Category Archives: sweaters

Urban Collection: Locke St.

What can I say, folks, but that it’s a great relief to finally get to show off a few designs to you after keeping them under wraps for so long. February marks the first wave of releases of my Urban Collection, which will be a collection of eight knitting patterns in total. Between February and April I’ll add 2-3 more patterns to the collection each month until it is complete. (My previous post gives a good visual snapshot of the first five designs – the rest are in the works!) My goal for this collection was a set of patterns that would sit well in the “urban classic” realm – designs that will be comfortable and wearable now as well as a few years from now.

Locke Street Cardi

Rather than overwhelm you all at once with the whole sha-bang, I’ll be staggering the releases so that they are a bit more seasonally appropriate – as a result, the warmest patterns are the first ones out of the gate in February. Closer to April, you can predict a few lighter accessories and lace pieces to make an appearance. The complete collection will contain two sweaters, two lace items, and four smaller accessories. I hope you’ll love them as much as I do! All of the patterns feature Tanis Fiber Arts yarn, in a variety of yarn weights from Aran to laceweight.

As the patterns are released, you’ll be able to purchase them individually at any time in my Ravelry store, but if you’d like to take the plunge for the whole set, the collection may be purchased now for a few dollars cheaper than the final collection price, and I’ll keep that ‘preview price’ available until the March patterns are posted (around March 12th, a month later than today.) Once you’ve purchased the collection, you’ll receive updates as patterns are added.
(I’m working on making these available on Patternfish as well, as an e-book, for non-Ravelry users – stay tuned for updates there!)

LockeSt2

Since I was working with the aesthetic of “urban classic” in mind, when thinking about pattern names I decided to draw on the cities in which I have lived as a knitter. The patterns are all named after streets that I am familiar with in these cities. The first pattern I’d like to introduce you to is the Locke St. Cardigan. This is named for a favourite street of mine in my hometown of Hamilton, Ontario (if I’m hanging at a cafe or heading off in search of poutine or organic chocolate bars, or even a run to the bank – chances are, this is where I’m doing that.) This is a buttoned cardigan in the style of a classic cabled knit, including modern details like waist shaping and v-neck collar. Using DK-weight Tanis Fiber Arts Yellow Label yarn at 5.5 sts/inch, it is also a little lighter than a traditional Aran cardi might be, which means you’ll be able to get good wear out of this as a layer underneath your jacket in the cold seasons, or wear it as a layer itself when it’s a bit warmer.

LockeSt1

Friends Austen (above) and Emily (in the detailed shots) helped me out with modelling this, and both were pretty comfortable in it. In fact, I think it fit Austen so nicely that I am a little surprised she didn’t try the “hey! look over there!” trick, only to have me turn around and discover she was missing.

How about the cables? Let’s talk about the cables. You want cables, hoo boy, this sweater has cables!

LockeSt-Detail1

I like using symmetry and structure in my designs when I can, and the big show piece of this sweater is the way the cables lend vertical focus and visual appeal, especially down the back of the piece. Two diamond cables twist down the centre and are flanked by a few smaller twists and claw cables, for accent and delicate appeal. There is a blend here of cables and twisted stitches (mostly sneaking in in the ribbing and in between the cable placements – I just can’t give up my precious twisted stitches entirely, it seems!).

LockeSt-Detail2

Sizing for this pattern runs between 35-55 ins around at bust (when closed), and is intended for slight positive ease between 2-4 ins or so, according to preference. As usual, I provide some suggestions in the pattern notes about how to work cables without a cable needle, if you’re interested in that method as a potential way of building speed and efficiency. (Having said that, though, I know there are knitters who are speed demons with cable needles, so choose whatever method floats your boat!)
And also as usual, feel free to consult the pattern schematic and gauge if you prefer to modify your patterns for a more customized fit for yourself.

Thank you again to Jane D. for the photography on this project, and Stephannie Tallent for the technical editing, and to friends Tammy and Kelly for providing test-knitting feedback during the knitting process!

