So close to finished

This close to finished

For awhile there, thought I might actually have a finished Bellows to show you this week — three weeks after casting on the first of the sleeves. I cast on the body (in one piece, with a basting stitch at each side seam) two Friday nights ago, and bound off last Sunday night, a personal-record nine days later. The body was blocked on Monday night — I machine washed it all! — but this has been one of those weeks of nonstop aggravation and disruption, and I never got a chance to knit the collar. I did pick up the stitches for it, but that’s all that’s left: knit the shawl collar and seam the sleeves. So I should be wearing it any minute now. Oh the unparalleled joy of a fast, warm, gorgeous sweater!

I have to tell you, starting this project — half-cotton worsted, held double, on US11 needles — felt truly bizarre and athletic after spending four straight months on comparatively delicate little Amanda. But that was nothing compared to the swatch I knitted Monday night while this body dried. Consulting the next sweater in my hand-drawn lineup, it was the Knightsbridge swatch for Uniform: the tenderest worsted-weight baby llama on US 6 needles. After Bellows, it felt like I was knitting lace-weight mohair on toothpicks! But wow, what a swatch.


ICYMI: the shop news for the week has been the smash-hit Fashionary sketchbook, plus the return of the bowls and the balms, two things I have a hard time keeping on the shelves! And we also just got 6 more copies of Macramé Pattern Book, if you’ve been waiting for that one.

Also, I posed this week’s Q for You on Instagram and it’s been the start of a lovely little hashtag, #vitalknits. So take a look at that if you’re there, and please add your photo! I’ve loved reading and seeing all of the responses to that Q, thank you.

Have a fantastic weekend! Tell me what you’re making—


32 thoughts on “So close to finished

  1. Hi, Karen. If you had the Spring Issue of TAC, I would buy it in a heartbeat. Any chance your wonderful shop will stock it soon?

    • Hi, Mary. We’re sold out of issue 2 at this point, which came out in late November. It’s biannual, so the third issue should be along sometime in midsummer, I’m guessing. I know there have been some staffing changes there but I sure hope they’re keeping this alive!

  2. We may be talking about the same things here but…you talk about a basting stitch and I am wondering if it is the same thing we did in England……just added an extra stitch on each edge and used that to sew up with the mattress stitch and no distortion of pattern or colour work on the main pieces. I now slip this first extra stitch purl wise at the beginning of the row and at the end of each row knit into the back of the stitch. Just wondering………….thank you. Nice post.

    • Hi, Susan — that’s a selvage stitch. This is the opposite of that, in order to knit the body in one piece instead of three, but still adding a seam to the side for structure. Click through that link to read more about it.

      • OK, I ‘get’ it ! Not sure I would do it because I have never had any trouble with what I do and you know………..OLD dogs and new tricks :) Good thought though.

  3. Bellows is lookin’ wonderful, Karen! I’m clipping away on the classic cable sweater (in pale pink) you posted this pattern awhile back and my knitting group was “all in “. also have the “linden pillow” going from the HOME collection from Quince. Super excited about receiving my order from skein queen for “bundle” for Kate Davies jazz hands – this must be some yarn – sold out in a flash, can’t wait to get my hands on it! enjoy the weekend!

  4. Such a great feeling to be nearly finished. I love the rush of excitement of a nearly completed project.
    I am hoping to cast on a blanket later today. I have a tight deadline to get it done, I have so many other projects that are on the go. I know I should work on what is already started, but I need a change.

  5. This looks lovely! I’m curious about your decision to block it before picking up stitches for the collar. I’m at the same point in my Uniform (knit in the same color of O-wool Balance!) and am wondering if blocking the body will make knitting the collar easier/neater/etc. Thanks! v

    • It can make for a tidier edge to work with, yes. But the general consensus is you also want to be working from finished dimensions when seaming or picking up stitches, so as not to distort the fabric in the process. I haven’t read ahead in Uniform — does it not specify to block before picking up for the collar?

      • I just took a closer look at the pattern (always a good idea, right?) and it does note to block to measurements at the end of the yoke section. Makes total sense! Plus it might help me visualize the collar a bit better, since I am still indecisive about which style I want to knit!

