Wednesday, October 01, 2014

A Pair and A Spare ~ A Mitten Story

Hi, Knitters,
I started knitting a pair of mittens a couple of weeks ago for TC's swim sister for the high school swim season. Every year I have knit a pair of mittens for both of my daughters' swim sisters. I have done all sorts of mittens with different yarns ranging from a worsted weight to a bulky weight to a super bulky weight. This year I was digging around in my stash to see what I could find for a fun pair to give away to TC's sister. I stumbled upon some skeins of Noro Kureyon that had been sitting around for many, many years.

The pair I whipped up for the swim sister (in the photo above) were knit with two skeins of Noro Kureyon in the same colorway and just knit straight through without worrying about the color changes. They turned out so adorable and cheerful. The mittens are mismatched in a charming way. TC told me that her swim sister just loved the mittens so much. That made me feel good.

I used my Waiting for Winter mitten pattern. I have this pattern completely memorized, all three sizes in the pattern, and I love that I can just sit down with my worsted weight wool and knit a pair of mittens from memory in no time at all. I love this pattern that I have refined for years and years. It is so simple and quick. The Waiting for Winter mitten pattern is written for worsted weight yarn knit at 5 stitches per inch gauge.

Click here for the Waiting for Winter pattern! The pattern comes in three sizes to fit: large child/small women, medium women, and large women. The pattern is easily sized up or down by using different gauge yarn or following the easy number trends in the pattern to expand the sizes.

I knit the middle size, or the medium, in the pattern which fits an average-size woman's hand. Lengths can always be varied for the cuff, thumb and hand. One medium mitten with a 3-inch ribbed cuff, 1-inch of the hand worked before the thumb gusset, and a 4-inch hand before the decreases at the top of the mitten, weighs in at 30 grams. The Noro Kureyon comes in 50 gram balls. So I know that I need 2 skeins to make a pair of mittens in Kureyon. 

If you knit the Kureyon straight through you will get mismatched mittens, which I love! They go together but don't match perfectly. I think this is super cute for woolly winter mittens.

Now the Knitting Pipeline Maine Retreat was hosting a mitten-along as a group charity donation to the Maine Mitten Project. Click here to find out more about the Maine Mitten Project! I can't remember how much I had completed on the first mitten or the second mitten before I got to the retreat but I finished the pair while at the retreat. This was a great retreat knitting project as it is fun, super simple and I have the pattern memorized. I would knit mittens again at a retreat.

This time I used the Noro Kureyon in a different way. I took two contrasting balls of the Kureyon and striped them. You can see this in the mittens (in the photo above) I donated along with the other attendees' mittens above. The mittens definitely were a pair but they are mismatched in the cutest of ways.

The mitten donation was incredible at the retreat. I think there were about 50 attendees at the retreat. I think in the end there were around 70 pairs of mittens donated to the Maine Mitten Project. What a huge success.  The attendees took the donation very seriously. Paula, the host, had a mitten share time where everyone got to stand up and share the pair of mittens they made to donate. I loved this time of sharing. I had so much fun looking at all of the different styles and sizes and yarns. It was really inspiring. Sometimes the simplest plain pair of mittens can capture your heart. There is something sweet and good about a pair of wool handknit mittens. It brings you back to childhood somehow. 

Something funny happened while I was at the retreat. My son, who is in business school at the UW-Madison, called me asking for help with a class project he was assigned. The class is about entrepreneur small businesses and he was put in a group of students to come up with a clever idea. His group wanted to do something with winter-wear knit accessories. That's why he called me to see if I had any ideas. It was funny that I happened to be knitting mittens right at that time.

We started talking about various ideas about mittens. His group thought about a pocket to put a bus pass or ID card in on the top of the mitten hand but then I thought you couldn't bend your hand which would be annoying. I think this has been done before, too. Then my son and I started talking about how you always lose one mitten and then the mitten that's left is useless.

I started thinking about what if you had a pair of mismatched mittens, like the Kureyon mittens I had been working on, but then you continued adding a third mitten into the set so that if you lose one you have a spare. So we called it, A Pair and A Spare! The perfect set of mix and match mittens was born.

My son's group loved the idea. My son shared a photo of the stripey mittens to the group and several girls in his group said they would wear these mittens every day! The idea was met with huge approval. I quickly knit up a sample set for my son to bring and share with the group. I don't know how the story ends with the business class project but I know that I love this set of 3 mix and match mittens.

