Travel Knitting

Hi! I have good news :) My (dumb) wrists & forearms are starting to feel better! I'm still trying to be patient & cautious and not overdo anything. I'm still not really knitting again, yet. But feeling normal without any knitting is a good first step! I also have some travel coming up soon, and I'm hoping I'll be 100% better and knit-ready in time for that. Knitting is one of the things that makes travel fun for me! I always give myself permission to spend any time I'm in airports/waiting in lineups/passenging in cars for a long time/[other travel bothers]... I spent those times knitting, which makes the time pleasant instead of tiresome.

Another special permission I give myself is to choose an entirely new project and START it at the start of the journey. That way I have something exciting to look forward to, and a way to distract myself from worrying about delays or stuff I forgot to pack or the hundred other details I can obsess about.

Travel knitting is tricky though! For me, it has to be several things:

1. Small & lightweight! No use packing the giant, in-progress blanket, or 6 skeins of chunky yarn for a sweater. It must fit into my purse.

2. Exciting! I like to choose new yarn to wind, a new pattern to explore, something that really makes my heart go pitter-pat.

3. Diverse! I do make a point to bring at least two, usually three different things with me, so I can have some variety, especially if it's more than a day or so of travel. Something engaging for long quiet spans (like lace!); something extremely easy/memorizable (a sock, or a plain scarf or cowl with no shaping); something else that makes me happy...

4. No overlaps! Ideally, none of the projects I bring need the same needles, so there's no swapping around needed.

I'm having a really hard time choosing, this time. I poked around my yarn closet to see what yarn I was feeling into, and two skeins jumped out. One sock weight, and one lace weight, both in stereotypically springy colours.

Pink & black sock

This one is wool/nylon sock weight, by miss gusset, and I loooove it. I've had it in my stash for a while, and it just makes me super happy.

Pink & black sock

Coral Lace

The second skein is beautiful 50% wool, 50% silk lace weight by Vancouver Island's Sweatermaker!

Coral Lace

I'm having the worst time choosing patterns though, mostly because the yardage for both yarns is lowish.

The lovely sock weight is around 330 yards, and the lace weight is around 380. I'm also thinking about avoiding pooling, with the sock weight, and showing off the beautiful subtle tonality of the lace weight. I'd like to use both yarns to their best advantage! Maybe a simple seed stitch cowl in the sock weight? Maybe the Campanula Scarf in the laceweight, since it looks so great in pink?

What do you think? What would you knit with these yarns? Do you bring knitting with you when you travel?

Garter Chevron Blanket - halfway catchup!

I was looking through some photos from the last two weeks, and realized that I DO have new photos of my garter chevron blanket to share, even though I'm still on knitting hiatus, for now, while my wrists and forearms heal up from overuse. I actually made a bunch of progress on this project in a short span of time -- which is part of how I messed up my stupid wrists in the first place! I had a couple of days in a row where I had to spent 5+ hours sitting quietly, waiting for things. PERFECT for knitting, right? Except, it's not a good idea to knit garter stitch (knit knit knit knit with no purls or other stitches) for the whole 5 hours with no breaks.

Clover Leaf!

Although I regret it now, because it's meant such a dumb hiatus, I did get quite a lot knit.

Clover Leaf!

I finished the third colour/second stripe! This was the first really truly green stripe, in a colourway called "granny smith." I'm still really loving how this is coming out - I know the colours wouldn't be for everyone, but they're very me :)

Clover Leaf!

This next stripe is the only non-Cascade yarn. This 3rd stripe/4th colour is Classic Wool from Patons, in a bright medium green called "clover leaf". Why different yarn? For the most practical reason ever: this yarn in this colour happened to be on super sale at my LYS. It fit into the colour scheme was economical to boot!

Clover Leaf!

I'm super excited about how this blanket is shaping up! I think I'm firmly in "knitted blanket junkie" territory, now.

Enforced Knitting Breaks Are No Fun.

My wrists hurt. Sometimes, I knit a bit too much in one session. Often, the student side of my life, or some part of one of my jobs, requires a LOT of typing or handwriting in a short span of time (ie. hand writing comments onto 40+ essays in a couple of days, or doing revisions to a dissertation chapter in one very focussed weekend).

