What I’ve been up to

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Since my last post, I’ve taken photos a few times with plans to write about them here on the blog, and then not actually done it. I’m teaching 4 classes this semester, so I’ve been quite busy since the beginning of February! But I’m actually (very temporarily) caught up on work today, so I figured I’d pile ALL of the photos & topics into one mega-post.

I almost finished my Bleideag pullover, but once it got to the point where I could try it on for fit, I discovered that I really should’ve trusted my gut on the sweater body. I had considered adding some length, and some waist shaping, because I was very skeptical about a 12″ sweater body without any shaping, but I decided I would trust the pattern. After all, the fit was supposed to be on the boxier side of things, but what I’m realizing is that the slightly more cropped & boxy fit only works on my body in yarns that are very drapey. Not in lettlopi!

Ill-fitting Bleideag; gonna rip out the body and reknit it top-down.

A few things went wrong, honestly. My gauge ended up a little bit tighter than my swatching suggested it would be, so instead of a 40″ sweater, it turned out more like 38″ inches in the bust; that’s still loose on me (I’m more like 34″ in the bust) but that did mean that I lost some of the positive ease that was intended. And despite careful management of the floats, the colorwork at the bottom hem just pulls in slightly compared to the single-color knitting, and especially compared to the ribbing that’s just below it. And I’m broader in the shoulder than I am at the hip. Add these things together and you get a sweater that’s baggy/poochy over the area where I’m narrowest (below the bust through the waist) and then pulls in right where my hips start to go out.

ill-fitting Bleideag; gonna rip the body off and reknit it top-down

I just hate the way it looks on me. But I like the way the yoke looks, so what I’m thinking I’m going to do is cut off the body, and reknit it top-down; the stitches will be going in the wrong direction, but I think that because it’s single-color stockinette, I can get away without it being noticeable (I will test this before I make the snip!). I hope to add some waist-shaping, and also some length. It’s funny that I feel the need to add length, given that I’ve never thought of myself as a long-waisted person (I’m all limbs! And I’m only 5′ 3 1/2″, so it’s not like there’s a lot of length to me, period!). And I’m pretty sure I’m going to just leave off the colorwork band at the the bottom; the yarns are not especially high-contrast, so I don’t think it adds much, and if I’m knitting top-down, colorwork is a spot where it actually WOULD matter. Anyway, the sweater is currently in time-out while I figure out what I want to do with it. Which brings me to…

Farmhouse Cardigan sleeves!

…another Farmhouse Cardigan! I’ve had this Cascade Eco+ in my stash for a seriously long time. I realized that I wear my green Bartlettyarns Farmhouse Cardigan a lot for teaching, and realized that Cascade Eco+ would probably get the same gauge. So I cast on, and knit two sleeves in just a few days; it turns out that mindless knitting in the round is exactly what I needed when I was feeling like a stressed out, overwhelmed mess during Week 2 of the semester.

Double-knit pockets are fun.

I’ve been using my green Farmhouse Cardigan as a “pattern”, because I made quite a few little changes to the actual pattern while knitting it the first time, including some light waist-shaping (really, back-shaping) and changing it so that the patterns were double-knit at the same time as the body, rather than constructed via a flap. I just find double-knitting to be really fascinating, and I’m absolutely amazed by the fact that I can create a pocket with two layers of knit fabric constructed with a single strand of yarn!

Double knit pocket!

I’m also amazed by how much sweater I can get out of a single skein of Eco+! I was able to knit two sleeves AND the bottom 1/3rd or so of the sweater body from the first skein!

All of this from one skein of Eco+

I’m now almost to the point where I’ll be joining the sleeves to the body. Who knows, maybe I’ll even be able to finish it this weekend? We’ll see.

Once I finish Farmhouse Cardigan the Second, I should go back and work on fixing up the Bleideag that’s in timeout. (And on fixing the in-progress Waterbearer Cardigan whose brioche collar I screwed up back when my brain was first getting scrambled by this “work at home while your kid learns at home” gig. And on fixing the sleeves on my kangaroo-pocket pullover.) But what I want to work on is an idea I had for a yoked pullover inspired by the embroidered flower mittens on the cover of Making’s Intricate issue.

An idea...

I’ve had this green Rowanspun DK for a very long time (in fact, I think this might be from the first batch of “nice” yarn I ever bought for myself, back when we’d just moved here for graduate school; that was 15 years ago now!). When I was daydreaming about this potential yoked sweater, this yarn came immediately to mind as a good candidate, and I was able to find some Knitpicks Aloft (in “Tarragon”) that blends with it perfectly. See, I’m still sticking to my “only buy new yarn if it enables me to turn stash yarn into a completed project” policy! (Though I may make an exception for things to knit for my kid, whose favorite color, red, is almost entirely absent from my stash.)

An idea...

I’ve got lots of planning to do to figure out the optimal spacing of the bobbles that become the centers of each flower; I’m planning to knit this from the top-down, and have the flowers start out very densely packed and then more spread out as I reach the bottom of the yoke; I also hope to create a somewhat “random” rather than overly regular appearance. I can tell from my tiny swatch that actually embroidering the petals around each of those bobbles, on the scale of an entire sweater yoke, is going to be quite the labor of love, but I think it’s going to be worth it!

So anyway, that’s what I’m up to at the moment, knitting-wise. Who knows when I’ll get another chance to update the blog again!

Magenta Wardie is finished!

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Much like the first Wardie I made, the seaming on this sweater nearly broke me, but the end result is worth it!

Project Details:
Pattern: Wardie, from Ysolda Teague
Yarn: Rauma Finullgarn in color 4886, 7 skeins
Needles: Size 3 and Size 5
Time to knit: About 2 months

I knew what to expect this time around, since it was my second time knitting it, and as frustrating as I find seaming, I’m already contemplating a 3rd Wardie, maybe in a dark blue? We’ll see!

Finished Wardie number 2

I just love this design so much. It’s pretty gender neutral, and very much like what I think of as a typical “professor cardigan”, so I love that I now have one in bright magenta! Something about me really likes the combination of a slightly “boyish” cardigan with a bright, “feminine” color. And the pockets!!

Finished Wardie number 2!

The cable decreases in the English-tailoring at the shoulders just make me so happy. They just look really neat.

Wardie shoulder detail.

I was debating between the darker burgundy buttons that I eventually chose and some brighter sparkly pink ones; my daughter lobbied hard for sparkly pink, but then realized that if I didn’t use them in my own cardigan, she could perhaps have her own sweater with the sparkly pink buttons. So that’s now being plotted! (We’re thinking it’s going to be a dark red garter-rib cardigan, like the ones I used to knit her in blue.)

Wardie number 2, unbuttoned.

