On Knitting the Wrong Size.

DSC_0462 DSC_0463 DSC_0466 DSC_0468 I’m disappointed with Togue Pond.

Actually, I’m disappointed with myself.

Don’t get me wrong: this is a fantastic pattern.  The yarn is lovely, and I enjoyed knitting it.  But it was the wrong pattern choice for my body right now.

The thing is, I’m just 4 months postpartum, and my body is not the shape it used to be.  And after years of knitting sweaters and tops for one size, I just automatically knit that size.  I knew that some things are a little bigger right now (hello, double D’s), but I nonchalantly figured it would all come out in the wash, so to speak.  Linen is supposed to be drapey and grow, right?!

Well, it is, and it does, but not enough.

I’m fighting the urge to rip this out and re-knit the yarn into a more flattering piece.  I won’t though, because I know that things are still changing.  I need to be gentle and patient with myself.  This extends beyond my knits into my regular wardrobe.  Precious few things fit well, and the rest are too big or too small.  Chances are, if I am patient, this top will fit me soon.  And that will be just fine.

In the meantime, I’m going to spend my time knitting socks and shawls and things that don’t need to fit my torso!  I will also think about knitting things with positive ease and a flattering silhouette for my more shapely shape.  And I will definitely take my new measurements before picking a size!

Has this ever happened to you?  How did you tackle dressing a changing shape post-baby?

Pattern: Togue Pond by Pam Allen  Yarn: Quince & Co Kestrel in Porpoise {Ravelry notes here}

Cowl the Midwife

 

 

I was lucky enough to meet our midwife through the yarn shop. There’s something about getting to know a person through knitting.  Their habits are like little tells that give you a small insight into who they truly are.  The things we do for a living, the shapes of our families, the hobbies that fill the gaps in our days; these are all things that show others who we are.  But our preferences for color, texture, challenge, craft, perfectionism (or not) somehow take us deeper.

Knowing someone as a fellow knitter first can help make it easier to take your relationship to the next level, whether as friends or caregivers. This is one of the things that helped make the decision to go with a home birth midwife so peaceful.  I had seen Rachel knit. I had seen her with her children in the shop. I had read how she thinks about knitting and life.  There was a connection before she even listened for this new soul’s heartbeat in my belly.

All of this is to say that of course, I had to knit her a thank-you gift.  Midway through the pregnancy we took a vacation to Hawaii, and I brought this shawl along as my travel knitting.  I worked on it by the pool and thought about our growing baby and my dreams for his birth.  Stitches flew off the needles, and as the shawl grew, so did my confidence that the pregnancy was going to go smoothly.

When that shawl was finished and the baby was still a wip, I cast on a cowl for my other midwife.  This one was fast and perfect for my nervous hands as we went through a false-labor alarm and all the feelings that brought on.

Both projects were finished well before Calvin made his appearance earthside.  It felt so nice to be able to make these important women something special with my hands while we waited.  And that is the true gift on knitting: it helps us find peace and calm when the world is doing its best to challenge us, and it helps us show love to ourselves and to others.

. . . .

Patterns: Shaelyn shawl {Ravelry notes here} and Ribbed for Your Warmth cowl {Ravelry notes here}

Dapper Baby Vest

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One more baby project leapt on and off the needles recently.  After finishing a relatively big project, I like to do something small and quick.  A palate cleansing project, if you will.

I had this beautiful, bulky yarn and pattern in the back of my mind for nearly my whole pregnancy, and just had to cast on.

This was a simple and fast knit, and is so full of charm I can hardly stand it!  The only snag came when I decided to not do a gauge swatch and just cast on.  I had more yarn than the pattern called for!  It’s a baby knit!  I figured I’d take my chances. Heh.

Pro tip: if you’re going to skip doing a gauge swatch, at least stop and check your gauge a couple of inches into the project.

Had I done that, I would have realized how off my gauge was and wouldn’t have had a problem ripping it out.  As it was, I didn’t notice anything was off until I had knit the body and fronts.  Something looked off.  The armholes were not tall enough in proportion to the length and width of the body.  I checked the schematic against my actual measurements and yes.  Things were way off.

Did I mention I was also out of yarn?

I debated ripping the whole thing out at this point.  This is always hard for me, even though it was a small, fast project.  Then I remembered why I had this yarn in the first place: I had knit a cowl with it last year!

After unpicking the seam and unraveling a couple of inches from the cowl, I kept knitting the vest. I was able to make the armholes deeper to match the proportions of the rest of the vest.

In the end, this probably won’t fit my guy for a year or so.  But that’s okay. It will be waiting for him when the time is right.

