Finished Object {Gretel Sweater}

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I don’t do winters very gracefully. Where we live in western NY it’s not only cold, most of the time we don’t even get to see the sun. I get so blue over the grey skies, frigid temps, and snowfall. Don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate the beauty of a fresh blanket of snow covering the landscape and the peacefulness of a quiet night, softened by the gentle falling of flakes on your face. However… I can only “appreciate” so much of this before I’m ready for warm weather, green grass and that glorious sunlight. I tend to go into hibernation during the cold months, only going outside if 100% necessary (like getting my daughter to school and going to work). But otherwise you’ll find me under a million blankets with a hot beverage in my hand and more often than not some knitting. My productivity really plummets. And this long introduction is just me trying to say, I stink at blogging (consistently) and these are my excuses for not writing in so long. HA!

So, rewinding back to April 2017 I casted off an adorable little pullover for my daughter. She wore it a couple of times and that was it because I was dissatisfied with the fit. Nothing is more discouraging that putting hours and hours of work into a project to not have it turn out how you wanted. I’m not a knitting perfectionist… I’m okay with a small mistake here or two. I believe that it wouldn’t be handmade if there weren’t a few hiccups here and there but for something that doesn’t fit, this has to be remedied. So, I posted my FO photos on a thread in ravelry and expressed my concern to the group. One of the lovely ladies came up with an idea and I thought it was great, and it could possibly work for my problem. – – Insert a years worth of other knitting here – – and we’re in March of 2018 and I’m ready to tackle this sweater surgery FINALLY. So, stick with me and I’ll show you what went wrong and how I fixed it. But first…

The Details

This is a pattern by Nadia Crétin-Léchenne of NCL Knits in Switzerland. The name is “Gretel” and you can find it on ravelry here. It is a children’s pullover worked in sport-weight yarn. I choose a b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l colorway from one of my favorite indie dyers, Jackie Vlcek of Luna Grey Fiber Arts. Her yarns are always top of the list for me when I have a large project because they are so luxurious and beautifully soft. The base I used is called Nova Sport which is a non-superwash merino wool and the colorway is “hydrangea.” Go visit her here, you really won’t be disappointed.

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I love the finished look of this sweater with the drop shoulders and straight sleeves. The little pattern on the front is so darling. Construction was very easy as well, I had no issues at all with how the pattern was written. Back when I started this sweater I choose to make the size 4. Because it took me so long to fix it (a year) unfortunately she won’t get much use out of it. So we will wear the heck out of it this spring.

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So, what went wrong? This sweater’s construction is bottom up. So after you cast on, you work upwards to the armhole shaping, work the front and back panels, join the shoulders, and finally pick up stitches for the sleeves. One disadvantage (for me anyway) for working bottom up, is if you don’t get the length right prior to the armhole shaping, you’re out of luck. I prefer to work top down so the piece can be tried on periodically, and the length can be knitting to whatever you want. So I had a sweater that was pretty short on her. As long as she didn’t raise her arms (or move) it looked alright. Here’s a photo of how the sweater looked the first time I casted off…

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In the bottom right photo, take note of how the bottom edge is straight across. If you look at the whole sweater you can tell by it’s proportions that it is a little short. So, what’s a girl to do? Stash the sweater away for a year until I’m mentally prepared to fix it. OK.

So the really cool idea that the fellow knitter (from the forum) had was to rip out the bottom ribbing, pick the stitches back up, and work in the opposite direction until I had the length I wanted. But what to do about that front texture part… I couldn’t duplicate it working in the other direction. So, then she said to work short rows in the back to create length behind. Brilliant! So in short, this is what I did. But, don’t you know that you can’t simply unravel knitting starting at the bottom?! Oy vey. You have to painstakingly CUT every stitch or every other stitch directly above (or below depending on how you’re looking at it) the stitch you’re picking up, and pick out the yarn. Yup. Thank goodness this was only a child’s size 4! I have a video clip of me doing this but I am unable to upload it. Maybe you can access it by this link: https://www.instagram.com/p/BghcFToH5DU/?taken-by=rdpknits

After I had my stitches on, I choose a spot and went to work. I used German short rows along the sides and back (I think I did 8 total) and followed along with this cool tutorial to complete it.

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Here’s photos of it before blocking. You can see where my short rows added about 1.5″ to the length at the back and I also made the ribbing longer than before too.

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And here it is still wet, not even noticeable! I was slightly worried that the color wouldn’t match because this yarn is slightly tonal but it looks great. I am so pleased with the outcome of this sweater surgery.

My daughter was wearing it the day after it dried, and for whatever reason was playing with SILLY PUDDY……. need I say more?! I was a little distraught to see it caked in between the beautiful stitches. But, it was glue and water based so I let it dry, scraped some of it off and then soaked the area for a half hour. We were lucky because it came right out.

