f.o.: socks for doc.

I try to make a few of the Purl Soho Boot Socks for doc each year; he wears them nonstop all winter (and sometimes even into warmer months) and so he’s always in need of new pairs (I don’t darn once they get holes–terrible, I know, but convince me to add this skill to my bucket, please).

These ones I knit for his first quarantine birthday, and we are already fast approaching a second one. I can’t believe nearly a year has gone by living in this pandemic. The bright colors are one of the few things that bring me joy at this time–knit up using Malabrigo Yarn Rios in sunset for the main color and cosmos for the contrasting toes, heels, and top.

in memorium: jackie boy.

In November, the closest, most nonjudgmental companion I’ve ever had in my life, walked on. Jackie boy. Jack boy is a Jack boy. Qui. Claw. My sous.

The kitchen, it’s quiet without you right under foot, happy to ask for a sample and to provide eyes if it needed more salt, a crack more pepper, or was just perfect, as is.

The folds of fabric I now lay out to cut for a new blouse or pair of pants don’t have you angling to lay on their pillowy, cotton softness and position your body just so to let me know you were near–that you’d rather I avert my attention for garment to your favorite belly and chin scritches instead. You once looked deeply into my eyes, as if to say, “who needs clothes? I’ve gotten by just fine without” before you, the loyal, appeasing, gentle soul you were, would stretch your neck so I could tie that matching bandana to my outfit around your neck for a strut to work in the library or a jaunt around the block. We had to put on a show, you and me.

And it was a show, however fleeting, wasn’t it?

Someone once told me it’s deeply unfair this relationship–how our longevity doesn’t mesh with the realities of the deeply short lifespans of our canine friends. It’s still too painful to even put to words that you are gone, my Jack boy–plus, if you could speak, you’d remind me no one was listening in this little corner of the internet you sometimes frequent.

“You’ve got no readers, friend,” you’d say. “But, you’ll always have me.”

f.o.: western rose pullover.

Can I just wax poetic on how genius designer extraordinaire Thea Colman is. This Western Rose pullover was a dream to knit, start to finish. I’d definitely like to knit it again, and also use it’s general shape for other sweaters, as the fit is bomb (minus the way too long sleeves for my short arms that I had to do surgery on and rip back after this sweater was finished).

This was my first time using Spincycle Dream State and it was worth every penny spent. The main color way for this sweater is my ever favorite Harrisville Designs Nightshades in the cinder color, which has glorious flecks of orange on a backdrop of black. It’s subtle and it makes the black take on a purply hue. I love it. The contrast is the Spincycle Dreamstate in Stay Ready and I love the whites, grays, and browns throughout. So beautiful.

Of course, my ravelry notes here.

f.o.: birch pullover.

I had a few starts and stops with the color work on my Birch pullover because I didn’t check for errata online since I had a print version of the pattern in a book. It definitely gives me pause about buying any kind of knitting book in the future. And digital patterns are easier anyway–can have right on my phone or ipad, mobile and can be downloaded no matter where I am and don’t take up clutter in my house.

That being said, I am in love with the fit of this sweater. It is ridiculously comfortable, the sleeves are exactly the length I like them, and there is the exact amount of ease I was hoping for (not tight, but some fitting around the bust to give me a tiny bit of shape). I knit this with Quince and Co. Owl Tweet in sooty for the main and Quince and Co. Owl in snowy for the contrast color.

I can’t wait to wear it and the finished product is so damn wearable that I’d consider another one, in a different color way, for my mom. She’d love it.

As always, project notes at ravelry.

f.o.: birch pullover.

This Birch by Pam Allen was so fast (despite some hiccups with the color work which I will discuss). I’ve been wanting to knit it for years but for some reason never cast on. I had a gift card so I bought the Quince and Co Owl Tweet (soot for the main) and Quince and Co. Owl (snowy for the contrasting) at Gather Here in Cambridge back in August.

