I have been knitting a pair of socks every three weeks since December. I think my sock jag may be slowing down a little. I want to knit a sweater. I’m swatching for this:
Last May, I wrote this post for the Prairie Lily Knitting store newsletter. It occurred to me today, that I never posted pictures of my finished Adam’s Rib sweater. I love it. I wear it all the time. It’s almost midnight and I don’t feel up to writing about it. So…. here is a lazy cut, paste and slight rewrite of what I wrote last year:
Is It Spring Yet?
Last month, we talked about knitting a spring sweater. Since then we have had a couple of snow storms. While the first of May is the first day of summer on the agricultural calendar, it is -7C as I write this.
Definitely, time for a nice wool sweater.
This is the long sleeve version of the Adam’s Rib sweater by Carol Sunday of Sunday Knits. It is knit all in one piece and is full reversible, which is a handy feature for when you are rushing out the door.
You can find more information about this pattern on Ravelry here:
Knitting skills needed for this pattern are left and right decreases and knitting into the stitch leg on the row below, provisional cast on and some really clever short row shaping to make the shoulder cap.
Why am I featuring this sweater? Because I just finished one.
I’m not going to lie, I found this pattern difficult and rated it so on Ravelry. However, “challenging” would have been a better description. I learned a lot knitting this sweater. It was my first successful sweater, my first provisional cast on, my first drunken knitting story.
I altered the pattern in that I knit both sleeves at the same time on one long circular knitting needle using the magic loop method I had picked up for knitting socks two at a time. This change worked so well that I plan to use it for sweater sleeves from now on.
I also changed yarn. This sweater was knit size small and took me 7 skeins of Cascade 220 in light grey. I am very happy with how it turned out. I am also very happy that the only sewing up was just a few stitches in the shoulders. It really is fully reversible, which has come in handy.
FINAL VERDICT: I would knit this again
Dec 6, 13 – spent the morning frogging my last two days worth of knitting on the short rows in the arm pit. I thought I was following the directions, but when I got to the far side and started my increases, I could see it wasn’t right. It is a very clever pattern, but it is not as clear about where you are going with things as I like. I guess this means I won’t enjoy knitting the “Baby Surprise” jacket, either.
Dec 18, 13 – Not as much knitting happening just now, too much yule tide prep. Starting my third skein. I am just about to divide for the second shoulder. Feeling a little nervous, but I have done this before so it should go a little better this time. Third time is the charm, right?
Dec 22, 2013 – Starting skien 4. I am still not 100% that the sleeve are going to be OK, but the stitches seem to line up ok on the shoulders and I am really enjoying the traveling rib. Just enough pattern to keep it interesting, but not too much so I can still knit in low light.
Dec 25 -2013 -Started first should cap and skien #5. I suspect I might need six skeins. Can’t find where the sixth one I purchased has gotten too. Have to shop the stash tomorrow. In other news the shoulder cap is also giving me grief. Seriously considering moving the difficulty up to “difficult” While I understand that this project is no four strand fair isle Queen Anne sweater, I am finding this pattern difficult.
December 26- 2013 – in the cold light of day, I have decided I need to find the other skien and try the other shoulder cap. If they both look the same, I will alternate pattern repeats and knit them at the same time. Otherwise, I will frog the shoulder cap that looks the worst and start again. The first shoulder looks like a shoulder cap, but some of the short rows are a little awkward. Want to be sure that is the pattern and not just my skill level.
later 26/12/13 – Went looking for ball #6 that I purchased as insurance. It looks like I am going to need one more skien. Couldn’t find it anywhere. Weighted the sweater, after zeroing for the needles and realized it is already at 543gram. This looks like it will be close to a 7 skien sweater. This is kind of shocking since I knit a couple of gauge swatches in order to get gauge and the kit in this size comes with the equivalent of five balls. I’m starting to worry a little about that too.
27/12/13 I knit the first shoulder cap after a couple of drinks while watching the Doctor Who Christmas special. It worked perfectly. I knit the second shoulder today while perfectly sober. It took me two tries. Not sure what this says about me.
10/01/14 Sweater is going into the “Bad Knitting!” box. It is officially in time out. I accept full responsibility for this. It is not Carol’s fault at all. I ran into problems making my sleeve decreases even and in pattern. Way frustrated and need a break
Mar 17 – 14 spring is on the way, time to finish this darn sweater. Ripped both sleeves back to the elbows and picked up the stitches on a freakishly long circ. Plan to knit the sleeve two at a time to try to get the decreases more even. Spent an hour with a master knitter to get the sleeves set up in such away that the decreases in armpits make sense on the circ. No actual progress today, but feel vaguely confident that I am set up for future progress. Still like the pattern and if this sweater turns out to be vaguely the right size (I have gauge problems, sometimes even when I swatch, which I did) I would even consider knitting another one.