Aren't they squishy and inviting?

So here's how you make these stripey mittens and you don't have to make three mittens but you might want to after I tell you about them.

Remember that each of these medium-size mittens from the Waiting for Winter pattern weighs in at 30 grams. With contrasting colorways of Noro Kureyon and two balls, 50 grams each, you have 100 grams of worsted weight wool. You can get 3 mittens with 100 grams or 2 balls of Noro and you hardly have any leftover yarn at the end (about 10 grams). It is the perfect project and yarn use. Kureyon has long color repeats that sort of fade into the next color as you go along. This makes the striping entertaining to knit and the outcome is stunningly beautiful.

For the mittens I followed the Waiting for Winter pattern to a tee. I did 2 round stripes with alternating balls of Kureyon.  So knit 2 rounds with one ball, and then 2 rounds with the other ball. I carried the yarn up on the inside of the mitten being careful not to pull too tight as I worked. 

When I started the decrease rounds at the top I only used one ball of yarn. Then when I went back to finish up the thumb I continued using the same ball I used at the top of the mitten for the decrease rounds. That's it! It is so easy and you end up with this set of 3 mittens that are mix and match plus you have a spare mitten. The mittens are so inviting and sweet looking. Noro Kureyon is one of the great yarns of all times in my opinion.

I think this is the best gift around. It is a fun and fast knit, the Kureyon is $8.95 a ball at WEBS, so your gift is under $20. You can have so much fun picking out contrasting colorways of the Kureyon and you really can't go wrong, the crazier the colors, the better for the mitten sets. After my son is done with the mittens for his class project I will definitely be gifting these for the upcoming holidays. 

Now if you think about it, if you have 4 balls of Noro Kureyon (200 grams) and did the stripey mittens like this you would end up with 6 mittens or 3 pairs of mittens that are mix and match. This is not a bad idea either. What a great way to use up Noro and have some quick gifts ready to go. I'm thinking about knitting these up for everyone on my list this coming holiday season.

Let me know if you try the A Pair and A Spare idea or if you just try the stripey Noro Kureyon mittens. Also, doesn't everyone have a few balls of Noro Kureyon in their stash just waiting to be used somehow? I know I do. I have 3 balls left that I plan to knit up into Waiting for Winter mittens in this stripey-style.

Fall is really getting going around here. The fall foliage is becoming breathtaking. I am soaking it all in as fall is truly my favorite season of the year.

xo ~ susan
p.s. The knitting project bag in the first photo is from LoveSockWool on Etsy!

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Loopy Ewe Fall Fling 2014

Hi, Knitters,
It's time to get back at this blog writing thing with gusto. I want to start by mentioning two longtime friends of mine. I have kept in touch with both of these women for years and have worked with both off and on for years in the knitting industry.  And both of my friends have started new businesses which I think will be enormous hits.

First is Merri Fromm who is a talented knitter, writer, designer, tech editor and graphic design artist. Merri has left her office job recently and is starting a new design brand and website called Tangletown Knits. This is a new venture but she already has a few adorable designs up and available for purchase. Merri is a good one to follow and I can't wait to see what she continues to come up with over the months to come.

Secondly, my buddy Tanis Gray, who you might know as a Vogue Knitting magazine editor, Knitting Daily TV show contributor, fantastic knitting teacher, talented knitwear designer (she has so many books and magazine covers and designs), sewer, and all-around good person, has just opened one of the sweetest Etsy shops around selling her sewn project bags. I will be ordering again and again from her shop because these are my most favorite type of project bags. They are soft, roomy and they have the fabric drawstrings for closure which is such a great added feature. You will want to check out Tanis' Etsy shop and stock up for yourself and for your knitting friends! The bags are the perfect gift price point. 

I better get my order in before you all jump over there and sell her out. Everything Tanis does is top-notch perfection and I can say that with complete confidence. The other thing is that for someone who worked at Martha Stewart and Vogue Knitting and is currently working for several yarn companies in various roles, Tanis is the most honest, down-to-earth soul around. She has had and continues to have great successes and she is humble, generous and kind and really fun and funny. You would all just love her in person. She is one of the hardest working talents in our industry.

Click here for TanisKnits website! She has a fantastic blog, too.

