Category Archives: sweaters

FINISHED Felix Cardigan

Felix Cardigan

After we finished the Felix Pullover I wanted to try the cardigan version of the sweater for myself, as a store sweater (as opposed to my home sweaters, or commuting sweaters – those are completely different categories of sweater). I was kind of dawdling, so it took me a while to complete, but it’s actually a very quick knit and I don’t think others would have a hard time getting through it. I also learned a few news things along the way! I love learning new things!!!

Fit & Style

So the style is a bit oversized and is supposed to fit with positive ease, and I’d describe the style as demure. I made the smallest size and it’s plenty roomy – after blocking it is 42″ in circumference in the bust (buttoned). The neckline is designed wide, and if you do a sewn/tubular bind-off it will be even wider (I’ll talk more the bind-off below) – which might be good if you have narrow shoulders like me. The fit feels cozy, comfy, and casual, and I don’t feel like you can see much body underneath, partly because of the design and the yarn I used (Cascade Eco+ Merino). There isn’t any shaping through the body, but if some A-line shaping suited you it would be very easy to include.

Things I like: 1. It makes my shoulders look bigger. 2. It looks good over a t-shirt, with skinny jeans . 3. It isn’t too warm. 4. It’s roomy for puffy days.

Things I don’t like: 1. It’s oversized so my shape gets lost (I always feel a bit lost in oversized garments).

The Yarn

After seeing clients make a few gorgeous Carbeths we made the Felix Pullover with Cascade Eco+ Merino, and since I wanted some new colours in my wardrobe this winter so I gave this pretty periwinkle blue/purple a go. Cascade Eco+ Merino is a soft, springy 100% South American merino wool, made in Bolivia. Its spongy, springy and has a ton of body and memory. I think it would hold texrure beautifully and make a dynamite cabled scarf or cowl.

The yarn was soft and easy to work with, and a nice quality at a good price. It wet blocked well, but it really looked fantastic after a good steaming. It’s a neutral feeling yarn, and I think it’s great for the price (by ‘neutral’ I mean it doesn’t feel like it was made from sacred sheep and spun in a mill run by Disney princesses, employing a unionized workforce of well paid small animals and home accents with a background in musical theatre). If you want an “OMG, did vestal virgins knit this sweater?!” experience treat yourself to some Malabrigo Mecha or Diamond Luxury Baby Alpaca Sport, you won’t regret it.

Yarn Alternatives

MALABRIGO MECHA: This hand dyed, incredibly soft singly ply merino wool would hands-down make the MOST Stunning cardigan EVER! 6(7, 7, 8, 9) skeins would make a cardigan you’ll never want to take off. I’d opt for one of the semi-solid colourways, otherwise you’ll lose the pretty lace detail in the shoulders.

DIAMOND LUXURY BABY ALPACA SPORT: For an extra soft and drapey version, try Diamond Luxury Baby Alpaca Sport: 6(7, 8, 9, 9) skeins. NOTE: alpaca is VERY stretchy and you can probably go down a size from what you would normally wear.

DROPS AIR: The pattern was originally written to be a looser knit on an aran weight yarn that blooms. If you want to try a lighter or airier version, try super soft Drops Air: 4(5, 6, 6, 7) balls. This would would make a sensational spring pullover which would look great over a tank top, or be a great sweater for warm climates and for people who run warm. This is also a super affordable option, running from $40 to $70 (depending on size).

BERROCO VINTAGE CHUNKY: For a machine washable sweater or something for someone who is extra itchy or allergic, I’d go with Berroco Vintage Chunky: 5(6, 7, 7, 8) skeins. Vintage Chunky is also a pocket-book friendly choice, running from $50 to $80 for the project (depending on size).

QUNICE & CO KESTREL: Do you winter down south or live in a warm climate? I don’t, but if I did I’d go for an aran/chunky weight, machine washable linen like Quince & Co Kestrel: 9(10, 12, 13, 14) skeins. NOTE: Linen is VERY stretchy and you can probably go down one or two sizes from what you would normally wear.

Size

Felix is supposed to fit a little bit oversized and casual. I made the first size, which is a small but fits oversized and loose.

