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.



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.


Is it illegal to stop on the interstate like this? 


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!


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.


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!


So close to the top!


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!


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


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.


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.


Yes, It IS your grandmother’s knitting.

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…


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!


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.


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.


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.



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!


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.


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…


IMG_2651Happy knitting! 🙂

Wednesday Observations: Spontaneity Days

  1. 1.
    the condition of being spontaneous; spontaneous behavior or action.
    “she occasionally tore up her usual schedule in favor of spontaneity”
    Haha, you remember in fifth grade when you started out your papers with the definition of the word or topic you were writing about; you felt so clever when you did it, right? *snicker*
    I have a question for you. When was the last time you did something genuinely spontaneous? When is the last time you left to go on a walk without a cell phone, watch, mp3 player, or even a book? You just went and sat and thought…and knit.
    I am rarely spontaneous. Even if I get excited about yarns or patterns, I usually let the idea stew for weeks in my head; I’m a yarn addict but not a compulsive yarn buyer. This lack of spontaneity flows over into the rest of my life. I rarely just do things. They must be pondered, written down on a list, organized into a schedule, pondered over some more, and then they are done. That stopped today.
    I decided that instead of spending my three hour break between my morning and afternoon class in my bed room asleep or interwebzing, I would wander around and see what was happening on campus and find a quiet spot to knit. There was a lot going on.
    Not sure what all of it was but we’re apparently having a Homecoming Celebration Chili Cook Off on the lawn of our student Union. Inside the union there is some sort of apartment fair? All of these different venders were handing out free stuff and information about off campus living options. Very crowded and loud.
    IMG_1132 IMG_1127 IMG_1123 IMG_1120
    I wandered away from the noise and over to the art building which is directly behind my dorm. I hardly ever go in there and that seems like a shame. There was an exhibit up and it was all about two dimensional art giving off the illusion of three dimensional.  I wasn’t allowed to take photos but here is a link to my school’s Fine Art Center website; you can get an idea of what the exhibits are like. Because our university is less than an hour away from Crystal Bridges, one of the most impressive American art museums, we have access to a lot of modern art. Its sort of crazy. Whats even crazier is that I am a junior and have yet to take advantage to any of these art events, or even events within my major. I don’t go to listen to speakers, I don’t go to art exhibits, I don’t even go to see free plays or get tickets for awesome shows at super discount prices. Thats crazy. That’s all going to change.
    Before I graduate I’m going to go to at least a total of 60 non-mandatory lectures/art exhibits/events. Yes, my school has that many free-cheap opportunities for students. I’m going to wish I did more when I graduate and no longer have access to all these things.
    Event #1 out of 60
    While roaming the Art Building I passed by the ticket office and heard someone get a ticket to a play thats in town. I decided to get one  as well I do not know what the play is about. Its playing tonight, the ticket was free. Instead of doing nothing I’m going to do something and go out and take in a little culture. The play is The Clean House. 
    After getting my tickets I went and sat on the Greek Theater lawn and knit and enjoyed the last bits of warmth in this Arkansas fall. Its getting chilly.
    IMG_1142 IMG_1143
    So this is me spontaneous? Nothing bad happened, I didn’t loose a significant amount of time from my day…I’ve even getting in my Wednesday blog post in before 5pm today. I think I could keep this up.
    Have you been spontaneous lately? Let me know in the comments! Happy 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!


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.


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


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.


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….