baby hydrangea sweater












I bought this yarn on a lark and knit this sweater on a lark.  I really just wanted to try out the yarn, Malabrigo Arroyo, a new to me yarn, which felt fantastic in the skein.  I rarely buy variegated yarn, and am pretty good about not buying yarn without a specific project in mind.  But you know how you just sometimes walk out of the yarn store with a faint sense that you have no idea why you made a purchase?  I took it home and thought, wait, it's variegated, I'm not a fan, what's up?  And what on earth can I do with a single skein? (Baby sweater always seems to rescue the single skein and I love love love knitting teeny baby sweaters anyway.)

It was only after I cast on that I realized why I was so drawn to this: for the last month I have been drying hydrangeas, heaps and heaps, and the melange of colors must have spoken to me.  So very hydrangea-ish and purty.

Arroyo is one of those big-sigh yarns.  It's so lovely to knit; so soft and well behaved.  Each stitch will bounce into place properly and practically salute you, so eager it is to do the right thing.  The stitches are very even, and if you have a problem achieving even tension in stockinette, I don't think you will have a problem with this, it takes care of all that on it's own.  I doubt it's needle fussy, but it loved my Caspians.  The skein is 335 yards, just enough to knit a 3-6 mos. size baby sweater.  The yarn is machine washable in cold, but must pat flat and let dry in the shade.  I broke my own rule as I really prefer baby knits to be machine washable AND dryable, but, oh well, rules, sometimes they are annoying and need to be ignored.  

If you hate DPNs as much as I do, here's a tip:  I knit this little sweater top down and in the round.  When I get to the separation of the sleeves, I put the sleeve stitches on a stitch holder until the body is done.  When I go back to the sleeves, I cast on one stitch at each end, knit them back and forth flat, then use those extra two cast on stitches for seaming.  This avoids the dreaded DPNs!  Also, this is the fastest little sweater to make, great to knit stripey with extra bits of yarn languishing in your stash.  Find out how to do that here.  Would you believe me if I told you I knit this in one night?  True.  No, thinking back it must have been two nights.

Edited 9/22:  My friend Cindi said her experience with Malabrigo is that it pills like crazy.  Agree, that's an understatement for Malabrigo Worsted.  Everyone raves about that stuff because it's so soft, and while it is, before I was even done with my garment it looked ratty and worn, worse than pilling.  I was hoping that since Arroyo was superwash it would not have that problem.  I'll ask the mother to get back to me (if she can remember!).  If any reader has used this yarn I'd love to hear from you. xo

My links

Malabrigo Arroyo at Webs and Jimmy Beans



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Kaffe KAL

Finally, the average knitter can make a Kaffe design!  Rowan has just announced a new afghan (or cushion option) knit along in an easy design that takes advantage of Kaffe Fassett's unfailing color instinct.  Seriously, is there anyone else like him? There are 4 colorways: red, turquoise, pastel and brown.  When I was at the Rowan mill in June I saw all four knitted up and it was hard to choose a favorite. All four are stunning examples of Kaffe's extraordinary explosive color sense. If you are a teensy bit apprehensive, no worries, as no special knitting skills are required.  This KAL is for ALL knitting levels, pinky swear.  Really, it's all about celebrating COLOR!  The KAL will commence Oct. 1 and will continue through January.  You will receive a clue every week and a half and will be knitting squares that will be joined together at the end of the KAL.   Below are the four colorways.  Join me, I'm going with a brown cushion, or maybe the red.  Which colorway is your favorite?  To get started, all the pertinent links are at the end of the post.







Kaffe PWW Mystery KAL Links:

Download the shopping list (4 languages, 4 colorways, print out only the pages you need!)
Become a member of the Rowan club, it's free and gives access to free patterns and more.
Follow the Rowan FB page for updates
Kate Buller interviews Kaffe Fassett about the KAL  
Many knitting stores are kitting the color ways up.  My lys, Uncommon Threads is doing just that.
You can also purchase the yarn online; here are some stores I recommend
with links that take you directly to their Pure Wool Worsted:

Webs
Jimmy Beans
Churchmouse
Black Sheep
John Lewis
Love Knitting
Deramores
Jannettes

Please note that many of these online stores ship internationally.
If yes, there will be a button to click that changes to your currency.  


