FO: Mint Madness

Last week was a little rough, I got hit out of the blue with a nasty virus and was down for the count for the entire week and into the weekend. Fortunately in between naps and dog snuggles I was plugging away on my latest finished object, the one I’m calling Mint Madness.
Mint Madness
This started as a sketch and a way to mix up some yarns I already had.
Mint madness sketch
You may remember when I went to Neighborhood Fiber Co for a dye workshop and I made this very pretty mint yarn…well I still hadn’t made anything with it. When I popped over to Fibre Space a few weeks ago I saw this limited edition colorway from Neighborhood Fibre Co. called Swoon. My brain said this is the bridge color I needed because I also had a gorgeous stash of their vibrant cobalt shade, Georgetown. Mint, flecks of cobalt and a little bit of bright yellow and I was good to go!
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After my last saddle shoulder sweater I wanted to make another one just to work on my technique. This one isn’t perfect but I still love the end results. I’ve got to work on picking up my armhole stitches a bit better but hey, that’s why you keep on practicing. And with Cher asleep on one side and Jellybean constantly tangled up in my work, I’d knit in between naps and doses of medicine.
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And in the end, I got a cozy open cardigan for fall, that I’ve already worn to walk the dogs in the morning.
Mint Madness
I decided that I wanted to do a lot of ribbing on the sleeves so I can pull back the cuffs and had a three quarter sweater if I wanted or pull them all the way down to have a cozy cuff that goes a little over the wrist. And I added bright blue pockets for a pop of color and because every sweater is made better with pockets. To make the pockets I held stitches back at my desired point and then cast on the same number to keep knitting across. Once I got to my desired body length I knit the pockets and then knit those stitches to the body and then seamed the sides once I was finished.
Mint Madness
I also went back and forth on whether or not there would be buttons but I just didn’t think buttons would work with everything else I had going on. So I skipped them and I’m glad I did. This is really one of those pieces I want to throw on whether it’s over jeans and a t-shirt or a dress. So now I’m almost over my cold and I’ve got a cozy sweater perfect for cool fall mornings. I’m pretty happy.

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FO: Saddle Shoulder Striped Tee

I’m giddy.
Striped saddle shoulder sweater
I love this top so much. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE IT. I finished my Saddle Shoulder Striped Tee and am already wearing it. So let’s get into the details on this project.

Here’s my initial inspiration sweater photo compared to what I actually made:
Comparing sweaters
I wanted the following:

  • A short sleeve tee for summer made using saddle shoulder construction.
  • I didn’t want a lot of ease and for it to be a fairly fitted crew neck (not too tight) so I can wear it with an a line or full skirt.
  • COLOR! You guys know me and know how much I love color and so I picked a bunch of Berroco Pima 100 in varying colors I liked and just went with it. I was surprised at how close I was to some of the colors in the original sweater.

In the end I think this was a great finished object. It’s not perfect (few knits are) but I think I did a solid job on this one without really knowing how this was going to all come together. Also the yarn worked up well and wasn’t hard on my hands like some other cotton yarns.
Striped saddle shoulder sweater
For another saddle shoulder style sweater I would run a pattern like an open chevron lace on the saddle so I could carry it all the way down the arm of the sweater. That’s what makes it such a useful design technique. And in regards to how you construct it, thank my friend and reader Lavon for realizing it’s a lot like turning a heel on a sock.
Striped saddle shoulder sweater
The saddle stitches are live and you pick up the stitches around the armhole. Add in some short row shaping for the sleeve cap and then you’ve got a sleeve to work with! It’s not a difficult technique at all. And I’d say the fit is more in line with a raglan style and not as close under the arm as a seamed sweater would be.
Striped saddle shoulder sweater
So I’ve started off my summer staples knitting with a bang. I can’t wait to knock out more tops for myself and I’ve still got yarn leftover from this project so you may see these colors in a striped tank too! So what plans do you have for summer knitting? What projects are topping your list?

Lessons Learned: Short Row Shaping a Shoulder

I love to learn. I’m constantly looking for new skills, new things to excite me and it’s probably one of the reasons I love to teach and love social media. There’s always something new and fresh to learn about that subject. So a few years ago I took a class at my favorite local yarn shop, Fibre Space, to learn how to knit a saddle shoulder sweater. I knit this sweater, the Andover. I had high hopes for it because I lived in Andover, Massachusetts for a few years growing up but that wasn’t enough to make me like this project.
Andover without neckline finishing
I hate it. I think I’ve worn it once (if anyone wants it I’m more than happy to give it to you). And there are a couple of contributing factors to why I really don’t like this sweater:

  • The pattern wasn’t a good one to start with for a saddle stitch shoulder. There were errors in the pattern and at times points where it seemed like she stopped mid-thought and never finished her sentence. There were multiple charts to have to refer to for the cables on the sleeve and the body and it was just a lot for a first time saddle shoulder sweater. I took the class with one of my coworkers and she felt the same way and I don’t think she ever got beyond the 50% point.
  • I didn’t love my yarn choice for this one or the color. I used Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Superwash but in a purple I picked out for someone else and it just wasn’t my color so I wasn’t that excited about it. Plus one ball of it kept splitting on me.
  • My instructor made a comment to me about using an acrylic yarn for a hat I made from one of her patterns that left a bad taste in my mouth. I hate being yarn bullied. Everything can’t be made of organic wool sourced locally. It just can’t and I don’t think anyone should make anyone else feel bad about their choices of yarn. Period.

So overall, I just didn’t have a great experience but I said to myself that I liked learning how to do a saddle shoulder and would want to do that technique again. Unfortunately I don’t see that many patterns with saddle shoulders as an option, so I haven’t done one in 2 years. When I bought a bunch of colors of Berroco Pima 100 and wanted to make a fun striped tee for summer I decided it would be a saddle shoulder style and this weekend I embarked on that journey and I’m LOVING it this time around.
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I’m horrible about taking photos as I go along. I should’ve photographed the saddles and then what it looked like when attached but I didn’t. But what got me super excited was creating a sleeve cap using short row shaping! I’m at that point in the sweater construction where I have a little over an inch from under the arm and decided I was ready to make the sleeves since I just had body stripes left. I was so nervous that this wasn’t going to fit and was going to be too small so I was eager to get the sleeves on to see how it all worked out. I’ve been using my favorite book for basic construction and some notes and got to the part where they say you add in short rows around the saddle’s live stitches left at the shoulder and then continue all the way down with short rows to the last stitches of the sleeve. Um…it created this awesome shape. I HAVE A SLEEVE! I’m such a knitting nerd.
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Now I just have to do the same thing on the opposite side and then finish off the body. I picked colors I liked and didn’t have any rhyme or reason to them and I’m loving the big bold stripes and playing with so much color. It’s such a happy project. And when I love a project it flies off my needles so this one might be finished by the end of the week!
Stages of emotion
And in other news, does anyone else feel bad taking their dog to the vet? Saturday was Jellybean’s day to get shots and go through annual exams. And these were her stages of emotion. Excitement to go with me all by herself and even ride in the car, then the realization that she was going to the vet, then the relief once it was over and then the clingy/need for extra love that comes after the shots (that’s her curled up in my arms in a blanket on the couch on the bottom). She was a trooper, had some soreness the next day and walked a bit slower but seems to be back to her spunky self. Oh and she gained a pound…so we’ll be cutting back on those treats that we spoil her with!