quick as a wink

Posted on Posted in Bare Naked Wools, designing, lace/shawls


i swear, this has been the snowiest week we’ve had all winter. which was kind of good, because i needed to hole up and get some serious knit on.


those pretty sleeves i showed you in my last post needed to become a sweater, so i spent most of monday working out the written pattern. that involved a lot of calculating to maintain the sizing between the lacy and stockinette sections, as well as through the shaping.

but a day well spent—by late evening i was ready to cast on and get going.

since my sleeves worked out so well in terms of hitting the right gauge and size consistently, i decided to tackle the back piece next. i usually make this piece last because i use the smaller pieces to confirm my shaping, etc., but i wanted to make sure that the transitions between the lace and stockinette areas worked out correctly, so this time i knit the big piece first as it has the most variables.


not only are there two larger areas of lace patterning, but there is body shaping AND short row shaping just above the back hem. any of those factors could result in some rewriting of the pattern if it wasn’t right; i felt it best to suss out any problems as early as possible.

i also needed to determine if i could realistically finish this sweater by the weekend—i thought if i could get the back done by sometime on wednesday and know that it was in good shape, i could finish the whole thing in time for a weekend photo shoot.


writing up the pattern reminded me that i needed to determine a button count and for that i would need to pick out buttons. luckily i had two options right in the house. one was my favorite flat shell buttons, which i use often. i wasn’t sure they would work, but actually, they are quite pretty. however, while digging further into my button box, i came across a set of jet black glass buttons i’d forgotten i had.


i really like these and i felt this sweater could use something a bit dressier (though it isn’t required).

i knit the hem lace section before turning in on monday night. tuesday was a busy day at the office, so i didn’t get to knit again til late in the day, but once i sat down to work, the pace picked up quite a bit.


i stayed up very late knitting on tuesday into wednesday morning—mostly because it was so much fun to watch the piece come off the needles—this design is much quieter in the front view, with all the impact in the back. when i got up on wednesday morning, i was nearly done.


by lunch time, i was ready to block it and see how my planning all worked out in reality. i’m knitting with our bare naked wools better breakfast fingering yarn in the poppy seed shade—the the photo just above is the most accurate representation of the color; it sometimes photographs as a much lighter gray, depending on the light.


the back pinned out very easily to the planned dimensions; i steamed blocked it to set the size and the fabric responded beautifully. i’ve noticed that the more recent batches of this yarn are really nice—our ohio mill is getting better and better as we work with them more. this particular batch has a near-perfect level of twist—enough to create a fabric that has some nice spongy bounce and body, but not so much that it neutralizes all the softness and drape of the fiber blend. it is slightly less fuzzy, but because of that it should resist pilling even better.


i left the back pinned out to dry and immediately got started on one of the front pieces (seriously, i barely looked up form my knitting all week!). i don’t know why—maybe because they are just “half”?—but the fronts always knit up so fast for me. by the next evening, i had both fronts finished and was blocking those too.

i like to pin one of them out and steam it, then pin the second one right on top of the first. i do the same with the sleeves—it saves so much time and ensures that the book-matched pieces are exactly the same size and shape.


with all the pieces steam blocked, i gathered my tools and headed upstairs to watch TV while i started seaming. first, i completed the shoulder seams and steamed them to get ready to apply the button/neck bands.


the button/neck bands are narrow, but loo-o-o-oong; i think it took me almost as long to complete that part as it did to knit the fronts (or at least it felt that way). but finish them i did and after that it was a downhill coast through the seaming to the finish. by saturday morning i was done, just in time to go teach my class.




unfortunately, our overnight snow/slush/ice and a severe drop in temperatures caused our “spring” photo shoot to be postponed. arrrghhh.

that’s why i didn’t sew on the buttons yet—i decided that i may as well wash it first. but i took a few photos to share with you—i know the suspense was killing me, so i figured you might be anxious to see the results too.


i just love it—it’s light and airy and elegant; everything a spring sweater should be.  i have a very short list of notes for minor pattern tweaks and that’s it—off to the tech editor on monday.


it’s drying now; the fabric “grew a lot” when it was wet but it was easy to reshape it to the right measurements. i’ve been turning and reshaping it every couple of hours to encourage  a bit more loft and density in the final fabric. i think i am going to love wearing this one (and barb is already hatching plans to knit one, too).

for this week coming i will concentrate on finishing up my shawl, hopefully to be off the needles before i leave for my teaching trip in ottawa at the end of the week (all classes are full, yay!).

i am often asked when i will be teaching in the midwest and ta-DA—i will be teaching again at the end of this month at the miami knitters guild near dayton, ohio—there are plenty of spots left for anyone in the region who would like to attend (you don’t have to be guild member to sign up). i will be teaching sweater fitness and finishing—a great combination for any knitter. check out the class offerings and sign up information here—hope to see you then!

ok then, i’ll be back in a couple of days with an update on my shawl; this time i promise i won’t fall down the rabbit hole, haha; i’m staying right here til it stops snowing and warms up.

24 thoughts on “quick as a wink

  1. Wow! Beautiful! I am looking forward to the pattern on this one for sure! I’m thinking of a lighter color for myself. I can wear sweaters all year round here. We are getting snow too. Not sure if Mother Nature can decide if it’s really going to be Spring or not. Oh, I love those glass buttons. I have some antique black glass ones in my button box too. Some day I will find the perfect use for them.

  2. Pretty, pretty…but yes, snowy backgrounds don’t make for an ideal “spring” photo shoot.

    I love the way it turned out!

  3. What a fascinating post. Blocking pieces on top of eachother to assure that the dimensions match – what an insight for me!

    I am still blown away by your productivity and by the amount of time it takes to conceive and create a sweater.

    The finished sweater is quite gorgeous.

  4. Very nice, Anne. No snow here, but cold and rainy. April showers bring May flowers? Let’s hope so.

  5. Beautiful, elegant pattern. Looking forward to seeing it and choosing just the right yarn at Maryland Sheep and wool! What’s Barb making it with?

  6. Just when you thought it was over…..snow….AGAIN? The new sweater looks stunning on you!

  7. It’s a WOW sweater. Amazing how fast you designed and knit it. Not sure what yarn I’ll knit it in yet but know it will be a must knit. Note: add to list… It’s one of those slimming sweaters which my body type likes.

  8. Another stunning sweaters. I like your attention to tailoring, flattering details like the curve creates the bottom of the back

  9. Wow, just wow!!! I thought it was nice when I saw the stitch pattern etc, but then I saw the whole thing, it’s a stunner!!! I adore this.

  10. So lovely!! This one will be on my list. I’m also in awe that you sewed the seams while watching TV!

  11. Oh, Anne, this cardigan is so beautiful! The pictures would be perfect to use in a book on finishing too!

  12. Oh, Anne, this cardigan is so beautiful! The pictures would be perfect to use in a book on finishing too!

    We’re in the seventies here, so I envy your snowy weather. I’ve never been much for summer knits.

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