Monday, December 20, 2010

Leyfi Pullover

I finally had time and decent enough light and a willing photographer to get some shots of my finished Leyfi Pullover.
Pattern:  Leyfi Pullover by Romi Hill, from Interweave Knits Fall 2010
Yarn:  Tahki Yarns Bunny
Needles:  US 10 and 10.5
Started:  July 28, 2010; Finished:  Dec 2010

This sweater was both an easy knit and a huge headache.  It was a complete impulse cast-on.  I didn't swatch, wasn't sure I had enough yarn, and couldn't be bothered to even knit the sleeves on the same size needles as the body  (US 10 for the body; 10.5 for the sleeves since I happened to have a 10.5 16-inch circular and I hate magic looping sleeves).  It's kind of a miracle it came out at all.  Even more amazing is that I'm really happy with it despite some major mistakes.  Early on, I discovered I had completely botched the upper part of the lace yoke (that would be what I get for trying to knit a lace pattern at 4am).  I agonized a bit over this mistake, but in the end, I decided not to rip and kept on knitting.  Deep down I was convinced that these mistakes would drive me crazy even when the sweater was finished.  But I'm pleasantly surprised that I don't care (much).  Even close up, there really isn't anything that jumps out as being wrong.
Now granted, even in that photo, I can point out the mistakes, but I'm fairly certain that most people don't see what I see (and if you do, just lie).  I've worn it happily twice now and accepted compliments without feeling the need to say, "thanks, but, look right there--don't you see all these glaring mistakes? I must be the worst knitter ever".

Other than my unintentional lace customization, I knit the sweater pretty much according to the pattern.  The pattern calls for you to hold two different yarns together, but I used a single ply bulky wool that I had in stash, which worked out just fine.  My only modification was to add some waist and hip shaping.  Even with the shaping, Leyfi has a relaxed fit which I'm finding rather refreshing to wear since most of the sweaters I knit this year are very fitted.  I love the nice long loose sleeves in particular, and the whole sweater is cozy and warm and comfortable and I love it.  Isn't it great when that happens so unexpectedly?  

Maybe most importantly, the nice neutral color doesn't show dog fur.  And yes, that comment is really just an excuse to add in a gratuitous puppy picture. 

With Leyfi finished, my WIP knit-down has hit a speed bump.  I'm slogging away on the Chelsea skirt, but progress is slow and tedious.  Only eleven days left of 2010, and I hope at the very least I'll be able to knock out the last pair of socks. Only time will tell...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

'Tis the season

Having grown up celebrating only Hanukkah, having a Christmas tree is still a novelty for me.  For the past several years we have cut down our tree at Butler's Orchard in Germantown, MD, and this year we carried on that tradition.  I like that it makes the occasion a little more of an adventure and that we are supporting a local farm in the process.  Every year, I marvel at the rows and rows of trees to pick from.

In past years, we easily spent an hour wandering through the rows--we would find a tree we liked, decide to look a little further and eventually decide we liked the first tree best and now couldn't find it.  Usually it was around the third tree we found that we would actually start sawing. This year we were more efficient and cut down the first tree we decided on.  I admit, Mike did most of the hard work while I stood over him supervising and snapping pictures and being generally pretty unhelpful.

Soon the tree was on the car and we were headed home to start decorating.  Awhile back, I started my own little holiday tradition--each year I add a new ornament that reminds me of something that makes me smile.  I love that we are slowly accumulating a collection of ornaments with some sort of personal significance.  Each time I pull one of these from the box, I remember some happy experience or trip. I was thrilled when I was in a running store and found this year's perfect addition. 

I'm still really proud of finishing my first half-marathon (13.1 miles) this year.  No matter how many more races I do, I love that every time I pull out this little green ball, I will think about how wonderful it felt to finish that race and how much fun we had that whole trip.  This simple 13.1, therefore, became my "special" ornament for 2010. 

