sweater

Autumn feels

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In the blink of an eye, the warm and sunny days have been replaced by gray, rainy and chilly fall weather here in Quebec, and I just kind of find myself confused asking “Where did summer go?” “How can it be mid-September already?”. Am I the only one feeling that way? I think covid is affecting our time perception in strange ways!

Anyways, the colder weather has prompted me to start working on more weather-appropriate projects, including this colourful Brioche Vest from Purl Soho knitted in Noro’s Shinryoku yarn.

I made this vest in size 33 1/2”, except that I did not switch to size 5 mm needle as per pattern instructions as the vest was already more than big enough on the 4.5 mm needle. The only couple small modifications I made on this pattern were to sew the sides fully and to leave the shoulder stitches on hold instead of binding them off and closed the front and back with a 3 needle bind-off. The pattern is clear and straight forward, although if I do make this again I think I might work it in the round and separate the front and back after the first set of decreases instead. Interestingly enough, the one thing that attracted me to this pattern was the slits on either sides, but after trying it out on me (and this may just be due to how the fabric falls with the yarn I used) I did not like the fit of them on me, I thought it made me look like a potato bag -which, as you can imagine, was not the intended goal. So a decided to sew the sides fully to hug the hips down instead.

Also, I have to say that I am not a huge of the length/shape of this sweater. Had it been a tad bit longer, it would’ve been ok – with added waist shaping. And would it have been shorter, it would’ve made an amazing boxy cropped top. But I find that this one sits at a very weird length on me, so if I make this again, I will probably make adjustments to the length and possibly also use a slightly smaller yarn with a bit more weight and body – I think that would suit the pattern much better. And I really want to clarify that this is in no way a critique of the pattern itself (it is well written, clear and more than anything – free!!) but more of a word of caution to myself if I want to attempt this a second time.

Anyways, moving on to the yarn now. I had bought this yarn a little while ago, and although I am usually not a Noro fan, I thought would give it another try since kind of liked the colour scheme of the Akoya Haze colourway. Well, as luck would have it, I am still not a fan. The yarn is soft, but a bit too poofy and frail for me. And the colours didn’t knit up as I expected they would. So either I really am not a fan of Noro yarns period or maybe I just haven’t found yet what kind of projects these funky textured and colourful yarns should be used for. Either way, there is still room for experimenting as I still have almost two skeins of this left, and we’ll see how things go.

Either way, all things considered, I think you’ll understand that although I can’t say this vest is a disappointment by any means, I just don’t seem to like it as much as I would’ve wished to. I am not 100% sure whether or not I will really wear this so I guess only time will tell! As always, all the details of this project are available on my Ravelry project page so feel free to take a look there if you’re interested, and don’t hesitate to reach out or share any of your experiences!

Have you ever made a project that you ended up having mixed feelings for? Did your first impression stay true or did you grow to like the project in the end?

Until next time peeps 🙂

Coral Cropped Top

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How’s your summer been so far folks? For me, it’s been filled with a lot of sun and warmth, some time with friends and a whole lot of sewing, knitting and home decoration projects, and I’ve been loving every minute of it! I finished last week a sweater called Diane, which is a free pattern from Berroco. And although it didn’t turn out quite like I expected, I must say that I am quite satisfied with the finished garment. The yarn I’m using is a wonderful cotton and linen blend, Knit Pick’s Lindy Chain in colour Conch.

Isn’t it just a wonderful sweater folks? Anyways, now let me run you through the adventure.

You may know this about me (or not) but I am a very intuitive knitter… Which is the nice way of saying that I dont really ever follow patterns to a T, nor do I usually swatch or block my projects, aside from lace shawls. I am very much the no-fuss type that will knit a sweater in natural plant fibers like bamboo, cotton or linen and will just plainly send it washer and dryer with all my other clothes. It shall fall however it will fall!

So once I decided to make this sweater, I had a very quick read through the pattern and looked at the pictures, and made a few decisions. I was using the same yarn weight as the pattern called for to I first decided to knit this sweater in the smallest size (36″ bust), use a single 3.5 mm needle size throughout instead of switching from 3.25 to 3.75 and that I would compensate the change of needle size by adding a few stitches to the body front and back, as I was obviously going to be working on a different (more than likely tighter) gauge. Since I don’t like seams in my sweaters, I also decided to cast on the front and back stitches using a provisional cast-on, and to attach front and back with a kitchener’s stitch at the end instead of a seam.

