The Rhinebeck Sweater

Kittens, I had given little thought to Rhinebeck sweater knitting this year since up until a couple of days ago there was no plan for me to attend. (Mr. Knitpicky will be training [again] and coming back about 2 days too late for me to go to the festival. BOO.) But when chatting with my mother, she was open to the idea of coming to see her grandbabies this fall and felt comfortable holding down Chez Knitpicky for a weekend. After scoring a hotel room it was official: this lady is going to Rhinebeck for her second time! This has left me both excited and with a new problem: how does one knit a sweater in time for Rhinebeck when there are so many other things to do?

The answer, to me, seems to be a combination of simplicity and heavier-than-fingering weight gauge for the knit. Had I thought about this months ago, I would have started a more complex colorwork or cabled project in fingering or lace weight and thousands of yards of yarn, but that’s not going to happen. There’s yarn to spin, podcasts to record, yarn to dye, children and dogs to keep alive while the husband is off doing what he does, and holidays to prepare for with a ton of knitting connected to them. That, and I’m trying much harder these days to stick with using yarn I already have and purchasing patterns only as I’m about to use them. So I dug into my Ravelry queue and my stash to see what I could come up with that fits my needs.

These are my top choices based on yarn I have and–other than one exception–I need to just purchase a pattern.

Alicia Plummer’s Nested cardigan is a top contender.

Some of the last Sundara yarn I have purchased has been set aside for this knit, which I find both highly wearable and beautiful. In recent years I have come to accept that when it comes to cardigans I prefer them open, so I have focused on those rather than the more fancy and fussy cardigans I used to lust after knitting. I find the geometric detail on the back a perfect finish for this otherwise simple piece, and I find the subtle contrast color detail on the cuffs and edges a lovely touch.

I would knit it in these colors:

Another highly appealing choice is this cardigan, which I already own the pattern for:

Cedarwood by Alicia Plummer. Sensing a theme here, kittens?

Another pattern by Alicia Plummer featuring an open design and geometric details–this time created by texture rather than colorwork–Cedarwood from Wool People is a top contender. It helps that I even purchased this pattern previously and would have no reason to not cast on immediately. I have a sweater quantity of Berroco Vintage in “Oats” which would work perfectly for this knit.

My final choice is another offering from a Jared Flood publication, but this time from his Brooklyn Tweed line.

Nomad by Norah Gaughan for Brooklyn Tweed

Nomad technically isn’t a sweater but a poncho. Of the three choices it is the most impressive looking with all of the rich texture adorning it. Again, it features strong geometric patterns inspired by older designs which are a love of mine. For this pattern I have a large quantity of Madeline Tosh Pashmina Worsted that I think would work well for it.

Kittens, I have lied to you. I was just perusing Ms. Plummer’s Ravelry patterns and realized I have the yarn necessary for one more of her designs that I find highly appealing.

Campside Cardi by Alicia Plummer.

The Campside Cardi is another swoon-worthy design with its open construction and lovely eyelet details that lean geometric in their feeling. I have the perfect Squoosh DK in stash for this–a warm brown with peachy undertones.

So that’s it. Those are my choices based on what I have in-stash and what I think I can get knit in the ~70 days before Rhinebeck starts. What do you think? Which one would you knit if you were me?

Project 3: head scarf

I have three skeins of sport weight alpaca yarn I picked up at a funky yarn shop in Austin the first time I tried to learn to knit about two years ago. Now, I couldn’t tell you why I picked up the yarn I did or if I had a project in mind for it. My husband says I picked it up purely because I loved the feel and the color: it sounds like something I’d do as I’m a very tactile person and pick my clothing based on how it feels rather then how it looks.
Coming from a quilting background doesn’t help. Usually when you find some fabric you love, you can pick up a little and squeeze it into a project. You can work around it. I’m finding knitting is a bit more precise and project-oriented then that. So note to self: Do not buy yarn that you do not have a project in mind for or a use. It will sit in your closet for two years and gather dust while you feel miserable and guilty that you haven’t used it.

So yesterday I went on a search for a quick project. One that would allow me to use up some of said yarn and wouldn’t require any hardware I don’t already own. Meaning I had to be able to do it with single-point needles in a small smattering of sizes. Rather then get a monster collection of items I may not use, I’ve been picking up needles as I have gone. I finally ended up in my Stitch ‘n’ Bitch book and found the perfect project: kitchy head scarf. Seemed simple enough, didn’t require any skills I don’t already have and even better, no additional hardware I’d need to purchase in order to do it. Seemed like a godsend.

But then, Mommy Brain struck and what should have been a very simple and relaxing project turned into a vexing exercise and lesson in why one does not try to start a new pattern while her toddler is wailing like a banshee. I can do a lot of things when he decides to be like this–knitting is apparently not one of them and now I know better.
So three restarts later and the realization my frazzled brain was adding instructions that
didn’t exist, I finally got what I was looking for: a quick, easy project that I can actually use. I think it turned out quite well and it is one of my favorite colors which is always a bonus. Not counting the times I messed up, this was a two to three hour project. I have plenty of yarn that I could make more if I knew more people that like the same colors I do.
Now it’s time to find the next project. I think I have the perfect one in mind; I should have enough yarn left over from my rolled-brim hat, but I need to buy either circular or double-pointed needles to work on it. Would be a nice change from the projects I’ve been doing and maybe I’ll learn enough to start doing socks. I’d love to make socks and have already found several yarns I need the excuse to buy.
I also have a dishcloth pattern my MIL gave me that will teach me how to do yarn-overs, but I need to find a decent yarn to do that with. I’m thinking maybe a good sturdy cotton should do.

First two knitting projects…

Recently, I have found a new hobby to keep me busy. I am learning how to knit, thus the title of this blog. I will keep track of all my projects here rather then my personal journal.
For my first project, I made a scarf. Nothing overly-original there. Used a soft heathered wool yarn, worsted weight, and size 8 needles, I believe. I found out, I knit a little loose and need to go down a needle size to stay in gauge. This project didn’t take too long, roughly an hour a day for about a week.
Learned the project, while useful for learning to knit, was impractical. The scarf it yields is just too short to have an real use. I should have cut it short and made a dishrag instead, perhaps.

Project #2 was a rolled-brim hat. Once again, nothing too exciting but I did learn about increasing and decreasing while doing it. I used this beautiful handpainted superwash wool and size 7 needles. I still have half the skein of yarn left and am wondering what I can do with this beautiful fiber so it doesn’t go to waste!

I’m very excited for the trip back to Wisconsin this winter so I’ll have an opportunity to use this hat which is gorgeous in person. The air rarely gets chilly enough in Texas during the day to show it off.
I am now looking for my next project and can’t wait to get started on it.