It's Fundamental

So I started a project without telling you about it.

Not just any project -- a garment project. Last week I gave in to my need to cast on new things and in addition to Onward, I cast on an Agatha. The yarn has been kicking around in my stash for over a year with this project in mind, and the realization that both Andi's Selfish Sweater KAL and Katie's Andi Satt-Along are currently running was the kick in the pants I needed to get this on my needles.

As you can imagine, it is not the easiest knitting in the world to do with a rambunctious baby crawling around. This has been mostly relegated to nap time or after dinner knitting. Which is why I was so proud of the progress I had made when on Thursday I joined the fronts and back to knit the body of the sweater. Until I got to the waist shaping.

The numbers didn't work. I could not make the pattern make sense. I backed up to the beginning of the row and tried again. Nope. Still didn't work. So then I took to ravelry and poured through the finished objects and forum posts. No one seemed to have this problem. And what's more, the pattern under the arms did not look like my sweater. What could possibly be wrong.

Finally I got Pasha down for a nap and tried again. Then I did what I should have done to start with and counted. I was about 30 stitches short. THIRTY.

So I went back, actually read the pattern line for joining the pieces, and there it was. I had neglected to cast on for the underarms.

If you need me I'll be over here writing lines. "I will always read the pattern twice before knitting". No, that's a lie. Let's be honest. I'm reading Harry Potter.

Sweater Weather

It's officially Autumn!

And even though it feels more like summer here, I am dreaming of snuggly sweaters, boots, and a never ending stream of steaming hot coffees. Ok maybe that last one is because someone has decided 3 AM is playtime and is skipping his morning nap today, but the other two are distinctly autumnal.

I've always loved Fall the best, even before I became a knitter. I love curling up with a book in the early dark on my parents' front porch, the return of network tv shows, and the impending arrival of my birthday month (October, for those of you keeping track). This year it is even more special because I get to share the season with Pasha. I can't wait to introduce him to changing leaves, see him see his own breath for the first time, and bundle him in adorable sweaters.

Speaking of sweaters, in a dramatic turn of events I have actually convinced my hoodie-loving husband to let me knit for him. It actually did not take much more than "Wouldn't it be cool if I knit sweaters for us to wear for our first family pictures?" I was originally going to knit him a Flax out of Quince and Co Lark, but then Warm N Fuzzy received a shipment of Chickadee from the String Theory hand dye collection.

I bought five skeins of this deep grey/blue which is a perfect color for him and the sport weight will make it way more wearable. Of course there are not really any sport weight men's sweater patterns, so I decided to modify a fingering weight pattern. Again we decided on Flax Light when the new Brooklyn Tweed collection launched. Chris became immediately attached to Brighton, which is how I wound up modifying a cabled fingering weight sweater, knit in pieces, for my husband's first sweater.

This can only end well, right?

Cabled Progress

Nothing kicks my knitting back into gear like getting a major win on a project.

And what better project to finish and get off the needles than a sweater? I can't believe I have been working with this yarn for over a year, trying to finish a sweater and I finally did!

I've been hesitant to write about this project because I had so many problems with the pattern. To start off with, it is a paid-for pattern that is listed as worsted on Ravelry with a worsted weight yarn, but the actual pattern lists a bulky weight yarn. I thought that might have just been a typo in the pattern, but the yardage did not work out. By the time I finished the back and the fronts I did not have enough yarns to do the hood. And even without the baby bump it came out too narrow to close with a zipper.

Knitting on this also reaffirmed my commitment to only knit charted patterns. The cable instructions are written out, and not every line is correct. I spent an entire afternoon on my couch watching the second season of Witches of East End and reworking the pattern to reflect the pictures. I don't want this to come across as completely negative, but it is an important reminder of why tech editing is so critical. And don't judge my television habits. That season had James Marsters as an evil Asgardian. What's not to love?

Fortunately I managed to create a sweater that I really love. I did a basic one by one rib collar and seamed the pieces to have a split hem. While it did not start out this way, the result is I knit something that works for my current body shape. Now if I could only become comfortable taking pictures. Maybe if I get a sign that says "I'm not fat, just pregnant".

I know, it's just my body image issues. I'll get there. I promise.

Back to Class

 

Last week one of my local shops, Warm N Fuzzy, hosted Kate Oates for a weekend of classes.

As soon as I found out I signed up for her sweater workshop all about adding pockets, hoods, and zippers. I've knit some hoods before, but I've always been terrible at pockets and terrified of zippers. As a sweater knitter it seemed like the perfect class for me. And then I had a mini moment of panic because I had never actually taken a knitting class. What if it was full of super advanced knitters and I looked like an idiot, what if I got bored, what if I brought the wrong supplies. All the thoughts that come when you realize you are about to do something completely new. But it was too late to back out and as the date approached I got more and more excited.

Welcome Kate Oates.jpg

How'd I like my first class? It was amazing! We knit every kind of pocket imaginable, learned some serious math for hoods, and I'm now ready to install a zipper on my Annie (I just have to get one). The class was jam packed into the four hours allotted, but it did not feel long. And I learned some other techniques along the way for things like picking up stitches. If you ever have a chance to take a class with Kate, I highly recommend going for it. I can only speak to the material of this class, but I heard positive reviews about the rest. Kate herself was lovely to interact with. I had met her at SAFF five years ago and she not only remembered me, but remembered what kit I purchased. She was kind to everyone no matter how off topic they became. 

Now that I have gotten my first class out of the way I will be on the lookout for more opportunities. I always enjoy learning about new things, which is why I was a professional student for so many years. But I have fallen out of the class routine, so it was nice to break the ice with something so fun. Hopefully I'll take another class before the next time Kate comes around. But if not, I can guarantee I'll be signing up for another.


Landline Sweater

There are times when I see a knitted object and without even meaning to it references something so powerfully that I have to make it.

That's how I feel about the Blowing Snow Cardigan. When I first saw the pictures I liked it. When I found out the yarn was done by Happy Go Lucky, who I adore, I immediately queued it. And then I got my copy of Midwestern Knits. Every design features a fairly lengthy inspiration story, and I immediately latched on to Emily Ringleman's description of getting caught in an unexpected snow storm while visiting family in the Midwest. I identified not because I have a similar experience, but because it was so similar to a key scene in the book Landline. I know, it's a little crazy, but it's a beautiful moment in the story and I'm a serious Rainbow Rowell fan girl. I may have only read Eleanor and Park once, but I've read Fangirl at least five times and am listening to the audiobook in preparation for the release of Carry On next month. A sweater that reminded me of a key moment in a love story about married people and dimensional overlap? I must have it!

So then Juri put up kits for the sweater in the yarn used in the sample. And they were on sale! Even on sale the kit was a little out of budget for me, but then I had an epiphany. I had clothes purchased for school that I had never worn. Why not just return them for yarn? Genius, right? Or maybe a bit hello-welcome-to-my-strange-addiction, but we'll go with genius.

Long story even longer, there's a KAL for this going on right now on the Midwestern Knits Ravelry board. It started yesterday, and has some pretty rad prizes. I wound my yarn and swatched over the weekend. I'm even more in love with this yarn than I thought I would be. And the pattern, while requiring some attention, it very intuitive. I'm still working on my Cormac, but I'm pretty excited to already have this going on the needles. It's never too early to start your next wip.

Oh! And one other thing. You'll hear more about it next week on the blog tour, but I wrote an article for the latest issue of Holla Knits! If you are a subscriber, let me know what you think. And if you are not, go check it out! It's a great independent publication full of wonderful patterns and fun articles (can I still say that?). I'll be doing a post all about it next week including a special giveaway.