Tag Archive | sweater

Day 3: Stripes


Another knitted thing, this time with stripes and this time for Granota. I finished this sweater more recently (about a month ago). I tried blocking it out earlier this week, but it didn’t take, so here it is pinned out again for another round of blocking. (For non-yarny people, that means steaming it into its final shape; if I don’t block it, it curls up like a scroll which makes it awfully hard to sew together. Even if I did manage to sew it together like that, can you imagine how rumpled and “homemade” it would look? Blocking is a necessity.) This is the wrong side showing. Cross your fingers that it will block out right this time!

One thing that makes me extra excited about this sweater is that I was on a mission to use up yarn from my stash. The aqua and the variegated are the only ones I managed to kill off, but at least the others are reduced!

Day 1: Warmth

It lives!!!


Once again, I’ve resuscitated the blog to participate in The Idea Room’s photo challenge for the month of December. I’m going to do things a little bit differently this time and post about things I’ve made in the last, uh, however many months.

To kick it off, we’ll start with “warmth,” which was actually yesterday’s word, but when you’re chronically late like I am, what’s one day out of a whole month?



May I present to you, my very first ever knitted grown-up sweater. It’s my second ever knit project, the first being a tiny sweater I knitted for Baby Sprinkaan just before he was born. I’m pretty proud of this. I made a thing! I made a wearable thing! And it is made out of the thickest, softest, chunkiest yarn I could find.


Cozy Wool — I think it’s the Michael’s store brand

I have to wait for the very coldest days to break out this sweater or I’ll actually get too hot. I think that qualifies for “warmth.”

This sweater was fun and relatively quick to make, owing to the thick yarn and the humongous needles used to make it. Here’s a photo showing the size of those suckers compared to a regular ol’ pencil.


Mondo knitting needles

I’m actually considering making another sweater like this in a different color. The next time I make it, I’ll pay better attention to gauge and measurements so that I don’t have to add an extra band of ribbing around the bottom to make it long enough to fit me.


Another one of my famous “design elements.”


To quote Rana as a 3 year old, “I’m is all worm and snoogly.”

Konik’s gray sweater

After my last sweater attempt for Konik that turned out too small, I told him I would make him another sweater. I didn’t have the funds to go buy the fancy yarn I had used for the too-small sweater, but I was able to get some soft gray yarn for a different pattern that I thought might be easier to keep true to size. I made the smallest size written and… poor little Konik could swim in it.

It's going to be a few years before he can wear this

It’s going to be a few years before he can wear this

Looks pretty good flat

Looks pretty good flat

At the neckline there will eventually be large metal snaps. I haven't bought those yet and obviously there's no rush

At the neckline there will eventually be large metal snaps. I haven’t bought those yet and obviously there’s no rush

He's a good sport and still cute, even swimming in yarn.

He’s a good sport and still cute, even swimming in yarn.

Boy sweater

That’s a boring title, isn’t it? But there won’t be any confusion as to what I’m writing about today. Boy sweater. A sweater for the boy. A yarny garment for a male child.

If you sew/crochet/knit, you probably already know that there are a dearth of patterns out there for the little boys in the world. And, considering that around 51% of the world’s population is male, you’d think there’d be more of a demand for this type of thing. Well, I should rephrase — there is demand, but the supply is seriously lacking. So, when I saw that there were THREE boy sweater patterns in the Winter 2014 (that would be this past January) issue of Interweave Crochet, I jumped all over that. And these weren’t embarrassing granny square 70s throwback sweaters; these looked like sweaters that boys of today would actually wear and {gasp} enjoy wearing.

I chose the “Jonas” sweater and Konik and I took a trip to the yarn store. Not a craft store — an honest-to-goodness yarn store. I often can’t afford all the fancy yarns, but I wanted this to be a nice, durable sweater for my boy. The original pattern was worked with Brown Sheep Company Cotton Fleece, which the yarn store carried, but I didn’t like any of the colors. Instead, we went with Cascade Yarns Cascade 220 Heathers; it’s a 100% Peruvian Wool. That should keep him warm! I let Konik choose the colors and he ended up choosing two that were quite similar to the picture in the magazine — a rusty brown and gray-blue.

