Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Off the Needles: Antrorse

Pattern: Antrorse by Shannon Cook
Yarn: Shepherd's Wool Worsted Weight in SeaBreeze
Needles: Addi Clicks 6 & 7 - 32" Circulars
Well ya'll, I did it! I adjusted the pattern so I could use the yarn and needles that I wanted to use. Thank you Elizabeth Zimmerman for encouraging knitters like me to follow my gauge!
I am so thrilled with the results! I had to stop here and there to do some calculations, which slowed me down, but this was still a fast (and super fun) knit! I love that Shannon designed this with the chevron panel running down the center. Not only does it keep this simple knit interesting, but I love the end result! I also think the garter stitch frames this sweater perfectly. I did choose to work my hem and cuffs on a smaller needle, so that I wouldn't have too much added width around my hips and wrists. 
 I am so excited that the weather here in Michigan has cooled down, so I don't even have to wait to wear this! I am in love with the tunic length, and nothing beats Shepherd's Wool for total squishy comfort!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Knitter's Dilemma

I have a dilemma. The kind that makes your brain feel all mushy and overworked. The kind where your husband has been chatting away to you for the past 20 minutes, with you none the wiser, as you sit staring blankly at a spot of dust on the floor, willing your poor brain to contract. To use its muscles to find the answer.  After hours of this, still no decisions have (can) be made.

So I ignore that little voice in my head. The one telling me - you won't wear this if it's too bulky; this doesn't seem to be the right size; knitting this much bulk on these size needles is making your hands and arms ache; and all of this is sucking the fun out of this knit. Worry worry worry. Blah blah blah. I soldier on. I double up the yarn so I can get the correct gauge. I knit knit knit. Worry worry worry. Doubt doubt doubt.

In just 4 days, I powered thru the body of the sweater. More out of worry than excitement. You see, I really love this pattern. And I really really really want it to result in one of those sweaters you could live in during the colder months. I've tried it on a half dozen times trying to decide if it looked okay. Asking the hubs- making him feel the fabric. Is it too thick? Does it feel to heavy? Do I look like I've gained 10 pounds when I try it on? (No dear! You look great! Wow, you've really shed all that baby weight!- oh sweet sweet husband!) ;)

Now, here I sit. Only two little sleeves to go. But I know deep down, I'm not gonna knit those sleeves. I can already tell they will be too big (boy do I loathe a baggy sleeve- why is that??) My hands tense at the thought of having to pick up those thick needles and the too thick yarn.

And really it is my fault. I've know from the start that this just isn't the right yarn for the project as it is written. This project calls for an Aran weight yarn. Yet I am trying to use a very light weight worsted. Why am I doing this? Because the color would be so perfect! And the squishiness! And I can just really picture the finished sweater and the cute leggings I just bought that would go so perfectly.  To get anywhere near the correct gauge I would have to use a much larger needle, resulting in a floppy, airy drape to the fabric that just isn't "right" for this sweater. This sweater needs some structure. I've already made the mistake of knitting with this yarn on inappropriate needles.

I've been knitting long enough to know what I like and what I don't. So where does this leave me? Sitting staring at a pattern I love, and yarn I love, and knowing I have three options:

1. Finish the sweater, telling myself I will wear it and love it (but knowing deep down I will end up giving it away to the first person who shows true interest.)

2. Attempt to justify buying different yarn, that is more appropriate for this project, and save my cherished SeaBreeze Shepherd's Wool for a different project.

3. Call on my inner Elizabeth Zimmerman and use the yarn I want to use, with the needles I see fit, to make the sweater I know I want!

The conclusion?!?

This picture does not do this giant ball of yarn justice! Imagine 1250 yards of worsted weight in one big ol' ball!
I start over. Dear Antrorse- you have not seen the last of me. You will be mine. I'm gonna get all Elizabeth Zimmerman on your ... swatch... and I'm gonna knit you good.

To be continued...

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Off the Needles: Sundottir

Pattern by Dianna Walla, Published in Wool People Vol. 6
KnitPicks Swish Worsted Weight Wool in Rainforest and Dove Heathers
Needle Sizes US 6 and US 8

I don't know if I am just riding an awesome lucky streak, or if all of my fave designers just have me in mind- but I have LOVED everything coming off of my needles these days. This sweater ranks right up there with all time favorites! 

