I finished the hat in the autumn sometime, and the mitts a few days ago. All just improv pieces–no pattern. The yarn is SweetGeorgia Tough Love Sock in Lady Grey. The colour is fabulous–a nice soft pale pale pale purple, with enough variegation to keep things interesting without being too much.
I got my hair trimmed today, so it seemed like a good day for some pics of my finished Snoqualmie sweater!
(Except that I don’t have a good mirror for finished object selfies. Making my own clothes would be easier with a full-length mirror…) I was OBSESSED with this project while it was on the needles–it’s pretty much the only thing I did in August.
I’m quite happy with the final results–I added pockets, as well as a little bit of length, so it’s even more coat-like than the original. I’m not sure how much wear I will get out of this–it’s just too warm for me in Vancouver–but I am so in love with it, I don’t care.
I’ve actually been leaving it draped over a chair in the living room, so that I can admire it like an objet d’art.
I’m super happy with the fit across the bust and hips. I knit mine with less ease than recommended by the pattern, and the closer fit through the body works well for me. The arms, however… ended up long. I think the problem is that the armscyes are too deep. I’m not sure if this is something I screwed up, or if the pattern is written with too much length through the armholes. This is actually the first set-in sleeve sweater I have made; the armscye depth is something I will pay more attention to next time.
I actually knit the collar twice… At first I cast off the back of neck according to the pattern instructions (“bind off by knitting 2 stitches together out of every 4 stitches over cables”), and once the whole thing was seamed up, I found that the sweater had a tendency to slide down my arms. The shoulders/ back neck felt very loose, resulting in a sloppy-looking sweater. So I actually ripped out the collar and the back neck bind off, and then bound off by knitting 2 stitches together out of every 3 stitches instead. This cinched up the back neck, and vastly improved the fit of the whole sweater. Definitely worth re-knitting the collar to achieve this.
I had debated using some cool antler buttons, but decided that the sweater needed something larger, with contrast, in order to really look finished.
This was a very satisfying project! I’m currently working on an improv henley using recycled yarn, but the newly released (and maybe a little less warm) Charley is calling my name… Really into this style of sweater right now.
So many rando links lurking in the drafts folder, so many open tabs… Let’s tidy that up, shall we?
97. David Wong Louie on (not) eating after cancer. Heartbreaking.
98. Tracing an amnesiac’s identity in the digital era.
99. Luvvie talks about her experience on the NYT’s best seller list.
101. I’ve never watched Bachelor in Paradise, but I have been following the scandal all summer long. “Why are you watching this?” is a great question, but what I really want to know is what has happened to the producer who made the initial complaint. You know that person doesn’t have a career in tv anymore, despite doing the right thing.
102. I’m still trying to figure out eyeliner. I read this “review” [advertorial, lol] and immediately ordered the brush (from Nail Polish Canada, actually–ships free!) because I’m a bit of a sucker. I suppose it’s helpful for wings, but no good for smudging into your lashline, which is what I’m trying to do. So: not a total waste of money but not the answer to my liner woes. I think part of my problem is that the Tarte liner I’m using is quite dry…?
103. I’m not going to make this–I just don’t need another blanket–but, damn, I want it.
105. At one point over the winter I was thinking about sewing with sequins. I chickened out (wised up?) but if I ever do tackle sequins, this looks like the advice to follow.
106. If I don’t rent forever, these tiles are going in my house.
And … I do want to write about my own particular clothing philosophy–at some point. In the meantime, some links on wardrobe planning and the meaning of clothes.
107. Karen Templar asks her readers about wardrobe planning.
108. On uniform dressing.
109. Also from Racked: less serious but if you feel like conceptualizing? (And yes, I did mean to share that in May. But no reason you can’t make this kind of statement for autumn or winter.)
110. If I were going to break away from my denim-and-handknits winter wardrobe, I’d go for something like this, I think.
111. I feel a certain push and pull when it comes to dressing in a feminine manner (eyeliner, right?)… I definitely identify with this piece, even though I don’t do full-on femme.
112. And one more Racked link, because Tracey Robey and because there are all kinds of ways clothes can be powerful.
Okay, so–that Prada knit.
Those two things would go well together, wouldn’t they?
I know I said that Eddie’s Prada sweater is not my kind of thing, but that stitch pattern really is a slow burn. No wonder Farwell-Clay went to such lengths to figure it out!
Plus Prada has other colourways in the same stitch pattern.
I don’t like orange/brown bits here, but the subtler blues and greens up around the collar bones are doing it for me. I must have something in my stash that I can use to whip up a little Prada-inspired knit purse.
And, on the subject of Prada…
Personally, I loathe the Prada sweater in question–I can appreciate it, but it is utterly not my thing–but Julia Farwell-Clay’s dive into its construction on MDK is such a good read. At first I was’t seeing it, but then when I saw her final multi-colour swatch, I totally went “oh.”
It is a neat looking pattern, and choosing to just knot the yarn ends looks so freeing… Maybe in a cowl or hat, with a more subtle colour pattern…?
And… clocking in at just under four months of knitting, my (first) #fringeandfriendsKAL2016 Improv sweater is now done! I couldn’t be happier. It does have some quirks, like those not-quite-100%-symmetrical pockets, but I refuse to let my perfectionist tendencies destroy my pleasure in this accomplishment. (I’ll… revisit those pockets someday, haha.)
There is so much to love here: a snug (perhaps even a little sexy?) fit (#sweaterpuppies); the splash of pink in the pockets; the firm and crunchy but not itchy fabric; the graceful curve of the collar. Now that this sweater is done, it reminds me a lot of my beloved Stanny–the texture of the Jamieson & Smith wool, and the feel of the knit fabric, is highly reminiscent. Except that this Improv is so much cuter!
