Life in Pieces

Life has been hectic for me lately to say the least. I typically thrive under chaos but I’m finding myself longing for more and more leisurely days with a lot less dust in my house. Lately I’ve been swamped at my day job, overloaded with grading homework and preparing lectures for my class and just for fun we decided to start a kitchen renovation…while my husband was out of the country for work.
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The latest update on the kitchen, as of last night I have floors again! It’s the little things that make me happy at this point. Mind you, in total the major work of this renovation will have only taken about 2 weeks but I’ve crammed a lot into such a shortened timeline. My husband is coming home just in time for cabinet installation and hopefully by Sunday I will have my appliances hooked back up again so I can COOK! Oh how I miss cooking my own food.
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Since my kitchen has been in pieces I decided it was time to try to knit a seamed sweater for the first time. I signed up for a Sweater Study at my favorite yarn shop, Fibre Space. The owner Danielle is going to lead us through the construction of a sweater of our choosing in 3 classes over a 4 week period and I decided on Sawyer from Brooklyn Tweed.
Sawyer Sweater via Brooklyn Tweed
I swatched my yarn, a gorgeous Cascade 220 Superwash in a brilliant blue, and started on the back piece. I’m pretty perfect on gauge and I’m loving the feel and lightness of the yarn in addition to the texture of the stitch.
Prepster
I picked this color because of this sweater my husband owned years ago that I bought him. I loved the color on him and when it got a hole in the elbow we were both sad to say goodbye to this and I haven’t found a sweater with as vibrant a color since. I’m hoping my sweater will help fill that void in his wardrobe. So now, the stitching begins on his Sawyer and I’m hoping to make something really special for someone who is very special to me. But don’t worry, I’m sure there will be some smaller projects in between knitting this one. Sometimes I have to switch projects up to keep my mind fresh.

Any tips for seamed sweaters? I don’t know why these have intimated me for so long but I’m hoping it turns out really nice when I’m finished with it.

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FO: Mountain High

Mountain High (finished)
Saturday morning I finished off the second sleeve on my Mountain High sweater, blocked and let it air dry for a bit and then popped it in the dryer for 20 minutes on super low. That’s one of the great things about this Lion Brand Heartland yarn. It’s machine washable and dryer friendly since it’s a 75% acrylic to 25% wool blend. I actually like that it’s not overwhelming hot like a lot of my 100% wool sweaters tend to get. Plus the drape of this sweater turned out just lovely. I used the Acadia Tweed color, a soft cream with bits of rainbow colored thread throughout, but I could totally see myself knitting this sweater again or a basic raglan in a lot of the other colors they have with this yarn. I’m not a yarn snob, I will work with acrylics, wool, cotton, bamboo. I’ll give any fiber a try at least once! Plus I’ve got 2 skeins of it left so I think I’ll whip up a hat to go with my fall jacket.
Mountain High (finished)
When I saw this pattern I was interested in making it because I wanted to make a basic sweater in a neutral that I could wear all the time. I wanted something that was basic but didn’t look basic and the garter stitch detail down the center and sides turned a basic sweater into something special. Plus I love how it pulls away from the hips and has a soft swing to it.
Mountain High (finished)
Since I’m only 5 ft 4 inches I ended the body repeats early and only did a 2 inch garter stitch border instead of 3 inches. I didn’t want this to turn into a dress on me. I also did a 3/4 length sleeve because I love showing off my crazy Swatch watches and bracelets.
Mountain High (finished)
I’m so, so very happy about this piece. I really do want to knit it again in a different color because I fear this might be the only thing I wear on weekends. And I’m even wearing it to work today with a pencil skirt and some burnt orange tights to pick up the flecks in the sweater. It’s a super easy, top down construction and the garter stitch gives it just enough detail to make it special. I highly recommend getting this pattern on Ravelry. It is definitely one of my favorites.

Selfish Knitting

I learned how to knit in the spring of 2011. I think I truly fell in love with it about a year later with this project, the Day Brightener Ascot.
Ascot Scarf
To me it was a complex scarf with lace chart reading and new techniques I hadn’t tried before. I felt so proud of myself when I knit the first one (for my Mom) and each once since has gotten better and better. But as I got better, I got more requests and pressure to knit people things. Over the last few years I’ve learned how to say no politely but sometimes when your mom says, “you should knit everyone scarves for Christmas…” you feel like you have to do what your mom says (even at my age). But at the beginning of the year I told myself I needed to focus on knitting for myself, or selfish knitting as I like to call it. I’ve made so many things for my family and close friends but often I would not have anything to show for myself! My goal is that one day my closet will be filled with handknit sweaters and I’m starting to realize that goal is actually realistic for me.
A lot of sweaters
This year I’ve knit 18 adult garments. 10 tee/tank/short sleeve items and 8 elbow length/long sleeve items (Boothbay is missing from this photo). I’m finishing up Mountain Top this weekend (one sleeve left to go!) and that will make 19. Out of these 19 projects, 12 have been for myself but 2 I didn’t love and didn’t really wear. But 10 projects for myself isn’t bad at all. I’ve still got a few other things I want to cast on for myself and I’m in no hurry to knit for others right now – other than my husband. He has gotten the least and I’m starting an advanced sweater knitting class at my local yarn shop to work on a complex sweater pattern I want to make just for him. Hopefully by the time Thanksgiving rolls around and classes end I can whip up a few things for my sisters and my Mom but if I don’t before Christmas I am sure they will happily wear a sweater I made them in January too. I’m starting to realize I shouldn’t feel pressure to do anything because I learned to knit for me – not to supply others with hand knits. That’s just a perk of being my friend or family member. I don’t want to sell my goods, I don’t want to mass produce anything, I just want to make things that make me happy. And right now, selfish knitting is making me very happy.

Do you feel a lot of pressure to make for others to? How to do you handle requests?

Have a good weekend knitting friends!