From Rowan:

Here at the mill, our fingers are twitching in anticipation for the launch of our second global knit-a-long; this time celebrating colour with Kaffe Fassett! With only a few weeks left until we release the first of the patterns, we’re now able to share with you a few more details about the project.  You already know that we’ll be knitting with the glorious Pure Wool Worsted. Made from 100% wool, this superwash yarn is available in 56 – yes 56! – colours, meaning that we’re thoroughly spoilt for choice. Kaffe Fassett has designed the Afghan using a selection of these colours in four different varietions; brown, pastel, red and turquoise. With these four fabulous colour ways, you can create a stunning, yet personalised, piece, which, with the yarn’s easy care properties, could form an heirloom to enjoy now and in future years.
 
The first square pattern will be released week commencing 1st October 2014 and the last will be December 19.  Each stage, we’ll release instructions for one of the squares that Kaffe has designed. A completed Afghan requires each square to be knitted 7 times, giving a total of 63 squares. The finished size of the afghan will be approx. 133cm wide x 171cm long (52in x 67in), the cushion finish size is 57cm x 57cm (22in x 22in) and the bolster pillow finish size will be 114cm x 57cm (45in x 22in).


In week nine, we’ll provide the two final sets of instructions needed for making-up the blanket, to complete a truly beautiful Afghan.  Beginner knitter? Not a problem, Sarah Hatton has created some online tutorial videos to support you.


The patterns will be released by stage on threads in the Rowan Yarns forum, but can be found grouped together on Knitrowan.com  Share your progress - you’ll be able to ask for help and advice, share your comments, and photos via this Rowan Yarns Forum, on a dedicated Ravelry pattern page, and also on our Rowan Yarns Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rowan-Yarns/114826272423?f...;). If the pace of knitting is a little overwhelming for some, we have also created a smaller cushion design. Watch out for a competition at the end of the Knit-along too!


Dates to remember - mark week commencing 1st October in your diaries for the first pattern. We look forward to hearing from you and sharing in this, an exclusive journey into the world of colour with Kaffe Fassett.


the winner is:

Howdy!  Before I pick the winner for the Denim, The Next Generation by Martin Storey I wanted to share with you an edit I made on my last post about the V neck sweater that I machine-sewed up to make smaller.  Here 'tis:  9/8: Edited to add a bit more info about how I machine-sew a sweater seam:  First step is to pin it and try it on.  Next step is to machine baste and try on again.  If it's right, sew it again with a zig-zag stitch, I usually do this twice.  Then I cut right next to the zig zag to get rid of the extra sweater fabric to remove bulk.  I then pick a bit at the seam to clean up the loose yarn bits and lastly zig zag the rough edge to clean it up a bit and keep it from shedding more.  This technique has never failed me.  Good luck!

Okie dokie, now for the winner:  Jozeee (Rav ID) from Alberta, Canada; congrats doll, you have won!  I've PM'ed you and as soon as I hear back from you I'll send it right out.  I have a lot of Canadian readers and I want to say thank you for reading.  In a few weeks I'll be visiting Montreal and Quebec City for the first time and I'm really excited!

Thank you all for entering.  I love giveaways and will be thinking about another one soon.  I have something in mind....something that I love and couldn't live without...I'll be back later with that.



