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!

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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.

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)

Year of the Sweater

I am a knitter. We have established that. So why is it that on cold winter mornings, I am reaching for an ugly fleece sweatshirt from Walmart? I am a knitter. There are skeins of yarn stashed all over my house, but my closet is sadly lacking in wooly wonders. This must change. After all, I am a knitter.

So begins my “Year of the Sweater”. This month I have narrowed down all the patterns in my Ravelry queue to those sweaters I want to wear next winter. Out with the old, baby! I have seven (is that aiming too high?) I want to have knitted before the end of next winter. If you are a knitter, you may know some of these. Gleaned from the internet, magazines and books, I have a killer to do list! So, installment number one of this insane endeavor:

“Vine Lace Top-Down Cardigan” from Sweaterbabe.com in Malabrigo Chunky “Pink Frost”. Here’s where we are as of today:

I started with a provisional cast on. I am starting to wonder if that was a mistake, but we shall see. I LOVE this yarn. Smooshy and buttery soft. I have been knitting like a crazy person trying to get it done because I CAN”T WAIT TO WEAR IT!!! Sorry to shout. I get really excited about yarn.

Truth be told, I have cast on a couple of others already. (Anybody know the cure for “startitis”? Besides casting on, I mean….) We will save those for later. For now, I want to revel in this pink confection. Lovely….