Even one of those activities tends to aggravate my wrists and forearms, but if there's more than one going on at once, I can be pretty certain I'm going to have a flare up of "UGH WTF WRISTS", as I think of it.

Unfortunately, when this happens to me, it seems to take far longer to heal the injury than it did to cause it in the first place. A couple of days of high-intensity wrist activity, and I end up facing a week, or more, of NO KNITTING time.

This is what's been going on in the last week! Siiiiiiigh. It's a HUGE bummer. And, remember this post? Not being able to knit makes managing my stress way more challenging for me.

Instead of knitting, to keep myself busy, I've been reading a lot (I just finished John Green's An Abundance of Katherines - verdict: interesting, but nowhere near as good as The Fault In Our Stars or Looking for Alaska; I'm also just finishing up Joan Jacobs Brumberg's The Body Project: An Intimate History of American Girls, and starting Carrie Pitzulo's Bachelors and Bunnies: The Sexual Politics of Playboy, going for walks by the ocean (which I love doing even when I CAN knit), and watching lots of documentaries (The Loving Story, for example, is AMAZING - and it's on netflix right now!).

Despite those fun activities, I am DYING to get back to knitting on my chevron stripe blanket. Hopefully soon... in the meantime, I'm going to keep icing my wrists and trying to stay busy. Do you have strategies for keeping your knitting muscles happy or helping them heal when they get hurt?

Yellow to Gold to Granny Smith

I took my garter stitch chevron blanket out for coffee and a donut this week! That right there, friends, is an earl grey donut. It was FAN. TASTIC :) Yarn, latte, donut. Good.

Also, Miss New Zealand thinks this blanket is hers, already. She's generally a big fan of squishy knitted fabric, and this is no exception. If I'm not quick to put it away, this is what happens:

Feline usurper ;)

Can I show you some actual progress instead of just snacks and cats? YES! Ta da!

Giant chevron!

I've modified from the original pattern a little bit. Instead of working 50 rows per stripe, I'm doing 60 (30 garter ridges). I just wanted to use up more yarn and have a wider stripe than I had at 50 rows.

Sharp corner

I like how it's looking so far! Up next: apple green. I think the colourway is actually called "granny smith".

Greens!

Greens!

Even though most of the time it's squashed into a blob in my lap, it's starting to be pretty substantial size-wise!

Blanket-ey!

Adding apple green

Can I bust out this stripe in a week or less? (Probably. My other activities this week will be deadline-dissertation-chapter-writing [ugh], deadline-TA-grading [ugh], and feeling grumpy and sad about my still far far away spouse [a million ughs]. That stuff means more knitting.)

Adding apple green

Garter Chevron Blanket: Yellow :)

Have I mentioned that I really, really like garter stitch? And blankets? And projects that combine those two things? Also STRIPES? Also yellow and green? I am so excited about this blanket :)

Pictures? Of course!

I used my thematically appropriate yellow and green yarn ball stitch markers.

Blanket nub!

The start of something chevroney

It started to grow really quickly right away!

Crescent!

Triangle!

Because I've used a different needle size from the pattern (I'm using a 5.5mm needle), I've adjusted the numbers a bit. I continued increasing the initial triangular section until I had a total of 269 sts (134 sts on either side of the center stitch).

Why 269? That's when I ran out of yellow :)

Next up? Gold heather!

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Yellow, meet gold!

Matching teapot optional! In just a couple of tea-filled evenings and boredom-filled bus rides, I've made lots of progress already.

Matching teapot optional!

The rows are so long that they gobble up yarn like nobody's business. Already, in just 15 rows, I've used up 40g of yarn.

Stripey situations getting started

How wide will the stripes be? More on that next time! It might involve a golden rule...

Spring Startitis?

Is it spring where you are? It's definitely spring where I am. Our winters are extremely mild (to my dismay... hush, you people with harsher winters, I know you hate them, but I genuinely miss snow!) I think it snowed one day this year? Maybe? It didn't stay on the ground, just melted right away. And now, it's definitely spring. Flowers are blooming, birds are singing - one landed on our balcony today, and my cat nearly had a heart attack, she was so excited!

