Tinycat

Halloween Socks

Ludlow

Hello, internet. I am coming off of a few days laid flat with a nasty cold. The downside to this is always missing things, and the scramble to catch up once I’m well. I’ve had pretty bad luck with colds and flus this year, but I’m slowly getting the hang of taking care of myself when they come. The silver lining is, of course, that I ended up spending a couple of days on the couch, cuddled up to the cats and some knitting.

I’ve been working on a couple of different projects, lately. I really want to be working on sweaters, but I have one on the needles right now that’s causing me a bit of size-choice angst, so I’m giving it a bit of a holiday before I come back to it. Instead, I’ve been working on my current socks-in-progress – self-striping yarn in Halloweenish colours, pleasing as only self-striping socks can be – and the best shawl ever.

Well, okay.

It’s not really a shawl – it’s a wrap. That word always gives me visions of a garment that I wear with a fancy pin, fastened at the shoulder, keeping me cozy and warm as I perhaps attend the ballet or take a train to somewhere interesting. Perhaps I am wearing a dress and heels. Maybe my hair is pinned up, fetchingly.

The pattern is Ludlow, from the latest Brooklyn Tweed collection, and I am a little bit obsessed with it. Something about the textured stitches and the squishiness just carried me away, and I had a bit of an impulse cast-on session last week. The pattern calls for fingering-weight yarn held double, but I am using DK weight and a slightly different needle size. It’s working up beautifully, and I am still a bit overly-excited about it. The texture of each stitch chart gives this deliciously drapey-yet-squishy fabric, like garter stitch but slightly different. I find myself totally smitten every time I pick it up.

It is also perfect sick day knitting – each stitch pattern is charted, so one has to pay a little bit of attention, but each row of the chart is fairly easy to follow without checking back too often.

Now that the weather is cooling off, here (I had to wear mittens to bike to work this morning!) I’m very much looking forward to having my wrap done. Maybe I’ll be able to figure out what one wears with a wrap, too.


I have been in a bit of a sewing funk over the past few months. I had grand plans to do tons of quilting, and make a whole bunch of dresses over the summer (I made one, and I have worn it a lot), but then – I don’t know. Whenever I had some free time to make things, spinning and knitting seemed more exciting.

This weekend, I felt a little more like sewing, and pulled out some unfinished projects. This is one that I never blogged, but I have a draft post about it dated October 2013, which – that was a little while ago.

giant maple pillow

red leaf

yellow leaf half-done

I really didn’t have that much more to finish on this – when I left it, I’d handquilted the red and yellow leaves, plus most of the orange leaf. The remainder was only a couple of hours of handquilting, plus decisions about how I was going to make it into a pillowcase.

Based on my notes from last year – I remember finishing the patchwork for this pillowcase in about a weekend. I am a huge fan of these large-scale half-square triangle blocks – maple leaves, bear paws, that sort of thing – and at the time there were a few really pretty variations on Modern Maples that I had seen around online.

I wanted to try out the scrappy-neutral background aesthetic (I refuse to use ‘low-volume,’ to describe fabric, but – that. You know.) instead of solids, and play with making the maple leaf block on machine. I used four different fat quarters for the background, and another four for the ‘leaves.’

I treated the pillow front as a quilt, so that I could get lots of nice texture with the handstitching around each leaf. The batting and backing fabric were all from stash, as was the quilting thread.

So. That was last year.

This year, once I realized how little there was to finish, I decided it would be a manageable project to ease back into sewing. I finished the handquilting over a few episodes of The Mindy Project on Netflix, and trimmed everything to finish.

Finally, Maple Leaves

Finally, Maple Leaves

To make the pillow envelope, I stitched the two envelope pieces to the front with wrong sides together, and then bound the raw edges like I would for a quilt. I did this in two stages, as I wasn’t sure how my machine would feel about stitching seven layers of fabric all at once. This left me with a couple of not-so-invisible stitching lines, but my goal was to get something finished and have fun with sewing, so I am not too fussed.

Finally, Maple Leaves

Finally, Maple Leaves

It is a huge pillow. Huge. Each block is 12″, and even with my wonky/enthusiastic piecing, this clocked in at around 25″ square. I was able to find a 24″ pillow form at one of my local fabric stores, and the finished pillowcase fits it perfectly. For scale, we have two pillows this size that we use as a ‘headboard’ on our double bed.

I am really happy to have this done, especially in time for fall. I’m not sure if this means that my sewing funk is totally over, but it was nice to get my machine set up and get back into the habit of using it.


Finished Walpole!

Finished Walpole!

I finished a sweater a couple of weeks ago! I’ve actually finished a couple sweater and garment projects over the spring and summer, but I lost my camera remote and have been having trouble getting around to taking photos. So really, the exciting thing is that I finished a sweater and also took some pictures of it to share with all of you.

This is Walpole, which I knit using Colinette Jitterbug. It’s an open-front cardigan done in fingering-weight yarn at a slightly loose gauge, meant to have lots of positive ease and drape. I had visions of a sweater in a nice neutral colour. One that I’d be able to wear at work when the weather started to get cooler.

Finished Walpole!

Things I like – the yarn, to start with. I have never worked with this yarn before, but it’s interesting. It comes in 150g skeins, but the yardage is 400m, and it’s listed as fingering-weight. But it’s a very dense yarn, which worked really well for this sweater. Working it at a looser gauge than usual (I used 3.75mm needles, for fingering-weight socks I would use 2.75mm at the largest) didn’t feel like it was being worked at a loose gauge, it almost functioned like sport weight.

The result is a fabric that’s drapey but not saggy, which is really important for something worked all in one piece like this sweater. I was really pleased with the end result.

I also love the fit, even though it was a bit nerve-wracking. The pattern is written with a lot of positive ease, and I chose the size that I thought would fit. I felt good until I tried it on after binding off (it’s a bottom-up cardigan, so there aren’t really a ton of chances to try things on until the yoke is finished) and discovered that it was the perfect size. I couldn’t remember how much my swatches had grown with blocking, so that was a tense job.

I was really careful to lay it flat and do a lot of gentle ‘smooshing’ to keep things from stretching, and I think it worked out in my favour.

This sweater is definitely roomy, but in a cozy way. I planned for there to be about 1″ of positive ease, but I feel like there might be a bit more than that. The only thing that’s definitively ‘too big’ are the sleeves – they turned out to be a zillion miles long, but I’m not sure that I want to rip them back. They work well rolled up (twice!), and that may be fine.

Finished Walpole!

Finished Walpole!

The only modifications I made were to the construction of the sleeves and the collar. For the sleeves, I cast on fewer stitches than recommended and increasing to the upper arm circumference (the pattern instructions suggest casting on the upper arm circumference and knitting with no shaping). Clearly, I should also have made them shorter.

For the collar, the change I made was more to construction than size. Everything on this sweater is worked bottom-up and meant to be seamless. The edge stitches at the front are worked with the body and yoke until the yoke decreases are done. After that, the pattern suggests that you knit the collar back and forth and then seam it to the back neck. I decided to pick up back neck stitches as I went, instead. This eliminated seaming entirely, and the collar still sits properly along the back neck.

Overall, I’m pretty pleased with this sweater. It’s definitely a really wearable piece, especially for indoors over the winter, and I’m excited for things to cool off so that I can take it out.

Finished Walpole!


More Posts


knitting update
21 August, 2014

knitting update

What I Did With My Summer Vacation (or: dye camp)
15 August, 2014

What I Did With My Summer Vacation (or: dye camp)

knitting in with the spinning
24 July, 2014

knitting in with the spinning

tour de fleece: week 2
19 July, 2014

tour de fleece: week 2