In Defense of Scratchy Yarn.

alternatively: dat summer armscye tho

This past Rhinebeck, I was on the hunt for the sheepiest breed-specific wool I could find, and I decided on a sweater quantity of an undyed 2-ply longwool from a Cotswold sheep named Eloise (Ross Farm Fibers). Suffice to say I was alone in seeing the potential for a sweater.

As I was daydreaming about what to do with this haul, I thought about the tank top I made a couple summers ago. I have worn it quite a bit and it’s held up really well. I bet you know what happened next: I decided this Extremely Wooly Wool was to become a summer tank top. Rigby by Julie Hoover was already in my queue so I decided it was time.

I started knitting and quickly became concerned that this was not going to be wearable in summer. Despite this, I persevered and sprinted through the finish line at the beginning of Memorial day weekend. I’ve put it on a few times and it’s actually quite nice. This weekend’s weather was one for the books, so I bet that helped a tiny bit. We shall see how the dead of summer goes. I love the low armhole, which I achieved through careful swatching getting lucky with bigger needles. If I make this again, which is a very real possibility, I will knit the front and back completely flat to give some structure to the sides.

…and I think I’ll use something a bit more structured… and… soft. Maybe!

devoid of saturation

Squishy little ditty

VKL was back in NYC this year, and even though I hate going through Times Square, I went to check it out. It was much quieter this year than in 2020 (I typed 2019 at first, but it was in fact one of the last large crowd activities I participated in before the Pando descended).

I contemplated my Ravelry queue ahead of time, and was looking for yarn to make a “Half and Half Triangle wrap” because its been in my queue forever. This winter, I noticed that I often reached for my Aestlight shawl I made back in 2012. Made of the Hottest Yarn at the time, Malabrigio, its full of mistakes because I barely knew how to knit. I wanted something to replace it. Triangle wrap sounded like a good fit.

After doing a lap through the show among the other early birds, I realized it felt a little weird to be able to duck into a booth without fighting crowds. I decided go back to Kelborne Woolens to get some Andorra for my project.

When I got home, I started the project immediately–– WIPs be damned. I knit this in a little more than a month during my subway commute and over 2 plane-trips. I am pleased with the icord edging I finagled around the scarf’s perimeter, as well as the squish of overall garter stitch. Nothing super exciting, but bright colors to liven up the last of winter and early spring!

This is Kelbourne Woolens’ Andorra in Dijon, a mustard-y green and Cloud Gray, a very pale lavender.

Progress photos

I snapped some photos along the journey. It was nice to have such a simple, yet engaging pattern to lose myself in.

catching that great hotel window lighting
almost done!

TDSL Complete!

I made Jacob a sweater and he likes it!

Top-down seamless sweaters are wildly popular, in part because they require very little seaming. Perhaps because I am a sewer, I do not mind seaming, so this advantage is lost on me. In my opinion, the structure seams add to a knitted garment is well worth the effort. Additionally, a seamless sweater gets SO heavy and bulky to transport, and it really slowed down my momentum that I needed to finish. My last gripe with this project was the collar. I thought I was clever with my foldover collar modification, but it looked very bad. I think my yarn did not help the situation, it is a 85/15 cotton/alpaca blend. Luckily my surgery went very well and I was able to salvage it.

Enough of my complaining, I am glad this sweater is finished and Jacob is enjoying wearing it.


I tore through this Toni Cardigan in less than a month! This was my first top-down seamless cardigan. It went very fast and was addictive to knit. I got this beautiful Thelma and Louise from Wing and a Prayer Farm at Rhinebeck last year, and it is so dreamy to knit with. The luster of the wool is really quite nice, which makes sense because this yarn is partly made of Cotswold, a longwool. I alternated skeins throughout to make sure I didn’t have any pooling. For the pockets and the back collar I used some Postcard Shelter scraps.