  6. Did you add basting stitches to the sleeves too? Now that I think about it, probably not because you knit them flat so they’ll already have seams when you seam the sleeves together and when you seam them to the body. Would you add them to the sleeves on Uniform since the yoke construction is similar to Amanda? I’m currently working on Uniform and I’m kicking myself for not starting the sleeves first, ha.

    • I’m really into knitting sleeves flat these days — I feel like they go faster, and no risk of ladders. So I went ahead and left them in this case, and will likely do all the same things with Uniform.

  7. Hi Karen, I just started knitting in Jan of 2014. I’ve enjoyed your blog as it has given me much guidance and encouragement in my knitting endeavors. Recently I have been knitting a cabled baby blanket to give as a gift. I had a little over a month to finish it before the arrival of the baby, but I ended up finishing it last night in just slightly over 2 weeks. This was my first adventures in cabling and working from a charted pattern. Once I got over a certain “hump” and got the pattern memorized, I was an obsessed, knitting manic! Any moment of time that I had, I knitted ~ and I loved (almost) every minute of it! The blanket is being blocked right now and I’m looking forward to getting it into the mail just in time for the new baby. I’m feeling rather adventurous now and I’m thinking that my next project will be Jared Flood’s “Skiff” hat…eeek!!!

  8. Your Bellows looks beautiful! And I’m amazed that you had the courage to machine wash it before putting it together. I’ve done that after the fact, but only when I was willing to suffer a bit of shrinkage.

    As for your Uniform, I made mine out of Fiber Company Acadia. I love a lot about their yarns, but the color (within the same dye lots) can be very inconsistent, and really hard to see until you’ve knit the whole damn sweater. I strongly advise alternating skeins throughout. That dye issue, and the terrible pilling of the Acadia, has morphed my Uniform into a frumpy cardi way too prematurely.

  9. First time commenter here, but I’ve been reading for a bit. I love the beautiful things you post! I regularly get inspired! :) So, just wanted to say thanks for bringing lovely things together under one bloggy roof. I’m making Verdure Mitts by Alana Dakos and loving every minute of them. Such great charts.

  10. I have been also thinking of knitting the Uniform but hadn’t thought of Knightsbridge as a possible yarn choice. I like it.
    Can you post your swatch or email it to me?

    I love reading your posts..and your on target with what people want and need. Thanks for all of the good stimulation !!

  11. One question for you. I have always wondered why one would choose doubling the yarn as opposed to choosing a bulky yarn, or one big enough to give you the gauge. Apart from color shifts like ombre or other effects like wool and mohair held together, why should we use two strands of the same yarn? Would be very interested by a post on this.
    And to answer your question, this week-end I am finishing a rabbit in cotton for a baby gift, continuing my Fretwork sweater, seaming a bulky cardigan and maybe a few swatches if I have time. It is going to be very cold here (as usual) so perfect knitting weather.

    • In addition to the reasons you’ve noted, there’s the possibility of creating a marl effect, or to use yarn in your stash. In the case of Brooklyn Tweed, whose pattern this is, they don’t have a bulky yarn in their lineup, so when they want to do a bulky or superbulky pattern, they do that by holding two or three or even four strands — so to get other gauges out of the same yarn. In trying to decide what yarn I wanted to use for this one, I considered several bulky yarns as well as various matched and mismatched combinations of worsteds. But decided on this O-Wool in part because holding it double eliminates the alternating skeins problem with yarn that doesn’t take the dye in uniform fashion.

      • Thanks for your reply. Finding the right yarn is indeed not always possible so I understand the logic of using a great yarn held double if no bulky option fits.
        By the way, do you know the website? A great resource for finding an adequate substitue yarn if you’re stuck. I discovered it a couple of weeks ago.
        Looking forward to seeing your finished project, looks really close. Have a great week-end.

  12. what colour in the knightsbridge are you planning on for uniform? i’d like to knit uniform, but not with raglans sleeves. might be a project for customfit. i’m finishing off a tugboat jacket for a friend’s new baby boy.

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  14. Love your blog…your work is very beautiful. I noticed your gauge on all your posted projects looks so even. I strive for that, so its nice to see it can be done. I had a question regarding the Bellows cardigan your working on. The O-Wool yarn you used for that project, was it a fingering weight held together?

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