My SSKAL project is finished! I made Beatnik, by Norah Gaughn. The cables were fun, fun, fun. I made a few mistakes and had to rip back, but on the whole, it was pleasant. You can read more of my notes here on my Ravelry project page. I used Cascade 220 worsted weight yarn in Pyrite Heather. This sweater will match Matt’s cardigan and Z’s pullover. I promise, there will be dorky family photos of all of us in these sweaters as soon as it is cool enough to wear them.

The photos are super grainy because I was eager to shoot in the early morning light when it was cool enough to actually wear the sweater, but I probably should have waited for a little more sun to arrive.


I made only slight modifications. I think I added a total of 1/2″ to the body, because I have a long waist. I made the size XS sleeves to help ease some of the bagginess at the top I noticed on others’ sleeves in Ravelry projects. Looking back, I think I could have maybe just altered some of the sleeve cap shaping to fix this, ending with a narrower cap at the top, but making the sleeve in a smaller size seemed to work as well. I made the sleeve cap slightly longer, doing the decreases every 3 rows, rather than every 2. I also added a bit of length to the sleeves, about 2 extra inches.


I’m so glad I participated in SSKAL. It got me working on a sweater that I can wear all fall and winter. It made for some sweaty hands on my part a few summer evenings, but we actually had a lot of freakishly cooler and rainy weather this July and August, so it worked out well.

This was the first evening:

lake-2And then the next morning there was a lot of fog on the lake:

lake-5It was a hard spot to leave.

Blocking Beatnik

My Summer Sweater Knit-a-Long project has an end in sight. It’s Beatnik by Norah Gaughn, made with Cascade 220 in Pyrite Heather. I finished the front on Sunday afternoon, and immediately put all the pieces into some water to prepare for blocking.

Second sleeve is taking a nap off camera.

Second sleeve is taking a nap off camera.

The shoulder shaping is a little different on each piece. Even though I think they’re supposed to end up the same length. It seems like the shoulder shaping on the front side made everything end up a little bit longer. When these are dry and I get to have a better look at them pieced together I will be able to tell if this is an issue or not. If it is, I might just have to rip back to before the neck bind off on the fronts and rework things a bit, but I’m going to try to make it work first.

I added extra length to the sleeve caps, decreasing once every 3 rounds, instead of every other round. I’m glad I did. I think they would be lacking the necessary length otherwise. Of course, I’ll know for sure when I seam them. In my understanding of sleeve caps, I think they should be about 1/2 inch to 1 inch shorter than the sleeve. These would have been at least 2 inches shorter without added length, and that seemed too much to try to work in.

After they’re dry, it just a matter of seaming the shoulders, picking up and knitting the collar (4″ of twisted ribbing), and then I’ll set in the sleeves and seam up the rest! It’s still way too hot to wear the sucker, but the SSKAL deadline of September 24th shouldn’t give me too much trouble.

Those that have volunteered to test knit for Dapper Man so far, thank you so much! I’m working hard to get the pattern completed. I took a lot of notes when writing up the pattern, but deciphering those and putting my brain back in that same place is a little trickier. Lesson learned. Next time I’ll write it ahead of time and test myself, or I’ll write it as I go.

Comedian sleeves

I’m pretty sure these sleeves are playing a joke on me. Check out how slanted they are: beatnik sleevesThis has happened to me before. I don’t know if it’s just the moss stitch, or because I knit continental, or what. My Minimalist Cardigan had the same issue with each piece, but straightened up with a nice wet block. But right now I feel like these sleeves are snickering at me.

I reworked the sleeve caps, decreasing every third row after the initial bind off rows, and I added about 4 extra rows after that. Then I finished the decreases as written. I held them next to the finished back piece and felt more satisfied that this thing would work out. I haven’t figured out yet why the front will be 2 inches shorter overall than the back, but I’m going to do it as written and see what happens. Many many many others have been successful with this sweater, so I’ll trust the design. beatnik sleeves-2

I resisted the urge to cast on for the adorable little fox hoodie and instead cast on for the front of the sweater yesterday. I wanted to push through the twisted ribbing at least, but I ended up getting through one repeat, with some weary hands by the end of the night. I watched a couple of episodes of Vera, a detective show on Hulu Plus that I recently learned about. It had a nice level of mystery, without the extreme amount of gore seen in some crime-related shows. Plus, I love the accents. It was the perfect backdrop for some fall sweater knitting.

This post happens to be my 300th post of the blog! As of October 20th I will have been blogging for 7 years. I was very sporadic in the beginning, but at some point it became more intrinsically rewarding and I got addicted. I really appreciate how many people regularly read and comment. I don’t always get a chance to respond to your wonderful comments and input as often as I’d like, but I love how blogging can feel like a conversation in that way. Writing this blog, reading others, and interacting with each other makes my knitting and social life rich and full. I adore the online community and connectedness formed through platforms like Ravelry, blogs, and podcasts. Thanks for being a part of it.


Many balls in the air, only some of them yarn.

What a week!… I’ve been alternating between excitement, anticipation, nervousness, fear, and fatigue. I think this whole dissertation reality is setting in. It will be fun, but also a tremendous amount of work. I know some of you out there feel my pain. I’d say more about my study, but I think that’s best left until it’s completed. It involves knitting and that is enough goodness to outweigh any negativity. If all goes well, I should be able to begin the study at the end of September.

