Harvest-a-Long: Lessons Learned

There’s a concept used in my industry, probably from a business book no one can remember the name of anymore, known as Lessons Learned. When you finish up a project, the team gets together and thinks about how things could go better the next time. Sure, some whining happens, but the focus is on how you can do things differently to make it all go better next time. 

Lessons learned apply to crafts, too. 

I learn something with every project. Sometimes it’s something little, like that a particular yarn likes to split so the lesson learned is to use a needle with rounded, rather than sharp, tips. Sometimes it’s something you can’t believe you never thought to do differently. 

My Harvest sweater left me some major lessons learned.  Lessons I thought I had learned before. 

*sigh*

Thing is, my sweater doesn’t fit me. I chose the wrong size to make. Got gauge, followed the directions. Doesn’t fit. 

Yep, I wrote a whole post about measuring yourself and choosing a size. Yet, I made the wrong one for me. 

I chose the size exactly the same as my chest measurement, measuring around my widest point in my chest. This means that there was zero ease. 

Lesson One: Cotton does not stretch

Next time I work with this yarn or another cotton, I should add at least and extra inch to account for the fact cotton does not stretch. (And maybe add a bit more if I intend to throw it in the dryer when I’m too impatient to let it dry flat.)

Lesson Two: Remember your body type

Unlike the standard person sweaters are designed for, I have broad shoulders and, well, a small chest. In the future, I need to account for this. 

Amy Herzog has an amazing blog series called Fit to Flatter which is also available in book form. In the post on choosing your sweater size, she describes how to take a better measurement than the tradition chest one. I won’t rehash what she says, but the lesson from Amy for me is that I often need to knit a size or two larger than the pattern calls for. 

The Sweater

I tried on the sweater and even wore it a few times before blocking it. From the start, it felt tight across my shoulders and I couldn’t quite close it. After blocking it via washer and dryer, it is not at all flattering. And, worse, it’s just not comfortable. Here’s a photo I took of me trying it on, about the only photo I have of me wearing it. Notice how it won’t close, yet bunches at my armpits. Signs of a poor fit. 


Don’t worry, though, the sweater will not be relegated to the back of my closet. I’m lucky to have a friend for whom the sweater is a perfect fit. It’s actually winging its way across town (so more like fighting I-66 traffic) to my friend KO to keep her warm on chilly days at work. 

I will knit myself another sweater one of these days. And I will remember my lessons learned.  (Either way, I’ll blog about it, you can be sure.)

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Harvest-a-Long: Lessons Learned

Harvest-a-long: Finale!

Congrats, you’ve made it to the end of your cardigan! You’ve finished knitting it! Oh, blocking, you say? Yeah…that.

I have to admit, I’m rather bad at blocking things which are lace or socks. Lace is straight-forward – you use wires or pins and stretch it out until the straight lines all line up and your lace has “opened up” as much as you’d like. Socks, you just wet, throw them onto a blocking mat, and wait forever for them to dry.

This sweater, well, it’s a bit harder. If you’re yarn is not machine washable and dryable – like mine – you’ll want to block it by laying it flat on a level surface. I won’t go into the details though Tin Cat Knits offers advice on the pattern and you can Google it. Just know that blocking your sweater is important and, like ironing in sewing, gives you the best final product. Take your time. Don’t pull it up until it’s TOTALLY dry, no matter how tempted you may be to wear it ever-so-slightly damp.

Next time, I hope to share photos of my finished sweater and, in a few weeks, those of my friends and coworkers I somehow convinced to do this with me. For now, you can laugh at the photo I took just after I wore the ends in my sweater, on a train full of commuters from York to London.

Harvest-a-long: Finale!

FO Friday: Sockalicious

I think I’ve mentioned that I got back into socks when we were in Germany. I’ll write more about that part of things in my posts about the trip, starting next week. But, I do want to share with you the three pairs I’ve finished lately.

German Monkeys

As you could guess, I made these while in Germany. More specifically, I made them from German sock yarn and needles bought while there. They were made in record time, just two weeks and I wasn’t even knitting on them that whole time. Of course, I was on vacation, away from the rigors of normal life and Lizzie keeping me from knitting…

(You can see all of the details here.)

(Finally Finished) Mercury Socks

These were the socks I last worked on…and didn’t finish. After I got back home, I had to get them finished. These will eventually get sent on to my cousin for her birthday. I’d point you to my Rav project page for these to get the details but I never wound up writing down the yarn I used so I’ll just link to the pattern page.

Lizzie’s Everyday Socks

I’ve never made Lizzie socks and she kept asking me to make her a pair when she saw me working on finishing up the ones for my cousin. I chose the Hermoine’s Everyday Socks pattern because it was easy but also would show off the tonal nature of the yarn I was using.

(You can see all of the details here.)

