Weekend Wool! Wool Weekend!

© gzucker

© gzucker

Its Rhinebeck Weekend already!! Will I see you there?

If so make sure you visit the Green Mountain Spinnery’s Booth, not only do they have the delicious new Weekend Wool there, they will have the samples from the Green Mountain Weekend e-book there as well, including my Lodestar mittens pictured above.

(Isn’t that a beautiful shot? Ms Gale Zucker does some amazing work. I’m so honored to have had her work her magic with my mittens.)

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Fun with color: Marl

 The colors I chose for my Moxie, Logwood + Bittersweet, are a perfect match for New England foliage, in fact its exactly the shades of  whats happening to the maple tree just outside my window right now. bittersweetlogwood

The brilliant orange Bittersweet is tempered just enough by the purple-y grey Logwood, proving that once again nothing does color the way nature does. The Swans Island Natural Colors Fingering weight yarn comes in 26 beautiful naturally dyed colors + the 2 undyed Pure Blends colors (wouldn’t you love to see those marl together?) and the possible combinations are inspiring. Some of my favorites:

Bittersweet + Beetrootbittersweet beetroot

Beetroot + Sky Bluebeetroot sky blue

Tarragon + Tealtarragonteal

Early Thyme + Oysterearly thymeoyster

Lupine + Bittersweetlupinebittersweet

Oyster + Indigooysterindigo

Logwood + Oysterlogwoodoyster

Lupine + Beetrootlupinebeetroot

And that is just playing mix and match with 10 shades. I didn’t even begin to imagine what happens when you combine 3 or 4 different colors and start to play with color blocking…

Moxie is knit in an easy going 5 stitches/1″ gauge, easily matched by most worsted or DK weight yarns. If the marl look is not your preference the Swans Island Natural Colors Merino Worsted comes in all the same shades as the fingering weight and knits at exactly the same gauge. I’m thinking there is nothing as timeless as a perfect navy sweater…

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Indigo

All photos in this post are © Swans Island

 

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Moxie!

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The Moxie Pullover is worked seamlessly from the top down in the round. The yoke is worked in a hybrid of ‘round’ yoke and raglan shaping with subtle neck shaping integrated into the yoke construction. The body and sleeves are separated and worked seamlessly to the cuff.

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The pullover shown uses 2 strands of Swans Island fingering weight/sock yarn held together throughout (more on that in the next post), substitute a heavy DK/Worsted weight yarn to get gauge using a single strand.

In homage to my friend Thea, I have a cocktail for this sweater, Moxie and Gin, aka the New Englander, also a song by the gone but not completely forgotten VT Bluegrass band Pine Island.

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Finished Measurements
34, 36, 37 ½, 39, 41, 42 ½, 45, 47 ¼, 49”

Materials
900 (975, 1050, 1125, 1200, 1300,1400, 1500, 1600) yards Worsted Weight yarn
or
1800 (1950, 2100, 2250, 2400, 2600, 2800, 3000, 3200) yards Fingering Weight yarn (yarn held double)

Shown here
Swans Island 100 %wool; 525yards/480m/100g skein color: Bittersweet and Logwood; 2 (2, 2, 2, 2, 3, 3, 3, 3) skeins each

Needles
Neck, hem and cuff:
US 4/3.25mm: 16” & 24” circular needles for body and sleeves. 4 or 5 double pointed (DPN) needles for sleeve cuff
Body and sleeves:
US 6/4mm: 16” & 24” circular needles for body, 4 or 5 DPN for sleeves

Notions required
Stitch marker(s), waste yarn for holders, tapestry needle

Gauge
20 sts x 28 rows= 4” in Stockinette stitch with larger needle with yarn held double

The pattern is available for purchase in the Savory Knitting Shop on Ravelry

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I had some really wonderful test knitter work this project and I can’t thank you ladies enough. The test in this case was not so much the construction or the sizing but of my ability to write a pattern for something I have not yet knit (AND WE DID IT!). This process proved to me that it is much harder to follow a pattern then it is to make one up and write it down after ;-p

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Sweater Season

The weather is changing here in the North East- in my little corner the leaves are turning orange and all the woolens are coming out.

