Hello & Happy New Year Internet Friends!
Hope you’ve all had super relaxing and craft filled holiday season :D
Today I’m sharing my last selfish knitting project that I finished in 2018 (so much Christmas knitting this year!) I finished this back in November and it’s been a cheerful and warm companion through the dark and rainy Vancouver winter. The pattern is Wool and Honey by the oh so talented Andrea Mowry and the wool is from my knit city haul, Sweet Fiber’s Spiced pumpkin on her Super Sweet Sock base.
Now, those in the know, know that Sweet Fiber has her largest stock of yarn out for the ravenous hoards of knitters at knit city. And while you may think us knitters a ‘grandmotherly’ bunch you would be very much surprised at ferocity of knitters when the get the sent of fresh wool as they enter the doors of this yearly yarn festival. As such, Sweet Fiber pretty much sells out a ton of her colour ways by about noon on day one of the event. But I was prepared this year! I went with a list of all the projects I wanted to buy yarn for complete with the yardage needed so that I could quickly scoop up exactly what I wanted. On the very top of the list was enough fingering weight wool to knit a wool and honey sweater with a little note to check out Sweet Fiber first as I had been creeping on her Instagram and I knew that I would probably find a winner at her booth.
You guys when I saw the spiced pumpkin colourway at knit city I was so in love! I may have drooled a bit because the colour reminds me of that ‘sea foam candy’, you know the one that’s all kind of bubbly but hard but is super sweet? This colour way is exactly like that candy, it has a ton of caramel undertones combined with bright yellow and orange highlights throughout, it’s a very subtle variegation so it works really well with the honeycomb motif of this sweater as well as the garter stitch portion of the sweater. I’m really REALLY pleased with how the finished honeycomb motif work worked out! I love how the honey combs appear to have a random elongation along the pattern, where, by the end, you only end up with a few spots with a honeycomb in the middle of the sweater, and that the pattern placement is off centre which adds to this randomness. But when you actually look at the pattern charts you see that the motif is a fully repeating pattern, Andrea just cleverly shifted the starting point of the motif so that everything was just ‘a little’ off centre so that it appears more ‘random’.
It’s really fun to make the honeycombs in this pattern as well! You make triple or even quadruple yarn overs that you later only knit one stitch through a few rows later to stretch out the yarn over. It’s a really simple technique that gives amazing results! The only thing that wasn’t fun about knitting the motif section was the fact that I ended up knitting it twice………
To understand why I ended up knitting it twice you’ll have to take a quick look at the ‘seam’ in the centre back above photo. This seam forms because of the way that knitting in the round works, you are essentially knitting in a spiral making a large coil. Normally, if you are knitting in stockinette for example, you don’t notice that you are knitting in a spiral because the stitches to the left and right of the beginning of the coil are the same. But with garter stitch knit in the round you alternate between purl and knit rows which means at the beginning of the round you end up with a knit stitch on one side of the coil and a purl on the other which breaks up the continuity of the garter stitch and results in a visible seam. There is a work around to knitting garter stitch in the round where you knit a row and then instead of purling the next row you attach a second ball of yarn, flip your work and knit backwards (since you are the wrong side the work now you would be knitting instead of purling). Fleegle’s blog gives a full explanation of how this technique works and shows you step by step how to achieve it. So after realizing that I would end up with a seam in the back of my sweater I decided to try it out.
As you can see by the above photo on the right it didn’t work out too well. It’s really difficult to get the yarn tension to play nicely over the first 4 stitches of each row. This combined with the looseness of the multiple yarn overs really made a mess of things and instead of a simple single stitch seam I ended up with basically a 8 stitch position in the centre back of the sweater that just looked off. I contemplated finishing and then blocking to see if that would help but I didn’t want to risk blocking not helping….so rip rip rip back when the stitches and I knit the honeycomb a second time (:
Once I had re knit the honey comb portion the rest of the sweater was smooth sailing! I knit the size small and took about 1” off the total length of the sweater to keep it at a ‘cropped’ length on my short torso. I think if I were to knit it again I may add an extra 1/2” back to the length, I find I have to wear a tank top underneath to keep by lower back from showing when I sit down even when wearing my mid rise ginger jeans (more about those in a moment!). Since I don’t want the tank top to show under the sweater I end up tucking it into my jeans which would be fine but all the tank tops I have are extra long for some reason, so I end up having to fold them before pulling my pants on which leaves this weird ‘roll’ in just under the waist band of my jeans which bugs the hell out me! So i think I’ll have to get up a tank top making session in the future!
On to my jeans! Another set of mid rise ginger jeans! I think this is my 3rd? pair. I’ve been finding that I really like the mid rise length and I’ve been avoiding the low rise ones that I had previously made unless all of my mid rise ones are in the wash. I don’t think is is necessarily a bad thing, preferences change over time, but it does give me the opportunity to MAKE MORE JEANS! :D I wore this pair of gingers to a fundamentals of fitting class that blackbird fabrics had offered in November, and took the opportunity to ask the instructor about the fit around my calves. You can see in some of the pictures (especially the one above) that the outside seam of the jeans around my calves becomes a visible white line, this is from the seam being overly stretched around my calf. I’ve already heavily modified the back leg of the pattern to accommodate my ‘strong’ calves (the pattern piece looks hilarious! I’ll snap a pick and post it with my next set of jeans!) so I wasn’t sure what else I could do to help the situation. The lovely instructor basically took one look and suggested that the seam line wasn’t ‘dividing my leg in half’ meaning that there was still some unbalancing going on. Furthermore the seam was coming too far forward suggesting that I have over modified the back leg pattern and that I needed to balance things out on the front leg piece. I’ll be trying out a few modifications on my next pair of ginger jeans and post about it soon! stay tuned!
Just to wrap things up on these jeans, I used Blackbird Fabric’s Dark indigo 10z stretch jean (I really love the weight of the 10oz, the extra weight makes the jeans feel really high end!). I topstitched with grey jeans topstitching thread but then made all of my bar tacks with red jeans top stitching thread, including some stylistic double bar tacks on the back pockets! I’ve gotten so many complements on these jeans since these little touches make them look RTW instead of hand made :), saying your makes look RTW is pretty much the biggest complement you can receive as a home garment sewist!
Well That’s all for this blog post! Hope that the new year is treating you all well! :D