The Shorty ShortyI finished the Shetland Shorty I was making for my sister Margaret. Dad always called her “Shorty” because she was the youngest, and therefore littlest… or she was littlest until she grew up to be 5’8”. Who’s short now? Anyway, I designated it “Shorty shorty” in my ravelry project listing so as to differentiate it from the one I made for myself two years ago. Two years ago was also when I first planned this project, but planning projects is a lot faster than executing them.
I had a single skein of Sundara fingering silky merino in a limited edition colorway that I couldn’t resist. Since I’d used the same type of yarn for mine I knew it would work well for this pattern. I sure hope she likes it. I am limited in what I can make Margaret because she doesn’t have much call to wear wool sweaters in San Diego.
Bendy River Baby SweaterAccording to ravelry, this is my 5th time making this particular pattern, the Classic Cashmere Sweater from the Erika Knight book Simple Knits for Cherished Babies. There would be a reason for that: it’s an easy pattern that makes a good, functional sweater out of a commonly used weight of yarn.
The yarn I used for this is Sundara Yarn Sport Merino in a colorway called Bend in the River. I bought in just before I had Duncan. My nesting hormones were telling me that I could not possibly have enough blue wool in the house. Alas, the colorway was much darker and less blue in person that the photo on the website. I was expecting blue and turquoise with yellow highlights, but what arrived is better describes as spruce with khaki highlights. Such is the risk one runs when buying yarn online. Due to color disappointment it languished in the stash for a bit, but it turns out my nesting hormones were right and I needed lots and lots of wool for Duncan, so it got made into a sweater to take the chill out of the summer air. As is often the case with Sundara yarn, the color looks better knit up than it did in the skein, but it’s still not blue.
Burgundy MiloSeveral years ago I made a vest for Warren. He picked out the wool, and chose lovely a DK weight merino in a rich burgundy color. (The particular yarn has been discontinued, alas.) I had three balls left over in my stash, and project Keep Duncan Warm seemed like a good excuse to use them. Even better, it was yarn from the “undeclared stash”.
A brief digression about my stash… Ravelry allows me and other knitters and crocheters to keep track of yarn stash. This is useful, especially as the site makes it easy to find all sorts of projects you might want to make with said yarn, which can lead to overly enthusiastic stash enhancement when you unrealistically think you can make them all. When I joined ravelry I made the decision that I would make life easy for myself and just enter all new yarn I bought into the stash feature and not bother to enter the stuff I already had. I did not have a large stash, just leftovers from various projects, so this made sense. Still, I know that the “undeclared stash” (as I call it in my head) exists, and I need to make it into stuff. My goal is to transition to only having “declared stash” left, and keeping the amount of stash at a manageable level. (Sadly, the declared stash has grown too large, but that’s another matter and is being addressed.)
I love the Milo pattern. It’s easy, it’s fast, it uses DK weight yarn which I tend to have leftovers of, and it’s a seamless top-down construction. If ever a pattern was made to use up leftovers from adult-sized projects it was this one. The only downside to the pattern is that it’s not free, but on the other hand, for $5 Australian it’s a pretty good deal. I’m learning to love just buying PDFs of patterns I want, it’s cheaper than buying an entire book that might only have one or two good patterns, and you don’t have a hardcopy book cluttering your already overburdened bookshelves. You also don’t need to buy a PDF until the second you are ready to start the project, making it easy to avoid buying a pattern you that you never get around to using.
This was a quick knit, at just over a week to complete, and that is while working on other projects. I opted to do a four strand braid in the cable panel instead of any of the eight stitch cable patterns given as options, and I really like it. (The vest I’d designed and made for Warren had a three strand braid as the central element, so I wanted a braid on Duncan’s vest too.) If I do this again in a more neutral color I might go for the owl cables.
I think the vest is just the thing for keeping Duncan warm in July. I feel a little silly putting him in a wool sweater with sleeves when it is 90 degrees out, but on the other hand I know he needs a little something when he’s in the air-conditioned house. A vest is a good compromise, keeping his core warmer without me worrying about heat exhaustion if he goes to the park in the middle of the day and the sweater isn’t removed in the baking heat.
Briar Rose BoleroSpeaking of keeping warm during the summer, I do have a new project for myself. It’s an older Ysolda Teague pattern that I made using Sundara aran silky merino. I have a few sweaters in this yarn and I love it, but I can only wear them to work as the yarn is too delicate and unwashable for wearing around my darling children. It makes good office wear, especially in the summer when the air conditioning makes bringing a sweater necessary.
The pattern is topologically cool, with short row shaping and an interesting seamless way of attaching the sleeves with decreases. It pleases the nerd in me. The only downside was picking up a bazillion stitches around the entire edge to do the edging. Picking up stitches is my least favorite part of knitting a garment, but luckily there wasn’t a set number to pick up, just a rough guide, which made it better. Also, I remembered to have a crochet hook on hand when I got to that part.
Blended Baby SweaterRemember that stash I was talking about? Well, it contains a bunch of lace weight yarn. I do love knitting lace patterns, but it turns out I do not love lace weight yarn. I have made a promise to myself that there will be no more lace weight yarn added to my stash, fingering is plenty fine enough for me, and I have as much lace weight as I can possibly use in the next decade, possibly two. I should have figured that out sooner. Part of this lace weight surplus is several skeins of Alpaca Cloud by Knit Picks in assorted colors. You might ask, “What were you thinking?” Well, I can tell you what I was thinking, and it was, “Baby Alpaca at $4 a skein!” and “If I get $50 worth of yarn shipping is free!” I had plans for this yarn, but those plans are long abandoned and it has sat around taunting me with the thought of endless yards of teeny tiny slippery yarn ever since.
Enter an old Knitty pattern and the need to keep the kids warm… The pattern calls for three strands of lace weight yarn to be knit held together. You use two colors of yarn held together in different combinations to produce a color gradation effect. Hopefully it with both be cool and use up my odd skeins of Alpaca cloud. This sweater will be blue and pink and is intended for Margaret. If it goes well I’ll make a semi-matching one for Duncan, in either blue and green or blue and grey.
So far the biggest pain about this pattern is the corrugated rib where you are alternating between three strands of the first color and three strands of the second color every stitch I can see how that brings the whole sweater together color-wise, but working with six little balls of teeny tiny slippery yarn was not so fun. I drastically cut back on the amount of ribbing, and now that I’m just using three little balls at a time things are much more sane. Of course I can’t skimp on the ribbing when I get to the button bands, but I’ve only just started this sweater, so I’ll worry about that later.
In other yarn news...The big news for me on the yarn front is that someone made something for me for a change! I’ve been gifted with some lovely and wonderful hand-made things for the babies, and I love them and appreciate them very much, but for the first time since I was in college someone has made me something for me to wear! (Once I started making myself complex aran sweaters I guess my mom figured I could fend for myself in the sweater department.)
As I mentioned, I have lots of lace weight yarn. Some of it is Sundara silk lace which I love love love and can’t bear to part with because it is so beautiful. On the other hand it is tiny and slippery and my eyes are crap, thus I find it difficult to work with, much as I’d love to turn it all into beautiful shawls. I forget how the conversation started, but firstfrost and I got to talking, and it turns out that she likes making lace shawls, but doesn’t really have much call to wear them herself. The upshot of the discussion was a skein of my silk lace got “loaned” to her and returned to me as a truly stunning shawl. I have not managed to find an accomplice to get a modeled shot yet, but you could go back to her post and marvel at how pretty it is.