Speaking of my daughter, I got her to help me take some photos of Wardie out in the snow! The weather has finally turned to typical Winter here, and it turns out that snow is much more delightful when you don’t have to drive anywhere.

Wardie in the snow.

I love bright colors in the wintertime! (As might be obvious from the fact that my snowpants are bright green!)

Wardie in the snow.

We even got a photo with the hat I knit without blogging (a Daniel’s Hat, also from Ysolda Teague, using a random skein of Madtosh Farm Twist that got accidentally included with the yarn for my Gridlines sweater).

Wardie Cardigan (plus Daniel's Hat) in the snow

Pretty pleased with my first sweater of 2021, and a bit tickled to discover that not only are my first two knits of 2021 (the hat and the sweater) both Ysolda Teague patterns, so too is the sweater I’ve picked back up from last Fall to finish next (a Bleideag pullover). I guess Ysolda’s designs just suit me, eh?

On Monday, Spring semester starts, and I have no idea what to expect in terms of how much time I’ll have for knitting. My teaching schedule is different from any I’ve had before, plus it’s still all online, so it’ll be a learning curve. I’m pretty anxious about the fact that we don’t have a Spring Break this year, which means I’m staring ahead at 15 straight weeks of hard work without any breaks, when I’m already feeling pretty incredibly burnt out from all of 2020. (And, to be honest, the end of 2019 – let’s not forget that I was brutally ill with pneumonia then!) Just 15 more weeks. I can make it through 15 more weeks, right?

Wardie in the snow!

Deep breaths! Virtual hugs to everyone!

I sewed things!

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Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to be able to make my own wardrobe, and the more I learn about unsustainable practices in the fashion industry, the more interested I am in creating more of my clothes by hand. I obviously have the knitwear side of the equation pretty well figured out, but sewing, especially with sewing machines, has always been a bit more intimidating to me. But with the machine I got a couple of years ago, I feel like I have to fight the machine less, and that’s made it easier for me to use as a learner. I made myself that York Pinafore last fall, and today, I want to show off my next clothing project: a Cleo Skirt!

I made a Cleo Skirt!

I used Andover’s Kaleidoscope Plaid in “Lichen” for this skirt, and I followed the View B instructions for a midi-length with on-seam pockets. I learned a LOT from this pattern! The last time I sewed a skirt was when I was pregnant, and I had my dear friend Kris as a tutor to help me; this is the first skirt I’ve sewn all by myself! (Though I did have the Creativebug class videos to guide me!)

I made a Cleo Skirt!

I’m really delighted with how it turned out, and also with how it looks with this sweater (my Honeydew turtleneck). Definitely a good teaching outfit, once we get back to a situation where it matters what my bottom half looks like. I think that the bright yellowy greens and blues in this skirt will actually look great with quite a few of my sweaters, which is part of what drew me to it. (Also, I just love plaid, and bright colors in general, so the combination of the two things was very happy-making).

Matchy Matchy mask + skirt

I bought 2.5 yards, because the pattern called for 2 and 1/3rd yards and 2.5 was as close as I could get, but I did end up with quite a bit left over. Some of the leftovers are in a nice wide rectangle that I could possibly use for another project, but there was a long skinny rectangle left over at the sides that I didn’t want to waste, either. Then I remembered a YouTube video from Marcy Harriell showing how to make a 3D mask from one pattern piece, and after cutting out my template, found that it JUST fit in that long skinny rectangle, which made it possible to cut out 3 masks worth of pieces. Here’s a closeup of the first one (I still need to sew the others):

I made a(nother) mask!

I used the followup video to create a filter pocket in mine, so it’s effectively 3 layers over the main part of the mask, plus I can add a filter for more layers if I want. I really like it! I’ve been fighting with the shaped masks that I made last summer, because the seam running down the middle makes it so that my glasses won’t sit on top of the mask (it’s just too bulky under the nose bridge) and then I get crazy glasses-fogging. But with this, since it’s a flat piece under the nose bridge, I can tuck it under the bridge of my glasses and not get much if any fogging! And that’s without a nose wire; it would probably be even better with one, and I have an idea for how I can add one without adding too much bulk to the part that goes over the nose. Here it is flat:

I made a(nother) mask!

And here it is folded out:

I made a(nother) mask!

I love the design of this – it’s really simple to put together! And it fascinates me that it’s all from one pattern piece! You can (kinda) see the filter pocket in the picture below:

I made a(nother) mask!

And finally, here’s a video of me talking in it, without my glasses fogging up!

I have more of the Andover Kaleidoscope Plaid in “Magenta”, and I’m really excited about the idea of making another Cleo Skirt plus a few more masks from it!

Since today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I’ll close with a little reflection:

Today, as on MLK Days past, I’m revisiting King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”, and sharing a link to it here so that you can do the same. Something I think about a lot is the fact that King was born the same year as my grandpa (who was a minister deeply engaged in the Civil Rights Movement)…and my grandpa is still alive and kicking today. (In fact, he just emailed me the other day to share the resources from his book club about Isabel Wilkerson’s “Caste”, because during the last Harrison Family Zoom, he said they were reading it and I’d mentioned that I was waiting for the ebook from the library, which I still am.)

We like to pretend that this is old history but it isn’t. The people who were civil rights activists then? Some of them, like my grandpa, are still with us. King could be too, if he hadn’t been murdered. It just wasn’t that long ago. And the very same dynamics that King writes about in this letter are also still alive today. People say the very same things about the Black Lives Matter movement as they said about King and the civil rights movement then. Literally.

I want to think that things will be different this time. That what we’re experiencing is a backlash, a last gasp of those who fear they are losing their place at the top of the hierarchy, and who either don’t realize that the beloved community we are trying to make real is not zero-sum, or would simply rather be on top of a broken world than co-exist in a whole one with others who are different from them. I think it’s important to reckon honestly with what came before, because we cannot have any hope of achieving a different ending if we don’t recognize the ways in which we are replaying the same arguments, and I desperately hope that those who find themselves mouthing, in relation to the BLM movement, the lines of the white moderates King describes in his letter recognize themselves and then work to do better.

Well, now it’s 2021.

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And these are indeed Hard Times for Soft Hearts like mine. We’ve been living with this pandemic for 10 months. The numbers of COVID cases and deaths just keep rising, and seem likely to only rise further as we move more deeply into the post-holiday surge. We’re not vaccinating fast enough. And on Wednesday, while I was teaching a mindfulness class over Zoom, armed Trump-supporting insurrectionists launched an attack on the US Capitol. As so many have noted, this was both terrifying, heartbreaking, and shocking, and also entirely predictable and unsurprising. This is precisely where we’ve been headed, because the Republican party has recognized for a long time that it cannot remain in power by appealing to a majority of voters, and thus seeks to remain in power by any means possible, and in particular, by treating everything outside of Republican power as illegitimate, and stoking the fears of angry white people through the cynical use of misinformation. This is precisely what many in the Republican party have been working to incite; it is the precise result one would expect if a group of easily manipulated people had their resentments fed, over and over, and were led, over and over, to believe that the election had been stolen from them. That does not, of course, excuse any of the people involved in storming the Capitol for their actions; it simply more deeply implicates everyone who pushed that inciting misinformation: Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, and of course Donald Trump himself, among many, many others.

