Finished: The Amethyst Fair Isle Sweater

It’s been finished for a couple of weeks, but it’s also birthday season here in Brooketopia, so I’ve just been too busy for blogging while finishing up birthday presents and the inevitable Valentine’s Day stuff that moms of school-aged kids deal with.

But, yes, the big purple sweater is complete, she loves it, and I thought I’d share some more photos of it outside of Instagram.

I loved sketching out the fair isle designs, my cat got in the way constantly, and the long expanse of purple body knitting was something I really enjoyed–so mindless and soothing.

But the best part, ALWAYS, of knitting fair isle anythings is the actual fair isle knitting.  People, I had a fabulous January, even in spite of a really mean chest cold that I caught from my kids.  Who cares if you’re sick and can barely breathe when you can just weather it out in bed watching Netflix and knitting away on a big, beautiful bunch of colors?!?!  Best bout of sickness EVAH.

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I had the goal of finishing it up before my girl’s birthday at the beginning of February, and I’m pleased to say that it was blocked by her birthday, but still needed its underarm seams and end-weaving, so not completely finished, but definitely finished enough!

I got those last bits out of the way over the next few days, and she was able to wear it to church the following Sunday.

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Yes, I’m monstrously pleased with how it turned out.  I did a little bit of shaping in the waist, and the fit was just so good!  Pre-blocking, the neck was really wonky and caused me a great deal of worry, so I blocked it rather aggressively and the photo shows that it turned out just fine.

I haven’t done a whole lot of knitting in the past few years, so this was a bit of a crazy undertaking, but I’m so glad I went through with it–it’s very beautiful, and I got a bit of a “Heck yeah, I can still do this!” ego boost from it, ha ha.

I don’t really see any knitting in my immediate crafty future, but I’m sure the bug will bite again come autumn and its chilly air.  I heart fair isle knitting so much!

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A Snowstorm Can’t Even Halt This Sweater’s Progress

During my post-surgery bedrest in November and December, I found myself with no project to work on, so I whipped up a couple of Fair Isle hats for two of my kids as last-minute Christmas presents, but that only took three days and then I was once again project-less.  After a little stash-diving, I came across a sweater’s worth of purple yarn that spoke to me.

Unfortunately, I’m kind of done with purple.  I really, really loved it for a long time–my wedding colors were periwinkle and amethyst, I almost named my first daughter Amethyst because that’s her birthstone and I thought I could call her “Amy” for short, and I’ve painted my great room a beautiful shade of periwinkle.  But about six months ago, I just started to dislike the color.

So, we’re scheduled to re-paint the great room this summer, and I needed a way to use up that sweater’s worth of purple yarn in such a way that would result in me NOT wearing it.  I asked my oldest daughter if she wanted me to knit her a purple sweater, and she enthusiastically accepted the offer.

So I’m knitting her a purple colorwork-yoked sweater, which is also a little nod to our Icelandic heritage.  The timing has been spectacular; I’ve had some bad back days, and I have now caught the cold that kept my son home from school this entire last week.  I am flying through the knitting because I’m stuck in bed with nothing to do and the cold medicine makes my brain all fuzzy, so planning, letter-writing, managing finances, and the like are out.  Knit, knit, knit.

I finally got through all the mindless purple knitting and started on THE BEST PART: the colorwork yoke.  I originally got into knitting for the Fair Isle sweaters–colorwork is my FAVORITE thing about knitting.  Mmmm, colorwork.  Love, love, love it.

201701211957782402Row #3 of my colorwork chart introduced green.  I started knitting with a green yarn from my stash, and wasn’t really loving it, but hey, stash-busting!  I kept knitting.

Row #4…I’m not sure if this green is a good idea.  Nah, it’ll be fine.

Middle of Row #4…you know, I’m starting to actively dislike this green.

3/4 of Row #4:  No.  I am not putting all of this effort into a HANDKNIT sweater only to regret the color of yarn I used because I was trying to “make do.”  This is 2017, I don’t live in a little house on the prairie, I don’t knit with yarn I made from my own sheep flock, I am allowed to JUST ORDER THE COLOR OF YARN THAT I WANT TO USE.

What I was using was a forest green yarn from my stash, but when I colored my colorwork charts, I didn’t have a forest green-colored pencil crayon, so I used an emerald-colored pencil crayon…and man, did I like my colorwork chart with the emerald-colored squares.

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Also, the forest green yarn just simply lacked contrast with the purple yarn it was paired with, which does make for a good colorwork design.  So I ordered some emerald-colored yarn.  (Well, I ordered two skeins of different emerald-colored yarns…just to be sure I had what I wanted.)

