Baby Sophisticate Sweater

Baby Sophisticate Sweater

I really enjoyed knitting this sweater for Sprout a few months ago. I finished it in a week, which is fast for me even for a small item like a baby knit. It was my first time using Mission Falls 1824 Wool and I loved it. It reminded me a bit of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino, but sturdier. If you are looking for a quick, gender-neutral baby sweater pattern, I highly recommend this one!

Yarn: Mission Falls 1824 Wool, 3 skeins, #003 Oyster
Pattern: Baby Sophisticate (newborn size)
Needles: US # 9 / 26″ (Magic Loop for sleeves)

Baby Sophisticate Sweater

Baby Sophisticate Sweater


The Hoodless Central Park Hoodie

In March 2008, I completed my Central Park Hoodie. It took quite awhile — about six months — and the finishing was extremely daunting to me. Two years after completion, though, I would say that the effort definitely paid off. The CPH is one of my favorite sweaters. I love the color, it is super warm, and the wool feels comfortable against my skin.

There are two things I would change:
(1) The hood. I would wear the CPH more if it didn’t have a hood. I don’t use it at all, and it creates an uncomfortable lump when I wear a coat over it.
(2) The size. I knit the 36″, which is clearly too large. There is excess sweater flapping around in the back.

So I decided to another another CPH this year. Meet the smaller, hoodless version.

The Hoodless Central Park Hoodie

The Hoodless Central Park Hoodie

I was tempted to knit this sweater in gray or even another shade of brown because I tend to gravitate toward those colors. But I made myself branch out. Even when I finished the project, I was still second-guessing my color choice. I like grass green a lot; I just don’t wear much of it.

The Hoodless Central Park Hoodie

From beginning to end, this sweater took me seven weeks. Not a record by any stretch of the imagination, but very good for someone who usually drags these things out! What probably helped is that I didn’t have much of anything else on the needles so I tried to be monogamous. The seaming didn’t feel nearly as brutal this time around. It still took me a few hours, but it went smoothly.

The Hoodless Central Park Hoodie

Overall, I really like the style and fit of this hoodless version! We’ll see what I think after another couple of years.

Yarn: Cascade 220 in Color 9430 (Highland Green), a little over 4 skeins
Pattern: from Fall 2006 KnitScene
Size: 32″
Needles: US #7 and #9
Modifications:
: Lengthened the body by half an inch
: Followed normaknits’ guidelines (Rav link) for the hoodless version.
–After seaming the shoulders, use the smaller needles to pick up the same number of stitches you would have picked up for the hood. I picked up the stitches with the wrong side facing me so that the ridge would be on the inside of the sweater.
–The next row is *p2, k2, repeat from * to last two stitches, p2. Continue to knit the 2×2 ribbing as established until you reach the desired length of the collar. I knit for about 3.75″; I think 4″ would be even better. BO all stitches.
–With the right side facing you, pick up stitches for the button band starting from the bottom front and continuing all the way up through the end of the collar. I picked up 126 stitches on each side. I can’t remember now how I came up with that number, but it worked okay for me. You want to pick a number that is a multiple of 4 + 2 so that you can do the same 2×2 ribbing as for the collar. The next row is *p2, k2, repeat from * to last two stitches, p2. I knit the button bands until they reached 2″. BO all stitches. Repeat for second button band.


Rusted Root

I started my Rusted Root sweater five months ago, but it never made an appearance here previously because I hemmed and hawed so much about ripping it. Since I bought the yarn specifically for this project and couldn’t think of anything else to do with it, I forced myself to keep going. I worked on it only in little bits until last month, when I finally stepped up the pace because I wanted to finish it by my self-imposed deadline — our Hawaii trip at the end of August. I thought it would be neat to have a new top to wear on vacation. Plus my friend Cheri planted the idea of doing the photo shoot for it on a beach.

