Power Sweater


I love this sweater THIS MUCH!

Last week Kym commented that Miss BB would be a "power sweater" for me and I would feel its power every time I wore it. She was so right! Miss BB is not a hard sweater, in fact the pattern is well written and straight forward, but I had so, so many problems from ennui to multiple frogging episodes and screwing up the back cable. (While I don't believe in pointing out problems I don't want anyone to think my back cable is right…it is not.) However, I power through, fudge and fix as I went and in the end I'm very happy with the result. Miss BB looks great, feels great, and makes me feel great, too.

Back ofmissbb

At times I just didn't know if I could/would finish, and yet, I knew the end product would be worth the arduous process. Getting the brain in the right gear has been hard (I'll tell you more about that later). But, the bottom line is of all the sweaters I've knit in 2009 (Eleven), Miss BB may just be my favorite. 


Pattern: Miss BB by Chicknits
Yarn: Beaverslide Worsted, Glacier Blue – 5 skeins
Needle: Addi 6 and 8
Time to Knit: November 1, 2009 – December 31, 2009
Sweater #11 for NaKnitSweMoDo (now 2010)Rav_linkredyarnball
Raveled Here Rav_linkredyarnball

I'm Going to Make It!


The knitting is complete (and buttons procured)! There should be sewing and finishing over the next couple of days.  Oh my, but it feels good to have 11 sweaters under my belt. There were moments of doubt, but determination carried me through and I can't wait to wear Miss BB.


You never know when your world will be turned upside down.  If there has been any lesson learned over the last 3 months, it was to get on the "ride", sit back, and go with the flow. I had no other choice and this "ride" has taken me to new places, brought many blessings into my life, and given me a chance to greet another New Year.  The journey has been amazing and knitting eleven sweaters this year (instead of 12) is perfectly fine.

Yes I Can

And so, she knits! Yes, I do. Something happened over the weekend and it came as quite a surprise. The last couple of months knitting has been slow and only grown at a snails pace. Finishing Miss BB by years end felt insurmountable and I couldn't think of a way to bring back the knitting drive, the desire, or the ambition. Everything felt flat and I was knitting with no joy, no love of the process. I felt deserted by all Mojos.

While trying to understand my feelings, and decide the best approach (if any), I realize just how much I longed to wear Miss BB.  She is warm, soft and beautifully blue! The elegance of design, texture and fabric were coming together to create one gorgeous cardigan and, in addition, I couldn't (quite) abandon the desire to finish 11 sweaters (since I knew 12 was out of the question).


Saturday evening I picked up the collar-less (first) front of Miss BB and the air around me changed. Instead of struggling with mind and body (brain fog and heavy yarn), the joy of the process returned.

By the end of the evening the collar extension was nearly finished and first thing Sunday morning I picked it up again. The last few rows knit up quickly and immediately after I cast on the second front. Since then I've worked on it non-stop (with the occasional nod to the mitts) and I can see the end is in sight. One more sleeve and Miss BB and I will be dancing toward the finish line. The return of "the process" is such a good feeling and with it comes renewed joy.


Beaverslide yarn has been my favorite worsted for several years and I've knit four sweaters in a variety of colors and patterns. They are warm, wonderful sweaters and I love them all.  Maybe it's time to stash a little more.

Not So Much Progress

This week I've felt whiny and tired with the added cherry on top of disappointment. It's been 10 weeks since surgery and I know there is no reason to be hard on myself. Every doctor has told me I'm doing better than expected, which is great news, but I still feel like "normal" is slow coming. 

The goal this winter is to get back in shape, but I'm fearful of the gym and all the people who touch the machines. There just isn't enough hand sanitizer to make me feel comfortable. Speaking of hand sanitizer, my knuckles are raw from using it every time I touch a public doorknob, grocery cart, or any other public surface.

See how whiny I am?


Anyway, the biggest reason I'm feeling disappointed is how slowly Miss BB is growing. The knit fabric and patterning work beautifully together and I can see how wonderful this sweater will be. However, it's the 20th of the month and I just finished the back. That leaves four pieces to go. Four! Knitting with heavy yarn (Worsted Beaverslide) and large needles (size 8) slows me down. The muscles of my chest aren't quite strong enough to handle long periods of heavy duty knitting. It is unlikely Miss BB will be finished by the end of the month (for NaKniSweMoRav_linkredyarnball) or that I'll have twelve sweaters (for NaKniSweMoDo)Rav_linkredyarnball finished by the end of the year. It's not the end of the world and I'm sure I'll get over the disappointment, but still…

As Anne reminded me, I've been knitting bone 24/7. Too bad it doesn't count as a sweater.

The Learning Process (Never Ends)

This is hard to admit, a hard tale the tell and the decision was hard to make. However, once that decision was made, I knew it was the right one. Relief flooded my mind and lifted a weight from my shoulders. Denial was strong and went on far too long, but after trying and trying and trying, it's best to admit when something isn't right.