  • S(M, L, XL, XL2)
  • Circumference at bust at underarm: 39 (43 ½, 48, 52 ½, 57)”
  • Length from right front cast on to right neck edge: 22 (24, 25, 27, 28)”

Materials

  • Cascade Eco+ Merino: 2(2, 2, 3, 3) skeins, colour 24
  • 5mm/US8-16″ and 24″ circular needles
  • 6mm/US10-16″ and 24″ circular needles
  • 5mm/US double pointed needles
  • 6mm/US10 double pointed needles
  • Stitch markers
  • Tapestry needle
  • Pattern: Felix Cardigan
  • My Ravelry Notes (for modifications for button-bands and neck ribbing)

Learnings

At the very start of this wall-o-text I mentioned that I learned things, so here are my learnings!

1. Sewn/Tubular Bind Off is STRETCHY

The pattern suggests using a tubular bind-off, but you can use any kind of bind off you like. I figured I would give the Tubular-Bind off a go to see how it worked out, what it’s benefits and deficits were. Just to make sure we are on the same page, I used THIS TUTORIAL for a Long Tail Tubular Bind-Off.

At first the sewn bind-off looked like it would pull-in a lot and I’d have problems maintaining the shape of the garment. I think if you did the bind-off too tight this could end up being a problem, but at a normal or loose tension it is definitely not a concern. I did not really understand how stretchy this bind off can be until I wet blocked the sweater, at which point it really went to town! The bind-off edge was most sensitive on the front button bands and the neck-line, the edge on the cuffs was the most resilient. To get them back into shape I gave them a good steam, but the neck-line might need reinforcing down the line.

Benefits of a Tubular Bind-Off: 1. It makes a nice edge. 2. It’s very stretchy.

Deficits of a Tubular Bind-Off: 1. It takes time and patience, since it’s basically grafting/Kitchener stitch. 2. It’s very stretchy.

Conclusions: Pick your poison. I would probably do it again for the sleeve cuffs and the bottom of the sweater, possibly for the button bands, but definitely not for the neck.

2. Steam is Good!

I bought a little hand-held garment steamer on Amazon and I really like it! The stitches all fell into place beautifully, the places where the fabric had stretched bounced back, and the fibre looks great. I am now pro-steamer garment blocking. (BTW, did you know that Amazon has a discount section called Warehouse Deals? I think it’s stuff people have returned, so mostly opened boxes and superficially blemished products.)

3. The Perfect Sweater

I’ve been mulling around ideas about my understanding of perfectionism, which seems to be something that comes into play when people are learning. I don’t know if I’ve nailed anything down yet, but I definitely see that I’ve been carrying around some perfectionist ideals, and they really hold me back and keep me from feeling satisfied. When I make a sweater for myself I usually have a subconscious fantasy desire, I want it to be perfect, which for me means it’s my favourite thing EVER. I made this sweater to explore a bit (and have a new sweater), and part of that exploration was how I feel about pursuing things that aren’t absolutely phantasmagorical. At no point was this sweater a “This is going to be my favourite sweater EVER” type of project, and that’s really forced me to put myself outside of the safe and familiar. Don’t get me wrong, its a good sweater, and a nice sweater, I’m wearing it right now and you’ll see me wearing it around the store on a regular basis, but it isn’t my fantasy sweater. But who knows, maybe I’ll come to love wearing it around the store, and it’ll be my favourite store sweater? Maybe I’ll make another? Or maybe it will help me to try something new, and then another thing that’s new, and then a whole bunch of new new things until “favourite” takes on a whole new meaning to me? Maybe this wasn’t so much a “Learning” as a “Growing”?

FINISHED Carbeth Pullover

Carbeth (Pullover)

If you’re looking for a quick sweater to whip up before the fall weather really hits, this is IT! The Carbeth Pullover uses chunky weight yarn, 6mm/US10 needles, so it goes fast! The design is simple, elegant, and makes for a very easy to wear sweater with a little bit of interest in the details. It’s easy to change the measurements (make the body longer, make the neck longer or shorter, etc). We used the same yarn, Cascade Eco+ Peruvian Tones, but in a more interesting colour, 08 Rum Raisin (in the skein it looks brownish, but knitted up it looks more like an oxblood/dark red). We tried out the black/grey colourway last December when I made a Carbeth Cardigan, but I think it’s time to get some colour back into our lives!

