handmade cowl – thrifted – ralph lauren sweater, mustard skirt – j crew striped shirt, belt, wool blend tights (under the leggings) – target leggings – l.l. bean bean boots
i was having a stupid face day when we took these pictures. so i opted out of all pictures that focused on my face. some days i photograph great, and some days when i review the pictures i just wonder what my face was up to and why it couldn’t manage to look normal. silly face.
this is what my couch looks like when i’m… ‘experimenting’. i decided i wanted to start the year off with a project that would really make a dent in my stash. preferably using up multiple yarns that i only have small projects worth of. how to do that? fair isle sweater, of course!
i started off in a fairly logical manner, looking at patterns that i already owned, and settling on the nordic cardigan from vogue knitting, fall 2011. it’s really cute, right? and look how cute squidneyknits version turned out! so i made up a swatch in brownscale:
only… i hated this swatch. it’s hard to tell in the picture, but the base color has a kind of ‘clay’ tone, with a very slight green cast. and the brown is very very red-based. so, visually, it was not playing out for me. so scratch that… swatch #2:
ehhh…. that brighter blue feels kind of obnoxious compared to the calmer blues to me…
and then, even though i wasn’t happy with either of my swatches, all of a sudden i was fed up, and cast on for a sweater. that’s probably a *good* idea, right?
but, it’s actually going okay. here it was a few days ago, with neon red nails:
i decided that the cream was not high enough contrast with the beige, so i went back in with a tapestry needle and yarn and replaced it with grey.
and here it is now, with dark green nails:
i’m using barbara walker’s top down raglan sweater recipe as my base, using some gorgeous fair isle sweaters from pinterest as inspiration (this one but really mostly actually this one, ugh can you even stand how pretty it is?).
i’m making it a v-neck cardigan, though i haven’t decided if once i get to the bottom of the v, if i want to knit it in the round and steek it later, or knit it flat? and i really didn’t think this through, this was literally the only size 8 (5.00mm) i could find, and honestly, it’s meant for hats, and i have loads of stitches crammed on there. this project could really go south at any point. but it’s kind of fun that way, you know? i’m having fun winging it. speaking of which, i’m still not certain about the color of the little polka dots… that blue is still way too bright, and the grey-green is too similar to the grey that is practically next to it. but i’m okay with going back and replacing that later… once i figure out what to replace it with! i have a kind of periwinkle blue (from my dreiecke), maybe getting a slightly purple-ish yarn would add a bit of contrast? or like leaf green? maybe coral? or is that wayyyy too out there?
anyways, that’s what i’ve been up to, knitting wise! anybody horrified, think i should stop immediately and go back to the planning portion? or do you have any surprisingly happy stories of total on a lark projects turning out beautifully and becoming your favorite thing ever?
quite a while ago my father in law gave me one of his favorite sweaters, one that he’d worn straight through the elbows, with the idea that i might be able to do something about it. at that time i hadn’t darned anything, but i thought it might be worth a shot.
i tried one of the elbows, but i didn’t think it had worked out too well. so it got set to the side. and stayed there for a quite a while. (this is a theme with many things that i set to one side) i darned a few things, here and there, over the course of time.
recently, i’ve been seeing gorgeous darned and mended objects on pinterest, and with my current interest in clearing out old projects, i dug the sweater out of the pile of ignored projects. i pulled out the elbow i had already given a shot.
similar to mending the cardigan, i opted for a thinner yarn. in this case, however, i don’t think it was thinner than the yarn used for the sweater, but it was a similar weight. i used some of a partial skein, leftover from making purlless monkeys. i’ve always been very fond of the colors of this yarn, and i think it’s equally gorgeous woven as it was knit!
i threaded all of my vertical lines first, establishing a warp, as it were. i didn’t take any pictures, unfortunately, so fire up your imagination cameras and picture it: i ran a warp thread through the middle of every stitch, as well as the ladder between every stitch, going under/over every available intact yarn, with a radius of an inch or two of completely intact knitting around the hole i was mending.
i then created the weft, with the same yarn, doing the under/over motion to make the woven look. if you need an image to get an idea, this pin pretty much sums it up.
i don’t know if you can tell, but i’m fairly in love with how this turned out!
a little over two years ago, i finished a big striped sweater for jake (and here’s the link to the ravelry project page). even then i knew that there was too much space between the buttons (which led to gapping), and my button bands were a bit too long, which warped the front of the sweater a bit.
