Blanket Progress and Baby Knitting Plans

I didn’t really do any knitting in January or February because I was struck down with morning sickness. But when I picked up my needles again in March, I started working on a series of baby projects for my sister’s first baby who will be here very soon. (So excited!) I just wrapped up the last of those projects recently, although I can’t share them until I actually send them to their new home in MN. But finishing them meant I could get a start on some knitting for my own baby, and I decided to start with a Pinwheel Blanket.

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I made a Pinwheel Blanket for Jude and found knitting the pattern extremely satisfying. I’ve been really inspired by the Pinwheel Blankets that Cassy from Knit the Hell Out has made using some TFA Palettes from Tanis Fiber Arts, so I decided to make my own and ordered the Turquoise Pop palette. The plan is to simply knit through each color in turn until I run out of yarn completely. Very complex stuff. Lol.

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This photo is a bit outdated now since I’ve just added the fifth color, which means that I’ve passed the half way point. My rough estimate is that the blanket is currently around 31″ in diameter. The blanket I made for Jude ended up being around 36″ once it was blocked, and I was really hoping to get something slightly bigger this time, so I’m pleased that it seems like I’m on track to accomplish that goal. My only concern is that a 40″ circular needle is the biggest I’ve got and I’ve already got 500+ stitches on the needle, which is more than 100″ in circumference. I’m really hoping I can scrunch all of my stitches up enough to fit the full blanket on my current needle–I really don’t want to have to order something larger. I guess I’m playing needle chicken instead of yarn chicken this time?

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Beyond the blanket, I don’t have a ton of baby knitting plans. I knit Jude several baby sweaters and baby #2 is due just a couple of weeks after Jude’s birthday, which means that everything should fit in just the right season. But I will knit a newborn hat from some of my sock yarn leftovers, and I’m planning to finally knit up this kit I bought from Barrett Wool Co. for Susan B. Anderson’s Little Giraffe pattern. I bought this when Jude was a baby thinking I’d make it for him, but I clearly never got around to it. I knit Jude a little stuffed monkey that he now sleeps with every night, so this seems like an appropriate friend for our new little one.

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Originally,  I thought I’d stop at those three projects, but then I pulled this skein of Socks That Rock out my stash and felt like I needed to turn it into a little pair of Rocky Joggers. I bought this yarn so long ago I have no idea what the color way name is and I seem to have lost the ball band, but it’s mostly a royal blue broken up with stretches of light gray and rainbow speckles. I think a pair of Rocky Joggers in this yarn could be really cute. I think there is also an equal chance that they will just look bizarre, but I’m going to risk it anyway because I am very eager to see this color way knit up but I have zero desire to knit socks.

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And while I was rifling through my stash, I also discovered that I have just enough of this color of Malabrigo Arroyo (leftover from a sweater that I made Jude almost a year and a half ago and never blogged even though it’s one of the most adorable things I’ve ever made) to knit a baby-size Beloved bonnet. So I’ll be knitting that too purely because I’ve been wanting to try the pattern forever.

I felt like I had to really push myself to make progress on the gifts for my sister. But I’m finally feeling energized by knitting again. I think a big part of it is that I’m on a break between classes and only need to work for a couple of hours a day during Jude’s naps right now. Just having more time and energy makes a huge difference. But it’s also nice to just be able to have something concrete in my hands while I’m watching Jude play during the day–it keeps me focused on the good things coming up and (mostly) helps me push away all the anxieties fighting for space in my head, at least for a bit.

Summer in Review

Since we’re approaching the Fall Equinox and since it’s been a long time since I updated my blog, I thought it might be a nice idea to do a quick review of all the things I made over the summer. I’ve been a bit overloaded with work since the beginning of the year, and that continued straight through the summer unfortunately. So I don’t feel like I got as much accomplished in the craft room, both because I was limited on time and feeling pretty burned out and uninspired. The fall semester is still loaded up with more work than I’d like and I don’t feel like I’ve been able to get the kind of break I really need yet this year. But towards the end of summer, I finally realized that I wasn’t managing my stress level well and have been making efforts to walk myself back from the point of burn out. And the result is that I am feeling more inspired, getting more knitting and sewing done, and probably just being generally more pleasant to be around. Lol.