Well, my Rusted Root came off the blocking board two days before we left and I did bring it all the way to Oahu, but sadly no beach photo shoot occurred because I didn’t bring an appropriate layering shirt to wear underneath! But perhaps this was a good thing because it was way too hot to be walking around outdoors in a sweater.

Rusted Root

Rusted Root

Rusted Root

Pattern: Rusted Root, size small
Yarn: Mirasol Cotanani, colorway 409, 7 skeins
Needles: US #4/ in 16″, 24″, and 40″ (to knit sleeves via Magic Loop); US #6 in 16″ and 24″
Modifications: I followed many of the changes made by parikha (Ravelry link).
-Started the neckline with a tubular cast-on using US #4/16” needles. I knit 3 rounds of k1p1 ribbing,then switched to US #6/16” needles. Then I started the pattern with the beginning round (the one with dividing sections by placing markers).
-On Round 12, I switched to US #6/24” needles.
-I knit one extra decrease round in the shaping section.
-At the hem and the sleeves , I knit k1p1 ribbing and used the k1p1 bind off.
Thoughts: This is a clear, well-written pattern with a simple lace panel that kept the knitting from being too dull. I would highly recommend using the tubular cast-on at the neckline if you dislike picking up stitches. If I could go back and make changes, I would a couple of extra decreases at the waist and lengthen the sleeves a bit. This was my first time knitting with Mirasol Cotanani and I loved it. Normally I am not a fan of knitting with cotton/cotton blends, but the Cotanani knits up really well and feels wonderful against my skin. All in all, I was happily surprised to discover that I love this sweater!


My Central Park Hoodie

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I don’t have a great track record when it comes to sweater knitting. I finished a total of three sweaters prior to the Central Park Hoodie — Klaralund (worn only once), Kepler (never even worn), and Frieda (worn exactly twice). I wasn’t happy with their fit so they remained hidden in my closet. A couple of months ago I finally donated them to the Goodwill. I know many knitters would unravel the sweaters and re-purpose the yarn for some other project, but I just wasn’t interested in taking apart completely finished garments. I hope those sweaters are now in good homes elsewhere.

The road to completing my Central Park Hoodie felt like a long one because I started it six months ago. The actual knitting of the sweater was quite easy; the pattern is well-written and uncomplicated. For awhile I struggled to get off sleeve island, but in hindsight that wasn’t even the hard part. The challenge for me was the finishing.

I was a bit alarmed when the pieces came off the blocking board because they looked very big. I had read in multiple places that this sweater runs snug, so instead of knitting size 32 I went with the 36. I prefer my sweaters a little looser anyway as I tend to wear a shirt or turtleneck underneath. But when Hubby remarked that the pieces looked like they could fit him tightly (he’s 5’10″!), you can imagine why I got concerned.

Next, I severely underestimated how long it would take me to knit the hood, knit the ribbed border (which involved picking up a total of 300 stitches!), and do all the seaming. I am absolutely terrible at seaming, and while struggling through it I actually considered frogging the. entire. sweater. Because I was convinced that it would turn out horribly and wouldn’t fit me anyway, so why bother? But that seemed like giving up without a fight right before the finish line, so I pushed on.

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I spent at least half an hour at Joanns trying to find the right buttons but I still couldn’t make a decision. I came home with five sets (with the intent of returning four ) so I could get a second opinion from Hubby. I ended up using these 3/4″ buttons and I like them a lot.

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There are many imperfections in my CPH. The buttonholes look appalling (they were my first ones and clearly I should have read up on techniques beforehand), some of the seams could be straighter, the hood is wonky, and the sleeves are too long (don’t know why I didn’t think about that when knitting them). I’m not necessarily showcasing all of these problems, but trust me, they’re there. And I probably should have knit the smallest size. But. When the sweater came off the board after its final blocking, my doubts started to fade away. My Central Park Hoodie is actually wearable despite its flaws and I am so excited about that!

