Tag Archives: Grace

A year in the making

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You guys, Grace is finished! I’ll admit that I was starting to wonder if it was even possible to finish this cardigan, but then last weekend I just decided to ignore the lovely weather, buckle down, and get it done. I am so pleased I did!

I even made my arbitrary deadline, finishing on May 31 so Grace the WIP didn’t turn 1. I was pretty sure that, after looking at this cardigan fondly for a day or two, I’d be forced to put it away for the summer, but the weather took a little turn this week and I think it’s the first time in my life I’ve been happy about cool weather in June. I’ve worn Grace a few times (and soon really will have to put it away until fall) and I’m pleased to say this cardigan was more than worth waiting for.

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The thing about starting a cardigan one year and then not picking it up again for 10 months is that a lot of things can change in that time. Obviously your body size is one thing, but so are gauge and wardrobe requirements, so there’s no guarantee of a good outcome. I am really pleased with how this fits, though, and being a lightweight and colourful cardigan is basically a recipe for a wardrobe staple as far as I’m concerned.

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Grace is designed to be a sort of casual-fitted cardigan, which can be a tough blend to pull off. I really like the way this hangs when worn open – without too much fabric hanging down the front – and that it buttons up nicely when I want a little extra warmth. I knit the sleeves shorter than written because years of wearing shirts with too-short sleeves have made hand-grazing cuffs feel weird. I mostly just push up my sleeves anyhow, but I like to be able to wear them full-length (which is bracelet length for me) under a jacket or if it’s a little chilly. The pattern doesn’t specify a bind-off, but I used a tubular bind-off at the sleeves for a more polished look. (I used Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off at the hem because I was worried about yardage and didn’t want to risk it. I think it looks fine.)

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As I mentioned before, I used Quince & Co. Finch for this. It was my first time using Finch and I am a definite fan. The yarn isn’t superwash, so it has a slightly woolly texture, which makes for a really nice even fabric and great lace definition. It’s also perfect for spit-felting, which meant I had very few ends to weave in when I finished. I’m already planning another fingering-weight cardigan (which hopefully will not take a year from start to finish) and you can bet I’m going to be ordering Finch for it (more skeins this time – I don’t want to push my luck).

Details
Pattern: Grace by Jane Richmond
Yarn: Quince & Co. Finch in Nasturtium
Needles: 4mm
Notes: I feel like I’ve written so much about this that I don’t have much more to say. My mods were small and didn’t really change anything about the overall cardigan. I ignored her numbers when picking up for the button bands and collar and more-or-less picked up 3 stitches for every 4 rows in the stockinette portion and then 2 stitches for every 3 rows in the lace portion, so it had more room to stretch. That meant I picked up more stitches, so I added an extra button to compensate. My Grace is Ravelled here, and there are lots of notes.

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I don’t know why I look so skeptical here.

 

Everything’s coming up Grace

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The last two weeks have been a bit of a blur. Work has been busy, the weather has been gorgeous, and my head has been filled up with summer project ideas. There are so many things I want to make this summer, but as the weather gets better I know my knitting and sewing time will decrease, so I’m trying to rein in my ideas to something more manageable.

Due to my yarn shortage I had pretty much given up on hitting my June 1 Grace deadline. Quince & Co. shipped my yarn very quickly after I ordered it, but there’s a border and customs between them and me, and it can be hard to gauge how quickly things will get through (I have a vague memory of my original order taking a while to arrive, for example). To make myself feel better, I decided to spend the weekend sewing — L will be away pretty much all day both days, so my taking over the living room to sew inconveniences no one (except Ganymede, but she’s a cat, and thus gets no say).

My weekend, in a pile.

My weekend, in a pile.

I bought fabric in anticipation of two days of sewing, during which time I planned to knock out three tops. But then the very best wrinkle appeared in my plan: my yarn from Quince arrived yesterday! I’m starting to feel like this cardigan is fated for success (I really hope I didn’t just jinx myself).

I finished the first sleeve this morning and have only half of the second one to do, so I might still make my self-appointed deadline! I do still want to get some sewing done this weekend, though, so I’m my current plan is to knit today, with a little break to cut the fabric for one top. Then, tomorrow, I’ll be able to sew up at least one top in a reasonable amount of time, which should leave me plenty of opportunity to finish any remaining knitting.

This plan relies heavily on today’s productivity, though, and since it’s already early afternoon I had probably better stop typing and start knitting! Goog luck with whatever you’re planning for your weekend!

