I'm not the only person in my house who likes to have toasty toes during wintertime activities. Sadly, Mike's collection of knitted socks is small. I started this pair of socks months ago, and I really wanted to finish these before we departed on our trip. Having a deadline is good motivation for a project like this, because GOSH men's socks are an endeavor.
I'm mostly certain that Mike's socks require twice as much knitting as my own, and honestly, I don't enjoy knitting them as much as I enjoy knitting socks for myself. I feel pretty guilty about this, because Mike LOVES his knitted socks and puts in requests for more on a semi-regular basis. Somehow, they always land at the bottom of my priority list.
These are Syncopation Socks knit in Wollmeise Sockenwolle. The pattern gets a bit lost in the color scheme, and there's more pooling than suits my preferences, but this is a solid, basic sock pattern. Typically, I would wait a year before knitting Mike another pair of socks, but during my assessment of my own collection, I decided I could let him jump queue. Since, it's my habit to always take a pair of socks to knit during flights I got a jump on his next pair already, which means he's another day closer to that full sock drawer.
Last week, Mike and I escaped for a wintry getaway with our ski club. They let us join even though we're snowboarders; well, Mike is. I consider it a success when I can manage to spend more time on my feet than I spend flat on my back/face. We're relatively new members, and this was our first trip with the club. There were several trips offered this year, but the one that immediately caught our attention was to Cortina, Italy with side trips to Venice and Florence. We'd never been to Italy, and this trip seemed like a great opportunity to remedy that!
Packing for cold weather most certainly involves wool. I HATE having cold toes. I packed an excessive amount of wool socks, including these Plowshare socks knit using Hedgehog Fibers yarn in "Unforgiven" . These were my plane knitting during our previous vacation, but I let them languish and barely managed to finish them before we left.
I wasn't willing to take any chances regarding the warmth of my feet. I packed something like fifteen pairs of knitted wool socks, which is completely twofold. On one hand, I was able to double up and wear two pair of wool socks at once during the days we snowboarded. My feet never felt a chill. It was brilliant. On the other hand, I experienced extreme anxiety the moment(s) I surrendered my luggage to be checked. Airlines lose luggage all the time. Most people can replace the contents of their suitcases, but not makers. Fifteen pairs of socks... that's the knitting equivalent of an entire year of my life. More? And, that's not factoring in the sweaters and clothing that traveled in the same bag. It makes me sick to even think about. This, friends, is as close to living dangerously as I get. What do you think? Is it is worth the risk? Do you travel with your sewn and knitted clothing? Do you take special care when you do? Share below!
HELLO and HAPPY NEW YEAR! I don't know about you, but I hit the ground running in 2016. I've got new projects from new to me patterns to share with you, but first, I have a few things piled up from last year to get out of the way.
First, some old business. This is the last of the M6886 dresses I stitched up during fall2015. I have nothing new to say about this pattern. I love it (clearly). This time, I used a stash fabric to sew. It's a black/white striped cotton jersey that was purchased from an estate sale.
Of all the projects I've made, the dresses I've sewn from this pattern along with the Rachel wrap dresses I sewed during the same period of time have been the most regularly rotating garments in my daily wardrobe. They're instant gratification garments. They're super easy to sew, and super easy to wear. They're great blank slates too, which makes them versatile during season changes and wonderful for accessorizing and layering.
My love for these patterns is further fueled by the flattery and compliments I field each time I wear one of the garments I've made using them. And, then there's the comfort. My goodness; the comfort!
Overall, 2015 was an enormous year for me in terms of sewing in regard to skill building, production, figuring out what I want from my clothing and building confidence in my own abilities. I feel closer than ever to my long-standing goal of a completely me-made wardrobe.
I'm not a "resolutions" person. But, I will say that I hope to continue evolving and developing my skills this year. I want to keep pushing myself to try new things and tackle new types of projects. And, damn it, I am going to make 2016 the year of trousers, I'm determined.
Are you making plans & lining up projects, or are you throwing caution to the wind?
Man, oh man, oh man! Do I have a treat for you! Feast your eyes on those sweaters. The guys wearing them aren't bad either. ;-D
Even before we had finished our Paris project, the gals and I started plotting our next group endeavor. We wanted to switch back to knitting, but with a spin; we decided to knit for the gents instead of ourselves. Up to this point neither Liz nor Meg had knit for their guys, but they were ready to give it a try!
We'd all favorited the Lumberjack sweater by Marzena Krzewinska the same day it was published on Ravlery and thought it would be perfect. It was classic, simple, and it looked easy enough to modify to each of the guys' builds.
Now, I must confess, with sweaters like this, I consider the pattern more of a suggestion than instruction. I've knit dozens of sweaters for myself and several for Mike, so sweaters as simple as this are relatively intuitive for me. Besides, stitch totals and the collar, I didn't pay a lot of attention to what was happening in the written portion of the pattern. That is, I didn't pay attention to it until Meg and Liz started pointing out all the issues they encountered while reading and following the instructions.
The gauge didn't match the stitch counts provided, there were short cuts in the writing, and the proportions were.... unusual. The sizing is bizarre. Mike is a thin guy, and I had to knit him the XL in order to have a sweater that would allow positive ease. His chest measurement is 40", which usually translates to a men's size Medium.
Also, Mike is 6'1", so I usually lengthen the sleeves and body of his sweaters, but I actually shortened both by several inches each from what the pattern instructed. If you look at the pattern page for this sweater, you'll notice how excessively long the designer intends these elements to be. It could be classified as a design choice, I suppose, but as Mike not so subtly stated when I asked him about his preferences, he would feel like he was wearing a dress in a sweater that covered his 'junk'. And, he felt it would be irritating to have a bunchy midsection and sleeves in the alternative.
The removal of the extra length probably explains why we ALL had extra yarn left after we finished knitting. Like, skeins extra. I was actually very irritated by this. I bought yarn specifically for this sweater based on the pattern suggestion, and I had two (plus) skeins of Mulberry Merino left over. That's $48 I could have put toward another project that will now linger in the stash. Not. Cool.
Additionally, I added four sets of decreases(16 sts total) every twelve rows from the underarm towards the waist. I feel this shaping is as important in a man's sweater as waist and bust shaping are in a woman's sweater. Unless your guy is sporting dad bod, he's probably wider at the shoulders than he is at the waist/hip, and shaping give the silhouette of a man's sweater a taper than is figure flattering. Because, yes, guys totally feel self-conscious in ill-fitting, boxy clothing, just like the ladies.
As further indication that I barely skimmed the pattern, I have my collar the opposite direction. I've always used the mnemonic device, " Girls are always right, and boy are left over" to remember that women's garments close right side over, while men's close with the left side over. I don't know if it's applicable in a sweater like this, but like I said... intuitive knitting. I did what I know. All that said, this is the classic sweater we set-out to knit. I would not, suggest this pattern to a knitter looking to knit his/her first menswear garment, but if you have experience with knitting for men, and/or men's sizing it's a perfectly fine outline and it's easy to modify.
At the end of the day, we had three good looking sweaters. As a fun and totally unplanned coincidence, we realized that we had taken photos of our first sweater collaboration at the Lincoln Park Conservatory at the same time of year that we were taking photos of the guys' first group project. With a bit of prodding, they recreated the above photo from that first photoshoot. They're impersonations of us are shockingly spot on, no? LOL.
I think it was a little strange for the guys to be on the opposite side of the camera after all the behind the scenes work they're used to doing with regards to blog photos. And speaking of behinds....