SCHWAAN, finally

Back in April/May of 2013, I randomly got a bee in my bonnet to KNIT A SWEATERâ„¢ and I’m not really sure where it came from (probably Pinterest) but I decided I wanted to knit SCHWAAN, the cover sweater from Norah Gaughan Vol. 8. And so I started, with the wrong type of yarn and nowhere near gauge.

The first go didn’t work too hot but I was able to determine what did and didn’t work, and that I really did not want to handknit a whole sweater that involved purling in any way (there’s a reason that my other sweaters I’ve made have been in the round!) so I decided to uncover the Ultimate Sweater Machine from underneath the pile of mail and do a swatch.

I had a bunch of Knitpicks Comfy (a worsted weight cotton/acrylic blend) that I’d started a sweater with oh, last year or the year before, but it had gone to the wayside due to knitting ennui on my part and too many purls. I’m a Continental knitter and I’ve never really figured out a way to purl that isn’t completely annoying/slow, which is why I generally like to knit top-down/in-the-round*. I’m sure that’s not uncommon. Anyway, so once I determined that A) the sweater needed to be bigger and B) I really hate knitting boring stockinette in flat pieces (cursed purls) I decided to bite the bullet and go the knitting machine route for the solid stockinette sections.

In the case of SCHWAAN (yes I feel it’s necessary to capitalize every letter) I was interested in handknitting the edges and the front lace panel. The actual construction of the sweater was interesting to me as well – it seemed like it was put together slightly different than regular sweaters (set in sleeve or raglan – seemed a bit of a hybrid though mostly raglan).

That left me with the mass amounts of stockinette to knit once I’d done the edges and I had the sweater parts completed in about three evenings. Seaming took another evening and then I had a sweater about a week after I started the process (including the day or two that I spent handknitting and then deciding I didn’t want to handknit the whole thing.)

So, SCHWAAN:

IMG_1636

It has its problems – namely the armholes need to be a little bit bigger, as do the arms (I read later that several Ravelers had noted that the arms seemed tight) and it needs to be longer, though the latter is a personal preference due to fit – I have a long torso. However, it’s totally wearable! (#win)

I followed the pattern exactly for the largest size since my gauge was mega off. This only took just 8 skeins of Comfy – more like 7.5.

I ordered two more colors of Comfy and plan to make two more SCHWAANS – one a pale pale almost white turquoise, the other a rosey red. I ordered ten skeins of each which I think will be sufficient for the added inches, plus it will be slightly smaller since I’m somewhat smaller. The back only took 2.5 skeins so I wouldn’t think I’d need more than a half skein per front/back to achieve an extra 2 inches of length (maybe three – we’ll see). The white one will probably be completed as written but I’m toying with doing clean edges; i.e. a folded hem. The red one will have a 2×2 rib but no lace on the edge.

I also worked out a better way to bind off directly from the knitting machine – it’s a little time consuming but much nicer looking than the way I initially learned how. So I’m looking forward to incorporating that into the new SCHWAANS, including all of the tricks I learned while seaming SCHWAAN #1 together. Not sure which color I want to do next, or if at this juncture two years after the fact, if I want to still make two. Maybe the red wants to be something else. The white is definitely destined to be a longer sweater.

Incidentally, my sister, who took the above picture, asked me, somewhat critically, “Did you MEAN for your sweater to be this length?” A sisterly way of saying it is too short, haha! But she’s right, it’s too short. Doesn’t mean I won’t still wear it though.

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*This does not explain Vaila (or Flowing Lines! Newly knit in 2015!), which is a lace pattern on a sea of purl. Loved knitting that sweater, though I did turn the arms inside out and knit them in the round instead of purl, hah.

Socks for Boo

Knitted some baby socks for the first time for Ms. Boo Belle. The little lady is still a bit too little for them, but the important thing is that they fit, or will fit, eventually:

Yarn: Knitpicks Stroll Handpaints in Tiger (discontinued colorway, sadly)
Needles: Ehhh, 2 US probably??