Another great thing about the trip to the farm is that it's about a 45 minute drive away.  Knitting time!!  The Leyfi pullover was my priority last week, and on the way to and from the farm, I eagerly worked away on the second sleeve.
Leyfi is now finished.  I'm quite happy with it--more so than I expected to be.  I haven't had great light to take pictures so hopefully this weekend Leyfi will get a photo shoot and I'll post all the details then.  Finishing Leyfi brings me down to seven WIPs.  I ripped out one fingerless mitten project since the cuff was too snug, so that brings me to six.  From fourteen to six in less than a month!  Now is when it starts to get a little harder though since most of the projects I'm trying to tackle are not very far along.  I've moved onto the Chelsea skirt, and I can honestly say I hate knitting this project.  Luckily, I still have a sock to work on when I need a break, but I fear finished projects might be few and far between for a bit.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Parade of Socks

Forgetting the yarn for the Leyfi sweater during my long day at the sleep clinic last Wednesday at least translated into progress on the other project I brought. 

Pattern: Burning Rings of Fire (Ravelry pattern) by Kirsten Kapur
Yarn:  Dream in Color Smooshy in Plum Paisley
Needles:  2.5mm
Started: September 2010

The pattern is little more than a basic ribbed sock and not the most interesting knit so I don't have much to say except that I'm happy the socks are done. If I had anything else to knit at the sleep clinic, they would still be a WIP.  Let's move on.

Feeling the burden of finishing Burning Rings lifted, I surprisingly was super motivated to keep working on socks.  So I did not go back to Leyfi last week as planned but turned my attention to another half-finished pair of socks. Before I knew it, more finished socks!

Pattern:  Charade (Ravelry Pattern) by Sandra Park
Yarn:  Yarntini Self-Striping Sock in Peggy (Mad Men collection)
Needles:  2.25mm
Started: September 2010

I love these socks.  LOVE them.  I love that I took the time to make them a nice length.  I love that the stripes match up absolutely perfectly, right down to the three rows of blue at the toe.  I love that they are a perfect match to my brown clogs, which are the only shoes I wear with handknit socks.  Most of all, I love the combination of the stripes with this texture.
A little texture to catch the eye but nothing that disrupts the stripes. Perfect.  This sock yarn was an impulse buy this summer, and it makes me happy that it's been turned into a pair of socks and is not just languishing in the sock yarn drawer.

My sock knitting hasn't slowed just because I've finished two pair in the last week.  No, there is not a third pair I can show off but I did at least finish a first sock. 
It's pretty obvious I'm enjoying the striping yarn lately.  This is another great pattern that makes the sock a little interesting without taking away from the stripes--a free patten that was recently released: Down the Rabbit-Hole (Ravelry download).  One more sock and all four pairs listed for my great WIP knit-down will be complete.  That's kind of amazing to me given my lack of sock knitting for most of this year.

Finally, I finished one more project this week.  Not socks exactly, but they're close enough.

I decided I hated one of the baby sweaters that I had started so I ripped it completely and knit up a pair of Saartje's Booties in its place using some leftover Dale of Norway Baby Ull and some mystery pink scraps.  Instead of cute buttons, I used snaps to secure the straps, mainly because I had no cute buttons and wanted the project finished up quickly more than I wanted to go button shopping. 

So all in all, a very productive week for me even if Leyfi still needs most of a second sleeve.  Three finished projects bring me down to eight total.  Single digits!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


I'm currently at a sleep clinic and will be here all afternoon.  Every two hours I take a 20 minute nap with nothing to do in between but sit around.  I came prepared to get a lot of knitting done and had dreams of finishing the entire second sleeve for Leyfi.  I remembered to bring the sweater.  I remembered to grab the right needles.  I remembered the magazine with the sleeve chart.  Know what I forgot?  The yarn.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Instant Gratification

I crossed two more WIPs off the list last night--the two pairs of slippers (aka Fiber Trends felted clogs).  I swear these things are like magic.  It's insane how fast over 1000 yards of yarn will turn into big floppy shoe-like things, and even more magical that a little hot water and agitation turns them into warm cozy slippers perfect for knocking around the house all winter. 

I made a pair of these for myself a couple of years ago and they were so perfect for my cold floors that I made Mike a pair soon after.  Both of us have lived in them the past few winters, and we've worn holes through the soles. We've been overdue for new pairs for awhile; now I can check that project off the list.

The WIP tally is officially at eleven.  On the chopping block for this week is yet another pair of socks and one of my bigger projects--the Leyfi pullover.

Looks done, right?  Close, but not quite.  I finished the body and first sleeve this weekend, but there is the whole second sleeve to go.  I think I can do it in a few days.  If I knock out the socks and sweater, the tally could be down to single digits by the end of the week.  I think once I get down to five I'll be allowed to start a new project. But, really, I'm not getting ahead of myself or anything...  