The last week or so, I've been feeling a strong urge - and one I don't feel very often... the urge to cast on LOTS of new projects! Usually I'm a finishing things kind of person. I like to have only a small number of things on the go, so I can experience the pleasure of finishing regularly. So wanting to cast on more than one thing at once is unusual for me! Nevertheless, my brain has been buzzing with ideas for new knits to start, even though it's spring, and not exactly the right season for lots of warm woolies. (I know there's spring knitting, too - goldy green lace and bright colours in lightweight yarns, and I have those going on already.)

Despite my urges, I've so far limited myself to just one new project: a totally non-seasonal worsted weight wool BLANKET! If you've been reading for a while, you'll know that I really like knitted blankets. I've had the pattern I'm using for this one queued for a while (it's free!!) - the Heirloom Chevron Throw, by Jocelyn Tunney/Fancy Tiger Crafts.

I've been contemplating colour options for what feels like forever, but finally settled on some version of a mostly (barf!) green gradient or ombré look. My pathetic paint mockup:

green gradient?

And here are the super pretty yarns I ended up with!

Barfy goldy greens!

All are Cascade 220 or 220 Heathers, except the middlemost green (the one that's in a ball, not a skein, in the photos), which is Patons Classic Wool Worsted.

Someone else loves them too!

I'm REALLY excited about this project, and I think the finished blanket is going to look super perfect with my living room decor (okay okay... at this stage in my life, I don't really have decor under control, but I do have throw pillows, and green placemats/coasters/okay green everything shut it). These colours are all over the place at my place! Evidence from the kitchen:

See, these colours are everywhere

Matchy matchy living room!

Pretty with my cushions!

I have all the yarn wound up and ready to go :) Hurray! (Bonus Shepherd Hoodie cameo!)

All wound up!

 

I think I'm going to call it the (Barf) Green Is Best Blanket :)

FINISHED Shepherd Hoodie!

Finally! Finished, blocked, buttons-sewn-on, totally dunzo photos of my Shepherd hoodie! In case you need a recap (or you're new - hello!!)...

Pattern: Shepherd Hoodie by Kate Davies

Yarn: The Shepherd & The Shearer by Juniper Moon (still available for sale here)

Buttons: Handmade antler buttons from Button & Needlework Boutique

I LOVE this sweater. I would knit it again in a heartbeat! The yarn was right up my alley: a little bit rustic, a lot unique. The pattern was well-written, easy to understand, clearly illustrated, and easy to adjust too. I'll let it speak for itself from here :)

Shepherd

Shepherd

Shepherd

Shepherd

Shepherd

Shepherd

Button band

Button and tulip buttonhole

More photos on flickr, if you want all the gory sweaterey details!

I'm sad to be finished because it was SO fun to make, but I'm really, really excited to wear it :)

Gratuitous button photo post :)

I have the BEST button store near me: the Button and Needlework Boutique. It's a completely charming store that stocks not only a wide variety of glorious buttons, but also tons of yarn for handknitting and supplies for embroidery and needlepoint. I visited recently to choose buttons for my Shepherd hoodie! The staff are excellent, consistently patient and super helpful, with abundant thoughtful suggestions about button-to-garment pairings and a wealth of knowledge about what each button is made out of and where it comes from. (And when I say they're patient, you should know that I pulled out a LOT of buttons to lay out on my sweater and probably spent forty five minutes hemming and hawing.) They even wrap up your purchases in tidy, perfect paper packets.

Button love :)

I must have considered twenty different kinds of buttons for my Shepherd sweater this trip. I like to cast a wide net in case something surprises me. I looked at brown buttons (wood, leather, plastic, horn...) of every shade, from chestnut to honey to wheat. I looked at silver and gray buttons (metal, polished wood, ceramic) - gray is really right up my alley.

Button options

I also looked at buttons that more closely matched the cream colour of my sweater. I always have an internal debate between choosing bold, contrasting buttons or subtler, matching buttons. There were rather a lot of very charming cream buttons made from shell, wood, plastic, and even antler.

