Meet Debbie

debbieI made the decision this year to be more mindful with my crafting. This ranges from being more deliberate in planning what projects I take on and organizing my yarn stash and art supplies so that I know exactly what I have and will use to being more aware of wear my “craft dollars” are being spent. I’ll be going more in depth in lots of these areas, but for now, I wanted to share something I’m really excited about.

I’ve become a virtual shepherd or shepherdess (VS)  by supporting the “Follow My Fleece” project  on Patreon for Prado De Lana Sheep Farm. Each VS subscriber receives monthly updates through videos, live chats, personalized emails, and snail mail about your chosen sheep.  Contributions help Prado de Lana run their small farm, keep their flock healthy, and continue to educate about wool and rare breeds. Also as a VS, I’ll be sent yarn from my sheep  once she has been fleeced and the wool is spun into yarn.

The idea that if I forgo one or two lattes A MONTH I could support a small family-run farm that believes in sustainable agriculture practices, know where my yarn is sources, and get lots of sheepy-goodness in the bargain was a no brainer. So without further ado, meet Debbie!

 

Finishes of 2018

I finished over 20 knitting projects this year, including three pullovers, two tops and five pairs of socks! Most are shown above, however there were a few gifted items that I forgot to photograph before I gave them away. Stripes were definitely a theme (one that I’m sure will continue) as was many of shades of blue.  That’s over 12,000 yards of yarn and I can’t even imagine how many individual stitches!

My “Make Nine” in 2019

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After a lot of thought, I’ve finally decided on my “Make Nine” for 2019. Some patterns have been in my Ravelry queue for a while others are recent pattern releases. Cardigans, color work, and geometric shapes are all capturing my eye and making my fingers eager to knit.  I usually have 2-3 projects going at the same time, so I feel that I have a pretty good mix to choose from. Now I just need to go through my stash to make my yarn choices and decide which one will be my first cast-on for the year!

Here’s the Ravelry links to the patterns:

  1. Stillwater
  2. The Owen Hat
  3. Nordiska
  4. Kelderhouse
  5. Tecumseh
  6. Summer Bursts in June
  7. Lineate
  8. Bradford Road
  9. Carbeth Cardigan

 

Recent Finishes

Dendros Shawl

I finished this rectangular shawl back at the end of August. I loved the construction, which was knit from the center out, but it was a bit of a tangle at first. The yarn is Plucky Primo Fingering from The Plucky Knitter. Super soft with a nice drape and the colors are so saturated, I love it.

Bitty Front Range Cardigan

This cute little cardigan was made for a friend’s sweet baby girl. The pattern was easy and fun to knit. I forgot how fast it is to knit baby clothes! The yarn is CoopKnits Socks Yeah DK is this pretty coral color. I also made the buttons with some leftover calico and a button kit I’ve had from Joann’s.

Water Hat

This hat pattern by Thea Colman was great for practicing cables, a skill I’d like to get better at before attempting a larger project. I finished this in less than a week in mid-September. The yarn is Trusty from The Plucky Knitter is a gorgeous cerulean blue. I also used it for my Dog Walker sweater. The proceeds of the pattern sales were donated to The Flint Water Project to provide bottled water and school supplies to children in Flint, MI. In addition, I’m send this to be included with other hand-knitted hats that are being collected as holiday gifts for the children.

Yellow Submarine Socks

Knit with Must Stash Yarns self-striping yarn in Land of Submarines, that was part of her series inspired by The Beatles. I love the gradient of blues with the pops of bright yellow. These were worked on intermittently though most of the summer and were completed at the end of September.

Trusty Dog Walker

I have to admit, I’m so pleased with how my Dog Walker Sweater turned out. It fits like a comfy, well loved sweatshirt and the color makes me smile every time I look at it.

The pattern was straightforward and easy to follow. A top-down raglan with miles of stockinette, it was perfect summertime knitting. I especially like the broken rib at the cuff, neckline, and hem. It gives it a little subtle interest than using a basic ribbing. This is the worsted weight version, but there’s an Aran weight that I might cast-on later in the fall. The only modification I made was changing the turtleneck to a crew.

