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my favorite hats

favorite hats

Yay! I’m so excited for today’s post! I want to share with you my favorite hats. Hats are, hands down, my favorite thing to knit. If you’ve been following me for any amount of time, this shouldn’t surprise you! They’re quick and fun to knit, and the result is a highly wearable finished object. That makes for what I consider to be a “high-yield” knit: grab a skein off the shelf, cast on, and in a couple of hours you have an attractive and cozy accessory. What’s not to love?! (For comparison, I consider socks to be a low-yield knit… I hate knitting them, I hate wearing them, and nobody sees them!)

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Clarke by Jane Richmond is a simple, stripey pullover that I’ve been eyeing for quite a while. When I saw CotLin on sale, I decided it was finally time to add Clarke to my wardrobe and I purchased 7 balls of Sagebrush and 3 of Swan. I was hoping the cotton-linen blend would provide a lightweight, versatile piece, suitable for wearing in virtually all seasons! Braving the 90 degree heat, I layered it here with a chambray button-up and I really enjoy the look!

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First off, the yarn was actually pretty enjoyable to knit with. I was a bit concerned because I’ve had trouble with both cotton and linen being hard on the hands, but CotLin was surprisingly soft and easy to work with. Stripes seem to make garments go more quickly, and this sweater worked up in less than a month (while I knitted on… several… other things)! When all was said and done, I used only 6 balls of Sagebrush and 2 of Swan. In hindsight, I wish I had gone up a size (no, I didn’t swatch – please don’t judge me) for more ease. I may be able to get a little more length out of it, but I have already hand-washed and machine-dried it. Yes, CotLin is machine washable and dryable! However, I think drying it caused it to shrink some, which is a huge bummer. It’s still wearable, but I’m hoping it will fit even better when I’m a bit smaller. I recommend the yarn overall, but consider that if you don’t want to machine-dry it, it will take a long time to dry on its own (it was still very damp 24 hours later, which is why I threw it in the dryer. The spin cycle on the washing machine may cut that down some). I love the idea of being able to wash my handknits with my other clothes, but I’m not so sure that I’ll be throwing this in with everything else. I should also note that the Sagebrush color bled quite a bit, but I don’t think it affected the white stripes.

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Now for the pattern! This is the first Jane Richmond pattern I’ve knit and it is awesome! I usually go through the pattern and highlight the numbers that correspond to my size, but Jane makes it infinitely easier with a fill-in-the-blank style! With the pattern being so easy to follow, this sweater was a very easy and meditative knit. I’ve learned that going up a needle size while binding off makes for a stretchy edge, so I bound off the bottom hem, sleeves, and neckline in pattern with a size 6 needle. I would definitely recommend this method if you, like me, have been unhappy with the tightness of edges in the past. Other than that, I used the recommended needle sizes. There isn’t much more to say about this pattern. Unless you just hate stockinette, I think you’ll love it! It’s such a simple design, but its well-written pattern and easy style make it a great staple for any wardrobe! I’m already dreaming of one in wool for winter!

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Check out more photos on my Ravelry page. I can’t wait to cast on my next sweater for Shannon Cook’s Summer Sweater KAL (lots of chat going on here)!

xoxo

Andrea

#sweatergoals | update

Back in January, I wrote a post about my 2017 #sweatergoals. Somehow, half the year has gone by & I haven’t quite kept pace with my aspirations. I’ve been knitting lots of shawls lately, but I’ve come to the realization that sweaters are much more practical for my wardrobe, so I plan to knit several in the last half of the year!

I keep getting sidetracked by new patterns and yarn! So far, I’ve knit Sawyer by Julie Hoover (blogged here), but I haven’t managed to cast on any of the other sweaters. One down, four to go!

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I love participating in the Tops, Tanks & Tees Knit Along hosted by Shannon Cook each spring. Right around the time it was starting, Dieuwke van Mulligen’s pattern Sparkle Up was released. I knew I wanted to knit this right away and ordered some Plucky Crewbie in Medieval). This sweater has such interesting construction and I enjoyed it so much! There aren’t many stitches to pick up (only around 70 for the entire garment!) and the sleeves basically knit themselves! I actually loved this sweater so much that I already want to knit another, in a sport or DK weight for more slouch and longer sleeves. Even though this wasn’t part of the plan, I’m so glad I knit this!