That the attempted coup failed does not mean that we can simply move forward as if nothing happened, because something DID happen: the US Capitol was breached by armed forces bent on preventing Congress from doing the work of certifying the election. Does anyone imagine that if those forces were anything other than the Trump-supporting white people they are, the response would be so tepid? Can you imagine how we would be responding if our capitol had been breached in this fashion by a group of say, Black folks, or Muslims? The insurrectionists were able to get as far as they did without serious consequences because they weren’t seen as a threat by the police whose job it was to protect the halls of Congress – which tells you an awful lot about who “we” see as “we the people” and who doesn’t get that benefit of the doubt. (Though I’m less inclined than Masha Gessen to assume that there were NOT also some cops who were in cahoots with the insurrectionists.)

I’ve never been someone who believed in the self-congratulating mythology of this country, but even still, the grief I feel witnessing the images of white supremacists desecrating the US Capitol building is pretty intense. And I know enough history to know that if we do not reckon with what happened, and hold accountable *everyone* who was involved in it, that we run the risk of simply emboldening those who would destroy our democracy. (I also know that it is misleading to say that we are the world’s oldest democracy; we’ve only been a TRUE democracy, at least on paper, since 1965’s Voting Rights Act.) We MUST take this seriously, because if we do not, it will come back to haunt us, just like Hitler came back to grab power after his own failed attempt. To my mind, this means at the very least ensuring (via impeachment) that Trump can no longer run for any public office, but that’s not the end of it. Think how many people he has in his orbit who would would be delighted to take the reins to their own ends; some of them are likely to be far more polished and competent than Trump (a pretty low bar, actually). This damage is going to be so very hard to undo, but we must.

I had meant to write up a big post about my own plans for 2021, and while it feels weird to write about “trivial” stuff when there’s so much going on, that’s pretty much just how life is these days, so I may as well write about those plans here. I’ve got a number of projects in various levels of progress, knit-wise: there’s the Wardie cardigan (for which I’m now working on sleeve #2), the Bleideag pullover (still knitting sleeve #1), and the Water Bearer cardigan, which still needs to be ripped back because I messed up the brioche on one side. I also need to fix the sleeves of that kangaroo-pocket pullover!

Wardie Progress
[Wardie looks so strange when you’re working on the sleeves!]

In terms of new projects, here are a few things I’m hoping to work on:
1. Another Farmhouse cardigan, this time in the Cascade Eco+ in “Aporto” that’s been hanging out in my stash for years.
2. A yoked pullover inspired by the mittens on the cover of the latest “Making” magazine; I have some old Rowanspun DK in a yellowy green that I can pair with some Knitpicks Aloft, and I love the idea of a yoke covered in embroidered flowers. (I know there are a few designs out there already that are similar to this idea, including one in that very same issue of “Making”, but I’d be adapting the heck out of them anyway because I either don’t like the look of the flowers or don’t like the silhouette.)
3. A couple of summer tops; I’ve got enough Silky Wool leftover after the Caesura V project that I could knit a light short-sleeved cardigan to wear with dresses, and I’ve had an idea for a long time for a boxy t-shirt that would make good use of some old sock yarn.

One thing I’m currently debating is whether to try to self-publish any designs this year. None of the designs I submitted this fall when Brooklyn Tweed was doing a call got accepted, but I did get an offer of yarn support for one of them if I wanted to self-publish it. I’m just…not sure what I want to do. For one thing, the design is one of the collection of “parent-child” knits that I’ve been putting together since M was born, and if I went the self-publishing route, I’d kind of want to put together an actual collection, and that feels daunting. But also, the process of self-publishing in general feels daunting. It’s a whole different world than when I self-published my first patterns a decade ago, and I don’t feel equipped to navigate it. I’m not great at the self-marketing side of things, and don’t know how to use social media in that way (nor am I especially interested in doing so). That’s part of why I submitted to the BT call, because so much of that side of things would be taken care of by them. I also don’t know how to self-publish on any platform other than Ravelry, and I have very complicated feelings about doing ANYTHING through Ravelry given how abysmally they handled the accessibility issues with their website redesign (and frankly, I’m not even confident that I’ll still be able to USE the site after they get rid of Classic View in a few months; I’ve not yet tried using the new website to see if the improvements they’ve made in the interim make it possible for me to use it without migraines). So…I don’t know whether to accept the offer of yarn support and follow through on self-publishing things, or not. It IS neat to see others knitting things I designed, but perhaps I’d be happier just continuing to make bespoke designs for me and my kid?

So anyway, that’s where I am at the start of 2021: worried about where my country is headed, and uncertain where *I* am headed, in terms of knit design. Just kind of generally unsettled. I hope, dear readers, that you are taking good care of yourselves, and I hope for all of us that we are able to make 2021 a year of healing and progress.

Another Wardie cardigan – but this time, bright magenta!

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I really enjoyed the process of making my first Wardie cardigan (which, holy crap, was actually towards the beginning of this year, which feels like an entire lifetime ago), and the style really suits me, so I knew I wanted to make at least one more of them. And for some reason, my mind would not let go of the idea of making a bright magenta Wardie. I just loved the idea of the relatively gender-neutral/borderline masculine cardigan in a bright magenta. The thing is, I’m really, really picky about my pinks. I’ve learned from experience that a color that I think looks like a nice magenta online is actually a brighter hot pink, and so I wasn’t sure how I’d go about finding the “right” magenta for my imagined Wardie. And then it dawned on me – I knew I liked the magenta in the Joy Mitts bi kit, and since those were knit in the same Rauma yarn that Wardie calls for, I knew I could order that and be confident that it would be the magenta of my dreams. And so, during the brief lull I had between the last day of classes and my students turning in their Final Portfolios, I cast on for a magenta Wardie, while wearing my very neutral oatmeal colored one.

The beginning of the magenta Wardie cardigan.

It turned out that a bright magenta Wardie was exactly the right knit for me during the incredibly stressful end-of-semester. I love knitting with the Rauma yarn; it has a delightful toothiness and bounciness that just feels perfect in my hands.

More Magenta Wardie

Once the Final Portfolios came in, I used Wardie as my “treat” – for every 3 portfolios I graded, I got to knit a few rows on Wardie before diving back into grading.

