Monthly Archives: June 2013

IMG_1655 - Version 2I love taking The Old Dog and The Punk out for a hike. It was really beautiful this weekend, so we went out for a spin.

It used to be, until about last year, that I would take a hike as fast as possible, making sure the dogs were in a trot at all times and my heart rate was in the aerobic zone.

IMG_1746Well, partly due to the various factors —  Lucy is not all business on the trails (she likes to smell the flowers), I need to make sure that The Old Dog doesn’t get over tired, and The Human is getting old too — our hikes are less about exercise and more about enjoying the scenery and the jaunt.

Really. (I know there are some of you who don’t believe this).

I woke up on Saturday morning, thinking about where I wanted to go. Should we go high up on the ridge line? Go tromp around in the woods? Or make sure there were plenty of water features for the dogs to go dip in?

Why not hit it all? We went up on the ridge in the morning before the sun got too hot.


We went into the trails.

There were some “obstacles” for the dogs including wood planks and a flower archway.

IMG_1736 IMG_1735

Dogs got plenty of splashing time.


The flowers were out in full force…

IMG_1754 IMG_1720


And when it was all done, the dogs were out for the count,








…and I got to finish my weekend project.


All in all — perfect!

My sweater is a bit on hold as I try to jam on a project due, fully blocked and gift wrapped, on 6/24. A friend’s Mom turns 88. Eighty eight deserves a killer shawl, right?


I will, for sure, be putting on the knitting jets after this project is finished. In the meantime, The Cormo Sisters are joining their sleeves….their gorgeous work below. I have a feeling I’m going to regret not knitting this sweater in natural!!



One thing I generally do when I get to this point, before I get too far into finishing up the raglan decreases…CHECK GAUGE. The one place where I like to make sure the sweater fits is how it fits under the arms. I double check here to make sure the depth at the underarms is roomy enough or tight enough — and I have been known to change how the sleeve decreases are done to make sure I hit the right depth.

Other than that — knit on! If you have questions on how to adjust, please let me know!

IMG_9040I’ve loved this sweater the moment the pattern was published, back in 2009. I purchased many sweater quantities of yarn with this sweater in mind. But for some reason, I haven’t knit this sweater, until now.

I finished this sweater a few weeks ago, but it wasn’t until this weekend that I finally replaced the initial set of buttons I had on this sweater.

IMG_9041The sweater is Audrey in Unst by Gudrun Johnston, published in Twist Collective in Fall 2009. It is a very popular pattern, with more than 1,000 projects posted in Ravelry.

I made only a few modifications to this cardigan.

  1. Cast on the ribbing using a tubular cast on (and here’a link to my favorite instructions by Ysolda Teague);
  2. Cast off the sleeves using a matching tubular cast off (and link to TechKnitter’s instructions)
  3. Lengthened the body by 1.5″

Very minor for me. I used indigo dyed yarn, A Verb For Keeping Warm’s Annapurna. I love the little speckles of white, and I love how this makes this cardi look like a little jean jacket.

I think I need this sweater in a multitude of colors! (I think pale dove grey next.)


…But reality is another, it is better to come to grips with it right away….even in knitting.

IMG_9042I need to eat some humble pie. If anything I’ve written prior to this post has confused you as I refer to the edging — this is why — I apologize.

I had completely read the pattern wrong. I thought that the cable edging was attached after. And yes, a part of the cable edging is applied after knitting the body but not the whole thing.

This changes a couple of things for me.

1. I do not like raw edges on sweaters. So….I’ve decided to do an i-cord edging on the sweater.
2. I want to increase the width of the front by another cable on each side. (Now you see what I was planning to do — if the cable edging was an applied edging, then I could have decided at that point how wide to make it!)

This will result in:
1. I need to add the extra width for both the double cables and the i-cord edging.
2. I need to recalculate the front neck decreases to make sure that the neck opening is wide enough.
3. I need to frog (rip-it, rip-it) what I have knit so far on the body….which is about 200 yards worth. Sets me back by a couple of days, for sure, but I will catch up.

The good thing about knitting though — you can always undo and redo mistakes.

Now that we’ve finished the sleeves….are any of you our there wondering if you have enough yarn?!

This is very approximate and requires some digging back in the brain for some formulas for calculating area for certain shapes. But, it will give you at least some idea of whether you have enough yarn, and perhaps plan for some modifications if you are running short.

First, we’ve already knit the sleeve. The sleeve is a trapezoid. The area for a trapezoid is calculated using the formula: 1/2*h*(b1+b2) where h is the height of the trapezoid (and in this case the length of the sleeve), b1 is the length of one end of the base of the trapezoid (in this case the circumference around the wrist) and b2 is the length of the other base (in this case the circumference around the top end of the sleeve).