April 11 – 2014 – another couple of inches on the sleeves and I’ll be done!
April 12 2014 – off the needles and blocked! I love it. It needs a shawl pin and I’m thinking about picking up the sleeves, and adding another inch on a smaller needles. The sleeves blocked a little shorter than I was expecting. Not sure if it bothers me or not. I’m going to wait a week and see if it drives me nuts. So… maybe complete? I have enough left from that 7th skein that I could knit longer sleeves if I decide to
one year in (11Apr15)- I still haven’t knit a second one. I am in the grips of a sock jag, but I wear the snot out of this sweater. It has a great feature for moms that the designer has not talked up: It Is COMPLETELY Reversible! So when you are in a rush to get the kid to school on time and are frantically scrambling into a sweater as you rush out the door, you CAN NOT put this one on inside out! Once I whittle down the sock yarn stash a bit, I am absolutely making another one of these!
And, just for fun, here is a picture of Captain Jack Harkness riding Huggy The Dinosaur. I did mention there would be random science fiction references on this blog.
January 1st I started a part time job. I get about 20 hours a week and I am happy to have something reliable. Unfortunately, I has signed up for quite a few extra shifts at the other places I work as a casual. Now, I could just flat out quit those other jobs but I am resisting. Partly because if the new job goes south, I may need to go back there. Largely because my profession is fairly small. There are about 300 of us in the whole province who are licensed and insured.* It’s a fairly small community and I know that if I just pull the plug people I know (and who know everyone else I might ever work with) will have messed vacations and not be able to travel to see their first grand-baby.
The down side of this is that I am currently working more than full time. Some weeks, it’s a lot more than full time. It is really hard and I have been kind of grumpy. Throw in a sleep disorder and problems at Little Girl’s school and I just haven’t been up to blogging.
I have joined a sock club, so if you are interested in knitting there should be pictures soon. I am also going on a retreat this weekend and hope to be refreshed and less irritable by Sunday night. Which is good, because starting Monday, I work both in and out of town and it will be …. busy.
Now, if you will excuse me, I have an hour commute, in the dark to a job where I have to wait in the parking lot for someone with a key to arrive and let me in.
*Who knows how many people taking blood, running lab tests and exposing people to radiation without insurance. We aren’t required by law to have insurance or continuing education. Our professional body has been working for years to try to get something in place to change that. Please right to your SK-MLA and complain that CLXT’s should be self regulated.
T’s mom, Y, makes an amazing Beer Braised Stew with Colcannon. She got the recipe off of Allrecipes.com. If you have ever read the recipe comments on Allrecipes.com, you know that almost no one actually follows the recipe as written.
We aren’t any different. Here is T’s Mom’s version as made by me.
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 (3 pound) beef chuck roast, trimmed of fat and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 coarsely chopped onion
- 1 lb baby cut carrots carrot
- 1 can Big Rock Scottish style beer
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon saltomit, the beer was salty enough
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 6 slices bacon
- 2 lbs. russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
- 2 cups thinly sliced cabbage
- ¼ cup milk, warmed
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1.Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
2.Heat the vegetable oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until very hot, and brown the meat in 2 batches, stirring to brown the cubes on all sides. Return all the meat to the Dutch oven, sprinkle with flour, and stir lightly to coat the meat with flour.
3.Stir in onion, carrots, dark beer, bay leaves, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, garlic, and Worcestershire sauce. Bring the mixture to a boil, and cover.
Now, Worcestershire sauce can be a bit tricky to measure. It kind of shoots out of the bottle when you shake it. Personally, I always measure it into a cup rather than a spoon because it is less messy that way.
4.Place the Dutch oven into the preheated oven, and cook for 45 minutes; uncover, stir the stew, and cook until the beef is very tender and the liquid is reduced by half, about 45 more minutes.
5.Place the bacon in a large, deep skillet, and cook over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until evenly browned, about 10 minutes. Drain the bacon slices on a paper towel-lined plate. Crumble the bacon and set aside.
6.About 30 minutes before the stew is ready, make the colcannon: Place the potatoes into a large pot and cover with salted water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes.
