Sweater Decisions

As I hinted earlier, I am going to knit myself a cardigan. I have lots of ideas of my own, but this time I’m going to use someone else’s pattern.

I have, um, a lot of cardigans queued on Ravelry. But I only have yarn for one (not to mention apparently being unable to knit more than one thing at a time despite my best efforts), which should narrow it down a bit.

Here is the yarn:

It’s Plymouth Galway Highland Heathers in a lovely blue-green, a gift from Starshine Cindy. I have eight skeins, which is 1680 yards.

Under consideration:

Levenwick by Gudrun Johnson (calls for Brooklyn Tweed Shelter).

Woodstove Season by Alicia Plummer (also calls for Shelter, has a child version too).

Bloody Mary by Thea Colman (calls for Harrisville Highland Tweed)

What do you think? Does one of these stand out?

I don’t know if it helps or hinders, but these are the other cardigans I really really want to make. The yarn is not appropriate for any of them, though.

Clarity Cardigan, Hyde Park Cardigan, Arbois Cardigan. Cardigan, cardigan, cardigan.

This is a crazy thing that I am doing.

I’ve wanted to do some sort of Big Knitting Project for…ever. Well, like, a year.

The only idea I’ve had until now was to knit my way through The Knitter’s Almanac, but quite frankly I’ve already made the February Baby Sweater and I don’t really want to make anything else from the book. Sorry, EZ.

2012 has been an insane rush of knitting deadlines, some of which I made and some of which I did not. I love all the designs I’ve done this year but I need to spend more time knitting for myself. So here is my Big Knitting Project: 13 shawls in 2013. I am also planning to finally knit myself a cardigan, but that doesn’t actually fit into this Project so shhh.

I am collecting yarn and patterns and will be making up “kits” for myself. Some of the shawls are already WIPs, set aside for other projects. I have a Whippoorwill and a Catkin waiting for me to get back to them. Here are some of the other shawls I might be knitting next year (click to enlarge):

This is by no means a definitive group, but I do have most of the patterns already…

Because I know you’re curious. Left column, top to bottom: All The Shades of Truth, Thinking of Waves, Nefertem. Next column: Kathryn Margaret, Leftie. Third column: High Plains Drifter, Golden Lion Throne, Faultline. Right column: Petiole, Ripples. All photos were borrowed from the Ravelry pattern pages with respect to the copyright owners.

(IMPORTANT RULE: I can change my mind about what 13 shawls to knit at any time.) (But these are all amazing and will stay in my queue if I don’t include them in the Project.) (Parentheses.)

(MORE RULES: Cowls and scarves count. I can change my mind and knit fewer shawls (or more!) if I feel like it. I can start early. I can go late. Basically, I can do whatever I please. It’s MY Project.)

(So basically, there are no rules.) (PARENTHESES.)

So. Who wants to create their own 2013 knit-along challenge? You can do 13 shawls like me, or a smaller project, or even a bigger one if you’re super-crazy. Let’s do this together! (Please?)

Navy Pier available for pre-order

I’m trying something new. While I finish the last details of pattern-writing, my newest pattern will be available for pre-order at 25% off the final price. In theory, this will enable me to pay for tech editing and advertising. (In actuality, there is no way of knowing whether any pattern will be successful. I’m hoping!)

Navy Pier is a unisex, slightly cropped cardigan for babies, toddlers, children, and tweens from newborn to 12 years. It’s knitted in two shades of Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Worsted, one variegated and one solid. (Obviously you could substitute any worsted weight yarn that will get you a gauge of 18 stitches over four inches, but I can’t imagine why anyone would want to use anything but Shepherd Worsted. It is SO LOVELY and I am mildly obsessed with it right now.)

After I knitted the Grace-sized sweater shown above, I knitted a Sam-sized version. I am planning the photo shoot now, and should have something to show soon! The colors are OMG AMAZING (go figure, more Shepherd Worsted), and I just need to decide on buttons.

I am seeking two or three more advance/test knitters for this pattern, so please email me if you’d like to knit it early, for free! I would ask you to try to finish by a certain date, and to give me feedback.

If you’d like to knit it in a more leisurely fashion, you may buy now and get the discount price. A PDF with yarn and gauge information will be available for immediate download, and on November 1st you will receive an update with the complete pattern.

I knitted a TARDIS!

Actually, I knitted fifteen TARDIS. (It’s an anagram. In plural, it stands for Time And Relative Dimensions In Space.)


This was my most important deadline knitting all year. Forget Petite Purls. Forget Interweave. (And, uh, forget I just said that.) My mom’s 60th birthday is tomorrow and I had to get this shawl to her in time. HAD TO. I knew the second it appeared in Knitty that I had to knit one for Mom. This is a pretty big deal birthday and only the best present ever was going to be good enough.

I love Lorna’s Laces but I don’t love Solemate, so Georgia custom dyed the yarn for me. It came out perfect, of course.

I started knitting right after my birthday, and finished with more than a week to go. I blocked it, wrapped it in tissue paper, and mailed it on Tuesday.

Yesterday Mom opened it while we were on Facetime. Her reaction was amazing. I wish I could play it back again and again. This photo will have to suffice.


I think she likes it.

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Your Favorite* Daughter

*this claim has not been verified

The Design Process: Starting (almost) From Scratch

Do you guys remember this hat? I set it aside for a while, and am just now getting back to it so I can write up the pattern and make a second sample. But I’ve run into a teensy problem.


I have a mostly-finished hat but no record of how I made it. So now I am sitting at my desk, attempting to reverse-engineer it by looking at the sample.

This is not super fun. But it is a huge learning experience. Since it’s hard to internalize a lesson like “don’t lose stuff,” I am instead forcing myself to improve how I “read” my knitting. Short rows, in particular, since they are nearly invisible if done well.

