Sunday, December 31, 2006

Post-Christmas FO

The day after Christmas, I immediately, and quite selfishly, cast on for a bunch of projects for yours truly. All those months of altruism really wore me out! This is the first completed object among those ME projects, and I'm very pleased with the results:

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Pattern: Short Row Ribbed Scarf from Magknits
Yarn: Twilley's of Stamford Freedom Spirit, #502, 3 balls
Needles: Size 10 Addi turbos, 24" cord
Date started: 12/28/06
Date completed: 12/31/06
Overall thoughts: I LOVE this pattern! It was really fun to work on...I think this is the fastest scarf I ever finished because I usually quit halfway through out of sheer boredom. I highly recommend this pattern, even for scarf haters.

By the way, I didn't redact my face because I don't trust y'all. It's just that the photo was SOOOOO unflattering that I just couldn't bear to put it out for public consumption.

Thursday, December 28, 2006


I am at my parents house, visiting for a week, for Christmas. My trip is only now becoming relaxing. When I first got home I had to do some laundry (yes I still bring laundry home, I know it is pathetic...)

Then I had serious Christmas knitting left to do. I had to finish seeming my cousin's sweater, I had to start and finish a pair of cowgirl slipper socks for my grandmother, I wanted to try finishing seeming up the sweater I made for my other grandmother, LAST year, oh, and some how I had to try to sneak around and finish my mother's socks. Some of that got done, but not all.

The successes:

My cousin's sweater was the first project finished. You may, or you may not, be able to click on the photo to see it better. Yarn, Plymouth Encore, 2 skeins. Size 6 Addi Natural circular needles, Pattern--Debbie Bliss, thought I don't remember the name, something like Cable and Seed Stitch jacket. Buttons: Frog, duck, bear head, fish, elephant, hippo, and turtle. Reaction? His mothers loved it! They claim that everyone in Brooklyn will ask where they got it.

Next up, grandmom's Cowgirl Slipper Socks, no problem, the last pair I knit, I was able to get a full sock done in one day, and I had two days before Christmas! Well, this pair, I modified, my grandmother has swollen ankles, so I wanted to make them wider, this meant that the socks took a bit longer. I finished these socks on Christmas morning. Pattern, current IK, Cowgirl Slipper Socks, Yarn: 1 skein Lorna's Laces Shepherds Worsted, Size 5 Addi Turbo, Modifications: change the heel to what I think of as a more traditional heel, add 11 stitches per sock, and do three pattern row repeats rather than 4 (I was afraid I wouldn't have enough yarn).

The Failures:

Did you know that invisible seaming is only invisible if you use the same yarn knit with? I accidentally brought the wrong yarn and wasn't able to seam up my grandmother's sweater. I gave her the unfinished sweater and am taking it home to finish it, hopefully, some time soon. Sorry no photo of this.

My Mom's sock also was given an unfinished present. The set back of loosing my heel instructions caused me to loose about a week of knitting time (not that there was much knitting time to be found in the week before Christmas). I never did find my heel instructions, but fortunately, I realized that the heel I was using was a Welsh Heel, and I was able to find instructions for that on-line. Unfortunately, my parents were supposed to go out on Friday night, but instead choose to stay home, so I wasn't able to knit on that Friday night. I did manage to finish the sock yesterday, but it isn't an exact duplicate of the first sock. I have to write these things down...

Happy New Year everyone!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Done in the St. Nick of Time

I've never had to finish Christmas knitting on Christmas Eve before. I'm usually done ahead of time because I'm not particularly ambitious with my gifts (especially for non-knitters). I'm never sure if they'll appreciate the gifts as much as they should, so I do simple things. That way, I'm not offended if I never see the person wearing what I made.

This year, my knitting injury sidelined me for six days, so I got way behind. All of my Christmas knitting is now done, at 1 p.m. on Christmas Eve. Well, almost. I knitted a pair of slipper socks for my sister-in-law, and one is 3/4 inch longer than the other one, so I have to rip it out and redo the toe. It turns out that I'm exchanging gifts with her tomorrow, so I have a little more time. I hate tearing stuff out.