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Roger Socks

Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and while my mind is mainly on stuffing recipes and turkey preparation, it is also that time of year that most of us reflect on things for which we are thankful.  My wonderful family and husband Mike top the list, of course.  There are a million reasons for me to be thankful for Mike, but today he was presented with one more reason to me thankful he has me.  Four words sum it up:  merino cashmere handknit socks.
Pattern:  Roger Socks by Anne Hanson
Ravelry Project Page
Yarn:  Sanguine Gryphon Bugga!--Autumn Tiger Beetle
Needles: 2.5 mm
Cast on: July 2010
Finished:  today!

I've used the amazingly beautiful and soft Bugga! yarn for a sweater and a shawl, but these are the first socks.  They certainly won't be the last.  They are soft and squishy and amazing, and it's a good thing they are too big for me otherwise I might have to keep them for myself!  Luckily they are not going far so I can continue to visit and more importantly, carefully supervise their washing.  Ah, pretty pretty socks...

These socks are part of my new dedication to clearing out the knitting works-in-progress.  I recently did an honest count of my WIPs.  Not counting two blankets or the "hibernating" projects (two sweaters, a vest, and three socks), I was at fourteen.  14?!  I clearly got completely out of control somewhere in September and let the trend keep on going, and going, and going.  I've been the Energizer bunny of starting new stuff and putting it down, and now I have this pile:
 The tally includes two sweaters, two fingerless mitts, two baby sweaters, two pairs of slippers, one skirt, four socks, and one scarf.  Yikes!  The pile has been neatly put away and the projects ranked.  I figure if I focus on a few at a time, more will get finished and I'll have less chance of getting too bored.  For this week, I'm focused on finishing the Roger socks (done!) and the slippers, which will bring me down to 11.  That's something at least, but I'm determined to finish up most of these projects before the end of December.  Hopefully for the next few weeks, this blog will be a parade of finished projects.  One can dream...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

You spin me right round, baby, right round....

I've been spinning.  It's not as easy to pick up and put down as when I'm knitting a sock, but I am trying to spin a little each day.  I'm drafting more smoothly, my yarn is getting more even, and, well, I'm starting to think a wheel could be in my future.  I finished spinning about 2 ounces and have plied and made actual yarn.
I've learned, however, that I'm not any more monogamous of a spinner than I am a knitter.  Three spindles = three different yarns in progress.

I've got a little of everything going:  some rough practice wool, fluffy merino roving, and a merino/tencel blend (swoon).  It sort of works for me having a few options when I want to spin.  Different fibers for different moods?  Maybe I'm just a fickle crafter.

I recently was lucky enough to be one of the random winners for a knit-along.  My prize was a custom journal made by Becky's Paper Creations.  I figured that with my new interest in spinning, it would be fun for the journal to be for spinning.  I gave Becky a picture and a few thoughts, and on Saturday, this arrived at my door:
Isn't it the cutest thing?  I love it.  I figure I'll use it to keep samples of fiber and yarn and to record yarn specs.  Now just to keep spinning so I have some more to put in it.  Thanks Becky!

Thursday, November 18, 2010


I don't get a chance to bake all that often anymore, but every once in awhile....

Today was the annual pre-Thanksgiving potluck at my office, and I contributed one of my favorite recipes.  I hate that I'm old enough to say I've been making something for almost 15 years, but I seriously have been making these Turtle Brownies since 1996, and they've never disappointed. 

There's just something about chocolate, pecans, and homemade caramel.

Mike and I are staying home for Thanksgiving this year, and it will just be the two of us, but I already can't wait to start cooking.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Drop Spindle Spinning

I've tried to spin yarn before, but not really having any clue what I was doing, I never got very far.  I have 3 drop spindles and some practice fiber, all of which has been buried away in the closet for the last several months.  When I saw that Cloverhill Yarn was offering a beginning drop spindle class, I jumped on the opportunity.  After two hours of class, I definitely had some progress to show for my time.

