Friday, August 30, 2013

Dreaming of Downton

Everyone I know was infuriated about how Downton Abbey ended last season. None of us have spoken about it since, really. Now, though, I'm starting to miss it. Starting to get anxious for the new season. I'm not sure if this will help or make it worse.


Pattern: Effortless Cardigan by Hannah Fettig from Knitbot Essentials
Yarn: Madelinetosh Prairie in Antique Lace and Cloak
Needles: US 6
Project Page

I was so upset with last season that I put this sweater down in the middle of the show and KAL. It took until May for me to pick it back up and then only in spurts. When I finally buckled down to do the collar, it seemed endless! But I got through it and here it is in greater glory than I first imagined! I'm channeling Sybil now....strolling the streets of Dublin as a stylish, independent woman..... :)

I bought the yarn on our road trip last year at the infamous Churchmouse Yarns and Teas on Bainbridge Island in Washington. It was a really lovely treat. I made Druella Black in the Cloak and knew I wanted to do this sweater or one like it in the Antique Lace. I didn't realize I would have so much yarn leftover from the shawl and somehow got it into my head that I would like to colorblock the cardi. I have a lot of white cardis after all, so a little color could go a long way.

The color was the only modification I made. I did 4 inches of the Cloak, I think. I used intarsia (gasp!) to work the collar coloring. I've never properly learned intarsia, but this looks good and sort of how I think I once read intarsia looks. It was a tangled mess, but the end result is worth the suffering. Many complain that the cardi slips off the shoulders. I haven't had much trouble with that, but know there are solutions, like sewing a ribbon across the back neck or crocheting a chain there. A ribbed collar might also do the trick.

The yarn...oh! the yarn! It's really fabulous! Super soft and I think it'll wear really well. I knit Hannah's Breezy out of Malabrigo Lace and that thing felts and shrinks when I even think about wearing it, but the Prairie, a superwash single, isn't interested in sticking together at all. I've only hand-washed it. I think a spin in the washer might make it even more desirable. The washer certainly turned Narragansett into one of my all time favorites after being a so-so option. I know, the thought of machine-washing Madtosh is almost sacrilegious, but it's really part of the Madtosh magic!

Do you miss Downton too? Maybe you're waiting for another show to start back up? Game of Thrones? Walking Dead? Me too. :) Others? I'm a tv junkie. Hook me up!

For more FO Friday posts, visit Tami's Amis!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Free Up Some Stitching Time

Wednesday should be sort of a relief, right? You can look back at Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday and think, "Thank goodness that's behind me." You only have Thursday and Friday to get through. I always think, "Oh crap, I only have a couple days to do all that stuff!" The first weeks of school are terrible like that.

That's why I knit. That's why I carry knitting with me everywhere I go. When I get overwhelmed, pessimistic, or just sleepy and need a break, I pull out a project. I've carried Wispy around all week and haven't knit a stitch except maybe on the bus Monday. I just have too much to do!

But I keep toting it around, hoping for a quiet moment between tasks or class that I can't fill with reading, snacking, or some other short menial task. That moment just hasn't come yet. It's actually been a pretty great incentive to work hard in the evenings to get my work done so I can knit during my catch-up times during the day. We'll see if it pays off with some knitting time tomorrow. :)

Now, if only I could run and knit at the same time, I'd double my daytime knitting....

When do you knit? Do you set blocks of time during the day or just pick it up when you have a moment? Surely you carry knitting with you everywhere too? What sorts of projects do you tote?

For more WIP Wednesday posts, visit Tami! For more Summer Sweater posts, go see Shannon!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Happy New Year!

School started today! I'm excited because I don't have to take classes anymore and can now devote most of my work-week to reading for and working on my dissertation. I feel like I have acres of free time, but I know that's not necessarily true. I'm sitting in on a class and assisting in teaching another that is very heavy on writing (and so, grading). I'm sure I'll still find plenty of time to knit. :)

I'm an academic, so the year starts for me here, in late August. I made a few resolutions at the beginning of the year and, I must say, I'm doing very well! They were: destash, give more projects away, buy more dresses and skirts, buy clothing in muted colors (not bright primaries), revamp the blog, and schedule more posts. I've done everything but the blogging stuff. I'm working on it, though.

New school year, new resolutions, yeah? Well, they aren't that different, really.

  • Continue to destash.
  • Finish all the WIPs (and become a touch more monogamous with my knitting projects--just a touch!).
  • Get rid of unflattering or ill-fitting clothing in the closet and replace with fitting and flattering options.
  • Wear heels more often.
  • Get better photos of older knitted garments as I pull them out to wear them.
  • Revamp the blog, pick topics to discuss on Mondays (not the usual rambling).
I just bought a few little memo books and jotted down notes to help me with two of these things, so let's see how it goes, yeah? How are you doing on your resolutions? If the answer is "not well," forget I asked. ;)

I can't write a post without a picture, so here is Teddy, looking a little fatter and spunkier than you last saw him. Part of my final resolution is getting the bunnies (and hopefully the fish, too) back on the blog. I'll see what I can do!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Is It Still Summer?