By the way, my knitting injury has completely disappeared. One night, it hurt, and I knit anyway. In fact, I knit several hours that day. The next day, it had totally stopped hurting. It's like a Christmas miracle.

Anyway, here is my completed School Spirit Sweater for Savannah:

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Here's another view so you can see the sleeves a little better:

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Pattern: School Spirit Sweater, designed by Wendy Bernard of knit and tonic
Size: 4 years
Yarn: Karabella Aurora 8, #50 and #1530
Date started: November 19, 2006
Date completed: December 24, 2006
Needles: Size 7 Addi naturals (24") and size 6 Addi Turbos (24")
Overall thoughts: I really liked this pattern. I didn't make any modifications to it. I'm concerned about the neck fitting over Savannah's head, but I followed the directions, so I'm going to choose to be optimistic.

I also finally finished Joe's sweater. The zipper is sewn in and the facings are tacked down. Overall, I'm pleased with it, although the zipper may need some reinforcing in places and I didn't do a great job of tacking down the bottom hem facing. Also, I used the wrong color thread for the zipper and it shows at the top when the zipper is slightly unzipped. I may end up coloring over it with marker so it's not as obvious.

Anyway, here it is:

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Pattern: Avast from knitty
Yarn: Nature Spun Worsted in Ash and Plumberry
Date started: 10/1/06
Date completed: 12/24/06
Needles: Size 7 Addi turbos (32" and 24") and size 5 Addi turbos (32")
Overall thoughts: I didn't make any modifications to this pattern, and since I got both row and stitch gauge, I didn't have to rethink any proportions, which was nice. It was a lot of work knitting the facings and tacking them down, and, as always, sewing in the zipper was an enormous pain. But I really like the pattern and I recommend it.

I also finished my dad's hat:

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Pattern: Seaman's Cap from Needle Beetle
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted in Chocolate, 1 hank
Date started: not sure, about 2 weeks ago
Date completed: 12/24/06
Needles: Size 6 and 7 Addi turbos (16")
Overall thoughts: This is a great pattern that yields a nice result. I will definitely be knitting it again.

Finally, I got a surprise in the mail today from the incredibly hard working postman, who's working on Christmas Eve, on a Sunday, no less. It's Classic Elite Skye Tweed in Tapestry and Rosey Glow.

I have enough of the Tapestry to make a sweater and enough of the Rosey Glow to finally make myself a pink beret! I got this yarn from Elann.

Merry Christmas and/or Happy Holidays from the Purly Gate!!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Moving Right Along...Despite the Pain

I have taken approximately six days off from knitting in attempt to heal my tendonitis. When I returned to knitting yesterday, the pain was roughly the same, and since they're not going to delay Christmas, I have to get my Christmas knitting done, despite the pain. I'm taking frequent breaks, not knitting much each day and icing after each block of knitting I do. The pain isn't getting worse, so that's something. It also happens to be all I can say. So, here's what I've done on Savannah's sweater - one sleeve since yesterday. This caused quite a bit of pain because of the magic loop, but all of my remaining gifts involve magic loop, so there'll be no rest until I'm done.

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

One of the best things about children's knits is that you can have fun with them. You can use a yarn color that you could never be caught dead wearing and you can choose fun buttons to close up cardigans. After finishing the left front, the back, and the sleeves for the cardigan that I am making for my cousin it was time to pick out buttons. I wanted the buttons to be fun and different. I could have gone with simple round buttons, but why?

So, I made a trip to Windsor Buttons intent on finding something that would be different. There were so many buttons to choose from that I couldn't quite make up my mind. I decided that since this is a baby's sweater I could make it very unusual, so I am using a bunch of different buttons. I would say that I am using a Noah's Ark of buttons, but since I have only one of each animal, that isn't exactly accurate. As you can see, I have a duck, an elephant, a fish, a frog, a hippo and a turtle. Turns out that I need one more button, so I have to return to Windsor Button and see if I can find one more blue animal to make the sweater complete.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Accepting Your Prayers

The Christmas knitting continues. I managed to get a knitting injury just as I'm heading down the home stretch. I've been working on a hat for my dad on 16" needles for the past 24 hours or so, and especially since I knit a hat over the weekend, I'm having a mild aching in the forearm of my left arm. I guess the best thing to do is take break from the hat and work on regular needles for a while.

