6000+ Pullover Possibilities? Not quite.

When I toy with the idea of being a fulltime knitter I’m always reminded of what Nicki Epstein said to me when I told her I was a budding designer. “Don’t quit your day job!” This was not in response to my skill as a designer—she hadn’t seen any of my patterns—her point was that anyone trying to make a living of it would starve unless they had another means of support these days.

Though Knitting is now mainstream, and I credit Ravelry with being one of the bigger catalysts of this movement among the Internet savvy, making knitting your job would be hard in spite of the moving stories on various podcasts and blogs of people that have gone down that road. The fact is, most of them do have another means of support.

But I digress.

If you’ve read this blog before you probably know the only thing I purchase in larger quantities than yarn is patterns. Literally my Ravelry library is considerably larger than my stash–4200+ patterns at last count. I have books and magazines dating back to Vogue Knitting issues from the 40s. I collect patterns.

This might seem odd, given I can and often do create my own patterns. And despite being in high-tech and spending a lot of time (in the past) writing code, I do not use sweater designer software. Instead I prefer the creativity and error prone method of graph paper and swatching. In part, I attribute this to having inherited most of my stash.

I saw Melissa Leapman’s book 6000+ Pullover Possibilities, as a way to have my cake and eat it too. Firstly I love her designs—such attention to detail! I thought I could use her book to make my pastime a bit less frustrating—leaving more time for garment making and less time for scratching my head over pattern design and math. And I was half right.

On the positive, this book contains great sizing charts—so if I were to ignore Nicky’s advice and decide to become a designer—this would be a VERY helpful guide indeed. From XS to 4X they are completely spelled out and even over different gauges. Wowza! These charts alone make the book extremely helpful to folks on a stash reduction diet.

6000 possibilities-2

What this book doesn’t contain is 6000 sweater possible sweaters. There are 3 sweater silhouettes, four sleeve styles, 6 collars and some “treatments”. If you do the math you could say you have 72, but these are all so similar and completely classic that the “possibilities” are closer to 4-5 actual designs.

Is it worth the $24.95? I’d say so. Especially for reducing the trial and error of stash busting. But I am just slightly disappointed that there aren’t a few more silhouettes—especially for more fashion forward designs, to really make this a “must have” book.

When I compare that to Sequence Knitting, which I turn to as a great reference guide, I’d have to say I stack rank it a bit higher. But perhaps that will change the more that I use it.

I Love Your Sweater!


Music to a knitter’s ears.

Especially when you can come back with “I made it!”

Perhaps now is NOT the time to knit that ski sweater I’ve got my eye on. I’ve even knitted the swatch for a Slopes Pullover from the cover of KnitScene Winter 2016. But now, after hearing this sweater compliment when I checked into my hotel in DC, I’m thinking, ‘Why am I knitting a ski sweater and more woolen socks?’ and ‘Wouldn’t it be nice to work on a nice cotton yarn?’

I’d reknit this “Perfect Periwinkle” sweater  by Stefanie Japel in a heartbeat now! Maybe even using a purple yarn like the fuchsia Bernat Panama Worsted Weight cotton I have in my stash.

And maybe I’ll make up my own cardigan pattern to go with it or modify her Off-Rib Cardigan to make it match. 😊

Stefanie Japel’s Off-Rib Cardigan

Woolen Socks in Summer

After the prototype I got busy making socks out of vintage Ski Sweater yarn from Denmark that is no doubt much older than me. But this stuff is amazing! It’s called Brunswick Dansk Ski-Crepe and I had four colors that I inherited. I’m trying VERY hard to not buy new yarn and shop from my stash–but–and I know I’m not alone here. That’s a tough thing to do–especially when you didn’t buy it and don’t have enough for a big project.

The four colors were a grey that I made into a seed stitch beret; a red mixed with charcoal I made into socks for the man; a navy/forest green mix which are also now a pair of socks. In my stash, I still have a straight green, but of that, I have enough to make a sweater. Too bad it’s the color I like the least.

Nick shrunk the first pair by washing and drying them on hot, so now I have a very stout pair of new hiking socks. The second pair I knit longer and taller, but I fear they too will become mine. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing…


It looks like I’m on the trend to knit summer sweaters in winter and now in the heat of summer I’m knitting wool socks.

I guess that’s just the way it goes.  


I’ve been going on and on about getting better at socks. Knitting bigger yarn on small needles is producing some wonderful results. I felt quite a bit better after watching a Very Pink Tutorial on reinforcing socks by Staci Perry when she said, “They say that there are as many stitches in a pair of socks as a ladies sweater.” Amen sista!


Before I headed into this, I made a prototype pair that I never thought anyone (except maybe me) would wear. They were out of a skein ball of acrylic yarn I picked up for a song, Deborah Norville Everyday Soft Worsted Prints in Lava. My husband teased me and teased me about the colors. When I finished one he asked, “Aren’t you going to make a pair?” “I think I might not have enough yarn, but I suppose I can try.” And try I did.

The “truth”

Once made, I took the picture above. And that was the last time I wore them because as soon as possible, he’d captured them and wore them constantly–that is when they weren’t in the wash.

The "hole" truth
The “hole” truth

Two things were the problem: firstly, they were not made of sock yarn, and second, there was no reinforcing in the heels, but the most hilarious thing is he so UPSET and absolutely MUST have a proper replacement pair—just like them. Somehow I’ve converted him, says he, to “lurid” colored socks.

And nothing but the truth…

I spent hours looking for a hand painted yarn to replace them and finally found a limited supply, Webs only, similarly colored yarn with at 10X the cost. Zen Garden Serenity DK in Gypsy Rose. I’ll still have to reinforce the heel—because they are wool, but they will surely last longer than this sad pair. I highly recommend you give Staci’s YouTube video a watch for learning how.

Idle Hands

It was it a lazy weekend. I was really sick the week before and I was really trying to get well. I’ve got another pair of socks on the needles, but what was I doing? Looking up the cost of apartments in a couple of the buildings we saw getting renovated in Florence. And surprisingly, they were affordable. In fact it is cheaper to buy a place there than Seattle—by half! And I’m talking about walking distance to the Duomo with a view of the Arno. Of course many of them are centuries old and need some work…

Okay. Enough shillyshallying and daydreaming. Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.