Now that I’ve said a mouthful, I’m looking forward to taking a break for a couple of days to knit and let these February projects be out in the world a little bit. When next we meet I’ll formally introduce you to the Locke St. cardi’s companions – the Aberdeen Ave. hat and mittens. They are just as warm and toasty, and the weather seems to agree – we finally have snow around these parts!

Happy knitting this fine Sunday!
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Filed under cables, design, sweaters

Edgewater Cardigan

I can’t tell you how happy I am that it is finally cold enough to not only wear hand-knits, but to enjoy wearing hand-knits. I admit I am not at all the sort of person who rejoices over +17C temperatures in November. I’m a knitter, darn it, and I like being able to snuggle down into the yarny results of my labours. With that said, I’m pleased to have been wearing this sweater the last week – the sweater which I am happy to show off to you today as a new design. It’s what I wore on the Saturday at Rhinebeck this year and it’s a cozy cardigan for sure. Edgewater is available on Patternfish and my Ravelry store, and debuts at a slight sale price for the month of November.

Edgewater2b

This is a sweater that I designed as I went along, starting with some deliciously soft wool (Manos Maxima – very similar to Malabrigo Worsted), and a wide looping cable running up along the sleeves. By the time I got to the body I had the rest of it figured out – the cables repeat up the back, and are joined by some tinier cable twists up alongside the edge of the button-band. I also threw on some pockets, which I think may well be my favourite detail of the whole thing. I like having that little extra spot to hide things I’m carrying with me – or even just to slide in my iPod while sitting at the cafe.

EdgewaterPocket

The sweater is worked from the bottom-up, and the sleeves and body are joined in one piece for raglan shaping at the yoke. There is shaping at the waist, and a slight shawl collar for just a touch more comfort – however, in the instructions I note that a plain button-band could easily be worked and the shawl collar omitted. Because this is worked on a field of ‘reverse stockinette’ – i.e. the purl side of the stockinette shows on the Right Side of the work – all of the decreases on the body are worked on the Wrong Side, or the knit side. I’d much rather ask you to do k2tog and ssk than p2tog and ssp. Those ssp decreases can be fiddly, and I have no shame in admitting I like to avoid them if I can.

EdgewaterSleeve

I am extremely grateful to Melissa Jaarsma, who took the beautiful modelled shots you see here, while we were at Rhinebeck. It was a gorgeous sunny fall day, and she went snap-snap-snap and before you knew it we had these lovely pictures you see here. I think this might be the most I’ve ever liked myself in photos. I also owe a note of thanks to Jaya Purswani for the technical editing on this pattern. Thank you, ladies, for your helpful work!

Nov21-Edgewater2

I’ll offer one last note on the yarn selection for this pattern, for any eager would-be knitters! Manos Maxima (and Malabrigo Worsted, the nearest substitute for this) are wonderfully soft and a joy to work with. They are single-spun ultra-fine merino that is pretty much like knitting with kittens. However, when a yarn gives so much in comfort and softness, it tends to neglect sturdiness and hard wearing. So, feel free to choose accordingly and go with a plied yarn or hardier wool, if that would serve you better! This is worked at a pattern gauge of 18 sts/4 ins, so a variety of worsted or Aran yarns would be suitable.

DSC_3478

And if you are a sweater knitter or no, I wish you a happy Monday (that’s also known as Happy Castle Day, if you’re me), with possibly a refreshing beverage also. I’ll catch up with you again later in the week, with more knitting to be done.
Happy knitting!

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Filed under cables, design, finished object: sweater, sweaters

November thoughts

Thank you all so much for your comments on Monday’s blog giveaway post! It is wonderful to read your stories of knitting on the go. And I think it says a lot about knitters that so many of us are so prepared with all sorts of different items where ever we go – not just with knitting! But you’ve got to admit, having knitting makes a lot of times a lot easier.

