The Mountains Are Calling

The Mountains Are Calling

Picture heavy post! Knitting photos near the bottom!

Last week Jonathan and I went on our one year anniversary trip! We decided to take advantage of our anniversary’s proximity to Labor Day and delay our trip until September. Thursday night, after work, we jumped in the car and drove west as long as we could (three hours!) That made the remaining six hours to Boulder, Colorado much more enjoyable. We’d heard a lot of people mention how boring the drive from KC to Boulder was; I’m not sure what they were talking about though.

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I find windmills facinating

We loved the entire drive! It was amazing to see all of the farm land, cattle, and windmills going on and on for miles. The most delightful part of the drive was undoubtedly the sunflowers. Kansas is the sunflower state, after all. We had to take advantage of the fields of flowers along the interstate.

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Is it illegal to stop on the interstate like this? 

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Of course, the interstate sunflowers had nothing on the flowers alongside the “Welcome to Colorado” sign. This was one of the most breathtaking views of our entire trip, and we’d only just arrived!

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While we were driving, I pulled out my unfinished NaKniSweMo from last year. I figured that the mountains in fall would be a great opportunity to wear the sweater for the first time! I managed to finish steeking the sweater before hitting the road, and the entire drive up was spent weaving in ends, knitting on a border, and sewing on buttons. Phew.

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On the second day of our trip, we decided to do a day hike up the FlatIrons to the Royal Arch. What was supposed to be a two hour morning hike turned into a four hour, five and a half mile, strenuous hike at extreme elevation (my sweet husband didn’t check the map). It was the most physically challenging thing I’ve ever done before, but Jon and I stuck it out together! We took hundreds of photos and drank two liters of water while going up, up, up. Near the end, I started to wonder if the view at the top could possibly be worth the pain, but we pushed on anyways!

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So close to the top!

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Top of the arch, I’m sitting inside of it. Yes, those are knitting needles in my hand. 

Sadly, by the time we made it to the top of the mountain, storm clouds were rolling in, we were starving, and the sun was setting. We had no time for photos so we rushed down (which was surprisingly more emotionally trying than going up) and finished off our night with a fancy dinner and lots of drinks.

The next day, we decided to drive back up the trail and do some laid back sightseeing. I was pretty exhausted, but the pictures were so so worth it. I present my Oranje sweater!

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The Knitimg_2538

This was my first ever fair isle project. I go big, right? This yummy sweater is knit on a US6 with sport weight yarn. I used Debbie Bliss’ Fine Donegal which is technically a fingering weight yarn. However, the single ply wool is rather heavy and I managed to hit the same gauge on the sweater as if I’d used a true sport weight. img_2537

I’ll be upfront, this sweater has some of flaws to it. The armpits have little give to them, so when I lift my arms, the whole sweater comes with me. And seeing as this was my first time working fair isle, the yoke is a tad snug. I’m re-blocking the sweater and am going to re-seam the armpits again in hopes of having a bit more give. I think this will ultimately be a success. I have faith since the first time I blocked the sweater (before steeking which I highly recommend) it went from frumpy to fabulous. The collar could also probably stand to be blocked a little higher as well. img_2536

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I really love the brown button border of this sweater, but honestly, it’s a little finicky. It takes a day and a half for me to button this up proper, and the mass of buttons leads to gapping (though this could possibly be remedied with blocking). The fair isle often doesn’t line up if my buttons are askew-as you can see in the photo above. A part of me wishes I’d been patient and waited to get home to put in a zipper, but I wanted this to be done so so badly! And I love the brown highlights too much to not have them.

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Tucking my floats

Overall, I adore this sweater. The flaws in it are small fish compared to the amount of effort and time I put into this. I learned a lot while knitting this, like how to “tuck my floats” on the yoke so that there’s not a mass of loose strands inside the sweater waiting to be snagged. I did my first steek (you can check out the video here on my instagram) and I learned how to do a proper steek column so that you aren’t terrified while cutting!!! After hiking up a mountain, I feel safe in saying that this is an epic sweater that is worthy of the Dutch knitting traditions Ann Weaver based the design on. I would totes heard sheep while wearing this sweater, up a mountain even.

I’m so glad that I decided at the last minute to finish it on the car ride to Boulder. This will be a wardrobe stable for my first winter in KC. For me, this represents a new benchmark in my knitting. I learned so much while making this. I was so careful to get gauge and make size adjustments as needed so my effort wouldn’t be wasted. This makes my old work feel like child’s play, and I think I’ve finally kicked down the door to “a knitted wardrobe” instead of just lacey accessories, sorry Darling Emma. I’m ready to take my knitting to the next level. I still have a painful amount to learn (like seriously how to get more ease into these armpits). But I’m happy to learn from my mistakes and enjoy the journey, but right now, I’m just gonna wear my sweater and feel baller.

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Yes, It IS your grandmother’s knitting.

WIP Monday- Pont Neuf!

