Across the Pond Sweater

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.

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.

Geneva’s Cowl

A light and dark green textured cowl laying on a table. Slipped stitches are used to make forward and back slashes and seed stitches rows are worked with alternating colors to create subtle stripping.

One of the hardest things to do as an adult is to make friends, something that’s made even hard by living rurally. I think it has something to do with learning what you want out of life, it’s not that certain people no longer fit it’s that you need to have a certain level of things in common with them. Gone are the days where the connection of both liking blue crayons is enough, which if I’m honest is a little sad.

The flip side of this difficulty is how much you come to appreciate the friends that you do have in your life and all the little things they do for you. The “how are you text messages” take on a new meaning from the days of AIM because you know the person on the other side is ok with your honest reply.

Geneva is one of our most thoughtful friends — she’s witty, and strong and provides overly detailed instructions for reheating burritos. Rugged to withstand hours of working on the farm with her animals, with textured stitches to represent the embroidery she crafts in her spare time, this cowl was designed with her in mind.

Use two skeins of Blue Sky Fibers Woolstok Tweed (one in each color) to create the single wrap shown, or grab two extra skeins to work up a double wrap. Geneva’s cowl can be found on Ravelry.

Mistborn Fingerless Mitts

Two mistborn mitts laid on top of one another next to a copy of Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson. On top of the paper back book lies a skein of Metalico in Grey.

Admittedly, I’m always on a fantasy book kick. In my mind, there is nothing better than getting lost in an unrecognizable world and observing unknowing (and sometimes unwilling) heroes begin their quest. Mistborn, by Brandon Sanderson, is one of my favorite worlds to think about. Imagine a world where there were people who had superpowers as long as they had access to metal. More specifically, access to metal that could be ingested. Suddenly gold takes on a new value, especially for those who don’t have a lot of it.

In Mistborn, one of the main characters is a young woman named Vin who is raised on the streets and taken in by Kelsiver, the leader of an elite criminal team, to help take down the government. Vin must act as though she is a Nobel woman by day and use her allomancy (her superpowers) by night to learn about what’s happening in the city and eventually kill the “Lord Ruler”.

A hand wearing a blue mistborn fingerless mitt resting on top of Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson. Below the hand is a skein of metalico yarn in grey and above the hand is pothos leaves.

As I felt Blue Sky’s Metalico and tried to envision what to make, Vin came to mind. As the series progresses, she moves from disliking the formal clothing to enjoying it, making me wonder what it would look like if she had a pair of mitts to wear by day and by night. Something textured and elegant, while being warm and cozy. I love the idea of Vin slipping on a set of these mitts just before dawning her mist cloak and fading into the night.

The pattern, which can be purchased on Ravelry, offers two different styles in the form of a short cuff and a long one. The short cuff can be made using one skein of Metalico and the long can be made using two. Metalico is soft and warm, making these mitts perfect for chilly offices or winter nights.

A Mistborn fingerless mitt knit up in blue rests on a grey table cloth surrounded by a grey skein of metalico (left), a paperback copy of Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson (above) and pothos (right).

Peppery Cloak and Dagger Pivotal Point Shawl

A skein of dark grey mad hatter in colorway too much pepper caked and placed next to a skein of light grey unicorn in colorway cloak and dagger.

When I think of knit shawls, I tend to have very specific shapes in mind (half circles, full circles, and triangles). The Pivotal Point Shawl is a shape very different from what I’ve worked before: an arrow >

Knit manipulating knitting front to back and knit two together with a “pivoting point” in the middle where the two switch sides, Pivotal Point Shawl rotates through two main stitch patterns. Honestly, just when you get sick of working stockinette it switches to the lace pattern and visa versa. The wear of this shawl fits its different shape – the eye seems to be drawn to the sides of the shawl that hang rather than the middle of the shawl the way it would with a half circle.

I am very excited by the skein of Unicorn that I worked with, there’s something to be said about adding a little bit of sparkle to a project. Definitely find myself bouncing between neutral projects and colorful ones these days.

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 woman in a striped dress standing in front of a mirror wearing a light and dark grey pivotal point shawl.