I've used their locally produced, humanely harvested antler buttons before, on my Hooray cardigan (the antlers are shed by deer, and then collected, cut, and sanded into button shapes by a local artisan). They are SO completely charming; I really meant to choose something different this time, for variety, but they looked so perfect and they made my heart go pitter pat, so I gave in. Wouldn't you have done the same?

Button love :)

Button love :)

Button love :)

Button love :)

Button love :)

Miss New Zealand likes them as much as I do!

Button love :)

Shepherd Progress!

I have some actual exciting progress to show you on my Shepherd sweater! (Design by Kate Davies, yarn by the amazing Juniper Moon Farm -- you can STILL get kits to make your own Shepherd or Shearer sweater right here!) This post is pretty photo heavy :)

Since my last update, I finished all the knitting and wove in lots of ends. First, I finished the hood knitting! Soooo much seed stitch.

Shepherd Hood

Then I handled all the yarn ends lurking on the inside of the sweater. Some people don't enjoy finishing work and find it kind of a chore; I actually really love it! It feels so tidy and orderly, and the results are super gratifying.

Weaving in ends

Weaving in ends

Weaving in ends

Weaving in ends

Tools for end-weaving

Next up, blocking! I ran into a little speed bump... the sweater was way too big to fit into my sink, where I usually wash handknits.

Uh oh... not fitting in the sink

The solution? The bathtub of course!

Shepherd bathtime!

After a nice, loooong bath in warm water and Soak wash (I have the special Ravelry scent, and I love it!), I squeezed it out, squished in a towel, and laid it out for blocking. This sweater needs a fairly firm blocking hand, to make the cables really stand out properly and to get the right size. I blocked to a combination of pattern measurements and my own modifications (for example, I made the sleeves shorter, because my arms are shorter :) )

Blocking!

Button band blocking

Sleeve blocking

Since the sweater is kind of hefty, it's still drying. (Well, also because I live in a very damp rainy place, and that's not helping it to hurry up and dehumidify.) Hopefully in a couple of days I'll have a dry, finished sweater to show you, with buttons sewn on and everything! I did get buttons, and I looooove them. More on that next time :)

Something finished, something new.

Something finished! I finished both of the Magic Mirror mittens, made from 100% angora yarn that I picked up at Maiwa on Granville Island a couple of years ago. I gave them a quick wash and then let them air dry, to help even out the cables.

Here's to warm hands!

They're lovely and soft and if it's still cold here this winter I will wear them! Pretty and girly and not very practical :)

Something new!

Because my other in-progress projects are either a. long term (the Six'es blanket - I now have 66/189 hexagons complete), b. SO CLOSE to being finished I can taste it (the Shepherd hoodie!), or c. lace that means I need to pay attention (I haven't shown you the lace yet!), I started something new.

Because I have a slim budget at the moment, and because I have plenty of very nice yarn already, I've been choosing new projects the last few months by searching through my yarn closet until I feel excited. (Okay there's other stuff in the closet besides yarn... I just mostly care about the yarn.) Sometimes it's texture that grabs me, or wanting a particular finished garment, but usually it's colour.

When I opened the closet, I saw this gorgeous yellow mohair I've had for a while (also acquired on Granville Island, but at a different store!) I still haven't really decided on the perfect pattern for it, despite thorough Ravel-diving.

Sunny mohair

I also noticed these yarns together:

Happy colours

SO PRETTY! I imagined a tubular cowl with narrow stripes in all of these colours and got REALLY excited. On closer examination, I remembered that the white and yellow are heavier weight than the other colours (they're sport weight, and the rest is sock weight); swatching confirmed that they will not all play nicely together after all.

The white and yellow, however, are both the exact same yarn, and it was the happy sunny yellow that most caught my imagination. This yarn is squishy and bouncy, an 80% merino, 20% bamboo blend with lots of energy and twist.

Stripe time

So, instead of the rainbowey stripey concoction I imagined, I cast on a tubular, striped, chevron cowl in white and yellow. I'm adapting from this pattern.

Chevron stripes!

The dark blue is a provisional cast on - I'll unravel it, at the end, so that I can graft the two live ends together and make everything seamless and fancy!