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Yarn: Cascade 220 in Color 8013 (Walnut Heather), a little over 5 skeins
Pattern: from Fall 2006 KnitScene
Needles: US #7 and #9 to obtain gauge
Modifications: Lengthened the body by half an inch


Struggling with the Sleeves

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I feel like I’m on sleeve island with the Central Park Hoodie. I finished the first sleeve over two weeks ago and immediately cast on for the second one (seen above), but I’m still only about 40% through. Part of the problem is that I got distracted by a couple of other projects. I knit another pair of Irish Hiking Wrist Warmers for a friend, and then another Noro Hat (Ravelry link) for my supervisor because she really liked mine. And I keep wanting to start new projects — like the Linen Stitch Scarflet, Foliage, and Mabel’s Scarf, just to name a few. Originally I was trying to get Central Park Hoodie and the Chevron Scarf off the needles before casting on for anything new, but I’m just tired of my current projects and am pretty much ready to be done with them.  Instead of being fun, I feel like I’m slogging through them.  But I have to fight this startitis in order to make any progress!  Ugh…definitely not one of my best knitting moments right now…


Sweaters!

It’s been quite awhile since I attempted to knit a sweater. The last two I finished were in late 2005 and early 2006, and in my book they were not very successful projects. One didn’t fit well because I was simply careless about gauge, and I’ve never even worn it out. The other seemed okay at the time, but I didn’t wear it at all last year because the yarn felt too itchy around my neck and the sweater seemed to have “shrunk” from its post-blocking size, making the length too short for my taste.  For both projects, I struggled greatly with sewing in the sleeves.  After those experiences, I felt like I needed a time-out from sweaters (and sweater seaming in particular). 

I guess the break was long enough, because when my knitting mojo returned recently, I was totally interested in sweaters.  Go figure, huh? The first one I cast on for last month was Wicked by Zephyr Style.  I was inspired after seeing Jillian’s gorgeous version earlier in the year. And there is no seaming because it’s knit in the round from the top down! I managed to score the Artyarns Supermerino at a super duper price through someone’s destashing, which is always a plus!

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I took the above photo a couple weeks ago, and admittedly Wicked still looks exactly the same because I’ve been consumed with the other sweater on the needles.

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Yup, it’s the Central Park Hoodie from the Fall 2006 KnitScene. I have got to be at least a year behind the crowd on this one. I am using Cascade 220, and I chose the color after seeing two gorgeous ones here and here. I am knitting the pieces separately as written in the pattern, and my goal is to take a seaming class to learn how to do it properly. We’ll see how that goes.  I have actually finished the back and am working on the left front, but I still have a looooong way to go.  So it will probably be awhile before I have another FO to show!


Finally Finished Frieda!

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Pattern: Frieda from Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk
Yarn: Jaeger Shetland Aran in color Fuchsia (033). This yarn knits up nicely and shows cable definition well. However, it is a bit itchy and it bleeds like crazy. I got it for a good deal on eBay, though, so I’m not complaining.
Modifications: I followed Cyndi’s sleeve modifications and knit two fewer sleeve increases. I knit the turtleneck to 7″ instead of 9.5″.

I started this sweater on November 1, and wasn’t sure that I would ever finish it. It took me a week to knit the 7 inches of turtleneck because I couldn’t motivate myself to knit the ribbing. Seaming was spread out over the course of several nights. Cyndi gave me some really helpful tips on easing in the sleeves, but I still encountered problems. One night I spent a full 3 hours sewing and re-sewing the sleeves into the armholes because I kept getting this weird bunching. Finally I gave up and decided to block the armhole seams before seaming the sides and the sleeves. Blocking helped quite a bit, but I can see remnants of bunching.

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The sleeves are also too loose on me, particularly on the upper arm. I knew this going in, but I didn’t know how to make further modifications to decrease the width. I didn’t want to cut the number of sleeve increases too drastically because then the sleeve might not have fit into the armhole at all.

Despite the imperfections, I am very pleased with this sweater. I wore it out today, and I like it a lot more than the other two sweaters I’ve knit. I’m so glad I finished!


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