I knit this sweater for my mom’s birthday which is at the end of April…and she still doesn’t have it yet. I finished it late, but also I keep forgetting to bring it when I see her. I say it’s partly her fault because she doesn’t remind me!
Please note: this post contains links to Ravelry, links to Ravelry are noted with (Rav link).
You may recall that I knit my mom the Weekender by Andrea Mowry (Rav link) for Christmas in 2019. You can read all about that project here! She loved her sweater so much and kept hinting that she wanted a cozy cardigan, mom is very knit-worthy so I decided to make her one for her birthday this year.
It wasn’t a surprise as she picked the pattern and the colour. I was showing her some sweaters I wanted to make and she said “I want one of THOSE!” very enthusiastically when she saw the Pure Comfort Cardigan pattern. Me too, mom, me too.
About the pattern
The pattern is the Pure Comfort Cardigan (Rav link) by Andrea Yetman for Biscotte Yarns. It is available for free on the Biscotte Yarns website. Biscotte Yarns is a family-owned Canadian yarn company that specializes in hand-dyed yarns.
The fact that this is a free pattern is amazing. It’s designed to be knit with Biscotte Yarns Pure DK which is not the yarn that I used. However, I have some of their Bis-sock yarn in my stash and it’s beautiful so I bet the Pure DK is the same.
I used Berroco Vintage DK for this project which is becoming my go-to yarn for DK sweaters. It’s an acrylic wool blend and I find it to be so cozy and soft. I used Berroco Vintage DK for the first time for my For Fox Sake (Rav link) and fell in love with it!
The colour I used for mom’s cardigan is Oats which is a nice beige. The original instruction I received was “I want it in the same colour as that dog” – we were out walking in the park LOL, but no surprise “that dog” was not an available colourway. So this is the colour that mom landed on and she’s very happy with it.
Size, gauge and modifications
I knit this in the size large which has a finished bust circumference of 46.5 inches. That gives it 8.5 inches of positive ease on me. It’s recommended to be worn with 8-10 inches of positive ease.
The pattern is written for 3.75mm needles, but I did not get gauge and had to size down to a 3.5mm. I flirted with the idea of knitting a size down with the larger needles, but ultimately decided to just go with the pattern gauge and I think that was the right call as it came out perfectly!
I knit this exactly to pattern and I’m really happy with the finish product. I’m planning to knit one for myself and will make it the same way. I will note that you may want to modify the length based on your height as that will determine how long it is on you and where the pockets fall!
This was my first time doing pockets and I was a bit worried about that part as when I read the instructions I thought “oh boy”. But as I was knitting it became really clear how the pockets were done. They’re not perfect my flap seaming definitely leaves something to be desired, but I think they turned out pretty good.
This was also my first time knitting an applied collar. Before I knit this sweater I was reading through the project notes to see if anyone else made modifications or pointed out anything else about the pattern. One thing I saw again and again were comments about how long the collar takes. I thought “how long could it take really?!”
The answer is A LONG-ASS TIME. It took me about two months to finish this sweater and I worked on it fairly monogamously during that time. In April it was the only thing that I worked on.
The collar took me 4 of those 8 weeks.
However, it is totally worth it. The applied fisherman’s rib collar is squishy and adds so much to the cardigan’s style. It’s my favourite aspect of the sweater.
You will definitely see another one of these sweaters here in the future (probably next year because I have my 2021 projects all planned out) because I definitely want to make one for myself. I really want to steal hers and save myself the hassle of that applied rib collar, but I’ll be a good daughter and eventually remember to hand it over.
Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to head over to Instagram and follow me if you haven’t already to see my day-to-day knitting adventures – and some cute kitties ;). You may even get to see some pictures of mom in her sweater.
Hi everyone! It’s been a little while since I posted on the blog. I didn’t have much of an April 2021 round up as I only worked on one project for all of April…if you can believe it! So there wasn’t much to talk about.
But May was a little different and I have a bunch of FOs and WIPs to share with you.
Another reason I skipped April, is because it was a pretty busy month for us because we were house hunting! So we spent our weekends in April attending viewings out of town as the city we’re moving to is about an hour away.
We found the perfect little townhome and we’re moving at the end of July 🙂 We have quite a bit of packing to do of course, and that includes packing up (and de-stashing) some of my yarn. I might write a post about my process of organizing and packing my stash, would you be interested? Let me know in the comments!
Please note some of the links in this blog are to Ravelry, links that direct to Ravelry are noted with “Rav link”.
