a stitch in lime

stumbling into creativity


Summer Sweater KAL

A sweater? In the summer?

Well, in the summer it’ll be on the needles. The idea is it’ll be ready to wear by the fall, when the weather calls for it. And check out my yarn! I think it’s the perfect colour for fall. Reminds me of kicking my way through the crunchy, fallen leaves. Shown here are my five lovely skeins of Knit Picks’ Swish Tonal in Foliage (a colourway that’s now discontinued; thankfully I was able to catch it on sale on its way out). Dreamy.

And my pattern: the Ladies Classic Raglan Pullover by Jane Richmond. Looky here:

I’m planning to knit mine up with two inches of negative ease, so it’ll fit more snugly than the one shown above (which is knit with zero ease). What this means for me is knitting a size down from my actual measurements. But in the spirit of tweaking this sweater’s fit to be as close to exactly what I want as possible, I’m going to follow a tip I snagged from Jane herself and knit the body and sleeve lengths for my own (actual) size to accommodate my gangly arms and long torso. And guys? I even swatched properly (and blocked my swatch, I’m that serious) for this thing. I am the most on the ball I’ve ever been about getting the right fit. I’m not wasting my money and time on a garment like this only to end up with something that only fits ‘okay’ in the end. No no. Enough of that nonsense. This one will fit right and it will be glorious. Mantra.

I cast on the other day and have already made a bunch of progress! Thank you to CrazyBaby for going to bed pretty early the last couple of nights.

At that ‘all curled up’ stage. Hard to photograph, but you can get the idea.

And for the ‘KAL’ part: I’m knitting this as part of luvinthemommyhood‘s Summer Sweater Knit Along! I’m really looking forward to having this sweater on my needles over the summer and ending up with (hopefully, probably, LIKELY!) a wonderfully fitting and cozy sweater just in time for fall. And it’s orange! It’s orange. Eff yes! Orange sweater for me!

luvinthemommyhoodCome knit along with us!


Ah, baloney!

Abalone: (/ˈæbəln/) — I ate it when I was in China. It’s a delicacy. It… tasted like rubber, quite frankly. But I congratulated myself on being an adventurous eater and kept its beautiful shell as a keepsake. That’s my first story about abalone.

Here’s the second:

I know what you’re saying to yourself: “This doesn’t look like a marine gastropod mollusc!” And you’d be a very astute observer to say so. It’s a sweater.

The pattern for this sweater is called Abalone (by Beata Jezek). I love the idea of this pattern. I love the pictures from the pattern designer. I love the shape of it.

Except it kind of didn’t turn out quite right. I know, I know. It’s the worst when you knit an entire sweater and it isn’t what you hoped it would be. (Especially one that required, at one point, that I pick up over 300 stitches…)

Here’s my list of gripes:
– The math confused my poor (then-pregnant) brain. The designer offers stitch counts for a size small and then requires that you figure out your size based on your measurements combined with percentages of those stitch counts. It’s a free pattern, so I don’t feel like us pattern-readers are owed anything in terms of being spoon-fed the math, but still. This tripped me up more than I think was necessary. Or maybe pregnancy hormones + simple math = epic failure.

– It ended up a fair bit wider (across the back) than I was shooting for.

– Picking up stitches along the diagonal bottom ‘corners’ (where the increases were done) worked fine on one side, but had these strange sort of pock-marked holes every other stitch on the other side. I assume this is due to subtleties with how the increases were done (both were just M1 as opposed to mirrored decreases such as k2tog/ssk), meaning that the ‘holes’ through which the stitches were picked up were a bit different on one side.

– The i-cord bind-off looks great but is really time consuming, and mine ended up too tight, resulting in my curved bottom ‘corners’ rolling in or out instead of laying flat. Extreme blocking helped, but only so much. This kind of ruined the drape, and it was hard to tell that it was too tight while it was on the needles since the work was all bunched up on the circular needle.

– And one that’s entirely my fault: I knit it with undyed 100purewool, which, as lovely and soft as it is for 100% wool, ended up pilling like crazy almost instantly. I don’t think it was quite the right choice for this project. I’m still learning about how to match yarns to projects. And so we’ll call this a “learning experience,” I guess. (And a good impetus to buy a nice wool shaver. I got one for my birthday and I’m like a woman possessed, removing lint. I think I enjoy it a bit too much.)

But forget all those gripes. It wasn’t all that bad! It’s still definitely wearable, and is oh-so warm. Here are some more photos!

Behold curly corners! Ah, baloney.

A wise supervisor/mentor of mine used to say “today was a day for learning” when the day was a bust in all other respects. So this sweater is maybe the same. A project for learning!


