Posts Tagged ‘handknit sweaters’
What a stunningly beautiful February day. The sun is shining like crazy and there is snow piled high on tree branches and fence rails. The birds even look happy. They flit about with joy and a spring in their step.
Just 2 more days until Valentines day and the anticipated arrival of our newest little family member. We are just so excited.
I’ve spent the last few weeks on custom work for a few of my customers.
Becky was looking for a luxury baby gift with a difference. We decided on a hand spun Angora and silk handknit baby shrug and matching hat. I call it Whisper. I searched through some of my vintage pattern books and online at vintage knitting site. Inspired by some of the vintage looks and a piece that I did a few years ago I came up with Whisper. The yarn is an amazing mixture of Angora fiber and Silk. They are so different in texture and appearance but come together to make a truly one-of-a-kind yarn with the best of both worlds. The fabric is fluffy and soft with a gorgeous halo but also has the added strength and unmistakable shine of the silk, not to mention the crispy feel that crunches like footsteps on very cold snow. It is tied at the neckline with a delicate pure silk ribbon. The hat is loosely based on a beret style hat from an old SRK pattern that I have loved over the years. It is the sweetest little cardigan and hat set in Marble. I looked for the pattern for days and days and I just couldn’t find it anywhere. Finally a wonderful friend on Ravelry sent me a scanned copy of it and saved the day. I promise we didn’t infringe on any copyrights as I really do own this one, just can’t seem to remember where I put it. The lace edging and the rose are hand crocheted from some very fine 100% handspun silk.
I knit a pair of casual socks for Carolyn. They were to have a casual look and go with her jeans. I am thrilled to report that she was very happy with the resulting socks.
Richard wanted the Turn a Square hat by Jared Flood (one of my own personal favorite designers). This project was a treat to knit and I was finished the first one in just a few days so we decided to knit another one with the colours reversed and it turns out that 2 of these hats can be knit with 2 x 50 gram balls but don’t do any extra rows as I only had about 1 yard left over.
Jamie asked me to spin some camel and silk yarn for her to knit a jacket for her brand new grandson in size 2. Congratulations Jamie and family!
I finally finished the Nube Garter Stitch socks and the Alpacalicious slippers with the leather soles and they have already been gifted.
Love one another
It’s often cold in Southern Ontario, Canada in winter and it does snow here but this winter has been a winter to remember. We’ve had lots of days with record breaking low temperature and snowfalls, an ice storm with power outages to tell the grandchildren about and enough snow days to keep the kids really happy. Even though we spent our life savings on propane just to stay warm, and I didn’t really enjoy having my gall bladder removed, I really have enjoyed this winter overall. It’s so pretty to look outside at all that snow. We’ve been feeding the birds and they’re just such a joy to watch and to get to know, especially exciting are the multitude of Cardinals we’ve welcomed in the last 2 years. As a knitter I didn’t have to feel guilty to just hunker down and knit and spin to my heart’s content. Nobody was going anywhere and it was nice and cosy warm in my home studio.The Designs
I do have a few designs on the drawing board. The adult size “Top Down Hoodie” and another summer top called Wheat Fields as well as a couple of vests. “Frank’s Vest” is going to be a favorite, not to mention a few smaller things like the shrug I am doing for a customer, some socks that I am spinning and knitting for myself and the baby hat I just designed for my soon to be grandson :-))) Getting these written out and polished are a challenge for me because they involve a lot of thinking and computer time and, well, I’d rather be knitting…. so they get put on the back burner. I really need to give myself a big pat on the back for keeping track of all of my spinning and knitting project on Ravelry. At least, this way, I won’t forget – where’s my knitting at? I’ve had lots of custom work this winter too. I’ll post about that in February when I get them all photographed and shipped, or check out my progress on Ravelry. The New Baby
One of the most exciting thing about this winter is the anticipation of the birth of our newest family member. As you can imagine this is always the most important and fun time to cast on and just be creative. I found this sweater and pants pattern at Drops Designs and improvise a hat to go with it. It was pure pleasure to knit this in Malabrigo Sock a luxurious pure merino wool yarn dyed to perfection. This yarn is a superwash (machine washable) which is very important for socks and new babies!
