purlsoho fair isle hat in progress

Baby Knitting Extravaganza

There has been a recent bumper crop of babies in my social circle. And of course my own cuddly little guy needs a few new things – legwarmers, hats, things that I can work on here and there without a huge amount of time or brainpower.

It’s been enormous fun, though, to see things trickle off the needles at twice their usual speed.

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Used Purl Bee’s heirloom newborn hat pattern with Interlacement’s Sweet Feet in Canyon
schoppelwolle leggings
Baby leggings in Schoppel Wolle in color magic – just a basic 2×2 rib cast on over 44 st.
Wilkie baby hat 2
Purl Bee’s heirloom newborn hat pattern again, in some leftover Yarn Hollow wool/bamboo blend. I think the color is called Garnet.
purlsoho fair isle hat in progress
Leftover Schoppel Wolle from the leggings, and some random white sock yarn. Destined to be a Purl Bee fair isle hat for S.
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Year of the Goat/Ram/Sheep

Baa-ram-ewe! Baa-ram-ewe! To your breed, your fleece, your clan be true!

Some content from the 1990s will never leave my head. Thanks, Babe. 

In any case, February 19 marks the Chinese New Year, and will begin the Year of the Sheep. I can’t help but feel that it’s a sign, a good time to embrace my love of knitting wholeheartedly- to start designing, podcasting, and collaborating.

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Sock monkey hat crocheted by S’s great-grandmother & given to him for Christmas

It might also be the year of American-made yarn for me.  I’ve stumbled digitally across so many beautiful yarns grown, processed, and spun on home ground, but have not had the opportunity to get them on my needles yet. I did order some color cards from Quince & Co (love their new website!) and Brooklyn Tweed, though. They should be arriving any day!

Have you worked with any American-made yarns? What’s been your favorite?

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Crazy

Christmas came and many knitting gifts were given.  I completed the last of 3 projects  two  days before Christmas, so felt “in complete control”!

I was most nervous about my son Aaron’s sweater.  Here’s the saga.

I found this no-longer-in print sweater pattern  on  Ravelry and through communication with the person that posted the picture, was able to find and buy it from a vendor on Etsy.

As I was knitting, I was convinced the sweater was going to fit the Jolly Green Giant.  The back measurements seemed to be fine, but the front measured 4-5 inches more than the extra ease recommended for a contemporary cardigan.

Add to that the yarn: a 75% wool, 25% angora mix. On the skein, it seemed springy with a lot of life.  After listening to knit.fm, I washed each individual piece first and then assembled it using mattress stitch. The yarn softened a lot and created even more ease.

When Aaron put it on, I was right – too big!!!  Here is the saving grace – the back and shoulders fit well.  The sleeves were 1 inch too long and the front panels were  each 2 inches too wide.

Here’s the cool part – I had just finished watching a Craftsy class about sweater surgery.  Here was my chance to practice those new mad skills!  Forget that I had never practiced on anything before. Knitting that recommended baby sweater and following along with the instructor?  Ha!!  Why not start with a  real sweater just given as a gift instead?!?!  That’s how I roll.

The first thing I realized was that the pockets in front did not allow me to take in the side seams  from the bottom.  The hips fit well anyway, so that was no big deal.  I had Aaron put the sweater on inside out and then pinned the side seams to find the right fit.  I  better visualized this line by basting with bright green yarn.

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Then off to sewing machine I went.  Who knew that knowing how to sew would come in handy with a knitting project?  I followed the green line in order to sew the new seam, using a small enough stitch to be sure and catch all the yarn.  As I approached the green yarn, I would pull it out so that it did not get caught up in the sewing.

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Then I sewed a second seam just to reinforce.  Having a walking foot on my sewing machine proved key, since it kept the yarn from pulling out of proportion while sewing.

Next…… cutting the yarn.  I have to admit that I talked this through with myself and all those in my proximity multiple times prior to the actual cut.  Then snip!!

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Next the sleeves – an inch too long.   The first step was undoing my mattress stitch in the sleeve so that I could work with the sleeve laid flat.  Next, I  snipped one leg  of a knitting stitch and unraveled the sweater close to the  ribbed cuff.  The cuff  became totally detached from the arm.  I unraveled the arm for 1 inch.  Then I grafted the cuff back onto the sleeve using kitchener stitch.  Voila!

A couple of other modifications I made while knitting the cardigan: The pocket edge called for ribbing  but I didn’t like the look of this, so instead knit the pattern for the body and used i-cord bind off  to finish the edge.

The collar was also a ribbed collar and I found it very heavy and bulky, so I picked up stitches around the neck opening once the sweater was assembled and knit the pattern used in the body.  After completion, I picked up stitches along the outside edge of the collar and used i-cord bind off to give it a more finished look.

All in all, another crazy, fun, nerve racking adventure.    Here’s the final product.

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1966 Shawl- Collar Cardigan using yarn from Kimmel Croft Fibers “Softie” 75% merino, 25% white angora , 2 ply DK weight yarn.

What I have learned and enjoy most about knitting  is that it’s not permanent once knit.  There was a time when I would have cried, ripped this sweater out and called it a failure.   Listening to podcasts, enrolling in classes, hanging out with fellow knitters, haunting the local yarn shop ( I have a great one in my town:  Stitching Memories) – all brings about a new understanding and development of skills.  And I suppose it doesn’t hurt to be a little on the crazy side as well.