I Suppose, a Stash Update?

Earlier last week, I was in that awkward time between finishing a project and trying to decide what to start next. I took a look at my stash and sent the following picture to my friend:

Yes, that’s a small plastic bin, filled with yarn intended for sweaters.

I supposed I was best to start working on a sweater…

Shortly after sending that picture, I took the black sock yarn that’s near the top, wound it into a ball, and cast on the 250+ stitches I needed for the next project.

I adore self striping sock yarn, and when Stephanie Lotven released her latest book, Knit Happy with Self-Striping Yarn: Bright, Fun, and Colorful Sweaters and Accessories Made Easy, it was one of the fastest pattern books I’ve ever bought. I’ve cast on for the pattern Bright Axis (RAV LINK). The black Cascade Heritage will be the main colour for the body, and I have quite a few balls of Knit Picks Felici in the Time Traveler colourway for the contrast colour around the shoulders.

So, sweaters it is.

A DASHing Dog Sweater

Meet Dash.

I’m biased, of course, but I happen to think my new puppy is, perhaps, one of the cutest puppies I have ever seen. We were smitten with each other right from the get-go, and our three weeks together, so far, have been amazing. Lots of cuddles, lots of trying to set a routine, lots of training, and lots of getting to know each other.

One habit I had to try and stop early was Dash’s thinking that my yarns in my stash were play toys. They are not. He does like soft and squishy toys, so any time he went for the yarn, I did my best to redirect to a more appropriate dog toy.

That said, when he went for the ball of yarn I bought to make him a sweater with, I had to take a picture before removing the yarn from his mouth. He looked hilarious, and that moment needed to be captured. It’s good to know that green does seem to be his colour!

My grandparent’s Jack Russell, Copper, wearing the first Hoodie Dog Coat I made

The sweater I’m making him is a pattern I’ve made twice before:
Hoodie Dog Coat
 (RAV LINK) by Bernat Design Studio. Now, the pattern… it’s not great… I don’t know why I’ve made it three times now… It’s not well written, and I seriously question the sizing. For example, I made a coat for my brother’s French Bulldog/Boston Terrier mix, and to accommodate for her solid, barrel chest, I made the size large. LARGE. She’s a sturdy dog, but she is certainly not a large breed. Even the sweater I’m making for Dash – it’s a size Medium, and he weighs about 13 pounds… I’ve tried it on him, and I’m nervous about the placements for the leg holes.

And yet, I keep opting to make this sweater! Why?

The first time I made it, I followed the pattern pretty exactly.

The second time, along the back, I made a series of Yarn Over holes to have the harness loop go through.

This time, for Dash, I knew I wanted something that would go over his harness, so rather than the small YOs, I did a two row button hole over six stitches, and I positioned it at the same point that you start shaping the leg holes. This seems to have been the perfect placement for it.

Even though I’m doubting the fit with his wide set legs, I’m going to trust the process with the poorly written pattern and see it to the finish. If it’s not the right fit, there’s always time to take a visit to the FROG pond, rip it out and start again…

Finished Object Friday: Little Secret Crop

Last week, I finished the Little Secret Crop (RAV LINK) by Jessie Maed Designs. Just a refresher – I made it with DK weight cotton yarn I frogged from a shawl I never wore. It was an addictive knit, with the 3×3 ribbing being perfect for webinar or virtual meeting knitting. It felt like it flew off my needles.

I will note, I made the large size and noticed two minor errors with this pattern. Being a confident knitter, it didn’t throw me at all, but I feel like a lot of new knitters make patterns by Jessie Mae, so I was clear in my Rav notes, and I’ll be clear here, about what the mistakes are. For size Large, when decreasing for the front, rows 3 & 4, it says to repeat 3 MORE times, but I think, in order to get the required number of stitches, it should be 3 times TOTAL. At least, I’m hoping I mathed correctly on that… Also, for the right strap set up, work as follows: sl1pwyif, K1, sl1pwyif, K1, sl1pwyif. Turn. That way, your stitches are correct for the start of the right strap.

For real though, this is now the third pattern I’ve made by her, and all three of these garments are so very flattering and comfortable.

Happy summer knitting!