I’ve just added a couple more gift items for baby. I’ve put all of my handspun handknits at really good prices, much lower than I would usually need to ask for a special order. I had a great time knitting these throughout the year and got to do exactly what I wanted and love to do. If I can do that and even recover the price of the yarn I would consider myself a winner and hopefully you would too. That’s what I call a “win win” situation.Sale! Out of stock HandKnit Smocked Baby Sweater in HandSpun Merino Wool & Silk $105.00 $79.00 Read more Sale! Out of stock Hand Knit Merino Baby Sweater $99.00 $50.00 Read more Sale! Out of stock Vintage Style Handknit Cashmere Baby Dress $325.00 $252.00 Read more Sale! Out of stock Handspun Handknit Old Shale Lace Layette $157.00 $115.00 Read more
I’ve been getting TONS of requests for custom work in the last few months. Part of that is because the Custom Handknit Sweaters page managed to get to the number one position in google for any related search terms. I know that’s a good thing but I just can’t knit that fast 🙂The Mohair Vest:
I had a friend bring me a bag of various mohair yarns from a yard sale and ask me what I could do with them. It was a wonderful challenge because she knows what to wear and always looks so fabulous in everything. There was only enough for a vest so we agreed upon a great design by Sally Melville “The Asymmetrical Vest” from her book The Knitting Experience: Book 1: The Knit Stitch. I liked the pattern but it was written for beginning beginners and there was just so much text to read every time there was a direction to follow. I found it confusing and had trouble keeping my place. Just my personal preference, I would choose a graphic pattern every time to knit from. I used 2 strands of the mohair together and the suggested needles. The biggest issue with this vest was the ends every time I changed colour. I tried weaving them in and found it was going to be very difficult to hide them so I just started knitting them in where ever I could and it seemed to work better. I had to be very careful with blocking. It could change in either width or length with a light pull when wet. It took a while to get it into the correct shape to dry. The wooden buttons really worked out well. Marilyn just loved it.The Harry Potter Sweater “Weasley”
I’m using Knit Picks Wool of the Andes for this sweater. I will knit the body and add the initial in duplicate stitch at the end. I will avoid intarsia at all costs, just a personal “thing” with me. I started this by knitting a good big swatch that gave me a gauge of 18 sts x 24 rows = 4″ before wash and block. It grew when wet and I thought it might stay there but it bounced right back when it dried. The pattern gauge is 16×24 so I had to adjust the number of sts to cast on. I actually need 37.5 for 4 inches of ease so decided to cast on the adult medium 82 sts plus 2 selvage sts. So far this is a great meditative knit. 25 ” of straight st st for the back. OMmmmmm.
A new design in progress – I guess that would be a DIP, right?
Along with the Custom Fit Sweater for Amy Herzog and her team (beta testing) I’ve been working on a few custom orders and a new designs that I will call Grace after my Mom who just passed away last year at this time. Mom was my mentor, my soul mate, my best friend and the one who taught and inspired me to knit and be creative in so many way. She was also my biggest fan and alway gave me so much encouragement. Well, anyway, the new design is Grace. It will be an elegant but casual cardigan/jacket and will be spectacular for showing off hand dyed and handspun yarns. Super stylish and super easy to knit and fit, you will knit it all from the top down in one piece with no seaming or finishing. I’m including a few “sneak peak” pictures that will give you a feel for the design without giving it away. This sweater allowed me some freedom to play with my dyes, my spinning techniques and let my imagination run free. It is also part of my study in Breed Specific and Rare Breed Wools.
The wool in this garment is Romney. The Romney breed evolved from medieval longwool types. The fibers are long, silky and strong without being prickly. A very good wool to use for durability where you need something sturdy and not overly soft and delicate. My Romney is one of the Canturbury Prize Wool Group imported from New Zealand by Louet Sales. These wools are breed-specific fibers that are handled in such a way as to retain their unique qualities. “Working with Wadsworth Heap Ltd, a fiber supplier in New Zealand, each fleece in this line is grown with passion and great care; each is chosen with a critical eye, scoured in a modern scouring plant, and carded with pride on gentle machinery to maintain the fibre’s integrity and give spinners maximum enjoyment.” So far I have totally enjoyed working with them. If you are interested in having any of these wools custom handspun for a project please just email me. I will get them on the web site eventually, but in the mean time… 😉
One of the things I really enjoyed doing this summer was beta testing an awesome new online software for sweater design. Amy Herzog a Fit and Flatter expert and sweater designer “extraordinaire” has come up with something really new and wonderful for all knitters who want a custom fit sweater without all of the math that is usually involved in designing from scratch or even customizing the fit of a purchased pattern.
