I Love a Good Yarn

Yarns, stories, and sometimes stories about yarn


Knitting for the old and new year

Did any of you feel like this when rushing to finish up your holiday gift knitting? I managed to get all of mine done on time, though the Christmas 2016 project list was not that ambitious. I completed this Pittsburgh Steelers-style hat for my brother based on the shape of this Stephen West pattern and the color pattern of this aptly named “Go Steelers” hat. It came out pretty good, though I did end up with some visible ladders at the intersection of the double-pointed needles. I was careful to give a good firm tug as I passed from needle to needle, but I’m thinking I may have tugged too hard, leaving the stitches before and after that joining stitch a bit too lax. But, the hat was well-received, so I’m pleased overall.

The other gifts were four scarves in different colors for friends from Wales who were visiting over the holidays and had rarely encountered temperatures as cold as the ones we’ve been having in the Hudson Valley. The pattern was the simple yet very satisfying Easy Mistake Rib Scarf, which knitted up incredibly quickly using Cascade Yarns Pacific Chunky–I was able to finish one of them in a weekend when on the train to and from New York City. Unfortunately, there are no photos of them (and I’m hoping they’re firmly around their recipients’ necks now that these folks are traipsing around Niagara Falls!), but I will be using the leftovers of each color to make myself a scarf, which will always remind me of the lovely time spent with dear friends. I can highly recommend the pattern and the yarn, which knitted up well and provides some nice warmth due to the wool content, while still being easy to care for (wash and dry in the machine) because of the acrylic content.

Once the gift knitting was done, I dove into a long-awaited project for myself–the Bare Branches sweater.

bare branches sweater 2

I bought the yarn at the Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival back in 2015 and am thrilled to finally be getting around to working with it. It’s Sonoma by Briar Rose Fibers, a booth many who’ve visited Rhinebeck may be familiar with, as it’s always packed to the rafters with eager knitters. Though I’m not usually a fan of sweaters that need to be seamed in multiple spots (the back, two front panels, and sleeves are all done separately, while the hood is knit off the back and shoulders), this project looked too beautiful to pass up. It’s from Botanical Knits 2: Twelve More Inspired Designs To Knit And Love, which is well worth adding to your pattern book collection (along with the first book in the series, both by Alana Dakos, the talented woman behind the Never Not Knitting blog and podcast).

Started on Christmas Eve, the leafless tree motif seemed the perfect fit for the beginning of what promises to be a long, cold winter.

bare branches sweater

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Naknicromo day 16: Dream project?

This is an easy one – my dream project is to design my own piece of knitwear, preferably a sweater.

My experience knitting sweaters is still very limited. My first sweater was a cardigan, for which I didn’t check gauge, probably didn’t choose a yarn that was appropriate to the pattern, and which basically contained every beginner mistake possible. I wore it a few times, but it ended up in a batch of cast-offs donated to the Salvation Army.

Later projects met with much more success, such as my Hourglass Sweater from Last-Minute Knitted Gifts:


the Cable Luxe Tunic from Lion Brand:


the Helena child’s sweater from Knitty:


and, one of my favorites, a sweater for Sparky, my neighbor’s dog:


But neither of the sweaters I’ve made for myself are perfect. I made modifications to both patterns, but the fit still isn’t quite right. Now I’m working on my Swirl, which has been a great learning experience for a new sweater structure. I hope that, once I’ve successfully knitted a variety of sweater structures and constructions (yokes, raglan sleeves, top-down, Fair Isle, etc.), I’ll be able to take lessons learned from them, plus from books like Sweater Design in Plain English and Designing Knitwearand put them to good use to come up with a shape and fit that are just right for me.