Friday, February 26, 2016

Socks: Currently Unnecessary.

I realized the other day that I haven't finished a pair of socks in ages. I honestly don't even remember the last pair of socks I knitted. I have a sock going now- I use the term "going" loosely, because I knit a round or two on it like once or twice a week- but I feel no pressure to finish it. As I was outside on a sunny, 75* February day, I figured out why. We had no winter this year. I wore hand-knit socks like 4, maybe 5 times total. Most of my socks didn't even make it out of storage. As a knitter, this is sad. "Why even bother making socks anymore?" I asked myself. "I can't think of any reason to continue," I answered myself.

Plain vanilla sock, Knit Picks Hawthorne in the colorway Belmont that somehow jumped into my basket when I was ordering yarn for something else. Not sure why. It's sort of an odd color and the pooling is strange. 

As sad as it is, I just don't see a point in devoting precious knitting time to making socks, unless it's a super cool pattern, or holiday specific. That would be ok. I've got my eye on Jellyfish, and someone gave me a skein of Halloween sock yarn that I'd like to knit up before next Halloween. But these plain vanilla socks just aren't cutting it right now. I'd rather knit sweaters that I can wear once a year. Logic! Mine is sound.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Everett Henley Cardigan

Hello again! As a reminder, it's Everett Henley week over on the Holla Knits blog. Get this pattern for just $3 all week!

Modifying this pullover into a cardigan was actually quite easy. Almost any top-down sweater can be modified into a cardigan, provided the original design doesn't have some sort of front central panel. Vistoire, for example, would not work as a cardigan. But luckily, Everett does!

Here's what I did:
I followed the pattern up until the point when you cast on 4 and join to work in the round. I just didn't do that and kept working back and forth.

In hind sight, I would do things a little differently. I think I would have worked from the pattern until the front chart was complete, then I would have cast on 8 sts on each side of the front to add another lace repeat. That would make the neckline a little flatter across the very top. As is in my cardigan, the neckline is a little V-necky, but not really- it's sort of an odd shape. Casting on more stitches would make it a little more scoop necky.

Instead of the curved lower hem, I just did a couple inches of 2x2 ribbing.

Collar: I picked up about 2 stitches for every 3 rows along the neckline, then one stitch in every cast-on stitch. Couple of rows of 2x2 ribbing, done.

Button bands: Along the front edges, I picked up a multiple of 4 plus an extra 2 stitches, which worked out to be about 2 stitches for every 3 rows. I worked 2x2 ribbing, beginning and ending with 2 knit stitches. I did the button band first, then sewed the buttons on equally spaced, then I used the button locations to knit buttonholes on the buttonhole band.

And lastly, I wanted to share two finishing tips that have really made my handknits look much less "homemade."

For way more professional looking bind offs in the round, I always use method #3 from this TECHkitter tutorial. It's great for sleeve cuffs, the bottom edge of a top-down sweater, etc.

I recently discovered this tip from Ysolda about preventing "ears" when binding off, and I've been using it every time. Much, much better edges on things like the collar of my cardigan.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Everett Henley Week!

Over the next couple months, Holla Knits is going to be running weekly features for individual patterns, and this week happens to be Everett Henley week! This was my very first sweater pattern, and it nearly killed me. Top-down, all-over lace, crazy, but awesome! I still love this pattern.

This week, the Everett Henley is 50% off.... so you can get this fantastic pattern for just $3. Your Starbucks probably cost more than that.

About two years ago, when we still lived in snowy Delaware, I started knitting a cardigan version of this sweater for myself, based on this sketch that I did. I'm embarrassed to say that I literally just finished it. Longest WIP ever.

Here's a progress shot. And my crazy face. 

And here's a shot when I realized that I would most definitely not have enough yarn. That's all the yarn I had left, and I hadn't even started the sleeves. I'm not totally sure what I was thinking when I started knitting. Surely it was obvious that I didn't have enough yarn. I can't remember though, because it was two years ago. Geesh.

Amazingly, someone on Ravelry had a ball of that yarn in the exact same dye lot, and she was willing to part with it. However, by the time the yarn arrived, I had already put this sweater in the time out bin, and I forgot all about it, until literally a week ago, when I realized that I would need to knit both sleeves in very little time. Well guess what. I did it. 

Despite having that extra ball of yarn from that wonderful Raveller, I still didn't have enough yarn to make the cardigan the way I really wanted. I wish it had an extra couple of inches of length in the body. I realize that I could have made 3/4 sleeves and had enough yarn for a longer body, but for whatever reason I decided that I really wanted long sleeves. Sacrifices. 

I'll be back on Thursday to talk about how, specifically, I modified this pattern into a cardigan. In the meantime, don't forget to get the pattern for half off!