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.

An Unrealistic View of Christmas Knits

The Yarn Harlot, in her first book, describes a terrible habit she has come holidays. Over committing to knitted gifts. She wants to present her family with piles of knitted gifts and this often results in her driving herself insane during the holidays by, oh, you know, attempting to knit twenty-three pairs of socks in four days and feeling guilty that she doesn’t finish. I have the opposite problem. I’m a selfish knitter. I knit for me, myself, and I. If I knit for others, 99.9% of the time its a simple commission so I can get more yarn to knit…for myself. Either that, or I whip out a scarf for my husband and get ‘best wife award’. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve made my mom a few things, I once made her a coat!  But in general, I don’t do gift knitting. I don’t have many hobbies, knitting and reading are pretty much it. It may be selfish, but I have very little interest in hobby becoming an obligatory gift supply for every holiday and birthday. I am not a machine!

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But even a scrooge like me can have my heart softened. These upcoming holidays are going to be pretty special. They’re the first with Jon and I as marrieds (only our second as a couple). Jon has been applying to jobs left and right and some promising opportunities seem to be on the horizon. This very well could be the last holiday season where we have the convenience of all living in the same state! The same country even! Not to get ahead of myself, but I think such a heartwarming/wrenching occasion calls for warm and fuzzy hand knits.

Now, all that warm and fuzzy aside, how I came to the conclusion that I could knit 8 gifts in less than two months? On top of NaKniSweMo? And two commissions? *Shrug* Seemed like a good idea at the time. But listen, it’s only accessory knits and a sweater for Jon. Only. Here’s the breakdown:

3 Sockhead hats

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1 pair of Fern Lace gloves

FullSizeRender_31 Superior cowl out of yarn I have yet to acquire

1 pair of socks that in a pinch will be exchanged for another Superior cowl

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1 Forever Ribbed Scarf for my dad that will almost undoubtedly be exchanged for a nice pen, because, you know, dads.

And 1 big blue sweater for Jon…I have no comment on that one

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My fingers hurt daily now. I choose to believe that they are becoming stronger and I’m not actually doing irreparable damage.
NaBloPoMo November 2015
A hard truth has come to present itself. Such unrealistic standards of holiday knitting call for a sacrifice. A lamb to the slaughter, or rather, a merino fleece. Despite the progress made on my Oranje, I realize that if (when) holiday knitting comes down to the wire, I most likely won’t finish this lovely sweater. Which means I won’t have something to wear and show off at my in-laws (see how selfish I am?) Nevertheless, I try to dedicate at least an hour or two a day to knitting on my sweater. Tonight I finished the waist shaping and now I have about 6 or 7 inches of stockinette to look forward to. The flame of hope still burns strong.

Do you have unrealistic holiday knitting plans? Tell me all about it!

A Brief NaKniSweMo Post

NaBloPoMo November 2015

The finger cramps are setting in already, tsk tsk tsk. Despite my impending tendentious , the Oranje cardigan is coming along pretty well. I’ve completed the waist decreases and am nearly halfway through the increases. After this comes about eight more inches of stockinette stitch. Then I get to put the body aside and work on my sleeves! I’m pretty excited about that. I can’t wait to get to the yoke and watch how the brown and cream pop! But of course, I’m really enjoying the sweater body. I’m totally in love with the periwinkle blue yarn. I can already tell that November is going to be heavy on Christmas knitting and commissions. I’m already looking forward to the New Year when I’ll say no to knitting requests for a couple of months!

A brief #nakniswemo2015 post on my blog! Link in profile! #knitblogger #nablopomo2015 #knittersofinstagram

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How about you? Is Holiday knitting getting in the way of you NaKniSweMo?

Socky Comfort

Life is good tonight. I’m sitting here with a plate of leftover snacks from another successful knitting ministry meeting. Tonight’s focus was community building and fellowship. Less of a Bible study lesson than I would like, but there was much laughter and getting to know one another, which is incredibly important when forming a small group. Sharing the Gospel doesn’t do much good when people feel too awkward to speak or share personal stories. Interpersonal relationships among believers build bridges to a relationship to God; I’m slowly but surely learning this.

Another happy knitting ministry meeting 🙂 #knittersofinstagram #youthministry

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In my attempts to build comfort and community in my small living room apartment, I try and make everyone feel like they’re at home. I made an Italian sausage and potato soup for everyone to have and eat out of tea cups (because I don’t own that many bowls) and I encourage my friends to bring snacks.

Soup in a teacup before bed, because I am a lady after all

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I put out a platter of tea options and knitting magazines and everyone crowds around my tiny little coffee table to learn to knit. It’s the bee’s knees. Tonight, I also opened up my knitting trunk and someone pulled out my recently finished entrelac socks!

