Tag Archives: sweater

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?

Planning ahead

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You know that theory that you should knit things in the season before you plan to wear them, so they’re ready and waiting when the appropriate season? Well, I have not been so good at that. See: Finishing my Woodstove Season cardigan in April, or knitting Kit in the heat of July (when wearing it would have been perfect).

The tricky thing about this, though, is that it means knitting the heavy wool sweaters I want to wear in the fall and winter during the hot and heavy humidity of summer. Living in an apartment without air conditioning does not make this very attractive. But, in the fall…

So, this year I’m trying to plan ahead. I am totally not doing this alone, though. I had been thinking about this issue a little and then, as if on queue, Shannon over at luvinthemommyhood announced the start date for this year’s Summer Sweater KAL. I’ve never really done a KAL before, but this one seems so sensible: pick a pattern, knit it during the time frame, end up with a sweater just as the weather starts to cool down. I tend to respond well to deadlines (I am in journalism, after all), so I think I’m going to go for it. It starts next week, which means I need to get swatching, which means I need to choose a pattern (my already started Grace does not qualify).

I’ve narrowed down my choices to:

Cascade 220 in Liberty Heather (a sort of purplish grey)

Cascade 220 in Liberty Heather (a sort of purplish grey).

A. Burrard (from Twist Collective, Winter 2012). I love this sweater. Its cables are modern, it would be a great sweater-jacket type piece in the fall, and it’s knit in pieces, so at no point (other than seaming) would I have an entire sweater blanketing my lap in the heat. I do sort of suspect that this would take the entire six weeks of the KAL to knit (in part because I am just not cut out for long-term monogamous knitting). Also, in mid-September it will probably be too hot to wear this, so when I finish I’ll have to wait around to enjoy it. Hmm.

B. The Everyday Linen Raglan (from Purl Soho). This is more of a shirt than a sweater, I guess, but I plan to knit it in Louet’s MerLin, a merino/linen blend that will be a little warmer than straight-up linen, making it perfect for fall. This would be a quicker knit, so I could (potentially) get it finished and finish Grace (or get close to finishing Grace) by mid-September, which would mean two sweaters instead of one. On the other hand, it’s knit mostly in one piece (the sleeves are knit separately and then joined at the armpits), which makes it a bit less portable and more like a blanket. Hmm, again.

Louet MerLin in Steel Grey.

Louet MerLin in Steel Grey.

I have the yarn for both of these already, and I do plan to knit them both anyway, but still, what do you think? Help me choose! Also: have you done a KAL like this before? What did you think? (Do you think you’ll join this one?)

Something orange and something blue

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This is a new something orange, and it is the reason that I didn’t finish the first of my Willowherb socks this weekend. It’s actually entirely counter-intuitive, because this weekend was so oppressively humid I changed three times on Saturday and I wasn’t doing anything high-energy. Clearly, then, this was the weekend to cast on for Grace. I mean, who doesn’t crave wool cardigans when the humidity is hovering at 100%?

grace1

I actually cast on twice. Once, on the needles that my gauge swatch told me were the right size, and then again, with a larger needle, when it was clear my swatch had lied. Somehow, I am now getting an even tighter gauge (!?) but rather than rip out again and start with yet another needle size, I’m chalking it up to the knit-ripped-and-reknit yarn being a little tight. It’ll block out, right?

grace2

So that’s the orange. The blue is a bit of a surprise, at least to me. Remember all that time ago when I sewed that project bag? Well, I haven’t sewed a thing since, but last week I got it into my head that I was going to make myself some summer clothes. I don’t know what got into me, but I just decided I could do it, without any sort of evidence backing me up.

Yesterday, I went to The Workroom and picked up some fabric (twice as much as I needed, just in case the first attempt didn’t work out) and the pattern I had in mind: the ubiquitous Wiksten Tank.

I got down to business today (I had the day off) and, after five hours I have a shirt! And it even fits. This is the first piece of clothing I’ve ever made, unless you count the boxers I had to make in seventh grade Family Studies (I do not). L isn’t home yet, so proper finished shots will have to wait. In the meantime, check it out:

Ta da!

