A Sweater for SAFF?

Last week I got this crazy idea into my head.

I've had Big Sister by Kate Oats in the all-but-cast-on stage for a while, which she just republished under her new design line, so I decided to go ahead and get that on the needles. It's my last sweater quantity (I KNOW!) in the stash and so I had put it off for a while. But I want the big cozy sweater to wear once Stormy gets here, so cast on I did. Suddenly I was gripped by this insane idea that I could have it done before SAFF.

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I blame the fact that Rhinebeck fever is in the air, so all the knitting blogs/podcasts/whatever are chatting about finishing their Rhinebeck Sweaters. I want to knit a big fun sweater for a fiber event. That sounds great! No, Faith it doesn't. Because you are not going to Rhinebeck, you are going to SAFF, which will inevitably be 70+ degrees if you knit a sweater. Because it is in North Carolina and Summer still has its grip on us.

Still I pressed on and was making great progress until we had a family bout of the stomach bug (on my birthday I might add), when the idea of picking up my needles just did not appeal to me. So now it's less than two weeks and I'm really short on time. There is no reason for me to continue trying to finish this before SAFF, for all the reasons above plus the fact I still need to finish Pasha's sweater for our family pictures which are the weekend after we get back. And I have Halloween sewing to finish. And I have a few hats on the go and a SAFF hat makes more sense anyway.

So there is no reason to call this my SAFF sweater, right?

Right.

Still Sewing?

If you've been around these parts for a while you may wonder what happened to all of the sewing I was doing.

Back in Spring I was cranking pieces out and then once I got through my Summer Slump (yes, it needs capitals -- like The Plague) I started ramping up my creative output once again. But sewing never really caught on the way everything else did. What happened?

Well, I can give you a few excuses.

1) The reason I'm constantly giving -- I have a toddler. He's into everything and he screams for no reason than to see the look on my face as I try not to pinch his adorable little head off. There's just no sewing when dealing with this kind of little monster. There's almost no making dinner or cleaning or brushing my teeth.

2) I'm pregnant. Not really an excuse to dodge sewing, but the cutting of fabric and piecing together that I normally do spread out on the living room floor is a lot harder now. I have very crazy balance issues (shocker) and it hurts my knees/hips/back to crouch down like that for long periods of time.

3) Entropy. I haven't been sewing so it's easier to continue not sewing than it is to start.

4) I actually have been sewing and just didn't tell you about it.

This is true. This is all true. But I did make one project in the last month that has gone to its recipient so I can finally share it with you.

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Just a simple tote bag, right? Right? Then why did it make me so frustrated that Chris actually tried to take me away from my machine (despite the considerable weight gain I am still easier to wrangle than a machine he has no experience with). 

Ok, so there is nothing wrong with this actual product, just the brain that was trying to sew it together. August was my friend Taryn's birthday and since Halloween is her favorite holiday I always do some sort of Halloween themed item in her birthday package. This year Hawthorne Threads did a Haunted Tote kit, where they printed all the pieces and directions on one piece of fabric and you just cut and sew. Pretty cool concept, should be fairly straight forward.

WRONG! These directions were so clearly laid out that it was far too easy for my addled brain to wander while reading over them so that I sewed the straps on wrong not once, not twice, but four times. FOUR TIMES! First I sewed them on the top, which means when I sewed the lining they were inside the bag. Then I sewed them sideways. Then I don't even know what I did, all I know is that I had to rip those seams so many times.

But in the end I persevered, walked away from my machine, and haven't touched it since. But Halloween is coming and while I don't have our costume plans nailed down yet, I do have themed outfits to sew.

There are only so many years I have before my kids stop letting me dress them. I must make Halloween overalls while the sun shines.

September Pattern Roundup

It's October!

Best month of the year in my opinion. It's still awfully warm here, but I'm dreaming of crisp Autumn days and cozy handknits. The last month was a bounty of new patterns for just that purpose, so let's dive right in.

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Sweater

Lifted Pull, Natalia Polyakov

Pullovers are essential for this time of year, at least here in the Southern US. We get cold mornings and evenings and you just want to throw on something simple that will look great with the jean shorts you are wearing for the inevitably warm afternoon (or is that just me). I love the little bit of visual interest this piece gains from the lifted panel in the front and the simple elegance of the thin stripes.

For the Head

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Two Birds Cloche, AbbyeKnits

I love hats, and Fall is always the perfect season to add a few more to my wardrobe. This particular piece is my favorite from an ebook filled with gorgeous cloches. The two color brim means you can add a fun pop of color or keep things a little more reserved depending on your style.

For the Neck

Sugar Shack Cowl, Tamy Gore

This one caught my eye not only because of the color combo (which is dreamy), but also because the yardage is lower than that of a lot of other cowls of this style. You could easily use up some leftover skeins in what appears to be a relatively quick knit.