Bad news/good news

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Are you tired of looking at pictures of this sweater? I swear I’m going to finish it soon. I’m actually really right on schedule, but then on Wednesday I realized I was for sure going to run out of yarn.

In the interest of everything matching, I've started the second sleeve.

In the interest of everything matching, I’ve started the second sleeve.

I knew my yardage was going to be tight. I don’t know why I didn’t order an insurance skein a year ago (something I always do now), but I didn’t — maybe I thought I’d want 3/4 sleeves? This is the tricky part about letting a project languish for so long. Anyway, I knit the button bands and collar on the weekend, because if I was going to run out of yarn, having two perfect sleeves and no closures wasn’t really the way I wanted to go (for me, that’s pretty much a recipe for not finishing).

After knitting the button bands, I weighed my remaining yarn and came up with 41g per arm. I don’t know what made me think that I might be able to get away with that, but suffice to say that this picture was taken after knitting about 38g of yarn. For a minute I thought about just starting the ribbing there and calling it a day, but the more I knit on this sweater the more I get attached to the idea of wearing it all the time. You would think I’d hate the sight of it by now, but instead I’m liking it more and more. So, although I do tend to push up my sleeves to mid-forearm, making this a possibly suitable length, I know that it would annoy me not to be able to pull them all the way down inside coat sleeves and whatnot.

So I ordered more yarn. Two skeins, just to be safe (I’d really feel like an idiot if I only ordered one and then ran short again). I actually decided to add a second skein part-way through the order process, and I guess I didn’t do it properly, because I realized once I’d paid that I’d only ordered one, so I went back and ordered a second, just to be sure. Then, because I’d been billed twice for shipping, I emailed Quince & Co. to see if they could just bundle the two skeins together. In my email, I mentioned the yarn and dye lot, and miracle of miracles, a year later they still had two skeins of yarn from my original dye lot! I was fully prepared for not-quite-matching forearms, so I am thrilled to pieces about the match.

The yarn shipped yesterday, so if all goes well with the post, I might even get it in time to finish by the end of the month! Cross your fingers for me!

On top(s)

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This week has been a little all over the place, but thanks to a productive weekend (last weekend) and a lovely meet-up with Andrea and Sara this morning, it hasn’t been a total write-off.

Grace is all wrinkled because I unceremoniously shoved it into a bag and then shoved the bag into my pannier. That's the price of patio knitting.

Grace is all wrinkled because I unceremoniously shoved it into a bag and then shoved the bag into my pannier. That’s the price of patio knitting.

I was decidedly behind my self-imposed Grace schedule until today. To get this finished before the end of the month, I need to be finished the body and button bands (I’m worried about my yardage, so I’m leaving the arms until the end) by the end of next week. I haven’t had much time during the week to knit, and now that the weather is improving my weekends have been filling up with outdoor time – I’m not complaining, but it is making it more difficult to get this cardigan finished! Anyway, I’m heading toward the final hip increase now and after that there’s just the ribbing and the body is done. I was thinking about adding length, but the body measures 14 inches now with three inches to go, so I think I’m going to be fine, assuming I can find some knitting time.

Of course, knitting time would be easier to come by if I weren’t distracted by my sewing machine. Something about the warm weather and all the lovely fabric my LYS is now carrying has got my thinking about summer tops and dresses, and while I’m always game to knit some, sewing it so fast! Ahem, that is, assuming you don’t spend an entire afternoon sewing something that is (at least) five sizes too big. That’s what I spent last Saturday doing, and let me tell you, while I certainly learned from my mistakes, I kind of wish I had learned faster.

I really like the test-pattern-ness of this print (Color Me Happy by V & Co.), which gets totally lost if you're not right up close.

I really like the test-pattern-ness of this print (Color Me Happy by V & Co.), which gets totally lost if you’re not right up close.

Anyway. I was tackling my third (and then fourth) attempt at the Scout Woven Tee. This is a boxier style than I typically wear, but I like the idea behind it and I think, once I get the pattern figured out for my body, that it’s a top I’ll wear a lot in the summer. This version took me two tries (the enormous one, which did not get photographed, and this one) and I’m mostly happy with it.

What do you think?

What do you think?

Looking at the photos, I think I could take some width out of the waist area and the neckline might be a bit too wide, both of which I think I know how to fix. The pulling at the armhole is another issue. I suspect this means I need to go down a size and do a full-bust adjustment, but I’m not sure (do you know?). I like the idea of this top enough to keep tinkering with it, so if you have ideas/comments about it, please let me know!

