Modifcation Monday: Anthro Cardigan

This is easily one of my favourite knits of the year. In the spring my LYS held a special kind of knit-along: an indie dyer knit along! It gave me a perfect excuse to continue my affection for Lichen and Lace’s single ply fingering weight (which some of you may remember was also the yarn used in my Devil’s Backbone shawl). I decided to go with the Anthro cardigan by Polish designer Hanna Maciejewska.

Anthro Cardigan knit in Lichen and Lace

The biggest reason I picked this pattern was because the waist shaping method is to place a gorgeous cable in the small of the back. No increasing and decreasing along the sides – just a cable! And what a lovely cable to boot. I love the texture, and how it played with the handpainted yarn.knit cable as waist shaping

I made a few modifications to the original pattern. The most significant being that I took the contrast colour that is supposed to be knit on the inside of the cuff and bottom band and flipped it. The main body is knit in the colourway rainy day and the contrasting colour is calm waters. I liked the look so much that I used calm waters for the button band and the collar.

I also added an inch or so to the body after the waist shaping so the bottom hem sits exactly where I’d like to. This meant I had needed even more buttons than the ten or so required.

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I found the buttons at a local shop in the market, and the sweater requires fourteen of them. I really like the pearly-stormy look, matching right in with my sea/sky theme that is threaded through the sweater.

I made a mistake modification with the sleeves. They’re 3/4 instead of full length (on purpose, I swear!) and the cable detail on the cuff is altered to make it tighter than the original.

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Now I did that by eliminating plain knit rows between cable rows. Which wasn’t originally my intention, but once I did it, I liked it so much that I mimicked it on the other side to match.

I was so pleased with the final product that I treated myself to some new wool-wash from Eucalan’s jasmine-oil infused Wrapture. (They didn’t even pay me to say that or anything. I just adore it.) The yarn bloomed very nicely, making the sweater very soft and easily washable. My Lichen and Lace obsession continues! I’m sure this won’t be the last project with it.

Thanks to my lovely Mama for the pictures. Happy Knitting, friends!

 

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Spring means handknit skirts!

Knitting skirts (or pants, more on that later…)  is a strange business. Handknit fabric usually doesn’t stand up well to the type of wear we put on our skirts and comes with a high risk of sagging in a rather…unflattering way.

Enter: The Lanesplitter Skirt by Tina Whitmore.

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It’s also now warm enough for impromptu photography on the balcony. Hurrah! 

Alternating between two balls of Noro Kureyon gives a pretty wild look, that adds a heavy dose of colour to my otherwise very neutral wardrobe.

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All my favourite colours in one skirt. Yes, please.

I went down a needle size and used a 50/50 wool/acrylic blend to create a small waistband at the top. The 2×2 ribbing  is stretchy enough that there was no need for an elastic band to hold it in place. I’ve worn this skirt from morning until night, and it doesn’t shift or ride up – for which I’m very grateful! It was deliberately made as a high waisted mini-skirt and I only ended up using three balls of Noro for a 27″ waist.

The Lanesplitter skirt is knit on the bias as one large rectangle, which is then seamed at the end. Because of this structure it doesn’t sag very easily, if at all. There are many variations on the pattern that allow for seamless construction, but I kind of like the seam look. Adds to the effect, in my opinion. Plus it makes this pattern a dead simple knit.

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Typically I fashion it with my shirt OVER the waistband instead of tucked in.

The only really downside to this skirt is that it must be worn with leggings, for both length and texture reasons. I find the yarn too rough to wear directly against my skin, so tights or leggings are a must. I decided that since it was always going to be worn over something, I could get away with knitting a shorter length which was more flattering and I don’t have to worry about it being more revealing than I’d like.

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A new wardrobe staple.

If you’re nervous about making a knit skirt, I definitely recommend this pattern. It was done as the winter KAL (knit-along) at my local yarn shop, Yarns Untangled. I got to see it in person on all shapes and sizes and it’s flattering on absolutely everyone! You can go in for bright colourways, or more neutral shades and it’s still gorgeous.

Until next time, happy knitting everyone!

 

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FO: Zauberball Socks

Technically it’s November 1st, but I think it still counts as a Socktober win. One pair of plain vanilla socks in Schoppel-Wolle’s Crazy Zauberball!  

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The yarn is so interesting by itself that I didn’t want to add a stitch pattern into the mix. The colours don’t repeat, so I have fraternal socks instead of identical twins.

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They’re soft even before blocking, so I have a feeling these ones are going to be worn a lot. The fact that they’re a combo of my favourite colours doesn’t hurt either.

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The next sock mission? Two at a time socks! Now I just need the right yarn…

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Knitting A Sock Is Not Like Riding A Bicycle

If you haven’t done it in five years, it’s probably best look up some instructions. I needed a travel project so I cast on a pair of socks using this awesome German yarn by Schoppel-Wolle called Crazy Zauberball, which translates literally to “Crazy Magic Ball.” It’s two ply and each strand changes colour periodically. I know. I know. I’m over the moon.

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So over the moon in fact, that I was halfway down the cuff before I thought to myself:

“I have absolutely no idea what the next step is. At all.”