Here are my Christmas projects thus far:

This is the sweater I'm knitting for my neice

- The School Spirit Sweater. I'm making it out of Karabella 8. I got it this far about three weeks ago and it has sat until now. I need to get back on this and get it finished, which shouldn't take too long.

Next up are the Cowgirl Slipper socks from the current issue of IK that I'm making for my sister-in-law. I have one completed (it only took 24 hours - nice quick knit). I'm making them out of Plymouth Encore so they're machine washable.

Finally, here's the culprit - my dad's hat. I love the way it's turning out, though. It's really soft and the suble gradations of color are really nice. I think he migh actually wear it.

I've had a pretty tough week so far. My mom has been moderately ill for about 9 months and acutely ill for about 2 weeks. She had blood drawn and the results were troubling - 50% chance of leukemia. Needless to say, we were all pretty upset around here. Especially with it being Christmas and all.

Bad news travels fast in my big Irish family and it made its way all the way from California to Rhode Island, to Massachusetts and back to Los Angeles, where it turns out my cousin in married to a blood specialist. He examined her results and made a much more sensible diagnosis. He said it's definitely not leukemia. It's related to the fact that she smoked for 30 years (even though she quit over 20 years ago) and it's asthmatic bronchitis. It explains all of her symptoms, including the fact that she's been sick for almost a year - it's been festering since a cold she had last winter! It has been suppressing her immune system all this time. We're still not out of the woods, but it definitely makes more sense than cancer. Anyway, if it's your thing, please pray that my mom will be OK.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Running Late

Do you ever have those mornings where you sleep in a bit, calmly eat breakfast, choose not to wear make up, or dress up much. You know those mornings that you think are going to be calm, quiet work days? The ones that allow you time to stop in a coffee shop to pick up you fuel for the day? That was my morning today. All was peaceful and right in the world...

Or at least it was, until about the time I passed Fanieul Hall and realized (mid sip of coffee) that I had to be at a meeting at 8:30, which meant that needed to take the 7:40 bus. I started rushing to my bus stop, pulling out my cell phone so I could see what time it was, all the while trying desperately not to spill my coffee (I needed every bit of the caffeine!!!). I managed to successfully pull out my cell phone only to discover that it was 7:47. I resigned myself to showing up late, which I must admit to being sort of relieved since this meant that I no longer had to run to catch the bus. I ended up being about 20 minutes late for my meeting, at which I had to present my subcommittee's report.

Enough complaining, on to knitting: I have finished the heel flap for mom and now have to find the instructions for how to turn the heel. Wish me luck trying to find it. On Saturday I plan to buy buttons for my cousin's sweater and to start the other half of that front.

In the nature of "it's a small world" I was chatting with a couple of guys while waiting for and riding on the bus home yesterday (the wait is story in and of itself and involves spit) it turns out they know a sometimes North End knitter, who is the stage manager for a production they are putting on. Amazing the links that knitting gives us.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Vest Complete and Zipper Drama

I finally put the finishing touches on my vest. After the steeking was done, I still had to put on the neckband and the armbands. I finally finished that this morning, and now it's ready for a Eucalan and vinegar bath. This time, I'm done really early - I didn't have to be done until Dec. 21. I wasn't sure how long this thing will take to dry, since it's double fabric, so I figure, better to be done early than bring a sopping wet mess to our next meeting.

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Overall, I'm quite happy with it. Like others, I have a tad extra fabric in the top section, and I'm not sure why. It doesn't cause much problem, though, and I consider the finished product a success. At our next meeting, our teacher is going to show us how to tack down our facings and weave in the ends so they don't show. Then, this puppy is pret a porter!