Sewing

I started my summer sewing with a few projects for Jude—a beach robe, a cute banana print camp shirt, and a pair of shorts to go with the shirt. I even managed to blog all of those projects! Jude went through a growth spurt around his second birthday in August, so the banana shirt doesn’t fit anymore, but he got quite a few wears out of it before it was too small. The shorts are still in rotation, which is good since our daily temperatures are still regularly in the 80-90 degree range. And the beach robe has been super handy throughout the summer and should still fit next summer as well.

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I also managed to make a few things for myself, starting with a few pairs of pajama pants for myself. I’ve been wanting to find a tried-and-trued pj pant pattern for myself that fit fairly easily without needing a ton of adjustments. The patterns I’ve tried in the past have been those unisex patterns that the Big 4 pattern companies release regularly, but they never work well for my body. But then patterns that get rave reviews and have the kind of fit and details that I like (I’m thinking of the Closet Case Patterns Carolyn PJs here) often don’t come in my size. So I decided to try the Loungewear PJ Pant pattern from Style Arc and it’s a total winner. It’s fits great—no alterations needed at all for me. It has a single back pocket, which is perfect because I get annoyed by the bulk of inseam pockets but still want someplace to stash my phone. I didn’t take any pictures of the two pairs that I made, but I used a linen-cotton blend for the first and a cotton voile for the second. I ditched the pattern instructions for waistband for the second pair and made a classic waistband casing he second pair are basically my dream pair of summer pajama pants. I highly recommend this pattern, and I’m planning to use it to make myself a flannel pj set in the fall so I’ll make sure to get photos next time!

Chambray Kalle Shirt

I also made myself a Kalle shirt using some chambray I’ve had in my stash for a long time and finished it just in time to wear it for the first day of fall classes. This project felt like such a victory. I have felt so intimated by the idea of fitting and sewing a shirt like this, and my attempt at sewing the Willamette last summer didn’t work out so well. But I love this shirt, and I can’t wait to make another version or two next summer. I’m planning to get some better pictures of this so that I can write up a full post with all of my project details.

Knitting

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I’ve been in a massive knitting funk this year—I just haven’t had any inspiration or motivation at all and a lot of the things that I made in the first part of the year just didn’t turn out to my standards. But starting in July or August, I got motivated to pick my needles back up again. I finished a pair of socks using the Rye Light pattern from TinCan Knits. I know I bought this yarn in December from my LYS, but I didn’t record it on Ravelry and then promptly lost the ball band so I have no idea what it is. I also finished all of the knitting on the Chicane Sweater by Cookie A using a soft black yarn that has been in my stash for a long time. I still need to block it and sew in the zipper, but I’ll write up a full post about that project once it’s completely done. And finally, I knit up the Little Dino pattern from Susan B. Anderson. I’m not planning to create a separate post for that project, but I got the pattern and yarn as part of a kit from Barrett Wool Co and it was a delightful knitting experience. I have such a weakness for her toy kits—the temptation to buy every one she releases is intense!

Other Things

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Jude turned 2 this August, so of course I made him another birthday cake. He is absolutely fascinated by garbage and recycling—he loves to throw things away, to sort recycling, take the trash to the curb, watch the garbage collectors dump it in the trucks, pretend to be a garbage collector, find the trash and recycling containers at every place we visit, etc. So obviously his cake had to be trash-themed. Unfortunately, the confetti cake recipe I tried did not work out at all (it end up with a texture more like a cookie than a cake) so I ended up using a Funfetti box mix, which was perfectly delicious and Jude was very excited about his cake.

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I also finally finished up a cross-stitch project that I started before Jude was even born. My left wrist is prone to bouts of pain from certain repetitive activities. Regular knitting doesn’t bother it, but it shows up if I crochet or cross-stitch or do two-fisted colorwork knitting. So I don’t usually have a lot of motivation to do needlework but I decided to pick this up and risk the pain because I finally got moved into a private office on my campus and I wanted to be able to hang this on my office wall. Totally worth it! The pattern is from Satsuma Street.

So that’s the full review of my summer making. I’ve got a long list of fall projects I’d like to make, and I’ve even managed to cross a few items off the list already. I’m planning to start posting here more regularly—I just need to tackle the problem of getting photos. I was setting up a tripod and using a camera remote previously but it’s just too time-consuming and cumbersome to work anymore. I think I either need to rope Aidan into taking pictures for me or get a remote and tripod that will work with the camera on my phone so I can easily take pictures in my office where the lighting is better. We’ll see what happens!

