b r o o k l y n t w e e d
  The Usual Shift
As has become customary in the past with my knitting, in times of trial or heightened activity, the knitting swings back to its roots, and garter stitch projects starting sprouting up like little winter flowers.

For me, it comes down to the question of how to continue making projects that are smart and interesting while running on much less fuel than I'm accustomed to. And where garter stitch is concerned, no one is safe, including my lace-weight stash.

Garter Garter

This slinky little number is a whole lot of fun, and perfect for countering temporary feelings of knitting inadequacy. There will be lace incorporated into the finished piece, but for now, it's knit knit knit. The great thing about garter stitch with such a lightweight yarn is how fluffy and airy it becomes, while still maintaining the squish factor that I so shamelessly crave. The fiber has a lot to do with it (always) - Silky Alpaca Lace is a relatively new yarn from Classic Elite and a total treat to work with. Sort of feels like it's made of butter... and I mean that in such a good way.

New Sweater...

And for the slightly better days, when I want something to bring my A-game to (or pretend I have an A-game with)... there's a sweater of similar sensibility. I call it my "Yes-I'm-In-Grad-School-But-Still-Want-A-New-Sweater" Sweater. Simple simple, but with some interesting shaping and construction things that I'm having fun playing with. Not to mention the
edible yarn (doesn't it kinda look.... food-like? I'm thinking... Oreos.) (Or... have I finally gone crazy?)

You may remember me starting a new sweater design with my Kathmandu stash a few months back. Well... I finished it. I liked it well enough, but wasn't absolutely floored by it. And the nagging question of "is this really good enough for this awesome yarn?" was proving to be quite a nuisance. Well, giving it time, which is the only thing to do in that situation, the illumination did come - a dear friend of mine was caught working up a Tomten Jacket in the same yarn and once I felt the soft, tweedy garter-squish of it, I knew what had to be done.

Instead of taking the time to rip out the entire sweater (always a bit depressing), I just pulled out the bind-off and started making a new one straight away. A nice trick to employ when searching for some sort of redemptive experience to erase our non-brilliant knitting moments and transform them into (*cross your fingers*) something better [See below for new sweater being harvested from old]

New Sweater...

And if I've learned anything from my knitting, it's this: a good yarn deserves the right treatment. If that means biting the bullet and re-knitting a sweater, then so be it. (I should remind you that it usually takes a couple months for me to say that.)

But enough of my soapbox jabbering. In design news, I have a couple new patterns coming down the pike this winter, which I'm so happy to get out to you. And speaking of winter, we're down to 40 degree temperatures over here - the big woolies have been busted out and that means giant, happy smiles from me. Enjoy your knitting, it's finally time!

Oh, i love the silky alpaca lace! I'm making the lace tube scarf from the new CEY alapaca stories book. We had a sample in the store last week and I was so sad when it left!

It's good to hear from you again, Jared! I feel your ambivalence when it comes to remaking that sweater - I recently took apart a sweater that I made for my mom years ago, that she NEVER wore. The yarn deserved better treatment than that, so now I can find something more appropriate for it.

I am totally with you on the Kathmandu aran-- I have a sweater's worth, too-- I think it's even that same color-- that I haven't been able to knit yet because I haven't found the PERFECT pattern to use it for...

Can't wait to see your finished products! they look yummy so far!

I haven't knit a sweater yet, but think this fall is the time for jumping right in (as in starting with a steeked cardigan). And I just got the Alice Starmore Aran Knitting from the library...yes, go ahead and say it....she's crazy!!! :)

Looking forward to your new designs.

I have a sweater like that. It's packed away until I can find a better pattern or find the gumption for the sewing fix instead.

well thinking of new patterns from your tender hand makes me more than happy. how i love my poroms and habitats and koolhaas'es. and so do all the recipients. the long and winding garter road. wow. cannot wait.

"the question of how to continue making projects that are smart and interesting "

Really love this phrase. Helpful for thinking about life, including knitting!

Can't wait to see what all the garter stitch is going to be. I have a wee tomten on the needles - Gotta love the garter stitch.

(Totally trying to figure out if you are using foil in these shots. :-) )

You know, I've been humming and hawing about a "meh" sweater of mine knit in a gorgeous tweedy yarn. Now I'm determined to let er'rip.

And as far as I'm concerned, there can never be enough garter stitch, especially in gorgeous fiber.

Good to hear from you again. Bundle up!

The garter stitch in lace weight looks scrumptious.
Good idea with the sweater knitting. Makes me wonder why I insist on ripping the entire thing out before re-knitting...

I love how your photos somehow capture the tactile sensation of your knitting. That laceweight is really beautiful in garter stitch.

