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Hugo for Hubby

Last July I started a sweater for the husband. I thought "he's small, it's worsted weight, how long can it really take?"

It took until today. Hubris, man. 

The sweater is Hugo, by Veronik Avery, from the fantastic BT Men collection. Jake looks fabulous in it.

I used Brooklyn Tweed Shelter, in the Button Jar colourway. The pattern called for 9 skeins for his size (I made the 41 1/4"), but I followed the directions as written for tall sweater and ran out of yarn. I was lucky to be able to get a skein in the same dyelot from a friend, and all was well, but keep it in mind if you want to make this pattern. The yarn was delicate, and too breakable to seam with (I used sock yarn), but it is so lovely and light. It softens incredibly with washing, as well. My only real complaint is the amount of sticks and hay spun into it, but they do contribute to a rustic, authentic experience. It would have been satisfyingly rustic sans sticks though, just saying.

The fit is spectacular (and I think he looks quite fetching in it). Hugo is designed to emphasize shoulder width through its construction, encouraging a masculine silhouette. It's rare to see a men's pattern that takes aesthetics into consideration to that level. It also has sizing options for regular and tall men, and instructions on fitting if the gent in question has a narrow waist and wide chest. Other than using the tall version, I made the pattern as written.

Most importantly, it's done and I can make something for me now!

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Watercourse, of Course

I haven't been my usual hyper-prolific self this year, but I have churned out a few big projects. The latest is Watercourse, by Carina Spencer. It's an A-line, hip length hooded cardi with pockets and textured borders, and I love it.

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I love the way this piece looks with a dress (though not necessarily this dress; I think it needs something more casual, with a lower waist)  or a flowy top. It's an interesting combination of wooly and refined, thanks to feminine details and i-cord edgings. I used 6 and a bit skeins of Cascade 220 Heathers, which gave a cozy-looking result. I love the colour, as well.

 One day Jacob will learn to get the entire sweater in all the photos. One day.

One day Jacob will learn to get the entire sweater in all the photos. One day.

The construction is completely seamless, and relies on clever techniques and  a bit of grafting to come together. The hood is comfortable and functional (you'd be surprised how many hoods are neither), but it looked seriously silly with this outfit. I felt like a Druid attending high tea, or a really froofy Jedi.

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The only written shaping is provided by a cute gathered detail at the centre back, but I did lower my needle size about halfway up the body to increase the effect.

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I need to purchase a clasp or two for the front closure, but for now a pin from my horse show days does the trick. A little negative ease in the bust shows off the fact that I do have a waist under there.

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I can see this sweater getting lots of wear during transitional weather. I'm extremely happy with it! The only thing I would change would be to make the sleeves a few inches longer. I thought I had made them elbow length, but apparently I missed that mark. Whoops. Ah well.

So, what do you think? How would you style this unusual cardigan?

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Amazing Technicolor Dream Socks

Do you believe in soulmates? In the romantic dream that there are people out there, cut from the same cloth, perfect for each other, and destined to meet? That humans, adrift in time and buffeted by chance, slowly move towards that serendipitous moment in which they can be joined with their other half and experience the ecstasy of completion?

Yeah, I really don't. I'm just not a dreamer, I guess. That said, if I did have a soulmate, I'd want it to be this yarn (sorry husband, you're a very close second). 

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This beautiful creature is Trekking XXL in colourway 550, and it's beyond compare. I used it to make socks, and they are the best thing ever. Don't believe me? Look at these stripes:

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Do you see the spectacular neon glory? The perfect juxtaposition of neutral and colour? The eight inch stripe repeat?

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They are without parallel. I have experienced the once-in-a-lifetime perfection of my ideal yarn.

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Unf. I am spent.

ps, I know there's a SOLE-mate pun in there, but I'm taking the high road. 

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Finally Some Knitting - My Hitofude Cardigan

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Finally Some Knitting - My Hitofude Cardigan

It seems to me that interesting sweater construction is very much a trend in modern knitwear design. I'm grateful for this, as knitting the same sweater recipe with different numbers over and over can get a little dull. The Hitofude Cardigan by Hiroko Fukatsu is anything but boring, and has a new-to-me construction that provided a fun challenge.

