Last week I was in Sunriver, Oregon on vacation with my family. It's very close to Bend where they have two yarn shops, so of course I had to go and investigate! I love taking home yarn souvenirs! Fancywork Yarns in Bend had a beautiful display of Blue Sky's Woolstok which I had previously used in the 21 Color Slouch and loved, but had never seen in all its glory; all 21 glorious colors hanging on the wall, ready to become a new sweater for me. Upstream by Kate Davies had just come out and to make it I needed 3 colors. So with all those 21 colors to choose from I decided to go with fawn, beige and ivory. Ha! I'm very happy with my color choices. My Upstream is subtle and sophisticated.

We had a long drive home so I cast on just before we left and was finished with the body by the time we drove into our driveway 8 hours later. The sleeves came next, then all three were combined into one piece and then the fun part began--the mosaic stitch yoke. I was so enthusiastic about it that I had that part done in just two days. I fell hard for the stitch pattern and have found it in another pattern using fingering weight yarn, Fiskur by Christiane Burkhard, and I've got that in the queue.

I just loved this in every way you could love a knitting project. The pattern was clear and simple, the yarn was soft and well-behaved yet wooly and rustic, and the fit is perfect--but only after I made some pretty major but easy modifications: The pattern is mean for aran weight yarn and the smallest size is a 36" bust. Neither is that great for me because 1) a pullover in aran weight yarn would be too warm for my California weather, and 2) I wanted this to be fitted with zero ease and a 33" bust. To make these changes I simply switched out the yarn to a lighter weight worsted weight yarn with a smaller gauge and knit the smallest size. It worked! I also added length to the sleeves and body. Lastly I wanted the neck to be a little less tight so I didn't do as many decreases and ended up with 8 more stitches.

Edited in the afternoon: I am answering a question from the comments section at the end of the post. Yes, the little shapes are meant to be fishes and I do think the strands of yarn (which are made when slipping stitches with the yarn in FRONT) are the fins. Also, I do not think that stitch will pull any more than any other stitch and I am not concerned about it. They are not loose and lie pretty close to the fabric. 

Upstream by Kate Davies
from her Bold Beginner Knits book

Fancywork Yarns in Bend, Oregon

My colors were Gravel Road, Driftwood, and Highland Fleece

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Are you ready to romp?

This little romper is a recently published pattern, Tulipromper by Rille Rundt. The fingering weight gauge is lightweight for summer, plus I love the simplicity. The original pattern has a stranded tulip band that I replaced with a more masculine band of mosaic knitting from the Alaskan Pullover. The pattern is easy to follow and sized up to 4 years, plus inexpensive at $3! I used lovely vintage stash yarn, the late and great Rowan Cotton 4-Ply. It's been replaced with something even nicer, Summerlite 4-Ply, but the original cotton is lovely too and my stash is full of it. Either one makes for a perfect light weight summer knit and both go in and out of the washer and dryer with ease. I know I sound like a broken record here, but Rowan really does make the best cottons available for the hand knitter.

My husband thought a pale blue romper might be inappropriate for our very active and very big fella, but I maintain that babies are babies for such a short time and dressing them like babies is quite alright, and is in fact preferable. And oh my! he looked simply adorable in it! After the "photo shoot" we took him downtown to the children's bookstore to buy some new books. Once we got him to understand that he could not throw the books, he took his book reviewing very seriously.  Linden Tree Children's Books has been a beloved jewel and landmark in our downtown for decades. When my own son (Carter's daddy) was young, my father, an avid reader and lover of books, came for a visit and was throughly enchanted with our beautiful children's book store. After that he regularly sent my son $25 to spend at Linden Tree. We have saved most if not all of those books and they are now being read to Carter, my father's great-grandson. Now here I am shopping at the same store with my own grandson and my father's legacy lives on.

After book shopping we popped into the knit store next store to show him off, then strolled down Main Street. Our little one received many appreciative smiles and ouus and ahhs, and quite a few woman stopped us so they could admire him a good long time. Sigh. It's so very fun showing off a grandchild. 

Rowan Summerlite 4-Ply is an excellent and better substitute and is widely available.

I've been asked how I get my 22 month old grandson to pose for me, but honestly, I don't do much except follow him around with a camera. He might show off for me and smile at the camera, but mostly he goes exploring on his own and I always manage to get some great shots. When he is actively moving I use the live setting my on iPhone. During editing I scan through the shots within the live photo, choose the best one, then click off the live setting. When he is sitting still I use the portrait setting. There are many pictures here because I simply could not edit any more out--I love them all! 

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garter stich pullover

This Garter Yoke Cardigan by Melissa LaBarre is a pattern I've knit several times before. It's meant to be worn with the buttons in front but I've always preferred this sweater with the buttons in back. It's a fantastic pattern but it runs HUGE. I knit the smallest size and made modifications to make it smaller, plus made gathered sleeve poofs. Directions for both modifications are on my Ravelry project page and below.

Wow! In these pictures I was really surprised to see a dye lot change in the yoke. I thought I always checked dye lots but in this case I guess I didn't. It's weird because you can't see the change with the naked eye, but a camera will magnify anything done wrong in a knit, right? No mercy.

The yarn is one of my favorites for summer, Rowan's Creative Linen, a 50/50 blend of cotton and linen. Rowan does a lot of things right and while I think they are most famous for their beautiful wools, they make gorgeous cottons too. Creative Linen goes right into the washer and dryer--the ball band might not recommend it, but I've knit with this many times and even after a few years of wear and quite a few times in the washer and dryer, it holds up very well. If I do put a sweater in the washing machine, I usually put it on gentle cycle with cool water, then put it in a warm, not hot dryer until it's half dry, then finish drying flat in the shade. But this sweater was a little bit big (even with all my modifications) so I put it in a hot water wash and hot dryer to shrink it. It did shrink an inch in length and an inch in width which made a better fit.

I was so happy with the sleeve poof. It turned out just as I had hoped it would. I love the fit and made a few easy mods to make it smaller. My modifications:

To make an XS:

Knit with a much smaller gauge. (DK weight instead of Aran weight.)
Stopped yoke at row 37.
At raglan shaping I repeated rows 3 and 4 six times only.
I had 153 sts for body and 46 sts for each sleeve.

It was still too big so I put it in a hot water wash and hot dryer. It shrunk about an inch in width and length which made it a better fit. The ball band will tell you not to do this of course, but it's cotton and linen and those two can go in the washing machine and dryer. Normally they would not shrink, but this was a planned shrink with HOT!

For sleeve poof: (These are knitted top down in the round,)

To taper the sleeve I made two mirrored decreases before the elbows: 42 sts.
Just below the elbow, kfb each stitch across row: 84 sts.
Knit to desired length of poof.
To finish:
Row 1: K2tog across row: 42 sts.
Row 2: Purl
Row 3: K1, K2tog, K to 3 sts before M, K2tog, K1: 40 sts.
Row 4: Purl
Row 5: Bind off knitwise.

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