The software is called Custom Fit and its available online to a select few premier users right now but is expected to go live to the public some time in October.
Here’s what Amy says about Custom Fit:
“After the final preview group, with an estimated time of mid-October, CustomFit will go live to everyone.CustomFit is a web application. This means that you log into our website to create custom sweater patterns. It is not software you install on your computer. Creating an account, and storing body measurements and swatches, is and always will be free. When you’re ready to knit the most fabulous sweater ever, each one is just $9.99. CustomFit has a vast amount of fit expertise built-in, so that you don’t need to think about any numbers – only style! But if you do want to adjust your own numbers, you have the option of doing so before you purchase your pattern. The first release of CustomFit produces an entirely new sweater pattern to your specifications, at a single gauge for the entire sweater. Future versions will give you more options, including modifying select existing sweater patterns. We plan to update CustomFit with great new features every few months.”
I had this lace pattern brewing in my imagination for a while and thought I’d try it out on my beta sweater. I loved adding the little birds randomly. I will be designing a very similar sweater pattern from scratch and grading it for all women’s sizes this winter. Watch my pattern store here and on Ravelry and Craftsy.
I am just thrilled to be releasing the final edit of my latest knitting pattern for download.“Atherton” A Top Down No Sew Hoodie with Cable Trim for Kids
This is a design that is very close to my heart. One of my own personal favorites developed over years of refining the pattern to fit well, look good and be a joy to knit. Available now as an instant download Here
This is a “Meditative” knit with easy repetitive shaping that flows without interruptions. Before you know it you’re finished and the only sewing to do is the top of the hood and minimal ends to weave in.
I find myself knitting this again and again with simple variations that make it new each time. Make it a cardigan, lose the hood, add pockets or a stitch pattern for texture. Lots of ideas for variations included as well as a tutorial on an “Afterthought Pouch Pocket” that you can add to any knit.
You are unlikely to find an error now that this pattern has been thoroughly edited by “The TECHsorcist” – Technical Editing by Eleanor DixonSkills Required:
Working in the round on circular needles and double pointed needles; knitting, purling, increasing, decreasing; simple cable patternSizes
Child Sizes: 2T (4T, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16) To fit chest: 21 (23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 30, 31.5, 32.5)” [53.5 (58.5, 61, 63.5, 66, 68.5, 71, 76, 80, 82.5) cm] Shown in photo – size 6 with 4″ [10 cm] of ease.Finished Measurements
Chest at Underarm: 25.5 (27.5, 28.5, 29.5, 30.5, 31.5, 32.5, 34.5, 36, 37)” [65 (70, 72.5, 75, 77.5, 80, 82.5, 87.5, 91.5, 94) cm] Finished Length: 15 (16.75, 18, 19, 21, 22.5, 24.25, 26, 27, 28)” [38 (42.5, 45.5, 48.5, 53.5, 57, 61.5, 66, 68.5, 71)cm] Sleeve Length: 9 (10, 10.5, 11, 12, 12.5, 13.5, 15, 16, 17)” [23 (25.5, 26.5, 28, 30.5, 32, 34.5, 38, 40.5, 43) cm] Materials
Yarn Nancy Elizabeth Designs Custom Handspun Merino Wool and Silk (1 oz/28g, 40-50 yds/36-46 m, 85% Merino Wool/15% Tussah Silk), 13 (15, 17, 19, 21, 22, 24, 26, 27, 30) oz worsted weight yarn [CYCA 4]
Red sample shown in Grevillea colorway
OR 640 (760, 850, 920, 1035, 1105, 1265, 1420, 1536, 1625) yds [595 (705, 785, 850, 955, 1045, 1170, 1315, 1420, 1500) m] of any worsted weight natural fiber yarn in stated gauge
Blue sample shown in Berroco Pure Merino in #8581 Regatta colorwayNeedles
US size 9 [5.5 mm] or size needed for correct gauge US size 8 [5.0 mm] or 1 size smaller than gauge needles20-32″ [50-80 cm] circular needles – both sizes (choose needle length according to the size you are making, must be shorter than the finished chest measurement and long enough to accommodate all of the yoke sts) double-pointed needles (set of 4-5) for sleeve cuffs – both sizes
Notions 8-10 stitch markers 2 stitch holders or waste yarn for sleeves Toggle closure or button (optional)
18 sts and 24 rows or rnds = 4″ [10 c] in St st with larger needles after blocking.
