The anatomy of a sweater
Hey, hi, hello!
A while back, I thrifted some really lovely and colourful mini wool skeins and decided to make a scrappy sweater with them. I didn't have a particular pattern in mind, but knew what shape/style I wanted the end project to be.
With that in mind, I decided to take a sweater that I LOVE and use that as the guideline for building my own sweater!
I can remember the first sweater I ever made. It was the So Faded Raglan from Andrea Mowry. It was intimidating at first, but since has still remained one of my all time favourite knits. The ease of a top-down raglan, trying on as you go, while experimenting with different colours was super fun and I wanted to try something similar again but with different weight yarn.
For this particular sweater I am using Danielle White's Magic Custom-Fit Raglan template. Danielle provides all of the information you will need to design your own custom fit sweater. Here, I'll be showing you my process and template in case you want to follow along!
What you will need to create your very own custom fit raglan:
The first thing I did was take my own body measurements, following that, I took the measurements of the sweater I love while it was laying flat on the floor. (Measuring both will allow you to know how much ease you prefer in the final garment!) I made my own schematic in my notebook and kept all of my sweater measurements there. After I took my measurements, I made a gauge swatch using Danielle's instructions in the pattern template (26 stitches and 4" of rows).
A few things to note from these measurements:
One of the most important parts of creating your own custom sweater is a gauge swatch. This is imperative so that you can fill out the diagram in the sweater pattern template. Here is what mine looks like:
This is what the sweater looks like at this time! I have been picking away at it periodically over the past few weeks, and can't wait to finish it just in time for cozy sweater season!
If you decide to make your own custom fit raglan, I would love to know! Please share your progress in the comments, or tag me on instagram @louis_and_jane!
Hello sweet friends, and welcome to my new website + blog! I'm so excited that you are here to share this space with me. I hope that you enjoy looking around and seeing the fresh new layout I've got, and I honestly hope that it provides a better experience for you as a reader and shopper.
I haven't done an official blog post for my Make 9 progress, but I also deviated far from my original plan with the Covid19 pandemic, having more time for creativity, and my general inability to stick to a plan (haha!).
Feel free to grab a cupa tea, or a glass of wine and hang out with me a bit while we reminisce about what projects I've worked on over the last several months!
Say hello to my sweater of many colours! The first of my "quarantine" makes was the Contrails Cardigan by Sarah Chapman. This cardi was such a quick knit, it was instantly gratifying, and would be an excellent "first sweater" project for a novice knitter. The instructions were simple to follow, easily customizable, and the end result is beautiful! I used Lavender Lune's aran weight wool in the colour way Strange Love for the body of the cardigan, and MacAusland's wool in a pretty bubblegum pink for the hem + sleeve cuffs. I also added a single crochet border at the centre hem to tie it all in. I love this sweater, and have worn it many times. I plan to make another and modify it so that it's a bit more fitted!
Throw Over Sweater
One of my friends challenged me to knit a sweater within the timeline of a season of FRIENDS. Although this didn't happen, it was a lot of fun to make and have the goal in place. I began season 8, because that's where I happened to be in the show at the time I began the project. Throughout the season, I wrote down funny quotes from each episode and tagged them to the sweater to show my progress. It was a fun and unique way to keep progress.
I dove deep into my stash for this sweater! Many of these skeins were saved for a "very special someday" project, only to be looked at on my shelf, and never to be actually knit because they were all just way too pretty. Does anyone else have this issue? I was tidying things up one day and these colours all just jumped out at me and I knew that they needed to become a Throwover Sweater. This pattern by Andrea Mowry was released about a week prior to my cleaning spree, and there is no time like the present to just tackle a new colourwork project! All of these wools are from Island & Canadian companies, which is really cool.
The wool used for this project are as follows:
As I was knitting this up, I realized quickly that I would run out of the main colour, amber. I ordered some more from the ladies at F&H and have received it, but haven't finished the sweater yet - but I CAN'T WAIT to be able to wear this piece. I feel like it will become one of my heirloom garments that gets passed down to future generations. A very special sweater, indeed!
Over Easy Sweater
The Over Easy Sweater is my go-to lounge around the house and be incredibly cozy sweater. It took me approximately 12 hours to complete from start to finish. I used two strands of Caron Latte Cakes held together which I purchased from Michaels pre-quarantine. It uses large 15mm needles and has a boxy construction. I like it because it is perfect for any body shape and size!
I did modify this pattern sligtly. I added 1" length to the body, and I knit the sleeves using 12mm needles instead of 15mm. I also added a row of half double crochets around the hem and the sleeves to finish the edges and create a nice drape.
Earl Grey Wrap
The Earl Grey Wrap is a free pattern from Two Of Wands. I used yarn remains that I had from other commissions. The colours ended up working so well together. This wrap is like wearing a hug. It is so cozy and I found to to be perfect for the in-between season when it's not hot enough for no jacket but it's still too cold for no scarf.
