Finally Finished: Me-sized Elle Melle!

Standard

A couple of years ago, I got it into my head that I needed to knit myself an Elle Melle; I’d so loved the one I knit for M, both the knitting of it and the look of the finished sweater, and I wanted one in grey and black. I had nearly finished it, and then it got buried under other things and I didn’t rediscover it until recently, while trying to reorganize things after our move. It turned out that all it needed was to have the ends woven in, and to be blocked, and then to have a zipper installed. So now, thanks mostly to the efforts of 2-years-ago me, I have a finished sweater!

Hooray for Elle Melle!

Ravelry Project Page
Pattern: Elle Melle, with math to make it a 36″ sweater
Yarn: Classic Elite Mohawk, which had a TON of breaks in it :(
Needles: Size 2 and size 4
Time to knit: Ha! Well, if we go from start to finish, two full years, but it was buried under other stuff for the vast majority of that time.

I can see why I set it aside at the point I did – there were a LOT of ends to weave in, because the Mohawk yarn had a ton of breaks in it. It almost seemed to have been nicked by a box cutter or something; it was a rather frustrating experience, and made me wish that I’d gone with my first intuition and knit it with Beaverslide Sport/Sock. But I’d wanted to try a new-to-me yarn, and it is a very nice, warm sweater now that it’s done.

Stitching in a zipper. This is...gonna take awhile. (I’m not a speedy stitcher!)

The other reason I let it linger was that I was really dreading putting a zipper in. It just intimidated me! It took me most of the afternoon and evening yesterday, but I did it!

It’s terrible for my neck and I really need new trifocals but for now, I’m stitching this zipper on by holding it a few inches from my face and looking over the tops of my glasses.
I desperately need new glasses; the “hold it inches from face” method was quite hard on my neck!

My stitches weren’t the most beautiful – it’s really freaking hard to see what you’re doing when you’re sewing on a black zipper to a black zipper facing with black thread! But look, it’s a functional zipper!

Zipper!

Ziiiiip!

Zipper!

I’m really quite proud of my first successful zipper installation! M has requested a zipper on her Octopus Yoke cardigan, so I’m also glad I got a chance to practice on this sweater!

Proud of my first zipper installation.

Another detail I really like is the short-rowed collar. It was too cold to try to take pictures without a cowl, but I think you can still see the angled neckline here:

Showing off the short-rowed collar

As much as I love the look of Elle Melle, I don’t think raglans are the most flattering style of sweater for me; I’m really broad shouldered but otherwise petite, and raglans seem to amplify the broadness of my shoulders while making the rest of me look boxier than I am. But I do think this is a going to be a cute sweater to wear.

All zipped up!

It turns out to be mighty difficult to get good photos of a sweater when it’s just you and your self-timer, on a cold snowy day. But the snow did make a nice background!

Elle Melle in the snow.

The hardest is getting a photo of your own back with just a self-timer. This was the best I could do, and it’s not quite in-focus. Oh well!

Somewhat out of focus photo of the back.

All-in-all, I’m pretty darned pleased with how this turned out! Hooray for Elle Melle!

I installed a zipper! Hooray!

Advertisements

I made a hat!

Standard

And it has a giant pompom!

Pompom!

Ravelry Project Page
Pattern: Asterisk/Dot Hat
Yarn: Swans Island Sport Weight (from the Mason-Dixon Knitting kit) in Evergreen, Beach, and Dew
Needles: Size 2 and Size 5
Time to knit: About 1.5 months

Asterisk hat, off my head.

I love the colors, and I loved working with the Swans Island yarn (such a treat!), but I’m not sure how much I loved knitting the pattern – the super thin lines of the motif combined with extremely long spaces between contrast color stitches meant doing a lot of float-catching and managing. And even though I hit gauge perfectly and I don’t think I have a particularly large noggin, the hat came out pretty darned tight, and that strains the floats and ends up making some of the diagonal lines of the asterisks disappear a bit. I also end up having to fold up the brim to make the hat not all floppy in the back, and if I’d known that ahead of time, I might have handled the color change on the bottom ribbing differently. Oh well!

My hat matches my eyes

The colors really do match my eyes ever so well, don’t they?

