Deep Freeze, Raw Emotions

Deep Freeze on Messalonskee 3/2/2021

My emotions have been very close to the surface recently. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m mourning the last year that we’ve “lost” because of Covid-19 or because there is finally a sense of calm in our Nation’s capital with the new administration. I’m not sure what it is that I am feeling so deeply or that’s bubbling up but it’s there and with this post I am acknowledging it. I am looking forward to the day when it feels safe to leave the house and when I can see my family again. I miss them all so much but I am also so grateful that they’ve all remained healthy.

We woke to sub-zero temperatures today and lots of wind gusts! It was blowing all night but we have been fortunate to retain our power today while lots of other communities in Maine have not. The sun is out and the sky is bluebird blue and that always helps my “attitude”. I would love to see a really good snowstorm before spring but they posted our road yesterday and our camp road has been a muddy mess for a week or more so I may not get my wish.

Today I finally seamed the underarms of my test knit sweater, Crofter’s Smock by Gudrun Johnston. I like it more than I thought I would before it was blocked. The fabric relaxed a lot in its bath. I also learned a few new techniques: folded cuffs and neck and saddle shoulders. This sweater was fun to knit, partly because it’s somewhat cropped and knit in an Aran weight yarn. I used Hayfield Bonus Aran with Wool (a washable acrylic and wool blend) and it was heavy on the US8 needles … my hands got tired knitting! After seaming the underarms, I put the sweater on – this is the coldest day of our winter so far – and it’s nice and warm, the sleeve length is perfect and I like the pockets placed on the side of the sweater. I can’t show you any photographs yet but when I have permission, I’ll add them here.

Meanwhile, I have cast on a pair of socks for my March 2021 Sock Challenge. This month I’m knitting worsted weight boot socks in Raggi yarn. Gray and white marled leg and foot, red cuff and toe. I’ve nearly got one sock finished and will have to attach sock #2 as soon as #1 is finished. These will be super warm socks and they’re so cute!

I’ve also chosen to participate in the Confident Knitting year-long program hosted by Jen Arnall-Culliford. I also chose to splurge and purchase their yarns – typically not yarns we carry at the yarn shop where I work here in Maine. It’s a great chance to taste yarns that I may otherwise not get a chance to work with. AND they had a cool pink project bag!

I’ve started the March project, Flux Handwarmers by Martina Behm. The techniques learned this month are crochet provisional cast on and a folded edge. I chose to do a picot edge which is so cute! This month’s yarn is the springtime colorway of a Crazy Zauberball. These mitts will be a nice weight and they’ll be so cheerful. I’ve participated in A Year of Techniques and Boost Your Knitting for the two previous years and I learned a lot. I’m sure I’ll learn some new tricks this year, too! What I love about these programs is that there are detailed tutorials on all of the techniques and even when I already know one, I can find something to learn (or it just hammers it into my head.)

I’ve been spending a lot of time “worrying” about my sweet Lola. She’s not eating well and her hind legs are unstable. She sleeps most of the day but she still finds a tail wag or two to gift me with every day. For months I’ve been looking at the little kit that I bought when I was out shopping pre-pandemic. The little felt mitten has a bee on it and I couldn’t resist. This will eventually live on our Christmas tree but until Christmas, it’ll likely live on my desk lamp!

I finished two black tams for a customer and they’ve been delivered to the store for her to pick up. She wants two more navy blue ones. It’s sweet of her to ask me. I made a tarte tatin over the weekend. It was delicious! A few apples, some sugar, butter and a home made crust and it was dessert for two for several days. Yummy!

We’ve been spending lots of time doing puzzles. My hubby gave me a really difficult puzzle for Christmas and we stuck to it and finished it … and he ordered another one for Valentine’s day which we’re working on at the dining room table. Luckily, there are only the two of us so we only need one end of the table for eating (although we generally eat up in my studio and watch the news.)

Gone knitting!

Allison Cardigan

It hasn’t been an easy path for this wonderfully soft and beautifully dyed Malabrigo Rios yarn. I started out knitting one sweater and then another but both got frogged because of the fit or the style. (Both were pretty horrendous!) The yarn went into “time out” for awhile until I found the Allison Cardigan by Hannah Fettig.

Getting started!

This cardigan is knitted from the top down in one piece with US7 needles. I knew that to get the right gauge, I needed to knit this yarn on a size 7 needle. This pattern seemed perfect. It’s a simple sweater, pretty straight forward in the top down sweater world.

The yarn is Malabrigo Rios in the Cirrus Grey (845) colorway. I love, love, love this color! It’s somewhere between a denim blue and grey and everything in between. I chose the Purpureas (872) colorway for the pocket. This is another rich purple color and I think it’ll be just enough zing when the interior of the pocket shows against the blue sweater. I can’t wait to wear this sweater!!! Rios is what I would call a light worsted weight merino yarn. It’s not got a whole lot of twist and that’s why I want to knit it up on a “smaller” needle. The US7, in this instance, I think will be perfect. I loved the fabric on my swatch.

Incredibly purple pockets!

The construction of the pocket was different than any pockets I’ve knitted before. It is knitted into the body of the sweater and then seamed at the sides. Initially I thought it would be bulky but it’s not. And my hands will be so warm!

Once the body of the sweater was finished, I started on the first sleeve. One of the tricks I’ve learned over the years is that if I want to make the sleeves even and balanced, I need to use the tools that I have and mark every decrease! It really helps. And the sleeves turned out the same the first time around! No adjustments necessary! Woo! Hoo!

I was a little bit (or maybe a lot) concerned that I didn’t have enough of the main color so I didn’t finish the ribbing on the bottom of the sweater until I had knitted both of the sleeves. Turns out that I didn’t have to worry. I had enough yarn and one extra skein of the purple! Maybe I’ll knit some fingerless mitts to wear with the cardigan!

Ready for blocking!

Here it is before blocking (on my wonderful antique braided wool rug made by my husband’s grandmother.) I will post another picture or two after it’s blocked and in some good light. I blocked it tonight and I know I’m going to love wearing this cardigan this fall/winter!

Gone knitting!