Superhero Germanium

It’s hard to believe that two years ago I made my first Germanium in an online sewing class hosted by Notion Fabric. Harder still to think that the pieces I traced and cut for my niece are now the right size for our daughter. Time is a funning thing, it just keeps going.

I was originally going to add ruffles to this dress like I did with my niece’s, but then I realized I couldn’t bother finishing the edges and things fell apart from there. That being said, I think the sleeveless version of this dress looks a lot better than it would with a ruffle. Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself to justify the decision.

It’s so fun, I cannot stress that enough, the final result of this dress is so fun. It’s long and loose so she’ll probably get two summers out of it, and rugged enough to keep up with her. Plus, she loves wearing it. From the colorful masks to the skirt having enough room to twirl in, our kiddo is all about this dress. Which is definitely motivation to make another one.

There’s also something to be said about the fact that I’m a better sewist than I was the first time I made this dress. I have more patience with the finicky parts (minus the ruffles) and understand the overall construction. I snagged fabric to make another one using the expansion pack during the same trip to Affordable Fabrics, it’ll be interesting to see how my gathered sleeves skills are these days. If my previous Emery Dresses are any indication, I definitely need the practice.

Cherry Petit Four Bumble Sweater

Close up of a light and dark pink knit sweater where the stitch pattern makes it look like there are light pink hearts forming horizontal stripes.

I must confess, I do not currently have a plan when it comes to who will wear all of the things I make for our daughter after she outgrows them. Since clothing is meant to be worn, I struggle with the idea of saving each item as a memento to look back fondly upon. Though we are saving items “just in case” we decide to have a second child (it’s hard to think about because we are so happy with our family as it is), it feels unfair to ignore the fact that that child would deserve their own handmade items. I have friends who are going to have children a year younger than Ophelia, but how would I decide who gets what and ensure them that they can use and abuse the items as they see fit? Do I donate them so that other children can be connected to us (I kinda like this idea)? Dilemma aside, it’s so fun to make little garments and I feel like I need to take advantage of this time to make the things I want to make.

This isn’t to say that our kiddo doesn’t have preferences, she absolutely does. If it has glitter it’s exciting. If it’s pink it’s amazing. Twirly dresses? It’ll be loved. All three of those things at the same time? She’d probably refuse to take it off.

Tincanknits’s Bumble Sweater has been waiting in my library since it came out in 2016 because I felt the need to purchase the entire ebook (zero regrets). Combining this pattern with some leftover skeins of Mary Ann from Wonderland Yarns seemed like a very good way to use up the leftovers for no other reason than I knew the color combination would be a hit.

The sweater itself was a fun knit due to it’s mock brioche stitching, I love the way that the contrast color creates little hearts throughout the sweater. Since I skipped the faux seam stitches, I did have to do some creative knitting in order to maintain the stitch pattern while working on the raglan and neck shaping, something I would probably not want to repeat if I make this pattern again. I also don’t think I would decrease the sleeve stitch count as much, though nicely fitted they are a little hard to get on when you have a shirt underneath.

Want to make one of your own? Use the discount YARNVIP for 15% off your total purchase from Wonderland Yarns (discount not eligible on sale items, with other discounts, or on yarn clubs). For this pattern, I held two strands of Mary Ann double and was very happy with the density. Otherwise, the pattern calls for something closer to March Hare.

Windsday French Cancan

About a year and a half ago, I purchased some yarn from Goosey Fibers intending to make a Birds of a Feather shawl. The yarn was caked, the pattern printed, and yet the days slipped by without the project being cast on. The yarn and I would stare at each other, we both knew that it was beautiful and would be cozy around my neck. At first, I didn’t cast on because I was suffering from morning (all day) sickness. Then I didn’t cast on because I didn’t think I could handle working a pattern that required focus. Finally, I realized that the real reason the project wasn’t happening is that the yarn didn’t want to be a Birds of a Feather.

As someone who typically buys yarn with a specific project in mind, this doesn’t often happen to me. Usually, I’m so excited about the upcoming project that it’s all I can do not to start it right away. With 460 yards of each colorway, I looked at patterns that were holding mohair with another yarn as well as patterns that were using two different yarns to create an airy fabric. I thought about purchasing more of each colorway so that I could take on a larger project. In the end, I found myself reaching for another garter stitch shawl: French Cancan.

Just as the first time I worked this shawl, it was easy to fall into the rhythm of the stitches – both the garter stitch and the cable pattern. It’s also so incredibly warm and cozy, definitely a better choice when considering layering for cold days.

I don’t usually reach for pastel colors, so I’m pleasantly surprised with how well this French Cancan fits into my wardrobe. I’m also super into how the pink from the mohair muted some of the colors in the other strand and pulled other colors more front and center. It definitely has me thinking about other mohair projects!

