Persistently Determined or Just Plain Stupid

The Fisherman’s Rib sweater I was working on to replace the one that turned out too big is done. Well, the pieces got finished. But I could see, despite changing patterns and sizes, that it was still going to be a bit large. I quickly basted the front to the back and tried it on. Over a long sleeved top. I looked like a Blueberry. You know, the one on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory that falls in the chocolate river and gets swept away. It was at least 5 inches too big ONE EACH SIDE.

After a minute of stunned silence (probably like the one experienced by our illustrious VP in Europe this week) I sat down to remove the basting and do what I should have done with my first blue sweater; I made a swatch in the next size smaller needle. Still too big. So now I’m down to a size 5 needle and the swatch comes out perfect. Face Palm.

You know, I refuse to allow this sweater get the better of me. I immediately bagan knitting the same sweater right from the large one. I swear I followed the directions. I have never had this issue, but to be fair, I knit a lot of children’s clothing, and they grow into things. The pattern gave a needle range of 6-8. Who’s ever heard of that? After an entire day I’ve knit maybe 5″. This was the reason I wanted to use worsted weight and size 7 needles in the first place. But at the rate I’m going I still could have finished the sweater and got it back from the dry cleaners.

So I keep whipping out my measuring tape, just to be sure I’m on the right track. And to be honest, the stitches are even and less sloppy looking in this smaller needle size. But I keep shaking my head that I’ve lost 6 weeks knitting stuff just to learn a hard lesson. I will never make another adult sweater without swatching.

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The Ill-Faited and Ill-fitted

I’ve said before I don’t mind starting over. I’ve been know to start a project 5 times to get the pattern right. But this is a first. I swear I tried this sweater on as I went and, though bulky, it still seemed to fit. Then it came to the sleeves. There seemed to be an awful lot of stitches at the top. But I plowed on and finished them both. It took two days to stitch the pieces together as I wanted nice even finishing stitches. The final moment when I tried it on it was as if it just ballooned out like a marshmallow in a microwave. I could have fit two people inside the torso and don’t even get me started on those abundantly stitched sleeves. They hung at least 5 inches past my finger tips. This was supposed to be size Medium.

In desperation I threw it in the washer on warm and then tried to dry in the dryer, first on medium, then on high. Nothing. There’s enough acrylic in the yarn that it didn’t change anything except maybe length. Now it was even wider.

What to do, what to do. I started a pair of socks to clear my head. In the end there really was nothing else to do but use all that yarn to make a different sweater. So I took a breath and combed Ravelry for a worsted weight pattern that had ribbing or something to make the yarn pull together. I found the Schachenmayr Ladies Pullover in a lovely Fisherman’s Rib. It took me another day to take all those pieces apart.

Now I’m crossing my fingers. It’s a tricky rib to learn but easy and fairly mindless once you get going. It just takes a lot longer to knit. I am knitting directly from the pieces of the other sweater. Hopefully this time I will pay attention to the sizing a little better.

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No More Excuses

Guilty as Charged. I’ve been putting off writing a post till I had something to report. Well, truth is, I’m on the last sleeve of a new sweater…for myself. It’s from the yarn purchased during our ill fated trip to Maine. The one that had hurricane force winds, rain and oh yeah, I came down with the flu on that trip. But I still managed to buy yarn. (I mean seriously). And it looks like I managed to purchase enough to actually finish my project this time.

So on that. You may know about the tricky patterned burnt orange cardigan jacket I’ve been working on for two years (again for myself, hence the enlongated timeline), well there was no way I was going to have enough yarn to finish it. Once I was obviously running low I ripped out an entire sleeve and went up a needle size to no avail. It’s a garter stitch, yarn-gobbling project…WITH A COLLAR. And when I got to the end of the the first sleeve again I could see there still was no way there would be enough. The yarn color, in the two years, has been discontinued (of course) and a search on every site I could think of did not have my color.

That’s when I raised the white flag, stuffed the whole thing back in the bag, banished it to the basement stash room and started my new sweater. That. Very. Minute. It’s the only way to move on. The pattern is Trendsetter Sweater and super easy, breezy, with a dimpled lace pattern, and most importantly I have the correct amount of yarn to finish it. One of the reasons my projects are falling short on yarn is that I find most sweaters (in all sizes) don’t have enough length. What’s the point of a warm sweater that leaves the back or belly exposed? I mean. So from now on, I add one ball of yarn to all projects. Lesson [FINALLY] learned.

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Merry Christmas

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Knitable New Year from Cape Cod

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It’s Getting on Christmas

The house is decorated, the cookies are baked, the flights home are booked and even the knitting is done. Well, I haven’t wrapped the presents yet but there’s still time. The best part of Christmas this year is my fireplace. I wanted it so badly last year and all I had was a large hole with a blanket covering it up. This year, each evening my husband, the dog and I sit by our fire and admire the tree. Sigh.

