Afterthought Sweater

I’ve started thinking of Harald’s sweater as the Afterthought Sweater.

  • I added mock cables as an afterthought.
  • I decided on set in sleeves as an afterthought (a mistake.) I should have stuck with drop shoulders, but I was afraid they would be at his elbows.
  • I still think I should have frogged those stripes when I noticed them.

Other than that, this is a very nice sweater, if a little large. I based it on measurements of his favorite sweater, which was oversized. It is blocked and wrapped and in the (mock) fireplace with the rest of the gifts.

I still have a hat to finish.

Merry Christmas!

Knit Like the Wind

Time to watch the Joe Bob Christmas horror marathon on Shudder and knit like the wind!

Sleeve number two is underway!

I only have one sleeve to knit, then I have to sew it on, then finish a hat, in two days! Do you think I can do it? I think I can do it. I’d better stop blogging and start knitting.

Also, Joe Bob was complaining about cranberry sauce, but it’s clear to me he’s never had homemade, whole cranberry sauce. I would eat that year round. Maybe I’ll extend cranberry sauce season to include New Year’s alongside black eyed peas and greens.

One and Not Done, and Lofty Thoughts on Fiber and the Environment

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First off, sleeve one is done. It took much longer than expected, and I knit like a woman obsessed while watching one after the other of Christmas horror movies (A Christmas Horror Story, Krampus, and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri – not a Christmas horror movie, but horrific in its own way, and you can only tolerate so much schlock in one sitting, after all. Although I would consider all of these movies dark comedies.)

I want to credit Ann Budd’s Handy Book of Sweater Patterns for helping me through the armhole shapings. I should really know how to do this by now, as I have sewn clothing and drafted my own patterns, but it has been a while, and this is for my son and not myself, and I felt nervous about it, and this is why next year my word for the year is going to be “exercise.” This includes physical exercise, but also exercising my design muscles with monthly challenges. I look forward to blogging about it.

Talking to Henry about the environment has me thinking about how sheep farming and the wool trade effects the climate. While I am not vegan – I am not even vegetarian – I believe factory farming is unethical – so bad for animals, people, and the environment – and I think small, family farming is the way of the future, and we should eat much less meat than we do. I would be happy giving up all animal food products, but I will never give up my knitting wool. There, I said it. I do try to source my yarn ethically, although the supply chain can be deep, so sometimes you don’t really know. I am looking at you, Berroco Chunky Alpaca. My guess is that alpaca farming is pretty ethical, though. In general, I find small yarn companies to be very transparent, which makes it much easier. Knitters have always cared about the sheep, and I think yarn companies know that and make sustainability part of their ethos.

How sustainable is wool? As a fiber, it is very sustainable – long wearing, biodegradable. And as far as land use, wool animals (sheep, goats, alpacas) can graze on land that is not suitable for farming, so that’s okay too. Yay, wool!

Of course, we have so much plastic that now it is being recycled into fiber for clothing. Think about that. Plastic clothing that will never get dirty and never wear out, like The Man in the White Suit. Would that be better for the climate? I guess it depends on how it is processed. And what happens to the animals, who now rely on humans for their survival? So, no thank you to plastic for my part. Plus, I like my clothing to breathe.

If you are still with me, thank you for reading. I needed to get these thoughts out of my head before I start my very busy work week.

Here’s my question for you, dear reader. Do you see those stripes on Harald’s sweater? Those lovely stripes that say, “Hi. I am a handknit garment of fair trade wool yarn that is hand kettle dyed by women in Uruguay, which is why I went a little stripey here. Don’t mind me.” Should I vat dye this sweater and try to mottle those stripes out a little bit? This is totally within my power. Let me know what you think. Thank you for sharing your opinion.

Scarving Children, Sleeving Sweaters

If you haven’t watched the new Bob’s Burgers yet, you should. Bob (my Bob) said he had to stop watching it until we could watch it together.

