Knitting, crafting, cooking, and motherhood… trying to do it all!

Posts tagged ‘Plymouth’

The Season for Sweaters

In 2014, I knit fifteen sweaters. FIFTEEN. Only one of those sweaters was adult-sized, but fifteen sweaters is no small feat. Not to mention I also knit 9 vests, 11 hats, 1 cowl, 4 pairs of mitts, 1 pair of baby leggings, 4 pairs of socks, 3 bows, and countless swatches and project beginnings. It’s been a busy year for knitting!

I thought I’d take some time to show off some of those sweaters that have not yet been featured on my blog. I’d like to start by raving about the ladies of Tin Can Knits. Alexa and Emily are the masterminds behind the Tin Can Knits design team. They are amazing women who, despite each having a baby last year (just like me!), released a new book of knitting patterns entitled Road Trip. Their designs are a wonderful blend of modern and classic, with easy-to-follow instructions and clear guidelines for any knitter. As if that isn’t enough they also have a blog to help knitters through new and/or troublesome techniques. The greatest thing about TCK, though, is that most of their patterns are sized baby through adult. I got to try many of their patterns for my four boys and I never had to worry if they had the size I needed. I’m going to begin detailing my Season of Sweaters by showing off some of my favorite Tin Can Knits designs.

The first sweater I knit was Caribou from TCK’s Road Trip. The recommended yarn was Brooklyn Tweed Shelter. I had been interested to try this yarn, so I invested in some ‘Almanac’ colorway for a toddler sweater. I was excited to try this pattern because of its unique construction. You actually knit the cable band first, then pick up stitches to knit the top and the bottom. The button band ribbing lines up perfectly with the cables, so they seem to extend to the edge. Knit in the beautiful (and incredibly lightweight) Brooklyn Tweed Shelter, this sweater turned out to be incredibly adorable. I chose the 2-4 yr size, which turned out to be much too large for my 2 year old, but the sleeves cuffed nicely and it will last for one or two years to come (just in time for his baby brother to grow into it!).

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While I loved the Caribou sweater, I wanted something a little dressier for Jonathan to wear for Christmas. I chose TCK’s Prairie Fire sweater. This sweater uses lacework to create a design that comes to a point on the front, then wraps around the sweater to meet in the back. It’s such a clever design. Even though this sweater was modeled on girls, I decided my little guy was “man enough” to pull off lace. I couldn’t be happier with the results. Knit in the 1-2yrs size, this was a perfect fit for Christmas. It goes well with a turtleneck or polo shirt underneath and I can’t get over how handsome he is (I know, I’m a little partial).IMG_7753

I wrote in a previous post about knitting a baby cardigan using TCK’s Clayoquot without the colorwork. I decided to knit this sweater with the colorwork in the 0-6mos size for a dear friend who just had a baby. The Clayoquot pattern is a great pattern for anyone new to stranded knitting. I loved knitting this girly little sweater (I never get to use pink!) and I can’t wait to see it on Baby Elise!

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One more TCK pattern: the Antler Cardigan. After knitting all the sweaters I liked from Road Trip, I invested in TCK’s older book, Pacific Knits. This book includes lots of great patterns, but I bought it specifically to knit the Antler Cardigan. I chose the colorway Peacock Shadow from Dream in Color, mostly because my son Roman said he liked turquoise. The color ended up looking a lot more navy than turquoise, but I love the way the tonal yarn looks in this simple pattern. Knit with size 9 needles, I flew through this pattern for my eight-year old. Roman wore a white polo shirt underneath for Christmas Eve Mass.

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Those are all of the TCK sweaters, although you can find quite a few of their hat designs in my previous post. The next sweater I need to feature is a classic design by Elizabeth Zimmermann: the Baby Surprise Jacket. Elizabeth Zimmermann, known to many as the mother of modern knitting, created this incredibly clever design and it is still one of the most knit baby patterns today. It is knit flat, then folded origami-style and seamed to create a darling baby jacket. I highly recommend this design for every knitter to try. The construction is truly one-of-a-kind. In my version I used Plymouth Select Worsted Merino Superwash. I added length to the sleeves and added a hood, using i-cord around the edges of the hood and cuffs.

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In an effort to learn how to knit a set-in sleeve, I chose the pattern Arlo from the BT Kids collection. This is an amazing sweater, but it was WAY more work than the seamless knits previously listed. This sweater was knit in five pieces, seamed together, then had a shawl collar picked up and knit with short rows. I learned SO much from knitting this sweater, but I also spent a lot of time watching YouTube videos to learn some of the new techniques. The results are fantastic, though I do regret not using Brooklyn Tweed Shelter to knit this design. I love seeing my six-year old Adrian wearing this sweater around town.

