The Stupid Button Band Betrayed Me

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It’s hard to conceal my ire. I was so proud of how this Reverb cardigan was turning out. The purple yarn was lovely. The pattern was easy to follow. I knew the cardigan would look super-hip on, and would go with most of my wardrobe. But the button band betrayed me.

I don’t have any experience with button bands. So far, I’ve managed to avoid knitting cardigans that require buttons. I pretended that I preferred the open look. But the truth is, I was afraid of the button band. And now I know I was right. Button bands are pure evil.

  • Button bands stretch unpredictably and throw off your measurements. 4 inches between button holes. Oops, looks like you have 5. 5 is ok right?
  • Button bands lull you into thinking five buttons will do…until you try on the cardigan and realize you really need seven.
  • Button bands keep you from appreciating your brand new very pretty cardigan because something is just slightly “off”.
  • Button bands are so hard to satisfy. Put the button too far to one side, and the whole thing stretches like a scallop. Which would be nice if that was something I wanted. An artistic statement, prehaps. But it’s NOT.
  • Button bands wait until you have the cardigan all blocked, with the ends woven in, to speak up and tell you something is wrong.
  • Button bands remind you that your stomach is not as flat and firm as your dress dummy’s stomach. They’re rude little buggers.

Stupid riggin’, friggin’ button band.

Here’s the cardigan. You can see the issues I’m talking about.

I guess it’s time to remove the button bands, reknit them, and do the finishing all over again.

But not now. Not today. Today I shake my fist at the universe.

Tomorrow I’ll take apart my cardigan.

A Cozy New Sweater Just in Time for Autumn

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It’s going to be 80 in southern Minnesota today. The leaves are still firmly attached to the trees and stubbornly green. But in a few weeks all of that is going to change and I’m going to be ready.

Over Labor Day weekend, I finally finished weaving in the ends on my Plum Island Pullover.  It’s a simple, gansey style sweater, with a slouchy, comfortable shape. The pattern is by Alison Green.

The decided to knit this sweater during one of those rare moments of yarn-related serendipity. I had a pattern I wanted to knit and exactly the right yarn in my stash, the right yardage and everything.  How often does that happen?

I used Imperial Yarns Columbia in the Indigo Heather colorway.

 

 

So much stockinette

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For the most part, I consider myself a process knitter. I revel in the feel of the yarn between my fingers. I enjoy the mini-puzzles that patterns present to me. I lose myself in the rhythm of stitch upon stitch. I even draw the process out by making my own yarn.

Occasionally, though, the urge to knit a specific object takes hold and spreads, like a rash. I am consumed with desire for a particular knitted object and I will endure almost any amount of annoyance, boredom, or psychological discomfort to obtain it. The most recent example is this lovely little top:

PatternFolded by Veera Välimäki

Mods: I added three extra decrease rows to the neckline. I have narrow-ish shoulders and wide necklines tend to slip off. Very annoying.

It’s a light-weight sweater in a very flattering shape. But apart from the hem and cuffs, and those little pleats at the bust, it’s all stockinette. And it’s in fingering weight yarn.

So much stockinette. Oh lord, so much stockinette.

I knitted this top with determination until I made it to the sleeves (it’s knit from the bottom up). Then I couldn’t take it anymore. I put Folded away for a couple of months and proceed to treat my stockinette stupor with more stimulating projects:  two lace shawls, a sweater and a Color Affection.  Eventually, my desire for the knitted object resurfaced. I picked up and knitted the interminable sleeves, then powered through the yoke.

The only thing that saved my sanity was the yarn. I chose Rowan Fine Art 314, a lively purple sock yarn with built in striping. The resulting zigzags in my sweater turned out very nicely: they make it lively and add a lot of visual interest to an otherwise plain garment. Heaven knows what would have happened to me, or to the sweater, if I had chosen a solid colorway.

 

What I’m Knitting with My Handspun Texel

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I’ve been a bad, bad blogger. It was pointed out to me (sorry Mom) that I teased you all about my choice of what to do with my handspun Texel yarn, even asked you to help me choose a pattern, and then just left it hanging.

Mom is right, it’s very rude to build up suspense like that, and then to spend my next three posts talking about hoarding knitting magazines, knitted toys I may or may not ever actually knit, and a completely unrelated shawl project.