Chevron stripes!

It's good to have this project on the needles. Easily memorized pattern, good for working on while watching tv or listening to vlogs & podcasts, shortish rows, bright happy colours. What are you working on?

Knitting to stay okay.

Sometimes, when people see me knitting in public, or when they hear that I'm a knitter, they'll respond with some version of "Wow, I wish I had the time/patience/attention span/ability to knit!" I totally understand that reaction - that's more or less what I say to my friend who gardens prolifically, or the one who goes the gym all the time because she genuinely enjoys it. Sometimes I just nod and smile, and sometimes I tell people that actually, I knit because I need to. Truthfully, I knit for a LOT of reasons.

I love the creativity it involves (even when I'm knitting from patterns, which I usually am). I love the colours and textures. I love that it produces warm, comfortable, occasionally-stylish and occasionally-frumpy garments and accessories and things - it takes my time and converts it into a tangible object I can hold and wear and sometimes give away to a person I like. I love that it connects me with a less technological time (even though technology is pretty critical to my knitting life... *COUGH RAVELRY COUGH.* I love that there are constantly new challenges, new skills to learn, new techniques to master, new ways to expand my knitting repertoire.

But one of the major reasons I knit is that it makes me feel more... okay.

I'm a fairly, ahem, "highly strung" person, to put it delicately. I get nervous easily, I worry apocalyptically all the time (even about things that don't really deserve to be worried about), and I fidget constantly. Knitting lets me channel some of that anxious energy into an activity that is both productive and placating. Most of the time, I can actually feel my body relaxing and my breathing becoming more regular when I pick up my needles. (The other knitters reading this are yelling EXCEPT WHEN YOU DROP A STITCH RIGHT?! - yes, that has the opposite effect! ;) )

Knitting helps keep my mind busy, and it makes me a happier, calmer, more functional person. The last few months have included a bunch of personal challenges, from health stuff to job and academic stresses to being apart from my best friend, which is extremely, constantly, wrenching. As a result, I've found myself reaching for my knitting even more than normal. I'm really, really glad that knitting is part of my life, because I don't think I would be okay without it.

This week, I've been...

1. ... kinda sick. I've been drinking lots of hot liquids. Mostly hot water with honey, lemon, and ginger. IMG_4262

IMG_4264

2. ...working on my super soft angora mittens (pattern here, yarn here). This project has gone SUPER quickly.

IMG_4265

3. ...making soup. This is the beginnings of very tasty onion soup. I used this recipe from Smitten Kitchen, except I didn't have wine (sad), and I added some rosemary and a parmesan rind, because obviously. I didn't bother with the croutons, but I did add cheese to my bowl. Soup is good for sick people.

IMG_4269

4. ...blocking the finished mittens! Yeah!!

IMG_4271

5. ...not finishing my Shepherd sweater. Not yet, folks. I did wind up yarn for a new sweater project, though! More details when I get it cast on :)

Mitten fit.

So, here's the thing. I'm an experienced and pretty confident knitter. I adjust patterns all the time to create garments that will fit me the way I want them to - shorter sleeves, adequate busts, buttons where I want them, all kinds of modifications.

Even though I can and usually do take my actual body's measurements into account when I'm knitting, until now, I've only ever knit mittens that are too big for me.

I really have no explanation for this. I tried them on as I went. I could see that probably they would be "a little bit long". But I still finished them.

Exhibit A: a basic mitten recipe, and handspun that I got at one of Victoria's yarn stores.

Long

The cuff is WAY too long. The wrist-to-fingertip portion isn't too bad, but the too-long-cuff means it never sits quite right. Also notice the lobster claw thumb, which is weird and wrong but I love it.

Exhibit 2: Beautiful cabled mittens out of Brooklyn Tweed's Shelter yarn, which is unique and gorgeous.

SO long

WHO HAS ARMS LIKE THIS?! (Just to be clear - the birth mark on the left of the photo is about 1" away from the inside of my elbow. Is there a name for "inside elbow part"? Inbow? Brb googling... "Antecubital Fossa".) Pattern, you crazy. Sarah, you also crazy for not realizing you made a mitten sleeve, and then MAKING ANOTHER ONE. So beautiful, so too long for me.