Ta da! (It’s hanging on a slight angle, it isn’t actually crooked. Promise.)

Not bad, right? I know it isn’t perfect, but most of the faults are hidden when I’m wearing it. And, that print! I love that print. I have lots left, so short of making the exact same thing again, I’m not quite sure what to with it. I’ll come up with something though.

The print is actually bicycle sprockets! I love it. It's from the Ride collection by Julia Rothman.

The print is actually bicycle sprockets! I love it. It’s from the Ride collection by Julia Rothman.

For the top, I had planned to make the XL, but after sewing the side seams I tried it on and it was a tent. I based my pattern size on my bust, but since my waist is 10 inches smaller than my chest, it can be tricky. To fix it, I took 3 inches off the width (1.5 inches per side, tapering up to 1 inch at the armpit). I also took two inches off the back neck by adding a box pleat (totally inspired by Linda). This small success has inspired me to start planning more sewing projects. Although, given how long this simple tank took, it may be a while before any of them are seen here.

Edited to add: L got home right after I hit post, so he agreed to take some impromtu shots. Not the best photos of me (I was freezing, in addition to not styling myself at all), but oh well.

wiksten3

Still in season

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So windy.

So windy. Also, it was brighter than it looks, hence the sun glasses. Sorry.

On Thursday it was 20C, this morning it snowed. What I’m saying is, I have been wearing my Woodstove Season cardigan quite a bit and it has been lovely. I’m so used to knitting small things and accessories that to knit an actual garment and then get to wear it around is a whole thing. It took me two months to wear the first socks I knit (I thought it was weird, but I was a fool) but it only took me a week (during which I thought I was going to knit pockets) from finishing to first public wear. I could get used to this whole sweater thing.

woodstove12

It has taken us a while to coordinate, so when L had a minute this afternoon we went for a walk to finally take some proper finished photos. Of course, it was freezing, and insanely windy, but you have to take what you can get. I swear, my hair is usually less wild than this.

It typically flaps less when worn open, but you get the idea.

It typically flaps less when worn open, but you get the idea.

I am really happy with the way this turned out. The sleeves have enough ease to be comfortable with a long-sleeved shirt under them, but they aren’t loose, so they don’t add bulk under a jacket, and the buttons are spaced properly so there isn’t any gaping. I do wish I’d knit the collar a little longer and the body a little shorter, but honestly, those are such minor details that they’re pretty much inconsequential. This is designed to be a long cardigan, and it is, which is something I’m sure I’ll appreciate during the winter (no lower back draft!).

And buttoning the million buttons back up.

And buttoning the million buttons back up.

It hasn’t been long, but so far the yarn seems to be holding up well too. It’s a superwash, so it doesn’t have quite as much structure as an untreated yarn, but there haven’t been any signs of pilling yet and it’s holding its shape just fine.

woodstove14

Crispy crispy chevrons.

Details
Pattern: Woodstove Season by Alicia Plummer
Yarn: SweetGeorgia Superwash Worsted in Cyprus
Needles: 5.5mm for the body, 5mm for the collar and 4.5mm for the cuffs and bottom ribbing
Modifications: The biggest change was really the gauge. I knit this at 4.5 stitches to the inch instead of 4 stitches to the inch because, honestly, I just didn’t like the fabric when it was looser. This led to a false-start because I chose the wrong size initially. What I ended up with was something between the medium and the large, which was perfect. I made my buttonholes every 14th row (every 7th right-side row) instead of every 12th row, in part because my gauge was tighter so I could get away with it and in part because I wasn’t paying attention at the beginning and didn’t want to tink back two rows when it wasn’t going to make a difference anyway. To make my buttonholes work out I added two pattern rows to the body (after the end of the hip shaping and before the ribbing). I also picked up way more stitches in the armpit and decreased quickly and then slowly. All the details are Ravelled here.