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I’ll go ahead and offer up a disclaimer right now that this sock pattern had no mistakes and was very clearly written. When I knit them I was just drunk demented distracted a lot and really struggled to get these done. I started them all the way back in December. I used Rowan Fine Art and Dream in Color Jilly Lace. I got a few repeats beyond the heel on the right sock before…I honestly don’t know. I’m not really sure why I put these down. I don’t recall making anything instead of them. I just stopped.

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I picked them back up in the beginning of October (do they count for Socktober?!?!?) and instead of finishing the right sock, decided to cast on and do the left one. All fine and good, until I went to the right one, got half way done, then discovered a gaping hole in the toe and my attention was drawn to how ugly the work I’d done back in December seemed. Yeah, that’s right, I called my work ugly. The truth hurts. The heel was an atrocity and the hole in the toe was so large, it didn’t even merit being duplicate stitched closed. Maybe languishing in a project bag at the bottom of my basket for ten months made the little sock disheveled, maybe it was jacked up when I knit it. Either way, after glaring at it for thirty minutes I decided it had to be frogged.

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Then I made the toe longer than the toe on the left sock….I can’t even. I really don’t know how I managed that. They both fit very well, but one toe has about an extra inch on it before starting the entrelac. As a result, the right sock only has four contrast color repeats instead of five. But listen, baby, whose ever going to see these toes/be mean enough the point out the disparity? I knit on and finished these up last week.

I went tassel free because, like most people on Ravelry who’ve made these socks, I can’t imagine them being at all practical. I work with small children and I have a cat, no tassels needed. As one of my fellow knitters said ” it’s a bit much of much”. Even without the adorable tassels, these socks are much loved and shall be worn constantly. Uneven toes and all.

Uneven toes and such #ohwell #knitting #knittersofinstagram

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NaBloPoMo November 2015

NaKniSweMo is still going strong. So far I’ve knit about five inches and am ready to start the waist decrease and increases. I’m completely in love with this sweater and the yarn is delicious. It’s a dream to work with. Its hard to capture in photos, but the blue has flecks of yellow in it that just tickle me pink. I already love the folded in hem. Right now, this sweater seems very mint-chocolate to me. Mouth watering- and I don’t even like that flavor.

How goes your NaKniSweMo sweater? What was the last project you made crazy mistakes on?

YAW

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Sigh…yarn lust is a terrible beast. It keeps me up at night. When it gets really bad I dream about the yarn I want. When I visit the yarn shop, I touch the same yarn over and over, with puppy dog eyes. Its really tragic.

Jon and I agreed that my stash of yarn has become insane, and that I need to severely cut back on my yarn buying and get my stash busting life together. I’ve been incredibly good, diligently knitting away at my stash. But the beast must be fed, and I can only be good for so long.

Enter Herriot Heathers DK. Peruvian Baby Alpaca. Green. *drool*

I’ve been staring at this yarn on the shelf for well over a year, and I’d like to believe it was waiting for me. While other knitters pillaged our Herriot section (we have lace now!)  not one seemed interested in the beautiful pile of green at the bottom of the stack. Then my LYS needed someone to work some last minute hours and they’d pay in yarn. Guess what I brought home?

#willworkforyarn is real. Helped out at the shop and gladly accepted some Juniper Moon Herriot #lovelocal

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I’ve been wanting a casual pullover for a while now. I only have two, a plush white mohair one and a Teeney Park entrelac sweater . I love them, but they aren’t something you just throw on and run out the house with. Norah Gaughn’s Yaw is exactly what I wanted. I love the oversized fit and long sleeves, the lace detail over the shoulders, the way the boat neck rests right on the edge of the shoulders. *Dreamy eyes*. The alpaca has the perfect amount of drape for this sweater and the heather green gives the lace a very nice texture.

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I was so excited to knit this sweater that I knocked it out in about two weeks. I even brought it on a hiking trip to Devil’s Den. This Herriot is a dream to knit with, and I look forward to getting more…sorry Jon.

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Pattern Notes:
I think this pattern had a few technical errors for my size; I noticed the numbers would be consistently off by a few stitches and the center panel was skewed. I go over that on my ravelry page here . They’re minor errors and easily fixed with a few ktogs and m1s. The biggest problem people seemed to have while making this was that it was too tight and did not drape. I’m not really sure why that was an issue though, the pattern calls for 6″ of positive ease. I knit my size on gauge had had no issues.

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I’m very happy to finally have a casual pullover and I foresee this being worn a lot this season.

 NaBloPoMo November 2015
It’s November which means NaKniSweMo and NaBloPoMo have begun! I have a lot of knitting plans this month and am excited to try and blog about it daily. I don’t have many expectations about what I’ll get done, though. I just want to enjoy the ride. Today I cast on for the Orangje cardigan out of Debbie Bliss Fine Donegal. So far I’m in love, wonder if I can keep up the momentum?

Cast on for#nakniswemo and #nablopomo2015 Orangje fair isle cardigan by Amy Weaver!

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Is anyone else attempting NaKniSweMo or NaBloPoMo or any other variation? What sweater are you trying to crank out?