Instead of looking at this experience as a failure I've not only decided to move on (quickly), I've decided to look at what can be learned. The first thing to take into consideration when starting a sweater is to make sure the yarn and pattern know how to play well together. AND, if after 9", it becomes apparent they really aren't suitable, don't push it. A happy marriage is not made from "making do".

Another point is not to tackle a complicated pattern right after a major life event. Concepts are hard to understand and visualize. The will to succeed, ignoring the truth,  can take over the ability to see errors and keep the mind in denial far too long.

Abadsleevepickup Holesinmypdvalse

To make matters worse, the beauty of a yarn, and the fabric it creates, can camouflage many problems. This yarn is so luxurious and the thought of it caressing my body kept denial at bay. Even when it's obvious the yarn was soft enough to leave gaping holes during the transition between stitches, I did not take heed. So dear knitters, please pay attention when the yarn tells you it would be better suited to another project.

New Years Day (or before) the plan is to start a beautiful shawl to wrap around my neck and enhance the yarn. It will be a lasting, warm hug from Kim. This yarn is too exquisite to be part of a "failed knit".

Lovin' The Blues


The perfect accompaniment to knitting Miss BB has been Lady Day and Ella Fitzgerald. I'm not singing the blues over this sweater, but the warm and rich tones of Billy and Ella enhance the way I feel. I love this sweater. The fabric, created by the color and pattern, sing to my soul. I'm completely crazy over this sweater and to prove it I gave her my undivided attention all weekend. When you're in love you can justify anything and I talked myself into monogamy of project by telling myself I deserved to knit what I wanted to knit. The blues are making me happy.


The stitch detail is nicely planned and is completely fun to knit. Bonne Marie writes her patterns well and I've only had one moment of incomprehension…totally my fault (or the surgeries fault). A good nights sleep and reading the pattern with a fresh brain gave me that "aha" moment. The little brain burps are happening less often. I'm in hope full power will be restored soon and that makes me happy.


In any case, the pattern has been easy to memorize and, after quickly moving through the body, it is now time for the armscye decreases. Bonne Marie attention to detail and her pattern writing skills, make easy, enjoyable knitting. One of my pet peeves is when a designer has you cast on a row and then starts the pattern immediately. The cast on row (for long tail cast on, which is the most common) is the wrong side of the fabric. It's easy to see the purl bumps and unless the designer, or the knitter, pays attention to this detail the bottom edge isn't smooth and doesn't look finished. Bonne Marie pays attention to this detail and her designs have a nicely finished edge, a knit edge.  The perfect little edging on my sweater makes me happy.

I'm enjoying the blues, but not singing them. Miss BB is a dream come true.

NaKniSweMo + Do

Maybe adding one more project to my already long list of WIPs wasn't the right thing to do. However, for the last two years I have successful completed NaKniSweMoRav_linkredyarnball, which runs through November, and wanted to give it another go. Doing so meant jumping into something I rarely do--starting a new sweater with one already on the needles.

Another reason for knitting a second sweater was my growing bad attitude about Pas de Valse. My love of the process was slipping and I needed to figure out how to put it back on track. The difficultly was in my lack of vision, the inability to see the end of knitting sleeves in the round. If I couldn't find the right method for sleeve knitting the process would fail me.


When I posted about the disastrous methods already used many of you suggested 2 circs. The method had never crossed my mind and I thank you for bringing it to my attention! Two circs has been working very well and knitting the sleeves is now much easier, the process no longer arduous. However, my attitude hasn't completely improved and knitting the sleeves feels like a drag.(Poor me.)

In order to keep on track with Pas de Valse I had to make a deal with myself…if I worked on the sleeves while at SnB (twice a week) I could cast on for Miss BB. The sleeves in the round aren't quite as daunting while visiting with friends and the process has been much more enjoyable. Thus, with the advent of Miss BB the attitude has taken an upward direction.


The minute Miss BB came onto the fashion scene I knew it would be perfect for the Glacier Blue Beaverslide calling from the stash. I also knew it would be a great project for NaKniSweMo and for sweater #12 of NaKniSweMoDO09Rav_linkredyarnball.  November 1st I cast on and quickly knit through the first couple of inches.  It's going to be a great sweater and I love the yarns beautiful blue fabric. 

It's quite possible both sweaters will be completed by months end. If not, December will be used for any clean up. The goal is within sight!

The Next Sweater

As soon as the big ol' Noro sweatshirt was finished I turned my attention to Pas de Valse. With the crochet around the edges finished (which took half a day) and the sweater blocked, it was time to start the sleeves. I tried Magic Loop, but the yarn was too soft, the cords too wiry and the process totally frustrating. This sweater has been a challenge for my post-surgery brain and some of the instructions strike fear into my heart…like Kitchenering the back neck.

