Pattern: I made it up! I basically used the “SM” size numbers from the “Strange Brew” book as a guide/sanity check, and I distributed bobbles semi-randomly. I followed the instructions for embroidery from the “Late Bloomer” mittens pattern. Yarn: Some old Rowan tweed yarn from my stash (I can’t find a yarn label so I don’t know what it was called!) paired with Knitpicks Aloft in “Tarragon” Needles: Size 6
I couldn’t be any more thrilled with how it turned out! I started out with my beloved folded 1×1 rib neckline, and then I began the bobbling. I was a bit anxious, because I created the bobbles that are at the center of each flower without knowing exactly how the spacing would end up looking once I embroidered around them, but I think it looks fantastic. I especially love that I added flower clusters at the wrists and around the split bottom hem, at the hips.
The sweater is exactly what I dreamed of when I first saw those mittens on the cover of Making Magazine! I was hoping to have the flowers feel more closely packed together at the top of the yoke, and then more spread out, almost like they were falling, as you move down the sweater, and I think I managed to pull that off!
I knew it would be a labor of love, and it was…every single one of those flowers took somewhere between 2-5 minutes to embroider and weave in ends, and there are a LOT of flowers. I actually haven’t counted! I love the way the mohair catches the sunlight…
It’s obviously WAY too warm to wear a mohair-based sweater right now, but it is going to be an absolutely glorious addition to my cold-weather wardrobe! For now, enjoy the look of “sweater plus shorts” :)
I finished the first of the Sleepy Kittens! Embroidering on a 3-dimensional handknit object whose backside is not accessible is something I find to be very tricky, so it took a few tries to get the face looking decent. Here’s a closeup:
I think Sleepy Kitten is quite cute in his striped pajamas, and I love his little tail!
My daughter is quite happy with him, and very eager for me to finish his sibling. We’re also working on plans to turn a sheet of foam that she has into a bed for them. I’ll make sure to share once it’s all finished!
I’ve also reached a “try-on-able” point in the Bressay sweater, and much to my relief, the fit seems to be PERFECT so far!
Especially since the abysmal fit of my Bleideag sweater (which I still need to rip back and fix), I’m nervous when I can’t easily try on a sweater as I go; I’m definitely on team “Top Down” when possible these days. And with the number of stitches involved in this fine-gauge sweater, I would be heartbroken if I had to rip it out and reknit it. But it seems like I won’t!
I’m looking forward to finishing this center motif; the orangey red just isn’t my favorite color (though it looks good mixed with the rest in this sweater) and the motif in between the bands of orangey red was quite tricky due to how similar the colors were. I have a feeling that I will be modifying the sweater slightly to create a higher neckline in the back with extra short rows (I pretty much always have to do this with yoke patterns), but hopefully it will be fairly smooth sailing through to the finish.
Speaking of finishing…I did actually work on one of those older projects that needed attention, and something is now blocking out on our deck. I’ll give you a hint…
I’ll show off the project these ends came from in my next post!
I promised in my last post about sewing that I’d give the things currently on my knitting needles a post of their own, and here it is! The biggest project that I’m currently working on is Bressay, which is hands-down the most complicated colorwork I’ve ever done. There are SO many stitches now that the sleeves have been joined at the yoke, and as I’ve now learned from painful experience, it’s terribly easy to get off by one stitch and then you either have to unpick most of a round or you have to drop down and fix as you go around the next round, and either way, that’s tedious and frustrating. So after the second of those mistakes, I decided I should stop trying to use my brain and let stitch markers help me out!
The current pattern repeat I’m working on is a 22 stitch repeat, so my markers are 22 stitches apart, and I check that I’ve done each repeat correctly before slipping the marker and starting the next one. So far, so good!
As for other projects: I mentioned a few posts ago that I was thinking of turning the Hyrrokkin yarn into an Ishbel shawl, and that’s what I’m doing!
