f.o.: ursa sweater.

I’ve had Ursa by Jacqueline Cieslak in my queue for awhile now and finally decided to cast on at the beginning of March. Since this one is knit up in a bulky weight yarn, it goes really quickly.

I decided to follow one of Jacqueline’s sample versions and use Quince and Co. Puffin in the audouin color and I couldn’t be happier. I’m a little worried about how this yarn will handle long term wear–I can already anticipate the pilling but I love the color and the feel nonetheless. Plus, the gleaner is your best friend in combating pills.

My version of the Ursa has a slightly longer version in the body than called for–I wanted a little less crop. I achieved this by creating a little more depth in the yoke/sleeve before separating for the body (an additional 6 rounds), and then an additional 10 rounds of the body before starting the brioche detail at the hem. An aggressive wet block also helped to add some length and width, which makes this comfortable to wear under a collared shirt. I also had to modify the decreasing on the sleeves (hello, short arms here!) but that just meant a few less rows in between each decrease section in the last two sections. The results are perfect.

You can see my project notes here. More snaps of my sweaters here.

f.o.: carrowkeel sweater.

I love this sweater. This is one of the first non-baby sweaters that I have made which has a ton of seaming; I was really nervous about my patience with creating clean, invisible seams, as well as my ability to make sure it fit well at the shoulders without puckering.

And I have to say… success. I feel really excited about the fit of this sweater and the seaming around those key areas. What’s more, I’ve worn it a number of times, which if we know anything about my knitting, is a feat since I tend to knit things and then let then languish in my closet.

Carrowkeel by Kate Gagnon Osborn is knit up in The Fibre Co. Arranmore, which is an incredibly lovely, dense, tweedy yarn I had never worked with before featuring merino, silk, and even a touch of cashmere. I used the same color way as the pattern sample–Glenveagh Castle, which is a rich gray-brown with flecks of tan, white, and black in the tweed.

I even love how it looked before I added the turtleneck portion, which is the last step. It hugs your body in all the right places.

View my project here.

f.o.: doc’s vday socks.

Every year, I make doc socks for Valentines. I’m not big on the holiday–I prefer gifting everyone I love small hand makes (cookies, cards, socks, hats); it’s not about romance for me, it’s about giving and being sweet on everyone you care about. That’s how it always was in my family; my mum cooked a nice meal for the entire family and left sweet treats on our plate and matching jammies for me and my sister. I cherish that about my childhood.

These socks are the simple afterthought heel sock (my favorite!) in TurtlePurl Yarn’s self striping sock in the Air Force One color way. I love the crazy pops of bright red with the blue. So fun!

See my ravelry notes here. For a window into other socks I’ve made for doc, check them out here.

f.o.: skiff hat.

I did finish this Skiff Hat a long while back, but realized I never wore it or even photographed it because it was just a bit too big for my petite head. Enter my partner, the doc, who has a large head. The perfect fit.

I loved this pattern. Knit up using two skeins of Brooklyn Tweed Shelter in the Artifact color, this hat is completely gorgeous, the cables and moss stitch shine, and it ended up being a perfect fit… for a big head.

What other cable hats do you love?

See my ravelry notes here.

f.o.: column sweater.

I just love Column by Hiromi Nagasawa. It’s a brilliant design with interesting construction. I knit this up holding two similar colors of Woolfolk–FAR in soft taupe and SNO in 00 + 28.

This is a simple knit and because of the yarn held double, it knits up fast. I definitely plan to make another one.

I did struggle with bind off at the neck. Some knitters say they did less short rows so they could get this over their head–it’s that tight at the neckline. However, I tried several stretchy bind offs until I settled on Stephen’s Stretchy Bind Off. It was the only one that looked clean at the neckline and well finished; the others were sloppy and didn’t take well to the yarn.

However, it really still isn’t quite stretchy enough. I’ve got to really jam this sweater over my head. Stay tuned for another knit up of this, perhaps with yarn that has a bit more give, and maybe less decreases at the neckline.

You can see my ravelry project notes here.

2017-2019: reading sketchbook

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.

f.o.: rainier pullover.

I really love the Rainier pullover pattern by Kate Gagnon Osborn and this was my first time knitting with the Kelbourne Woolens Scout yarn.

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.

Before the ill fated trip in the dryer.

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.

Have you ever had this happen to you?

bake: jalapeno cheddar bread.

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.

What other breads should I add to my repertoire?

w.i.p. : snoqualmie cardigan, continued.

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?

f.o.: bouquet sweater.

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.

Have you ever had a happy accident with your knitting? Tell me about it. More snaps of this sweater soon. You can read my project notes on ravelry.

f.o.: the doc’s flax sweater.

I’ve knit quite a few Flax Sweaters by Tin Can Knits through the years–most notably the scrappy ones I made for my nephews to use up bits of my stash last winter. I love the fit, the ease of the design, and the ability to knit mindlessly in public, whilst watching t.v., and on.

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?!

You can read my notes here.

f.o. : ripple crop top.

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.