Now on to today's topic at hand....

I have been traveling to teach over the past couple of weeks and I'd like to share a bit about these events with you.  

First in terms of events, about two weeks ago I went to Fort Collins, Colorado to teach at The Loopy Ewe's Fall Fling. The event is now alternating between a Fall Fling and a Spring Fling which I think is a genius idea. Sheri Berger, the owner and host of the event, is one of the most organized people around. She has every detail planned out and the event runs like clockwork. 

Click here for The Loopy Ewe website. (Get on their newsletter list to keep up with the ever-changing and exciting yarn updates! I look forward to this email every time.)

The 150 or so attendees get to take classes. The teachers (see the photo above) were from left to right, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (she also spoke twice while in Colorado, once at the event and once before the event for the community of non-attendees), Ann Budd, me, and Marly Bird. It was a great group, with lots of fun and laughs included. 

I taught four workshops, two sessions of Little Dragon, and two sessions of Fair Isle Fingerless Mitts. Both topics went well. I especially enjoyed seeing how many students continued on with their Little Dragon knitting after the class. Many finished or almost finished the dragon project while at the retreat. That was fun to see.

I showed my classes that the Little Dragon can cover his eyes by tucking his nose under his arms so a lot of the photos have the dragons being bashful. It's very sweet.

Here are a few of the finished Little Dragons:

The following photos are of Marion Hooks Little Dragon. She messaged me to share her completed Little Dragon a couple of days ago. I thought her dragon has so much expression and personality that you might enjoy seeing it as much as I did.

photo by MarionHooks

photo by MarionHooks

Photo by MarionHooks

Sheri schedules trips to her shop, The Loopy Ewe, for all of the retreat attendees. The Loopy Ewe is fabulous. There are rows and rows of expertly cultivated yarns. Many staple yarns, including their own brand of sock yarn, and also many indie dyers that you don't often see in person. It is a treat to be at this calm, large and well-organized yarn shop. I just love it there. Plus, there is now an enormous well-stocked fabric section at the back.

The photo above is of the talented spinner/knitter/weaver/chain mail artist Lynn Zimmerman, the shop manager (I think this is right). She's standing in the first aisle of yarn at The Loopy Ewe and she's wearing a newly finished top that looks so good on her. I can't remember the name of the pattern..... okay, here I found it:

Stephanie brought the house down on the first night with her informative speech and super funny Q & A session! What a treat. She is such a talented and impressive speaker. I soaked in every minute.

This table of goodness is from my first Fair Isle Mitt workshop! Aren't they great?

This table is from my second session of the Fair Isle Mitts workshop! Later that night at the closing ceremony I saw a few finished mitts and the class was earlier that day. Pretty impressive!

Every year there is a group photo. What a talented and fun group of knitters. Do you see me there? I'm in the front row, sort of in the center off the to right a bit. Stephanie is two down to the right from me. 

I didn't get a huge amount of knitting done at the retreat but here is a little of what I accomplished. I started the sock on the left, String Theory sock yarn that I purchased at The Loopy Ewe the first day of the retreat. It is a dream to work with and I did a (slip1, knit1) repeat for 1 round every time the color changed. I have now finished this sock and started the second one. The sock on the right is the second sock in The Lemonade Shop yarn called Rainbow Stripes (I think she is taking custom orders now as the yarn is sold out, but check out the stitch markers!). I have now finished both Rainbow Stripes socks and have a new pair for the sock drawer.

Thank you to Sheri for organizing such a successful and well-run event! And thanks for having me back! I will come and teach for you anytime.

Okay, next I'll be back with a look at the Knitting Pipeline Maine Retreat, which was a completely different experience. These two retreats, both wonderful, could not be any more different. That's what makes my job so much fun, every day is so different.

xo ~ susan
p.s. More sweater talk coming up, too!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Calligraphy: Favorite Sweater #4 ~ #projectsweaterchest

Hi, Knitters,
I'm back today to continue on with my Top 10 Favorite Sweaters. I am on #4 on the list. I am blogging about the top 10 sweaters in no particular order. 

To see me wearing all of my Top 10 Favorites I made a 5 minute video. Click here to view!

Today's featured cardigan is called Calligraphy by Hannah Fettig. I started knitting this several years ago and it languished for awhile. I think the longer length and all of the stockinette started to get to me so I put it down. Then toward the end of 2012 I decided to pick it back up again only with a new game plan. 