Post-Blogging Break Updates

Hello! I decided to take January off from blogging—just because I thought it would be nice to have a little break. I meant to start up again at the beginning of February, but I’ve been sick, busy with work, tired from being up at night with a sick baby (I mean, toddler) etc., etc., etc. All the usual stuff.

I also decided to take a break from Instagram about half way through January and, unlike blogging, I’m not interested in going back. Instagram had started to feel a lot like Facebook before I quit that. It felt like I was investing a lot of time and energy into something that didn’t really feel like it was adding any value to my life. It had started to feel less like something I genuinely enjoyed and more like something that I couldn’t opt out of, which is ultimately what made me feel like it was time to get out.

It was weird to listen to the recent episode of Love to Sew, “Sewcializing 2.0” that was basically all about Instagram—it had the effect of underlining for me all the reasons that Instagram doesn’t resonate with me anymore. So I’m just going to continue to focus on my blog as my way of participating in some small way in online knitting and sewing circles. Even though I’ve taken breaks from blogging and have often questioned why I keep up with it, I continue to enjoy writing about and reflecting on what I’ve made. I enjoy having an easily searchable record of my projects, and I enjoy making this record available for other makers who might benefit from it.

Anyway. I’ve still been sewing consistently during my blog break and managed to finish a second weighted blanket, although I failed to take any pictures of it. Lol. This blanket was for my 8-year-old godson, so significantly bigger than my first toddler-sized blanket, but it really didn’t take much longer to make. I followed the same procedure for the first blanket (which I now realize I archived on Instagram, so maybe I should reproduce it in a separate blog post), but invested in a 6×18” clear gridded quilting ruler this time, which was totally worth the $20.

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No finished photos, no in-progress photos, but at least I thought to take a picture of the fabric I used for the top of the blanket? (It’s a Minecraft print from JoAnn’s and I used a coordinating Kona solid for the back and binding.)

I’ve also finished sewing a few garments that I’ll blog about shortly, but I haven’t been doing much knitting at all. I’ve been in a major knitting slump since mid-December that has largely related to a failed project. I finished my Carbeth cardigan and found that I just didn’t like it at all and that I had no idea what to do with it, which was really disappointing. But it also felt like yet another sweater failure in a long line of sweater projects that just haven’t worked out for me at all.

So instead of knitting, I’ve been been spending a lot of time trying to determine what makes a sweater work for me—and those key factors have been surprisingly difficult to identify. I think I have a good idea of what I want and need from a sweater, and plan to write a post about those ideas and another post about my Carbeth cardigan (which is still in limbo because I’m still not sure what I want to do about it). In the meantime, I’ve ordered some new yarn to get me back to my knitting needles, although I’m keeping things safe by working on a baby sweater that will be a gift for someone else.

I think those are all of my craft-relevant updates since the last time I posted. I’ll have some finished project posts up soon and will be trying to find some time to get modeled photos of some of the garments I’ve finished recently so I can get caught up blogging all of the things I’ve been making. Yay for blogging!

#SewingTop5 for 2018: Highlights, Hits, and Misses

I always like participating in the #SewingTop5 Series hosted by Gillian at Crafting A Rainbow. It’s a fun way to reflect on the year, and I feel like I have a lot to celebrate and reflect on from 2018. 2018 has felt like a very long year, and I’m also kind of shocked to find myself at the end of it.

Top 5 Highlights

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  1. In January, I went back to work full-time after having Jude, which means that he also started daycare. The constant flood of kid germs aside, it has been a great experience. We love his teachers, he seems to love being at school, and I feel like parenting has given me a sharpened focus in my work life so I actually feel like I’ve gotten more efficient at work despite the fact that I’ve got more going on.
  2. At the end of April, my brother got married, and I got to officiate the ceremony. But Jude, of course, stole the show by being incredibly cute. Lol.
  3. In May, after I got my spring grades turned in, I actually started sewing again–basically for the first time in eight months since Jude was born! And I’ve actually maintained a regular sewing practice for the first time since I started sewing. I’m actually shocked by how much I managed to get sewn this year. (I actually started reading for pleasure again at about the same time and am likewise shocked by how many books I managed to read.)
  4. Jude turned one in August! We had a party for him with all of our family in Wisconsin, and I had a blast making his first birthday cake. It is so fun to watch his little personality develop. He is silly and sweet and sensitive, and I love watching him learn more and more everyday. (He also got tubes shortly after his birthday, which finally took care of the monthly ear infections we were experiencing–such a relief!)
  5. And finally, in October, I decided to make Jude a Halloween costume. It didn’t feel right to put this project on my “Hits” list since it only got worn a couple of times, but making it was definitely a highlight of my year. I didn’t think I’d enjoy costume sewing as much as I did, and it turned out so freaking cute I can hardly stand it.