Sweater weather

Evidently working my way through Jane Richmond‘s entire catalogue of patterns, here is my latest finished piece — the Oatmeal Pullover. I began my venture by trying my best to find the beautiful yarn called for in the pattern (Lion Brand’s Wool-Ease Chunky in Wheat) but had a couple mishaps. First, I accidentally bought the right colourway in the wrong weight (super bulky instead of regular bulky), then after realizing my mistake, upon returning to the store, realized they didn’t carry the bulky weight version at all. So I settled on this yarn (Bernat’s Softee Chunky Twists in Grey Ragg). The girl who rang me through was like “why are you exchanging this?  The first one you bought is soooo much better!”… Way to rub it in!

Onto the knitting part. I knit up a gauge swatch and was way, way (I mean way) off. Read up on Ravelry that most other knitters had had the same problem and gotten gauge with a larger needle. Realized I didn’t have the larger sized needle. So I raced to the local yarn store after work and bought the right size. Went to craft night to begin my project and quickly discovered that one of the screws on my new interchangeable Knit Picks needles was stripped (to the point where it wouldn’t even tighten at all, so I couldn’t even fake it for the one night). Returned to the local yarn store the next day to exchange the needle. They didn’t have another nickel-plated 8mm in stock, so I bought the wood ones (more expensive, less to my tastes, but oh well — desperation was starting to set in). Finally began knitting the neck ribbing, then dropped a stitch, got turned around and totally messed it up. Unripped all of it. Started over. This was not a good start.

But fear not, for once I started over and got going on the endless stockinette stitch of the body, I was off to the races. And what short races they were!  I finished the body in just a few days!  People online weren’t lying when they said this sweater just flies off the needles (ah, the joys of big needles and chunky yarn).  And I’m loving how it turned out!

Ta da!  I’m gonna wear this puppy to work tomorrow for sure. I’ll be so warm at my desk!

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Smushy baby sweater

Is the sweater smushy or is it for a smushy baby?  The answer is both. (Because all babies are smushy.)

The pattern is Manda Ruth, yet another of Jane Richmond‘s adorable designs. The yarn, pattern, and buttons for this project were all part of my lovely bridal shower gift from my girlfriends, and I felt so lucky to have them all picked out for me in advance. It’s such a treat just being able to grab something and get going, rather than have to trek to the yarn store for supplies before you can eve get started. I’m big on instant gratification, so grab-and-go knitting is right up my alley. Once again, huge thanks to my girlfriends for this gift! It really is the gift that keeps on giving!

This pattern was very straightforward once I got past the couple of stumbling blocks I had… almost all of which were ‘duh’ moments so I won’t yap about them here. I knit the pattern almost entirely as written, but I did modify the buttonholes. I tried doing them as written but they looked a mess and were way too small for the buttons I had for this project. So instead of working 2 rows of ribbing, then making the buttonholes over 2 rows and working another 3 rows in the rib, here’s what I did:

  • Worked 3 rows in rib
  • Decided that each buttonhole would require 3 sts bound off for them to fit through
  • Did the math to figure out how to evenly space 5 of them along the button band
  • Worked 5x the one-row buttonhole outlined here: http://knittingonthenet.com/learn/bh5.htm, working the sts in between in the 2×2 rib
  • Worked another 3 rows in rib

Another reason I changed them up was that the buttonhole instructions as written just did not make sense to me. I could not get the math to work out. Maybe it was an I’m-being-dense-at-math thing, but honestly the numbers just did not add up to the number of sts I had on my needles. I farted around with the damn things forever before giving up and doing them the way I knew how (as I outlined above).

So, this little sweater turned out great! Can’t wait to see how it fits on a wee one. I’ve showed it to a few people so far and they’ve pretty unanimously made some noises that essentially sound like “squeeeee!”, so I’ll take that as a good sign that it’s pretty damn cute. 🙂


In progress: Manda Ruth baby sweater

Continuing on my mission to knit everything Jane Richmond has ever designed (I’m moooostly kidding), I’m now endeavouring to knit this adorable seed stitch baby sweater called Manda Ruth!

This is what I’ve got so far, friends:

I’m busy finishing up the raglan increases (so what you see here is the neck and yoke, with the mushed up bits being roughly in shoulder country. Make sense?). Seed stitch (that’s knit one, purl one, repeat forever) is sloooow going, but the look is lovely and smushy and soft, so I’m sticking it out.

I also think this is a great colour that could work for a boy or a girl, and would bring out those deep blue eyes babies have. Lovely!