Folded

This might surprise you but… I have a lot of sweaters. A LOT. You’re shocked right?

So many that I have to keep them in big rubber bins and after I’ve packed them up I sometimes forget about them. This is where you come in. Sometimes all it takes is a great project photo and suddenly I’m thinking “Ooo I want that…. WAIT I HAVE THAT!”

Today I’m wearing the Stonecutters Cardigan after seeing this beautiful sweater Threadpanda made (she also has a thing for the moody and atmospheric photos, I just love this, but if you want to actually see all her beautiful work click the link on her name)8254428343_aa31b38508_z

Some other recent rediscoveries:

Ewensberg5′s White Pine

Flokk’s and Viffla’s Acers

Georgievinsun’s Maxfield

And then there is JanuaryoneAwesome, amazing and possibly a little crazy Cara… Who knit not one but TWO Maxfields

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Plover Shawl

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Named for the little shore birds that scurry with invisible legs and fly together in cloud formation over the coastline of New England, this shawl is worked on the bias in a completely reversible rib and eyelet pattern- there is no right or wrong side.The Plover Shawl is asymmetrical and is what I call and one-and-all-size shawl, it can be worked to any size desired just cast on and go until you run out of yarn or follow the patterns prescribed number of repeats for approximately the same dimensions listed below.This lovely little shawl/scarf/wrap has been my traveling companion since early August, once the pattern is established the 6 row repeat is easily memorized and because this uses only 1 skein it became a perfect on-the-road project that fit nicely in my purse, in my beach bag, occasionally a sweatshirt pocket.IMG_8033Finished Measurements
72”x 60” x 45” after blocking
50” x 48” x 36” before blocking

Materials
Swans Island Pure Blends Fingering 85% wool, 15% alpaca; 525yards/480m/100g skein color: Seasmoke; 1 skein

Needles
24” US 4/3.5mm circular needle
Adjust needle to obtain gauge.

Gauge
20 sts x 24 rows= 4” in pattern before blocking
16 sts x 22 rows= 4” after blocking

This pattern is available for $5.00 in the Savory Knitting Shop on Ravelry

 

 

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A quick guide to sweater seaming

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End-to-end seams

End-to-end seams for when there is a sloping bind off.  These are best for patterns with a lot of textures, cables and some (but not always all) lace stitches

Grafting: creates a practically seamless join in the knitting that is flexible and nearly invisible. Its is not sturdy enough for a shoulder seam but is an excellent way to join knitting pieces end to end, like for neck bands.

3 Needle BO: This is really just the knitted BO but with 2 pieces of knitting worked together, it plays well with short row shaping, often the best choice for joining shoulders.

 Setting in Sleeves

 Start at the top and work down to the underarm: start with a perpendicular seam, then switch to mattress stitch

“Ease into place”: it means Stretching the cap, not the shoulder. This is an art not a science                

What if it still doesn’t fit? Add or subtract rows to cap shaping, usually after the initial decreases

 Side and arm seams

Mattress stitch is your best friend, its so easy and its practically invisible.

Pockets

Mattress stitch on the RS

Slip stitch on WS

Google any one of these techniques and you’ll find more examples and tutorials then you’ll ever need but sometimes a good reference book is all you need. June Hemmons Hiatt’s  The Principles of Knitting is the ultimate, but for a quick referenceMonste Stanley’s book the Reader’s Digest Knitter’s Handbook is my all time favorite, for all things related to seams, buttonholes, cast-ons and bind-offs… There are so many good references though if you have a favorite please share!

Seaming things together is one of those things that seems really intimidating when you’re new to it but once you ‘get’ it, its incredible how satisfying and EASY it really is.

