This past spring, I had the pleasure of test-knitting Alicia Plummer’s Community Cardigan (I wrote a post about my cardigan). Though the weather has been a little too warm for me to wear it, I have been drawn to the way each stitch caused me to slow down and enjoy the pattern I was working. Itching to work a similar pattern, I picked up In Stillness and thought: What if I worked the stitch pattern across the entire sweater?
The concept seemed simple enough, In Stillness doesn’t have waist shaping the way that many of Plummer’s sweaters do so I wouldn’t really need to worry about the textured stitches getting wonky. Once imagined, the next logical steps seemed to be choosing the yarn and then swatching for gauge.
With a small stash, you’d think I would know everything in it by heart. Or that I would have at least been able to acknowledge that I didn’t have a sweater’s worth of worsted weight yarn in there. Still, I recalled a few leftover skeins of Blue Sky Fibers Skyland from last year’s capelet KAL and was determined to make it work (this entailed buying a few more skeins, color was consistent across different dye lots!).
As predicted, it was easy to maintain the pattern across the entirety of the sweater. Other than the texture mod, my only other pattern modification was to increase two stitches on the back following sleeve separation and to skip the other waist increases. In the end, the sweater still fit as predicted by the schematic and I’m thrilled with the result. Still a little too hot to wear, but come winter I think this is going to be another wardrobe staple.
The interesting thing about suddenly taking so many pictures of oneself after a year of avoiding the camera (I didn’t really take pictures of myself while pregnant in an interest of keeping it off social media and in an attempt to maintain a healthy body image), is that it’s forced me to really look at myself again. Honestly, you don’t really realize how vain you are until you’re postpartum and you’re glaring down a pair of jeans that you want to fit again. True, all my pre-pregnancy clothes fit again now, but it’s amazing to go from thinking you had a healthy mindset around your body to realize that you had a healthy mindset as long as your body didn’t change.
Over the last several months, I’ve learned to appreciate each tired face (our kiddo’s got a cold and isn’t sleeping well) a little bit more. This is parenthood. It’s not always beautiful or perfect, sometimes I’m covered in spit-up and sometimes I’m not. Sometimes I have time to knit and sometimes I go a week without picking up my needles. It’s a dance that’s constantly changing, and yet I wouldn’t have it any other way.
After almost three months of enthusiastically knitting and watching everyone’s progress, it’s hard to believe that we’re entering the final week of the Calgary Capelet KAL. It’s been so much fun to interact with everyone who has joined us along the way and I hope you’re all as happy with your capelets as I am!
In true Paige fashion, I have a couple of modifications to share. Knowing that I wanted my capelet to be a little longer than what the pattern called for, I slowed down the frequency of the decreases in the beginning. To be more specific, I decreased evenly across every 4th row instead of every other row for the first seven decreases. This does make the bottom of the capelet a little bit wider in addition to longer, but I find myself enjoying the added drape.
Since the pattern doesn’t provide this information, I also wanted to mention that I worked 5 inches for the neck before the final ribbing.
Thank you so much for joining us! Make sure to post an image of your final piece to any of Blue Sky Fiber’s social channels to be entered into the grand prize drawing: a year (1 per month) supply of patterns, that’s 12 digital patterns of your choice!
We’re officially into the second month of the Calgary Capelet knit along (KAL)! I’ll admit to being someone who didn’t cast on April 19 due to the suggested needle size being used in pursuit of a Retreat Cowl that I thought I’d finish in two days (not sure why on Earth I thought that was a reasonable timeline). After knitting and wet blocking a rather large swatch, I cast on with a size 6 and am enthusiastically knitting along. There is still time to join us, we’re having a lot of fun chatting on Ravelry and knitting together.
Some of the participants in the KAL have never participated in one before, and I’ve done a few posts now on the KAL I usually participate in over the summer, so I thought it might be worth taking the time to discuss why you might consider participating (besides the potential to win prizes).
First things’s first: What exactly is a KAL?
A knit-along (KAL) is a group of crafters working on a project together over a set amount of time. I saw crafters here because you can also participate in crochet-alongs, sew-alongs, spin-alongs, and I’m sure there are also embroidery alongs if you know where to look. The ultimate goal of the -along is to build community around a common project and find inspiration in your fellow crafters. Sometimes this inspiration takes the form of observing modifications or color choices that you didn’t think of and other times the conversation leads you to projects that you hadn’t even considered starting!
Where are KALs typically organized?
All over the place! You can participate in KALs at your local yarn store, your favorite designer may be hosting a KAL, yarn companies sometimes offer them, podcasts or blogs may opt to host one – sometimes it’s even just a matter of searching “knit along” or “KAL” in the ravelry forms to see if there’s one being hosted!
What’s the difference between a KAL and a MKAL?
The M in MKAL stands for “mystery”. This means that a group of people are working on a project together and no one has an idea of what the finished knit is going to be. Clues, or portions of the pattern, are released over a specific amount of time (usually weekly) and you have between clues to knit that section. Some designers give really good information before the MKAL starts to help you pick yarn and to give you an idea of what the final garment/accessory is going to be, others provide more limited information. When it comes to MKALs, I have a few pieces of advice:
Take a look at the other designs by the designer who is hosting the MKAL. If you like their work, the odds are you’ll also like the mystery item that you’re working on.
