Stitching Status: Anger & Angelina

I’ve felt a bit crappy for the last few days and I realized the other night it was anger and a bit of exhaustion. It’s a hectic time for me as classes begin next week so I’m back to working two jobs, stress then makes my back ache and then on top of that the world seems to be a chaotic mess. I’ve had several moments where I’m watching the news, the President makes a statement and I find I have to abruptly turn off the TV and go walk the dogs or sit and knit in silence with a dog in my lap.
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This has kind of become my normal view point when I want to drown out the outside noise. Knitting and a yawning Jellybean who loves to sit on and walk inside of my knitting. And clearly I’ve wanted to drown out the noise a lot because I’ve made some good progress in a few days.

{Note: I’ve talked about my feelings and the election and my race on this blog numerous times but in all honesty I don’t want to talk about that. So I’m going to talk about what makes me happy when I’m not and that’s knitting.}

I typically don’t do a lot of cable knits because I find them annoying. Plus I usually use such bold color combos I feel like cables would be too much. But in the latest issue of Interweave Knits I fell madly and deeply in love with the Angelina pullover.

Photography for Interweave Knits Fall 2017 by Nathan Rega
Angelina Pullover via Ravelry

The soft cables at the yoke, the curved hemline (a favorite of mine) and a shortened and slightly belled sleeve. It’s perfection. Plus I tend to make a ton of cardigans because I like layers but I know I need a few good pullovers in my closet too.
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So I pulled out the sweater quantity stash of Berroco Ultra Alpaca I was going to use for an Equation sweater (that I now think I want to make in an insanely bright hot pink), whipped up a swatch and cast on Sunday for my Angelina. I finished all the cables in the yoke on Tuesday and separated for sleeves. By the second to last cable I was pretty over cables but I think they turned out beautifully. Mind you there were a few mistakes I was able to correct and I’m pretty sure there are a few knit stitches in between the cables that should be purls but whatever, it looks good to me!
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Now I’ve got 14 1/2 glorious inches of stockinette stitch in the round before I get to the short row shaping for the hem. I’m pretty sure I’ll stop halfway through the body knitting and make the sleeves so I feel like I’m making more progress. I’ve never used this yarn before but once blocked my swatch felt very light and soft. right now this baby is heavy and dense, so here’s hoping the magic that is blocking turns this into a perfect green version of what I saw in the magazine.

So that’s what I’m working on to keep myself sane, how about you?

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FO: The Pink Professor

I’ve been using the Summer of Basics Makealong to propel my fall knitting for myself forward. Unfortunately I’ve been a little too excited about my knitting to sew up my dress but I will get there…eventually. In the meantime, how about another finished knit? The Pink Professor is off my needles, blocked and ready to become a wardrobe staple this year. And funny fact, although I am an adjunct professor I hardly ever wear a wool sweater in my classroom because it’s insanely hot. I’ll die of a heat stroke, so I typically teach in light layers.
The Pink Professor
And now on to the details…first I have to say that I love a lot of yarn but Madelinetosh is by far a favorite brand. Her colors are just out of this world and speak to me. Whenever she has a sale or I have the opportunity to get a sweater quantity at a discount (yarn.com is a particularly favorite site of mine) I jump at the chance. Knitting with good quality yarn makes such a difference and it makes you want to pick your needles up and knit on forever.
Pink Professor progress
These are the last stages of the sweater since I posted about my process on sweater knitting. I moved quickly with this one just because it was such great yarn to work with.
The Pink Professor
I’m working on understanding short row shaping more and I figured the only way I could truly learn is to incorporate it in things I knit so I did it with a shawl collar this time. I’ve done it before but always find my collars don’t fold as well as I want, they’re just not as thick  and deep (like how well the collar flips on my Royally Striped cardigan) as I always hope they’ll be when I’m finished. But it does look good on when it isn’t flipped down so I don’t mind the finished project but that just means I have to keep on testing and learning to get exactly what I want.
The Pink Professor
I also decided to add a faux seam detail to the sweater. It was such a simple and plain cardigan that I was trying to add little bits of detail here and there and this was simple a garter stitch stripe that runs down the side seam.
The Pink Professor
And once it was finished and blocked I really felt like it needed something else, so I added in an afterthought pocket. I had originally planned to make a pocket and then said no once I finished. But then I realized I only used 5 skeins of the 7 I had (just 1,000 yards) and used them up almost completely. And then I thought well I’ve got the yarn left…so I wound up another ball and whipped up two small pockets to add to the front. I tried to place them in the same spot on both ends and felt like I could’ve added them slightly further back but also didn’t want to get to close to the seam. Either way it’s nice to have something to throw my phone into or my hands into on a particularly chilly day. Pockets are always a good choice, right?
Pink Professor planning
The other thing I’m super proud of is that I sketched this out and essentially made what I sketched. I wanted something with a bit of ease, super simple in structure and shape and with pockets. I’m always amazed that I can sketch something out and then make it a reality.
The Pink Professor
That’s the thing about knitting that I love so much, I can actually make clothes with my two hands. And I’ve finally gotten better at reading my swatch to determine length and ease so my sleeves hit me in just the right place! Sometimes they can be a bit short or way too long. I have enough ease in this to wear something underneath and it’s not too fitted in the sleeves, I wanted to make sure I had room to layer under this. I am super proud and when I make things like this with great success I just want to make more and more…and so I will. And on another note…I’ve been playing with the idea of doing a video podcast, to show more of my knitting and things in progress and talk about yarns and stuff that I just don’t do here. Would you be interested? Would you watch? Let me know so I can make a decision on what to do next!