But oh how busy I have been with the needles. I got the sweater done for my daughter in law and hadn’t even sewed in the tag when I had the grand baby’s Navy Pea Coat cast on. What fun that was to knit. I mistakenly bought expensive yarn for this project in Maine and realized I didn’t have enough. I called the shop and the owner shipped my 2 more balls. They were only 50 gram balls and it was really heavier than worsted so I ran short. Story of my knitting life. But the yarn (Lang Merino 70) is so divine. Because it was a tad heavy it knit up nice and tight like a coat should be. If it didn’t cost so darn much I’d be knitting with it all the time. While I was in Texas I found just the right buttons for it. It turned out perfect.

Then I had the bright idea to use some of the leftover yarn I ordered to finish my daughter in law’s sweater to make a hat for my own daughter. It just happens to be the exact color of her school logos. She goes to Texas A&M and we had to buy a blanket to keep us warm during the only game we attended this year. The color was an exact match.

Currently I’m finishing up the pair of socks I started last summer. Perhaps if I can make it, they will be a gift for my son. I hope all your Holiday preparations are going well and your knitting is getting done.

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Checks and Balances

The little basket weave sweater finally got finished and my cold/flu finally went away. I couldn’t wait because I wanted to get the new sweater on the needles and get a good start before I had to travel to Texas. I’m going for the Thanksgiving holiday to be with my daughter and to puppy sit her 8 month old Texas Heeler. She has a conference in Atlanta her team is presenting their findings from their Aerospace Engineering project they are working on. It’s hard to believe she is old enough to do this. Seems like a few months ago she was in high school.

So needless to say I started knitting and actually got the back done on the sweater. My daughter-in-law picked out the pattern, which uses size 8 needles so I expect to finish this quick but there are a lot of distractions. The puppy kind of loves to get attention by antagonizing my chihuahua, who is clearly not amused. She requires about 3 walks a day and 15 potty breaks! Sheesh. I thought this would be easy!

I tried to knit during the championship NASCAR race but my millennial daughter does not have cable and the whole Surface Pro hooked up to the TV screen thing was a bit beyond me. It required some cord we did not have so I watched on my iPad while a large puppy jumped on me asking to play fetch. Plus it’s raining. A lot. Today will be time-out for anyone who doesn’t take naps!

Also we are supplying the turkey and trimmings for 13 of her friends (mostly boys, these are aerospace students after all) who are insisting on having it at their duplex apartment. How does one cook and then transport a huge turkey across town? One of the girls in the group is worried about the state of the boys refrigerator and whether they have thought this through… My daughter doesn’t get back from the conference till Tuesday and my husband arrives Wednesday. This will be a Thanksgiving to remember. Good thing I love young people.

So the shopping is mostly done and today I will concentrate on the sweater front. I hope your Thanksgiving preparations are going well.

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Check Mate

All week long I’ve been sick. I just could not shake whatever I came down with on our trip to Maine. The cold didn’t last but my stomach was not doing well. I just could not eat. After a week of that I am finally back to normal. But I spent the week inside, knitting. I am happy to report that I’m nearly done with the little lavender checkerboard cardigan for my granddaughter. I do find working with size one needles (for all the ribbing) hard on my hands. It’s all about holding the tension of such a tiny needle. But I carried on and finally starting watching the Harry Potter Movie series at the same time.

The weather was windy and rainy for much of the week only to dawn crisp as an apple this morning. The color on Cape Cod is spectacular this year. It’s a double treat to see it first in Maine, then at home. The outdoor plants have been moved inside to a heated porch and all the deck furniture put away. And now that Halloween is over the Christmas commercials are on in full force. It makes me realize how little time there is to get presents made. Happy knitting.

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Fall Colors

It’s been a busy fall on Cape Cod. We decided to take a weekend off and go on a small getaway to Maine. It sounded awesome when we planned it on October first but by the time we were leaving lots of things sort of muddied the waters, so to speak. First there was that Nor’easter that was slated to hit the northern New England Coast, then there was my grandson. I usually watch him on Sundays and the last Sunday before we left he came packed with a cold.

Of course I had a nice week to finish my big cable knit sweater and incubate that cold so it hit with the same force as the Nor’easter on the drive up to Bar Harbor. The weather was actually nice for the drive up, my head; not so much. After a quick stop at Grace Robinson yarn shop in Freeport the cold hit me full on. The trip was prepaid so I soldered on eating Fisherman’s cough drops all the way. I had blueberry pie and hot tea for dinner.

The next day was worse. I wanted to see Acadia National Park so we drove and didn’t get out of the car except for some photos of fall foliage and ice floes on the road side. As the weather slowly gathered steam and became a full blown nor’easter we ran across the street to finally have our lobster dinner but I was fighting a fever along with the cold drizzle.

Our room, thank goodness, had a cozy fireplace and two big French doors that unfortunately let in quite a bit of rain water as it battered the hotel all night. No matter, why be sick at home when you can have an adventure while your coughing and sneezing.

