Happy Easter

Hello and happy Easter!
The family is here; kids, grandkids, and granddogs too. Very happy!
May the hope and joy that Easter brings linger in our hearts forever. 
xo Kristen

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Sutton in Calmer

Remember Calmer? When it was discontinued did you gather up a stash (after weeping of course) and hoard it? Or maybe you didn't and now regret it? Or perhaps you've never heard of it? Dear old Calmer is one of Rowan's best yarns ever. I went into a buying frenzy when I hear the bad news that it was being discontinued (that was years ago) and bought 20 skeins of off-white and some navy. I am slowly allowing myself to use them when the right pattern comes along.

The Calmer love is simple: besides being super soft to knit and wear, it makes a stretchy and squishy fabric with zero itch factor and a slightly sueded feel. It has an uncanny elastic/snappy way of knitting up with a pleasantly doughy feel on the needles. It's like no other yarn I've ever knit with. Recently, I felt that Camello came close to this snappy elasticity; totally odd because the fiber content is so different. Calmer is cotton and acrylic and for the life of me I don't know why it's as fabulous as it is.

With my precious Calmer I knit Sutton, a free download from Rowan designed by Sarah Hatton, definitely Calmer worthy. I love cables but don't care for the big, fluffy polar bear effect a cabled sweater often gives. I've overdone cables before, and felt overwhelmed by them. But Sutton has cables on the front only, leaving the sleeves and back in stockinette. I love that, and also love that the cables are small and delicate. The cable pattern itself is an easy-to-memorize 8-row repeat and very fun to knit. The shape is boxy, which I kept, but it would be easy to modify to add waist shaping. I love it. I made two modifications: I knit the sleeves in the round, set-in and top-down, always my preferred sleeve technique.  I also substituted a classic 2x2 ribbing for the fussy-sounding neckline.

Sorry for the recent grainy, dark pictures that I've had on this blog lately. These are the photos I get when I stand in front of my computer and use photo booth. But it does at least show the fit of the sweater well enough and I think that's the most important thing to show. This will have to do for awhile as it's not easy for my husband to photograph me as he's still on his knee scooter after his surgery. We hope to give the scooter the heave-ho in a few weeks.

For those of you who celebrate Easter, I hope this Easter holiday fills your home with peace, joy, and plenty of colorful Easter eggs.

Sutton Pullover by Sarah Hatton, free download.
The pattern calls for Kid Classic which is readily available.

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Today I'm modeling the Laced Front Pullover from Quail Studio using Rowan's new summer yarn, Mako Cotton. I positively love this yarn so much. First, it’s like knitting with a silk cloud. There's a certain delicacy to it despite being machine washable and worsted weight. And second, it’s very lightweight to wear because the chain construction brings an airy loftiness to the weight of the yarn, so while it's as thick as any worsted weight yarn, it's not as dense. Because of it's lightness, I think one could knit a massive cabled sweater in Mako Cotton and have it not feel heavy in the least, nor get droopy. My sweater feels light as air. The pattern is a snap and easy to follow and it's free. My husband and I feel it's a very flattering style. All my links are at the end.
Below are my modifications for fit and for ease of knitting. While I often change a pattern for fit, I just as often change a pattern to use a technique I prefer over the technique that the pattern recommends. I put all the mods on my Ravelry page for easy reference, but just to be redundant, I've added them here too!
I made the XS but casted on 10 less stitches on both front and back to make it less oversized. It is still oversized, but not quite so much--better for me.
Rather than knitting the sleeves separately and sewing them in, I sewed the shoulder and side seams then picked up the stitches for the sleeves at the rate of 4 sts. per 6 sts. To begin the sleeves I made two sets of “long” short rows--I call them long because I almost knit to the end of the rows. After I completed the two sets of short rows (two sets is knit a row, purl a row, knit a row, purl a row) I joined in the round and knit down to the elbow making tapering decreases every 1.5 inches.
For the lace v neck decreases I did this: 
K to last 10 sts, K2tog, K1, YO, K1, K2 tog, K4
On the other side of the v I did this: 
K 4, K2togtbl, K1 YO, K1, K2togtbl, K to end

The reason for this is because it just looked neater than the way the pattern had you do it. I tried and tried, but this was much prettier. Maybe it’s just me.
For the neck, I picked up stitches as the pattern says to do, but instead of casting off right away, I made 2 rows of moss stitch, then cast off. This was to bring the v in a little and make it not quite so plunging.
My Ravelry project page.
Mako Cotton is a Rowan Selects limited edition yarn--here for a season than gone!
It's definitely worth a summer sweater or two.
The pattern is a free download from Quail Studio and Rowan.

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Kim Hargreaves patterns are very often masterpieces in simplicity. That simplicity is what makes them so appealing to me. But even in saying that, when you knit a sweater that is this simple, fabric and fit takes on an elevated value. I chose this pattern after knitting a small swatch. Rowan Camello, a blend of merino, camel, and nylon is very elastic and makes a very stretchy fabric. Because of that I thought it would be great for a fitted sweater, something with shaping with little or no ease. I headed for my Kim books and landed on Sway from North. The prominent design feature for Sway is the wide feminine neckline and very low back neckline, but I altered it and now it's not quite so low. (I started my back neck shaping about 2.5 inches later than the pattern recommended.) I think a super low back would be cute on someone young. 

