Knitting Notes, Project Ideas

Sweater Weather

Sweater weather has officially arrived, and you can imagine that we are rejoicing at its return at Wool & Grace.  As we take out some of favorite hand-knits and get them ready to wear, we’re also enjoying some new samples at the shop – ones that we’re really excited to share with our community of knitters.  Plus, there are some other projects out there that we’re loving so much that we have to share them with you!

Kumon by Stacey Gerbman ©Jared Flood/Brooklyn Tweed

One of the new pieces we’re excited to share at Wool & Grace is Kumon, a simple open cardigan knit up in Brooklyn Tweed Arbor, designed by local talent Stacey Gerbman.  This is the sort of cardigan I wrote about in a blog several weeks ago: a long cardigan that you can throw on over just about anything.  Gerbman’s design has a half-brioche stitch used throughout the body.  What does this mean?!?  To begin, it means you’re only doing your brioche stitching every other row; the alternate row is worked in a traditional 1×1 rib.  The other amazing part of this is that if you make a mistake (something so daunting in the brioche stitch), you only need to rip back one row to your 1×1 rib to get on solid footing.  Kumon is knit up in Arbor, which just so happens to be my “favorite-yarn-to-knit-with” because it rolls off your needles like butter.  What’s wrong with this timeless and textured sweater that is fun to knit and easy to wear?  Absolutely nothing.  It’s a great project and we think you should come and check out this gorgeous sample for yourself.

The Weekender in Mary’s Tweed

I recently finished a sample for the shop: Andrea Mowry’s Weekender Sweater knit up in Lana Grossa’s Mary’s Tweed.  Patty wanted a straightforward sweater to highlight the versatility of this yarn, and I think the Weekender does the trick.  There are some great learning techniques, including a tubular cast-on and bind-off (interesting techniques that give a polished detail to your sweaters) and some short rows for your shoulder shaping.  Mary’s Tweed is an awesome choice for this sweater project.  The finished product is lighter and softer than its Shelter sisters (the yarn the project calls for).  That said, we adore the Weekender’s our knitters have made in Shelter.  The Weekender is about as straight-forward as sweaters get, so pick from any number of your favorite worsted-weight yarns for this project.  HiKoo Kenzie, Shepherd’s Wool, and Malabrigo Rios are a few other yarns that are great choices beyond Shelter and Mary’s Tweed.

One note about ease and the Weekender sweater: Mowry shows this sweater worn with about 10” of ease.  I’m a big fan of ease and I have plenty of sweaters with this much or more.  That said, I hear from a lot of our knitters that they feel like this much ease is too much, that their sweaters seem to swallow them, etc.  Alex was the first of the W&G crew to knit the Weekender, and before she started, we talked about making it with less ease.  She did just that, and in the end, she was much happier with the finished product than  some other completed sweater projects.  When I made this sample, I knit it so that it would have about 5” of ease on me.  It’s comfortable without feeling overly roomy.  When you’re thinking about how much ease to knit into your sweaters, I recommend comparing the finished measurements with sweaters that you yourself wear!  Just because it’s recommended doesn’t mean you have to do it.  It’s your sweater, so knit it how you like it.

Silver Lake Sweater
Blue Sky Fibers’ Silver Lake Sweater in Techno

In Wool & Grace land, Patty just finished the Silver Lake Sweater, a long v-neck pullover knit up in Blue Sky Fibers’ Techno.  This bulky yarn is light as air and makes for a sweater that is light to wear and quick to knit.  Techno has long been a favorite yarn, and our knitters have been using it for sweaters like Turtle Dove, Carbeth and the CocoKnits Emma.  The Silver Lake Sweater is easy-peasy, and Patty attests to it being a great first sweater project. 

Blue Sky Fibers’ Techno

Knit in a bulky-weight yarn, Silver Lake is quick to knit.  I’m pretty sure Patty zoomed through her own in less than two weeks.  Also, Silver Lake is knit up in four pieces and seamed together, giving knitters a quick introduction to basic sweater construction.  There’s an added plus to this: the back, front and sleeves are, for the most part, easily shaped and knitted.  This sort of knitting is generally more relaxed than seamless sweater construction.  (Of course, you do have to seam it up, or pay someone to do that for you!)  The deep v-neck makes it a great layering piece that can be worn out to dinner, throughout the entire weekend or off to work!

Rhinebeck Sweater
the Rhinebeck Sweater from Loopy Mango

One sample that we only had at Wool & Grace for a day (but that is definitely worth a mention) is the Rhinebeck Sweater from Loopy Mango.  Loopy Mango’s new yarn, Merino Worsted, was a huge hit at our Loopy Mango Knitting book signing, and the Rhinebeck Sweater was also.  I have to admit, I would never have chosen to knit it based on the pictures alone.  When you try it on, it is light and soft and feminine and flattering.  Carrie and I both picked up yarn to knit it, and part of its secret is that you knit up the body of this sweater using a US19 needle (!!!??!!!) with this worsted-weight yarn.  I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about that, but guess what?  I. LOVE. IT.  I am generally obsessed with Merino Worsted and its versatility (and fun colors), but I’m really into this sweater.  Chance are you’ll see a number of Wool & Grace knitters donning their own Rhinebeck Sweaters soon!

Loopy Love
Oejung, Patty & Anna – Loopy Love!

Before I wrap this up, I would like to give a special shout out to Oejung and Anna from Loopy Mango.  Loopy Mango yarns and patterns make it possible for all levels of knitters to “knit happy” and make something that is really, truly fabulous.  Whether it’s a quick hat or a super bulky sweater, we’ve seen these projects build the confidence of our community of knitters.  We’re incredibly grateful for these women bringing this type of knitting to our world.   We had so much fun with them here last Saturday, and we’ll look forward to a future visit.  In the meantime and with Oejung and Anna in mind, Happy Knitting and enjoy this season of Sweater Weather!

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