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Sweater Weather

It has been prime knitting weather the past few days – the autumn chill has arrived, with clear, crisp, 72 degree days.  As I type by my open window watching the boys play outside, my fingers are chilled, and my coffee lost its heat almost immediately.

Fortunately for me, I am about 3 rows from finishing Snowmates.  It emerged from its third re-knitting of the hips and a sound blocking in glorious triumph, and by that I mean it fits perfectly.  As if it were tailor-made for me.  Which, of course, it was and is the whole point of handknitting for one’s self, so, yay.

I embarked on a swatching adventure for New Towne, after starting on a sleeve with the hopes it would be a good gauge swatch. It took knitting 5 different half-sleeves before I admitted I would not simultaneously hit stitch and row gauge as listed in the pattern.

Sleeve 5 of 7.  Two more and I’ll have myself a hot Borg.

With some guidance from Amy, I chucked caution to the wind and with my modified gauge I’m knitting two sizes up and hoping for the best.  I’m almost done with the 2nd full sleeve at this gauge and size, which at this point including all the other sized-sleeves I’ve knit thus far, means I could gift this cardigan to an octopus, were I so inclined.

I wish I could say I minded though – the yarn is a dream to knit, and the sleeves are uber-portable, so I’ve been happily cranking them out in the car, at the zoo, at the playground, at the pool, etc. etc. etc., in lieu of Snowmates, the worsted-weight pullover that requires only 3 more rows at the turned hem.  Not quite so portable, that one.

So, knitting continues apace, and I’m thinking that I’ll have 2 new sweaters to wear just in time for the cool weather.  Perhaps not quite in time, because I would definitely be wearing New Towne right.this.minute if it were done.

Are you up on your fall knitting?  Thinking about a Rhinebeck sweater, or already working on one?


In which I speak to Quilters.

Box bags, yo.  I made some.

Blue Zipper Bag is sweater-sized, and Green Zipper Bag is mid-sized (though I affectionately refer to it as The Pudge Bag.)  Perfect for a child’s sweater project, several of which are in my queue for the fall.

Crazy gratifying, and also addictive:  I have several more cut and ready to sew.  I want to go back to IKEA for more fabric, and given that I am still scarred from my last trip, that is saying something.

The sizes have been determined by the lengths of the zippers I had in my stash, and of course , sizing on-the-fly is one of the benefits to sewing something one does not intend to wear.

This has been a wonderfully experimental learning process.  Like tweaking a recipe to your own tastes…

I don’t want to beat a dead horse (though now that I think about it, who wants to beat a live horse?  Really??  Why do we say these things??), but in case you’ve been living in a cave for the past half-decade, there are many, many tutorials out there for making box bags.  I will let Google give you the comprehensive list.

I perused several, but mainly I used this one by One Shabby Chick, because it was for an unlined bag.  I didn’t need or want a lining, because I used home decor weight from IKEA, not flimsy quilter’s cotton, which requires interfacing for its shape.

I had to go to a Local Quilt Shop for some thread, and after asking if they carried home decor weight fabrics (no!) and explaining that I was not in for the August sale on Batiks (but that I do indeed know what a Batik is!) we had a nice little cross-cultural exchange.  I described the box bags, one of the quilters admitted to keeping a little knitting project on the side at times, and we all shared a goodwill moment of maybe-your-thing-isn’t-really-my-thing-but-we’re-all-craftspeople.

I’m definitely a knitter (or more broadly, a yarn/fiber person), but I also dabble in sewing.  I think if you have one main craft, it’s likely you spread into other side crafts as well, it’s hard to avoid.

Or is it just me?  I feel like I’ve seen knitters foray into sewing, quilting, embroidery in several forms, even canning and preserving feels more crafty and less cooking at times….

What’s your side thing?

Worth It.

Last Friday I went to IKEA.

This boded poorly for me, for two reasons:  I hadn’t been to IKEA since moving to our house 3 years ago, and I went alone.

I should have known better, but I was out there for a client, so no kids (an in-and-out trip, thought I!) and I didn’t have carseats with me (all the better to fit things, thought I!), and away I went.

4 hours later, drenched in sweat, bedraggled in wrinkled work clothes, I hauled away two carts laden with office furniture, children’s furniture, and all the assorted things that make IKEA so compelling to shop at (dish towels! tea strainers! train tracks! fabric! all-the-things!)

EJ ended up with a new big boy bunk bed and I ended up with a scrap of home decor weight fabric destined to be a box bag:

Seriously.  Even though I wanted to die trying to load up my car in 105 degree parking garage August gas-fumed heat, I still freaking love IKEA.

Do the right thing.

After giving back the original Snowmates for Her to Caro & Stitchy last year for the Knitting It Old School trunk show, I was itching to cast on for one of my very own.

Back in February at SPA I cast on, and made decent progress, churning out the entire yoke over the course of the weekend.

(insert a couple of months focusing on work and other projects – you’ve all been there)

And after a concerted effort for two weeks in July, I knocked out the rest of the sweater, down to the hem.  I just wanted to block it out before binding off to make sure the colorwork tension wasn’t wonky.

And here is what I cut off the bottom after trying on the blocked sweater and realizing my torso is much longer and straighter than the hip increases as written for my size.

(Of course, people with my chest circumference are often much shorter than I.  It makes perfect sense that the hips as written would not be where MY hips are.)

I’m re-knitting from the waist down for the THIRD time now, and it is at this point that I have to constantly remind myself that all the effort is worth it for a sweater that will fit me perfectly, that I know I will love for years.  And I’m grateful that I can, because with a top-down raglan, you can always just try on as you go.  Really, I am, and I keep telling myself that, because I kind of want to throw it in the corner right now, and play with the BSA Melange I have all wound up and ready to go for New Towne.

Swatch me.  You know you want to.