This sweater uses “The Cocoknits Method” and recommended the Sweater Workshop book as a companion, but I had no trouble figuring this out using the KAL blog posts and videos. At the end, I used tubular bind off with 2 setup rows for the hem and sleeves, and I think it looks really nice! Buttons are from Pacific Trimming, as always they helped me out after I spent many minutes overwhelmed by their enormous selection.


Here’s an itarsia pullover for ya: Judd by Alexis Winslow. This was a test knit that took me much longer than I intended. Today was a balmy 28°, so I utilized this March cold snap to grab photos (thanks Jacob). I used ridiculously soft Flax Down from Purl Soho for this sweater, and the drape is so so nice. I hope it doesn’t pill.

Alexis included a coloring page with her sweater pattern, and I used it to test out many color combinations of Flax Down colors before settling on Grey Fig, Vintage Celadon and Cobalt Blue. I am particularly fond of the solid blue and solid brown sleeve, it gives the sweater a striking look. I ended up swapping the colors on the bottom octagon from sketch to sweater, but you probably already noticed that!

my final sketch

This was my first time with intarsia, and it took a few rows to get the hang of it, but after that it was very straightforward. The Vikkel braid around the neckline and setup rows for tubular bind off turned out beautifully, and make this garment look so professional. Seaming the sides took awhile, but seeing the colors line up perfectly was so satisfying. This was also my first time with a drop-shoulder sweater, and I have to say, its pretty comfy!

Cline II

Here’s my most recent FO, a second Cline sweater. its pretty rare for me to knit something more than once, but as soon as I finished my first Cline I decided to cast on another. I frogged my Niska sweater because I just didn’t like how it fit, and the Cinnabar Shelter is so so beautiful (and BT RETIRED IT!!!).

i knew i wouldn’t have enough of the Cinnabar to make the whole Cline, so I took a shot in the dark and ordered 2 skeins of BT Shelter in Postcard to make it colorblocked. I am quite happy with how the ratios turned out, it looks exactly as I pictured it in my head. I referenced @beautifulshell‘s lovely version to get a rough idea of where to switch colors.

The NYC Marathon goes right past our apartment, so we used this rare opportunity to take some middle-of-the-street photos before we checked out the race.

Lucky Pieces

a colorful hand-knitted sweater
leaning in to the ombre

I finished one of my most challenging projects (rav link) ever! Its the from PomPom Magazine’s spring 2021 issue, a sweater-vest called Lucky Pieces.

After I decided to knit this, I saw that A Verb for Keeping Warm created a kit for this pattern, utilizing small quantities of their beautiful naturally dyed yarn. How fortuitous!! I had always wanted to try out their yarn, and this seemed like a great pattern for it. I asked if they would be willing to create a “warm colors” version of the kit, and they graciously acquiesced!

a woman wears a hand-knitted sweater in a park.
sun shines on a woman wearing a hand-knitted sweater vest.

This project was my first time doing entrelac. The pattern instructions were rather bare-bones, so it was very challenging to get the hang of how entrelac works. Getting through the initial rows was frustrating, but after checking Ravelry, I discovered other knitters were also having trouble. A few knitters helped me, and I ended up making a diagram to attempt to contribute to the community. PomPom ended up using it in a blog post to augment the pattern’s instructions, so I think it ended up being pretty helpful!

This pattern took me a long time to complete. I had to take a break over the summer because I was so sick of it. The amount of color changes and weaving in ends was frustrating and time-consuming. I want to wear this to Rhinebeck, so I picked it back up last month. I was not sure I would like it, but after completing the edging, I think it looks much better than I was anticipating. I ran out of the yellow-colored yarns at the very end of the back, but I don’t think its noticeable. Instead of creating the ties to finish this, I opted for 2 buttons and i-cord loops. I eye-balled the position of the buttons and the loops, and sewed them on with a backing button for stability.

a colorful hand-knitted sweater
so many ends to weave in….

See y’all at Rhinebeck!

