Tag Archives: Buckwheat

Buckwheat sprouts a sleeve


It will eventually sprout two sleeves, but lets not get ahead of ourselves. I finished the back on Saturday and decided to keep the momentum going (even though I really just wanted to finish the first of the Leftover Socks, which is only a few rows from done). I cast on for the sleeve on Sunday night and immediately realized I should have thought more about it.

Please excuse the shadows – I refuse to close the blinds when it’s lovely and sunny outside.

I did, at least, read the pattern before starting. But I wish I’d read the sleeve part of the pattern before knitting the front and back, because if I had I might have decided to slip the first stitch in each row, thereby giving myself a nice selvedge edge from which to pick up the sleeve stitches. I didn’t do that, though, so I just had to pick them up through the edge of the fabric. This made for a bit of a mess when I had to repeatedly pull out the picked up stitches and start over so that there would be the same number of stitches picked up on each side, and that they would meet in the centre of the shoulder, etc.

The main thing I learned while doing this, though, is that doing short rows (to shape the shoulders) on double-pointed needles (or, “knitting skewers,” as L calls them) is really annoying. I really need to figure out the magic loop, because I have to think that this whole process would have been smoother (both in terms of ease of execution and fabric quality) if there hadn’t been so many annoying joins. Anyway, here I am, just past the short rows, where I suspect this will start to feel a lot more like a big sock and just tick right along.

I think it looks like the mouth of a big fish…

The sleeve is looking a little small right now, but I’m hoping that’s just because the stitches are all pushed together and not because it’s tiny and will thus require reknitting. Stay tuned!

Buttons, buttons, I must choose some buttons


I’m still trucking along with Buckwheat (I think I’m half and inch from once again dividing for front/back, at which point I will try it on again), but I have to say, my previous enthusiasm has waned a little. Part of this can be blamed on the ripping, which is annoying, but part of it can also be attributed to the weather. It has been gorgeous here. We had a few days where the humidex took us into the low 40s (Celsius) and it felt tropical. Then, we had a great big storm and the humidity melted and it’s been humidity-free mid- to high-20s since. In short, fabulous weather. As a result, I just haven’t been sitting and knitting the way I usually do.

Anyway, I need to get re-motivated, so I’ve decided to start thinking about the buttons that will go on the shoulders of the sweater, defining the boatneck and adding a little bit of interest to what is otherwise a whole lot of stockinette. I bought some vintage buttons a while ago, but I wasn’t sure any of them clicked, so today I went to Kensington Market staple Courage My Love to check out their selection. I didn’t bring my camera, but suffice to say I spent quite some time examining their collection.

They have a ton. There’s a quite big selection of all kinds of different buttons displayed on part of the wall, and then, just when you think you’ve become saturated, you discover more. There are probably 60+ little wooden drawers, all containing buttons. Some of the drawers have been further subdivided, and others are a free-for-all of either lots of the same buttons or an assortment of vintage buttons, and really, it’s just a big, crazy selection.

While I was perusing, I overheard a woman next to me talking about needing to find “owl eyes” and, when I asked, sure enough she was knitting Kate Davies’ “Owlet” for her adorable little daughter. She looked both thankful and a little aghast when I explained that all the little wooden drawers were also filled with buttons, and I left because I saw what she found, but I’m sure she found something.

Anyway, I found a few things, and I’ve narrowed it down to (I think) three choices. I haven’t made up my mind, so if you’re feeling opinionated, please, please weigh in.


These are .5cm larger than the size Veera calls for, but I like them and think that’s not a big difference, so they’re included.


Black, possibly wooden, octagons. They’re the required 2 cm.


These are my ‘artfully mismatched’ selection. They’re vintage, and both the same size and iridescent style, only in slightly different shades. They’re also 2 cm.

And, in case you’d like to see them all together to better make your choice, here:

I don’t know if this makes it easier or harder.


And then I ripped


So, remember when I was all “cautiously optimistic” about finishing Buckwheat before the end of the Euro? Yeah. Yesterday I tried it on and it turns out that that nagging little voice that had been telling me it was going to be way too short, well, that voice was right. Way right. I was just about to start the short-rows on the front/back and thought to myself, hey, maybe I’ll just pull this on and see how it’s going. As it turns out, if my armpits were where my bra band is, everything would be fine, but they aren’t, so it’s tricky.

Here’s where I was when I decided to try it on…

For about three seconds I contemplated just finishing and then trying to block it out, but honestly, that would be dumb. I want to wear this sweater. I love the colour, I’m liking the fabric this knit is creating, and I will be really ticked if, at the end, I can’t wear it.