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Another sweater I’m adding to my list is the Clarke Pullover by Jane Richmond. KnitPicks was having a sale and I have wanted to try their CotLin yarn for a while, so I scooped up 7 balls of Sagebrush and 3 of Swan. I’m already 3/4 done with the body – this thing is going so fast! I’m hoping for a lightweight sweater for cool summer nights! Follow my progress on Instagram and Ravelry!

Looking forward, I still want to achieve my #sweatergoals! I plan to knit the West End Cardigan by Hannah Fettig in Berroco Ultra Alpaca for Shannon Cook’s Summer Sweater Knit Along (another fantastic KAL hosted on Ravelry).

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Harvey will make a great winter sweater, knit in Cascade 220, so I plan to start that one later in the fall.

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Mae is a great transition piece, which I will try to work in before cold weather, but need to find the right yarn!

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Finally, the Stashbuster Sweater will be great for using up all those worsted weight leftovers I’ll have!

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Now if designers can stop releasing patterns so I can knit… 😉

Do you have #sweatergoals?! I’d love to hear what patterns you’re stalking!

xoxo,

Andrea

shawl ready for this | volume two

       Oh my gosh! I just realized it’s been a year since I posted volume one of Shawl Ready for This!! I’ve knit a few (like, eight) shawls since then, so I think it’s high time for an update!

I’ve already blogged about Winter Honey, but the rest haven’t received much attention! I’ll start with my most recent finished shawl, Marley by Andrea Mowry. This is one of my most enjoyable knits so far. Once you’ve mastered brioche (I swear it’s not hard! YouTube is your friend!) it’s just a four-row repeat. There’s something very fluid and meditative about brioche and I just love it. I knit this in madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in Optic (MC) & Candlewick. It’s light and airy, yet so squishy and warm! This color palette isn’t my norm, but I absolutely LOVE the result!

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“right side” of Marley vs “wrong side”… I love that it’s reversible!

Next up… Boho Blush also by Andrea Mowry (I want to knit every. single. one. of her shawls). I’ve never felt so compelled to knit something… this one spoke to my soul. The squishy garter, delicate lace, a smattering of brioche, and that fringe. Despite having over 500 stitches at the end, this one flew off the needles! I definitely recommend adding fringe after blocking to keep it from tangling. Knit with Plucky Knitter Oxford in Twill, this shawl is utter neutral perfection!

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 Last August, my Nana gave me six squishy skeins of West Yorkshire Spinners Fleece Bluefaced Leicester Aran in three natural shades. I thought it best to knit her something since she was generous enough to bring this yarn all the way back from England! Not long after, Elkhorn by Melissa Schaschwary was released… a yarn/pattern match made in heaven! I knew it would make the perfect Christmas gift for her, and I finished with a few weeks to spare! I don’t love knitting stockinette flat (read: I don’t like purling!) but the stripes and textures kept me interested. I truly enjoyed every stitch and loved her reaction even more!

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Sunwalker. Need I say more? I feel like it’s a classic. Although, I feel like all of Melanie Berg’s designs are classics. But there’s something about Sunwalker. Its generous size begs to be wrapped up in and the “pebbly seed stitch” as Melanie calls it adds texture and warmth. I absolutely adore and can’t say enough about this shawl – it is definitely my most worn so far. Oh, and I used Plucky again – this time (the sadly discontinued) Single in the colorway Betrothed. Single was a great base and is similar to Tosh Merino Light or Malabrigo Mechita. Don’t let the thought of miles of seed stitch overwhelm you – it’s totally worth it!

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Now for a test knit I completed for Shannon Cook last July – Compass Shawl. This is a lovely shawl, with enough texture to keep it interesting to knit. I chose two colors of madelinetosh Pure Mernio Worsted and, though I love the outcome, I would opt for something more wooly were I to knit it again. This is a very bouncy wool and I’m not sure it’s the best option. But don’t get me wrong – this is a fantastic shawl!

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I finished my very first test knit a year ago this weekend, Maybe, Baby Worsted by Webster Street Knittery. If I’m not mistaken, it was one of Jen’s first designs and she did a fabulous job! Although mine came out a bit small (I think I knit a little too tight), it’s a great size for wrapping like a scarf! For this one I mixed Brown Sheep Nature Spun Worsted and Cascade 220 – both great workhorse yarns. Jen has a few more designs now, and they’re all beautiful, so be sure to check her out!

