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.

Inspired.

One of the things I was most excited over about last weekend’s trip was the opportunity to meet so many amazing knitters. Sure, it’s wonderful to be around so much beautiful yarn, but mostly I knew the place would be swarming with knitters, all talking about and wearing knitting. And I find that very comforting and inspiring. An event like this seems to help us all let our inner knitting-nerd out to play! I’m normally quite shy about meeting new people, but at a wool festival I rarely hesitate to ask someone what she’s knitting, what pattern she’s wearing, or what yarn she used. So it was doubly exciting when I just kept bumping in to some of my favorite podcasters and designers throughout the marketplace, and actually had the nerve to go up and talk to them! Everyone was so nice and welcoming of my questions and requests for a photo.

The first designer I happened upon was the delightful Alana Dakos of Never Not Knitting.  I came around a corner and she was just standing there, all by herself, in the booth she was sharing with Becoming Art Yarns.  So I took a deep breath, walked over and just started talking to her!  She helped me pick out yarn and a couple of patterns (Oak Grove Mitts & Autumn Vines beret), and quickly agreed to a photo (or 3–we had to be sure we both looked cute).

Her designs have always appealed to me, and yet I haven’t knit any of them before.  Seeing the samples in person made me want to cast them all on immediately.  If you like her patterns online, you’ll love how they look knit up; the samples are so beautiful, and her new pattern layouts are stunning.  And seriously, this Becoming Art yarn is a thing of beauty.  Soft, squishy, saturated in gorgeous color beauty.

I met these ladies at the Anzula fiber booth, and they actually asked me if I wouldn’t mind having a photo taken.  Sure!  So I handed my camera off to get a copy as well.  This yarn is beautiful (I feel like I’m saying that a lot, but it’s true).  Anne Kuo Lukito‘s hat pattern line is inspired by notable women of knitting and have names you might recognize like Elizabeth Zimmerman and Barbara Walker.  I bought a kit for the EZ cloche hat in a springy green called Sour Apple.

Peaceful Knitter, Sabrina, Anne Ku Lukito

Later that same day, my mom (aka The Granny Nanny) brought PB over from the hotel for a little yarn shopping and lunch.  They waited in line with me to meet Jasmin and Gigi at their Knitmore Girls meetup.  Don’t they both look excited about yarn and knitting?

I had quickly knit up a preemie hat on the trip down to CA to donate to their Head to Toes project and was anxious to hand it off in person.  They were so friendly and warm, and handed everyone who brought a hat a cute mug and swag bag full of yarn. This isn’t the best photo, but I think it represents the excitement and energy of the event:

Peaceful Baby, Greg, Gigi, Jasmin, Dr. Gemma, me

Last but not least was the lovely Jordana Paige. I have admired her chic knitting bags for some time, and went to Stitches intending to buy one of hers or a Namaste bag, depending on which called out to me more.  I stopped by her booth first, and she gave me a lovely tour of the bags I liked, pointing out all the knitterly features within: pouches for yarn, tabs to hold the working strand in place, zippered pockets, slots for tools, oh my!  This definitely fits the bill for me as a combination knitting bag and purse, and it’s super stylish as well. Did you know she designs patterns, too?  I tell you, these people are all overflowing with talent!

There were a few people who I was a little starstruck by and didn’t ask for a photo, though. I took a whole (amazing, knit/life-changing) class with Cookie A. and didn’t have the nerve to talk to her after. What’s that about? Same goes for Rosemary Hill and Lily Chin. Maybe next year!

All in all this was a worthwhile trip on many levels.  This knitting mama needed a little change of scenery to regroup, recharge, and get inspired again.  An afternoon at a yarn shop could have easily done the trick, and I feel so fortunate to have been able to take this trip.  I’m itching to cast on so many new projects, as well as try my hand at designing a few things that have been floating around in my mind.  I came home to blooming spring flowers, and feel myself blooming a bit after this trip.  We all need to take that time to nurture our creative selves, whether it be in small or large ways.  Surrounding myself with like-minded people and beautiful yarn in a new city is one of my favorite ways to do this!

How do you recharge and get inspired?