The weather this week has proven that it is, indeed, still summer. The campus was abuzz this afternoon, signaling the impending season change. The weather has been so strange this year that I fear we might be in for an early and long winter, but I'm hoping for more of the wonderful fall/spring/early summer mixture of temps we've had. In any case, the calendar hasn't kept me from dreaming up and knitting on some fall sweaters.

The Greatest

Pattern: Buckwheat by Veera Välimäki
Yarn: Sundara Yarn Petite Sock Yarn in Lunar Eclipse (December or January colorway)
Needles: US 6 and US 2.5
Project Page

This is my first sweater for the luvinthemommyhood Summer Sweater KAL this year! Last year I had the incredible fortune to win grand prize in the drawing and that got me...a lot of yarn. :) One thing I won was a gift certificate to Sundara Yarn. Sundara dyes only three colorways each month and she changes them every month. If you love this month's Inspired by Monet colors, for example, you have to get them now because they go away on August 31st. You might get lucky and catch them in the Odds and Ends next month, but why risk it? I fell so in love with the two colorways in December, I think it was, that I bought them both. I bought a deep purple for legwarmers and this light purple-grey. The yardage in every skein is very generous, so I only needed two for this sweater, which I had in mind when I hit "Buy".

I love Veera's patterns. This one has been in my queue for a long time. I think it was the neckline that really sold me. I forgot, however, that I'm slump-shouldered and a bit of a hunchback, so maybe boatnecks aren't my thing. She always uses short-row sleeve caps, too, which I'm also not a fan of, but they fit well enough, so I can't complain. I will complain about the short-row shaping at the shoulders on both the front and back. I get bubbles there because I think my slump-shoulders don't pull the sweater into the right shape. I'd do fewer short-rows there if I knit it again and maybe omit them altogether on the back to draw attention away from my hunchback, which I feel like pokes up out of the neckline more than it ought. All that to say that the yarn and pattern are genius and all of my complaints have to do with the fact that I have terrible posture!

The name has nothing to do with my feelings about the sweater. It's all right, definitely not the greatest. The name comes (as most do) from the name of a song. This one by the stunning Cat Power. Chan Marshall might have the most beautiful singing voice I've ever heard. She's been singing for commercials when not recording and I want to buy every product her voice appears behind. :)

Have you ever finished a sweater that was perfectly functional but didn't really fill you with excitement? Have you grown to love it or do you still feel that way? Does it hide in your closet, or do you wear it fairly often because it is so functional?

Forgive my wordiness today. :P For more FO Friday posts, visit Tami! It's not too late to join in the Summer Sweater KAL, either.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


I have a strange dissatisfaction with my current knitting projects. I think it is a mixture of my back-to-school anxiety, an anxiety about how many works-in-progress I have scattered around, and the simple fact that most of my big, active WIPs are stockinette. I need a little pattern in my life. :)

Recently my mind has gone all the way back to this gem. I call it My Office Is a Fridge because, well, it is and this guy is going to help me cope. The pattern is Sedum. I'm working off the free notes from 2010, which was only one size (thank goodness, because I wasn't smart enough to note the size on my project page!). I'm not sure what it is that makes me want to pick it back up. The seed stitch? The bulky yarn? That it only needs sleeves, bands, and a collar? The coming school year? I do always think of this cardi when I have to go into the office again. Some day it will live in there and I won't have to dress with a guess as to what the temp will be like on any given day. That's the temp in my office.

My active project is a Wispy Cardi. I have a couple of friends who've been talking about knitting it, which made me think of it, and one or two popped up in the Summer Sweater KAL, which made me want to knit it sooner and the new colors in Tern just put me over the edge, so here it is! It's going pretty quickly, but I'm starting to get elbow pain from the stockinette, so I'm trying to take it easy with the knitting. That's really hard to do!

What are you working on? Have you dug up any ghosts from the WIP pile recently? How many do you have in that pile? You'll be meeting more of mine each week until they are gone!

Monday, August 19, 2013

I'm Here!

Wow! Last week was a blog fail. Sorry about that! I'm starting to get back-to-school anxiety. I have to keep reminding myself that life won't be over if a few things don't get finished before school starts, it'll just be delayed a little. We'll see how long that remains conciliatory. :)

Here are some snapshots of my weekend relaxing with family. I hope yours was as enjoyable!