The Pain & Simple Knits book has been on my shelf for years–and I knit the Ash Pullover from it this summer (which was such a fun knit but took me FOREVER). Let me tell you what happened with Birch, though. Despite this being a super fast knit (I was nearly done in a matter of a couple days), I had to rip out the bottom two major sections of color work. The first bottom section I knit entirely all the while thinking as I went “huh, mine looks opposite to the finished project” and just plowed onward without stopping to figure out why. AN ERRATA. ONLINE. That I didn’t think to check on since I had the book in hand and I don’t own many knitting books anymore.

The colors in the chart on the original publication were swapped. FHJKSHJFHkJDSHFMNBbfhGUhdbannbjkdghfuifh. Yes, that’s some serious frustration. Once I got the .pdf errata queued up on my phone, ripped the entire thing back, and reworked that chart, I thought I was golden.

Um. Nope. On the second chart, I knit the first two rows of the color work in the opposite color, so there would be no band of white along the bottom of the zig zag, and I didn’t realize my mistake until the entire chart was complete and I was knitting the last two rows in white at the top of the section. fJDHKJHknfbajkhdjkHHbfbn. So, I ripped back again.

At the end of the day, this was a labor of love. You aren’t doing anything right if you don’t have to rip back your knitting from time to time to get it just perfect, or the best fit, or whatever it may be. So, there’s that.

And guess what? This fits like a damn dream. It’s gorgeous. I love everything about it and I’d definitely knit it again. I kind of want to knit a sweater with just the band around the cuff that’s there and the collar, with the rest solid. I think that would be simple and beautiful.

I’m rather displeased that Quince and Co. isn’t treating it’s former creative Leila Raven well right now. So this project, being a Quince project, is hard for me to deeply love on right now. Total bummer.

Eventually, snaps of it on me in all it’s glory. For now, here it is blocking and after I finished the body and yoke. Ravelry notes here, as always.

f.o.: norwegian fir sweater.

My colleague and his wife had a baby this fall. I decided I definitely wanted to make them something. I had some leftover Harrisville Designs Shear from the Morchella Cardigan (which believe it or not I’m going to knit another one with lost of ease) and it was a perfect match for a sweet pattern like this mostly open front cardigan Norwegian Fir. Plus, it was just the right color and amount of wooly softness.

This sweater was so fun to know. I love that the raglan increases at the yoke are created in the lace pattern–smart and beautiful. This was a breeze–I finished it in just a day or two (gosh, baby stuff! so great!) and knit it in the 6-12 months size so they can get good use out of it for this long, long winter ahead.

What are some other great, satisfying, quick knits for babies? My ravelry notes here.

f.o. : flying geese woven bracelet.

It only took a year, but this pandemic afforded me the time to buckle down and hold myself accountable to finishing projects I started a long while ago. The Purl Soho Flying Geese beaded loom bracelet was just one of those projects. I started it in earnest back in August 2019 and nearly finished the entire bracelet in a few days time.

And as I often do, I then let it sit and moved on. I didn’t finish it. In the box it lived. And finally, this spring, I just said get this thing off the loom and I did just that. It’s beautiful and it fits me like a glove (smallest size). My only complaints: the buttons are really hard to button; I think I’d do this one again with a different kind of magnetic clasping mechanism to make it easier to get on; and weaving in all those ends when you take it off the bead loom is painstakingly slow. Very, very slow.

I’ve already made a black, gray, and turquoise version for the Doc. It’s all finished and I’ve taken it off the loom. But again, it languishes because I’m sick of weaving in ends (with about half to go). Maybe posting this is the push I need to just…finish.

f.o. : patterned outfit # many.

I wasn’t lying when I said the pandemic gave me a strong desire to add prints to my wardrobe–and time. Time at home. Time with my sewing machine (much needed). I made a bunch of 100 Acts of Sewing pants no. 1 and shirt no. 2 to get me in the clothes making groove (great patterns for beginners with some nice details like bias tape neckline, for example).

This set I sewed up using Cotton + Steel Alexia Abegg Moonrise, which I’ve had laying around for a long while. Any fabric design Alexa does is something I want, and this was a great outfit for those super warm early Fall days. And of course, matching bandana for my bestest friend, Jackie dog (he’s less than thrilled to sit in my lap for photos, however) and mandatory matching mask for safety at work with the kids (pattern is from Gather Here in Cambridge, my favorite shop).

