Thursday, February 20, 2014

Musings on bunchy lace.

This past weekend, my parents flew out to visit. Naturally, they were supposed to fly out on the day we had the first Nor'easter of the season. I swear that I am cursed when it comes to air travel. Any time that I'm involved in a flight- either I'm flying or I bought the plane tickets for someone else to fly- something goes horribly awry. Last time I flew, out of four legs of flight, there and back, two legs were cancelled and the other two delayed, then the airline lost my bag for 36 hours. Super fun. But I digress. Despite a cancellation, my parents managed to get here on the only flight from Minneapolis to Philly that day. Piece of luck.

Anyway. When they were here, my mom was checking out the knitting basket that I keep next to the couch, like you do. First comment: "How many projects do you have in here? Sheesh!" Ok, legit. I have a lot. Second comment, as she's holding up my in-progress Everett Cardigan: "Is this for a child?" Uh... no, it's for me. That got me thinking about lace, and how it bunches, and how a beginning knitter would likely freak out about how tiny tiny an in-progress lace sweater looks. I don't really have a point here. Or point is, I've been working on my Everett Cardigan Mod. I'm getting closer. Here's a picture of my (giant) cat with the (tiny) unblocked sweater, just for reference.

(Right? It looks pretty small.)

I steam-blocked it on the needles, because my mom's comment made me nervous, even though I know it is the right size. See the difference? This picture cracks me up. It's also the only picture that I took where I don't look absolutely terrible. I think I need a haircut again.

(I may be deranged?)

It fits well, but in hind sight I perhaps should have made one size up on one size smaller needles. Or maybe not? Higher necked cardigans (as opposed to grandpa cardigans, shawl-collared cardigans, that kind of thing) should be closer-fitting, in my opinion. So it's probably all fine. The button bands will need to be about an inch wide, I think. Still debating buttons vs. snaps, or snaps sewn on under the buttons. The decisions involved in being a Knitter! It's tough, man.

I suspect I'm going to run out of yarn. I have no idea why I thought I could knit an adult sweater out of 600 yards. Well, I mean, I do know why I thought that: because I am a crazy pants. But that's not news. This amount of knitting is 2/3 of the yarn, minus the little 15 yard ball that's in my pocket, because I didn't want to hold it. Here's hoping that if (when) I run out, I can get another ball in a dye lot that's not too terribly different.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Modification Options for the Everett Henley

It's Everett Henley Week at Holla Knits! Be sure to snag the pattern for 50% off this week- that's just $3! Get it while it's hot, people.

This week, we're taking a closer look at the Everett and what you can do with it. Earlier this week, we went over some styling options for spring and winter, and today, we're tackling modifications. Hold on to your hats. 

The Everett Henley is a complicated sweater. It has several unique elements going on all at the same time, and that may not be your thing. That's ok! There are a ton of modification options you can use to make it your own. 

The way I see it, there are two main modifications that will totally change the look of the sweater: losing the Henley neckline, and changing the curved bottom hem to a straight, ribbed hem. These are both easy mods! 

If you'd like to create a crew neck sweater instead of a Henley, here's how:
You're following the charts for the left and right front. When you reach the row where you'd normally cast on 2 stitches to each front, then continue working back and forth until the placket is complete, instead cast on 8 stitches, and join to work in the round. The 8 stitches are a new lace repeat. Your front will have the same number of stitches and lace repeats as the Henley version front. Then just ignore any further instructions regarding the placket/button bands. When you knit the neckband, pick up one stitch from every cast on stitch of the back, sleeves, and front, and 2 out of 3 stitches in the neckline increase sections. Knit 5 rounds, then bind off in knit.

 (Crew neck AND straight hem. Modification city!)

To change the curved bottom hem to a straight hem: 
This one is easier than the neckline modification. Ignore all instructions about the curved hem and the i-cord. Simply work in the round in the lace pattern until the sweater is a few inches shorter than you'd like, then switch to a needle one size smaller and work k3, p1 ribbing for a few inches. Bind off using a stretchy bind off, like Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off.


