I'm a knitter! It's my jam, my love, and my obsession. I started small with making my own items, then grew when friends and family loved my stuff. Plus that magical perfect scarf that eluded me, happened to elude others as well.
Oh Brother. The gauge swatch. How is it possible that such a tiny 4x4 inch square can give us such a headache.
I remember learning to knit and not understanding what a gauge swatch was, what the purpose of a gauge swatch was and why would I waste my time knitting a four inch square to only then start the project after? Fast forward a few years… oh if I could have bitch slapped my old self, I would have. So if your like 2014 Chantal, let’s break it down so you don’t make the same mistakes as I did.
What is a gauge swatch?
A gauge swatch simply put is: A tension swatch. This is where the designer or knitter does up a 4x4 inch square in the main stitch of the pattern to see what their tension is like. Since we all knit and crochet differently, these can vary from maker to maker. Some of us are tight knitters, some of us are loose knitters. It all depends on how we wrap and tug the yarn on our needles/hooks. A gauge swatch is essentially done to see how fat and tall our stitches are. This gauge swatch is extremely important in designing, since it plays a pivotal role in the grading process of making a design fit different sizes.
EXAMPLE: When knitting with a 10mm needle, one stitch should be 10mm wide and 10mm high. This is because the yarn is being wrapped around a 10mm girth. Yarn size and wrap tension can drastically change this measurement though. Since I am a looser knitter it means that my stitches are usually wider and taller than 10x10 because I am loosely pulling the yarn around the needle and it ends a little floppy. A tighter knitter will find their stitches smaller and more uniform since they are tugging on the yarn and it cinches like an elastic band.
Why is a gauge swatch important to do?
Photo by @BizKnits on Instagram
When following a pattern, you’ll want to make sure that you’re getting the same tension that the original designer got. If you’re off in the gauge and not matching, it means that the dimensions of your finished piece will also be off. Though this seems not really important when making an item like a scarf, this can make or break how a garment fits. My motto is: If you don’t make a gauge swatch, and your sweater doesn’t fit, you can’t blame the designer cause you didn’t do your homework.
EXAMPLE: Say that a gauge swatch is 10sts x 15 rows to get a 4x4” square, and you gauge swatch and you’re coming out with 12sts x 15 rows =4x4'“. Though these two stitches seem close enough in width becuase they are a measly 2 stitches, they are actually going to add up and botch your final measurements in the long run.
Breaking it down: By having a higher number of stitches than the original designer, it means that you’re a tighter knitter and can fit more stitches into that 4” swatch than they did. Since that designer is basing their cast on number by their gauge swatch, your two stitches are going to eat into the next 4 inches, and then the next 4 inches, and then the next four inches.
Let’s use a different visual aid: Imagine getting to have 10 crackers a day for a week. If you eat 12 in the first day, you end up taking away from the next day. If you eat 12 the next day and the next day and continue to doing so instead of ten, you’re borrowing more and more from the following days until you don’t have any left for the last day of the week. You’ll run out of goldfish on day 5.8 out of 7. Put those into inches and you’ve now eaten up 4 inches of a gauge swatch. Meaning your sweater is now 4 inches too SMALL. Which is the difference of a whole garment size. Back to our knitting example: If the designer had to do the 4'“ swatch 9 times around to get around a 36” bust, you’ve now “eaten” up 18 stitches. That’s almost 8 inches! Meaning your piece will actually come out to 28” in circumference instead of 36. That’s a big difference!
What do you do if your gauge swatch doesn’t meet theirs?
There’s two ways you can have this happen. 1) You have more stitches or rows in your gauge swatch or 2) You have less stitches or rows in your gauge swatch.
What to do if you have more stitches in width fitting into 4”: Your stitches are too skinny. This means that you have a tighter swatch than the original designers. To match, you need to make your stitches bigger. Do this by either loosening up and maintaining that knit style without reverting back to your original style for the whole piece, or you can bump UP a needle size or two to get the same width of stitches.
What to do if you have less stitches in width fitting into 4”: Your stitches are too wide. This means that you are looser than the original designer. You need to make your stitches skinnier. You can do this by either tightening up and tugging more on the yarn and keeping that consistent tension throughout the piece, or you can bump DOWN a needle or two to get the same width and stitches.
What to do if you have more rows than the gauge: Your stitches are too short. Depending on the pattern you can either loosen up your knitting to make your stitches taller to take up more space in height, or you can manipulate the pattern by adding more rows to make up for being “short”. This of course will depend on the repeats in the pattern, and will also slightly change your yardage needed.
