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WIPs & FOs | a reality check

I keep promising myself I’ll be more consistent with blogging and before I know it 2 months have flown by without a post in sight. I may not be blogging a lot, but the knitting has not slowed down! First, the FOs!

In September, I hosted a casual knit-a-long on Instagram and was very pleased with the participation! It was an “Any Hat KAL” during which participants could knit any hat at all of their choosing & be eligible to win prizes! I had so much fun I think I’ll do it again next year. The goal was to have a hat ready to go when cold weather rolls around. Well, it took about a month for that to happen around here, but it’s finally cooling off and fall is in full force!

I was able to finish three hats during the KAL, though I barely eked out the last two in the final day of the knit-a-long!

The first one I knit was Mira by Amy Christoffers, a beautiful free pattern.

mira

This, as are most colorwork hats, is a great stashbuster! I used up scraps of Plucky Scholar, Traveler Aran, and Trusty, as well as some Mirasol Miski I’ve had forever. I worked it up in just 2 days and topped it with a Bernat faux fur pom pom, the perfect finishing touch. Knitting this was a true joy and I could probably knit at least 5 more with my worsted weight scraps. I won’t… but I could 😉

Next I started the Wayah pattern by Christina Danaee, but ran out of yarn (Brooklyn Tweed Arbor in Klimt) during the decreases. I knew there was some more of this yarn somewhere… but since we’d recently moved, I had no idea where. I had all but given up when I happen to come across it on the last day of the KAL! It must’ve been kismet, because I had the exact amount needed to finish the decreases and make a medium pom pom for the top!

 wayah

I really enjoyed knitting this cable and eyelet pattern. Arbor has awesome stitch definition, but not a lot of drape. I would recommend knitting this hat with a more drapey yarn (drapier? Is that a word?) because it’s intended to have some slouch.

The final hat I completed is Schwimmen by Shannon Cook. Does Shannon ever do wrong with her patterns? I don’t think so! This one is my favorite of the three, I have to admit. I’ve had this skein of Plucky Primo Worsted in Peep Toes for over a year, waiting for the right pattern. This is it, you guys. This is the right pattern for this gorgeous skein! It’s listed as worsted, but knits up more like DK, making it perfect for Schwimmen.

 schwimmen

I know, you probably didn’t even notice the hat because of my adorable niece Jellybean! I couldn’t resist getting a few (or a hundred) photos with her. But the hat. It’s perfection. The fit, slouch, pattern, length… absolutely everything about it. I ended up giving this one to my sister (still kinda regretting it) because she graciously, and patiently, takes so many of my FO photos for me. But I have some madelinetosh Tosh DK in stash that I’m saving for a second Schwimmen for myself. I’ve knit a few hats and this is for sure in the top 5 for me. So good!

Unfortunately, I don’t have any other super recent FOs (except for one I can’t share … yet 😉 But the WIPs… Oh, the WIPs….

They’re out of control! According to Ravelry, I have nine (is that embarrassing?) but I have a few more I haven’t even logged in Rav… even more embarrassing. And All I want to do is cast on! But it all came to a head this past weekend when I was looking for a certain size needle and there were only 3 sizes out of 10 in my case. Which means 7 of them were tied up. And that’s just one set… yeah. So I’m fairly committed to finishing up some WIPs, especially as the season of gift knitting approaches.

One such WIP is the All About That Brioche shawl by Lisa Hannes. I’m using a fun skein of madelinetosh Twist Light in Beach Bonfire and Cascade Yarns Heritage Silk in Real Black. Since this photo, I’ve actually finished the first brioche section and am onto the second. Note to self: you may want to go down a needle size when switching from garter/stockinette to brioche. It’s a little looser than I’d like, but I didn’t have the heart, uh… or time, to rip back. I’m super excited to finish this one and hope to add tassels!

 wip

My West End Cardigan has, unfortunately, taken a backseat.

west end 2

I don’t know what it is with this one. Miles of moss stitch doesn’t bother me. Grey is my favorite color. The yarn (Berroco Ultra Alpaca) is nice to knit with. And yet, it languishes. So, I’m not sure when I’ll pick it up again, but it might be after Christmas. Maybe a new year’s resolution? We’ll see. But for now, I have at least 8 others to keep me busy!

Those aren’t all of my WIPs, but the two biggest that seem to be looming. Others are tucked away in a closet or stored in bins right now. Out of sight, out of mind, right?

I’m kind of (kind of, maybe) promising myself no more cast ons until I finish a couple of these. Let’s hope I can stick to that better than my “no more yarn” resolution! 😉

hat patterns for beginners | #anyhatkal

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about my favorite hats. Since then, I’ve received several questions from beginner knitters (or knitters who have never knit a hat) about what pattern I would recommend for a very first hat! Of course, I dug around on Ravelry and found some excellent ideas that I’m happy to share here!

Back in 2009, I was in college and rediscovering my love of knitting. (I guess a full-time job and full class load weren’t enough? I needed a hobby!) I can’t remember exactly why, but I decided I needed to knit a hat. I must’ve gone to Michael’s to find some acrylic yarn and a book (at the time, I had no idea YouTube videos about knitting were even a thing). I purchased this book, which taught me how to join in the round, change to DPN’s, decrease, and cinch up the top of the hat. Although the patterns in it are pretty outdated and I don’t really recommend it (i.e. I think you’re better off with the patterns below and YouTube), it did teach me all the basics of hat knitting! And, obviously, I fell in love. I’ll take knitting in the round and no bind off over a huge stockinette shawl any day! I could wax poetic about my hat-knitting love forever, but instead I will tell a quick story and then share those patterns!

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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

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!

clarke13

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.

clarke11

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!

clarke7

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!

sawyer5

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!

spark2

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).

west end

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

harvey

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!

stash

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