It’s been so long since I’ve knit a shawl that I’d kind of forgotten how tedious the rows can get once the shawl gets bigger – and since Ishbel is a shawl that’s extra wide (relative to its depth), the rows are already pretty darned long! But I will persevere, and eventually I’ll have a lovely neutral grey shawl to wear!
And I already shared a little bit of this last project in my post about the dress – I’m working on a Sleepy Kitten set, and yesterday, I finished the body!
I put in a layer of poly pellets (leftover from when I made my daughter her weighted kitty) along with some stuffing, and it feels really delightful perched in my hands or on my shoulder. The headlessness cracks me up!
In addition to these projects, I’m hoping to get to work finishing up/fixing older projects that need it. So far, my list includes:
I’m not sure what order I’ll tackle those in, but that’s going to be MORE than enough to keep me busy, especially as I ramp up my efforts towards preparing for fall semester. We’ll see what I can manage!
I’ve made it to the part of the summer where my kid has camp every day at the science center (where they have very good masking and safety policies, which I keep reminding myself) and my spouse is working on campus while she’s at camp, which means that every day, for about 7 straight hours, I have the house TO MYSELF! It is gloriously quiet, and such a relief to let go of the stress I was feeling about keeping my kid from interrupting my spouse once Zoom school wasn’t keeping her busy. And it’s just really great to be able to exist in my house without a constant audience – if I want to take a break from working (on class prep, and on the final edits for a paper that’s going to be published soon) and go sew, I can just go sew, you know?
So now I have a new dress! It’s another Demeter Dress, this time in a very “me” color of Alison Glass’s “Mariner Cloth”, which has a delightful nubbly texture – the stripes are actually a thick bundle of lighter colored threads that are woven into the cloth at regular intervals, and I *love* running my fingers over them!
Because of the nubbly texture of the fabric, I wasn’t sure it would make a very good bias facing, so I used a regular cotton fabric for that in a color that almost matches the light stripes. I think it looks pretty cool, even though nobody’s going to see it unless I show it to them!
I’ve also been trying to spend part of the day listening to podcasts and knitting, because that’s a really important way for me to “recharge” and given the level of burnout I’m experiencing from the past 16+ months, I definitely need to recharge. Here’s (part of) what I accomplished while listening to Ezra Klein’s interview with Eve Ewing (it was a great interview – highly recommend!):
What you’re seeing are the legs and arms of a future Sleepy Kitten, which is a pattern my daughter fell in love with when she saw it in Making magazine. I’m using the called-for yarn, Barrett Wool Company’s Wisconsin Woolen Spun Worsted, because I wanted to try it (I’m all about finding new great woolen-spun yarns!) and I liked the idea of supporting a business that is local to my family, if not to me specifically. I got it in kit form last year and am finally getting around to knitting it. The yarn (much like the pattern) is *delightful*!
I’ve got a couple other projects on the needles, but I’ll give those their own post sometime. I’m trying to find a balance between the prep work that I know I need to do and the resting and recharging that I also desperately need to do, and it’s hard. Especially since the prep work all has to take place in what is effectively an information vacuum – I know I’m going to be required to teach in person, but I don’t actually know if the international students who typically make up the majority of my classes will be able to be here in person, so I might be teaching in person to like, 3 students while the others are all Zooming in or participating asynchronously and basically I have to prep for every possibility, which is…not great. And I’m doing it without ANY knowledge of what my kid’s school/bus schedule is going to look like. This is the second summer in a row of trying to plan for fall in the absence of information and that kind of planning is really, brutally difficult and stressful for me. I’m someone who really likes when I know what to expect, where, if I’m really honest, by “really likes” I actually mean “only functions well” and that’s just…not in the cards. (It never was, truly, but at least it FELT like it was.)
But hey, I sewed another dress! And that means that since the start of COVID, I have sewn myself one jumper (the York Pinafore), 4 Cleo Skirts, and 2 Demeter Dresses – I have enough handsewn garments to make through an entire week without repeats! Wearing things that I’ve made makes me feel good, and that used to be something I could only do during the colder months with my handknits, but now that I’m learning to sew, I can get that good feeling year-round!