Knitting in the Fall: Cascata

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Cascata

Pattern:  Cascata, by Filipa Carneiro, published in Rosarios4.

Yarn:  I believe the yarn is by Reynolds.  It is a light DK weight wool and acrylic blend yarn I bought sometime in the mid-1980s.  Mom loved mauve (and all its variations), so I knitted a lacy vest for her.  She did not wear it much because it was too nice for “everyday” wear, and she didn’t want to get it dirty.  I brought it back after she died and took it apart, and now it is Cascata.

Modifications:  I love the lace “cascade” on the left side, but did not like how rapidly the triangle grew because of the every 4th row increases.  So, I alternated the increases on both the lace panel as well as on the right (along the faux seam).  I like my sweaters to cover my hips, so I knitted all 138 rows of the lace charts.  I also started with 138 stitches at the top, as though knitting size XXS, and adjusted all the directions as needed to compensate.  Finally, I did not like how large the arm holes were on the original cap sleeves.  I had enough yarn, so I made the sleeves elbow length.

Thoughts:  I don’t usually like in-the-round yoke construction, but the designer took care to shape the neckline so that there were no “puffy” areas, and the front and the back sit properly on the neck and shoulders.  I also like the yo increases as a design element.  This was a fast knit, and a lovely pattern for Mom’s yarn.

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Bear

Bear is a sweet guinea pig we have been babysitting for almost a month while his family flit here and there all over the world.  We would keep him, but his mom probably misses him!

Knitting for the Winter: Ondawa

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Ondawa

Pattern:  Ondawa, by Michele Wang, from Brooklyn Tweed Fall 2014.

Yarn:  The yarn is a dk/light worsted merino/silk/cashmere blend from Lambspun of Colorado.  I had been hoarding it for many years, perhaps close to ten years.

Modifications:  I knitted it top down, in the round, with decreased number of stitches to compensate for heavier yarn.  I knew I was going to make the neck opening smaller, but if I did that, then the front was going to ride pretty high up.  So, I shaped the front a bit to give it a shallow scoop.  I also curved the back just a bit and made it tad longer because I knew it was going to ride up; in hindsight I should have made the back even longer, because it still looks a bit short to me.

Thoughts:  Back in the 1980s, I made a few wide-and-cropped sweaters (hey, it was the era), and they did not ever look good on me.  30+ years later, here I am, with a wide-and-cropped cabled sweater.  Well, I still don’t think it’s a great shape for me, because even though I am now 20 pounds lighter, I am still remarkably short.  However, the slim-fitting sleeves and the designer’s usual close attention to details makes this sweater  modern, stylish, and infinitely wearable.

Knitting in the Spring: Freja

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Freja

Pattern:  Freja, from Brooklyn Tweed, designed by Jared Flood.

Yarn:  Rowan Yorkshire Tweed DK.  I recycled the yarn from the Norah Gaughan Tweedy Aran Cardigan  I knitted about 10 years ago.  I loved the pattern, but I just didn’t wear the sweater enough to justify not reusing the yarn.

Modifications:  Because of the DK-weight yarn, I knitted somewhere between size 43 and 47 to have about 6″ ease, and made the jacket longer to cover my hips.  I didn’t see the point of the side shaping at the bottom (the increase, then the decrease), so I didn’t do them.

I didn’t like the collar seam at the back of the neck, so I reworked the pattern just to eliminate that one seam:

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Freja collar

I started with a provisional cast-on for one side of the collar extension, worked it long enough for 1/2 of required neck width, then worked the other side of the collar extension using the stitches from the provisional cast-on.  With the back neck now wide enough, the collar extensions were placed on hold, then I picked up the required number of stitches from the neck to work the back piece from top down, casting on the shoulder stitches as I went.  All neck and shoulder shaping were via short rows.  When the armscye depths were achieved, the back stitches were put on hold, and I started on the two front pieces.  I picked up the front panels from the back shoulders and joined the stitches to the collar extensions that were on hold, and knitted each front piece from top down.  When armscye depths were same as the back, I joined the fronts and back on a circular needle to eliminate the side seams.

I don’t like patch pockets, so the two pockets were knitted in, with the pocket lining stitches knitted together with the pocket fronts at the bottom, one row before start of bottom band.  I then had two seams per pocket to sew instead of three.  The pockets are deeper than specified so that whatever I put in them will actually stay in there.

