November 2020

Stitches At HomeSlick Set-in SleevesLimited perfectionismBoredFollow ’em either wayTradewinds Knitwear Designs

Stitches at Home November

The next Stitches At Home event is coming up quick! Classes are this Friday through Sunday, November 6-8.   They’re going to be a little different from the Stitches At Home classes held in September and October. Those events were full of long, in-depth classes of three or five 2-hour Zoom sessions. This time around, the classes will be shorter and more focused, with just one or two 2-hour sessions each.

I’ll be teaching five classes: See something you’re interested in? It’s not too late to sign up!
See class descriptions

Slick Set-in Sleeves

Of all the classes I’ll be teaching this weekend, I’m perhaps most excited to offer Slick Set-in Sleeves.

It’s all about knitting sweaters with set-in sleeves seamlessly, from the top down – the only way I knit sweaters anymore. I love the fit of a set-in sleeve, and I love avoiding the bulk that results when you sew a sleeve cap into place. Really, when you bypass the bind-off at the top of a sleeve cap, and omit the seam itself, the freedom of movement that you get at the shoulder join is pretty incredible.

This is the one Stitches At Home class I’m teaching in two sessions. In the first, we’ll knit the sleeve cap for a child-size sample sweater. In the second, we’ll go over options for knitting the lower sleeves, and for modifying existing patterns to use this seamless approach.

You heard me right: if you have existing patterns in your stash that call for seaming, you don’t have to. We’ll talk about modifying patterns that call for seaming set-in sleeves, and even those that call for seaming dropped-shoulder or modified-drop sleeves.

Bottom line: it’s an awesome class for any knitter that wants to finesse the shoulders of their sweaters. I’ve had several knitters write to me over the years, saying they wanted to take this class but couldn’t travel to events. Now that the class is taking place via Zoom... how many will be in the class, I wonder?
Sign up now!

Limited perfectionism

After teaching Adventures in Brioche last month, I was inspired to finish a UFO: a brioche scarf knit in a fluffy, floofy, mohair/silk blend: Valley Yarns Southampton.

The scarf had been sitting in my UFO pile for months. When I picked it up again a couple weeks ago, I was surprised to see that it was plenty long enough. Why had I set it aside? I just needed to bind off, and presto! A new scarf.

I was pretty pleased with this little victory... until I discovered massive pattern errors, in the last several inches of the scarf. At least now I knew why it was sitting in the UFO pile.

I tried to live with the errors. Really tried. I told myself that, given the mohair fuzz, it was unlikely anyone but me would see the errors.

Yeah, right. That thinking lasted maybe an hour, before my perfectionist tendencies took over. Soon enough, I was ripping back. Have you ever tried to rip back several inches of mohair? It ain’t easy, but I’m here to say that it is possible if you go very slowly and gently... and when that doesn’t work, you’re willing to break a few fibers until you can go back to being slow and gentle.

Finally, I was able to reknit. I didn’t have enough yarn to finish a complete pattern repeat... but I’m living with that little imperfection.
See the stitch pattern


I have more UFOs than I’m willing to count, but three in particular nag at me. I suspect each is stalled in large part because I’m bored with it.

  • An asymmetrical brioche wrap. I’m loving the yarn and the pattern, but I’m bored by the huge expanse of unchanging fabric. I’d like to shake up the patterning somehow, but inspiration hasn’t struck yet.
  • A brioche triangle shawl. I’m loving the colors, but bored by the plain patterning. And it’s possible I’m not thrilled with the triangle shape. Start over and do something else with the yarn, maybe?
  • A sweater for DH. I’m just plain bored bored bored of plain stockinette. Gack, so much stockinette.
What do you do, when you’re bored with a project? Do you find a way to power through? Do you rip and re-use the yarn? Do you give the project away, just to get the bad juju out of the house?
Share your secrets

Follow ’em either way

While I’ve been waiting for the inspiration to tackle a UFO (or, truth be told, start something new – hey, could that be why I have so many UFOs?), I’ve been on a swatching kick. Case in point: Small Waves.

Normally, I’m not that into patterns with adjacent yarn overs on every row. It’s not that they’re hard to do; I just don’t care for the way they look, usually. But I was intrigued by the undulating motion visible in the stitch map...

...and I wanted to see how it translated into fabric.

Note that the original stitch map was geared for in-the-round knitting – you can tell because all the row numbers are at the right edge – but I chose to knit it flat. You can do that: like grid-based charts, most stitch maps can be used either way because they’re a picture of the right side of the fabric. You just need to read each row in the direction appropriate for the kind of knitting you’re doing. (Want to know more? Check out this article, or this one.)

So, in swatching Small Waves, I learned a few things:
  • I kind of like the pattern, even if I don’t know where I’d use it.
  • The pattern would probably be more attractive knit up in a stripey yarn. Then, you’d more clearly see how the rows bend. Hmm, maybe I should swatch again...
  • The original stitch map contains a tiny error – round 17 is an unnecessary duplicate of round 1 – so I mapped the pattern again. Just for yuks, I mapped it for flat knitting, though of course now you know it could be used for knitting in the round too.
See the revised stitch map

Tradewinds Knitwear Designs

In other news, Lucy Neatby has announced that she’ll be shutting down her Tradewinds Knitwear Designs website by the end of the year.

Who could blame her? After 25 years, and some massive behind-the-scenes headaches, sure, closing it down make sense.
To those of you who have patterns and videos stored in your Notebook on the site: no doubt you’ve heard that now’s the time to download those resources for safekeeping.
To those of you who’ve not visited the site: now is the time to do so! Lucy’s having a massive “fire sale” on her DVDs, downloadable videos, and pattern-and-tutorial bundles. They’re seriously the best in the business! Get ’em while you can.
Shop now!
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