FO: Beach Street Park sweater

Anyone looking for a sweater pattern that is easy to knit and super cozy to wear? Kirsten Kapur’s new Beach Street Park pullover pattern fits the bill on both counts.

2013-04-06 18.15.26

I was lucky enough to snag a spot test knitting this sweater, and I really enjoyed making it.

This sweater uses a lightweight yarn (Kirsten used sport weight, I used a Berroco Vintage DK, a light DK weight yarn) worked at a loose gauge to achieve its cozy, drapey effect. I made this sweater with about 2″ of positive ease, and it has the perfect weekend sweater feel.

The sweater is not just relaxing to wear, either. With few increases, a seamless yoked construction, and Kirsten’s clear instructions, this thing was actually soothing to make.

The pattern is available for download now on Ravelry. You can also read more about the sweater’s origins on Kirsten’s blog, Through the Loops.

My pattern notes are on Ravelry, too.

Mysteries of January Revealed: Part I

Am I the only one who was blown away by the number of amazing designers hosting mystery knit-alongs on Ravelry this January?  I managed to talk myself out of a few of them, but, in the end, I was seduced by 3. Yes, you read that right: 3 knit-alongs.  Fortunately, all three of these projects are turning into lovely objects that I can’t wait to enjoy.

The first of these projects I can share with you because the mystery has officially been revealed. Throughout early January, I worked on this fantastic striped shawl pattern by Joji Locatelli.  Here are the results:

joji fo large

 

This pattern started out with just a long strip of crazy fringe. Because I wasn’t too sure about the fringe, I modified it to be little “picots” instead. I accomplished this by only casting on/binding off 1 stitch where the fringe pattern called for casting on/binding off 10 stitches. Here’s what my shawl looked like after the first clue:

joji mystery picots cl1

 

At this point, I wasn’t too sure what I’d gotten myself into, but things quickly improved, and I really love my finished shawl. The pattern is really fun and well-written, but part of the credit for this successful object must also go to the yarn I used. All three colors were Plucky Knitter fingering-weight in the Feet (merino/nylon) and Primo (merino/cashmere/nylon) bases.

joji fo 2 large

I’ve been hoarding a small collection of Plucky yarns in my stash for awhile now. This was the first project I broke them out for. All I can say is why did I wait so long. This yarn is absolutely the best. It is smooth and soft, but also sturdy. The colors are complicated enough to reveal that they are hand-dyed, but not enough to give that splotchy or pooly look that some hand-dyes offer. I can’t say enough nice things about this yarn. If you can snag a skein or two for yourself, I highly recommend it.

Joji’s Mystery Shawl pattern is available on Ravelry for $4 (though I think this low price is a limited time offer, then the price will go up later).

My full project notes are on Ravelry as well.

Finished Object: Scarf for Dad

While we are on the topic of knits for dads, I thought you might like to have a look at an object I finished a few weeks ago. This is a nice warm scarf that I made as a gift for my dad.

dad scarf 1

I made this using a free pattern by Monika Steinbauer (Ravelry info). The pattern uses alternating knits and purls to produce a simple woven plaid effect. It is interesting to knit, but also very wearable in a typical neutral mens wardrobe.

Here’s another shot against a darker background:

dad scarf 2

I used Berroco Blackstone Tweed for the first time in this project, and I discovered that I love it. It is a wool, mohair, and angora blend, so although it has that roughspun, tweedy look, it is actually quite soft and lofty. I think that this will end up being a very warm and durable scarf because of the unique yarn blend.  I think a sweater in this stuff would be amazing.

I also found that a little of this yarn goes a surprisingly long way. I used about 3.5 skeins to yield a scarf that is 9″ x 64″.

Further notes are on my Ravelry project page.

Vintage Hunting Mitts – A Fun Challenge

While visiting my family over the holidays, my dad passed along a special request: a new pair of liners for my grandfather’s favorite antique hunting mitts.

The mitts have a thick leather outer cover lined with a removable wool liner. My grandfather had these mitts for many years, and their origin is unknown.  The leather exteriors (not in my possession) survived well, but as you can see below, the decades and insects have not been kind to the wool liners.

vintage hunting mitt old 2

Nobody panic—I’ve isolated this sample mitt from all my other wool and kept it carefully quarantined in a zip top bag since I got it. Those moths aren’t coming near my other yarn.

My task now is to deduce a pattern for these and recreate them.  I’m just getting started, but I thought you readers might like to follow along as I work on these in the next few weeks.

So far, I’ve only taken the first steps. I started with the yarn. The gauge is about 7.5 stitches per inch, so I looked for a sturdy wool in fingering weight. The original mitts are a slightly tweedy olive green. Before settling on my final choice, I eliminated Brooklyn Tweed Loft (seemingly too fragile, expensive) , Jamison’s Shetland Tweed (texture seemed too thin, difficult to acquire where I live), and Cascade 220 Fingering (believe it or not, I couldn’t find a color that seemed right).  In the end, I ordered this fabulous cone of Harrisville Shetland.

brown tweed yarn

It seems to have all the characteristics I am looking for. Plus, I love that it was made at one of the oldest remaining mills in America. Maybe this mill even made the yarn that comprised my grandfather’s original mitts.

Next step: swatching!

Major Accomplishment

Although I wasn’t blogging much in 2012, I was doing quite a bit of knitting. One of the most satisfying pieces I worked on was a huge lace shawl.

pnw shawl back

Some of you may recognize this classic pattern as Evelyn Clark’s Pacific Northwest Shawl. I worked this as part of a special swap with a Raveler in Nevada who really wanted this shawl. In exchange, I’m receiving a stunning woven triangle shawl that she made. I don’t weave, and I loved knitting this lace shawl, so I can’t help thinking I got the better end of this deal.

pnw shawl front closeup

My Pacific Northwest Shawl used the yarn called for by the pattern: Jaggerspun Zephry Wool-Silk 2/18. This yarn was new to me, but it is a new favorite. It is beautiful and soft, but also quite sturdy (thanks to the silk?) and surprisingly affordable. It comes in many great colors and can be found on cones or wound off in cakes depending on where you buy it. If I didn’t have several lifetimes of stash to knit through, I would be stocking up on this stuff.

pnw shawl back closeup

What makes the Pacific Northwest Shawl famous is its graphic lace patterns. In the above photo you can see some of the adorable fish, bubbles, waves, and pine trees that make up this shawl.

This project was a pleasure to work, though I must warn that the edging is requires fortitude. If you knit this shawl, don’t let yourself get too excited when you finish the body patterns…much work is still ahead.

More project notes are on Ravelry

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Welcome! I'm Sara. I knit, spin, sew, and blog in Durham, North Carolina. More About Me »