I’m also finding that I don’t love the way I did the decreases on the crown, so I will probably redo the original sample, once I’ve made a second. (I can experiment with the second hat before trying to fix the first one.)

Le sigh.

new knitting patterns

GraceHat2 Cowl5
Photos by Leah Coccari-Swift

Summer seems like a good time to knit accessories, don’t you think? I like small projects when it’s hot–no heavy fabric sitting on your lap like there is with a sweater or baby blanket (guess what projects I set aside recently) and a quick return on your investment. One summer I knitted four pairs of socks. My feet were very happy.

Up there are my Gracefully hat and Lux Cowl. Gracefully comes in five sizes, from preemie to adult, and is knitted in Koigu Kersti Merino Crepe. Lux Cowl is one size, but would be easy to adjust if you wanted a larger loop scarf; it’s knitted in SweetGeorgia Merino Silk Aran. The patterns are $5 each if you are into that sort of thing, and there is always a 15% discount if you buy any three patterns in my Ravelry store.

…and now back to your regular, non-self-promotional programming.

The Evolution of a Design


I have a new FREE pattern out today in Petite Purls! Soledad is a cabled pullover for boys.

In the introduction to the pattern, I say:

This sweater has existed in my mind for years now, ever since we started taking our son hiking in the high desert of Southern California.

I wanted to talk a little bit about how the long process this design took from idea to finished.


This is the first swatch I ever knitted for the design that eventually became Soledad. At the time, I was picturing a winding cable along the front raglan “seam,” with no other note-worthy decoration on the sweater. I wanted to use a variation on the DNA cable or the snake cable (which is what I used for the swatch). I submitted this to Knit Circus, but although it was held onto for consideration for a while, ultimately it did not get in.


This is the second swatch I knitted for Soledad. (Sorry for the crappy photo–I just snapped it. Read on and you’ll see why.) About a year had passed and I’d hit on the idea of starting the cable at the side of the sweater and carrying part of it up the front. It was good, but not perfect. I decided to submit this to Petite Purls, but the swatch disappeared before I could photograph it.


Allegra gave me a submission extension, and I knitted this swatch. The cable shown here is nearly identical to the cable on the finished sweater. I doubt I would ever have come up with it if my original submission had been accepted, or my second swatch had not gone missing. Interestingly, that second swatch turned up as soon as I’d re-knitted with the improved cable.

The yarn for the sweater also seems like it was meant to be. I had originally gotten yarn support from another yarn company whose yarn I was having second thoughts about, so when they had a delay and couldn’t get the yarn to me, Felicia of SweetGeorgia Yarns stepped in with her superwash DK, which is absolutely ideal for the sweater. If the other company hadn’t had problems with their distributer, who knows what Soledad would look like! (By the way, I adore the other yarn company–I just don’t think it was the right choice for this pattern.)

I knit, too.


Psst…the person I knitted this baby sweater for is reading this. Wait. The person I knitted this baby sweater for is inside someone who is reading this. It might be you! If you have a person inside you!

I also wrote it up as a pattern, because I do stuff like that sometimes. I’m calling it Welcome, Baby and you can buy it on Ravelry if you are so inclined.

I’m also having a trunk show of my designs tonight at Knit Culture Studio on West 3rd Street. I’ll be there with Leah from 6-8 pm and there will be cake. If you’re in the area I hope you’ll come by.

I just can’t stay monogamous

…in my knitting. (Did I scare you?)

I’m working on a design right now. Pattern and sample need to be finished by, oh, next week. Wait, the week after. Really soon, anyway. I got the yarn six days ago. I was originally supposed to get different yarn altogether, but there were some mix-ups and I ended up getting last-minute yarn support from a hand dyer whose work I have just discovered and am crazy in love with. She sent me yarn for this sweater as well as some sample skeins to play with. LOVE.

(I’m actually working on a long blog post about the design itself, which I won’t be sharing until the pattern comes out–it’s for a magazine and I can’t show pictures yet–because it’s been evolving for a couple of years now.)

I’ve been knitting non-stop, unless pausing to take notes counts as stopping (it doesn’t). It’s a great combination of interesting and mindless knitting (panels of charted pattern between great swaths of stockinette), a terrific yarn, and I’m making great progress–it’s bottom-up and I’m nearly ready to join the sleeves, which I had the presence of mind to knit first.

So what’s the problem? Me. It’s always me.

Today while I was knitting away, I was also browsing projects on Ravelry. As one does. And two friends’ projects caught my eye. I grabbed my notebook and sketched out an idea for a textured cowl. (It’s nothing like either friend’s project, of course–if you saw the projects and my sketch I doubt you could find the similarities.) I thought it would be nice to have samples in two different colors or even two different yarns, so I started sketching a second version. My drawing skills being minimal at best, I opened up Stitch Mastery and charted the design. Figured out how many stitches I’d need to cast on, grabbed yarn, started looking for the right size needle…

Damn it.

Sometimes I finish things.

paw print cardi

Paw Print Cardi is the boys’ version of Posy. Yes, the boy sweater has more lace than the girl version! You wanna make something of it?

The pattern is written up and will be sent off to a tech editor soon, but photos may take longer as I will have to find a model! If you live near LA and have a little boy (or girl, I’m not picky) who wears 6-12 month size clothing, let me know.

I also finished re-knitting Dagmar!

dagmar in flames

I did the stripes different than the pattern, because I am currently obsessed with stripes that fade from one color to another (see also my Kitefish Shawlette from Leah‘s pattern). I have made a few changes to the yoke decreases for Dagmar and will have a new version of the pattern on Ravelry shortly. (The current version will work just fine but does not come out quite as I intended.)

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have another sweater to knit.