Monday, October 12, 2015


I've been lagging on the sewing front since we got back from vacation. Maybe because it's been unseasonably hot and my fabric cutting area is the floor in the spare bedroom, up under the eaves. After a few minutes crawling around up there the sweat is blinding my eyes and I have to stagger down to the kitchen for a cooling beverage.

What's a crafter to do in such circumstances? Haul out the multitude of half-finished sweaters and try to figure out what the heck I was doing with my knitting. Wool may not sound like the best creative response to hot weather, but I can knit in the shade with that refreshing beverage at my elbow.

This is Ingenue, a pattern from Custom Knits by Wendy Bernard

It's a mite wrinkled because it lived balled up in my knitting bag in the upstairs closet for 18 months. I'd done the body and most of one sleeve, then set it aside.

Why? With most of my kitting projects I lose steam when I reach a point where I need to make a decision. Is it time to start the shaping for the hips? Are the sleeves long enough, or should I do a few more rows? And, most often, Will I have enough yarn to finish this thing? I have a habit of buying just barely enough yarn for a project and then panicking as I come down to the wire. The Yarn Harlot calls this "playing chicken with your knitting." It's kind of stressful, really.

'Barely enough yarn' is the reason my version of this pattern is a bit skimpier than Wendy Bernard's.

This is one of those nifty top-down, raglan sleeve sweater patterns. I mostly knit these patterns because:
  1. you can try the garment on as you go to see if you're in the right fit ballpark, and
  2. no finishing, except for weaving in your ends
The thing I'm not wild about in a top-down raglan design is the fit in the shoulder.

You can kind of see what I mean in this back view. There's almost a kimono sleeve thing going on. I don't mind it too much in a pullover, but some of my top-down raglan cardigans want to slide off my shoulders if they aren't buttoned up.

I've knit more sweaters from Custom Knits than I have from any other knitting book I own. I find the patterns are straightforward enough to go quickly (if you don't neglect them for months), yet there are enough little decorative bits to keep you from falling asleep over the stockinette.

My favorite part of this sweater is the funnel neck:

The yarn is a wool-cotton blend that I got at the going-out-of-business sale at Yarn Dogs in Los Gatos. Gosh, I miss that store.

The color is something I call "Goth Green." I don't remember what the spinner called it because I carelessly lost the ballband. Yes, all of them. The yarn is almost black, but with a mossy undertone. Kind of reminds me of The Creature from the Black Lagoon.

It blends pretty well with my wardrobe and I'm sure I'll enjoy wearing it, if this heat wave ever ends.

Meanwhile, I've almost finished cutting out the pieces for my first coat. Plus lining! I aim to finish that this week. Wish me luck.


  1. So pretty! I'm with you on that decision point. For me it's the sleeve length. I stand in front of the mirror wearing a partially made sweater with the yarn ball following me all over the place. Lucky not to lose stitches! And like you, I stick with top-down patterns. I hate sewing knit pieces together! This one looks great on you, what an interesting color.

  2. Very Nice! Almost makes me want to learn to knit...

  3. This is beautiful! I am a beginner knitter and am working on my first sweater....for a while now. I really want to finish it, but being new at it, it is taking me a really long time. I'm in awe of your skill.

  4. That's really nice & I love the neckline.

  5. I'm just the same. I'll work and work on a sweater, till I get to a "big decision," when I just lose all enthusiasm and put it away. Usually I've half-assedly tweaked the pattern and I can't wrap my head around the maths required.