I could not believe how fast this came together. You begin by knitting the sleeves (which was a first for me) and then move on to the body. Boy am I glad about that! I knit up a swatch, just like every good little knitter should, but once I finished my sleeves, I realized my gauge was totally off. Thankfully the sleeves fit like a dream (I prefer a slim sleeve), but I knew my too-tight-gauge would result in a figure hugging (aka painted on) sort of sweater, which wasn't exactly what I had in mind for this cozy, Norwegian-inspired style. 
A little clever stitch rearranging and all ended up swell. I just knit the body in the next size up, and then saved 3 stitches from each underarm and added them to the body instead. Voila-perfect! 

I am always nervous for how a pullover will fit. A cardigan you can just wear open. A size too big or too small doesn't really matter. But a pullover - well the wrong fit can be the difference between feeling fantastic or reaching for your fat pants. 

This little diddy fits just like it should. Not so tight that you can't eat that cookie (I really love cookies), but not so loose that you feel frumpy. I usually prefer a fingering weight yarn for sweaters, as I don't like a lot of extra bulk, but this worsted weight really is perfect. 

I opted for two-handed knitting for the colorwork in the yoke.  If you've never tried it, I highly recommend it. There is something so very satisfying about it. Not to mention, the result always looks clean and balanced to me. 

This sweater took just 10 days to knit up. Not too shabby. I'm ready for Autumn.

If you aren't already participating, I highly suggest joining the Summer Sweater Knitalong! So many people are participating and it is a great place to get inspiration, chat with another knitters, and get motivated to knit up some nice and cozies!

You can find the rest of my notes for this knit on my Ravelry page.


Friday, July 25, 2014

Off the Needles: Square and Stripe

Looking for a fast, fun knit that fits great?? Square and Stripe by Veera Välimäki totally fits the bill! I love, love, love how it turned out!

The stripes and slipped-stitch seams were perfect for keeping this interesting, while not slowing me down!

The shoulder shaping was new to me, and I love how the fitted drop shoulders turned out.

Perfect for date night, or thrown on with yoga pants to get all comfy. I love the "seams" and simple stripes. The slim arms totally balance out the blocky body so that you don't feel lost in the sweater (or even worse, like you gained 10 pounds when you put it on!)I used Rowan felted tweed for my yarn, and while it started about a bit scratchy, it has really softened up now that it has been washed and blocked!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Off the Needles: Blue Sands Cardigan

Between diapers, nap time, and cooking up a healthy new diet - there is knitting. Every spare moment, row by row, stitch by stitch! Now if only there was blogging ;) Thankfully, I have finished quite a few of my projects and am so excited to start sharing them here again! I've also been cooking up a storm and am excited to share some recipes soon as well. On to the good stuff...

 What I absolutely loved best about this pattern is it was an amazing learning experience! The designer employs a fantastic new (to me) short row method for shaping the back of the cardigan longer than the front.
 The stitch pattern for the stripe on the sleeves and the hem of the body is so fun and fast, and I love the way it looks! I will definitely utilize it in future projects.
She also utilizes the I-cord bind off for all of the edges. I had never done this, and I really appreciate the finish it gives the project. Very tidy and clean looking.

I chose to use KnitPicks CotLin yarn for this project and it knit up really beautifully. Perfect for stitch definition. And also perfect for my mom! This woman will get hot in the middle of winter in a snow storm, so much better to keep cool cotton and linen next to her skin as opposed to wool.

I highly recommend this pattern to anyone who wants to learn some new techniques and needs a cool sweater to wear during the warmer months!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Our World Flipped Upside Down

Six weeks ago our beautiful baby girl was born.
Olive Rose born March 24, 2014 at 6:57 pm
Hours later we began a very unexpected journey. Blogged about here:
I plan to return to this blog now that life is, somewhat, settling down!
xoxo, Andrea

Monday, February 24, 2014

Happy Birthday to My Bestie!!

What awkward phase?!
What is a better way to celebrate the friend you have known since the day you were born, then posting the "book" you planned to write about the both of you when you were in 4th or 5th grade?! Written on my dads typewriter, it is complete with plenty of typing errors and deep creases from where it has been "lovingly" folded and refolded and tucked into whatever bag or drawer seemed safe thru the years. How grateful I am that it never got lost!!

Baking challah bread together
So here's to you Meredith Lane Bauer Bertleson Feinberg Gizmunt Alchin Mowry - may you know how loved, appreciated and needed you are! Life would not be worth living without your sarcasm and sweet dance moves! I can't wait for our daughters to be BFF's too!

New Years Eve 2013
It begins with a letter to my bestie that might just make my husband jealous, but hey, such is the power of the BFF!!

Chapter One, which unfortunately remains to be the only chapter, at least involves boogers and a trip to the ER...