Right now I’m juggling a lot of different roles and priorities like being a good mom to Z, being a good partner to Matt, a good friend to those that I’m close to, kicking ass at a dissertation, designing knit wear to fuel my creativity and passion for the craft, and helping others achieve their fullest potential as a licensed counselor. I switch back and forth between these roles a lot, but I love each of them. This involves some compromise too. Unless someone is coming to visit, Matt and I can ignore large swaths of clutter for some amount of time, and neither of us goes out of our way to create gourmet meals (or even slightly creative ones) on a regular basis. Each human only has so much energy to expend at one time. It’s a choice where you spend it.

Enough of that tangent. How about some knitting talk? Beatnik is my SSKAL project. It has a deadline of September 24th, but if I don’t make it, I’m already planning to forgive myself, and perhaps comfort myself with yarn. Hahahah.beatnik updateI’m done with the back. I decided to start the sleeves next to give myself a break from the brainy cables.

beatnik update-5I’ll likely be making these about 1″ longer or more. Overall I’m making the small (36″) size, but I’m making the sleeves XS because so many people seem to have really baggy sleeves in the finished projects, and even on the sample for the pattern. I’m still fairly new at the mechanics of set-in sleeves, but I’m hoping if it’s narrower, but still has a long enough sleeve cap, this will alleviate some of the bagginess. It’s all an experiment, right?

This experiment bores Seymour.

This experiment bores Seymour.

Mmmmmmm, cables.

Mmmmmmm, cables.

I plan on ripping out Matt’s shawl collar for this design and reknitting it to be wider. Then I’ll decipher my notes and write up the pattern. Fridica asked about it the other day and I think I just need to stop being a chicken and write the pattern.  I’m aiming for mid-September, but it sounds like that’s shaping up to be a crazy month, so we’ll see.

In addition to that, I have a b-day sweater to knit by the end of September (2 yr old size). I’m considering making this one, styling it like a fox and possibly narrowing the shoulders. I’ve realized that kiddo shoulders are pretty narrow. Knit Picks has a new superwash worsted weight wool (Wool of the Andes), and you can get a free skein from them by using the code TRYSUPERWASH from now until the 28th. I bought Persimmon Heather and Oyster Heather. I think it’s going to be a fun knit.

Next I’ll be posting about a lace project I was keeping secret! I gave it to the recipient today, so I’ll blog about it soon. I’m terrible at keeping secrets, but I only had to for about 9 days from start to finish.

All is well. All is well. All is well. I’m just going to go with the flow. Have a great weekend!

Beatnik boo boo

beatnikCan you see my mistake? I posted this on Instagram (I’m knitten) and it wasn’t immediately obvious to some, but I’ve been staring these cables down for about 10 inches, so it glared at me. The top cable isn’t crossed. Oy. I frogged an entire repeat and began it again.

beatnik-2And it’s back. Plus a little bit. This is my project when my brain can handle it. Last week and the beginning of this one are ALL ABOUT DISSERTATION PROPOSAL. That’s really me just shouting at myself as a reminder. I’d prefer to keep knitting, of course.

I’ve finished the back increases and I’m just hanging in until I hit 16 inches for the arm hole bind offs. I decided to make the sweater 1/2 inch longer than specified for my size (36″). I’m able to do most of the cables without a cable needle. Row 7 of the chart is the only one I sometimes pull out a large stitch marker and use as a cable needle, but I can get away without it if necessary. That makes this more portable, even though 99% of it has been worked from the comfort of my couch or bed.

Also, I finished a pair of socks! Matt’s birthday socks are bound off. I don’t have sock blockers in his size, and they don’t really need it, so I’m going to release them to him (aka the wild) as soon as I get some pics for the blog.

Did you want to see a baby eating cake? Our birthday party was rained out, and postponed, but we let her try out some homemade cake anyway. I made the Nutella Yogurt cake from Radically Simple, and I made a strawberry buttercream icing. I’ll replicate it for the party again next weekend.



One repeat down

beatnik 1st repeat-2I’m loving Beatnik so far for the SSKAL. The cables are definitely keeping me on my toes. I have the chart on one side and the definitions for the abbreviations on the other.

I highly recommend the color coded version put together by Knitty editors. It helps to decipher the lookalike cable symbols on the chart. I hope after a couple of repeats they all make more sense and flow from my brain to my hands with less paper flipping, but it’s definitely interesting.

beatnik 1st repeatThis yarn (Cascade 220 Pyrite Heather) looks so different in slightly different lighting. I love it.

Back to work!



Sweaters in the summer

I don’t know if I’ve ever participated in an organized KAL (knit-a-long), but I’m going to participate in this one. It’s all about making sweaters in the summer, so that when the cold season hits, you can wear them. Makes sense. We’ll see how my perpetually sweaty hands fare while working with wool in the heat. The KAL goes from today until September 24th. Surely that will be enough time for me to whip up a Beatnik.

To my astonishment, when I swatched today the size 8 needle is what I used to get gauge. I usually have to go down a size. I started with the 7 and then switched to the 8 when my row gauge seemed too different.


I’ve been hemming and hawing over what to knit for this KAL since I heard about it on Angela’s blog last week. I’m using Cascade 220 Pyrite Heather, to make my matching family sweater to go with Matt’s and Zooey’s out of the same yarn. I originally wanted to make a Kenzo with the yarn, but one Ravelry user commented that Cascade 220 seemed too heavy for the pattern on her project, and I’m having reservations about how much I would wear it. I will probably eventually make it, but it’s back in the brainstorming category for now.

I hardly ever make pullovers. I think Sky is my only one. Beatnik looks like it will keep me interested with the gorgeous cables, and it looks a little feisty. I like that. I need something feisty to get me through another sweater in the same color.


I got through a bit of the twisted rib today. I’m ready to get to the fun part (the cables). Here we go!