27 July 2015

Wedding Sweater: #buttonhunt in my own button jar

I am happy to report that we are getting close to the end of my sister's wedding sweater adventure!

My goal all along has been to have it complete far(ish) in advance of the big day (22 August), in case of any problems. Luckily, everything seems to be going swimmingly (touch wood), and the knitting is complete. It's all finishing work from here on out.

Even better, I discovered the perfect buttons right in my own stash (actually, they were buttons Penelope had chosen for a sweater I am making for her, but we looked through the button jar and decided that some others I have are better for hers - and the correct quantity - so, we have buttons for two sweaters).

To my eyes the sweater looks on the tiny side, but I can tell that the yarn will relax, especially around the nosegays, when she has a bath. Sometimes I like to do all the finishing work before blocking the sweater, but with this one, I feel like the blocked stockinette stitch will be easier to seam.

Left to do:

  • block
  • sleeve seams
  • Kitchener stitch the underarms
  • sew on buttons
  • darn in the ends
So, how goes your summer knitting? I'm already knitting another sweater (this one for Isobel), since the weather over the weekend was so dreary that we spent a fair bit of time inside watching movies. Happily, the weather has turned. Let me know what you're up to in the comments below.

Previous steps: 1. Yarn choice. 2. Sketching. 3. Swatches 4. Math(s) 5. WIP 6. Yoke

Next step: All that finishing work.

Thanks for stopping by, and happy knitting!

24 July 2015

survey: Do you have a favorite romantic couple?

Last month I asked my newsletter readers if they had a favorite romantic couple, and now it's your turn...

Do you have a favorite romantic couple? 

It may be obvious to you by now that I'm a Jane Austen-ophile. Anne Elliot and Frederick Wentworth's courtship in Persuasion always warms the cockles of my heart. But there is so much more romance to be found in books and onscreen!

Which lovers make you sigh and flutter your eyelashes at the closest creature? (I don't know about you, but sometimes it's just me and the cats.) Or more to the point: which couples would you love to see in knitted form?

Some answers from newsletter readers:
  • Rhett and Scarlett from Gone With the Wind
  • Princess Buttercup and Westley/Dread Pirate Roberts from The Princess Bride
  • Oliver and Jennifer from Love Story

Leave a comment below and let me know. Maybe your favorite lovers will inspire my next pattern collection.

Thanks for stopping by, and happy knitting!

P.S. Want to be first to give me your input? Join my newsletter to get the good stuff first. You'll get a brief note from me every Thursday with the surveys, pattern releases, tips and tricks to improve your knitting skills, and coupon codes just for subscribers.

22 July 2015

Pattern: A Vest for Charles

A Vest for Charles $7 on Ravelry (no account necessary)

Charles Musgrove had the good taste to fall for Anne Elliot, but ended up marrying her sister Mary. Doesn’t he deserve a handknit, too? Inspired by a knitted vest worn by Charles I to his execution in 1649 (and still in the Museum of London today), this vest should bring Charles Musgrove better luck.

Two stitch patterns from the original are used: the Diamonds and Crosses brocade border is separated by welting and topped by King Charles Brocade (a.k.a., Double Diamond). The King’s vest was knit in silk by a master knitter at 21 stitches per inch! A more manageable gauge and rustic woolen-spun yarn make this vest au courant for the  Everyman (or woman).

What you'll love about knitting A Vest for Charles:
  • Worked all in one piece from the bottom up to the underarms, then the fronts and back are worked separately, finally joined with a three-needle bind-off
  • Integrated button bands and Seed stitch edgings make for a handsome, virtually finish-free project.
  • Historic knit-purl patterns, one above the hem and the other over the rest of the body, will pique and keep your interest while knitting
  • Bonus: A vest means no sleeves! You will still create a handsome, fully-fashioned garment without having to knit sleeves.

What you'll love about wearing A Vest for Charles:
  • Subtle knit-purl patterns make this a special knit that whispers about how it was hand-crafted with love and talent
  • Button-up style means this is a versatile garment that you can dress up or down
  • You're wearing an item inspired by Jane Austen's Persuasion, as well as by a pivotal moment in British history

Finished Size
31¾ (36, 39¾, 44, 47¾, 51½)-inch/80.5 (91.5, 101, 112, 121.5, 131) cm chest circumference, buttoned, with 5-stitch front bands overlapped
Vest shown measures 36 inches (91.5 cm)

Brooklyn Tweed Shelter (100% Targhee-Columbia wool; 140 yds [128 m]/1.75 oz [50 g]): #08 truffle hunt, 5 (6, 6, 7, 8, 9) skeins. Size 6 (4 mm) 29-inch or longer circular (cir) needle (ndl).  Adjust needle size if necessary to obtain the correct gauge, and choose length close to desired chest circumference. 
Stitch holders or waste yarn
Spare cir ndl same size or smaller than main needle for three-needle bind-off
Tapestry needle 10 (11, 11, 11, 12, 12) ½-inch buttons

17 sts and 30 rows = 4 inches in St st

Skills Needed
Casting on
Binding off
Three-needle bind-off
Chart reading
Working flat
Sewing on buttons

Previously published in Jane Austen Knits, Fall 2013, and The Best of Jane Austen Knits


Thanks for stopping by, and happy knitting!

P.S. Wish you knew about this last week when it was released? Join my newsletter to get the good stuff first, and you'll get a brief note from me once a week with pattern releases, tips and tricks to improve your knitting skills, and coupon codes just for subscribers.