Random number November

I’m pleased to report a winner – thanks to the Random Number Generator the winning entrant is #321, which by my reckoning corresponds to Laura, who commented last night. I’ve sent her an email and we’ll get her hooked up with her very own Rio bag asap! Thank you all so, so much for participating. I’m sure I’ll be doing another giveaway before too long, but in the mean time I hope you’ll stick around for some regular-old knit blogging as well. ;)

Knitting continues around here this week, on a few different fronts, and I’m excited to be bringing a few new patterns your way in the coming month! Including at least one free pattern here on the blog. I’m continuing to make way for a few new projects just for myself this month as well, so that I’ll be comfy and cozy for the winter as well as hopefully a few gift recipients. My new Podsters are coming along nicely, and I do believe I’ll post a slightly revised version of this pattern when I’m done. I think there could be a better differentiation between the smaller and larger sizes (so that the small is more…smaller), so look for that soon at the very least.

Nov2-PodstersInProgress

And in other news, November has been dubbed by online knitters as “National Sweater Knitting Month,” or “NaSweKniMo” – an answer to “National Novel Writing Month” or “NaNoWriMo” (affectionately referred to as NaNo) – and while I didn’t cast on for a new project November 1st as the rules would have you do, I do fully intend to finish one of the current sweaters on the needles before the end of the month. I had such hopes for October. While I did get my Rhinebeck sweater finished, it turns out that after carting my Gwendolyn sweater and my as-yet-unfolding Briar Rose Abundance sweater around with me, as November dawns I still have a grand total of…two pairs of sleeves, and one hem.

Nov2-SweatersInProgress

I think I can improve on that progress! Here’s looking at you, November.
What do your November knitting plans include? Will you be casting on a new sweater, or are other projects catching your eye?

Happy knitting this Wednesday!

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Filed under accessories, sweaters

Cozy

It’s been an odd week around these parts – first it took me a solid couple of days to catch up on sleep/energy from the expenditures of Rhinebeck weekend, and then there were a few days of family waiting and uncertainty ending in some sad news. My knitting mojo’s taken a hit this week as well, I’m sure partly due to the above and also partly due to the regular post-project-completion ennui of finishing up my Rhinebeck sweater just in the nick of time.

And so while there are several projects scattered around that I could and should be working on at this very moment (including finishing writing up the pattern for said Rhinebeck sweater), I’ve reached instead for the Briar Rose Abundance purchased at last year’s Rhinebeck. Despite the “worsted” indications on the labels, I read it as a bulky yarn since it swatches up nicely over 14 sts/4 ins.

Oct21-AbundanceSleeve

If I can get a complete full length sleeve in less than a day, sign me up for that action for a little bit. I’ll let the other projects fight with it for some time, but a bit of cozy bulky purple wool is feeling pretty good at the moment.

Like my last sweater, this is starting with a sleeve and some cables, but unlike my last sweater, I actually have a fully-formed plan for it right from the starting gate. More sweater coziness ahead, which is good, since the fall wind doth blow out there.

I hope your weekend is restful and full of knitting! I’ll catch you again next week.

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Knit all the things

I know there are lots of people who welcome the return of fall, but I think if you’re a knitter you have a bit of an edge on that. It’s been pretty fun watching the knitters on my Twitter feed exclaim about the return of cool weather, or talk to other knitters who are saying things like “I can wear my socks again! And sweaters! this is so great!” I mean, I know there are some people who are probably agreeing with the weather guy on TV calling a 23C forecast for the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend “really nice,” but in my head I’m thinking “are you kidding??? We want sweater weather! GIVE US BACK THE SWEATER WEATHER.”

We’ll all be eating these words round about Februrary when we have had just about enough of sweater weather thank you very much, but I digress. SWEATERS.

Oct5-GwendolynSleeves

I’ve been slower than I’d like to progress with my Gwendolyn cardigan (the hazard of working several projects at a time), but breaking into the second sleeve this past weekend gave me a bit of nice momentum. But I’ve got to turn my attention to my Rhinebeck cardigan over the next week and a half, because it turns out that’s all the time I’ve got left in between now and then. And you know, I don’t mean to brag about my progress or anything, but I’ve got both sleeves done. And the hem of the body. Yeah, so that’s totally almost done. Maybe another day or two and I’ll have it licked.

Oct5-MaximaCardiProgress

Okay, so it’s going to be close, as per usual, but I’m loving the yarn. Manos Maxima is pretty close to Malabrigo worsted, and I don’t think I need to tell you how soft and squooshable THAT is. It’s like knitting with kitten purrs.