That wet wool smell

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I can't believe I didn't mess up a single chevron.

I can’t believe I didn’t mess up a single chevron.

It’s the smell of triumph. On Saturday, I cast off my Woodstove Season cardigan, wove in my ends, and wet blocked it. My first sweater, and it actually fits. I don’t know why I let sweaters intimidate me, but it feels like a real accomplishment to finish one. Obviously, I already have the yarn and pattern for my next one ready to go.

Because Woodstove took all weekend to dry, I don’t have any nice photos of my wearing it yet. I’m also not 100% sure it’s finished yet. It grew a few inches in length with blocking, which is fine, but I am now feeling that the pockets I had previously decided not to knit would suit it. Pockets aren’t a huge knitting burden (and I have yarn left) so I think I might whip them up this week and see. Proportionally, I think it needs something to balance the ten million buttons. Thoughts? (I’ll do a proper FO post when I have better photos and likely also pockets.)

This funny ombre effect is not there in real life.

This funny ombre effect is not there in real life.

To balance all the worsted weight knitting I’ve been doing lately, and in keeping with decidedly spring-ish weather, after getting Woodstove into its bath, I cast on something fun in laceweight.

Despite the greys in the photo, this is knitting up to look just like tarnished copper.

Despite the greys in the photo, this is knitting up to look just like tarnished copper.

I’m tend to forget about cowls, but with bicycling season upon us, the Hunter St. Cowl by Glenna C. seemed like the perfect balance between pretty and light and something practical that won’t fly off. I’m knitting it in Tanis Fiber Arts Pink Label in Lucky Penny. Even if I put it down in favour of pockets, this won’t take long to finish.

February is for focusing

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I was going to say that February is for finishing, but then I realized I have too many unfinished projects to possibly make that claim during the shortest month of the year. So instead, a compromise. I realized this week that, other than my Christmas socks, I haven’t knit anything for myself since mid-November. I’m not saying that this is some kind of travesty or anything – I love giving handknits and also how knitting gifts gives me the opportunity to tackle projects I wouldn’t necessarily knit for myself – but there comes a point when you just want to knit something that doesn’t have a gift-by deadline, you know?

I got this yarn (and two more skeins just like it) for Christmas. This skein, or part of it, is destined to be a headband.

I got this yarn (and two more skeins just like it) for Christmas. This skein, or part of it, is destined to be a headband.

So, this month I’m going to try and focus my knitting on a few key things that I’ve been wanting. The main thing on this list is mittens. Since October I have knit three pairs of mittens and one pair of gloves and this has given me a lot time to think about what mittens I want for myself (mine, knit last year, have grown very thin indeed). Thus, they are priority number one, and would be a super quick knit if I weren’t designing my own (with the intention of releasing the pattern, which slows things down a little). I also need a headband, which shouldn’t take more than an afternoon, really.

In progress. I'm already knit and ripped and reknit a couple of times, but I think I've got it more or less figured out now.

In progress. I’m already knit and ripped and reknit a couple of times, but I think I’ve got it more or less figured out now.

The real focus of this month, though, will be my Woodstove Season cardigan. I started it back in November, then realized I was knitting the wrong size and ripped it out. I got re-started after the holidays, but put it down again to focus on the Moose Gloves, but now that those are finished (!) I am feeling the pull of the sweater. At least part of that is reactionary, since it’s been steadily cold for the past few weeks and I hate being cold. But I’m also starting to feel like a full finished sweater is a hurdle a need to get over, and I think this one is the one to get me there. I’m almost ready to divide for the armpits, and from there it’s pretty straightforward, so I just need to stick to it and it’ll be fine.

I love this colour. I am also totally smitten by these chevrons.

I love this colour. I am also totally smitten by these chevrons.

So, that’s where I think this month is heading – I’ll try to work on things in cycles so at least the blog will stay interesting. What are your plans for this short month?