Top 5 Hits (listed in the order that I finished them)

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  1. Black striped Muse Jenna Cardigan. I wasn’t sure I’d wear this much when I finished it over the summer, but I’ve been wearing it all the time.
  2. Pinstripe jersey Stevie Top. Aidan complements this shirt every time I wear it.
  3. High-waisted Avery leggings. So comfortable!
  4. Jude’s Mukava Jeans from Ottobre 01/2018
  5. My Picking Daisies shawl–easily my favorite knitting project from this year.

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Top 5 Misses

  1. My Willamette Shirt. I didn’t like the fabric I used, but also think I would have preferred a smaller size.
  2. My mid-waist Avery leggings, which basically look like my high waisted pair, but roll down my hips when I move around.
  3. My Carbeth Cardigan. I haven’t blogged about or taken pictures of the finished cardigan yet, but this knitting project turned out to be a bust. It fits, and it’s a great pattern. But it’s not my style, and I know I’ll never wear it.
  4. (and 5) Both views of the Santa Fe top that I tried. This swingy shape just doesn’t work for me–it doesn’t look good, and I don’t like the way it feels either. I haven’t really worn these, even as pajamas.

I at least feel like I learned something valuable from each of my “misses,” and I’m looking forward to putting those lessons to use in 2019. But more on that in my next post when I’ll talk about my Top 5 Reflections and Goals!

Jude’s Christmas Stocking

I actually finished this project quite a while ago—I’m pretty sure I at least had all of the knitting done before Thanksgiving last year.

This is, obviously, Jude’s Christmas stocking. It’s made using the Modern Classics stocking pattern by Nina Issacson. I got this pattern and the yarn as a kit from KnitPicks several years ago, just a few months after I had started my PhD program. The kit contained enough yarn for three stockings. I made mine and Aidan’s right after buying the kit and then patiently held onto the extra yarn until Jude was here.

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In the intervening years, I’ve actually made seven other versions of this pattern. Two for my in-laws and five for Aidan’s sister’s family. I reached max burnout on this pattern approximately three stockings ago, but felt like I was locked in and had to keep making them.

At this point, I feel complicated about these stockings. The complicated feelings have nothing to do with the pattern itself, which is perfectly fine. I love the way our family stockings look hanging all together. Aidan also really loves them.

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But I still vividly remember knitting the first two stockings for Aidan and I when I was deep in the middle of a crushing bout of depression and struggling to stay afloat during my first semester of PhD coursework. I knit these stockings pretty quickly, but only because I couldn’t get myself off the couch to do anything else. It was knitting as a form of numbing, and I still feel it a bit when I look at them.

The progressive burnout of knitting this pattern ten times only adds to the uninspired feelings. But now the big kicker is that I ever wanted to knit another stocking to match our family stockings for any future family member, the yarn that came with the original kit (Knitpicks Telemark) has been completely discontinued. It’s also not widely stashed on Ravelry, so finding some to buy from another knitter seems unlikely. So the best I would be able to do to try to match it is find a similar color in a similar base. And I have a feeling that even the closest match would result in a fourth stocking that is just off enough to drive me crazy.

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But that’s not a situation that is immediately before me, so it’s not something I’m actually worried about. For now, we’re enjoying another Christmas season with our matching stockings hanging in the hallway.

Picking Daisies Shawl

This Picking Daisies Shawl from Melanie Berg was my summer knitting project. I cast on in May shortly after turning in my grades for the spring semester. In the past, I would have churned my way through several projects over the summer, but my desire to knit this summer was quieter and more intermittent. So I just concentrated my limited energy on working slowly and steadily, and I finally bound off the day before the Autumn Equinox.

