A Hard Learned Lesson

In an attempt to be a lazy knitter, I learned a lesson the hard way – if you want to make a bottom up sweater longer, it is unadvisable to try to undo a cast on edge when the fabric is 1×1 ribbing.

My latest project is another Stephanie Lotven sweater – Simple Addition (RAV LINK). I bought three skeins of Berroco Weekend from a LYS, the last three they had in black. This equalled to just over 600 metres. If I made Simple Addition as a short sleeve top, I should have had enough yardage to make this sweater.

I had a few days off from work, and the lovely weather gave me the perfect opportunity for some outside, dedicated knitting time. In what felt like no time, I cast off the sweater, and had only used around 2 and a quarter skeins. I tried on the sweater before blocking, and it was SHORT. I wanted more length to it.

In my attempt to be lazy, rather than frog back and start again, I thought I could simply use my needle to pick up stitches on the body and rip back the cast on edge.

So, fun story. This could have worked if my sweater was made in stockinette. It wasn’t. It was 1×1 ribbing.

After ripping back, the stitches on my needle seemed super twisted. I wondered if I had grabbed the wrong leg of the stitch when I was picking up. I tried knitting a few stitches, and it was just wrong. So I googled. It felt as though, when I was trying to knit those few stitches, that I was in between the stitches and not truly where I needed to be. And, yes, that is what happened. When you rip back from the cast on edge, you’re almost knitting in between the stitches. If it’s stockinette, it isn’t super noticeable – I had a pair of socks I had to fix a while ago, and I was able to pick up stitches, rip back, and reknit the leg where a hole had appeared. This isn’t so straight forward with ribbed stitches.

Ultimately, I frogged the whole sweater. Each section is carefully marked – the yarn I frogged from the sleeves, front, back, and body all labelled. I’ve re-cast on the sweater using the remaining yarn. Hopefully, this time around, I can get the length right and use up as much of the yarn as I can. Hopefully…

I also took zero photos of the previous iteration of the sweater. Zero. So here’s a picture of the new sweater in progress.

Does the yarn choose the pattern, or does the pattern choose the yarn

There is a delightful time right after finishing projects of ‘what’s next.’ Sure, I have socks and sweaters on the go, and yes, I really should be working on them, but, there’s always the allure of new projects, of finding something new to cast on.

How do you go about that? Does the yarn choose the pattern, or does the pattern choose the yarn?

I’m more of a ‘work with the stash’ kinda person. That doesn’t mean I won’t buy yarn to work with a specific project, like the yarn I bought in February hoping to make a Fezziwig sweater. However, more often than not, when I’m searching for a new project to start, I turn to my stash.

For me, this tends to work best for sock/sport/DK yarns. When I’m buying yarn, I’m not likely to buy several skeins of a heavier weight, but a single skein or two of the lighter yarns means there’s a lot more future project potential. Simply stated, there’s a lot more yardage per skein with the lighter yarns.

When I’m searching for my next knit, the features of Ravelry are super helpful for me. Now, that said, I recognize my ableism in saying this, knowing that Ravelry isn’t accessible to many. What I find handy about Rav is their stash feature and using it to keep track of yardages per skein. Workarounds for this could be a simple Google Sheet, and with formulas, it could simply keep track of yardages, much like Rav does.

So, to answer my own question, for me, the yarn chooses the project. Mostly…

Feel the Bern Sweater

If you’re looking for a quick knit that will use up a decent amount of stashed worsted/Aran weight yarn, look no further than Feel the Bern (RAV LINK) by Caitlin Hunter. In a month of passive knitting, I went from playing with colour combinations to a finished, blocked and worn sweater.

I was drawn to this pattern because it used four different colours, and I had enough yardage in similar yarns to make it. This is part of my 2022 endeavour to try to knit more from my stash. All yarn is Cascade 220 Heathers, except for the light grey, which is Briggs & Little Heritage. All together, Ravelry is telling me I used 635 metres to make this sweater, and I made the Size 4 (44″ bust). That said, I don’t think I ended up with the ease that this size was supposed to have. That is very likely a knitter’s error and not a pattern error. I did the thing that a knitter is not supposed to do: I knit without doing a gauge swatch (Gasp! Shock! Horror!). I also know that my tensions varied GREATLY between the single colour knitting and the colourwork – I was MUCH tenser knitting the colourwork, and it shows. I’m sure more practice will eventually help me with this.

I also could have knit the body longer, if I wanted to, because I didn’t use nearly as much yarn as the pattern called for and I had enough yarn to do so, but I like the length of the crop. It looks good when worn with my high rise jeans or with a skirt/dress.

All in all, a lovely, FREE pattern and a great way to use up some left over yarn in your stash!

The little things that spark knitting joy

I have no explanation. Perhaps, things like this don’t need explanations. All I know is that I get an extreme amount of joy from a new ball of crunchy, cotton dishcloth yarn.

It makes no sense. It is the strangest thing to spark a little joy, and yet it does.

There’s also nothing quite like getting the stripes to match on a pair of socks, or when you’re able to join two balls of wool by felting two plies together (commonly known as the spit splicing method, but the spit idea grosses me out, so I just use hot water). When you’re able to get the centre pull of a ball of yarn started without the almost inevitable ‘yarn barf,’ you can’t help but feel like some kind of knitting magician, or the magic that MUST be involved when you are casting on using the long tail method, and you’ve chosen the length of your tail just right.

It’s the little things, really…

“Bern”ing through the stash

After inventorying all my stash and helpfully getting it all onto Ravelry, I turned my attention to trying to find a pattern that would use up a good chunk of stash yarn. I’ve also been a little twitchy for a heavier sweater – heavier meaning heavier weight yarn. The two I currently have in progress are both made with sock yarn, so I was hoping for something that would knit up a little faster.

After refining my search, I cast on Feel the Bern (RAV LINK) by Caitlin Hunter. It’s a free pattern (yay) using between 591 – 1256 yards (yay) of worsted yarn (YAY).

I played with a few colour combinations of Cascade 220 and Briggs and Little Heritage. My dark heathered purple was a must as it had the most yardage left for one of the main colours, and I loved how the grey of the Briggs and Little was more subdued than the other colours I was toying with. I settled on the dark purple, the grey and two more Cascade 220s: a mauve-y heathered pink and a heathered green. I had two different blues I was tossing around, but the blues were more vibrant, while the combo with the mauve and green felt more natural.

As I cast on and got to the colourwork yoke, I sent progress pictures to my friend Victoria. We were both in agreement. This colour combo was the winning combo indeed.

Now, excuse me while I keep making progress on this 50 round colourwork yoke… RIP my patience…