briggs and little

Lessons in Fitting


This is the slightly painful story of the time I tried to knit a sweater for B for Christmas in a few months, in secret… I learned my lesson, don’t try to knit well fitting garments in secret! The pattern is Goat Herder Pullover by Ann Budd. I bought the yarn and the pattern rather impulsively one Saturday in late October. I cast on a few weeks after that and soon realized I didn’t like the pattern that much! All of a sudden the beautiful chevron pattern around the chest started to look rather Charlie Brown-esque. Thankfully when I was browsing Ravelry I came across the Jasmine Scarf by Purl Soho. And that is where the idea for this pullover was born… and then things started to go south…

I originally wanted to have five of the caliper cables across the chest, forming a V on the front and back of the sweater. It soon became apparent that I wasn’t going to have enough stitches in the chest to do the fourth and fifth cables, so I had to leave them out. I think this really diminished the beauty of the design I was going for. The three cables have a narrow, lanky appearance. The full five cables would have formed a larger V shape across the chest, accenting the width of the chest. Unfortunately this wasn’t going to be my biggest issue…

Despite the many measurements I took, this sweater was a fit DISASTER:

  • It was too short
  • It was much too large at the bottom
  • It was much too small in the chest
  • It was too narrow in the shoulders
  • The arm holes were too small


When I added the cables, I forgot to take into account how they would affect the resulting fabric. They caused the chest area to be much tighter than the bottom. The bottom was too large, but that was mostly my fault. I knew the sweater had no shaping, and I based my size selection off of the chest measurement I took. However B has a large taper from chest to waist (almost a 6″ difference) and this combined with the tight gauge of the sweater caused the sweater to stick out in an unsightly manner.

I decided there was no saving the sweater and that it had to go back to the drawing board. I frogged it all.

I will be attempting it again.

But this time not in secret, and not as written. I’ll have to make modifications to get that perfect fit!

Boyfriend Hat


If there’s a set of interchangeable needles under the Christmas tree, you will have a hat when you come back from visiting your family.

Those are words that came out of my mouth. They were directed my boyfriend. Can you guess what was under the tree on Christmas morning? … It was most definitely a set of interchangeable knitting needles. Chiaogoo red lace, to be precise. I haven’t reviewed them yet because I’ve only made one project on them, with only one wool (this is that projet!). I don’t feel I’m in a position to evaluate these needles yet. That said, so far, I absolutely love them!

So technically, I did get him a hat by the time he got back from visiting his family. Unfortunately it was the worst pattern-yarn mix I have EVER made. I will be getting some pictures and most likely blogging about it, if only so that I can save one unsuspecting person from repeating the same mistake. The second try came out a lot better, and a heck of a lot later. 2 months later, to be exact. Thankfully the boyfriend is patient, kind and understanding (or he just really didn’t want to wear the first hat… I don’t blame him)!

But oh my goodness, what a joy this was to knit! I find cable patterns so compelling because you’re always motivated to finish the next round and watch it grow (much like colourwork). Combine that with the beautiful rustic wool: knitting was a dream.

The wool is from Briggs and Little woolen mills. A Canadian, family owned wool mill in New Brunswick. The boyfriend and I took a road trip out to the east coast of Canada last year. Unfortunately we didn’t visit the Briggs and Little mill, but we did visit the store! I was good and only purchased about $50 worth of wool (but only because we went to MacAuslands woolen mills where I spent way too much). The boyfriend picked out a skein of heritage in the colourway Grape so that I could make him a hat. Grape is a beautiful mix of purple, red, navy and teal. The way it looks depends a lot on the lighting, but it always looks beautiful to me. It is only my second favorite Briggs and Little colourway though… my favorite is Fundy Fog! The wool itself is very rustic, minimally processed. It is definitely not Merino wool, it is a workhorse wool that will stand up to a lot of wear. I’ve read that it’s a good (more economical) substitute for Brooklyn Tweed, but I’ve never held a skein of Brooklyn Tweed so I can’t comment on that!


Although I really enjoyed the knitting process, I did have a few fit issues along the way. I forgot to increase needle sizes after the ribbing and that made the hat very small in circumference. I also measured carefully because I had to extend the cabling pattern since my row gauge was off. But still somehow the hat ended up being way too skinny and way too tall. Thankfully some aggressive blocking helped made it wider and shorter and I think it fits pretty well!

The boyfriend is happy.

The only problem is winter is over!




Inevitable Failures


Part of the reason I have issues writing blog posts and updating frequently (and actually why I’ve started many blogs in the past but they never went anywhere) is because I strongly dislike failure. I actually haven’t met anyone who likes failure, but I’ve met many people who deal with failure much better than I do.

Unfortunately life deals failures in many ways… Yesterday was just “one of those days”…

I’m not quite sure where it went wrong, it started off so productive, with a full hour of workout before breakfast and a high percentage of my formal laboratory report done before lunch. Then it all went downhill… Thankfully for you I’m only going to be sharing one segment of Sunday’s failures.

Read more to find out what happened to the project I started with the beautiful Briggs & Little yarn pictured above!