Now, onto the zipper drama. Don't you just hate zipper drama? The zipper for Joe's sweater came in the mail the other day, so immediately pinned it in and it was too short! Not by much - I figured it could be eased in since it was only about an inch too short. So, sick as a dog, with a runny nose, aching sinuses and leaking eyes, I drove to La Jolla to drop it off at Margaret's cleaners for installation. Of course, the lady who could help me wasn't there, so I had to sit next door and eat a really good brownie (woe is me) and wait for her to get back. When she did, she very nicely informed me that they weren't able to install my zipper (despite being recommended by Knitting in La Jolla for that very thing). She called the Del Mar store to see if maybe they could, and the lady there asked for the sweater to be sent up to her so she could take a look. I gotta tell you - if they aren't 100% certain, I don't think I want them touching the sweater. I'd rather do it myself. Since that's probably what I'm going to have to do, and since hand sewing it in myself won't take more than a day, I decided I had time to order the zipper of the correct length, which I did yesterday. So, hopefully, it should all work out OK. I'm still waiting to get my sweater back from Del Mar, though. It's kind of a hike up there, and I haven't felt up to the trip.

So, there you have it. I just swatched for my dad's hat using Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted in Chocolate. Yummy! It has these suble gradations of color that are gorgeous without being too feminine. Of course, the needles I have don't work, so I'll have to buy some. That's the kind of week I've had though. I'm finally feeling somewhat better today, so hopefully, it will be a healthful weekend.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Friday was freezing and I didn't have a matching pair of mittens or gloves anywhere (in my apartment). So I knit like a demon (for me anyway) and even lost sleep just so that I could have a pair of warm mittens to wear. I finished the second mitten at 11:30 p.m. On Sunday I pulled my new, warm mittens out, put them on my hands and proudly left my apartment. As soon as I stepped outside I realized that the weather was too warm to actually wear the newly created mittens. I had finished the pair just in time for the weather to go "warm" for a couple of day, just my luck. (BTW, this picture is a duplicate)

I did do some of the holiday knitting that I mentioned in my Saturday post. Before picking up my second mitten again I cast on and knit the second Cowgirl Sock (from the current IK. It was a very quick knit and I managed to finish the sock by about 3 or 4ish. You really have to love socks knit with ArtYarns Supermerino, they can be knit using size 5 needles, and this pair are only anklets, which makes them zoom along that much quicker. For anyone interested in making the Cowgirl Sock, you should know that the heel is a bit odd. I did not follow the pattern at all when turning the heel. The instructions creates a very narrow heel in my opinion.

On Sunday I woke up exhausted from two nights of late night knitting (late for pathetic me anyway), shut off the kitty alarm (I fed her) and went back to sleep. I slept until 10 am, a rarity for me (mostly due to the kitty alarm). When I finally dragged my lazy self out of bed I cast on for the second of my mom's socks (which I shall refer to as my parrot socks). I happily knit along until it was time for me to go to an afternoon Christmas party, which basically meant that other than my T ride to the 'burbs I was done knitting for the day. I had only finished the ribbing on the sock before leaving to catch the T and I grabbed what I thought was my stitch chart from the first sock. It took about a half of a row for me to realize the the chart I had most definitely wouldn't form the same stitch pattern as the first sock. This meant that I had to pull out the first sock (fortunately I had it with me) and examine it closely to try to figure out what I had done. At first this was easy, but then I had to tink to get the pattern to be the same as the first. I also realized that I neither remember the type of heel I used, nor could I find my instructions for the different heels. I am not worried about this yet, because as you might be able to tell, I am not really near the heel yet. I am on a roll though, and the sock is traveling with me.

I did not knit a stitch on the baby sweater, but I have the back done, the left front done, and 2 sleeves done, so I still believe that I am in good shape with this. The only gift knitting not at least started is a hat, but that won't take long...(famous last words?)

