Knitting for wellness

Knitting for wellness

Rift has been in my hands often in the past couple of weeks. I think I expected to have made a little more progress at this point, somehow forgetting that I have a full-time job, two kids, a husband, and an active social life as well. In my brain I sometimes live in a knitting paradise where I’m able to gather with a group of friends and knit to my heart’s content for hours of the day. Sounds like I need a knitting retreat.rift-2

In the meantime…I’ll knit when I can and treasure the balance it brings to my sanity when it happens. Maybe some of you feel this way. I get positively frazzled if I don’t get to knit at all during a day. It feels like someone poured boiling hot water over my brain and agitated it until it felted. My expectations for being able to knit for hours of the day have long ago waned, but I must put yarn to needles at some point during the day to really feel like I’m engaging in good self-care. I carry a project (or sometimes two) everywhere. I knit at work during meetings and that actually gets me more total knitting time during the week than I usually get on the weekends.

Oh, right. The sweater. Rift is lovely so far. It’s not a brain teaser as it’s mostly stockinette, but it’s like pulling out a book you’ve read time and time again and still love. I am loving the Shelter (color=Faded Quilt) so far. I decided I would have to add some length to the body and I fretted over having enough yarn, so I called Knit Purl where I purchased it and they luckily still had a few of the dye lot. By the way, if you are a new subscriber and join their mailing list you get 15% off your next purchase. That’s a great thing when buying a sweater’s worth of yarn! The single extra ball is on it’s way and I can continue with a more relaxed outlook. riftI think the ribbing took me about two weeks all by itself because I was finishing Z’s Bitty Breezy and only working on this at home at night between kid bedtime and my not-long-after crash. The tiny teal flecks in the tweed are my favorite.

Now I have to get to work and go knit in a meeting. Hurrah for a gentle start to the day.

Ta-da!

Ta-da!

Firstly, I want to say congratulations to Jessica! You are the winner for the Yarn Crush giveaway. I will be contacting you via email and gathering your info to pass along to Yarn Crush for your prize. bitty breezy

“Ta-da” has become one of Zooey’s favorite things to say. I can’t get enough of her 3-year old voice sometimes and the certain intonation she uses. Ta-da is one of her favorite words, so it seems most appropriate for a post about her “wing sweater.” bitty breezy-5

This is a Bitty Breezy by Hannah Fettig. I used some Regia in Violett that I had stashed with a project for her in mind. I made the 4T size and followed the pattern to the letter, except for an extra inch of length on the body and about 1.25 extra inches of length to the sleeves. bitty breezy-3The extra length on the body was actually unintentional. I thought it was fine to begin with, but I lost track while knitting and then left it, rather than ripping it out. The length on the sleeves might help this sweater last an extra year. bitty breezy-7

So far, she loves it! I think it helps that she loves my Breezy cardigans and getting wrapped up inside them to snuggle. bitty breezy-2This color is also one of her favorites lately, so I hope this gets a lot of wear. The use of Regia might assure that this makes a useable sweater for Charlotte someday too, barring any crazy stains or damage. bitty breezy-6

Whatcha swatchin’

Whatcha swatchin’

I wasn’t feeling inspired by many men’s knits recently. I knit Matt a sweater every year (sometimes two) but this year I wasn’t feeling the sweater mojo when it came to a guy sweater till about a week and a half ago. I love my LYS and the knitters that often frequent it. One of these knitters is a college senior named Levi, whose fingers fly and conquer Kaffe Fassett intarsia blankets and deliciously cabled sweaters like they’re no big deal. We have a similar love of Brooklyn Tweed patterns and recently I saw him knitting a Rift. I feel in love with that pattern instantly and went home excited to tell Matt that I was ready to knit for him again.

whelter-3I decided it was time to try Shelter. It comes in so many amazing colors. Matt and I settled on this gorgeous Faded Quilt, a grey-blue with little teal flecks. So far I have been pleasantly surprised.swatch

While I had heard that Shelter is more delicate, it’s not like it falls apart while you are knitting it. If you pull on it to break a strand it breaks easily, but I had no issues while knitting my swatches. It felt fluffy and bouncy while knitting the swatches. Before washing my swatches it seemed like I was going to have to go down two needle sizes to a US 5 to make gauge, but somehow after washing and letting them dry unpinned the size US 6 swatch came out perfectly. I will be casting on very soon, but I can’t forget about Z’s “wing sweater” because we talk about it often.

Bright Bitty Breezy

Bright Bitty Breezy

Last weekend I was hanging out in my latest Breezy, hiding behind “the wings” and being playful at the dinner table. Zooey commented that she would like a “wing sweater” and of course I had to jump at the chance to make her one. breezShe said she wanted purple so I pulled out some Regia in this vivid Violett color. I love this color and have 920 yards. I thought it would be perfect and luckily, so did she. I originally got this on vacation in Kansas City and thought back then (a couple of years ago) that it would be lovely for a little dress or something for Z.

I’m making the 4T size. She was so excited and cooperative that I was able to take measurements on the spot! I will add a little length (an inch or two) to the body, and maybe a half inch to an inch to the sleeves. Otherwise the 4T size should be just perfect. I can’t wait to give Zooey her “wings.”