And three days later I still had not received a shipping confirmation email.  The sweater sits in its little IKEA rolling cart next to my bed, staring at me in its incomplete state while I resign myself to yet another day of mindless NetFlix viewing without the bonus of being productive because I can’t knit on the sweater because I don’t have the right green yarn.  Yes, I’m recuperating, but it feels like a completely waste of precious time that you get so much of before you die.  (For those of you who are new around here, I HATE, yes, hate, wasting time.  I don’t “do nothing,” even if I’m sick or injured.  It just feels…wrong.  Hence my love of handwork…even if you’re sick or injured you can be productive.  And also reading, reading is good, but only if you’re not taking cold medicine that makes you all fuzzy in the brain.)

I force myself to get out of bed once an hour and walk around the house so I can hopefully avoid back spasms from too much laying in bed while I’m sick.  I talk to my family, take medicine, get a drink of water…you know, break up the monotony a little bit.

Apparently I’ve been worrying out loud whilst strolling about my home; worrying out loud about my green yarn not being right, and then worrying out loud that my “right” green yarn hasn’t shipped.  I vaguely realize that this is a not a big problem in comparison to keeping our home running while I’m once again stuck in bed, but it’s on my mind and the cold medicine lowers my inhibitions, so I ramble about the things that flit around in my brain.

My husband got a phone call from work this Saturday morning–the facilities manager needed to use the snow plow to deal with the snowstorm that rolled in this morning (a SNOWSTORM, people!  PERFECT knitting weather!), but the keys to the snowplow were in a different building across town, and no one had keys to get into that building except my husband.  So he set out to solve the problem.

An hour later he phoned, presumably to let me know that he was coming home (I’m an anxious soul that likes to know where my people are and what they’re doing), but instead of telling me he was heading home, he asked if I needed him to run any errands while he was already in town.  I said that I didn’t need anything, and to drive safe because the roads were pretty bad with the ongoing snowfall.

“You sure about that?” he said, “Because I’m already in town, and the yarn shop is nearby…”

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My husband is a sexy, sexy man who voluntarily does yarn runs for me in a snowstorm.  Mmm.

And now for undoing two rows of three hundred stitches and starting over with the right green…

…and I’ll need to figure out what to do with those two skeins of emerald-colored yarn that will be making their way to me shortly.  Thoughts?

 

Purple and Pink

It’s all I see right now:

Lavender Baby Hat–finished and gifted away.

Junebug’s Cardigan–pretty near completion, just waiting for me to locate my 16-inch circulars
so I can decrease the neck.
Then it’ll be a quick steek and some button bands, and we’ll be done.

Echo Flower Shawl for ME–This grows here a little, there a little.

Hat for Bluebird–Because I wanted to make a cabled hat.
Waiting for me to purchase 10.5 DPNs so I can finish decreasing.

Fingerless Mittens for Denise–Because she asked, and she had already bought the yarn,
originally intending it to be a beret.
However, the beret pattern and I did not get along.
It’s looking like the fingerless mitt pattern and I do not get along either.
Somewhat ironic, considering I get along with Denise better than almost anyone else in the world.

You know how you just get tired of every single one of your projects en masse?  I am totally there.  Everything is either waiting for new needles or I just kind of don’t want to look at them anymore. 

What’s the opposite of pink and purpleGreenYellowYellow-green?  🙂

I have some yellow-green yarn…but need the aforementioned 10.5 DPNs in order to finish the project I have planned for the yarn.  🙂

Sigh.

Warm Sweater for a Cold Schoolroom

Continuing with the “Hey, I can make clothes!” theme, here is Bluebird’s new sweater for the winter.  She picked out the colors and requested the hearts along the bottom.

PatternKnitting Pure & Simple #293 Child’s V Neck Down Pullover, by Diane Soucy.
YarnPlymouth Yarn Galway Worsted, Colors #135, #127 & #8.
Needles:  US 6 & US 4.
Modifications:  When picking up the stitches for the armholes, I did a K2tog at the beginning.

I knit up the gauge swatch during the last little bit of our trip home from Alberta and have since been steadily working on this sweater and only the sweater.  I stalled out when it came to knitting up the sleeves, but that’s just something I always do when making anything with sleeves.  I have to waste a week worrying about making the sleeves before going forward.  Every.  single.  time.

