Exeter

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Start to finish, this sweater took me about 3 months to complete. I started this sweater while I was traveling for the holidays. I didn’t even knit a gauge swatch–yikes! I started a sleeve and figured I could always rip it out if it went badly. The yarn is Brooklyn Tweed Shelter in Snowbound that I purchased at Purl Soho in New York City last fall when we visited for the New York Marathon.

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I’m proud of this project because I grew a lot as a knitter. I completed cable surgery countless times after crossing my cables the wrong way (that’s what you get for not paying attention), and fully seamed all the pieces together. It was a fun knit–even if it felt a bit epic. I was definitely ready for it to be over by the time I finished!

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I recognize that a sweater with this much ease is not the most flattering. It has about 7″ of ease on me. I think I’ll wear this open most of the time, but the buttons are handmade wooden buttons from Etsy.  I’ll mostly be wearing this sweater on the weekends around the house or for walking the dog.

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The one issue I had was with the collar. It does not lay perfectly flat. For some reason, one side of the shawl collar was quite a bit longer than the other side. When I seamed the collar to the neckline, things were a bit janky, but it works. If I were a better knitter, I’d probably have ripped out the collar and re-knit. Ah, well. A great pattern, and overall, a fun knit!

Yellow Benedetta & Liberty Print Josephine

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I finally got around to photographing this sweater, which I think I finished back in August. Truthfully, I haven’t worn it too much. It was intended as a springtime sweater, and I do think that’s when I’ll get the most use out of it. The pattern is Carrie Bostick Hoge’s Benedetta. The yarn is Finch in Carrie’s Yellow by Quince & Co. I loved knitting with this yarn. It is so very springy and lovely to handle. I am happy with the fit, except that I do wish I had added one or two more buttonholes. The bottom button pulls a tiny bit, and if there were another button or two, that wouldn’t be an issue. 

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I made up a Josephine top in a Liberty print from Spring 2014 to go with the sweater (I noticed that J.Crew had a top out of the same print for sale earlier this year). I realized that I forgot to snap a picture without the sweater on, but it’s very similar to my prior Josephine (except that I cut the correct size and have all six pleats across the front). I like to have a collection of woven tops for layering. I especially like that I can dress them up with skirts for work or throw them on with jeans on the weekend.

Acer & Manning Tank

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Happy New Year! Here are some finished project photos of my Acer sweater, which I finished around Thanksgiving. The yarn is O-Wool’s Balance, which is a 50/50 wool/cotton blend. The pattern is beautiful, and I know I will get a lot of use out of this sweater. I cast on for a size 36 in the hips and decreased through the waist to a 34. The result is a shapely sweater, but not overly so. The buttons are 20mm horn buttons from Fringe Supply Co. More project details on Ravelry.

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There were quite a few “firsts” for this sweater, which really helped me grow as a knitter: my first set-in sleeves, the first sleeves knit bottom-up, and my first picked-up button bands with button holes, to name a few. This sweater really increased my confidence–I cast on for Michelle Wang’s Exeter cardigan, an epic, seamed cable job, over the holidays.

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I made another Wiksten tank to wear with it, from Liberty of London Manning print. It’s one of my favorite prints, and it’s already gone into heavy rotation in my wardrobe, along with the sweater. Woven tops with sweaters are really my favorite things to wear.

My first hand-knit sweater & an everyday skirt

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I finished my first hand-knit sweater! It’s the Willard pullover by Hannah Fettig. I started it back in February, and it took me awhile because I couldn’t manage to stay focused on this one project. It’s knit with Quince & Co. Owl, which is a great rustic yarn.

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It’s a pretty basic pullover without any shaping, but that makes it the perfect casual sweater for weekends. We took a day-trip out to Cape May, NJ to visit the beach (and to search for Cape May diamonds), and it was the perfect weight for a cool, breezy early spring day. I’m sure I’ll throw this on with a pair of jeans for many weekends to come. More details over on Ravelry.

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I paired it with a Liesl & Co. Everyday Skirt out of cotton chambray from my Chicago fabric haul. For this version, my third from this pattern, I made a size small. I took about 1″ of ease out of both the front at the back panels so that there was less fullness. I also cut about 3″ off the length (and had a 1.5″ hem). I know I’ll wear this skirt a TON this summer–it’s so easy to throw it on with a t-shirt or tank top. So, while it’s not terribly exciting, it’s definitely a wardrobe workhorse.

