Weekend Update: Mother’s Day 2017

How do the weekends fly by so quickly and the week days seem to drag on forever?
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It’s Monday but I’m going on vacation soon so I’m not really mad that this week is starting. It just gets me closer to going away for some rest and relaxation. It was Mother’s Day weekend and I hope you all had a great weekend being celebrated or celebrating your own mother. We started our Sunday off taking family photos with the dogs. One of my former students started her own photography business and she travels for work and let me know she was going to be in DC and available to take family pics for me. I was so excited. It was a bit cooler in the morning so I had to put a shirt on Jellybean (she was still shivering a bit) but it warmed up, Cher was a ham in front of the camera and hopefully we got some great shots. I wore my Saddle Shoulder Striped tee and found a colorful plaid button-up for the husband to wear.
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Add in new harnesses and leashes for the girls and a backdrop of the National Harbor and the Capital Wheel and I’m pretty sure we’ve got some great pics.
Mother's Day
My Sunday evening was spent with my family. My sisters and I talked about going out to dinner for Mother’s Day and just weren’t too enthused so I volunteered to cook and they brought the wine and my Mom along. We had a lovely meal and a lot of laughs. Pretty great for a Mother’s Day in my book. How was your weekend? How did you celebrate?

Sweater Knitting: Picking Colors

sweaterknitting
I get two questions when it comes to my knitting: how do you knit that much and how do you come up with these color combos? It always tickles me that my knitting output and my color selection are the top questions but I’ve been asked so much recently about how I come up with these color combos I thought I’d talk about my inspiration behind some of my picks and share a few ideas I have for the future as part of my slow going Sweater Knitting Series.
Family Photos 1982
First, I should let you know that I’ve been color obsessed since I can remember. My mother dressed me in color and pattern all the time but at an early age I asked to pick out my clothes and had a strong opinion on what I wanted wear. I picked paint colors, wallpaper and carpet for my childhood bedrooms and my parents gave me a lot of creative freedom to pick what I liked regardless of how much they didn’t agree with my choices. I’m thankful they let me express myself. When it comes to picking color combinations it’s really just about what inspires me, what makes me happy and what I think is just fun. My husband (who has mid-range colorblindness) tells me that I clearly see a very vivid world. I agree with him.
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So here’s a prime example of inspiration inspiring a color palette. This is a random picture of a sunrise I took one morning when I was walking the dogs. But within this I see a great color combo that is similar to…
Cracked Pepper Cardigan
My color combo from my Cracked Pepper cardigan! A lot of times I say to myself ‘I really should knit a neutral’ but in the end there’s always a POP of color because I can’t just do a full grey sweater. That isn’t fun to wear. And neon peach surprisingly goes well with lots of other colors. On the color wheel it’s opposite blue so I pair this sweater a lot with varying shades of blue.

Pairings
Left to right: Lemonade Shop Sparkle DK in Girls Gone Wild, Madelinetosh Neon Peach, Hedgehodge Fibers Merino DK in Pucker and Madelinetosh Torchere

Currently I’ve been using the subtle colors and tones in yarns to create a color palette. This all started with wanting to pair the Madelinetosh Neon Peach with Torchere without really mixing in any neutrals. I’ve been thinking of a bold sweater for fall. Both of these initial yarns have ribbons of pink in them so I’ve added in a Lemonade Shop color pink that picks up the pink in the Neon Peach and a Hedgehodge Fibers color Pucker that pulls together the peach and the deeper pinks of Torchere. Now to ground this out I may actually use black for ribbing/bands since there are some black flecks in the lightest pink yarn but other than that it’s a color explosion of pink and orange. That’s how I come up with a color palette. I just see it in the subtle tones and stripes that vary in the color.
Striped saddle shoulder sweater
For me, the more colors and the brighter they are the more I love it. And that’s what really inspired my Saddle Shoulder Striped tee, it was just a lot of happy color. It’s a lot to some but to me this is perfection. Meanwhile others love how subtle the Cosette tee’s colorblocking looks.
Cosette final
This was just based on what colors in the entire palette of Pima 100 could I blend with the pink and purple I already had in my pile of leftovers. The heathered pink and blue make for great transitional colors to make this color spectrum work. But I also see making this top in a neutral like a pale grey or white and adding in a gorgeous green as the pop color. For me color is happiness. I pull at the little flecks of color in a yarn to find that color combo you wouldn’t expect. I use the underlying color to make contrasting color choices. But honestly, for the most part I just try to make it fun. So how do you go about choosing your colors? 