There are a few other yarns in my stash that may be suffering from the same problem as my Goosey Fibers yarn, right yarn wrong project. Once I figure out what to make with it, I’ll have made a serious dent in my stash. Really serious in fact – I’m almost down to nothing which feels really weird. I really need to do a similar stash down with my fabric, but knitting is so much easier to pick up and put down (and I don’t have to worry about leaving pins where someone might hurt themselves).

If anyone has any favorite indie dyers let me know! Otherwise, I’m doing my best to hold out until I can either do some in-person shopping or attend some festivals.

A young woman in a loose stretch denium sweatshirt style dress wearing a pink garter stitch shawl with a braided cable boarder.

Slowing down: Longma’s Cowl + Cockle Shell Cowl

Close up on Longma's Cowl, a repeating whale tail patterned worked in a grey gradient.

Knitting is categorically not a fast activity, even the simplest project requires time for the stitches to come together into a workable object. Several years ago, I think I accidently clocked a pair of socks by the number of graduate classes I was able to work the same pair through (it was taking me a bit less than a week and a half for those of you who are curious, now I can work the leg off a sock in a 45 minute tv episode if it’s simple enough). Despite this understanding, I have still been known to attempt to crank out a last minute knit or two during the holiday season.

When seeking a faster knit, I find the secret is in the similicity of the project. Anything worked in stockinett stitch in the round tends to jump off my needles a lot faster than something worked flat or with a pattern that requires more focus (I’m thinking of you, Leaves of Grass) and it’s not that I’m looking for speed when working on knitting projects, it’s just that projects that are typically good for zoom meetings are the same ones that fly off ones needles.

Over the last few months, I’ve started seeking out projects with stitch patterns that slow me down and require me to focus some energy on them. Sure, this means that it’s harder to throw them down when naptime is suddenly over, but it also means that I’m required to be more mindful about my craft. Focus on each stitch and relax into the design.

This started with Alicia Plummer’s Community Cardi, with knits and purls working together to form a waffle pattern and moved onto several other textured knits before moving into the land of lace stitches. Longma’s Cowl is a ten row lace repeat that forms a whale’s tail after the second repeat. The repeat is worked over and over again until you run out of yarn and honestly doesn’t take that long to memorize.

Longma’s Cowl was an interesting experiment in “what happens if I work a gradient set out of order?”. While I’m thrilled with the way the colors look together and the stitch pattern, I’m not sure I love the idea of the two together. I worry that the stripping takes away from the stitches, but perhaps that’s more of a me problem.

Close up of the cockle shell cowl, a lace shell pattern knit up in a light purple color.

The other slow knit I’ve completed recently, or rather ironically cranked out, is the Cockle Shell Cowl. I worked up the 9 inch single wrap, but highly recommend the 7 inch double wrap as it will end up growing width wise in the end. Another easy to memorize repeat, the main reason this project worked up so fast is due to the needle size the pattern calls.

Something about this purple colorway has made me obsessed with purple all of a sudden, I’m planning on using the leftover yarn from my cowl and the dark grey leftovers from my pivotal point shawl to work a hat (Harlow? Vintage Prim?).

All these samples later and I’m still obsessed with Wonderland Yarns — I literally find myself working up their needs before reaching for other yarns/projects in my stash. It’s been such a fun way to work with colors that are outside my typical comfort zone. Use the discount YARNVIP for 15% off your total purchase from Wonderland Yarns (discount not eligible on sale items, with other discounts, or on yarn clubs) :]

Longma’s Cowl in Coal & Scuttles

Close up of the whale tail lace pattern of Longma's Cowl.

I’ve spent the last few months on a bit of a gradient binge, making up for years of not knowing how to work with the slow transitions. Other than being easier for the dyer, two of the rhetorical questions that have always been floating across my mind are: Why are gradients sold as mini skeins? What power does this hold for the knitter/crocheter?

The “easy” answers that comes to mind has to do with projects such as the So Faded sweater, where having the colors separate makes it easier to divide for the sleeves while setting colors aside to mirror the gradient later. It wasn’t until I was winding yarn for Longma’s Cowl that I realized the other benefit: you don’t have to work the colors in order.

Part of this realization came to me specifically because of the colorway I was working with, Coal & Scuttles by Wonderland Yarns is one of their choppier gradients and isn’t packaged in color order (it’s like they were trying to help me along to this realization). Since the gradient was going to cause some striping anyway, I found myself knitting the gradient out of order just to see what would happen.

I’m a huge fan of the final result and am absolutely going to attempt to push myself out of my comfort zone the next time I work with one of their gradient packs.

The cowl itself was a fun knit, I found working the lace pattern required a little bit of focus but not enough that I needed to pour over the pattern at the start of every row. In fact, I think I had the repeat memorized after working through the entire chart once. Definitely need to figure out a way to create a simple shawl version of this one!

Use the discount YARNVIP for 15% off your total purchase from Wonderland Yarns (discount not eligible on sale items, with other discounts, or on yarn clubs) :]

A young woman wearing Longma's Cowl, the oversized cowl drapes down past her chest and the grey gradient stacks on top of itself.