This sweater was a relatively quick knit, it took me a bit over a month of on and off knitting to complete, and I have to say I really wasn’t dedicating a lot of time to it. The instructions are clear and simple, and the pattern is easy to follow. As I was knitting through the body though, I had this strange impression that the body was much shorter than I had anticipated, looking at the pictures provided in the pattern. But I just decided to roll with it and see what it looked like once finished. As a side note, I also experienced issues with the bottom band and the neckband, as I think the pattern calls for way too many stitches to be picked up. It creates a very loose and shapeless band, which does not suit most projects very well. As such, I decided to pick up less stitches on the bottom band, and even less stitches on the neckband (all the details are provided on my project page).

Anyways I eventually reached the end of it and it is once I tried it on that I could confirm that this sweater was indeed very, very short on me – I had actually knitted a cropped top unknowingly. And you know, cropped tops are not really a thing in my wardrobe; as just like most women out there, I am very self-conscious about by stomach and my body. So what do I do? I still have/had a lot of yarn, so technically I could rip up the bottom band, pick up less stitches to create sort of a fitted band and knit it longer. That would create kind of a 50s style top with looser top and fitted waist. That is/was definitely an option. But destiny gave me a cropped top. Maybe I should just use this as an opportunity to challenge my little petty insecurities and just roll with it, you know? It is cute sweater anyways. And it’s done. So I decided to leave it as is, and every time I wear it, it is a conscious choice to fight my own issues with self-image. And it may also be a lesson to read through patterns a bit more before I start a project… Who knows? Because after re-reading through the pattern, I noticed that it DOES indicate that the finished sweater in size 36″ is supposed to be 20″ long… Which is definitely cropped for me. #Oopsies

The Unfinishables

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We all have some of those, right? Well, staying home a lot more recently has given me an opportunity to revisit those, and to put the final stitches on a couple projects I (really) should’ve finished long ago.

First off is this luscious green cardigan I’ve started in October 2017 as a test-knit for the lovely Anne, for her French Kiss cardigan pattern. Now I feel particularly terrible about this one because I’m the type who will not sign up for a test knit unless I know for sure I can finish before the deadline. As luck would have it though, many unexpected things happened during that time frame that prevented me from completing the test. I felt horrible and apologized profusely, but after the pattern was published I didn’t feel as much pressure to finish the project so I just left it there and forgot about it. I’m so happy (and relieved) it is finally done, and right on time too – the colour and the yarn are perfect for spring / summer.

I used about 6 and a half skeins of Nettle Grove yarn from Plymouth Yarn in the colour “Mermaid”. This yarn is an interesting cotton, linen, silk and nettle mix, and although I’m not a huge fan, I gotta say that the final washed fabric is actually pretty soft and has very good stitch definition. I pretty much followed pattern instructions exactly, all the details are on my Ravelry project page.

Second project I want to show you guys is my second iteration of the Dessine-Moi Un Mouton sweater by La Maison Rililie that I had started in December 2018. It’s no secret that I love this design, I’ve used it before to make my Spilled Wine sweater (and made quite a fuss about it), and I seem to always gravitate towards this design to showcase something special. First time was a gradient yarn set from Wonderland Yarns, and now this time it’s one of my very first handspun yarn, that I had attempted to use for a BlueSand Cardigan before but ended up frogging (the unsuccessful attempt is still documented here).

Just like the first time I made this sweater, I’m using a staple yarn for me, Cascade’s Heritage Solids yarn, but this time I went for charcoal grey. I also again worked on a modified gauge (since I’m using fingering weight yarn), though this time I made this sweater one size smaller, since I’ve lost a lot of weight since I made the first iteration of this sweater.

Overall, I am just SO happy at how this one turned out, and I really cannot wait to wear it!! It’s fun, it’s playful, it’s comfy and more than anything, it’s not on a needle anymore. As usual the details on yardage and mods are available on my project page so feel free to check it out 🙂

Cheers!