A more serious modification is turning the pullover into a cardigan. (I am actually attempting this one for the HKKAL- that's the Holla Knits Knitalong, if you're not hip to the lingo of the knitting world.) 
Here's my plan:
I followed the charts for the fronts, including casting on 2 stitches to each front as called for in the pattern. I am going to ignore the instructions for the Henley placket and simply continue to work back and forth, with the two stockinette stitches at each side of my work. I'll ignore the curved hem instructions and work until the cardigan is about 2 inches shorter than I want, then I plan to knit k3, p1 rib for 2 inches on smaller needles. After that's done, I'm going to pick up stitches along each side and knit button bands, probably in stockinette (which will mean the edge will roll just a bit.) I think I will skip button holes and sew snaps under the buttons- I think that snaps hold better and pull less in close-fitting cardigans. Then I will pick up stitches as described in the pattern for my neckband. Easy (I hope), and a totally different look than the original design. 

Of course, you can always modify the length of the torso and the sleeve length. 

So, make the Everett Henley your own! That's the beauty of handknits- you can make whatever you want. And you should!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Everett Henley: Warmer Weather Styling

It's Everett Henley Week at Holla Knits! Be sure to snag the pattern for 50% off this week- that's just $3! You can't pass up a bargain like that, can you?

This week, we're taking a closer look at the Everett and what you can do with it. Yesterday was Winter styling, today is Spring styling, and in a few days, we'll talk modifications to the Everett. 

By far my favorite sleeve length for sweaters is three-quarter. I almost always push up long sleeves, but this way, they're already pushed up! It's also so much easier to layer a three-quarter sleeve over a button-down, because the sweater doesn't get in the way when you roll up the cuff. But I think that most importantly, I like three-quarter sleeves the most because that makes the sweater seasonally versatile.

This is an outfit I'm looking forward to wearing in the spring, or even next fall. The floral skirt is super cute with my Everett, and I've followed the age-old rule of top-layered-over-a-skirt: put a belt on it. The neutral high heels complete the look and make the outfit perfect for brunch or date night. Flats would be adorable, as well! 

This outfit works for spring because the three-quarter sleeves and open neckline mean you won't overheat in the sun, but you'll still be warm enough should the day turn chilly, as spring days are wont to do. The Everett is great for layering with skirt and dresses. How cute would it be over a button-down shirt dress? Or with a jean skirt? The possibilities are endless. 

(Yes, I'm cold. That's my cold face. But I can dream of spring, can't I? At least for a few minutes. Then I am too cold and we have to go back inside.)

Monday, February 10, 2014

Everett Henley: Winter Styling

It's Everett Henley Week at Holla Knits! Be sure to snag the pattern for 50% off this week- that's just $3! You can't pass up a bargain like that, can you?Answer: no you cannot.

This week, we're taking a closer look at the Everett and what you can do with it. Today is Winter styling, tomorrow will be Spring styling, and later this week, we'll go over some modification ideas. 

The Everett Henley has a lot going on- button placket, curved bottom hem, all-over lace- which can make it hard to style. You may think, “The sweater is so distinct that I have no idea how to style it!” I totally get it. I usually just wear mine with skinny jeans and tall boots. Easy, comfy, basic, right? There’s nothing wrong with that, but if you want to add some fashion, here’s a more kicked-up way to wear your Everett. I call it “I ride horses at my grandmother’s estate in New England.”

I don't know about your area, but we've been locked in the grips of the Polar Vortex for just about ever. I knitted my Everett with wool yarn, and while it is certainly warm, it's still lace, and that means wind can get through it. That's an easy fix for cold cold days- just layer it over a chambray button down. I think that old rule of not wearing white after Labor Day is silly, so throw on a pair of white jeans. I love wearing white pants in the winter- it feels both rebellious and classy. Add a pair of knee-high riding boots for trudging through the snow, a black peacoat, and a classy purse, and you've got that Polar Vortex beat, fashionably. 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

A modification of the Everett

A couple of weeks ago, during my nightly 3 to 4:30 am insomnia time, I was thinking about my Everett Henley, and how it might be neat as a cardigan. I have zero hand knitted cardigans. I don't know why, because I love wearing them. I seriously wear cardigans all the time. So, with the Holla Knits Knitalong happening now, I thought, eh, it's as good a time as any to knit an Everett cardigan.

I had this orchid yarn in my stash from a failed purple-and-orchid leopard print pullover. Yeah. Actually.

I've done one full repeat of the lace. I have approximately eleventy million markers in there. I forgot that this pattern is, well, tricksy. But lovely! Everyone should most definitely make one. 

I'm not sure that I'm going to work on this continuously, because I have a lot of other things to knit, but it feels good to get it started. Surely I can have it finished by April or so, when I imagine it will still be cool enough to need a cardigan.