Brighton Pullover

You guys!

You guys, I finally did it. I finished Chris' Brighton Pullover, a gorgeous pattern by Veronik Avery that I did my best to destroy as much as possible. And despite my best efforts the result is gorgeous (can you say a guy's sweater is gorgeous? It feels right so I'm going with it).

To refresh your memory, though if you're a frequent reader I'm sure you're tired of hearing about it, I started this sweater for Chris last Fall. I finally convinced him to let me knit him a sweater and used some sample knitting store credit to buy this amazing Quince & Co Chickadee from last year's String Theory dye run (ST8 to be specific). I knit the back up rather quickly, but then Pasha started independent movement and the cables became difficult for the drop and run lifestyle I had to adopt.

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I picked this back up in July when Pasha and I went to visit my parents and flew through the front. The sleeves were a bit more of a slog as I knit them two at a time (and was back with my much more distracting stash), but I got through them and managed not to run out of yarn as I seamed it all together and knit the neckline. But then (oh but then), I discovered that the sleeves were way WAY too long. Did I mention that I had substituted a sport weight yarn for a fingering weight sweater? My math worked just fine until then.

Many thanks to Katy C who talked me out of just chucking the whole thing in the dryer when I wrote about this last. I was super discouraged, but I finally buckled down and actually cut the sleeves. I ended up having to cut off ten cable repeats on top of the ribbing to make them the length that Chris wanted. They are now just a hair shorter than I was aiming, but he's constantly pushing up his sleeves, so I don't think it's going to be a problem. And I'm not reknitting them again anyway. No way. No how. You can't make me.

I'm really pleased with the overall look of the sweater, and Chris says he'll wear it when he needs to dress nicely. Like, say, family pictures in a few months?

Making Things Easier

I don't know about you

but I have a tendency to make things harder on myself than they need to be. For everyone else I am full of second chances and accommodations, but for myself? For myself I never give an inch. Giving myself a break just isn't something that comes naturally to me. Especially now that I'm a mom -- it feels like any mistake I make or step back that I take could impact my child. And I know that's crazy, so I'm trying to make things easier on myself.

Back around Mother's Day I told you guys about my struggles with Postpartum Depression (PPD). What I didn't know at the time was that I was pregnant and what I didn't detail in my post is that I was taking medication to help with it. I'm not ashamed that I chose to take pills because it made me a much better mom for Pasha and helped me to be the mom I want to be -- easy-going, less anxious, and willing to get in the muck if it meant we had a good time. But once I found out about Stormy all of that changed. The primary reason I struggled so much over the summer is that I was coming off of this medication and the side effects were horrid. I'm better now but the end result is that I don't want to go back on them again if I can help it, so I've started working with a counselor to tackle the remains of my PPD and prepare for the upheaval that will be another baby (I also understand that not everyone can come off of their medication during pregnancy. Whatever makes it possible for you to have a safe and healthy pregnancy, I support you. You, mama, are a rock star no matter what).

The big issue we keep circling back to is the pressure that I put on myself. Pressure to be a good mom, pressure to be a good wife, pressure to have a beautiful home, etc. I've started to work on stepping back, looking at my major goals be they for the day, the week, etc, and find ways to make them easier on myself. For example, I've started doing a load of laundry every day. Just one. That much I can get washed, dried, and put away while wrangling a very curious toddler (who really likes to help).

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This approach of finding ways to make things easier has started finding its way into my knitting as well. Until recently I never used a cable needle. Sometimes I really needed one, but I was determined to make it work without because it was something small I could take pride in. But on my Chuck this time I used a cable needle the whole way. This made it a lot more fun to work on and much less frustrating if Pasha needed something RIGHT NOW MOM in the middle of a cable row.

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As you can see I am applying the same thought to the sleeve decreases. Do you know how much lighter I feel not having to keep all those counts in my head? It's not that I can't, or even shouldn't, it's that I don't have to.

Do you have strategies you use to bring ease to your knitting life? If so I'd love to hear about them!

August Pattern Roundup

It's that time again!

Well yes, it was that time a few days ago, but we had a holiday weekend here in the States so you'll forgive my tardiness, won't you?

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Sweater

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Carefree Crop Top, Knitatude

You guys know I love a good crop top pattern. They're so flattering on pretty much anyone and give a chance to wear a sweater in much warmer weather. This one is now top of my list for next summer (bonus crop top advantage: they're super nursing-friendly).