Friday, August 9, 2013

A Striped Summer Sweater

Taylor Point

Pattern: Driftwood by Isabell Kraemer
Yarn: The Fibre Company Acadia in Driftwood and Kelp
Needles: US 7
Project Page

I bought the yarn first, planning on making Bethany Wrap, but the more I perused the finished objects, the less I liked it. Besides that, I have a bajillion cardigans and only a couple of pullovers, so I have made a promise to myself to make a few more pullovers before I cast-on another cardi. Since I always make whatever Isabell Kraemer makes (intentionally or not!), it wasn't hard to find a new pattern for my lovely yarn. She designs some very simple, lovely, and comfy wardrobe staples. Between the Henley collar and the stripes, I'm not sure what more a girl could want!

I made a few modifications: Acadia is sport weight and the pattern calls for worsted. I went down a needle size to avoid making the fabric too holey and still managed to get gauge while also making a substantial fabric. I wanted a nice, loose fabric and I got it. I also converted the contiguous set-in sleeves to raglan sleeves because I like raglans and I don't like contiguous set-in. :) I am lazy and haven't posted the raglan mods to my project page. Message me on Ravelry and I'll put them up if you are interested.

The stripe modification is actually from Isabell's own "Refined" version. I did two-row stripes and color blocked the bottom and the sleeves, as you can see! I have a skein and a half or so of the grey left, so I might lengthen the body a bit. I feel like I need more grey there to balance the sleeves I want to thank you all for your reassurances about the stripes because, in the end, the contrast is perfect and not at all muddled like I thought it might be.

I could live in this sweater for ever and ever and ever. The yarn is so soft and just warm enough for a cool summer evening. The length of the sleeves is perfect, the fit is incredible, and the stripes...oh the stripes....I named the sweater after a spot in Olympic National Park. It was the first place we saw driftwood and kelp on our trip last year and, so, the first place I thought of when I got the yarn. It was also slightly chilly there, so I expect I'll wear this sweater all trip long next time we go!

I think every sweater I finish is my new favorite sweater, but this one is for real! I swear! What's your favorite knitted or crocheted item? Do you have more than one in the same pattern? I'm considering a Bog and Blue Heron one now after glancing at the Acadia colors again. :)

For more FO Friday posts, go to Tami's Amis!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Piles Upon Piles

I missed writing on Monday in an effort to get some stuff done, but now I feel like I haven't written for ages (or gotten anything done, for that matter). I don't like that feeling. Gotta stick to the blogging schedule. :)

I made a really long list of my WIPs on a Ravelry thread and now I feel like I should ban myself from casting things on until other things are done. It's gotten kind of ridiculous! I have 13 easily finishable WIPs and 7 hibernating projects. I feel less bad about the hibernating stuff, but some of them could come out of hibernation if I had fewer works-in-progress....Or know their inevitable demise sooner, anyway.

In any case, here's the sweater I've been chugging away on for the Summer Sweater KAL while my WIPs beg for attention. I started it last Thursday and expect to have it done this weekend. It's worked up super, duper fast!

I don't like short-row sleeves, though. They don't look that great and I don't think they fit that well, either. I can't figure out why, since set-in sleeve caps have the exact same shape. I might have to tear it out and figure out a different solution. Do you like short-row sleeves? Do you have a suggestion if I have to try something different?

I hope I'm not the only one with loads of works-in-progress. Make me feel better? Or worse. I can take it. :) I promise to finish one or two things before I cast-on something new. Pinkie swear!

For more WIP Wednesday posts, visit Tami's Amis!

Friday, August 2, 2013

I Heart Stars

Stars, the Chart of My Heart


Pattern: Celestarium by Audry Nicklin in Twist Collective Winter 2012
Yarn: madelinetosh Tosh Sock in Cosmos
Needles: US 4
Project Page

My favorite memories from childhood are stargazing with my parents. My dad bought a telescope, watched a crazy PBS astronomy guy, and we gazed at meteor showers, space stations, colored stars, and nebulae from our driveway for hours on end. I got into Classics because I love the constellations and their ancient stories. Naturally, the second I saw this shawl, I knew I had to make it, right? I'm going to let it speak for itself. It's a lovely color, the beads are pretty and complimentary, and the pattern is super thorough and not quite as attention-sucking as you might think.

Oh yes, the beads also do this:

Glow in the dark! It blows my mind every time. :) I can't stop smiling at the thing, it's so nerdy! I'm even thinking of reading the Coma Berenice poem by Callimachus (translated by Catullus, too) at our department coffee hour this semester and super-nerdily pointing out the constellation on the shawl, ha!

I finished a lot of stuff this week (hence the radio silence on Wednesday), so I have many FOs for Fridays to come! I've gotten the bug to tackle my pile of WIPs. You?

For mor FO Friday posts, go to Tami's Amis!