so i grabbed a zipper (a dark brown parka zipper, 28″ long, to be precise) from a fabric store, and as we were settling in for a two day marathon of watching harry potter over new years eve & new years day, i thought it might be a good time to pull off this alteration. it was a good plan, as it turned out. it took me the majority of both days to finish up, which i wasn’t really expecting.
the sequence went as follows:
-i picked out the sewn bind off (a bit of a time suck right there)
-pulled out the original button bands (122 stitches)
-did some maths to cast on a different number (114 stitches. only an 8 stitch difference, which was rather less than i was expecting, but that’s how the maths worked out)
-knit up both button bands
-grafted/kitchenered them on to the body (both a tidy aesthetic, and it allowed me to disperse the stitches quite evenly)
-hand sewed the zipper onto the new button bands
-did a little dance
this is SO MUCH BETTER. it has to be really really cold for jake to wear sweaters, but hey, guess what? it’s been really really cold around here recently. i’m so glad it’s not gapping anymore. it made it look like the sweater was too small, but it actually fits him quite well. and i think he’ll wear it more frequently with the zipper in.
but because this was one of my very earliest sweaters, there are still things i kind of wish i could change… is the neck too big? i’m not sure i’m crazy about the way it looks fully zipped… should i try to pull that out and tighten it up too? and why did i choose to use that bright green for the crocheted steek edge? it’s too flashy when you can see the inside of the collar! i’m thinking about picking up some narrow chocolate brown ribbon to sew over it. or am i getting too detail oriented here? what do you think? and now i’ve got those beautiful buttons, attached to nothing! i’m thinking of knitting down some of my naturals/oatmeals/browns in a colowork cardigan. maybe it would look lovely with those?
i spend too much money on starbucks. it’s a fact. it’s my little indulgence, my mid afternoon pick-me-up all too often. i am known in my family, and among friends, as a coffee addict/snob/connoisseur. depending on whose opinion you’re asking.
for christmas i recieved a little stove top moka pot and a milk steamer, and i’ve been making myself home made cappucinos, and lattes for jake.
i’ve been hibernating recently. but instead of the tired, sleeping bear style of hibernation i dealt with much of last winter, i feel invigorated. possibly due in part to the cappucinos! i have no desire to leave the house, but ready to take on new projects, clear out spaces, get rid of things. the spirit of the new year has me wanting a tabula rasa. we donated some unnecessaries over the weekend. i’ve been digging out partially finished projects to see where they stand.
like this sweater, with worn through elbows, that i’ve been meaning to do something about… for years.
i like this energy, i love clearing out old projects. let’s hope this trend continues!
how about you? what has the idea of the new year brought out in you? resolutions? house cleaning? or a desire to crawl under the blankets and impatiently await spring?
my grandma gave me a lovely colorwork sweater from her closet last year. it is mostly in good shape, but there was a loose button, some of the edging needed re-enforcing, and several small bites from some bitty creature that thinks wool is tasty.
mending knitting has, historically speaking, been pretty low on my list of preferred tasks. just above carding wool, which i find tedious to the max. but i’ve found if i do it in small segments, in between knitting projects or in front of a tv show, it bothers me much less. and the more i do it, the more i enjoy doing it. plus, i get a pleasantly smug feeling off of extending the life of my clothes. waste not, want not! and other such smug idioms!
so i’ve been working away at the little holes first. they are all quite small, many are just one stitch missing, some have up to 3 total. because they are so small, i’m just using duplicate stitch, also called swiss darning, to mend the holes, as it calls less attention to itself.
i started by going through my various bits & bobs to see if i had a good matching yarn.
i found this natural wool and thought i’d give it a shot.
i started with a hole on the chest, right by the button band. this yarn is just a bit thicker than the original, and a tiny bit warmer (color wise). so it created this very dense area where i patched this hole. if i were to wear a black shirt under this sweater, it would look like a random little polka dot. not my ideal. so i went back to looking for yarn again, when i remembered some singles still hanging out on my drop spindle.
ooh! quite a nice match! and this yarn is thinner. i’ve been finding i prefer a thinner yarn for mending purposes. it is less bulky, an calls less attention to itself, and to the areas you’re mending.
i’ve also been finding if i mend from the wrong side of the sweater, the mending is less visible. the mending yarn tends to stay predominantly on the side that you are mending from.
i still need to re-sew the button and re-enforce the edging, but the little holes have pretty much disappeared! got any tips for me?