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sweater dreams

There’s no denying it: we are definitely into December. For many of us knitters, this means we’re knee-deep in gift knitting for the ones we deem ‘knitworthy.’ The ambitions of the fall, our heady notions of knitting EVERYTHING! for EVERYONE! are getting a bit more real. We might even be cutting a few choice things off the list (Uncle George is getting a hat instead of socks because … ya only gotta knit one!).

Hang in there, knitters – crunch time is upon us, but relief is in sight. A few short weeks from now, the last ends will be woven in, the bows will be on the packages, the packages will be in the mail, and then…

Personal Knitting Time begins.

Some call it ‘Selfish Knitting,’ but personally I think that’s a little harsh. If you’ve spent some considerable time making thoughtful gifts for others, isn’t it appropriate to also dedicate some time to making something for you to enjoy?

If you’re like me, you’ve been queueing up sweater patterns for just such an occasion. January, with all its promises of fresh starts, really calls for a cast-on of some magnitude, don’t you agree? ‘Tis the season for a solid sweater project you can really sink your teeth into (especially if you’re doing a food ‘reset’ after all that holiday eating – a cast-on is a calorie-free treat that keeps your hands out of the cookie jar!).

So now’s the time, knitters: start planning that January Treat Sweater. Pour yourself a mug of eggnog and open a tab in your browser with your Ravelry queue, a second tab with the Blue Moon colorways, and dream big!

Here are some ideas from my queue to get the creative juices flowing:

v-neck-boxyV-Neck Boxy by Joji Locatelli

A new variation on her wildly popular Boxy designs, this eminently wearable, totally forgiving silhouette would be a dream to slip into after the holidays. Worked from the top down this time, with a V-neck opening (so flattering on many of us!), it makes a great platform for fabulous fingering-weight yarns. But knitted at a gauge of 23 sts = 4″/10cm, it’s quite open and drapey… Not all yarns can hold their shape when knitted that far open.

Enter Cloud Nine: a sport-weight wonder in superwash merino, cashmere, and nylon. That’s the trifecta for combining softness with reliability in a long-living fabric. Its gauge range is pretty phenomenal, too: knitted down for socks and the like, it can go as dense as 7 sts/1″, but it holds its own all the way up to the light-DK range… So the 23 sts = 4″/10cm gauge in V-Neck Boxy would be right up its street!

1300 –2050 yards means 4 to 5 skeins will set you up right – just as soon as you can pick a color! The Shaded Solids are all so tempting…. I have a skein in Porcini that’s just begging to be swatched for this, just as soon as I get that Christmas stocking done.


breathing-spaceBreathing Space by Veera Välimäki

Can’t decide on just one color of Cloud Nine? Or want to bring a little stripey fun into the dark months of winter? Look no farther than Joji’s comrade-in-arms, Veera, for inspiration. This stripey pullover sounds like just the thing for the post-holiday rush. One lighter shade (she’s using some speckles here – wouldn’t that be fun?) over a darker MC for high contrast… and then that striping on the bias! No winter doldrums possible with this design.

820 to 1370 yards (2 to 4 skeins) of MC plus 320 to 620 yards (1 to 2 skeins) of CC will do it; the hard part will be deciding on color combinations! Putting together colors is just a load of fun in and of itself: what about Tree Toots with Deep Unrelenting Grey:


or A Speck of Autumn with … just about anything!a_speck_of_autumn_sk


… Aaaand just when I thought my queue couldn’t possibly get any longer, Tina texted me this morning with a link to this bit of loveliness:

img_5017_small2Crossing Over by Hanna Maciejewska

That waist detail! That collar! The ribbed back! I don’t even know where to start with the loveliness. And if you’re wanting something a bit more robust for a winter instant-gratification knit, this great open-front cardi done in worsted weight should do the trick.

Look no further than Targhee Worsted for this one: at 18 sts = 4″/10cm, the gauge is spot-on, and the bouncy reliability of the Targhee would shine in this design. I love how Targhee Worsted showcases texture: the half-brioche ribbed back would snap into relief. And the lightweight warmth would be fantastic to snuggle up in on the couch with a good book, or to running errands in on a windy March day.

1000 to 1900 yards for this design means just 2 or 3 skeins of Targhee Worsted will do it (and so few pesky ends to weave in and slow you down!).

I used to have a (store-bought) cardigan in college in a shade much like Chana Masala, and I wore it all. the. time. It’s a surprising near-neutral that sets off other colors beautifully (especially blue jeans!).



It’s perfect timing to order up an SQ (‘sweater quantity’) of any of these right now: that gives the Barn Girls time to dye them, dry them, bundle and ship them to you so you can cast on the sweater of your dreams in your pyjamas on Boxing Day!