March to May KAL

In January, I took the time to organize four projects, ready for cast-on. I had the pattern, I had the yarn, I just needed the push to get them started.

The first push came to my inbox last week from Andrea Mowry with her 2023 DRK March to May KAL. I bought the pattern months ago, and I had the yarn ready, or so I thought.

On March 1, the start of the Knit-A-Long, I grabbed that project bag and started to get organized. I wasn’t able to start right then and there because, to my sheer amazement, I only had one 3.75 (US5) needle big enough for this project, and it was busy working on my Bright Axis sweater. So, I couldn’t cast on, but I could wind all the yarn.

And so I wound. As soon as I had the first two balls ready, I realized there really wasn’t enough contrast between them, not the amount of contrast that I was hoping for anyways, and this really didn’t pop until they were wound.

While I was winding, there was a skein sticking out on the shelf, a skein I bought last November when I was visiting a friend in Kingston. The good thing about having a fairly consistent taste in colours means I was able to easily dig into my stash, and this skein suited the project well. Excellent. I kept winding.

And then, I started second guessing. A project that used 5 skeins soon became a project only using 4 skeins. I played around with a few colour combinations before settling on the following:

  • The lightest is Skein or Shine Fingering, Arctic Stone colourway
  • The next colour is the one I bought in Kingston, All Dyed Up in My oh My colourway
  • The second darkest is the shop brand for Village Laine Yarn Cafe in Ajax, ON: North Star Yarn Co. Bellatrix in Sea Serpent colour
  • Finally, the darkest shade is Akara Yarns Merino Sock and the colour name is Dark Like My Soul – isn’t that delightful.

I could have started the sweater on Saturday – I got the body of Bright Axis done by then, freeing up my lone 3.75 needle, but, we got a significant snowfall which meant I was shovelling a lot of heavy snow through the day. My mind couldn’t handle the idea of starting a new sweater. But Sunday afternoon, after a few hours at the office, I cast on. It’s a start, right?

Why did it have to be black yarn?

Bright Axis (RAV LINK) has been an excellent pick up/put down project. And I’ve been doing just that for almost a year and a half.

This statement tee was included in Stephanie Lotven’s Knit Happy with Self-Striping Yarn: Bright, Fun, and Colorful Sweaters and Accessories Made Easy. I’ve professed my adoration for this designer’s patterns before, and buying this book when it was released in 2021 was a no-brainer. I fell instantly in love with Bright Axis and just needed to decide on what yarn I was going to use to make it.

And, I thought I had made that decision…

The body yarn, well, that one I’m set on (and after 11+ inches of stockinette, it’s well set). I had two skeins of Cascade Heritage Sock in black, and I had planned to use skeins of Felici Time Traveler as the contrast, the stripes along the shoulders.

The thing is, when you plan out a sweater, and almost 18 or so months pass, tastes have a funny way of changing.

After hours of dedicated knitting, I thought I reached the point of being ready to start the shoulders, but the more I thought about it, the less happy I was with the Felici. The black felt like a grounded colour, while Felici was too whimsical. Now, don’t get me wrong, a little whimsy is always a good thing, but it didn’t feel right for this sweater.

Instead, my mind started wandering to TurtlePurl Yarns in their trenchcoat colour. This Burberry inspired colour with the solid black sweater was feeling more and more like a better fit.

Well, it was all a moot point anyways. After the body is knit, the work is divided, and there’s short row shaping before starting with the CC.

I decided I wanted the body to be longer.

And that meant ripping back my short rows and carefully putting 132 stitches back onto the needles.

132 stitches. In black, sock weight yarn.

I’ll never know how I managed to get them all back onto the needle without dropping any.

Finished Fezziwig

It took just shy of two months to finish the Fezziwig Cardigan.

I have to say, I love it. The yarn, a heathered yarn from Haynes Creek, is lovely, and for a pure wool, its rather soft. And as for the colour, well, the blue/teal is so VERY me.

Before I give my thoughts on the pattern, I want to say, it’s discontinued. It is only available via the Wayback Machine, the internet’s archive. It was made unavailable in late 2019. It is what it is, and I knew this diving into this project.

(Also, as a total aside, I could never get the PDF file to download from the Wayback Machine on my iPhone or iPad – I was able to get the PDF when working on a PC. Keep this in mind if you seek this pattern out).