See what other participants are thinking about in terms of yarn type or color combinations. You may find yourself inspired!
Ask the designer if you aren’t sure about a color combination or fiber content. A lot of times they’re hosting a MKAL because they want to engage in the community as well.
It’s ok if you don’t like the final piece. I’ve done a couple of MKAL where this has turned out to be the case, but the fun I had waiting for clues to be released and guessing what the final knit would look like. Spoilers are a lot of fun if you’re willing to peek ahead to speed knitters and you can always bail out at any point.
Do I need to complete KALs or MKALs within the specified time period?
No! Take a long as you want knitting your projects and feel free to continue to post in the forms. As the KAL or MKAL comes to a close, the only thing that you really need to be aware of is the folks monitoring the forms may not continue to participate as often. Also, it means that you may need to avoid looking at the project pages or Instagram to avoid MAL spoilers.
Remind me again about Blue Sky Fibers (BSF) current KAL?
Check out my previous blog post, or keep reading for BSF’s Ravelry post. BSF’s post has a pattern discount code and information about a prize for participating:
Spring is here, and so is our new yarn Skyland! Join along as we knit this luxurious accessory piece perfect for wearing all year round.
Join us April 19 through June 30 as we host our first KAL in our brand new yarn, the Calgary Capelet in Skyland. Made from a blend of 40% Fine Highland Wool, 30% Baby Alpaca and 30% Silk, Skyland is the perfect yarn for this soft and cabled capelet. In this KAL, which is great for intermediate knitters, participants will learn to follow a 12-row cable pattern that repeats on both the front and back.
The Calgary Capelet is available in four sizing options to fit bust size 30-58”. This beautiful capelet has excellent stitch definition and stunning cables. Skyland is available in eleven classic and sophisticated colors.
Interested in joining the KAL? Find your local yarn store that carries Blue Sky on our stockist page and ask if they’re participating. Gather your knitting friends and make it a virtual group project!
This page will be our home base. Please post comments, questions, and progress pictures here. Post an image of your final piece to any of our social channels to be entered into our grand prize drawing – just make sure to tag us so we see it. Once the KAL is over, we will randomly select one lucky winner to win our grand prize – a year (1 per month) supply of patterns, that’s 12 digital patterns of their choice!
For those of you who haven’t had the chance to pick up a skein of Blue Sky Fibers’ (BSF) newest line addition Skyland, it’s a squishy 4-ply DK with a beautiful sheen. The highland wool/baby alpaca/silk blend promises a drapey garment that will keep you warm on cool nights and I cannot wait to start knitting with it. Enter the Calgary Capelet with it’s gorgeous cabled front and combine that with the fact that I’ve been reading Outlander, it’s safe to say that I’ve spend the last couple of weeks eagerly counting down to helping host this knit-along (KAL).
Step one: Does your local yarn store (LYS) carry Skyland?
Mind does! I have a serious knit crush on the Women of Scratch Supply Co from their project choices to the yarn they carry in the store. In fact it’s been made worse by the fact that their podcast makes it feel like they’re hanging out in my family room.
Step two: Pick a color and buy enough yarn for your size.
My friends would be quick to tell you, I have a hard time committing to a color pallet for most of my projects. For starters, I try to push myself to use colors that are outside of my go-to section (blue, green, pink — think watermelon at the beach and you’ve got my color preferences nailed). Add that with I love most colors and hopefully my problem is seen as a desire to be inclusive and not a problem with committing.
As I mentioned above, a friend and I have been reading Outlander together and I’ve been daydreaming about someday traveling the Highlands. With this in mind, I’ve opted to use Comet, a dark green that is within my typical color pallet. Skyland is a yarn I want to wear all the time, so I refuse to feel bad about choosing a color I know matches everything I own as opposed to one I will occasionally wear as a fun pop of color.
Step three: Swatch swatch swatch.
I’ve been burned by swatching before and can probably guess what needle size I need in order to hit gauge (22 stitches and 27 rows = 4 inches in Stockinette), but at the end of the day swatching is informative. For starters, it will ensure that the garment will look the way that Mary Pranica (the designer) intended. More importantly, a swatch will give you a preview of how the yarn is going to knit up (think fabric drape). Personally, I want to make sure that I’m taking advantage of the way Alpaca drapes and that’s enough for me to knit a square before getting started.
Step four: Cast on and show off your progress!
The KAL starts April 19th 2021, aka this coming Monday! That gives you just enough time to grab your yarn (and swatch!) before we cast on together. Not ready to cast on day one? That’s ok, the KAL will run until June 2021. Grab some yarn and join us when you can.
Use #bsfskyland #CalgaryCapelet #CalgaryCapeletKAL on social media so that we can see your work!
I’m off to start swatching so I’m ready for Monday.
Stay tuned for weekly progress updates and possible grumblings that I can’t wear the caplet yet. It’s been so long since I’ve been a part of a KAL outside of Camp Loopy (it’s also been a long time since August 2020 when camp ended!), I’m looking forward to watching everyone’s Capelets work up and seeing how we add our own twist to the same pattern.