I actually debated a bit about making a pompom – I thought I might prefer it without…

Asterisk Hat, pre-pompom

…but the siren call of the pompoms pictured in the pattern got to me. (By the way, if the sweater in that photo looks familiar, it’s the me-sized Elle Melle that I was knitting a couple of years ago. I came across it after we moved, and all it needed was to have the ends woven in, so I did that and blocked it, and once I put the zipper in, it will get a finished object post of its own!)

Squishy pompom delightfulness

I was really pleased with how squishy and delightful my pompom turned out. I used some of the leftover Patons Classic Merino that I have from the matching sweaters I made for me and M, which matched the “Beach” colorway of the Swans Island yarn almost perfectly, and it came out very full and fuzzy!

My hat has a giant pompom!

It turns out to be very hard to get a picture of your own head wearing a hat with a giant pompom! Also hard: getting used to HAVING a giant pompom on your head when you’ve never worn a hat with one before. I kept getting distracted by the feeling of it bobbing on my head, and when I was wearing it in our house, I kept bumping it into things!

Happy with my new hat

Anyway, I’m pretty happy with my new hat! I’m less sure about what to do with the leftover yarn in the kit, though – the kit I got had enough to knit the hat and a matching cowl, but I don’t think I want to knit the Asterisk pattern again because of the ultra-long floats, and the “Dot” pattern doesn’t look much better on that front. But I definitely want to knit with the Swans Island yarn again, because it was utterly delightful! Perhaps I’ll design something myself using these colors.

Speaking of designing something myself, I started playing around with another new-to-me yarn yesterday…

Plotting a sweater for me.

That’s De Rerum Natura Ulysse in Lagon and Ciel, and I’m plotting a me-sized version of the Striped Pocket Pullover that I knit for M a few years ago. Wish me luck!

Making a hat!

Standard

As of this moment, I don’t currently have a sweater on the needles, which is very rare for me! I do plan to cast on soon for an Octopus cardigan for M, but for now, my attention is centered on a hat!

Asterisk Hat in progress

Awhile back, Mason-Dixon Knitting was having a sale on their kits, and I had kind of fallen in love with the look of the dark pine green and light blue of this Asterisk & Dot Hat/Cowl kit. I’d never knit with Swan’s Island yarn before, but it’s a real treat! So delightfully crisp and crimpy and soft and wooly. Also, my hat-in-progress smells really nice, because I’ve got a little baggie of lavender in my project bag:

At the kickoff meeting for a big mindfulness project at my university today, we were each given a sachet of lavender. It smells lovely and I stuck it in my knitting project bag so that the hat I’m knitting can smell lovely, too. (I might get to be trained

I got this at the kickoff meeting for my university’s new “Mindful University” project, and it really does impart a delightful scent to my wool. As part of this project, I recently applied to be trained as a Koru Mindfulness teacher, which is something I think I would really enjoy doing. We’ll see how that goes!

Anyway, the hat is moving along nicely; the floats in this pattern are incredibly long in some places, so I’m trying to catch them, but worry that my caught stitches will kind of show through when the hat is stretched. We’ll see, though – I think the wool will bloom quite a bit when blocked, so that might counteract it a bit.

Asterisk Hat in Progress

I think these colors are really great for me – the pine green + light blue + light brown matches the mix of colors in my own eyes really nicely! I know that the pattern is called “Asterisk”, but I actually think they kind of look like snowflakes, too!

I’m using this hat as a little bit of a reward system for grading; after I’ve graded 3 portfolios, I get to knit 3 rows before going back to grading. So much grading! But the knitting helps it to go down a bit easier.

Things I knit for other people’s babies: babyStripes!

Standard

I finished another yoke sweater around the same time as finishing Tensho. This one was just a WEE bit smaller!

babyStripes! (the...fifth? sixth? I should really write this pattern!)

I’ve lost count of how many of these sweaters I’ve knit…this might be the fifth or sixth? In any case, I think it’s safe to say I’ve got the pattern pretty well worked-out for the smallest size! Though this one is unique, because it contains no wool.