Before getting into the details, I have to say the fact this pattern is free is amazing! I didn’t use Biscotte Pure DK for this project, but I have some of their sock yarn and it’s beautiful so I’m sure the Pure DK is the same.
This sweater was a little late for mom’s birthday…her birthday is April 20th and she still doesn’t have it yet – but it is finished! This was an enjoyable knit, but oh man did I underestimate how long that applied fisherman’s rib collar would take.
I guess this is technically a WIP as it’s not even a full pair being heel-less and all. But I need to round out the FO section a little LOL!
I’ve got a nice green mini set aside to do the heels and I’m making them shorties. The last pair of shorties I made came out a bit longer than I had wanted, so I’m making this pair even shorter. 80 rounds instead of the 94 rounds I did on my last pair.
I haven’t been cross stitching lately, but my cross stitch mojo came back this month and I’ve been working away on my Vintage Expresso Machine designed by Happy Sloth Patterns.
There’s also matching vintage coffee grinder and stand mixer patterns, I may need to complete the set!
I have my next two cross stitch patterns lined up and my “to stitch” list is growing recently as my cross stitch motivation has returned so I definitely want to finish this project up soon. I’m aiming to be done by the weekend I just have a little bit more to go.
Here’s a sneak peek of the floss for my next project, any guesses what it is?
I don’t write about my cozy memories blanket in every round-up post because this is a long-term WIP. I’ve been working on it since August 2019 and I’m not half-way through yet so I anticipate it’s going to take me until 2023 to finish.
But I reached a pretty big milestone this month: square #100!! 140 squares will be halfway and I expect to make it to that point this year.
I’ve been watching Bernadette McLaughlin’s podcast (you should check her out!) and she’s been working on a couple of blankets, well that got me in the mood to knit a blanket.
Of course I don’t want to buy any new yarn until after we move, but I also had the challenge of what to do with all the super bulky bits I have in my stash. I didn’t really want to take them with us, but I also didn’t want them to go to waste.
I was sifting through pattern options when I came across this free pattern from Yarnspirations and it gave me the idea to make it a scrappy blanket with my super bulky left overs and some worsted and bulky weight yarns held together.
This is a dream project for me and I’m so happy to have finally cast it on! I started with the Plank & Stella yarn and was on the lookout to find two other yarns to make a nice fade.
I just have the back panel and the sleeves to go and I’m pretty happy with how it’s turning out. I don’t love the fit of my first Ripple Crop Top (Rav link) because I knit it in a different needle size and knit quite a few sizes up.
I didn’t get gauge for this one either, but it seems to be turning out much better!
I’ve started posting a monthly round-up video on TikTok so if you’re on top of the TikTok trend head over there and follow me to see those videos and more! I am definitely not a TikTok superstar, but I have a lot of fun making videos.
Reads of Steele
Here are the books I’ve been reading/read in May! Links are to Good Reads.
A Court of Silver Flames – if you’ve seen the recent rise in popularity of the A Court of Thorns and Roses series in the knitting community, you can blame Kate of Red Door Fibre Studio who started reading it and inspired a trend! This is the fifth book in the series and now I’ll have to wait until the next one.
Here’s a quick list of the shows I’m watching right now (or did watch in May). All of them are re-watches as I haven’t been in the mood to start anything new. Although the last time I watched Sailor Moon I was a child so it feels familiar and new at the same time!
Thanks for checking in on my knitting adventures 🙂 Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram to see my daily updates!
Have you wanted to try knitting colourwork, but think it’s too hard or you don’t have the right skills? Then this post is for you! Here are my tips for beginner knitters to get started with knitting colourwork patterns and let me assure you – you absolutely can do it!
There are so many beautiful colourwork knitting patterns out there, everything from sweaters to hats to socks! Starting a colourwork knitting pattern for the first time can be intimidating. But I assure you, knitting stranded colourwork is not as hard as it looks and if you can knit the basic knitting stitches you can knit stranded colourwork.
These tips will help beginner level knitters mast the basics of stranded colourwork.
Tips for Stranded Colourwork: Gauge and Swatching
What is gauge?
If you’re not familiar with the term gauge and what it means, here’s a quick rundown.
Gauge is how many stitches and rows of knitting fit within certain measurements, usually measured over 4”. The pattern for your colourwork project should include the gauge and the stitch pattern to measure your gauge over.
Gauge can change depending on many factors, some yarn doesn’t puff up, or bloom, as much as others, certain fibers can knit up tighter or looser. And naturally knitters can have a tighter or a looser gauge as well.
