Tag Archives: Bedford

Super-cozy Bedford

25
Thrilled. To. Pieces.

Thrilled. To. Pieces.

At last! I feel like it took almost as long to get photos of this sweater as it did to knit it! That’s an exaggeration, but the knitting really did feel like it was flying. Plus, I didn’t want to wear it until we’d taken photos (just in case), so Bedford sat finished and folded for a week before I finally got to wear it (and yes, I’ve been wearing it a fair bit since then).

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This is the big, cozy sweater of my mid-winter dreams. I knit this with the intent to have something slightly oversized (for layering) and that is exactly what I got (I was aiming for 3-4 inches of positive ease and got 6, which I’m okay with). It is perhaps not the most figure flattering sweater, but the stretchy texture of the all-over stitch pattern means that it isn’t shapeless or too tent/sack-like, which is what holds me back from knitting other oversized sweaters like Benton and Boxy, which I admire from afar. Bedford, for me, fits that perfect middle-ground usually reserved for a favourite sweatshirt: oversized without looking too big, with the bonus of being a sweater I can happily wear out of the house.

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Speaking of which, when we shot these photos it was -4C (about 25F) and snowing, and I wasn’t really cold. Obviously I left my scarf and mittens (these ones) on, but otherwise I was okay. I expected to be shivering and asking L to hurry up, but Bedford is surprisingly warm! It is a worsted-weight sweater, but I’d say it’s warmer than my Woodstove Season cardigan, which is knit at a similar gauge and in a similar wool. All that texture really pays off warmth-wise without making it way too hot to wear indoors (so far I’ve worn Bedford around my apartment, out to a restaurant, to an art gallery, and to work, and nowhere have I been uncomfortably warm).

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Construction-wise, I pretty much followed the pattern exactly. Knitting the sleeves inside out (which is to say, in stockinette rather than in reverse stockinette) worked out just fine — I just turned them right side out when it was time to join them to the body and there were no issues. I actually really like the look of the reverse-stockinette sleeves, so I might try this again on another sweater, just for fun. I also added fake-seams along the raglan lines. In the pattern, there are two stockinette stitches along the raglan lines, so I added a purl stitch in there (k1, p1, k1), which I then closed up exactly the way Karen describes in her tutorial. This is a heavy sweater, so I’m glad to have a bit of reinforcement along the lines where a lot of the weight hangs.

I had to change a few things in the raglan shaping/neckline to get the decreases to line up with my row gauge. I don’t remember exactly what I did, but I do know that I worked the raglans for 6 inches before binding off the initial neckline stitches (if I’d stuck to the pattern, this would have had quite a scoop neck). I also tried a new method for binding off the neckline stitches and I’m really happy with the result (my scarf kind of covers it up, but you can see the neckline in the photo in this post). It made for a very smooth bind-off, which in turn made it very easy to pick up the stitches for the ribbing. I will absolutely use this method going forward.

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Details
Pattern: Bedford by Michelle Wang
Yarn: Madelinetosh Vintage in Tart (from my stash! Woo!)
Notes: Besides what I’ve already mentioned, I added a few inches to both the body and sleeves. I also knit the sleeve ribbing on a smaller needle, in an attempt to avoid baggy cuffs. I didn’t totally succeed, but it turns out that reverse-stockinette is the perfect folding fabric. That is, usually I just push up my sleeves, but it turns out that if I fold these back the purl bumps grip each other quite nicely, so fitted cuffs aren’t such an issue. If I were knit this again (you never know), I would knit the bottom ribbing on a smaller needle too, just to give it a little more structure. Anyway, you see notes and whatnot on Ravelry, here.

I am itching to cast on another sweater, but haven’t yet found the perfect yarn for Epistrophy (I have some swatching to do), so I’ve decided to stick to small projects for the rest of February. I’m trucking along on my Dawlish socks, and I wound some yarn for new mittens, and I could use a new cowl. Basically, before I commit myself to another big project, want to get a revel in finishing some things first. That’s a kind of balance, right?

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Buckled down

7

Three days ago, I finished Bedford. Less than one month after casting on (though, thanks to a stupid error on my part that required me to rip out three inches, I missed finishing in January. Oh well). I don’t remember the last time I happily worked on a project with that kind of single-minded attention. No deadlines, no pressure, just happy knitting and the knowledge that, at the end, I’d have a cozy sweater. The cold, I suppose, is a powerful motivator. Anyway, it’s done, and I’m not going to say any more about it right now, since I’m still waiting for the chance to get proper photos, at which point it will get its own post.

