Since 2017, I have been keeping a reading sketchbook which I sometimes catalog entries of here. I love that I’ve been doing it. And three years later, I can say I’ve completely filled one whole journal and have added about 10 entries in a new book all together.
Some of the things I track for each book: cover / cover art, length, completion date, how long to complete the book, whether I own it or it’s a library or audio book, loved it or hated it, reading challenge selection, recommendation, and my musings on its content.
Here’s to another three years of reading sketchbooks.
I will say this particular project started out, and finished, so beautifully. I loved the fit and knew it was the perfect Christmas gift to my mum this year; it felt like a sweater design that she would wear nonstop. However, it my haste to speed things along since I finished this a mere day prior to the holiday, I tried to speed up the drying process on my blocking because it just wasn’t getting there fast enough.
Shame on me.
Instead of what I thought was air fluff on my dryer setting (a reasonable way to get damp knits dry), I had it on delicate and lost track of time. Roh roh. This sweater slightly felted. And while it still fits, there is weird puckering in places on the body and I just can’t.stop.seeing.it. And wanted to beat myself up about it. And being so disappointed that at one time, it was perfect, and I had to ruin it.
My mum still wears it.
This is a note to myself: gift a sweater partially damp on a hanger before trying to speed things up. It will never go as planned.
Consider this one lost to the finish off pride pile. Perhaps I can build up enough gusto to make it again, but for now, I’m still sad and bitter about the whole thing.
By now, you know I love baking bread–especially the no knead variety cooked in a dutch oven and steamed perfectly for a crisply outer shell.
Enter my kicked of version of a simple no knead bread. To this dough, I added three generously large jalapenos to the dough, as well as heaping cups of cheddar cheese. This dough is really slack and only requires you to paddle fold it inward towards its center between rises. It’s adorned with jalapeno rings and cheese on top.
This creates a luxeriously airy, light tasting bread with a kick and softness for days because of all that fat from the cheddar. It’s a miracle bread. Eat it plain, you won’t stop. Eat it with soup, you won’t stop. Eat it as the bread for a grilled cheese, you won’t stop.
This cardigan has been a slow slog for me. Not because I don’t love it so far, but because if I want to do some mindless knitting, this isn’t the project I grab for–again, not because it isn’t enjoyable, and not even because the cables are difficult to memorize (they aren’t), but because I do have to pay attention. What row am I on? When am I decreasing to shape the sleeve cap? Am I removing cables with decreases appropriately? All the little details.
Now, what’s stopping me is the sleeves. Because I may be short on yarn. You see, I decided to use Quince and Co. Osprey in the audouin color way and it’s one of the undyed ones, meaning that it likely isn’t produced a whole bunch every calendar year. And so it’s been out of stock. I may have enough, but my guess is judging on what’s left, I’ll be short a skein or two. Mostly because at the last minute, when I cast on, I decided to add these large floating pockets, not in the original design, but definitely sucking up way more yarn that I anticipated.
So here we are. At a vest. Since I took these snaps, I’ve added the shawl collar and it looks phenomenally. I think it’s fitting so nicely, as well.
All that’s left is these pesky sleeves, the seaming of the sleeve cap (honestly, I’m terrified of this; I need to get it right), and picking out some buttons for this. When it is finished, I’m hoping I am in love with it as much as I’m pleased with it now, in vest form.
Have you ever knit a sweater and been stuck because of materials? Or fear of the sleeve cap?
This sweater took me six months to finish. While I put it down for quite awhile, it still was so slow going with the color work, especially because its designed with the floats on the outside so getting your tension right is key.
I’m really pleased with the final result. I had a happy accident, which also made this knit even slower than it should have–for some reason, in my rush and not having the pattern in front of me, I interpreted the instructions to indicate knitting all of chart 2 and then all of chart 3 across the entire body, when in reality the instructions indicated to knit chart 2 across the front stitches of the body and chart 3 across the back stitches.
As a result, I ran out of yarn with about 10 rows of chart 3 to go–which until I realized my error was deeply frustrating since I bought a kit from A Verb for Keeping Warm and even went down a needle size to get gauge. Alas, my error.
I was already blocking this sweater when I noticed my error, and figured I’d try it on again once fully dried to see if I should rip back and redo the bottom as the pattern indicated. However, I was so pleased with the length and fit after blocking, that I decided this was a happy accident and as a result was likely to be a sweater I’d actually wear again and again in the coldest months here in Boston.
The details are: Bouquet Sweater by Junko Okamoto, knit up (one size only) using A Verb For Keeping Warm’s Horizon in Quill for the main color and Hops for the contrasting color. This is the exact same combination in Junko’s original pattern details and I’m so pleased with it. I bought the kit here.
And so, I decided to knit doc his first sweater. Sure, I’ve made him countless pairs of socks and a few new hats every season. He’s got a number of scarves, and I even knit him a gnome once. But never a sweater. I was worried about getting the fit right; his proportions are so much bigger than my own and he’s quite tall with a broad chest.
