Elinor Brown Knits

Knitting Designs by Elinor Brown

Category: UFOs

The ultimate stashbusting challenge

In my stashbusting efforts this fall, I discovered Brown Sheep Nature Spun Sport comprises the majority of my remnant stash. While not a fancy or exciting yarn, it is a nice, inexpensive wool that comes in a million colors. I heart Nature Spun. Most recently, I used Nature Spun Sport for Ida’s vest, a DROPS sweater for Beatrix, and my Winter Sunrise hat. It is also the yarn used in the never ending Katharine Hepburn Cardigan, which I will finish sometime in my lifetime. Excepting the two cones I bought from Whitney’s recent destash, it is worth noting that most of the NS in my remnant stash predates my blog. This means it is at least three years old. I must use it up or throw it out. Period.

With small amounts of at least 13 colors, I suppose I could knit hats. Many, many, many hats. However, I noticed nearly everything could be grouped into shades of orange/brown or shades of blue. Starting with the former color grouping, I decided to knit up the biggest stashbusting project ever: a fair isle vest like the Ivy League vest I knit last year, using only what I had. I will buy more of one particular color if I run out. However, I will not buy additional colors to use in the project.

With the ribbing

Using the same 3×1 ribbing as Ida’s vest, I cast on last October.

Ongoing Brown Sheep Nature Spun Stashbuster Vest

The vest grows slowly, in part due to the stitch gauge and in part due to its relegation to secondary project in my knitting basket. Now, several months later, I have reached the V-neck divide.

Ongoing Brown Sheep Nature Spun Stashbuster Vest

I’m still not sure the bright orange and white peeries jive with the darker peeries. I think they look good from a distance but it’s a little jarring from the knitter’s distance. I added them in the first place because the other peeries blended together into one dark blob.

My favorite panel

This is my favorite peerie of them all. I intend to use it in other designs, I like it so much. From some angles, it looks like the standard XOXO; but from other angles, I see orange butterflies. Do you?

I am willing to accept this may turn out to be the ugliest thing I’ve ever knit. After all, orange and brown are not exactly my favorite colors. However, I think it might be a nice fall vest under a jacket. Furthermore, the planning stages alone taught me valuable lessons about stacking and centering peeries, and stranded knitting in general. I remain hopeful.

All thrums

After knitting my first pair of thrummed mittens for Aaron last winter, I swore off knitting any more. It took me an entire evening to make enough thrums for the pair of mittens and then, I found knitting them in too tedious for my taste. The resulting mitten is to die for, however, especially amid the bitter cold of winter. I wore Aaron’s mittens over some neoprene gloves on my early morning runs all last winter.

Sometimes, fiddly knitting is worth it.

The other day, I was raving about these mittens when I realized it was time to make another pair. With any luck, they will be ready for the weekend!

Trying to warm up

There’s really no reason a knitter should ever be cold, is there? And yet, I feel as if I have been frozen since August. Last month, I decided to take action. I cast on for two plain, stockinette sweaters in my battle against winter.

By the numbers

I knit this cardigan without a pattern, using Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in “Mist”, a tape measure, and a well-worn Wool of the Andes sweater as a gauge swatch. The result is utterly uninspiring. Wool of the Andes is such a mediocre yarn. The more I use it, the less I like it. I find it wildly inconsistent: some dye lots bleed profusely, some skeins are riddled with knots, and most egregious of all, I cannot make a consistent gauge from lot to lot (my gauge ranges between 18 and 20 stitches over 4″ on size 8 needles). It is the only yarn I have encountered with which I cannot make the recommended gauge every time I use it. So, you ask, what is the difference between 4.5 stitches/inch and 5 stitches/inch? Take a look at the shoulder line of this cardigan. It falls over my shoulder. I hate that.

Made by gauge swatch and tape measure

If I did not loathe this yarn so much, I would reknit the armholes with far more rigorous shaping. However, this is a plain, simple, quick, and cheap cardigan (can you argue with $14?), knit for warmth around the house more than anything else. My time is better served with the Skye Tweed sitting in my stash, wouldn’t you agree?

Wool of the Andes is a worthless yarn

The second sweater is one I started in early November, Beth Silverstein‘s Francis Revisited (Ravelry link), recently knit by Lolly and Parikha and Sarah. I decided to make the sleeves longer and use garter stitch in place of the seed stitch.
Francis visited, revisited, and revisited

Unfortunately, I cannot settle on a satisfactory bottom hem. At first, I knit garter stitch rows but they looked too loose and sloppy so I ripped them out. I tried again with a purl row followed by a rolled edge. This one strikes me as awkward (and still sloppy) with the long garter stitch sleeve cuffs. Perhaps I will try garter stitch knit on smaller needles? You will see more of this next week. I am not done with it yet!


As I suspected last week, I will most certainly run out of yarn for my Print O’ the Wave stole.

I definitely will run out of yarn

Furthermore, the zigzag stitch I used to close the binding on my current quilt failed miserably.

After a zigzag binding failed miserably, I'm hand sewing.

Does it matter? I think not!

Please, just don’t call it a shawl

It's not a shawl, OK? It's a SCARF.

In Boston, I bought some Berroco Ultra Alpaca with the intention of copying Maritza’s beautiful mittens for Minty. Unfortunately, I did not pay close enough attention to what Maritza said about the pattern before buying fingering instead of worsted weight yarn.

What is one to do with 800 yds of fingering weight yarn that is, by my estimation, unsuitable for socks? Knit a shawl. Right. Have I shared my views on shawls? I am going to get so much hate mail for this. Here we go, this is what I think about shawls:

I do not knit shawls and neither should you.

Please don’t mistake me, I find them stunningly beautiful, technically challenging, and supremely intricate. It is not that I do not value the knitting prowess of the shawl – I do! However, I have yet to see anyone under the age of 80 successfully wear a triangular or circular shawl. As an avid product knitter, I never knit for the process, I knit for the wearable garment. Hence, the shawl appeals little to me. Is that fair enough?

Nevertheless, I returned home with 800 yards of fingering weight yarn with no intended use for it. What to do? Anything but lace would drag on and on forever at a fine gauge. After a quick Ravelry search, I settled on Eunny Jang’s rectangular Print O’ the Wave Stole (Ravelry link) but decided to make it narrower, more stole-like and less shawl-like. After all, I would not want to have to explain to you why I have just knitted a shawl, right? Right.

The not-shawl

Just before starting the edging, I did some quick math to determine how much of the yarn I would likely use. To my surprise, math says I will run out of yarn. But I have so much right now! Will I really run out? Furthermore, math says I will need 0.71 oz of a third skein. What should I do?

1) Call Windsor Button to see if I can track down a third skein before knitting the edging.

2) Knit the edging and buy more yarn only if/when I run out.

3) Go to a wedding in Phoenix this weekend with another project, leaving the yarn eating not-shawl to stew at home.

You can imagine what I chose. See you Monday!