This pattern was worked in Tunisian crochet. The last time I tried to make a garment for one of my children in Tunisian, I was a novice at it and very            very            slow. Working the Axl afghan changed all that and now I can go almost as fast as I can in regular crochet. I started right away and whipped out the front and back of the sweater in a week or so. And then I made the fatal mistake: I put it away. I can’t remember why now. But I did. And the little sweater languished in my yarn drum for months and months until I finally picked it up again earlier this month to do the sleeves. Aside from a little counting issue I had, the sleeves worked up just as quickly as the body of the sweater and sewing it together was no sweat (see what I did there?). Hurray! The boy sweater was finished! Well, apart from inserting the zipper in the collar, but I didn’t want to wait on that to try it on Konik.

IMG_5944 - Copy

Still awaiting the zipper.

Still awaiting the zipper.

Close-up of the stitches. Ribbing along the bottom edge, cuffs, and collar of the sweater.

Close-up of the stitches. Ribbing along the bottom edge, cuffs, and collar of the sweater.

Konik was just as excited; he had been looking forward to this sweater for a long time. I helped him put it on and… he looked like a little wool-encased sausage. And the sleeves were at that awkward length in between “long” and “3/4.” Yeah, I should have expected it: in ten months, my son grew. It made me claustrophobic just looking at him and the poor kid couldn’t even get out of it by himself. We extracted him from the sweater and sadly admitted that it was going to have to be put away for a couple years until Sprinkaan grows into it. Hopefully I won’t miss that window! It looks like Konik and I are going to have to make another trip to the yarn store and this time, I’ll make it a size bigger. Maybe two.

Sweater for the new (little) man in my life

Tell ya what, peeps: Single parenting? Not for this girl. Mr. Gren just completed four weeks of Corrections Office Academy last Friday (Congratulations, Mr. Gren!) and there was much rejoicing. [Yay!!] He was able to come home on weekends, thank goodness, or I might not have any hair or sanity left now. To all military families and anyone else who has to do the single parent gig for whatever reason: mad props (or, for you, mon frère — mad promps). Going into it, I had the endearingly naive idea that I’d be able to keep up with blogging.

Bwahahahahahahaaaaa!!! When will I ever learn?

Miraculously, I did manage to complete a few crafty things and now that Mr. Gren is back home in his semi-official position as Munchkin Wrangler, I can tell you about them!

You may recall that I had begun knitting a little wrap sweater for Sprinkaan several weeks before he was born. This was my first real knitting project. Ever. In my life. With real needles and a pattern and angst and stuff. Yeah, that’s right, knitting is not quite relaxing for me because the entire time the project is just mere millimeters away from disaster. Does that make knitters more daring than crocheters? I don’t know, but I kinda like the safety the hook provides. Besides that, if I screw up in crochet, I can fix it; I can’t fix knitting errors yet. If I had dropped a stitch, I probably would have had to start completely over and the likelihood of that happening: Pshhh. You so funny. So this whole baby sweater was a bit of a do-or-die moment for me. A very long moment.

The pattern I chose was a baby wrap kimono sweater. I needed something super basic for my inaugural knitting project and this pattern fit the bill. It used only knit and purl stitches (I can do that!) and had simple decreases and increases (I figured out how to do that!). It was worked side to side in one big flat piece. I wish there had been pictures of what that looked like because I was having a hard time visualizing how all these flaps were going to turn into a sweater. So I took pictures of it while it was blocking out — for posterity and any other novice knitters who might want to see what the finished product will look like. To me, it kinda resembles an animal pelt stretched for tanning.