When first planning this sweater, I considered copying this cute pink sweater worn by Chelsea Peretti as Gina on Brooklyn Nine-Nine:
But as I thought more about what I really needed in my wardrobe, I realized that what I should knit was a new-and-improved copy of a grey Joe Fresh sweater in my closet that I had worn to death.
I wanted a better fit, long sleeves, and a sturdier, less pill-y fabric, and I think I achieved all of my goals. But I also didn’t want to lose sight of Gina’s no-fucks-given-endlessly-confident attitude, hence the little pink pockets.
And so, as Gina would say: “Oh dang!
One little detail I particularly love is my decision to do split hems on the sleeves as well as on the body. I am constantly pushing my sleeves up, and having that little notch on the cuffs means that they look nicely fitted when the sweater is pulled down to my wrists, but there is plenty of space for my forearms when I push the sleeves up.
And… I am SO PROUD of how well my rolled and sewn down collar turned out. It looks perfect on the outside–and perfect on the inside! I just love how the cast-off edge of the collar snugs up so neatly against the little ridge that was created when I picked up the collar stitches.
So good! Such a success!
And I loved using KT’s Improv tutorial to make this sweater happen. It is full of excellent advice and techniques… Right now I have a little bit of a “my knitting is forever changed after this” feeling, having learned so much about fit and construction.
My project details can be found here on Ravelry.
And… I am still working on my second Improv sweater. It is, at the moment, less than perfect. In retrospect, the long silhouette of my inspiration doesn’t suit my body type, and my planned sweater doesn’t fit into my wardrobe all that well. So there will be some frogging, and on-the-fly re-planning, but I’m sure I’ll get something wearable out of it. (At least, that’s what I’m telling my internal perfectionist accomplishment monster…)
Link 27: Surprise fireplace! I have been reading Manhattan Nest for 3ish years now, and Daniel’s posts never disappoint. I can’t imagine what it would be like to demo your kitchen and find a freaking fireplace. So cool.
Link 28: My Karen Templer fangirling is unending. I had planned to have thoughts on Slow Fashion October, but this week I had to throw some money at Old Navy (*sigh*) to get kitted out for the resort vacation I’m going on next week, and I haven’t quite worked through the guilt yet.
Link 29: Personally I would say this goat has nothing to teach us. We can only watch the goat, and know we are looking at something familiar.
Link 30: If I didn’t already have my vacation knitting planned (I’m bringing my Improv #2 sweater), this would make for a fun beach project.
Links 31 and 32: I don’t feel qualified to really comment on either of these last links, but it was interesting to read these two pieces on the Watts neighbourhood in Los Angeles one after the other. Can the area’s long-standing issues be alleviated by some form of benevolent capitalism (if there even is such a thing)?
The People’s Cheeseburger (Eater)
A Journey into the Mind of Watts by Thomas Pynchon, 1966
Also, here’s Frank Zappa inspired by the Watts riots/Rebellion:
While I’m not anticipating any problems with either of my Improv sweaters falling off my shoulders, thanks to Karen Templer’s good advice about things like faux seams and picking up collar stitches from a cast-on edge, I do have a few sweaters in my closet (knit from patterns that I paid for!) that wear terribly due to floppy sloppiness in the shoulder area.
I definitely don’t wear these sweaters as often as I might, and fixing them is seeming (seaming?) like a better and better idea every time I think about garment construction. This post from TECHknitter on stabilizing the shoulders and back-of-neck on sweaters to improve wear is advice that I am going to use.
After writing the other day about the start of my second Fringe and Friends Knitalong sweater, I pretty much immediately scrapped the first few rows I had knit. I worked another two rows, and realized that my raglans were looking like the dog’s breakfast. I was adding Irish Moss stitches on the front, cable stitches on the sleeves, and different cable stitches on the back. It was a mess.
So after a quick check to see that I liked my chosen number of cast-on stitches, I pulled out the needle and started to rethink things. The problem was my decision to centre my cable layout on the sleeves and back–so how to rethink the placement of the layout?
I ended up inputting my cable layout into Excel (the different colours representing the different stitches, of course), and printing off a few copies to play with. The solution was to cut the cable layout in half, and then insert the required number of sleeve stitches (and back stitches) into the centre.
I did consider adding additional cables in the centres of the sleeves and backs, but instead opted to just work more Irish Moss stitch (the pale green). Since this is a sweater for me to wear at home, I feel fairly relaxed about the back: no one’s going to see it, so I might as well take it easy back there, lol.
But–if I did care more about the back, I think an even better way to approach the design of the cables/ stitches on a raglan cardigan would be to design the back first. Then you’d just have to cut it in half to get your two fronts. And then, to get the correct stitch count on the sleeves, just remove stitches from the centre of the sleeves. This way, your stitches would line up nicely along the raglans, and things would be pleasantly symmetrical.
I am much much happier with this second take on my second Improv sweater. In addition to looking much better, it is also easier to knit.
Despite this progress on Improv #2, I am not neglecting my first Improv sweater.
Yesterday morning, I cast off the hem–leaving just the pockets and sleeves to knit, plus the faux seams to sew up and all the ends to weave in. I have decided to finish the body–pockets, seams, ends–before proceeding on to the sleeves, so that I’m not left with a ton of finishing work to do at the end.
I knit the HOT PINK!!! pocket lining last night, and am going to take advantage of the daylight now to weave in some ends.