Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Fluffy, or There and Back Again

They say that knitting is therapeutic. I say that knitting IS therapeutic. Let’s knit our astonishment about the last US elections into astonishing garments – at least something good would come out of it as a result! For the next four years I am going to knit up a storm – promise!
Meanwhile, back to my knitting life adventures. We went to Pennsylvania and spent three extremely busy weeks there. What do you normally do when you leave a place? If you ask me (you didn’t but let’s pretend…), I clean. And what do you do when you come back home after a long absence? Again, I start with cleaning. Therefore, I spent quite a substantial chunk of the last month cleaning and didn’t have time to write here. Yet, between cleaning and other important stuff I miraculously managed to squeeze some knitting.
It’s my favorite season in Pennsylvania now – fall. Every day I walked on a trail and took an insane amount of pictures.
What’s not to like – bright colors, crystal clear air, soft light, balmy wind, perfect temperature... Since I knew that this year my fall season was meant to be only three weeks long I tried to enjoy every second of it.
And I finally could get my hands on my stash! Yay! Four bags of yarn in Florida were not enough for my appetite. So I went down to the basement where all the yarn is stored and saw this big bag of Rowan Alpaca Cotton in a cloudy and pearly grey color. I used this yarn before a couple of times and the only problem with it is that it is extremely soft and pliable. And rather stretchy. My initial idea was to make some sort of poncho with sleeves. Something like this.
(This is a pattern from Phildar #38 2011, by the way)
Normally I don’t wear ponchos. For a couple of reasons: 1) I use my hands a lot and don’t want anything to stand in the way between me and them; 2) ponchos are for tall, skinny, and young, and I look really funny in a poncho. But this yarn was asking for something roomy and airy and what can be roomier than a poncho?
There was another possibility. I could make one more Riverband (I used the same yarn for my Riverband # 1) with two strands of yarn together. Riverband is a great pattern – versatile, comfortable, and extremely flattering. I wear it a lot. The problem is that I already have two Riverbands.
If using one thread of yarn, I needed something to reinforce the garment’s shape to prevent it from stretching. What could be better than cables for this purpose? If you have any other solution, please tell me.  So I started experimenting with different cable patterns and eventually picked this one.
As I already have mentioned, I was busy. Yet, the yarn was calling, and my totally improvised pattern seemed to be so easy to make that I would spend every free moment knitting till I almost finished the back.
Do you know what “knitter’s remorse” means? It’s like buyer’s remorse but with knitting. When you pick a pattern and yarn, start knitting, make some progress, and all of a sudden look at your work from a different angle and don’t really like it. Actually, don’t like it at all. Does it happen to you? If it does, what do you do?
It happens to me on a regular basis. Usually, I keep going even though somewhere inside my guts there is this little vermin telling me that I am just wasting my time. Yet, in some cases, I stop and unravel everything. This is how I felt while working on this sweater. I even shared my doubts with the Universe (aka Instagram) and got an answer: Sleep on it, and then, if still dislike it, unravel.
This is how my work was saved and eventually I got this wonderful sweater, if I may say so myself, because this whole thing is totally my invention.

The end result doesn’t look like a poncho, but it is roomy enough. Warm and fuzzy, like a kitten or puppy (hence the pattern’s name). Flattering to any body type. And I am in love with its color!
More pictures on Ravelry.
While we were up north, we visited our daughter in New York and she asked me for a cardigan. A warm winter cardigan. I thought about Flaum from Amirisu Fall 2015 almost immediately. I saw these wonderful incarnations of this pattern on Ravelry and purchased it a while ago (and even started making it but didn’t have enough yarn to finish). 
This time I decided to make it from Rowan Kid Classic that has very generous yardage. The cardigan’s pattern is clear and straightforward. As soon as I figured out all the abbreviations (they are not included in the pattern and you have to download them separately, which took me some time to realize), it was a smooth sailing.
Have I told you how much I love ribs? Well, it turns out that as much as I like wearing ribbed sweaters I hate the very process of ribbing. It is tedious, nothing happens, and it puts me to sleep. At first, I wanted to make two Flaums in a row, but then decided against it. I couldn’t stand even the idea of the endless ribbing. And the fishermen ribs literally make yarn disappear. I used up all 10 balls of Rowan Kid Classic that I had in my stash.
And now let me present you my Flaum.

I decided to photograph it before washing because I am much shorter than my daughter and, I hope, it will grow after washing to fit her better. It is extremely warm (not for South Florida’s weather, for sure) and its color reminds me of autumn leaves and long walks in Pennsylvania. Happy times! I wish I were more patient, so I could make one for myself. Well, maybe one day (in a very distant future).
Again, more pictures and details on Ravelry.