Anyway… if you’re still with me kudos to you! This was a long post but I wanted to give the details of how I completed the fix. So since I am obviously longing for summer weather, I’ll end with a few photos of my daughter wearing it last spring.

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Finished Object {Gretel Sweater}

AFMÆLI SWEATER {KNIT-A-LONG} Finished Object

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It’s all finished! It took a couple days to dry but it’s finally done. I really enjoyed being a part of this knit-a-long! If you’re interested in knitting this sweater, you should check out Pia Kammeborn’s blog (and my previous posts on this sweater). At the bottom of her posts it is translated in English. Her first post for this KAL can be found HERE. I explained a lot of details in my other posts about this sweater so I won’t bore you with them all today… today is just for all the pretty pictures!

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AFMÆLI SWEATER {KNIT-A-LONG} Finished Object

Finished Object {Shine Mittens}

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I’ve made my fair share of stranded mittens over the last few years but none as beautiful as these. These mittens just shout “Caryn” and I will be proud to wear them this coming winter. If you know me, you know that stranded knitting is my favorite style. It keeps my mind busy and from wandering. I especially love working the intricate designs of Latvian Mittens as they really hold my attention with the many colors you have to strand with. My first pair of Latvian mittens I had made for my mother for Christmas 2015 and I also have made a couple pair of Norwegian mittens (Selbuvotter), plain mittens, fair isle mittens, and cable mittens but my newest pair, the Shine Mittens are most definitely my favorite thus far.

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The Details

The pattern for these is called “Shine Mittens” and it’s written by Pia Kammeborn. It can be found on ravelry HERE. I fell in love with them and although it wasn’t a plan of mine to make myself a pair of mittens it just sort of happened. The yarn I choose is Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Sport. I have made a few other pair of stranded mittens with this yarn and have been very pleased with the results. The color inspiration came from another knitter and I tweeked it a little so it was more me. The original pattern calls for just two colors but I think these 4 shades really bring my mittens to life. The colors I used are “sagebrush,” “saffron,” “tumeric” and “white.”

I obtained correct gauge with size US 0 (2.0mm)  needles and did not make any adjustments or modifications to the mittens. The pattern was well thought out and well-written; very easy to follow and understand.

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The cuffs are adorned with pretty flowers and striking latvian braids. The sides really attract the eye and are just as pretty. The stranded pattern was easy to memorize which was great for taking these mittens on the go.

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I also opted to add the braids at the bottom of the cuffs for added interest and for something to hang the mittens by to dry since I’m sure there will be a lot of snowmen made with these!

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Finished Object {Shine Mittens}

FINISHED OBJECT {Pearla Sweater}

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I made this sweater a couple months before the pixie bonnet that I have shared in a previous post but it’s a favorite of mine so I felt it deserved it’s own post! I finished it December 2016. This is the second pullover I’ve made for my little girl and after much trial and error in the beginning, the end results was perfect. This piece is called the “Perla Sweater” and it’s designed by Alejandra Graterol. You can find this patter for sale on ravelry HERE. You can also find her on instagram as kurokiknitting.

The Details

The yarn I choose was Quince & Co. Chickadee in the colorway “sorbet.” This was the first time knitting with Chickadee and I must say I’m impressed. The face that it’s 100% American wool is also really apealling to me. (I liked it so much I am currently in the process of working on a bonnet collection made solely in this yarn). According to my project notes, I used about 162 grams of yarn which was just over 3 skeins.

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The sweater is worked top-down and it utilizes the tubular cast on. I love the finished look that this gives. The first time I made this it was very wide and was going to be too large on my daughter to even make it work. I ended up ripping it out and starting over and although I didn’t make clear notes as to what I did differently, I think I went down one size. I have learned one thing with this project and that’s that when knitting in this type of brioche stitch, it is much looser/stretch than regular ole stockinette stitch. But second time’s the charm. The designer even noticed my project notes stating I had issues and she reached out to me to see if she could help in any way!

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The raglan increases are so lovely and this textured stitch is really quite squishy and comfortable. My daughter loves to wear it.

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Just the other day we had an exceptionally cool day (in July) so I grabbed this sweater off the shelf and my camera too and we headed outside for a mini photo shoot. I was so happy to see that it still fit and I am hopeful that she will be able to wear it this winter, giving her two seasons out of it. Yippee!

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I know she’s mine but she’s just the cutest!