What to do if you have less rows than the gauge: Your stitches are too tall. Depending on the pattern you can either tighten up your knitting to make your stitches shorter, or you can manipulate the pattern by not doing as many rows. Again this depends on if it’s not a certain repeat of rows needed.
Tips for the perfect gauge swatch:
Photo by @glitterknitter on IG
Gauge the way the pattern directs: If your pattern says to swatch in the round, swatch in the round and not flat. Example: If you’re working stockinette in the round in the pattern and you swatch with purling every second row in a flat gauge swatch, you’re gauge swatch will not be correct! purls don’t take up the same amount of room as knits. (Psst, there’s a trick to do this knitting flat, and it’s actually in the photo above!). if they ask you to block it, block it!
Cast on more stitches than directed: If the gauge swatch is 10 sts wide x 15 rows tall, make your gauge swatch bigger and cast on 15 stitches and knit 20 rows. This will make sure you’re not stretching the stitches, or not getting what your actual tensions is, because the last two stitches are curling in etc.
Don’t stretch your stitches: When measuring your gauge, don’t pull/tug or stretch your stitches to make it work. They need to be lying flat and with no force on them when measuring.
Trust a bigger gauge swatch: It’s a pain in the ass because you want to get going on your project, but the bigger the gauge swatch, the better you’ll understand what your tension is like. Going off of one inch sounds much faster, but it doesn’t guarantee those half stitches, or even the fact that you loosen or tighten up as you knit over a period of time.
Note your tension may change: If you’ve been swatching and swatching over again, you may be trying to knit differently to try to attain that gauge swatch measurment due to frustration - meaning when you actually knit like normal… you’re nowhere close to what you were trying to achieve and what you got. Keep checking your gauge throughout your piece to make sure you maintain the measurements you need to get the perfect finished object!
Ending: Gauge swatches are a pain in the ass. We want to get going and start our project and get going, BUT it is way better to rip out a 4x4 inch swatch, than your whole project when it doesn’t fit!
Have you ever had something not fit and realized gauge was to blame? Comment below!
I swear my new favourite thing about knitting is fuzzy knits. Mohair and alpaca have been popping up left right and center and that “halo” or super fluffy texture is just my jam. Seems like I’ve not alone either, as the world is on a craze of “Teddy Bear Coats” and I’m seeing them everywhere.
As I was shopping with my mom on boxing day we popped into Banana Republic and I saw the cutest light teddy cardi that I had ever seen. Of course with me being me - I said I would make it and sent an email to my friends over at Lion Brand. But with other designs on the closer horizon, I let it settle in my brain for later and more spring temps.
BUY THE PATTERN ON ETSY HERE:BUY THE PATTERN ON RAVELRY HERE:
If you’ve ever been in a Michaels, chances are you’ve seen Lionbrand yarns “Homespun” in the isles - maybe you’ve even worked with it before, as it’s literally been around for DECADES. To be honest - this stuff is NOT my fav and I’ve avoided it like the plague in the years past. I had heard it was really hard to knit with, and I wasn’t sure if I liked the way it looked knit up.
Want more Knitatude? Check out more of my knitting patterns HERE.
PIN this pattern to your Pinterest boards for later HERE.
Well que Evelyn and Peter and her kodiak bomber. I DIE! She made it in both the Go For Faux fur, as well as the Thick N quick version of Homespun and I knew I had to give the yarn a chance. PS - I am so happy I did, because look at what it created! Note: I heard a lot of people saying this yarn was hard to work with. But with a thicker pair of knitting needles (this pattern uses 8mm), it does just fine! Just be aware that you’ll need a little more concentration to make sure your needles don’t pick up the wrong “part” of the yarn, as it does have waves in it - but trust me, it’s worth it for the texture alone
Evelyn and Peter Kodiak Bomber
THE TEDDY CARDI
The Teddy Cardi is half based on the cardigan I saw in Banana Republic, and half a spin on my very own All Day Cardigan pattern. I knew that I wanted a long duster type version so I based the pattern off the same style and shape. I wasn’t sure how fuzzy I wanted, so I swatched the homespun up in garter, stockinette and reverse stockinette. The stockinette sold me and I went to town.
This is an advanced beginner knit. You’ll need to know how to cast on, knit, purl, decrease, knit flat, knit in the round, bind off.