The whole thing was worth it when by Sunday morning, after the fever broke, I woke up hungry and feeling much better. We had breakfast at this awesome locals hangout called Cafe This Way. They, along with almost everyone, were closing for the season that day and it was packed. Blueberry Pancakes, pure maple syrup, corn beef hash and eggs and strong coffee and I was good to go for the day.

We stopped in Camden, Maine on the way back to visit one of my favorite yarn shops called the Cashmere Goat. I went a little wild since I haven’t made a yarn purchase since we went to Colorado 2 years ago. I’ve been diligently knitting from my stash. But it’s time to make a sweater for myself. Ok I got some DK cashmerino for a baby sweater, but the rest was for socks for gifts.

We topped it all off with a stop in Kennebunkport to watch the huge crashing waves from the leftover nor’easter and have a small bite before heading back home.

So if you have to be sick with a cold, I highly recommend pairing it with an adventure (one that hopefully includes yarn shops).

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Summer is Gone

Summer is gone, summer is over and gone. It’s the sound the crickets make according to the book Charlotte’s Web. Here on Cape Cod it is actually quite chilly and it was as if someone flipped a switch on Labor Day. I’ve been awfully busy and haven’t written. The problem is that I write on Sunday nights and I’ve been watching my grandson overnight on Sundays all summer. I could have switched to a different day but is was very busy. Things are slowing down now like the crickets sad summer song.

The good thing is I got a lot of knitting done!

Child’s knitted topBaby sweaterNewborn jacket and booties sets

The color block top is made from lucious Phildar Thalassa which has seaweed and cotton in the fiber. It’s so smooth and lovely to work with. Plus it washes well. I only had 3 tiny balls of each color so it worked out perfectly.

The second is a sweater for my daughter in law’s best friend who is due with her 2nd baby. Since I made one for her other friend I sort of had to do this. But baby sweaters are quick and they use up stash yarn.

The third is my nail tech is having his third boy in 3 years. I kinda feel bad, they have been trying for a girl so I went overboard with 2 sets of booties. Again, I started this with his first baby. Hopefully they are done! Lol

And I also have been finishing up the Confident Cables sweater for my youngest daughter. I started it last year and it was so complicated and tedious that I let it sit in time-out all summer. But with all the baby stuff out of the way it’s all I really have left to work on. Then I hit a snag. I was going to run out of yarn. I bought this yarn from Durango Yarn on a ski trip to Colorado and they were out of my color. By time I got to the last sleeve they had more in and I sent for it right away. The store owner sent it quick post and so the last sleeve is nearly done. Sigh of relief. Cable sweater pieces

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For Company Sake

If you’ve been wondering where I have been it has to do with Cape Cod and Summer. There was a confluence of relatives and friends that decided Cape Cod was the place to be this August. I had a pile of knitting to get done (not to mention shopping, guest rooms to make up, excursions to plan along with general everyday life) before anyone arrived. It was fun to have our little granddaughter here. She is 2 1/2 and cute as a button. The pink Bee Dress was for her but I wasn’t happy with it so I added a lace border.

Knitted Pinafore

The Tomato Soup Hoodie got done and adding a stripe to the hood helped me stretch the yarn. I’ve never made a pouch pocket before so this was a fun addition.

Red knit hoodie

But most fun of all was the a little Pink Color block Gillet. This was one of the cutest patterns in my baby King Cole Pattern Book. I had this wonderful yarn from Phildar that has cotton blended with a type of seaweed to make it soft, cool and completely eco friendly. It is called Thalassa and you have to travel to France to get it as it isn’t sold online anywhere. I only had 3 – 50gram balls so I knew I was cutting it close. Sure enough the little sleeves needed another color so I used white Cotton On by James Brett and it worked out adorably. The ceramic hand painted buttons (one flower, one bunny) were just the perfect finishing touch.

Pink knit gillet

Since I never really stop knitting I also finished up a newborn sweater for a friend of my daughter in law that was in her wedding. It’s her 2nd baby and they are thrilled to be having a brother for their little girl. Since everything is blue , blue, blue for boys I decided to use a soft mint green and a very old pattern from a McCalls Baby knitting magazine circa 1987! It was knit all in one piece but the needles were US 1s & 2s so it seemed to take forever. The baby is due in October so I used a soft baby wool from my Phildar stash called Partner Baby. Baby sweater

All of this doesn’t sound like much but I didn’t mention that our air conditioning broke in the hottest most muggy days and we had to wait a week for the part. Not very nice for guests so we were at the pool most days. Then once they went home we had our baby grandson for 3 days and nights while my son and daughter in law went to a wedding up in Maine. He was sick with a fever and teething 4 molars. And in the middle of all this, it was my birthday!

So now that things have calmed down I’m back to working on projects that have sat on the shelf for months as I’ve run out of babies to knit for. But more on that next week, I promise!

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