Category Archives: ivy

New year, new sleeves


Something I’ve been meaning to do for a long time is provide a modified set of instructions for the sleeves on Ivy. Out there on the interwebs one common concern I’ve heard about the pattern is that many knitters would prefer a slimmer sleeve than the one in the original pattern. So, at long last, I would like to provide an alternate, less roomy sleeve. I hope this is useful!

Sizing: XS[S, M, L, XL, 2X, 3X] (all measurements below provided in inches)
Original sleeve width at upper arm: 13.5[13.5, 14.5, 16, 17, 18, 19]
Revised sleeve width at upper arm: 12[12, 13, 14, 14, 16, 17]

Sleeve (Make 2):
Work according to original pattern, through the instruction “Work 4 rows in stockinette st.”

Next Row [RS]: K1, m1, k to last st, m1, k1.
Work 6 rows in stockinette st.
Repeat these 7 rows 6[6, 9, 8, 11, 6, 9] times more. 73[73, 79, 85, 91, 97, 103] sts.
Cont in stockinette st until work measures 17.5[18, 18.5, 19, 19.5, 19.5, 19.5] inches, ending with a RS row.

Shape Sleeve Cap: BO 3[4, 6, 6, 10, 12, 13] sts at beg of next 2 rows. 67[65, 67, 73, 71, 73, 77] sts
Next Row [RS]: Size XL, 2X, and 3X only: K2, ssk, k to last 4 sts, k2tog, k2.
Work next 3 rows stockinette. Repeat these 4 rows 2 more times for XL, 4 more times for 2X and for 3X.

Next Row [RS]: K2, ssk, k to last 4 sts, k2tog, k2.
P 1 row.
Repeat these 2 rows 18[21, 17, 21, 20, 19, 20] times more. 29[23, 33, 23, 25, 25, 27]sts.
Next Row [RS]: K2, ssk, k to last 4 sts, k2tog, k2.
Next Row [WS]: P2, p2tog, p to last 4 sts, p2tog tbl, p2.
Repeat these 2 rows 2[0, 4, 0, 0, 0, 0] times more. 23[23, 23, 23, 25, 25, 27] sts.

BO 2 sts at beg of next 4 rows.
BO rem 15[15, 15, 15, 17, 17, 19] sts.


Filed under design, ivy

Potential Ivy modifications

(From the Ivy photoshoot – of course I look this cosmopolitan every day, why do you ask?)

In the six months (whoa! six months already? where has the time gone?) since Ivy arrived at Knitty, I have continued to be amazed at how much feedback I have had on the pattern. I still get emails every month from knitters who are enjoying the pattern or who need help with a certain step. It’s very gratifying.

I also know that not every pattern is suited for everyone identically, so based on the six months’ worth of various blogosphere murmurings, emails, and progress over at the Knitalong, I thought I would make a note of possible ways you can adjust Ivy to make the pattern your own, if…

1. I don’t like bell sleeves.

A couple of knitters over at the Knitalong have simply avoided the bell sleeves by working the ‘twisted rib’ stitch even on the whole cuff, casting on fewer stitches as though both the decrease rows had already happened and simply working with that many stitches for the whole cuff. (I hope that makes sense.) I think this would produce a slim, fitted cuff.

2. The pattern’s too short for me.

(a) If it’s too short in the torso, your easiest fix is to add length on the back and front pieces after the side shaping increases and before the armhole decreases. As long as you add the same amount of length on all 3 pieces, you’ll be fine. A good time to test out if you need this extra step is to hold up the back piece against your body right before you would start the armhole decreases, and see where the waist seems to fall. If it falls too high, go ahead and add a few more rows in stockinette before starting the armholes.

(b) If the sweater is too short across the hips, you can extend the length by working more repeats of the ‘twisted rib’ Ivy pattern before beginning the decreases. This is something you’d have to anticipate before beginning the sweater, I’ll grant you. Adding one extra repeat will give you a little less than an inch more in length. I’m considering this option myself for a 3rd Ivy (when? who knows…someday….) to give it more of a jacket feel.

3. I’d prefer a pullover instead.

I’ve not tried this option, but I have received emails from knitters who want to try modifying Ivy into a pullover, and honestly I can’t think of a reason not to try it. If you were to work with 2 “back” pieces, and make the second “back” piece into a “front” piece by working some neckline shaping, that could work. You could fashion a collar by working a long thin single-repeat of the ivy pattern just as the collar on the wrap has, and then seaming it into the open neckline of the “front.” I imagine this could be attempted easily with a v-neck collar. You’d have to know your way around neckline modifications to do this, but I don’t see why it couldn’t be attempted. BUT, you might also want to consider finding a pullover pattern that you like and modifying it by adding the Ivy stitch along the hem and cuff.

