Sunshine on My Shoulders.
I have a special treat for you today. I present, for your viewing pleasure, Mike! It's been a while... too long, since I last knit for him. But, as you well know, I am a selfish knitter. If he wasn't so darn charming, I probably wouldn't knit for him at all. And, he does make my knitting look pretty good, so there's that. ;-)
This little ditty is Sunshine on my shoulders by Annalise Dione knit using instructions for the size Medium. I did a button band in place of a zipper closure, per Mike's preference, and increased body and sleeve length to fit Mike's dimensions; otherwise, I knit exactly as the pattern instructed.
The fit is mostly good. The sleeves, however, run a bit more snug than the rest of the garment. I'm not sure if that is an intentional design element or not. It works for Mike, but I would use a larger stitch count (~10% more) if I had to do it over.
In addition to the cable and seed stitch detailing on the sleeve, there are some really nice design elements to the pattern. The saddle shoulder is a nice touch, especially in a man's sweater, to add a little bit more material over the tops of the shoulders. The whole sweater is seamed, which makes it much more durable and longer lasting than if it were knit flat. And, I'm a sucker for a self-faced collar. I love the heft of it. It's stands up on its own and doesn't look at all flimsy.
I got really, really lucky with the yarn for this project, scoring it at the most amazing estate sale I've ever been to. Seriously, it was ridiculous. I bought a couple hundred balls of yarn for $1 and $2 each. Retrospectively, I wish I would have gotten more. I was overwhelmed and concerned that I was overdoing it, but I've already plowed through a quarter of it. Live. Learn.
When I sat down to write my knitting wish-list for the 2014 fall/winter season, I threw in a couple more projects for Mike, so he'll be back around again soon. Do you knit for your partner? Do you have a favorite man-sweater pattern? Let me know below!
Review of this blog from the beginning of 2014 might lead you to believe that I have spent more energy on sewing than knitting. How far from the truth! Reality is, I have more knitting time now than ever before. Since our move to the suburbs, I have two hours of designated train knitting every weekday. It adds up, let me tell you. What I don't have, however, is energy to work on things once I'm home for the evening. So, I knit, knit, knit on the train, pile finished pieces of projects on the chair in the bedroom, and start new projects. It's a really bad habit.
I attempted to guilt myself into finishing some of these things by posting evidence of my slothly negligence on Instagram, which did lead to minor advancement , but not much. All this procrastination leads to fewer finished projects, which leads to infrequent blogging. What's worse, I can't wear the things I've made if I never finish them. And, that's just sad... And wrong... Especially now that it's sweater weather!
Enough's, enough. I'm going to get myself caught up and back into a rhythm. We'll have been in the house for a full year in November, and it's about time I start to feel settled into a routine again. Part of that routine, is blogging regularly. So, be prepared to be inundated with a slew of finished projects.
To put my money where my moth is, I present the first of such aforementioned knitting projects. This is the Inky dress by Marzena Krzewinska. It's the most recent of my finished projects and one I've been looking forward to adding to my closet. It's a very easy to wear sort of dress. The increases starting below the bust-line create a somewhat trapeze shape that's curbed by an angular hemline that's formed using short rows along the bottom back side of the dress. The pattern is very easy to follow and explained clearly.
There isn't anything difficult about knitting this dress. But, I won't pretend that this isn't an undertaking. After all, this is a dress knit using sock weight yarn. In my case, it was approximately 1800 yards of sock weight yarn for the 92cm size. I took little breaks between skeins and worked worked on interim projects to help break-up the endless stockinette. I'd knit it again, not immediately, but definitely down the line. This dress is officially the least fussy item of clothing in my closet.
Yarn: Cascade Heritage Silk- Marine Blue
Cardis and Cambies
It's been a while since Meg, Liz and I collaborated. Summer is always crazy that way. But, not even sunshine and sandals can distract us from sewing and knitting. It can, however, slow us down considerably. Like, a lot. At some point towards the beginning of the summer we decided it would be fun to combine sewing and knitting into one complete outfit. Neither Liz nor I had ever sewn a Cambie before. And, we both wanted to remedy the situation. Meg, is a pro at Cambie sewing, but she was more than willing to add another to her closet.