Yarns

We used Cascade Eco+ Peruvian Tones, which gave it a contemporary look for a great price (the project used less than two skeins, and came in under $70). I’ve also seen it made a few times with Cascade Eco+ Merino, which is a softer merino wool, has more body and definition and still comes in under $76. If you need something machine washable you can’t go wrong with Berroco Vintage Chunky.

Mods

The pattern is a cropped style and we added one inch to the length of the body. I think if I was to make one for myself I’d like the neck longer – I like it all oversized and cozy.

P.S.

Many thanks to our sample knitter Tessa, without who I could not keep up with the hard work of inspiration.

Materials

NEW Fibre Co One Sweater

Pattern

Fibre Co One Sweater is a classic. It’s a timeless, gender-inclusive (unisex) knit – it will NEVER go out of style. Take good care of this sweater and you’ll have it forever. It’s knitted in one piece from the top down with a raglan sleeve. It has a little bit of short row neck shaping to make the fit comfortable (I hate it when the back of a sweater rides up). The pattern is offered in a broad range of sizes, from age 1-2 through to a 56” chest circumference. It also includes the option of a shorter or longer length for the adult sizes, and they included the extra yardage (I love these people).

Skill Level

This is a great project for knitters who are new to sweaters, as well as those who have already been initiated.

If you are ….

  • New to sweaters: it’s a good first sweater, you’ll learn useful new skills and it’ll give you the confidence to jump into more advanced projects.
  • Have a little bit of experience with sweaters: this shouldn’t phase you, and it’ll reinforce the skills you already have.
  • Experienced at sweaters: it’s great for those who want to go on autopilot and make something simple and timeless. 

This is normally a paid pattern ($9 USD/$12.50CAD) but The Fibre Co is offering it for free through stores when you buy the yarn for the sweater (Fibre Co Cumbria). Just ask us in-store or when you check-out online. 

Yarn

Let’s talk about the YARN. Fibre Co Cumbria is a traditional style British yarn, and at first glance it doesn’t look substantially different from other classic-ish string from the UK? What makes it special? Good question … it involves a story. A little while ago I decided to start exploring a different way to buy yarn for the store. Instead of making sure a yarn ticks a bunch of boxes of client needs (which I do still take into account), I decided to base my initial decision of how the yarn feels to knit with – ie. how ENJOYABLE it is.

So I started swatching and rating my enjoyment level during the process of working with the yarns. It has been a VERY interesting process. There have been a lot of gorgeous yarns that I thought would be great while in the skein, but once I cast-on they felt Meh, or worse, Yucky. Life is both very short and very long, and if I’m laying down my money for a pricey yarn I don’t want to work with Meh or Yucky. I want something that SINGS, something that brings me JOY. Furthermore, I don’t want you to either. There’s already enough Meh and Yuck in our world, I don’t want to spread more, I want to share Joy. It’s time to bring-back joy. 

Anyway, I’m sure you’ve already read between the lines and figured out that The Fibre Co. Cumbria was one of the yarns that absolutely SANG. I think I even swatched it twice, on separate occasions several months apart, and still had the same happy reaction. It was beautiful to work with, and I enjoyed it so much that when I ordered it I bought an extra bag to make a sweater for ME (if you want my yarn I’ll share it, I know where to get more).

  • The Fibre Co. Cumbria 
  • 2 [2: 3: 3: 3: 4: 5: 5: 6: 6: 7: 7: 8] hanks.
  • For longer length – [-: -: -: -: -: 5: 5: 6: 7: 7: 8: 9] hanks.
  • Yardage given includes enough to knit an 8” x 8” tension swatch.

Other Materials

  • 3.75mm (US 5) 40 cm (16 in) circular needle
  • 4mm (US 6) 100 cm (40 in) circular needle (or size to obtain gauge)
  • stitch markers
  • scrap yarn or stitch holders
  • tapestry/darning needle

Size & Fit

  • Finished chest circumference: 22.5(25.5, 27.5, 28.75, 30.5, 32, 33.5, 38.5, 41.5, 46.5, 49.5, 52.75, 57.5)”
  • For full details See table HERE

PATTERN HERE

NEW Berroco Estiva

Berroco Estiva

Berroco Estiva is a bulky weight, 100% cotton ribbon yarn, so it’s super soft, easy to knit with, and works up FAST! Plus, it has scads of yardage, so you can make a smaller size of Deschain with two skeins, or a shawl/wrap with one. The ball-band calls for 6.5mm/US105 to 8mm/US11 needles, so there’s lots of flexibility to play around. The yarn is made in Italy (personally, I’m always pleased to see milling happening in Italy, they do it beautifully there), and it is MACHINE WASHABLE (a good thing for summer garments)!

