Dress Like Your Grandma

I love this challenge that Tanya hosts so much, but have felt like I can’t really participate as I don’t have a photo to go on. It’s silly, the sewing community is so inclusive, but it took reading a note that the inspiration photo can come from anywhere that allowed me to give myself permission to participate.

There’s a photo I saved years ago that makes me think of my grandma, who grew up in Minnesota and loved skating. I love skating too, and that link to her seems special to me.

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Image from http://www.prettyoldpatterns.etsy.com, where you can buy the pattern. Which I did, naturally!

The pattern is dated from the late 1930’s, when my grandma would have been in her early 20’s. At $3.60 I went ahead and bought it, but am actually on the fence about the sweater. It uses 8 colors, and that’s just a lot of fair isle, especially in confusing vintage instructions. The fair isle patterns are charted, but the pattern doesn’t actually indicate when you should start the chart. I could always leave off the charted design or sub something simpler.

I have a pattern booklet that actually belonged to my grandma, and may choose one of these instead. I love the cowboy sweater, and could extend the arms, and maybe change the motif. Super cute, but I would be self-conscious in real life!

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Both the original and the cowboy options look like they’re knit in fingering weight, which means a lot of knitting! Way too much to finish by April 30. I think even a sweater in worsted wouldn’t even get done in time!

I am considering a few other options in heavier weights. These are all modern, and honestly would probably get more wear. Most would need shortening a bit.

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Boundary | Grettir | Carbeth | Snowfall

The skirt of the inspiration photo is also knit in fingering weight yarn. That’s not happening! I do want to make a similar a-line skirt out of fabric, though, and I could use one in my real-life wardrobe too.

I don’t think I’m officially entering the challenge, because I do want to knit the sweater and there’s no way I could finish in time. I could whip up a sweater on the serger, though, we’ll see 🙂 Thanks to Tanya for this special challenge!

Fairweather Pullover

After running out of yarn halfway down the second sleeve, I’m finally finished with the Fairweather! This was a fun, easy pattern to knit with interesting details, like the very cool shoulder gussets and sleeve shaping.

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Unfortunately, I don’t like wearing it all that much! The neckline is really wide on me, so wide that it’s practically off the shoulder. The model wears a button down shirt underneath, which I haven’t tried as I don’t have a shirt that matches (yet). I also just don’t really like front panels on me in general. I knew this going in, but went for it anyway. Despite these dislikes, I’ve been wearing it quite a bit with leggings and boots in our recent stormy weather. It fills a significant hole in my closet, and I need to look out for other longer patterns.

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I do have ideas about fixing it. I may try running elastic around the neckband to give it a little more stability and pull it in a little, or I may put it in a warm wash to felt it up a bit. That’s a risky move, but felting worked wonders for my Mountain High sweater. Until then, I’ll just keep on wearing it!

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Finished Knit! The Lucca Shawl

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One benefit of having way too many WIPs is that they do sometimes wrap up one on top of the other! This shawl is definitely the more exciting of the two suddenly-finished projects. It’s the Lucca Shawl by Brooklyn Tweed, picked up one day last summer when I had a hankering to knit some lace.

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It’s a full circle, knit with lace-weight merino. It is so soft and light, and I am a total convert to lace-weight yarn. I also had a blast with this pattern, and I feel like I can tackle any lace pattern now! It actually was not that difficult, and I even quit using lifelines pretty early on. There are mistakes throughout, but I was able to make one or knit two together on the next round to make the stitch count right, and with all this knitting even I can’t spot the mistakes!

Despite loving it, I’ve only worn it once, to the Bay Area Frocktails last month (which was so fun!). BT’s models make it look so easy to wear, but I find the circular shape awkward. I also wear a backpack to work, which doesn’t help. I may just need to leave it at work for chilly days!

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Knitting the shawl was really fun, in part because as time goes by you end up with a big blob of knitting. You cannot really see the lace except in snippets, and it’s impossible to tell how it will look in the end. Then you have the excitement of starting the edging and starting to see the piece unfurl… and then sobering realization that the scalloped edging is going to take forever. It seemed like the edging took as much time as the rest of the shawl!

I can hardly wait to start another lace project, but I am determined to get more projects off needles first. Really. And maybe I’ll start sewing again… I skipped January, but did start a blouse from the 2/18 Burda! I actually wondered if I remembered how to sew when tracing. So far so good 🙂

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Nothing (finished) to See Here!

 

It has been a slow, strange summer around here. June and July always bring time-sensitive costume sewing, altering, and mending for work, which destroys both my sewing space and my enthusiasm, and this year it was all made worse because I was also looking for a new job. After 4.5 years in my current job, I forgot how exhausting and demoralizing the job search can be! I am so thrilled, though, to say that at the end of this month I will start a new job at The Marine Mammal Center. It is such an amazing organization and I still can’t quite believe I’ll be contributing there every day. If you are in the Bay Area and haven’t visited yet, I highly recommend it.