The magically adjustable sweater

The magically adjustable sweater

keaton-6At long last, Keaton is finished. I began this adventure in September and finished all of my seaming last Thursday evening at knit night. I began by making the 38.5″ bust size, thinking I didn’t want as much ease as the pattern specified. keaton-5I blocked each piece to measurements before seaming, like a good little knittress. Then I knit the collar and seamed and seamed and seamed. When I tried it on Thursday night it was snug. Definitely more snug than I wanted. For a moment I was quite sad. I worked on this baby for almost four months in fingering weight woven stitch. Major time investment.

keaton-4I kept my cool and went home and gave it a good soak in some Eucalan and then took it back to the blocking board. This time I used my wires to be a little more aggressive and to get the waist shaping exactly how I wanted it. At the last minute I decided to block it for the next size up, giving myself that extra ease, because in the moment it seemed like the sweater could easily handle it. keatonAnd it did. keaton-2I didn’t do much with the collar in the way of blocking. I think when I wash it next I may fold it in half while it dries to try to make it stand up better. If I were to knit in this yarn again I’d probably go down a couple more needle sizes on the collar to achieve a slightly stiffer result. This is Debbie Bliss Fine Donegal in Winter Rose. I haven’t worked with Loft, which the pattern suggests. Loft is a 2-ply yarn while mine was a single ply. I could see that affecting the stiffness of the collar.keaton-3I tried the collar left unfolded (as shown in the fifth picture from the top), folded in half (top and other pictures), and folded in thirds to make it a bit more stiff (fourth picture down). When folded in half it flops a bit more than the sample. I still like it, but I do wish it was more like that one. I’m reconsidering knitting it.

The sleeves look good fully unfolded, with one fold, or with two. I like that I can pull them further over my wrists in the cold or they fold back well to stay out of my way if needed.

This pattern was well written with elegant little details. I added length to the sleeves and the body, by an inch or so, as I often do.

Though I may give that collar a second pass, I’m so glad this can be marked done and be off my mind. I have sweaters for both Zooey and Matt in the mental works that they will hopefully love.

More stockinette socks? Surely not.

More stockinette socks? Surely not.

matt socksOh yeah. I cast on some good ol’ plain stockinette socks for Matt recently. It was around December 22nd because these accompanied me to a 10 AM showing of Star Wars on Christmas Eve as my movie theater knit. Matt had already seen Star Wars, but was ecstatic to go again and luckily the 10 AM show wasn’t one with a long line.

This yarn is some Schachenmayr Regia Strata Color in Kiwi that I received as a present a few months ago from Carina. I gave Matt the choice of several sock yarns and this is the one he chose. Good choice, I think.

There isn’t much to say about these socks so far. I start his with 16 stitches on each needle (32 per toe) to begin with and increase to 72 stitches. That seems to be the magic number for him in most sock yarns.

I have been consuming TONS of media in the forms of movies, TV, and books since being on holiday from work for a bit. It’s over, but while I was working on these and other projects I’ve been reading Purity by Jonathan Franzen (not finished–no spoilers please), The Magicians by Lev Grossman (Christmas present from Matt that I loved), and the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy to prep for the fourth book with that character that I’m patiently waiting to get from my library. As for movies, I watched The Martian and the new Star Wars, as well as Loopers and enjoyed them all.  In the world of television, I just devoured The Great British Baking Show season that is available on Netflix and couldn’t stop. What are you watching and reading these days?

A twice-knitted sweater

A twice-knitted sweater

romane-6Charlotte got a sweater for Christmas. I ended up knitting 85 percent of it twice because I would have run out of yarn otherwise. It was a bit of an adventure. romaneThe pattern is called Romane or Roman. The yarn problem was not with the pattern, though I think they could have estimated a bit more yarn to be on the safe side. In the pattern there are options for making the sweater straight or with an A-line and they don’t specify whether the long sleeved yarn requirements are for the sweater knitted with or without A-line increases. Otherwise it’s a lovely little pattern. romane-3The yarn, on the other hand, fooled me well. I had some leftover Gaea Sport in Marina from Blue Moon Fiber Arts. When I originally purchased the yarn the yardage was listed as 740 yards on the website and ball band. When I was trying to figure out how many yards I had left I went to the Ravelry page for the yarn to get yardage information for my algebra and saw that 560 was the listed yardage. The page mentions that older skeins were incorrectly labeled.romane-2It’s a bit disappointing because I thought I had 407 yards (.55 of one ball) and it turns out I only had 310 yards. That would be barely making it, maybe for the long-sleeved 12 month size. It’s also unfortunate that I thought I was buying 740 yards and I wasn’t. If this purchase hadn’t been over two years ago I’d write them to try to remedy that.romane-5I risked it and went ahead. As I was knitting the sleeves it became apparent that I really and truly would be running out of yarn before finishing the sleeves or the button bands. I ripped everything back to the cabled yoke band and reknit on a size 8 needle, using the numbers for the 6 month size with my larger gauge. It worked with 3 yards of yarn to spare and knitting the sleeves and body to 8 inches each for some room for growth. romane-4The buttons are from Wood Buttons. I don’t remember the exact style, but they seemed to work well with this sweater. I will have to restock my collection of 1/2″ or smaller buttons soon since those are so handy for baby and toddler sweaters.

The older Zooey gets, the more I realize that when Charlotte gets to be her size many of those sweaters will look very worn from regular use and the inevitable stains that happen to many pieces of toddler attire. I don’t think I’ll mind making Charlotte plenty that are all her own.