Just got back from a whirlwind two weeks in Japan (Tokyo > Kyoto > Osaka > Hakone > Tokyo) and thought I’d share some of the treats I brought back.
Okadaya Shinjukuis a multi-level shop that carries SO MUCH CRAFT STUFF. I somehow managed to miss all of the fabric they clearly offer, but did have a lot of fun wandering the floors of buttons, notions, yarn, sewing machines, etc. I bought some bias and knit tapes and some cute embroidery stickers (top row).
Pigment Tokyo is a really cool art supply store that also hosts workshops. I refrained from buying all the things and just walked away with this little paint dish (bottom row).
WALNUT Tokyo + Kyoto are stores by the brand Amirisu. I bought a couple skeins of hand-dyed worsted weight yarn and then one skein of this baby yak yarn that I thought was DK but is actually worsted weight… oops (bottom row).
Nippori Fabric Town is a whole dang district of textile stores. Truthfully, I get very overwhelmed in stores like these, so I didn’t end up buying any fabric on this trip. These are some pics of fabrics I thought about though.
I bought these little money envelopes near the Nishiki Market in Kyoto. They’re from the early Shōwa period (~1930s) and I think they’ll look cool framed together.
We also took a very guided ceramics workshop at Kiyomizudera Studio near the Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto. We’ll get our goods in 10 weeks!
I packed a mostly me-made suitcase that featured this new waffle Marlo cardigan, Shop pants, Drew headband, and multiple Orlando tops. I also made 3 Dawson tops out of Merino jersey for the trip.
We did a lot more, but I’m limiting this post to making-related stuff… except I’m gonna tell you to go visit the Asakura Museum of Sculpture before I end this post!
Welp, I had two sweater projects going at once, all while my knitting supplies are a complete mess because of this project at the bottom of the post. I have misplaced some needles and I’m big mad about it. But anyway, about the sweaters…
I started this Petite Knit No Frills Sweater in December – using the most expensive yarn I’ve purchased to date – and then signed up for a 4 week workshop at Ritual Dyes for the Ozetta Lakes Pullover. Before starting the Lakes, I got all the way to the hem on the body and then didn’t feel like tackling the sewn tubular cast off. I’m glad I didn’t, because I learned about some set up rows while knitting the Lakes that really helped with sewing the super fine to almost bulky yarn during the cast off.
I still have to visualize short row instructions with diagrams and notes. The BOR marker being at the center back really tripped me up.
I got a head start on the Lakes Pullover before the workshop began and I tried something out that I’m still not sure was the best idea. The construction on this sweater is so interesting – you start with the saddle shoulders and then build the sweater down from there. Because I’d need to pick up the same number of stitches for the neckline as the short ends of the saddles, I decided to use a provisional cast on instead of a long tail cast on.
The pros of this approach are that it made picking up those stitches super fast. Prior to this workshop, I didn’t really understand how to read the stitches and pick up in the “correct” spots. Thanks to the numerous tips from the instructor, I feel pretty good about that task now.
The cons of this approach are that it made picking up the first few stitches along the long edges of the saddles a little challenging/hard to see and it required more ends needing to be woven in. But hey, I can crochet a chain now.
In this workshop I learned how to knit a swatch in the round, how to calculate gauge, a neat trick for keeping track of sleeve rows, and so much more. In-person knitting workshop are so valuable.
The instructor recommended twisting stitches on the 1×1 rib by wrapping the yarn clockwise on the purls, which I tried but it felt so awkward I tinked back and did regular purls. I want to try this again on my next sweater since I want really tight hems and collars but don’t want to stress out my hands.
GAH! Look at this sweater! I’m so proud of it. Such a cool pattern and I feel like my skills are really improving. Just look at my first folded collar on the Towns Sweater. I think I might actually redo the neckline since I don’t wear it very much because it’s so… rustic.
I accidentally used a size US 6 needle for the body (remember my previously mentioned supplies mess?) when I meant to use a US 7. The recommended US 8 produced a pretty loose fabric that I didn’t like the look of on my swatch, so I sized down. After realizing I’d accidentally knit a lot with the US 6, I figured it would be fine since that’s the size I had used for my popcorn sweater and the fabric was looking nice.
The only changes I made to the pattern was to crop the body by an inch and half and I created selvage edges on the parts that were knit flat. I’ve worn this a ton and I’m just the tiniest bit bummed that we’re approaching warmer weather here in Portland.
Once my Lakes was blocked and on my body, I could work on the No Frills sweater again. This was the project I finally understood how to read my sleeve stitches and use those locking markers. This method meant I could knit anywhere without dragging around a row counter and obsessively taking notes on a piece of paper.