Magenta Wardie in progress

And now, a few days after finishing grading, I have completed the back of Wardie! I absolutely love knitting those nifty cabled decreases for the English tailoring at the shoulders, though in this bright magenta yarn, I couldn’t get the camera to focus on them enough to capture a detail shot!

Magenta Wardie Back complete!

My daughter saw me knitting this and is now lobbying HARD for her own magenta Wardie cardigan. She’s getting tall enough now (at 4’5.5″, she’s taller as a 3rd grader than I was as a 6th grader!) that I’m pretty sure the smallest size would work for her as a slightly oversized cardigan, so she may just get her wish. We’ll see!

How to make a star

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I mentioned in my last post that I’ve been working on some smaller projects. In particular, what I’ve been working on are some little stuffed stars, using leftovers from my Willow Cowls. It started out as just a little “doodle” with yarns to test out an idea, and then I got hooked! I’m currently in the brief lull between the last day of classes (which was yesterday, for me) and the day my students submit their Final Portfolios, so I actually have a little bit of time to write up what I’m doing when I make these! Here goes:

Getting ready: These don’t require a ton of yarn (I’m getting at least two stars from each color of Willow Cowl leftovers, and I’m pretty sure I had less than 100 yards leftover in each color). You’ll need SIX dpns, because the stitches are spread over 5 needles and the 6th is used for knitting. I think the instructions I’m giving below would work for just about any yarn on needles that give you a solid but not overly stiff gauge; for the fingering-weight yarns, I’m using size 2 needles. Oh, and you’ll need a bit of polyfill, too; I’m using leftovers from the bag I bought back when I made my daughter’s “Cat”.

Making a star, step 1: the i-cord

Step 1: Make the i-cord
Make 95 rounds of 3-stitch i-cord. The reason for 95 stitches is that you want a multiple of 5, but you also want the number you’re multiplying by 5 to be an ODD number. 95 = 19 x 5, which works well, but you could also do 105 = 21 x 5 or something even bigger. (I don’t recommend a smaller number than 95, though!)
TIP: it’s really easy to miscount and end up with more or fewer rounds in your i-cord, so my advice is to err on the side of too many. Too many is fudgeable; too few isn’t. You’ll see why in just a second.

Making a star, step 2: picking up stitches along the i-cord

Step 2: Pick up stitches from the i-cord
First, on the last round of the i-cord, bind off the first two stitches, and leave the remaining stitch on the needle. Then, knitting into one leg of each stitch in the i-cord, making sure to stay in the same “column”, pick up and knit 94 more stitches. Put 19 stitches on each of 5 dpns. If there’s extra i-cord after you’ve put 19 stitches on each needle, you have options:
1. If there are at least 10 extra rounds, you can shift things so that you have 21 stitches per needle instead of 19 stitches per needle.
2. You could also use the extra rounds to create a hanging loop (you’ll see an example of this later in the post).
3. Or, no matter how many extra rounds there are, you can simply tuck them into the inside of the star when it’s time to pick up side 2.

Making a star, step 3: 19 stitches on each of 5 needles, picked up from the i-cord

Step 3: arrange your 5 needles for knitting in the round
The next step is to join for knitting in the round. On each needle, you’ll do the following:
Round 1: *knit 8, CDD, knit 8* on each needle
Round 2: *knit 7, CDD, knit 7* on each needle
Round 3: *knit 6, CDD, knit 6* on each needle.
(Hopefully at this point, the logic is clear. Also, if you are using a larger number per needle, adjust the numbers so that the CDD ends up being the central three stitches on each needle; for example, if you cast on 105 stitches, you’d need 21 stitches on each needle and your first round would be *knit 9, CDD, knit 9*, and so on.)

Making a star, step 4: doing CDDs in the center of each needle on every round

Step 4: keep decreasing until you get down to 1 stitch per needle
Keep decreasing in the established pattern (knitting a CDD over the central 3 stitches on the needle) until you get down to 1 stitch per needle. Then, break the yarn, and thread it through the loops on the needle to pull it tight. At that point, you’ll have finished side 1!

Making a star, step 6: Picking up stitches from the i-cord for side 2

Step 5: pick up stitches for side 2
Here, starting at the edge of the i-cord where you picked up the first needle-worth of stitches on side 1, what you want is to pick up stitches from the i-cord from the legs of the column of stitches that will create a single line of knit stitches between the two sides. I find this kind of hard to explain in words, but I think it’s pretty obvious once you’re looking at it. I actually messed it up in the first “doodle” version of the star (shown in the photo above), but I made a little video of what I’m doing on a subsequent star that I hope helps:

The goal, as with side 1, is to pick up 19 stitches on each of the 5 needles for a total of 95 stitches, then join to knit in the round.

Making a star, step 7: making side 2 just like side 1

Step 6: make size 2 just like side 1
(Seriously, just look back at the Step 3 instructions!)

Making a star, step 8: adding filling

Step 7: stuff it!
Once you get to the point where you have 5 stitches on each needle (or even when you get to having just 3), stuff your star. You don’t want to OVER stuff it, but stuff it enough that the points of the star aren’t floppy. You’ll do the final rounds of decreasing on each needle with the stuffing inside the star.

Making a star, step 9: just about ready to thread the end through to close up!

Step 8: finish it!
When you get to the final round (1 stitch per needle), finish as on side 1: break the yarn, thread it through the loops, and pull tight. What I like to do is weave the yarn around the center of the star, almost “duplicate stitching” the non-CDD-column stitches, just to make sure that there’s no gappiness there. Then, I pull the yarn through the star, extra taut, and snip it, letting the end sink back into the star.

I’ve now created quite a collection of these little stars! They’re just a fun little diversion and it makes me happy to squeeze them.

Squishy stars!

I’ve got green ones…

Green stars (light green was the experiment/prototype)

And magenta ones…

Two magenta stars

And even a red one (made from leftovers from the Musselburgh hat that I knit for my daughter, which I’m realizing now has not made a blog appearance yet!):

Red star with loop

As you can see on the red one, I ended up with a LOT of extra i-cord (because a certain someone kept interrupting me while I was counting rounds!) so I turned it into a hanging loop. I think my daughter wants me to thread a cord through it so that she can wear it as necklace!

Handful of stars

These stars have been a fun little way to add a bit of “light” during these dark months at the end of a dark year. I hope these little stars bring you as much joy to knit and squeeze as they’ve brought me!

The grey cardigan is finished!

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I’m drowning in end-of-semester paper feedback (still have 14 10-15 page research papers to give feedback on before Tuesday!) and just complete and utter burnout after what is without a doubt the hardest semester of teaching I have ever done, but I do have some knitting updates to share. I finished my grey cardigan!