What should I make next? I’m not versed enough in winter sews, which stinks because it makes me less motivated to sit at my machine. But I do have some amazing chambray so I think I’ll try for a pair of chambray pants with pockets.

f.o. : (heavily modified) jupiter crop.

This is my heavily modified Jupiter Crop by Caitlin Hunter. I didn’t want it cropped and I definitely didn’t want it short sleeved (I mean, I just find that to be impractical in New England and if I’m going to the trouble to knit a sweater well… then I’d like to maximize the amount of time I can wear it, especially in the fiber called for in this pattern).

Enter my version of the Jupiter, which is full body and has long sleeves although I used the same yarn and color schematic from the pattern notes. I had to improvise with how to add in the color work so it looked well thought out an even. I repeated and mirror some portions of the charts and combined a bit of the body and sleeve charts to create the longer sleeve.

Overall, I’m really pleased with the look of the finished garment, and I liked my color work plans. The yarn, Retrosaria Vovo, is a dream to work with. The fit? Eh, I don’t love love love the way it feels on me. Maybe I made the body a bit long? Could have benefited from some more shaping? I’m not sure what my issue is with it–it doesn’t look particularly poorly on (this photo was snapped before I finally finished). I’ll take some finished product snaps soon and you can help me decide.

It was a really enjoyable knit to start, but I just got stuck on sleeve island and by then, I was over it. My guess is I will end up gifting this one. Stay tuned.

Here are my project notes.

f.o.: 100 acts of sewing pants and shirt.

The pandemic has accelerated my interest and production of made by me clothing. Let’s just say, I’ve had time. And I decided, even though my wardrobe loves all black all the time, that this pandemic has urged me toward pattern. All the pattern. Patterned top and patterned bottom.

Enter this outfit. The patterns are 100 Acts of Sewing shirt no. 1 and pants no. 1. Not a lot of fuss so really great for beginners and a great base for making modifications. Shirt no. 1 will teach you how to make the best bias tape necklines.

Fabric is Ruby Star Society Alma Field in suede by Alexia Marcelle Abegg. I’m obsessed with her brilliant fabric design work.

Of course, in these dark times, I’ve decided to add additional flare with matching masks; I’ve used Gather Here’s great pattern with a modification for a nose piece made with the closure from a coffee bag (it works great for creating a strong seal). And, no print all over pattern is complete without a matching bandana for girl’s best friend, Jackie. We’ve worn this once to our library and boy was it a hit.

More of these acts to follow. I’ve got a few.

f.o.: ash pullover.

The Ash Pullover by Pam Allen has been on my list for quite awhile–I can’t remember how long it’s been since I bought the Plain and Simple knitting book but it’s been since then. I decided to use a different yarn than the pattern called for–swapping out the Quince and Co. Owl with The Fibre Co. Cumbria that I’d meant to use for a One Sweater and changed my mind at the last minute.

I think this yarn substitute was a great idea; I wanted this to be roomy but also have a bit of structure and the images of the pullover and my knowledge of how much Owl blooms after blocking made me think the Cumbria is a better match for my body. Otherwise, I’d be swimming in this sweater. A little swim is good– too much, and I’m swallowed up.

I decided to knit the smallest size and go down a needle size–this basically gave me gauge. But the neck area is a little tight despite a stretchy bind off. I think once I block it, it will loosen up more. I can get it over my head–I just have to put up a bit of a fight.

I am in love with all the details of this sweater, including the front pockets which I thought wouldn’t be functional but actually are. Three cheers. This project, unfortunately, took me entirely too long. I started knitting it in July in a total frenzy, and then just left in to languish a few weeks. It was the only thing I knit the entire summer. I have all this time off from my job then, and it’s the least likely time I use it to get in some good knitting sessions. Summer knitting and I just don’t mix, I guess. But at least I have this one to show for it.

Here’s my project notes. Snaps of me wearing this sweater soon.