Bee in my Bonnet

I adore bonnets. I’m happy to harmoniously co-exist with bees. I often have a bee in my bonnet. Just ask my husband. No, don’t, he might tell you how I go on about how our children’s ridiculous bedtime routines or how much I dislike apples that aren’t baked into pies or crisps or my neighborhood’s impassable, crumbling sidewalks or how antagonistic KC’s drivers and roads are to bikers and pedestrians or any of the other things I rant at him about.

Look at this sweater I made instead. It’s a distractingly bright shade of yellow that I am confident will appeal to bees everywhere.

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Pattern: Beekeeper Cardigan by Marie Greene
Size: 38
Yarn: Stonehedge Fiber Mill Shepherd’s Wool Worsted in Sun Yellow
Mods: Added buttons

I bought this yarn to make a sweater for Hubs. Alas, I never found a pattern for him that suited this yarn’s color or gauge. When the Beekeeper cardigan popped up it was the right gauge, right color, right pattern, right time. Ding ding ding ding! The only criteria this pattern didn’t meet was that wasn’t for Hubs. OH WELL.

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The pattern instructions were comprehensive, detailed, and backwards to what I’m used to with the gauge and sizing information at the end instead of beginning. I just couldn’t grok it. It took me forever – minutes, possibly! – to figure out where to find that info and when I did I skipped over the size information, picked my size based on the finished measurements and got myself into trouble knitting the yoke because I thought the instructions were referring to the former when they were in fact referring to the latter and they were not the same though both were the same number. Confused? I was, too! But it was in no way a problem with the pattern, it was a problem with my reading comprehension yet again. If putting that info at the end was a tactic to make a knitter read the entire pattern before casting on it did not work for me. I am clearly far too smart for that and I knit the yoke 3 times just to prove how good I am at (not) reading and following directions.

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Luckily it was a super quick knit for all that and I’m happy with it. The yarn doesn’t itch at all (this is the 3rd sweater I’ve made out of this yarn for this reason; they’re all winners and I might be getting superstitious), the sleeves are the perfect just-a-smidge-longer-than-bracelet length, the neckline isn’t too wide, every dimension is big enough but not too.

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“Bees & Buttons” is my new name for a haberdashery

The bees have completed their work for the year so I’ll have to wait until spring to see if they like my sweater, too.

Post Apocalyptic

My mother-in-law gave me this yarn years ago. I’m generally happy to accept yarn, even when it’s yarn I’ll be dropping off at Goodwill the next time I (eventually) go. You never know where your next skein of qiviut might come from. Probably not from the hamper of acrylic your co-worker thoughtfully procured from an estate sale, but let’s stoke the fires of optimistic treasure hunting.

My MIL, though, has good yarn taste and knows her stuff and has never given me anything I’m not interested in knitting up. This yarn is gorgeous in a very non-traditionally-yarny way which makes it both appealing and confusing. It’s heavy, dense, cool to the touch, ropey, and has absolutely no give at all. Its unusual qualities are what make it attractive and also make it it hard to know what in the world to do with it which is why, I’m guessing, MIL passed it on to me way  back when. It screams post-apocalyptic dystopia. That or chain mail, a knitting trend that based on a cursory google and ravelry search has not managed to catch on well at all.

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It knit up at a gauge that seemed to defy all ravelry pattern database records, which is not unusual in itself for the twilight zone experience of gauge, but the limitations of this yarn’s characteristics combined with a gauge heretofore unmeasured in our physical world meant that despite my best intentions and interest this yarn languished. I started and ripped out a project that was’t going to work and wasn’t something I would have worn anyways and proceeded to put the yarn away for , no exaggeration,  another 5 years after that failed attempt.

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I *finally* realized that one of the things holding me back from using this yarn was that there was just so much of it. I didn’t want to make anything with sleeves because the yarn was so heavy and inelastic, but I was unconsciously holding out for a pattern that would use it up. Using some is better than using none, and I finally settled on a simple, appropriately zombie-apocalyptic pattern that required nowhere near the yardage I had on hand.

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Me, looking to alien-infested skies. I don’t know what it is about my husband’s photography skills, but I am not this thin in real life.
Pattern: Slope by Shibui Knits
Size: Cast on smallest hoping for medium
Yarn: Blue Moon Fibert Arts Koi, Indigo Nights (discontinued)
Needle: 4

Gauge remained an issue, but the simpler your garment the more flexible a measurement gauge can be. I cast on the smallest size hoping for something in the middle. In this case it worked fine. It only needed to fit my shoulders and it does. The rest of it is a matter of personal preference.

I flubbed the length measurement. It’s longer than it should be because I was measuring from the wrong place. You can see how a measurement from the front v. side v. back would vary significantly. I also shorted the armholes some by starting the neckline decreases a smidge earlier than the size medium called for.

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And now I am ready for the technological singularity.

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I know it’s been point out a million times, but how can knitwear so prevalent in post-apocalyptic hellscapes and yet nobody has the skill to repair it? So many holes and running stitches. Get it together future-dwellers.

Good Company is Better than Knitting

I went on a vacation, gosh, more than 2 months ago already. I always pack more knitting than is reasonable or appropriate. I’ve finally learned that vacation leisure time is so packed and leaves me so exhausted that it leaves little time or energy for my usual leisure activities. I’ve also learned that my limited trunk space is better utilized by new fabric/yarn/souvenir purchases than lugging around yarn I already own so this vacation I tried to reign it in a bit. I didn’t cast on a new lace shawl, for example, or bring a second lace project in case I finished the first. I just brought along a hat that was already in progress. And a sleeveless top. And some socks. Plus an extra skein of sock yarn in case of emergency. See, very restrained!

