FO: Modern Pumpkin Garden

Bright sweaters look better with bright lipstick, no?

Pattern: Modern Garden

Yarn: Plymouth Yukon, in “Pumpkin”

Needles: 10 mm circulars

Mods: None.

Notes: This was a test knit for Veera, who designed the absolutely stunning cardigan, Modern Garden.  It is designed to use the leaf motif as the shaping, which works quite well. This means that where the leaves are broadest, there are more stitches, such as the bust and hips.

I got to choose my own yarn, and I chose the Plymouth Yukon, as it was a great price on Webs. However, I must warn you that it sheds. And sheds. And pretty much sheds more than my fluffiest cat, Gatsby. Giving the sweater a bath helped tremendously, and did adding some glycerin to the soaking time. It’s better now, but while I was knitting it…. orange fluff everywhere.

A word to the wise: chunky knits require negative ease. I really recommend that your Modern Garden have some negative ease, too.

 My husband G always takes the pictures, and I feel like recently we’ve really found out photo groove. We had lots of fun shooting these photos on Halloween, but is was SO windy that day!!

Modification Mondays (and my Own FO!): Cotton Candy Boatneck

 I wonder if it’s self-serving to have your own mod on Modification Mondays…. screw it. I’m doing it anyway.

Original Pattern: Whisper Stripe Pullover

Knitter Extraordinaire: Me.

Mods:This pattern didn’t start at a size small enough to fit me (32″). So I modified the stitch count and went down slightly in needle size. I knitted it in the round instead of flat. As for the yarn, I only used 2 yarns instead of 3 called for in the pattern. I also thought the yarns used in the original were kind of expensive, so I got the well-priced (and deliciously awesome) Elann Peruvian baby Silk and Elann Super Kydd. I highly recommend both yarns.

I also eliminated the ruffles at the hem and sleeves, shortened the sleeves into 3/4 length, added waist shaping, and changed the neckline from a scoop into a boatneck.  As for the stripes, I used the pictures from the pattern as a guideline, and put them where I felt like it. I can’t stand row counting, I find it tedious. More details on the mods, including the stitch counts, can be found on the project page.

What Makes This Awesome:   I have to tell you- this sweater feels like heaven. I love wearing it so much!! It’s lightweight, surprisingly warm, and just feels like I’m cuddled up in a cotton candy cloud. I loved the delicate pink that was used in the original pattern, so I shopped for yarn that was similar. I’m really pleased with how it turned out, and I really enjoyed knitting it- it was so light, it felt like it flew over the needles. There is only one thing I wish I had done differently-  jogless stripes in the round. I forgot jogless stripes existed until I finished the sweater.

Usually it’s my kitty Yarn that loves to get all up into the knitting action, but today is was our other kitty Gatsby who wanted to be in on things. He’s not usually a ham, but I think he just wanted to cuddle up with this awesome pink sweater. He’s such a fluffy beast, isn’t he? Most of what you see there is fur, he’s really a small bodied cat. Wow, that was such a ‘defensive parent’ thing to say, wasn’t it? “It’s glandular! He’s just short for his age!” etc. Sigh. I love my cats.

FO: City Cowl

Pattern: My Kind of Town Cowl

Needles: 12mm

Yarn:Belle Valleé Wools 4-Ply 100% Wool (thanks to Canary Sanctuary for the yarn!)

Mods: None

Notes: Such a simple pattern, so much immediate love!! I’ve worn this cowl pretty much every day since I finished it- and it only took me a couple days to knit it. Not everyone would love my yarn choice- it’s not the softest wool in the world, but my sensitive skin still loves wool. Me and wool, we’re tight.

One of the best things the designer did was include lots of photos on the different ways it can be worn. Because when you’re first finished, it just looks like a garter stitch  tube, and that’s not particularly inspiring. The pictures above and the picture below show my two favourite ways of wearing it:

 (This one is the way I wear it with my coat all the time, and then I pull it over my shoulders if I’m indoors and still a bit chilly).

I can’t say enough good things about this- it’s the perfect quick knit, and a fabulous beginner project if you know some new knitters who need a simple and satisfying project to begin with. And if you are looking for quick holiday gifts, I can’t recommend these enough!

Decisions, Decisions….and Boatloads of Knitting

Look at this beautiful pile of Tanis Fiber Arts Aran weight, in the grape colourway:

Of course, now that I have a lovely, cuddly pile of this delicious yarn, I’m not exactly sure what I want with it. Definitely a pullover or a cardigan. Which only leaves me with, oh, a few hundred patterns, according to the Ravelry pattern search. So, I’ve decided to let the yarn tell me what it wants to be, via swatching. Here’s the one long swatch I knitted up to see how the colours responded to different stitches:

I’m considering the Minimalist Cardigan (seed stitch), February Fitted Pullover (gull lace stitch), Garter Yoke Cardigan (garter and stockinette), Francis (seed stitch and stockinette), and Vaila (stockinette & ribbing). Which is more of a long list than a short list, to be fair.

And you know what this swatch tells me? It ALL looks great!! I was really hoping for a clear winner, but the yarn just knits up so well in all stitches, with no strange pooling. Which is great, but also makes the decision process that much more challenging. Any thoughts?

And I’ve been working on a lovely little confection, the Whisper Pullover. I’m modifying it quite a bit, and so far love the results. I’m ashamed to admit that this is my first time working with kidd mohair, and I have to say I love it- the garment is so lightweight and smooshy, it’s like a cloud of pink cotton candy. I’m really looking forward to wearing this when it’s all done.

I’ve also recently completed a new project, but it is a test knit, and I can’t fully reveal it until the pattern goes live. So here is a little teaser shot:

 (why yes, I did think it looked a bit like I knitted with a bag of cheezies, too…)

Modification Mondays: White Cowl Neck

Original Pattern: Rusted Root

Knitter Extraordinaire: Katie (Rav id, blog)

Mods: Oh, where to begin!! Began with the basic stitch count and body fit on Rusted Root, and set out to create a sweater inspired by Cameron Diaz’s sweater in the film The Holiday:

 Katie took the combination of the beautiful dark brown sleeve buttons against the creamy white and set out to make a stunning, I-wish-I-owned-this-too sweater:

She added long sleeves, added buttons and a lovely cowl neck. That cowl neck is gorgeous- makes it even better than the sweater that inspired the knit in the first place! Project page is here.

What Makes this Awesome: If I saw this sweater in a store, I’d buy it. This looks like the kind very wearable, dressy or casual sort of sweater that would like good on practically everyone. If you find a pattern that you love and fits you  perfectly, you can modify it endlessly to produce vastly different, yet very wearable, garments. This beautiful sweater doesn’t look like rusted root at all, yet is based on that pattern.  Which makes me realize something (isn’t it awesome when someone else’s knitting makes you realize something about your own knitting?!): I have yet to find my perfect pattern, like Katie’s Rusted Root.I would love to do this, but haven’t’ quite found my perfect base pattern yet. Let the search for the holy knitting grail continue!!