I originally planned on making it reversible, but sadly it didn’t pan out after picking up the sleeves. Whop whaaa. That being said the pockets in this pattern are freaking GENIUS! They’re after thought pockets, and totally seamless - making the whole PIECE completely seamless.
This cardi has been my go to “jacket” for the spring, and I can’t wait to pair it with some cut off jean shorts, a white tee and birks. What would you wear yours with?
Back in January Frenchie of Aroha Knits put on a shawl challenge. 5 knit shawls in 5 days. Luckily they were little minis, not the full thing so I totally got behind it. So in 5 days you learnt the 5 traditional ways of how to hand knit a shawl. From triangles, to asymmetrical shawls, to square - the whole shebang, and it’s because of this course that I finally took my first dip into shawl designing and came up with the Forever Shawl. You can still sign up for that challenge and do it yourself: HERE.
This design is a classic triangle shawl worked from the “wingspan” down. Worked with YOs, knits and purls, meaning it’s a super chill and relaxing knit but works up pretty quickly due to the size 4 heavy worsted yarn. AKA you can stop mid row to save your meal on the stove as it bubbles over.
I wanted something super simple and minimal with stripes but ginormous (kind of like those scarves at Aritzia) but I wasn’t even sure how it would turn out - as I’d never made a full size shawl before. I called it the “Forever Shawl” because it took me not only forever to get over my stigmas around shawls, but also because those last rows (and this happens with every shawl) just seem to take a *biiiiit* longer than you think they will due to the size. Aka they feel like forever!
I feel like there are certain things that are just expected of you as soon as you pick up knitting or crocheting. Like it’s a mandatory thing to knit the old classics. I say “classics” in a nice way, because as a knitter I’ve found that there are certain projects that come as expected when you first learn to knit. Funny enough I like to buck the trend and stay away from those things entirely. I don’t make shawls, I don’t make afghans, I don’t make granny squares and I don’t make wash cloths. They have ever really interested me, and I’ve never gravitated towards them just because I felt they were “expected” of me as a knitter.
Buuuuut back in January I picked up three skeins of this gorgeous Blue Sky Fibers Alpaca while on my birthday yarn crawl at Pudding in Calgary. I didn’t have a plan for them and knew they wouldn’t be enough for a garment, but I got them anyway thinking I might jump aboard the shawl bus one day. #sorrywallet. I grabbed 2 arctic white and 1 dove grey (I soon realized that I needed one more white for the size I wanted in my shawl after I started knitting) as the rest is history. I took the 5 days shawl challenge and figured why the heck not.
How it’s made:
This shawl is started by casting on a certain amount of stitches, working them in garter, and picking up stitches (trust me it’s not as hard as you think!). You then move on to gradually increasing 4 times every second row until it gets to the size you want!
After finishing up the Forever Shawl, I wanted to use up the yummy remnants of my Blue Sky Fibers. It’s so soft that I couldn’t let it go to waste, so I whipped up this cute little twin headband to be able to pair with it while walking the dogs, or just dealing with those bad hair days.
This head band is perfect for any beginner wanting to take up knitting in the round and changing up colors. This pattern is knit in the round with no seaming necessary.
Now weave in your ends, block and put it on! Do a happy dance because you just finished your #simplestripedheadband. You look fierce!
Since your stripes are only a few rows apart, carrying your color A will be helpful in eliminating weaving in ends. Should you have ANY questions please send them to email@example.com. Feel free to use the #simplestripedheadband hashtag, send and tag me in any photos of your works in progress and finished pieces. I love showing you guys off on my social media sites!
Instagram - @knitatude
Facebook – www.facebook.com/knitatude
Etsy – knitatude.etsy.com
Ravelry – knitatude87
Simple Striped headbands created using this pattern may be sold with written consent first given by Chantal Miyagishima of Knitatude, Credit must be given to Knitatude / knitatude.etsy.com. Pattern and photos can not be used for resale purposes. Please share your work with the hashtag #knitatudeknits and #simplestripedheadband to share the handmade love!
Are You "Selling" Yourself Short? How to Price Handmade
Pricing your items when it comes to handmade is so difficult. It essentially comes down to asking yourself "How much am I worth as a person?". Too many times I see people pricing their items so low that I know there is no possible way that they can be making a profit, and it drives me crazy. It hurts me that they aren't paying themselves what they deserve - as well as it enrages me that they are without a doubt undercutting Knitatude, myself, and the handmade community that I love.
