The Lunenburg Pullover

I have made a few top-down pullovers. Most of them involve some kind of short-row sequence at the beginning, so that the back of the neckline is higher than the front. When I read the description on this pattern by Amy Christoffers and it mentioned short rows beneath the colorwork yoke section instead, I knew I had to try it.

Amy’s patterns are published in various magazines, yarn company websites, and also under her own brand, Savory Knitting. She has many designs that are favorites in the knitting community, such as the Felix pullover.

I had originally purchased the colors for the fair isle section for a different project that never came to be. In fact, it was one of the first purchases I ever made at my local yarn shop. Once I decided to make this sweater, I thought the gold/green palette would be perfect.

I decided to made the cuffs and hem ribbing in the dark brown color, and probably didn’t follow the chart as precisely as I should have, but I do really like the short row shaping method.

The main yarn for this pullover is from Abundant Earth Fiber – it is a beautiful neutral and knit up like a dream. The colorwork yarn is from Elemental Affects, and it is very sheepy and rustic. I have very sensitive skin so I wear a thin layer underneath.

I am very happy with this project, the fit is comfortable but not super oversized, and I love wearing this sweater with jeans. You can find more details on my Lunenburg sweater, or as I named it, my Golden Fairyland sweater, on my Ravelry project page.

A Momoa-sized challenge

Steve has received from me a handknit sweater each of the past three years. Every time it’s the same, “oh, whatever you think best” back and forth until I pretty much just close my eyes and point to a cabled sweater pattern and call it a day.

This year, though, he has a pretty specific sweater in mind.

Found on Pinterest

For those of you able to get past the sight of Mr. Momoa looking like a fine feast, he is wearing a heavily cabled sweater with a shawl collar in this publicity pic from the movie Justice League. I’ve made cabled sweaters for Steve before, of course, since that is his preference. The challenge, however is to find a starting point – I’ve never knit a shawl collar before – and then customize it to look as much as possible as this sweater.

I happen to have Norah Gaughan’s Knitted Cable Sourcebook, which is, in fact, a guide on incorporating a variety of cables onto whatever you choose to design. The plan is to make a chart including all the cables seen on the front, figure out how many stitches for each cable and in between cables, total them up, and adjust depending on how many stitches the front of my starting point pattern has. I have a few ideas for the base pattern, thanks to my lovely yarnie friends C and L, so I will decide that in the next few days.

As far as yarn color goes, I’m going to make Steve’s sweater in a shade of blue. If I’m going to make all those cables, which are not difficult but are time consuming, I want them to be easily visible, so a medium blue-gray is the goal, and will also go well with Steve’s fair coloring.

Added to the mix is the fact that Steve has wanted me to knit him a hoodie as well, so do we make this a hoodie or stick with a shawl collar. No, I am not making a shawl collar hoodie, dogdamnit.

Also Pinterest, showing the sleeve cabling.

I usually start Steve’s sweaters around September, so that I can present it at Christmas. This past year a friend was having a bebe so Steve graciously let me make a bajillion baby knits and his sweater was ready in February. Considering how this year has gone so far, though, I am probably going to start early, take a lot of notes on what I’m doing, and light a few candles.

Maybe one of these.

If you want to follow my daily knitting adventures, follow me on Instagram.

As Anne Boleyn said to Henry VIII . . .

“we’re one third of the way through!”

No, she never said that, but we are one third done with this insane year and I figured a recap of my knit achievements would be a good thing to document.

Here are some highlights of this year’s knitting:

Eleven Twelve sweater / Blackwood hat / Wash’s Sweater / Tender hat & Cozy Classic Raglan / Becoming test knit / Zweig pullover ( all details on Ravelry)

It seems that a) this year is going to be mostly garments, and b) while it may not be clear in this grid above, this will be the year of pink. Much to my own surprise and that of everyone who has known me for more than three days, I am in the middle of a complete pink-fest. I have bought more pink yarn in the last two months than I have in the past forty-eight years. Before February, I had no pink yarn other than yarn I’d bought for baby knits.

What’s next on the needles? Another pink top, a couple of colorwork projects, and uh, another pink top. No, really. I’ve been a burgundy-and-black girl for decades so this pink addiction is very much a reality I am still getting used to.

I am super thrilled with what I have made so far, and I am making my peace with the fact that, maybe due to my arthritis, or maybe due to age, my gauge has changed. I am knitting way looser than I have ever knitted. Not a problem, I just make a smaller size. I am not willing to fight the new way I’m knitting because that will just end up hurting my hands. Accepting and moving forward.