Project Details:
Pattern: I used Åsa Tricosa’s “Ziggurat” technique, but with my own numbers, shaping, and nupp-based design elements
Yarn: Beaverslide Dry Goods 2-ply Worsted in “Woodsmoke”; this yarn has been in my stash for a LONG time. I used all 4 skeins; I had considered adding pockets but I don’t think there’s enough left over!
Needles: Size 8s
Time to knit: Almost exactly one month, though there were a lot of false starts that got ripped out prior to that.

I’ve had a vision of a cardigan with “chains” of nupps hanging down from a deep-veck for quite awhile, and I’m really delighted that I was able to turn it into a real sweater! I ended up cobbling together my numbers by reading several different Ziggurat patterns (Jadeite, Aranaranja, and Sweet Laurel), none of which perfectly matched my gauge in the Beaverslide yarn, and adapting from there.

Closeup of nupp details at neckline
[Those nupps just bloom so gorgeously in the Beaverslide yarn!]

I ended up using the slipped-stitch/garter “button-band” pattern from Jadeite not just for the button-band, but also at the bottom hem and cuffs, as a knit-on bind-off. It took a couple of tries to get the ratio right at the bottom hem – it turned out that I needed to just knit the band together with each stitch, without any decreases, for it to be loose enough not to pull in. But at the wrists, I ended up knitting 3 together (two sleeve stitches with one cuff band stitch) every 5th stitch to get a cuff that pulled in ever so slightly.

The grey cardigan is finished!

For the buttonholes themselves, I ended up inventing my own method; on the first (RS) row, I did a triple yarnover before the central garter stitch, and then knit that garter stitch together with its neighbor from the slip-stitch column. Then on the next (WS) row, I slipped the first yarn-over wrap along with its neighbor, knit the second one, and slipped the third one along with its neighbor. And on the final row, I knit those yarn-overs together with their neighbor stitches in the slip-stitch columns. (I swear this makes sense in my head!). This created a nice looking buttonhole that didn’t disrupt the look of the band at all.

Back nupp detail

At the back neck, I did the same nupp-and-eyelet motif as I used in my Sullivan design, just top-down instead of bottom-up, and I think it looks really lovely. I’ve always liked having some sort of little detail on the back of my sweaters!

I’ve also got a few other little knitted projects to share, because knitting is how I cope when I’m drowning in work; without it, I would have utterly lost my mind by this point (though perhaps it’s debatable whether I have lost it anyway – this semester has just been so unrelentingly hard). But I’ll save those for another post so that my new grey cardigan can get the spotlight all to itself!

The grey cardigan is finished!

into the Unknown

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Uncertainty is not something I cope well with. But this is where we find ourselves. I made myself go to bed last night, because I knew we wouldn’t know anything useful for quite awhile, and not sleeping wasn’t going to make facing that reality any easier. And I actually did manage to sleep, mostly thanks to singing the “Next Right Thing” song from Frozen 2 to myself inside my mind. (I really love that song and that movie, y’all. Which is so bizarre because I’m generally NOT a Disney person, and I wasn’t especially into the first Frozen.)

Bleideag progress
(I’m just going to scatter some progress photos throughout this post; I’ve not had a chance to update the blog with projects recently. This is a Bleideag pullover, in greys and blues. Everything is greys and blues right now.)

It should not be this close. If we were the country we tell ourselves we are, it would not be this close. We can’t call those who vote for Trump in ’20 “protest voters” the way we did in ’16. This time, there was no “well, let’s just see what he does”; what he’ll do has been on display for 4 years now, and it’s horrifying to see that a significant portion of my country looked at that, and said, “yes, this is what we want. More of this, please.”

But is it surprising? I don’t know. I’ve been thinking back to my earliest political memory. It was 1990, so I was 7, and my family was supporting Harvey Gantt against Jesse Helms for US Senate in North Carolina (which is where we lived until a year or so later). Harvey Gantt, for those who don’t know, was a Black man. Anyway, while I don’t remember things word-for-word at this point, I remember the Helms campaign running an ad that was to my young mind so explicitly racist; my memory of it is that it basically said, “hey white people? You didn’t get that job you wanted because they gave it to an unqualified Black person.” In my young mind, this was so blatant that I was *sure* that when people saw it, they would realize how racist Helms was and vote against him. Oh, sweet Baby Me. So naive.

Squirrel!
(Here’s my sweet baby. She wanted to be a squirrel for Halloween this year, so I knit her an acorn treat bag, made a grey mask and decorated it with tape, and sewed her a tail and ears from scraps of grey fuzzy fabric. I’m really happy with how it all turned out.)

My young social justice warrior self had a lot to learn. It wasn’t that people didn’t realize how racist Helms was; they knew damned well, but viewed that as a feature rather than a flaw. And one of the lessons I took away from this was to never underestimate the ugliness that exists in this country. Which is why I’ve always resisted when people try to say, “this isn’t who we are” or “we’re better than this”. No, it’s exactly who we are if we don’t make efforts to change it. And I’m not sure I’ll ever feel confident that enough other people will participate in those efforts. But I’ll always want to be proven wrong.

Grey sweater of my own design
(Here’s my other current project: a top-down, set-in sleeve cardigan using Åsa Tricosa’s “Ziggurat” technique, and my own design features (like nupps!). It took several tries to get the proportions right given my gauge, etc, but I think it’s working now.)

We don’t know yet what the outcome of this election will be. It seems like the likeliest path is one in which Biden wins the presidency, but the Republican party retains control over the Senate, and that has always seemed to me like the path most likely to push this country to its breaking point; does anyone believe that Mitch McConnell will actually allow Biden/Harris to govern? But we just don’t know yet. (I like Anand Giridharadas’s take on what we DO know as of right now.) We need to be patient, and we need to be diligent about ensuring that all of the votes get counted. As someone who was just a few months too young to vote in the 2000 election, our current circumstances feel awfully familiar; my teenaged-self’s commitment then, which caused a major rift with my conservative uncle that Thanksgiving, was to ensuring that all votes were counted, and it remains my commitment now. (Another thing I was committed to then and still am: the elimination of the Electoral College, and expanding the use of ranked-choice voting.)

It should not be this close, but it is. We are a country with racist rot at its core, and with a political system whose flaws are now becoming wildly apparent. We have so much work to do.

Ravelston is finished!

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Well, there sure is a lot going on right now in the world, and everyday life is completely and utterly overwhelming, too, but look, I finished a sweater!

Ravelston is finished!
(Photo credit goes to my daughter!)

Here are the details!