 I loved every minute of it. When I got home, I pulled out the pretty trindle and fiber that I got at the Maryland Sheep and Wool festival last year, and I sat down and started spinning. It's new, it's awkward, and it takes my full attention as I try to draft the fibers evenly and keep the spindle spinning. I'm still big on "park and draft" -- meaning I stop the spindle from spinning as I work on drafting the fibers.  My yarn isn't perfect but not lumpy either.

 When you first start knitting, each stitch takes concentration, and in the beginning, it seemed to me that there were always new skills to learn.  I loved that part about learning to knit.  It was easy to block out the world and just stare at the loops of yarn over 2 wooden sticks.  Simple, but so much to pay attention to.  After knitting for several years, rarely do I shut out the entire world and focus only on my hands and stitches.  A big part of me misses that aspect of knitting.  I miss the escape it provided.  For the past several days as I anticipated stress at work, I found myself reaching for the spindle.  Spinning requires my full attention, and there is neither pressure to rush nor an expectation of how much I should be spinning in a given time frame.  No rows to count or fabric to measure, just a calm and quiet twirling spindle.  Progress is slow, but I'm definitely seeing some results.

I'm not sure whether spinning will stick more this time or whether once again the tools will be put aside.  I'm not too worried about it one way or the other.  Right now, I'm just enjoying the peace.  Although I admit, I might be a little eager to finish up the 4 oz of purple fiber I'm working on now so I can move onto this:

Friday, October 22, 2010


Whippoorwill is finished!  Despite some setbacks, it came together rather nicely in the end.

Pattern:  Whippoorwill (Ravelry pattern)
Ravelry Project Page
Yarns: Rainy Days and Wooly Dogs Oleander--Absinthe
            Madelinetosh Sock--Emerald City
Needles:  Size 7 US
Cast on:  October 1, 2010
Finished: October 21, 2010

I know there are a ton of mistakes somewhere, but I have no idea where and nothing is visible. Maybe no mistakes are actually there then?  I didn't waste too much time puzzling that one out.  Instead I enjoyed waltzing around work today with my pretty new shawl wrapped around me and felt like a million bucks. 

It's a very good size shawl--the amount of drape is a little more apparent in this back shot. I only knit the medium size, but I wanted a large shawl that I wouldn't have to constantly be throwing back up over my shoulder.  Since I didn't have enough yarn for the large size, I knit the medium on size 7, so at a little larger gauge than the pattern instructs.  The finished size definitely exceeded my expectations.  It's perfect for warm or cool weather, and I knocked out two skeins of stashed sock yarn to make it.  Basically an all-around win.  I love when I get to say that!

Whippoorwill is an accomplishment for me for another reason.  Picking colors for many people is the fun part of knitting, but I agonize over it.  I have a hard enough time deciding on one color, but when I have to add on a contrast color--oh, the horror!  It can take days of indecision, asking for opinions, changing my mind, even abandoning the project altogether.  This time, however, it came together rather smoothly.  I happened to hold the two skeins together, and it just seemed like it would work. I've gotten so many compliments since I added on the contrast color, I think I can claim this color combination as a success.  This is a rare occurrence for me.

Speaking of the greens, when I added the finished pictures to Ravelry, a trend became ridiculously obvious. Here's a shot from my Ravelry project page of the last three projects I've finished.

Now, here are two more in progress:

It's pretty obvious that I've been on a green kick lately.  This isn't exactly uncommon for me--there have been blue phases, and purple, but I think I might be ready for a change.  I received another package this week--not yarn this time, but something I was even more excited about.

I think I feel a red phase coming on.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


I should have known better than to have been so overconfident in my last post.  The knitting fates rarely let you get away with such cockiness.  Within 6 hours of that post, the project smacked me right back down to reality and time consuming re-knitting.  To make a long story short, there was an incorrect stitch count, a misguided attempt to "wing it" which I quickly realized was ridiculous, followed by the decision to yank the needle out of approximately 385 stitches without a lifeline (yes, I really need to learn not to make important knitting decisions at 4am). For the past two nights I've been picking up stitches, repairing dropped stitches, counting, recounting, trying to mark pattern repeats, and generally get the pattern back on track.

It's as fixed now as it's going to get, and I learned a valuable lesson:  when the pattern says to count your stitches frequently--do it!

