Month: February 2019

book review | seamless knit sweaters in 2 weeks by Marie Greene

Last week, my friend Jen of Webster Street Knittery (websterstreetknittery on Instagram) posted about her friend Marie Greene of Olive Knits’ (oliveknits) new book, Seamless Knit Sweaters in 2 Weeks. I was struck by the beautiful image of Marie in a mustard cardigan and I thought, “if that pattern is in the book, I have to have it.” A few clicks later, my order was confirmed on Amazon. A few days after that, the book was on my doorstep! I’ve never written a book review, but thought it might be time to start. So here goes nothing!

First off, my copy cost me $14.57 USD on Amazon (aff. link) before tax and with free shipping thanks to Amazon Prime. That’s an absolute steal for 20 sweater patterns, which can easily cost upwards of $6 each. Granted, I wouldn’t likely buy every pattern at that price, but I love books for the flexibility they allow. I often purchase a pattern only to realize I don’t like a stitch pattern or construction element, and never end up knitting it. When I have a book, I can comb through every detail of the patterns and find the ones I’m really going to enjoy knitting. So, on price, this book gets an A+. By the way, all the patterns are also available on Ravelry and I will link each of the ones I talk about, but I don’t think they’re available for individual sale. Some of the sweaters already have several projects on Rav and I love that you can see what yarn people are using and read their notes. There’s also a page for errata – found here.

  
Shoreline Textured Cardigan, mentioned above

In the well-written intro, Marie explains the premise of the book. My takeaway is this: knitting sweaters should be easy, fun, and relatively quick. Gone is fussy construction and in its place are seamless, efficient methods to get a sweater that fits and that you want to wear. Honestly, this is a novel idea. I have a few precious handknit sweaters I love and wear all the time. The rest… well, we won’t talk about them. Keeping in mind I haven’t knit any of the patterns yet, I’m totally on board with Marie’s proposition.

Next are the more technical aspects of sweater knitting: swatching, measuring, information on ease, and measuring your speed. The last one is new to me and something I may explore, although I think I read that you have to knit a gauge swatch, and… you know me. I haven’t dug into this section too much yet, but totally appreciate that it’s there.

Marie divides the book into sections based on how relaxing the knit is, with names like Staycation Knits (super relaxing knits with little texture) and Binge Knits (richer texture and more details to focus on). I think this is a clever way to set up the book! On my count, here’s a breakdown of the yarn weights used: 2 sport, 10 DK, 7 worsted/heavyworsted/aran, and 1 bulky. I was surprised to see so much DK weight in a book that touts 2 week sweaters! Surprised in a good way, that is. I honestly expected more worsted and bulky designs, but I think DK sweaters provide warmth and comfort without being too heavy. I was very pleased that it wasn’t a book full of bulky sweaters. I wasn’t surprised to see no fingering weight sweaters, because anyone but Marie might struggle to knit one up that fast!

Four of the designs are tees, one cocoon wrap (super cute!), four cardigans, and the rest are pullovers. That’s a nice mix, in my opinion. There aren’t too many tees, which is another thing I was wary of with “quick knits”. Most of the yarns she uses are luxury wool (merino) or wool blends and she offer tips on substitution.

Though I think all the designs are lovely, I flipped through the book and made notes of the ones that really stood out to me. Other than the Shoreline Textured Cardigan, here are the ones I want to knit first:


Pebble Bay Simple Pullover


Stowaway Chevron Pullover


Meridian Striped Pullover (I think this is my very favorite!)


Cape Creek Minimalist Pullover


Shelter Cove V-Neck Pullover

I love that all the designs in the book are simple enough to be wardrobe staples, but have beautiful elements that make them special. I can see myself wearing many of them and am already stash diving to see if I have the yarn to start one!

Obviously, having not knit them, I can’t give a review of the patterns themselves, but they are laid out very well with notes on a timeline for each one, clearly defined sections, and an excellent schematic for each sweater. There’s also a helpful section at the end of the book for basic techniques like picking up stitches around a neckline. The book itself is beautiful, detailed, and well-thought out. So far, I give it two thumbs up!

I can’t think of anything the book doesn’t cover and can hardly wait to really dive into one of the patterns! I’d love to know which is your favorite… tell me below!

stash-less | month one

January is long gone (and half of February, too) and I’ve been contemplating my resolve to not buy yarn in 2019. In December, I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about going a whole year without adding to my stash (my one caveat being that I can buy yarn from my own hand-dyed yarn business, Mockingbird Fiber Co.). Surprisingly, I have actually found it kind of liberating. Even typing that it sounds odd… shouldn’t I feel more freedom to knit what I want if I can have all the yarn I want? For me, the short answer is “no.” See, I’m the type of person that buys yarn just to buy yarn. Over the last several years, I often impulsively purchased beautiful yarn without thinking about what I was going to use it for. I enjoyed growing my stash, but I now have several skeins that I have no clue what to do with and no plans to take the time to figure it out.

So… yeah. It’s kind of freeing. and I love that! Knowing that I have to use what I have, I have majorly narrowed down my queue, which previously consisted of a lot of projects I wanted to knit, but didn’t have the yarn for yet. It now comprises only projects that I have the yarn for, which makes it so easy to select a pattern, knowing I have everything I need. Another bonus is not feeling the guilt of buying yarn I don’t need when I have so much un-loved yarn in stash! I’m even looking at de-stashing several skeins that don’t fit into my plan. My goal is that, at the end of the year, all my yarn fits into my cube storage system, and that I never outgrow that.

Recently, I was listening to the Yarniacs podcast and they were talking about not believing in “yarn diets” – that if you see beautiful yarn and you want it, you should buy it. And honestly, I kind of agree. However, this is a more personal goal centered around setting intentions and following through with them. First, I need to spend less on yarn. But really I just feel wasteful to have all that yarn and not use it! So although “knit from stash” was a general goal of mine last year, I didn’t really stick with it. This year, I’m committed. So far, I’ve had fun shopping my stash to knit The Peaks Beanie by Ria Plachutin, a few pairs of socks, and even a test knit!

Speaking of test knitting, I often waffle on whether or not to agree to a test knit because I don’t have the yarn I need. Not buying yarn makes that a very simple decision! Overall, I haven’t wanted even to buy yarn (okay, I cheated because I had to buy yarn for my husband’s sweater… but I took no pleasure in buying it)! I have plenty of yarn for socks, a couple good sweaters’ quantities, and let’s not even mention the mounds of leftovers and scraps that need love. I’m looking forward to seeing how this plays out, but… so far, so good!

How about you? Are you a yarn-stashing fiend or do you buy for specific projects?