  • 100% Cotton
  • 150g/306m (336yds)
  • Knitting Gauge: 3.5 to 4 sts = 1″ (2.5cm) on 6.5mm/US10.5 to 8mm/US11 needles. 14 to 16sts = 4″ (10cm)
  • Crochet Gauge: 3.75sc = 1″ (2.5cm) on 6.5mm/K hook. 15sc & 16 rows = 4″ (10cm) 
  • Made in Italy
  • Machine wash in cold on delicate, lay flat to dry.
  • See Berroco Estiva on Ravelry
  • Patterns Designed with Berroco Estiva
Photo: whiteon

Deschain (in Berroco Estiva)

When I ran across these projects on Ravelry I knew we had to make one! The pattern, Deschain, was designed a few years ago by Quince & Co for their organic linen yarn, Kestrel (which is also stunning and I love and we sell and makes me very happy). But the pattern looks equally awesome made with a new bulky weight cotton yarn, Berroco Estiva.

Note: you might need to work extra pattern repeats to get your sweater long enough. While you are working, hold it up to your body as you go (for a size small you might need to knit extra length to get good coverage).

Photo: Whiteon

SPECKLES Mineville Merino Nylon DK

Mineville merino nylon DK Speckle COMBO.png

Mineville Merino Nylon DK

We’ve received more stock of Mineville Merino Nylon DK in some super pretty speckled colours, perfect for a spring Fade!

Mineville Wool Project Merino Nylon DK (1124) is super soft, machine washable, easy to work with, easy to wear, and subs easily for other DK weight yarns. It comes in a generous 100g/200m skein, which is enough to make an adult hat or pair of mitts (you’ll need two for a scarf or Honey Cowl, and about 6 for a women’s size medium sweater – check your pattern for full yardage requirements). With the nylon fibre content, this yarn is also great for socks!

Mineville Wool Project is an “off-brand” brand from the sisters at Fleece Artist and Handmaiden. The prices are excellent because we purchase the yarn in one-time only lots. This means that once it’s gone, it’s GONE, so be sure to order enough for your project.

  • 80% Superwash Merino Wool, 20% Nylon
  • DK weight
  • 100g/200m
  • 4mm/US6 needles
  • 22 sts = 4″/10cm
  • Machine Washable
  • Made in Canada
  • Free Pattern Ideas

 

 

 

Comfort Fade Cardi

 

Fade Combo

KNIT HACK Sweater Lab Prep

 

 

Sweater Lab TONIGHT

Our inaugural Sweater Lab ( in collaboration with Your Fiber Intake) starts TONIGHT! Since it’s a bit of an experiment for us, we don’t know what the result will be, but I think everyone will have fun, so it should be a success. For those of you who have already made a sweater, you don’t really need any prep, but for the uninitiated, I’d like to offer a bit of guidance. For more info on Sweater Lab, follow this MAGIC LINK (or click on the picture or any of the other links).

So You’ve Never Made a Sweater Before ….

DON’T PANIC … You don’t need to be afraid. It’s just a garment, and the pattern tells you how to do it, step by step. When you don’t know what a term or abbreviation means you can look it up on the internet. If you are old skool, you can look it up in a book, like The Principles of Knitting by June Hemmons Hiatt, The Knitter’s Companion by Vicky Square, or The Ultimate Knitting Book by Vogue Knitting.

Choose a Pattern

You need a pattern. I suggest going for something basic, something vetted, and something worked in the round.

BASIC … seems obvious, and yet many people make their lives difficult by taking on something more involved. Why do they do this, they get caught up in the *idea* of the finished product; they want it to be perfect and ideal for their taste. Let go of that, it’s your first sweater, not your last. It doesn’t need to be ideal, it just needs to be a sweater. Moreover, I have found that people are less likely to complete their projects when they contain a lot of barriers. Newbies with simpler projects tend to learn faster, have more success with their project and ENJOY THE PROCESS.