This morning I finished the main color section of the project while almost holding my breath and then breathing a huge sigh of relief.  My cake of yarn seemed to be diminishing a little too quickly last night, and the worry that I wouldn't have enough started to set in. This yarn is a skein from a monthly club and to get more I would have to beg for someone's leftovers or a trade. I finished the last main color row without a problem, but  here's all that's left:
Despite these issues, I really have been enjoying this pattern, which I'll go ahead and reveal is the shawl Whippoorwill (Ravelry pattern).  I was actually quite excited to get back to it each night.  My knitting mojo must really be back.  I certainly hope so since I received a box filled with soft tweedy yarn this week and cast on the Chelsea Skirt last night in between my shawl repair work.
The yarn is Knit Picks City Tweed HW in Chipmunk.  Given the latest knitting smackdown, I was very diligent and made a nice big swatch.  So far, so good.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


I've been working away on a new project.

Just this teaser shot for now though!  It's actually fairly well along, and if I keep up the pace, I should have a finished project by the end of the weekend.  I'm so happy to be enthused about knitting again. You know that "really, I'll put it down after one more row" phase?  That's been me for the last several nights.   It feels great.  I'd write more, but since I can't put it down and haven't mastered knitting and typing simultaneously, something's gotta give.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Never say never

As a kid growing up, I watched my Dad finish marathon after marathon.  By the time I was a teenager he had run 20 marathons.  He tried to get me involved in running, but it never took.  For pretty much my entire life, I jogged sporadically for exercise but never seriously.  Three miles was the farthest I worked up to, and I never had much enthusiasm to try to push further.  Until this year. 

A little over a week ago, Mike and I flew down to Orlando, Florida (Disney World!), and on October 2 at 10pm, I started jogging with a crowd of over 12 thousand at the Disney Wine&Dine half-marathon.  A little after midnight on October 3, I finished my first half-marathon--13.1 miles!
Mike and I pre-race
It was so much fun! The course took you through three Disney parks, and there were bands and characters along the way cheering on the runners.  We ended in Epcot for a late-night party, and got back to our hotel sometime around 4am.  The whole experience was a blast from start to finish, and I can't explain how excited I am about this accomplishment.  It's huge for me.  A year ago, I would have never believed I would be able to run this distance.  I ran more slowly than I hoped and missed my target time by about 10 minutes, but I could care less.  I finished a half-marathon, running the entire race (except planned walking through the water stops), and that's all that matters.

I spent the next several days pretending I was Minnie Mouse.

It was a much needed vacation from home, from work, and I admit, even from knitting.  Despite great intentions, I did almost no knitting.  I think I needed the break.  I'm ready to make all kinds of progress now.  Let the fall knitting begin!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Pefectly Reasonable

Is there anyone that doesn't love to come home to packages?  The one waiting for me today was extra special.
Four beautiful skeins of sock yarn.  Um, oops?

I often feel guilty about my stash.  I frequently need to remind myself that I spend well within my means, all my bills are paid, the dogs are fed, and the yarn makes me happy.  Perfectly reasonable, right?  But when I finished admiring my new skeins and went to put them away, I discovered the sock yarn drawer is full.  I could cram in a skein or two but not all four.  Something about that fact is disturbing to me.  I have several other drawers filled with yarn where the yarn could go so it's not a storage issue.  It just makes me start to wonder if I've crossed some line and have started to go a little too crazy with the sock yarn.

I would feel better if I were finishing projects and using up more yarn, but I haven't been the most productive knitter lately.  That brings me to yet another interesting development.  I finished a Marigold sock last month.  It's a really cute pattern. This weekend I grabbed the rest of the yarn and started knitting.  I was really enjoying the pattern and by Sunday evening I was already about halfway finished with the sock.  Wow, almost a finished pair, right?  Um, not so much.

Uh, what's the problem with this picture?  I knit a completely different pattern when I started the second sock.  It wasn't a mistake; I did it on purpose.  As much as I like the Marigold pattern, I wasn't in love with the first sock and didn't want to knit it again.  I'm so much happier with how the yarn looks in the second pattern (Charade), and when it's finished, the original sock will be ripped and reknit to make a matching pair.  I think this was a perfectly reasonable decision.  I really really love the yarn, and I want to be happy with the finished project.  That's much more important to me than checking another project off the list just so I can move onto another one. So reasonable, right? Yes.  Absolutely.  Nevertheless, this fickleness is certainly not helping me knit down the sock yarn stash, is it now?  Would it be wrong to cast on 5 shawls tonight just so I can feel like the yarn is being used?  Then I could lament about my overflowing WIP drawer....