I had made it down to just beneath the armholes and I just couldn't stand the thought of all of that back and forth stockinette stitch. I decided to knit the body in the round and add steek stitches to the front. This worked like a dream. I finished my Calligraphy up in no time at all from that point on. The steek worked beautifully and it made the knitting much more enjoyable for me.

Yarn: Madelinetosh Tosh DK in the Thunderstorm colorway
Buttons: From The Sow's Ear
Needles: US size 6 Signature Needle Arts, 32-inch circulars
Size: I can't remember if I made it in the first or second size. The sizing offered in the pattern is so generous: 34 to 60-inch chest measurement. Wow!

Here are some links for the materials I used for this cardigan:
Click here for Nina's in Chicago (The shop from where I purchased the yarn.)
Click here for The Sow's Ear in Verona, Wisconsin (The shop from where I purchased the buttons.)

When I first finished Calligraphy and began wearing it I really felt like it was too long for me. The length bothered me. I actually put it away for a bit and didn't wear it. Then I don't know what changed my mind but I pulled it out and started wearing it a lot. Suddenly the length didn't bother me at all and I started to enjoy the longer style of the cardigan. I began to take it with me to wear on my teaching venues. It became my travel sweater. Now I see the length as an asset and I wouldn't change a thing.

Here's a little proof:

Spring Fling 2012! Teacher photo from The Loopy Ewe blog. Left to right: Ann Budd, JC Briar, me in my Calligraphy!, Wendy Johnson

Paula's Knitting Pipeline Retreat 2012. Photo taken by Paula's husband.

Notice our cardigans in the above photo. Paula is wearing the Acer cardigan by Amy Christoffers.

While at the retreat Paula and I switched cardigans. I loved this. Now I want to knit the Acer Cardigan for myself, I actually own the pattern and have yarn that would work. And I think I heard Paula say she is going to knit a Calligraphy for herself. It was fun to try on the finished Acer because rarely do you get the chance to do that before knitting something. Plus, Paula and I are exactly the same size so I could really tell that I would love the Acer cardigan. 

Now, after I got home from the Knitting Pipeline Retreat that spring, I decided that the Calligraphy needed only one more thing to make it perfect. Pockets! I had extra yarn leftover and I kept thinking about pockets every time I wore it.

I actually made a tutorial on how I added the patch pockets to my Calligraphy so if you are interested:

The pockets are a good and generous size for the cardigan and I have enjoyed them so much. The Calligraphy is a good one to wear buttoned up or open. It is so comfortable. The Tosh DK is a delight to knit with and to wash. I have washed the Calligraphy a bunch of times and it always comes out perfectly. It is super wash wool. I have washed it by hand and then dried it laying flat. When it is still a little bit damp (almost dry) I throw it in the dryer and it pops right back into shape and it becomes so soft and comfy.

Calligraphy is knit seamlessly from the top-down and it is incredibly simple. It is the quintessential Hannah Fettig sweater, simple/stylish/wearable/practical/casual! She nails it every single time.

You start at the long ribbed collar. Knit the raglan yoke, increase for the sleeves, put the sleeves on holders, knit the body, pick up the sleeves and knit on down, pick up and knit the wide button bands. This would be an excellent beginner level cardigan for sure. Only be aware that it is a lot of knitting and ribbing, but I like both of these things.

Well, tomorrow I am off to Kennebunk, Maine to teach at the Knitting Pipeline Maine Retreat! I can't wait. I have never been to Maine before and it should be fantastic. I will take lots of photos to share when I return.

By the way, Paula of the Knitting Pipeline has a new shawl design, Balsam Hollow, being released through Little Skein as a kit. I am super excited about it as the kit is inspired by Anne of Green Gables. More to come on this later but CLICK HERE and CLICK HERE to read about the new design by Paula for Little Skein. There is going to be an #annealong which sounds like it will be loads of fun.

Take care, Knitters. I'll see you back here soon!
xo ~ susan

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Come See Me!

Hi, Knitters,
Well, I have started my fall teaching line up and it is off with a bang! Last weekend I had the most wonderful time at The Loopy Ewe Fall Fling. That is such a well-run event, like clockwork. I had fantastic full classes, fun and talented students, and great teaching company.