Fortunately the internet is full of basic sock tutorials (some good, some appallingly terrible. I could practically feel Kate Atherley facepalming at a few websites that do not deserve a single bit of traffic from me.) Away from home it was HGTV, of all places, that reminded me how to do a heel flap. I do love a good sturdy slipped stitch heel. Once I was back at home I had time to consult the expert herself:

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Custom Socks to Fit Your Feet by Kate Atherley

This book is GOLD. Every technique you could want, tips, patterns, math (the math is the best part for me, as usual), EVERYTHING. I may never pick up another sock book again, because I might never need to. Please don’t ask me about this book in public because I will gush to an embarrassing degree about it. It’s a book I can point to and say: I wish one day to write a resource for knitters that is as amazing as this.

You know, it also reminded me how to turn a heel properly and I’m grateful for that, too.

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There is something about the three-dimensional magic of a well executed sock heel that cannot be captured by a two-dimensional picture on my instagram, not matter which filter I use. I may be too sick to get out of bed, but darn it, I can make a sock.

See what I did there?

I’ll show myself out.

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Review of Sockupied Fall 2015

I was invited to review the Fall 2015 issue of Sockupied by the lovely Amy Palmer. Here is what you need to know!

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What is it?

This Sockupied issue contains six original sock patterns as well as some interest stories, including one about designer Debbie O’Neill and a piece on the history of sock knitting in Russia. The patterns are moderate to advanced in difficulty as far as sock knitting goes, and feature some really interesting colour work, textures, and constructions. The patterns might be a bit daunting for a brand new sock knitter, but for any established sock knitters out there this might be exactly the thing to spice up your pattern collection. There doesn’t seem to be a theme to the issue (unless the theme is “yarn colours Nicole finds personally offensive”) but the lack of theme kind of works. Not everything needs to be thematically connected, and what it means is six very different and unique patterns. So, along those lines, let’s talk…

Patterns

The backbone of any knitting publication is the patterns. This issue of Sockupied contains six sock patterns from various designers including Kate Atherley and Debbie O’Neill. What makes me excited to buy a pattern book is often the opportunity to experiment with new techniques and here the issue is really great. In terms of colour work you have the electrostatic lines socks (featured on the cover), as well as these checkers socks.

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Okay, so I am never going to love that colour combination, but those are some seriously rockin’ socks. The back of the leg, heel and sole are all worked flat, and then joined with the front of the sock. Colour me impressed. Pun absolutely intended. I personally would buy the book just to learn how to do that, but that’s me.

There are some texture based patterns including the walking in the woods socks, the riband socks and the hominy socks. The hominy socks are a little simpler, for those of you looking for something more straight forward.

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My personal favourite are the Gladys Thompson socks by Kate Atherley. Inspired by classic Gansey stitch patterns, the look is classic and not too busy (a.k.a. I will actually wear them.)

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Aesthetic

Sometimes the appeal of something (yarn) is in what it looks like (yarn) or feels like (yarn) to you. I have bought pattern books on occasion solely because they were very beautiful, and I wanted to be able to flip through them for inspiration. Photography plays a big role here, as does layout. The photography of the book is good, but not knock-your-socks-off groundbreaking. I will say this though: the layout is excellent. If you are the sort that likes to print off your patterns, a clear effort has been put in to make them very easy to follow and printer friendly. A tip of my cap to whoever was responsible for that, very well done. Bonus points as well for the glossary at the back explaining the some of the techniques.

The Verdict

Let’s get down to brass tacts, is this something worth your $11.99? If you are an avid sock knitter that likes trying new things, or are looking to dive back into sock knitting with something exciting, this issue is absolutely worth it.  I would caution beginners away from it, unless you are particularly ambitious (and patient with yourself). Overall it’s a very solid collection and the side articles were interesting and well written. If you are interested, you can purchase the issue from Interweave Knits here.

Do you like to knit socks? Have any sock projects lined up for this coming autumn? Let me know in the comments. Happy Knitting!

**Please note that all photography in this post is credited to Sockupied/Harper Point Photography**

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FO: Regency Blouse

It’s finished! It’s blocked! It’s been worn about town and deemed wearable! I’m still awash in shiny-new-FO love despite it being about two weeks old. It’s lasting a long time… normally I’m consider myself a process knitter and I really enjoyed the process of knitting this, but I fell in love a bit with the final product.
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I swear I love it, despite my awkward modelling…

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The neckline is a touch wider after blocking than I thought it would be, but it doesn’t slip off my shoulders so it works! I bought at least 1200 yards to make it but it took about 600 at most. Lots left over for a shawl in the future! I love the yarn – NBK l superwash merino in lavandula (great colourway name…) It’s a great summer top – warm enough for all but the warmest of days.

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I swapped out the picot bind off for a picot hem, which still lies flat and matches with the pattern but is a little more subtle. Other than that I didn’t change the pattern in any way. It’s the first project on Ravelry beyond the original one published in Jane Austen Knits, and I hope more people decide to make it. It’s a wonderfully clear pattern and the lace is surprisingly easy once you’ve done one repeat. If it’s your style, or someone in your life, I highly recommend making it!

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