Exhibit III: Okay fine, these pretty much fit. But the button loop at the end makes them a little bit impractical... or at least a little bit quirky. (The pattern is by the super talented Ysolda Teague.)

Also kind of long

Finally, enter New Favourite Mittens That Fit And Also Have Nostalgic Childhood Resonance!

Just right :)

Following another Raveller's modifications, I eliminated several sections of the (very nice, and very free) pattern, in order to shorten the cuff, the palm, and the thumb, substantially. And behold! A my-hand-sized mitten! It's made out of 100% angora, which is BANANAS soft.

Mitten party!

When I was a kid, I had a pair of plain white angora mittens and a matching hat that were super super soft, and only for special occasions, and I treasured them. They weren't handknit, or cabled, but they were soft and pretty and made appearances on the kind of days when my sister and I had to wear matching dresses my mom had sewed with crinolines and too tight sleeve elastic. I'm pretty stoked about the new, adult version, that I can wear anytime I want :)

Pretty mitten!

Guess who has two thumbs and two sleeves?

This guy! Two sleeves and the start of a hood!

Remember, this is Kate Davies' Shepherd Hoodie knit in Juniper Moon's limited edition Shepherd & Shearer yarn (which you can STILL GET right here!)

How about a super blurry selfie modelled shot? I'm expecting it to look a bit different once it's been blocked, but you can see the general shape of the garment.

Blurry selfie!

Once the sleeves were finished, I moved on to the last big knitted element - the hood! Working the hood requires you to collect stitches on hold and pick up new stitches, from the front button band edges, up along the shaped fronts, and across the back. (Bonus cat hair in the photo! Thank you, cat, for spreading your body hair all over everywhere.)

Smooth pickups across the front

Tiniest hood progress!

Then there's a sea of seed stitch to work!

Seed stitch ocean!

The hood requires quite a lot of yarn, so I ended up unravelling my swatch to reclaim the 30+g it had used up. Here's the swatch yarn unravelled...

Ramen yarn?

...and after a soak and air dry! Much better.

That's better!

I'm so looking forward to having the finished sweater available to wear, because it's been quite cold lately (cold for my corner of the country, anyway). But I'll also be a tiny bit sad when the knitting is done. This piece has really been a pleasure to knit, and the yarn is an absolute favourite. I'll be looking for more hard-wearing, lanolin rich yarns in the future, for sure: they're awesome to knit with, and they result in garments that wear and last extremely well.

I admit that I'm looking ahead to what's next too - a pretty, shiny lace project!

Shepherd Sweater: Sleeves, part 2!

I hope you're into the Shepherd Hoodie, because it's all hoodie all the time around here these days :) I finished the first sleeve!! Aaah excitement! I modified the length and adjusted the decrease placement slightly to fit my actual arm. The cables look so lovely all long and lean!

Sleeve cables!

Here's what the underside looks like - you can see that the cables in this section get a bit distorted as you integrate decreases into the pattern.

Underside of sleeve - decreasing in pattern

The cuffs are worked in seed stitch, and are designed to make a bell shape, which I find extremely charming.

Seed stitch progress

Sleeve cuff

I bound off my cuff using the plain old "Work 2, *pass second stitch over first stitch, work 1, repeat from *" method. I bound off purlwise, so that the bind off would be less visible from the right side of the work. (You can see how it looks on the inside of the cuff below.)

Sleeve cuff - inside bind off view

It was a pretty exciting milestone to finish the first sleeve. One more sleeve to go, then the seed stitch hood, weaving in ends, and buttons! I can almost see the finish line if I squint!

Seed stitch bell cuff

One sleeved sweater!

Shepherd Sweater: On to the SLEEVES!

The Shepherd Hoodie is really starting to look like an actual garment! SO exciting :) First, I finished the upper back portion of the sweater body.

Body!

Upper back

Then, I joined the shoulders using the 3 needle bind off, which is a really cool technique. I think it creates a very tidy and pleasing finished look!

