American Wool Series

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

WIP: Prussian Glitter Cardigan

A couple of weeks ago I was experiencing a bit of knitting ennui. I was between projects and wasn't quite sure what to start next. My Ravelry queue seemed a bit lackluster so I decided to take a different approach and start with the yarn and work the other way round. Guess what? It worked! I dug out four skeins of Malabrigo Arroyo - three in Prussian Blue and one in Glitter - and swatched my little heart out. 

I used a US #4 Hiya Hiya Interchangeable and loved my stitches! See? That little bit of knitting isn't even blocked and it's so beautiful! After washing and blocking my swatch I went back to my Ravelry queue and nothing quite fit the bill. I knew I wanted a cardigan with a contrast yoke and maybe a teeny bit of color work for interest. Could I find it? Nope. I sketched out a cardigan idea and pulled out all of my knitting reference books and decided to go rogue. 

And looky there! That's the right front of my cardigan all done and ready for the rest of the sweater. A few details about my Prussian Glitter Cardi: it's knit in pieces, has four rows of colorwork, is all in stockinette stitch, uses the same needle throughout, and has 1x1 twisted ribbing at the edges. 

I decided to knit the sweater in pieces because superwash yarns seem to behave themselves better when they're given some structure, especially in larger projects like sweaters. The sleeves are picked up around the armhole and knit down toward the cuff with a little bit of colorwork just before the ribbing starts. I'm incredibly happy with how my sweater design project is coming out and I have tentative plans to grade the sweater and release it as a published pattern. Woot! This whole working backwards from the yarn to the pattern is working out pretty well, I'll have to do it again!

Monday, July 20, 2015

FO: Commuter Vanilla Socks

I finished my vanilla socks! I knit these socks pretty much solely during my commutes to and from work and they took just under a month to knit. I'll be honest, I don't always knit on my way home because sometimes I'm just too tired (or the bus is incredibly full).

The yarn blocked just beautifully and I'm sure I'll be purchasing more Desert Vista Dyeworks in the future. 

Pattern: 64 Stitch Vanilla Socks with the OMG heel by Megan Williams
Yarn: Desert Vista Dyeworks in Zombody It's Cold Outside 
Needles: US #1 (2.25 mm) Hiya Hiya Fixed Circulars

I have a loose goal of knitting all of my self-striping sock yarns by the end of this year; this is a great start.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The State of Things

Have you ever been in an in-between place with your knitting? I finished Tambourine except for the buttons, which I have yet to purchase, and my commute socks are just this side of being done. I need to do some planning for my next project, which I usually love to do, but instead I'm just swatching random yarns and playing with them.

 Not that it's a bad thing, but there's no real progress toward casting on a project. I'm still debating sweater ideas but accessories are looking pretty good too. And then I can't decide if I want something easy-peasy or something challenging. Should I buy new yarn? Should I use stash? A combination, maybe? I just can't make a decision and that's very unlike me. One thing I do know is that I like this combination of yarn colors (and for the record the pinky red and browny green are new yarns).

Sunday, July 12, 2015

On the Radar

I'm so close to finishing my Tambourine sweater and my vanilla commuter socks that I'm starting to daydream about my next project...or projects. Swatching is playing a big part in my evening knitting time and I hope to continue that trend since I've finally learned to enjoy it, but I want to cast on a couple of things that I don't have to think about too hard.

I certainly have sweaters on the brain, in particular lightweight, multi-season cardigans that I can wear about 3/4 of the year in the Pacific Northwest. In no particular order:

Ysolda just published Ishnana which is making me a drool a little.
Gudrun Johnston has the lovely little cardigan, Belmont, in her second book.

But the crux of the problem is that I'm trying to work out of stash and my stash, well, the sweater quantities in there are just not exactly what I want to knit with right now. Certainly there are lovely yarns and a couple of them are just right for multi-season cardigans but... but. Apparently I need to daydream a little more and actually dig out some stash and hold it and pet it and ruminate a little on it before I make a final decision.

And some of you might be thinking, "but she said something she didn't have to think too hard about" and to me a sweater is just that - after a swatch and a little planning a sweater is just the right kind of project for me to work on without thinking too hard about the actual knitting. It's the choice of pattern and yarn that's the difficult part.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

WIP: Vanilla Socks

Every morning I commute downtown to my office job and then back home again in the late afternoon. What does that mean? It means I have about an hour of knitting time while other people stare at their smart phones or talk (too loudly) to each other on the bus. It also means that I always have a simple knitting project for on-the-go time.

I currently have a pair of vanilla socks on the needles. This is a self-striping yarn by Desert Vista Dyeworks in the Zombody It's Cold Outside color. It's hard to see the light gray stripe up close but it's more visible from far away.

I'm using a US #1 (2.25 mm) Hiya Hiya Sharp 32" circular needle and the OMG Heel by Megan Williams. I haven't really found an afterthought heel that fits me like I want but it's hard to fiddle with heel flap and gusset socks with self-striping yarn; I end up breaking the yarn and joining it to keep the stripe sequence. How about you? Is there a heel you like to use with self-striping yarns that fits well and doesn't throw the stripes out of whack?

Saturday, July 4, 2015

WIP: Sock Hat

I'm taking a brief break from some slightly complicated knitting I have going on to knit  a nice simple sock hat. I grabbed a US #3 (3.25 mm) and three coordinating balls of leftover sock yarn and cast on. 
 The yellow is Lichen in Hazel Knits Piquant Lite, the variegated is Leading Men Fiber Arts Show Stealer in Anne's Story, and the lavender is BMFA STR Light in Bleck.

This is a great project for resting my brain from complicated projects and wonderful for social knitting. 

I chose a random stripe sequence to break up the variegated yarn and I really like how it's turning out. My color palette reads fall and that's probably a direct reflection of the warm weather we're having in Seattle at the moment; in the 80s most days. Fall is my favorite time of year and summer always seems to linger longer and longer just to spite my love of crisp, frosty mornings and my ability to wear wool sweaters again. This is definitely a wishful thinking kind of project.