You also know how much yarn you have used, either because you have kept track, or because you can weigh the sleeves and convert that into approximate yardage because you know how many yards of yarn there is in 1 gram/1 ounce of yarn.

From the above, I know that I can knit “x” square inches using “y” yards. Divide that yardage by the square inches to get the y/x yard/square inch.

Using the schematic, I know that the body up to the yoke join is a rectangle, and I can calculate the area of that area of the sweater. I can also approximate the top back as another trapezoid, and the two fronts as 2 more trapezoids. Add these, and remember to calculate the edging band (another rectangle) and add that. You will get total area in square inches to be knit. Multiply this by the yard/sq. inch  rate of your yarn usage, above. Now you know how much yarn you need to knit the rest of the sweater. You can weigh the yarn you have left (or add up the yardage on the label assuming that is correct) and you can see if you have enough yarn.

What if you don’t have enough yarn? Here are some options:

1. Order more. Hope the manufacturer/store has the same dye lot.
2. Think about shortening the body. The amount by which you need to adjust this length can be calculated by doing the above calculation backwards.
3. This sweater has a edging band. Is there a contrast yarn you can use on the edging?

And then, more dramatically,
4. Can you modify sleeves to 3/4? Short sleeves? This would probably require re-knitting of at least the upper portion of the sleeves, depending on how dramatically you are changing the sleeves.
5. Can you do all the ribbing and the edging band in another yarn/contrast color? This would require some yarn surgery — snipping the ribbing off the sleeves, picking up the live stitches, and knitting the ribbing in the contrast color, and of course, doing this for the body (or ripping out the body and starting the ribbing on this different yarn, depending on where you are in your project.

IMG_8911The result? Sometimes good! I actually do this quite a bit, with mixed results, but here is a recent example of a fingerless mitt I was making out of handspun…Sure, I could have spun a bit more yarn, but I like the orange accent.

More often than not, I do buy extra yarn and deal with the leftovers….later.

Hope that is helpful!

Here are some WIP photos from some people who have told me that they are following along on this KAL…Remember to PM me on Ravelry if I can use your photo on my blog!

Nice going, everyone!!




sandness Sometimes, a new design comes out and it does not matter that I have a million projects on the needles, or looming deadlines. The perfect yarn is in stash, the needles are free (or I will free them).

It needs to be cast on.
This happens to me about once a year. It usually wreaks havoc in my well planned and organized knitting life. And generally, I really know I have no business casting on this new project.
sandness 1This happened to me when Wool People 5 came out. Curse you Jared Flood. Many gorgeous designs, as usual, and accessories heavy. And in the middle of all the shawls, one spoke to me. It wasn’t the runaway most popular shawl of the collection on Ravelry, but to me, it was perfection.
I had been Golluming my Malabrigo Finito in natural for the perfect, cozy shawl. It started screaming at me from its nesting place. Because the yarn totally knew it needed to be made into this shawl.
Not difficult, not lacy, not a project that can only be knit by a maestro.
But knit in a cream, round yarn, there was no fudging in knitting this thing. The construction is classic Shetland. The wave pattern in the edging had to be blocked out evenly. It appealed to the OCD part of me.
sandness 2I love the waves, but I also sigh in content as I look at the transition point from the triangular body to the edging. It’s so pretty.
I was wrapped in it for most of my time at Squam, dragging it from place to place like Linus and his blanket. It smells of the fireplace we had going in our cabin every night. I made the large size, with 1/2 a repeat omitted mostly because it was already huge (finished block size is 38.5″ deep by 79″ wide) and to ensure that I had enough yarn left over to make the hat cousin, Norby. (I haven’t made this yet….and yet another Brooklyntweed collection, from Wool People 2.)
Sometimes, you just have to do it. You know the feeling, right?

IMG_0009What!? No, I did not take a sleeve workshop at Squam Art Workshops. But, I did finish the sleeves for my June’s Favorite Cardigan while attending the Squam Art Workshops and cast on for the body.

Couple of observations about my sleeves….
1. Perhaps I should have alternated skeins. Each skein is different on this yarn, sort of like handspun that was randomly plied. If I were being a perfectionist, I would have alternated the skeins. You can see from the enhanced photo that the skein changes are pretty obvious. From a normal distance away though? Good enough for government work.

Which is a perfect segway for two topics: Stephen West and alternating skeins.