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

My new obsession

The whole thing began so innocently with an impulse buy at the farmer's market in July.  I picked up some pickling cucumbers and got it into my head that I would try to make half-sour pickles.  Within a few hours I had dug out some old mason jars, found a recipe, and before I knew it, this was sitting in my dining room:

And a few days later...pickles!  I was so very proud and excited and eager to try more stuff.  When my parents were vising over Labor Day weekend, I took them out to a farm to pick fresh peaches and tomatoes.  My Mom absolutely loved it, and soon we had picked 40 lbs of peaches and about 20 lbs of tomatoes.  The tomatoes were easy, and after a few batches of gazpacho and salsa, they're about used up.  The peaches were a little more challenging.  I've baked since I was a young kid, so before when I've gotten a little out-of-control when peach picking, I've used them to make peach ice cream, pie, cake, etc.  But the pickling put all sorts of ideas in my head, and suddenly I was obsessed with making jam.  Since I had no proper supplies, attempt #1 was plain peach freezer jam.  It was so amazingly delicious, and I was determined to try more.  Not ever being satisfied with only going halfway, I was wanted to do the real deal:  I wanted to try canning.

I spent a couple of weeks gathering up supplies and reading whatever I could find on the Internet about how to can, and off I went.  I started out with a peach rum butter recipe.  The butter turned out pretty well, but the canning was a total fail.  I knew my glass-top stove might be a problem and sure enough, it wouldn't sustain a high-enough temperature to keep the water boiling in the canner.  Sigh.  The yummy peach rum butter was relegated to the freezer, and I went back to the drawing board.  The possible solutions for the stove required more equipment (a canner with a flat bottom and smaller circumference), which I really wasn't ready to invest in.  But I kept reading and stumbled across another option--using a camp stove.  I have a camp stove and the poor thing hadn't seen any use in a couple of years.  Perfect!  So last weekend, I cooked up some peach amaretto jam and attempted outdoor canning.

And you know what?  It totally worked.  The water boiled.  All the jars sealed like they are supposed to.  And now I have a new obsession.  Instead of perusing the Internet for new knitting patterns, I'm suddenly looking for canning recipes, and I'm ridiculously excited about apple season now.  I have a new craving for homemade applesauce and I think the whole family might be getting apple butter over the holidays.

Ironically, this morning I stumbled across this blog post that mentions how canning has recently become sort of a new fad.  I had no idea my new hobby was the latest cool domestic thing to do, and I admit knowing that takes a hint of the wind out of my sails, but I don't think even that will  slow me down much. Knitting used to be so exciting because I felt that I learned something new with every project.  Knitting hasn't been like that for a long time, and I'm feeling some burn out lately.  A new interest was definitely needed.  So expect pictures with canned applesauce at some point this fall!  But no worries that I will turn this from a knitting to a canning blog--I have way too much yarn to stop knitting (and a good bit more currently on the way).  But for now, I'm off to make more pickles since I'm about out of peaches.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Enjoying the Process

At the beginning of 2010, I joined the Intswemodo2010 on Ravelry.  Intswemodo=International Sweater-a-Month Dodecathon. Twelve sweaters in twelve months. Before I joined, I counted up my sweaters from 2009.  There were eight, and so it didn't seem beyond the realm of possibility that I could kick it up a notch and crank out four more in 2010. Well over eight months in and I have finished six sweaters.  It's not looking good for me right now (I firmly believe my new fascination with sweaters made with sock yarn is to blame).  Realistically there's no way twelve is going to happen, but I still have that goal nagging at me.  I'm all of five inches into the body of Vivian, and when I've looked at it the past few days, all I could think is that it's not going fast enough for me to get to the other sweaters waiting in the wings.  Stressing over the sweater made me not want to knit it, and I kept reaching for other projects.