In a noble attempt at stash-busting, the yarn I used was leftover from a baby blanket I crocheted for my nephew when he was a newborn. He’s 10 now, so this yarn has been kicking around in my bin for 9 years too long. It is a Bernat baby yarn. Kind of crinkly with green and yellow strands woven together, plus a little white shimmery strand. So here I am, knitting along, knitting, knitting, knitting. I get to the second shoulder and… I ran out of yarn. Like I said, this yarn was 10 years old, so there’s not much chance I’m going to find the same yarn, much less the same color. And forget the same color lot! Besides, buying more yarn really defeats the purpose of stash-busting. I dug through my bins and found another green Bernat crinkly baby yarn, minus the yellow strand. “It’ll be close enough,” I told myself. Also, the light in my living room was dim. Come daylight, I found that the new yarn isn’t as close to the old yarn as I had thought. But you know what? Too bad, so sad. It’s on there and it’s staying on there. If anyone happens to wonder aloud to me why one sleeve is a different color than the rest, I will tell them it’s a design element. So there.




The little sweater is not without other imperfections, either. There are random floating rows of purl stitch where there should be knit. “Look, Baby Sprinkaan — this is where one of your siblings had dire need of me and when I came back, I couldn’t remember what I was doing.” Ah, memories.


I’d say I finished the sweater none too soon. Sprinkaan is a little log of a baby and probably won’t be able to wear the sweater for long. But who knows, maybe if I move the buttons over, we can buy a bit more time in it and Sprinkaan’s little tiny T-rex arms will have a chance to grow into those long sleeves.



Putting the plan into place

Happy New Year! We’ve been in the new house for two months now, baby Sprinkaan is 6 weeks old, we made it through the holidays and life is beginning to settle into a more predictable routine, which means I can — fingers crossed — get back on here on a more regular basis. Earlier last week, I began going through my sewing room in an attempt to bring some order to the chaos. I’ve still got more work to do to get it organized to where I can find things easily, but in that process, I made a shocking discovery. Shocking, I tell you! Ok, maybe only to me.

A room of my very own!

A room of my very own!

Whilst cleaning, I came across several UFOs. That’s right, the dreaded UnFinished Object. I’m not surprised that these UFOs exist (I am a procrastinator, after all), just that there are so many of them. I found things I had completely forgotten about. So, in the interest of accountability, I’m posting them all here. Well, I say all; there may yet be undiscovered specimens.

Here's the story of a lovely lady who can't seem to finish what she starts

Here’s the story of a lovely lady who can’t seem to finish what she starts

From the top, going left to right:

  1. Rag rug. I even posted about this back when I started it and then promptly got bored of it and stashed it away. It’s wound into an oval purely for visual purposes because it’s much easier to see it as a rug this way than as the mile-long fabric braid that it actually is. The braiding is complete, as far as I’m concerned, now it’s just the awful task of hand-sewing all that mess together.
  2. Crochet gingerbread house. It doesn’t look like much, but all the actual house pieces are there: roof, front, back, and sides. I just need to finish all the candy features and assemble the thing.
  3. Beige peasant blouse. I started this last spring with the intention of it being a sort of transitional maternity top. That was effective. Again, all the pieces are there, I just need to finish the embroidery on the yoke and sew it up.
  4. Rainbow granny afghan. This is probably the biggest undertaking out of all these projects. I hate weaving in ends and granny squares produce a lot of ends to weave. Multi-colored granny squares make me question my sanity for deciding to embark on this in the first place.
  5. Front of a sweater. This sweater has a name — it’s from my knitting board book, but I can’t find the book yet and I don’t remember the name. At any rate, the front of a sweater doesn’t do me a lot of good without the back and sleeves.
  6. Axl doll. Another naked Axl. I started out all gung-ho on this after I finished the dolls for the girls, but then was struck with ennui when it came to sewing more tiny clothes. The thing is, I did all the hard work the first time and made little patterns so that any subsequent dolls wouldn’t be such a pain, but, eh.
  7. Knitting loom sock. Remember when I made Konik the little striped socks that he loved and wouldn’t take off for three days? Immediately after that, I began making a sock for myself. And then more interesting things came along… I actually haven’t gotten very far on this one at all and, to tell the truth, can’t remember which pattern I was using. I may end up taking it off and doing something else. We’ll see.
  8. Bunny dress. Rana and I had started a little sewing project together to make her favorite stuffed bunny a pretty little dress. We were on a roll and then we missed a few days and a few days turned into a few months.
  9. Embroidered baby booties. You want to know how shameful my UFOs are? I began these booties when I was pregnant with Konik. He’s 4. I need to get a move on if any of my own children are going to actually wear these. Sprinkaan, you are our last hope.