And now murder hornets – excellent.

What fresh hell is this?

Ah, Dorothy Parker, if only you were around now.

My Easter was spent in a delightful quarant-storm of Schitt’s Creek, knitting, and Dungeons & Dragons. I bought a Schitt-load of candy despite the fact that the Easter Bunny (and Santa, and the Tooth Fairy) stop bringing presents and/or money when kids turn 13.

My husband and I decided on that a long time ago, about the time we bought 20 rolls of Christmas wrapping paper so we could wrap “Santa’s gifts” in the same paper every year for thirteen years.

Remember the old days, when we could make plans for years in the future?

I have, rather surprisingly, been at my full-time job for ten months now, and since we deal with people’s money, I am going to work as usual.

I’ve also been on a major reading kick, with Fantasy YA fiction (what?) my favorite genre, and historical fiction a close second.

But the knitting, oh the knitting. It continues, undeterred, from my early-stage arthritic hands, my feverish, Ravelry-addicted brain, and any well-meaning intentions of curbing my stash or paring down my queue just don’t stand a chance.

My choices have mostly been work-appropriate tops like the recently-finished Zweig I wore today.

Here I graciously combine my two favorite hobbies – knitting and Dungeons and Dragons!

My next FO (finished object for the uninitiated) is a deliciously warm sweater and since I live in Wisconsin, that means I still have some time to wear it. Here it is before I finished the first sleeve.

For some reason, this is the year of pink for my knitting. I am obsessing over every pink yarn I see – not too blue, though – and I want to make all the pink and rose tops. My 90s self is probably cringing right now.

HLH product review

Tags

, , ,

I had the pleasure to be chosen as one of HLH Designs’ product reviewers. Hanna Lisa Haferkamp prides herself in producing sustainable, ethically produced project bags that supports her local economy. As someone who likes to support my local businesses, reviewing her products was something that appealed to me.

I received my parcel a couple of days ago and was happy to see that all the packaging was recyclable.

When I opened it, I found a medium-sized project bag and a small pair of scissors in its case. Hanna Lisa offered me the option of having the contents be a surprise, and I loved the idea. The project bag is the most vibrant shade of yellow gold, which is one of my favorite colors.

The entire process and materials source is detailed on the HLH designs website, so you are able to track exactly where every part of your product comes from.

As someone who is not the gentlest with her belongings, I was happy to see the fabrics are all very sturdy, the bag very well constructed, and the materials all of quality.

The project bag I received can fit a couple of skeins and the work-in-progress, like a hat, scarf, socks, or mittens. Something I really liked was the carabiner included to thread the yarn through, which comes in handy either with a single color project, or if you wish to do colorwork and keep your yarns from tangling.

There are two notions pockets as well, roomy enough for the pair of scissors as well as stitch markers, progress keepers, a measuring tape, or anything else you might need to take your project with you.

This is the first time I’ve used a project bag with a zipper and I was initially concerned that it would snag the yarn if I kept the bag up on my couch or at the table, but there was no problem. I’ve run sock yarn, pure wool, and heavier wool blends through with no snags.

This project bag is already in my rotation, roomy enough to carry my project but also small enough that I can toss in my tote bag to bring with me. The scissors are super sharp and keeping them in their case in the bag ensures I can dig around for them without fear of a sudden stab. I love the idea of the carabiner as I have, more than once, had to deal with tangled yarn while on the go.

I appreciate the thoughtfulness that has gone into the process of making these project bags, and the high quality of all the materials.

DISCLAIMER: I received these products for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced by the company providing the product.

January 2019 – round up

January is my selfish month – I’ve usually been knitting and making for others during the traditional holiday months, so on January 1 I usually cast on something for myself, and take the month to indulge in casting on various items on my list.

The first item I cast on was the Cabled Leaf Pullover by Alana Dakos. I meant to cast this on last year but I never got around to it, and I’ve had the yarn for it for a while.

The pattern is lovely and the yarn is in my color crush for the year – burgundy. I have finished the front and am halfway done with the back, but as usual, I cannot have just one project of my needles, which brings me to my second cast-on of the year, and my first finished object.

The Exploration Station shawl by Stephen West is one of the most well known shawl patterns on Ravelry. I named it Parisian Exploration – I lived in Paris for a while after Uni, and have visited several times since, and the colors were my interpretation of a delicious chocolat chaud from Angelina enjoyed during a Parisian morning.

