boston and big islands

She’s baaacccckkkkkk!!!!

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Sooo… Hi! It’s been awhile since I made an appearance on this blog! Talk about stating the obvious! Let’s just say that a lot of life has happened in the last few months! In the span of about a month in a half, I got a new job and moved to a new city in a new country. I’ve been focused on settling in since then so needless to say, there hasn’t been much time for knitting and sewing! Fortunately, I had TONS of time to knit and sew in the months leading up to this big change! The sweater featured here? Knit and photographed in May but as this is only now getting some wear, waiting to post it was a good choice, nee? That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

2014-05-29 19.16.01So where am I now? Boston! Out of the lab and into a brand new career that I friggin’ love! However, while Boston is geographically close to Toronto, it’s been an adjustment! But did I mention that I love my new job?!  The downside, of course, is all of the friends I left behind. For the most part, my science friends had already moved on from their postdocs (though there are still a few that I already miss terribly) but the awesome sewing and knitting community I was part of in Toronto? Kristin, Andrea, Gillian, Catja? The awesome ladies of Eweknit? The list goes on really and they are all now too far away! So if you know of any sewing and knitting peeps in the greater Boston area, direct me to them or direct them here!

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So let’s talk about the sweater. Another Jared Flood design! Shocking, I know! This one is called Oshima and I was kicking myself for not getting to it sooner last year. How handy would that cowl have been in the Great Deep Freeze of 2014? 2014-05-29 19.14.56

What I feel like doing every time I put this one on!

I made this one out of the Berroco Ultra Alpaca (one of my go to yarns) that I picked up at the EweKnit boxing day sale. It’s a pretty straightforward knit with some slick finishes (tubular cast on and bind off) and a ton of squishy brioche stitch. And the cowl? Seemed endless but every time I put this thing on I just want to burrow down! Not a bad inclination for a winter sweater!

2014-05-29 19.14.01I could go on and on about Brooklyn Tweed patterns and my Jared Flood knitting crush but I think we can skip that this time around. Probably best to hit publish before I walk away for another 4 months! In the meantime, can’t wait to catch up!

cat cuddlesEnjoying a sleepy cat as I write this. Focus on the cat, people and ignore the tired face!

Sara

Ravelry notes can be found here.

 

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Tackling the Channel…

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Pretending that I’m not wearing this sweater in 30 degree weather…

I just got back from a quick blog photo session with Andrea and Kristin so I actually have multiple projects to share! So rare! And I plan to get the rest of my stack of finished projects photographed this week before so many of my obliging friends depart the city. As in move far, far away. For good.

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Most of the projects that I have to share are knitting so best to start there and spread the sewing out a bit! So with no further ado… The Channel Cardigan (project details can be found here)! This gorgeous, squishy delight is brought to us from the delightful imagination of Jared Flood.

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Ignore the terribly wrinkled skirt!

This sweater was part of the Brooklyn Tweed Winter ’14 collection and I have been drooling since I saw the first photos.  Instant knitting lust! I was temporarily intimidated by the 5/5 difficulty rating but I quickly got over that. Then I was thwarted by my stash diet as this project is a bit of a yarn hog and I didn’t quite have enough in my stash to cover it. However, I had some yarn to exchange at Romni Wools and mixing colour lots on commercially dyed yarn is generally pretty safe so I forged on!

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Stable buttonbands for the win! Gorgeous, heathered yarn for the win! Awesome vintage buttons from
The Workroom for the win! So much winning!

This project was done using Cascade 220 Heathers in Peacock and while I was a little unsure of this colourway before I started, I am now in love with it! The purple and green strands make this yarn almost luminous when the light hits it (see above photos for most representative images of the colour). I’ve never worked with the Brooklyn Tweed Shelter that the pattern called for so while I can’t really comment on how it compares, Cascade 220 does seem to be a fairly common substitution. This cardigan is HEAVY though so the loftiness of the Shelter yarn might not be a bad plan if your stash diet and/or budget isn’t prohibitive! Today was 30 degrees in Toronto so putting this sweater on to take pictures was a little miserable! But next winter I am going to be a happy camper in this baby!