So here’s my New Year’s Resolution of sorts: for the next year, I will choose one of these projects each month and bust it out. Originally I was just going to randomly pull one from a jar, but obviously, some of these have a little more urgency than others, like the booties for example. That one will have to be the first… just as soon as I finish the little sweater I’m knitting for Sprinkaan. Maybe after that I’ll go with the jar idea. For some reason, it feels more likely that I’ll actually do these if I feel like it’s a surprise and not an assignment. I will (again, fingers crossed) be making other things during the next nine months. These items are, with the exception of the doll clothes, my “armchair crafts” — the things that I can work on in the evenings after I’ve put the kids to bed and just want to sit quietly. Even with the new baby, I’ll make time for daytime projects. So, when I begin one of these UFOs, I’ll post about it and you all can pester me hold me accountable throughout that month to make sure I finish it! Deal? Deal.

Eet’s a sweater!

Do any of you quote movie lines with your significant others? For me, I think I can trace it back to my college roommates and “What About Bob?” (still my favorite movie). Then I married a man who loves movies. I had to start watching all his old ’80s comedies just to know what the heck he was talking about. We’ve got our go-to favorites and have discovered that, between “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” and “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” we could probably never have an original conversation again; they’ve got quotes for everything! Another one we like is “Three Amigos” which provided the title of today’s post. It’s great for any gift-giving situation.

Today is not a gift-giving situation, but it does involve an actual sweater! Just in time for the warmest day of the year so far. Woo hoo, timing! To my credit, it was cold three weeks ago when I started this. The pattern was (mostly) the “flirty ruffles top” from the January 2009 issue of Crochet! Magazine. I used Caron Simply Soft in Pagoda. I like the sheen, but it does look like it might have a tendency to pill, so I’m going to have to be careful with the sweater.

Now, you may notice that there aren’t any ruffles on this so-called ruffles top. On the original pattern, the front hemline came up to a point just below the bust and it was this edge that was lined with ruffles. I didn’t like the way it came up like that because that would force me to have to wear something underneath to cover up all that midriff. Truth be told, I’ll probably end up wearing a camisole under it anyways because there’s nothing worse in life (to me) than being cold. But I’d like to at least maintain the option of having just a sweater on its own. Besides that, I thought that cut-out part looked stupid.

I have a waist!

In order to keep it from being just a big crocheted rectangle, I did a little bit of shaping through the waist by changing hook size. The majority of the sweater is worked with an I hook. I worked a panel through the middle on both the front and the back where I went down to H for about 5 rows and then to G, back up to H and then back to I. I can definitely feel a difference in wearing it. Along the bottom hem, I just made a simple 5 dc fan around.

I’ll be the first to admit that, without the ruffly inverted V, this is a pretty basic sweater. And you know what? I’m ok with that. Until now, all I had was one extremely basic gray J. Crew sweater that I bought at the thrift store with the intention of felting down to make something else (can’t even remember what that was). Eventually I got cold and just started wearing it. Another warm addition to my wardrobe was a must, hence this basic teal sweater. Teal is prettier than gray, anyways. Obviously this make isn’t going to see a lot of wear until the fall, but at least I’ll be ready.