Anyway, unable to face sewing at all, I’ve been knitting up a storm! No finished objects to show yet, though, as I keep switching projects. Here is my queue…

Current project: Lucca Shawl

One day I just had to start a lace project, and the Lucca Shawl it was. I am loving this pattern and can’t wait to see what it looks like!! Right now it’s impossible to know, being on small circular needles. It’s just a puffy, lacey blob.

 

UFO #1: Martine Pullover

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This was going along just fine until that day I had to start a lace project! Almost done with front and back. So far I like this pattern, but the stitch pattern is hard on the hands. It’s probably not a bad thing that I’m taking a break.

UFO #2: Fairweather Gansey

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I ran out of yarn with just a partial sleeve and neckband to go. The yarn is still available, but I haven’t gotten around to ordering it yet, for some crazy reason!

UFO #3: Stonecutter Pullover

Not even going to picture this sad thing–the lovely cables won’t show up in black anyway! This is the end of Stonecutter. Despite appearing to be almost done with front and back, I need to fix the back armhole and I’m just over it. As much as I love black, I’m never, ever knitting a complicated pattern in black again. Low visibility sucked all the joy out of this pattern! I do want to make it, though, but in a light yarn or maybe even a non-neutral!

I think this change of job will bring a change of spirits, and I’ll be motivated to sew once more for a more casual lifestyle. In the meantime, just keep knitting!

Chandelier Cardigan

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Two months gone by! May is always terribly busy at work, and I’m glad to see a little rest in the coming weeks. I finished this cardigan quite some time ago, but needed to sew on buttons. Of course, when I finally forced myself to do it, these were the best looking buttons I had in my stash! I intend to replace them at some point.

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I absolutely loved knitting this pattern up, and the finished cardigan is really great too. Better than these photos suggest, and much lighter. (Sidebar: the photos look lighter on my phone too, so hopefully anyone reading can actually see the detail! Someday I’ll take good photos. Someday.) It really might be my most enjoyed knitting project yet! The lace pattern is not hard and it’s easy to see where you are. I meant to put in lifelines, but decided I didn’t need to early on (and luckily I was right!). This pattern is in the book The Art of Seamless Knitting, which I got on eBay for $4, including shipping. The other patterns look nice, but I don’t think I like them enough to actually make them. Too many amazing patterns out there!

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I used Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in sport weight, because I still feel like too much of a sweater novice to spring for nicer yarn. It’s fine, easy to knit, and the finished item is okay. The sapphire color is amazing, and I think it makes the yarn look nicer than it actually is! I knit the second size, and it came out perfect. Then I put it in the washing machine on delicate before blocking, and it shrunk just enough that I could use a size bigger. It’s not unwearable, just a tad snug in the arms.

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There are so many patterns in my Ravelry favorites that I can’t really imagine knitting this one again, but I probably should! Definitely a winner of a pattern!

Mountain High Sweater

Sometimes I get the feeling that I’m over sewing. Especially when a top that should have been great turns out too small. That happened last weekend, and this past weekend I did nothing but finish up what was on my needles, the Mountain High sweater by Heidi Kirrmaier.
This sweater is most definitely not too small! That’s because it’s actually my second Mountain High. The first I knit according to measurements, despite warning that the model was wearing a size with more ease. It fit well, but didn’t have the slouchy look I wanted, so I ripped it out and shoved the pattern aside for a while. I picked it up again with the Olympics, shoving the too-complicated Stonecutter aside for the moment. I needed something mindless to knit while watching!

 

The pattern is very easy, with subtle shaping and garter stitch highlights. I ended up erring on the large side, knitting size M2, though now that it’s done I think I probably should have stuck with M1. Any bigger and it would be much too big! I love the subtlety of Heidi’s designs, like the way the knitting moves diagonally inward at CF:

 

I used Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in worsted. It was nice to knit and so far is nice to wear. Not too itchy, though I’m not terribly sensitive, and very cozy. Also, it’s just so inexpensive. I’m not at that point in knitting yet, where spending a ton on yarn for a sweater seems like the right thing to do. I’m not even quite there with sewing! This sweater cost about $15 in materials, that I can live with no problem!

 

I have a few more Advent Garland ornaments to knit up for Eric now, then it’s back to Stonecutter. Of course, in the meantime I’m sure it will be back to sewing. I’ve got so many ideas, one wadder isn’t going to keep me down!
Here is that wadder… Burda 10/2016 #121. Isn’t it pretty?? I may just take the sleeves off to make it barely wearable. siiiiiiigh.

Mitts for my Sister

Just a quick post to share a pair of mitts I knitted up for my sister’s birthday. She’s just transferred to UCSB and I’m pretty sure she will need something to keep her hands warm while studying in the coming months.
I used the Cranford Mitts pattern, though really it’s just a basic horseshoe lace pattern in a tube with a simple thumb gusset. I’m looking forward to making this pattern again using other Shetland lace patterns, I love old-fashioned knitted lace!
I used Paton Kroy self-striping sock yarn. The yarn was nice to use, and I almost matched the two mitts. Close enough, anyway!