For the XL, you’re supposed to repeat the sleeve rows 21 times, but I had to stop after 16 for my short arms. The sleeves have a slight balloon to them because of that. I had 65 stitches and needed 52, so I *K2tog, K3, K2tog, K3* before starting the 1×1 rib. I was pretty pleased that made all the decreases perfectly spaced.
I like this yarn a lot but holy hell, I overbought. Like I could almost make an entire identical sweater overbought. The pattern only gives the amount in grams so I estimated 6-7 skeins. Under the guidance of a LYS, I purchased 8. I used 4.25. 💸💸💸💸💸 Guess I’m making a matching shawl?
I sewed some black elastic thread into the neckline before blocking because it was definitely a lot wider than I wanted and knew it would only get bigger once wet. I think if I make this pattern again, I will do a folded collar following the instructions in the Ozetta Seasons Pullover.
And here they are all together! I have two almost finished sweaters in these, plus yarn for my next project.
And I’ve been working on an ultimate needle / tool case to replace the hideous things that came with my Chiaogoo needles. I’m still noodling on one of the page designs, so it’s been taking longer than planned. VERY excited about it.
My husband is very particular about his clothes and will only wear this one hat he bought in college. So when he asked if I could recreate this unicorn hat, I thought it might be a fun puzzle to solve. After all, even if I could find a pattern for a similar style, the odds of him liking it would be pretty slim.
After a lot of counting, I was able to write up a simple pattern, but I had my doubts. Did I actually get the yarn weight right? Is my math correct? If it’s not an exact copy, will he even wear it?
I’m sharing the pattern here mainly so that I can reference it later. Feel free to use it but I’m not responsible for the outcome!
It only took a few hours to knit up and it’s pretty darn close to the original! The original also has a micro fleece band on the inside – one of the reason’s he loves it – so I’ll be stitching that in as soon as my order arrives.
I am pretty pleased that I was able to look at a knit object, read the stitches, write up a pattern, and achieve a very similar fit. I have another skein to make Version 2 and I’ll make the following changes. All of these changes are reflected in the pattern above.
Use a smaller needle for 1×1 rib. I used US 6 in Version 1 and it looks too loose.
Add in the 5 rounds that were omitted in Version 1 (3 in the 1×1 rib, and 2 in the body). These rows were omitted because I miss-measured while knitting.
Pull the 9 stitches at the top of the hat together tighter. After blocking, the opening relaxed a bit.
In 2017 I tried making a Misha & Puff style popcorn sweater. I had ordered a We Are Knitters kit (no longer available), even though I hated the color options, and gave it a shot. It went fine, but I made a teeny tiny error, didn’t have any idea of how to fix it, and gave up.
This is as far as that sweater got. The construction was not great (flat, seamed, no neckline shaping), and in hindsight I’m glad I stopped the project here.
Well after a year of knitting sweaters, I finally have a M&P style sweater, in a much better color too!
Even with six sweaters under my belt, I signed up for this lovely 4 week Wildcraft class with the pattern designer of the Louise Pullover. Short rows were, for some reason, deeply confusing to me and I thought some in person coaching would help. It was a great 4 weeks and I now feel like I can knit anything.
I practiced wrap and turns a lot before deciding to use German short rows instead. My wrap and turns were quite holey and the process felt a little more complex than German short rows. After completing the neckline shaping, I wanted to practice again while it was still fresh and started a second sweater. I don’t love the color of that yarn though, so we’ll see if it get used.
After knitting to a size 3, I decided to go up to a 4 for a more oversized fit.
I also decided to crop the sweater by 3″.
I decided not to use a smaller needle size for the neckline ribbing because I was using a worsted weight yarn instead of DK, and I knit pretty tightly. I wish I had though because after blocking, all of the ribbing stretched out a lot, especially the waistline. Knitting is some unpredictable magic.
I started this sweater on November 9th and finished it December 10th. I’m so fucking proud of it!
I cast on on a flight home and had nearly half the body knit by the end of the trip. I only brought two cakes with me, so I had to stop working on it near the sleeve split.
Once I was reunited with the rest of the yarn, knitting the front and back panels went quickly. I was able to seam the shoulders together without throwing in lifelines, which felt like a huge accomplishment!
Visualizing knitting instructions has been the best way for me to learn. I wish more patterns included visuals, or even just more descriptions. It really does feel like learning a language. Ozetta is really good at responding to Instagram DMs though!
The I-cord cast off took a REALLY long time.
The slipt hem ribbing is so nice. The pattern’s sample photos really hide this detail and I was surprised and delighted to see them take shape.
I made another pair of Shop Pants! The first pair was a wearable muslin that ended up being a little too big.