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The yarn came as a kit from Craftsy, which I bought myself for my birthday because I enjoyed knitting and wearing my Drachenfels Shawl so much.  The kit came with four skeins of Cloudborn Fibers Merino, which is a fingering weight merino single from Craftsy’s in house yarn line. I basically wanted to reproduce the shawl as it appeared in one of the sample photos on Craftsy, so I picked the colors that seemed closest—Charcoal Heather, Light Gray Heather, and Magenta.

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The gray striped section of the shawl is very easy knitting that is perfect for picking up and putting down. The clustered stitch pattern used to knit up the magenta yarn was obviously more complex than the simple garter and slip stitch patterns used elsewhere in the shawl. But it wasn’t terribly tricky to complete and it was really satisfying to watch it come together. Plus, after so much garter stitch in gray yarn, the more complicated cluster stitches were a welcome relief. The most tedious thing about this pattern was dealing with all of the ends that needed weaving in. I’m glad I had the foresight to stop a few times in the process of knitting this and weave in the ends I had produced at that point—it made finishing the shawl a little less painful.

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When I bound off the shawl, the clustered stitch sections were pretty bunched up and, in their relaxed state, were probably a good three inches narrower than the surrounding garter sections. It was clear that it needed aggressive blocking to get a good finish, so I finally bit the bullet and ordered some blocking wires. Getting the shawl laid out with the blocking wires took a long time and felt pretty tedious, but the result is totally worth it. I was able to completely open up the cluster stitch pattern and even out all the sides of the shawl. And now that it’s been blocked, it feels soft and drapey and lovely to wear.

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2018 has unexpectedly turned out to be the year of the knitting tool for me. Since January, I’ve bought a swift, ball winder, scale, sock blockers in my size and Aidan’s, wool wash, blocking mats, new birch DPNs for knitting sleeves, new stainless steel 16” circular needles for hat knitting, locking stitch markers, and blocking wires. I think I finally had an epiphany this year and realized that investing in good sewing tools had made for a much better sewing experience, and that it was kind of ridiculous that I was still knitting like I was a broke college student/beginner knitter. Obviously, none of these things is necessary (I’ve managed to get through more than a decade of knitting with cheap or improvised tools), but they definitely make for a nicer experience. Maybe at some point I’ll actually upgrade from the Fiskars safety scissors I keep in my notions pouch!

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R&R Hoodie

Like a lot of knitters, I suspect, I find myself getting bogged down by finishing. It’s weird to think that you can spend hours and hours forming individual stitch after individual stitch, turning hundreds of yards of yarn into a wearable object only to feel like weaving in a few ends or sewing on a couple of buttons is just too much to ask of yourself at that moment. And yet…

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I’m not one for starting a project and then letting it sit around partially knit for a long time. I’m pretty monogamous in my knitting. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t had a ton of projects that sit around for months after I cast off the last stitch, just waiting for me to do the final finishing work. I don’t even mind the finishing work—I usually find it really satisfying once I sit down to do it. I just always seem to find myself having a huge mental block when it comes to finishing.

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According to my Ravelry notebook (which I had to consult because it had been so long I’d completely forgotten), I finished knitting this sweater July 21st, 2017. I was even diligent and tacked the edges of the pockets down and weaved in all of my ends before I marked it as “finished” on Ravelry. Looking back through my Instagram feed, it looks like it took me seven months to actually buy a zipper. And then, of course, it took yet another seven months before I sat down and actually sewed the damn zipper into the sweater. Ridiculous! I mean, I’ve procrastinated on project finishing before, but I think this project wins the prize.

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Ultimately, I think the big block for me was the fact that I needed to shorten the zipper, which I’ve not done before. As is usually the case when I’m intimidated by something new or unknown, I really just needed to sit down for a bit to work on the problem and figure it out. After watching a couple of videos, I ended up just cutting off the extra zipper, pulling out the remaining zipper coil with my seam ripper, and then using some quick hand stitches to create new zipper tops. And from there, it was just a couple of naptime sewing sessions in front of the tv before the zipper was completely installed. (I use this process for sewing in zippers, which always gives me good results.)

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Yes. I took advantage of having my child captive in a Target cart to get blog pictures. Lol.