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The whole point of Hitofude is that you can knit the entire thing without breaking your yarn. It begins as a rectangle, morphs into a shrug, gains a border, and then grows a gorgeous flared skirt, all while maintaining a simple but gorgeous lace pattern. It's a pattern that requires a little trust on the knitter's part, but pays off with a lovely reward that is part sweater, part shrug and part shawl. 

I used Swans Island Merino Fingering in the Beetroot colourway. I couldn't have asked for a softer, lighter yarn or a better match for the garment. The yardage required by the pattern is quite low, while the yardage provided by the yarn is surprisingly high. I had three skeins, and despite making a sweater that comfortably fits about a 2X, I have the better part of one left over.

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I'll be the first to admit the style of the sweater doesn't make me look thinner. If that's a concern for you, take it into account. It's very drapey and looks its best on a more willowy figure. It is, however, a gorgeous item of clothing, and I'm going to wear what I want, regardless of whether it makes me look like I've lost five pounds.

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My only complaint about the whole process is that the yarn, which is naturally dyed organic Merino wool, bleeds like a stuck (blue) pig. It's indigo based, and unfortunately indigo is a dye that comes off on your hands and needles as you work. This is just a part of the nature of indigo, and no fault of the dyer, but it's distracting and irritating all the same. I did some research on indigo to see if I could reduce the mess, and the short answer is no. If you want to hear more of what I learned, check out episode four of my podcast, towards the end of the recording.

  I wish you could buy a single pair of shoes in two different sizes. Come on left foot, why you gotta be so short?

I wish you could buy a single pair of shoes in two different sizes. Come on left foot, why you gotta be so short?

Isn't it a pretty thing? I love this whole outfit, actually. The shoes, which I bought a week ago for a whole $19 at Target, are the first purely pretty sandals I've owned in years and years. I feel like there need to be more pretty shoes in my future. And possibly a pedicure of some sort - my feet look grumpy.

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While I was taking outfit pictures I also grabbed a shot of our lilac tree. Isn't it a beauty? It doesn't have the same distinctive scent as a purple lilac, but it's lovely all the same. Thank goodness for spring.

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My Color Affection Shawl, aka THE BEAST

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My Color Affection Shawl, aka THE BEAST

(First, a note for all you lovely custom order-ers - I have the yarn, I'm about a third of the way done dyeing, and I'll be sending your pretties off soon!)

I have been absent but busy over the past week or so, as my in-laws came to stay with us. Now I'm back, with lots of things to show you! Today: Color Affection by Veera Valimaki. I wrote a few weeks ago, in a post about my Here and There hat, about how much I adore Veera's aesthetic. The Color Affection is probably her most popular pattern, and it perfectly shows off her style. Colour, stripes, simple fabric, and unusual construction abound! 

It's a big, warm, cozy shawl, best worn as a casual accessory. When I say big I mean it blocked to eight feet long. BIG.

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I used 4.5mm/US 7 Chiaogoo needles, and my own Kashmir Sock yarn in Havana Club, Sweet Spot, and Pinkle. None of the photos of the final product really capture the colours accurately all at once, but this one of just the yarn is pretty good:

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Except the purple is too dark. Grr. It really is a pretty combination of colours, if slightly unusual. The shawl is super soft and cozy, thanks to the luscious cashmere content of the yarn and the magic of garter stitch.

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Also, did I mention it was big? It is. Despite its size I've just been throwing it on like a scarf. I never really know how to properly drape shawls on my wide, round shoulders (well, wide, round everything if we're being honest), but the loosely wrapped scarf look is always a safe bet.

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Please continue to excuse my photo quality - when the Mr is out, my photographer is a flowerpot. I'll bet you didn't even know flowerpots could take pictures!

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If I were the sort of person who ever felt inclined to knit the same large pattern more that once, I'd do this one again in a heartbeat. As it is, I am not, so on to the next thing! See you soon!

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