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9/8: Edited to add a bit more info about how I machine sew a sweater seam:  First step is to pin it and try it on.  Next step is to machine baste and try on again.  If it's right, sew it again with a zig-zag stitch, I usually do this twice.  Then I cut right next to the zig zag to get rid of the extra sweater fabric to remove bulk.  I then pick a bit at the seam to clean up the loose yarn bits and lastly zig zag the rough edge to clean it up a bit and keep it from shedding more.  This technique has never failed me.  Good luck! - See more at: http://knitionary.blogspot.com/2014/09/the-sweater-with-o-henry-ending.html#sthash.3BkprnT4.dpuf
9/8: Edited to add a bit more info about how I machine sew a sweater seam:  First step is to pin it and try it on.  Next step is to machine baste and try on again.  If it's right, sew it again with a zig-zag stitch, I usually do this twice.  Then I cut right next to the zig zag to get rid of the extra sweater fabric to remove bulk.  I then pick a bit at the seam to clean up the loose yarn bits and lastly zig zag the rough edge to clean it up a bit and keep it from shedding more.  This technique has never failed me.  Good luck!
- See more at: http://knitionary.blogspot.com/#sthash.OYhyIoud.dpuf
9/8: Edited to add a bit more info about how I machine sew a sweater seam:  First step is to pin it and try it on.  Next step is to machine baste and try on again.  If it's right, sew it again with a zig-zag stitch, I usually do this twice.  Then I cut right next to the zig zag to get rid of the extra sweater fabric to remove bulk.  I then pick a bit at the seam to clean up the loose yarn bits and lastly zig zag the rough edge to clean it up a bit and keep it from shedding more.  This technique has never failed me.  Good luck!
- See more at: http://knitionary.blogspot.com/#sthash.OYhyIoud.dpuf

the sweater with the O. Henry ending






I call this my sweater with the O. Henry ending because I made it to turn out one way, it came out another way, and I ended up loving it best anyway!  Oh, knitting!   (Yep, here I am with another bathroom selfie in the same hotel room as before.  I was really on a roll that weekend!)

This is Brooke from the Simple Shapes Panama book by Sarah Hatton, knit in Rowan Panama.  Panama was new to me even though it's been out a year.  This yarn does all the work; you really don't need to rely on creating texture with complicated stitches, even stockinette has a lot of interest.  The yarn is a thick and thin type that creates an oatmeal-like texture that is unusual for fingering weight yarn.  It totally works, and if you're are a tiny needle fan and love fingering weight, this is a terrific yarn to try.  Also, if you are concerned about uneven tension in your stockinette, this yarn eliminates that problem. Panama is a blend of viscose, linen and cotton and comes in beautiful clear pastels and brights.  It is hand wash and dry flat, but I have washed it a few times and do put it in the dryer for 5 minutes for a fluff up after it has mostly dried in the shade.  The fabric is beautiful to wear, it just floats across the skin and is very cool and breathable.

As for knitting, it's easy, but is not for touch knitting.  I took it to the movies and when I came out I realized I had dropped a lot of stitches while knitting 2 hours in the dark.  Because of the thick and thin aspect you need to look at it occasionally, even if you're knitting stockinette, so you've been warned. While it's half linen and cotton, which can raise a red flag, it's very easy on the hands, no tired hands at all.  I used wood needles with some stick, the viscose made it want to slip on my fast needles, but with the right needle it is a very easy glide.

I altered the pattern to make it much smaller than the smallest size as I wanted it to be more fitted. When it was finished I tried it on and it was larger than I wanted.  No problem, I took it to the sewing machine and sewed up both sides by stitching it in about an inch at each side, starting at the arm cuff, then up the arm and right down the side to the hem.  Perhaps that sounds bizarre, but I've done that before and it works.  It fit!  I wore it that night and it relaxed which is common with yarn that contains viscose.  The next time I wore it I belted it and bloused it and ended up loving it blousey and changed my mind about it needing to be fitted after all.  When I wash it, it goes back to being fitted, and I wear it fitted for a time or two.  After a time it relaxes and I wear it blousey for a time or two, then it seems like it needs a wash and I go though it again.  While this works for this sweater, knowing that I would recommend this yarn for a pattern that requires drape.  

9/8: Edited to add a bit more info about how I machine sew a sweater seam:  First step is to pin it and try it on.  Next step is to machine baste and try on again.  If it's right, sew it again with a zig-zag stitch, I usually do this twice.  Then I cut right next to the zig zag to get rid of the extra sweater fabric to remove bulk.  I then pick a bit at the seam to clean up the loose yarn bits and lastly zig zag the rough edge to clean it up a bit and keep it from shedding more.  This technique has never failed me.  Good luck!

Simple Shapes Panama by Sarah Hatton
My Ravelry link

There's still time to enter my giveaway, but enter quickly, I'm going to pick a winner tomorrow.