For this version, I made a size 2. Usually I write notes on the pattern pieces if I make adjustments, but I failed to this time. It’s clear that I shortened the leg by 1/2 to 1″ but I’m not sure. Overall, I think the 2 fits much more how I want them to, but I do wonder if I need to grade to a 1 at the waist, especially with denim.
I’m also wearing a newly made Seamwork Orlando that I hacked to have a crew neck. I used the bonus sleeves, which I also added 4″ inches to. I have another pointelle from Lyrical in a warm brown that I plan to make another long sleeve crew neck with. It’s a perfect winter layer.
Once again, I didn’t staystitch the waistlines after cutting everything out and things definitely got weird. I had to do a lot of easing to make the top of the pants fit with the waistband and there’s some puckering in the back. It’s not terrible, but I know it’s there. Next time (yes I have one more pair planned) I will stabilize before construction! I also only interfaced the inner waistband this time since my machine hated sewing the belt loops on at the end.
On my first pair, I followed the topstitching instructions exactly. I found though that I had some puckering right where I’m pointing above. So I decided to topstitch like traditional jeans and I really like how it turned out. The right bartack is kinda in a weird place, but it’s covering where I stopped and started to stitch the bottom of the fly guard down.
My machine got pretty mad about the belt loops last time so instead of making them 4 layers thick, I folded the strip in 3rds and serged the exposed edge. I like that they’re a bit wider too.
I forgot to change the stitch length on the waistband so the bottom line is 2.5 and all other topstitching is 3.20. Whoops!
I added another line of stitching on the zipper tape after seeing that on a pair of RTW pants. The rivets at the pocket openings and the jean button are from Blackbird and the denim is Robert Kaufman’s bleached denim.
I’ve worn them every day this week and can’t wait to make another pair!
Farm & Folk recently put out a call for testers for this beautiful quilt. This project is so cool – Sara is a farmer and she spent the summer growing and harvesting dye flowers. She designed this quilt and a dye kit to go with it so you can make one too.
I was a lucky tester and got to make the two quilt blocks this weekend.
I used linen scraps and due to yardage limitations ended up with a very moody block.
The pattern is really easy to follow and included tons of Sara’s beautiful photos. I hope you’ll check it out once it’s released!
WildCraft had a back to school sale, so I signed up for a four week introduction to oil painting course with Rachel Warkentin. I busted out my decades old oil paint and I’m having a blast. The last session in next Monday (sad face) and I’m hoping to start up an at home practice. In the second week we painted rocks and eggs. My egg and rocks are in the lower right.
Here’s the progression of some spoons. I’m most excited to have learned some less toxic options for working with oils. Canola and walnut oils are way less stinky too!
Sadie designed this fun top (there’s a dress version too) for Tauko Magazine. I got to make it over the summer and it’s finally cool enough to wear it! This fabric is from Anuprerna.
And another WildCraft class – visible darning with Erin Eggenburg. Getting to her level of skill is going to take some practice.
Here’s my hot mess!
I learned just how well WD-40 cleans and conditions metal. I bought this vintage desk chair to make my work from home space a little more comfortable but it was GROSS.
There was a long abandoned spider nest in the back rest and it had so much rust and grime. It cleaned up so much better than I thought it would.
I learned so fricking much knitting this. I learned how to shape a neckline on a bottom up sweater, the kitchener stitch, how to pick up stitches, how to create a folded neck with a stretchy BO, math to adjust for row gauge, K2tog-L for sleeve decreases, the sewn tubular cast-off technique, and how measure and block a sweater. SO COOL.
Shortly before starting this, I learned how to knit continental and decided I would knit the Towns entirely in this style. I should have realized during the hem ribbing that my purls were much looser than my knit stitches, but I pushed through, hoping that magical blocking would smooth things out (that only sorta worked). Things got weird once I was knitting flat and there’s definite striping above where I split for the sleeves.
Joining the shoulders was where things got real spicy. I messed up both shoulders. The first one had what looked like only a small imperfection but I couldn’t leave it alone and once I snugged everything up, it turned into a giant, loopy knot. The second shoulder had a section where I slipped the stitches the wrong direction. It took going to a LYS to learn how to fix this mistake. I also bought some super thin cording to use as lifelines, which I throw in all the time now.
The neckline BO was a mind bender. It took a while to figure out how to hold everything and there’s a sliiiiiiight twist, but not enough to impact the wear.
My row gauge is always off, so the first sleeve I made was much too long. Thanks to math, I was able to figure out how many rounds I needed to remove to get the sleeve to be the right length. It was so exciting when it worked, but I did need to knit three whole sleeves to figure it out.
Despite having purchased skeins from the same dye lot, there’s a clear color difference between them. I feel like it’s less noticeable when it’s worn, but is super obvious when laid flat.
Despite its flaws, I am so pleased with this sweater! It’s going to get a lot of wear once it cools down.