Cinderella Cardigan

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      “Shiver and quiver, my little tree, Silver and gold throw down over me.”
    -Cinderella by the Grimm Brothers

At last a sweater has escaped my knitting needles. This was 10 months in the making and took far too long, but the results are pretty nice I think.

Cinderella is my favorite fairytale, so when one of my favorite yarn dyers, Astral Bath offered up a lavender dusted with grey called Cinderella, I knew I had to own it and put in a custom order. Silk blend bases only for this color and well worth it.

The yarn arrived quite true to the description, as if Cinderella has been hard at work in the ash, but what pattern would work well with the dark patches in the yarn? I dove into my Japanese stitch dictionaries and found a simple stitch pattern that reminded me of little specks or cinders.

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I also knew I wanted to try patterning the sweater around the waist so I set out playing with the spacing of each dot and doing math to figure out how to get the spaces just right at the waist. Thankfully I have CustomFit to make the knitting pattern. I just had to apply the stitch pattern how I wanted.

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Overall I’m happy with the finished product and I’m sure I will wear it a ton. The wool, silk, and cashmere blend is light enough for spring and also to ward off the summer office air conditioning. However it isn’t quite as perfect as I’d hoped and for a couple reasons.

For one my bust has shrunk over the last year by 2.5 inches. So the fit is a little bigger than I’d like up top.

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The sweater is also just too long. The large bust, silk content, and pattern calculation errors joined forces against my desires. CustomFit makes great patterns, but there is also a bit of learning curve to modifying the patterns it creates. I know I like my sweaters to be about 13-14 inches from underarm to hem, but when I request that length in the software I get a cardigan that is 15-16 inches instead. This is not the software’s fault. If I were to button the cardigan the negative ease at bust and hip would bring up the length. However since I wear my cardigans open and now own a smaller bust this sweater isn’t what I hoped.

My next sweater is already on the needles and I’m exited to see if I’ve improved on the fit. Hopefully it takes me fewer than 10 months to complete!

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Why I Marched

Considered this part craft post and part political. You’ve been warned!

Yesterday my mom and I joined roughly 750,000 of our friends and neighbors in a march/rally in Los Angeles. I have never seen so many people in one place before. It was inspiring, and yes, I made Pussy Hats.

The first one turned out a little on the small side, so it was instantly claimed by my pink obsessed 4 year old. She thinks pussy only applies to a cat and I aim to keep it that way for now. She was just excited to have a cozy hat and it came in really handy when I took her ice skating on MLK Day.

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The other 2 hats were worn by my mom and I to the Women’s March LA. I mostly followed the idea of the pattern, but worked it in the round and used a 3 needle bind off for the top. Part of what I loved about the pussy hat project was that there were many ways to make one with the same general result. Not as many people in hats in LA as other cities, but it was also a really bright and sunny day. Wasn’t hard to feel a tad on the warm side between the sun and the crowd.

I used Astralbath Yarn in Spectra held doubt. I know Ridgely would be happy to have her yarn used for a political purpose. She’s awesome. It had been gifted to me by another knitting friend Mary and it was just the perfect amount for our 3 hats. I wish I’d had the time to make and mail one to my sister too, but I didn’t quite make it in time. Sorry sister!

In case you can’t tell my main sign said “healthy families = a healthy America”. I saw a ton of signs yesterday and they covered a huge range of issues, healthcare, education, marriage equality, immigration, and yes…abortion. I’ve been sad to scan through my Facebook feed and see that my more conservative friends and family seem to have put their blinders on to only focus on the abortion issue.

So I encourage people on both sides of the aisle to look at the bigger picture. There are lots and lots of ways that we could lower the need for abortions. Here are just a few ideas

  • Better sex education
  • Make higher education more affordable
  • Make birth control easily accessible
  • Lower the cost of healthcare
  • Paid maternity leave
  • Equal pay for equal work
  • Affordable child care
  • Teaching girls to be more confident
  • Teaching all children “No means no”

If the United States improved in these areas we would lessen the need for any woman to face the often difficult decision of whether to have an abortion. So instead of focusing on a single issue I am choosing to focus on the many ways we can make women’s lives better.

