Refreshed & the Number 14

I’m back as promised. It wasn’t a long hiatus but I spent the last few days in Savannah, Georgia with friends. You know your vacation is great when you take very few photos. Instead I laughed, ate a lot, drank a little and enjoyed being away. We even boarded the dogs at their favorite resort (and when I say resort I mean it because it’s just as nice as our own hotels) so we wouldn’t have 6:45am wake-ups every day. I admit I missed them but I love how much they miss me and are happy to see me when we return. But even better, we are back and today is our 14th wedding anniversary! Before we left I decided to pay for professional photos of us because although I do a decent job I wanted something that wasn’t so posed and captured our little family including the dogs. My former student has her own photography business, Amira Maxwell Photography and she let me know when she would be back in the DC area so we could schedule a date. She didn’t disappoint.

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Photo courtesy of Amira Maxwell Photography

We met her early on Sunday morning at the National Harbor since we live in Maryland and go to the harbor often. We also wanted a nice outdoor location for the dogs. It was a beautiful morning, with few people out and the Capital Wheel as our backdrop.

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Photo courtesy of Amira Maxwell Photography

Knowing Amira’s photography style I knew I wanted us to wear color so I put on my Saddle Shoulder Tee and picked out a very colorful shirt for my husband. I love how he goes along with whatever I suggest. And on the dogs, I bought them new harnesses and leashes from Learned Stitchworks. Unfortunately it was a cool 59 degrees that morning so I had to put a t-shirt on Jellybean or she would’ve just buried herself in my armpit.

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Photo courtesy of Amira Maxwell Photography

I’m so glad I decided to get photos taken. It’s nice to have pictures of us through someone else’s lens.

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Photo courtesy of  Amira Maxwell Photography

And if you’re interested in booking Amira or seeing the rest of our photos you can check them out on her website and see the rest of our pics here.

Stitching Status: Progress & Pups

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I’m making progress on my latest striped summer tee but for the last two nights this is how I’ve had to knit. With Jellybean in my lap staring back at me with puppy dogs eyes. I blame her shots from over the weekend for her wanting more love than what she already demands but she’s fine. And I’ll always take the extra cuddles.
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I was able to finish the second sleeve and added a stripe and a half last night from what you see here to my summer tee. I have started the color repeat over and am adding in another pink stripe. And every time I look at this sweater I laugh at how much color I use in projects. But it just wouldn’t be me if I knit in neutrals. I couldn’t see this top being varying shade of grey and me being as excited to finish it as I am. I don’t want this top to be too long so I keep trying it on to gauge how far I want to go before I add the bottom ribbing. I’m hoping I get to do each color stripe twice and then I’ll make the bottom ribbing orange since I’m not adding that as a stripe to the body. And in between knitting, I’ve been entertaining myself with the dogs.
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I randomly saw a post on Instagram for this backpack harness for dogs from Shop Dog and Co. I couldn’t resist. I even added in Jellybean’s favorite chew toy, a tiny bear with a squeaker in it to the backpack for added silliness.
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She treated it like any other harness and was running around with it on hoping we’d go outside for a walk. I know, I know it’s silly but man if it isn’t cute. And when we go places now I can pop her treats in her own bag instead of worrying about losing them in my massive tote bag. So that’s what I’m working on, what about you?

Lessons Learned: Short Row Shaping a Shoulder

I love to learn. I’m constantly looking for new skills, new things to excite me and it’s probably one of the reasons I love to teach and love social media. There’s always something new and fresh to learn about that subject. So a few years ago I took a class at my favorite local yarn shop, Fibre Space, to learn how to knit a saddle shoulder sweater. I knit this sweater, the Andover. I had high hopes for it because I lived in Andover, Massachusetts for a few years growing up but that wasn’t enough to make me like this project.
Andover without neckline finishing
I hate it. I think I’ve worn it once (if anyone wants it I’m more than happy to give it to you). And there are a couple of contributing factors to why I really don’t like this sweater:

  • The pattern wasn’t a good one to start with for a saddle stitch shoulder. There were errors in the pattern and at times points where it seemed like she stopped mid-thought and never finished her sentence. There were multiple charts to have to refer to for the cables on the sleeve and the body and it was just a lot for a first time saddle shoulder sweater. I took the class with one of my coworkers and she felt the same way and I don’t think she ever got beyond the 50% point.
  • I didn’t love my yarn choice for this one or the color. I used Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Superwash but in a purple I picked out for someone else and it just wasn’t my color so I wasn’t that excited about it. Plus one ball of it kept splitting on me.
  • My instructor made a comment to me about using an acrylic yarn for a hat I made from one of her patterns that left a bad taste in my mouth. I hate being yarn bullied. Everything can’t be made of organic wool sourced locally. It just can’t and I don’t think anyone should make anyone else feel bad about their choices of yarn. Period.

So overall, I just didn’t have a great experience but I said to myself that I liked learning how to do a saddle shoulder and would want to do that technique again. Unfortunately I don’t see that many patterns with saddle shoulders as an option, so I haven’t done one in 2 years. When I bought a bunch of colors of Berroco Pima 100 and wanted to make a fun striped tee for summer I decided it would be a saddle shoulder style and this weekend I embarked on that journey and I’m LOVING it this time around.
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I’m horrible about taking photos as I go along. I should’ve photographed the saddles and then what it looked like when attached but I didn’t. But what got me super excited was creating a sleeve cap using short row shaping! I’m at that point in the sweater construction where I have a little over an inch from under the arm and decided I was ready to make the sleeves since I just had body stripes left. I was so nervous that this wasn’t going to fit and was going to be too small so I was eager to get the sleeves on to see how it all worked out. I’ve been using my favorite book for basic construction and some notes and got to the part where they say you add in short rows around the saddle’s live stitches left at the shoulder and then continue all the way down with short rows to the last stitches of the sleeve. Um…it created this awesome shape. I HAVE A SLEEVE! I’m such a knitting nerd.
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Now I just have to do the same thing on the opposite side and then finish off the body. I picked colors I liked and didn’t have any rhyme or reason to them and I’m loving the big bold stripes and playing with so much color. It’s such a happy project. And when I love a project it flies off my needles so this one might be finished by the end of the week!
Stages of emotion
And in other news, does anyone else feel bad taking their dog to the vet? Saturday was Jellybean’s day to get shots and go through annual exams. And these were her stages of emotion. Excitement to go with me all by herself and even ride in the car, then the realization that she was going to the vet, then the relief once it was over and then the clingy/need for extra love that comes after the shots (that’s her curled up in my arms in a blanket on the couch on the bottom). She was a trooper, had some soreness the next day and walked a bit slower but seems to be back to her spunky self. Oh and she gained a pound…so we’ll be cutting back on those treats that we spoil her with!