I also made myself some fingerless mitts out of this yarn earlier this year but I haven't taken a picture of them yet. I will have to do that.

CRAFTING 2012

Even though I've been a remiss blogger this year, I did a lot of stuff – made a lot of jewelry and knit a few things. This year was not a big year for knitting. I had hoped to reach at least the same amount of items as last year (a whopping six) and I didn't, alas. I made four hats and one shawl. Two hats were great, two were kind of duds. The shawl was fabulous.

2012-12-28

Clockwise from top left Topiary Beanie (Weekend Hats by Cecily MacDonald& Melissa LaBarre), Ruche (Weekend Hats), Daybreak Shawl (Stephen West), Fern Glade Hat (Megan Marshall via Knitty), and Long Leaves Beanie (Weekend Hats).

At some point earlier this year I was on a hat kick and I went with it. The Weekend Hats book is pretty great and I started knitting through all the patterns I liked. There's still three or four that I wouldn't mind knitting. I don't feel like knitting hats much anymore (compared to when I first started knitting, that's all I ever knit) so when the urge strikes I just go go go until I'm tired of it. Of the above four hats, two are iffy in their success and the other two turned out fabulous.

Topiary and Ruche didn't turn out the way I hoped. Topiary is much (much!!) too long, but circumference-wise fits fine and it pretty cute even if I have to roll the back so it fits better. I knit it out of Madelinetosh Vintage which is soooo nice! Ruche – I think something might have been wrong with the pattern because I wound up with far too many stitches after the foldover row so I wound up doing five foldovers instead of three. Now it fits weird. Probably because my head is big. I will probably try to find somebody it fits and give it to them. I also didn't care for the yarn much (one of the Vickie Howell yarns – color's great but it was hard to work with).

The other hats, Long Leaves and Fern Glade turned out great. Long Leaves is one of my favorite hats ever, knit out of Lorna's Laces Shephard Worsted in Ysolda Red (I don't know if it's called that still, the website calls a similar color Bold Red). What a treat to knit with! It's a great color and pattern. It's also the perfect beanie length – it covers my ears perfectly! Fern Glade I actually did futz around with – it's not written for heavy worsted yarn, it's written for DK weight and I was using Madelinetosh Chunky so I adjusted the pattern accordingly. It didn't turn out quite as beret-ish as I wanted but I think a more severe blocking over a plate would help that. Also my mom wears her hats farther back on her head than I do, so her bangs show (I can't seem to do this without the hat falling off) so it may be baggier on her than me. At any rate, great pattern, great yarn!

Some jewelry highlights:

Hey, look at me, inserting a gallery into a post! Go me! I wish I'd taken a picture of the awesome Southwestern-style turquoise necklace I made my mom for Christmas, it turned out really nice.

This year I went to a lot of bead shows – both of the big ones at the Oakland Marriott, and at least two up in Sacramento. I believe I even popped over to the one they started having at the Hilton in Concord. I only consciously skipped one of them – at a certain point in October I was just plain exhausted and didn't want to drive up to Sacramento again so I bailed on that one, but it was like three weeks before the huge Bay Area Bead Extravaganza (BABE!) so I wasn't too bummed about it. I got pretty tired of driving around everywhere and being busy every weekend, so I can't say that I regret missing a Gem Faire, especially when I have a room full of awesome bead stash.

So what's on the agenda for next year? Well, more resin – I didn't do too much this year, but I bought a bunch of new molds in Texas that I haven't tried out yet (bracelet molds and other shapes) and my Michael's finally started carrying the new Jewelry Resin I've been wanting to try. At BABE! I got some of the Vintaj patinas and I did patina a bunch of my filigrees, though I haven't done much with them yet.

I don't have anything planned knitting-wise. Even though I finished a hat in December I'm just not in the mood right now. Maybe it will come back – I have to repair my King George Mitts which have some inexplicable holes in them, and I would like to knit a pair of gloves at some point, but I really have to be in the mood. Maybe going to Stitches in February will jumpstart it! Or not, hah.