Looking ahead to 2013

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It never really feels like a new year has begun until I have a new day planner. It probably sounds really quaint that I still use paper, but I have tried iCal and Google Calendar and the calendar on my phone and, frankly, I hate them all. I like writing things down and being able to map things out and add Post-It lists, and I really like having them as a record of my year. I don’t keep a diary anymore, so instead I use my day planner to keep track of things and while most of it is boring work stuff, it’s also a record of plans with friends, holidays, and all the fun stuff in my life.

Anyway, now that the organizational side of my brain has the whole year laid out in paper-form, I thought maybe my creative side should try to do a little goal-setting too. I’m not big on resolutions (it seems the point is more to make them than to work toward them), but I like goals (they’re more active and less lofty, it seems to me), so here are a few of mine, in no particular order:

1. Complete a sweater. I came so close with Buckwheat, but the endless stockinette killed me. This year, I want to get past that. I wear a lot of sweaters (pullovers and cardigans) in the winter, fall, and spring, so besides being a milestone in knitting, they’re a super practical addition to my wardrobe.

2. Learn to knit toe-up socks. I knit a lot of socks and generally don’t feel limited by my top-down style. Still, I learned a bunch of skills last year, and I don’t want to stagnate (as if that’s even possible with knitting.)

3. Consider the stash first. Deciding to go on a yarn diet would be pointless, because as soon as I said it I’d itch to buy something. Instead, when starting something new or eyeing a new pattern, I will look to my stash first. I have a lot of awesome yarn there, and it’s easy to forget that when the lure of a new project is dangling in front of me; however, I am running out of space, and want to use the yarn I bought, so it gets first priority. If, though, I don’t have what I need, or there’s a good reason to buy more yarn (I’m on a trip, it’s crazy on sale, whatever) I give myself permission to do so.

4. Be a more creative cook. Our New Year’s Eve dinner party went really well, and I want to have more of them (although maybe with fewer people – cooking for 11 is a lot of work). I don’t cook as much as I used to, and when I do I often make the same things. This year I want to try and branch out, both in terms of what I cook and who I cook for.

5. Publish a couple of patterns. I have a few designs kicking around that I’ve been too lazy to publish, and that’s dumb. This isn’t so much a pride thing as it is about creativity and being part of the larger community, and I want to dive in there.

Alright, that out of the way, here’s what’s on my needles to start 2012:

First up, my Woodstove Season cardigan. This may well be what accomplishes Goal 1, and I really hope it is because I love the design and the wool, and I really want to wear it.

The chevrons are just starting to be visible. (I'm knitting this in SweetGeorgia Superwash Worsted in Cyprus)

The chevrons are just starting to be visible. (I’m knitting this in SweetGeorgia Superwash Worsted in Cyprus)

I picked up some Tosh Sock at Gaspereau Valley Fibres when I was at home over the holidays (I did a bit of yarn shopping, actually, but we can talk about that later) and after I finished my Cranberry Biscotti Socks, I cast on for new ones. I hemmed and hawed about the pattern, but after casting on for three different ones, I settled on Hermione’s Everyday Socks since they were simple and pretty. I like them a lot.

Tosh Sock in Jade.

Tosh Sock in Jade.

Lastly, this clearly isn’t quite on my needles yet, but this yarn will become the Moose Gloves you see in the photo (no one on Ravelry has made this pattern, so there’s no link).

This is more yarn purchased at Gaspereau – this time New England Shetland in Red and Charcoal. The gloves will be grey with red moose.

This is more yarn purchased at Gaspereau – this time New England Shetland in Red and Charcoal. The gloves will be grey with red moose and patterning. (The red is only slightly less vibrant in person.)

L has wanted these gloves since before he bought me Norwegian Mittens and Gloves (they are why he bought it) and his birthday is coming up, so I’m going to buckle down and knit them up. The pattern calls for sport-weight, but since they all run a little small, I’m going to hold this fingering weight Shetland double. In my head, this is a perfect solution – what do you think?

So, that’s three projects on the go, plus five goals – not a bad start to the year. How’s your 2013 outlook?