Next, I am off to The Knitting Pipeline Maine Retreat and I can't wait. I am teaching two workshops and then I will get to actually retreat right along with the other attendees. That is a dream come true. We are going to be in Kennebunk, ME. I'll take lots of photos to share.

Then right after Maine I will be flying east again to teach at WEBS! I'm so excited about this (see the above photo). If you are in the Massachusetts area, please consider popping into one of my workshops. I am teaching a Fair Isle Hat Workshop and Sock Yarn Toy Knitting! These are my two most popular workshops wherever I go so I am glad I get the chance to teach these at WEBS.

Sock Yarn Bunny!

Little Dragon!

Fair Isle Hat!

Click here to find out more about my visit to WEBS, America's Yarn Store!

Or call 1-800-FOR-WEBS to get more information.

I would love to see you at WEBS. Let me know if you are going to be there!

You can also see me online through Craftsy.  I don't push the Craftsy selling on my blog but this is a great deal for all of you! They are having a competition with the instructors to see who can sell the most classes while Craftsy has this fantastic sale going on.

I have two Craftsy classes of which I am very proud. Everywhere I travel to teach I have students talk to me about my Craftsy classes and that makes me feel so good. I have the Not So Itty-Bitty Giraffe class and the Wee Ones class. The links to both of these classes are always on my blog sidebar. I would love to see you over on Craftsy in my classes!

For this sale, I get credit for ANY class you want to sign up for, not just my classes. I get credit if you use my Craftsy link which is right here:

Click here to browse all of the Craftsy classes for this amazing sale!

Thanks if you use the link! Thanks if you are coming to see me at WEBS! And most importantly, thanks in general for visiting my blog, subscribing and for coming out to see me wherever I might be!

I'll be back with more sweater talk next!
xo ~ susan
p.s. Right after WEBS I'll be teaching and speaking in Chicago at Vogue Knitting Live! Click here to register and find out more!! I'd love to see you in Chicago, too.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Oldies but Goodies Video #projectsweaterchest

Hi, Knitters,
Get ready to laugh as I take a trip down memory lane by trying on some of my oldest sweaters in this 5 minute video. If you can't see the video on the email update click right here to watch!

Some of these gems are over 25 years old at this point. I carefully selected the music by Natalie Merchant, Kind and Generous in particular, because I truly feel gratitude toward all of the sweater knitting experience that went into each of the garments. I learned so much during the time I knit these sweaters. No matter how dated and goofy they look now each one served a purpose and helped me improve as a knitter. Even now as I look back at the enormous amount of knitting that went into the oversized, gigantic look of this era, I remember them fondly even though I would never wear any of them today.

The most striking difference to today's sweater designs is how enormously WIDE the sweater style was and not even that long ago really. Some of the sweaters were like knitting two sweaters in one that you would make today. The sheer amount of fabric is somewhat amazing! I think the size really helped me get faster and better.

All of the sweaters in the video were seamed and knit flat in pieces (except the poncho, of course).

Here's a quick run-down on the 13 sweaters from what I can remember and in the same order as the video:

1. Fruit and Leaves sweater by Susan Duckworth: That is not the real name of the pattern. This sweater was knit using some unidentified Italian wool for the background and embroidery wool for the fruit and leaves. I purchased the wool at The Knitting Tree. The fruit was knit in using intarsia. I knit this sweater right after I got married 25 years ago and in my first year of teaching middle school. I brought it to school with me everyday and very occasionally I would get a few minutes at lunch to knit on it. I remember I had to learn a specific crochet edging for the collar. The fruit was supposed to cover the entire sweater front, back and sleeves. I got very burned out as you can see and put it only on the front but I think it's hilarious that I put one bunch of grapes on the center back. Why?

2. Rowan Magazine Flower sweater: I made this in Tahki Cotton Classic purchased from a long gone shop in Madison called Yarn It All. The owner suggested the Cotton Classic because of the color selection. This sweater is all worked in intarsia and I also had to learn a crochet border for this edging. The inside of the sweater is so messy. I had no idea what I was doing.

3. Rowan Denim People sweater: I was so crazy for everything Rowan and especially the denim yarn. I just loved this yarn so much. As you'll see in the video, I bound off the neck way too tight and could barely get it over my head without leaving a mark.