I am a scaredy cat when it comes to Kitchener stitch. A sock toe I can do, but when it involves 50 stitches or more, Kitchenering stops me cold. Last week, while working on feeling grown up and trying to stop the lollygagging, I made a goal to finish the shoulder seams and Kitchener the collar. I am, in addition to being a scaredy cat, an accomplished knitter, and I need to act like one.


After referring to Susan's marvelous tutorial (and printing out a copy), I settle down to "just do it". Of course, there had to be a couple of false starts, but once the brain and rhythm kicked in, I was off and Kitchenering! Not only did I finish all 50 stitches without much trouble, I did the whole thing nearly perfectly! This doesn't mean I won't have trouble next time around, however.


So the sweater body and neck are finished and I'm trying to decide which way would be best to knit the sleeves….a 12" circular (which may drive me battier than the Magic Loop) or DPNs.

My dear friend Birdsong is having a contest. Her first grandchild was born recently and she feels like it was a life changing event.  In celebration she'd like to hear about any life changing event you'd like to share.  Her contest ends on November 6th so you have a full week.  Good luck!

Big and Cozy

What's soft, cozy, warm, colorful and a little too big? My big comfy sweatshirt of a Noro sweater, that's what. The yarn is soft and comfortable against the skin and, while it is a bit too big, it is warm and warm is needed as winter returns.  It's snowing!


The Noro Silk Garden yarn has been hiding out in my stash for a couple of years and I'm very happy I bought it when I did, as it's one of my favorite Noro colorways. The colors were left to flow as they might from ball to ball, which creates confusion of how the colors should flow as only one of the seven balls used had no knot. The color sequence changed radically quiet often, but it matter not one whit to me. Every piece has its own character and color flow and the sweater is meant to be fun and comfy. Warm and comfy is key during the cold winter months and this sweater fits the bill.


When my weight begins to return (the docs say it will take a couple more months) it will fit a little better, but it is the big, cozy sweatshirt I imagined. Knitting with Silk Garden was more enjoyable than I thought it would be and it becomes even softer after a bath. (Make sure you wash your swatch when you knit with this yarn.)

The sweater took longer than expected.  I started August 30 but didn't get very far as I was in hospital the next day. As soon as I could I started knitting again, which wasn't until September 27th, it went fairly quickly.  I still didn't finished until October 22.


Pattern: Basic Pullover by Jane Ellison in Knitting Noro
Yarn: Noro Silk Garden - color 201 - 7 balls
Needle: Addi #8
Raveled HereRav_linkredyarnball
Sweater #10 for MoDoRav_linkredyarnball

Magical Realism


There may have been some foot dragging when it came to finishing Tempest, but that did not stop me from starting sweater #10. I've been knitting Rosamund as much as possible and her growth has been going quiet well, albeit slowly. Stiff, rope-like yarn is hard on the hands, and while it can be a detraction, stiff yarn makes a durable fabric. The hard, tweedy finish is very classic and practical, plus the cables show up well, with good definition and character.

Bwayarnforrosamund This jacket feels like a gift because the BWA yarn was leftover and had been in the stash for an overly long period of time (it wasn't known if the yarn would ever be used again). There is also a little magic involved with this jacket, which makes me hopeful that it will turn out as I envision.

The best part of having blog pals is the many strong and meaningful connections we make over the years (and miles), often with people we never meet. When a package arrived from Dianne, it wasn't a surprise as she has been a long time generous friend and I had a feeling she'd share her Sock Summit experience. What was inside the package, however, was a wonderful serendipitous surprise. Let me digress for just a moment and then I'll come back to the package.

Itsaveryprettyhouseonabutton Several years ago, so long ago I really don't remember much about the details, I bought a beautiful ceramic button, a special, handmade button. It was safely wrapped and taped into a piece of tissue paper, a hidden treasure always nearby, sitting on a self in my junque room. I never let the little wad of tissue disappear from sight and always hoped to find a use for the button inside. After a time I couldn't remembered its features, but I knew it was special.

Giftbagfromdianne Inside Dianne's gift package was a skein of beautiful yarn and a small bag which housed a Sock Summit button.  As I pulled the button out of the bag another smaller button fell into my hand.  Surprised, I looked at the small porcelain button and gasped!  I knew it was the same designer and very similar in character to my secret button. I ran for the wad of tissue and opened it as fast as I could. Sure enough, it was almost the same size and very similar to the button Dianne had sent.


The two buttons were perfect companion pieces and I knew instantly they would be beautiful on Rosamund. The pattern calls for two large buttons to close the collar and here in my hand sat two perfect buttons, a match made in heaven.  I'm a firm believer that friends with like minds find each other and the magical happens too often for it to be only a fluke.