This is another indulgence I am enjoying this year – I am naming my projects after whatever inspired me to make them, not just after the pattern name itself.

My LYS is hosting designer Marie Greene in March, and I decided to make one of her pieces to wear to the event. I had been eyeing the color Eel from Hedgehog Fibres for a long time and it was perfect for the accent color of Marie’s Brunswick Tee.

As I type this, I have just begun the bottom colorwork section using the Eel color, and I absolutely love it. I will have a lot of leftover from this color and I am thinking of how I can best use it. Maybe a cowl to wear with the Tee?

I discovered a very talented dyer, Onyx Fiber Arts, and I saw a sock weight skein she had in the most stunning shade of burgundy. I was looking to make a DK weight top, though, and she was kind enough to make a custom sweater-quantity in that same burgundy color, in the DK weight.

With January almost over, I am hoping to finish these projects in the next few weeks, and I will also begin working on a blanket that a friend asked me to finish for her.

I am sure I will be casting on a bunch more projects in February. I can’t help it, it makes me happy to start new pieces and it makes me just as happy to work on them and finish them. I wear what I make all the time, I love wearing my sweaters and my hats and mittens, and I am so lucky to work in a yarn shop with amazing coworkers who are so incredibly talented and generous in sharing their knowledge.

See you at the end of February!

The best laid plans . . .

It was about a year ago that I began thinking of what I would make the following year.

Yeah, I’m like that.

This is what I came up with:

make9

Let me sit back and laugh, heartily, at my attempt to control the fact that I have the attention span of a gnat, because I have finished a grand total of TWO of these projects.

TWO.

The bottom left and the bottom right.  That’s it.  C’est tout.  In my defense I did mean to make all these; in my defense I did start two others, the mittens in middle row right, and the sweater in top row left.  And in my defense, I did make two of the bottom right cardigans, one for me, and one for a friend.

That said, I can confirm my complete and utter failure to follow a plan.

However!  Check this out!

makeactual

I set a challenge on Ravelry to complete 30 items this year.  Technically, I have made more than 30 because I’ve made random hats here and there, but per the tally on Ravelry I have one more item to finish before I fulfill my self-set challenge.

Not bad, I would say.

The 29 items I have made include the most difficult knit I’ve completed, the Liguria brioche hat Alex requested when he visited me at work (I work part time at a . . . wait for it . . . yarn store) because the child just had to choose the hardest thing for mom to make.  Had it not been by my awesome coworker, there is no way I would have finished the hat, and I’ve discovered brioche knitting is not for me, I even attempted an easier style and failed at that as well, and as I prefer my knitting to be fun, I decided this is a technique I will not attempt again, at least not in the near future.

But look at him:

20180906_082242

He was so happy and that makes the frustration worth it.  That’s parenting in a nutshell.

So I will probably not make a plan for 2019 because let’s face it, mama ain’t gonna follow the plan so why fricking bother.  But for the rest of this year I do have a few must-makes, which include a cabled sweater for Steve, a super secret something also for Steve made out of the yummiest yarn EVER, a v-neck red sweater for me that is actually looking more and more like a project to cast on next year because OH YEAH my tradition, after months of knitting for others during the holidays, is to cast on something for me on January 1.

That alone tells you how much I party on December 31st.

So, despite my less than 50% success rate in making what I thought I would make last year, this has been a great year knitting wise.  I made a cowl as a sample for the store, tried a new and difficult technique, and have met lots of amazing knitty friends.

I’m on Ravelry as claudiaberry and on Instagram as casadeberry – I ‘gram almost daily and love seeing other people’s knits.  I hope to post again before the end of the year but who am I kidding?

Things I have made

My knitting and crocheting has been a constant this year, often with miss Cherry Bo by my side while I count rows and track patterns.  With autumn a week away (at least on the calendar, since we are gong to hit 80+ degrees this week) I started working on my family’s cold-weather accessories.

Despite my constant feeling that I need more hours in the day to work on my projects, I am pretty happy with the items I have been able to make so far this year.

What was supposed to be a Christmas 2016 present ended up being a January 2017 gift instead when the original was ruined due to being much too over sized and my own frustration – in the end, however, both Steve and I were happy with the results:

ocasey

This is a very comfortable sweater, in the squishiest yarn ever (Knit Picks City Tweed) and he’s worn it proudly several times.