For the Hands

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Pumpkin Spice Mittens, Skeindeer Knits

Skeindeer Knits is a designer who's star seems to be on the rise. She has a growing catalog of colorwork patterns, but this is my personal favorite. And if you love coffee but PSL is not your thing, you could always leave out the pumpkin pieces and just make a pair of cozy coffee mitts. 

For the Legs

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Brandywine, Rae Gronmark

I love a good pair of legwarmers or boot toppers and these are another stunning entry into the category. I'm cheating a little with this one because it is actually a part of a set with matching mitts and hat. Do I need these in my wardrobe? Well, probably.

Kids

Whispers of Autumn Pullover, Lara Simonson

I know this is pictured on a girl, but this is a lovely gender neutral pattern. What caught my attention was the fact that the sides are not actually seamed, but actually button together. As someone with a squirmy toddler this looks like a great piece to keep him warm without wrestling him into the sleeves of a full sweater.

Honorable Mention

Wonder Woman, Rachel Vowles

I mean . . . how could I not. The sweater stands for itself. Go look at it.

As always there is no way for me to highlight all of the amazing patterns that were published in the last month. For more inspiration you can check out this month's Ravelry bundle. What patterns did you find in September that I missed? Tell us about them in the comments!

Welcome Little Squirrel

So I started this whole baby outfit before we knew anything about the gender of Stormy.

Over the Summer I made Little Giraffe and had quite a bit of this Cascade 220 Superwash leftover, so I dug into my pattern library to find something I liked to knit for his first outfit. Yes, we are having a boy. We are very excited and it is just mere coincidence that I knit with blue. But really, are you surprised? This mint is such a great baby color.

First up was a sweater. I knit the newborn size of the Spotlight sweater, but I wasn't feeling the colorwork. Since Stormy is a February baby, due mere days before Valentine's Day, I subbed in a heart panel from Heart On My Sleeve that had a matching stitch count.

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Now, of course, I feel like Pasha needs a matching sweater to do big brother/little brother photos, but I should probably finish his family photos cardigan first, right? Right.

After that I still had almost a skein of the blue left (I started with one and a half when I finished the giraffe), so I decided to knit him a matching pair of socks and hat because after all, it will be winter when he is born.

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Keeping it a true Tin Can Knits outfit, I knit the Little Squirrel socks and Bumble hat from Max and Bodhi's Wardrobe (side note: a lot of people make comments about how hard it is to find patterns for little boys, but I find that with Tin Can Knits and Tot Toppers the selection might be smaller but it is also much higher in quality). After finishing the hat I might have run into the other room to show Chris and then promptly declared that everything in our house now needs a pompom. As you do. I have enough of the tan yarn left that I'm considering a second pair of socks or hat.

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All of these patterns are in newborn sizes, but seem to have come out a tad large. I'm not too worried though because when I had my last ultrasound the ultrasound tech commented on the length of his bones. Wait, I take that back -- I'm not worried about the fit of his clothes, but I might be a little worried about giving birth to him. Ah, the life of a boy mom.

Boho Blush

It's been a long time since I've had a finished object for myself.

Well, maybe not a super long time, but it feels like forever because I've been working on projects for all the dudes in my house. Last month when everyone got all into Andrea Mowrey's What the Fade KAL I came *this* close to being swept up in the madness. I know I have sweaters on the needles for myself, but shawls are more pregnancy friendly in my mind because I can wear them no matter how dramatically my bust size might change. But instead of casting on a new shawl I talked myself down and picked up my Boho Blush, started lo so many months ago (March I think?).

I tried hard to remember why I put it down when I did, and I'm just not sure. I was at the end of one section and all set to start another, my stitch count was correct, and I even had a nearly full skein of yarn so there was no winding to do. I'm not sure if I got bored, or if it became too large to lug around after Pasha, or if I equated it with the many seasons of Law and Order: SVU he and I had watched at that time and just needed a break. In any case it only took me about a week to crank out the last few sections, block, and add on the fringe.

The shawl itself calls for approximately 1095 yards of a fingering weight yarn, including fringe, which can be a bit variable. I had three skeins of Yarn on the House Little Brother in Honeydew Melon, which measures in at 435 yards per skein. There was a brief scare when I finished the bindoff and started adding fringe when I thought that I had completely run out of yarn. Frantic digging in the stash to find a complementary fringe color turned up the final skein, which I had not wound yet and had accidentally rotated to the bottom of my yarn chest.

As you can see, Pasha is quite fond of the fringe, pulling it off the couch to roll around with on a regular basis. I'd apologize for the lighting of these pictures, but when the inspiration strikes, sometimes you just have to start documenting and to hell with the florescent lighting. I'm feeling rather gross lately, so he makes a much lovelier model anyway.

And there's still quite a bit of yarn left, so Stormy may get a matching sweater so that we can be obnoxious twinsies. Because that's what knitting mommy's do, right?