Archive for the ‘Sunniva’ Category


November 2, 2010

The Sunniva pattern is now available! Finally!

Sunniva was designed to fill a wardrobe gap and close a gap. I love button down blouses and cardigans as wardrobe staples, but the unfortunate gaping that occurs at times can make them problematic. I wanted to make a sweater that would be modeled on a tee shirt – easy to pull on and wear – but with the stylistic look of a button down blouse; something that would be equally appropriate for casual wear or in more formal situations. The idea of a side shaped tee with a false button placket stuck in my mind and wouldn’t leave. Sunniva offers a wide range of options to the knitter with two sleeve choices and an optional lace collar. Although it is simple to knit, the false placket keeps it from becoming boring. I hope you enjoy your sweater as much as I’ve been enjoying mine!

28 (32, 36, 40, 44, 48, 52) inches at bust with zero to negative ease – pick your size or smaller

for flutter sleeve sweater:
2 (2, 3, 3, 3, 4, 4) skeins Malabrigo Sock (100% Superwash
Merino; 440 yds per 100g skein)

for puff sleeve:
3 (3, 4, 4, 4, 5, 5) skeins OrangeFlower Twist 80/20 (80% Superwash Merino, 20% Nylon; 440 yds per 100g skein) Shown in OrangeFlower 4 ply BFL, currently unavailable

  • 1 set 3 mm 24” or 32” circular needles (listed as U.S. size 2 or 2.5, depending on the brand)
  • 1 set 3mm dpns or long circular for Magic Loop
  • waste yarn in contrasting color
  • tapestry needle
  • 10 stitch markers in various colors
  • 5 5/8 inch buttons

28 sts/36 rows = 4 inches in stockinette st

Buy it now for US $6.50

More Sunniva

September 13, 2010

Apologies for a lack of blog posts are quite tiresome, so I’ll skip that for now. We took a few modeled shots of the yellow version of Sunniva yesterday, and here they are! Yellow Sunniva is knit in Malabrigo Sock (less than two skeins for a size 32) and has a lace collar that I did not put on the puff sleeve version of Sunniva, though of course the pattern offers the option to attach it to either version. Sunniva is currently out for testing, but I can always use more testers, so if you have time, inclination, and two or three extra skeins of a fine sock yarn on hand, let me know!

Into existence

August 7, 2010

All those long months back, I had this idea for a sweater that I drew on paper and submitted to Knitscene. They didn’t want it, which I’m ultimately happy with, because I got to take my time and keep getting more and more fiddly until I had two versions of the sweater.  Yesterday I finally finished the second version, and today I’m having that moment you get in any sort of creative endeavor where you look at something you’ve made and realize that the thing that once existed only in your own head is now a physical reality.

I got unsure about the lace panels as I was finishing them up, but now I’m so glad I went through with it!  It feels finished now, and I think the lace does something really different and special to a simple tee shirt pattern.  The buttons, Victorian glass numbers from Green Ray Productions, are the final touch to make this special.  The body of the sweater is knit in Malabrigo Sock (under two skeins) and the lace is Misti Alpaca Lace.  It is a ridiculously soft little number.

For comparison’s sake, here’s this photo paired with the original drawing.  Admittedly, the angle of the photograph isn’t wholly conducive to comparison, but I think you can see how it turned out.  I’ll probably take at least one photo with the silly ribbon belt I originally imagined!

So with this done, it should be less of the all Sunniva all the time situation that it’s been for months around here.  I tell you, I’m very happy with how this turned out, but I will think twice before deciding to design a sweater in two versions and light fingering weight yarn any time soon!

Making my own sunshine

August 5, 2010

This is a weird grey summer here in usually sunny California. I like the fact that it’s not been hot, but it really hasn’t even been warm all that often.  My summer garden is suffering – our usual bumper crop of tomatoes is reduced to the odd fruit here or there, and my peppers have nearly given up.

Yellow Sunniva, though, is like a sunshine injection for me. It’s such a pretty soft golden color, and it’s so soft and drapey and cheerful that it has to make the world look a little brighter.

Sadly, the lack of light is affecting my photographs as well!  It’s a brighter, more cheerful color in real life. I’m excited about the buttons as well – I always like grellow knitwear, but since grey looks bad on me, I can’t usually wear it.  Grey buttons I can manage.