So, Let's start this shiz on a positive note before I combust:
You are an amazing human being. You make stuff with your hands, with your mind and with your soul. You are worth every god damn mother effing penny and deserve to be paid a minimum wage. You deserve to make profit. You deserve to have your items be taken seriously - even if it's just your hobby.
OK, now that that's out of the way let's break down some of the language we are going to be discussing:
Cost: Is the time it takes you to make your 1 product at an hourly rate. Straight and simple. TECHNICALLY this should include the time to get your material, put the finishing touches on (like tags etc).
Materials: This is how much your physical materials cost to make this 1 item. Say you use two skeins of yarn that are $10 each. That now means your material cost (not including your tools - which a portion you should include) is $20.
Overhead: This is anything (outside of your hourly wage and the materials to make your physical item) that you spend on for your business. This includes booth fees, payments for photography, props, your time marketing on social media, responding to emails, you website monthly fees, listing fees, packaging, your tools, time invested in researching new materials, time invested in courses to grow your biz, time to read this BLOG POST, gas to get to your craft store... you see this adding up? Yeah. Don't forget about it.
Wholesale Rate: This is the rate that you sell in bulk to stores to carry your product. Normally this is a 50% discount because they buy in bulk. This cost covers your hourly wage and materials to make you item. That's it.
Profit Margin: This is the money you are making on top of your wholesale cost. THIS is what pays for all those extra costs in the overhead section.
Retail Rate: This is your final rate! Hurray! You slap this on your finished products, list it as this price in your website or etsy etc.
LET'S PRICE THOSE ITEMS - TWO BASIC FORMULAS
1. Cost + Materials = Whole Sale cost ---> Whole Sale Cost x 2 = Retail rate
These are two basic ways to price your items. Let's do an example and use the first formula: Say you're minimum wage is $10 an hour and it takes you 3 hours to make a scarf (3 x $10=$30). You used two balls of yarn and that totals $20 for your materials. You add those together and your wholesale rate is now $50. X that by two and that means that your retail rate you're selling that scarf for is $100. Which means your making $50 in profit. That sounds like a lot, but that $50 profit margin gets eaten pretty darn quickly when you're adding up all your extra costs of running your business outside of making your 1 product.
Let's use the second formula with the same stats. You're hourly wage is $10 and a scarf takes you three hours (3 x $10 = $30) to make. You used two balls of yarn and that totals $20 for your materials. Now I want you to add a very small portion of your overhead costs in. I like to use $1-3 dollars per product. Totaling my whole sale rate to let's say... $52. Now I take that wholesale rate and x 75%. $52 x 75% = $39. This $39 is your profit margin to pay for those extra added costs, like your booth fees and everything else you do in your business other than make the 1 physical product. Don't forget it gets eaten up quickly. Add your whole sale cost and profit margin together ($52 + $39) and the retail price of your scarf is now $91.
If you're wondering why I haven't mentioned "Materials x 3" it's because I think it's an AWFUL way to price handmade, especially when it comes to knitting and crocheting when the time to make something is SO. LABOUR. INTENSIVE. Do not use this method unless you are using materials with an extremely high price point. Please!
If you are still too scared to up your prices then lets chat perceived value. Perceived value means what people think your item is worth. Fun fact - there are actually studies that prove that making your item more expensive will mean more people will buy it. Let's take two identical erasers as an example. One is being sold at 50 cents and the other $1.50. More people will actually purchase the $1.50 eraser just because they think it's better, even if it's not. No one wants to look like the poor person who can only afford the cheaper one, and they would rather impress their friends... a scary thought but true. Now take this analogy and put it to your products. You are now working SMARTER and not harder. If you have two identical priced items and one is at $100 and the other at $50 you would have to sell two $50 scarves to make what you could with that one $100 scarf. Half the work, double the pay.
LET'S CUT THE EXCUSES
"WHAT IF PEOPLE SAY MY STUFF IS TOO EXPENSIVE?"
If someone tells you that your work is too expensive then you know what? That person is not your target market - so don't waste your time on selling to them. It's ok that not everyone is going to pay the price for handmade. You also don't need to start explaining your prices and how your charge - they don't get to know that private info. It's for you and you alone. The best suggestion I can give to combat this question is to say your prices with confidence. If you sound meek and feeble they will walk over you and try to talk you down or out of your prices. If you stand firmly, roll your shoulders back, and say the price and hold their gaze, then they will respect you in the long run. You are a strong human being who knows their worth - stick up for yourself. You can do it!