…and, not I’m back down here again.

So, yesterday, right before leaving for work, I tore it back to where I divided for front and back. Now I have to pick up all the stitches from my holders and figure out what I’m going to do. I think the problem is less with Veera’s pattern and more that it seems very few designers know what to do about breasts. I am chesty. It’s true. I had to measure myself for a bridesmaid dress this week and discovered that there’s actually an easy 8-inch difference between my bust and waist measurements, which is fine, and I’m sure not crazy unusual. The thing is, though, that generally when things get larger they get wider, but not longer. That means the extra surface area of my chest is not really being taken into account; yes, bigger breasts mean more width, but they generally also mean that, when you’re talking about a garment that isn’t meant to fit as a tent, there needs to be more length allowed.

As far as Buckwheat is concerned, there is a little more length allowed for the bottom, which is good, but for me there also needs to be more length in the chest. As it stands, the pattern says to knit 3 inches past the top of the waist shaping, then divide for front and back. In my case, I’m going to need about 7 inches past the waist shaping. I’m also debating adding some stitches to the front of the sweater, just so it doesn’t pull over my chest (not that it would be too tight, but I’d like the texture to remain the same throughout).

Anyway, I will let you know how it goes… In the meantime, have any advice? Have any of you run into similar, er, busty problem with sweaters? How did you fix them?

Edited to add: I tried it on again after taking the stitches off the stitch holder and have decided I definitely do not need any more. In fact, despite the fact that I’m knitting at a slightly tighter gauge than indicated, it might be a sort of loose, comfy, drapey sweater. Thus, just more length, not more width, do deal with the bust issues.

Friday randoms


First I don’t usually cross-post, but today it just makes sense. Over on my other blog, Books Under Skin, I reviewed All Wound Up by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, also known as the Yarn Harlot. It’s hilarious and lovely and while I think it’s a book that almost any non-knitter would enjoy, it’s definitely got a little something extra for knitters (it’s like reading a book that’s set in your city, but not geographic, if you know what I mean).

Anyway, if you’re interested, the review is here.

Second I am making great progress on my sweater. It seems Colour Affection has instilled in me a great enthusiasm for simple knitting, and that coupled with the Euro Cup has brought the sweater to full time status. It’s ticking (not tinking) right along, and with any luck I’ll have it done before the end of the tournament. This obviously depends on nothing else catching my fancy (and honestly, so many things are), but the sweater is good sports knitting, so I’m feeling cautiously optimistic.

That black line indicates about where I was when I picked it up after finishing Colour Affection on Saturday. I’ve knit about 5-inches since then, which isn’t bad considering how long it took me to get to that black line in the first place.

Third My parents were in town for my sister’s graduation on Wednesday and my mum has requested a knitted double-thick tea cozy for Christmas. That means the scarf is on the back-burner and I am probably going to start knitting practice tea cozies. Don’t say you weren’t warned. (For context, my first attempt, which I knit for myself, turned out like this. This is what she based her request on, but I intend to make something much nicer and less, erm, puckered.)

Very. Slow. Progress.


I know the key word there should be “progress,” but mostly it just feels like “slow.” Anyway. Remember all that time ago when I said I was casting on for a sweater? Well, I actually did that. And then I got distracted by socks and life and it languished. It’s my in-the-background project, so I was alright with it not being a priority.

Last week, though, I decided I should dedicate some actual time to it, otherwise it was just going to be a background project forever, and nothing is less motivating than returning to a project that seems to be going nowhere. So, Tuesdays and Thursdays are now for sweater -knitting only (well, and work and cooking and all that other stuff; it’s more like any knitting that gets done on those days must be for the sweater). It’s been two weeks, and this is what I have to show for myself:

April 10, barely beyond the ribbing and before my dedicated sweater knitting plan.

April 20.


This is Buckwheat by Veera Valimaki and I am being unoriginal and knitting in the same colourway she did, which is Malabrigo Sock ochre (had I seen Boticelli Red at the time, things might have been different). To get gauge I had to go up to a 4.5 mm needle, which means the wool and needle pairing are not exactly natural (tiny wool, biggish needle), so I feel the need to hold everything more tightly than normal, which is slowing me down.

I’m not quite at the waist shaping, which means I’m just far enough along to start worrying that it won’t fit. I have no reason to think this except that I tend to think this about everything  knit right around the point that I’m far enough into it that ripping back seems unfathomable.  Thus, I will not be ripping this and will instead persevere with the assumption that I’m being crazy and everything will work out.