Monday, December 11, 2006

2 New Christmas FO's

This weekend was spent mostly knitting for others, but it was worth it because I finished two Christmas gifts. These were the most time critical because they have to be mailed to Chicago. Here's a hat for my father-in-law, with Monkey as a model:

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Here are the stats:

Pattern: my own (colors picked out by myself, Cora and various customers at Lori's Frames, Fibers and Frills)
Yarn: Mission Falls 1824 superwash wool
Date started: 12/8/06
Date completed: 12/10/06
Needles: Size 6 16" addi turbos

I spent about an hour picking out the colors for this hat, but I'm really happy with my final choices. It was fun laying everything out on the table and playing with color combos. I spent the entire afternoon on Friday up at Lori's hanging out with Cora while she worked, and it was a nice relaxing way to spend the day after I turned in the "final from hell".

It also turns out that I was coming down with a cold that day (not surprising considering all of the stress I had been under). So, I had to bail on Rebecca's on Saturday because by then I had body aches and I was really beat. I'm mostly just stuffy and coughing now and I'm still a little tired. No rest, though, because I'm still working on final exams.

Anyway, here's the second FO from the weekend:

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It's a scarf for my mother-in-law. Here are the stats:

Pattern: Child's Rainbow Scarf from Last Minute Knitted Gifts, modified for an adult size
Yarn: Diakeito Diaparterre, 50% alpaca/50% acrylic and Paca de Seda, an 80% alpaca/20% silk yarn from The Alpaca Yarn Company
Needles: Size 9 24" Susan Bates circulars

I started this scarf a while ago and then put it down for a long time, so I don't know exactly when I started it. I absolutely love it! I want to keep it because it's so pretty and really super soft. I hope mom-in-law likes it.

I'm going to go blow my nose now. Hope your Christmas knitting is coming along.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Ta Da!

I finished the first of the Anemoi Mittens by Eunny Jang last night (sorry there is no link, my DSL is down right now and I don't want to open too many internet windows). My single life is so thrilling that Friday night meant hours of dedicated knitting time which allowed me to not only finish this first mitten, but also to start the second one!

Instead of making the second mitten the same as the first I decided to make the left mitten into sort of a "negative" of the right mitten. My dark and light colors are reversed for the left.

Wait, did someone just ask about holiday knitting?! Aren't I supposed to be working on gifts for others instead of mittens for myself? Leaving aside the fact that it got fricken freezing here in Boston yesterday, and that I don't have a pair of matching mittens around (I had a bunch of pairs at the end of last winter, but I guess a couple of mittens went away, by themselves, on vacation and decided not to come back), I have finished the scarf for my friend, one out of two socks for my mother, 1 1/3 socks for my friend, and 3/4th or more of a baby sweater for my cousin, so I am still feeling like my holiday knitting will be done on time. Photos of holiday knitting to come latter! As I post I am working on the remaining 2/3 sock for my friend so I am balancing my knitting for others with knitting for myself.

Friday, December 08, 2006

The Christmas knitting is getting there

Joe's sweater is inching toward being finished. I have been in exam hell the last few days, but today is sort of a breather day before I start the next thing. During short (I mean, around 10 minutes) study breaks, I have slowly finished the collar, the zipper facings and the hem facing and have weaved in the ends. On Wednesday, I ordered the zipper, which should be here on Monday. Before then, I have to seam the sleeves, wash it, and have it be dry and ready to go to the seamstress immediately after the zipper gets here. It should be ready in plenty of time, barring any disasters. I should have ordered the zipper in multiple lengths, but it was so clearly one length, so I didn't. I may live to regret that decision.

Anyway, without further ado, here's what I have so far.

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I ironed the facings down in an attempt to get them to lie flat, but they're stubborn and want to pop back out. Once the zipper is sewn in, they will be tacked down. That's the very last step.

Here's a close-up of the cabling detail on the bottom:

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I'm very pleased with the results so far, and I'm relieved that I'm actually going to finish this thing. Knitting a man's sweater is always a daunting task and I was afraid that this one would get abandoned. It's looking good to become an FO, though. Now, if only I could guarantee that he'd wear it.

