Sunday, January 24, 2016

Row by Row Help for the Elizabeth Zimmerman Baby Sweater on Two Needles

It felt really good to get this one out of my system.  By that, I mean, that I have wanted to knit this little sweater for a long time.  My copy of Knitter's Almanac is well-worn from baby longies, a half-finished pie shawl(still), some attempted Norwegian mittens, and some wonderful reading.

In progress

I'd assumed it would be simple to knit, but when I finally cast on, I realized the directions were a little sparse.  I did lots of research on Ravelry, and from everyone's help I made it through pretty well.  Only one frog, at the very beginning.
I thought I'd post some notes here for anyone else knitting this sweater.

Row by Row help (not the pattern) for Elizabeth Zimmerman's Baby Sweater on Two Needles

Note: For this sweater, I chose to make it completely seamless, and took suggestions to knit the sleeves in the round.  This also avoided a messy cast on mid-project, and made the whole sweater seamless!

Buttonholes:  BEFORE you begin, you need to make a button-hole decision.  If you look at lots of projects on Ravelry you can decide if you want buttons on the yoke only, or buttons all the way down the sweater.  Every 8 rows gives you three on the yoke, Every 8th ridge (that's two rows) gives you only two on the yoke, and continuing that spaces them well down the rest of the sweater.  So look and decide FIRST.

Cast on the # of stitches in the pattern. 
Rows 1-3 work in garter stitch
Row 4: (First button hole row for my example)  K2 edge stitches, K2, M1, then Knit to end.
Row 5 - 8 as per pattern.
Row 9 (Increase Row, as per pattern.)
Row 10 -17 (as per pattern)
Row 18 Increase row
Row 19 (change to gull lace pattern) K4, pattern row 1 to the last 4 sts, K4.
Row 20 (buttonhole row) K2 edge stitches, K2, M1, pattern row 2 to the last 4 sts, K4.
(This was my last buttonhole, but if you are continuing down the sweater, you will repeat this buttonhole row every 16 rows.) 

At this point the pattern is pretty straightforward until you get to the sleeves.  You will continue in pattern, until the sweater is 4 1/2 inches long. 

Divide for Sleeves:
Next Row:  Knit in pattern for 25 stitches, put the next 28 stitches on a spare piece of yarn, Knit the next 42 stitches in pattern, put the next 28 stitches on a spare piece of yarn, Knit the next 25 stitches in pattern. 

At this point: Take a note of what pattern row you finished, as this will be your next row when you continue to knit the sleeves later on.

Next Row: Knit along the body as per pattern, until the body is complete, following the pattern cast off suggestions at the end. 

Go back for sleeves.
First sleeve:  Slip 14 stitches off your spare yarn onto a double pointed needle, then the next 14 stitches onto another dpk.  In the gap, pick up either 7 or 14 stitches (I did 7, but the pattern calls for 14) onto another dpk.  Join your yarn, and continue with the pattern row that you noted before, and knit the sleeve in the round, until the sleeve length designated in the pattern. Be sure to remember that in the round, your purl rows are knitted. 

Repeat for second sleeve.  Weave in ends.  You are done!
I hope I got this right and it all makes sense.  Please feel free to comment below if you don't understand something, or if I need to correct my notes.

Usually, I'll knit a project, and then I'll look for a cute outfit to match.  In this case, I fell in love with a baby dress at Peek, and then decided that it needed a sweater!

Liberty of London prints are my favorite!

Our classic tree-branch buttons from the cedars

Back view

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Thursday, January 14, 2016

No More Resolutions

It all started with a list.  Last month I was very preoccupied with all the things I wanted to do this new year. They were all good things, some things I wanted to learn, some personality traits I wanted to improve. I made a list.

I pondered the list for a few days, wondering where I should focus my energy.  But the more and more I thought about it, the more I realized I was already at maximum capacity. I am navigating the family control center.  It is a busy place, with diapers, and dishes, and teenagers, and special-ed.

I decided, you know what, I'm good enough. 
I am doing enough.
I just need to keep doing my best.
(This sounds like something my good Mom would say.)
I crumpled up my list and threw it away.

Last year for January family night, we all sat down as a family and wrote down resolutions.  This year, no longer being in resolution mode myself, I had another inspired idea.

I was going to do this for my kids, for some family harmony, and on principle.

We gathered as a family, and I handed out pencils and cards.  I asked the kids to keep their cards private, but to write down the name of every person who had offended them or hurt them or done something to them this year.  Including among our own family members.  If they wanted they could write down the thing that bothered them too.

And then we got some flames going in the fireplace, and we burned each card, one by one.  While we burned them we said these words, some of us silently, but the words were,

 I forgive all of you.

To be honest, I didn't think this would really work.  Forgiveness has always been such an elusive thing for me. I'm a grudge-holder. I'll think I have truly let something go, only to find myself stewing about it later, and frustrated with myself. 

So, in fairness, I warned the kids, This might not work, and you might still feel some pain or anger later on, and that's ok.  But it's also ok to try. And it's ok to need help from the divine.

One by one the cards burned.  Simple.  Easy.  Almost, too easy.  I didn't really think about it.  Didn't analyze it, as I have in the past.  Just did it, cause the kids were doing it, and didn't want to make too big of a deal out of it.

A couple of weeks went by for me, full of our usual busy-ness. A beautiful peacefulness has crept up slowly upon me.  I feel a softness that is unusual for me, especially considering my stress level right now.  It's a little easier to tame my temper.  I feel a little less upset at the world, and well, happier.

Somehow, during our little ritual, I found some extra peace I was not expecting.  Peace that I would've paid lots of money for had I realized it was so easy.  I think I always made things too complicated before.  Or I didn't make an attempt to forgive because I assumed I would fail, so why try. 

Of course, I have no guarantees that this will last, but I do know, that a regular ritual of Forgiveness is going to be part of my life.  Most especially, it will be a part of our starting each new year: a new tradition.

What better way to start a new year, then to let go of last year's baggage?  Seems a better way to get a fresh start on the year then to make an impossible list. 

Here's to a Hopeful New Year for me, full of seed catalogs, and garden books, and knitting patterns in the queue.  I may, or may not, get to all these things I hope to do.  I am okay with that.