Pandemic knitting (& life update)

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Happy lovely spring to all you guys, from my couch as I self-isolate through this COVID-19 pandemic! I know a lot of us are feeling stressed, lonely, worried about health, job, financial situation, and all of that both for ourselves and our loved ones. But let’s just keep being positive, following Public Health guidelines and work our way through this one stitch at a time!

As a quick personal update, I’m sorry for being so notably absent again from the blog as I have been quite busy the past few months. The holidays passed in a breeze, and come January I started a new job that has been proving to be a bit challenging to adapt to. You may remember I had been working for many years as a city planner for a small town in central Quebec, well the new job isn’t only at a different government level but also in a different province and in a different language than my own. The learning curve has been incredibly steep, and it has taken me a lot of time and energy to acclimate to the new job and the new work environment so I have been doing not much aside from working, driving and trying to catch up on sleep. It is an incredibly interesting and challenging job and I am so glad I made the jump, although it was a little bit of a leap of faith, I’m telling you.

All that to say, the work from home situation I’ve been placed in since a couple weeks ago has actually been beneficial to my mental and physical health as the work has slightly slowed down and I’ve had more time to focus on myself, my needs and my wellbeing. I’ve been cooking more healthy meals for myself, exercising more regularly, sleeping better and also picked back up my long neglected hobbies. Although it is a bit lonely at times with the social distancing measures put in place, I really have nothing to complain about – I still have a job, still getting paid, still have everything I need and (more than anything) I am healthy.

Amidst all of this craziness, one thing I can say for sure though is that my time at home has been spent in good company with very cuddly kitties, many cups of warm delicious tea and cozy knitting breaks on the couch, which has resulted in me knitting up a brand new sweater in barely over a week. This new addition to my wardrobe is the Raindrops pattern from tincanknits, a pattern I’ve been wanting to knit for the longest time but just simply never got around to it. I knit this in size M using size 3.5mm needle instead of the recommended 3.25mm (as I’m kind of a tight knitter) and also changed up the cuff and bottom edge, to go for a split front/back with seed stitch border that would better suit my silhouette.

The yarn I used is Fiore from Nako, a yarn company I had never heard of before. It’s a 40% bamboo, 35% cotton and 15% linen yarn that is soft, supple and offers great stitch definition. It does tend to split a bit so you gotta be a little careful when knitting, but I gotta say it’s been a charm to work with, and as I tend to feel more comfortable wearing natural cotton and linen fibres per wool, it’s just perfect for me.

Overall, I’m super happy about how this turned out, and altough I’ve worn it a couple times inside the house, I really can’t wait for this quarantine thing to be over so I can show it off to the outside world.

I hope this short post has provided you a little bit of entertainment, and if any one of you is in need of anything (even if just someone to talk to) please feel free to reach out. Through these trying times, it is all the more important to care about one another and be an active (though distant) part of our close-knit communities.

Cheers!

Snowflake

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So many projects, so little time!! Last weekend, I finally finished a sweater that has been on the needles since May 2017 (ahem!..) and I’m so happy it finally came together! Not only is it another project I can check off the WIP list, but it’s also a really pretty and cozy sweater,  right on time for the cold season.

The pattern is (of course!) Tin Can Knits’s beautiful Snowflake, and the yarn is some Berroco Folio yarn I had in stash in color “Raspberry coulis” and “tan”. Since I had only a couple skeins of each, I decided on a striped version of the sweater to maximize the use of every yard. I ended up using all but 3 grams of the tan and 13 grams of the purple. As always, all the details on the yardage, striping sequence and mods can be found on my project page so take a look at them there if you’re interested!

Now this is my second snowflake sweater, but I haven’t been able to wear the first one that I made 4 years ago at all recently because I’ve lost a lot of weight and the bottom half of the body has been incredibly loose and shapeless. I’m very happy to have this model on my sweater rotation again, but I’ll definitely have to do something about the older one at some point this winter.

I think it should be an easy fix, since I could probably just pick up stitches around the waist where it still fits, frog the bottom half and re-knit it with less hip increases (or none at all). Whatever I do, I’ll make sure to keep you posted on my sweater surgery, so wish me luck!