"IT'S A HOBBY. I’M NOT PLANNING ON LIVING OFF THIS MONEY."
That's awesome, but just to let you know... once you sell ONE item and even make a cent you're not a hobby anymore. You're a business looking to make money, and the government is going to want it's cut. I also want to say that if it's a hobby you should be paying yourself MORE than the people who do this full time. Chances are you're working a full time job, which means that those hours outside of working are more precious and are worth more. That's time away from your family, your kids, your friends. Not to mention it undercuts your own time, the community as a whole if you're undercharging, and essentially makes it impossible for a person who IS doing this full time to make a living. That my friend... is a spiral of shit.
"NO ONE WILL PAY THOSE LARGE PRICES. I LIVE IN A SMALL TOWN WHERE PEOPLE WON'T PAY THAT."
Do you think that Prada bags are truly worth $800? No, but people pay for them. There are people out there that will gladly pay for handmade. You just have to find them. Also if you live in a "poor town" selling online opens you up to the whole world. Don't sell in your town then, sell on places like Etsy etc. It doesn't mean you should have "poor town" prices. The world is your oyster!
"I'LL JUST SELL AT WHOLESALE PRICE NOW. I'LL BUMP IT LATER."
Do not dig yourself a grave that you're going to struggle to get out of! It will be 100x harder to up your price without your customer having negative feelings towards it, than to have it high to start with and lower down. If you start cheap just know, that you're going to get "cheap" customers. Might as well start high and pay yourself, than deal with having to change your entire target audience!
I leave this once again with some positive reinforcement. You are amazing and your stuff is amazing. People will buy it - you just have to find them. You are worth minimum wage and even more there is minimum wage for a reason - so we don't starve and die. Just because you are an artist does not mean you aren't entitled to a decent pay. Now go forth - redo your pricing or bump it at least $5. See what happens! *wink*
Knitting A Top Down Yoke Sweater - The Easy Eyelet Yoke Sweater
If you’ve been following along for the past year or so, I have become head over heels in making seamless knits that are worked from the top down, and in doing so have wanted to design and knit my first top down yoke sweater ever since.
I’m excited to launch my first one ever called the: Easy Eyelet Yoke Sweater. This pattern is extremely beginner friendly in the garment department, and is a great stepping stone for anyone wanting to knit their first top down yoke sweater!
Wanting to try your first top down sweater, but maybe not even sure what a “yoke sweater” is? A yoke sweater is essentially a sweater that is started and knit from the collar down to the hem of the body that includes increases evenly spaced out between a certain amount of rows (The Easy Eyelet Yoke has four of em’!). The best part about a yoke sweater is that it’s completely seamless and you can’t tell where those increases are made - unlike in a raglan sweater where you see the diagonal lines on the sides of the chest and back.
I like to also imagine that it’s called a “yoke sweater” simply because as you’re working the yoke (the part that includes from the collar to chest length, before splitting for the body), looks like an actual yoke of an egg. The empty circle where your head fits in is the bright yellow yoke, and the knit around it - is the egg white! But who knows if this is the actual case - maybe it is!
Top down sweaters are knit by casting on the collar and increasing as you knit until the sweater fits over your neck, shoulders and bust (kind of like a caplet). Once you have achieved the circumference to comfortably fit around your shoulders and bust, your arms are then transferred to scrap yarn to be worked later, and you continue working the body in the round until your desired length. Once finished the body, you pick up the stitches on the arms (which is quite a bit easier than picking up sleeve stitches on a regular sweater since they are already live and waiting for you!) and you knit the arms from the shoulder down to the wrist, and repeat on the second arm.
Though top down sweaters may seem intimidating, I promise they aren’t. Just take the plunge, and if you’re still a bit nervous, check out these awesome Youtube Video(s) that “Very Pink Knits” has. I use them all the time.
I designed this pattern with the phrase “classic minimalism”in mind, while wanting to still holda feminine touch with the eyelets. They subtly remind me of strings of pearls and I wanted to capture that elegant feel, while still being an easy on-the-go-and-grab sweater. Heads up: If you’ve been looking to make your first top down yoke sweater, this is the one is perfect for you, and those eyelets are much less daunting when you realize what they really are (it’s a secret- so you’ll have to purchase the pattern to find out). If you know how to knit and purl in the round, increase and decrease though, you will be able to nail this pattern!
