30 minutes per block, that’s 190 hours. Multiply that by the $10 per hour, and the labor cost on this blanket is around $1900. That doesn’t include the yarn. And it takes a lot of sock knitting to accumulate a great variety of yarn. (That was my excuse, anyway). So, the next time someone knits something for you, they don’t do it to save money or time. They do it because they LOVE you!
For now I’ll just sit on my balcony on cool mornings and enjoy the warmth of this throw.
About 15 years ago, I came to the happy realization that I was equally comfortable with purling as with knitting. I’m not sure why it took so long. But I remember as a child I would always finish with a purl row if knitting stockinette stitch, so that the next time I picked up the project, I would do so willingly because I would be on a knit row. Every project was subject to this rule. Hated purling. Doesn’t everyone, at first?
But lately I’ve begun to realize how beautiful the knit stitch looks as it travels along in a field of purl stitches. Texture. One of the features that makes this craft of “knitting” so beautiful. Perhaps I should call myself a “purler” instead of a “knitter”!
So, here’s my latest free pattern offering, Diamond Array Sock Pattern, with a cute but true little story at the beginning.
You know that look, right? That look someone gives your handknit sweater, wishing they had one too. Well, recently while back in Indiana, my mom gave my sweater that look. Ok, I get the hint. It’s high time I knit something large and meaningful for her, not just socks or a scarf. I owe it to her. I mean, she kept three of us kids in mittens (her specialty) and hats while we were young. I’ll never forget that variegated red, white, and blue yarn, probably Red Heart, and the mittens that could work on either hand. If we lost one, she would dig into her stash of already-knit mittens. No more cold hands. (Although, for the life of me, I can’t see how Red Heart yarn would keep anything warm!)
So, Mom, this one’s for you, and it’s my pleasure!
It’s going to be a cardigan–I had to talk her into a cardigan. Its going to be a little longer–I had to talk her into that too. I think she knows cardigans are more trouble, and longer sweaters take more yarn. It’s ok, Mom. It’ll make up for all those mittens we lost!
I am not a fan of the garter-stitch button and buttonhole band. They need to be seriously blocked so they are the same length as the sweater. What pattern am I using? I’m just kind of winging it. Who knows? Maybe I’ll write it up someday, like I did my Olympic sweater. And speaking of my Olympic sweater, I still need to finish the back, as in, stitch on those 2 moose and 1 Christmas tree (see photo below).