It’s that time of year…

My guest room looks like this:

I’m getting my sweaters ready for Fall and assessing my closet.  So far I only have 1 bag for Goodwill, but I expect to find more!  I’m also trying to come up with better sweater storage solutions.  My previous solution (in closet shelf) does not work… things get buried and I never wear them.

I managed to finish the back and one front of my hoodie, so it’s well on its way now!  I’m motivating myself by getting ready to work on a UFO after I’m done… the Blooming Cardigan from last winter’s IK.  Here’s a progress photo (I’ve finished about half of the sweater.)

I put it aside because I was totally over wool last spring, but now I’m ready to take on some bobbles again!

As soon as all my sweaters are in respectable condition, I will do a review on the yarn’s I used this year, so look for that coming up soon!

Uncharacteristically slow

I’m plodding along on the back of the Hoodie vest.  It’s not a hard pattern, but working with big needles is hard on my hands, so I’m trying not to push things.  I’m nearly done with the back.  This sweater is very like a vest in the sense that it doesn’t have armhole shaping – armholes are marked and ribbing picked up at the end.  It took me forever to figure that out, since I don’t read ahead, and I was wondering why the length seemed so long!

I’ve also had lots going on here since my last entry.   My best friend moved back here from Florida, so I’ve been spending a lot of time with her (I’m so happy she’s here!)  We made an emergency trip to Cinci when my husband’s father got sick (he is ok now – it may have been a false alarm.)  I auditioned for (and made) a semi-professional choir, who I am really looking forward to singing with this season.  One of my friends got married in Indiana, so we traveled for that.   I’ve been to the dentist twice, sorting out precisely how ridiculous the amount of money I have to spend on my teeth is (the answer: totally insane, but we can manage.)  I have 30 students now, which isn’t stressful exactly, but it does keep me on my toes (did I mention that I love my new schedule more than I know how to say?  I have weekends now!)

Oh, and Sarah Jane has had to go on insulin shots.  It’s not a bad thing, nor unexpected – the pills just weren’t keeping her sugar regulated well enough.  I was worried about hurting her, but she doesn’t much notice, and she’s a happier kitty now that she’s more balanced.

We got her a new bed, and she loves it -she spends most afternoons there, before going down into the kitchen at 5:30 to start crying for Marc to come home.  Who would have thought the joy that one skinny abandoned cat would bring to our lives?   She is existing pretty well with the other 2 cats now.  Leon, of course, is distraced by the large amount of little girls that come into our home now for lessons.  They love the big fluffy friendly cat, and he finally gets all the attention he wants.  And Dionne is happy because she has her own room (the guest room) where the others do not bother her.

Hopefully I will get more knitting time soon – I’m trying to pick out my next project!  The new Twist  Collective is out, and I like several of the designs (especially Ysolda’s sweater, though I want to see some finished examples.)  I also want to make something from the new Kim Hargreaves, though I haven’t picked exactly yet, and of course there are a few in IK I like was well.  So many decisions to make!

New project and new books (again!)

I have started work on my hoodie – because nothing says August like a bulky wool sweater!  Actually, I don’t really understand the idea of it being “too hot to work with wool,” but then again I avoid the outdoors in the afternoon (sun is my bitter enemy) and now work entirely out of my house… so I haven’t experienced so much of the heat this year.  I’m also terribly cold natured, and I’m looking forward to having this lovely hoodie to wear when the weather turns.  The pattern is very enjoyable – the cables are easy, but more interesting than your typical cables.  It’s actually going very quickly, but I haven’t had much time to work on it – we have been back and forth to Cincinnati for my husband’s family several times.

Fall patterns continue to roll out – and Kim Hargreaves has just released her fall book!  I bought it right away, of course.  Now I am only waiting on the fall Twist Collective, which I am excited about… it has sweaters from some of my favorite designers!

Yes, she may inspire me to finally knit a dress – I love that one!  I love how she can take big wool (the last sweater) and make it look elegant.  None of Rowan’s current designers do that for me.  Speaking of Rowan, their fall books are all out now.  I like the new purelife collection and the colourscape folk collection (I have some skeins of Colourscape dying to be knit up.)  I think Rowan magazine 46 is ok, though again there are rather too many bulky shapeless things for my taste.  There is a section of vintage inspired designs and they are nice enough.  I’m not sure yet whether I will be purchasing this one.

These are the 2 sweaters I like from the purelife collection – aren’t the details lovely?  The designer is Marie Wallin – I generally like her designs the best out of the current Rowan designers.  The rest of the book is great too.

I like the new Colourscape collection much better than the last – I would actually wear these designs!  The last sweater may not be in the book?  I read something like that online, about it being on the website later.  I still think Colourscape is overpriced, but since I have some I may as well use it up (I have enough for any of these designs.)

That’s all for now… I have lots of knittng to do!

FO: Smock top

Pattern: Cotton Bamboo Smock top by Pam Allen, from Classic elite booklet “Make it modern.”

Yarn: Knitpicks Shine sport, 9 balls in aquamarine (discontinued color.)

Needles: US 3 (stockinette) and 1 (cabled sections)

Notes: Although this pattern has no sleeves, it still managed to take longer than I thought it would – there are a lot of little tiny cables on this sweater!  I love the end result – it manages to look modern and current without being trendy exactly – I’d imagine I will get a great deal of wear out of this sweater!

I used Shine Sport to make my first sweater ever (Rusted root) and immediately bought 13 balls of aquamarine, because I loved it so.  I then proceeded to fall out of love with it, and was unable to find anything to make from this yarn for the past 3 years.  I’m happy to report that it was a pretty good sub for the Classic Elite cotton bamboo called for in the pattern, with one caveat.  Shine sport is not really a sport weight yarn – no matter what I do, it will end up at about 5.5 st/in instead of 6.  I made the smallest size, aiming for the 2nd smallest, and that’s about what I g0t.  The cabled portion looks ridiculously small when it isn’t being worn, but it is extremely stretchy, so don’t be thrown off by the tiny sizes – go with the one for your bust size and it will work out.  Mine measures about 28″ at the bust when it’s off, but stretches 5 inches to fit me easily.

I knit the stockinette portion of the sweater in the round, and then split to work the top in 2 pieces.  The stockinette is still a bit uneven, but it would have been even worse flat… it is hard to hold even tensi0n with such a slippery, soft yarn.  I’m ok with it.  I thought the pattern was pretty clear, except on the neckline.  The eyelet edging instructions were challenging to figure out, but I managed.  The really hard part was that it contained a lot of places where instructions needed to be written out again, but the front said only “work as for this row of the  back,” which was confusing since the pieces were so different.  It’s hard to explain, but trust me…   Plenty of “at the same time” instructions as well, but I’ve gotten pretty good over time at juggling those.  At one point I had to look at the schematic to figure out how long to knit one piece, because it was confusing.  The neckline is beautiful, so it was worth the acrobatics.  It’s a little wide, but the sleeves do not fall down.   I would definitely recommend this pattern, as well as this whole booklet, which has several lovely designs.  I have at least one more on my “to do” list!