Elizabeth Zimmerman made me do it

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Let me set the scene. On Friday, I came down with the flu. (Sick again! I know, it’s been a rough fall.) I got halfway to work, realized I was being an idiot, got off the subway, called in, got back on the subway, got home, and went to bed. L had plans that night already, and since it didn’t seem fair to ask him to stay home so he could listen to me moan, he went out. I could knit or read, so I wrapped myself up in two blankets and watched Serenity (I tend to like action-y movies when I’m sick) and while I managed to tweet about it a little at the beginning, but the end I was in rough shape. Then I watched Good Will Hunting, which was probably a mistake.

Anyway, I was feeling a little better on Saturday and although I still couldn’t really knit (I managed a few paltry stitches and gave up), I decided I could maybe manage reading if the book would lie passively in my lap. My current novel was out, so I was casting around for other options when I remembered I had picked up a copy of EZ’s Knitting Without Tears on a whim on Thursday. Perfect. I read the whole thing this weekend. Yes, I got sick and read a book of “chattily written” knitting patterns, techniques, and tricks. Try to stop reading when you pick up one of her books. Just try.

On the one hand, this was a good stand-in for knitting. On the other hand, it just made me want to knit everything (especially sweaters!) and that’s a dangerous feeling to have just as you’re coming off being sick. The result has been a bit of a frenzy of knitting all kinds of things in a short span of time. To being with, I finished the first of my Seafoam Socks (not even Christmas related!). Then I went at my sweater.

I cast on for the Woodstove Season cardigan a few weeks ago. I wasn’t totally sure about the size (my measurements put me between medium and large), and cast on for the medium anyway. It’s knit top-down, so I figured I’d know if it was too small before I got very far. I knit the collar and 12 rows into the body and then put it aside for Christmas knitting, but really also felt like it was coming in too small. I wasn’t sure I wanted to rip it out quite yet, though, and then I read EZ and, well, it went from this

I’m knitting this in SweetGeorgia Superwash Worsted in Cypress.

to this.

Two rows of ribbing. Sigh.

And it may well stay in this state for the next month while I finish other things. The size seems better, though.

I also started my mom’s tea cozy, which I’m making up as I go along. I honestly thought this would be a quickish knit, but it turns out that a big tea pot and a tight gauge combine to require more stitches around than your average sweater. The shaping is all in my head at the moment, but here’s how it’s turning out so far (I’m going for random-ish looking stripes):

It’s growing on me.

What do you think? I wasn’t sure about the colours, but L assures me they suit my parents’ house, so I’m going with it.

And third (fourth?), I’ve decided I need a new hat. I’ve been thinking about it, and I jotted down a little sketch for myself, and now I’m knitting. EZ got me all fired up with the confidence to rely on my own mind, so that’s what I’m doing. I’ll let you know how this goes.

I just cast this on last night. It’s AslanTrends Royal Alpaca in Plum.

In sum: I am still sick, but I am knitting. Oh boy, am I knitting. Next time you need a little push, or to feel clever, or just to be inspired when you have a fever, pick up something Elizabeth Zimmerman wrote – that woman is a force for all that is good and woolly.

Snapshot

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This week has been busy, but here is a snapshot (or three) of what has been going on.

First, I swatched and cast on for a new sweater. I’ll do a proper post about it when I have time, but for now I’ll just say that the pattern is Woodstove Season by Alicia Plummer and the yarn is SweetGeorgia Merino Worsted in Cypress. I am already loving the combination.

The swatch is boring, but the colour is lovely, no?

Secondly, I have been test-knitting for the shop. This is an almost-finished fingerless mitten, knit in Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend. I wish it was for me, because not only could I really use a pair of fingerless mitts, I love both this yarn and this pattern.

Third, the Daphne socks continue apace. My weekend is rapidly filling up, but if I can find a few spare hours in there, I might still be able to get them finished.

I’m a few rows away from finishing the gusset shaping on sock number 2 – so close to finishing I can practically taste it!

Buckwheat sprouts a sleeve

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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!