 

Sherlock Tweeds & a Grey Rosebud

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This fall, I went through a Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock watching binge that had me dreaming of tweed vests and jackets and all manner of classic British styles. I think I have the urge every fall to wear tweed and drink tea. Really, my obsession with woolens and tea is a year-round one, but it’s just not practical on those 90 degree humid summer days we have here in the mid-Atlantic (and the Brits are nothing if not practical)! Plus, there’s the side-eye I get from Philadelphians on the street that sometimes deters me from wearing proper clothing like waistcoats or blazers instead of apple bottom jeans (jeans) boots with the fur (fur). Just kidding. Sort of. #iliveonthenewjerseysideofphilly

I made these items back in September/October, so my memory is fuzzy, and this post is a bit more “I made this” than a helpful review of these patterns. Anyway, while opening a random box I pitched in the back of the closet instead of actually unpacking when we moved back in August, I found this skirt, which I had cut out probably 2 years prior and then never actually made. The pattern is an out-of-print Vogue. I like the skirt a lot, but these pictures don’t make it look uber-flattering, so I’m re-thinking it. But, it has pockets and a wearable a-line shape that makes it comfortable and classic. I added a lining.

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I also had enough fabric to make a vest. It’s a super soft wool that I got on sale from Fabric Mart, I think. The vest is also lined, and I used some charcoal grey for the visible lining back that has a subtle stripe running through it. It’s so subtle, you can’t even see it in this photo. Sadly, the welts in front are merely decorative. The vest is finished with a buckle in the back and buttons from Fleishman’s on 5th Street here in Philly. I actually think these pieces work best alone rather than together, so I have mostly worn them as separates.

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The hat is Rosebud by Jared Flood of Brooklyn Tweed. I have this nasty acrylic floppy thing that I bought at REI or something once. I wanted to replace it with something a bit more sophisticated and made from a nicer fiber (that won’t pill and shed and generally look crummy like my other hat). The yarn is Quince and Co. Osprey, which is a true aran weight yarn. Based on Ravelry notes, I made the smaller size of the hat–the Osprey doesn’t have quite as much drape as if I had used something like Shelter, as the pattern calls for. I really like this hat–the garter stitch is simple and effective, and the bulky cable is great. The yarn is not the softest ever, but it feels sturdy and warm. It blocks the wind like a champ. At some point, I may make a lighter, slouchier version of this, but this little beanie-style has been a nice winter addition to my hat wardrobe. A few more details over on Ravelry.

Moroccon Print Josephine & Ivory Guernsey Triangle

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I really ought to post more often. I have a backlog of items I have produced since last fall. Honestly, it’s because photographing is such a pain. First of all, it means I have to actually put clothes other than my LL.Bean hunting dog print flannel pajama pants and their matching (not really, actually) LL. Bean plaid flannel shirt (the horrors!). Second, it means someone besides my dog Eleanor (who is smart but surprisingly not smart enough to work a camera) has to be home at the same time I am. Third, it means all of those things have to happen when it’s light outside. And, finally, it can’t be bloody cold outside so that I don’t have to stand shivering like a weirdo on the street in our ‘hood, where there are frequently bus-loads of tourists stopping by to check out the “oldest street in America” (which, as someone who lived in New England from 2001-2013 truly can’t believe that such a street exists outside of New England). But, you know, sometimes, the stars align, I decide to move large pieces of furniture around, take down pictures from the wall, and enlist Nico to take a bunch of awkward photos inside our apartment after he got back from a 13 mile run in the snowstorm (yeah, sometimes I feel guilty about the fact that he goes on epic runs while I mostly sit on the couch watching West Wing re-runs, but then I realize that I’m only human, and oh hey, I have a new shirt, so that’s cool).