If your gauge is tighter than the designer’s gauge, that means that your stitches are smaller, so it takes you more stitches to knit 4”. If you try to knit the colourwork project at that gauge with the designers instructions, it will come out way too small!!
The opposite is true if your gauge is too big, your project will come out too big as well as it takes you less stitches than the designer to knit 4”.
Measuring gauge when knitting stranded colourwork
To measure your gauge you will need to knit a swatch using the yarn you are going to use.
A swatch is a square of fabric knit in the stitch you need to measure your gauge. Most colorwork knitting patterns will tell you to swatch using the colourwork part of the pattern, the pattern may also include the gauge for other stitches that are used in the design.
For your swatch, you should cast on more stitches than you need for 4” and knit more rows than needed so your square is larger than 4” by 4” as you’ll want to measure in the middle, not near the edges where your stitches can be tighter or looser.
Make sure you block your swatch so you have an accurate measurement of gauge.
Once your swatch is blocked and dry it’s time to measure your gauge. I always start with rows personally!
Lay your measuring tape down at the top of a stitch and count the number of stitches that fit in 4”. That’s how many rows you knit to reach 4” in length.
Then lay your measure tape across your swatch starting from the left side of a stitch and count the number of stitches across to 4”. That’s how many stitches it takes to reach 4” across.
How stranded colourwork can affect gauge
Just like regular knitting, your colourwork can be tighter or looser, and because you are knitting a different technique you may find your colourwork is tighter or looser than your regular knitting. It’s really common for knitters to knit more tightly when knitting colourwork.
If you are new to knitting stranded colourwork you should swatch over the colourwork portion of the knitting pattern, even if the pattern hasn’t said to, as you’re not used to what your gauge is over stranded colourwork.
What to do if your gauge is too small
If you are getting more stitches or rows in 4” than the pattern states than your stitches are tighter. To remedy this go up a needle size (or two if you’re really small) and swatch again to get looser, bigger stitches.
What to do if your gauge is too big
If you are getting less stitches or rows in 4” than the patterns states than your stitches are looser. To remedy this go down a needle size (or two if you’re really loose) and swatch again to get tighter, smaller stitches.
Tips for Stranded Colourwork Knitting: Reading Colourwork Knitting Patterns
Colourwork knitting patterns can have written or charted instructions. Most colourwork knitting patterns will be charted and may or may not have written instructions.
Here’s an example with a quick colourwork pattern I’ve just made up on the spot. We will be discussing colourwork knit in the round from now on, as stranded colourwork is most commonly knit in the round.
Written instructions will give the pattern instructions for the colourwork pattern like this (normally the written instructions would use abbreviation, but I have written them in full so it’s easy to understand):
Round 1: * Knit 7 stitches with colour A, knit 1 stitch with colour B, repeat from * to beginning of round
Round 2: * knit 1 stitch with colour A, knit 5 stitches with colour B, repeat from * to beginning of round
Round 3 & 4: * knit 1 stitch with colour A, knit 1 stitch with colour B, knit 3 stitches with colour A, knit 1 stitch with colour B, knit 1 stitch with colour B, knit 1 stitch with colour A, repeat from * to beginning of round
Round 5: * knit 1 stitch with colour A, knit 5 stitches with colour B, repeat from * to beginning of round
Round 6: * Knit 7 stitches with colour A, knit 1 stitch with colour B, repeat from * to beginning of round
The chart for these same instructions looks like this:
As you can probably tell it’s a lot quicker to read – and to create – the chart. it also makes it easier to avoid mistakes! This is why most stranded colourwork knitting patterns provide charted instructions only.
How to read a colourwork knitting pattern chart?
The first thing you should note when looking at the colourwork chart is the legend which will tell you which colour is which. The pattern will note how the different colours are labeled, some common ones are:
MC for Main colour and CC for contrast colour
CA, CB, CC for Colour A, B, C etc.
C1, C2, C3 Colour 1, 2, 3 etc.
The example I’m going to show is just two colours, but stranded colourwork patterns can have 2 or more colours.
In this legend the colours are marked Colour A and Colour B
You need to keep in mind which colours you are using for each, so you may be using black for Colour A and red for Colour B so where the chart is purple you will use black and where it is pink you will use red.
The chart is read from the bottom right, it’s the opposite of how you’d read something normally, but it is also the direction in which you knit from right to left and starting at the bottom of a piece.
The numbers along the bottom label the stitches and the numbers on the side are the rows/rounds. It is also common for charts to show more than one repeat, in this pattern a repeat is 8 stitches, but three repeats are shown to give a better idea of the pattern.
