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.

before blocking

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

AFMÆLI SWEATER {KNIT-A-LONG} WEEK 3 & 4

I got a little behind during the third and fourth weeks of this knit-a-long but I just kept knitting! Here’s an update on the third, fourth & fifth parts which are the sleeves, yoke, and fishing (respectively). I was able to catch myself up and finish with time to spare! Kammebornia’s blog posts can be found here for POST 3POST 4 & POST 5.

Sleeves&Yoke

I tried both the body and the sleeves on to be sure that it was going to fit me. I try to do this instead of relying on the pattern solely because everyone’s body is different. I found that I needed some extra length to my sleeves so the pattern called for me to knit the sleeves until they were 18″ long, instead I knit until they were 21″ which gave me a little extra room as I like the cuffs to come right to my palms.

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Once I joined everything in the round I knew that the yoke would go fast. The colorwork portion is my favorite part (as I’ve mentioned numerous times before). Here’s a couple (poor quality) iPhone photos of my trying it on.

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I did not need to make any real adjustments to the yoke. I followed the charts provided in the pattern, there was only one mistake where I forgot to omit one row for my size but I really don’t feel it’s going to make a difference. I just loved watching all of this come together.

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I’ve always struggled with getting (big) projects done in a timely manner and I am really impressed that I was able to stay (mostly) focused and keep up with the rest of the group knitting this sweater!

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Can you spot another mistake in this photo? You probably can’t unless you’re following the chart along with my knitting… right in the center of the top row of flowers I added an extra white stitch – it was supposed to be purple. I contemplated using duplicate stitch to try to fix it but I decided against it. Knitting wouldn’t be knitting without a few minor mistakes. I think it’s what makes it unique; hand-knitting.

Yoke done

This is another iPhone photo of the yoke completed! I hesitated here as I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do for the neckline. The pattern called for 1 x 1 ribbing folded over and sewn back down to create a double-thick collar. Although I can tolerate some wool-skin contact with this being very rustic wool I didn’t think I wanted a bunch of fabric against my neck. I thought about possibly an i-cord edging…

finished sweater - unblocked

Which is ultimately what I decided on. I worked an i-cord bind off which really gives it a great polish and it won’t be scratchy on my neck. This photo is of the sweater un-blocked SO… into the bath it goes!

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finished sweater - wet

I can’t wait for this to finish drying so I can go out and get some proper photos with it. Can you imagine? I can! I picture myself posing with my beautiful horse with some pretty fall-colored leaves in the background. But until then I’ll say bye for now 🙂 Thank you for reading!

Love,
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AFMÆLI SWEATER {KNIT-A-LONG} WEEK 3 & 4

AFMÆLI SWEATER {KNIT-A-LONG} WEEK 2

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Here we are, second week of the Afmæli K-A-L. We’ve already picked out our colors and established the correct tension (gauge) so it’s time to cast on! You can find the host blog post for this week HERE. My first post is HERE. I choose to use the Old Norwegian cast on (a.k.a German Twisted cast on) since it is a sturdy cast on yet gives a decent amount of stretch for the ribbing.

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I casted on with US2’s and worked 1×1 rib for 10 rounds. Now for the fun part – color! I changed to by US5’s and began the colorwork portion, which for me was chart A. This is when I realized that I casted on with the wrong color. If following the pattern I should have cast on with white but I actually liked the grey for the ribbing so I left it. A happy mistake! Once the colorwork was done I ended up staying with US5’s for the body. In my last post I wrote that I had planned to use US4’s for the body but I feel my stitches are tight enough to keep up with the 5’s.

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Part 2 - Torso

I moved all of the stitches onto a longer cable and tried on my sweater and it’s perfect. So far so good, I’m really enjoying this knit. Next step – onto the sleeves!

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AFMÆLI SWEATER {KNIT-A-LONG} WEEK 2

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}

Afmæli Sweater {Knit-A-Long} Week 1

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I have long admired the knitted works of a woman who lives on the Swedish island of Gotland. I was first introduced a short time ago through instagram (I think) and I have since been a fan. She and her husband produce a monthly video blog together on their YouTube channel called Kammebornia and they have such charm and a warming invite to them. They truly live in a fairy tale land; the scenery is gorgeous, the architecture is lovely and the old ruins are breathtaking as well as the many beaches and woods combined. If you’ve never checked it out I highly recommend it as my favorite knitting podcast: Kammebornia YouTube. So what does that have to do with this Knit-A-Long? In conjunction with Järbo Garn, she is hosting this KAL of the Afmæli Sweater which is a pattern designed by Védís Jónsdóttir for Ìstex back in 2011 in honor of their 20th anniversary. I have been busy lately with my etsy shop that I haven’t had the time to do any personal knitting for myself so I took the month of August off from my knitting sales to concentrate on a few items for myself and my family.

Pia (of Kammebornia) is posting blog posts to introduce the next steps in this KAL. She has her first one up and I am patiently awating the second one to prompt the start of the knitting! You can check out that post HERE.

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Let’s talk about the yarn! I have never worked with lopi yarn before but have admired it for a long time. I knew eventually I wanted to knit myself a “lopapeysa” which is sweater made from yarn derived from their native sheeps’ wool. As a breed these Iceland sheep are very pure and their fiber is extremely rugged and cold-resistant thanks to the hundreds of years it has been exposed to sub-arctic temperatures! Another great characteristic of the Icelandic sweaters is of course the striking yoke patterns. Stranded colorwork is my favorite knitting technique so it goes without saying this sweater is a must knit for me – I jumped on this opportunity to finally make myself my very own lopapeysa. The lopi yarn that this pattern calls for is Ístex Léttlopi. It is considered aran weight and is available in many beautiful colors as well as the traditional natural colors of the sheep.

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I wanted to show you the photo of this sweater (photo is copyright ©istex.is). The yoke can be created in many different ways; I decided to create a sweater that is closest to the grey example.

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The colors that I choose are called light grey heather, rose heather, golden heather, and white. My plan is to make the body in the grey and to knit the floral designs in the contrasting color of white. I think I will alternate the rose heather and the golden heather as background colors behind the white flowers. Perhaps I will play around when I get to the yoke but for now this is my idea.

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Time to swatch!

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Afmaeli - Colors & Swatching

The pattern calls for size US7 (4.5mm) needles but I have loose tension so I always need to go down a couple needle sizes. I tried US5’s and after washing my little swatch it did grow slightly and I am getting about 16.5 to 17 sts per 4 inches. The gauge called for is 18 sts per 4 inches so I am off a little. Because I’m lazy I don’t feel like knitting another swatch so I plan to knit the body up in US4 needles, and change to US5 needles during the colorwork portions because I’m always tighter when knitting stranded.

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Couple tips if I may 🙂
1) If you’ll be knitting a project in the round you want to be sure you knit your swatch in the round too, otherwise your gauge will be off – trust me on that one. But, once again I’m lazy and I didn’t feel like casting on enough stitches to knit a swatch in the round. Instead, you can knit on DPNs and just carry the working yarn behind to bring it back to the right side. This way you’re always knitting every “row” and thus getting a more realistic “in the round” gauge. (Typically purl stitches are looser than knit stitches).
2) Need to wash your swatch but don’t want to waste any yarn by cutting it from the ball? No problem, just wash your little piece leaving it attached to the ball. Only soak your work and then pin it out to dry. This way once it’s dry and you’ve measured your gauge you can rip it back out to use for your actual project. Easy!

And with that I can wind up this post. The next schedule date in this KAL is August 10 which is the start of the body. Check back after that for blog post #2!

 

 

Afmæli Sweater {Knit-A-Long} Week 1

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}