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Fearless Knitting

On the eve of our Fall knit-along, I couldn’t help but reminisce about My First Sweater.

 

wicked-pie

From my blog, just after finishing up that first sweater:

My first sweater is now a knitting memory.  There are things I would do differently next time to be sure, but overall it was a positive learning experience.  I now know that I am a capable sweater knitter, up to the task of tackling any challenge.  A whole new world of possible knits now seems open to me.  Where I used to shy away from looking too closely at beautiful sweater patterns, I now take a second look.

Anything is possible when you take your time and work through the challenges, both in life and in knitting.  Knitting Wicked helped me reconnect with the fearless knitter within, something I used to know intimately but which was slowly buried.  Are you fantasizing about knitting something that you think is beyond your ability?  What if you just tried it?  And what if you tried it and succeeded?

What if, indeed?  

And with that, I challenge you to jump in needles first and join us tomorrow.  Whether it’s your first sweater or your 40th, there’s something to be enjoyed with each  new project.

I dare you to choose a pattern that intrigues, inspires, and even challenges you a bit.  The knitting community at Stash and at large is here to help, so what are you waiting for?

If you’re looking for ideas, check out Hannah Fettig’s sweater patterns here and here.  And don’t forget to check in on our Ravelry board, where there is always sure to be an answer to your burning sweater knitting questions.

Please leave a comment below and let us know what sweater you’ll be knitting this autumn and what about it challenges and/or inspires you.

Happy knitting!

xoxo

Sonia

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Filed under Knit Alongs, Knitting, LYS, Stash

Fall in Love with Sweater Knitting KAL: Choosing a Pattern and Yarn

If you’re going to invest the time and money in knitting yourself a sweater, you want to love the finished product and love how it looks on you, right? Something I’ve learned over the course of knitting ~20 sweaters is which styles look flattering on me and the styles I’m most likely to actually wear. Some of that has been good ol’ trial and error and the rest has been little tid bits I’ve picked up from other knitters via Ravelry,  blogs, and knitting books.

Before choosing a sweater for the KAL, take a look in your closet. Pull out your favorite store bought (or handknit if you’ve knit sweaters before!) sweaters and tops. Is there a style of top that you gravitate towards? A particular cut that makes you feel like a million bucks?

The Calligraphy Cardigan has the potential to be flattering on almost any body type. It would be simple to adapt the pattern to tailor it to your specific body (we’ll talk about that in another post in the blog series!). *Photo from the Ravelry pattern page

If you aren’t sure which styles flatter you the most, Amy Herzog has put together a fantastic series of blog posts called Fit to Flatter (scroll down to the bottom and start with Installment 1). There’s also a Fit to Flatter Ravelry Group to answer any additional questions and see her tutorials in action. She covers everything from determining your body shape to how to choose and adapt knitting patterns to flatter your shape. It’s well worth a read-through even if you’re a seasoned sweater knitter.

If trying to nail down a pattern choice weren’t enough, you’ll also need to find a yarn that will work well with the pattern. Lucky for you, we’ve taken a good hard look at Hannah’s patterns and made a handy dandy spread sheet pairing up patterns and yarn available at the shop! We’ll have a copy of this as the shop as well, so we Stash Enhancers can help you choose the perfect yarn! Hannah Fettig has a number of other designs that aren’t on the spreadsheet, mostly from old issues of Interweave and KnitScene magazines. Of course, we’d be happy to use our special yarn choosing powers to help you pick a great yarn for those patterns, too!

I’ll be knitting the Schoodic Cardigan in some yummy Fibre Co. Acadia (the recommended yarn)! *Photo from the Ravelry pattern page

Of course, these blog posts are supposed to help you with future sweater knitting, too! One of the first things I do when I’m trying to decide which yarn to use for a sweater pattern is to head over to the pattern page on Ravelry.

Once I’ve found the pattern page, I click on the “projects” tab and browse through the finished projects and take note of the yarn substitutions that other knitters have used and how the sweaters look in various yarns.

Ravelry is a fantastic resource to use when trying to substitute yarns for any type of project. You can also look up the yarn in the Ravelry database and take a look through the different types of projects made with that specific yarn.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re working on pairing a sweater pattern and yarn:

1. What are the details of the yarn used in the pattern? Fiber content? Yardage? Gauge? Single ply or multiple plies?

2. Take a look at the stitch pattern in the sweater. Will you want a crisp yarn with good stitch definition? Is the sweater structured or drapey?

3. Will you be wearing something underneath your sweater? Or does the yarn need to be “next-to-skin” soft?

4. Be realistic about the durability of the yarn. Does the yarn look like it will resist pilling?

5. If there are cables, lace, or some other kind of textured pattern consider your color choices carefully. You don’t want to lose the beautiful details of the sweater by knitting in a color that will hide the reason you picked that pattern in the first place!

If you’d like to delve further into this subject, The Knitter’s Book of Yarn by Clara Parkes is a wonderful resource. Little Red in the City by Ysolda Teague also has a small section devoted to choosing yarns for sweater knitting.

We have some fantastic yarn for sweater knitting here at Stash. Here are just a few of my favorites:

Top Row (L–>R): Imperial Columbia, Knitted Wit DK

Bottom Row (L–>R): Baah! Sonoma, The Fibre Co. Road to China Worsted

On Wednesday, we’ll talk about swatching for your sweater! I know, I know…every knitter’s least favorite thing. But I’ll tell you why I think it’s incredibly important in the sweater knitting process. Stay Tuned, Knitters!

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Fall in Love with Sweater Knitting: Hannah Fettig Sweater KAL

It’s time to start thinking about our next Knit-A-Long, and what says Fall better than a cozy wool sweater?! Instead of choosing one pattern to knit, we’ve decided to highlight designer Hannah Fettig (aka Knitbot). Hannah Fettig is known for her classic sweater designs that are knit in one piece (no seaming!), which is ideal for first-time and veteran sweater knitters alike.

All photos from Hannah Fettig’s pattern pages on ravlery

This KAL is going to have some extra goodies including a series of blog posts with advice on everything sweater knitting! Beginning August 20th, we’ll have 2 blog posts per week to guide you through the sweater knitting process. Be on the lookout for the following blog posts:

  • Choosing a Pattern and Yarn
  • Swatching
  • Deciphering Your Swatch and Choosing a Sweater Size
  • Tips for Knitting a Sweater with Hand-dyed Yarn
  • Making Adjustments on the Fly
  • Tips and Tricks for Sleeves
  • Seaming – hardly any of Hannah Fettig’s patterns require seaming, but we’ll discuss it anyway!
  • Blocking

Think of these blog posts as a free knitting class on making a well-fitting sweater that you love.

A little leery of making your first sweater? Fear not, Hannah’s patterns are easy to follow and there’s surely something for everyone in her collection of patterns. The Stash Enhancers will be happy to help you pick a pattern that will match your skill level. There are even several pint-sized versions of her designs, most notably the Coastal Kids patterns, for the little ones in your life.

The Fall in Love with Sweater Knitting KAL will run from Wednesday September 19th-Wednesday December 12th to give you plenty of time to complete your sweater! The entire blog post series will be finished the week before the kick-off, so you’ll have the resources you need to cast-on right away!

KAL participants will receive 15% off yarn purchased for the knit-a-long between August 22nd and September 19th! Stop on in, browse through the Hannah Fettig patterns, and choose some gorgeous yarn to inspire your fall knitting!

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Filed under Books/Patterns, Knit Alongs, Knitting, LYS, Stash Knitting, Tutorials, Uncategorized, Yarn