The Knitting Doldrums (or “A Nasty Case of Startitis”)

I would post a picture of the Vera Sweater, but it would be redundant. Though I have knitted on it for rows and rows, it has refused to grow or change in any percievable way. I should have known. A beautiful sweater will be had at the end, but the Wool of the Andes starts to chafe after so much stockinette and the brain screams for something more interesting.

I would post a picture of the something interesting that I am working on, but that would ruin the surprise. You see, I am one of those crazy people who starts making Christmas gifts in February and I currently have a lovely on the needles. It may be for you. No pictures, no hints.

I would post a picture of a new project, but I have not started one yet. To combat this startitis I am experiencing, I have made a deal with myself. Finish knitting one ball of yarn on the Vera Sweater and one ball on the secret project and then I will allow myself to commission Year of the Sweater Project #4. Let’s see. Which should it be?

Labyrinth in Louisa Harding Grace?

Or

The Mondo Cable Cardigan in Dream in Color Classy?

Or

The Vine Yoke Cardigan in Malabrigo Worsted?

You know what I am leaning toward? The Impasto Shawlette from the new issue of Interweave Knits with The Unique Sheep Pima Petite (which I don’t have…yet).

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Temporary Insanity

I consider myself a fairly even-keeled person. I don’t tend to veer off on wild tangents very often, but it seems like every once in a while, out of the blue, crazy strikes. There was the recent puppy incident, which we won’t relive while it is yet fresh and painful. And there was the time I thought I should knit the medium size diaper cover for a newborn (because there is no way babies come out that small!) But I usually recover in time to save myself. Usually.

Meet exhibit A – Yarn (that I hate) on comically large needles (that I hate) being knit into a pattern (that, you guessed it, I hate).

You’d think that I would stop. Maybe I would say to myself, “Self, yarn that you hate on needles that you hate kntting a pattern that you hate is not going to produce anything you will love.”

Meet exhibit B:

Not only did I finish knitting every, excruciating row, but I actually put it on a chair in my house for all too see! Not too bad, you say? Kinda interesting, you say? Observe.

Exhibit C- After a mere two months of wear and tear:

I rest my case.

A Little Randomness Never Hurts

Randomly speaking….

1) Year of the Sweater Project #3 “Chai” is done and waiting on buttons. I ordered the nicest wood buttons from Etsy and will sew them on and post pictures the second they arrive!

2) I love bedtime stories.

3) I have thumbed through my new book, “100 Flowers to Knit & Crochet” by Lesley Stanfield, so many times now that I have it almost memorized. I can see heavily embellished knitwear in my future….

4) The doll dress is finished. Just a few modifications to the pattern and it works. Next time I would change a few more things, though. I still have time to make another better one. This one is pretty cute, though!

5) Emma, the “Queen of Random” gave me this last random thought. As she picked at invisible somethings in the babies hair yesterday, she said, “Mama, Chloe has squirrels in her hair.” What a kid!

Chloe’s Baby

I have the most wonderful, creative friend. This girl is downright inspiring! Among her many amazing talents, she also makes dolls. Simple, adorable dolls in the Waldorf style. I just bought this one from her for Chloe’s 1st birthday.

Totally cute, right? And did you see the diaper? All hand stitched, all natural materials. Amazing.

So, I get to make doll clothes for her using this: (forgive the bad pic, please. It is all about color, anyway!)

It is Knit Picks Stroll Sock in Twinkle Heather. Using this yarn, I will make the dress from the Ragdoll pattern in Debbie Bliss Essential Knits for Kids. I can’t wait to start! Kids are so fun to knit for!

God Knits

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” Psalm 139:13

“Clothe me with skin and flesh
and knit me together with bones and sinews?

You gave me life and showed me kindness,
and in your providence watched over my spirit.” Job 10:11-12

God knits. Cool.

Tribute

Almost a week ago, I started my Year of the Sweater Project Sweater #3. Usually, as I knit a new project, a name will come to me. Chai was an obvious name for the Tea Leaves Cardi (who is, sadly, still waiting for sleeves) and I named my Top Down Vine Lace Cardi “Pink” because that was all Marc could say when I showed him the yarn. (by the way, I am wearing Pink now. Thanks, God, for the rain.) But sweater #3 just wasn’t getting named. The colorway is Currant, which doesn’t make a great name, and the pattern is dully named “Shawl Collared Cardigan”. I was just starting to give up on a nice name for this baby, when I came to a realization. An epiphany, if you will.

Vera. This is my Vera sweater. This color reminds me of my dear grandmother who died almost three years ago. I am not sure why it reminds me of her, so I cannot explain it, and those of you who knew her may be perplexed. Perhaps I just imagine that she would love this color or approve of this pattern. Maybe, in my head, I think she would have loved for me to knit this for her. Whatever the reason, every time I pick up this sweater to knit a row or two wonderful memories flood my mind. My grandma taught me something new every time I visited her. Crochet, macrame, sewing, quilting, aplique, painting, baking, cooking, cross stitch, embroidery. The woman was an artistic wonder. I cannot pick up a new craft or hobby that she did not already introduce me to some time in my childhood.

