To Sale Shop or Not to Sale Shop?

Hi! Are you keeping an eye out for yarn sales right now? I’m not a big fan of the craziness of Black-Friday-Weekend-Whatever shopping, but I have noticed some pretty tempting yarn and fiber sales being mentioned on twitter…

For example, did you know that RainCityKnits (a huge favourite of mine) is offering 20% off ALL of their yarn for the next few days? AAAH! See this tweet for the deets!

I’ve been plotting and planning to order some RainCity Merino Worsted for a while now. I want to make the NEON SKI BONNET with it, for several reasons:

1. Neon.
2. Cool stitch patterns and construction
3. POMPOM RIGHT?!!
4. It will make me look even more like an adorable tiny child.

This image of the hat is from the designer, Lacey Volk’s, blog:

Neon Bonnet

Ooooh yes. So! I know I want to use RainCity’s yarn and Lacey Volk’s pattern. The remaining questions are:

1. Which colour of yarn?!!
2. Should I buy it now, while it’s on sale, even though it’s right before the holidays (when I should be buying things for OTHER people…)?

Colour-wise, I’ve narrowed it down to…

Lemon Yellow
Lemon

Electric Coral
Coral

Kelly Green
Kelly

Wasabi
Wasabi

OR Apple Green
Apple

(**ALL images of RainCity’s yarns belong to them and are from their Etsy shop, which you should go and check out!**)

I just cannot decide which colour or whether to hold off until the New Year… it’s not like I don’t have PILES of yarn already, and I have plenty of projects on the needles. Even if I got the yarn now, I wouldn’t have the hat ready super soon or anything. But it’s so pretty!!

What do you think, readers? Would you pick it up now, or wait until later? Which colour would you choose? Leave me all of your opinions in the comments! :)

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FINISHED Shepherd Hoodie!

Finally! Finished, blocked, buttons-sewn-on, totally dunzo photos of my Shepherd hoodie!

In case you need a recap (or you’re new – hello!!)…

Pattern: Shepherd Hoodie by Kate Davies

Yarn: The Shepherd & The Shearer by Juniper Moon (still available for sale here)

Buttons: Handmade antler buttons from Button & Needlework Boutique

I LOVE this sweater. I would knit it again in a heartbeat! The yarn was right up my alley: a little bit rustic, a lot unique. The pattern was well-written, easy to understand, clearly illustrated, and easy to adjust too. I’ll let it speak for itself from here :)

Shepherd

Shepherd

Shepherd

Shepherd

Shepherd

Shepherd

Button band

Button and tulip buttonhole

More photos on flickr, if you want all the gory sweaterey details!

I’m sad to be finished because it was SO fun to make, but I’m really, really excited to wear it :)

Mitten fit.

So, here’s the thing. I’m an experienced and pretty confident knitter. I adjust patterns all the time to create garments that will fit me the way I want them to – shorter sleeves, adequate busts, buttons where I want them, all kinds of modifications.

Even though I can and usually do take my actual body’s measurements into account when I’m knitting, until now, I’ve only ever knit mittens that are too big for me.

I really have no explanation for this. I tried them on as I went. I could see that probably they would be “a little bit long”. But I still finished them.

Exhibit A: a basic mitten recipe, and handspun that I got at one of Victoria’s yarn stores.

Long

The cuff is WAY too long. The wrist-to-fingertip portion isn’t too bad, but the too-long-cuff means it never sits quite right. Also notice the lobster claw thumb, which is weird and wrong but I love it.

Exhibit 2: Beautiful cabled mittens out of Brooklyn Tweed’s Shelter yarn, which is unique and gorgeous.

SO long

WHO HAS ARMS LIKE THIS?! (Just to be clear – the birth mark on the left of the photo is about 1″ away from the inside of my elbow. Is there a name for “inside elbow part”? Inbow? Brb googling… “Antecubital Fossa”.) Pattern, you crazy. Sarah, you also crazy for not realizing you made a mitten sleeve, and then MAKING ANOTHER ONE. So beautiful, so too long for me.

Exhibit III: Okay fine, these pretty much fit. But the button loop at the end makes them a little bit impractical… or at least a little bit quirky. (The pattern is by the super talented Ysolda Teague.)

Also kind of long

Finally, enter New Favourite Mittens That Fit And Also Have Nostalgic Childhood Resonance!

Just right :)

Following another Raveller’s modifications, I eliminated several sections of the (very nice, and very free) pattern, in order to shorten the cuff, the palm, and the thumb, substantially. And behold! A my-hand-sized mitten! It’s made out of 100% angora, which is BANANAS soft.