Lastly, if you’re making any modifications that involve length, be sure to have some extra yarn on hand – I’m sure this goes without saying, but hey, you never know ;)

(Wait, I can get this right, gimme one more shot…)

For most people, the biggest challenge seems to be working around the concept of the “at the same time” instruction for the front pieces, alerting you to work the waist shaping/armhole shaping at the same time as the neckline shaping. All this means is that you have to remember to occasionally increase stitches at one end (for waist shaping increases) while you also remember to decrease stitches at the other end of the piece, in a different way (for the neckline shaping decreases). For most people, this is just a matter of figuring out a notation system or memory system to help them keep track of how far they are in each set of shapings. I know I’m not the only knitter that uses the “at the same time” instruction, so if you’re coming across it for the first time with Ivy, then rest assured this knowledge will serve you well for other patterns.

I had one knitter suggest to me that I should modify the pattern to write out row-by row stitch counts to help track these things. Um. All I’ll say is, if someone else wants to spend the time doing this for several dozen rows on each of the nine pattern sizes, they can feel free to give me a call. ;)
I’ve been working on a few other designs in the mean time and I have to say I’m disappointed not to have any complete submissions yet…but hopefully soon! I am never in a shortage of ideas, I’ll say that for sure. If only there were more knitting hours in the day…


Filed under ivy


Sarah rightfully prodded me to show photos of my 2nd Ivy sweater, which I have not photographed for some reason, despite the fact that I’ve had it finished for about 3 months now. Poor darling, she’s probably feeling unloved.

I’ve made a quick ‘FO’ post over here at the Ivy Knitalong, with Ivy #2 – I’m not ruling out a 3rd one sometime in the future, I’ve gotta say. But not yet. Lots to keep me busy in the meantime…like Baudelaire #2!

I managed to start the toe last night and got through 2 repeats of the lace pattern on the foot this afternoon while at coffee with friends. I’m looking forward to being able to wear them, there’s a real shortage of bright pink socks in my life.

Robin asked me about the yarn I was using for the Baudelaires. It’s Fortissima Socka, that I found at my LYS a few months back and snagged pretty much for the colour alone. Upon closer inspection of the ball band I discovered it is 60% superwash wool and 40% polyamide, which is a different material proportionality than I’ve used before (although strangely that is not the same proportion that is listed on the yarn link above. Hmm…). That probably explains why the yarn feels all smooth and shiny in my hands, heh. It’s not as soft as other sock yarns (like Knitpicks Essential or Austermann Step), but it does feel quite sturdy.

In other news, I’ve recently been approached by some nice folks at Random House books to do some blog reviews of their upcoming knitting books. Watch this space for more – I tells ya, the excitement never ends around this place.

And now I’ll stop with the insane amount of weekend blogging and head back to the last few gasps of weekend hours. Oh, Monday…


Filed under baudelaire, ivy

Knitting imitating Life

Thank you all for the suggestions on my last post about what to do with the former sweater. My sister is now mulling the options of charity knitting or an afghan. (Or perhaps a charity afghan?)
(And BTW – if you leave a comment please feel free to include your email address in the comment form ;) That way I can comment right back via email and I like being able to do that.)

Sock Satisfaction!

(Simple Stripes Fair Isle socks, pattern available here at KnitPicks)

I finished these on Friday night, and I must say that I am pleased with them. They are warm and comfortable, and I love the look. The only think I would have done differently is to add yet another 5 rows of back on the toe (I did that already before the toe decreases, but I wouldn’t mind an idge more room) and to make the legs an inch or two taller. Goodness knows I certainly had enough yarn leftover.

I learned 2 things with this pattern:
1) That I can do Fair Isle technique using DPNs, and
2) How to do a short-row sock heel.

The short-row heel is not my favourite, but i’m glad to at least know how to do it should it crop up again in another multicolour sock situation. Overall, I think the pattern is brilliant, so I congratulate Kathleen Taylor on coming up with the idea to use self-striping sock yarn in this fashion.

My only real nitpick is the yarn I have leftover. The pattern calls for 2 balls of black sock yarn and 2 balls of the Simple Stripes for the Size Large (which I made), but I was nowhere close to finishing the first ball of yarn. So now I have one-and-a-bit balls of Simple Stripes yarn leftover. I could easily do a 2nd pair of socks like this, but I don’t think I’d better try that any time soon lest I suddenly snap and decide to stab myself with a double-pointed needle instead. I’ll let it sit in the stash until I decide what to do with it.

Stress and Start-itis
I’ve been stressed out this last week and it’s showing in my knitting. I’m not knitting too tightly or anything, my tension is fine – it’s more that I’m starting to treat yarn purchases like retail therapy and I’m on the verge of a major case of start-itis. As a result my stash has expanded in the last week, but I’ve still managed to hold off on starting more projects.

