Brighton in Crisis

I made a big big mistake.

Evidently I was overly confident when I purchased yarn last year for Chris' Brighton Pullover. Oh wait, you don't remember anything about that? Well let me recap.

Around this time last year I was starting to feel like a somewhat normal person again. We passed the three month mark as a three person family and we had all survived. Pasha was starting to sleep a tad bit regularly and he wasn't moving around yet so I felt comfortable purchasing the yarn to start Chris' first sweater. He picked out a pattern from Brooklyn Tweed Fall 2016, and I was really excited that he finally wanted a larger project. I even bought special yarn, Quince and Co Chickadee in their special String Theory dye line. My local LYS Warm N Fuzzy, where I was spending a lot of my time (and disposable income), had managed to get some sweater lots in stock so I nabbed five skeins of this gorgeous grey, ST-8.

Now, if you happen to know this sweater or have followed the linkage above you will notice that Brighton is written for Brooklyn Tweed Loft, which is a fingering weight yarn. Chickadee is a sport weight yarn. Not the same thing. But I was so excited and confident that I actually decided to do some maths to modify the pattern for the heavier weight yarn. Because really, who wants to knit a giant cabled man sweater in a dark color?

With the help of some more experienced sweater-knitting friends I swatched, decided on a gauge, and cast on. By the time I finished the front Pasha was learning how to roll over. Not to be deterred I pressed on, casting on the back just as he started doing barrel rolls across the living room. Even though the directions are very clear and the cables are a fairly basic pattern, I found this was not the type of knitting I could just throw down at a moment's notice, so the poor Brighton went back into the bag and to the bottom of the WIP pile.

Fast forward to last month. My crafting supplies and knitting have all been living in an assortment of boxes and piles next to my bed (because Mom's stuff is always organized last), which is now Stormy's future hangout, so I've been trying to slowly move things around to make room. As I moved things the Brighton bag came back to the top of the pile and I felt a bit guilty that it had been so neglected, so I took it with me when Pasha and I went to visit my parents last month.

Brighton Sleeves.png

While we were there I finished the front and basted it together with the back which I made Chris try on when we got home. It fit so I went ahead and cast on the sleeves. These I decided to knit two at a time to the sleeve cap (which of course has directional shaping) just in case I needed to modify anything so that they would both match. It was a deep black hole I was in until Wednesday night when I decided after comparing measurements to Chris' arm that I should go ahead and start the sleeve cap. That's when the trouble started.

After knitting both sleeve caps this is how much yarn I have left.

And I still have the neckband and all of the seaming to do.

Let that sink in for a moment.

I am about to embark on the greatest and most doomed game of yarn chicken in my entire life. There is no way that I'll have enough yarn to finish, and yet I'm going to try. Because despite the fact that I thought I had more than enough yarn with five skeins, I do not.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is, if you happen to have a partial ball or a skein of Chickadee ST-8 lying around, would you mind sending it my way?

Outfit-A-Long 2017

I had every intention of writing this post on Saturday, but then the very serious events in Virginia happened and it seemed silly to write about sewing and knitting when others were confronting the growing threat of Nazism in our country. So I decided to give it a few days to process before returning to this space. I am a white woman and I know that part of my privilege is that I can ignore these issues when I choose, but at the same time this is a space where I talk a lot about myself and I don't want to make my discussion of this issue all about me. So know that in my daily life I am trying to find ways that I can rethink how I can engage these issues, but I will be keeping this space as positive and encouraging as possible. If you have any ideas of how I can do this in a more inclusive way, please let me know. I am always looking for new ways to grow this space for all of you.

Ok, on to the creating!

You may remember that back at the beginning of the summer I had grand plans to knit/sew an outfit for our fifth anniversary date to see Garbage and Blondie last weekend. But then I found out I am pregnant and life went a little sideways for many many weeks. Something people don't talk about often when discussing close pregnancies is that you never get a chance to recover fully before your body starts at it again. I'm not talking about losing all the baby weight (though that would be nice), but my organs and bones had not all gone back to their regular places, so when Stormy came on the scene my body was like "Oh, we know how to do this" and pop -- almost immediate baby bump. Not the most encouraging way to start a new outfit.

Fortunately the knitted part of my outift (TPCT by Teresa Gregorio) was already in progress, so I plodded away until I had a finished crop top. I shortened it just a hair because the hem was already beginning to flare over the baby, so I didn't want to knit it to full length only to find the bindoff was too tight. I used two gorgeous skeins of Junkyarn Smooth Sock in Padme, which I just love. The speckles are all very soft except for the occasional pop of red and black, which I can only assume is a nod to the Episode One outfit. I alternated skeins so I had about a fourth of each left at the end. Enough for some shorties for me or toddler socks for the kidlets?

The sewing part of this outfit (Cleo, Tilly and the Buttons) didn't take nearly as long, but was more mentally taxing. When I lost my creative mojo I lost all interest in sewing as well as knitting. Which turns out in this case was good. I didn't actually start cutting fabric until the week of the show, which meant that I was able to cut a size that fit. I was fantasizing sewing a few more as I get bigger because it is such an easy pattern, but the fit is not really designed for someone carrying the majority of her body weight on the lower front of her torso. However, I can see myself sewing some for spring post-baby.

I sewed the short version with two front pockets instead of the single bib pocket. I love pockets (as do all women -- take note designers!), so I almost put all three, but decided in the end that would be a bit much. The entire sewing process only took a few nap times, or about half of iZombie season 3. Everything went smoothly until the final edge stitching, when I had to reload the bobbin. No matter how many times I restarted and rethereaded I could not get my stitching to lay flat and even. I finally gave up because it was the night before the show and simply did the best I could. It's not as nice as I'd like, but it works for now. Maybe someday soon I'll rip out the stitching and redo it.

