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I have no issues knitting through the summer. (Well, I have a few caveats like no big wooly project sitting on my lap for prolonged period of time even with the AC on). There’s nothing like the first hints of fall to get me excited about sweater knitting, though.

After what seemed like a heat wave that lasted forever, summer seemed to have gone in a flash and we had a relatively temperate end to August here in NYC.  Very conducive to sweater knitting. So conducive that I finally finished my June’s Favorite Cardigan, and I test knitted a lovely little sweater, Miranda, which should become a staple in my wardrobe this fall.

IMG_9177 - Version 2First the June’s. Or more like, as it ended up being, “INSPIRED BY” June’s Favorite Cardigan. The last bit of knitting, which took all of an hour or two, has been completed, the ends were woven in and the garment blocked. The sweater is knit out of Green Mountain Spinnery’s Green Mountain Green, a yummy yarn. (So yummy I just ordered another sweater’s worth for a pullover…). My sweater is oversized, the cable band has been doubled which has made the collar around the neck wider, and I can pull the cardigan closed around my body like a big wooly hug if I get cold.

IMG_9173The test knit was for Miranda, for the lovely  Josée Paquin. It’s a casual hoodie sweater, with a kangaroo pocket and short sleeves. The architectural cable panel in the front, which integrates into the pocket, is the dressy feature here. The hood is fully functional and fits nicely over the head….and not just another piece of knitted fabric that will keep my neck warm. I anticipate wearing this sweater quite a bit this fall. The bonus is that the yarn, Lorna’s Laces Shepherds’ Worsted in Cookie’s Deep Dark Secret, was a prize for a KAL for sweater out of Cookie A’s Shapes + Forms book!

I definitely am willing sweater season to get here quickly, and have a couple more sweaters on the needles…..Think I have stripes on my brain!?

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I get asked this all the time.

There was a time,  when my knitting consisted of picking a pattern, buying the exact yarn that was called for, and knitting exactly to pattern, except for a few standard modifications like sleeve length. I would go rogue sometimes and change a color.

There’s nothing wrong with this. I still do that from time to time, because I belong to yarn/pattern clubs, or I am curious about the garment that was intended to be made. But most of my knitting now starts with thinking about a garment, and picking the yarn and pattern (or not) to make as close to what I envision the piece to be.

This may be my favorite part of the whole knitting process — the knitting that happens in my brain!

In the case of the Sweater KAL we are about to do, I picked the pattern (June’s Favorite Cardigan) for the design details of the cardigan. The story about the sweater that the designer, Hannah Fettig, told, made me envision the garment that I wanted to make.

SQUISHY. That is what I wanted. Something that would make the cardigan look hand made. Ideally, something that looked like handspun. And, I wanted a little bit of fuzz, because to me, fuzz is cozy. I also did not want this cardigan to be heavy, weight wise. This meant that I wanted a yarn that was spun woolen, and probably was a 2 or at most a 3 ply yarn. And if I couldn’t find that, I was going to choose a fiber that would add loft to the yarn. (Now you know why I started spinning. I’m a little bit picky….now if I could just get good enough at spinning to create exactly what I’m looking for……!!)

I could have gone a totally different direction. Squoosh factor can be achieved using a really bouncy, round yarn. A rounder yarn would give you great stitch definition, and if I really wanted to highlight the design details (which I love on this cardigan), I would have picked such a yarn, and in a light color.

Color is important here because of the cable and the stitch details. While there is nothing wrong with knitting this in a darker color, the beautiful details in the sleeves and around the front edge of the cardigan would show up better in a lighter colored yarn.

The yarn that the designer used for this cardigan, Quince  Co.’s Lark, would be an example of a rounder bouncier yarn I could have used for this cardigan. I know that at least a couple of our Sweater KAL friends, are using a yarn that would give wonderful stitch definition while being really soft and cozy. (Yes, you two with the cormo yarn, I’m talking about you!)

IMG_8956The yarn that I chose, Green Mountain Spinnery Green Mountain Green,  has a recommended gauge of 3.5-5.0 stitches to the inch. It’s 60% wool, and 40% mohair, which will create a fabric that should be light but warm, if knitted at the right gauge. Since I want to take advantage of the loft from the mohair, I will be knitting this to create a relatively loose fabric. I chose the variegated yarn (and I went through the entire stock at the Spinnery when I was up there for the Spring Retreat) to chose a lighter colored, less obviously variegated skeins. The variegation is subtle enough, I think, to not detract from the stitch details.

Because I know what kind of fabric I want, this makes swatching relatively important. I will admit — sometimes I do not swatch and use a part of the garment itself as my “swatch” (and yes, this means sometimes I rip out large projects halfway through and start over). I won’t swatch if I’m knitting out of yarn I’ve used before, for example, or if I’m knitting a lace shawl. In fact, I know my knitting gauge is not 100% consistent and is very reflective of what other projects I may have on the needles (if I’m knitting lots of socks, my gauge will be a bit tighter, if I’ve been knitting many shawls, my gauge may be looser), or my stress level, or even time of day. So, I gauge for the “fabric”. I want to make sure that after I soak the garment, and let the yarn bloom a bit, that the end fabric has the drape, the squish factor and the feel that I want. And if I’m not knitting to the gauge called for in the pattern, I am more likely to take out the calculator and do some math rather than change the needle size to get the dimensions right.

Don’t worry, this is not hard, and besides we’ve picked a pattern that I think is pretty forgiving in terms of fit.

I will be swatching in the next few days. In the meantime, I’m still knitting and spinning away to clear the decks a bit before June 1.

 

 

A few friends have some smooshy, cozy yarn in their stashes that are screaming to be knit into smooshy, cozy cardigans. I do as well, and I’ve agreed to knit a sweater with them.

A sweater in summer? You may say. But with the weather doing what it is doing in the Northeast this year, we may find (to my glee) that little warm cardi is just the thing we can throw on our shoulders as we sip our coffee in the morning.

(Just a note to say: That is such an idyllic picture for me and so far from reality. I don’t sip coffee until I have taken the daily early AM walk/slog/jog with my dogs so I’m already fully dressed, probably sweating, and not in some cute “just rolled out of bed” wear.)

June’s Favorite Cardigan is a Hannah Fettig design that looks to be nearly perfect for this. Nice cable accents to keep the knitting from getting too boring, raglan sleeves which I think is a must for a cozy sweater (and since it’s an open cardi, there shouldn’t be an issue with trying to make the sweater fit around the bust and have the armholes down at your bellybutton…), and what looks to be a stress free knit.

This will be a very loose knitalong/KAL. Basically, I will be posting a pretty loose schedule, and will be knitting this sweater and posting progress on a weekly basis. Please feel free to share your comments and link your Ravelry project pages down below!

imageCast on date is June 1. The assignment, should you wish to accept it, is before 6/1/13, you will:

1. Buy the pattern
2. Buy the yarn (I am using Green Mountain Spinnery’s Green Mountain Green, photographed above.)
3. Gather all materials (if you use a cable needle you’ll need one, we’ll need darning needles..)
…and of course, swatch.

I think this sweater can be finished in a month. I’ll be posting about my swatch next week!