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.

Old Growth

We were on a beach vacation in Delaware when I bought a sweater’s quantity of Shepherd’s Wool Worsted form Stonehedge Fiber Mill from A Little Bit Sheepish, an amazing multi-floor yarn store – I wish I could live there, or at least shop there regularly – in a quintessentially picturesque town. I bought a whole sweater’s worth in Chocolate Milk (that one got turned into a Peabody). The woman checking me out asked if I had ever used it before and assured me that it was fabulous. She was 100% correct. It. Does. Not. ITCH. At all. That yarn felt so good against my skin I bought some more and made myself a Daelyn Pullover.

I spontaneously picked up the three partial balls leftover from the Daelyn, decided it was surely enough for a toddler-sized sweater, and cast on Old Growth.

I knit sleeve #1. Lots of yarn!

I knit sleeve #2. Two is always a good number of sleeves. Doubt starts to creep in.

I started on the body. Hmm, only 1 partial ball left and still several inches of the body to go + yoke + button bands. Better suck it up and order another skein. So much for stash-busting. It doesn’t help that a sweater’s worth of Rosy Green Wool’s Big Merino Hug fell into my virtual shopping cart when I placed my order. I was saving money on shipping, naturally!

Against expectation that last partial ball was enough to get to the end of the sweater body with a whole single yard to spare. I broke into the new skein – shout out to good dye consistency between lots – for the button bands. So I guess I can make a matching hat? Yay? I sort of resent when trying to use up yarn creates more knitting.

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Pattern: Old Growth by Tin Can Knits
Size: 2T
Yarn: Stonehedge Fiber Mill, Shepherd’s Wool Worsted, Antique Rose

Sunk Cost Fallacy

I may have spent more hours working on this cardigan than it will be worn. By “may” I mean to say “almost certainly”. I harbor no resentment.

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Investment > Utility
Pattern: Saffran Cardigan by docksjö design
Size: 3 months
Yarns: Stonehedge Fiber Mill Shepherd’s Mill Worsted in Chocolate Milk & Cascade Yarns 220 Superwash in Lavendar

Every knitter has had the experience of making mistakes that could have been avoided had she read the pattern in full ahead of time. In this case I didn’t make a mistake, exactly. I misunderstood the scope of the project.

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I’m not a stranger to colorwork or steeking. I know all the extra steps entailed and the stamina required to complete them when a knitter’s brain, after the knitting is complete, is screaming “Done!”. I was ready for that.

This pattern completely blindsided me, however. I finished the knitting and, like the experienced, conscientious, and dedicated knitter I am, put this project in time out for a few months while not dealing with the next set of instructions.

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BOOM!

See that? THIS TINY BABY SWEATER IS FULLY LINED. I know, right? What?!

I didn’t have to do it. I could have sewn the button band steek selvages with ribbon. But the pattern writer made a compelling point about baby fingers getting caught in yarn floats and I had visions of the baby’s mother cursing as she tried and failed to get intractable little hands down these tubes of finger-twisting-peril delicately patterned sleeves. Besides, sometimes once you’re already deep into a project it only makes sense to keep going deeper, however “irrational” that logic may be.

On the one hand, go me! I persevered! I did something I’d never gone before! On the other hand, while the lining may protect sweater and baby fingers from one another it also adds a lot of bulk and removes one of the best properties of the knitted baby sweater – its stretchiness and ease of fit. I didn’t make a sweater. I made a jacket.

And that’s OK. I don’t rue the time invested. I’m not sure the jacket itself is worth it, but I am sure that the recipient and her mama are.