Pure and Simple Start to April!

IMG_2638I’ve made it through the winter without any illnesses and as soon as spring pops onto the calendar, BOOM! For the last couple of days I’ve been pumping EmergenC and AirBorne and vitamins with my Wellness Formula. My sweet husband has taken good care of me, I drank a lot of tea, and I am feeling better today.

I’ve also been knitting.

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I started a little pullover, #214 Baby Pullover by Knitting Pure and Simple, for a new mom’s little baby girl. (I hope she doesn’t read my blog. I don’t think she does. I don’t want to give the surprise away.) I found the yarn on the shelf at the store when I was making room for some new yarns. (if you didn’t know that I work in a yarn shop, now you do … come visit at Yardgoods Center in Waterville, Maine!)

Sirdar has a chunky yarn called Imagination and it reminded me of a Monet Water Lilies painting. You all know what the Water Lilies paintings look like, right? If you don’t, Google it! They’re magnificent. This yarn is machine washable so easy for a new mom. I never machine dry my hand-knits. Some yarns are dry-able but I’d rather be certain and consistent so I hang/lay flat all my hand-knits. Sweaters I lay flat. Socks I hang over a hanger. This extends their lives and I never shrink any special hand-knits. (NOTE! Some yarn is not washable. If it isn’t super wash or acrylic or mostly acrylic, hand wash! You’ll never be sorry if you take that extra care!)

img_2640.jpgI immediately fell in love with the colors. I have whipped through the body of the sweater in a couple of days. It’s chunky so it knits up quickly. I’m making the 24 months size so that little Julianna can grow into it! Today I’ll get to the sleeves and maybe the collar, too. It’s soft, it’s washable, it’s so pretty! Did I mention that there are no seams?!

I’m also working on a Knitting Pure and Simple cardigan for myself.

IMG_2622I’ve had this beautiful blue/gray colorway of Malabrigo Rios forever. It’s been sitting on a shelf in my atelier for at least a year and maybe more like two. When I opened the bag of this yarn at the shop, I immediately put it aside for myself because I loved it so much. I’m making the 50″ size and my gauge is slightly off (the pattern calls for 4 stitches per inch and I am knitting at 4.375 stitches per inch). This will make my sweater just a bit smaller than the last sweater I made with this pattern. Which will be OK. I may decide to add a few additional increases to be sure it’s not too small. I’ll know when I have the sleeve stitches on a holder and I can try it on! I’ll have all the details on my Ravelry project page. I love, love, love the color and this yarn feels so amazing in your hands as you work with it. This will take me a couple more than a couple days to knit but it’ll knit up pretty quickly and it’s so pretty!!!

IMG_2614I finished the Ma Belle Amie cowl for my aunt and it’s wrapped and on it’s way to Lake Tahoe just in time for spring! I doubt that she’ll get to wear it too many times between now and next fall but what can one do?! I had to knit it and it had to be for her! I love the colors that I chose … they remind me of my aunt and her beautiful red hair (well, it was red when she was younger, it’s “bleached out” as she’s gone around the sun a few times! (Where’s the laughing until you cry emoji when you need it?!) This pattern is very versatile and can be knitted up in any yarn, really. I have one in solid colored wool that I love and this one has a variegated which I love, too. Choose a smaller needle for a tighter fabric or a finer yarn (or heavier yarn). The sky’s the limit!

I also knitted up a little rabbit on Tuesday when I was home sick. Baby Bunnies by Frankie Brown popped up in my Facebook feed one day and when I wasn’t feeling well, I grabbed a few scraps of yarn and knit up a baby bunny. He’s awfully cute! I think there will be an addition of some embroidery (eventually) but for now, I’m enjoying my sweaters so my bunny awaits!

I hope you had a happy Easter and Passover. I wish you peace.

Gone knitting!

#20 Adults Aran Sweater by Yankee Knitter Designs

Love Love Love the Raspberry Stitch in the middle

Love Love Love the Raspberry Stitch in the middle

The Adult Aran Sweater has been a bucket list project for a couple of years. I love the cardigan … I love the pullover, too. There is something so classic and beautiful about Aran knitting. I have always felt drawn to the Irish part of me (yes, I am partly Irish) and maybe my attraction to Aran knitting is because of that. (or maybe not.)

Regardless, I’ve mostly completed the cardigan for myself. It has been blocked and is nearly dry enough to seam together. It should be a cinch to seam as most of the seams will be straight  and simple. That said, I will wait to finish the seaming before I go about bragging about it being easy – I’m sure to jinx myself.