Mitten party!

When I was a kid, I had a pair of plain white angora mittens and a matching hat that were super super soft, and only for special occasions, and I treasured them. They weren’t handknit, or cabled, but they were soft and pretty and made appearances on the kind of days when my sister and I had to wear matching dresses my mom had sewed with crinolines and too tight sleeve elastic. I’m pretty stoked about the new, adult version, that I can wear anytime I want :)

Pretty mitten!

Guess who has two thumbs and two sleeves?

This guy!

Two sleeves and the start of a hood!

Remember, this is Kate Davies’ Shepherd Hoodie knit in Juniper Moon’s limited edition Shepherd & Shearer yarn (which you can STILL GET right here!)

How about a super blurry selfie modelled shot? I’m expecting it to look a bit different once it’s been blocked, but you can see the general shape of the garment.

Blurry selfie!

Once the sleeves were finished, I moved on to the last big knitted element – the hood! Working the hood requires you to collect stitches on hold and pick up new stitches, from the front button band edges, up along the shaped fronts, and across the back. (Bonus cat hair in the photo! Thank you, cat, for spreading your body hair all over everywhere.)

Smooth pickups across the front

Tiniest hood progress!

Then there’s a sea of seed stitch to work!

Seed stitch ocean!

The hood requires quite a lot of yarn, so I ended up unravelling my swatch to reclaim the 30+g it had used up. Here’s the swatch yarn unravelled…

Ramen yarn?

…and after a soak and air dry! Much better.

That's better!

I’m so looking forward to having the finished sweater available to wear, because it’s been quite cold lately (cold for my corner of the country, anyway). But I’ll also be a tiny bit sad when the knitting is done. This piece has really been a pleasure to knit, and the yarn is an absolute favourite. I’ll be looking for more hard-wearing, lanolin rich yarns in the future, for sure: they’re awesome to knit with, and they result in garments that wear and last extremely well.

I admit that I’m looking ahead to what’s next too – a pretty, shiny lace project!

Shepherd Sweater: Sleeves, part 2!

I hope you’re into the Shepherd Hoodie, because it’s all hoodie all the time around here these days :)

I finished the first sleeve!! Aaah excitement! I modified the length and adjusted the decrease placement slightly to fit my actual arm. The cables look so lovely all long and lean!

Sleeve cables!

Here’s what the underside looks like – you can see that the cables in this section get a bit distorted as you integrate decreases into the pattern.

Underside of sleeve - decreasing in pattern

The cuffs are worked in seed stitch, and are designed to make a bell shape, which I find extremely charming.

Seed stitch progress

Sleeve cuff

I bound off my cuff using the plain old “Work 2, *pass second stitch over first stitch, work 1, repeat from *” method. I bound off purlwise, so that the bind off would be less visible from the right side of the work. (You can see how it looks on the inside of the cuff below.)

Sleeve cuff - inside bind off view

It was a pretty exciting milestone to finish the first sleeve. One more sleeve to go, then the seed stitch hood, weaving in ends, and buttons! I can almost see the finish line if I squint!

Seed stitch bell cuff

One sleeved sweater!

Shepherd Sweater: On to the SLEEVES!

The Shepherd Hoodie is really starting to look like an actual garment! SO exciting :)

First, I finished the upper back portion of the sweater body.

Body!

Upper back

Then, I joined the shoulders using the 3 needle bind off, which is a really cool technique. I think it creates a very tidy and pleasing finished look!

Shoulder Seam - 3 needle bind off

Here’s a wrong side view of the shoulder seam:

Shoulder Seam - Wrong Side

And here’s how it looks on the right side!

Shoulder Seam - Right Side

Next up: sleeves! The sleeves are worked in the round, from the shoulder to the wrist, and include a wedge of seed stitch in the armpit that gets decreased away as you work sleeve shaping. I’m working the sleeves using a long circular needle and the magic loop method. It’s my favourite for small circumference knitting! I don’t mind dpns for lighter weight yarns, like sock yarn, but for heavier weights, I prefer magic loop. (What do you use? I’d love to know!)

Shoulder Seam & start of sleeve!

Starting sleeve cables!

Sleeve!

My execution of the decreases in the seed stitch wedge is not as great as it could be; or, more accurately, my integration of the decreases into the rest of the seed stitch is not as invisible as I would have liked. HOWEVER, since it’s in the armpit (and who looks at armpits?!), I’m not going to rip it out.