7.Drain and allow to steam dry for a minute or two. Place the cabbage into a microwave-safe bowl, and add 1 or 2 tablespoons of water. Cover and microwave on High for about 2 1/2 minutes; uncover (watch out for steam) and stir the cabbage. Cover and microwave for about 2 1/2 more minutes, until the cabbage is slightly tender but not mushy. Drain excess liquid, and set the cabbage aside, covered.
8.Place the potatoes into a large bowl, and add milk, butter, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Beat the potatoes with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Stir in the cabbage, crumbled bacon, and parsley until well combined. To serve, place a scoop of colcannon onto a plate, make a hollow, and fill with braised beef stew.
All the holiday knitting is done and is blocking on my bed.
I will take pictures before I wrap it to post later.
That is all.
I have reached the point where I am sick and tired of working on the last couple of gifts I have to knit before the Holidays. Unfortunately, this does not coincide with them being finished. You all will be ok with getting your gifts sometime in March, right?
In the mean time, C is over the moon with her knitting project bag from Chicken Soup Designs. I have finished the Lorna’s Laces Socks that I have been knitting as the back up project for months. Picture to follow. Opal Sweet and Spice Plum sock yarn is cast on as my back up project.
I am giving up knitting patterned socks for a while. Plain socks for a couple of months. I can bust out the patterns again in the new year. The funny thing is, the socks I reach for the most are the boring ribbed ones. So, let stick with what works for a while.
I have been busily painting a chalkboard wall in my kitchen, but in other news.
Last night we ran out of milk. I am lucky enough to live in a place with a 24 hour grocery store and have money enough to be able to run out and get milk. At various points in my life, these were not always true.
It’s 10:30 when I head out. I get most of the stuff on my list except for Jujubes (for T) and Mini eggs (for V). I generally make a point not to buy candy, but there are extenuating circumstances. None the less, it’s almost 11 at night and I can’t find the bloody things in my local grocery store.
So I find a clerk and say “I’m looking for jujubes and mini eggs for my daughter”.
He is a good foot or more taller than me. He puts down his scanner and gives me a hard look. Then he looks at his watch.
“Do you need “it’s 11pm and my kid just told me I need to bake 18 dozen Christmas cookies for tomorrow” jujubes, or “I’m 13 and have PMS and the world is horrible” jujubes, or “I have a huge assignment due tomorrow and I’m pulling an all nighter” jujubes?”
I burst out laughing and admitted that it was the huge assignment jujubes. Then I asked a bewildered, is there a difference?
Still totally straight faced he explained that yes, there is a difference. If I had said Christmas cookies, the red, green and white jujubes are in the baking section. The PMS jujubes are in the bulk section. The all nighter jujubes are in the main candy section and come in about a 1 kg package. Alternately, there are also the “I just need a snack” jujubes that are in the 50g packages by the check outs.
This morning I made a point of calling and telling the manager how much I enjoyed this night service.
A long, LONG time ago, I bought a vintage wooden school desk at a garage sale for about $5. It had been coloured by the previous child who used it. I very carefully took it all the way a part and packaged up all the hardware. I sanded the wood and primed it and then the weekend ended and I packed it away. In pieces.
Little Girl was barely Toddler Girl back then and the desk was humourously too large for her. I wasn’t in a rush. It wasn’t something i could work on while taking care of her at home when it was just the two of us and it wasn’t pressing enough to make other child care arrangements for me to work on it.
Little girl is suddenly too big for the little antique table and chair that were vintage and second hand when MY mom got them as a child. So they went down to my sewing room and I spent last week finishing painting and rebuilding the desk. It turned out well.
No before pictures I’m afraid.
But in order to get it into her room, we had to do a major purge of the
crap stuff she is hoarding has in her room. That took fours hours and some serious negotiation on Saturday. We ended up with one bag of garbage, one of donation stuff and a big box of “treasures” that we off loaded shared with the mommies from the local mommies group.
Yes, it would have been MUCH faster to just do it while she was at school, but I am not tossing/donating/rehoming her things with out her permission. Which meant that every scrap of paper, every broken “free” from the grocery store/dentist/who-ever gives-out-this-stuff-to-keep-kids-quite toy, every crayon we have ever gotten at a restaurant and brought home despite them not colouring very well was a negotiation. And then we vacuumed.
We are both really happy with the out come. I just which I could find the butterfly rug that we had in her “library” under her bed. My knees are getting to old to climb under there to read books to her without the carpet to soften the floor a little.