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So, there is a sampling of some of my favorite designs from 2014. My absolute favorites cannot be revealed just yet… they are of my own design and will remain a mystery for a few more months. 2015 holds many more sweaters in store. I’ve already finished two (one of them a massive sweater for me) and February is just getting started!

Hats! Hats! Hats!

One of the greatest things about cold weather (one of the ONLY great things about cold weather) is the chance to wear the things you’ve been knitting all year. Although my boys have some hats I crocheted for them years ago, I figured they needed to upgrade to some knit hats and it gave me a chance to learn more about hat construction. Thus became my mission… to knit hats for the family!

At the end of October I had knit plenty of things for my kids, but hadn’t made much for me. I had bought some Brooklyn Tweed Shelter (colorway ‘Thistle’) to knit Jared Flood’s Laurel hat. I thought, “It’s small, I should be able to finish in a night.” Ha! The pattern is lovely and the chart was easy to read, but I wasn’t as quick as I dreamed I was. I finished in about three days, but long hours were put in during that time. It was a great learning experience, but I kept making small mistakes and needed to tink back or ladder down to fix the problems. In the end, the result was beautiful. I love my new hat and I love that I took the time to make something for myself!

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As the cold winds of December blew in, I started working on a hat for my baby. I wanted to try knitting Tin Can Knits’ Clayoquot cardigan with colorwork (I had knit this pattern without the colorwork here), but I thought I would start with the Clayoquot Toque. I knit this one in less than a day. It’s super cute, but I do wish it was just a bit larger. I try to make things to last more than a couple months, but with growing boys that’s tough to do! This hat looks nice and is quite durable knit in Cascade 220 Superwash.

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Moving on, I wanted to try out a pattern from the Tin Can Knits book Pacific Knits, which I had recently received. I used some lovely Dream in Color Classy yarn (colorway ‘Peacock Shadow’). The pattern is Sitka Spruce, and uses twisted stitches to create an awesome geometric pattern. This one was not for my boys, though. This one was a gift for a special friend who has recently moved to a much colder place. I figured the warm wool would be perfect for those snowy days in Buffalo, NY. This one also turned out a little shorter than I wanted, but after blocking it was closer to the correct size. The tonal yarn looks amazing with all those twisted stitches!

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Three days before celebrating Christmas, I decided to make a hat for my husband using more Brooklyn Tweed Shelter (colorway ‘Birdbook’). I chose Apple Pie— another TCK pattern. This one features a ribbed doubled brim. Although it was tedious to knit the extra length of the doubled brim, I think it will be super warm. All the cabling within this hat took a long time, but I love the results. I love how it looks on me, so it was almost a disappointment when my husband loved it and wanted to wear it! (Ha! Just kidding!) That doubled brim was a foreshadowing of a future project… a project that made the hat brim seem like nothing at all (more details to come!).  Here is the hat modeled by Yours Truly.

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Next up was a hat for my second son, Adrian. I decided to do yet another TCK pattern (I own two of their books, of course I’m going to knit their patterns!)– Stovetop. This uses moss stitch to create an interesting texture and some simple cables along a main panel. The crowning glory, in my opinion, is the pompom on top. I knit this one with some leftover Plymouth Worsted Merino Superwash (colorway ‘Primavera’) and I am SO happy with how it turned out. Although it was created for Adrian, my third son Jonathan has adopted it as his own and looks incredibly cute in it. Here it is modeled on Adrian:

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Dying to try more simple colorwork, I found The Easy Ombre Slouch Hat, by Paul S. Neary, a free pattern on Ravelry. I changed the pattern quite a bit (detailed on my project page), but it was exactly what I was looking for. I used the same Plymouth Merino Superwash used in Adrian’s hat, paired with some blue yarn of the same brand. This design also inspired me to design a sweater with a similar effect. I loved the results, but my oldest son Roman has been crocheting hats for himself, so this one doesn’t get much use.

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One final hat to add to the post… another one that was intended for me! Although the Laurel hat I made at the beginning of this post is great for cooler weather, I wanted one that could withstand heavy snows (not that we’ve had any this year). I used, you guessed it, a TCK pattern. This one is called Tofino Surfer and is from their book Pacific Knits. I had some trouble finding yarn to get the recommended gauge. I settled on some Cascade 128 and used a size 9 needle. The hat turned out great with one exception. Because I used a smaller needle size, the tighter stitches caused it to stick up straight instead of slouching. As I blocked it I stretched the wool, which helped a lot, although it does require a little push to make it slouch. No modeled pic for this one:

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What are your favorite hat patterns? The cold weather isn’t through yet… I could always knit another!