The Sweatshop of Love Blog

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January, 2011

Knit Alongs Week 4: Beatnik Armhole Shaping and Two Boyfriends Ribbing

Both sweaters are having BIG weeks this week! We are shaping armholes and finishing the back of the Beatnik and finishing the body of the Two Boyfriends Cardigan. I know some of you have been waiting for a challenge, and this is it!

More importantly? Serious progress will be able to be seen this week. BINDING OFF will happen! This is the halfway point, after all.

Lily's Beatnik!

Lily of The Owl and the Bee just started her’s this week, but I’m sure she will be caught up with us in no time. That girl can knit!

You know what isn’t a big deal? Being behind. There are a couple of you that I know haven’t even cast on and that is ok! Use the past forum posts to answer your questions and of course you can email me and I’ll be happy to help you through issues even if they aren’t this week’s questions. Just keep knitting and you’ll get there.

Keep emailing me or posting questions on our rav forum, sending me pictures, and, above all, knitting! 3 weeks down, 5 to go!

Beatnik Knitting sweater

Jackie's Beatnik!


There has been a fair amount of freaking out about this armhole shaping we are tackling this week, and for good reason! We changed this pattern to be knit in the round, so instructions for what we are about to do are not written in the pattern. But the good news is that in the future when you modify your sweaters to be knit in the round you can use this exact same armhole separation method.

Alaina's Beatnik!

And if you’ve ever done this before, sweet! Do it do it!

So what you’ve got right now is the body of your sweater, ended on a wrong side row. Your needles should be right at your side markers, and what you are about to start working is the back. We haven’t needed to establish which side is the front and which side is the back until now, and up until this instruction both sides have been worked identically.

Kay's Beatnik!

Your next instruction in your pattern reads:

Shape Armholes:

Sizes L, 1X, 2X, 3X Only: BO 4 sts at beginning of next -[-, -, 2, 2, 4, 4] rows. -[-, -, 115, 123, 127, 135] sts.

All Sizes: BO 3 sts at beginning of next 2[4, 4, 2, 4, 4, 4] rows. 85[91, 99, 109, 111, 115, 123] sts.

Figure out how many stitches you are binding off at the beginning of this row and bind those stitches off – either 4 sts for L, 1x, 2x, 3x or 3 sts for smaller sizes. And just to be clear, if you are making a smaller size, pretend that first instruction doesn’t exist and just start where it says All Sizes.

After binding off your stitches continue working in pattern to your next side marker. At this point you will have worked half of your total sweater stitches.

Cherry's Beatnik!

With a long strand of scrap yarn on a yarn needle, put the remaining stitches not yet worked on this yarn, up until your bound off stitches. Tie your yarn so you don’t have to worry about your stitches falling off. This is the front of your sweater! You will put these stitches back on your needles later, but for now they are just going to hang out on your scrap yarn.

Now all that is left on your needles are your back piece stitches! You will now be working back and forth on these stitches.

See? How easy was that?!

You will now turn and work your first real WS row of the sweater. Follow the pattern, binding off stitches as your size indicates and continuing to work your charts like you have been. It might take a few rows to get use to working wrong side rows across these patterns from the actual wrong side of the sweater, but by now you’ve got the cable patterns down pat so it won’t throw you off.

Stefanie's Beatnik!

This Weeks Beatnik Goal: Finish the back of your sweater! While this sounds like more than you have had to do in the previous weeks, it’s actually less because you are working less than half the stitches you have been working for about the same amount of inches.

Ginger4's Beatnik!

When you get to the shoulder and neckline shaping things get a little hairy. Much like working two sleeves at once, you will be working two shoulders simultaneously. I just made a video about making two sleeves at once that you can use for these shoulders if it isn’t making sense to you, and you can find that video here.

So finish up that back piece so we can get the front finished up next week!

The Two Boyfriends Cardigan

My Mom's Two Boyfriend

This Weeks Two Boyfriends Cardigan Goal: This is our final week of working on the body! So you will be finishing up your last few inches of body striping just like you have been for the past two weeks, and then finishing up the body of your cardigan with 2″ of ribbing with your main color.

Emily's Two Boyfriend

Be sure to end your striping with 4 rows of 2 color striping, and to knit 1 RS row with your MC before starting to rib. This keeps your striping continuity with the rest of the sweater and makes sure you don’t have different color purl bars sticking through your rib.

Bind off loosely! You don’t want a puckery bottom edge. And the congratulate yourself big time because you finished the body of your cardigan! Holla!


Post pics and/or questions on our Ravelry Knit Along forum, email them to me, or tweet them with #solknitalong so I can show them off next week.

Happy knitting!

The Worst Weekend of the Year


It comes every year, and every year I try to prepare for it but I know. I KNOW! It will suck, and my heart will be empty, and there will be no light or joy in the world on THIS WEEKEND, no matter what I do.

When baseball season ends you fill the void with football. The seasons overlap, so while you don’t have a football game every day like you have with baseball, you have fantasy football to plan, so it’s ok.

But when football ends YOU HAVE NOTHING. You have cold, cold winter and no football to be excited about. And while, yes, I have taken more of an interest in basketball this year than I have in previous years, it’s no replacement.

Spring training starts in 17 days. It’s a month till March Madness.

And so, the weekend between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl is the worst weekend of the year. The first weekend you have nothing.


Nothing except Lord of the Rings Extended Versions! I save these for this weekend. That is a solid 10 hours of quality entertainment, much like a day with 3 football games.


And Horatio Hornblower as a back up! There are 8 parts to this miniseries and that has bound to keep my mind off my broken, empty heart.