Pattern: Harold Vest by Courtney Kelley (Ravelry notes here)

Yarn: Tundra by The Fibre Company in Red Fox

Button: reclaimed wood handmade by Wooly Moss Roots

Catching Up

I knew it had been a while since my last post, but wow.  It has been a challenging spring, with both Sweetie and PB spending time in the hospital.  Rest assured, both are well now and we are looking forward to a fun and easy-going summer!

Through it all, there has been knitting and reading and gardening and mothering and business-running aplenty going on.  Here are some highlights:

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1. Fiar by Irish Girlie Knits in Black Trillium Pebble sock, Ravelry Notes here

2. Baby Sophisticate knit in Malabrigo worsted, Ravelry notes here

3. A much-needed day of fun at Oaks Park. She rode all. the. rides.

4. Awesome train building with my girl.

5. We recently had a little photoshoot for Stash. I love our merry group of Stash Enhancers!

6. I was featured in an article about crafty tattoos in the current issue (#5) of Pom Pom Quarterly!  What an honor and a treat to be included in such a beautful needle craft magazine!  This special little publication from London is not to be missed. Only a few US shops have it at this point, but you can get a subscritption or order online here or at Stash.

I hope your summer is off to a an easy, breezy start.  See you in this space soon for some wip action!

Off the Needles :: Scraps

It feels really, really satisfying to knit a project and use up almost all of the yarn.  It’s as if it were meant to be, as if the yarn and the pattern were a perfect match.

Occasionally, however, you overestimate the yardage you’ll need for a project, only use a few yards of that extra skein, or inherit someone’s leftovers.  What is to become of all those partial balls of seemingly unwanted leftover yarn?

I usually toss all my partial balls into a bin inside my stash cupboard and let them marinate until a use becomes apparent.  I don’t really worry too much about them. Perfect for stripes, toys, crafts, gift wrap, and baby hats, I know my leftovers will get used up eventually.

First, I knit this:

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Earth & Sky

And used the leftovers for this:

Scrappy Sockhead Hat

Scrappy Sockhead Hat

And then I knit this:

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Tidal Cardigan

And used some of the leftovers for this:

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Little Scallops

Isn’t this a fun game?!  How do you handle your leftover bits of yarn?

You can see details of all of these projects over on my Ravelry page.

Off The Needles

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Jeweled Cowl

Project details and mods here.

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Chambord Pullover

 Project details and mods here.

Last week I finished two projects!

Both the Jeweled Cowl and Chambord Pullover were quick knits, in different ways.  With the cowl, that fresh spring green and the sparkly beads kept me wanting more.  It was definitely a “one more row” type of project.  This is a pattern I probably would not have gravitated toward on my own; I started it as part of a knit-along at Stash, and I’m so glad I did.  Beading with a teensy tiny crochet hook isn’t so awful, did you know that?

I chose to knit Chambord as part of the Stash and Burn group’s Use It or Lose It challenge.  This is a challenge meant to inspire us to use that deep stash yarn in concentrated periods (13 in 2013); if you don’t love it after trying to use it, you get to lose it.  I got excited to use a deeply stashed sweater quantity of Plymouth Tweed, and thus a sweater was knit.  I love the finished result, but the yarn wasn’t all that pleasant to work with.  I can appreciate a sheepy, rustic wool, but for sweater knitting I think I’ll stick to more smooth, plump yarns from now on.

In any case, that’s a ton of yarn out of the stash, and it feels really great to have these 2 project off the needles!

Here are some outtakes from my low-key impromptu play room photo shoot.  It was directed by PB, and she took all the photos of Chambord in this post.  Love!

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Hooray:: A Finished Sweater!

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Hooray Cardigan by Veera Valimaki in Madelinetosh Vintage “Tart”

This post has been a long time in the making.  I excitedly started this sweater back in January of 2012, and promptly put it into long-term time out after a mis-crossed cable episode.  The sweater got some brief attention back in September when I had ambitions to finish it in time for Sweater Weather in Oregon. It got set aside again, in favor of other knits.

It wasn’t until January of this year that an inexplicable spark ignited my desire to knit on it all the time.  I had the body finished in a week.  After that it was simply a matter of persevering through the epic ribbing and knitting against the sinking feeling that I would run out of yarn.  Hence the 3/4 length sleeves with mere yards to spare!

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I also went a little beyond my usually hasty button attachment and followed The Knitmore Girls Couture Button and Grosgrain Ribbon tutorials.  This adds a nice finish and stability to the button band, plus it’s nice to have a little flash of something unexpected peeking out from inside the sweater.