And so, may I introduce you to my Vera Sweater. A tribute to the most inspiring woman in my life. I miss her terribly.

A Very Good Reason

I have used cloth diapers for four of my five kids. I am often asked why? Why go to all that trouble when disposable diapers are so much easier? Well, I am chock full of information about cloth vs. disposable concerning environment, economics and health. I have logged  hours of research and have made a very informed  choice. However, I have a short answer to this question. Two words, actually. And, as a knitter, this is enough. Are you ready?

Wool Soaker

Adorable, durable, useful quick knits in whatever creative look I can come up with. I call this one PB & J because knitting these colors together made me crave the childhood staple with a tall glass of cold milk. I made up this pattern in order to use up the ends of left over yarn from all the longies that I made for Chloe this winter. I love the way the skirt ruffles out and the stripes all seem to be planned, even though they weren’t. After hours of sweater knitting, this little sweetie was a breath of fresh air to knit.

Now, don’t you wish you used cloth diapers, too?

And in case you were wondering, photographing a nine-month-old is a lot like eating soup with a slotted spoon.

The Good News and The Bad News

Pink. Sweater number 1 in the Year of the Sweater Project is now complete. I don’t mean “just needs ends weaved in” finished. Nor do I mean “just needs buttons” finished. I mean, this baby is ready to wear. I found the most wonderful buttons. Perfect buttons. Not too flashy, not too plain, not too big, not too small buttons. Goldilocks buttons. Yeah, baby. These are just right.

They look pretty good on the sweater, too.

That is the good news.

The bad news? I finished it just in time for Spring. Behold, a beautiful sunny California day.

Yes, I am hot. I mean tempurature-wise, of course. (disclaimer: I know this isn’t the most flattering of sweaters. It isn’t meant to be. This will be my cozy coat. My winter comfort. It is huge. I planned it that way.)

So there you have it. I call her Pink. She is the Vine Lace Top Down Cardigan from Sweater Babe in Malabrigo Chunky “Pink Frost” with only small modifications (longer sleeves, no pockets and larger collar). I am pretty happy with how it turned out. I might turn on a fan in here just so that I can wear it…

I am 1/7th finished with my huge, crazy project. Think I can make it?

No Two Exactly The Same

I bake bread all the time. At least twice a week, sometimes more. I use the same recipe, the same oven, the same tools, the same ingredients. Every time. Somehow, though. I never get the same results. Sometimes I get a huge hole right in the middle of the loaf. Sometimes I get an overflowing loaf that grows over the side of the pan and wraps itself around the oven rack as it is baking. And, occasionally, I get the wonder loaf. The perfect loaf. The loaf that gets eaten as if it was coated in chocolate.
Now, the reason for this is no mystery. I know exactly why this happens. It is all in my approach to following recipes. I read a recipe that looks like this:

4 c. flour
4 c. water
1 tbsp yeast

And I do this:
4 (or 5) scoops flour
fill up this jar with water
shovel out yeast with that spoon over there

See the difference? Yeah, I know. I followed it to the letter the first few times I baked bread. It worked so well, I kept doing it. Over time, I stopped messing with the pesky cook book and just started winging it. The bread is usually edible, so this is working okay for me. I get a little exasperated when I have a streak of holey loaves, and I act surprised when I get an awesome loaf.

What does this have to do with knitting, you ask. Everything. Chai is coming along beautifully. I bound off the bottom edge and picked up the stitches for the sleeves. That is when it hit me. I am not following the “recipe”. It says “k St. st for 4 inches and then….” But I am going to do 6″ at least. This would be fine if I only had to make one sleeve, but last time I checked, I have two arms. (This is why I am not a sock knitter, by the way.) Taking notes is an option (ahem, necessity), but I have a better idea.

Time to cast on Year of the Sweater Project no. 3. Absolutely.

Chai

The Year of the Sweater Project continues with “Chai”. Chia is my Tea Leaves Cardigan in  Madelinetosh, fig colorway. I love this color. I love this sweater. I love this yarn. I am feeling a little woozy with all this love… This is sweater no. 2 for the project, but it was the first to be cast on. Here’s where we are as of today:

I wish I could capture the color – it is fabulous. So, 6 more rows and then sleeves and buttonbands. This is such a wonderful yarn that I don’t mind all the stockinette so much. The feel of the wool as it slides through my fingers and the varigation making every stitch an adventure… I think I am in love!

A word on buttons – I am stuck on poor Pink, which is blocking now. Pink is beautiful. Pink is cozy. Pink is the first sweater of the Year of the Sweater Project and the first sweater I have ever made for myself. But Pink is sad. She has no buttons. What makes a good button? Should it be noticable? Cute? Boring? Wood, plastic or metal? Pink needs seven LARGE buttons. Poor Pink. I am stuck. (Time to go shopping… we’ll stop at See’s on the way)