I snagged this image from ergoiknit on Instagram, who is also excited that Linda is a knitter.

I am not knitting nearly as much as I should be if I am going to finish a sweater and hat in the next two weeks.

Hello sleeve! All I have to do is finish this sleeve, knit another one, sew them on, and then I’m done! (I sound a little like Linda when she said scarves are a cinch.)

Here’s a gratuitous scrunchy kitty face pic for your amusement.

Knitting Friends

Nothingbutknit graciously offered to participate in a holiday swap with me. It all started when I wanted to send her some shea butter lotion chips made by local women. The challenge was to send a skein of local yarn.

Here is a photo of the beautiful things she sent me. (Except for the candle which I made with a pottery cup gifted to me and handmade by my stepson.)

Isn’t this red yarn festive and lovely? It’s also soft enough to wear around my neck, so I think I want to knit a “hap” with it. (Props to Kate Davies for reintroducing the word to our vocabulary.) I didn’t know a small shawl or wrap had a name, but sure enough, if you look it up, the third definition is “clothe, cover.”

Here is my favorite “hap”, which was the start of a lace shawl that I cut short because I’d had enough of knitting it many years ago.

I wrap this around my neck once or twice, and it’s the perfect scarf. This is knit from Jagger Spun Zephyr Wool Silk, which has really withstood the test of time.

But back to the red! Aren’t the gold flecks lovely on this Campfire Knits yarn? The hand dyeing really stands out too. This is “Winter Cranberry.” I’ve already cast on a simple eyelet increase triangle scarf, but I’m not sure how I feel about the garter stitch.

And I love these stitch markers which were included in my package, made by her husband. So festive! They make me crave peppermint.

My issue with lace is I prefer for my knitting to be intuitive. I like to memorize the pattern so I’m not constantly referring to the chart or instructions. And because I’m old have short term memory challenges, I need the repeat to be about four rows. So I am looking for a simple, all over lace pattern. I’ll keep looking! Maybe my fabulous red hap will be done in time for Valentine’s Day!

Thank you, nothingbutknit! I’m grateful for your friendship. It is always encouraging knowing someone is reading and paying attention. Thank you for the beautiful things and for being willing to participate in a gift exchange with me. ❤️

Say Yes

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Although November ended on a sad note, I have to say I’ve had a really great year, and December has been the cherry on top.

  • I went back to the gym.
  • I secured a studio space near my house.
  • I sold two of my art pieces.
  • I signed up for two 2019 knitting clubs.
  • Not only did I finish the work budget, but I also pulled together our household budget and got it all entered into Quicken. Yay, financial literacy!

As mentioned, the Blendon Woods I pair of photo and felt painting were sold today. It made me very happy, and I can use the funds to purchase a work table and pair of comfy chairs for my studio space.

At the beginning of 2018, I chose my words for the year. They were, “doing it all.” I worked hard to be promoted to Executive Director at work. I started knitting in earnest again, and even managed a successful design. I made art and participated in an art show. I started a cooperatively owned business with two other women. On top of taking care of kids and being in a relationship with my spouse, that was a lot, and I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to pull it off.

I chose to take the same path that I had been taking with my work over the last few years, which led to the success of our new store. That path is, “say yes whenever possible.”

I know saying yes too much and too often can get you into trouble. It’s important to know and respect your limits. I’m not going to pretend this approach didn’t take a bit of a toll. I worked my ass off, and it’s not something that can be sustained forever. But this year, whenever possible, I said yes and reached out and grabbed with both hands whatever opportunities came my way, and it really paid off in a multitude of ways.

candles and knitting at preserve

Here I am at my side hustle, knitting and selling my aromatherapy candles for Haven Herbs! Look how happy I am! I look a little dorky, and I am a little dorky. I can own that and still be happy. Also, check out my great earring game.

My Christmas Cactus is blooming with gratitude as well.

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Decisions, Decisions

I am making progress on Kate Davies’ Goats of Inversnaid hat for Hans. I won’t have any trouble finishing it by Christmas if I stay on task.