FO: Cosette Tee

I feel like I’ve been on a roll with summer knits lately. But of course when I say, “no I won’t knit myself that hat because it’s warm out…” the weather takes a nose dive. It’s been cold and rainy and insanely breezy so I haven’t worn my latest finished object but it was light enough when I got home from work to take pictures!
Cosette final
Here is the Cosette tee, part of the Berroco Pima 100 collection. I wanted to make this tee when I saw the pattern and then I saw a sample in store at Fibre Space and immediately new I wanted to make it as my next project. It’s knit from cuff to cuff so the stitches go side to side instead of up and down so I decided why not play with doing vertical stripes for this one. So how does one set that up for this pattern?
Cosette color blocks
I colored on my schematic of course. I use the Bamboo Paper app on my iPad a lot to make notes and draw on top of patterns. So I decided to color block out how I thought it should go and then I read through the pattern and figured out the easiest places to do a new color join. Essentially anywhere there wasn’t a decrease or increase in the pattern was where I decided to add a new color. It’s the same on both sides but I found that the blue/purple side has a row or two more than the pink side. Of course only I notice that. And since I didn’t do a solid color I decided to add a few rows to the neckline instead of just picking up and doing a purl bind-off immediately.
Cosette final
I also thought using the navy blue yarn would be a nice way to pull it all together. Initially I was only going to make this with five colors and make the center a stripe of purple but when I saw the lavender shade of yarn I decided to just make it an even six color blocks. And you already saw I barely had enough purple yarn left but hey it worked out in this instance.
Cosette in stages
This is what it looks like once you’ve knit it from cuff to cuff (see how it matches the schematic?). It was hard to wrap my brain around this piece and I kept worrying it wouldn’t fit but I had to trust that my gauge was right and I was doing what I was supposed to do. Once you knit it, you fold it in half.
Cosette in stages
And then you just have to sew up the side seams! Of course the first time around I was slightly off and had to take out the pink seam and redo it. I was proud of myself for seaming it fairly neatly on both sides. I don’t love seaming but hey you gotta do what you gotta do.
Cosette final
I love how the piece curves around the hips and back and when you block it the piece grows a bit. The bottom is finished off with picking up stitches all the way around and then just doing a purled bind-off. It leaves a slightly raised edge. I actually felt like my ends were clean enough to leave on their own but I think they did this so that it wouldn’t curl up on you. And it’s funny, I think I like the pink side more but overall I like this fun color palette in general. I’m glad I opted for more color. And I could see myself making this again with all white and then one big block of green or something.
Cosette final
Again, I really do love working with the Berroco Pima 100 yarn. In the images where I’m wearing the tee this was after I washed it on delicate cycle in my washing machine and let it air dry. It holds up well and is soft and light on the body. It’s a perfect summer weight and it’s making me think about knitting more light weight cotton sweaters for fall and even winter. It’s still soft but not as hot and heavy as a lot of my wool sweaters are at times. Especially when we have mild winters around here in the Maryland/DC area. Next up I’m working on a test knit for Alicia Plummer again for a summer tee. Her version uses Quince and Co Kestrel yarn but I have leftover Berroco Maya from my Bragita top from last year that I’m using. I’ve really wanted to try some of the Quince and Co yarn but it’s a bit on the expensive side so I’ve held off on making a purchase. So what are you working on for summer right now?