After attending marches yesterday I know many people are left asking what next? The organizers of the march have put out the first step in a 10 step plan. It starts with reaching out to your representatives, and whether you marched or not I encourage everyone to take part. The only way to make our message clear is to SAY SOMETHING. So go out and do it. Start being the change you want to see in our nation and our communities.

 

 

Taming the Sailors Shawl

Well hello there! I’m back and feeling rested and ready to tackle some new projects again! My husband has been in Argentina for the last month and when combined with solo parenting and Stepbet I have been one exhausted lady! But now my husband is home again. I got two consecutive full nights of sleep and I’m a whole new woman.

So today I’m here to share a shawl I knit earlier this summer. I’m not much of a shawl wearer, but about once a year I get a hankering to knit lace just because I want to. Shawls are the best projects for random lace knitting!

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This is the gorgeous Sandpiper Shawl from Laura Aylor. I’ve had my eye on this design for the last year, but I just couldn’t decide on what yarn to use. Then as the warm weather set in I found myself in need of a small project I could knit on my lunch breaks.

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Plus I had a gorgeous single skein of Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in Jacaranda Bloom. This is a color Madelinetosh created at my recommendation and this skein was sent to me as a gift from a fellow knitter. How did I leave it sitting unloved for almost 3 years?!?!

The main body of the shawl is Astral Bath Spectra in the delightfully titled color Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash while the eyelet row is Spectra in Naked. Hmmm, this is starting to sound like an R rated shawl. Ha!

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And because my husband wasn’t home you all get to experience more photos from a 4 year old photographer. Lu took great joy in making me do all kinds of poses to show off the size of the shawl.

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As you can see it is quite generously sized. I used about 700 yards of yarn all together and this nicely covers my shoulders. It only took about 6 weeks worth of lunch time knitting to complete! Highly recommended pattern!!!


And now I’ll also talk a little bit about fitness and Stepbet. I have no intention of making this a fitness blog, but I thought it may prove useful for others to hear a review.

One of the groups where I hang out on Ravelry has been on a huge fitness kick in recent years, but generally I don’t participate in their contests because it is so hard to balance my personal life and finding the time to work out can be tough. However someone brought up the idea of all joining a Stepbet contest and I jumped at the chance to take part in something where I felt I could succeed.

The idea behind the app is everyone puts the same amount of money into the pot and all the people who make their own personal goal for all 5 weeks gets to split the pot.

Pros

  • Everyone gets their own personal goal. The goals are set by the game, but most people had achievable numbers. Mine were roughly 9,300 for active days and 12,000 for stretch days.
  • It got me moving! I did not realize quite how sedentary I’d become until I had to walk several miles each day, 6 days a week.
  • I won cash! I don’t know the final amount yet, but it is probably about $10.
  • It was fun to do with a group of other people and we all cheered each other on.

Cons

  • The biggest negative is that you are basically rooting for people to fail if you want to win any more money than what you put in. You need more than 25% of people to lose. Kind of sad.
  • 5 weeks of having no free time got me a whole $10.
  • There is no room for bad days. Like when my younger daughter decided to wake up for the day at 3am and I was a total wreck I still had to walk my ass off. 100F heat and extremely poor air quality from a wildfire? Still had to figure out a way to walk miles and miles.
  • When it started I didn’t own a Fitbit or other step tracking device so I had to carry my phone. At first it wasn’t so bad, but I quickly got really tired of carrying my phone every single place I went. It got even more annoying when I got a Fitbit and saw I was walking on average 1,000 steps more than my phone registered.

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But I won and it feels great! I plan to keep up walking, but maybe not quite to the same level. I’m still sorting out what I want my plan to be, but I’m thinking a goal of 10,000 steps 4-5 days a week. I’d also like to add more stretching to my day as my muscles feel really tight.

I think my Ravelry group is going to work on a new contest. Something where its a good thing if everyone wins, because who wants their friend to fail? Not me!

