Knitting in the Spring: Freja

Freja.2

Freja

Pattern:  Freja, from Brooklyn Tweed, designed by Jared Flood.

Yarn:  Rowan Yorkshire Tweed DK.  I recycled the yarn from the Norah Gaughan Tweedy Aran Cardigan  I knitted about 10 years ago.  I loved the pattern, but I just didn’t wear the sweater enough to justify not reusing the yarn.

Modifications:  Because of the DK-weight yarn, I knitted somewhere between size 43 and 47 to have about 6″ ease, and made the jacket longer to cover my hips.  I didn’t see the point of the side shaping at the bottom (the increase, then the decrease), so I didn’t do them.

I didn’t like the collar seam at the back of the neck, so I reworked the pattern just to eliminate that one seam:

Freja.1

Freja collar

I started with a provisional cast-on for one side of the collar extension, worked it long enough for 1/2 of required neck width, then worked the other side of the collar extension using the stitches from the provisional cast-on.  With the back neck now wide enough, the collar extensions were placed on hold, then I picked up the required number of stitches from the neck to work the back piece from top down, casting on the shoulder stitches as I went.  All neck and shoulder shaping were via short rows.  When the armscye depths were achieved, the back stitches were put on hold, and I started on the two front pieces.  I picked up the front panels from the back shoulders and joined the stitches to the collar extensions that were on hold, and knitted each front piece from top down.  When armscye depths were same as the back, I joined the fronts and back on a circular needle to eliminate the side seams.

I don’t like patch pockets, so the two pockets were knitted in, with the pocket lining stitches knitted together with the pocket fronts at the bottom, one row before start of bottom band.  I then had two seams per pocket to sew instead of three.  The pockets are deeper than specified so that whatever I put in them will actually stay in there.

Thoughts:  I enjoy the whole Brooklyn Tweed aesthetics, and this Jared Flood pattern is  the epitome of BT design:  pared down, stylish, and very wearable.  Perhaps I lose some “stability” with my modifications, but the truth is that I am a process knitter, and most of my finished sweaters never get more than two or three wearings per year.  I can almost imagine knitting this cardigan again, with elbow-length sleeves and openwork lapels.

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Dalton Quilt

Pattern:  Dalton, from Kristi Schroeder’s Southwest Modern: From Marfa to New Mexico: 18 Travel-Inspired Quilts.

Modifications:  Along with trying to use up my yarn stash before I die, I would also like to use up by fabric stash.  This quilt-as-you-go version of Dalton is a collision between Southwest and shabby chic (lots of red fabric from French General), with bits from Mom’s old clothes.  The backing, the batting, and the binding are also from scraps.  

Floor Quilts:  I moved my piano into our walk-out basement where the temperature is a lovely 70 degrees in the heat of the summer.  Since the floor is polished concrete, it is also a difficult acoustic space.  I have an audience of stuffed teddy bears down there to help with sound absorption, and probably will make more floor quilts as needed.  

Dr. G

Dr. G was my residency program director. I took a year off to regroup after internship year and applied to his program — and he took a chance and let me in for the second and third year of residency. He didn’t like all his residents — the original Match was and is imprecise — but he did in fact pick me personally and thought I was a decent doctor.

He ran a tight ship and was protective of his residents, but you did not want to cross him. He could make life even more miserable than it already was — and if you really pissed him off, he could continue that misery beyond residency. But he was fair. Behind that massive intellect and dedication to practicing “good medicine” was a generous man.

Dr. G died last week after a sudden but mercifully short deterioration in his underlying disease. I was shocked to hear the news: as with Mom, I had assumed that he would outlive us all. In the end he was in the hospital he loved, surrounded by family and colleagues, his attending a former (and favorite) resident from 25 years ago.

My last encounter with him went something like this:

“Are you practicing?”

“Ummm, well, I am a practicing historian . . . . “

“Harrumph.”

I will miss his presence in the world.

 

Knitting in the Winter: Fly and Watermark

The older I get, the more I appreciate the comforts of a cardigan.  In fact, the one item of clothing I wear almost everyday is a slop-around-the-house cardigan — and it is also the only knitted item in my wardrobe that I did NOT make.  It belonged to Mom, and is one of three in different colors that she rotated  as her house sweater.  It is several sizes too big, it isn’t wool, but I love its utilitarian shapelessness.  I look like Mom wearing it.

And then there are the cardigans I knit for my self . . .

Fly

Pattern:  No actual pattern — I call it Fly because I knitted it on the fly 🙂  The bottom band is a reversible cable from Lynn Barr’s Reversible Knitting: 50 Brand-New, Groundbreaking Stitch Patterns.  

Yarn:  The black yarn is a Lambspun of Colorado DK-weight merino/silk/cashmere blend in the color “black platinum.”  After frogging the original sweater coat, I used the yarn for the Dickson dress, and now for Fly.  I still have leftover yarn.  The yarn had color variations clearly visible on right sleeve cuff and across the upper back.  I don’t mind.