With that done, it’s time to start busting my fabric stash for more season-appropriate garments. Should be some good stuff coming up soon in that department! Not to mention my new pajamas for the sew-along are due on Saturday. “Sew, (not so) very old one! Sew like the wind!” (How’s that for a great quote! Anybody else got some good ones? Bonus points if they’re craft-related).




The 5 year sweater

In 2004, Mr. Gren and I were living in France. We had a meeting to attend along with Pastor Brian just outside of Venice (what a shame, I know). While there, we visited an American military base with Brian, who had base access. I saw a crochet magazine. I missed crochet! I had brought my hooks with me, but I only had one pattern book. And as any crocheter would know, that’s just not enough! Brian was nice and bought me the magazine.

I made that coat, too, but that's a story for another time.

I fell in love with the sweaters on this page, specifically the Mocha floral sweater.

Maybe it was just the ice cream I fell in love with.

It’s a little difficult to tell from the scan, but the brown sweater, excuse me, mocha sweater has a mesh yoke bordered by small flowers. The same motif is repeated on the sleeves. The construction of the sweater is a little unusual because you first crochet all the little flowers, connect them in a daisy chain, crochet the mesh on top and then, working from the bottom of the flowers, add the front, back and sleeves. Looking back, this was probably above my skills at the time. But who am I to shy away from things I supposedly can’t do? Full speed ahead!

First, I wrote my mom and asked her to send me some yarn. In France, you can get one kind of yarn — a sort of super soft acrylic sportweight with fantastically flimsy drape. I probably would have been better off using that. It’s amazing how much I’ve learned just from this pattern. It called for a 100% cotton sportweight. Did I pay any attention to that at all? Psh. Would I have a story to tell if I did? I asked my mom to send “brown yarn.” She doesn’t have many shopping options in her area, so the only brown yarn she found was Lion Brand Wool-Ease. Now, I actually like Wool-Ease quite a bit; I’ve used it for various projects since then. But the thing with Wool-Ease is that it’s a worsted weight yarn. If you know anything about yarn, you can see where this is headed. If you don’t know anything about yarn, worsted weight is heavier and works up bulkier than sportweight. Not having crocheted anything more significant than pot holders, I didn’t even consider the yarn weights as a factor in the finished product.

I got right to work crocheting little flowers. I can’t even remember how many now. 27 maybe? It doesn’t matter, because, in the end, it’s probably closer to 100. I blissfully ignored the gauge listed on the pattern and continued to forge ahead with the mesh. And don’t think that I accomplished that all in one fell swoop. There was much mulling over the instructions, and much, much ripping out and starting over. Finally, after weeks of wailing and gnashing of teeth, I finished the yoke. Upon trying it on, I saw immediately that it was going to be a problem. It probably would have fit Mr. Gren better than it did me. There was no way that thing was going to stay on my shoulders. I was so frustrated, that I stuffed all the yarn in a sack in the closet and left it there to rot.

Why are there flowers missing? Read on.

Several months later, I had an itch to tackle this thing again. Comparing my yoke to the photograph, I realized that my flowers were monstrous. My solution? Make fewer of them. The pattern page in the magazine is all marked up with my ridiculous notations, eliminating stitches and so forth to try and make this come out smaller. A better solution? Would have been to go down a hook size. The best solution? Use the right yarn, for pete’s sake! I began cannibalizing ginormous flowers to make new, smaller flowers. I got to the exact same point when my rudimentary crochet skills petered out and my brain began to fry. Into the closet with ye, foul beast!

Yes, yes, I do save my failures.

For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out how or where to attach the front/back/sleeves. For the next few years, I would continue my vain attempts at finishing this thing. Mr. Gren would come home and see me toiling away with the brown yarn and comment, “Ah, so it’s that time of year again, huh?” Apparently I was fairly predictable. Also predictably, the sweater never made any progress as long as I continued working with the brown yarn. I’d crochet several rows, realize that the spacing or something was off and have to rip the whole thing out again. The positive side of all this is that each time, I learned a little more. I was doing other crochet projects in between my yearly fight with the Mocha Floral Sweater, and those, too, taught me more.