Thoughts:  I enjoy the whole Brooklyn Tweed aesthetics, and this Jared Flood pattern is  the epitome of BT design:  pared down, stylish, and very wearable.  Perhaps I lose some “stability” with my modifications, but the truth is that I am a process knitter, and most of my finished sweaters never get more than two or three wearings per year.  I can almost imagine knitting this cardigan again, with elbow-length sleeves and openwork lapels.

Knitting in the Winter: Fly and Watermark

The older I get, the more I appreciate the comforts of a cardigan.  In fact, the one item of clothing I wear almost everyday is a slop-around-the-house cardigan — and it is also the only knitted item in my wardrobe that I did NOT make.  It belonged to Mom, and is one of three in different colors that she rotated  as her house sweater.  It is several sizes too big, it isn’t wool, but I love its utilitarian shapelessness.  I look like Mom wearing it.

And then there are the cardigans I knit for my self . . .

Fly

Pattern:  No actual pattern — I call it Fly because I knitted it on the fly 🙂  The bottom band is a reversible cable from Lynn Barr’s Reversible Knitting: 50 Brand-New, Groundbreaking Stitch Patterns.  

Yarn:  The black yarn is a Lambspun of Colorado DK-weight merino/silk/cashmere blend in the color “black platinum.”  After frogging the original sweater coat, I used the yarn for the Dickson dress, and now for Fly.  I still have leftover yarn.  The yarn had color variations clearly visible on right sleeve cuff and across the upper back.  I don’t mind.

The red yarn is Rowan Felted Tweed DK, in the color “rage.”  The yarn was left over from Red Knight.

Thoughts:  My long-term goal is to use up my yarn stash before I die.  The Graduate Student doesn’t knit, and I don’t know that she will ever pick it up.  So . . .  I just wanted to use up odd balls of yarn, and I didn’t want to knit hats or scarves.  This little cardigan did not require planning; it was truly one of those “cast on and stop when finished” sort of a project.  I don’t do gauge swatches, and this project was no exception.  I knitted the reversible cable first, then picked up the body stitches from the cable, leaving room on the cable ends for the front bands that I would pick up later and seam to the body.  The armscye and neck shaping were guesstimated — I wanted somewhat fitted sleeves, and a neckline somewhere between crew and scoop.  In the end I decided not to have buttons, so the ribbed bands are on the narrow side.

The project was uncomplicated, the black and red combination turned out well, and most important, the cardigan fits!

Watermark

Pattern:  Watermark by Jared Flood, from Brooklyn Tweed BT Winter 19.  It was love at first sight!

Yarn:  Elsawool woolen-spun worsted-weight cormo yarn in “40% medium grey.”  This yarn was recycled from the Moire Dress I knitted 10 years ago.  The dress did not fit well through the shoulders and upper arms (I wasn’t as good at knitting on the fly back then), so I only wore it a couple of times before finally frogging it last summer.

Modifications:  I don’t like patch pockets, so I made “knitted-in” pockets instead.  I also thought I was going to run of yarn, so the pocket linings are in two different yarns (hooray for using up more scrap yarn).  I knitted the sleeves on top-down using short row shaping, and also used short rows for the shoulders to create a smooth slope for sewing the shoulders seams.  The left cuff is in a different yarn — not because I ran out of yarn, but just because I felt like it.

Thoughts:   This was an uncomplicated knit without unnecessary fiddly bits.  The pattern is truly striking with a touch of masculinity, and the designer didn’t give it a silly/random Gaelic name.  I don’t have the right body type for this cardigan, but I don’t really care.  It wears well.

Knitting in the Winter: Trailhead

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Trailhead cardigan

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Pattern:  Trailhead, by Veronik Avery, from Brooklyn Tweed Fall 2015.

Yarn:  The yarn was a worsted weight Lambspun merino/silk blend in the color “barn red,” reclaimed from the Ogee Tunic  that I knitted back in 2009.  As pretty as the tunic was, I did not wear it.  Then I got smaller, but the tunic didn’t . . .  The yarn had dye variations (see picture #3) that I apparently did not notice in 2009.

The old lady buttons came from Mom’s stash; she had eight buttons, so I was able to use the extra one so that I have an alternative way to wear the collar.

