The Year of The Sweater Project Continues…

This year I set out to knit seven sweaters for myself. I realized that have been knitting for a few years, but I always for others. Until this year, I had not knit a single thing for myself, so I decided that this is my year. I picked out seven lovely patterns, bought a whole bunch of yarn and have been working on it off and on ever since. So, here is where it stands:

Sweater #1 – Vine Lace Cardigan in Malabrigo Chunky Pink Frost was the first sweater I made for myself. I knit it in one week (you gotta love bulky yarn!). It is big, squishy, and while not very flattering (I did say “bulky” yarn!), I am very pleased with it. Completed in April.

Sweater #2 – Tea Leaves Cardigan in Madelinetosh Merino Worsted Fig is my favorite so far. The color, the feel, the style, the buttons. Love, love, love! This is the sweater that makes me wish for winter to come quickly. The only downside is that I think it’s gonna pill something terrible! Completed in May.

Sweater #3 – Mondo Cable Cardi in Dream in Color Classy Dusky Aurora is the workhorse. A beautiful yarn, that also happens to be superwash, a simple pattern and an awesome color! I took this one camping last week and loved every minute that I wore it. This baby grew a bunch when I blocked it, but that doesn’t dampen my enthusiasm for it one bit. Completed in June.

April, May, June. Each month I completed an entire sweater! I didn’t realize that until just now. That is really very cool! So, what happened to July and August? Summer heat? That, or the allure of lace…

Sweater #4 – The Shawl Collared Cardigan in Wool of the Andes Worsted Cranberry is not in a happy place. I made some dreadful mistake somewhere, but I have gone too far past it and must now fudge some fix. That is why this sweater is hibernating. I am thinking that soon it will see the light of day, though. It’s been awhile since I looked at it…

Sweater #5 – Labyrinth in Louisa Harding Grace Whale is my current project. I thought that I would make some killer progress on the first sleeve last night while watching a movie with the Man, but I found “Edge of Darkness” a little too riveting for much knitting… (Either it was the intensity, or the fact that the speech was mumbled and we had the subtitles on so we could know what was going on. Too bad they had to use such horrible language. I really hate that.)

Sweater #6 – was Tissue Cardigan from Interweave Knits in Knit Picks Shadow Spice, but since I just finished the Wispy Cardi in Malabrigo Lace Amoroso, I have decided to bump the Tissue Cardi off the list and count the Wispy as Sweater #6! Perhaps the Tissue Cardigan will be knit some other time. It really is lovely, and I have the yarn – if I can manage to save it. It is lace weight. And gorgeous. I don’t know, it just might have to be a lace shawl or something lovely like that. (I have yet to make anything from “Knitted Lace of Estonia” and you know I am dying to do that!) Completed in September.

Sweater #7 – the plan is to make Vine Yoke Cardigan in Malabrigo Worsted Velvet Grapes. I hope that is what I do… 🙂

So, in summery- Seven sweaters intended, six started, of those, four completed. And it is only September. Cool.

Any ideas for next years goal? I am thinking socks. (I hear you gasping. I still have a few months to warm up to the idea. And I must say that having a drawer full of hand knit socks is mighty appealing!)

Under the Sea

The kids got their bedrooms at last and we are in decorating mode, now. The big kids room (Abby and Noah) is to be an under the sea theme. We started with a blue paint on walls and ceiling that makes even the air feel blue. Now I am working on the murals. Here is what I have so far:

I have three things to say about this project:

1. In preparing for this mural, I have looked at more pictures of mermaids, shipwrecks, treasure chests, sharks, and fish than I ever wanted to.

2. Finding an example of a modest mermaid online (or anywhere else) is impossible. I finally had to just create one in my head. (She is in my sons room, for heavens’ sake!) I decided to put a tank top on her that kind of blends into her tail. Also, notice the angle. Yes, that is covering her chest on purpose… On that same note, if you cherish the innocence and purity of your children, do not conduct internet searches of “mermaid art” while they are in the house. Personally, I include my husband in that warning…. Yikes!

3. I am stuck. I am not an artist, and this has all been a very long process in which I have burned through pencils and erasers at an alarming rate. All that remains to be done before we bust out the paint is the mermaids hands and eyes. I am terrified that after getting her so right on, I will give her Mickey Mouse hands and ruin the whole thing! I also have to put treasure in the chest, but that is more an issue of deciding what treasure…. hmmm. I think the kids want bubbles and fish scattered around too, but we will see. Less is more, right?

Five Things About My Mermaid

First: It is finished! Blocked, buttoned and done. This is the third sweater in the “Year of the Sweater” project I have going on. (It was the fourth to be cast on, but the Vera Sweater is still in time out.)

Second: It grew. A LOT. I don’t think I even swatched for this one, let alone blocked the swatch like I know I am supposed to. It is top down, so I tried it on as I went and it was fitting perfectly. As soon as I lifted it from the water, I knew. It was growing. Even though I stopped 16 rows short of what the pattern directed on the sleeves, they are still a tad too long. I had envisioned a more clingy fit, like the one on the model in the picture. I think I will be happy with it anyway. It is so lovely.

Third: It only took 4 (plus a tiny bit of the fifth) of the 7 skeins I had bought. That means I have enough yarn to do something else. This pleases me to no end! This yarn, Dream in Color Classy is so nice. I love the colors, the way they play and never pool. I love the way that I can wear it without worry, because it is superwash. I love the squishy softness, and the gorgeous drape after it is blocked. Love, love, love.