This was a very fun, addictive knit once I got into the rhythm of the pattern.  I love the details of the cables and attached i-cord edging.  It feels really good to get this sweater off the needles and into my wardrobe.    I’ve worn it twice since finishing it last weekend and get lots of compliments each time.  High off the success of this sweater, I’ve already cast on another…hopefully it will join the ranks of Finished Objects a little sooner that this cardigan.

You can read all the details on the project on my Ravelry page here.

Block Party

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Oh, the needles have been very busy lately. Sometime in late October I decided to knit a certain amount of holiday gifts. My goal was to use existing stash yarn + patterns for all the projects. I ended up having a lot of fun searching patterns in my Ravelry and real libraries.  A few of them had been in my queue for a very long time; casting them on was almost as satisfying as using vintage stash!

I celebrated over the weekend by hosting a block party. We indulged in some bubbly Soak, took a long bath in the washing machine, and then laid out on the table in my crafty room. It was a pretty wild night.

The last gift knit is on the needles now, and it’s only the 10th.  Hubris has me contemplating another gift…surely 2 weeks is enough time for what I’ve got planned!

How about you? Are you working on any gifts?

We had a really fun yarn craft over on the Stash blog last week.  Check it out if you’re looking for a little holiday crafting cheer!

Hurricane Cowl

Lunch at Slice

with Marie Forleo, my biz-lady mentor

Last weekend I went to New York City for a conference for women entrepreneurs striving to create not just a business we love, but a life we love as well.  My goal was to get inspired and map out the trajectory for a few new ideas I have brewing for Stash.  I also wanted to meet some fellow biz ladies and play in the city.  I got to do all of those things and so much more; I ate my way through the West Village, discussed ideas with incredible women (and a couple of men), danced my buns off, and even did some yarn shopping.  I also had some major personal revelations and got inspired to hit the ground running as soon as I got home.

Hudson River at West Side Highway and West 12th

And then on Sunday afternoon, reality hit as news of Hurricane Sandy’s imminent arrival infiltrated the bubble that was my experience so far.  Flights were cancelled, airports were closed, and hotels were evacuated.  Many of us were stranded, challenged to create an opportunity out of an uncertain situation.

When I woke up on Monday morning,  I saw the above view out my hotel window and decided the water was just a bit too close for comfort.  The storm hadn’t even started yet and the Hudson was already level with the West Side Highway!  Through Facebook and Twitter, some fellow conference goers and I were able to stay in touch and I ended up with a fantastic new friend to wait out the storm with.  We promptly moved to a hotel in Midtown and were fortunate to have power throughout the storm.

A bit of blue sky the morning after.

Huddling inside a hotel room with a near-stranger  waiting for a hurricane to strike is an interesting experience, indeed.  We were both anxious, scared, uncertain, and grateful to not be alone.  My heart was aching to be so far away from my wife and daughter; I was literally trapped on an island, and couldn’t get home.  This moment threw my priorities into stark relief, and I couldn’t wait to get home to hug them.

Through it all, I knit on this cowl.  Huge size 35 needles and some extreme thick and thin yarn from Loopy Mango made for good hurricane knitting.  Each stitch was a meditation as I absorbed all I had learned over the weekend, changes I wanted to make in my personal life, and new ideas for my business.  And when the knitting was finished, the hurricane was over and I was wrapped in the warmth of wool and new friendships.

Thank you to my hurricane sisters Catherine, Sarah, Sara, Amy, Ellie, Mari, Ceclia, and Claudia.  I’m so thankful we met!

Please consider taking a moment to donate to the Red Cross; anything you can contribute will help someone in need.

FO:: Little Oak

A sweet knit for an even sweeter baby, Little Oak was the perfect project for an autumn baby boy.  I really enjoyed knitting this cardigan, and tried to infuse good thoughts and hopes of restful nights for my friend  and her new baby as I knit each stitch.  This baby will be swathed not only in good vibes, but good yarn, too!  I’m pretty set on the idea that cashmere yarns knit up faster than those without, and so far my theory stands unthwarted.

“Cashmere?!” you gasp.  “For a baby?!”  Yes, for a baby.  But not just any baby.  The baby of a mama whose own mama is a prolific knitter.  This woman knows how to clothe her little ones in the woolens, and I am sure this wee sweater will fare just fine.  And if it doesn’t, that’s okay, too. I had a lot of fun knitting it, and seeing the look on my firend’s face when she unwrapped it was priceless.  I don’t ever even need to see it on the baby.

Okay, that’s a lie.  Maybe just once.

Welcome to the world, bhaiya!