May in the making

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For the last two years I’ve followed along with Me Made May* from the sidelines. I find it incredibly inspiring to watch as women (there may be men who participate, but I’m not aware of any) spend the month showing off their handmade wardrobe. More than anything, I think its these makers who made me want to try my hand at knitting (and now sewing) garments.

This pile of fabric represents (I hope) three tops and a dress.

This pile of fabric represents (I hope) three tops and a dress.

I love to knit socks and mittens and shawls and whatnot, but for me, knitting and wearing my first sweater felt like a really big deal. A lot of it, I think, is the visibility. I wear hand-knit socks everyday, but in general, they’re inside my shoes and not something people around me are aware of (I do try to wear my fancier ones to parties though). Knitting a sweater, though, or a skirt, is a real statement. When someone asks you where you got it, you get to tell them that you made it, and then it’s out there.

When I started knitting, I was kind of self-conscious about it. I simultaneously wanted people to notice and comment on it and desperately hoped no one would notice. I’m well past that now, and a few weeks ago, when my stylish and deeply talented colleague asked me where I’d gotten my sweater, I was proud to tell her I’d knit it myself.

I sewed this Scout Woven Tee a few weeks ago. It's basically just a wearable muslin, but it's so much better than the actual muslin I made that it feels like excellent progress. I've even worn it out!

I sewed this Scout Woven Tee a few weeks ago. It’s basically just a wearable muslin, but it’s so much better than the actual muslin I made that it feels like excellent progress. I’ve even worn it out!

Knitting, and making in general, is definitely losing its dusty reputation, in part because I think people are realizing the stereotypes they associated with “handmade” just didn’t make sense. Events/series like Me Made May help with that, because seeing a parade of beautiful and stylish handmade garments, made by people from all over the place with different body types and differing amounts of “free” time is a statement about who makers are. Which is to say, potentially anyone.

Grace got put aside again in April, but now I'm determined. I even figured out how much I need to knit each week to finish by the end of the month. (For reference, I'm nearly done the waist decreases.)

Grace got put aside again in April, but now I’m determined. I even figured out how much I need to knit each week to finish by the end of the month. (For reference, I’m nearly done the waist decreases.)

I had hoped to participate in Me Made May this year, but I’m not sure I have enough garments to properly do so. So instead, I’m committing to spending this month making clothing I can wear next year (and also, I hope, next month!). On the knitting front, I am determined to finish Grace by the end of the month. I cast-on on June 1, and I’m not sure I want this WIP to turn 1, so I’m buckling down. On the sewing front, I have plans for a couple of new tops and, I hope, a dress. Given that it’s already May 3, I guess I should get to it!

*Here’s a great little primer on Me Made May if you’re not familiar with it. You can also search Twitter and Instagram for the #MMM14 hashtag to find people who are participating.

In tandem

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Earlier this week, I finished New Girl. I don’t have proper photos yet, so that post will have to wait, but it is finished, and I am very excited to wear it.

Sneak peek.

Sneak peek.

Part of what I liked so much about New Girl was that I was knitting it along with Cassy. It wasn’t a formal KAL, but we both liked the pattern and when I said I was planning to knit it she decided to cast on too. Without any real plans of itinerary, we knit kept pretty good pace and I’m pretty sure she’s finished (or just about finished) now too. It was great! I’d never knit a skirt before, so it was fun to talk with back and forth as we progressed — talking over colours, fit, style, etc.

Because of my work hours, I’ve never been able to really be part of a knit night. There is an amazing knitting community in Toronto, but I’m kind of on the edge of it — I blog/do web things for my LYS, but don’t really get a chance to meet the regulars, for example. I really like my job, so I’m mostly okay with the way it shapes my social time, but sometimes I get a little pang when there’s a great event or author coming to town and I know I won’t make it.

All of which is to say that that’s one of the reasons blogging is so much fun. It’s such a great way to interact with all of you — people who share an interest in making (whether knitting, sewing, or whatever). Knitting New Girl alongside Cassy was fun because it was communal. I would have knit the skirt anyway, but I really enjoyed being able to talk about it with someone besides L (who will listen, but can’t make a lot of suggestions). I also think knitting together motivated me to keep going. For a project I thought would be relatively quick, this felt like it took a while, and I might have been tempted to put it down in favour of something else if I didn’t know she was knitting it too.

Considering it was shoved in a bag for nearly a year, it doesn't look so bad.

Considering Grace was shoved in a bag for nearly a year, it doesn’t look so bad.

