Slushies Top

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The Slushies Top is an elegant, airy tank from the Spring/Summer 2017 collection of We Are Knitters, an international brand that offers everything-you-need knitting kits featuring chic patterns and high quality yarns. This pattern uses diagonal eyelets to form large diamond shapes throughout the fabric and includes We Are Knitters Peruvian Pima cotton yarn, which is available in an assortment of enticing colors. I chose Light Salmon, a pinkish nude color (rose gold?) that is strangely lacking in my wardrobe–until now! The kit for the Slushies Top can be purchased here. Below is a video showing all that is included in the kit:

Folks, this yarn is soft! So so so so soft. Luxuriously soft. Ideal for summer soft. In fact, knitting with this velvety goodness was so pleasurable that I was a little sad to reach the end of the project.

When I first started my Slushies Top I got in a rush and misread the chart included in the pattern instructions. Oops! The result was a stockinette fabric rather than garter (see below), so I frogged it and started anew–this time with acute concentration. I did quite like the stockinette version, however, so it would be nice to try again. For those of you interested, simply purl all of the wrong side rows.

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The top is knit in two pieces–a front and back–which are worked identically other than the neckline shaping. Since the cotton yarn is a worsted weight it knits up quickly, and the instructions are clear and easy to follow. Once the pieces are finished the sides and shoulders are seamed together.

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Upon completion I realized the Slushies Top is actually more of a tunic, which is perfect for tights. It also looks great partially tucked in with jeans or shorts. I like to keep it slouchy, and an off-the-shoulder look would be easy to pull off. However it’s worn, it feels super comfy!

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From the yarn to the pattern, the Slushies Top gets an A+ from me! I look forward to making another We Are Knitters project sometime down the road.

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The tag below was included in the kit. It’s such a nice touch!

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Aila Tank

I found the pattern for the Aila Tank on Ravelry late last spring, and while I started knitting it in early summer it took me nearly a year to complete it. Why, you ask? See below…

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The pattern, written by Isabell Kraemer, calls for the Quince and Co yarn Sparrow, which is 100% organic linen in a fingering weight. If you’ve visited Quince and Co’s website then you know that picking a color is no small task. (There are literally dozens of colors from which to choose for nearly all of their yarns.) However, for the Aila tank I was drawn to this scrumptious 24-karat gold, called Maize, like a moth to a flame. And that was that.

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I can’t recall having knit with linen before, and I learned a few things. Linen yarn is stiff and ropy, much like bamboo, and was not easy for me to knit with. It felt like it retained some memory, and the wiriness kept curling away from me and slowing down my knitting. Furthermore it was nowhere near as comfortable on the fingers as wool, which is my favorite fiber and pretty much everyone else’s. Nevertheless this rigidity makes for exceptional stitch definition (hence, Kraemer’s wise inclusion of lace for the bottom of the tank). The downside is that great stitch definition renders the knitting less forgiving, so mistakes stick out like a sore thumb (I was fortunate to catch and correct mine early), and it became clear that I needed to keep my joins at the seams like my life depended on it and weave in the ends very neatly on the inside to avoid unwanted bumpy regions.

Not only was I a bit surprised by the linen’s stiffness but I was actually a little shocked at its weight. For a fingering yarn it felt quite heavy. One 4-ply 50-gram skein of Sparrow measures 168 yards; by comparison, one 4-ply 50-gram skein of Finch (a 100% wool Quince and Co fingering weight yarn) measures 221 yards. Wearing the tank leaves no doubt as to its heaviness. It almost tugs on rather than hangs from the shoulders, like there’s a kid down there pulling on the hem. This sensation is not something I am accustomed to in a summer tank.

All this is not to say I don’t adore my Aila tank, because I do! After washing and blocking the tank is comfortably airy and drapes quite nicely. They say you can even throw handknit linen garments into the dryer, but I wanted to spread out the lace and air dry my Aila for best effect. I knit mine a little big for that flowy, oversized look that I’m in love with right now. It might not be cozy, but sometimes cozy is overrated–especially in summer, right? The simple lace design is quite stunning upon completion, but without the linen it would have been far less visible. The linen is what makes this pattern top-notch.