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As always, knitting from a Brooklyn Tweed pattern is a delight from start to finish. Their patterns are always well edited, are usually error free and explain every technique in excellent detail.  It’s rare that I need to look for tutorials online when I’m working from a Brooklyn Tweed pattern. My last couple of projects have been from Quince&Co patterns, which has only made me that much more appreciative of BT’s attention to detail.  Sadly, I have yet to encounter a Quince pattern that was error free.  Anyone else have that problem? I’ll freely admit that it irritates the hell out of me, even if the mistake is an easy one to figure out. But I digress…

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Elements that I love on this cardigan? The tubular cast-on. The raglan sleeves. The giant shawl collar. The dense and stable button band. The gorgeous belt loops. Gauge! I’m a tight knitter and therefore usually have problems getting gauge on projects. However, I tend to be spot on with  Jared Flood’s patterns, which is always a relief!

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Elements that I dislike? The belt! This sucker was a misery to knit and I find that the edges of it are uneven enough to drive me mad! I also wish that the belt loops sat a little higher on the body as they don’t quite hit my waist. Since that is a problem I could have and should have corrected while knitting, I’ll table the complaints for now! I also find the collar a little awkward as it is. Another button or two would be a huge help but since I don’t currently feel like undoing my work, I’m going to settle for a couple of snaps. It might also be that I knit a little too much fabric for the button bands; I definitely knit the side with the buttonholes a wee too long! Oh well…

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Not a clue what I was doing here!

All in all, I’m not sure which element(s) deserved the 5/5 rating as I think this was fairly straightforward make. The textured fabric requires more attention than straight stockinette but otherwise? Not a difficult pattern so dive in if fear has been holding you back!

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And a little fun from Kristin! The sweater looked fabulous on her!

So what do you think? Any interest in making this sweater? You all share my love affair with Brooklyn Tweed designs?

It’s late and writing coherent sentences is becoming increasingly challenging so I am going to leave it at that for now. If I think of anything else to say tomorrow then I’ll add it!

G’night Peeps!

Sara

The season of hats!

When in a knitting rut, make hats!  Lots and lots of hats!  And when in a sewing rut, make T-shirts!  Lots and lots of T-shirts! I’m all about the instant gratification projects of late!  I’m also trying hard to finish up all of those small projects that have been started or ready to go for ages. I had grand plans of completely clearing out my WIP drawer this month and while that didn’t happen, I did make quite a dent. So I’m starting with hats!  Not all were made in January but all were made in the last few months and really, it is a ridiculous number of hats!

hat fanI’m going to ask you in advance to ignore me in all of these pictures. If we’re honest (and I’m always honest!), I look like complete shit! I’ve been in bed with some virus for the last few days and when I woke up with no fever this morning, I felt grand and decided I should go to work. Well, feeling grand is all relative and I’m far from 100%! That became extremely evident as I scrolled through the pictures we took today!  Onwards, shall we…

I’m going to start with my most recent make and my new favourite. This is the Jul hat from Jenny Gordy. A FAST knit my friends! Instant gratification, indeed! I made this out of my one of my all time favourite yarns (featured in roughly half of the hats I am going to show you here), the Blue Sky Alpaca Suri Merino. It’s is a single ply yarn with a wonderful hand and drape. Seriously, this yarn is hard to believe if you don’t have it in your hands! It’s got a fairly strong halo, which is certainly not for everyone but what I love about it the most is that it felts nicely with wear. Makes for a supremely cozy winter hat. And this colourway (Autumn) is just plain fun.

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Next up has to be my absolute favourite knit of late… Bray from Jared Flood. If my knitting friends have not yet tried a Jared Flood pattern then get on it.  ASAP! His patterns really never fail to delight. He tends to play with cables and texture in his patterns and this is a classic example. Cables, lace and texture! Nothing too complicated but just enough to keep the knitting interesting. I don’t have ready access to his Brooklyn Tweed yarn so I went with the Rowan Felted Tweed. It’s a finer yarn than the pattern called for but I figured that the lace aspects of this toque already prevent it from being a real cold weather hat so a dk yarn was not going to be an issue. I really love the yarn choice! It adds even more texture to the project and gives it kind of an organic look that I enjoy.