I did give in briefly – I started in on my 2nd Philosopher’s Wool fair isle sweater with this yarn, but it wasn’t quite sitting right with me. One colour felt off (the Dark Maroon), and I didn’t feel comfortable forcing it. So, I ripped out the 5 inches of sleeve I’d done, put the yarn back in its bag, and set it aside. I’ll replace the Dark Maroon with a different colour, add in another one for balance (The pattern calls for 8 different colours and even with the Dark Maroon I only had 7), and will go back to it when I’m in a more peaceful state of knitting mind. I loved knitting my 1st Philosopher’s sweater, I don’t want to start my 2nd one feeling sour about it.

So, in an effort to restore some order to my knitting, this week I am going to concentrate on one project and one project only:

(A slightly blurry Ivy-in-progress)

My 2nd Ivy (in Highland Silk from Elann) has been on the needles for a couple of months but I keep neglecting her in favour of socks (as evidenced by the # of socks piling up on my FO list.) I’m so close and yet so far – both fronts and the back are done, so the lion’s share of the work is finished, it’s all about the sleeves now, one of which I have started.

With any luck, by this time next week I’ll be within reach of a Finished Object and a soothed knitting soul. ;)


Filed under finished object: socks, ivy, socks

Ivy yarn

Y’all are an impressive bunch of knitters. Did you know that Elann sold out of Quechua in Saxony Teal within 2 days? I’m still reeling from this. I inquired with the lovely Elann people and they will be getting another shipment of Quechua probably around Christmas time, so if you’re wedded to the teal and can hold out until then, just be patient. If you’re ordering one of the other colours you’re probably still OK.

Yarn substitutions
(Edit – Overall, I recommend looking for sport weight yarn that will drape well. DK-weight will still work, but will also provide slightly firmer fabric and stronger stitch definition (these aren’t necessarily bad things, I just thought I’d mention it ;) )

These are some likely warm weather candidates. I don’t recommend 100% cotton, but if you have something that is blended that should still give you some nice stitch definition and drape.
Knit Picks’ Shine Sport (cotton/modal blend, sport weight)
RYC Cashcotton DK (cotton/viscose/cashmere, DK weight)
Diamond Cool Linen (cotton/viscose/linen blend, sport weight)
RYC Luxury Cotton DK (cotton/viscose/silk blend, light DK weight)
Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece (cotton/wool blend, DK weight)
James Brett Kool Kotton DK (cotton/acrylic blend, light DK weight)

Rowan Wool Cotton (cotton/wool blend, DK weight)

As far as Cold weather yarn substitutions, I think there are probably plenty of options out there. If you’re sticking to Elann, they have the Devon sport weight 100% wool, which I haven’t tried but would meet gauge, and they have the Highland Silk which is DK weight but would be snuggly and feel nice. As I say, my friend K is using KnitPicks’ Telemark for hers and having success. But as always, with any yarn I recommend usual practices of swatching first, and getting an extra ball just in case. (Edit: Here’s a list for people who need lists:)
Elann’s Devon (100% wool, sport weight)
KnitPicks’ Telemark (100% wool, sport weight)
KnitPicks’ Elegance (wool/silk/alpaca blend, DK weight)
Lavold Silky Wool (wool/silk blend, DK weight)
Brown Sheep Nature Spun Sport (100% wool, sport weight)
Brown Sheep Top of the Lamb Sport (100% wool, sport weight)
Elann’s Highland Silk (wool/silk blend, DK weight)
Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino (wool/cashmere blend, light DK weight)

{EDIT #2:}Here are some yarns that have been used successfully over at the Ivy Knitalong (Looks like Ivy is a pretty versatile gal!):
Elann Highland Silk
Harrisville Shetland
Nashua Worsted
Knitpicks Andean Treasure
Knitpicks Telemark
Patons Diploma Gold
Bergere de France Ideal
Inca Silk from Ram Wools
Elann Quechua

The knitting goes on
I have my 2nd Ivy staring at me from my knitting bag right now, but then I’ve also been working on my first pair of Fetching, which really are the best instant gratification. I’m already done the first one and am onto the 2nd one and cast on on Wednesday night.

And then I have the basic pair of socks I was knitting all the while on my trip, which is 3/4 done, and of course the Simple Stripes fair isle socks that I started back in August.

So much to knit, so little time, as always ;)


Filed under ivy

Ivy, oh Ivy! I think I have whiplash…

…from the response I’ve had to Ivy since its release… *checks calendar* 2 days ago. I only wish I hadn’t been away from home at the time! (Note to self: In the event of any possible future pattern designs, try not to be gallivanting around London at the time of their release. Or if gallivanting around London, try to have internet access more frequent than occasional internet café visits.)