Finally, through all of that, I realized that the wrong yarn was playing a starring role in this tragedy. By this time, we were back in the States. The only cotton yarn I could find was kitchen cotton. But the material isn’t quite as important as the weight. I chose Caron Country Spa, a bamboo-acrylic blend, in some kind of pale green. New start, new yarn, new color. By this time, the only thought in my head concerning this project was conquer. I was not going to let it get the best of me. The mighty struggle continued for another year or so. When I was pregnant with Konik and too ill to move off the couch and had no hope of actually wearing the finished product, I buckled down and finish it I did. Yes! Victory was mine! Except… I hated it now. I shoved it into the bottom of my closet once again. Just like before, I’d pull it out periodically, fuss with it, decide it didn’t look good with anything I owned and cram it back into the closet.

Until this past Sunday.

The (no longer) Mocha floral sweater finally sees the light of day

Perseverance pays off! I’m not in love with it and it could stand to be blocked to straighten out the mesh on the sleeves, but I doubt anyone at church noticed. And besides.

I won.


It doesn’t always look like the book

Well, not everything can be a rousing success, can it? Sometimes it takes two… or three tries to have a project turn out right.

You may recall that I had a bunch of yarn that I wanted to knit up into sweaters. I began this pursuit a couple of weeks before Christmas. This is what I was attempting to make:

Turtleneck ribknit sweater vest plus pencil drawing by Konik.

Cute, right? And the girl looks so happy wearing it. It only follows that I would look cute and happy wearing it, too. Right? Hmm.

This is a knitting board pattern. Cheater’s knitting. I don’t know how to knit with needles. I suppose I could learn, but I don’t care. I like my knitting board. I’ve made a whole passel of mittens on it, a few scarves, and one stocking hat. I figured it was high time to try something a little more substantial. This was in the “easy” section, so I naturally assumed — silly me — that it would be easy.

Well, technically, it was easy. But something went way wrong the first time I tried it. I could tell things weren’t quite right as I was knitting it because I hadn’t even reached the armholes yet and the thing was already down to my knees. I’d begun to resign myself that I was knitting a turtleneck tunic. But I made the mistake of leaving it on the back of the futon one night. The next evening when I went to pick it up, I noticed a huge snag. I suspect one of my adorable munchkins. There was no saving it at that point, leaving me no choice but to tear the whole thing out. Not one of the greater joys in life.

Take Two. I began this attempt at my turtleneck sweater vest by counting every single tiny row in the photograph and determined that my first attempt had been right on pace. This left me with one conclusion: the girl in the photo must be some kind of Amazon. Or maybe my yarn is just stretchier than what they called for. Either way, I needed to drastically shorten up this pattern, even though I had used the small measurements. I kept a tally of rows on a little post-it note and deleted a few rows in key places. Last night I sewed the front and back pieces together and was rather pleased that the length appeared to be right and the armholes were in the right place. I was a little disappointed, however, that the turtleneck turned out to be more of a cowl. Oh well.

Saggy baggy turtle

Today I wore the sweater. It’s warm and comfy and squishy. But therein ends the love affair. It is also extremely stretchy, and the longer I’ve worn it today, the lumpier and more misshapen it has become. The hem is all wavy and uneven looking and I think the collar is growing. I may end up with a tunic yet. Yes, of course I knew that rib knit is inherently stretchy, but I really didn’t anticipate this.

Looking hippy. And not in a peace and flowers kind of way.

There are a couple more sweaters out of the same book that I want to make. I’m going to have to adjust the patterns both vertically and horizontally. But hey, if it doesn’t work out, I hear that sweater dresses are trendy.