VETTED … this means a pattern that is written by a professional designer and has already been made by many people. For the following example, I’ll use FLAX by Tin Can Knits.  You can find the latter on Ravelry; go to a pattern, and click on the PROJECTS tab at the top of the page. It will show you all the projects people have made with the pattern. If you go to the drop-down menu that ways FILTER THESE PROJECTS you can refine your search to ALL HELPFUL PROJECTS. The little life preserver at the top right of each project indicates the number of people who found this project helpful. Presently, it is not possible to sort the projects by ‘Most Helpful’, so you have to troll through the projects to find one that is useful.

IN THE ROUND … I primarily prefer sweaters worked in the round (top-down) for newbies because they usually have minimal finishing, especially seaming. For newbies, seaming tends to be a barrier to actually finishing a project, and a bad seaming job decreases satisfaction with the project. Now, I’m not saying *never* make a seamed sweater, quite the opposite, there’s nothing sexier than old-fashioned set-in sleeves. You do not need to be afraid of or avoid seaming, but on your first sweater making a project in one piece tends to end with more Joy and less frustration. This goes back to our first principle, go for Basic andENJOY THE PROCESS.

TENSION … choose a pattern that is worked with a yarn that is a worsted to chunky weight (between 20 to 14 stitches over 4 inches/10cm). Going thinner or thicker seems to make life difficult, and decreases the success of the project.

Suggested Patterns

The following are all basic garments, are written by professionals, have clear instructions, and are worked in the round, from the top-down.

 

Choose a Yarn

A few considerations on choosing the yarn for your first sweater …

TENSION … make sure your yarn matches the stitch tension in your pattern or is close (within one stitch over 4″/10cm).

DURABILITY … you may be ripping back your work a few times, DO choose a yarn that has some durability and won’t get mucky with a lot of handling. Single ply yarns do not tend to wear well, no matter the price-point, they end up looking mungy very quickly. Multi-ply yarns tend to fare better. Super scratchy wool yarns tend to be very durable, super soft yarns tend to start pilling WHILE you are knitting. My best advice is to find something in-between. By the way, durability is also beneficial once you’re finished and will add to the longevity of the garment.

FIBRE …DO choose a fibre you enjoy, but DO NOT choose a fibre that is hard to work with. A 100% wool like Cascade 220 Superwash or Cascade Eco are ideal; they work up easily, wear well, and are cost effective. Wool blends are also suitable, like Berroco Vintage or Berroco Vintage Chunky; both knit well, wear well, and are machine washable, and people are rarely allergic to it. If you need a cooler yarn, try a cotton/synthetic blend like Cascade Avalon.  Fibres that are unpredictable or hard to work with include alpaca (and other camelids), linen, pure cotton, mohair, viscose (and other cellulose plant-based fibres like bamboo), and 100% synthetic yarns.

COLOUR … choose whatever colour makes you happy (solid, heathered, tweed, variegated, self-striping), but don’t choose something that is very dark. Dark colours will make it hard to see what you are doing, and this could prove to be a very bad thing on a project where you don’t really know what to expect.

PRICE … this is a touchy subject, especially since I’m the one selling the yarn and you are the one who has to actually shell out your hard earned cash. You don’t need to lay out a ton of money for a good yarn, but when it comes to cheap yarns, you get what you pay for. Actually, you often get less than what you paid for. The retail garment industry has decreased our awareness of (and exposure to) good textiles, and as a consequence, many people aren’t familiar with quality textiles or their market prices. Quality textiles are more expensive than you expect, you’re might experience a little bit of sticker shock. From my perspective, I’ve found that people who use a decent yarn enjoy their project more, it is more successful, they actually finish it, they like and use the finished product, and they enjoy the process.

Suggested Yarns

 

I think that’s about all I can handle writing (and you can read) right now, but I promise to follow this post up with a very exciting discussion on SWATCHING! (No, seriously, it’s REALLY important. You need to swatch, and you need to swatch properly).

Channel Cardigan

Channel Cardigan

I love the classic styling of this cardie: the cables, the shape, it’s just so cozy and timeless. If you’re looking for a little challenge in your fall project definitely take a look at this one. It’s the kind of sweater I endlessly wear around the house with my yoga pants. If  I could find it in a store I would buy it, but since I can’t I guess I’ll just have to make one. The only question is which colour?  … a knitter’s life is an embarrassment of riches.

Size

Circumference at bust (buttoned):  35¾ (38¾, 42, 45¼, 48½, 51¾)”

Materials

 

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