You may think the duration of the summer would have given us ample opportunity to finish our projects, but it wasn't until we imposed a deadline on ourselves that we jumped to action. In fact, Liz and I pushed the envelop and finished our sweaters after we arrived at the location we'd chosen to shoot photos. It was a high intensity morning, to say the least.
But look at those smiling faces. We all made it!
I'm even wearing shoes! Oh, yes. I left the house (late, might I add) in lounge wear and forgot to pack my shoes. Then we had to stop for gas (tick, tock, tick, tock)... Thank goodness there was a Target on the way for an emergency shoe stop (I felt like I was on Super Market Sweep- in and out in under 5minutes), and thank goodness Michael is the most patient and unshakable man on the planet.
We quickly forgot any stresses that we'd brought with us after a couple cups of coffee, breakfast and the banter that ensued during. I wonder if you can tell how rowdy the three of us can be based on the faces you seen in these photos. It's pretty silly. And ridiculous. And there may exist video evidence that Meg and I know all the words to Sir Mix-a-Lot's biggest hit, of which we are ambassadors.
Speaking of big butts... Sewaholic. Tasia's patterns have a reputation for being generously flattering on pear shaped bodies, and the Cambie dress does not disappoint. Liz, Meg and I represent a pretty diverse spectrum of 'fit' and we were all able to sew this dress with very little modification. That's rare.
Liz opted for the full skirted version. And the skirt is exactly that, full. Liz reported having more fabric to gather into the waistband than any of the 50's dresses she's sewn previously. The result is gorgeous. Especially with the horsehair Liz added to the hem of her dress. Paired with her 1950's cardigan and the bias printed plaid Liz's Cambie has an incredibly vintage vibe.
Meg chose the A-line skirt and a fall pallet for her version. Her sweater had Liz and I envious. It's a gorgeous shape and weight. It also has some of my favorite elements in a sweater, faced edges. They look so nice.
And me, let's start with the sweater. The pattern is Dynamic Jacket by Phildar France. And, it's written in French, so I started by translating the pattern, thanks largely to Google Translator. Almost everything about the pattern worked out the way it should have. However, you can tell, in the photo above, that the neckband contains far too many stitches for the sweater. With the excess stitches in the band, the body of the sweater is elongated/stretched to make room. The band also did not want to lay against my body. Later in the evening, after we were done with photos, I removed and re-knit the button band. I subtracted 100 stitches from the recommended stitch count. I know, that seems like a lot, but I still pick-up nearly 300 stitches. It looks SO, SO, SO much nicer. It was an easy fix, and something I could have resolved prior to pictures, if I hadn't been so far behind schedule.
Now that the issue with the neckband is resolved, I really love this sweater the way I hoped I would. The yarn is fingering weight cotton, Sienna by Jaeger (Discontinued). It's beautiful. It's got a lovely shine and drape. And, I know it's going to be perfect for transitional weather while we wait for temperatures to drop into the wool wearing range.
I had a much more difficult time choosing my version of Cambie than I expected. This dress is very feminine and borderline adorable. Adorable is a style I struggle with. It's right up there with things like novelty prints and the color pink. I think they're fabulous on other people, but I feel absolutely ridiculous wearing them. I broached the issue with Meg and Liz, and decided on three things: 1. straighten out the sweetheart neckline. 2. Use wool. 3. A-line skirt.
I dug through my stash and found a cut of mid-weight wool with a fun swavy print. In the dim light of my hobbit hole (a.k.a. sewing space, a.k.a. basement), the colors seemed to be a perfect match, alas, the pattern in the dress is more turquoise than mint; the grey breaks things up enough that it's not immediately obvious. And, I think I can get away with it.
I was a little hesitant to sew the dress in wool, because most of the Cambie's I've seen are sewn in cottons. But, the details in the pattern, especially paired with the A-line skirt, created a really nice tailored, effect in my finished garment. Even if I did struggle trying to press my seams flat.
I topped the whole thing off with a silk lining, because I'm fancy. Sort of. I joked afterward that the zipper in my dress (~$4) cost me more than the fabrics I used to sew with combined (<$3). Truth. That's a major benefit to salvaging fabric from estate sales- Save money, save the environment and look swanky doing it. *steps off soapbox*
This mission will be filed under successes. I think we're all really thrilled with the outfits we made. We're all also looking forward to a little break before we tackle another project of this magnitude.
Finally, a HUGE thanks to Felix for taking all of our blog photos!!