Now if you don’t mind I’ll go back to my needles, because I definitely got some catching up to do before the year is over!

Cheers 🙂

Spilled wine

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Time goes by so fast! Christmas is right around the corner and I am so not ready! Are you? Admittedly, I should have been working on presents a bit more, but I really (REALLY!) wanted to give the last push needed to finish the Dessine-Moi Un Mouton sweater I started last year. And I did! Yay! And I’m super happy at how it turned out.

Spilled wine

First of all, big shout out to Becktrek who was kind enough to send me her cream Heritage Solids leftovers without which I would not have been able to finish this sweater! ❤️

Secondly, as many people have said before me, I must say that this pattern is simply genius. It’s well designed with good play on color and texture, it’s got cutesy little details around the cuffs and the pattern is so well written and explained it’s just insane.

Like always I made a few mods, namely here added some (ok, a lot of!) length, and also changed the stripe sequence to make the most out of the “Have some wine” Cheshire Cat yarn gradient pack from Frabjous Fibers I bought a couple years back. Any otherwise, this sweater was a no-fuss kind of project, with no waist shaping and no neckband. As usual, you can check out all the details and yardage on my project page.

Now, back to my Holiday prep!

The Good, the Bad and the Pretty

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Earlier this month, I started a modified version of Dessine-Moi Un Mouton, a wonderfully textured sweater pattern written by La Maison Rililie. I didn’t have enough sport weight yarn on hand to make it but I had plenty of fingering weight yarn, including a soft and squishy gradient pack of Cheshire Cat yarn from Frabjous Fibers that I had been dying to use. Consequently, I decided to follow my instinct and cast on this sweater on a modified gauge using fingering weight yarn.

First, the Pretty. So far, this sweater looks (and fits) amazing. I worked a certain number of mods that are detailed on my project page, but basically other than the modified gauge, I changed the color sequence, made the body much longer and added some short row shaping around the back. Look at that!

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Then, the Bad. As soon as the idea struck, I bought 2 skeins of Cascade Heritage yarn in color “snow” for this sweater before I had actually took time to read the pattern through – I foolishly believed that 2 skeins of Cascade Heritage would be more than enough for it (it’s 874 yards, folks!) but then, I realized that the color stripes were actually worked by alternating the main and contrasting colors every row. Oops.Turns out I don’t have enough to make the sleeves. Problem much?

Lastly, the Good. Luckily for me, Cascade Heritage is a readily available yarn; it’s nothing hard to put your hands on so I should without a doubt be able to find someone on Ravelry destashing it or, worst case scenario, buy another skein at my LYS. Since it’s such a light and natural color, I’m really not worried about the skeins not matching, plus the pattern alternates MC & CC so even if the color was a little off, it just wouldn’t show.

If all goes well, I should have a finished sweater to show you guys soon, so keep your fingers crossed! 🙂

Spring has finally arrived!

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The sun has been shining brighter and warmer in the past few weeks, and as surely as it announces the approching spring, it also indicates the time where I switch from winter knits to summer knits.

Today I present to you my friends my Golden Afternoon sweater, made from Euroflax Sport yarn and using Carole Francone’s Clementine Pullover pattern.

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I made a few mods that are detailed on my project page, but it mainly consists of adding length, switching out the 1×1 rib by brioche and adding some short row shaping to the bottom edge to create more dynamic lines featuring a longer back and a shorter front.

As much as I love the finished object and the motif used in this pattern, I must say that I am quite dissapointed by the way the pattern itself was written. It’s the first time this has ever happened to me, but I felt the pattern was… Incomplete. Or rushed. Let me explain a little more what I mean.

First of all, I felt the English version of the pattern needed a lot of polishing. The pattern designer is French so I understand well her struggles (my first language is french too) but there was still a lot of avoidable mistakes, both on structure and vocabulary, making the pattern hard to understand.