Pattern: Ravelston, from Ysolda Teague
Yarn: Hillesvåg Sølje in Dongeriblå
Needles: Sizes 2 and 3
Time to knit: a little over 2 months

I’m really, really thrilled with how it turned out. The color still makes my heart sing – this luminous blue that shifts into grey that first caught my attention on one of the models in the pattern. (It didn’t hurt that the model was also stunning!)

Ravelston is finished!

The pattern is incredibly well-written, and the shaping details are so thoughtful – it starts with more waist decreases at the back than the front, and then the waist/bust increases move more of the fabric to the front. Just brilliant, at least for the way my body is shaped!

Ravelston, side view!
(Photo credit goes to my daughter!)

And the fit around the shoulders is fantastic, too!

Ravelston is finished!

I really loved the way the top-down set-in sleeve shaping was worked (even though the lack of symmetry meant that I accidentally knit a second left sleeve instead of knitting the right sleeve, and didn’t notice until I’d already knit half of the sleeve!). They just fit so nicely!

Ravelston is finished!

I made one slight modification to the pattern, and that was to knit a split hem in 1×1 rib, rather than the split folded hem or the straight 1×1 rib hem. I really like the way it turned out!

Ravelston is finished!
(Photo credit goes to my daughter!)

Didn’t my daughter do a nice job helping me with photography? She’s getting SO big!

Me and my photography assistant :)

I hope everyone is hanging in there, and finding little moments of joy wherever you can.

I sewed something wearable!

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In my head, sewing is “quicker” than knitting, because it’s not like you have to make the fabric from scratch! But really…it’s not, at least, not for me. But after a solid month of working a little bit each weekend, I now have a piece of clothing that I made all by myself that’s actually wearable, and I’m pretty darned excited about it!

York Pinafore!

I keep wanting to call this a “jumper”, but that gets confusing because I know that’s what my UK-friends call a sweater. It’s the York Pinafore, from Helen’s Closet, and it’s the first “clothing” item I’ve ever successfully sewn from a pattern! And it has POCKETS!

York Pinafore, side view

I used some Kaufmann herringbone flannel that I’ve had sitting around for quite awhile, because I thought a jumper/pinafore/whatever like this would be really nice as a transitional piece – I can wear it like I’m wearing it today, on a cool but not even close to cold late summer day, but I could also layer wool tights and knee-high socks and boots under it, and layer a cardigan and cowl over it, for winter. And grey is such a useful color for me – it matches basically everything!

York Pinafore

I don’t really know anything about sewing patterns, but to me, this one seemed really well-written, and the only part I was confused by was the instructions for the bias-tape binding. I’ve never done that before, and for some reasons the instructions in the pattern just weren’t clicking for me, but I found a few videos on Youtube and that helped me sort it out. I’m really pleased with how it turned out!

York Pinafore, back view

I’ve always been a fan of overalls, and this jumper has a bit of the feel of wearing overalls, but in dress form. And in fact, once I’m feeling a little more confident about clothes-sewing, I’m hoping to sew myself some Yanta Overalls in a striped linen/cotton blend. I have enough of this same flannel, but in a dark blue herringbone, to make another one of these pinafores, so I think I’ll do that first before I try to tackle a new pattern!

York Pinafore!

I definitely still have so much to learn about sewing garments…it’s a whole different world from knitting and I just don’t really have many skills yet. But now that I have a sewing machine that isn’t constantly fighting me, I feel like I’m ready to learn, and I’m excited to sew myself more clothes, even if it takes me just as long to sew a pinafore as it does for me to knit a sweater. Slow is fine. There’s no rush.

So much of everything

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We’re now two weeks into fall semester at my university, and so far, online teaching is going well. I think I’m pretty good at it, and I’m really enjoying the sense of camaraderie amongst the students in all 3 of my classes, just figuring out how to be good to each other in these strange times we’ve found ourselves in. Online teaching is also orders of magnitude more exhausting for me than teaching in person is (some of this is just due to unfamiliarity, but I do think that the cognitive demands of synchronous online teaching are beyond those of in-person teaching, period). But one thing that’s even easier when teaching online than when teaching in person is to sneak in a few rows on a knitting project while the students are in breakout rooms doing small-group discussion.

Getting started on Musselburgh

And that’s why I cast on, at the start of the semester, for a Musselburgh hat for M, in her beloved red color; I figured once I got past the increases at the start, I’d have smooth sailing ahead of me, just round and round in plain stockinette stitch. When my brain is overtired, that’s exactly what I need!

Progress on Musselburgh and Ravelston

I’ve made good progress on the hat, and also on the Ravelston pullover; I’m nearly finished with the first sleeve!

Isn't that a lovely sleeve cap?
Isn’t that a lovely sleeve cap?

I’m not sure when I’ll get a chance to start the second one; the sleeve cap *does* demand quite a bit of attention, and so does…pretty much everything else in life right now. My daughter’s going to be doing school fully remotely, and that starts next week. Unfortunately, the message we got from her soon-to-be teacher contained…basically no information about what to expect, and also didn’t contain any of the links it purported to, and there’ve been no responses to the parents’ requests for a corrected email. I’m trying my hardest to maintain grace for the teacher, who is surely working under difficult circumstances just like I am, but I’m also panicking about what my daughter and her classmates’ experience is going to be like, if this is how it is starting. We don’t even know when the “meet the teacher” Zoom is on Tuesday…and it’s a holiday weekend, so we’re not likely to find anything out until Tuesday morning at the earliest. Or maybe we just won’t meet the teacher at all? Deep breaths.

I’m already really, really exhausted just from teaching my 3 classes online for 2 weeks, so I’m quite nervous about what it’s going to look like once I add “helping my daughter manage her remote learning” to the mix, especially if it’s going to be this disorganized. What’s it going to feel like when we’re truly in it? We’ll find out soon, I suppose.

Adding to all of this: my city has currently joined the ranks of cities in which the police department has effectively declared war on its citizens, this time in relation to protests over the death of Daniel Prude, a black man having a mental health crisis, back in March, at the hands of the police officers who had been called to help him. Yes, you read that right: back in MARCH. This was covered up and hidden until last week, when Prude’s family released video, and as a result, there have been protests each night in the city. Last night, as I was falling asleep, I thought I heard rumbling…and then I woke this morning to stories from my friends from First Unitarian Church, of being kettled, flash-banged, teargassed, and pepperballed by the RPD at last night’s protests. Timing suggests that the rumbles I was hearing were those flashbangs being deployed against the overwhelmingly peaceful protestors, including my friends, who thankfully all eventually made it home safely. A big part of me wants to be at the protests with my friends; I also know that while pepper spray and teargas are not safe for anyone, there is a whole extra layer of risk if you’re someone whose lungs are already damaged, like mine are. So I contribute with donations, and with spreading the word, because that’s what I can best do right now.