Ravelry Project Page
Pattern: babyStripes! (which still just lives in my brain, supplemented by some notes on the computer)
Yarn: Blue Sky Organic Cotton in “Bone” and Cascade Tangier in “Geometric”
Needles: Size 5 for tubular cast-on and bind-off, size 7 for the rest
Time to knit: Exactly one month, with a LOT of interruptions

I really do want to actually write out this pattern – I just have to find the time. Madrigal is still wearing the Kid-size version (which I apparently never created a “finished object” post for on the blog, but you can see a finished photo of it at the bottom of this post)…in fact, she wore it on school picture retake day last week! I’ve also started adult-sized versions of this (like this one), but so far have been unsuccessful at actually completing one, because my toddler-parent brain wasn’t very good at counting. I think that’s less of a problem for me now, so maybe I’ll tackle a grown-up top-down Stripes! cardigan along with the baby and kids versions. You know, eventually. I’ve considered submitting these patterns to Knitty.com, because they seem like the sort of thing that would fit well there, but I also might just self-publish.

Anyhow, THIS babyStripes! was knit as a gift for a dear grad school friend of mine, who is allergic to wool (hence using non-wool yarns for the sweater, despite the fact that my hands don’t like knitting with them – I want my friend to be able to snuggle her baby!). And because I am a giant nerd, when I saw that one of my favorite podcasts (lingthusiasm!) added onesies to their merch selection, I just had to get one to go with this sweater:

babyStripes! plus lingthusiasm onesie

Isn’t that a perfect little onesie for this nugget to receive from a psycholinguist academic auntie? Now I just need to figure out when I can get to the post office, because this little one is due any day now!

(Mostly) Finished Object: Tensho Cardigan!

Standard

The end of the semester has been especially busy, and as seems to be normal for me, I’ve been sick for most of it. The pileup of research paper feedback, Thanksgiving, and my daughter’s birthday is always a mess! But somehow, in the midst of all of that, I managed to finish my Tensho cardigan!

With the mug that inspired me
Pictured with the mug that inspired the knit!

Ravelry Project Page
Pattern: Tensho Pullover (which I steeked to cardiganize)
Yarn: Cascade 220 in “Aporto” and “Summer Sky Heather”
Needles: Size 7
Time to Knit: Late August through end of November, with lots of interruptions

As you can see, I ended up deciding to go with a folded rib neckline, just like the ones I knit for Gamaldags, Winter Traveller, and Skógafjall. What can I say, I just really love the way they look and feel!

Closeup

Another thing I did, which has become my norm when knitting yoke sweaters from other people’s patterns, is add a couple of short rows right below the collar in back – essentially, if you imagine where the “raglan” lines would be, I do the wrap&turns about where the front raglan lines would be, which raises the back neckline perfectly for me.

Tensho from behind

I still need to choose buttons. But before that, I need to decide whether I want to fix the fact that I put the buttonholes on the “wrong” side compared to what I normally do – it’d be easy enough to fix, since I did an i-cord bind-off buttonband, so not very much would need to be ripped and reknit. I’d also really like to cover the steek, but need to find a good ribbon or cloth tape to use. I’ve never done that kind of steek-covering before! With really sticky wools like Lopi I generally cut without any reinforcement and just leave my steeks raw, but for Cascade 220, a smooth worsted-spun yarn, I did a crochet reinforcement, and I actually would feel most comfortable with a ribbon covering, I think.

Tensho on a snowy deck

I didn’t get the best pictures, because trying to take self-portraits in a rush before the sun sets, when it’s cold and your deck is covered in snow, is just not ideal! But the snow does make for a nice contrast in the background.

Tensho, cardiganized!

I’m really pleased with how this turned out, though in knitting it, I found myself wishing I were knitting with Lopi, or Beaverslide…something a bit more toothy and wooly than Cascade 220…and I think I’m feeling that wish when wearing it, too. I wonder if I’d feel the same way if I’d knit it as a pullover (you know, as called for by the pattern) – I think I might want something a little “denser”/less drapey out of my colorwork cardigans than I do from a pullover. I’m sure I will still wear this one a bunch, but I wanted to note this for my future knitting self…I’m just a wooly-wool sort of person! But I’m glad I was able to put the leftovers from Andrew’s Seamless Hybrid to good use!