Also, I found the pattern was not providing enough details on the construction and shaping of the garment. The best example I can give you is about the waist shaping. The pattern says to keep both side markers to place increases and decreases, but do not provide any information as to how the waist shaping should be worked. It only says to “work them in pattern”, but there is no indication as to how to do that (especially when working an all over lace pattern), and no indication of how MANY increase or decrease rows there should be, or how many rows apart they need to be placed. This is one example, but I’ve noticed instructions (and finishing touches) were missing everywhere in the pattern, including at the separation of the sleeves and the transition from ribbing to lace and lace to ribbing. Somehow I feel like I should have just looked up the motif and wrote the pattern myself. Am I weird? Is it wrong of me to assume that when you pay 5 euros (7.44$ CAN) for a pattern, the designer should have done that part of the work for you? Having written some patterns myself, I would find it absolutely unacceptable to rely so heavily on the knitter to figure things out themselves after making them pay for a pattern.

I feel robbed. Have any of you experienced something like that before?

Peacock beauty

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The last few weeks have been crazy busy for me, both at work and in my personal life, and in my book that generally means dealing with A LOT of stress. As a form of damage control and to let off some steam I’ve been trying to crunch a few minutes of knitting or spinning when I can to (somewhat) try to keep the stress under control. Fortunately for me, it’s been successful on two fronts; I’ve been able to keep stress on a manageable level and I’ve been making great progress on some super fun yarny projects, so yay!

The first thing I want to show you is my last spin, a fingering weight navajo plied yarn I just finished yesterday using some malabrigo nube I had in stash, in color “solis”. It’s 112 grams and 407 yards of yummy merino goodness, and I’m really excited to show it to you because it’s the first time I’ve plied a full skein using the navajo plying technique, I am so thrilled!

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On the knitting front, I’ve also been making pretty good progress on my golden afternoon sweater, an all-over lace pattern called Clementine Pullover, from Carole Francone. I am not thrilled with the pattern, I’ll give you a full review once the sweater is done, but I must say that I absolutely LOVE the lace stitch. To make this the perfect summer top, I’m using some Euroflax Sport Weight yarn in color Goldenrod.

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Camilla love

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I’ve been wanting to make myself a Camilla Pullover from Carrie Bostick Hoge for the longest time, but it seems like I always had too many things on the needles or couldn’t find the right timing. Let me tell you folks, it finally happened in February. Yes, I now have made myself a gorgeously fuzzy, fun and comfortable Camilla Pullover out of some Patons Classic Wool Roving yarn in the Low Tide colorway. Yay!

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Let me tell you guys though that although I loved every stitch of this beauty, I struggled quite a bit throughout the process, and for all the wrong reasons, too.

The story starts back in 2013 when I bought 4 skeins of this yarn, not knowing yet what I wanted to do with it. A little while after, I fell madly in love with this gorgeous, gorgeous Camilla pullover pattern and thought it would be a match made in heaven with the yarn I had so I got really excited, until I realized I didn’t have enough yardage to do it. I tried convincing myself for months (if not years) that I could simply make the pattern work with a different yarn (after all it was not even the right weight!) but I simply couldn’t get it out of my head – I’m stubborn like that sometimes.

I looked at every local yarn store but couldn’t find the same yarn in this color anymore, the only option was to purchase it online on Joann’s website. So after a little while, since that project had been haunting me for a long time, I decided to finally order a couple skeins of it so I could reach the required yardage and start the project. Since it’s a commercially produced yarn, I was sort of hoping the color would be a close match to the one I had in stash because there was just no way I could find skeins of the same dyelot, but when I got them, I realized the new skeins were significantly lighter than the ones I had. Sigh.

Now had I been wiser (or just less eager to start), I simply could have waited to get the new skeins to start and then alternate old and new skeins throughout to make the color difference disappear –  but I totally didn’t do that. I was so excited about the project that I started it before receiving the extra skeins, and was already almost almost at the armpits when I got them. I didn’t want to frog the entire thing so I did what I could, and  when you look up close, you can notice that the body is darker, the sleeves are lighter, and the yoke is somewhat of a hybrid of the two. Oops.

All in all, I don’t really mind it so much and it surely won’t prevent me from wearing the heck out of it for the remainder of the cold season, but lesson learned, folks! I’ll be more careful from now on to avoid this kind of (totally preventable) issue. Had anything similar ever happened to anyone of you guys?