To give you a better idea of the flutter sleeve when worn, here’s a bad picture I snapped in my poorly lit bathroom before I’d finished the neckline.

I’m now working on the lace edging for the neckline, and then it’s just a matter of sewing in ends, attaching buttons and lace, and taking pictures! Well, and writing up the pattern, but I’m very excited to already have some great test knitters lined up.  I can see an end in sight for this poor pattern!

I am also planning an end to the Lace Triangle series soon, too, with a long awaited post on edgings.

Let the sun shine in

July 12, 2010

Sunniva the First is finished.  Holy heck, that was quite a process! Thanks so much for all the encouragement, advice, and kindness along the way!  It’s somewhat embarrassing to open up the design process when it doesn’t go as planned, but the end result makes me feel glad for all the changes and rips and frustrations, since the fact that I didn’t compromise means that I got the sweater that was in my head.  I have a thing for puffed sleeves, though of course, a knitter who wanted to make the longer sleeved Sunniva and didn’t like puffed sleeves could easily knit straight and have a rather different look.

So, traveling back in time to the beginning, you’ll remember that I wanted to design a sweater that was very much like a tee shirt in ease of wear, but more formal in look and style.  I like button down blouses, but I’m not too keen on potential gapping at the button band, or in the fiddly process of fastening such a garment.  I feel very happy with what I’ve got here.  It is a tee shirt, essentially, but I think it does have a more formal look.  It’s very comfortable to wear, and the false button band looks pretty much as I’d hoped it would with my first, failed method of using twisted stitches. Since I was basing it on jersey tees, the shaping is at the sides, taking advantage of the knitted fabric’s stretch and natural drape.  I am a big fan of darts, but sometimes I feel like they interrupt the look of plain stockinette, and so in this case, we left the shaping to the sides.

The yarn is of course BFL wool from OrangeFlower, custom dyed in a Red Violet.  I love the color ridiculous amounts, which you may already know, since I haven’t shut up about it since I started.  It’s a light fingering weight.  The light part is important – it makes the fabric very breathable, and it means that the gauge is a little different than what you might get with a regular fingering weight.

Now, I still have to make – or rather remake – the second, short sleeved version of Sunniva, which will also incorporate an optional lace neck edging.    For comparison’s sake, here’s the starting sketch (which is of the other version of Sunniva) next to the finished longer sleeved version, without the optional lace.

It makes me happy to see that it’s pretty darn close.  I have everything I need for the second version, and my great hope is that it will go pretty fast, since the first one is done and can be used as a template.

Stuff ‘n things

July 7, 2010

I finished Red-Violet Sunniva, and in keeping with the process I’ve been documenting, I thought I’d have some finished, if not polished, pictures to show you today.  However, after blocking the neckline, I tried on the sweater and found that the neckline I did hangs funny in back.  I think I need to go down either in needle size or stitch count or both.  It right now wants to bell out and hang loosely when it’s suppose to fit closely.  Otherwise, I am completely thrilled with the sweater and how it fits, and very, very smug about my button choice.  My buttons are from the ever-awesome green ray productions on Etsy, and they are the bee’s knees.

As you can see, I added a small garter lip to my neck edge.  Overall, I’m pleased with how that looks, but that back droopy part needs some work.  I was worried that the garter, not incorporated anywhere else in the sweater, would be a poor choice, but I think it actually looks good with everything else.  My bind off was a little sloppy, though, so I guess the ripping and reknitting is my chance to remedy that sloppiness.  Still, it’s a little discouraging to think you’re done, done, done, and find that blocking in this case actually creates a problem you didn’t know you had.  (I may try a couple of things before ripping just to see if I can avoid that.  Not sure what to try, but it’s worth looking around.)

While Sunniva was blocking, as a present to myself, I allowed myself to cast on for a little coat I’ve been wanting to make for Nora.  I’m using Malabrigo Twist, and after working so long with light fingering weight yarn on an adult sweater, it is a real pleasure to use thick yarn to make something small.  In two days I had the body of a little jacket.