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Anyway. I made this shirt. It’s from Made by Rae’s new Josephine pattern. Despite the fact that this thing should’ve taken me like 3 hours to put together, it took me like a full week of false-starts because I don’t follow instructions, and sometimes I make stupid mistakes. Mistake 1: missing the fact that the smallest size on the pattern is an XS and therefore cutting out the wrong size (instead of cutting out a small/medium, I ended up cutting out an extra-small/small). Because of this mistake, I had to take out two of the six pleats down the front to increase the size juuuust big enough so I could actually move my arms. Mistake 2: while I was trimming the seam allowances on the side seam to finish in a french seam, I cut into the body of the fabric. Because of this mistake, I had to take out another two of the six pleats down the front, since I had to take a slightly larger seam allowance to cover the fact that I CUT A HOLE IN THE SHIRT. Mistake 3: making this a longer-tunic/mini-dress length, with the hope of being able to wear it with leggings and boots (and a skinny belt), only to discover that I don’t really feel comfortable wearing things that barely cover my a$$ with pants that are basically glorified tights. I wore it this way one day last week and then TORE A HOLE IN IT at one point when I yanked it down to cover my a$$. Seriously. So, I gave it a few days, then chopped off a couple of inches and re-hemmed it to this length, to wear with jeans (and maybe a belt too).

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Despite all of these stupid mistakes, I actually like this top a lot. I think it’s mostly because I really love the fabric, which I probably bought back in like 2007. It’s a super thin silk/cotton blend. Sometimes, when I have fabric that I adore like this, it paralyzes me. I finally decided to just make something simple with it, and I’m glad I did. It will be a great layering piece–tucked into a pencil skirt with a jacket or a sweater, or worn with jeans and boots with a jacket or sweater. Despite the fact that all I seem to be wearing these days is pajama pants and flannel shirts, I quite like woven tops, and I’m happy to add this one to my wardrobe.

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I loooove my Guernsey Triangle. It’s so, so soft! And, when I finished it, I felt so accomplished: I tackled a charted pattern, smaller needles, a larger project, holding two yarns together, the kitchener stitch, and blocking wires! Being a beginner is so exciting and satisfying–with each project, I learn a whole new army of techniques. I just ignore the part where I actually bought this yarn to make a cowl, but then had to scrap that plan when I realized I had twisted my stitches, making a sort of Mobius circle instead of a normal cowl. I didn’t really like how it was coming out anyway, so I just ditched that project and used the yarn for this project instead.

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It’s kind of a weird project, a neck-kerchief, but somewhere browsing on Ravelry I saw some triangular shaped stuff and really got into the idea of a knitted bandana. It sounds weird to me even now, but I really like it. It is a little quirky, but also classic, and most importantly, epically soft! I held Manos del Uruguay’s Fino together with some Silk Cloud, which gives it a delightful haze and softness. As a bonus, I have enough of both yarns to make a delicate little hat, which I’m pretty excited about. More details on Ravelry.

A Pair of Snowstorm Hats

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This winter has been the perfect winter to learn how to knit. Philadelphia has had several snowstorms, which have left us “stranded” in our apartment. Of course, for the two of us who moved here from Vermont, we find it a little ridiculous when the entire city shuts down for 5″ of snow. But, hey, I’m not complaining–no one knows how to drive in the snow anyway! Plus, it has given me ample time to knit.

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Nico apparently has a larger-than-average size head. He has quite a difficult time trying to find hats that fit him. So, first up on my knitting list was a hat for Nico. We talked about colors, and I had him choose from a few patterns. With Nico’s help, I ended up choosing the free Barley pattern from the Tin Can Knits Simple Collection, which is a wonderful pattern. It is sized for everyone–babies and adults. I made Nico the adult large.

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For yarn, I selected the Fibre Company’s terra in the blue spruce colorway. Nico has two orange jackets, so we thought dark green would coordinate well. I fell in love with the flecks of silk woven into the yarn. I thought such a simple hat pattern could handle a more interesting yarn. Nico says he loves his hat! Details on Ravelry.

Emily's hat

For myself, I fell in love with the Fibre Company’s Tundra yarn. It is so softy and cushy and just wonderful. I picked up the frost colorway, and it knit up beautifully with very subtle variations. It’s somewhere between icy blue and light grey. I’m totally in love with their “weird neutrals” as the yarn shop owner put it.

Emily's hat top

I selected the Gwyneth pattern, which gave me an opportunity to work on cabling. Cabling is really very easy, though it looks super impressive when you’re finished. I especially love how the pattern connects the cables at the top of the hat. It’s a great design.

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I knit the ribbing at the bottom on needles that were 2 sizes down from the pattern’s recommendations after reading some pattern feedback on Ravelry. I’m glad I did, though when I finished the hat and put it on, I was initially a little concerned, as the hat was tiny and quite snug. But, I stretched it out a bit with blocking, and after a couple of wears, the hat continued to bloom. It has been the perfect, super warm and cozy hat for all of our snow days! Details on Ravelry.