Branches and Buds Pullover by Carrie Bostick Hoge

I feel like it’s been forever since I’ve finished a handknit garment so I’m thrilled I finally have one to share!

I started the Branches and Buds pullover by Carrie Bostick Hoge about four or five months ago, and I just finished it this week. About halfway through the sweater, I decided to switch up my knitting technique! I have always knit by “throwing” the yarn from my right hand, English-style. When I began to knit more fair-isle colourwork, I practised “picking” with my left hand, continental style, but could never get it fast enough to be effective. I thought, why don’t I just try knitting continental for with just one colour, get really really good at it, and then fair-isle will be really easy from now on?! (I will have to report back on that last part.)

I managed a very picturesque photo with chipped nail polish – got to find the balance, right? I had a hard time deciding on the colours of the buds. I tried to go random but I felt like the hot pinks and magentas stood out best, so I ended up adding more of those. Some of the colours I chose didn’t show up very well – see if you can find the bluish-green ones in the photo below. I guess I can always go back and redo the buds if I want to quite easily, but at this moment in time, I don’t feel like it!

The Branches and Buds pattern is published in Making no. 1: Flora. The yarn used in my version is the same as the one in the pattern: Quince & Co. Chickadee in Kittywake and Audouin.

Much of this pullover was knit while watching television, such as The Crown on Netflix.

Japan Sleeves designed by Joji Locatelli

Last year for National Knit A Sweater Month, I decided to knit Japan Sleeves, designed by Joji Locatelli. I used O-Wool’s O-Wash Fingering in the colourways Schist and Coral Reef, which I bought at Rhinebeck in 2015.

The yarn was so smooshy; I really think it kept me going for the whole month. There are a few yarns out there that I really love, that make knitting stockinette stitch for a whole sweater worth it. (I’m thinking of O-Wool and Quince & Co.)

I do have a confession though: probably the only reason that I was able to knit this within a month was because I slipped a disc and was off work for a week. The first day or two I wasn’t able to move much at all, let alone sit up to knit. But by day 3, I was more comfortable sitting back, knitting, and binge-watching Shetland on Netflix.

This is probably one of the more challenging sweaters that I’ve knit. Most sweater patterns are based on standard methods like having a raglan or yoke top. This sweater was begun with the two lace sleeve panels with looooots of stitches picked up along the sides. When I have to pick up that many stitches, I’ll use stitch markers to mark every 1/4 way along the side I’m picking up. I’ve learned in the past that I’ll get to the end with either way too many or not enough stitches, so having the 1/4 markers help me count and distribute more evenly. There are also tons of short rows and lots of counting. I don’t mind counting but I really don’t like short rows.

The lace panels are definitely my favourite part of the sweater. I think this one’s going to get a lot of use. I’m really happy with the fit and the colours.

Torquata Wrap test knit

I recently finished a test knit for one of my favourite knitting designers, Ambah (find her on Ravelry). Right now, Ambah is releasing a series of patterns as part of her Chroma Collection in 2016; all of the patterns can be knit with gradient or solid colours, but the gradients are beautifully showcased in all of the patterns that have been released so far.

Ambah put out a call for test knitters for one of the patterns in the Chroma Collection, and I was lucky enough to be one of the test knitters. The pattern, called the Torquata Wrap, calls for a gradient set which I actually had in my stash, the Miss Babs Yummy 2-ply Toes Gradient Set. I picked this up at Rhinebeck last year and have been waiting for the perfect pattern. Of course, you could use any colour combination you like and it doesn’t have to be a gradient set at all.

The pattern is for advanced beginners – you need to know how to increase, decrease, yarn over, and of course knit and purl. The coloured panels are a simple lace pattern, which I memorized fairly quickly. The neutral gray panels are simple garter stitch. The patterns in the Chroma Collection so far are similar in the sense that the shapes and lines are very simplistic, and this allows the gradient yarn to shine and for your colour choices to be the focal point of the finished product.

You can see more details on my project page. You can also see Ambah’s beautiful version of the Torquata Wrap on Ravelry.