For the Head

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Casazul, La Maison Rililie

Brioche continues to be super hot, and this is a really fun way to get in on the trend. Add in stripes, fun brim treatment, and a Frieda Kahlo homage? This hat has it all.

For the Neck

A Little Bit Bowie, Georgie Nicolson

I love this fun take on an asymmetrical shawl. Plus you guys know how I feel about both pop culture and stripes. Such a fun pattern.

For the Hands

Thistle Mitts, Natalia Moreva 

Classic colorwork mittens should be a staple part of everyone's Winter wardrobe. This is a great take with a beautiful plant motif and mitt style rather than full mittens. The pattern page also says that the chart can be subbed into hat, scarf,  or sweater patterns, so you could knit an entire matching set if you feel so inclined.

For the Feet

Study in Slip Socks, Laura Fahlin

Speaking of colorwork, these socks have all the appeal without the actual work of knitting more than one color at a time. Fahlin calls these a sampler of slipped stitches, with the option to just use one motif or several to get a totally unique sock. And a great use of those leftover bits or mini skeins you don't want to deal with.

Kids

Dandelion Cardigan, Along avec Anna

I fell in love with this little girl when I saw the pattern photo. Isn't she just darling? The sweater itself is also quite sweet if you can get yourself to look past the kid long enough to see the detail.

Honorable Mention

Limelight, Lars Rains

You know those times you go to the beach and you're just a little bit chilly but don't want to wear a sweater? Limelight totally has you covered while giving you the still fashionable cold shoulder look. There was actually a pattern similar to this in Knitty many many years ago, so I loved seeing a modern updated version popping up. I don't know if I'll make one, but you can bet I'll be thinking about it.

As always it is impossible to feature every amazing pattern that is published each month. To see other fun August patterns that I found you can check out my Ravelry bundle. And please drop me a note in the comment if you have a favorite I may have missed!

Just Can't Win

Good news first:

I didn't run out of yarn!

Yes, that's right. Somehow I managed to eek out a neckband and all of the seams with just the little bit of yarn I had left. Huzzah!

But then -- BUT THEN! I had Chris try it on and I wanted to cry.

It's too big. He says the body fits fine though I think it's a tad long, but the big problem is the sleeves. Those blasted sleeves that I already shortened to account for my yardage. They are too long. Like way too long. That's a double rolled cuff we've got there.

So I have a few options. I can live with it, which is Chris' thought. He's fine with a rolled sleeve, but it bothers me to no end. So that's out. I could cut the sleeves and reknit the ribbing, which is something I've actually done before. I'm fairly confident that if I had an afternoon to myself I could make it work for sure. However there is a baby running around the house, so that could get rather complicated.

Which leaves us with option three -- the dryer. I've never intentionally put a hand knit in the dryer, but I know that it is a method used to shorten sweaters that have stretched too far. Will it work? I don't know. I'll have to do some research. Anyone have some suggestions?

For what it's worth, I've vowed to never sub yarn weights again. NEVER!

Autumn Dreaming

Temperatures might be in the upper 90s,

but I am already dreaming of Fall. You could blame the Brighton Pullover for this. I went from complacent knitter to full on sweater knitter. Not only am I working on Brighton for Chris, but I'm also halfway through an Avery Vest for Pasha out of some gorgeous Fiberspates

and a Chuck for myself.

This is actually my second Chuck. I knit one three years ago out of some prized Quince and Co and loved it. It turned into my favorite sweater during my first pregnancy because it enabled me to keep wearing dresses that were no longer work appropriate as my body changed faster than my wardrobe. I can still wear it right now, but since my bust size changed dramatically and I only anticipate it changing more, I decided to knit another in a larger size.

I cast it on last week right before Pasha and I left to go visit my parents for a long weekend. They live right on the edge of the path of totality for the solar eclipse on Monday, so we got to drive out to my mom's school and see over 99% of it, which was pretty cool. My favorite part was how low the temperature dropped. Maybe because I'm so tired of this heat?

If you look closely you can almost see the shadow of the eclipse through the clouds

If you look closely you can almost see the shadow of the eclipse through the clouds

Somehow, despite chasing Pasha everywhere (because OMG he's walking!), I managed to knit almost the entire body of the sweater. It's amazing how fast worsted weight knits up compared to fingering or sport weight. I got through the start of the bottom ribbing before I ran out of the yarn that I already balled up. I would probably already be on the sleeves if I would go get another skein to wind up but let's be honest. That's too much work right now.

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Are you an Autumn fanatic? Have you already started planning your cold weather knits or are you still holding tight to summer?