While I like my finished sweater, and it did knit up fast, I had some issues. If you were to knit the 42″ bust like I did, you might have noticed a typo after the sleeves are put on waste yarn. Pattern reads: Sts are 34/72/34, then you increase in the next row. Stitches ACTUALLY are 33/72/33, then after that increase in the Purl row, you get the stitch count that’s listed on the pattern.

Others in their project notes on Ravelry or in the pattern comments also noticed that you need to repeat the pocket cables a total of 4 times, not 3 like the directions say.

For the collar. I got SUPER confused for how to proceed with a bigger needle. I kept the button band on 6mm and knit the collar on 9mm. There’s a discrepancy for how many rows to knit total – I repeated rows 3 & 4 13 times more – so 30 rows of short rows before the rows to resolve them. I KEPT the collar stitches on 9mm and continued to work the bands on 6mm, even for those last few rows, simply switching sizes. I wanted the band to stay even and lots of drape for the collar.

While trying to wrap my head around the collar and needle sizes, I texted my friend Victoria, who also knit this sweater, although for her it was quite a few years ago. Her biggest advice was to use Jeny’s Stretchy Bind Off when binding off the collar, which I did. And, again, I kept the band stitches on 6mms and the collar stitches on 9mms and bound off with the respective needles, but stretchily.

In all, I used just over 1080 metres (or 1181 yards if you prefer). It is a cozy sweater, and as we’re heading into the colder weather, what a perfect time to have a new cozy sweater.

What’s Next

Since casting off Sealine, I had been feeling that usual post-project ennui, that feeling of ‘what now.’ Sure, I have a stash full of yarn, and I have two sweaters in my queue to get started on, but I wasn’t feeling any of it… until something magical happened.

The weather, here in southern Ontario, turned.

There’s now a slight chill in the air, especially in the evenings. Yesterday, I wore my favourite Boxy (RAV LINK) sweater, and it wasn’t too much. The weather was perfect for it.

So, now that there’s a certain autumnal vibe, I grabbed a skein of Haynes Creek Heathers, yarn I bought over six months ago, and got it wound, ready for casting on.

Casting on what, you ask? I’ve been wanting to make the Fezziwig cardigan for years. I bought the Haynes Creek yarn with this sweater in mind, and with the heat and humidity of Ontario in July/August, I just haven’t been able to face a warm, worsted, woolly project. But the start of the autumn cool has given me inspiration. The yarn is wound, the pattern ready to go, all I have to do is grab the needles and cast on.

And wouldn’t it be nice to start the next cool season with a cool new cardigan? There’s all the inspiration and motivation I need.


So, it appears this is the season for finishing things!

Last year, the patterns by Skeindeer Knits were brought to my attention by my friend, Victoria. The designer released patterns for Summer 2021, and I was immediately taken with Sealine (RAV LINK). I loved the vintage feel to this piece, and on a shopping trip to a LYS, I bought the yarn I would need to make one.

And then the yarn sat.

Well, actually, for some reason, the grey, which I had wound into a cake, caught the eye of my puppy, and on a few occasions, I discovered he grabbed it from my shelves and had a GRAND time getting the yarn all over my bedroom. Cut to me, de-tangling and rewinding. He’s darn cute, so a little mischief with the yarn can be easily forgiven.

So, earlier this summer, I cast on, and while I’m happy with the final sweater, it was a little fussy in its construction.

What do I mean by fussy? Well, there were a lot of folded hems. The bottom hem required a fold and knit live stitches with cast on stitches. I started the folding process but had to rip back and start again as I realized I was accidentally twisting the fabric. I carefully kept it folded with removable stitch markers, and it helped avoid the twisting / pulling that was happening. There was also the top edge details, which involved a fold and sewing live stitches and picked up stitches together.

Finally, there were the straps. They weren’t folded, but they were double thick, achieved by knitting a small amount of stitches in the round, and small amount of stitches in the round is, indeed, fussy. I started with the stitches on three very slippery DPNs, and it was, in a word, awful. I switched to a set of bamboo circulars and worked magic loop, and it was so much better. Still fussy, but better.

That said, the final top is lovely. It’s bright and attention grabbing, and I was able to finish it off with buttons scrounged from my Grandma’s ancient button box. If I was to make it again, I would have sized down. I made size 4, to accommodate a 40″ bust, but it just feels like there’s a lot more negative ease. I’m not mad at the final fit, but something to keep in mind if I was to make it again.