Let me make up for it now. The winner of the sweater contest was: Greenwood by Ann-Marie Jackson.

This sweater is knitted in two halves, sideways. Then you sew the halves together and knit on cuffs, hem and a droopy collar. Right now, I’m blocking the main body of the sweater.

I have really enjoyed this pattern. It’s remarkably easy to  knit. And the little stripes made sewing-up much easier. I had little visual cues to help me along at five-stitch intervals.

My handspun yarn has behaved extremely well throughout. There are only a few tiny areas where the yarn is a bit on the thin side. I’ll never notice those when I wear this. I love the loft and lightness of this sweater in a long-draw, woolen-spun yarn. Hardly any weight at all. Such a difference from the worsted yarns I usually spin.

More on this sweater soon. I have a feeling it will be done in no time–maybe even before all the snow is gone. It’s in the 40’s F outside today and there are puddles everywhere. All morning I have been hearing icicles falling off the roof with loud thuds. I’m knitting against the clock.

A Marigold Shawl Knit From Handspun

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I vowed to knit more from handspun in 2014 and I’m making excellent progress. I just finished my second such project of 2014.

The pattern is Marigold, by Susanna IC.  The original was knitted in a stunning variegated orange sock yarn, by Socktopus, which sadly has been discontinued.

I chose a two-ply yarn I spun from Sweet Georgia BFL+Silk in the Woodland colorway.

I love the greens and golds in this fiber. It’s a very well-named colorway. A friend in my knitting group, admiring the yarn, actually said, “It reminds me of a woodland.” She said this completely unprompted. I hadn’t even had the chance to plant the word in her mind through hours of seemingly-random suggestion. Cool, huh?

My two-ply.

Modifications:

1) I knitted four extra repeats of the center lace pattern in my shawl. Not on purpose. It was one of those things where I decided, after I had already done it, that I might as well go with it. So after I had made the mistake on one half on the shawl, I duplicated it on the other side. It makes the shawl a bit longer. I had to block it in two parts because I ran out of space.

2) The original pattern called for beads. I left those out and I don’t think I miss them. I didn’t have anything in my (very small) bead stash that was right for this shawl anyway.

Spun and Done – Great White Bale Spinning Complete

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The spinning of my Texel fleece is complete.

1,480 yards   50 grams = 200 yards

The closest comparable commercial yarn I’ve been able to find (in terms of weight and yardage) is Rowan Felted Tweed. That looks about right, based on a visual comparison.

Texel yarn4

The next thing I need to do is find a suitable pattern to knit. More on this in the coming days.

I’ll happily take suggestions.

A Year of Knitting and Spinning

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It’s a new year and it’s time to celebrate.

Here are the objects I knit and spun, month by month, in 2013.

January

Needles & Artifice Mitts and the beginnings of my wedding shawl.

Needles & Artifice Mitts and the beginnings of my wedding shawl.

February

Red Shawl tied side

A romantic red shawl

March

Lots of spinning and a pair of get-well socks.

Lots of spinning and a pair of get-well socks.

April

Wedding shawl complete. Back-up wedding shawl started (but never completed). Rockefeller shawl complete. And a little spinning.

Wedding shawl complete. Back-up wedding shawl started (but never completed). Rockefeller shawl complete. And a little spinning.

May

A hitchhiker shawletter for the wedding photographer

A hitchhiker shawlette for the wedding photographer

June

Experiments in spinning, including the purchase of a first place fleece I'm still a little too scared to touch.

Experiments in spinning, including the purchase of a first place fleece I’m still a little too scared to touch.

July

My spinning takes on a life of its own.

My spinning takes on a life of its own.

August

Two shawls, a Shetland lace cowl and a fractal stripe scarf

Two shawls, a Shetland lace cowl and a fractal stripe scarf

September

September

Experiments in plying

October

Summer sweater done a little late. Christmas knitting commences.

Summer sweater done a little late. Christmas knitting commences.

November

So many Christmas hats. And a shawl for the cats.

So many Christmas hats. And a shawl for the cats.

December

A few more Christmas gifts, some stuffies for a wreath, and a cardigan for me.

A few more Christmas gifts, a cardigan for me, and a few small critters.

Check out similar posts by Pans & Needles and Untangling Knots.