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I find that the yarn and pattern are a perfect match, and I plan to wear this tank all summer long!

Cushman Sweater

When I first saw the Cushman Pullover on Instagram I had an instant must-have reaction. The pockets are adorable, plus it is knit up in Malabrigo Rios, an aran weight yarn–meaning it will be a cozy, super fast knit.

The pattern, which is written by Isabell Kraemer, is found in the Malabrigo Book Ten: Rios pattern book. This project is my first completed by Kraemer, but I have another WIP (Aila tank). Both patterns are well written, and the styles are very cute. I have several of her other patterns in my queue. To purchase and download the Cushman Pullover pattern, click here.

For my yarn choice I went with Rios Ilusion. It wasn’t an easy choice given that Malabrigo has dozens of rich colorways from which to choose. Much like its name, Ilusion has the mystifying effect of appearing quite differently in various light settings (see above). Furthermore, from a distance Ilusion appears purple to grayish purple; up close, however, the yarn reveals itself in muted jewel tones. This type of property involuntarily causes me to gleefully rub my hands together and open my eyes really wide like an excited monkey.

It took me over five months to complete this sweater, but that was mostly due to Christmas knitting and other projects. I’m a polygamous knitter, so I’m constantly bouncing around on various projects because I lack the focus to do otherwise. Needless to say when I was working on the Cushman it went quickly, as expected. The pattern is straightforward. The pockets were not difficult, and since I knit the sleeves two-at-a-time via magic loop, they were a cinch.

Instructions for Knitting Sleeves Two-at-a-Time

Knitting sleeves two-at-a-time enables you to knit them to a consistent length as well as maintain the same tones from a single skein. The negative is that you cannot try them on easily for sizing (although it is doable), so you have to knit them to your measurements. To knit the sleeves two-at-a-time for this project divide the held sleeve stitches roughly in half for each sleeve at the armpit and top of the shoulder, so that you have stitches for the Front Right (FR), Back Right (BR), Front Left (FL) and Back Left (BL). (The armpit will be the end of the round for each sleeve.) Then pull your needles for magic loop through all held stitches in this order: BR armpit to shoulder, FL armpit to shoulder, BL shoulder to armpit and FR shoulder to armpit. The BR and FL stitches will be on one needle and the BL and FR stitches on the other. In order to get the needles through all stitches the sleeves will have to be folded over each other and twisted slightly as shown above. You can then knit the pattern as stated, starting with the BR stitches and copying the instructions for each sleeve.

First sweater of the year complete! My only issue is that the bottom of the sweater is knit with a warmer skein, so as you can see above the bottom two-fifths is a slightly different shade. I forgot to check the dye lots before beginning, and I did not notice the gradual increase in warmth until it was too late (too late for my stubbornness). Oh, well. My husband thinks it looks better for it, and perhaps over time I’ll think the same.

Another Young Einstein Baby Cardigan

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When I knit my first Young Einstein cardigan back in August, my friend Amy saw the picture on Instagram and asked if she could commission me to make one for her friend’s baby. Not only did I immensely enjoy knitting the first one, but the pattern’s author, Julia Stanfield, had made the Young Einstein pattern license free for small scale sales, so of course, I said yes!

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I have to hand it to Amy for her yarn choice because in my experience with commissions people tend to select boring colors and schemes. I had directed Amy to the Tosh DK selections at Jimmy Beans Wool, and just look at the color she picked! The colorway is called Yoko, and the buttons are from Purl Soho.

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I hope Amy’s friend loves this cardigan as much as I do. As my husband said, “Give that baby a newspaper to read!” Because the cardigan is so intellectual-looking. ;o)

Knit Layette with Cables

If you visit the Purl Soho website eight to ten times a day as I do, then you know what I mean when I say Purl Soho is magical. I want to make all of their crafts! I want to own all of their supplies!