Notes: Simple raglan cables enhance this classic all-season hoodie which is worked in the round with basic shaping, easy-to-memorize stitch patterns, and no finishing. Allow a generous amount of ease for a comfy, sweatshirt-like fit. Detailed instructions provided for ten sizes with plenty of ideas for variations and customization – knit it again and again without ever making the same sweater twice.
When a customer requested a custom knit sweater vest with a round neck I quickly found out why it had to be custom-made as well as custom designed. It is surprisingly difficult to find a vest without a v neckline in ready-to-wear or even in a knitting pattern.
There were a few measurements that I felt were critical to fit. I had my customer email me the finished width (1/2 circumference) of the vest as well as the desired length and finished width at shoulders. I usually suggest that if they have a sweater that fits well this is the most reliable way to get out new one to feel good on. This left the depth at the underarms, the band widths and the neck width and depth up to me as the designer.
I started with a drawing and a swatch. We decided on a fairly unknown yarn from a very well-known shop. The Blarney Woollen Mill is in Ireland at the same location as the famous Blarney Stone. They have lots of wonderful knitwear but only one yarn for sale and that in only 3 colours. Fortunately one of them was exactly what we wanted for the vest so I ordered the yarn at a very good price and the shipping was free as a nice little bonus.
I did a bunch of swatches and I am very glad I washed them before I cast on because the knitting gauge before and after washing was significantly different and I had to rely on my post-wash swatch gauge for not only sts to cast on, increase and decrease but also for the length as I used row counts instead of inches. I got a little nervous a few times but I kept going, believing in my swatch and was rewarded with a finished vest that measured exactly what I was aiming for.
I have the knitting instructions all written out and sized in men’s sizes from 32″ to 60″ chest. I will probably knit it again in a more common yarn, at least a yarn with a more common gauge and tweak the numbers. It should be available to download as soon as I can get it finished and edited.
Meredith has just sent me a few pictures of the sweater vest she created with the last of the Mango Merino Wool and Silk that I spun up into a yarn for her.
She’s amazing. When I spin for Meredith she doesn’t ask for yardage or WPI and I don’t have to match a gauge. She lets the yarn do the talking and doesn’t even decide what it will be until she’s had it in her hands for a while. This is creative freedom at it’s best.
Meredith has also generously sent me a testimony for our testimonials section.
Here’s what she says about the yarn and a few pictures. Thanks Meredith 🙂
” I ordered the merino wool and silk in “mango” and the baby camel and silk custom made yarns from Nancy Elizabeth Designs. Never having used hand-spun yarn, when it arrived the color and texture took my breath away. As an intuitive knitter, I let the yarn carry my thoughts and garment design and was excited by the results. For an unschooled knitter, this extraordinarily high quality yarn allowed me to a one-of-a-kind artsy original to suit my taste.”Gaywool Colourful Merino and Silk Yarn
A few months ago I shared the pattern for the Hat my guys like and now here is the sweater that falls into that same category. With lots of input from DH, the eventual wearer of this pullover, I designed another sweater to match the one I knit him almost 30 years ago. Not only did the original sweater last for 30 years, but hardly a day went by that it was not called into service (except those hot summer days, of course) and it’s still all in one piece even if it is showing a little wear now.
As you can imagine, I’ve knit him a few sweaters over the years and some he wears a little and some he wears a lot. This is the one he hardly ever takes off! When the boys come in and see his newest sweater they want one too. I’m going to have lots of opportunity to knit this one in several sizes and variations and will keep you posted.
Here is the story of spinning the yarn for Jacob from a Jacob fleece and another short post with a few more pictures. Pattern coming asap. I will have to knit it at least one more time as I want to show the body with a simple rib instead of the colour variegation.