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Bay Sweater and a giveaway






 




Yep, this is me doing something I never thought I'd ever do; post pictures of me taking bathroom selfies.  But only out of desperation and because we were in a hotel room that had decent lighting and a big mirror, I just...did it.  And they didn't turn out too bad really, but I'm still kind of embarrassed about them so I'll just move on and talk about the pattern and the yarn.

The pattern, Bay by Kim Hargreaves is my perfect sweater.  I wear it open mostly, but it looks cute buttoned up too.  I finished it in May so have been wearing it all summer and love it each time I put it on.  The yarn is Rowan Original Denim, a newish yarn for me, but not for many of you I know.  Rowan Denim has been around for years, then went on hiatus for a year or two, and now is in production again.  The original producer from years ago was found to be back in business and was commissioned to create the "Original Denim", thus the name.  I love this stuff but don't want to repeat myself as I first reviewed it when knitting a baby sweater that you can read about here.  I hope you don't mind if I give you my yarn review from that post:

Good news for all you denim lovers out there: Rowan Denim is out of retirement!  It was discontinued for one year, perhaps you heard the wails and moans. After a decade of popularity it took a year long break. Often it's an issue with the mill and doesn't have much to do with it's popularity.  I am a newbie to Rowan Denim yarn and only know it from seeing it on Ravelry so was excited when I was given two skeins to review.  I do admit to letting it languish for a while.  I'm so fussy about cotton yarn.  It must be soft and easy to knit, and sadly this is not true for too many cotton yarns.  Still I was intrigued to finally find out what all the fuss was about and with needles in hand, set about to make another striped baby cardigan.  I could review it and make something at the same time!

Even while casting on for my swatch, I knew the yarn would be very soft in the hand and easy to knit.  The stitches lined up beautifully and was easy to get an even tension.  With my pointy Lace Addis it was surprisingly easy to maneuver stitches into cables and lace.  That was all I needed to know, so I ripped my swatch back and cast on for this baby sweater.  True to it's type, Rowan Denim is meant to fade in the wash over time.  While knitting the navy, your hands will turn blue, don't be alarmed, it washes off with soap and water! The extra dye will come out of the garment with the first wash, and after that it will gently fade over time and give you the look and feel of your much loved pair of 501s back in the day.  Denim will shrink on the first wash so if you are not using a Rowan pattern, you must make allowances for this. Not a big deal, I think just adding some length to the body and sleeves would be it.  Rowan patterns have the shrinkage built into the design.  There are dozens of free patterns designed specifically for this yarn at this link: Rowan Original Denim Online Collection.

Now for the giveaway!  I have a copy of the new book, Denim, the Next Generation by Martin Storey to give away.   Denim The Next Generation is a collection of seven classic, Martin Storey family knits re-worked with a contemporary feel and style. Casual denim shirt styles, Breton stripe guernseys and rugged-look cables feature in this on trend collection for men, women and children.  You can see all the patterns here.

It's easy to enter the giveaway, just be a follower of Knitionary and leave a comment.  Make sure you leave a way for me to contact you, such as your Rav ID or your email address.  For a second chance to win, become a follower of the Knitionary Facebook page and leave a message there, under the giveaway post.  Scroll through to find the post with the selfie Bay Sweater picture and leave a comment under the picture, that will enter you a second time.  I'll leave this open until early next week, and it's open to international readers too.   Good luck!  (And I apologize for having to have capcha on my comments section.  I get way to much spam if I don't.)