But, Owool was having a massive moving sale and I snagged the requisite number of skeins for a sweater sized project to fit a big guy like doc. This was my first time knitting with this particular brand of yarn and it knits up like a dream.
In the end, I did have to make some minor adjustments. The body fit great but the sleeves were a bit long after blocking and bunched awkwardly on doc. So I ripped them back, removed about 4 inches, and reknit the ribbing at the cuff for a perfect fit. This, I realize, is an important part of the process of creating garments that actually feet great on and you know you will wear again and again. I have to constantly remind myself that most knitters have to rip something back–and that’s a good thing, not a failure.
This Flax Sweater was knit up using O Wool O-Wash Worsted (an organic super wash merino wool) in the Brown Bear color way, which is slightly black, slightly forest green, slightly brown. I love it.
More importantly, the doc loves it and wore it out on Saturday in all its glory. It’s given me the bug–I’d like to knit him another sweater this winter. Any suggestions for a great pattern? I’m thinking Grettir (but I still want to knit one for myself first), Atlas, or something without color work like Ranger. Patterns, please?!
For some reason, this Ripple Crop Top by Jessie Mae Martinson took me forever to complete. I cast on during an epic August camping road trip through the Southwest the doc and I took, and didn’t manage to finish it until the start of October.
I did keep putting it down, but it felt like the back of this piece took ages. That being said, I loved this pattern. It was written beautifully and seeing so many amazing Ripple Crops in my social media feed pushed me to finish it.
I think I chose the wrong yarn. Let me expound. I had several skeins of Quince and Co. Tern in the dusk color way kicking around in my stash; I had meant to use it for Birdie by Bristol Ivy that I thought I’d wear to a wedding, then my outfit shifted and I never did cast on. Since I was in need of a certain amount of fingering weight yardage and I didn’t want to shop for new materials, the Tern was the perfect stash yarn waiting in the wings.
But I think my Ripple would have been more successful if I used a sock yarn that had a little less give and drape. This bloomed quite a bit with blocking. Its a gentle fiber and I think it doesn’t have enough structure to create some well placed negative ease. Instead, it’s all ease, and on my petite frame (I did knit the smallest size and went down two needle sizes because I seem to be a very loose knitter in the round), I just feel like I’m lost in the garment. It doesn’t highlight my body in great ways like it did in all those inspirational snaps I saw.
This is a good reminder that stash busting is a tricky endeavor; that you have to be super intentional with material selection. It also has me thinking about how I might repurpose fiber if I end up not knitting something it was intended to be. How do you manage this? I’m getting to a point where I’m almost never shopping for yarn without a pattern in mind, and I’m trying to cast on for a project with said yarn immediately after purchase, to avoid some of this growing stash.
That being said, I’m also looking for tips on how to fix my generally loose tension in the round. Whenever I knit something, I do go down needle sizes, but my gauge swatch isn’t indicative of what happens when I knit fast, get going, and am working on the body. My row gauge always ends up being off and my sweaters end up looking like dresses occasionally (since I’m hovering just under 5 feet tall). Would metal needles rectify some of this? Does anyone else have this problem? Send advice my way, please!
My Ripple Crop looks so beautiful just hanging here. I wish it looked this beautiful on.
When you live in New England, you can never own too many hats, right?
This is my mantra every fall, as the cooler climes start to head in and I begin to think about updating my knits. Of course, I always make my own hats and scarves. My needles have been no stranger to the Roku Hat. It’s one of my favorites. I like that it can be worn high, it can be folded over, and is the perfect compliment to my always present stash of Brooklyn Tweed Shelter.
This one is knit up using just shy of two skeins BT Shelter in the newsprint color way that I’ve had in my stash for some years now (man do I love a stash busting project). I think this hat will end up being a staple of my winter wardrobe this year.
What are some other great hats to knit up? Suggestions please!
Plus, I can imagine how cute the little ones look in this, and it can be worn in winter over longer garments or worn in summer as added warmth in colder climes (like air conditioning!).
I had a hard time deciding on buttons for this one and kept going back and forth between the daisies I ultimately chose and a plain mustard matte button. I knew the baby was going to be a girl and this added some cuteness and dimension, but then I thought about the wearability of it for future kids. In the end, I obviously risked it with the idea that anyone can wear anything of course and if a little babe of any gender can’t wear flowers, who can?
Knit up in Knit Picks Palette yarn I had laying around in my stash in Coriander Heather for the main and Custard for the contrasting yellow. A great stash busting project at a super low cost that only required buying some buttons (which I picked up at the amazing Gather Here in Cambridge).
The doc and I went on a pretty epic camping trip through the southwest this summer–that had us visiting family in Phoenix, Lake Powell, onto Durango CO, Silverton CO, Moab UT, Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, a nail biting drive on the Moki Dugway, a stop at Monument Valley, and then a few days of luxury at the end.
It was the best trip.
Here I am working on my Ripple Crop Top in Quince and Co. tern on the drive. I didn’t do as much knitting as I hoped, but I was too busy camping, hiking, swimming, and looking at those amazing vistas out the window.