It doesn’t actually surprise me that the RPD is following the same script as police departments in other parts of the country, but it does strike me. It’s not like they’re unaware of what this looks like, it’s not like they don’t know we’re watching…so the fact that they brazenly attack overwhelmingly peaceful protestors suggests to me that the RPD believes it can behave with impunity. And given our current system…they have every reason to believe that. And that’s exactly why we need these protests.

One more knitting project update before I end this post, which is likely as jumbled as my mind currently feels. I’ve made it to the body portion of the Water Bearer cardigan!

Progress on Water Bearer

This project is probably NOT the best one to knit while my mind is so scattered; I tried working on it during a recent faculty senate Zoom meeting and, well, let’s just say I ended up learning a lot about how to rip and reknit brioche. Slowly but surely, though, I’ve made it through the point where you join everything up at the underarms, and I think I’ve pretty well internalized the brioche pattern, too…so hopefully I’ll have fewer bumps along the way as I continue on this project.

Progress on Water Bearer

So anyway, that’s where I am: dividing my time between three knitting projects depending on how overwhelmed my brain is, teaching 3 online classes and trying to support my students for whom this is all so new, trying to figure out what on earth my child’s learning is going to look like this year, and trying to figure out how I can best be of service during these difficult times in my city.

Isn’t it good, Norwegian WOOL

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Right now I have not one, but TWO projects on the needles using wool from the Norwegian mill, Hillesvåg: one is in the fingering-weight Sølje, and the other in the DK-weight Tinde. Longtime readers of my blog will know my love for “wooly” yarns; I’ve got nothing against the super smooth soft yarns, but my heart goes to the yarns with a bit of toothiness, and these Hillesvåg yarns definitely fit that bill!

Ravelston progress.

The first of these projects has already been shown on the blog: it’s a Ravelston pullover, in Sølje in the color “Lys dongeriblå”. I’m almost finished with the left front, and so far, the fit is perfect.

Getting silly with Ravelston

I even purled a row while trying it on, because why not?

The second project is Jacqueline Cieslak’s “Water Bearer” cardigan, which I’m knitting in Tinde in “Turkis”.

Water Bearer Cardigan in progress

What I love about the Hillesvåg yarns, which are made from Norwegian Pelsull, is the way that the colors just GLOW. I don’t think the camera does them justice. Between the luster of the fiber itself, and the fact that the fiber being overdyed is grey rather than white, the end result is a luminous, almost color-shifting quality in natural light.

Beginning of Water Bearer

It’s just gorgeous! The construction of Water Bearer is really interesting; it starts with the back of that gorgeous brioche-stitch shawl collar, and then the back shoulder stitches are cast on from there.

Trying on two in-progress sweaters at once.

It’s been great to get back to brioche, which I kind of fell in love with last summer while making the Paris’s Brioche Scarf! I think this is going to be a beautiful cardigan.

Brioche-stash!

Apparently I can’t help myself when it comes to brioche – I have to take a picture using it as a “brioche-stash” :)

The start of Fall semester is only 1.5 weeks away, and I’ve still got quite a bit to do get my classes ready for online teaching…and then to figure out how to balance that with my daughter’s remote-learning, too, once that starts. I don’t know what to expect in terms of knitting progress…there’s definitely a lot less time, but I *need* to keep my hands busy more and can do so on the parts that are more “mindless” even while taking part in meetings, so maybe it’ll all even out. In any case, whenever I get a chance to knit, I’ll be enjoying the feeling of this delightfully wooly, luminous Norwegian Wool.

Caesura V is finished!

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I finished knitting my heavily-modified Caesura V tank this weekend!

Caesura V is finished!

Here are the details!

Pattern: Caesura V, from Åsa Tricosa
Yarn: Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool, just about exactly 3 skeins
Gauge (different from pattern): 6sts/9rows per inch on size 5 needles
Time to knit: 2 weeks

By the way, if the formatting on that set of details looks different that usual: I’m still not used to this new “blocks” system that WordPress is using now; at heart, I’m a “write the post in html” sort of person, and GUIs tend not to suit the way my brain thinks. But I’m trying to figure it out!

I’m also no longer going to be linking to my Ravelry page in these posts; I’m still able to use the site in Classic Mode, but do not want to assume that anyone clicking the link can safely use the site in either mode. I’m deeply saddened and frustrated by how everything has played out in relation to Ravelry over these last couple of months. I was quite hurt by the gaslighting statements in communications from the Rav team that ended up going viral last week. It was only a couple of years ago that the (now-former) president of my own university was trying to brand my colleagues and I as liars using the same sort of “consider your sources” framing that Cassidy used, and it brought up those same familiar feelings of disorientation, betrayal, and rage. But this time, it was coming from a member of a team I had thought of as friends. And perhaps some of them were, at some point in the past? But that is gone now, and it was probably naive of me to still be thinking of Ravelry as anything other than a business. That’s how I’m thinking of it now: as a site I use because it’s useful to me, much in the same way as Facebook or Twitter serve a useful purpose in my life without me having any illusions that Zuckerberg or Dorsey are part of “my community”. Whether the site will continue to be useful to me depends on how well they address the accessibility issues at the heart of this, so I’ve also downloaded all of the PDFs in my pattern library and am thinking about how best to use my blog to keep track of the kinds of things I’ve long relied on Ravelry to do. I haven’t really thought through what it means for my designs; I’ve not published any patterns in quite a while and though I keep thinking I should dip my toes back into those waters, I’m not sure I have it in me.

While I wish Cassidy well in terms of her mental health needs, I’m also really bothered by the way that white women in particular lean on “mental health” as a way of excusing problematic behavior. I mean, I also struggle with anxiety and depression and PTSD, and I do understand how much it can warp your sense of reality and make you lash out in unproductive ways, but at the end of the day, you’ve got to own your actions and work to repair the damage you’ve done, and if you destroy people’s trust in the process, well, it’s going to take time and effort to get it back. The people you hurt are allowed to have feelings, too, and are also deserving of care.

Anyway, enough about that – let’s talk about the tank! I’m really quite thrilled with how it ended up after all of the modifications I made. Let me walk you through those!

Caesura V is finished!

First, gauge. I was wanting to do something with this Silky Wool that I’ve had in my stash for well over a decade, and since it lists itself as a “DK-weight”, I thought I’d try this DK-weight pattern from Åsa Tricosa, whose “Ziggurat” technique for top-down knitting is fascinating to me! But alas, there was no way to get 20 stitches over 4 inches in Silky Wool while maintaining a fabric that wasn’t completely see-through. What I ended up with was 24 stitches over 4 inches, instead. I also had a different row gauge, which meant I needed to adapt things like the armhole depth. But it all worked out!

