January 31, 2016

Slade: Version #2

Slade:  by Michele Wang
The photo above is my son finally getting to wear a cardigan I knit for him way back in November.  But it didn't always fit this well.  Here is my tale of woe:

When I started my blog two and half years ago I cheekily named it Woolercoaster:  the Ups and Downs of a Knitter.   Up to now I have mostly shared my knitting successes with you, but today I need to discuss a fail.  When I originally blogged about Slade, a Brooklyn Tweed pattern, that I had knit for my son, I admitted to you that I was not happy with the sleeves.  I wished for some expert knitter to appear in my life and magically tell me what I should do to fix them.  I still am not sure where I went wrong.   Although the body fit well, the sleeves I knit were a total fail. See what I mean? 

Following the well written pattern by Michele Wang, I knit the original sleeves from the cuff up, and then seamed them into the sweater.  All I can tell you is the sleeves were ridiculously huge.  I attempted several times to rip back and reknit the upper sleeves and reseam them, but to no avail.  I knew in my heart of hearts that if I truly wanted my son to wear this cardigan, I would have to reknit the sleeves from the beginning.  

I don't really know anyone with tons of experience in this area so I was left to my own devices.  I put the sweater away and finally got the courage to look at it last weekend.  I decided to rip out every stitch of those sleeves and start again. Using 5.0mm needles I picked up 60 stitches around the armhole and proceeded to do a set-in sleeve, using a previous cardigan pattern (Capall Dubh), that I had knit before, as guidance.  

Set-in sleeve
Once the cap was done I decreased two stitches every ten rows until I got down to 52 stitches.  When it came to the cuff I knit the ribbing in 3.75 mm needles. Happily the result is much better fitting sleeves (still not perfect but definitely wearable). 

I am trying hard not to think of all those hours I spent on the sleeves and just focus on how much better the cardigan looks.  The great thing is my son is so appreciative and loves handknits, so I foresee him getting a lot of wear out of this sweater.  

January 17, 2016


On a bleak grey day this weekend I decided that, if the sun wasn't going to shine, I would brighten my own day by pulling out some of my favourite yarns and try and capture their unique colourways. It is quite challenging to take a good picture indoors, especially at this time of year.  One of my ongoing goals is to work on developing my photography skills.  Photography has always been an interest of mine but it wasn't until I started my blog that I became passionate about improving my skills.

I was recently watching one of my favourite YouTube bloggers, Casey Neistat, and he was sharing his philosophy about perfectionism which I really connected with.  Essentially he says that you should never let your desire for perfection prevent you from finishing something.  To finish something off, even imperfectly, is to learn from it and then you can move on and get closer to perfection.  I think this is a great lesson for me as I tend to be a perfectionist in many areas of my life.  For example, I had wanted to start blogging some time before I got the guts to do it.  I never felt like my pictures were good enough or what I had to say was important enough. I finally realized that blogging is just something that would bring me joy and not to overthink it. I have been blogging for two and a half years now and I feel like I have improved my content of my blog by constantly publishing one each week.  I know I still have a long way to go but I am okay with that.  

With this philosophy in mind I present you with the following photos of some of my favourite yarns from my stash.

Madelinetosh 80/10/10 Sport:  Tannenbaum

Sweet Fiber Yarns Cashmerino 20:  Verve

Lorna's Laces Haymarket:  Harrison

Dream in Color Classy with Cashmere:  Carousel

Madelinetosh Pashmina:  Baroque Violet

Malabrigo Rios:  Piedras
Now the fun begins: what should I do with these lovely skeins?

January 3, 2016

New Year New Projects

There's nothing like a New Year to put some new projects on the needles.  First up, in my queue for sometime, is Seashore by Isabell Kraemer.  I cast this on right after Christmas and have had a hard time putting it down.  It's a relaxing knit, perfect for this time of year.  The next few weeks at work will be quite busy for me, so this is the perfect pattern to knit, without having to use much brain power.  I can't think of anything better than starting my year off with a project using Sweet Fiber Yarn Cashmerino 20 , a fingering cashmere, nylon and merino blend in the most lovely shade of grey, called Smoke.  I am pairing this yarn with Black Trillium Pebble Sock Gradient Yarn in the Undine colourway.  Just looking at this gradient yarn colourway makes me happy.
Seashore by Isabell Kraemer

Black Trillium Pebble Sock Gradient Yarn

The next up on my list is Gray Rose, a beautiful wooly hat by Thea Colman of BabyCocktails.  Her patterns are always so lovely and well written.  This one caught my eye as soon as it was published last September.  After looking around in my stash I think I found the perfect yarn to knit it with, West Yorkshire Spinners Bluefaced Leicester yarn that I bought on my trip to Scotland in 2014.  I am excited to knit a small project with this yarn as I have enough skeins to knit a sweater.  It will give me a chance to see how it knits up and blocks.  I have also wanted to knit with Bluefaced Leicester for some time as I have read a lot of good things about it.  After knitting with Cormo last year I am interested in trying a variety of yarns that are not superwash. Yarn that still smells sheepy, if you know what I mean.  There's nothing like knitting with some cozy yarn during the cold winter months.

WYS Bluefaced Leicester

And lastly, I have also promised myself to redo the sleeves on my son's Slade by Michele Wang.  I seamed the sleeves into the body of the sweater as instructed, but try as I might I just couldn't get them to fit properly.  They were just too big in the upper arm for some reason.  After several attempts to fix them, I put the sweater away while I worked on my Christmas knitting.  This is definitely not my idea of a good time, but I want to get it done so he can wear the sweater this winter.

So there you have it, my list of knitting for the next month.  What's on your needles?