Sometimes we all need a little opulence, a little oh la la, a little…silk.IMG_0995

I present to you, Pont Neuf by Emily Wessel. A seamless knit, raglan sleeve cardigan with a picked up lace panel front. My yarn of choice? KFI Luxury 100% Mulberry silk *shudder*. It’s like knitting…well it’s like knitting silk. Fabulous. This project has been going on for months, not because it’s hard, but because each skein retails at about $30 a skein. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining, it is silk after all, I just have to space out my buys. I’m three skeins in with one more to go and so far I have no regrets! I can’t wait to start the lace panel!

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So far the pattern is pretty generic and easy to follow. I don’t think I’ll be able to judge it until I reach the chart work for the lace. I envy those who are able to buy all their project yarn at once. I could have had this done weeks ago; I finished the yoke in one night! DK yarn on US5 needles really makes you feel like you’re making progress.

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I’m having a bit of a hard time capturing the true color way of this yarn. It’s full of pearly grays and pinks. I’m hoping when completed and posed the colors will be easier to catch on film.

There hasn’t been much going on in my world except for studying for midterms and mentally prepping myself for intense holiday traveling. My knitting hasn’t suffered, but staying organized is becoming a challenge. I think I deserve a new planner? Yes, any excuse to buy something pretty will do. I have no shame. NO SHAME.

How are you getting ready for the holidays? Let me know in the comments! Happy knitting 🙂

P.S: To my fellow students, stay strong! We shall overcome!

Friday Field Work: Darling Emma…on Fire

Oh, she got both feet on the ground, and she’s burning it down. Oh, she got her head in the clouds, and she’s not backing down. This girl is on fire…

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So, I have a confession to make. I’ve never read Jane Austen *cue disgusted gasps*. I have Emma sitting around somewhere at my house, but I don’t even think I’ve picked it up. However, if this cardigan is anything like the character of Emma Woodhouse then she must have been a girl on fire. This thing makes me feel fierce! Rawr!

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Hah, notice the leopard print duct tape I used to repair the heel of that flat.

Darling Emma is another perfect design by Joji Locatelli. I love all of her work. All of her designs manage to be elegant, interesting, sturdy, and most importantly, functional. Specifically, the woman knows how to design a cardigan and I love me some cardigans.

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This knit originally calls for fingering weight yarn (Madeline Tosh Merino Light seems to be the most popular) and is knit on US4 and US2. However, because I am a glutton for punishment, I decided to knit this in a lace weight on a size US3. Thats right, all 1,600 yards of this thing. Surprised my fingers didn’t fall off. I used 3 skeins of Prism Euroflax lace weight color way Ember.

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I’m pleased to say that I didn’t find any errata in the pattern. The instructions are clear, well written and any issues I had were simply due to me either a.knitting too late at night, b.reading the pattern zoomed in on my iPad and skipping sections (derp), or c.having brain farts in which I forgot how to knit entirely.

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Mods:

1. I knit the entire cardigan on US3 with a lace weight yarn. It’s important to note that linen has a different feel and shape than other lace weight yarns. If you want a lace weight cardi, consider that linen will not be soft and fluffy and the entire garment will be heavier and have more hang on it than say, merino or alpaca/silk (click the links to see examples of cardi knit out of these fibers) However, linen will soften up as you knit and pull the yarn through your fingers as well as with wear and cleaning. Linen also isn’t as warm. I live in Arkansas, so for Oct-Nov I really wont need any heavy duty coverage. Don’t get me wrong, this knit and a nice shawl keep me comfortable in chilly morning weather, but I doubt I’d be able to wear this out in December without a heavy overcoat. Knitting this cardigan in fingering weight merino would be a much cozier and warmer knit. Or you could knit it in a sport weight for a coat! Go check out the projects section for this knit, a lot of ladies have made this cardi a lot of different ways. Go be inspired!

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Bought my shawl pin from HandHeld Knitting 🙂

2. I originally tried to knit my sleeves as instructed by the pattern, but I just wasn’t feeling it. The garter stitch cuff in  linen was not flattering at all. I ripped my sleeves back (which was painful) and instead knit them until they fell, without stretching, to the top knuckle of my thumb. Then I purled three rows and bound off very loosely.

IMG_26473. No ties at the back. Partially because after finally finishing, I honestly couldn’t bring myself to knit on this anymore, partially because my boss recommended that I not add them. It’s perfect the way it is. There’s about a 50:50 ratio of ladies on Ravelry who added ties or not.  I think it looks good either way, just go with what you feel!

IMG_26384. Finishing. I did not wet block this. Instead, I gave it a very thorough once over with a steamer. I hung the cardigan up and went over the lace very carefully to get it to open up. Also, I steamed the sleeves heavily so that I could get just a few more centimeters of length on them. As a result, the sleeves hang a little past my second set of knuckles, which I love.

A note about gauge: I am a very loose knitter. This has it’s pros and cons, but for this knit I think it was mostly a pro. This cardigan is long. I’m 5’8” and it hangs  past my knees. I attribute that to a combination of the weight of the yarn,my loose gauge, and heavy steaming. My gauge on this is about an inch per 8 rows.