So, it was perfect timing when Andrea pinged me on Instagram earlier this week. She is knitting Grace, and ages ago I mentioned that if she let me know when she separated the arms, I’d pick up my Grace and knit along with her. It took me a few days (I wanted all my ends woven in and the waistband done before I moved on from New Girl) but last night I picked up Grace, worked out where I was in the pattern, and started up again. It’s a casual knitting-at-the-same-time kind of thing, with no plans or deadlines, but if my last FO is any indication, knitting with Andrea may just mean Grace gets finished sooner rather than later.

I did not forget about these projects

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My background knitting. Slow but steady, these are part of my grand plan for increasing my pairs of plain socks.

My background knitting. Slow but steady, these are part of my grand plan for increasing my pairs of plain socks.

All evidence to the contrary, I know, but it’s true: Just because I’m not actively working on a project doesn’t mean I’m not thinking about it. And, more often than not, I’m debating when/if I should pull it out of my basket and get back to work. I finished my Flukra on Tuesday (proper photos to come) and since I plan to cast on New Girl in the near future, I thought maybe instead of starting something new I’d pick up something that had been languishing. I’m not quite sure what that will be, other than the socks at the top of this post, which have been background knitting for two months now and thus, despite their slow progress, always in active rotation.

It occurred to me that some of these projects had never made it onto the blog, or that even if they had, possibly not for a year or more, so here we go, a tour through my works-in-progress (presented approximately in chronological order by cast-on, according to my Ravelry notes).

Shaelyn, cast on March 3, 2013.

Shaelyn, cast on March 3, 2013.

Shaelyn has definitely been on the needles forever. I cast this on when L and I went to Eleuthra last year, and then spent the week knitting socks instead. I did work on this on the flight home, but we fit turbulence and my ruler (marking the row I was on in the chart) was jostled. I lost my place, couldn’t figure out where I was, and put the project away without trying very hard to sort things out. I may also have been frustrated by how awful this yarn was to wind (both skeins doubled back on themselves in the middle, meaning they required cutting, untangling, and rewinding). Anyway, now that I have snuggly Flukra to wear I’m dying for another equally scrumptious shawl, and this may be it.

Hunter St. Cowl, cast on April 6, 2013 (appearance not improved for having been shoved in a small bag. Ahem.)

Hunter St. Cowl, cast on April 6, 2013 (appearance not improved for having been shoved in a small bag. Ahem.)

There is no excuse for my languishing Hunter St. Cowl except that I cast it on during the same period as most of these WIPs, so it may have been the victim of my restless spirit and a spate of startitis. I love this pattern, I love this yarn (Tanis Fiber Arts Pink Label lace weight in Lucky Penny), and even though I’m not really a cowl person, I sense this is one I would wear. Progress was slow at the beginning, and I guess I was in the mood for some quick gratification, so I cast this aside. I would like to wear it this spring though.

Grace, cast on June 1, 2013.

Grace, cast on June 1, 2013.

Not finishing Grace is my No. 1 knitting regret of last year. I cast it on a little too close to summer, I think, and put it down in favour of Kit, and then never quite got around to finishing it. I always forget that fall is pretty much all holiday knitting, which means that great lightweight cardigans that I’d wear all winter basically need to be knit before the end of September. I might not pick this up before New Girl, but I think it’ll be the first thing I knit afterwards – I hope I left myself a good note about where I was in the pattern.

Daphne, cast on July 18.

Daphne, cast on July 18, 2013

The minute it gets warm, I’m knocking out this second Daphne sock. This is less second-sock syndrome than putting down a for-me knit to pick up a gift-knit, and then not quite getting back to it. That being said, the first sock flew off my needles (having knit the pattern before made it easy to return to), so I know these will be quick to turnaround when the weather improves (wool/silk/bamboo blend yarn in openwork just isn’t robust enough for winter).

Stasis, cast on Feb. 2, 2014

Stasis, cast on Feb. 2, 2014

Stasis is a pretty recent WIP. I cast on the week before the Olympics, but it’s true what they say about knitting white/grey yarn in February. I got through the colourwork without incident, but the minute I got into the fields of stockinette I just couldn’t handle it. This is a shade I love to wear in the winter, but one I apparently can’t knit with. I’ll pick this back up in May (before it’s too hot to have a sweater in my lap) and finish it so it’s ready for me in the fall.

And I think that’s it! What do you think? Are you shocked I have any needles left for new projects or are you laughing that I think this is a lot of WIPs?