So you will start with round 1 but knitting 7 stitches in colour A, then 1 stitch in colour B and repeat that all the way around.
Then you’ll move up to round 2 and knit 1 stitch in colour B, 5 stitches in colour A, 1 stitch in B, 1 stitch in A and repeat those 8 stitches all the way around.
Then you’ll move up to round 3 and continue until you have knit the whole chart.
Stranded Colourwork Knitting: What are floats?
So now you know how to read the chart, but how do you actually knit with two colours? It’s a lot simpler than it seems. You will be creating strands, called floats, along the back of your knitting.
Floats are the strands of yarn that will be on the inside of your project. You create a float when you knit the next stitch in a different colour and bring that yarn strand across a section of stitches.
Using stitches 2 to 6 in round 3 of our sample chart here’s an example:
Stitch 2 is knit in colour B followed but three stitches in colour A. When we switch back to knit the 6th stitch in colour B a float is created behind the 3 stitches knit in colour A.
If you have to bring your yarn across a lot of stitches it is common to use a technique called catching, or trapping floats. This makes it so you can avoid having such a long loose float. This helps with the overall tension so a long float doesn’t pull too tight or be left too loose.
You won’t need to catch your floats every time, only when you have a lot of stitches to cross. It’s recommended to catch floats when the float is going across 7 or more stitches, or longer than an inch.
So in rounds 1 and 6 of our example, you’d probably want to catch your floats. You’ll catch your floats by trapping the non-working yarn behind your working yarn when you knit a stitch.
Using round 6 as an example:
Knit 3 stitches with colour A (the working yarn). Then before working the fourth stitch, take the non-working yarn (colour B) and put it over the working yarn before knitting your next stitch.
Now when you knit the next stitch with colour A the non-working yarn (colour B) is trapped by your working yarn, creating a shorter float.
Managing the tension of your floats
When knitting stranded colourwork it’s important to manage the tension of your floats. If your floats are too tight then your knitting will be pulled in by the floats and pucker, it won’t lie flat. If your floats are too loose your stitches will be loose as well and won’t lie evenly in your knitting.
To avoid tight floats stretch out your stitches along the right hand needle when you are creating your float so the float is going across the stitches at their full width and not bunched up.
In the picture above I’m stretching out the three stitches in colour A so that when I knit the next stitch with colour B the float is not too tight.
To avoid loose floats make sure the float is lying taunt, but not tight, against the back of your work and the stitches on either end are even and not loose.
How to hold your yarn when knitting stranded colourwork
How you hold your yarn to knit colourwork will depend if you’re an english or continental style knitter. I knit english style and I will hold my yarn in one of two ways depending on how I’m feeling that day (LOL) and depending on how often I have to switch colours.
If I don’t have to switch colours too often, I will just drop the working yarn and pick up the next colour with my right hand and keep going. So this means I just keep knitting normally in english style pausing every now and then to drop the working yarn and pick up the next colour. I only use my right hand to hold the working yarn.
If I have to switch colours frequently I will hold a strand of yarn in each hand and knit a combination of english and continental style.
How you hold the yarn will depend on what you’re comfortable with! Experiment with different techniques as you learn. You can also use tools like a Norwegian knitting thimble to help manage your yarn strands.
Don’t cross the streams!
Except for when you are catching floats, avoid crossing your yarns strands if you can as it will cause them to tangle and it will eventually be difficult for you to pull from your yarn.
To avoid crossing the strands always take your second colour from underneath the first so you’re not crossing it over the yarn coming from the ball (except of course when catching floats and you want to cross the non-working yarn over the working yarn).
There you have it! Those are the basics of knitting stranded colourwork, not so bad right? Now you’re ready to go out and tackle your first stranded colourwork knitting pattern. If you need a suggestion I’ve recently released a beginner friendly colourwork hat pattern called Brigand – you can find it on Ravelry! It’s worsted weight and is has instructions for three sizes: baby/toddler, child, and adult.
Hello everyone! Today is a very exciting day because I’ve just released a new knitting pattern! I teased this knit colourwork hat back in my January 2021 round up post and it is finally out.
This cute colourwork knit hat uses two colours of worsted weight yarn and comes in three sizes, baby/toddler, child and adult. I think it would look great on anyone and there are so many fun colour combinations that you can experiment with.
The colourwork is simple and engaging, the colourwork portions are charted in the knitting pattern. This pattern is great for beginner level knitters who are looking for a first stranded colourwork pattern and learning how to read charts.
