(Unofficial) Camp Loopy 2021: July Challenge

Camp Loopy July Challenge: This month we are celebrating stripes – like the stripes of the big top tent! You can do stripes of color, stripes of sections of stitches, stripes of beads, etc. Just so your project has stripes of some sort going on. (see some examples below). The July project must use 600 or more yards, single knit.

https://blog.theloopyewe.com

As a general rule, I’m not a stripes person. This may be because there was a time in my childhood where everything I owned was striped, after all I felt the same way about floral patterns for a long time as well. This isn’t to say that nothing in my closet is striped, there are several “go-to” pieces that do in fact meet the striped description. Mostly, this is to say that generally speaking I don’t enjoy knitting stripes. So when you consider the July camp challenge and what design elements are most likely missing from my queue, it shouldn’t be a huge surprise that I struggled to make this one work.

After pouring over patterns on Ravelry and seriously considering a baby blanket pattern (or 3), I decided that the best thing to do was to let go of the official constraints of the challenge and focus solely on the stripes piece. This decision was made when I realized that the pattern I needed to knit I a) already had the yarn for and b) wasn’t going to hit the 600 yard limit. On the one hand, this meant that I won’t qualify for the rewards piece of the challenge. On the other hand, I’d get a head start on my holiday knitting.

In the end, I opted to knit Little Sock Arms by Stephanie Lotven in a size 2T. The sweater is knit using two different fingering weight yarns (or colors), utilizing a skein of stripped yarn to make the sleeves fancy. You work the body of the sweater in the round bottom up until the arm pit and then divide for front and back before eventually using a three needle bind-off to reconnect the front pieces to the back. The sleeve stitches are then picked up and then worked in a top down manner.

This was the simple project that my hands needed to work this month and I’m happy with the way that it turned out. For the body of the sweater, I used Knit Picks stroll in Duchess Heather which was chosen because it matched Knit Picks Felici Fingering Weight in Countess. Countess, used for the sleeves, was chosen first.

While I know that children don’t really need waist shaping in the same way that women’s sweater’s do, I feel like the body of this sweater is boxier/looser than the arms of the sweater. Maybe it’s “simply” the measurements of little bodies? That being said, I’m comforted by all of the little ones wearing their sweaters and looking cute on Ravelry. All in all, I would probably knit this one again.

Purple sweater with multi-colored purple stripes on the sleeves.
iswimlikeafish’s Little Sock Arms

My (accidental) NPR Scarf

About a month ago, I caved and bought yarn for three big projects. After careful consideration, the first project to be casted on was Cold Spring Shawl by Kirsten Hipsky. Other than changing the cast on number to 120, I didn’t make any modifications to the pattern.

In progress Cold Spring shawl. The fourth strip (orange black) is currently being worked on.
In progress Coldspring Shawl, knit in Aloft

Despite enjoying the Lava Lake shawl, I found Cold Spring too simple of a project and often found myself putting off knitting it. Knit a row, purl a row, knit a row. Eventually change colors. Repeat. The saving grace to this project is that the colors I chose were high contrast!

My partner spent a lot of time looking at this shawl, trying to figure out what flag it made him think of. As I loaded yet another NPR podcast, we realized where my colors probably came from. Not too shabby subconscious. I’m happy with the way these colors turned out!

Holiday Gifting: What I asked my sister to get me.

The holiday season is an interesting time under normal circumstances, everyone is running around stressing about what to get their loved ones and spending money that they don’t have. My partner and I are in the process of fixing up a house that was built in 1910, my sister just had her first baby, my parents buy everything that they need, when you combine everything together and stir it you end up with the following situation: How do I encourage those around me not to feel bad about not spending money on us this year? And also: Should I warn people that we don’t have a lot of money to spend on gifts?

My parents were the easy part of the equation, we’re all more interested in quality time than opening a gift. Assuming it stays safe to do so, I foresee a nice dinner out in our future.

Then there’s my niece. Realistically, I’ll knit her a sweater and add a few books to her collection. It’s too early for her to really want anything special.

My partner’s Mom is also on the list, but we still haven’t sent her the birthday shawl I made (to be fair, she lives in New Zealand). I’m leaning towards sending her a few nice teas, but that’s really up to my partner.

That really leaves my sister and her husband, who have big hearts and generous gifting habits (seriously, I’m often left feeling like I spent to little on them). When you combine that with KnitPick’s Big Sale and the growing list of baby sweaters in my Ravelry favorites, you get my proposed idea: They pick from a selection of sweaters and the yarn links I’ve pared with them and I’ll make my niece a sweater. If all they do is pick a sweater and buy the recommended yarn, they’ll spend at most $20 and I’ll have a surprise sweater to knit my niece. If they don’t feel like that’s a good idea, I set a reasonable budget for us to spend on each other.

A gray handknit sweater with a pink ruffled bottom.
The Tutu Top

The first sweater I picked was the Tutu Top. Scrolling through finished projects reveals grinning little girl after grinning little girl. Two balls of mighty stitch (I’m not usually a fan of acryllic, but I like the sheen this adds, plus it’s economical) in two different colors for a grand total of $15.97 with shipping. Let’s be honest for a second, my niece will find herself in this sweater regardless of whether or not her parents choose this as an option.