I took a class from Stephen West (highly recommended, for many useful tips but also for the high entertainment factor). One of the best quotes (paraphrased): “If someone notices a knitting mistake on a garment and they see it, they are WAY TOO CLOSE. Take 3 steps back.” LOL. Two take aways from the class. I learned a ridiculously amazing cast on for garter which involve a bit of a pirouette of the wrists, and his shawls are beautiful in person. And yes, I’ve already been mentally rifling through the yarn that I have on hand to pirouette cast on one of his shawls. Stay tuned!

IMG_9027Alternating skeins. I would say that I alternate skeins, while using hand dyed yarn, 90% of the time. If I enhance the photo with high contrast (see left), you can definitely see that there is a major demarkation where I changed skeins. If I wanted to avoid this, I would have started alternating skeins…maybe not for the entire sleeve but at least for the last 4″ or so leading up to the switch.

You can probably see that I’ve already made a modification on the sleeve….I twisted the cables in different directions rather than keeping them twisted in the same direction, so that they both twist into the body.

I’ve cast on for the body, and am knitting along. There was a question as to what “knit as established” means — for me, that means keep the knitted fabric/pattern going as it was set up: So, stockinette is stockinette, and pattern stitches are pattern stitches.

I think I’m going to take a day in the middle of the week and post progress photos from other participants. i am loving how this sweater is knitting up in the other yarns. If I were to select a different yarn, I would definitely pick a very light colored, round yarn.

See you soon!

The schematic in a pattern is an incredibly valuable resource. It has tons of information in it. Look at the numbers, and not just the diagram.

I am casting on today, and I already see a big issue — there are only 2 circumferences for sleeve cuffs for a sweater that comes in 10 sizes. And since I am not a huge fan of dangly cuffs, I will be making an adjustment here, and adjust to make sure that by the time I get the sleeves to the length I want, I have the right circumference on the arm. (This means doing some calculations on the frequency of increases within the available length of the sleeve, so you will have to rely on the row gauge you’re getting on your swatch as well…as you progress further into the sleeve, the row gauge you are getting on the sleeve will give a better sense.)

With the knowledge that ribbing will “suck in” the fabric a certain amount, I have cast on what I think are the right number of stitches and have started knitting…..

One thing to keep in mind? The beautiful seeded rib must be knit in the multiple of stitches it calls for.

And, I don’t know where I have picked this up, but I always cast on one more stitch than called for when knitting in the round and slip that last stitch in the round into the first stitch in the next round.

Next decision: is the ribbing called for in the pattern long enough? I am a sleeve pusher-upper. And, I want enough length in the sleeves to be able to pull the sleeves over my hands without it looking sloppy. My solution? A longer rib. I am knitting my rib a bit longer than called for (shortening the amount of turf left to squeeze in all my sleeve increases!) And make a note, if you’ve changed the length of the rib on the sleeve. I like to mirror this, most of the time, at the hem of the body!

june sleeve start

I think it’s a good start. Now onto the main part of the sleeve….

And here’s Blunckie’s progress. The yarn she is using is just PERFECTION. I think it’s perfect for this sweater. Great stitch definition, and it looks so soft even from here!! And look how far she has gotten already!!!

june blunckie 2


A few advantages, in my mind, for starting on the sleeves.

1. It’s your “in the round gauge swatch”, and it’s also a check to see if you’re going to like the garment. You can try on as you go! If you don’t like a sleeve, you are likely not going to like the sweater.
2. You’ll get a sense for the pattern, and how the yarn knits up in a bigger piece of fabric….in essence, it’s like you’re progressing onto a bigger swatch!

Usually, and if I am on gauge for the project, I will knit the sleeves two at a time on magic loop. This way, I don’t have to “remember” (i.e., take copious notes because I don’t ever really remember anymore!) my increases for “later” (or when I get to the second sleeve — which, with my track record, could be years after the first sleeve!).

However, for this, I’m going to do one sleeve at a time. I’m not super confident in my modifications.

The upside? After knitting the sleeve and the body up to the yoke, I should be 100% confident of how I’m going to modify the rest of the sweater (where all the action takes place).

If you are participating in the KAL and do not mind me featuring your progress on the blog, please contact me at Finnsmydog on Ravelry!

Knit on!

I can’t ever seem to leave a pattern alone.

It’s liberating, not being beholden to a particular fabric that you must produce to get the right size, and the process is usually not very difficult, except when the gauge is significantly off.

Like with my gauge, @ 4.25 stitches to the inch vs. the pattern’s 5 stitches to the inch for June’s Favorite Cardigan.

It was so different, that I actually swatched with US6 needles. And I got gauge. But the resulting fabric was so stiff, I did not like it. If I was really going to try to knit-to-pattern, I would probably drop down to a DK weight/light worsted weight yarn which is rounder, rather than try to force my 40% mohair yarn into this pattern. (To my Cormo friends —- the weight of your yarn is likely to be perfect for this cardigan!!)

