cute

I backwards inherited some open cardigans from my younger sister this past weekend. In addition to all the shawls I’ve knitted this year that are likely to become Christmas presents, I need a light and warm cowl that I can wear on a regular basis. For the lightness I’m going to use alpaca. And for the warmness…I’m going to use alpaca! Maybe if it comes out alright I’ll make more for Christmas presents and keep my shawls…?

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Inspiration is coming from cowls that are available for sale on Modcloth. I like how they are just a basic two stitch pattern, but I want mine to have more color and with a lace variety. Since this piece is going to be made with alpaca, I’m not worried about it being a solid piece of fabric. Both stitch patterns I am going to use will be incorporating open work, aka lace stitches. This will help give length to the project (each skein is only 100 yards of sport weight) as well as provide some interest for the eye. Hmm..maybe some beading too!

Once I have the child’s sweater completed I will be casting on for this one!

I’m likely going to release the pattern for free as well if anyone is interested in trying it out!

 

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If you know me then you know that my fashion sense is a bit on the subdued side. I like blocks of color, subtle prints, and little accents as opposed to loud and flashy, bold prints, and multi-colored or neon. I prefer subtle elegance that appeals to the eye as a restful place rather than an intricate brain teaser. With that in mind, I’d like to introduce you to one of my favorite blogs: PurlBee.

Most if not all the knitting patterns on the site are free and include detailed images and a tutorials section to help you through the new techniques. It’s a great place that both beginners and advanced knitters can glean useful information from.

purlbee

Content:

  • Knitting / Crochet
  • Sewing
  • Embroidery
  • Weaving
  • Crafts
  • eCommerce Shop (PurlSoho).

User Interface:

  • Mobile friendly
  • Clear¬†photography
  • Organized content
  • Excellent typography

User Experience:

  • Content driven
  • Consistency between content types
  • Straight forward navigation
  • Quick page load time
  • Subtle javascript

So what is my inner knitting child squeeing over the most about this blog? Well today it is the Caliper Cable stitch. I’ve seen it before, but never thought to look it up until it popped up on the suggested posts from today’s newsletter from PurlBee. Their example project has the stitch repeated horizontally to create a really nice long scarf with the stitch repeats almost looking like herring bone, but better! ¬†Sometimes I feel that cables are just to puffy and don’t create a dramatic enough effect in some yarns. This looks like the perfect stitch to show off on all types of yarns and colorways. The Dream In Color Smooshy I bought over Labor Day may become this scarf. Or maybe I’ll make it into a hat with a ribbon. Or maaaybe an accent on a pair of wrist warmers!

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I haven’t knitted a sweater all year and I’m feeling a serious itch. I’m in need of a nice, soft, squooshy covering that has enough going on that I won’t get bored knitting it, but not so much that it will take over my life. The majority of my knits so far this year have been cowls and shawls, so the pattern would also have to give enough lee-way for possibly wearing them in conjunction without turning me into a sweaty mess.

Pattern:

The result of my Ravelry search brought me to this little beauty: Paloma.

Bulky weight yarn: check.
Textured stitches: check.
Learn a new Technique: check.

Paloma is written by Thea Colman of Baby Cocktails. I’ve made another sweater by her called Baileys Irish Cream. Unfortunately, I wore it too much in the winter/spring of 2014 and it felted/pilled because I didn’t use a superwash yarn (totally my bad). The patterns she writes are very clear and technically accurate.

Yarn:

I’ve been wanting to try a bulky weight pattern for a while, so finding a bulky weight yarn seemed like it would be easy. Except not. I knew I wanted superwash and I knew I wanted something pretty. What I don’t ever want is expensive, heavy, or acrylic. Knitpicks Biggo ended up breaking the tie. This is a 50% superwash and 50% nylon fluffy mix. It has a little bit of a fuzzy halo, but nothing unreasonable, so far. At 100 grams a skein as well, it feels like a light and fluffy newborn kitten.

Biggo - Iris Heather

The color I’m going with the Iris Heather. And so far it’s living up to my expectations. The example Paloma is a solid pinky/peach color, which is fine, but with the texture I wanted something with a bit more depth and feel of luxury. I want a sweater that people really can’t find in the store, but still in style.

Comparing the item to the colors show on the knitpicks website, it is more on the grey side than the purple side. But the heather and nylon give it almost an iridescent glow which I absolutely love!

Swatch:

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Pattern gauge is 3 stitches and 5 rows per 1″ in double seed stitch pattern on size 10.5 (6.5mm) needles. I measured slightly smaller than gauge using 10 (6.0mm) needles before wet blocking.

The pattern notes that gauge is very important especially when working with bulky weight yarns. Even the slightest bit too big and you’re going to end up with an over-sized garment. Luckly, I came in slightly under! Good enough.

Size:

As usual I will be making the smallest size possible:¬†36.5″ @ approx 900 yards. I still haven’t quite figured out if the 4″ of positive ease is a part of the pattern or if the model is wearing it that large on purpose. Either way 36.5″ is big on me to begin with. Biggo comes in 110 yard skeins. In addition to the one I purchased for testing, I need to buy 8 more.

Modifications:

Arm length – shorter arms = using less yarn! I will be shortening the arm length and maybe adding a thumb hole.

Shaping – The common theme I see from completed projects, even the example photographs, is that the backside arm hole is fluppy, baggy, and folds in a weird way. In all likelihood I think I will decrease one or two more stitches than called for at the arm hole area to 1 + give my shoulders more space and 2 + keep the back of the sweater from looking frumpy. Based on Thea’s notes though this may not be necessary. The look in the examples is with 4″ of positive ease where the smallest size gives only about 2-3″.

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