Cozy Classic Raglan
I've wanted to make the Cozy Classic Raglan ever since Jessie Maed released it. It is very customizable. I wanted a tighter fit with less ease, so I am making a size smaller than my measurements. This sweater is still very much in its beginner stages, but I really love the way it is coming together so far.
I am using two strands of yarn held together - Knitpicks Hawthorne in the colour Burlingame + Knitpicks Aloft mohair yarn in the colour Pennyroyal. I think these colours look so pretty together and the mohair gives an incredible halo and texture to the sweater. Stay tuned for the finished project! I'm hoping to have it completed by the fall so I can wear it during sweater season!
Sea Breeze Tank
I whipped this tank up in one day, and I absolutely love it. For The Frills has many wonderful patterns listed on her website, and you can purchase ad free versions of them from her Etsy here as well!
This garment is crochet using a 5mm hook and DK weight yarn. I used 2 strands of fingering weight held together and it worked perfectly. The yarn that I used is Loops & Threads Woollike from Michaels. It's super affordable - I think the top cost me $8 total to make! This top pairs well with with a nice high-waisted short or skirt and is also really great to wear to the beach. Very versatile, very simple construction, and it's a great beginner crochet top if you're ever looking for one!
Pride Yoke Sweater
Oh last but not least - my Pride Yoke sweater baby!!
This is another new pattern released by Janine of Knits n Knots and I knew I needed to cast on immediately. This took me no time to complete, and was even better because I left it as a t-shirt so I could wear it all summer long (plus - I hate knitting sleeves and I always take forever to finish them).
This is by far my favourite knit of the season. It came together so randomly and perfectly. The yarn already existed in my stash, but I had purchased it all during the quarantine months to use for other projects. The Hello Stella Mini Skein Bundles are planned for a shawl - but I used so little from each skein to make the stripes, I couldn't pass it up! The natural sock yarn is from Belfast Mini Mills, and I bought it initially to do some natural avocado dyeing with it. I used 1 and a bit skeins of my collection, so there was still lots left over to dye with (more on that later!).
Whoo! If you made it this far - thanks for sticking around! The last few months have been rough for many reasons, but there is one thing that I have always found solace in, and that is knitting & crochet. All of these pieces have such special places in my heart and I can't wait to show you more in the coming months.
My Soldotna Crop
I promised you that this week I would post about my Soldotna Crop top. I wanted to do it Sunday, but then I got super sick and down in the dumps and I rested and focussed on getting myself better (and I’m on the mend!!). My trusty computer of almost 6 years also quit on me, so, you know, life happens and we have to just move with the ebbs and flows of things.
Without further adieu, here is my baby, my little labour of love, my very first Make 9 project of the year.
Here was my timeline:
I feel so smitten with this sweater. From my first plans for it to the finished product has been VERY different. It has been a true testament to allowing myself to deviate from the pattern a little bit, and to get really creative!
So here’s what ended up happening:
I feel so dang proud of this project. This was my very first colour work piece and the first of my nine challenges I wanted to overcome this year with my Make 9.
Thanks so much for following along on this maker challenge. As always, if you want to share your own projects for this year, tag me on Instagram @louis_and_jane and use #ljmakenine!
My Soldotna Sweater progress had been put on hold...
...and over the last week and a bit, I've been making tiny woollen nests and joey pouches for Australian Wildfire Relief with the Animal Rescue Craft Guild. My heart has been shaken with the devastation that is happening to our neighbours, and this is one small way I knew I could contribute to making things a little bit better amidst a tragic situation. With the help of some really amazing people (Paige and Sarah, I'm looking at you gals!!) we were able to send a parcel from PEI to Australia on Wednesday.
Once I was able to shift my focus back to making things for me (so selfish, I know), I swatched for my Soldotna Crop and lo and behold, I got my gauge right on the first try! Now normally I don't gauge swatch (because I like to live dangerously, and also I'm impatient when it comes to things that seem trivial but necessary), but holy cow does it ever provide peace of mind when working up your project knowing it will fit the way it is supposed to. Who would have thought!!!
I initially had picked out my four colours for this sweater, but as I was working up the first few sections of colour work, I knew that I was going to quickly run out of yarn from my two mini skeins. The section of the sweater with vertical striping was going to use it all up, so in the spirit of keeping things symmetrical and an excuse to purchase even more yarn, I headed to my local yarn shop and came away with a perfect solution!
This new wool is from Mineville Wool Project in Nova Scotia. It is also a fingering weight which I will hold double like the others. There are subtle pinks, yellows and greys in this one which I think will work really nicely with the other colours I had chosen. I initially went stash diving for this one, and had tried out a bright yellow, but it was too much contrast for me. I wanted these colours to remain soft and neutral and melt together. The yellow was too much of a punch and stood out in a way I didn't like. I'm using the new addition for the vertical stripey bits with the charcoal, and I will keep the mini skeins I started with for the other smaller colour work patches.