Caesura V (heavily modified) side view

Next, the side “seams”. This is a seamless knit, and the pattern calls for a wedge of reverse stockinette opening up from the base of that neat twisted rib triangle on each side. But I didn’t particularly like the look of that, so the first thing I tried was to just keep the one twisted knit stitch with a purl on either side running down, but that didn’t look that nice, either. What I finally ended up doing was turning the center twisted knit stitch into a two stitch twist, and kept a purl stitch on either side of it, all the way down to where I split the hem. The pattern has a vent in the back, but I’ve always liked side vents, and for this one, I created a 1×1 twisted rib triangle on either side to mirror the ones at the back neck and the underarm, and then made the back a bit longer than the front before starting the 1×1 twisted rib for the bottom hem. Here’s a more detailed picture:

Closeup of hem split

Finally, the back. The pattern has A-line shaping, but my own shape made me want a slightly different fit. I’m not a very “curvy” person, but what curves I have are much more strongly pronounced on my back than my front – I both have more of a waist curve in back, and I also have a slight swayback, so I wanted to adapt the A-line shaping to be a bit more “back-hugging” than tent-like in the back. What I ended up doing was to add two columns of 2-stitch twists, with a purl stitch on either side of each, and then did a few quick decreases to pull the back in. After that, I just did a decrease on the outside of each twist every time I did an increase at the side seams, so the back didn’t grow to be as wide as the front. Towards the bottom, I did a few increases on the *insides* of each twist, to widen the back panel a little over the bum.

Caesura V (heavily modified) back view

I’m really happy with how all of these modifications worked out, and I love the tank so much that I wish I had Silky Wool in more colors! But of course, I’m trying to knit down my stash, so should probably NOT acquire any more Silky Wool until I’m able to knit down or otherwise offload some of the yarn I currently have. It’s not like I don’t have plenty of projects already in the queue.

Caesura V is finished and I love it!

If I look a little tired in these pictures, it’s because trying to prep 3 classes to teach them online, while also being a parent, during a pandemic that is being horrifically mismanaged by your nation’s government, is really freaking exhausting. Fall semester starts in just 3 weeks, though, so I’d best get back to work instead of continuing to ramble here on the blog. I hope all are staying safe and well.

What I’ve been up to

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Since finishing my daughter’s green vest, I’ve been working on a few projects, and I’m currently waiting for a lesson I recorded to upload to Panopto, so what better time to update the knitting blog?

Makin' more masks.

Of course, one of the projects I’ve been up to hasn’t been knitting-related at all – I’ve made us some more masks! This pandemic doesn’t seem like it’s going to end any time soon, so I wanted us to each have a few more masks so that we’re not needing to do laundry quite so often. My daughter in particular needed enough to get through 5 straight days of mask-wearing, because she’s now attending a day camp at the science museum and is wearing a mask 100% of the time other than during lunch. (I’m *quite* nervous about this, as it’s the highest risk thing we’ve done since this whole thing started, but they have very good safety policies and COVID rates are pretty low in our county, and M was desperate to do something outside of our house and it’s definitely easier to get work done without her here…but still, it’s nervewracking, and I hope we stay safe.)

I’ve also been working on a Ravelston sweater for myself. When I saw the pattern, I fell madly in love with the almost luminescent blue-grey color worn by one of the models, and when I was given a gift certificate as a “thank you” for sharing my post about being bi on Ysolda’s website, I picked up enough of that exact yarn to make a Ravelston of my own.

Future Ravelston

I’m not *quite* following the pattern, though, because I decided that I wanted 1×1 rib, but wanted a split hem, too, so I sort of combined the two bottom-hem options.

My next sweater: a Ravelston in Hillesvåg Sølje

I’m really enjoying knitting with the Hillesvåg Sølje; it’s pleasantly wooly and I feel like the color just glows!

Ravelston Progress

I’m now just starting the waist increases. I’m most excited about the prospect of knitting the sleeves, because I know that Ysolda has a special technique for knitting short-row sleeve caps for top-down sleeves, and I’m excited to learn it (and then maybe apply it to some of my own design ideas!). And I think this sweater will be a lovely addition to my wardrobe.

I love this grey-blue color.

My other knit project hasn’t been so successful. I’ve had this Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool in my stash for…gosh, something like a dozen years? And I thought it might be nice as a summer top. I really enjoy the top-down patterns from Åsa Tricosa, so decided I’d knit up a Caesura V. The first problem, though, is that while Silky Wool is listed as a DK-weight yarn, in my hands, it behaves much more like a light sport weight, so getting 20sts/in was just not going to happen without creating a fabric that was WAY more open and loosey-goosey than I like. Ok, no problem, I can do math! My gauge was more like 24sts/in, which meant I’d need to knit a few sizes up. So that’s what I did.

Need to rip and reknit this one after doing better gauge math!

But what I forgot (in fairness, my brain is super scattered right now!) is that it’s not just *stitch* gauge that matters – it’s also row gauge. And while the stitch counts in the larger size give me an appropriate width for the tank, the armholes end up too short, because they’re not proportionately that much deeper for the larger size. So I need to rip and reknit after having done the math that will tell me how many rows I need to add to the pattern in the spots where modification is possible. But at least now I have a really solid understanding of how it all goes together (it’s very clever!), so if I can ever muster up the energy to do the math properly, maybe I’ll be able to knit a nice tank top.

So anyway, that’s what I’m up to. Just chipping away at the old stash, while also knitting stuff from newer yarn, and figuring out how to live in the midst of a pandemic that my country is failing miserably at managing.

Masks masks masks

A sparkly green vest for M!

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I finished M’s vest yesterday, and she loves it!

Sparkly green vest!

Pattern: from my brain
Yarn: Rowan Soft Lux from over a decade ago in “Gigli”
Needles: Size 7
Time to knit: 9 days :)

The weather right now is brutally hot, but M gamely suited up in a long-sleeved shirt to model her new sparkly green vest outside!

Sparkly Green Vest!

The design is basically the same as the red vest I made for M a few years ago, and the same as the sweater (whose sleeves I still need to reknit) that I made for myself last month. It might become a pattern someday, with a few more tweaks – for example, I think the top of the pocket looks a bit too narrow on this, and would like to try creating a twist or something to tighten up the spot where the split neck comes together. But in any case, she loves it, and especially loves the pocket!

Kangaroo Pocket
Kangaroo Pocket!!

As might be obvious from the photos, we finally got our hair cut yesterday for the first time since February. We’re both much happier not having hair on our necks with the temperatures in the upper 90s!

Sparkly Green Vest (and a new haircut)

This probably won’t get much wear until much later in the year, but she’s happy with it and I’m glad I was able to put some of my deep-stash yarn to good use!

Sparkly Green Vest!

Now to figure out what’s next on the needles…gotta keep these hands busy!