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FINISHED OBJECT {Pearla Sweater}

Finished Object {Sweet Pixie Bonnet}

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This bonnet is just as it says in the title, SWEET. I am most inspired by my daughter when it comes to knitting. I’ve made her a number of things but mostly hats. She didn’t really need another one but I couldn’t resist anymore, the urge to cast on was too great. I wanted to make her a pixie-style bonnet and I think that older toddlers / young children look so adorable in bonnets. I started a different bonnet and got more than half way but just didn’t like it. I couldn’t get on board so I riiiiiped it out and went straight to buy this pattern (I had had my eye on it for a bit). It is called “Sweet Pixie Bonnet” and it’s designed by Ainur Berkimbayeva. (You can find the pattern on ravelry here). She is also on instagram as MamasTeddyBear.

The Details

The yarn I used is DROPS Flora. It is a fingering weight wool and alpaca blend yarn and this was my first time working with it. I pretty much fell in love with it! The pattern calls for sport weight yarn so I held it double and worked with an appropriate needle which was a US3 for me. The gauge I got was slightly larger than what the design calls for: 19sts & 34 rows = 4″ so, I knit the 2 year old option in hopes to get a larger bonnet, to fit my 4 year old daughter. I worked the pattern without any modifications.

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A favorite thing about this bonnet are the ties and tassels. I have used twisted cords in the past but never made a tassel. The night before I bought this pattern the designer did a live video tutorial on instagram of how she makes them and it was extremely helpful to me. These went off without a hitch and are such a perfect way to finish this bonnet.

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So how about some shots of it on?

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I can’t handle her cuteness.

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While I’m at it, I will also mention that the adorable owl cardigan she’s wearing in these pictures was something I made for her in 2014 when she was 2. The pattern info is “Baby Owl Yoke Cardigan by Abby Belnap. (Find it on ravelry here). It was big on her at the time so she’s been able to wear it for a few seasons. Finally this year the sleeves are starting to creep up past her wrists and I haven’t yet decided if I rip out the cuffs and make the sleeves longer or what. I totally could, as this isn’t tight around her waist and it’s long enough to cover her butt. I’ll save that for a rainy day.

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Finished Object {Sweet Pixie Bonnet}

Finished Object {The Kachina Bag}

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One of my plans for this blog is to share completed projects as I finish them. I love to look at FO’s (finished objects) that others have done and read about any modifications they made so I thought I’d like to do the same. And if I can help someone out along the way then that’s great! The very first FO I’ll be sharing here is my “Kachina Bag” by Diana Troldahl. (This pattern is available on ravelry here).

Many Christmases ago my mom & dad got me a NY Giants handbag. I loved that purse and used it until it fell apart, literally. When one of the handles fell off it was time to get a new purse. I thought about going out and buying one but frankly I didn’t want to spend the money. I took to searching ravelry (as I often do) and found this bag. I didn’t want anything too big or too fancy. Maybe something with a long strap so I could wear it crosswise if I wanted. One of my favorite knitting techniques is stranded colorwork so this bag was especially perfect. I never have felted anything before so I was excited to give this a try.

The Details

I used the yarn recommended in the pattern which was Knit Picks Wool of the Andes worsted. I am a big Knit Picks fan so I wasn’t a stranger to this yarn. I had green in my stash so just needed to order the other colors. The colors I choose were A: Everglade Heather (green), B: Fjord Heather (light blue) C: Gosling (grey), & D: Midnight Heather (dark blue). I used US 10 needles and casted on 10/1/15 and bound off 1/19/16.  I did not made any modifications to the purse except I opted for a single button hole in the center of the front flap. The other option I picked was a knitted strap which was the longest length suggested in the pattern. I actually ran out of the midnight heather halfway through the strap but luckily I had some sport weight WOTA in the same colorway and you can’t even notice that there’s a weight difference since it was felted.

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Felting Process

Speaking of felting, I was worried it would be unsuccessful because we have a front load HE washing machine. I’ve heard it can be tricky and they don’t work as well as the old fashion agitating machines. I did a little bit of research on the web and decided to just wing it. With the purse, I added two pairs of jeans and three large towels to help with the agitation. The settings I used were a normal cycle, hottest water, max fill and added a squirt of “Soak” wool wash to the detergent dispenser. I pulled the purse out and it was perfect! Even the strap was fully felted and didn’t need any hand-felting. Matter of fact, the strap had folded over on itself in a few places and felted together. I had to use scissors to carefully split the strap and pull it apart from itself. I stuffed a rolled up towel inside and let it dry for 24 hours. Found the perfect button at JoAnn Fabric and ta-daa! A pretty purse 🙂

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A shot of the backside. Pretty simple. And here are some cell phone snaps of the bag before felting.

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There you have it! The Kachina Bag! There are a few projects that are favorites of mine. Although they’ve been done for a while I think I’ll be sharing them just because I love them so much, so keep an eye out 😉

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Finished Object {The Kachina Bag}