4. Donegal Tweed Acorn Sweater: I have no idea what the origin of this cardigan is or where I got the acorn buttons. This one is very wide and short and the color selection is off somehow. I think I duplicate stitched on the acorns and the button band is sewn closed I think so I didn't have to make buttonholes. The entire thing is pretty horrible.

5. Rowan Summer Tweed Collection - light blue with leather-laced front. Super cropped but a little more fitted than some of the others. I loved that Summer Tweed yarn a lot!

6. Gigantic Cabled Rowan Double-Knit Wool ~ This huge sweater took me forever to finish and the pattern is from a Rowan collection. I learned how to cable on this one. The yarn was held doubled throughout and I remember that the yarn would make my hands itch while I was knitting it. I cut the fingers off of some cheap little stretchy gloves to wear while I worked on it. The funny thing is after I washed it it didn't make me itch any longer. I still am known to throw this one on for a freezing cold winter day. It is like wearing an enormous wool blanket as you can imagine.

7. Gigantic Red Snowflake Intarsia Sweater: This sweater is simply hilarious. It is made out of Lopi yarn purchase so many years ago, decades ago, at the Wisconsin Craft Market when they had one tiny aisle of yarn in the back. I think I used the same Rowan pattern as the cabled sweater but included a snowflake chart from another sweater (how clever of me!).  This one never got much wear and for good reason. It's pretty ridiculous.

8. Cream Rowan Big Wool Poncho: There was a time when Rowan Big Wool also came in a version where fuzzy wool bits were included. The pattern is Rowan, too. Do you notice the trend of the turtle neck? A lot of my sweaters used to have turtle necks. I don't mind a turtle neck to this day but not usually in my sweaters.

9. Flag Sweater: Another Tahki Cotton Classic knit for which I can't remember the pattern information. I did used to wear this one. For this past 4th of July my son wore this all night at our family celebration. It was pretty funny and I enjoyed that.

10. Oh Houndstooth!! This is a Vogue Knitting pattern from one of the old magazines. I LOVED this sweater so much after I knit it. I learned chart reading and colorwork here. I was in graduate school working as a P.A. (program assistant) for the School of Education at the UW- Madison in the late 1980s. I remember clear as day wearing this to work along with the matching pencil skirt I knit as well. Yes, I said handknit matching houndstooth pencil skirt.  And yes, I did wear them both together at the same time...... and I don't have the skirt any longer, not sure what happened to it. I wish I still had it. The yarn is unknown but I remember that it had a chain construction and it is a surprisingly light weight garment.

11. Orange Rowan Cork Sweater with leather ties: Clearly Rowan enjoyed the leather tied Henley style sweater design for awhile. Not much to say about this one. It's really not too bad.

12. Noro Kureyon Ribbed Turtle Neck: Not much to say about this one either. This was very fitted, a little cropped and a pretty simple style. It's probably 8 to 10 years old at this point.

13. Colinette Point 5 Ribbed Turtle Neck Sweater: This is a pattern from Interweave from the early 2000s and the yarn is a thick and thin wool. I remember that the yarn was very expensive and I bought it with a discount from the yarn shop where I was working. It is again a little too short but other than that it's not too bad.

Well, there you have it! 13 Oldies from the sweater chest. I should somehow use them otherwise, get rid of them, store them elsewhere, etc. You can see that even after removing the 10 Favorites and 13 Oldies from the chest that it is still quite full.

There are many more handknits still sitting in the chest. It would be nice to have room in the sweater chest for new sweaters to come and that's my plan.

Jasmin from the Knitmore Girls and Leslie from The Knit Girllls and I chatted last week about #projectsweaterchest and we have some fun plans coming up. We are hoping to get a sweater knitting movement going where we all knit sweaters together and share and spread the joy! I hope you'll consider joining in. There isn't going to be a short timeline, in fact it is going to be quite a long time frame so there isn't any pressure. More to come on that soon.

I'll be back soon with more of the Top 10 Favorite sweater patterns.

If you want to check out the 5 minute video of me trying on my favorite current Top 10 Sweaters click right here!

xo ~ susan

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

#projectsweaterchest Favorite Sweater #3 Owls

Hi, Knitters,

All of the photos are taken from my own older posts about today's sweater.