A toddler wearing a handknit buttoned cardigan. Half of the sweater is a solid grey and the other half is white and gold stripped. The sleeves on either side of the cardigan are the opposite (the grey side has white and gold striped sleeves, the stripped side has a solid grey sleeve).
Gingersnap

Next up was Gingersnap, also using mighty stitch. I have yarn to make one of these for my coworker’s daughter and possibly for the boy down the street. What’s one more? The yarn I have for the other two sweaters came from the Loopy Ewe. I took advantage of the color cakes (which is “samples” of cascade 220) that they put together. My coworker will get a sweater in dark grey, white and teal. My neighbor might get a sweater in blue red and yellow (we’ve only met them a few times and I keep going back and forth on whether or not to give them one. This sweater would cost closer to $20 to purchase yarn for.

A garter stitch sweater hanging on a clothes line. The body of the sweater is blue, the sleeves and chest are white and there is a blue strip along the top of the sleeves and neckline.
French Macaroon

Their third choice is French Macaroon, a garter stitch sweater with subtle striping. Two balls of Swish DK should do the trick (~$17)? I’m probably under estimating and being overly hopeful that this isn’t the one they pick. At least it’s a free pattern and Knitpicks ships fast! As a side note, I thought Macaroons where the coconut cookies and Macaron was the meringue cookie? Perhaps I’ve been watching too much of the Great British Bake off….

A little girl facing away from the camera wearing a sweater that fades from pink to blue to green.
So Faded Pint Size

The final option that I sent my sister was So Faded Pint Size. I’m not sure when I added this pattern to my library, but this is another one that’s been in there long enough that my niece will get one of these sweaters either way. I suggested a Stroll Tonal Mini Pack. Since the packs are $20 before shipping, this is the most expensive option.

I’m excited to see if this is something that comes to be. It’s a different way to incorporate someone else into my knitting, while still proposing options that I would enjoy.

Knitting for Myself

I’ve been following callmedwj on Instagram for a few years now. I think it happened when we were both added to a group for promoting the Fibre Co, but honestly it doesn’t matter how it happened. Her content is so much fun to look at and as more challenging conversations have been happening in the crafting community, her content has been thought provoking.

Lately, I’ve been think a lot about what Dana posted about on her story: how she apologetically knits for herself and that every year for her birthday she makes herself a sweater. Now, Dana knits a lot of sweaters, so it really should not have been a surprise that she took the time to make herself a sweater just for her birthday. For some reason, I felt as though she gave me permission to no longer feel bad about knitting sweaters for myself even though it meant not working on something for others.

I probably didn’t really need this permission, it’s a concept that I’ve been working towards in the last few years, but I started my knitting journey by knitting someone a baby blanket. I literally started my knitting career with the goal of knitting gifts for other people and spent years stressing myself out around the holiday season to get it done. Last year was the first year I decided not to knit for for the holiday season only to change my mind and crank out a few last minute items.

When Dana admitted that she learned to knit so she could knit for herself, I was in awe. I mean, how awesome is that? To, from the beginning, say that this is something special that I do for myself. So, I took Dana’s message and my almost non-existent yarn stash (at the time that this post is being written I only have two skeins) and picked out a few projects on Ravelry that I’ve been eyeing for myself. Then I bought the yarn for them and I’m so excited!

It’s not even super fancy hand dyed yarn, I bought some sale yarn from KnitPicks (ok and some non-sale yarn). The point is, I sat down, let myself get excited and then bought yarn for three projects.

My first attempt at Stonewall, 2015

The first project I purchased yarn for is Alicia Plummer’s Stonewall. This pattern was my third or so sweater and went so wrong the first time I made it. First and foremost, it grew about a foot when I blocked it. Don’t ask me whether or not I did a gauge swatch a) because I did and b) because the circumference of the sweater fit great. The next problem was that I wasn’t good at picking stitches for necklines, so the neckline didn’t lay flat. The last big problem, is that the hip shaping on most of Alicia’s designs look terrible on me.

So here we are, 5 years later. I’m a better knitter and am still in love with the look of this sweater. It’s going to be knit in Wool of the Andes, colorway pumpkin.

Next up is another sweater by Alicia Plummer: Campside Pullover. This is a sweater that has been in my queue for a long time, I think I purchased the pattern the first week it came out. I’m not sure how easy it will be to eliminate the hip shaping, but I’m going to knit it in Capra, colorway Embers Heather. Hello on sale Cashmere blend! I wonder if I can get it done in time to wear it for the Holidays.

The final project I’ve picked out (and bought yarn for!) is Cold Spring Shawl by Kirsten Hipsky. The plan is to blend three colors of Aloft (Celestial, black and Koi) in the hopes of ending up with a warm airy piece. Separately, these colors are in my wheel house, but they’re not something I would have thought to combine.

I’m excited! It isn’t always easy to buy yarn for larger projects and I’ve just purchased yarn for three of them. I’m lucky to have a supportive partner and the ability to jump at yarn sales.