Modifications:  Being a short woman, the cardigan turned into more of a coat on me, not a bad thing at all since it covers my hips completely and the pockets ended up at a comfortable and useful height.  I did make adjustments to the sleeve lengths as well as raglan depths and the shoulder darts so that the shoulder girdle fit properly.

Thoughts:  Clever patterns require a lot of directions, and in typical BT fashion, this pattern was quite long.  However, I do think it was overkill to include detailed directions on how to wash and block . . .  I like the tailoring details for the shoulder; I know some knitters didn’t like how high the raglan lines are in the front, but I think they look fine.  The arms are also more fitted than I would have thought given the relaxed fit of the rest of the cardigan.  It’s a design choice that I personally would not have made, but I went with it and ultimately I think it does work for this particular jacket.  I have knitted quite a few Veronik Avery designs in the past and always appreciate her attention to details.

Knitting for the Winter: St. Brigid

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St. Brigid tunic

Pattern:   St. Brigid by Alice Starmore, from the original 1997 edition.

Yarn:  Malabrigo, worsted weight, in “shocking pink.”  I bought a 10-pack from a fellow Raveler, hoarded it for close to a decade, and finally decided that St. Brigid was a worthy project.  Being kettle-dyed, there are colour variations that resulted in a band of darker pink across the lower chest.  Oh well.

Modifications:  The original pattern called for Alice Starmore’s Scottish Heather (a DK weight yarn) knitted up into a very generous 45 (or 48) inch pullover.  So, modifications included decreasing the number of cable patterns across to finish at around 38 inches, but the same number of vertical repeats because I wanted to make a tunic.  I didn’t use Chart A, but substituted 2 x 3 ribs at the sides of body and sleeves.  I think the ribs made for easier and neater increases and decreases.  The sleeves were meant to be 3/4, but stretched with blocking to wrist length.  I didn’t want the original collar (I think it is overwhelming), so I made the neck opening square, framed with simple 3 x 3 cables.  I made the body slightly A-line with increases “hidden” within the purl stitches between individual cables.  Finally, I knitted the tunic top-down in-the-round.

Thoughts:  My all-time favorite cable pattern!  She-whose-name-must-not-be-spoken is THE master.

Knitting for the Spring: Gaia

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Gaia, version 2

Back in the days of print patterns, I used to collect knitting books.  I have original first editions of Alice Starmore books, including ones that have never gone back into print.  I did not realize how expensive those Starmore books were until I traded one for a couple thousand yards of her iconic Scottish Fleet yarn.  Anyway, in my knitting library I also had a couple of books by Jean Moss.  I remember buying Sculptured Knits because I loved the cover:

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This was back in 1999, and over the next few years I knitted (or rather, started) many patterns from the book, but never the Lautrec Bolero from the cover.  Gaia was one of three projects I managed to start AND finish, and I loved it.  I knitted it in a hand-spun undyed wool, and wore it for years before I decided I needed the yarn for something else.

About a month ago, as part of addressing the issue of overcrowding in my yarn cabinets, I found the Cable-Down Raglan by Stefanie Japel.  I must have knitted the pullover about 10 years ago, but I have no clear memory of this sweater.  Except for this one work, I can look at all my other projects and tell you about the pattern, the knitting process, the changes, and the yarn.  l don’t know what happened . . . .

Pattern:  Gaia, from Sculptured Knits: 48 Timely Designs Inspired by the Decorative Arts of the 20th Century.  

Yarn:  Unknown DK-weight tweedy merino wool yarn.

Modifications:  I modified the pattern to knit seamlessly from top down, with the sleeves picked up from the top and caps shaped via short rows.  The front bands were knitted on as I went, with regular short rows to make sure the bands didn’t flare.  The original cardigan had a soft point collar, but I don’t like collars in general, so no collar here.  The sleeves were supposed to be full-length, but since I did not have enough yarn, they became three-quarter.  The bottom band is knitted from leftover kid mohair/silk yarn from another project; I like the contrast of colours and texture.

Thoughts:  I love this version of Gaia!  One thing I did that I did not do on the first Gaia is keep the small pockets set into the bottom band.  I never understood the concept of teeny tiny non-functional pockets, but these days I think any pocket is a good pocket.  I made these bigger than the pattern pockets, and they will in fact fit my mobile phone, credit card, and some change.  Finally, about the Little Old Lady buttons: Mom, like Moms of her generation everywhere, left behind a big collection of buttons.  These buttons came from her hoard, and I love them on this cardigan.