But I’m knitting this sweater, so I should be able to create a garment I want. So…how do I do that, and what can I/should I do before I cast on?

I was lucky enough to take a class with Amy Herzog as her book Knit to Flatter was coming out. I highly recommend the book, and while I have not taken her Craftsy class, I bet Amy’s passion and enthusiasm comes through in that class so….that may be an option as well.

While we are not creating the tailored cardigan here, there are a couple of things that Amy talks about which is still applicable. What is your body type and what types of garments may flatter you most? This may influence how you may want to modify the front of the sweater and the slope of the V opening. It may also influence the length you make this sweater. Or maybe the sleeves. And, you may get some ideas on how you may want to introduce shaping darts, if any.

The good thing about this pattern though, is that I think it’s pretty forgiving on shape, since it’s a cardigan with no closures (you may want to change that), and I’m envisioning this as a throw over the shoulder kind of thing. More like a shawl with sleeves. So….for me, no major modifications.

That being said, there are decisions I need to make to create the sweater that I’m picturing in my mind.

First, the fit. I want this to be not even close to being form fitting. But, I also do not want to look like the Michelin Man when I wear it. How do I get that without losing the proverbial 10/20/50 lbs and growing 4”? I want to make this sweater be loose where it counts, but not be so enormous that it looks like it was knit for someone else in mind.

IMG_8982For me, the pain point in fit is how the garment fits across the mid-upper back (Many refer to this measurement point as the cross back) and tightness of the upper sleeves. With that in mind, I’m going to pick a sweater, out of similar weight yarn, that I think fits the way I would like for this sweater to fit, and take that measurement.

(I actually have my cross back measurement, and have in my head the concept of how much “positive ease” I would want, but sometimes those are just numbers on a piece of paper and I find the “measure the garment” a relatively fool proof way of approximating the garment measurements).

IIMG_8983’m going to use this measurement against the schematic in the pattern to pick the size which closely resembles the size that I want for the back and the upper arm measurement. If the sweater dimensions for a certain size include measurements that you want around the chest and the upper arm, then I will only have to make adjustments for the gauge.

Other than that, I’m going to make sure that the sleeve length and body lengths are flattering and/or comfortable for me.

The basic math first.

1. Calculate the “multiplier”: This is the gauge you get per inch divided by the gauge specified in the pattern.

– For me, I got a gauge of 4.25 stitches/inch and the pattern gauge is 5 stitches/inch. My “multiplier” is 4.25 divided by 5, or 0.85. This will be the number that I’ll be multiplying all stitch counts in the pattern.

– Mental check: I’m covering more ground by knitting less stitches, so all the stitch counts for my sweater should be less than the stitch counts specified in the pattern, i.e., if the pattern cast on was 100 stitches at the given gauge, then my cast on would be 100 x 0.85, or 85 stitches. (Which, for this cardi, will have to get adjusted to make sure that we have enough stitches to accommodate for the stitch pattern).

2. Then, look on the pattern to see if there is a size that approximate your measurements from above. If there is a size that is close (and by that I mean <1″ around the chest circumference and <1/2″ around the upper arm), then apply the “multiplier” to the initial cast on to see how many stitches to cast on.  If this new, calculated cast on number is the same or similar (within a few stitches — remember, there’s a stitch pattern here) to another size, knit that size! No more math necessary (for now. We have to assume that the designer has graded the pattern properly, and we should be good to go until we get to the raglan decreases.)

And for me, if I go down 2 sizes in the pattern, the stitch counts seem to work out. Now, I am going to go back to the pattern for the smaller size, and check stitch counts around the chest and around the upper arm to make sure the measurements work with my gauge (divide stitch count given in the pattern by gauge to see what the measurement is), and I will be set to go!!!


imageBefore I go through the math here, let’s just acknowledge that it is June 1 and cast on time!!! If you are comfortable with your gauge, cast on!!!!

And for those of us in the middle of the first heat wave (what happened to spring? Did we even have a spring?), sleeves may be the place to start.

Here is what I am planning on doing, loosely, and I’m planning on posting a blog post every Sunday evening with progress photos:

  • Week 1: Sleeves. I will post about why I start here tomorrow. For those of us with big second sock syndromes…sleeves are just like giant socks!
  • Week 2+: Body. I’d like to try to shoot for joining the sleeves to the body, and modification calculations in the raglan decrease the weekend of 6/21. By then, we’ll know if this will be an issue for anyone (I think it will be for me given the gauge difference).
  • Completion by 6/30?

Let me know how that will work.

I will follow later tonight with my modification list, math, and tales of winding yarn.