Fourth: I didn’t follow the pattern to the letter (I know, shocking…). Besides the sleeve changes I already mentioned, I placed my buttons lower, made button loops instead of sewing on snaps and added one more repeat of the cable pattern to the body. I also changed the ribbing from 5/1 to 4/2. And, as you can see in the pictures, I intend to wear it with the collar folded down, instead of buttoned up to the chin. I think it looks better like that on my body type.

Fifth: I can’t wait till it gets cool enough to wear this masterpiece. It was torture to wear it for the short photo shoot (with my seven year old photographer, Noah). I sadly put it away with the winter clothes. It will be such a treat when the weather turns cool and I open that box to find this waiting for me! I love it.

Mermaid, the Mondo Cable Cardigan by Chic Knits in Dream in Color Classy Dusky Aurora

It seems that when one has a cavalier attitude about casting on projects and never finishing anything, one also has seasons of getting a lot of projects finished in a short time because everything is already half way (or mostly) complete. I like those seasons. I also like casting on. I guess I just like knitting, whatever season. I bet you already guessed that!

Election Day, a Mermaid, and a Sleeping Beauty

In trying to raise good citizens of this great country of ours, we like to do a few things with our kids when election day rolls around. Yesterday we had a primary election here. I usually keep up with canidates and issues, but have slacked off recently, so I spent a good part of the afternoon researching how to vote and for whom. In this stage of the game, the kids were outside playing. But, when Marc got home, the discussion began. I with my research, he with his wisdom and the kids with their little sponge-brains, soaking up every word. We openly discussed each item on the ballot, and the kids were willing listeners wandering in and out of the conversation. In the end, we had our sample ballots filled in and our minds made up. Even little Beka knew who she would vote for (that would be “Abraham Lincoln. I don’t care if he is dead!” she stated emphatically).

Off we headed to the polling place, my husband, five children and I. We marched into that place and split up, Marc with a few kids and me with a few. Beka watched me as I carefully filled in the little ovals. Noah inserted my ballot into the machine that whoosh! sucked it up like a vacuum. Very exciting. The kids were given stickers like this one:

and Emma tried to put hers on the toe cap of her shoe (she is nearly three years old. We can’t be expected to understand some things….). Off we headed for the really great part of our family voting tradition – a treat. Each kid is allowed to pick out any candy at the drug store on election day. (In our house, this comes very rarely, so it is a very special treat indeed.) In this way we hope to teach them that doing their civic duty is sweet. Ha!

These are the moments in a homeschooling mom’s life that make her feel like she might be doing an okay job after all.

And, so that I don’t loose all my knitting readers, here is Mermaid so far.

After frogging the lower edge, I knit until I had added one more complete repeat of the cable and then started the rib (which I am changing to a 4×2 instead of the 5×1 it called for. The 5×1 seemed to roll a bit on the first take, and though I would have been willing to try blocking it out, now that I have ripped and re-knit once, I just don’t think I could bear doing it again. Here’s hoping a 4×2 rib will be okay!) Just three more rows and then I can think about sleeves. Funny how this is always the time in a sweaters construction that I seriously start thinking to myself, “I could use a really thick, wool t-shirt…” Yeah right! I live in Central California for crying out loud! Either I’ve gotta move, or I need to change my attitude toward knitting sleeves!

I guess all that responsible citizen stuff can get pretty tiring.

The Year of the Sweater Continues….

So, a knitting update.

The goal:

Knit 7 me-sized sweaters before the end of next winter.

The sweaters:

Sweater #1 – “Pink” (Top-Down Vine Lace Cardigan in Malabrigo Chunky) status: DONE

Sweater #2- “Chai” (Tea Leaves Cardigan in Madelintosh Tosh Merino) status: DONE

Sweater #3 – “Vera” (Shawl Collared Cardigan in Knit Picks Wool of the Andes) status:

This sweater has been bad. Though I counted twice, I have three extra stitches on the left front. Debate over what to do keeps me awake at night. What’s three stitches? I ask myself. Well, in this case, three stitches is about 3/4 of an inch. Does it matter? There is a huge shawl collar yet to knit that will cover a multitude of sins… To frog means tearing back too far to think about without a glass of wine. I want to continue, but I am paralyzed by this conundrum. So, there it sits, looking very color-coordinated in it’s bag, waiting on me to make up my mind and proceed.

In the meantime, there is…

Sweater #4 – “Mermaid” (Mondo Cable Cardi in Dream in Color Classy) status:

I am loving knitting this. (Bad grammar, I know. But I am loving knitting this so much that I don’t care!) The picture doesn’t fully capture the color. It is raining today, so the lighting is bad. There are six cable crossings down the front of each side and I am almost to the fourth one. My skeins of yarn seem slightly varied from each other, so I am knitting from two balls at a time, alternating every two rows to blend them. It is a new technique for me, so that makes it interesting. And, it is also beautifully color-coordintaed with the knitting bag. (I love when that happens!)

This is an excellent pattern, by the way. Very consice and not too wordy. I hate when patterns take up ten pages describing every row, so this was fun for me. You do have to pay attention, though. At one point there are three things going on in the row with only a line or two of instruction to guide you. A lovely challenge. And, knitting from the top down is always fun. I like trying it on as I go and wearing out my husband, “Look! Another inch! Isn’t it turning out wonderfully!?!?”

Sweaters numbered 5,6, and 7 – are, in any order, Labyrinth in Louisa Harding Grace, Vine Yoke Cardigan in Malabrigo, and Tissue Cardigan in Knit Picks Shimmer. status : don’t even think about casting on till you finish one of your other projects!

I wish this was a better picture. These “mondo cables” are really cool!