No pattern, and very little in the way of math or planning.  It was a knitting vacation.  It’s knit from the bottom up and the sleeves will be knit from the top down.  I really, really like the fabric you get with Twist on size 8 needles.  It’s not tight, but it creates a smooth, soft, thick fabric that should be warm and cozy for fall and winter wear.  One thing I do have to change is the shoulder length.  I thought they might be too short, but after blocking they were too long.  That’s an easy fix, though.  Eleanor is a very small child, so it’s very easy to make her something quickly.

Other than all of that, I’m mostly gathering materials for the ebook I mentioned a little while back.  I’m very excited about this and hope to be able to offer something fun and relaxing.  It’s a fun opportunity for me to use some of my favorite luxury yarns, as well, since I want to keep the patterns small and simple.  One skein of luxury is a lot easier on the budget than a sweater’s lot.

Oh yes.

June 29, 2010

It’s blocking.  I still have to pick up the stitches around the neck and add a lip (garter? another turned hem?) but the vast majority of the knitting is done.  It is likely premature to say this, but I think this is my favorite thing I’ve ever knitted.  A lot of this is the yarn, which blocks out so beautifully, and picks up light in a really lovely way.  Part of it is the shape, which is modeled on some of my favorite shirts.  Part of it is the color, which is constantly revealing new surprises in different lights.


June 28, 2010

I came out of last week exhausted, but I am going into this week feeling happy and refreshed.  My tenth wedding anniversary was on the 24th, and yesterday, my husband and I finally got our big anniversary date.  (We did go out on our anniversary as well, making this an unprecedented two-dates-in-one-week extravaganza.)  I have yet to get the rather silly pictures off of Mr. Kninja’s phone, but we went to Stow Lake and rented a rowboat and had a romantic afternoon out of a Renoir painting.  It was perfect, and I feel like my soul has been refreshed – rather lavish wording for a pragmatic atheist, but it’s true nonetheless.

I’m also so so very close to finishing up the first Sunniva sample.  I’m a knitting monogamist at the moment, very unusual for me, but I feel so excited, both about finishing and about starting on a new idea, that I’m sticking to finishing Sunniva until I find out that I need to do something else.  (I have some submissions still up in the air places, so it’s possible that my monogamy will be broken by an acceptance.  I’m not counting on it, though.)

So Red-Violet Sunniva is currently one-sleeved, with most of a second sleeve done.  I expect to finish the second sleeve today and then it’s a matter of edging the neck and deciding whether to add the lace to this sample or not.  (Since the lace is optional, I’m thinking I’ll do one with and one without.)

Anyway, once the Sunnivas are done, I have had an inspiration for a small collection of accessories, and the sketching, yarn planning, and various inspiration boards have already begun.  I’m very, very excited about this idea.  Many of the projects are quite small, but I think they’re all a lot of fun, and I can’t wait to get started.  I’m using the energy I have for that new project as inspiration to finish up my current project!  And I got to scout out some gorgeous yarn from A Verb for Keeping Warm for one of the projects this weekend, so as soon as I have the extra cash on hand, I’ll be picking up some more lovely yarn for my future projects!  Happy happy.

I need to get together with knitting friends, something I’ve been wanting to arrange for a while yet, but while Mr. Kninja’s schedule is so wonky, it’s quite hard.  So that’s the one little thing left to wish for this week, but overall, life’s pretty darn good.

Finally seeing progress

June 15, 2010

So this isn’t the most flattering picture of me ever, but this is what Sunniva currently looks like.  I love the edge, which has a hem bind off that looks nice and neat and tailored, and I love the color, which is so rich and beautiful, and I love the way the Bluefaced Leicester wool feels and drapes.  (I have the worst time spelling Leicester.  I pronounce it Lester in my head, which I think is right or close to right, but then I want to spell it sans the ce. English, man.  Tough language.)

This version is going to have three quarter length sleeves that puff close to the ends.  I have a shirt with this sort of sleeve, and I think it’s very flattering, though there’s a part of me that thinks I shouldn’t push it and should just make fitted sleeves instead.  Or half sleeves.  A number of people have commented on liking the sleeves as they are, as cap sleeves, too, but I think I’d like this version to be the longer sleeved version.