For myself, I made a sweater by one of my favorite designers – I had bought the yarn at Michaels and the sweater is just lovely to wear, very cozy.

meara

However, I will say that two of my favorite pieces are the sweaters I’ve made for my boys in their beloved green.

I love the fact that living in Wisconsin as we do now, I can make them these sweaters that will actually get worn.

I’ve also made some lighter tops as layering pieces for myself:

as well as various hats, scarves, and mittens.

I’m currently working on a cardigan for myself and have made a couple of winter hats but I’d like to make a few more scarves and hats for the boys and Steve. I usually have three or four projects that I work on at any time, and wish for more hours in the day to finish them!

If you’d like to see all my projects and works in progress, I track them all on Ravelry.

 

A little Winter Wonderland

Now that we live north of the wall, I wanted to have one of our rooms full of sparkling, snowy adornments – and our library is small enough that I could put up a few things and not compete with the red and plaid madness of the rest of the Christmas decorations.

I mean, when your boys look like this while waiting for the school bus
1206boys

— aren’t they rocking those double layers?  ha — then you have to bring some of that snowy loveliness inside.  Just not literally.  We have a shoe brush thing my husband built so if you have snow on your shoes please leave that snowy loveliness outside.

1207ww3

I bought the two glittery deer on the right last year, with the thought of adding some more this year.
1207ww1

The dignified fellow on the left is from Target, and all three of them spend their days keeping an eye on the neighborhood.  Neighbors have left, new neighbors are moving in, they can tell you all about it.  The center candleholder we’ve had for years, and I got the white wreath at JoAnn’s to hang opposite the outdoor wreath we have on that window.

I don’t style my bookshelves because we actually read the books we have, but I did have this spot with a huge yellow vase in it.
1207ww

The vase got relocated and I stuffed some snowy greenery we had into a Target dollar spot galvanized vase.  FYI, those things are NOT waterproof, so my awesome husband had to seal it for me so I could put flowers and not end up with an indoor lake.  And then, of course, I went and stuck fake stuff in it for Christmas.

The beautiful houses on either side are part of a collection Steve has, he got them and the others he has from art festivals and renaissance faires, and they’re works of art.  They fit perfectly in that spot so I didn’t move them, just added an old little lantern and a fleur-de-lis I found at WalMart, and a glittery little house from Michaels.

Finally, the spot where I can wait for the school bus in the afternoon – our youngest is only let out of the bus if one of us is waiting for him and these days I’m not waiting outside, so I can hang out with our Cherry girl and knit while I wait.
1207ww2

Although when I’m sitting there, it looks more like this
ww

The JOY and NOEL signs are from World Market, our Sussex sign is by LulaRue and purchased at Roost.  The blue throw, A.K.A. Everybody’s Favorite Blanket, is from ZGallerie, the white birdcage is Partylite and the delicious pear candle inside is from Rosy Rings.  The monogram mug is Target and the coffee inside is made in my beloved Nespresso.

We’re having our second annual FriendsGivingMas this weekend so I’ll be sharing some pics next week – have a wonderful weekend!

 

 

 

Our Halloween Bash

This is the first time we have a) thrown a Halloween party, and b) co-hosted an event with another couple.  Our friends J & H are pretty awesome people — and she knits, like me, so you know she’s cool — and we decided to combine our party lists and have a joint bash at our house.

If you follow me on Instagram you’ve seen several of the details Steve has made, and it was pretty cool to see our decor “in action” during the party.

Now, let us welcome you to our party:
1030party

1030partya

1030party1

1030party2

1030party3

We chose a pretty iconic couple as our costumes:
1030party4

Our boys were Sans from Undertale and a (not so) terrifying T-Rex:
1030party5

1030party6

Our guests ranged from Futurama characters to the villainous Joker, to Luigi and Diet Coke to Khal Drogo and his beloved Khaleesi. We also had Egyptian royalty, Indiana Jones, Nemo, Harry Potter, mad scientists, Frankenstein and his bride, groovy chicks, Miss Scarlet in the library with the rope, the Tardis, Walter Sobchak, Rosie the Riveter, and many other friends who made our party so much fun.
1030partyguests

Word has it that the mysterious Lord Stonehouse, ancient owner of our home, made an appearance at midnight, but it remains a rumor.

Steve worked super hard to transform our home and I think he did an amazing job, and H made delicious food for everyone to fill their bellies – thanks to everyone, friends old and new, for coming to our party!