And Monday is socking it to me this week. It is cold and gray and rainy, and I found out some news at work that was a little disheartening and so I am wandering around my house in a hoodie with the hood pulled up because it is somehow mildly comforting. We all thought, Oh yay, 2021 will be better! Oh yay, the vaccine is coming! Oh yay this or that! Well, guess what. Things still mostly suck, except I have less dread every time I log into Twitter each morning.
I’ve had some time on conference calls where I’m not doing much, so my bright, fun sock is growing nicely. But mostly I’ve been working on my We Belong Together shawl and I think I will finish that in the next couple of days. Oh, and I took a short break last night for this little project.
Duncan went outside with the sweater on, and came inside without a sweater. I found it outside, damp and muddy, by the broken gate where they like to go in and out under the deck. It snagged on something, clearly. I have mended the hole and it is not pretty if you look up close but it is no longer a hole at least. I didn’t want to take a picture because my mending skills are less than stellar. Thankfully, the dogs won’t care at all.
Watching the inauguration yesterday, I was struck by all the strong, gorgeous colors the women were wearing, and I decided I needed a commemorative cast-on. I don’t wear red (because I don’t like red with my purple hair) or yellow (not a flattering color for me) so I focused on the teal/purple combo. Stash-diving gave me these. The teal is darker than Dr. Biden’s (and not quite as green as it looks here) and the purple is lighter than Vice President Harris’s, but it’s close enough that I think I’ll remember the day when I wear this.
The pattern is We Belong Together and so far it’s exactly what I needed: some variations to keep it interesting but not so hard that I can’t watch TV at the same time. And it’s DK so it won’t take as long as fingering weight!
Also I blocked my Oxbow cardigan and now I kind of wish I hadn’t, because it grew a bit and the texture is a little looser. It’s not superwash so I can’t just throw it in the dryer, so I think it just…is? It’s fine, still totally wearable and just a bigger, cozy cardigan. And it is softer, without any itchy issues so far, so that’s a plus. I think the only thing I could have done differently was to make my gauge swatch bigger, to get a better sense of how the stitch pattern behaved after blocking. Live and learn, I guess!
Four years ago today, I had a piece of chocolate cake as comfort, as consolation. Today I baked a cake as celebration. Today I celebrate the inauguration of the 46th president and of the first woman vice president, and I celebrate the return of cautious optimism and hope.
The cake is also for my dad. Today is his birthday. He would have been 77 this year, and I think it’s the first year since he died that we aren’t having a big family dinner with Mexican food and margaritas in his honor.
And the cake is for Jack too, whose birthday was yesterday and is 7 now. (So many 7s! Must be lucky!) He won’t get cake but he got a little bit of pumpkin mixed into his dinner last night, so he was happy.
With my cardigan done, I switched focus last night to the boy’s gray sock and I feel confident that I can get this first sock done today.
I have about half an inch left before I start the toe. No problem! Except I got distracted thinking about my next sweater. I want to do a colorful striped sweater so I started playing around with color choices.
I think I’m leaning toward number three. What do you like best?
It’s done it’s done it’s DONE! I finished my Oxbow Cardigan today and it might actually have been my fastest sweater knit, at only two months. There’s definitely something to be said for knitting bulky-weight sweaters! The yarn is Cascade Eco+ and I only used 2.5 skeins of the four I purchased. I feel a bit of itchiness against the back of my neck as I sit here typing, so I’m going to give it a nice long soak and see if that softens things up.
The sleeves are about three inches longer than I would have liked, but other than that, I think the fit is great. This project definitely had some elements that aren’t my favorite (deciphering increases and decreases, short rows, picking up A LOT of stitches) but it was all good practice for me. Before this, I thought I only liked to knit pullovers, but this wasn’t bad at all, maybe because it was bulky weight? I’m already thinking about what my next sweater should be!
Also, I was introduced to a new show: the Great Pottery Throw Down and it’s SO good. In the US, I think it’s only available on HBO Max. If you like wholesome shows like the Repair Shop or GBBO, you should give it a go. It’s marvelous.
My Oxbow cardigan is growing, and as it does, it is growing into a clearly identifiable sweater object. I don’t know that I’m doing the decreases the way the designer intended, but if anything is messed up, it’ll be by the edge and probably not as noticeable. The main body of the sweater I’ve managed to keep in pattern, for the most part. There is a section of about 10 stitches on one upper arm/shoulder that morphed into about six rows of ribbing but whatever, I’m not bothered. This is meant to be a cozy comfy sweater anyway, and the texture will help hide errors.
Looking at the photo now, I think I spotted another section that got a bit messed up. Oops. I’m hoping to get through all the decreases today and maybe even pick up for the ribbing. Wouldn’t it be something if I could get this done over the long weekend??
Sunday evening I went back to work on my Oxbow cardigan and yesterday I made it to the next shaping point. I had the lower body done and I needed to start decreasing for “neck and yoke shaping”. Y’all, this pattern is messed the heck up. I mean, not literally messed up, but it’s written very poorly. I noticed it first on the sleeves, when you’re working with 4-stitch repeats over a 4-row pattern, and when you need to start increasing, very little guidance is given about how to maintain the pattern as you increase. I figured that out and thought it was the worst of it. HA.