 

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In defense of seams: 5 reasons to knit sweaters in pieces

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1. Portability

A sweater worked in pieces is easy to take with you, a sleeve is really not much bigger then a sock and its a lot less conspicuous then a big pile of sweater in your lap (and more comfortable in warmer weather)

2. Less to unravel

The argument I always hear for top down sweaters is, you can try it on, but if you knit the back of the sweater first you can audition pretty much everything about the fit of the garment and its only about 1/3 of the work, by the time you’ve knit that one piece you’ll be able to see if it fits, if you like it, if you want to keep knitting it… and its less work then if you knit a top down to the underarm or a bottom up to the waist. You can put the finished back piece onto a piece of clothing you love the fit off and see exactly what (if anything) you’d like to change, before you continue with the rest of the sweater.

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3. Easy to tailor

The sweater worked in pieces is easy to change. This is pretty much the premise of Amy Herzog’s Fit to Flatter, if you’re really interested in a lot of fine tuning of your hand knits, you should check out her book, but its really really easy, and all you need to do is create a schematic based on your own measurements and a good swatch and you have all the information you need to make every sweater fit exactly how you want it to.

4. Stronger and longer

A sweater worked in pieces and seamed together is more stable, that means that as the sweater gets worn and washed over and over it will hold its shape better. Yarns have a tendency to break in (like jeans and or shoes) and a little of that is OK but some yarns (super wash wool, cotton, alpaca, silk…) tend to keep breaking in … more… and more over time… I still mourn my most favorite pullover that fit like a glove when I made it, and fit my husband  like a glove 2 years later (I’m a 35-36″, he’s a 42-44″).

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5. Hand Dyed yarn

Hand dyed yarns all have a little but of pattern to them, even the most solid dyes still have a little variation and we like that, but if you’re making a garment the look of the fabric will be different on the body, the sleeves, and the yoke because the pattern created by the dye is determined by the length of the skein the dyer used and the rate that the knitting takes up yardage. A the number of stitches sleeve round is very different from the body round, hence the yardage is different. But a sleeve row is pretty similar to a sweater front and so the most uniform way to knit a hand dyed sweater is to work it in pieces (alternating skeins is a great idea too, in pieces or in the round…)

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Mary Anne’s Hat

mary anne

A hat for my friend Mary Anne. Dear Miss Mary Anne is knitting a hat a month to donate to a local charity that gives hats to patients going through chemotherapy… and she’s been going through the Savory Knitting catalog as she does it. By May (month 5) I was so moved I promised to make a hat in her honor and asked her to pick a color, and here it is! The yarn is Green Mountain Spinnery’s newest yarn, the delicious Weekend Wool, a perfect choice because the Spinnery is where I met Mary Anne and the color used for the sample is ‘Spruce’ because in Mary Anne’s own words:

Since it was an outgrowth of the Chemo project here’s my thought. I love the color of an Evergreen Tree…and to me it says standing strong and tall, enduring no matter what storms may come your way. Seems appropriate to me. A little luck of the Irish, and a little Christmas spirit all rolled in there, too.

I could not agree more. Here are the details-

Finished Measurements

20” around
8 1/2 (10 1/2)” long

Hat shown is 8 1/2”

Materials
Green Mountain Spinnery Weekend Wool
100 %wool; 140yards/128m/60g skein color: Spruce; 1 skein

Needles
16” US 5/3.75mm circular needle, for ribbing

16” US 7/4.5mm circular needle,

4 US 7/4.5 mm dpn

Notions required
Stitch marker(s), tapestry needle

Gauge

17 sts x 24 rows= 4” in pattern with larger needle

18 sts x 24 rows= 4” in stockinette stitch with larger needle

Available for purchase in the Savory Knitting Shop

AND if you’re still reading, I have a coupon code for you, a back-to-school end of summer sale, 20% off everything in the Savory Knitting shop, with the coupon code ‘savorsummer’ through August 25th (end of day)

 

xo

A

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Nashville or bust!

I’m off! To teach as SSK in Nashville TN. I will be checking email but maybe not able to answer a question as quickly as I’d like for the next few days.

To say thanks for your patience while I’m traveling, and just thanks in general, I’m running a little sale- 10% off all patterns in the Savory Knitting pattern store today through Sunday the 21st (end of day EST)- just enter the coupon code: SSK

 

 

 

 

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