 

This Isn’t the Whole Rainbow?

Woot! Woot! I finished knitting a sweater. The best sweater ever because it has 6 shades of purple. It’s like a whole rainbow with only my most favorite color!

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Yay purple!

I’ve been knitting this sucker for 2 whole months straight and I could have it done in nearly half the time except I had to rip the whole thing apart when I discovered it was too large. Way way way too large.

I won’t lie. It was painful to pull apart all the little lengths of yarn from each stripe. But in the end I am so glad I persevered to finish. Worth it.

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The pattern is Jagged Little Stripe from Mary Annarella. Mary is a fantastic knit wear designer. Everything she creates is classic with a fun twist and her patterns are wonderfully clear. Its a treat to knit them.

I did need to alter the pattern for a couple reasons. 1) I was using a gradient set as the main color and 2) I needed to add more stitches to the front to accommodate my bust and tummy.

Working with a gradient set came with some challenges. I needed to figure out how to work with the stripes to make sure the colors transitions naturally. What I found through trial and error was that it didn’t matter where in the color sequence I ended for the short rows. In order to achieve my vision I only needed to start with the lightest color at the shoulder and the first row of the waist slash. Then finish the hem, sleeves, and waist slash with the darkest color. I also made sure to end the first row section with cream and end the waist slash with the cream color.

Now Mary is a different build from me, so I had to knit things a little different shaping wise. First I added extra stitches to the sleeves as I was already doing the increases. Then to accommodate my bust and tummy I added 10 stitched when casting on the neckline to join in the round. My waist is also higher and bust lower. So I knit more rows before starting the short rows and worked the waist decreases earlier. All of this worked great. It is not super fitted through the waist, but I like the ease as it is.

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My daughter Lu took these pictures. She’s very funny and demanded she take a photo of my skirt and shoes as well as the sweater. The skirt is Gabriola which I talked about in my previous post. So you can see a bit of the funny stitching around the zipper.

In all honesty I made that denim skirt specifically to go with my purple gradient sweater. This sweater is a big reason I switched to a skirt with a closer fit through the hips and is much better suited to wearing a top untucked.

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The yarn is from Astral Bath Yarns. Its the Spectra base and I love working with it. I bought the gradient set off my friend. Well I bought half the set as neither of us needed the full 3,000 yard of yarn it contained. Then I bought two skeins of naked yarn to pair with it. I still have a ton of both left so now I need to decide if I keep the left overs or try to destash them.

Anyways, now I’m off for the glorious first holiday weekend I’ve had in many months. We’ll be busy busy busy, but I’m hoping I can sew together the new summer dress I cut out this evening. I think I can. I think I can!

So This Is Love Sweater

I’ve been finishing up a lot of lingering projects lately, but this is my favorite. My husband and I celebrated 5 years of marriage in June, so I cast on a sweater the same color as my dress.

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And I think you’ll agree the sweater is a fitting homage.

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I had a lot of fun knitting it. This sweater went beer tasting on our vacation.

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And to see a concert performed by a few hundred french horn players.

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And for more beer. I guess you could say this sweater is brought to you by beer. But my husband is a home brewer and we went to Belgium on our honeymoon so bar knitting is fitting.

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The design is mine on a base pattern from Custom Fit. I wrote about Custom Fit recently and the program makes is so easy to take an idea in your head to reality! In this case I wanted a lace panel up the front and along the side seams and onto the shoulder.

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I’ve never seen a set in sleeve pattern with lace along the outside edge of the shoulder.

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But I fell in love with the design feature and plan to try it again in the future! It look a little more thinking ahead, but not that much.

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The yarn color is Pocket Full of Posy from the supremely talented Ridgely at Astralbath and the base is Compass which is very similar to Madelinetosh Sock.

This sweater also gave me a chance to break into one of my Japanese stitch dictionaries! I’m not sure what the title is, but here is a photo of the cover. Japanese stitch dictionaries are great because they have photos and charts for all the stitch patterns!

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Happy Anniversary babe!