I’ve also got craft projects!

Tshirt Painting Supplies

I finally made it the nearly 6 miles to Michael’s yesterday to pick up a few things for projects I’ve been wanting to tackle. My friend Miss Jeanna pointed me in this direction a few weeks ago and I haven’t been able to get them out of my mind, so tshirts need to happen!

Needlepoint Supplies

And y’all know my love/hate relationship with needlepoint, but I got the cutest idea for some food needlepoint art for my kitchen and just need to make it happen. And I haven’t needlepointed in 8 months so I can’t remember how much I hate it.

Beatnik and Pudge

I’ve also got about an inch left to knit on my Beatnik to get to this week’s goal of getting to the sleeve separation.


How sweet is this sweater looking so far?!

So, worst weekend of the year, I’m ready for you with all I’ve got: Crafts, LOTR, and Horatio Hornblower.

Yes, that is all I’ve got to fight you with. Nerdery.

PT’s Birthday Week

Why does PT get a birthday WEEK? Maybe because it’s been like 20 degrees in Minneapolis and I’m feeling generous.


But mainly because we’ve done some fun things this week, all corresponding with PT’s birthday, and, thus, PT’s birthday week.

The Birthday Boy and his Birthday Meal

PT wanted to make shrimp and grits for his birthday meal, so we grilled up some shrimp, roasted up some mushrooms, and stirred up some grits. I have never made grits before so I had no idea what I was doing, but they turned out great!

Brownie A La Mode

Instead of cake PT wanted brownie a la mode, and here we had fudgy brownies (best brownie recipe ever!) and some caramel frozen yogurt from Stoneyfield.

Lake of the Isles

And, since it’s like 20 degrees, we’ve been getting out more! Here is a beautiful shot of the Minneapolis skyline across Lake of the Isles, one of the chain of lakes through Minneapolis. There are some insane houses around these lakes and I can’t wait until it is actually nice out to walk around all of them.

Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center

And last night we went to Target Center in downtown Minneapolis to watch the Timberwolves take on the Oklahoma City Thunder! I really couldn’t care less about basketball but the Timberwolves are so bad you can get a great seat for $8.

Ann, Chris, and Mark

Mark, Chris, and Ann look unimpressed, but we all had a super good time. They are just gearing up for the heartbreak to come.

PT Enjoying Himself

Little does PT know that the TWolves will lose dramatically by 1 in overtime.

And I’ve got to give a little shout out to poor Velma:

Miss Velma

Pudge has been getting a lot of press, between Tuesday’s video appearance and her cameo with my Beatnik from last week, and people were starting to worry about her. Here she is! Being beautiful. As usual.

So, my PT, happy 28th birthday! But I hereby decree an end to our constant celebratory eating, because we are both getting super fat.

FO: Wedding Shrug

I’ve been complaining about working with this fingering weight mohair more than I’ve ever complained about any other yarn I’ve ever worked with. I’m not a big yarn complainer. Yarn is yarn. I know what nice yarn is, and I know what not nice yarn is, and I know annoying yarn when I see it. I called annoying when this yarn was still in the ball.

Wedding Shrug Shoulder

What did I not call? Beautiful. Gorgeous. Lovely. Stunning. Amazing. Seriously, seriously, pretty.

Pretty in the Back

I definitely let my yarn prejudices get in the way of the finished product. And again, I hate hate hated working with this yarn. It’s THIN, and if I had the tiniest bit of moisture on my hands it was impossible to work with. I kept a bottle of baby powder next to me any time I worked on it to put on my hands if they started getting clammy.

Pretty from the Front!

That being sad, when I finished this bad boy up this weekend I was floored by how beautiful it turned out. It was like the Ugly Duckling of knitting. I was too busy hating it to see how pretty it was turning out to be, then BAM! I put it on and almost cried. I kept saying to PT, ‘IT’S SO PRETTY! IT’S SO PRETTY!’

And, for a second, I wanted one myself.

Mohair and Cables

Then I remembered what a serious pain in the ass it was. Never again, Allyson, never again.

It is in the mail to Val, who is getting married at the end of February and can appreciate it for all it’s beauty without being the least bit tainted by the process. And it is beautiful. Probably the most beautiful thing I’ve ever knit. We don’t really specialize in beautiful around here.

Because if I’ve learned one thing from this shrug it’s that beautiful, clearly, is a pain in the ass!

Pattern: Chocolate Shrug by Katya Gorbacheva

Yarn: Filatura Di Crose Baby Kid Extra in 384 0100

Needles: Size 4s for the ribs and size 6s for the body

Ravelry Project Page

How to Video: Using an At Home Swift

I get questions all the time about swifts. If you start off buying your yarn at JoAnn or Michaels like I did you aren’t even familiar with yarn hanks as opposed to skeins of yarn that are ready to knit with. Hanks need to be balled before they are used, and a swift makes that process easier.

One of the first times I ordered yarn from Knit Picks I got 4 hanks for their fingering weight gloss. I had no idea what I was doing so I just started knitting from the first hank. Tangles and crying ensued. I balled the second skein before I started knitting with it and there were more tangles and crying. Hours and hours of my life were put into just balling the stupid yarn and I swore that I would never hand ball yarn ever again.

Enter my at home yarn swift! If anything, now you know what it is! And, while I’m convinced that only boys can see HD, this video is in HD so HD it and be amazed!

There is also a very cute cameo by a Miss Pudge Rodriguez!

And there you have it! Investing in an at home swift isn’t for everyone, but if you are an online yarn shopper and hate untangling and balling your yarn by hand, it may be something you want to add to your craft room.