Tuesday, October 15, 2013

What to Knit Holiday 2013 3 - Adult Sweaters

This time of year as the evening temps drop and the day temps are a little schizophrenic always gets me thinking of all the wonderful sweaters I could knit if I just organized a plan.  It's definitely time to shop for yarns for holiday sweaters, and spend weekends completing assigned numbers of rows and finishing work in preparation for finishing on time.  With all the lovely yarns on display in the shops and magazines, I find I want to play with all of them at the same time, and not commit to just a couple for a sweater!  Well, one challenge at a time.

To give yourself some peace in all the decision making, try choosing sweater patterns that aren't dependent on a specific yarn to make them work.  The patterns below should help you shop with confidence. 

Original February Lady Sweater
Rosape's February Lady Sweater
This is the perennially popular February Lady Sweater.  It's the product of Flint Knits, based on a baby sweater pattern from Elizabeth Zimmerman.  This pattern is beautiful and easy, and incredibly versatile.  Any fiber in a worsted weight will work, and it has been knit successfully in cotton, polyester, tencel, silk, alpaca, wool, and many more.  The button sizes have been varied as shown, and of course, any color that you love will work beautifully.  As a worsted weight piece, it knits up quickly, too!

For the gentleman on your list, the Leo Sweater from Kristi Porter (Knitty, 2004) fits the bill for the "no frills" sweater so many of our men love.  It's beautiful and form fitting, and though it's knit in a finer gauge than the February Lady, it also offers a variety of warmth options by varying yarns.  Baby alpaca, camel, silk, cotton, mink (yes, mink) buffalo and quiviut all offer different levels of warmth with a very similar look.  How luxurious do you want your sweater to be?  How durable?  The choices are nearly endless.

The shoulders on this sweater are set-in, and the collar is rolled.  The sleeves are self-cuffed, making it a snap to make the right length.  It's an easy pattern that was definitely designed to accommodate men's shoulders and longer body length.  Adapting the pattern to a taller or shorter person would be easy, as the shaping is minimal.  Give it a go!

A jacket that will look terrific on all of the women on your list is the Tanja sweater jacket from Drops Design Studio.  The shaping is very easy due to the chevron knit into the pattern.  It largely shapes the garment for you!  Picture it in the recipient's favorite color or favorite fiber!  The shawl collar is flattering with most tops, from turtlenecks to tanks.  It goes to the office, to a cookout, or wraps around pajamas on Sunday morning.  After you make one for your loved one, make one for yourself. 

As regular readers kno I'm in love with some good colorwork, and if you are, too, this may be the project for you.  In the late 90's and early 2000's, the poncho made a big comeback.  Now the poncho had evolved a bit, into capelets.  Capelets give the wearer the warmth you want without the draping fabric that can sometimes be in the way of reaching, shopping, and driving.  With the shorter length, it also has a sportier, more professional look. And we all know, of all the colorwork techniques out there, none are more classic or faster to knit than stripes. Try this Shoulder Cozy for Mom from Red Heart North America.  The recommended fiber is acrylic, but you know by now you can switch to any fiber you like as long as you maintain gauge. 

I hope this group gives you some ideas.  Now get knitting!  Time is running out!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

What to Knit Holiday 2013 2 - Baby Sweaters

It's time to select the patterns and yarns for the holiday sweaters you'll be wearing and giving this season, so here's a little help.  These are some terrific options for the little ones on your list!

For babies and toddlers, these sweaters are stylish and quick.  Remember, you can change colors or fibers as needed to match your local climate or recipient's taste. 

Le Chat Noir
This adorable black cat sweater can be made in any color to match your cat or the baby's personality.  I love this!  Le Chat Noir is a piece by Stephanie Mason of 100 Baby Sweater Patterns.  A yarn with a little halo to it would be adorable, but be mindful of the challenges to laundering some yarns.  Babies tend to make a lot of laundry!  This is a quick knit in simple stockinette with basic shaping.  (Sew down all felt/cloth pieces to keep baby from sucking or chewing them off.)  The sleeves are shown closed, but if you are not making a newborn/infant size, you can knit them as regular sleeves.

Raglan Cotton Baby Sweater w/Stripes
From the great folks at abc knitting patterns comes this cute striped sweater, Raglan Cotton Baby Sweater with Stripes.  Any combination of colors and buttons can make this sweater personalized to whatever style you choose.  Consider adding contrasting cuffs and collar, or making the stripes out of multiple colors to put a personal spin on this terrific pattern.  The long cuffs on the sleeves allow baby lots of growing room, ensuring lots of wear!  Organic or recycled cotton would make a very soft and cozy, breathable garment. 

Our last offering in the baby department is this adorable Garter Stitch Kimono by Joji Locatelli.  It's a very easy, quick knit, with plenty of styling options.  Add contrasting sleeves, contrasting piping as shown here, or even make each panel in a completely different color!  Add stripes.  Choose some fun novelty buttons.  Run wild!  This pattern is available in Spanish, French, Italian, and English.  The link will take you to the Ravelry page for the pattern where all the versions are available.