Gauge wins again

I should have seen it sooner; that my poor sweater back was falling victim to that old baddie GAUGE. The classic symptoms of denial were present: tugging at the length, stretching out the bottom edge and telling myself it would relax with a good blocking. Then I woke up and decided to face the truth.

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First I laid it out and gave it a steamy once over to relax it just a bit. Then I grabbed my measuring tape and assessed the damage. My sweater back was measuring 14″ wide and the schematic was telling me it should be more like 20″.

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In my defense, I did do a gauge swatch. But it was pretty teensy, and it was in stockinette, which is how the pattern gauge was given. I think I would have been better off swatching in the cable pattern so I could account for how much the cables pull in on the overall fabric. I think the only positive I can pull outta this one is that now I have a really big gauge swatch. Off I go to start over again and mark this one a big fail.

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Aidez Check In

One of my favorite things about knitting cabled pieces is that you soon find a rhythm to the cable patterns.  Now that I’ve gotten two and a half repeats into the trellis chart of my Aidez cardigan, part of the #fringeandfriendsknitalong,  I can knit through most rows without checking the chart.  (Though I make sure to double check each time I’m doing a cable cross just to make sure I’m doing the right one!)  I modified the two rope cables that are alongside the center trellis pattern, as the pattern calls for double wrapping the purls on the row before you complete the cable cross so that the stitches are elongated.  I felt like mine were coming out kind of sloppy and so I just switched to a simple 2/2 left/right cross which doesn’t change the look all that much.

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I think as soon as I get tired of working these particular cables on the back piece, it will be time to start the fronts and sleeves, which are comprised of entirely new cable patterns.  Score another one for Team Seam because if I was working this as one seamless piece, I would probably be getting tired of all of the cables about now and still have a LOT of sweater left to knit.

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Aidez Progress

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It’s been just over a week since I started swatching my Aidez cardigan as part of the #fringeandfriendsknitalong, and I’ve worked my way through one repeat of the trellis pattern on the back piece; about 10”.  I’m knitting for Team Seam and will be knitting the pattern as written; in pieces and seaming later.   I always think that I prefer seamless sweaters because I dread seaming, but in all honesty this will be my first seamed sweater so it’s really too soon to tell.  I decided to work this one with seams because I like the idea of seams helping a heavily cabled garment keep its structure, and I also didn’t feel like converting the pattern to seamless!  I think that working smaller pieces will show progress more quickly and encourage me to keep on knitting.  I’ve found myself putting my knitting down every few rows to admire the way a few cable crosses change the look of the whole piece.  Did I mention I LOVE cabled knits?

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A Knitalong

I’ve decided to hop on the #fringeandfriendsknitalong train.  If you haven’t heard about it, the details can be found on the Fringe Association blog. In short, it is a knitalong for the Amanda cardigan or other similar fisherman style cardigan.  The knitalong includes a panel of experts who will be posting weekly on Karen’s blog with topics ranging from tips on yarn selection and swatching to seaming the finished piece.

I have decided to knit the Aidez pattern by Cirilia Rose and will be knitting it in Cascade Eco Wool.

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Summer Knittng: 3 Essential Project Requirements

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I’ve been knitting at a snail’s pace lately. Lots of knitters blame summer for the natural slowdown of knitting that happens this time of year, and I’m generally in agreement with that line of thinking. Especially here in Texas, where its already hot as heck and the thermometers are inching nearer and nearer to that triple digit marker as each blazing afternoon passes by. Warm fuzzy wool and sweaty sticky hands do not make a good combination and fun summer outdoor activities don’t leave a lot of free time for your latest knitting project. I could blame summer for the approximately two and a half rounds of knitting that have commenced here as of late, but I won’t. I blame the knitting.

I know, I know. How on earth could it be the knitting’s fault? Well, my friends, I am knitting a hat, a very basic hat that is 1×1 ribbing throughout, and it is an absolute bore to work on. When faced with options on how to spend my spare time: knitting 1×1 ribbing in the round or going to the beach for the day, it’s really a tough sell to choose the knitting.

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I think I have devised a plan to combat the summer knitting slump and it all boils down to this: pick your project wisely. Admittedly, I decided upon the 1×1 ribbed bore of a hat way back in March, so it wasn’t technically my pick for “summer” knitting, but it turned out that I was so not interested in working on it, that it’s still languishing on my needles now that summer is in full swing. I think the 3 essentials for a summer project are that they have to be:

Something SMALL. You really don’t need heavy blankets or bulky sweaters overheating your lap. You want something light and portable, so you can even bring it along for that beach day on the off chance that you do spend more than 5 minutes outside of the water.

Something INTERESTING. Your project should be fun enough that it lures you to it despite summer’s distractions. It needs to be able to hold its own in the war between an evening picnic in the park or a few hours spent on an intriguing cable and lace project with a nice gin and tonic.

Something COTTON or LINEN. I usually don’t enjoy working with cotton because it doesn’t have any “give”, but it has to be said that something with a summery fiber content is much more appropriate for the season than trying to slog through a project with that alpaca or angora blend that keeps sending up downy fluffs that get stuck to your face. I’ve been seeing some very nice patterns out lately from Quince & Co., heralding their new Kestrel linen yarn. It is spun in a way so that the yarn has some sproingy-ness to it, which may be enough to rectify my misgivings towards the usually non-giving fiber.

So what will you be knitting this summer? I will be continuing on with the 1×1 bore, but only because it is small and dangit, I just want it finished. I do have plans for something less boring next- something small and portable and with lots of interesting cables.