FO Friday: Sockalicious

FO Friday: Dishcloths Aplenty

Matt’s cousin got married a few weeks ago. Instead of the usual gift registry, the couple asked folks to make them things. I instantly thought of dishcloths. Everyone in his family loves using them and I have a giant amount of dishcloth cotton in my stash.

Thing is, I hate working with the stuff. Really hate it. It hurts my hands and sticks to my needles. And the dishcloths, meh, not too exciting. I have nice variegated colors which mean I’m limited to only textured patterns, even more boring.

But I love the couple, so I made them. A lovely set of 8 in shades of light blue. They were gorgeous. I forgot to take a photo of them but, trust me, they were lovely.

Then, for who knows what reason, I kept knitting them. The entire way back from Indiana (about 10 hours), then again once I got home for a good week. I wound up with a ton more – some to a family member, some to a coworker, and the ones shown here, not yet with a destination.

There wasn’t a lot of thought to these, in terms of what I was going to do. I start with however many stitches – 28 if I’m making a regular square vice a mitered one – then pick a pattern and knit is until I have a square. The miters are started with 3 stitches, knit until I feel like decreasing, then finished with 3 stitches.

There’s something really satisfying about these. They take only an hour or so, depending if I’m in the car on Lizzie Entertainment duty (lots of handing her books and snacks and answering “what’s that?”) or watching World Series baseball. I think they’ll be filling my “I have no idea what to knit next.” spot.

FO Friday: Dishcloths Aplenty

Finished Object: Foolproof

I really have been doing things other than knitting, just haven’t felt like posting about anything of that. So, I’ve got yet another FO post for you all.

When I completed the Clapotis, I immediately took it into work to keep myself warm in my very cool office. Then, after less than ten minutes of wear, remembered that I can’t actually wear wool. After pulling it off, I decided a different recipient would be more appropriate, one of Lizzie’s primary preschool teachers.

Which left me with an issue: what do make for her other primary teacher? I knew that I would use the other DK gradient kit from Neighborhood Fibre Company, this one in teals and jades.

After a bit of thinking, I decided on an old favorite, the Foolproof Cowl.

I knit until I had 54 stitches per side, then switched colors. For each of the other two colors – the last two colors in the gradient kit didn’t get touched at all – were knit for 30 ridges before switching. I went dark to light then, after picking up the other side of the darkest stitches, I started with light. It makes sense if you saw it all together.

It wound up quite long, perfect for being doubled-up on your neck when it’s not in the mid-90s.

It’ll get delivered tomorrow, along with the Clapotis. Just a very little of what the two ladies deserve for handling a room full of two year-olds…

Finished Object: Foolproof

Flurry of FOs on Friday

I’ve been doing quite a bit of knitting lately – hence the lack of blog posts – and figured it’s about time I share a few photos. I’ve got two shawls plus a quick-knit hat to share. Both shawl projects were created for coworkers and were the perfect combination of mindless and beautiful output. The hat was intended for Lizzie but, well, it wound up far too large for her, as you’ll see.

First up, my second Different Lines shawl, made from Spud and Chloe Fine. I’ll admit I’m not big on the yarn itself, but it was on sale and really great colors.

I only had 400 m of each color, so I only managed twelve of the cream-colored rows. It wound up just the perfect size for the coworker it was made for; she’s worn it every day when it’s chilly in our office.

Second project was my first ever Lacy Backtus, knit in Hempathy. The coworker I gave this to has a wool allergy, so was a perfect recipient for an item made in this bright blue I’d grabbed on sale during a trip to Denver.

(Excuse the just-got-out-of-the-shower look. I, well, was just out of the shower.)

Final project is a Short-Rows Sideways Hat, made in scraps of Ms Babs from a cowl project I made a few months ago.

Up next: A Foolproof cowl for one of Lizzie’s daycare teachers

Flurry of FOs on Friday

FO: Clapotis KAL

I finally had a chance to get a few FO photos tonight, as Matt works on well, work and Lizzie sleeps upstairs. You can’t hear it from there, but I’m singing along to a playlist of show tunes and blues standards (thanks to Pandora letting me combine two stations).

As you know, I did this as a KAL with my buddy Ana (who isn’t quite done but, again, she’s busy prepping for her thesis defense). I had a pretty chill couple of days when we first started, so I made rather quick progressed and finished in less than a week.

That’s after the first day.

This one, well, it’s only three days later.

The colors turned out wonderfully. I switched colors when I ran out of the previous one, with the exception of starting the final (bright yellow) ball when I was ready to start the decrease section.

This KAL reminded me while this was such a popular project for all those years. It’s easy to knit so not terrifying for beginners and just interesting enough to keep an experienced knitter from falling asleep. Perfect TV knitting, as they say.

I may just make another, this time in the shades of aqua I got on my trip to the NFC studios in early May.

(All of the project details are on my Ravelry.)

FO: Clapotis KAL