I'm so pleased with how this is turning out so far - and it is working up FAST. The chart is actually so easy to read, and follow along with. It is definitely a knitting win when you don't feel frustrated trying to read and understand a pattern!
It's going to be soooo pretty!!
The Soldotna Crop
Everyone say hello to my newest work in progress and the first project of my Make 9 2020, The Soldotna Crop Top! This beautiful colour work short sleeve tee is designed by Caitlin Hunter of Boyland Knit Works and has been an item I have wanted to make for a long while now.
I received The Boreal Box by Kelly Brooks which has carefully selected handmade maker and artisanal items from Hamilton, Ontario for Christmas from my parents. It was such a sweet gift, and as soon as I saw the yarn, I knew that they were destined to become a Soldotna (I mean, look at those golden mustard yellow flecks, people!).
One of the critera on my Make 9 was to make something with colour work - so this sweater will be the perfect challenge for me! I will be using both of the skeins pictured above along with two more for this sweater.
I decided to pair the Loghouse Cottage Yarns dark gray semi solid, and two minis from one of their fade kits I got last year into this mix as I had in my stash already. I think that the colours will melt and contrast with each other so nicely. I'm really excited to see how these look together!
Stay tuned over the next few weeks for progress shots and updates on how this sweater is working up!
My Make 9 2020
Hey! Hi! Hello!
I have had so many of these posts started, sketched, dreamed and haven't actually hit that "publish" button on any of them. Until now.
I'm not much into New Year’s Resolutions (mostly because I never follow through on them), but going into this new year I wanted to give myself a fun and creative challenge - and actually stick to it! I've never done a Make 9 before, but have seen other makers do it and so this year I'm giving it a go!
For those of you who don't know what Make 9 is, it's a personal challenge where you choose 9 things you'd like to create or make within one year. I went through the #MAKENINE on Instagram, and came across so many gorgeous collections that people were making. There were a few that truly inspired me and with their permission, I've added them here to help spur on this creative journey!
Allee Dew is so cute, guys! I love her style and I can't wait to see all of these pieces come to life this year. I also love that she sketched out each piece with the fabric and colors she wants to use for each project. Truly inspiring for the sewing projects I would like to tackle this year. Feel free to follow along with her progress @alleedew_sews on Instagram!
The colour work and the intricate details of each of these knit pieces is what had me drooling over this Make 9 collection from Whistle & Thread. I have seen so many people make the Soldotna Crop (the sweater right in the middle of this grid) by Boyland Knit Works and I was intimidated by it because of the colour work and detailing, but after seeing this one, I am surrendering to the challenge and will be making my very own this year. I promise! You can follow her on Instagram at @whistleandthread.
There are a few things that have spurred this idea along...
Firstly, I have been going non-stop with Louis&Jane for the last three and a half years. It's been so great, and I love producing knitwear and accessories to sell. This year I want to slow things down a bit and enjoy the process of knitting, crocheting, and making even more - and with intention.
Secondly, I have SO MUCH amazing yarn in my stash. Some, I've been hoarding for years waiting for that perfect project. Most of it you wouldn't even see in my Instagram feed or stories because it's been hidden away in baskets from the cats. This year, I will actually use some of it.
Thirdly, I want to start this and invite you along with me. There is no catch. There is no competition. This is purely fun and self-motivated! Whether you're a seasoned maker, or not, you can do this! The Make 9 challenge has typically been completed by knitters, crocheters and sewers, but I want to invite anyone who wants to join in! Do you have a creative hobby? Do you paint, illustrate, sew, write, garden, etc? If so, then you can do this! If you do not consider yourself a maker, but want to, then this would be the perfect way to get your feet wet and try something new!
There are no rules for the Make 9. To spice things up a bit, I have come up with some creative challenges I want to meet, so decided to give myself some loose guidelines for each project:
1. Something I've never tried before
2. Something in a new colour, or a colour I wouldn't naturally gravitate towards
3. Something for FUN
4. A Stash Buster - Something made entirely from yarn/things I already own
5. Something for someone else
6. Something I've started and haven't finished yet (I have a few forever projects to choose from here!)
7. A sweater
8. Something with colour work
9. Something that is made using recycled/upcycled materials
Like I mentioned earlier, these are loose guidelines I want to follow - that doesn't mean they won't change, and by all means, I won't be completing these in order.
Here's my carefully selected Make 9! I'll be explaining each project in future posts, but I wanted to give you a visual as to what I want to work on throughout this next year.
I am so excited to begin this, and would LOVE it if you followed along with me. Please join in on the creative fun! Use #LJMAKENINE and #MAKEINE2020 on Instagram so we can see what each other is up to throughout the year!