Thursday, December 07, 2006


Grandmom won't be getting a scarf this year. The swatch that I knit was supposed to be a snowflake, but my failure to
produce a swatch that was instantly recognizable as a snowflake isn't what did me in. I has suspected that the swatch didn't look like a snowflake and I continued with my designing by trying to come up with other lace snowflakes. I continued my plotting an planning until a new obsession took over. Once the new obsession took over there was no chance of my spending the time to design the scarf, I had a mitten to knit!

If you have looked at the pictures to this post you might recognize my new obsession, it is Eunny Jang's Anemoi Mittens. Shortly after seeing the pattern go up I started considering what yarn to use. I had visions of mittens that were blue and teal. When K got on line in the morning she and I exchanged yarn ideas through IM. K suggested Louet Sales Gems Opal, which is a sport weight yarn instead of a fingering weight. A Good Yarn in Brookline happens to sell this yarn, so I quickly went over to Brookline Village felt the yarn, tried to see if they had Gems Pearl (I didn't know at that time what yarn Eunny had used), discovered they didn't, and went with Gems Opal (I got my blue, but not teal). I didn't go to the yarn store on my own, I dragged along my boss, who drove. Since I wasn't driving I was able to start swatching immediately. Before returning to the office I had cast on, did the first two rows, started the ribbing, discovered that I cast on too few stitches and frogged. It was after work that I started the mitten in earnest. There is now an errata to the pattern, which I hadn't seen, but which was fairly obvious and which I corrected on my own. My ribbing isn't too stretchy, I think that is because my floats, while not exactly tight, are too short to allow much stretch. There may also be another error/inconsistency with the pattern. I could be mistaken but I think that the chart key has the colors mixed up.

The only question now is, am I a crazy obsessive knitter?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Guesses Anyone?

I decided last night, after karate class, that I wanted to make a scarf for my grandmother for Christmas. Despite having oh 20 days to finish my already started holiday knitting do you think I chose chunky yarn? Do you think that I chose big needles? No, of course not. I have been playing with roughly sport weight yarn and size one needles. First I tried to make a reversible cable scarf. I wasn't liking they way it was looking, so I changed my mind and decided on something lacey. I also decided to design

the scarf myself. I have in mind a concept, but I don't know if I can get the concept to work.

My question to all of you is, do you have any idea what I was trying to make (motif wise) in my pictured swatch? Please comment and let me know. I think the motif sucks, but I am curious to know if anyone can figure out what I am going for. In the meantime, I now am at work, have a computer, and can google to see if anyone more clever than me has already figured it out. If not, I may be back to the drawing board.

Sunday, December 03, 2006


Yesterday, we had what was to be our final class for the Eunny vest. I say what was to be because our knitting guru decided that we needed another informal meeting to go over some of the final finishing details. There were cosmos, mimosas and gin for the more timid among us. We needed some liquid courage to put scissors to wool. We got through the neck steek and we picked up the stitches around the neckline before the end of class.

When I got home I did the armhole steeks on my own (rum bravery not needed, this time!) and I took some amazingly bad photos of the process. You know, quoting the eminent Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, you do the best you have with the camera you've got, not the camera you want.

So, without further ado...

The steek prior to cutting:

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The striped portion is where steek is. The first process is crochet the steek. Here is a partially crocheted steek:

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The objective is to crochet two half stitches together, going first up one side of the center of the steek and then down the other side, like so:

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Here's a completely crocheted steek:

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Next comes the cutting:

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Basically, you cut through one stitch at a time so you don't accidentally cut something you didn't intend to. After you're done, you have a hole where there once was a steek:

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After that, you pick up stitches around the steek for the edging. I'm not sure how a sweater with sleeves would work, whether you'd knit the sleeves separately and sew them in or what, but for this project, we're just attaching ribbing. Once you do, the steek folds over and becomes a facing that will be stitched down. This is my neck steek after hte stitches were picked up.

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So, that's all there is to it. With an adult beverage by your side, anybody can steek! Wool is very forgiving to, so even if you make a mistake, the wool is nice and sticky, so you can fix almost anything.

We'll be finishing our sweaters at the Dec. 21st knit salon, so I'll have completed photos after that.