If you haven’t seen me raving about Lion Brand Chainette all over my social media, then you’ll hear all about it now. This is my hands down Number. One. Favourite. Yarn. at the moment. I wish I could design everything in it. It’s part of the Lion Brand Collection and I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s a kind of air blown, chainette type yarn that is light as a feather and knits up like a dream. Even better? This bad boy is an alpaca blend and it DOESN’T PILL. I’ve worn this sweater over 15 times since I’ve made it and have had no issue with pilling under the arms and armpits. I’m blown away. Plus since it’s so light weight, it works up like a worsted, but feels like a fingering weight sweater when it’s on.
I made mine in the color silver, and if you would like to snag some for your own (can only be purchased online through LB as it’s part of their “luxury collection"), click HERE, and you’ll need:
When I was designing this pattern I had the one and only Mr. Rogers in mind. Not just because of the bright red iconic sweater, but for what he stood for. Todd (my hubby - scroll down to see him!) and I had just finished watching the new Mister Rogers documentary on Netflix, and it really hit home.
I grew up with the words “Love your neighbor and love yourself”, and I think Mr. Rogers played a very large role in that. I have always been so thankful that his show had the concept of teaching children not to stuff their feelings down, but to instead to talk about the hard things that happen in life. Death. War. Racism. All topics that are not easily spoken about outright, and especially not to children. In his show he found a way to do that while still being relatable and understandable for a kid. I’ve always seen his show was a perfect way of being able to bring these heavy topics to light.
If you’re in the Instagram knitting and crochet community, there has been a very important conversation happening about racism. So, especially during this important conversation of race and cultural diversity that’s happening in our community (and around the world), I just wanted to find a way to say that “I like you just the way you are”. Skin color, size, gender status, whatever it is; I like you the way you are.. Just like for Mr. Rogers, that motto stands for all things Knitatude, and I wanted a wearable reminder to always keep this in the forefront of my mind.
MORE ABOUT THE DESIGN
A few months ago Lion Brand sent me an email letting me know of a new yarn they were bringing to market: LB Collection Fifty Fifty. I saw this bright red and knew it was kismet. Not only have I always been in love with chunky smokers jackets, but it fit my Mr. Rogers vision to a T.
Pattern Details: This knit is super chunky, warm, and fast since it’s knit on 10 mm needles and size 6 super bulky yarn! Though on the intermediate knitter side of the spectrum due to the applied border, I still think it would be a great pattern for a knitter looking to learn a few new tips and tricks. The collar is to die for and can either be lifted up to create a cozy effect, or rolled down to give a more open and relaxed fit. For some reason I remembered Mr. Rogers cardigan with a big collar in his sweater though I now realize that’s not the case. Either way I wouldn’t let that hinder me from putting my own spin on it. PS did you know that his mom used to knit all his sweaters? How cool! Best part though? It’s unisex! Todd and I are both wearing the same sweater. Fit as a medium for me to be oversized and bulky, it fits Todd as a more slim cut.
Yarn Details: LB Collection Fifty Fifty comes in 9 colors and is made of 50% luxurious alpaca and 50% super soft wool. It’s really soft, and boy is it warm! It was pretty chilly when we took these pictures (about -12 degrees Celsius) and I was still toasty warm!
If you’re looking for another yarn sub, you could totally use Lion Brand Yarns Thick N’ Quick as a more affordable option or Wool and the Gang’s Crazy Sexy Wool, or We Are Knitters The Wool. Though I personally think that the Fifty Fifty is a bit softer! Either way, you can’t go wrong with the bright red!
I hope you love this cardi as much as I do, and of course as a simple reminder to “Like everyone just the way they are”.
You know when you see a sweater or knit at the mall or in person and you’re like “Hot damn, I could make that!”. Well for me, that was the Crossback Sweater.
Here I was, walking in the streets of London on our Europe trip this past summer and there she was. Walking ahead; The prettiest voluptuous blonde with the most striking sweater that draped and intertwined in the back. So like a regular human, I stalker snapped a photo while she wasn’t looking and used it as inspiration. Hides face in embarrassment.
Sadly this design was not a one and done though. Nor was it a twice and done… or a third time and done… Really it was the fourth time that was the charm, and when I say 4th time, I really mean four times. I have knit this sweater in full completion 4 times. All panels. All arms. All to only frog once again.