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What I love the most about knitting Jared Flood patterns is that I always learn something new.  In this case?  The stretchy tubular cast-on!  I have played with this edge before but tend to be too lazy to use it regularly. However, after this project I am officially sold on it.  Such a lovely detail and it really is stretchy!

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Up next is the Rikke hat and if you spend any time on Ravelry then there is no doubt you have seen this pattern before! Again, nothing too complicated here.  Just a straight up garter stitch hat that uses a nice cast-on (the German twisted cast-on, which is a perfect edge for garter stitch). I’m a big fan of garter stitch over ribbing for hats as I find that it hugs your head nicely without being too tight and it has great recovery.  However, I HATE knitting garter stitch in the round so making these two versions was significantly less fun.  I made this striped version first (again, using my favourite suri merino yarn).

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striped rikke 2It really is a great hat and has gotten a ton of wear this winter. The downside is that it is just too big.  Anyone else have major sizing issues when it comes to hats?  I can rarely get them just right! Anyway, the up side to a large hat is that I can very comfortably tuck all of my hair into it.  The downside is that this sucker will go flying on a windy day, which we have often in Toronto. So after Christmas, I tried to give this pattern another go and made this version:

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Sigh. Hardly know where to begin with this failure! To start, it’s way too small! The combo of small hat and dark colour makes me feel like I am posing for a mug shot every time I put this one on! However, this hat is not a failure! On cold, cold days (of which we have had many this year), I layer my two Rikke hats for a toasty, toasty noggin’!

layered rikke 1I made this next hat last fall using leftover Tomato yarn from my Neon cardigan. It was a new pattern (the Lovejoy Slouch) from the newly minted Nerd Bird Makery and was a lovely pattern to knit up! Not a great toque for winter but I wore this often in the fall. And yes, it really is as garish at it appears!

Thao1Next up is the only hat of the bunch that I was really unhappy with. It was actually a test knit for Shannon and is now included in Journey, a knitwear collaboration between Shannon and Jane Richmond. The patterns in it (including the Swift hat) are beautiful and I think everyone should indulge in the hardcopy of this book if only for the gorgeous photography! It’s like taking a trip home every time I open it up! Anyway, the pattern itself was fun to knit up. Again, not too complicated but still interesting enough to keep from being boring. The yarn is a silk and wool combo that has a lovely sheen and great drape. The colour is vibrant and fun. However, the combo of colour, shape, etc just does not work for me. At all. So sad! But the hat works perfectly on a young summer student that modelled the hat for my Ravelry project page and has been promised to her. Now just to arrange to see Tash so that I can hand it off!

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Well, that covers the hats I made for myself. There are more that I gave away as gifts including these ones (the purple one is actually bright blue but was a pure bitch to photograph properly!).

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That was really a lot of hats so instead of linking to individual project pages I’m just going to say you’ll find all pattern, yarn and project details here.

As for my quick sewing fixes… T-shirts! I know there are already a million versions of the new Deer and Doe Plantain tee on the interwebs but since I happen to be wearing one of my versions today, I have decided to include it.  This is a great pattern, peeps!  Well drafted, a perfect fit (for me) and a blank canvas for all sorts of fabric and sewing fun! Now go and give it a try! I made no modifications except to add a couple of inches to the length of the shirt sleeve. This is actually my first Deer and Doe pattern but it won’t be my last.  I’m a sucker for a well drafted pattern!

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I would normally link to a few of my favourite versions of this tee but I don’t even know where to start this time around. Go google it and you’ll see why!  So many awesome versions already!

I planned to include a January stash diet round-up but since I this is all I have pictures of, we’ll just have to have a running tally. With this shirt, I’m down a whopping yard of fabric! And the hats were all made from Stash yarn! Even better, the hats took a chunk out of my WIP drawer. Just winning all around!

Have a great weekend, Friends!

Sara