The kids are now home for the summer, and we’re in the midst of our annual Rotten Cereal Week.  This is a tradition I have carried on from my childhood.  We’re pretty healthy eaters for most of the year, but one week out of the year, the week school lets out, each child can select a box of sugar coated evil and have it for breakfast.  Most mornings, breakfast is a bowl of Joe’s Os and milk with eggs and toast and orange juice or something.  But not this week.  This week breakfast comes in candy colors and candy flavors and it will make you completely insane.

Despite the unhealthy start to the day, we’re having a pleasantly laid back week thus far.  Poor Liam has a virus in his eyes, and he’s passed it on to me, but it’s not full blown pink eye, and we’re weathering it OK.  We’ve extended Rotten Cereal Week into Rot Your Brain Week as well, and have been watching far more cartoons than is usual, but I feel like the kids worked hard through the school year and need a little decompression right now.

Mr. Kninja’s week is not so laid back.  He’s working on a freelance job currently, which means his hours are 9 to 7 three days a week, and 9 (AM) to midnight the other two days.  He’s enjoying himself, but I have to admit that I’m looking forward to a time when he’s home more and gets a little more sleep.

I’m going to see this week how easy it is to transition to working on pattern design with three kids present nearly all of the time.  This should be exciting!

Color is colorful

June 4, 2010

Long time readers will not be surprised to hear that I’ve been sick.  Sorry for the silence!  It’s so frustrating to be taken down by your body when things seem to be going along swimmingly, or at least non-sickly.  I’m most of the way better now, which is good, as it means I won’t have to shank Fate.  Two of my friends and I have been planning a getaway for about a year now, and that’s to take place this weekend.  Had I been horribly unwell, I would have had to, at the very least, punch Fate in the kidneys. You do not mess with Piecation.  Dammit.

New Sunniva continues, slower than Old Sunniva, because the smaller gauge means more stitches.  I have to admit to feeling a little intimidated at making two of these at this rate, but I think it’s good that I’m making the longer sleeved version first this time.  The second one will be quicker.  And it’s still fun looking at the color of the red violet yarn in different lights and imagining how it will look when worn.  The semi-solid yarn is pooling and striping in a really pretty way that reminds me of velvet.

I think I solved my false button band problem.  One set of knit stitches is still slightly looser than the other, but I don’t think it’s the horrible problem this time that it was previously.

I’m using a modified heel stitch to create the band.  I like how this looks, and I like the sturdy fabric it creates.  It’s a simple conceit, but I find that simple is what I return to again and again.  I’m attracted to the complex initially, but I come home to simple, and I have been trying to aim my design that way, for a middle ground between frustrating and boring, someplace challenging, but not teeth grittingly so, and simple, but not mindlessly so.  If it stops being fun for me to knit, there’s a good chance it won’t be fun for other people to knit, either.

I’m also in the midst of a test knit, which I do during my down time, and once again, it’s color that’s got me hooked.

When I’m test knitting, I generally try to work from the stash, but this is harder than you might think, as my stash is not generally overflowing.  I do have a stash, it’s far larger than it used to be, but most of the yarn is either committed to a particular project or leftover from something else and in very small amounts.  So while the top yarn, ShibuiKnits Sock, is leftover from Surtsey, the bottom yarn, Sanguine Gryphon Bugga!, is purchased new for the job.  I decided to use the opportunity to whip up a gift for a friend and try a yarn I’ve been curious about at the same time.  And yeah, it’s great.  What I actually like most, though, is the fact that the Sanguine Gryphon has gone out of their way to make the yarn so easily available.  A lot of popular yarns are next to impossible to procure, but Bugga! is available regularly in large dyelots on the Sanguine Gryphon website.  Deciding to use it was simply a matter of heading over to their site and picking a color.  The shipping cost was excellent, and it shipped fast.

The color is Beyer’s Jewel Scarab, and it really as bright as pictured.  The cashmere content of course makes the yarn very soft, but what I actually like is the shape of the plied yarn.  It feels firm and slightly square (that sounds weird, but I can’t think of how else to describe it) and it doesn’t split easily, because the plies are very firmly wound together.

I doubt most of you need me to tell you that Bugga! is awesome (I cannot leave out that exclamation point) because it’s been insanely popular for a while now.  But it is indeed awesome, and the availability makes it accessible to a lot more knitters than some of the other spifftacular yarns I’ve reviewed here in the past.  Here’s a better portrait of the yarn on its own.

How green was my scarab.