The yarn is Trusty from The Plucky Knitter. A 100% merino superwash that is soft, squishy and feels great against bare skin. A great workhorse yarn for any project. The color is “You’re Gonna Make It After All” a beautiful bright cerulean blue with the slightest variation. Swoon.

Planning on wearing this on repeat all through the fall.

Knitting Queue Check: Summer 2018

Most of my projects right now are longer term, I wanted to do a bit of a progress report to keep myself accountable and on track for finishing by the end of summer. Here’s the breakdown of the four I have on my needles:

1. The Dog Walker Sweater

This worsted weight sweater is actually going fairly quickly. I cast on the first week of July as part of a KAL and I’m on track to finish by the August 10th completion date. I’m bit farther along than the photo, I finished the hem and started on the first sleeve. 2. Dendros Shawl

I cast on this large rectangular wrap/shawl a little before the above sweater. The beginning was a bit complicated, since it’s knit from the center out, but it’s now smooth sailing. It’s fingering weight yarn on size US 3 needles, so it will take a while, but’s it’s going to be so worth it. Goal it to have it done by Labor Day.

3. Yellow Submarine Socks

I always seem to have a pair of socks on the needles. I carry them with me and usually work on them while waiting at swim lessons, and oil change, etc. My current ones are self-striping yarn inspired by The Beatle’s song Yellow Submarine. Fitting since the movie is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. No real completion goal for these, but I know they’ll be finished before school starts.

4. Tea with Jam & Bread Sweater

This striped worsted weight sweater is actually for Joey. I’m doing a striping sequence and to have the sleeves line up with the body, I’m working them all at the simultaneously. This is making it go faster and slower at the same time. I’m intentionally making a little too large for him right now to make sure it will still fit when sweater weather is here again I want to have this done before school starts as well.

Hopefully, I’ll reach my goals on finishing, my knitting queue is already full for my next projects and I’m itching to cast on something new.

Shakerag 2.0

A pattern so nice, I knit it twice! I was so happy with how my first one turned out, I decided to knit a second version of the Shakerag Top ,but this time I wanted to make a few modifications:

I decided to marl  the stripes this time around,  using Ariel by Luna Grey Fiber Arts in the Mishigami color way that I received from Wool & Honey’s Sleeping Bear Yarn Club and some white fingering weight yarn from deep stash. Possible Kroy Sock but have no idea since the label is long gone. This makes it a little bit heavier weight than my first, but it still has a nice drape and fit.  (The photo above was pre-blocking, so it looks a little wonky, but once it was blocked and dried, it smoothed right out.)

I also went with Breton influenced striping and ended stripe sequence halfway up armhole, I then continued with Ariel held singly for the remainder of the yoke. I also did not add a split hem this time, just followed original pattern instructions, however I did add a few inches in length. Here’s a detail shot:

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I was originally considering adding 3/4 length sleeves, but once I tried it on I decided to leave it as is. However, I’m now considering a third version in a solid and adding those sleeves. We’ll see.

Full details on Ravelry.

Shakerag Top

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Here’s my latest entry for #operationsweaterchest the Shakerag Top by Amy Christoffers for Mason Dixon Knitting’s Field Guide No. 6: Transparency.  You guys, I cannot tell you how much I love this top!

The pattern was so simple and quick to knit. I cast on as part of MDK’s May Knitalong: #shakeragtop that celebrated their release of the latest installment to their Field Guide pattern series.  I finished in less than a month, while still working other projects! It’s hard to tell from the photos, but there is a subtle striping from holding the yarn single and then double. This gave me a bit of interest to and otherwise mindless knit. I love the simple neckband and how the shoulder shaping created a slight drop sleeve.  It’s comfortable, while still flattering and would look good on a wide range of figures. I did modify mine a bit by giving it a split hem, some additional length, and some slight shaping at the waist. (Full details on the mods on Ravelry)

The yarn is Sylph from Jade Sapphire, a light fingering weight yarn that is 58% Cashmere goat and 42% linen/flax. This is some magical yarn. While knitting, it feels a bit stiff and was harder to work with, making my hands ache a bit if I knit too long. However, it quickly softens up when worked and once wet blocked it was so soft and had the most amazing drape. Absolutely dreamy. I chose the Extinction color way, a deep midnight blue with subtle touches of aquamarine and amethyst. The flax/linen is natural so it has a marled effect. It’s so hard to capture the color in a photo, but here you can see a bit of the variation.