Bottom of sleeve seed stitch wedge

In order to make sure the sleeves are a good size for me, both in terms of diameter and in terms of length, I’m trying the sweater on as I go. This is one of the great advantages of this type of sweater construction! I do want the sleeves to have some positive ease, so that I can wear other garments underneath, so I might not end up decreasing as much as the pattern suggests.

I feel like I’m getting so close to wearable sweater even though there’s a fair bit left – a sleeve and a half, the hood, and finishing work still to do! How’s your knitting going?

Shepherd Taking Shape!

Since my last Shepherd sweater update, I’ve made some exciting progress!

I finished up the right front, which was shaped with a combination of binding off stitches and decreasing at the neck edge.

Close up of front shaping

Right Front

Then I worked on the left front, shaped in the same way.

Left Front

Doesn’t it look pleasingly symmetrical? I’m starting to see “sweater” when I look at it instead of just “rectangular block of cables”!

Body without top back!

Now I’ve moved on to the center back portion of the body. It’s wider than the front pieces were, so it’s a bit slower going, but no shaping to keep track of! I’m looking forward to finishing this bit, because then I get to join the shoulders and start SLEEVES!

Even for such a large and labour-intensive project, knitting this sweater isn’t at all a slog. There’s constant evidence of progress to keep me feeling motivated and excited! I only wish it was small enough to carry with me on the bus ;)

Shepherd Update!

The last time I showed you my Shepherd sweater, I was making steady progress on the lovely, heavily cabled body, and generally gushing about both pattern and yarn’s considerable charms.

Shepherd before dividing!

I’m still totally in love with the pattern and the yarn – no surprise there. I know it’s been said (by me, and by others) already, but the yarn for this project is just SO so special. It’s not buttery soft like most of the commercial yarns available today, but it’s not really what I would call “rough” either. It just has more substance, more body, more crispness, and I loooove it. Also bears repeating: it just smells. so. fantastic. Lanolin is magical, and fragrant.

ANYWAY! I took a little break from Shepherd over the holidays, to crank out a pair of socks for a beloved whose feet were cold and whose office mates apparently had handknit socks made by their wives. Now my attention is back on the sweater!

Like my friend Amber, who is also knitting (and blogging!) the Shepherd hoodie, I’ve just divided for the fronts, back, and sleeves. (*waves* HI AMBER!) Before I divided, I worked the body length to about 16.25″, a little bit shorter than the pattern calls for, for my size, because I’m a bit shorter than, um, most eighth graders ;)

A bit messy

I prefer to put held stitches on extra circular cables, instead of waste yarn, so that they’re super quick to pick up again when I need them. So, that means my sweater looks like a bit of a hot mess right now. All is well, there are just a lot of extra cables flapping around!

Starting the right front!

Progress :)

I’m making progress on the first front piece, and getting really excited about being able to try on a sweater body sometime soon :)

One Track Needles

Last weekend I took a short break from all the natural undyed-ness and cabley-cabledness of my Shepherd sweater to knit… a natural cream cabled hat. I like what I like! ;)

There had been a cold day that week, and I realized that I don’t own a single hat of my own! What?! That seemed completely ridiculous to me.

So, I knit Alex Tinsley’s Snowdrift pattern with half a skein of a singles, bulky weight alpaca wool blend from the Alpacas at Southey Point Farm, Salt Spring Island, which I bought on a fun trip over in the Gulf Islands a few summers ago. The yarn came from Stitches Fiber Arts on Salt Spring!

Pre-hat hat

It was a super quick knit, and I really love the way the crown decreases are worked into the cables.

Half hat!

But, it’s also winter… and it was way too dark to take photos when I got home after work every day this week! So, I have this one sad photo, snapped hastily in the morning before I ran to the bus.

Hastily snapped hat

The hat is cozy and cabley, but it might also be a teeny bit small for my (apparently big) head. I haven’t decided yet whether this is a for-me keeper or a gift for someone with a smaller head, but either way, a really fun knit!

Cables, cables, everywhere!

I LOVE cables.

Cabled path!

Are you a cable knitter? It’s one of my favourite techniques. I’m not much for colourwork (yet… I’m waiting for that special project that makes my heart go pitter pat.), but texture, especially cables, just thrill me.

A big squishy cabley hug

I’ve made some good progress on my Shepherd sweater, still working on the body section.

Check out my buttonholes, too!

Buttonholes!

 

Did I mention that this yarn is my new favourite? It is. I love it. I know, I’m gushing. This project feels like a once in a lifetime privilege :)

This yarn is my favourite, for real.