When Holly arrived last week from Anchorage she brought with her no yarn, no needles, nor any knitting accouterments whatsoever. “You have enough for the both of us,” she said. And she was right. Soon, I had her started on a project. There was no gauge swatch, and the instructions were a little difficult to follow in the beginning, but I got her knitting.


She even filled her suitcase with yarn to take home, thanks to the yarn sale at my local shop. It feels so good to have brought the knitter out of my sister. Also, she served as a very good model for my newest project.

Three spirals.

Pattern: Three Spiral Hat from The Opinionated Knitter by Elizabeth Zimmermann.
Yarn: Super-bulky mystery yarn that I reclaimed from a thrifted hand-knit sweater. I think it’s wool, but I’m not sure. It definitely has wool in it, but maybe some acrylic, too.
Needle: US 11, bamboo circular.
Start: Nov. 1
Finish: Nov. 2

A very fun pattern to knit. What else is there to say? The Opinionated Knitter is my very favorite book and I intend to knit most of the projects in it. You should, too.

Our photo shoot was at The Tanger Family Bicentennial Garden in Greensboro. It is a lovely park and we always try to go when we have visitors (especially if they are landscape architects, like Holly).

act normal

I felt a little bad about promising Holly a hand knitted sweater and then not delivering, but she got my beloved leather coat instead, with the promise to return it to me if I can fit into it again. Yeah right. I mean, I will surely meet my goal of fitting back into the jacket, but will she ever give it back to me?

I must say, she looks damn good in it.

Three Spiral

Speaking of looking damn good, my mom was game for modeling her three-button wrap.

three button wrap

UPDATE:  I’ve had so many requests for this pattern!  For more info, please contact the yarn store, Common Threads in High Point, NC via their website here.  They tell me that lots of people have called and they’ve sent the pattern (and buttons, too!) all over the country.

She loves it, and it looks great on her!

All my visitors are gone for now. I’m a little lonely, but I’m sure I’ll have no trouble getting back into my routine…knitting…playing with the children…not vacuuming…

October Sweater

Once upon a time, I was showing a little cotton sweater I had knit to someone I didn’t really know at all. She was a knitter and so she immediately flipped the sweater inside out to examine it’s bowels. Of course I didn’t mind because I would have done the same thing. Upon close inspection she felt propelled to exclaim, “Oh, you must never start a new ball in the middle of the row! You must always join a new thread at the beginning of the row!”

I never did get a citation from the Knitting Police.

But I actually think of that conversation a lot. There are rules in knitting, but are we seriously supposed to follow them all the time? I’m sure there are many finished knits I have shown you on this very blog that have minor or major indiscretions that I just failed to mention. Perhaps because they weren’t a big deal or maybe because I was too embarrassed to fess up. But does it matter? Does it matter if we join a new ball of yarn in the middle of a row on a cotton sweater if the sweater is absolutely adorable? Doesn’t matter to me.

Anyway, the reason I bring it up is because I have finished the October Sweater for Maggie.

October Sweater

Looks like a cardigan. Smells like a cardigan. But is it a cardigan?

When I finished it and put it on Maggie for her photo shoot, there was one small problem.

This is not good.

That darn button wouldn’t stay closed. The picot button band is two layers thick, the buttons are small, and I really didn’t want to do any major sweater surgery. I also really love the buttons and the button/sweater proportions. I didn’t want to go to bigger buttons. So I sewed the button band closed, turning my little cardi into a faux-cardi pullover.

October Sweater

I left the top button open because otherwise Mag’s head would probably not fit through.

October Sweater

A little bit of a fudge, which may have been solved differently by someone following a set of knitting rules other than my own, leaves me with a sweater that I adore. And that my baby can’t easily get out of.

October Sweater

As promised, the details.

Pattern: Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Seamless Yoke Sweater, from two sources: I used her suggestion from Knitting Without Tears to omit the sleeve increases for a child, and I used the adjusted yoke decreases (updated by Meg Swansen) from The Opinionated Knitter. The sleeves were knit in the round to the underarm and the body was knit back and forth. Then when I joined it all together I continued knitting back and forth.

Yarn: Cascade 220. Color 8013. Less than 2 skeins.

Gauge: On US 7’s, about 5 sts/inch.

Cloverleaf Eyelet: A Treasury of Knitting Patterns (the first one) by Barbara G. Walker, p. 169. This pattern is a multiple of 8 plus 7, so I calculated my number of cast on stitches accordingly for both body and sleeves.

Picot: I am not sure exactly why I know how to do a picot edge, but there’s really nothing to it. I cast on and knit a few rows, then *YO, k2tog* on a right side row. That’s it. On the bottom hem and sleeve hems, I attached it as I was knitting by catching a stitch from the cast on and knitting it together with a live stitch. Sorta like a three-needle join although I didn’t actually use a third needle. On the collar and button band I sewed the hem down by hand.

October Sweater

If I make Maggie another yoke sweater I will space out my yoke decreases more. Next time I’ll start the first decrease about halfway up the yoke (which is what you’re supposed to do, I just had a lapse) instead of 2/3 of the way.

See? Little indiscretions. Doesn’t bother me.

Lastly, my favorite picture.

October Sweater

She’s growing up so fast! Whaaaaa!

(I am going to the workshop on Sat. It’s actually the Brandon Mably Color Workshop. I’ve been told to knit a 10″x10″ swatch using my favorite colors. Yea! Time to dig into the yarn bins!)

Wallaby Revisited

My sister-in-law, Kathleen, is a knitter. She recently finished a frock for her littlest babe (WARNING: cute, chubalicious, baby-in-handknit pic!) and is planning to make a jacket for her oldest girl. When Kathleen told me that she had decided to use Paton’s Classic Wool as an affordable substitute for the Debbie Bliss yarn the pattern called for, I had to speak up. The lure of affordable wool is strong, but my experience tells me that the Paton’s wool is not a good choice for sweaters.

Back in February I made my first Wallaby.

Maggie's Wallaby

Feb, 2007

The yarn was Paton’s Classic Wool and having used less than two balls, the sweater was knit for about $10. A fun knit, as I recall, and also a useful sweater. But look at it now:





The pillage! I remember that even just the act of blocking this little sweater made the yarn begin to pill. As cheap as I am, I would much rather spend twenty or thirty dollars for the same amount of yarn so long as it holds up. It’s not even like Maggie has worn the thing a whole bunch. The sweater has only been worn occasionally; ten times maybe?

I can’t wait for Maggie to grow out of this so I can throw it in the trash. It’s useful in the meantime, and I must say it looks much better with the distraction of a cute body inside of it.

what?  you don't like my hairdo?

“You don’t like my hairdo?”

Kathleen is a busy woman with very little knitting time. I would hate for her to lovingly work on a big project only to be disappointed in the final product.

Have you had the same troubles with Paton’s or was this a fluke?

Just a few other things for today.

  • Kaffe Fassett is going to be doing a workshop in a nearby town on Saturday. I’m going to call to see if there are any more openings left. It’s my birthday present!
  • My birthday is Thursday. I will be 28. Some days I feel so young, some days I feel so old.
  • Yes, that is a new sweater hiding under the Wallaby above. It’s still wet from blocking. Deets forthcoming.
  • Nothing like knitting a quickie sweater for a small person to renew the mojo.
  • Also good for the mojo? Admitting that the sweater for my sister is a pile of crap, then moving on. Apologies to Holly, but I think you’ll still get a sweater:

Fairisle yoke swatch
You likey?