knitting it up in a big way

Monthly Archives: March 2014




vintage (i think) cardigan from gram, belt – target grey dress, black tights – l.l. bean bean boots

well all this snow is gone now. (thank goodness!) but considering how epic this winter was, i felt like it needed some proper documentation. this will be one of those seasons that is referred to in future… ‘oh, do you remember the winter of ’14?’ we’ll say. ‘now THAT was a bad one,’ they’ll reply. and the children will roll their eyes.


mostly unrelated, have you seen the photoset of the couple that took a picture in their front yard every season for several years?


let’s start with something non-sweater related shall we?

on and off i have been playing with the beautiful purple yarn emi & james gave me for christmas. i originally started a solaria, which is gorgeous, and i’ve been wanting to make it for quite a while, but it is… demanding! the first round of lace was taking more attention than i could afford, so i ripped back and started my own thing:


loosely based on this anthropologie cowl i’m obsessed with, but it’s not turning out like it at all… but i’m chugging along, both because it’s a very transportable project and because i figure i’ll give it a few inches to figure out if i like it in it’s own right or not.

also, while i’ve been wiling away on the non-knitting portions of finished the fair isle sweater, i’ve been dreaming of my next stash busting sweater. here are the major players currently envisioned:

Something that begins with I: 'I'm dreaming of my next project!'

i’m thinking a blue lace for the majority of the sweater, with a cream, oatmeal, and coral colorwork yoke. a swingy a-line shape, possibly with an irregular hemline? possibly a slight hankerchief hem? or that dip in the back that is having a moment currently? nothing too of the moment, though, i want to be able to wear this sweater for years. here are some yoke swatches:

Swatching! Not sure if I'm going to start sweater 2 immediately, but I can't stop dreaming about it!

as for madame le fair isle, i have been:

grafting on the button band:

#fmsphotoaday something good: grafting on my button band to (hopefully) finish up this sweater, and I painted my nails today! Cool grey plus sparkly sparkles!

which took a hella long time. it took three different attempts to get everything lining up just how i wanted it, but my whole approach to this sweater has been ‘don’t half-ass it. spend the time, get it right.’ so i grafted it three times. also painted my nails. like i do. cool grey and sparkly sparkles!

and in the effort to get it right the first time, it took many tries to find the right buttons. i was thinking of re-using the beautiful brown buttons from the big bear beast, but when i lay them out on the cardigan, they were just wayyy tooo brown. bit of a bummer, though. pillaged into my button supply, and i had two options that would have worked, if i had one more button for either of them! le sigh. so off to shop for buttons! three stores later, i landed on the below beauties:

Found the buttons for my sweater!

and that’s all the news that’s fit for print! i actually have an FO to share with you soon! i finished it a bit ago but only just got FO pictures. spoiler alert: pictures of a cute kid are in your future!

what’s up with you guys?

i have really been making an effort this year not to get fed up with winter. and, for the most part, i’ve been succeeding. every day that it reaches -18 fahrenheit here, i know that my dad has dealt with -30 fahrenheit, which really helps to keep my attitude in check. but what i have been getting frustrated with is my cold weather gear. i feel like only a tiny percentage of my wardrobe has been seen in the last three months, and frankly, i’m pretty sick of seeing only that tiny percentage. so i’ve been making an effort, diving into lesser used corners of my wardrobe to try and feel like i can still have fun getting dressed.


in this case, a longer wool pleated skirt that i inherited from my grandma, but is too heavy most of the year. it gets pushed to the back, where i tend to kind of forget about it.


it’s also cold enough that most outfit pictures happen as close to the warmth of indoors as possible. more interesting locales will happen when it’s warm enough to do more than dash from indoor space to indoor space!

inherited from grandma talbots scarf, wool pleated skirt – thrifted old navy sweater – j. crew boots


i subscribe to the idea that there should be a place for everything, and everything in its place. it’s a lovely ideal, though in truth the apartment is rarely in that state. but when an opportunity presents itself to improve upon a storage solution, i am always game. and the prettier the container, the better. there’s a time and a place for clear plastic storage bins (many, actually), but sometimes you want something a bit prettier.

the thing about having a bachelor in fine arts is that as you acquire the degree, you acquire a lot of fine art materials. i have a rather fine collection of colored pencils for example:


but their container? distinctly lackluster! so when i realized that this coffee container was just the right size to manage the job, i was quite pleased.


oh, coffee… how i love thee. ahem. what was i saying? right. ah, but as beautiful as the coffee is, and as fine as the packaging on this is, it could be better…


cue the supplies! exacto blade, my often-friend, occasional bitter enemy, pretty paper, ruler, surface for cutting that isn’t something precious to me. not shown:books by hand ph neutral pva glue. would have been nice, but wasn’t on hand: bone folder.

i cut the paper down to size and glued it down:


ah… that looks much better!

making any aesthetic upgrades for storage around the house? finding any new purposes for food containers?

i hope you aren’t getting bored with this ongoing project of mine, because there’s more yet to come! i’m certainly not sick of it, which i find surprising, considering i’ve been working on it for almost three months! yikes.

when we left off i was working on the sleeves:


i’m not sure why they take longer to knit. i know part of it is correlated to the sighs i got whenever i thought about knitting the sleeves. but finally i finished! i was asked to show the front of the sweater, which i had been avoiding photographing… the back was a lot more cohesive and pretty, with a lot less yarn ends hanging about. you can see the striping between the two dye lots in this picture, and also my ‘steeking zone’ in front.


blocking, in the daylight, on the radiator. trying to speed along the process so i could get to the fun stuff: steeking!



once again, i used eunny jang’s tutorial for a crocheted steek. i looked at some other techniques, but i still felt most comfortable with this technique, for the majority of the reasons eunny lays out: it is the most secure steeking option, especially if you’re working with yarn less ‘grabby’ or less naturally felting than the yarns originally used for fair isle steeking. and it is more of a natural extension of the knitted fabric than the sewn steek.


so then i sewed down all of the crocheted edges and here we are now:


and those edges look so much better than the rest of them!

i decided to knit the button band separately and then graft it on at the end. when i have tried to pick up stitches from the garment, i am never pleased with the result. i always pick up too few or too many, which affect the edges. so i’ve cast on 350 stitches, and i’m hoping to work a shawl collar along the top. just the act of casting on 350 stitches is time consuming! and i was doing that while the oscars were on, so i kept getting sidetracked in the middle and having to re-start the count.

i want to do afterthought buttonholes, but i haven’t found a tutorial for a description that i find satisfactory. i might just wing it as i have a fairly concrete idea of how to go about it. but i think somewhere along the line i heard a mention of elizabeth zimmerman having an afterthought buttonhole technique, only i can’t find it in any of the three EZ books i own. so i might try to dig that up before i just wing it.

this may very well be my best documented knit of all time. what are you guys working on?

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