Spring Knitting Aspirations

I’ve been off my game since the beginning of the year. But I also told myself that 2018 was going to be a year of lots of changes and I’ve definitely been making smaller changes in my life so as not to overwhelm or scare myself.  I think it’s partially why I’ve been knitting small things, I can handle just a little bit at a time and I get the satisfaction of a finished object. And to be honest, knitting sweaters just hasn’t appealed to me right now – and that’s okay! But I did see this post from Alice Caetano on Instagram asking for test knitters and I volunteered. I really like her designs and I thought it might get my sweater knitting mojo back.
test knit
Spring is coming and I love a good light weight knit that I can wear to work and throughout the summer but to be honest, I’ve slogged along on this one, NOT because of the pattern! The pattern is lovely and taught me new things but I’d work on it a bit and then put it down. I just feel like my mind is somewhere else and thinking of something else small to make. Luckily, she gave me about a 6 week time period to finish this top and I’ve finished all the complex stuff (the pleat detail around the shoulder was definitely interesting) and now I’ve just got about 6 inches of the body left in straight stockinette, no increases, before I get to 2 inches of ribbing. And as I’ve been slowly working on the body I’ve been feeling like my sweater knitting mojo is coming back and I’ve started to think about what I want to knit for spring/summer. I’m also looking to my yarn stash to really use up yarn I bought but never used to work my stash down to something a bit smaller.
Berroco Weekend DK Color Palette
I’ve got a ton of Berroco Weekend DK (now discontinued) in these three colors and I’ve figured out how I want to mix and match the colors to make these two tops for spring.

Arbus by Bristol Ivy
Arbus by Bristol Ivy via Ravelry

When I saw Arbus by Bristol Ivy I knew it was going to be one I wanted to cast on. Her pattern construction is always so unique and keeps me engaged. I think this will be mainly the green color with the peach as the secondary color. I haven’t decided on keeping the cropped sleeve length or just making it short sleeved. We shall see.

Durumi by Isabell Kraemer
Durumi by Isabell Kraemer via Ravelry

And I know most people thing about colorwork as a winter thing but as soon as I saw Durumi by Isabell Kraemer in the latest issue of Pom Quarterly I immediately thought well that will be bright and cheery for spring and great as a short sleeved top! So I will use the peach for the top portion, make the triangles in the dark green and use the pebble color for the remainder of the body. And it will help me use up most of my stash!

In the meantime, I’m still knitting small things. I finished 10 hats and cowls this month! I even surprised myself when I did that tally. But more on that on Friday.

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FO: Custom Design Caldwell Cape

One of my knitting goals this year was to have more confidence in my abilities as a knitter. I know I am always learning and growing in my skills but I have to trust in what I do know and I need to push myself more. A couple of years ago I was at a dog park with Cher (which she hates we learned that day) and I saw a woman in a gorgeous Kelly green cape. Of course being a knitter, I asked her about it and she told me her grandmother knit it for her over 40 years ago and it was her favorite piece because of its sentimental value and because it was just a great cape. It really was lovely and it made me think I could really go beyond my hats and scarves and mittens. So when I was on the phone with my BFF Jess 2 weeks ago talking about wanting a cape/poncho but couldn’t find a pattern I liked she said, ‘just make one up!’ I decided she was right and I thought about that gorgeous cape and wanting to make something just as special for myself. Meet my Caldwell Cape.
Custom cape
First let’s get into the details:

You will probably remember from this post what my criteria was for a cape. In case you forgot, I wanted a collar for the chill against my neck, I wanted it to not be too long since I’m short, it needed to have buttons so I wouldn’t have to pull it over my head like a poncho and I wanted slits so I could easily pull out my arms.
Custom cape
Much to my surprise and delight, I hit every single point on my list. I am beyond thrilled that I was able to pull this off. I sketched it out, did a gauge swatch and just started knitting. Here’s what it looks like when I pull my arms out of the slits. I finished off the armholes by picking up stitches, knitting one row and then binding off – just so the edges were clean and didn’t get frayed from me pulling my arms out.
Custom cape
Here’s what I look like when I pull the arms inside of the cape. Although honestly, they’ll probably always be outside of the cape because I kind of look like I have on a straight jacket like this. LOL
Custom cape
I created this piece by essentially modifying circular yoke cardigan construction, I thought the drape of a circular yoke would work best for a cape. I didn’t want you to really see the increase like you would with a raglan, I wanted this to have a smooth, gradual shape to it. I considered doing some short rows and making the back slightly longer but wasn’t sure if I’d have enough yarn (all of this yarn came out of my stash) and decided I just wanted it to run evenly across the bottom. I created the slits by simply putting stitches on hold for the back and second front piece once I got to a point that I thought I wanted slits on the poncho. I worked 45 rows, put those stitches on hold and then did 45 rows for the next section and then the last and then just rejoined them all together. That was the hardest part, figuring out where I wanted the slits to fall and hoping the placement was right after it was blocked and the collar was added. Since I didn’t have a button band or collar it was a little tricky to figure out how it would really sit on my shoulders but I got it! Each slit starts 50 stitches from the edge, which is just shy of where you would separate the sleeves from the body in a cardigan. Luckily, my placement was perfect.
Custom cape
The yarn for the yoke of this cape is so special and unique. I absolutely love it. I bought it a while ago and was saving it for something special and I’m glad I used it for this project. I wanted to make a neutral cape to wear with everything but I still needed it to have some interest and this color is just magical. I still have a skein and a half left so perhaps there will be fingerless mitts or a hat to go with it for fall? The colors in the Lemonade Shop are absolutely stunning and I just want to try every colorway she has in her shop. I also love the buttons I picked out. I knew I wanted black buttons but the sparkly fuchsia flecks pull out the bright pink in the yarn and I just love how it all comes together.
Custom cape
And of course whenever I’m taking any photos, this one isn’t too far away from me and always wanting a little attention. I am super happy about how this turned out and this just encourages me to try more things in the future when I can’t find what I want. I can’t say I’ll never do pattern design for the masses (Um…that’s a lot of math and trying to figure things out for multiple sizes seems like a daunting task) but I’ve learned to never say never. I can definitely say I see doing this for myself more in the future though. And I finished it just in time for chilly spring mornings this week. I’m going to wear this as much as I can before summer really hits!

In My Stash: Madelinetosh Tosh Vintage

Before I get into today’s yarny goodness, I just wanted to let you guys know despite the sudden summer like weather I’m still chugging along on my cape. I’ve got a couple more inches of the body left and then I’m going to block it before I pick up my neckband and button bands. I’ll try to take some pictures and share on Friday. It’s coming along just perfectly and I can’t wait to share it when I’m finished. Okay…now back to yarn.
20150706_181426
As I’ve been working on baby things for friends, I realize despite the warmer temps I love the feel of good wool yarn. I bought this Madelinetosh Tosh Vintage from Webs last year and I love it. The color is Kilim and it’s simply stunning in person. Seriously these photos don’t do it justice.
20150706_181525
But here’s the problem, it’s so pretty I don’t want to knit with it. Am I insane? I find that what stays in my stash are the expensive yarns because I feel like I want to find the perfect pattern because the yarn is so perfect…but I never find the right pattern! So help me out and give me some suggestions on what you’d knit with this lovely yarn? I have 1400 yards and it’s worsted weight, so I can knit a sweater but which one?! And I want to make something with it and soon because Maryland Sheep & Wool festival is next month (are you going?) and I am going to buy yarn so I need to destash to make room!

All suggestions are welcome.