Fifty Percent!

I’ve been working on my hubby’s sweater now for a little over a month, and I’ve just passed 50% completion!

Both sleeves are finished, and the body is currently 8.5″ long – just
over a third done. For me, this is where the hard part begins – the
monotony of the next 23″! Luckily I’ve only got a foot left until I
break for the armscyes… yipes. My attention span on a project is
usually two weeks or so, so looking headlong into another month of
knitting this one project is daunting, to say the least. To keep my mind
busy, I’ve started timing my rounds. It takes about 10 minutes for
non-patterned rounds and up to half an hour for patterned rounds. So,
with about 75 rounds to the armscyes, that’s 25 hours and ten minutes
max. I could totally do that in a weekend, right?


Wait, did I say ‘simple’?

I’m now three weeks into the knitting of hubby’s new sweater. That’s
about the longest I can usually pay attention to a project – but I’m
only through the sleeves!

I think this proves a couple of rules of knitting for other people.
1: Don’t underestimate how long things take to knit, and 2: If you let
the recipient pick the pattern, be prepared to face the consequences!

I did some pre-searching through all of my pattern books and found
several all-over cable designs that were nice and rhythmic and easy to
memorize. I presented these to my hubby, and his reaction was pretty
dry. So I let him look through my books, and he picked quite possibly
the most difficult cable pattern he could have! It’s the Baroque Cable
from Barbara Walker’s third treasury.


Let the madness – and sweaters – begin!

Well, I’m still not totally through figuring out what craziness is in
store for me this year, but I know that it’s going to involve a lot of
sweaters. I really need to use up a good size chunk of my stash this
year (for the sake of sanity), and sweaters are a darn good way to do

But my first sweater is decidedly not a stash sweater.

Over the holidays, my husband and I found ourselves shuffling among
the crowds at the mall a little more frequently than we’d have liked.
But one upside of that is that my husband got to see a lot of the
mannequins decked out in their nice fancy sweaters. We kept passing by
one window that had a lighly textured Aran type sweater in a creamy
oatmeal color, and over time it really grew on him. Until finally, the
question was asked – “can you make one for me?”

(and also – he doesn’t want me to buy one, but make one. Double score!)


Winter’s hottest knit trends that you can make!

I am what some people call a “fashion enthusiast”.  More accurately, I
am a fashion fiend. In my past life (before marriage, college and job),
I used to model for some really cool local designers, and even a couple
of high-fashion brands.  I stopped modeling professionally when I was
about 18 but those years in the industry have definitely left their
mark.  Every season since then, I have made a ritual of stocking up on
fashion mags and gummy bears and devoting a full day to sifting through
the pages of beautiful (and quite often crazy) fashion trends that will
soon be gracing the shelves of local stores.

Over the weekend, my husband and I were invited to attend a private shopping party at Nordstrom
where, while being fed an unreasonable amount of champagne and hors
d’oevures, we were allowed to browse some of the upcoming season’s
hottest fashion trends. While I am the world’s biggest sucker for a new
pair of jeans, this season’s shopping party was all about accessories
for me.  As I was calmly (ha!) sorting through the shelves of beautiful items,
I started to notice a trend.  Knits!

Most of the items that
I fell in love with were things that most knitters/crocheters could
make fairly easily! I thought that since so many of you are much more
talented than I, I would share some of the things that I saw flying out
the door last night in the arms of proud shoppers, like myself, in hopes
that you can gain inspiration for any last minute gifts. 


Advanced Cabling Techniques: Closed Cables

Over the past month, we have posted all kinds of cabling technique tutorials – everything from a beginner’s guide to cabling to unique and unusual cable textures for more advanced knitters. Not only do cables keep your knitting interesting, but it adds so much classic texture to the finished piece. Cables are also a wonderful way to dress up simple patterns that you might have laying around. By choosing a cable panel that works with your stitch count, you can easily transform your favorite basic hat or scarf pattern into your very own cabled creation.

So to finish off our Advanced Cabling Techniques video series, we saved a very unique cable for last – the closed cable! This is a cable that creates a completely closed ring without pulling in your knitted fabric, unlike many other cables. Check out the video to see how you can create closed cables!


Advanced Cabling Techniques: Increasing & Decreasing Cables

So far in our Advanced Cabling Techniques video series, we have covered how to add a splash of color to your cables with intarsia cabling and how to create interlocking cable textures with multiple crossing cables. And just what else can you do with cables? How about adding in a bit of shaping!

For our third video in this series, we show you how to create both increasing and decreasing cables. This technique allows you to shape your cables to grow larger or smaller, letting you create unique and interesting cable patterns. I think increasing and decreasing cables have a lot of potential as interesting design elements on a hat or sweater. In addition to their distinctive look, there are also many clever ways you can incorporate increasing and decreasing cables into your knitting! If that cabled cardigan or Aran sweater is a bit too boxy, simply add in a few increasing and decreasing cables for a bit of clever waist shaping, and voila! A nice, flattering cabled sweater!

Check out the third video installment of our Advanced Cabling Techniques to start creating cables with shaping!


Advanced Cabling Techniques: Intarsia Cables

In the second installment of our Advanced Cabling Techniques video series, we add color to our cables! In last week’s video, we highlighted how to create multiple crossing cables, which are cables with a three dimensional appearance that makes it look as though you are creating interlocking rings.

This week, we shine the spotlight on intarsia cables! These eye-catching cables are combined with the colorwork technique known as intarsia, allowing one section of the cable to be in a different color than the rest of your knitting. The best part is, with only the help of a highlighter or marker, you can easily transform any cable chart into your very own cabled, colorwork creation.

Check out the second Advanced Cabling Techniques video to start adding intarsia cables to your projects!


Advanced Cabling Techniques: Multiple Crossing Cables Video

In keeping with the theme of last week’s Race to Wrapped, this week’s video tutorial continues our exploration of cables! Since we focused on introducing simple cables and twists to new knitters last week, we thought it might be fun to do an entire series that shows off unique and interesting cables for more advanced knitters.

Check out part 1 of our Advanced Cabling Techniques video series, which shows you how to create multiple crossing cables! These unique cables have a three dimensional appearance that makes it look as though you are creating interlocking rings.


Race to Wrapped – How to Cable for Beginners

Fall is officially here in the northwest – there is a chill in the air, the days are getting shorter, and everyone I know is either planning out or already starting on their holiday knitting! In the spirit of getting things done on time and adorning our loving friends and family with cozy knits, I will be posting weekly video techniques that you can use to spruce up gifts and finishing tips that will make your projects extra special. We will also be posting about pattern ideas, quick knits, and our own works in progress as we strive to reach the finish line (on time) in our very own Race to Wrapped!

To kick off our Race to Wrapped, I loved the idea of using cables to add texture and interest to projects. And although many beginning knitters shy away from cables because they look too complicated, they are actually quite simple! Cable patterns are almost infinite in their design possibilities, and yes – there are cables that are harder to master then others. But it doesn’t take a lot to let a few cables transform a simple hat or scarf into a project with a classic and sophisticated twist. If you have always loved the way cables look, but weren’t sure where to start, I think you will find our “How to Cable for Beginners” video very helpful, and hopefully inspire you to give cables a try!