Another trip to the Sweater Frog Pond

I have a gift, an unfortunate gift, but a gift nonetheless. What is this gift, you might ask? I am able to consistently underestimate how much yarn is needed and get foiled by yardage. It’s happened again.

Last summer, I started a sweater, the Vatsland Jumper (RAV LINK) by Ella Gordon. I had a bunch of super woolly yarn in my stash and a few colours that seemed to work well together for the bottom hem lace. The pattern gave weight estimates for the Main Colour and, like the fool I was, I used that estimate to gauge whether I had enough. Did I pay any attention at all to meterage? No. I am, as I said, a fool.

I made good progress with the sweater, getting to the point where I divide for the sleeves, and that’s when I really started doubting. I checked the pattern and yes, I would be short. About 300 metres short. I know, I know. I’m a fool.

Unfortunately, the brown I was using as the MC was from a small (and I mean small) local mill, having purchased the two skeins in my stash a few years ago at a craft fair. I checked their website and no brown yarn was available. Of course not.

So, I masked up and ventured to a LYS where I hoped they would have Briggs and Little that would match. I was able to buy a heathered brown which works wonderfully with the colours in the lacework. Also, I’m blending the skeins, changing yarns every row, and it’s hard to tell the difference, really, between the two. They are blending beautifully. I bought enough brown to make the sweater, but I’m leaving the skeins unwound until I need them, and anything unused, I’ll return to the store. The point of this sweater was to use up some yarn that’s been lamenting in my stash. I really shouldn’t add MORE if it goes unused!

The yarn on the left is the original brown, and the yarn on the right, the heathered yarn, is the Briggs and Little I bought. As you can see, I have about an inch re-knit, and it is really blending well. You can see the heathering, but it’s simply adding some subtle colour to the sweater.

The question remains – will I ever learn and start paying better attention to meterage? Probably not…

Second sweater of 2021

I really struggled with my latest cardigan. It wasn’t the difficulty with the pattern – the pattern itself was well written, easy to follow and knit up very quickly. It was more about what the sweater could represent.

Like so many others, I’ve loved the Harry Potter universe for years. I’ve read and re-read the books, I saw the midnight movie showings, I went to the midnight book releases. In 2019, my sister, best friend, and I dressed up as hufflepuff students for Halloween. And then, in 2020, the author of the series said a lot of disgusting, hateful, and ignorant things on Twitter.

Let me be clear. Trans women are women. Trans men are men. TERFs and transphobes have NO PLACE here.

And because this is something that I firmly and unequivocally believe, I am at odds with the author of the Harry Potter series.

I’ve never hesitated to show off my fandoms. I’ve knit so many projects relating to Doctor Who, Harry Potter, the MCU; my wardrobe is rounded out by many t-shirts, and now masks, all branded with these different fandoms.

However, after a series of uninformed and hateful tweets from the HP world, I was left wondering if my display of fandoms, wearing something in the hufflepuff colours, makes me less of an ally?

It is from a place of great privilege that I looked at the sweater I wanted to make and separated the author from the magical universe she created. The HP world is so much bigger than the author, and it can represent so much more. I’d like to think that the fans can really take hold of the communities that have been built around HP and make them inclusive, open, and accepting. However, as a cis, straight white woman, I do acknowledge how much sheer privilege I have in making this statement.

Let’s speak technically about the cardigan. It is Hogwarts House Cardigans (RAV LINK) by martaschmarta, as published in Knitting Magic: The Official Harry Potter Knitting Pattern Book. I used Estelle Yarns Worsted for the main colour and Berroco Vintage for the accents. It was a very quick simple pattern and came together very easily.

I got thrown a little bit, as the front shaping said to do X amount of decreases, and then knit until you’ve reached the length of Y. Following the necessary decreases meant that it was almost an inch longer than I was supposed to knit until, but the sleeves set in very well and there’s no issue with fit at the sleeves. Where there IS a slight fit concern is at the hips. It’s a unisex pattern, so while the chest measurements are dead on, the hips are a little snugger than I prefer. But, it fits, the buttons close, and, for its style and warmth, this cardigan has become a welcome addition to my wardrobe.