First up, let me give the mad props to the fine people at Knitty, in particular their technical editor Mandy who, in my opinion, improved upon Ivy’s pattern instructions and made them even clearer. And, of course, I thank them for accepting my wee pattern and taking a chance on the new kid in town, so thanks Knitty!

What a difference 2 days make
Soooo, yes. Ivy, she is out in the world now and what can I say but I am thrilled, humbled, overwhelmed, etc at the response I received and so quickly. I think I’m going to just save up all these congrats for when I get the blues and they will give me an instant lift.

The astute among you may have noted that Elann has already changed their Quechua yarn page to show photos and a Knitty pattern link for Ivy. Ahahahah. I just about fainted when I saw they’d changed their ad on Knitty to reflect the exact Ivy yarn and everything. I SO did not anticipate that one! But sure enough, within less than 48 hours (nay, less than 24 hours, even) I had an email waiting in my inbox from the fine Elann people asking for permission to include a pattern link on their site, and since Elann already owns my soul, how could I possibly say no? ;)

Also in the 48 hours post Knitty release, my blog site statistics fairly exploded – I think I had more visitors in 1 day than in the entire first 4 months of my blog! Whoa! Let me once again say hello and I hope I will entertain you for at least a millisecond with my knitblogging. Maybe even two milliseconds. And what really and truly flatters me is that there is already an Ivy Knitalong up and running! That one deserves credit to the Crazy Fiber Lady, she has set up a blogspot account for it and everything. Kudos.

More about ye olde Ivy pattern…From what I’ve managed to absorb from some very kind emails, comments, and general buzz, there have been some thoughts and inquiries along the lines of:

“Thanks so much for including the plus-sizes!
You are so very welcome. I hope the pattern works well for all sizes concerned. In fact, let me thank YOU for your kind words. Seriously, I never intended to stop just at Size L or XL, I figured that was a given by now in this post-Big-Girl-Knits world that we’re living in. In fact, if I had had the time to write up more sizing I would have happily gone up to 4X or 5X. Wait, let me just pencil that in on my to-do list for a rainy day after the rubble has cleared.

“About that yarn you used…”
I chose Quechua because it comes in pretty colours (there are more, I think, than what is currently up at Elann, but the ones that are there now are so covetable…The red and the lavender are calling to me…), it is soft, it has a modest sheen to it, and oh yeah, it’s WARM. It’s a tough endeavour, trying to remain warm in Canadian winters without adding a bazillion layers, but this sweater is at least 1 attempt on my part to do it in moderately attractive style. And it’s a yarn that’s priced to own. And Elann is based out of Canada. And did I mention also that Elann yarns practically own my soul? I mean, all they have to do is re-stock any of their Peruvian Collection colour selections and I’m a happy camper all week long.

If an alpaca-blend yarn isn’t your cup of tea, whether because you prefer wool or you’d like to stick to non-woolen-related fibres altogether, then for yarn substitutions your first task is to find something that works up to Ivy’s stockinette gauge of 6 sts per inch. So, sport weight or something on the lighter side of DK is what you’re looking for. Your best bet if you’re unsure is probably just to do a swatch of the ribbing pattern in the yarn you’re thinking of and see how it holds up before and after washing, and if it looks good then go for it! My friend K is currently making one in KnitPicks’ Telemark, and from all reports it is going well so far.

“The pattern calls for straight needles. What if I want to use circulars?
I knitted each piece of the sample in the photo flat using circular needles, I just worked them in the back-and-forth style in the manner used to work flat pieces on a pair of straits. Just don’t join the stitches for in-the-round knitting and keep turning at the end of each row and you’re fine.

I like using circs because they’re easier on my hands. I don’t think this pattern is suitable for modification for in the-round-knitting, though (But if you figure out a way, feel free to let me know and I’m happy to be proven wrong) – all cardigan-style aspects aside, the pattern asks you to leave a gap in each of the side seams to form a hole for the sashes, and that would be tougher to manage if you were knitting the whole thing in one piece.

So, to sum up, allow me to say THANK YOU to everyone who has responded so enthusiastically to Ivy, and I hope she will be a good knit for you. I’d be thrilled to see pics when anyone gets to the FO stage. Or before that. Heck, I like photos of anything that’s knitting-related, let’s face it. Even stash photos are good. And I like knitblogging, so I’m looking forward to getting to know more of you who have commented. Knitters are, after all, the best folks ever. ;)

Happy knitting until next time! I now have the job of de-jet-lagging and propping myself up (with some knitting no doubt) and trying to stay awake until it is at the very least dark outside. My best to all…


Filed under ivy