Good news for all you denim lovers out there: Rowan Denim is out of retirement!  It was discontinued for one year, perhaps you heard the wails and moans. After a decade of popularity it took a year long break. Often it's an issue with the mill and doesn't have much to do with it's popularity.  I am a newbie to Rowan Denim yarn and only know it from seeing it on Ravelry so was excited when I was given two skeins to review.  I do admit to letting it languish for a while.  I'm so fussy about cotton yarn.  It must be soft and easy to knit, and sadly this is not true for too many cotton yarns.  Still I was intrigued to finally find out what all the fuss was about and with needles in hand, set about to make another striped baby cardigan.  I could review it and make something at the same time!
Even while casting on for my swatch, I knew the yarn would be very soft in the hand and easy to knit.  The stitches lined up beautifully and was easy to get an even tension.  With my pointy Lace Addis it was surprisingly easy to maneuver stitches into cables and lace.  That was all I needed to know, so I ripped my swatch back and cast on for this baby sweater.  True to it's type, Rowan Denim is meant to fade in the wash over time.  While knitting the navy, your hands will turn blue, don't be alarmed, it washes off with soap and water! The extra dye will come out of the garment with the first wash, and after that it will gently fade over time and give you the look and feel of your much loved pair of 501s back in the day.  Denim will shrink on the first wash so if you are not using a Rowan pattern, you must make allowances for this. Not a big deal, I think just adding some length to the body and sleeves would be it.  Rowan patterns have the shrinkage built into the design.  There are dozens of free patterns designed specifically for this yarn at this link: Rowan Original Denim Online Collection.  A new pattern collection including a return of some popular vintage patterns is set to be out in May, just when the summer knitting is getting underway.  
- See more at: http://knitionary.blogspot.com/2014/03/splish-splash.html#sthash.S65P4gaE.dpuf
Good news for all you denim lovers out there: Rowan Denim is out of retirement!  It was discontinued for one year, perhaps you heard the wails and moans. After a decade of popularity it took a year long break. Often it's an issue with the mill and doesn't have much to do with it's popularity.  I am a newbie to Rowan Denim yarn and only know it from seeing it on Ravelry so was excited when I was given two skeins to review.  I do admit to letting it languish for a while.  I'm so fussy about cotton yarn.  It must be soft and easy to knit, and sadly this is not true for too many cotton yarns.  Still I was intrigued to finally find out what all the fuss was about and with needles in hand, set about to make another striped baby cardigan.  I could review it and make something at the same time!
Even while casting on for my swatch, I knew the yarn would be very soft in the hand and easy to knit.  The stitches lined up beautifully and was easy to get an even tension.  With my pointy Lace Addis it was surprisingly easy to maneuver stitches into cables and lace.  That was all I needed to know, so I ripped my swatch back and cast on for this baby sweater.  True to it's type, Rowan Denim is meant to fade in the wash over time.  While knitting the navy, your hands will turn blue, don't be alarmed, it washes off with soap and water! The extra dye will come out of the garment with the first wash, and after that it will gently fade over time and give you the look and feel of your much loved pair of 501s back in the day.  Denim will shrink on the first wash so if you are not using a Rowan pattern, you must make allowances for this. Not a big deal, I think just adding some length to the body and sleeves would be it.  Rowan patterns have the shrinkage built into the design.  There are dozens of free patterns designed specifically for this yarn at this link: Rowan Original Denim Online Collection.  A new pattern collection including a return of some popular vintage patterns is set to be out in May, just when the summer knitting is getting underway.  
- See more at: http://knitionary.blogspot.com/2014/03/splish-splash.html#sthash.S65P4gaE.dpuf


I hope you can find Rowan Original Denim at your lys, but if not, 
here are some online stores that I recommend:



what's for dinner tonight?

Just a quick little post to show you those hydrangeas and how beautifully they've dried and how gorgeous they look with my Portofino dinnerware.  I've got baskets, platters, bags, vases and bowls of hydrangeas, all over the house, all in different stages of drying, and all looking beautiful at every stage.  I need a lot because I have a project coming up at the end of the month and I'll be using every last one.

It's chicken soup tonight, getting together with friends to talk about an upcoming trip we're planning together.  Maine and Quebec, nice, right?  My chicken soup, it's homemade.  I'm that homemaker who saves chicken bones, chicken carcasses (what a word!), bits of unloved vegetables and throw them all in a baggie and store in the freezer.  About once every month or two I take them out, throw them in a pot and cover with water and simmer away.  You just cannot beat homemade chicken stock.  I think this might make me a frugal cook.  And I think that started 41 years ago when my young and very hungry husband came home and ate the entire recipe I'd cooked that said "serves 8".   Crestfallen, I didn't say a word, but really, I worried how could we afford his appetite?  When I roasted my first chicken and he ate the entire bird that night, I was heartbroken.  "Honey, I was planning on having that be our dinner for at least 3 days.  That's what Joy of Cooking says."  Well, I soon learned that would not be the case in my house with my husband and his appetite and if I wanted the little extras in life, I had to be frugal in the kitchen.  I was saving up for important things; there was always something like cute sandals I just had to buy and I remember I really wanted this gorgeous canister set.  Remember those?  Flour, sugar, coffee, tea?  I simply HAD to have a very pretty set I'd seen at a fancy store I would visit at lunch hour.  I'd wander around the store and daydream and always came back to the canisters.  The lady got used to seeing me and let me put them on layaway; what I could save with my grocery budget I could pay it off and finally bring them home!  They were so delicate in white fluted porcelain.  After a few years, they chipped, then cracked, then were broken and eventually thrown out.  They were too delicate for my kitchen, but I remember loving them so much, and was the first pretty thing I ever bought for my home.