17 July 2015

quick + purl: 5 summer scarves

Happy Summer to you! As you may know, I spent the Summer Solstice in Greece, where it was pretty darn hot, but I still wanted a little something to take my outfit to the next level. Finding a light scarf or shawl isn't always easy, but these five would be lovely in a linen or cotton yarn.

What about you - do you like to have a little something to throw around your neck in the summer? Let me know in the comments.

  1. Tiare Shawl and Scarf by Wendy Neal $6 USD 
    Scarf + triangle shawl options in one pretty pattern
  2. Lady Fern by Suzanne Middlebrooks $5 USD 
    Isn't the combination of colors lovely - what would you choose?
  3. Noro Herringbone Scarf by Kate Atherley $4 USD 
    Gorgeous way to show off a yarn with long color sequences
  4. Blaeberry by Susanna IC $7.50 USD 
    Scarf + stole option from the talented Susanna IC
  5. TRELLIS by Susan Morrell $5.99 USD 
    Elegant and lovely
All images from patterns' Ravelry pages. No copyright infringement intended. I just want to share the love!

Thanks for stopping by, and happy knitting!

16 July 2015

Wedding sweater: Getting to the yoke

Do you know how much I love you? I'm blogging from the beach, that's how much.  Of course, it's pretty sweet to knit to the sound of crashing waves and the sight of pine tree-encrusted islands. That's right, pine trees. We are in Maine now, so if you follow me on Instagram (link in sidebar), your feed will contain ferns, lobster, sandy and rocky beaches, ice cream, and all the wool I can find. But for the next few days I have to focus on this beauty:

Right there you have a body and two sleeves ready for joining (I neglected to bring waste yarn to the beach, so this is where I'm stopping me for the morning - it's a challenge to hold underarm stitches without holders or waste yarn). Then I'll get to do my favorite part of sweater construction: the yoke. How cool is it that working various decreases in certain spots will turn three tubes into a well-fitting sweater?

And just to show my darling sister how much I love her, here is sleeve #2 yesterday when we arrived at the beach:

I may have knit like a crazy lady. Don't worry! I still managed to jump around in the Atlantic. 

What about you? How is mid-July going and what are you knitting? Tell me all about your summer knitting adventures in the comments below. 

Previous steps: 1. Yarn choice. 2. Sketching. 3. Swatches 4. Math(s) 5. WIP

Next step: Going on a button hunt... #buttonhunt

Thanks for stopping by, and happy knitting!

15 July 2015

Pattern: Infinite

Infinite $7 on Ravelry (no account necessary)

Your very own mohair cloud! Just one skein of your favorite brushed mohair yarn will give you this perennially popular accessory: an infinity scarf. Wear it long like a super-drapey cowl, double it up for that casual scarf look, or pull the second wrap up over your head like a smoke ring.

What you'll love about knitting Infinite:
  • You get to use that luscious skein of Kidsilk Haze or any other mohair/silk blend yarn that's been hanging out in your stash or calling to you at your LYS.
  • Working in the round means you just knit, knit, knit (with a couple of super-simple rounds for variety).
  • Provisional cast-on means you'll bind off both ends in the same way - top and bottom of your cowl will match

What you'll love about wearing Infinite:
  • You get to wear that beautiful yarn right where it belongs - around your gorgeous face!
  • Surprise! Infinite squishes down to almost nothing at all yet keeps you warm and toasty on a cold day.
  • You can wear it three ways:
    • drapey long cowl
    • doubled-up scarf
    • dramatic smoke ring

Size/Finished Measurements
15 inches high x 38 inches around

Rowan Kidsilk Haze (70% Super Kid Mohair, 30% Silk; 229 yards/25 grams) in Majestic #589
US9/5.5mm 29-inch circular needle (ndl)
Waste yarn
Stitch marker
Tapestry needle

Gauge in Stockinette Stitch 
12 sts x 24 rows = 4 inches in Stockinette Stitch

Skills Needed
Casting on
Binding off
Knitting in the round
Increasing (yarnovers*)
Decreasing (knitting two together*)
*With these two moves under your belt, you're ready for lace!

Photography: Nicholas Dames

Thanks for stopping by, and happy knitting!

13 July 2015

Wedding sweater: WIP

After a gauge issue (argh), we are on our way! One sleeve is complete and hanging out on a spare needle while I work on the body. 

A few little detail things popped up right away, like the stitch patterns beginning on a wrong side row. I called the preceding right side row "row zero", knit all the stitches along that row, and worked my first buttonhole there, which means subsequent buttonholes happen on row 20 (pretty easy to remember). 

I also decided to alternate the start point of the Marriage Lines pattern. It zigs one way for ten rows and the other way for the next ten rows. By starting one side on row one and the other side of the Nosegay pattern on row eleven, the patterns frame that show-stopper in the middle. 

So far I'm really enjoying this design. The elements all work together nicely (Nosegay is ten rows, Marriage Lines twenty, as are the buttonholes, so everything is in synch). There's plenty of stockinette to speed me along. And the yarn is so pretty (Neighborhood Yarn Studio Sock in Fells Point). 

Now it's just a matter of racing against the wedding clock. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Previous steps:
 1. Yarn choice. 2. Sketching. 3. Swatches 4. Math(s)

Next step: Knitting and more knitting. I plan to work the body up to the underarms, then the second sleeve, then join them all together for the best part: the yoke!

Thanks for stopping by, and happy knitting!