Knitterly doubt in Brooklyn Tweed?! I thought that only happened to me (just like finishing a sweater and finding out it's just not as awesome as I hoped and ripping it back before the yarn even realizes it's a sweater).
I'm looking forward to seeing what comes of your reclaimed sweater - I'm sure it will be great!

The yarn looks like hot chocolate with marshmellows on top! Just love your knitting photos they always inspire me!

Hi Jared -

Just had to let you know that I was so inspired by your version of the shetland triangle shawl, I had to make one! And, guess which yarn I chose? Kathmandu, of course, in a delicious deep fuschia. Yummy!


I've ripped an entire sweater before to reknit, but it never occurred to me to knit directly from old sweater to new. That is such a cool idea. If I ever have to undo an entire sweater again, that's what I want to do!

not oreos - more ginger snaps or oatmeal cookies!
Luscious photos! Thanks for sharing - love the new sweater from old and avoiding the whole frogging thing - you're brilliant.

I *love* the idea of reknitting something without ripping out the old garment, first. I am a chronic ripper-outer, but often by the time I finish re-winding that yarn, I'm just sick of it.

Maybe it's just the fact that today is officially Halloween, but that last picture kinda reminds me of a Zombie (new sweater being knitted) feeding off the corpse of a dead person (old sweater in bin)... you know you were thinking it too... don't deny it! XD

C'est magnifique comme toujours, je suis contente de te lire à nouveau !

I hate the rip, myself, but there is always that awful dissonance if you don't. You did the right thing. I can't wait for your new gifts to us!

Such lovely yarn that Kathmandu. Would you mind sharing what color it is? (I mean its official name. I rather like oreos, though on my screen it looks more like latte foam on a molasses cookie.)

I am seeing homemade brownies with chopped pecans. Both knitting and food are sensual experiences. totally makes sense to me.

Whenever I'm feeling the knitting blahs, or inadequacy as you put it, I always knit a hat. I have many, many hats.

I'm a big believer in ripping things out if they're not nice. Its not a good movie (but an enjoyable one) but in the movie You've Got Mail, the main character eventually has to close her shop that her mother owned before her, and a friend tells her that she's being brave, and daring to imagine a world where she does something different, and thats how I always try to think of reknitting something: the brave choice!

In other remarks, I'm charmed by how you're finally breaking out the woolies for the 40 degree weather. We got 6 inches of snow this week, and I do not consider myself to be much north of NYC, although it is Canada.

I agree with Bex. I am so completely amazed at your tactile photography abilities.
Most certainly a pleasure for the senses!!!

I, too, made a sweater for my college age son that just did not sit right with me. There was not way to fix it except to take it apart and wait for time to reknit it for someone else.
Meanwhile, the sweater that I did make for him this summer fits him perfectly and is in his favorite color.
Win Win.

hi .. i have a BIG question for you!.. when u said u were unraveling one sweater and knitting a new one at the same time..do you not worry abt reusing crimped yarn? would it not throw off the gauge? i know people wet their yarn and hang it dry and then use it again it sounds like alot of work! so i rather like your method .. theres no waiting time here. i eagerly wait for your reply!

thank you.
laura b.

Two things:

I'm into garter stitch now as well - I love the squish of it -- for a blanket for myself. Lot's and lot's of wool. So cool.

And it's great to know that you have the Meh projects too, and are brave enough to rip out. Love the photo of the "recycling."

I am about to do the same unthinkable thing of reknitting a finished sweater that did not quite meet my expectations. But as we all know, recycling is the way to go!

It looks like Oreos crushed up to make a baked crumb for cheesecake. The cheesecake would be... ummm... a creamy chenille yarn in stocking stitch?

It definitely looks good enough to eat.

I had to smile at your garter stitch comments. I just finished recording my podcast for this week (Knit Picks) and I talked about how I retreat into garter stitch knitting as the holiday activities ramp up. But, in the back of my mind, I plan more challenging projects to begin in January.

There are several interesting garter stitch projects in Simply Shetland 5 - Roxanna's Garden.

Tonight I am going to be working on a log cabin blanket from the first Mason Dixon Knitting book. Like Elizabeth Zimmermann used to say, "Miles and miles of garter stitch."

I had/have 4 balls of Kathmandu...it sat and it sat around for more than a year...I jumped in because this yarn was mocking me from the shelf...I repeated a shawl pattern I have had luck with...no luck with Kathmandu though.

Here's the best part...I now have the courage to rip it out and knit from the shawl..thanks for the idea...less depressing than ripping and ball-winding and putting it back on the shelf to laugh at me.

In your next blog entry could you specify as to what you are making with the Silky Alpaca Lace?

I'm into garter stitch all of sudden too--I just made an alpaca baby sweater, and it had a delicious drape and squishiness. Now I'm working on a sweater for myself with the same yarn.

I too found this post really inspirational for knitting and life. Sometimes ya gotta rip.
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