F.O Friday: Wasabi Cowl and Freeform Arm Warmers

 kickie n. A Theo original word, combination of quickie and knit. A knit project that can be completed in less than a day usually with the use of broom handle sized needles and super extra bulky yarn. Provides instant satisfaction to any knitter, especially when they are discouraged with seemingly never ending  black hole projects.

Ex. That kickie was amazeballs! I used Swagger on size US18! I needed a smoke afterwards! Wanna try on my cowl?

Wasabi Cowl

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Sometimes you just need a kickie. Especially after knitting nearly 2,000 yards of laceweight linen. Thats exactly what happened to me when faced with the prospect of a new project post Darling Emma. I was overcome with the feeling that I lacked the ability to knit anything in under two months. Insert my beloved Cassy Dominick’s Wasabi cowl.

I have the pleasure of being friends with the awesome blogger Cassy, and her adorable Ms.Z, and getting to see first hand her awesome designs! About a year ago when she came to knit night wearing her Wasabi cowl I fell in love. I have no idea why it’s taken me this long to finally get around to making this beauty.

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I currently don’t have anything small and simple on the needles, nor do I have any yarn in my stash that isn’t already assigned to a (large) project. After Darling Emma, I found myself sitting in my room, not knitting and feeling pretty burnt out. I needed something fast, mindless, and cute.

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One trip to my LYS and 2 hours later I had exactly what I wanted. I really think there’s something to this kickie thing; it allowed me to mentally reset and prepare myself for another long haul knit while simultaneously gaining another desperately needed winter accessory.

I used Colinette- Point 5 super bulky yarn color way Jay. No mods to this pattern, followed it exactly then threw on a big ole’ yellow button and bam! A new thing. I suppose the only thing I did differently was where I put the button. Though it looks pretty cute, I couldn’t get behind where Cassy originally placed hers. I like the pointed bandana look, the snugness of the cowl on my neck, and not having a cold button rub against my chin. The big yellow button goes in back.

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Freeform Arm Warmers

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I finished these lovelies a while ago but have yet to get around to taking a photo. These are my first ever attempt at freeform knitting. I glanced over a few basic arm warmer patterns then went at it.

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All I can really say is that I used a US3 and cast on about 50ish sts with Mini Mochi color way 122 Jenny Lake. These babies aren’t the same length, there are randomly placed increases and decreases, and I may or may not have been drunk when creating my thumb. Don’t ask. Don’t tell.

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I love them anyways and despite my poor consistency, they stay up on my arms and serve their purpose of keeping me warm and being beautiful. In my world they’re perfect.

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In other news I’ll be casting on for Opera tonight  in celebration of the first day of NanNiSweMo. I am dedicated to knitting a little bit of it each day so that I have a yummy new sweater before the end of the month, maybe before Thanksgiving break even! I don’t have a daily quota except to knit on it a little bit every day. If you haven’t joined the NaKniSweMo KAL on Ravelry, you should absolutely consider it. It’s sure to be a fun time and there are prizes! Who doesn’t like prizes?

Have a great weekend! Happy Knitting! 🙂

P.S. Huge thank you to my dorm mate Colleen for letting me interrupt her piano practice so I could snap these shots of her. You rock!

P.P.S: Haven’t heard of Cassy? Check out her amazing blog!!

Wednesday Observations- NaKniSweMo

There is so much stuff that happens in the knitting community that I’m still finding out about! I suppose I could have assumed that there would be a month dedicated to knitting a sweater. There’s WIP Wednesdays, FO Fridays, Holiday events, Socktober, why not a sweater in a month?

I’ve joined the NaKniSweMo KAL on Ravelry and am eagerly awaiting the first of November. My goal? Opera by Elise Dupont!

Photo Property of Elise Dupont Designs

Photo Property of Elise Dupont Designs

A yummy and simple stripped pullover. I’m glad to finally have an excuse to start this. I’ve had the yarn stashed away at my LYS for a while now and I’m determined to up my sweater/cardigan count significantly by the end of cold days this year. Notice how obscure that timeline is? It’s so I can procrastinate. I’m eager to work on this because Dupont boast a new technique in waist shaping and color placement to get the perfect figure flattering sweater. What about that doesn’t sound fantastic and entertaining?

Photo Property of Elise Dupont Designs

Photo Property of Elise Dupont Designs

 

“Opera is a pullover perfect to draw attention to your waist, thanks to the subtle stripes at the elbow.

Knitted from top down, in one piece, the sleeves are set-in sleeves in round. This pullover has a unique waist and hips shaping construction : the decreases are placed at the front and the back. As most of us have a curvier back, more decreases & increases are worked at the back than at the front to follow closely your body shape.”

My yarns of choice?

Madeline Tosh DK Bloomsbury 

And Sublime Baby Cashmere Merino Silk Dk 0218-Brown

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Is anyone else participating this year? Whats your sweater of choice? Please join the NaKniSweMo on Ravelry and add to the fun!

Happy Knitting 🙂