Now I’m working flat with a 4-stitch/4-row pattern and I’m decreasing two stitches every five rows, eleven times. No biggie, except zero guidance is given about how to maintain the stitch pattern as you decrease. The first couple of decreases were okay, but now I’m losing track. I printed out charts and blank charts last night and tried to chart it out and got lost. So now I’m just at the “winging it” stage. I can read the stitches better on the wrong side of the sweater, so I’m just checking that often to make sure it stays on track. But it’s gonna get worse, because after I attach the sleeves, I also have to start doing raglan decreases at a different rate than the yoke/neck shaping. And even all of that would be doable, if she had just done a better job of explaining how to maintain the pattern during increases and decreases.
When I pay $9 for a pattern and it’s from fancy famous Andrea Mowry, I expected a lot better than this. (Side note: it’s cheaper on Ravelry than it is on LoveCrafts. Only by 84 cents though.) I’m not sure I’ll buy another pattern from her. The only reason I’m pushing through with this one is because I’m halfway done, the look is exactly what I want, and I know it can be done because Sarah has made it twice. So damn it, I’m gonna finish this sweater!
I hope your knitting is going better than mine this week!
With my shawl done, I decided to sit down with my (analog) knitting journal and make an updated list of WIPs on my needles. I was pretty surprised to find that I only had three: the boy’s long gray sock, the Oxbow cardigan, and the scrappy sock yarn blanket. That’s not much at all, and there were some definite gaps in my knitting needs, so I felt justified in casting on a few new projects.
Of course I needed a fun sock for me, so I cast on a basic ribbed sock using my newest sock yarn from last week. And I wanted a delicate lace project in the mix, so I pulled out this gorgeous skein of Malabrigo Mora and cast on a Gris de lin cowl. It’s “100% pure mulberry silk” and I just recently wrote a piece for work about research being done with silkworms, which eat only the leaves of mulberry trees. Even the name, Mora, is connected, as the scientific name for the silkworm is Bombyx mori. It’s not often my work at a research institute overlaps with my knitting! And finally, I cast on the Mad Mini Wrap (Rav link) with the mini kit from Wonderland Yarns & Frabjous Fibers. It’s all garter stitch, knit until the yarn is gone, so that might be my favorite mindless knitting for a while.
The cowl was more of an adventure to get started. The pattern says to cast on 108 with size 4 needles. I chose 16″ circs, thinking that of course a cowl would be at least 16″ around. It was tight, so I knit the first round flat to loosen it up. Still too short for the circs, so I switched to 12″ circs. They were a better length but the metal tips were super slippery with the silk yarn. It was only then that I went and looked at project notes on Ravelry and discovered that the cowl is designed to only be around 14″ in diameter. (Yes, I would have known before if I had read my pattern more carefully. Whatever. Who designs a cowl to be so tiny?) Heck that! I’m not sure that would go around my head anyway. So I frogged, learning that of course the silk is quick to knot and tangle, and cast on again with more stitches. With any luck, that will be the only hiccup with that project. And now I’ve probably jinxed myself. Heck. Oh well. Happy Sunday, friends.
Liz at Highland Heffalump shared a quiz yesterday, and I loved the idea of thinking about happy things and places, so I thought I’d play along. Here are her questions:
Where are your happy place locations?
Is there a memory you go to in your mind as a happy place?
Is there one particular happy place location in the world you can’t wait to return to (once you are able to)?
What are your happy place hobbies/interests that help you escape the outside world?
And my answers:
Knitting on the couch, with a dog or two snuggled up beside me, and my husband and/or kid(s) nearby & lots of laughter! A yarn store. A book store or a library.
I’m not sure I reminisce that often, though I have lots of happy memories! On my kids’ birthdays, I like to remember the day the were born. I can’t think of any specific memories that I return to a lot.
So many! Boulder, Colorado for one. The mountains are my most favorite happy place. But also my siblings’ houses, with everybody there! Knitting get-togethers in person, with comfy seating & snacks & TV. Rest stops are good once in while, but it doesn’t compare to a weekend getaway!
Knitting is the best, but also reading. My newest hobby is putting together LEGO sets, perfect for tuning out the outside world.
Feel free to post your answers below or share in your own post.
My second finished object of 2021 is another carryover from last year, my Hopes & Feathers shawl. I started this in September and at first I was addicted to it, but then like many of my bigger WIPs, it got set aside when I got bored. Thank goodness I have these bouts of finish-itis!
It has a fun zigzag pattern done with slipped stitches. Mine isn’t super noticeable because my yarns are so close together in color; I think it would be fun to use two yarns that contrast a lot. But it was fun to knit and it made an enormous shawl!
The yarn is from LoloDidIt but I’m afraid I’ve forgotten which base. They’re sparkly so I’m guessing Sparkle Sock, and the colors are Wonka (purple) and Beetlejuice (purple/gray/green variegated). The yarn is gorgeous, a treat to knit with, and blocked out beautifully. I’m learning that the sock yarns with stellina make my feet itch, so I’m very glad I made a shawl with these instead! And I used 792 yards, enough left over to add some to my scrappy blanket.