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Insta-May

A round-up of my Instagram pictures from the past month.

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I started my first ever container vegetable garden this spring- I planted tomatoes, cucumber, zucchini, carrots and cantaloupe. I have enjoyed watching my little plants grow and am amazed at how much they have grown in just the past month. I just noticed the first tiny zucchini forming and am over the moon with excitement at the prospect of having my own home grown veggies this summer.

 
My sweet blog friend Kim of Hand Eye Crafts has been commissioned to knit doggie bones for inclusion in a bark box type of product, and she sent Henry one and it is the cutest thing ever. I have to constantly stop him from bringing it outside because he loves to dig and bury bones. This is his indoor only bone.

 
Joey and the band played a show at Suburbia Music festival and it was a bright, hot and dusty day, and we had an absolute blast at the show. It was the inaugural year for this festival in Plano and I hope to see it continue next year.

 
It’s almost summer and I’ve re-ignited my attempt at becoming a runner. Running is still one of those things that is very difficult for me and I am working on my stamina so I can keep up with Joey. My goal is to be able to run 2-3 miles at a decent pace without walking.

 
We still have our backyard bunnies and Joey even witnessed a mama bun nursing a burrow full of baby buns one day just feet from our back door. He said it was the craziest thing he’d seen in a while. I usually spot a bunny or two (or three!) almost every afternoon from my kitchen window. I love spying on them.

 
The third week of May was international mail week, as the baby sweater package I mailed to my friends Tim and Liis in Switzerland finally made it to them, and the very next day we received a package from Johan and Anna in Sweden, sending us a vinyl copy of the Basko Believes album, Idiot’s Hill, which we recorded at Joey’s studio in Denton last June.

 
We took a quick weekend road trip up to Indiana where Joey is originally from for a family memorial. I loved the cool nights and crisp sunny weather and oh, the green! It is lovely there. I can’t wait to go back when we can spend a little more time. At a pit stop in Illinois, I picked some daisies to decorate our dashboard for the drive.

 
As soon as we returned from Indiana, Joey geared up for another few rounds of touring. Festival season is upon us, and I will again become a ‘tour widow’ for the next few months. We celebrated his departure by indulging in some Tex Mex while trying to determine the number of countries he’s visited in the past few years. I’m just watching those frequent flyer miles add up and thinking of the next big trip we will take together. Mexico, Iceland, and France are on my list.

It Fits!

The baby sweater I knit not too long ago finally arrived in Switzerland and my friend Tim posted the cutest pic of baby Johann wearing it:

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He looks so adorable in it, and his jaunty little hat is the perfect accessory.

What I’m loving lately

Not much to show on the what-I’m-knitting-lately front.  If you picture  1.5″ of 1×1 ribbing for the start of a hat, there you have it.  I did want to pop in and share a few things I’m loving lately:

Knitter Badges by True Brit Knits

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These appeal to my Harry Potter loving, wishing I had grown up going to a British boarding school wearing badass blazers self.  I imagine this would be a pin that most people wouldn’t bother looking close enough to even read the words on the pin… except for other knitters!  I love finding kindred spirits in this world, and having a cute little preppy pin to make that even easier is right up my alley.

 

This Top-Down Poncho by Pickles

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I love the relaxed look of ponchos, but end up feeling ridiculously impractical anytime I’ve ever attempted to wear one.  They either make it impossible to raise your arms, or make you look like you are wearing a blanket.  This one with its nicely fitted sleeves seems like a poncho I could handle.

 

These Rice Baskets from Fringe Supply Co.

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Admittedly, I love everything in the Fringe Supply Co. shop, but these baskets are on my “must get soon” list.  I love that they fold over on themselves to create nice little bowls and can quickly transition to a yarn tote.  I think they’d be perfect for bringing a project to the beach, or for carrying anything to the beach to that matter.

Big/Little

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Ever since learning that my friend Tim and his wife Liis were expecting, I knew I would be knitting a sweater for their little one.
We met Tim when we were living in NYC; he’s an amazing photographer and one of those people that feels like family after you’ve only known them a short while. Tim and Liis moved to California while we were still in NY, and then we moved to Texas and Tim and Liis moved to Switzerland. Their beautiful baby boy Johannes was born in December and Auntie Kim is a bit late in getting a sweater to this little guy. I knit him the Storytime Scholar Cardigan by Lisa Chemery in the 9-12 month size, and I think it will easily fit him well into his first year. You can’t go wrong with a grandpa sweater for a little boy, and the garter stitch elbow patches really sold me on this pattern. The yarn I used is quickly becoming an easy go-to yarn for baby sweaters: Berocco Vintage. I like it because its soft, wooly and heathered, but with an acrylic content so its washable and no-fuss for the parents. I think it resulted in a sweet little sweater and I hope it keeps baby Johann warm and stylish in Switzerland.

I also wanted to share the sweetest thing Tim said when I was asking him how he was enjoying life with a new son. “Johann is my little and I am his big/ the cosmos just paired us up is all.”

Insta March

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They say March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb which was very true for me. My month started out with chilly days filled with coffee and knitting while snuggled under a blanket on the couch and ended with a warm weekend at my parents’ ranch, drinking Coronas in the sun with my mom and aunt. Joey has been away on tour since mid-February, but he had three days at home between European and US tours. We filled those three days with lots of Tex Mex, lots of record-listening, and watching an outdoor movie at our town square, nestled in the grass on a blanket and sharing a thermos of wine.

 

You can follow me on Instagram as Kimidawn24

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