Camello is a fingering weight yarn yet uses size US6 (4mm) needles--large needles for a fingering weight. But even with the larger needles, I did get a fingering weight gauge of 28 sts. per 4 inches. Camello reminded me a bit of Calmer, also elastic-like, if you remember that yarn from a decade ago. And like Calmer, the yarn is stretchy and snaps into place and is very fun to knit. The fabric is very soft, very lightweight, and lightly textured. The yarn has a chain construction and knit beautifully with my slower, blunt wood needles.  I loved knitting it and love wearing it and believe me it took every bit of self control I could muster  to not purchase more when this was finished. I have to say again how soft this yarn is. I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say it's one of the softest sweaters in my closet. For the sleeves I used the top-down set-in sleeve technique that uses short rows. It's always my preferred sleeve technique.

You can read about my few modifications on my Ravelry project page.
The pattern is from Kim Hargreaves' North book.
Rowan Camello was a limited edition yarn but is still available.
I found mine at Love Knitting.

On the homefront things are going well. My husband sees his a physical therapist on Monday and hopefully will get clearance to start putting some weight on his foot. For close to two months we have been homebodies and it will be nice to start getting back to doing a bit more. We watch the baby two days a week and Carter thinks his papa's knee scooter is the most fun toy ever. At least someone likes it! I'm ready to kick it over a cliff. It's been raining quite a bit, that's good! We all had colds, that was bad. And oh yes, my husband is growing a beard. We can't decide whether he looks like an old hobo or a university professor. I'm begging him to give it a few more weeks and then we'll decide. All this sitting around watching beards grow has given me even more time to knit. Two of my summer sweaters are done and I've got four more on the needles so I've got plenty to keep my fingers busy. We have friends coming for breakfast tomorrow and then another group coming for lunch. All are friends who live out of town and want to see the kids and the baby, and maybe a little bit of us too, and all just happen to be in town the same weekend. I've got all the ingredients to make a Country Brunch casserole for the breakfast crowd and a new recipe for an enchilada casserole for the lunch people. I'll add a fruit platter for the breakfast and a green salad for the lunch and fresh orange juice for everyone! The best thing is both recipes can be made tonight ready to bake in the morning! I'm nothing if not organized.  Hope your weekend is going well! xo Kristen

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While the rest of the world seems to be experiencing severe weather, we are here in California picking oranges under a blue sky. Yesterday we picked 100 oranges from the top third of the tree and squeezed 13 quarts of orange juice. This year was a bumper crop with some of the biggest, sweetest and juiciest oranges we've ever grown. The rest of the oranges will stay well on the tree for maybe a month, but we'll be picking several every day to have fresh oj in the morning and fresh oj with our movie popcorn in the evening. Orange juice + popcorn + a movie is a match made in heaven. (I am often asked what juicer I use. I have experimented with many and the Juiceman is the best by far. We own two, a larger juicer/juice extractor that we bring out for big jobs like juicing 100 oranges, and a smaller juicer we keep out on the counter to use for smaller, daily tasks. They are both easy to use and easy to clean and very well priced. The larger one is also a juice extractor for juicing apples, carrots, leafy greens, etc.)

So here we are, March in California: the trees are blooming, the roses are leafing, the grass is greening. I don't know how the year has flown by, but we are just a few weeks away from Easter! And daylight savings starts tomorrow! Can you believe it? I cannot! 

I named this one Madison Bumgarner. 

Headed for the freezer.

On the knitting side of life, I bought some new Shibui yarn--a lovely 100% brushed cotton in a sport weight. I'll be making Mirage and joining the Shibui KAL that starts next week. I'll knit the little skirt with some Kidsilk Haze I had in my stash. The pattern is by Shellie Anderson who creates such gorgeous and simple designs that are flattering, elegant, and easy to wear. 

I also finished a few projects and added them to Ravelry. One was a fantastic test knit from Ankestrick. I'll get better pictures when the pattern is released later this month. I also finished the Sasha wrap with details here on my Ravelry page. One of my girlfriends wants to learn to knit and I'm thinking this would be a great pattern to start her off with as it's just one big rectangle. Sway is also done but needs to be photographed. Oh! I #knockedoutacarbeth! Perhaps I can sweet-talk my photographer into taking some pictures today or tomorrow. 

This week I plan to set aside my winter knit projects and will revisit them in August. For now I'll be concentrating (for the most part) on summer knits, of which I have FIVE!  

1. Finish last year's Lila Top Down in baby blue--only the sleeves to finish!
2. Cast on Hourglass in brightest blue.
3. Complete Lace Front Sweater in palest pink Mako Cotton.
4. Complete Sutton--only the sleeves to go!
5. Join the Mirage KAL. 

That't the plan, unless I get distracted by something else, and that is totally possible.

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