I ran into a problem with knitting monogamy about a week ago and seriously considered putting the sweater in the back of the closet and casting on for something quicker and more fun, but after two days of not being able to settle on a new “quick and fun” project, I hunkered down and knit on through the finish.  I’m glad I persevered.

Bluebird, who has a reputation for being a tad lackluster in her reception of handmade goodies, has surprised me with her adoration of her new sweater.  We’re experiencing 80 degree (F) weather here, and when I presented her with the sweater she threw it on and wore it for the rest of the day, despite repeated inquiries about whether or not she was getting too warm.  After today’s photo shoot, she refused to take off her sweater until I noticed that she was sweating, after which I demanded she take the thing off.

I’ve had a bit of mental anguish over the creation of this sweater.  Wool ain’t cheap and knitting ain’t quick.  I’m a homeschooling mother of four, and you can imagine how much excess money and time I (do not) possess. 

However, I really wanted to make this sweater for my girl.  I’ve spent the past seven years honing this skill and all I have to show for it are hats and scarves and a few shawls.  I was ready to venture into the land of sweater knitting and use my creativity to bless my family in practical ways.  Penguin and Junebug jumped on the “Knit Me a Sweater” bandwagon when they saw I was making one for Bluebird, so I have two more sweaters to make before winter sets in…and I’m obnoxiously excited about knitting them.

When I am knitting, I sometimes feel a little guilty for embarking on projects that take up so much of my time.  Really, I could go to a clothing store and buy a sweater, which would take tons less of my time and cost me about the same amount of money.  But there’s something about making something rather than buying it that fills me with a deep sense of satisfaction.

I figure that anything that helps to make me feel good about myself is definitely worth pursuing, so swathing my family is handknits isn’t a waste but an investment.  Each day Bluebird wears this sweater I will feel proud of myself and she will feel loved because I let her pick the colors and then spent all that time making something for her.  If it was a sweater from the store, that positive emotional boost would not happen.

This sweater is meant for wearing throughout the coming winter as we embark upon our first year of homeschooling in our new schoolroom in the basement.  The coolness of the basement has been a blessing throughout this summer quarter, but will soon become a point of complaint as we move into the autumn and winter months.  It is my hope that Bluebird will feel warmed by my efforts to craft this sweater for her, just as I hope someday that her heart will be warmed by my efforts to craft her education.

Edith Hats Galore

PatternEdith Hat, by Johanne Landin
YarnKnitPicks’ Palette in White & Bluebell, about half a skein each.
Needles:  US 1 & US 2

I made this cute little hat for my mother-in-law, who I have been promising a hat to for quite some time.  I went with the idea of making something that I really wanted so that I knew for sure that it was a good gift.

The problem with this gifting philosophy is that while you’re busily knitting away, you develop a sort of sadness that you will not be keeping the beautiful thing you are creating.  I would share my frustration at knit night as I plugged along–how beautiful the hat was and that I couldn’t keep it and would have to suffer my way through the pattern yet again when I embarked upon knitting it for myself.  (I’m generally not the kind of person who starts a project for someone else and then decides to keep it for myself…I would feel guilty each time I wore “someone else’s” project!)

So my knitting buddy made me one:

(And I totally stole the picture that she took of it for her Ravelry project page.  Hee hee!)

I almost cried when she casually flopped it onto the table and remarked that she had noticed that I seemed to really like the pattern and she figured that I’d appreciate it if she made one for me because Heaven knew when I’d be able to get to making one for myself. 

I was speechless.  (And that’s hard to do to me.)  I still get a little choked up when I put this hat on each morning as I head out into the bitter winter wind.  Especially since I’ve worked through the pattern myself and know how time-consuming and challenging it is…what a wonderful gift. 

Bluebird did me the favor of modeling her grandma’s hat for the blog.
Her verdict:  “It’s so warm and toasty, Grandma will love it!”

Seeing how my mother-in-law isn’t obsessed with knitting like myself, I don’t think she’ll get all emotional about her hat every time she wears it…because I’m pretty sure it’s kind of weird that I do that and we just don’t need any more weirdness like that in this world.  But hopefully it brings a smile to her face.  She has really pretty brown eyes and I think the blue will complement them ever so nicely.

It’s just such a beautiful hat, it even has a picot edging!  Oh, just lovely.  If I didn’t go cross-eyed while reading the pattern, I’d make a whole lot more.  Love it Grandma, love it…it’s destined to be a one-time-only creation.

(I wrote this post before I gave the hat to my mother-in-law and it turns out that I think she was pretty pleased with it.  And it fit quite nicely.  I’m kind of hit-and-miss with making things that actually fit other people.  Success!)