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The final shawl to mention is Drachenfels. Everyone has knit one by now, right?! If not, you need to! I used the suggested Rosy Green Wool and can’t recommend it enough. It’s one of my favorite yarns I’ve knit with so far, and this is definitely one of my favorite and most worn shawls! The pop of orange isn’t typically “me” but the lovely ladies at Black Mountain Yarn Shop helped me choose them last summer and I am so glad I took the leap! I don’t typically knit something more than once, but another Drachenfels is in my near future!

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Shew. What a post! I didn’t realize I’d knit so many shawls. And there are at least three I want to cast on… I better free up some needles!

I’d love to know what shawl patterns you’re loving! Can you ever have too many?!

Happy knitting 🙂

WIPs & FOs | plucky edition

You guys have heard of Plucky Knitter, right? If somehow you haven’t, I’m more than happy to introduce you! 🙂 Sarah and Hayley are the mastermind sisters behind this crazy colorful brand. Since I’m so close to my own sister, I totally admire the fact that these two work together so closely (without ripping each other’s hair out)! Anyway, there are several ways to purchase their amazing yarn, and it can get a little complicated. Follow this link to learn all about the process! It’s super helpful to sign up for the newsletter so you don’t miss an update.

Over the past year or so, I have purchased yarn through several of their blog updates, as well as on the destash thread in their Ravelry group. And I only just realized that apparently I’m on a Plucky kick, with my last 4 FOs and 2 current WIPs all knit with Plucky yarn! They offer a variety of bases, all of which I’ve enjoyed knitting with (though I have my favorites… read on for my thoughts on that)!

First up, I finally finished the gorgeous Winter Honey shawl by Andrea Mowry earlier this month. Although I blocked it a little too aggressively (the cables on the edge opened up way too much), I am completely smitten with it! For this one, I used their 100% Merino base Trusty in the shade Penny Candy; I purchased 3 skeins from a blog update specifically for this pattern. As you can see, this color did not disappoint!

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Trusty is a fabulous base that’s, well, trusty 😉 It’s a workhorse yarn that I’ve used before for hats and another shawl. I have no doubt it’d make a great sweater, too!
honey10Trusty is also one of Plucky’s most affordable bases, which is often a consideration for me. I highly recommend checking it out! See my project page for more photos & info.

My next FO is the Duotone Cowl by Orange Flower Yarn. I ordered a skein of Cozy in the colorway Skies of November, a rich medium blue. A few weeks later, I ordered a mystery skein and, as fate would have it, a skein of Cozy showed up! And in a colorway I happened to love (it’s a “One Hit Wonder,” but is very similar to Small Batch 021). It didn’t take me long to find this sweet cowl in my favorites & cast on! It only took me 3 days to finish this baby and I just love it. Cozy, a Merino/Baby Camel blend, worked up really well and is already one of my favorite bases!
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Next are two hats that I’m (surprise, surprise) head over heels for!

Holt by Alicia Plummer knit up in just 2 days and is one of my new favorite hat patterns. I ordered a skein of Loch on Traveler Aran from Reserve and had to cast on ASAP. Since I’d been wanting to knit this hat for a while, it was an easy match! I think this hat would be even better in a “woolier” yarn, but Traveler, a blend of Merino, Silk & Yak, is a dream to work with! It relaxed a bit more than I intended with blocking (I need to work on my aggression apparently!), but Holt is beautifully slouchy & I love the greenish-gray hue of Loch!

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My last recent FO is Chevy by Andrea Mowry, knit for my sister in her favorite color 🙂

I purchased this skein from a fellow Plucky addict on their destash thread, specifically for the shade of blue – Paris is Always a Good Idea. This one is on the Primo Aran base, which (I must admit) is not my favorite. Don’t get me wrong, it’s Merino/Cashmere/Nylon and is great to work with, but the skein I got had a couple of knots and also some inconsistency in color (i.e. some undyed spots throughout). Once it worked up, it wasn’t super obvious, and my sister loves it, which was the whole point!
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I love this pattern, just like everything Andrea does! I’m already diving head first into the stash to knit my own (I’m thinking Traveler Aran for this one too).
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As for WIPs, I currently have two… both Plucky!

Boho Blush by Andrea Mowry is coming along nicely in Oxford 1.0 in Twill, which is a beautiful light grey on this base. I just have 2.5 sections & the fringe to go… I can’t wait to wrap this around me!

I’m also using the leftover Cozy to make my second Rudbeckia Hat (again, by Andrea Mowry!) – I gave the first to my sister, but have wanted my own for a while. It’s working up nicely, though I’m not sure it’s the perfect yarn/pattern match.

I’m always looking to try new Plucky! What’s your favorite base?!