This pattern was a joy to knit. I loved the pattern and it was the first time that the pattern was so well planned that it was easy for me to memorize so that I didn’t need to refer to the pattern every row. I knitted mine in stashed yarn that I have been carrying around for nearly a decade, Galway Worsted yarn in the natural colorway. The yarn is made by Plymouth Yarn Co. It’s a sturdy worsted weight wool and it should wear well. I plan to wear this sweater a lot!

I love the Galway worsted yarn by Plymouth. I bought a whole bag (or maybe two) to make the Great American Aran Afghan about eight years ago. I’ve started a square twice and never finished them. So, when I was searching my stash to make this sweater (because I am in a severe stash busting mode right now) it was evident that I would have more than enough of this yarn to complete my cardigan and I would bust my stash a bit, too! The afghan will go back on my knitting challenge bucket list for those times when I can sit quietly by myself and count all the stitches. For now, my life is too full of people and activities and that’s a good thing.

A good start - I chose to make my ribbing with the larger size needle so it doesn't get too blouse-y

A good start – I chose to make my ribbing with the larger size needle so it doesn’t get too blouse-y

I chose to knit my ribbing both on the bottom of the body and the sleeves with the same size needle that I knit the rest of the sweater with. I didn’t want it to be super blousey. I loved the twisted rib and it adds a little something special to the sweater’s edges. Otherwise, I knit the sweater as the pattern is written. I made the sleeves a little bit longer than the 20 inches called for because I have gorilla arms.

Blocking

Blocking

I always seem to block my knitwear on the guest bed in our guest room. It’s so much easier on my back! I blocked this out to the chest size that was in the pattern and the sleeves were blocked to the length that I wanted them. The only thing that would improve this pattern (and be helpful for blocking) would be to have a schematic diagram of the way that the pieces are supposed to measure. But, having a little bit of experience, I knew that the crucial measurements for me are the chest and the arm length. The rest will work itself out.

I never buy buttons until the sweater is completed and I won’t break my rule for this sweater. I imagine that I will choose simple buttons because the knitted pattern is so pretty that I don’t want to take away from it but I will cross that river when I get there. (And I will check my button stash first, too!)

Once dry, I will weave in the ends and then seam the sweater up! I can’t wait to have this one finished. And, of course, it’s now summertime and it’s going to be awhile until I get to wear it. But when it’s done, I will post photos of it all together.

Gone knitting.

“Yarn From Hell” Cardigan

Blocking .... needs the buttons and it's done!

Blocking …. needs the buttons and it’s done!

Many (MANY) moons ago in a land far away … OK, I bought the yarn at the Maine Fiber Frolic several years ago and have made two sweaters with it that have been frogged.

One was the free cardigan pattern that came with the yarn. I got all of the pieces knitted and blocked and when I went to assemble the cardigan, the sleeves didn’t fit into the sweater. Neither I nor a couple of others that I consulted knew how to fix the problem. Sweater number 1 was frogged. The yarn went into my naughty yarn closet for a long time out.

I still liked the yarn. I selected three colors of Seacolors Yarn (dyed in Washington, Maine) a coral, a green and coral mix and a blue.This summer I decided it was time for the yarn to be given another chance and settled on a sweater that was a free pattern found on Revelry. When nearly finished, I realized was going  be big enough for my whole family to wear at the same time. Huge. And I’m not a petite woman! Frogged again.

A month or so ago I bought a pattern at my LYS. (You get what you pay for, right?) The pattern, by Diane Soucy of Knitting Pure and Simple is Pattern #9725, Neck Down Cardigan for Women. A simple pattern knit in one piece. I thought this was the third time’s a charm … and, fortunately, today I finished the cards and it fits.

I had tried it on several times while I was working on it to keep checking on the fit. This is one reason that I love the top down construction of this cardigan. I did make a few adjustments (basically because I wasn’t paying attention all the time) … I used the larger needles to knit the bottom of the sleeves. I also knit the plackets before realizing that I hadn’t knit the collar. So the collar went on at the end. It looks fine and I will knit this pattern again.

I will wear it next week to work.

Gone knitting!

My intrepid assistant approves! It's a good place for a nap.

My intrepid assistant approves! It’s a good place for a nap.

Button, Button. Who’s Got the Button

Basic Baby Raglan Cardigan Sweater

Basic Baby Raglan Cardigan Sweater

The adorable baby sweater is finished except for the buttons.

The pattern used a yarn over (YO) to make a small button hole and it’s a bit odd … thus, it’s going to be a challenge to find an adorable girly-not-too-girly button (times seven). I’ve tried several that I thought would work and they don’t.