I do this a lot with knitting.  I set all kinds of crazy goals, and before I know it, I start stressing over finishing things and forget that knitting is not work.  At 4 am this morning when I couldn't sleep (shocking, I know), I turned to Vivian determined to simply enjoy knitting.  For a good row and a half, this worked out perfectly as I knit along quite contently.  Then I spotted a problem:  one of my cables was crossed the wrong direction.  Now in a sweater with hundreds of cabled stitches, it's amazing that I felt this was something to worry about, but there was no way I was going to be able to let this one go.
At 4 am I was in no shape to deal with this problem, and I started working on a sleeve instead.  When I was better rested, however, I turned back to the cable problem.  The wrong cross-over was 6 rows down.  Maybe I could just drop all the stitches down, cross the cable to the right, and pick up all the stitches again, and everything would be perfect, right?

I'm kind of impressed with myself that I did just that.

Dropped down 4 stitches all six rows.  It looked a little scary at this point.

But thanks to a trusty crochet hook, there was a happy ending. All the stitches picked up rather nicely, and a few rows later, you could barely tell where I did all that "surgery".  All the cables were happily leaning to the right as they should.

Phew.  I've already got one project in progress with some huge mistakes; I was not mentally prepared to have two.  I guess that trying to be less of a perfectionist has some limits.  Nevertheless, somehow today reminded me to enjoy the process of knitting and to not think of only the end result when knitting a sweater.

Friday, September 10, 2010

On its way

I'm not a warm weather girl, and this record-breaking hot summer has been rough. But when I left the house this morning, there was a chill in the air.  For the first time in months, I'm wearing closed-toe shoes and needed a light jacket. Sweater weather is on its way! And I couldn't be happier about it.

Last week I cast on Vivian.  I'm using Rowan Cocoon in a very pale sage green called "Fog".   I think relaxing on the couch with my new project is the perfect way to celebrate the change in weather.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


Despite how busy I was last weekend, I did manage to sneak in a good bit of knitting time.  By Wednesday I had a new finished sweater to show for it.


Pattern:  Goodale (Ravelry pattern) by Cecily Glowik MacDonald
Yarn:  Sanguine Gryphon Skinny Bugga! in Southern Green Stink Bug
Needles: size 6 US
Cast on:  July 25, 2010
Finished:  August 25, 2010

I knit Goodale pretty much exactly to pattern with one major exception--the bottom edge ribbing.  Pattern directions have you knit the 1x1 ribbing and then fold over and sew down the fronts.  I had seen a couple of finished sweaters where this ribbing looked really heavy, and I had an idea I wanted to try out.  Before I switched to the ribbing, I slipped the first 25 stitches onto a third needle.

I then folded over the front edge:

From there I started the 1x1 ribbing, knitting each stitch on the front needle together with one from the back.  This gave me the bottom seam I was going to have to sew to make the little pockets and avoided needing to fold over ribbing.  I'm not sure whether this really made any difference or whether I would've liked the other way better, but the finished edge looks nice so I'm going to try not to overthink it.

The Good:
  • The fabric is heavenly (have I mentioned I love, love, love this yarn?)--light enough to wear in summer heat and after blocking, it's so soft and smooth no description I give will do it justice.
  • I'm really happy with the color. 
  • In general, it's a cute style and something I don't have much of. 
  • And I love the buttons. (Thank you G Street Fabrics in Rockville, MD)

The Bad:
  • I really wish it were a tad less cropped.  I added a couple of inches to the overall length, and I still feel like it's short (I guess this is fixable if I do some ripping....)
  • Since I feel like it's a little short for pants, it really makes me want to wear it over a cute sundress that I do not own  (okay so that's not really the sweater's fault).
  • I sort of feel like it falls too open when I'm wearing it, and I found myself tugging it a little more closed a lot (hmmm, that might be more me being self-conscious and maybe I shouldn't blame the sweater).
Final verdict on Goodale?  Well....I'm a little undecided.  I named this project "Patience is a Virture" both because it took a lot of patience to wait to start it (I forced myself to finish Tempest first) and because I feel like I rushed through it at the end  and maybe I'd be a little happier with it if I had been more patient and taken my time.  Maybe this winter I'll rip out the hem and add even more length. We'll see. For now I will wear it and enjoy it and over-analyze later.

I'm off in a couple of hours for another busy weekend--at 1pm today I will hop on my bike and participate in a 24 hour ride to raise awareness and funds to fight cancer.  You ride as little or much as you want during the 24 hours.  I'm shooting for between 100 and 150 miles.  By Sunday I expect to be rather sore and tired, but I'm sure I'll steal a little knitting time between rides so maybe I'll also have a little progress on a sock too.