Switching between crafts

For a long time I didn’t do a lot of knitting. I was spending my available time with quilts, and just didn’t pick up the needles much. And there was a time in there as well when I was spinning and spinning.

But now I seem to be back to knitting. I have several WIP quilt tops that I can’t be bothered to complete somehow, other than a baby quilt back and the start of summer. And my spinning wheel is getting pretty dusty. But the yarn keeps my attention, whether soft as a breeze garter stitch scarves or actual sweaters.

And I have a finish! After a lot of trauma with the pattern, restarting and revising multiple times, I’ve finished a sweater that I absolutely love.

This sweater is a combination of a Caramel cardigan for the background sweater and the floral chart from the Papa sweater.

More accurate colors in this daylight picture.

I tried really hard with the actual Papa sweater pattern. I knit the body almost completely twice, and a third time halfway. But I couldn’t get past the puckery gathers. Because the sweater is designed not to have any increases in the space where it is charted for the flowers, there are a TON of increases in a short space. And it just was too much for me and the yarn I’d chosen, a wool/silk blend from Cascade called Roslyn.

I tried variations on the increases, but it was never going to be something I’d wear.

Attempt number three to like this pattern

So, looking for alternatives, I found the Caramel cardigan. I’m always going to wear a cardigan more than a pullover anyway, and I liked the idea of moving the flowers to the lower border. I’d always planned to do them as duplicate stitch rather than stranded, so the number of stitches not matching was not a worry – I could fudge the chart when it came time to stitch them in.

Caramel is a simple and drapey pattern so it went smoothly. Then I had to audition a lot of reds for the flowers. A red Roslyn didn’t cover as much, and doubling up fingering weights didn’t give me what I wanted, but worsted weight did. So I ordered a couple different Cascade 220 bright and deep reds and one of them was perfect. (I just wish I could remember which one was the winner – I seem to have lost the ball band.)

I ended up trying five different red yarns.

I watched a lot of BritBox shows while doing this duplicate stitch. I’m a huge fan of Gardener’s World, and when I ran out of new episodes and had to wait, I switched to a favorite low-budget sci-fi show, Red Dwarf. There have also been a lot of district meetings about online teaching, so I added flowers during those too. (It helped with the despair created by that many Zoom meetings and training videos.)

The finished sweater fits, it is slouchy and comfortable and bright and cheerful and I am so happy I persevered through all the rows and rows of yoke increases that went nowhere.

And now a new sweater is being born on the needles. I like to try new construction methods and I don’t like to sew in sleeves, so the Spøjs cardigan is perfect. It is knit in two halves and then those are knit together while binding off the provisional cast-on. I’ve learned a new stitch making it: the half fisherman’s rib, which is easy but interesting to make. I’m using Roslyn again because I enjoyed its feel so much that I ordered two more colors (and a third just found its way into my shopping cart).

The color is a dull, dusty brown, and given my mood when I cast on – the PNW on fire everywhere and confined indoors because of the horrendous air, after months of being confined at home because of a still worsening pandemic, the latest weather news that they’d run out of letters for hurricanes and had to switch alphabets, and then RBG died . . . last week was like the world couldn’t get any worse. I’m basically waiting for the Big One earthquake or an alien abduction at this point. So I’ve named this sweater the Ashes of 2020. I’m hoping 2021 will arise like a phoenix from these ashes. Or, at least I’ll have a new sweater to wear as the authoritarian order cracks down and I have to join the resistance and live in the woods. The part that hasn’t burned down anyway.

A bit excessive

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I’m still spending a lot of time in the garden each day.  I am really loving the spiral vine anchors that the various vegetables are putting out.

But I have learned a lesson about not scouring under every leaf when harvesting. These zucchini grow fast!

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These seem to have grown overnight!  So much for my plan to pick them when they are small.  I only turned my back for a minute!

And the summer squash have started as well.

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We’ve made zucchini bread, chocolate zucchini bread, zucchini fritters, and breaded zucchini fries.  It didn’t even make a dent.

And now the cucumbers are beginning. . .

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It is smaller than my pinky now, but there are at least 12 plants! I may not have thought out this out carefully enough.  I’m going to have to start sneaking veggies onto my neighbors’ front steps and running away.

When not out watching my vines grow, I managed to finish my caramel/papa sweater. After ripping it out three times, I finally got it right. (Switching to an entirely new pattern helped.)

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The second sleeve went quickly, and I really love the useful new stitch markers I got recently.  Usually I use coil-less safety pins, but they’ve been disappearing over time as all small things do, so I ordered this colorful set of bulb shaped pins.  I like to leave them in the sleeves to show where all the decreases are so that I can make sure I’m matching the sleeves as closely as possible.

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I’ve been auditioning red yarns for the duplicate stitch.

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It looks like a worsted yarn looks the best, so I’ve ordered a skein of dark red Cascade 220 to be sure I will have enough.  All the red I had in quantity were more of a fingering weight.  And I really didn’t want to get 2/3 of the way through the one small ball of worsted I had and run out and not know where to get more.

The duplicate stitching is going to be my evening TV watching project, so it probably won’t finish too quickly.  It is too hot for sweater wearing right now anyway, so no hurry.