Even though I did not finish in time to enter the Outfit-A-Long I am still pretty pleased with myself. In years past I have only participated in the knitting and wished I could sew. This year I actually created an entire outfit! Maybe next year I'll build on my momentum and actually submit a finished outfit.

Oh! The concert was great by the way. Garbage was just as amazing as I had hoped and Blondie was simply divine. It was so inspiring to see such great bands fronted by women who have been icons for more than a generation. My new goal is to be Debbie Harry when I grow up because dude, that woman rocks.

A Little Little

So I have news.

If you haven't been by Instagram lately you might not have seen the announcement.

Yup. I'm pregnant. We found out at the beginning of the summer and I have struggled to get my crafting mojo back ever since. It's funny, but the good part of being nauseous and uncomfortable for three months is that I did not have the energy to make a bunch of clothes for myself that I am unable to wear.

But you guys know that I can't just not knit, so I struggled through a few WIPs until finally starting a new project for the baby. That seemed to be the key to kicking things back into gear for me.

As soon as the new issue of Making showed up I knew I had to knit this little giraffe (which just happens to be the pattern name). I used less than a skein each of Cascade 220 Superwash and it knit up super fast. The only downside is that the neck is a little floppy and does not hold the head upright.  But the result is just adorable.

Pasha is a little frustrated though. He doesn't like this whole sibling concept when it means he doesn't get to keep the toys.

July Pattern Roundup

It's August?

How is it already August! Well, you know what that means --

As I always say, there is no way I can find and share all of the amazing patterns that were released last month. I make a favorite's bundle every month of all the contenders that I see, but I know there are more out there, so please share them in the comments!

Cardigan

Praline, Dani Sunshine

I love this sweet cardigan for the months transitioning into fall as the weather cools down in the evenings. Knit in a neutral as pictured it would be the perfect basic to throw on over a sun dress, or in a fun color it could brighten up a basic tshirt and jeans (which let's face it is my uniform).

Pullover

Bramble, Kat Riddell

I know we just had a pattern from Kat in the mix, but I just can't resist this tee. I love a good summer top, and this is just one from a collection of three! Pretty sure I'm going to need all of these next Summer.

For the Head

Keepsies, Hunter Hammerson

So often a buy a skein of yarn and think "This would be a gorgeous hat", but then can't find a pattern to match. This pattern fixes that problem for some of your heavier weight yarns and looks like a great pallet cleanser to boot.

For the Neck

Day Dreamer, This.Bird.Knits

I'm really into simple knits right now. Something fun and comforting that results in a beautiful finished object. This is the perfect shawl for that need and I want to cast one on STAT.

For the Feet

Downpour Socks, Susie White

Remember what I said about simple, comforting, and gorgeous results? Yep, it works for socks too. And perfect for all those skeins of striped yarn I have lying around.

Kids

Baby Jailbird Romper, Melissa Kemmerer

I love the concept of the collection this piece comes from -- babies finally jailbreaking to come out into the world. With the exception of the dress, this is completely non-gendered. This would make a great gift for any knitworthy moms you may have in your life.

Honorable Mention

The Magizoologist's Menagerie, Sara Ray

Confession time. I have not seen Fantastic Beasts. I know, it's shameful for a Potter fan like me, but I have a baby so getting to movies is hard. In any case, I am in love with this scarf. The patterning is fun but not so obvious that you'd immediately say "Hey, that's a Harry Potter scarf!"

What new patterns have caught your eye this month?

Sock and Awe

A while back, I actually finished a few projects.

They were socks of course. When in doubt, or when motivation is low, always work on socks.

These were my mom's Mother's Day socks this year, which came a little late because that is how I roll these days. No, actually, I finished the first one in time, but I wanted to be sure they fit before embarking on the second. Until recently Mom and I have had the exact same size feet, but she's had some injuries lately that made me a wee bit concerned about the heel depth. Turns out I need not have worried as all her knitted socks still fit perfectly.

There's something uniquely satisfying about giving your mother something you have created by hand. It calls back to mind all of the random stuff I made for her as a kid. Stuff she graciously and lovingly accepted with nary a hint that it was still wet with glue and totally getting glitter all over her jeans. Now when she is excited I know it is genuine because I've cultivated an actual skill and make real, usable items.

Fidget Socks.png

For her 2017 pair I knit the Fidget Socks, a free pattern by Amy Stringer, using a modified afterthought heel based on Susan B Anderson's Smooth Operator Socks.  The yarn is The Help from Desert Vista Dyeworks in her Viso base which I initially ordered to knit for her last year but ended up saving due to time constraints. Everything about these socks worked out perfectly. Mom loves the colors, the pattern was easy to follow, and the project was easy to drop when Pasha decided to do something reckless.

High on the accomplishment of a finished pair of socks I decided to tackle another languishing pair. It is no secret that I love Muststash Yarns' Star Wars collection, to the point that I almost made her an exception to my no online yarn commitment this year. Every time she releases a new set I love them all and can never decide on a color, so I typically purchase her 50 gram companion skeins. Theoretically these are designed to make mismatched socks, but I find that 50 grams plus a solid mini is plenty to make myself ankle socks.

This is a loosely modified Jelly Roll sock by Mara Catherine Bryner, knit out of the Leia colorway. I used a Lolo Did It mini to knit the small ribbed cuff, the heel, and the toe. The original plan was to do the colorwork foot, like the pattern, but the placement in the striping sequence did not look as nice. I've already worn these a ton of times and am hoping to get another pair on the needles soon. I may have finally found my go-to sock pattern, at least for now. 

Have you finished anything cool while I've been MIA? Please share in the comments!