wip wednesday

close up of the texture of knitted green wool.

Last winter I made a few aborted attempts at knitting Norah Gaughan’s Ginsberg shrug/cardigan from Brooklyn Tweed (pattern link: Ginsberg Cardigan by Norah Gaughan), trying to find the right mix of different yarns held double because I don’t like buying materials and never have enough yarn for anything. Every attempt fell short and I gave up when spring came.

For the past fifteen years or more I’ve only worn cardigans, but I woke up one day and realised they weren’t really working for me the way they used to and I started unraveling all of my hand knitted cardigans and reknitting them into big sloppy pullovers with lots of ease. I still get violently hot at the drop of a hat, and being able to strip off in seconds was a real benefit with cardigans, but I like my belly swaddled and having a cardigan done up makes it actually slower to strip off than a huge sweatshirt. Right now the slatternly huge pullover falling off the shoulders suits me better.

I had knit up this green handspun merino/silk blend, Peppercorns colourway from The Fibre Garden (shop link: The Fibre Garden) along with a coordinating handspun of blended olive, navy, turquoise, and white) into a gorgeous Isabel Kramer cardigan that you’ll probably hate to hear I’ve unraveled, because it was really very lovely. But I never wore it and it was too fancy for me and came too close to my throat. Fast forward a few years and this glorious green yarn is finally about to live its best life as this big squishy cardigan I hope never to want to unravel (but you never know; life is long). Yes, I know, I just said I don’t like cardigans anymore but this one is huge enough to keep my belly cozy and also, has no fastenings. Perfect for those cold day hot flashes!

The merino/silk is held double with some truly terrible merino I accidentally fulled in the mordant bath and then went ahead and dyed and spun anyway even though the spinning was torture, and it’s clumpy, uneven and has zero sheen. It was all shades of gold and tan dyed from things in my garden and I overdyed it with indigo and held double with this nicer yarn you can’t tell at all how awful it is. I ran out of that just 20 rows from the end of the front panels and switched to holding the merino/silk with that colour blend it had been paired with in the original cardigan, which I’d intended to do for the ribbed borders anyway and the change is subtle enough that I doubt anyone will ever notice the colour changes a few inches higher on the front. Not that it’s any big deal if they do.

You don’t get pictures of any of this because the lighting in my sewing room is dim and unworkable. This sweater is mere days from the finish line, right in time for the return of sweater weather.

lockdown knitting


After a few abortive starts and design failures, the shawl I started just as we went into isolation is finally conforming to my vision. It’s going to be way too huge but that’s okay; “swaddled” seems like a good goal right now.

After testing out a few compatible lace stitches that did not excite, I fell back on an allover arrow pattern with a gradient slide through the different yarns.

Here’s one of the earlier attempts, the best of a series of boring iterations. I know gradients are all the rage in knitting at the moment, but these yarns clearly wanted it.


Yarns by The Green Button Jar except for the pale blue at the top, which is by Indigo Dragonfly.

a better look at socks!

Here’s how that new top-down sock (on the right) compares to the old toe-up one (on the left). The toe-up design is a tube with a heel added in, with no increases for the instep. It means a lot of tightness across the arch, and pulling against the sides of the heel. Just look at how that eyelet stretches open! Ugh.
In comparison, on the right, we have a heel flap that cradles the heel, a lovely sloped instep fitted to the foot, and no straining or stretching in the eyelet pattern. The lesson I’ve learned here is that the first sock pattern I ever learned, which was also the first thing I ever knitted, is the best sock pattern (for me). I won’t be straying again.


This handspun was given to me by Stacie years and years ago, and immediately knit up into these socks, toe-up in order to squeeze out every last bit of gorgeous yarn. They’ve never been worn, because an afterthought heel is the worst and toe-up socks are terrible and no bind off in the world is both stretchy enough for a sock cuff while still being attractive and I don’t know what I was thinking.
So! These are finally getting fixed, completely reknit from the top down, with a nice sturdy long-tail cast on and a perfectly fitted half-handkerchief heel, as socks should be. Of course I’m too lazy to properly unravel and take the kink out (although not too lazy to rip and reknit an entire pair of socks), so the pretty pattern of the first sock looks rather sloppy in the second. Let’s hope it blocks out.