Today is sweater favorite #3 for #projectsweaterchest! If you are just now joining me, I am cleaning out and organizing and hopefully adding to my big cedar chest where I keep all of my handknit sweaters. I have selected my top 10 current favorites. 

Now on to today's sweater! 

Needles: US 10.75 (Which I don't remember owning but I wrote in past posts that I used this size.)

I originally knit this as a pullover sweater. I knit Owls one size larger than I normally select. I made a 38-inch size when I usually select around a 36-inch size. Even with the up sizing this sweater was way too fitted for my liking. I had the correct gauge and was using the called-for yarn that the pattern suggests. 

If you look at the project page you will see in the photos that this is a very fitted bulky-weight sweater. I truly felt like a sausage when I put it on even after blocking. I was pretty disappointed.

The buttons for eyes ended up being only on one owl in the front and off to the side at first and then I moved the eye buttons to the back later. These are two vintage buttons a friend gave me from her mother's collection so they are very special buttons to me.

As you can see above, the waist shaping is all done at the back and it is a pretty severe waist shaping. 

If you choose to knit the Owls sweater you may want to consider both the size and the waist shaping. I have to say that I really don't like tight clothes so I may be more sensitive than others on the fit issue.

Well, this sweater was originally a clunker to me because it was so tight. I kept it in pullover form for a short while and never wore it or had any urge to wear it. I decided that the only chance the sweater had was if I steeked it down the front to make a cardigan. 

The decision was made without much thought, either the sweater sits unworn or I change it. I had no worries or hesitation about the steeking. I found the center front and since I hadn't planned on steeking I had to go right through the center of an owl. I wasn't sure how this was going to look in the end.

I used my sewing machine to zig zag stitch on either side of the center line before cutting. It was a very smooth and simple steeking process.

Here is the newly steeked cardigan without the button bands. 

It worked out so well! The center owl that was cut in half even looked fine and kind of disappeared after the button bands were added.

I actually had some leftover yarn to use for the button bands so that wasn't a problem. I quickly picked the edges up and knit the button bands. I planned out the buttonholes to fit 4 oval-shaped red buttons that I had in my stash. Red and gray go so well together.

Look how neat and tidy this steek turned out. It's perfection. The changing of this cardigan from a pullover to a cardigan took about a morning's worth of work. It was so worth it.

Here is the finished Owls cardigan. It is now one of my favorite handknit cardigans. If you prefer you could add buttons all the way down. The button bands gave the sweater a little more width and wiggle room on top and then by leaving it open at the bottom the fit is now perfect.

Here is the back view of Owls by Kate Davies. You can see that I moved the eye buttons to one owl in the back. I think it is so sweet looking.

I love the simple clearly written pattern. It is knit from the bottom-up, seamlessly, using an Elizabeth Zimmermann like formula with 3 decrease rounds at the top. The owl cable is so simple. This would be a really great first sweater pattern and first cable pattern. Plus it is knit on large needles with bulky yarn so it goes super fast. 

The Owls sweater also comes in a kid-sizes and is called Owlet. Owlet would be a really great first sweater because it is so tiny. I have the Owlet pattern in my library and want to knit a few up to have as baby gifts in the future.

Kate Davies is one of my favorite designers. She does loads of color work, hats, blankets, sweaters, cardigans.... she is all-around a pretty amazing designer.

I'm off to The Loopy Ewe Fall Fling at the end of the week. I can't wait to teach at this retreat for the second time. It will be a treat. I'll see you on the flip side!

Take care and let me know if you are going to knit an Owls or an Owlet or if you already have knit an Owls sweater. I'd love to hear what you think of the design and how your version fits. At this point there are over 7,500 finished Owls sweaters in Ravelry so I know some of you have probably already knit one.

xo ~ susan

Friday, September 05, 2014

#projectsweaterchest Top 10 Sweater Video!

Hi, Knitters,
I couldn't resist making a fun video beside my sweater chest trying on my Top 10 Favorite Sweaters for you with my buddy Cat Stevens singing away. I hope you like it!

I'm still going to write about the other 8 sweaters and provide links in the next upcoming posts. I did a video trying on a bunch of oldies but not so goodies, too. I'll work on editing that and post at a later date. It's pretty funny.

If you are an email subscriber please click here to see the video directly on YouTube!

Have a super weekend. I'll be back with more #projectsweaterchest very soon.

xo ~ susan