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.
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.
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!

In My Queue: So Faded

Over the years I’ve learned to never say never because whenever I do, inevitably I end up doing the thing I never said I’d do. Example: when I was in the 5th grade I had to give a presentation about the state of Massachusetts (we lived in North Carolina at the time) and one of the questions you had to answer was would you ever want to move to the state you’re researching? My response…NEVER. We moved there about a year and a half later. That was just the beginning of a long list of things I’d say never to (drinking coffee, going to the same university that my older sisters went to, getting married…) that ended up happening anyway. So when it comes to knitting I am clear about my preferences but have learned to never say never. Another example, I’ve let friends know of my distaste of fingering weight yarn and small needles and then…
Find Your Fade finished
I used 7 skeins of fingering weight yarn and made my Find Your Fade shawl. I loved this project and was okay with it because it was worked up on size 6 needles. I wear this baby nonstop. So yesterday when I saw the So Faded sweater I was conflicted…

So Faded Sweater via Andrea Mowry on Ravelry
So Faded Sweater via Andrea Mowry on Ravelry

Do I really want to knit a fingering weight yarn sweater? But I love color fading…but I prefer dk weight or worsted. And she worked up a pattern for smaller sizes too! What about the kids in my life?! It’s a simple pattern I’m sure I could work it out myself…but I could just buy it and be done with it. And then I saw: Save 15% off of all my Faded patterns – So Faded, So Faded Pint Sized and Find Your Fade with the coupon code FADED! Sale ends 4/19/2017 at midnight EST! The choice was easy, I bought the pattern and pulled the skeins of fingering weight I have in my stash out and this might be one of my preparing for fall sweaters I make. For some reason I have pretty skeins of green yarn in fingering weight I’ve been stashing and this might turn into a gorgeous green sweater for myself and I don’t even have to buy yarn. I’m a sucker for knitting. And if you were thinking about making the Find Your Fade shawl and haven’t bought the pattern get it while she’s having a sale today!

FO: Little Women Cardigan

Little Women Lillian cardigan
One of my  favorite books of all time is Little Women. I have sisters and I’m the youngest and it just always stuck with me when I was a kid. Plus I love all the movie versions. I haven’t read it in years but for Christmas my BFF Jess gave me this lovely illustrated version as one of my gifts and I just adore the cover. I think the colors seeped into my subconscious and made me order the Crystal Palace Panda Pearl yarn in Tropical Parrot because it was similar in color (minus the teal).
Crystal Palace Panda Pearl
I ordered this yarn without any real project in mind or without knowing how it would feel. It was on sale on Little Knits for 60% off. The skeins are typically $18.90 a piece and instead were marked down to $7.56 so I decided to give it a try – the description won me over. I’m so glad I did because it is the PERFECT spring/summer/fall yarn. It’s 53% Bamboo, 42% Merino Wool and 5% Silk and it feels so soft and light in your hands, it’s like a little cloud. The drape is also beautiful and the way the color worked up turned into a wonderful surprise with a slight sheen to it. I was sort of expecting stripes but instead I got this abstract camouflage print that I love. So when I got the wonderfully squishy hanks in the mail, I immediately decided the baby dress I was working on but realized I had twisted the join and didn’t care to cast on 188 stitches again could wait. I needed to make something with this squishy yarny goodness, but what?
Ever since I made my cousin Safia the Lillian cardigan in this lovely green back in 2015 I’ve wanted one for myself. When she was visiting last month we talked about how much she loves that cardigan and wears it all the time. And I said to myself, I need to make myself a Lillian at some point and then I decided that I’d make it with this yarn but in a lighter, short sleeved version for spring and into summer. The end result is what I’m calling my Little Women Cardigan.
Little Women Lillian cardigan
It turned out exactly how I wanted it to in my mind. I made two small modifications: short, elbow length sleeves and since the yarn was much lighter and had lots of drape I opted out of a ribbed neckband and went with garter stitch instead. I think it was the right choice because ribbing would’ve just been too flimsy on this one.
Little Women Lillian cardigan
The cardigan has a deep green, pink, a peachy/muted orange and teal in it. It matches so many things in my wardrobe. And I can’t say enough how much I love how the color pools and creates this abstract pattern. To highlight the little bit of sheen in the yarn when I wore it to work this week I paired it with a pale pink tee with rose gold dots and a dark green pencil skirt. It wore well through the day and I had just a little bit of fuzz on the inside of the sweater from wear but the outside held up beautifully. I’m absolutely obsessed with this yarn and ordered a bit more in a gorgeous red and a natural cream color for another light pullover I want to make for fall.
Little Women Lillian cardigan
I still have 3 full skeins and about one 1/2 skein left and don’t know what I’ll do with it but I know I definitely want to make something else with this dreamy yarn. I totally plan on wearing this baby all the time because even though it’s only April my office is already freezing!

Has anyone else ever given this yarn a try? Or what other kinds of dreamy yarns are out there that I don’t know about?