Cline I

We moved! And now that we’re settled and my camera’s unpacked, I’m ready to get back to documenting things I’ve made.

a woman looks to her right while wearing a black sweater.

Before moving day, the walls of boxes surrounding us did not put me at ease, so I channeled my anxieties into finishing my Cline sweater. The second I finished it, I knew it would become a staple. What a great pattern. I read some comments on Rav that said this is so “wearable.” I didn’t exactly get what they meant until I put it on. This does not fit or feel like a handmade sweater. It feels like a comfy sweatshirt. I love it.

a woman shows off a black hand-knitted sweater she made.
a back view of a hand-knitted black sweater.

I knitted it exactly as written, with no modifications. Seaming the sleeves and sides was rather tedious, but the final product is worth the fuss. Nightshades is a perfect match for this pattern.

a sleeve view of a black hand-knitted sweater.

I don’t think I’ve ever done this before, but the second I finished this sweater, I knew I had to make another. I frogged my Niska because I never ever wear it, and am going to use this beautiful red yarn to make a second Cline. Details soon!

Man Cardigan

After years of watching me knit sweaters for myself, my patient husband quietly asked me to make him a sweater. He doesn’t wear sweaters very often, but it was time, and the final product is lovely.

There aren’t too many man cardigan patterns on Ravelry, but I spent hours looking, trying to find what I had in mind. I finally settled on Wardie from Ysolda. This pattern has two important attributes: its pieced so it will keep its shape and stand up to wear, and it has kangaroo pockets that echo the key style feature of Jacob’s beloved zip-up hoodies.

I’ve eyed Purl Soho’s Linen Quill for years, and this sweater was the perfect match for it. Its very soft, a Jacob requirement for this sweater. I used some stash buttons, I think they are the horn buttons from Fringe Supply Co (RIP). I love the fully fashioned shoulder decreases, and the edging for the pocket and neckband. This was not fast to knit, and it was nearly impossible to gauge the fit before knitting the sleeves, but I’m very happy with the finished product.

This is originally a womens’ pattern, so I made quite a few adjustments:

  1. I removed the waist shaping, and added several inches to the upper back and upper fronts to accommodate Jacob’s broad shoulders.
  2. I swapped the button placement from wearer’s left to wearer’s right
  3. I started the v-neck decreases when I started the armhole bind off

Rose Plank in Cormo Cross

a woman wears a hand-knit grey shawl.

I finished this shawl shortly after the Pando lockdown started, but it was both too scary and too warm for outside pics, so it went away in a sweater bag for the summer. We had a fabulous chilly Saturday today, so I decided it was time to get some photos. This is Rhinebeck weekend, and I am still so sad that its virtual. I am getting together with my knitting group for a socially-distant outdoor knitting session in Prospect Park instead (and I am making apple cider donuts!). As a small consolation, I attended a Zoom lecture by the lovely ladies at Solitude Wool. They covered the basics on how to categorize sheep breeds into 5 distinct groups. Armed with the basics, I’m so excited to explore the world of breed-specific yarn. Before this lecture, I knew there was more out there than Merino (a fine wool), but now I feel like I have a good base understanding to explore Down, Medium, Longwool and Primitive!

A woman wears a hand-knit grey shawl.

Speaking of fine wool, I knitted this Rose Plank shawl with some incredible Cormo Cross from Foxhill Farm (they do not have a website, this is their Rav page). I missed my chance to get this yarn at my first Rhinebeck in 2018, so the first thing I did in 2019 was go straight to their booth. This yarn is SO sumptuous, so I wanted to pick a pattern that would do it justice. After looking for a bit, I settled on Rose Plank by Monika Sirna. I went back and forth on whether or not to do the 2×2 ribbing edging, or the garter edging. I finally landed on the garter and I love the result.

a woman holds up a gray fancy cable knit shawl.

I cannot wait to wear this with my winter coat!