I wasn’t sure if the Milarrochy Tweed yarn would work for the crisp design, but I kind of love it. I think it gives a more grown-up look to it. I’m also thinking about changing the hearts at the crown to a star, because Hans is 15. I don’t need to say anymore than that, right?

There are two knitting clubs I want to participate in for 2019, and I can’t make up my mind.

Kate Davies has an upcoming club that looks to be more design oriented, and includes an awesome journal.

Knitspot is offering the School of Wool where you learn about American sheep breeds and fibers, and you get undyed yarn to play with.

I want to do both. I can do both, right? Can I afford to do both? (Can I afford not to do both?)

Carbeth

I finally cast on Kate Davies’ Carbeth in the red Targhee wool from Yarndaze. I decided I want to finish it before Christmas because it’s a gorgeous holiday red. I hear it’s a quick knit.

I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving. We had a full house here, with lots of food, family, and friends. I had such a good time I forgot to take photos. We played a fun but morbid game called Gloom.

I’ve been working the last two days, but I am looking forward to a fall hike today, and baking and decorating gingerbread cookies with my youngest. It’s one of our traditions.

Thanksgiving Eve Cast On

I cast on the Goats of Inversnaid hat today in Milarrochy Tweed. I’m making it for my youngest son, Hans, hopefully for Christmas. I chose Bruce (black), Hirst (oatmeal), and Ardlui (blue) for the contrasting rib. I think these are colors he likes to wear. Like me (and my other boys) he likes his wardrobe to be subdued. But that subtle pop of blue on the ribbing will match his eyes.

Do you like my little bag? I made it some years ago with a remnant from my Grandmother’s stash. I love the mod apples. 1960’s or 70’s, do you think?

Thanksgiving is tomorrow. Bob is busy cooking. I did my part. I made the cranberry sauce from scratch.

I also have some festive new nails.

Shiny!

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, if you are celebrating. I am thankful we will have a full house tomorrow, to Bob for cooking, and to you for reading my blog. 😊

These Long Dark Nights

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My Christmas Cactus is blooming, and I didn’t starve it of light this year. I moved it from the kitchen to my office, and fed it. I so much prefer this to punishing it in the coal chute. (We live in an old house with a basement that has a root cellar, which used to be a coal chute back when people used coal to heat their homes.)

Sometimes I think we do things that aren’t necessary because it was done once and we got the result we wanted, so our proven scientific method becomes the norm and the expert opinion. When, really, we could take a different path and get the same result.

We’ve had our first snowfall today, just a sprinkle. I’m trying to decide if I should go for a walk in it. I would, but I went on a six mile hike on Sunday, and my body is still recovering. I may do some yoga instead.

Look at this gorgeous pattern on Ravelry:

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(Photo copyright Crissy Jarvis. I hope it’s okay for me to post as long as I give credit.)

I’m in love with this pattern. I can’t decide if I want to knit it, though. I love the finished product, but will I enjoy the process? I didn’t used to ask myself these questions, but as a more seasoned knitter, now I know what I am willing to suffer for the final result.  I will think about it.

The days are getting shorter and I get to enjoy more of my favorite time of the day, which is twilight. I love early morning twilight best, because I’m a morning person. I still love the evening twilight, but that’s when I start to get sleepy. I find twilight beautiful and quiet, and I think I blogged about this last year when I started that bobbledy tam in the in-between twilighty color of St. Claire. I decided to rip out the yarn and save it for a cowl that I hope may be inspired by our meandering walk on a mountain biking trail on Sunday.

I wish I were a better Raveler. I love to look at the patterns and like how it helps me stay more organized on projects. It’s also a great place to share. But I’d like to spend more time on the forums. It seems like a great place to go for knitting camaraderie when you don’t feel like leaving home.

Are you on Ravelry? Do you use the forums regularly? What’s your favorite thing about Ravelry?