The pattern is the R&R Hoodie from Tanis Fiber Arts, and I knit it up using Malabrigo Rios in the Glazed Carrot colorway. I used three skeins and alternated between them to account for the dye differences between skeins. Although I started knitting this while I was still pregnant two summers ago, I knew that I wanted it to be wearable the fall after Jude turned one (so, you know, now). The pattern has a 6-12 month size, which I worried would be too small for this season, and a 2-4 year old size, which I worried would be too big.

Ultimately, I decided to knit the 6-12 month size with some extra length to get something between sizes. I believe I added an inch to the body and the sleeves and maybe half an inch to the hood. The modifications worked out nicely—Jude is currently wearing an 18 months size and the sweater fits him very well. I think there’s even enough length left in the sleeves and the body for him to wear this throughout this coming winter.

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After waiting over a year to sew the zipper in, I’m just incredibly relieved that he’ll actually get to wear it before it’s too small!

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Being goofy at the grocery store.

Fall Knitting Plans

 

I’ve bound off my Carbeth Cardigan–I just need to block it and sew on some buttons. I’d love to be impulsive and buy some bulky weight black yarn so I can make myself a Carbeth pullover with a split hem. But I’m going to try to be responsible and make up some of the projects I already have yarn for. Here’s what I’m planning to make in the next couple of months:

Saudade Hat

I bought myself some Jamieson & Smith 2-Ply to make Ysolda Teague’s Saudade Hat. I want to knit the pattern but didn’t want to think about color combos much, so I just ordered the colors used in the pattern photos. If I don’t like the resulting hat for myself, I’ll give it to my sister who loves all things gray and yellow.

Madigan Pullover, resized

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I’m also planning to rip out and reknit the body of my Madigan Pullover. I love this sweater fiercely but haven’t been able to wear it the last two winters because it no longer fits. I did a lot of bust shaping when I originally knit the body, including horizontal and vertical bust darts. And while it fit beautifully when it was finished, it immediately started to look baggy and weird when I lost a bit of weight. I’ve learned that less fitted garments are actually a lot more flexible through various bodily changes. I may not need to reknit the sleeves, so hopefully this salvage operation won’t take too long.

Teddy Sweater for Jude

 

In the spring, I ordered two skeins of Malabrigo Arroyo in Regatta Blue with the intention of making myself a shawl. But when I saw the yarn in person, I knew I’d rather see it on Jude. So I’m going to order a natural skein of Arroyo and make him the Teddy Sweater by Terri Krause.

Sounds of Life Cardigan

 

I still have the yarn from my failed Solitude Jacket. I’d really like a simple cardigan in this soft, heathered black color, so I’m planning to make Andrea Rangel’s Sounds of Life cardigan. The pattern gauge is different from my gauge with this yarn, so it will require some adjustments but I think the pattern is simple enough that it won’t be a problem.

Threipmuir

This one is a bit of a stretch–I don’t know if I’ll actually get around to working on this one in the next little bit of time. But I’ve been wanting to make myself a stranded yoke pullover and impulsively ordered some Knitpicks Palette in Navy, Marble Heather, and Mist to make Ysolda Teague’s Threipmuir pattern. I swatched some of the colorwork last March during Spring Break. Now I just have to find the headspace to commit to knitting a whole stranded yoke. Hopefully finished the Saudade Hat will help me feel bold!

The Situational Sock Knitter

I’ve knit a lot of socks but don’t think of myself as being a sock knitter. I am not, for instance, the kind of person who tends to have multiple sock projects on the go at any moment or who collects sock yarn. I think I usually manage to make a few pairs of socks a year, but sock knitting is not my bread and butter, go-to project. The key word here is “usually.” It might actually be more accurate to say that I am a situational sock knitter.

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2×2 Rib Socks with a Fish Lips Kiss Heel, knit up in Zauberball Crazy in Indisch Rosa. My first project started and completed post-baby.

I actually started to knit socks seriously when I was in my MA program and was feeling overwhelmed by the combined stress of school and being far away from home for the first time. I knit lots of other things during that time as well—hats, mittens, even a couple of sweaters—but my Ravelry notebook during that era of my life is dominated by socks.

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Vanilla socks in Regia 4-Ply in Snowsuit

The summer that I was intensively working on my dissertation before moving to Ohio to start my current job also temporarily turned me into a sock knitter. I think I ended up making about a pair a week, which is not necessarily fast for many sock knitters but is definitely fast for me. When my dissertation draft was turned into my committee, I immediately cast on a cowl project with a more complex stitch pattern and then started working on sweaters again.