Oct5-MaximaCardiDetail

I’m making this up in my head as I go, but I think I’ve got the plan for the body down. Going to throw in a few more cable details along the edge as well as down the back, and I think it’s going to work out nicely. And it’ll be so cozy. Once it’s done the only thing left will be to cross my fingers (along with 1,000s of others I am sure) for sweater weather at Rhinebeck. Here’s hoping!

Lots of great knitting weather to come. Goodbye summer! It’s time for wool season.

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Filed under design, sweaters

An emerging plan

Since I apparently don’t have enough to do, and since it’s now a whole 3.5 weeks away from Rhinebeck (HAH that snuck up quickly), I thought it’d be a good time to cast on for a Rhinebeck sweater. I like having something new to wear at Rhinebeck, and I just bought this lovely dark teal green Manos Maxima (a soft single-spun worsted, much like Malabrigo worsted) at the Kitchener-Waterloo Knitter’s Fair and wanted to cast on for something before it sat for too long and became a forgotten part of the stash.

It’s going to be a cardigan, and with a few soft and squishy cables to go with the soft and squishy yarn, but other than that, I don’t have the entire plan nailed down yet. I’m going “off the cuff,” as it were. (Yuk yuk yuk, I kill me.)

Sept21-Cuff

Not sure yet if it’ll have a regular collar or a shawl collar (ooo, shawl collar…), pockets or no pockets (ooo, pockets…) but I DO know what I want the sleeves to do, so I’ll start there. If it all works out nicely, I’ll write it up. And goodness knows it’s finally starting to be sweater weather out there! Which is very exciting. The nice bonus with this is that at 4.5 sts/inch it’s going to work up relatively quickly, so I’ll have a cozy finished knit before too long.

Happy knitting today! May your Wednesday be over quickly and have your preferred refreshment waiting for you at the end of it.

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On not getting gauge (and being OK with it)

Yesterday I met up for lunch with Austen, and was ready to cast on for Gwendolyn at the same time. (Because, you know, I didn’t have enough to knit already.) Austen has already been zipping along on hers for a few weeks, aiming to be done before she goes off on a trip in mid-September. Mine will not be done by mid-September, but I promised all the same wayyyy back in March or so, that if she wanted to knit that sweater then I would too, in a sort of two-person knitalong. And fall’s coming soon, and one can never have too many nice knitted sweaters (I’m knitting mine as a cardigan), so I was game.

I swatched up for it last week, with some trusty Cascade 220 I bought in Kingston at Wool-Tyme back in June (I can never resist Cascade 220 when it’s on sale), and was surprised to discover I was very close to pattern gauge at 19.5 sts/4 ins on 4.5mm needles over stockinette, where the pattern requests 20 on 5.0mm. Then, I washed and blocked it. (Because I intend to wash and block the sweater.)

Aug29-Swatch1

Post-washing, my gauge changed to 18 sts/4 ins. I would have been disappointed except for the fact that I have always always always since the beginning of time gotten 18 sts/4 ins on Cascade 220 on 4.5mm. It’s important to make sure, though, just in case, because for all I know that changed since the last time I checked. So you would think this would be the point where normally a person would have to make a decision about what needle size to re-swatch with to get closer to pattern gauge, but actually, I’m good to go. I like the stockinette fabric I’m getting with that needle, and to go down any more snug would probably mean the cabled fabric will wear like iron and stand on its own, so I’ll stay here.

As it turns out, sticking with 18 sts/4 ins and making a size smaller than what I would have made at pattern gauge, will get me the size that I actually want in the end. (I even did the math on that. It all checks out. Take THAT, gauge! You are not the boss of me!) And it also so happens that Austen had the same experience and is proceeding with the exact same plan, and so far that’s turning out well for her.

I’ve cast on with the first sleeve – just in case of problems, it’s a lot easier to rip out a sleeve than to rip out and re-start the whole body – and lickety split I’ve got little sleeves for my portable transit knitting.

What fall knits are you hoping to cast on for soon?

Happy knitting until next time!

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Filed under swatching, sweaters