So here you are: The final version of the Crossback sweater. I love this design not only for it’s simplicity, but for the fact that it’s REVERSIBLE! Meaning two sweaters out of one. Wear the crossing panels in the front for a gorgeous Vneck, or adjust and place them in the back for a more sultry open back. I personally am a total fan of the party in the back! It’s designed in sizes: S, M, L, XL, 2XL (32’-50” busts).
SHOWN WITH THE CROSS IN THE BACK
AND HERE IT IS WITH THE CROSS IN THE FRONT!
I really am in love with how this design turned out. What once was more of a bulky heavy piece, is now this airy, lightwear cozy sweater that has been one of my number one go to’s in my closet latley.
Want to make this sweater yourself? You’ll need 7 (S/M), 8 (L), 9 (XL), 10 (2XL) balls of Lionbrand’s Chainette (a gorgeous alpaca and wool blend that is super soft and airy to the touch and on the skin), and 6.5 & 6mm needles. Note: Since it’s part of the Lion Brand collection, you sadly cannot purchase in stores, only online!
If you know me, you'll know that I am terrible at buying yarn (crazy for a knitter I know). I look at it and hum and haw forever and then cave after a couple months. Well that's the exact case with Whitney's Angel Aura colorway. I have never fallen so madly in love with one before. It's tonal, it's soft, its neutral but not, and it matches every single hair colour I've ever done. So when I finally went to make my order I got as much as I could. We’re talking a whole sweaters worth of fingering, a shawls amount of single ply fingering weight, and then this scrumptious amazing single ply super bulky.
So about 6 months ago when I reached out to Whitney from Songbyrdy to ask for a preorder I also asked if she might want to team up and so something together at the same time! I knew exactly what I was going to pitch her for our collab too, and I'm so happy I can now show you what it is: The Diamond Stitch Cowl (Grab the pattern here on Etsy and Ravelry). You've seen this stitch popping up all over my designs lately, and I couldn't say no to using er’ again this go round. I mean common... diamonds... angel aura quartz... they are both gems. It was MEANT. TO. BE. Plus it's such a subtle delicate stitch that showcases her colorway off perfectly.
I debated on stranding this project as I went in case it color pooled (like most hand dyed yarn tends to do), but I decided against it and I'm so happy I did. It's just such a beautiful yarn, and the pooling is so slight and gentle. For some reason it kind of reminds me of the milk left over from when you ate TRIX cereal as a kid.
Also did I mention how it SMELLS!? Normally when you get indie dyed yarn it has a slightly vinegar/sheep/wool-y smell to it - which really puts me off personally. This one? Nope. It smells AMAZING! Whitney has a little trick up her sleeve to make it smell like a load of fresh clean laundry (it's not detergent I asked!). It is such a small thing, but when I put this cowl on, I feel like I could huff away.
Either way, I hope you love this cowl as much as I do. You can order a kit from her through her wesbite here, and grab the pattern here on Etsy or ravelry!
Welcome to my favourite stitch ever. If you’ve been following along for a bit you’ll know that this diamond stitch came into world from my best Woolfield Studio back in October last year. We collabed and I made a matching hat to her mittens and it was absolute kismet.
I started this dress actually back in February, but just knew Spring was peeking too closely around the corner. So I laid in wait, patiently (who am I kidding - impatiently) for the fall, and now, this baby can finally be set free. So I introduce you to: THE DIAMOND KNIT DRESS. (Grab the pattern on Ravelry and Etsy)
This dress is made with the most glorious We Are Knitters Meripaca (I chose pearl grey!), and it’s seriously divine. The stitch definition is bomb diggity, and the feel is so soft. At first glance and feel it looks like it would possibly a size 4 heavy worsted, but it’s actually a bulky size 5 yarn. Which means this pattern works up FAST! If you can nail knitting in the round, slip stitches, decreases and picking up stitches… you can totes do this pattern
It’s written in sizes S-3XL, and if you check my photos below of my testers, it looks bangin’ on everyone!
SPECIAL THANKS TO MY TESTERS!
I also wanted to give a big thank you to my testers for this dress. Not only did they manage do this while I was away in Europe for the first 3/5 weeks with very limited access to me, but the feed back they gave made this test a breeze. Extra special thanks to my XL-3XL testers. They hands down made this pattern fit SO. MUCH. BETTER than what I originally wrote for those 3 sizes. Thank you ladies for putting your trust in me to be able to do this pattern justice for a body I am not 100% comfortable writing for. You make me a better designer with every tidbit and suggestion.