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Vanilla socks knit in Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock Lightweight in Bet You Thought This Skein Was About You

I thought that having a baby would push me into kid-knit overdrive, but it actually brought me back to sock knitting. I managed to finish up two little sweaters that I had already mostly knit before Jude was born. And I tried, but spectacularly failed, to knit a cardigan for myself in the months after he came along. But I ultimately just accepted that I only had the energy and the focus for very simple sock knitting.

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2×2 Ribbed Socks for Aidan knit in Meilenweit Chalet in Blue

I worked my way through seven pairs of socks before I felt like I was ready to take on a different project, which was when I started my Carbeth Cardigan. I still have two pairs that are on the needles—started during my sock knitting binge, but not finished before I started to get tired of socks. I’m sure I will finish them eventually, but I am enjoying have the mental capacity for different kinds of projects.

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Vanilla Socks knit in Meilenweit Chalet in Purple

But I’m also glad that I have one kind of project that functions as nearly mindless knitting and that produces something that is comforting and useful. Those seven pairs of socks made for good, meditative, restful knitting.

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3×1 Ribbed Socks in Regia 4-Ply Tweed in Zuckerbacker

But they also helped me feel like I was still capable of making nice things at a time when I otherwise felt like kind of a mess. And I stocked up on sock yarn, so I’ve got a little stash ready and waiting for the next sock knitting situation.

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Vanilla socks with contrast Fish Lips Kiss Heel knit in Opal Sunrise in Morgenr Te Dawn

Playdate Cardigan

I’m making an effort to get caught up on blogging past projects, which means going way back to a project that I finished nearly a year ago and that Jude has already outgrown. I’m certainly glad I didn’t wait to put it on him before it got blogged.

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I started this little cardigan the week before Jude was born and finished it up around the time that he turned a month old. The pattern is the Playdate Cardigan from Tin Can Knits, which is part of their Max & Bodhi’s Wardrobe Collection. It’s a basic little v-neck cardigan with drop sleeves and pockets that is available in their full “baby to big” size range—so from 0-3 months all the way up to a 59” chest. I made the 6-12 months size, which I knit using a single skein of Madeline Tosh Twist Light in the Artic colorway.

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I don’t recall making any significant changes to the pattern. I’m pretty sure that I knit it according to the instructions for the size without making any changes to the sleeve or body length. I do recall being very skeptical that I would like putting this cardigan on Jude and feeling pretty certain that he wasn’t going to get much wear out of it. My primary reservation was related to the pattern gauge.

It might just be an effect of being a frequent sock knitter who is used to knitting fingering weight yarn at a gauge of 8-9 stitches per inch, but knitting a fingering weight yarn at 6 stitches per inch (the gauge called for by the pattern) just feels overly loose and airy to me. And because of this, I didn’t feel like the sweater would be warm enough for Jude during fall and winter. And I was also worried that the loose gauge would make the resulting sweater look sloppy.

Of course, once it was blocked it DID NOT look sloppy at all—it turned really well. And Jude actually did get a lot of wear out of it. I started putting him in it with the sleeves cuffed when he was just a few months old and he was wearing it until he was stretching out the buttons this spring. So I’m glad I was wrong. This lightweight cardigan turned out to be very versatile through fall, winter, and spring and, of course, he looked very cute in it.

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I still don’t really like knitting a fingering weight yarn at fewer than ~7 stitches per inch. I think I really just prefer the feeling of creating a denser fabric. If I made this again, I might seriously consider subbing in a sport weight yarn for a more comfortable knitting experience, but I think that might just be an idiosyncratic preference.

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To really highlight how behind I am on getting projects posted to the blog, Jude turned one a couple of weeks ago, which means I got to bake and decorate his first birthday cake! I made the Monkey Cake recipe from Smitten Kitchen. I filled the cake with the fudgy buttercream from the recipe and used a standard vanilla buttercream for frosting and decorating the rest of the cake. I also ordered a whole pound of banana candies in the name of fulfilling my creative vision for this cake, because I am nothing if not ridiculous. Of course, the only thing that matters is that he liked it. And he did. 🙂

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