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Overall, the only suggestion I have is that you carefully consider your yarn and what kind of cardigan you want before casting on and to check out all the different projects on Ravelry. Do you want a decorative layer? Do you want warmth and coziness? Do you want something down to your knees or your hips?

Thats it! If you have any questions feel free to shoot me a message on Ravelry or email Joji Locatelli, she is very nice (can you tell I make a habit of emailing designers?) Also, one of my friends took these photos of me (Thank you, Morgan!) and lets just say not all of them were as elegant as the ones in the post. Start your weekend off with a giggle…

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IMG_2651Happy knitting! 🙂

WIP Monday- Lace Magic

WIP Monday- Lace Magic

I’m always amazed at the yardage that comes with lace yarns. It’s like you have half of an entire garment hidden away in one skein. My mind is especially blown by the 580 yards of this Euroflax Lace weight Linen. Look what I’ve completed with only one skein!

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This little beauty is the Darling Emma by Joji Locatelli, and it has given me nothing but joy. Lace panel cardigans seem to be especially popular at my LYS, and I’m happily joining the bandwagon.

This is Cynthia's Afron Cardigan designed by Jean Clement. Cynthia has already made two and another knitting friend is making hers.

This is Cynthia’s Afron Cardigan designed by Jean Clement. Cynthia has already made two and another knitting friend is making hers.

I love the different ways that these cardigans can be knitted up. Cynthia’s cardi  is knit top down with the lace around the edges picked up and knit on after the skeleton of the garment is completed. Darling Emma is knit bottom up panel to panel. Once you reach a certain length, for me 23in, the side panels are put on hold and you continue to knit the back and armhole shaping.

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With only one skein of yarn I’ve completed all 7 shaping decreases and am 7in away from putting my side panels on holders.

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Fall is fast approaching here in the mountains of Arkansas and its time to put away the summer knitting and get to it on long sleeves and warm cardis. I figured that this would be a good transitional project for Arkansas’ fall because, though the mornings are chilly,  the afternoons still peek at 84-86 degrees.  This pattern calls for fingering weight yarn, however I converted it to lace weight. Just warm enough to keep me comfy in the morning, and not overheat me in the afternoons while I run around doing errands. Also, the colors scream fall. Appropriately named Embers, this color way is full of dark reds, purples, and golds that are so seasonally perfect! I’m absolutely in love with the color palette. Yum.

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Hoping to finish this by next weekend, which means monogamous knitting for a while! So that I can clear my mind and start preparing for X-mas knits. The Challenge begins….

Welcome- Cloud Knitting

I enjoy simplicity. Its soft and blurry and cozy. It makes you go “mmm” as soon as you see it and then you proceed to wiggle on in. You shrug your shoulders a few times, burrow in deeper, then settle down for hours, content in knowing you’re in such a pleasant place, on such a pleasant day, at such a pleasant time .

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A cardigan, almost off the needles. I love a cozy knit and this cardigan gives all the right stuff. Long lightly shaped body, sleeves, and some brilliant placement of lace makes this the most feminine looking “boyfriend cardigan” I’ve ever seen..

Calls for size 3US needles on 40″ wire, five stitch markers, and 850-1600yds of fingering/4ply yarn, five buttons

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Prism yarn was a fated match for this cardigan and my needles. I was wandering in my local yarn shop and the light shading of this color weight of Prism Petite Madison caught my eye. Against the bright and sharp colors of its sister skeins, Garnet and Twilight, Fog really does match its namesake. The soft blues, greys, purples, and darker natural shades give the palette of the yarn a very ethereal and floating character. It really does seem like a fog rolling against black asphalt on an overcast day, or a cloud

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There were only four skeins and I swiped them and squirreled them away in back. Cynthia, the owner of the shop, is a yarn hoarder sympathizer and she lets regular customers hide yarn in back so we can satiate our endless hungry even while a little low on cash. I stuffed the four skeins in my brown bag and didn’t look at them again until two months later. Late Christmas knitting and school had kept me distracted. I’d just finished knitting the Billie by Kim Hargreaves -for my mother- and it took a lot out of me. I was starving for a project that I didn’t have to give away. While debating which project to start up next I suddenly realized I hadn’t made myself my favorite thing yet! Cardigan! The Shame.

This is a Knit that got a lot of love from me. I bought the project right before my Spring Break so it was receiving all of my attention between those few idle days before break. It then sat in my lap for a 20 hour car ride. From Arkansas to Wisconsin and back.

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This was an incredibly simple knit with a great pattern. A top down breeze. Gretchen Ronnevik‘s lace pattern is easy to follow and expand and the body is glorious stockinette.

I made some very minor mods:

I made a size for 34″ bust and instead of knitting the underarm for 13.5in I went until it was a solid 19″.

Added several inches to the sleeves

Used a twisted rib stitch

Added button holes

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As much as I love this it does need a lot of finishing work. After I finish trucking away on these endless sleeves that is. Updates and finishing details to come in next post!

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/serina-cardigan