Again. The pattern calls for a 3/4 inch button … they seem a little bit to big. And anything other than a smooth circular or near-circular button gets caught in the button hole. Grrrrr!

I am sure that I’ll win at this battle. I can always make my own buttons but I’d like to find something sweet for my niece-to-be.

I chose to use a Knit Picks yarn, Comfy Sport, which was wonderful to work with. I love the way it feels and the colors are great. Price point is very reasonable at and it’s washable. I think that knitted gifts for babies have got to be washable. You can check out the colors that I used on my Ravelry projects page.

This pattern was free on Ravelry and it’s a very simple knit. A beginner could certainly make it … especially if one made it in a single color. Stripes are not difficult but carry the yarn as you go because there would be a ton of ends to weave in if you don’t. With my three colors there were enough ends and I carried the yarn as much as I possibly could. I made the 3 – 6 month size. It required one ball of each color and there isn’t much yarn left. Once it’s blocked and buttons are sewn on, I’ll post another picture. I just need those buttons.

Anybody got any ideas?

Gone knitting.

 

Wonderful Wallaby … Healthy Lungs are Happy Lungs

undertheweather

If you follow me on Facebook, you’ll know that I’ve been a little bit under the weather for the last three weeks (this week is week four!) Pneumonia and Bronchitis have kicked my butt … and I hope it’s now on the upswing.

Today I was supposed to have an invasive surgical procedure called a Bronchoscopy. They would be scraping some cells from my lungs and extracting some “gunk” from my lungs as they are having a look around. But I wasn’t feeling great about the whole process and didn’t love the doctor’s office and the “issues” that I have had since my first appointment with them, while they were picky, they were there. So, after a very sleepless night on Saturday night, I decided to cancel the procedure and get a second opinion. I would start with my doctor who I like and trust. After reviewing my x-rays and my CT scan, and listening to my lungs, he said that he’d wait a few days and see if I keep feeling better. I should call him on Friday and we’ll do another x-ray to make sure the pneumonia has cleared up and I can (carefully) resume living my life.

I’m so glad I trusted my gut!

Meanwhile, I’ve been working on my knitting – since I have been told to stay home and rest – and have made some good progress on my Wonderful Wallaby. Until I realized yesterday that I was coughing a lot while working on it … and have decided to put it aside. Could I be allergic to the wool? The yarn that I am using is a bit “fuzzy” and “shed-y” and since I’m having some lung problems, I decided it’s probably wisest to just put it aside for now. Healthy lungs are happy lungs!

Sleeves are coming along ...

Sleeves are coming along …

I’ve made two Christmas gifts for my nephews. I think it’s safe to write about it here because I seriously doubt that they read my blog! 🙂 One left for the third nephew and that’s a good feeling to have something done for them. They’re all big skiers and snow boarders and they’ll like the charcoal gray wool, I think.

I am still working on the color-work fingerless mitts. I know that it’s something relatively new to me but I’m not sure I love this process. I hope I feel differently after it’s done.

Also on the needles is a lap blanket for my daughter’s wedding reception. She’s being married in the early fall in Massachusetts and wants to have hand-knit afghans on the rocking chairs on the porch for her guests. Once the sun goes down it’s very possible that it’ll be cool and they’ll be a welcome addition … nothing like sitting on the porch of the yacht club with a cozy afghan.

I’m also making a ring bearer’s pillow for her. My grand-dog (yes, you read it right) Mabel is the ring bearer. The pillow is burlap and lace with a jute twine bow to tie on the wedding rings. I’ll post pictures when I get it done. Since my sewing skills are beginner-level at best, it’s always an adventure and a learning experience for me. It’s so simple, though, I know I can do it!

I’ve got some projects pulled out for our summer trip to Maine … planning to finish one tote project started last summer and knit a sweater for my niece and a little stuffed animal to match from one of the Noro magazines. Have my new dress in the stack and a shawl. I know there will be others going up but I haven’t decided which ones yet. I think there may be one more sweater for my niece. I just have to find out what size she’s wearing now. I love knitting for her … and I can’t wait to knit for the new baby, too! I just bought some yarn to knit a simple striped cardigan for the baby … if it’s a cute as I think it’s going to be, I may have to knit a twin one for the baby’s big sister.

This afternoon I’m starting my lace shawl project. I’m excited to try some lace knitting again … this time with real lace-weight yarn from Maine. I’ll write more as I make some progress!

For now, though, that’s all I’ve got to say.

Gone knitting!