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For this project I wanted something special for a special friend, who shares my name. Yep, her name is Jamie, and that’s cool. More importantly, Jamie is a kind and wise expectant friend (the two best traits), so I simply had to knit something for her baby to be. You know I can’t help myself! Jamie is also super classy, so when I saw the Knit Layette pattern kit on Purl Soho, I didn’t think twice before dumping it into the cart so I could knit it for her. (You can view the kit here.)

Here are some fancy filtered images of the cardigan in its early stages, which I posted on Instagram. (Those succulents died. I don’t know why, but I am a baby succulent murderer. I do better with the big ones.)

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The cardigan took what felt like light years to complete, and it’s no wonder given that it has…let me count…eight cables! The hat took less time but still a surprisingly massive chunk of time given that it’s only a newborn hat. (The hat has four cables.) For these reasons I omitted the socks. I had had enough cabling for the year.

Here’s another Instagram pic from back when I was all excited to be finishing the sleeves.

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The Purl Soho yarn in the kit is among the softest with which I’ve ever worked and ideal for a newborn knit. It’s called Line Weight and is 100% merino wool. Just try to resist rubbing your face in it. The pattern is written for sizes 0-3 and 3-6 months, and the kit comes with two skeins of Line Weight yarn, as well as Mother of Pearl buttons for the cardigan. (Purl Soho’s buttons are magical!)

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I chose the 0-3 months size. The hat looks a bit big for that age, but it has been years since my children were newborns, so what do I know. Since I didn’t knit the socks I ended up with a fully unused skein of Line Weight, which I’m happy to have for future knitting, but if you are interested in following my route keep in mind that you can purchase the pattern, yarn and buttons separately and save money by omitting that second skein.

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Here’s a shot of the back of the cardigan, which I just had to show since three of the cables are hidden there. This baby girl will be cuddled all around with cables. So so precious!

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Young Einstein Baby Cardigan

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If you’re a knitter nerd like me, then you too must find the Young Einstein pattern by Julia Stanfield irresistible. That over-sized collar makes any baby look like a studious little adult, and what’s cuter than that? The pattern is incredibly versatile, with options for edging, sleeve, collar/hood, and the sizes range from newborn to ten years to boot!

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Needless to say, when my dear, intellectual friend Nicole informed me that she is having a baby boy, I jumped right into this project, which has been patiently resting in my queue for some time now. The yarn is Tosh DK in the woodsy-academic colorway “Plaid Blanket,” which I have been oh so eager to use.

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If I can ever get caught up on all my WIP’s I’d like to knit one of these for my son, or daughter, or anyone else I can think of. It was a true delight to make!

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A Cardigan for Mother’s Day

Last summer I decided to knit my mom a cardigan. Having already knit a Mini Rock Rose Cardigan (pattern by schneckenstrick) for my daughter (below), I knew it was a fabulous pattern and thought the adult version would be lovely for my mom.
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She agreed! So I set to work knitting a Rock Rose Cardigan (again, pattern by schneckenstrick) for her for Christmas. I helped her select a yarn, and she went with Madelinetosh Tosh DK in Fathom. Blue is a stunner on my mom, and as you can see, this colorway is a gorgeous deep blue. In fact, it is so deep it was difficult to photograph. Sometimes it even felt like I was photographing a black hole.

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Christmas came and went with all the knitting gifts that come with it, including a blanket for my mom, so the completion of her cardigan was put off. It’s a stunning and flawless pattern with a timeless design, and the bobble work maintains interest and focus. Still, it’s a cardigan, so every other row is a purl row, and unfortunately I’m a slow purler. Needless to say, I assigned myself the deadline of Mother’s Day, so here we are. The JHB buttons are almost an identical match, so I am pleased. I can’t wait to hand it over to Mom next Sunday! (As of now she is unaware of my blog, so don’t worry–we’re safe.)

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