Sweater Knitting: The Process

In July of 2015 I bought this sweater quantity (1400 yards) of Madelinetosh Vintage in the colorway Kilim on sale. It is gorgeous. Pictures don’t do it justice to all the flecks of color in this dusty pink yarn. I love it.
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But the yarn was so gorgeous that I kept trying to find the perfect sweater to make with it but couldn’t find anything good enough for it. I was at the beginning of my sweater knitting craze in 2015 so my skills weren’t where they are currently so I just kept looking lovingly at that yarn in it’s drawer. And this summer I’ve been trying to dig through my stash (and actually document it on Ravelry) and really use up a lot of what I have in order to move on and buy more yarn. Plus I know I love how good Madelinetosh feels and I wanted to knit with it. So I decided it was time to pull out the insanely gorgeous yarn and just make something as part of my Summer of Basics Makealong projects.
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On Friday night while my husband and I have pizza and watch a movie I finished off another little dress for a baby girl and then decided to swatch the yarn for the next project.
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I decided to use size 9 needles, they’re my favorite. They’re not too small and not too big. Pre-blocking my swatch was 5 stitches per inch and post-blocking and drying it worked it’s way down to 4 stitches per inch. The magic of blocking folks. It truly changes your yarn.
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Saturday morning I got up and looked at my blocked swatch and decided to go ahead and make myself a very basic raglan sweater. I’m going for simple stockinette stitch because the yarn really does speak for itself, garter stitch bands and a shawl collar. I did add a little faux side seam because why not? And I’m considering picking up stitches and doing some patch pockets and perhaps adding elbow patches. I’m calling this one the Pink Professor because it seams like it would be a scholarly kind of knit plus I’m a professor. Although my classroom is always so hot I never wear my knits to lecture.
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As of Tuesday night I’ve gotten 9 inches of body from the point of separating from the sleeves. My hope is that by Wednesday night I can finish the body and by Saturday finish the sleeves. So far it fits really nicely and I’m hoping once it’s blocked there will be a bit more ease to it. I want it to be like a nice boyfriend cardigan but I added in waist shaping because I didn’t want it to just be a big box on me. I thought I’d document this one via my Instagram stories because so many people say they don’t think I sleep and I just knit. And I thought it would be a good one for my Sweater Knitting Series on how I actually go through a sweater from swatching to blocking. And I promise and I sleep and don’t knit in my sleep. I’m in bed passed out every night by 10:30/11pm. I promise.
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But Jellybean is also a tiny drill sergeant and makes me knit faster and faster so she has more warm yarn to burrow under. Perhaps that’s the secret to my success? So when it comes to really awesome yarn, how do you decide what to make with it?