Shoulder Seam - 3 needle bind off

Here's a wrong side view of the shoulder seam:

Shoulder Seam - Wrong Side

And here's how it looks on the right side!

Shoulder Seam - Right Side

Next up: sleeves! The sleeves are worked in the round, from the shoulder to the wrist, and include a wedge of seed stitch in the armpit that gets decreased away as you work sleeve shaping. I'm working the sleeves using a long circular needle and the magic loop method. It's my favourite for small circumference knitting! I don't mind dpns for lighter weight yarns, like sock yarn, but for heavier weights, I prefer magic loop. (What do you use? I'd love to know!)

Shoulder Seam & start of sleeve!

Starting sleeve cables!

Sleeve!

My execution of the decreases in the seed stitch wedge is not as great as it could be; or, more accurately, my integration of the decreases into the rest of the seed stitch is not as invisible as I would have liked. HOWEVER, since it's in the armpit (and who looks at armpits?!), I'm not going to rip it out.

Bottom of sleeve seed stitch wedge

In order to make sure the sleeves are a good size for me, both in terms of diameter and in terms of length, I'm trying the sweater on as I go. This is one of the great advantages of this type of sweater construction! I do want the sleeves to have some positive ease, so that I can wear other garments underneath, so I might not end up decreasing as much as the pattern suggests.

I feel like I'm getting so close to wearable sweater even though there's a fair bit left - a sleeve and a half, the hood, and finishing work still to do! How's your knitting going?

Shepherd Taking Shape!

Since my last Shepherd sweater update, I've made some exciting progress! I finished up the right front, which was shaped with a combination of binding off stitches and decreasing at the neck edge.

Close up of front shaping

Right Front

Then I worked on the left front, shaped in the same way.

Left Front

Doesn't it look pleasingly symmetrical? I'm starting to see "sweater" when I look at it instead of just "rectangular block of cables"!

Body without top back!

Now I've moved on to the center back portion of the body. It's wider than the front pieces were, so it's a bit slower going, but no shaping to keep track of! I'm looking forward to finishing this bit, because then I get to join the shoulders and start SLEEVES!

Even for such a large and labour-intensive project, knitting this sweater isn't at all a slog. There's constant evidence of progress to keep me feeling motivated and excited! I only wish it was small enough to carry with me on the bus ;)

Shepherd Update!

The last time I showed you my Shepherd sweater, I was making steady progress on the lovely, heavily cabled body, and generally gushing about both pattern and yarn's considerable charms. Shepherd before dividing!

I'm still totally in love with the pattern and the yarn - no surprise there. I know it's been said (by me, and by others) already, but the yarn for this project is just SO so special. It's not buttery soft like most of the commercial yarns available today, but it's not really what I would call "rough" either. It just has more substance, more body, more crispness, and I loooove it. Also bears repeating: it just smells. so. fantastic. Lanolin is magical, and fragrant.

ANYWAY! I took a little break from Shepherd over the holidays, to crank out a pair of socks for a beloved whose feet were cold and whose office mates apparently had handknit socks made by their wives. Now my attention is back on the sweater!

Like my friend Amber, who is also knitting (and blogging!) the Shepherd hoodie, I've just divided for the fronts, back, and sleeves. (*waves* HI AMBER!) Before I divided, I worked the body length to about 16.25", a little bit shorter than the pattern calls for, for my size, because I'm a bit shorter than, um, most eighth graders ;)

A bit messy

I prefer to put held stitches on extra circular cables, instead of waste yarn, so that they're super quick to pick up again when I need them. So, that means my sweater looks like a bit of a hot mess right now. All is well, there are just a lot of extra cables flapping around!

Starting the right front!

Progress :)

I'm making progress on the first front piece, and getting really excited about being able to try on a sweater body sometime soon :)

Knitted Goods are Needed

Things are, predictably, busy this month. But yarn is still a constant for me, which is a VERY good thing. Because it's been unusually cold the last week; knitted goods are needed! I've been wearing wooly owls,

Owls!

And knitting with the brightest green,

Brightest green!

Hex!

And starting a sock for a beloved with cold feet.

Sock!

Hope your knitted goods are keeping you toasty and cheery, too :)