FO: Sara Lace Cardigan 2.0

I’m officially 1/4 of the way  through knitting 4 different sweaters in the planning mode. Today I can celebrate the completion of the second Sara Lace Cardigan that I knit for myself.

The yarn (well, one skein), started out life as part of a kit that Rosemary Hill and A Verb for Keeping Warm sold at their 2015 Stitches West booth. I needed another skein of the yarn – Even Tinier Annapurna, which I bought this year at stitches.

It was immediately obvious that I had an issue with the different color lots. They were quite different, and as the sweater progressed  it became obvious that there is a real tone-on-tone striping effect:

I decided that I would keep going and to the best of my ability match up the stripes, and decide what to do with the bands and edges once the body of the sweater was complete and I knew how much yarn I had left. At that initial point, it was a real possibility that I’d need to incorporate a completely different color way into the sweater.

Then I realized as I finished the body of the sweater that instead of 3/4 or full-length sleeves, this sweater could be short-sleeved for warmer weather. The light-weight nature of the yarn and the color made this a lovely idea, and it turned out that there was plenty of yarn to finish the sweater.

I chose the darker of the dye lots to use for the bottom edging and bands, which turned out well:

Since the front bands don’t have buttons or button holes, I wanted to make sure that the edge doesn’t get wavy and loose – I think that’s a fatal messy look on many cardigans. Here’s my trick when you don’t need stretch on that edge: k1, *k1, pass 2nd stitch on rt needle over the 1st stitch, k2tog, pass 2nd stitch on rt needle over the 1st stitch*

This tightens up the edge and makes a clean line of “v’s” all the way around. For this sweater, I used this on the diagonal line all the way to the shoulders, for the back (where I need the full stretch of the neckline ribbing) I did the conventional bind-off, and then switched back to the method for the diagonal down the other side. Voila! It’s a magic way to get a professional finish with the stretch where you want it.

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Toppers

I found out from a knitting friend that our local hospital loves to get knitted things for infants and children. Love this! So I’m going through my scraps to make cute hats. These are out of a lovely very washer-friendly yarn: DY Choice in the Baby Joy DK. The two colorways have speckles!

All three had pompoms as you can see in the bottom photo, until I washed them and one came out. Didn’t have enough yarn to re do, so I improvised something fun, because a baby hat without a fun topper seems naked to me.

Here’s what I did: using a knitting needle and crochet hook, I did a provisional cast-on (crochet method) of about 25 Stitches. Put down the hook (or not) and then conventionally bind off all the stitches with either the hook or another knitting needle, leaving a long tail. Knot the resulting length about three times, then take the two tails, thread a darning needle and poke through the top of the hat and secure the ends. Voila!

Time to find more yarn scraps to knit!

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Synchronicity with the yarn whisperer

in which Clara Parkes and I have a mind-meld experience with a yarn.

Since I am on this sweater kick, I decided to go ahead and swatch for the one I am making for Allison – my cousin’s daughter who is having a baby later this month. We agreed that I would make her a Fancy Card – an overlapping cardigan that can be flexible for size when one is dealing with a postpartum body that will be nursing.

The yarn is new to me: Holst Garn Coast – a lovely wool/cotton that namoriwesa on Ravelry used for a test knit of this pattern (project link – only Rav members can see). I ordered some from The Yarnery and it came licketty split. Then it sat.

On Easter evening, when I woke up from the extra-long pastor nap, I started swatching to Jesus Christ Superstar (omg, it was such a great production. You don’t have to be Christian to love it!). It’s a dry yarn, and not a lot of twist, but it knit up easily – although it looked pretty holey even though gauge-wise I was ok.

It says you can machine-wash gentle, cold water, so I threw the swatch in for a warm-wash short cycle (live dangerously!), with a cold rinse. It came out a completely different yarn!

The resulting fabric is soft and drape, yet cozy and with some halo – absolutely lovely.

And just as I was thrilled by my discovery, the yarn whisperer aka Clara Parkes, posted about the very same experience. We had pretty much the same opinion, she writes:

"I love yarns that surprise you in the wash. They make the whole knitting experience much more fun, forcing you to wait until the final blocking for the big reveal."

I’m now pondering a DK-weight summer cardigan, using the yarn doubled – I might even use two different colors held together? I know, yet another sweater.

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It is risen (the dough)

Last week was Holy Week, a big week if you are a pastor, like I am. Things went well!

Christ is risen.

He is risen indeed!

Monday, I took off as my reward for being busier than usual – and while I initially had plans to wander to Santa Cruz, I woke up somewhat low energy, so I didn’t, which is a luxury too. Instead I wandered through Guadalupe River Trail – which cuts right through San Jose, and it is the site of where the first Europeans put down their stuff and started interacting with the Ohone people.

Some photos:

What I am not showing you is the fact that because we have terrific housing shortage in San Jose, and extremely high rents, we also have a large homeless population. The City doesn’t like this, and they try to do things like tell churches not to give out food at public parks because that encourages them to stay there (there are not shelters with oodles of spaces around, where are they supposed to go?), although they will not arrest church people for doing that because it’s a really bad look for a city that wants to be seen as progressive. Anyway, the homeless who are trying to find a little peace camp out along the river. I get it, and to be honest, I felt bad seeing their tents, like I was intruding. At the same time, I was wary when I met the mostly alone guys who look like they’re camping on the river. But I was alone, and I didn’t feel like I could take the chance to do more than a simple acknowledgment of their presence.


Dough news: I am back making sourdough after about a 3 year hiatus. I dropped making it when I moved to Fresno, because I didn’t plan ahead to bring my starter with me (you can travel with it, generations have, I just didn’t know I could). In the years since then I had the leg issue which cut down drastically on my cooking, and now I’m back in the Bay Area and it felt right to start again.

My first loaf was kinda sad:

Yeah, pretty flat, and the taste was a little off. I ran through a couple of more cycles

and this most recent loaf showed me that I am back to my previous sourdough skills:

Maybe not coincidentally, that loaf was made the day after Easter!

If you’re interested in how I do mine, I’ve combined some techniques from these website pages – it’s really not that hard once you get the hang of it!

Sourdough Baking Basics

Exploratorium Museum Basic Sourdough recipes

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