I’ll be putting out a blog post next week with some tips for getting started with stranded colourwork for anyone who wants to try, but feels a bit hesitant about the skills involved.
Spoiler for that post: it is easier than it looks and you can totally do it!!!
I went out with my dad for a cute photo shoot in the park before all the snow melts and we got some great photos! He even modeled Brigand for me.
So look, I know February is a short month but February 2021 has absolutely FLOWN by. In this month’s knitting round up blog post I have some new WIPs to share with you, an FO sneak peek and some new yarn.
And as usual I’ll be sharing the books, knitflixes and podcasts I’ve been enjoying.
Works in Progress
Cozy Memories Blanket
I’ve been working on my cozy memories blanket this month and now that it’s bigger I can get a better idea of how many squares I need. And good news it’s 2 less rows across and up than I thought so I’m going from needing 340 squares to 270.
Espresso Cross Stitch
I started cross stitching in the Fall of 2020, but I haven’t done any for the past month or so. I picked up my vintage espresso cross stitch over the weekend and made some progress. I’m hoping if I keep working on it here and there I can finish it up next month and start something new.
With my stitching I’m being more mindful about acquiring new supplies and patterns and only working on one project at a time so it doesn’t get out of hand like my knitting and yarn obsession!
I have been dreaming of hot pink Shag Carpet Shorties since I bought this yarn during the Great Toronto Yarn Hop last summer. This is Artfil Belle in the colour Bubblegum and I’m holding it double to make these socks.
These will be a March FO for sure!
I am so excited to report that I completed my For Fox Sake sweater in February. I started this sweater back in October 2020.
It is so comfy cozy and I’m really happy with the fit. the sleeves are my favourite part they just fit perfectly! This has become my go-to sweater to pull on for video meetings for work.
I did mess up the colourwork a bit and there are some parts where my floats are too tight and it’s pulling…to be honest it does bother me a little, but I don’t think it’s really noticeable. And for my first time doing stranded colourwork with more than two colours I think it turned out really well.
I used Berroco Vintage DK for this sweater which is an acrylic and wool blend and I will definitely use this yarn again. It is so soft and comfortable to wear and it was nice to work with.
I also finished a new design this month! This cute headband is perfect for scraps of DK weight yarn. This will be a free pdf download in March through Ravelry so make sure you keep an eye out on Instagram for information about that release.
Upcoming Knits of Steele Pattern Releases
Brigand comes out on Friday February 26th on Ravelry. There will be a discount code for release so make sure you follow me on Instagram so you don’t miss it.
This is a super fun colourwork knit and it’s great for beginner knitters as a first colourwork project! I’m going to be posting a blog with tips for knitting colourwork the first week of March.
I have two new skeins of yarn this month, and this might be it for a while (other than maybe one more order).
I was worried about running out of yarn for my Shag Carpet Shorties so I ordered another skein of Artfil Belle in Bubblegum and I needed one more colour for a project.
So I picked up these two skeins of yarn from The Knitting Loft and my picked up I mean ordered online and had them delivered LOL
I won’t need any more Bubblegum for my socks, or if I do it will just be the tiniest bit, so this skein of Bubblegum is going to go on to become a pair of colourwork socks with some other Artfil Belle that I have on hand.
And here is the complete fade I’ve put together for my faded Ripple Crop Top that I am planning to knit in the next couple months. More on this project and these yarns to come!
I enjoyed this book for the most part, it took me much longer to read than I expected it to. I was really into the story at the beginning, for the first half I’d say then I struggled with staying engaged in the middle until right towards the end it grabbed my interest again.
I was reading this book in January, but I had to return it to the library before I could finish it. I only got about a third of the way through. I’m nearly done now and will have it finished by the end of February.
This book takes place in the same universe as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the Buffyverse as fans call it, and I really enjoy it for that reason the little Easter eggs and crossovers to the main series are so fun!
Lord of the Rings trilogy
Over the course of February Matt and I have been working our way through the Lord of the Rings movies, for the hundreth time they are a favourite in our household.
This re-watch is giving me so much knitting inspiration, there are so many beautiful textiles and patterns in the costumes. I had a brief moment of trying to do a fancy braided hairstyle, but it quickly ended in a huge mess of tangles so I’ll stick to keeping my Lord of the Rings style appreciation in my knitting.
And in social media news I posted my first Instagram Reel! And my first Tiktok. I had wanted to try the reels feature for a while, but Instagram just kept giving me error messages. Well I recently got a new phone so I gave it another try and it worked. I’m really excited to try out these new channels to share my knitting adventures and some helpful tips and tricks for you all as well.