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Charming mini skeins bundled together.

The hat was a Blue Sky Fibers kit I bought thinking it might make a good gift for a knitter I know. Then I decided that a hat requiring weaving in 42 ends felt more mean-spirited and burdensome than well intentioned or generous. Laboriously turning 21 mini skeins into teeny tiny little balls of yarn by hand confirmed that I had made the right call.

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So. Many. Ends. It was like a unicorn’s mane in there.

A long car ride is the perfect time to do tedious tasks and now I have a colorful, stripey, slouchy hat for me to keep for myself. I ran out of one color, but it was an easy thing to sub in one of the other 20.

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I don’t know if I’ve ever actually knit with the emergency skein of sock yarn I always bring on vacation. Even still, I never want to be in a position where I need it but don’t have it.

Me-Made-May Week 2

Another roundup of my Instagram dump:

Clockwise from upper left:

  • Day 8: Willamette Shirt. One of my favoritest makes. Perfect marriage of collar and pullover. Yay.
  • Day 9: Wiksten Tova Tunic. While wearing this I remembered this pattern doubles as a dress and that I have the perfect fabric for one. I cut it out last night and am hoping I’ll find matching thread in the tin.
  • Day 10: Sleeveless Matcha Top. Photo features Nova. This shirt makes me happy.
  • Day 11: Short-sleeved Archer Button-Up. Not my most successful make. A bit big, a bit too granny-like even for me, someone who likes pink and florals and handknits and thought she was all about granny-style until that one time when I was 36 and at the drugstore with my kiddos and a woman looked at me very closely before asking if my daughter was my grandbaby.
  • Day 12: Bohemian Tee. It’s knit! But this is a rare case when you may be forgiven for calling it crochet. It’s a bit sneaky like that.
  • Day 13: Alice Top. My first me-make. I’ve worn and washed this so much it’s threadbare and showing its age. I still love it. It might not be suitable for work anymore, though.
  • Day 14: Sugar Pop Top. I don’t wear this one as often as I should. Lovely fabric. A bit of pooching occurs under the collar across the top of my bust. Perhaps the fabric isn’t sturdy enough or maybe I inadvertently pulled the fabric slightly out of shape while sewing. I like the idea of peter pan collars, but I don’t reach for them. This top went beautifully with my gray suit which was a happy surprise. That’s the suit I forgot the zipper was broken on and I sewed it shut for the 1.5 hours I needed the suit. Sewing for the win!

Socks, I Mean a Hat

Stash Rule-of-Thumb #967:
Fingering-weight yarn is great stash because you only need 1 skein (2 tops) to make a pair a pair socks and you can always justify a skein or 20 (or more) of sock yarn on hand.

The Problem: This long-ago-stashed skein of sock yarn, when I held it, told me it didn’t want to be socks. Its seacell content begged to be worn somewhere north of the ankles. Its tonal coloring lent it to a wider array of possible projects. My first thought was Multnomah, but I didn’t have enough yardage. Also that thing about how I haven’t successfully made a habit out of wearing shawls, nor has anybody else I know for gifting purposes.

The Solution: A hat, then.

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In which I discover that it’s practically impossible to take a picture of myself in a hat. I love my perfectly centered arm extension, though. It’s like I planned it that way.
Pattern: Sockhead Slouch Hat by Kelly McClure
Yarn: Fleece Artist Sea Wool in Vintage
Mods: Cast on 8 fewer stitches & skipped 1st set of decreases accordingly
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I have mixed feelings about the pooling. Why yes, that is my sleeveless Matcha

 

I could feign irony or sarcasm that I finished a hat in time for the season’s first 90-degree temps, but I knew that this make was unseasonal when I started it. Instead I’ll pat myself on the back that I finished it instead of letting it languish until midway through next winter.

Knitters DNA

Handspun never felt like “stash” to me, probably because it’s a finished object in and of itself.

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Also, it’s so so so pretty.

But it is stash, stash almost too precious to be used. No more! I’m sticking with my recent philosophical pivot to use the things I have instead of letting them molder… by turning them into objects that will surely molder.

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Pattern: Knitters’ DNA by Martina Behm
Yarn: Handspun
Roving: Frabjous Fibers Hand-Dyed Blue Faced Lecester in #118 Tea, Toast & Cake
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A not-so-great photo for scale

I love the variation in handspun – it’s why I make it! – and then I’m not quite sure what to do with it because of that variation. Happily, I’m in a stage where simple patterns mean comfort knitting, not boring knitting, and this mental space lends itself well to finally using some of these special skeins I’ve been hoarding for too long.

But I still don’t know how to effectively wear a shawl. Any tips? Give in to it and just be a person who wears shawls? Will I feel less silly with practice?

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A Welcome

We have a new baby in Hubs’ extended family. His family is small and this is very big, very welcome news. This baby lives far too from us in a Texan climate I don’t understand which confused my usual sensibility to knit. Do Texan babies even need sweaters? No matter, she’s getting one anyways. Even if it is 84 degrees today (I checked). Perhaps it will be useful in chilly overly air-conditioned restaurants? IMG_8044.JPG

Pattern: February Baby Sweater by Elizabeth Zimmerman
Mod: Omitted the lace pattern
Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted in Hummingbird

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Leave it to a knitter to pack a sweater, a summer outfit, and sunglasses in these same box as if they all belong together.