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This top will be on repeat all summer. In fact, I immediately cast on a second version once this was finished. It just needs some blocking and the ends weaved in, so I’ll be sharing that one shortly.

SIDE NOTE:  I haven’t found many fellow knitters in to connect with in the real world, so it’s great to be able to “find my tribe”online through Ravelry and other knitting-centric sites. MDK is one of those that has been an inspiration to me and I have found it’s community to be so welcoming and full of encouragement. So, I was beyond thrilled to have my project shared on MDK’s website and Instagram! It definitely gave me a bit of a boost in confidence that my knitting continues to improve. You can see the post where I’m briefly mentioned here a you can see their Instagram here.

Easel Sweater

I fell in love with this sweater pattern the first time I came across it on Mason Dixon Knitting.  It looked so comfy, like your favorite sweatshirt, and how the colorful sleeves contrasted with the basic stockinette body.  I knew that I would wear it all the time.

The yarn is Mohonk by Jill Draper Makes Stuff. This squishable yarn is made from 100% NYS unregistered Cormo wool. Spun up into a 2 ply sportweight and retaining a little of its natural lanolin it is a perfect sweater yarn. It is spongy-soft and does have a little chaff (hay) in it, since the mill doesn’t use a harsh chemical wash to dissolve it. This washed out when blocking, turning into a soft, light squishy fabric that feels great against bare skin. Not itchy in the least. I used the Vintage Denim color way for the body and Frida for the forearms.

Although I made a few modifications to the pattern, as written it was very easy to follow. This was the first time I have attempted set in sleeves, which I was pretty nervous about. This is when you attach the sleeves by sewing them to the body of the sweater instead of linking while knitting. I was worried that it would be lumpy or “homemade” looking, but I’m pretty happy with the results. It fits perfectly!

Modifications I made to the pattern:

  • I decided to knit in the round instead of flat, so I wouldn’t have to do a lot of seaming.
  • I moved the decrease round further up the body to under the bust line to give it a little more shaping.
  • Added some and additional length to the sleeves since I hate when the wrists pull up and feel short.
  • I sized down on the neckband, since it was a little too loose/sloppy looking.

I absolutely love the variegated colors in the sleeves. You can also see the texture of the yarn here. So squishy!

It’s a . . . sweater!

I’ve knitted many, many things. Countless socks, mittens, hats, scarves, wraps, blankets, even a set of golf club covers. I’ve knitted a score of baby and children’s sweaters, mostly as gifts or commissions for others to give. Yet, I’ve never completed an adult-size sweater that was functional or wearable. I gave up on it for a long time until I decided that 2018 would be the year that I would get over my sweater anxiety and launched #operationsweaterchest. My goal for the year would be to make five adult sweaters for myself and one for Joe. (I’m adding a stretch goal of one for Shawn, if I can find a pattern he likes and I’m confident enough that I can meet his exacting sartorial standards.)

The first sweater I made is the Carbeth from the wonderful designer, Kate Davies. This pattern has quite a following and was so fun to knit. It was very easy to follow the pattern and make adjustments on fit, even as a beginner. There were several helpful notes from other knitters on Ravelry that also helped a great deal. And such a fast knit, I finished it in three weeks! Thats usually how long it takes me to knit a pair of socks!

I used The Plucky Knitter Pluck Bulky in Wintery Mix. A super soft and squishy 100% merino yarn that gives this sweater such great texture and it is so warm!  The colorway is a light gray that has subtle variations ranging from cream to cement. I love it.

Some modifications that I made were using a provisional cast on for the body and sleeves so I could tailor the length to fit exactly to my measurements. You can see all my notes here. I absolutely adore this pattern and one of my projects will be to make the cardigan version to wear next fall/winter.