7 Sweaters I’d love to knit: Fall 2014

The last garter stitch rows (nearly 600 stitches each) of my Traveling Thorn are nearly over… thank goodness! It’s given me plenty of time to consider which sweaters I’d like to cast on next. How fast can I knit? So here’s my list of
7 Great Sweaters to Knit

Alanna Nelson knits sweaters from Rowan patterns

Hell’s Kitchen by Josh Bennett

My daughter has a fabulous friend for whom I am very grateful. He’s truly knit worthy. I think he’d look great in Josh Bennet’s Hell’s Kitchen.

If I knit it in Rowan Revive, which is a recycled cotton and silk yarn, it would be ready for next spring without problem. Not sure of which color way I’d choose, although he’d look great in the same colors as the photo.

Alanna Nelson knits Joji Locatelli patterns

Window to my soul by Joji Locatelli

Don’t ask me how I came across this fingering weight short sleeve cardi designed by Joji Locatelli. Window to my soul works from the top down and combines some fun smocking stitch with brainless stockinette. It could transition from a concentration sweater to traveling project without much issue. I’ll knit this along with Doreen, using Prism Saki. Can’t wait to start swatching this!

Alanna Nelson steeks knit Icelandic sweaters

Ragga Eiríksdóttir’s Iðunn

Ever since I heard Ragga Eiríksdóttir speak at the Slater Mill Knitter’s Guild, I’ve wanted to steek this lovely pattern. Unlike many knitters, I’m not afraid to cut my knitting. Isn’t that one of the wonderful things about knitting? If there’s a mistake, you just rip it out and start over. The stitches don’t disintegrate just by cutting them. It’s OK, really.

Once I learned that I could get Icelandic yarn grown in Massachusetts, the project somehow morphed into something somewhat unattainable. I could just cast on in worsted weight yarn, but….

Lace cardigans knit by Alanna Nelson

Meryl Streep Chevron Lace Cardi by Ann Weaver

Fiber is like Fritos… there always will be more. This mantra has often helped me resist unfocused stash building. However, it didn’t work when some Rowan Soft Lux shimmered in a close out bin nearly 7 years ago. Finally I’ve found a pattern with appropriate yardage and style. Ann Weaver creates a lot of beautiful knitwear patterns and the Meryl Streep Chevron Lace Cardi is no exception. Time to bust that yarn out of the stash.

Alanna Nelson finds Vermont Spinnery yarns for the Redfern Cardigan

Redfern Cardigan by Ramona Gaynor

When the Autumn 2014 copy of Interweave Knits arrived at Sit and Knit, I snatched it up immediately for the cover design. Marvelous, cozy, casual and so textured. And that yarn! Once I learned that it was Malabrigo Rios, two skeins alternating, I said, oh maybe not. But what about in Vermont Spinnery’s Weekend Wool? I could drive over Thanksgiving weekend for the Putney Craft Tour.

Alanna Nelson knits cable sweater

Norah Gaughn Lempster pullover

Sage Yarns in Falmouth is hosting Norah Gaughan in December, 2014. One of the classes she’ll teach is starting the Lempster sweater. OOO, I have not seen this yet. Another worsted weight sweater, I know. There’s not even any yarn in the stash for this. But wouldn’t it make a nice knit along?

Alanna Nelson nature inspired knits

Helene Rush Greenery from Twist Collective

Is it the photography? Is it the mitered squares and use of color? Is it because I love being on the water?

All I know is that I’d love to knit Greenery by Hélène Rush. The Twist Collective always has the best photography. I have some fab Martha’s Vineyard fiber farm yarns (yes, back from the days when the farm was in Massachusetts!) that would be fabulous for this sweater… except they are worsted weight yarns and the pattern calls for sport weight. I’ll mull this over while knitting the other sweaters, right?

So it looks like I’ll be knitting a lot this winter! In between commission work and corrections on my Master Knitter portfolio, I’d better hope for a lot of snow days!

Push up bobbles

Early in the winter, I deviated to  Webs.  I was not being devious, nor deviant, really.  A friend had mentioned that Rowan’s recently discontinued yarn, “Calmer” was on sale at the Northampton, MA yarn mecca. Staying focused, I crossed that entire store of temptation, quickly identifying the proper warehouse aisle. My favorite colors are rarely the first choice of other knitters, so the leftovers were still very tempting (why doesn’t it ever work like that for shoes?). I chose a bag of kelly green and six skeins of light apple green and managed to escape without falling into a tactile abyss.  Then it was back to my normally scheduled road trip. See?  I can resist!

Of course, this yarn did not knit up for me in the gauge suggested on the ball band.  After trawling Ravelry, I saw that several people used this yarn to make Marnie MacLean‘s Lily sweater from the Twist Collective. Oh, yes, this I could wear.  So I immediately downloaded the pattern and started swatching, despite the fact that I wasn’t quite sure how they managed to get the gauge listed with Calmer.

Fortunately, Twist patterns come in a large range of sizes.  After practicing the bobble and lace panel along the sides, I realized that my gauge was completely different.  I would need to rewrite the pattern.  A bit of math and I found I could basically use the instructions for the 2XL instead of the size medium.  I just needed to pay attention to the waistline increases and decreases.  And off, I went, casting on this sweater in the round from the bottom edge.

My original swatch piece brought two other issues to the forefront:

  • Pay attention to the pattern!  The bobbles travel in a V shape, not parallel lines
  • Make those bobbles pop!

Paying attention to the pattern is easier said than done.  We all make mistakes.  swatching a knitwear project
Looking at the swatch, you can also notice that the first few bobbles aren’t nearly as distinct as the last ones. I took a cue from one of the many tips Annie Modesitt shared with people on the Tactile Travel tour in 2010.  She has her own method of creating defined bobbles.  I just used one part of her toolbox.

This bobble is created by knitting, purling, knitting, purling, knitting in one stitch.  The second, third, fourth and fifth stitches are passed over the first, creating a little ball.  The instructions then sent you on your merry way.  I, however, moved the yarn to the front of the work and slipped the new bobble back onto the left hand needle.

Push up bobble

I then wrapped the yarn underneath the bobble and snugly pulled the yarn to the back of the work. Then I slipped the bobble stitch back to the right hand needle and continued in pattern.

It looks pretty good, but I’m always open to new techniques… anyone else have a way to make bobbles “POP!”?