The red yarn is Rowan Felted Tweed DK, in the color “rage.”  The yarn was left over from Red Knight.

Thoughts:  My long-term goal is to use up my yarn stash before I die.  The Graduate Student doesn’t knit, and I don’t know that she will ever pick it up.  So . . .  I just wanted to use up odd balls of yarn, and I didn’t want to knit hats or scarves.  This little cardigan did not require planning; it was truly one of those “cast on and stop when finished” sort of a project.  I don’t do gauge swatches, and this project was no exception.  I knitted the reversible cable first, then picked up the body stitches from the cable, leaving room on the cable ends for the front bands that I would pick up later and seam to the body.  The armscye and neck shaping were guesstimated — I wanted somewhat fitted sleeves, and a neckline somewhere between crew and scoop.  In the end I decided not to have buttons, so the ribbed bands are on the narrow side.

The project was uncomplicated, the black and red combination turned out well, and most important, the cardigan fits!

Watermark

Pattern:  Watermark by Jared Flood, from Brooklyn Tweed BT Winter 19.  It was love at first sight!

Yarn:  Elsawool woolen-spun worsted-weight cormo yarn in “40% medium grey.”  This yarn was recycled from the Moire Dress I knitted 10 years ago.  The dress did not fit well through the shoulders and upper arms (I wasn’t as good at knitting on the fly back then), so I only wore it a couple of times before finally frogging it last summer.

Modifications:  I don’t like patch pockets, so I made “knitted-in” pockets instead.  I also thought I was going to run of yarn, so the pocket linings are in two different yarns (hooray for using up more scrap yarn).  I knitted the sleeves on top-down using short row shaping, and also used short rows for the shoulders to create a smooth slope for sewing the shoulders seams.  The left cuff is in a different yarn — not because I ran out of yarn, but just because I felt like it.

Thoughts:   This was an uncomplicated knit without unnecessary fiddly bits.  The pattern is truly striking with a touch of masculinity, and the designer didn’t give it a silly/random Gaelic name.  I don’t have the right body type for this cardigan, but I don’t really care.  It wears well.

Bits of Happiness

Finding bits of happiness along the bike trail:

fish rock

A cunning fish!

art in public places1

art in public places2

art installation1

Vandalism . . .

art installation2

. . .  and Art Installation

art installation3

. . . of Found Objects

I would have liked to have known who was responsible for The Shed!  It was boarded up — and presumably all the found objects inside it was removed — within the week.  The Shed is along the railroads, in an area used by the homeless as “hang out” spot.

Word of the Year: 2019

Yesterday, I received a Christmas card from a friend I had not heard from in years.  We did residency together and were close at one point; it was shared misery, true, but we also genuinely liked each other.  It was lovely to hear from her, but the news was mainly about the various bucket list trips she had taken in the last year(s).  Galapagos!  Falklands and Georgia Islands!  Australia and New Zealand!  And for a few hours, I had envy.  In a sense, it was what I call “theoretical” envy:  as exciting as her travels sounded, I also knew that if it came down to it, I would not go to those places — well, except Australia and New Zealand . . .  What I do know is that I envied the resources she had to make these trips  — 20 years of working as a doctor does build up the bank account.  And to think I could have that amount of money, had I chosen to continue as a doctor!

In this season of plenty, in my life of plenty, the word that comes to me is “enough.”

 

Knitting in the Winter: Trailhead

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Trailhead cardigan

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Pattern:  Trailhead, by Veronik Avery, from Brooklyn Tweed Fall 2015.

Yarn:  The yarn was a worsted weight Lambspun merino/silk blend in the color “barn red,” reclaimed from the Ogee Tunic  that I knitted back in 2009.  As pretty as the tunic was, I did not wear it.  Then I got smaller, but the tunic didn’t . . .  The yarn had dye variations (see picture #3) that I apparently did not notice in 2009.

The old lady buttons came from Mom’s stash; she had eight buttons, so I was able to use the extra one so that I have an alternative way to wear the collar.

Modifications:  Being a short woman, the cardigan turned into more of a coat on me, not a bad thing at all since it covers my hips completely and the pockets ended up at a comfortable and useful height.  I did make adjustments to the sleeve lengths as well as raglan depths and the shoulder darts so that the shoulder girdle fit properly.

Thoughts:  Clever patterns require a lot of directions, and in typical BT fashion, this pattern was quite long.  However, I do think it was overkill to include detailed directions on how to wash and block . . .  I like the tailoring details for the shoulder; I know some knitters didn’t like how high the raglan lines are in the front, but I think they look fine.  The arms are also more fitted than I would have thought given the relaxed fit of the rest of the cardigan.  It’s a design choice that I personally would not have made, but I went with it and ultimately I think it does work for this particular jacket.  I have knitted quite a few Veronik Avery designs in the past and always appreciate her attention to details.