 

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Okay, not quite true. I will also say this: I think one of the things I liked best about knitting Bedford was that I never felt guilty when I knit on something else. Guilt isn’t a feeling I tend to associate with my knitting, but sometimes when I’m beavering away* on a big project, I feel like it’s all I should be working on, which makes choosing to knit a few rounds on a pair of socks seem like a cop-out. I don’t know why that happens — unrealistic deadline setting, maybe? For Bedford I just wanted it done sometime in January/February, which turned out to be perfect — but it does, can sometimes deter me from casting on a big project (maybe I’m past that now!).

Almost an exact match so far!

Almost an exact match so far!

Anyway, I did sneak in a few rows (and afternoons) with my fun striped socks-of-the-moment, which means they’re pretty close to finished too! Just a few more inches and they’ll be off the needles and on my feet! I can’t wait, to be honest, the colours are fun and there’s just nothing like a fresh pair of socks. I’m particularly thrilled with this yarn (Nomadic Yarns) and am considering ordering a couple more balls (Mantel and Poolside, I’m looking at you…) — once I’ve knit through a little more of my stash, of course.

*This is a hilarious Canadian expression that basically means putting your head down and work hard at a specific task. 

Red Alert

5

Bedford is flying off my needles. Flying. Three weeks ago, all I had was a swatch, and now I have a body (up to the armscye) and I’m three inches shy of two full arms. It’s moving so fast that, last week when I sat down to blog about it and then got interrupted (sorry about that), I needed new photos before I could blog again because I finished an entire arm between then and when I thought I’d have time to blog again on the weekend (which also didn’t happen…. How can this sweater be moving so quickly when I have had so little time to knit? I don’t know what’s going on over here.)

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Anyway, suffice to say that I’m quite enjoying knitting Bedford, and thanks to the cold weather I’m feeling very motivated to get it finished. So far my mods have been pretty simple. I added 1.5 inches to the length (and I suspect to get another inch or so through blocking/wearing).

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I’m also knitting the sleeves inside out. They’re meant to be reverse stockinette, but my gauge is much more consistent when I knit (I don’t tend to have loose purl stitches, but the motion tires my hands out faster, which can lead to looser stitches here and there). So, I decided to knit them in stockinette in then just flip them right-side-out when it comes time to join them to the body. I knit the ribbing opposite to how it’s written to make up for it, and since I’ve been alternating skeins every two rows, I’ve had my extra yarn hanging on the outside of the knitting (it’s weird at first, but you get used to it). The fabric is kind of folded right now, but that should block right out. Before I actually join everything together, have I neglected to think of something here? When I looked through the project pages it seemed not one else knit the sleeves this way, which may mean they just stuck to the pattern or may mean there’s a good reason not to, I’m not sure. But, I figured that some people knit sleeves in the round when the pattern says to knit them flat, and some people prefer to pick up stitches and knit sleeves top down instead of seaming, so there’s precedent for changing things up.

The other mod I’m considering has to do with the raglan lines (though not the decrease rate, which will be a game-time decision I think). As I’ve been knitting this I’ve been worrying a little about the weight. The sweater was designed for Loft, which is an airier yarn than the Tosh Vintage I’m using. I’m happy for the sweater to grow a little, but I don’t want the shoulders and neck to end up misshapen as a result. There are seams at the underarms, and the neck ribbing is picked up, but I want t reinforce the raglans too. I was planning to use single crochet on the inside (which I did on my Woodstove Season cardigan), but then Karen Templer posted about adding seams to a seamless sweater and I’m wondering if maybe that’s a better bet. It would be easy enough to add a purl stitch to the centre of the raglan lines, to be seamed away later, and it certainly sounds sturdy.

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I’m not quite there yet, so I have time to think about it. Have you ever had to add structure to an otherwise seamless sweater? What’s your favourite method?

*The title of this post is because I get the sense there is going to be a lot of red in 2015. Between the baby sweater, this sweater, Halligarth (which I plan to reacquaint myself with soon), and at least one pair of socks I have planned, it seems I have red on the brain. There are worse colours to be obsessed with though, right?