By the way, I have 8 soup bowls and only 5 dinner plates.  If you ever find an Arte Italica Portofino dinner plate during your travels, please let me know!  I need 3 more!  (I'm not so frugal anymore about every little thing, ya know!)  They were discontinued about 5 years ago and are as scarce as hen's teeth.







I have no idea why this soup looks red.  It was chicken soup and was not red, oh well.












jill


















Oh my, I do do do love this little cardigan so much.  Jill by Martin Storey is a free pattern download and is knit in DK weight yarn.  I first fell in love with the adorbs posie-in-a-basket pocket.  I'm especially proud of it as I incorporated a few new-for-me finishing techniques that I'll share here.

When Sarah Hatton was in town I took an Understanding Lace class at my lys, Uncommon Threads which I told you about here, but I also took a Professional Finishing class at Imagiknits in the city.  I learned so much and would really recommend that class if you should find Sarah teach it in your neck of the woods.  I brought a few things that needed finishing just to see what Sarah would suggest.  First tip, when attaching a patch pocket, do not attach it with a slip stitch, but instead use the mattress stitch.  Brilliant!  I use the mattress stitch for all my seaming but never occurred to me to use it with a patch pocket.  The pockets turned out beautifully and do look professional!  In the above photograph you can see the pocket on the left in finished.  The Rowan site has some tutes for that stitch here.  Do do do learn the mattress stitch for finishing, you will be so happy you know it, and perfecting it will ensure your seams always look neat and clean and professional.

The other tip is for the collar.  For this sweater and collar you pick up stitches at the neck and work stockinette out.  Sarah recommends that at the folding point of the collar, where you would fold the collar down, to add a few stitches to give the collar some extra room to spread out to flair and fold.  In other words, you would knit a little less than an inch to the point where you think the collar will fold.  The next row with RS facing, knit a third of your stitches, m1r, k1, m1l.  Repeat this at the matching 1/3 spot of left side.  At both sides of the collar you have increased 2 stitches, 4 stitches total.  Even if you are working your collar in rib she said that you can still use this technique as the uneven rib won't be noticed in the collar.  I hope this makes sense as it's a terrific little trick that professional knitters don't want to keep secret!  It's little tips like these that make a knitted garment go from ho-hum to fab.

The embroidery is very easy with the most basic of stitches:  a chain stitch handle, lazy daisy stitches for the petals and leaves, stem stitch for the stem and French knots for the flower center.  I used 6 strand DMC floss.  The pocket is a simple basketweave stitch, k3, p3 for 4 rows, then switch.  Excellent directions are on the free pattern.  I downloaded Jill from Martin Storey's Classic Babies Online Collection on the Rowan site.  Download ALL the patterns, they are all just completely precious. 

The yarn I used is the machine washable Rowan Merino Silk Baby DK.  Holy cow, I love this stuff.  It's super easy to knit and uber soft in the skein, it's hard to believe it goes in and out of the dryer.   The patch pocket was a scrap of Pure Wool DK, also machine washable.  When subbing out yarn to use in the same garment like I did, make sure it's the same weight and has the same washing care.  My Ravelry link here.

I have 2 sweaters I've been wearing all summer but haven't photographed to share.  One is in Rowan Denim yarn, one in a cotton blend and also another baby sweater.  Must get on that, hopefully next week I can start the FO parade.  So, how's your knitting coming along?  Are you thinking ahead and planning all the wonderful wooley knits to knit for winter?  Me too!  I'm hard at work already!



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