Quadrillion for #MeMadeMay

I’ve finished my Quadrillion.

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Actually, I finished it in early May, even managed a few pictures the day after, and then forgot to post anything about it to the wider world.  It seemed like I would barely get any wear out of it before the weather turned hot and sunny, but due to the mercurial nature of spring in the PNW (Pacific Northwest) I’ve actually gotten some good miles out of this one already.

The yarn, Happiness DK, came from stash, bought at a great discount from my local yarn shop, and I love the color, aptly named “Adobe Clay.”  Since it’s a hand-dyed yarn, I did my best to alternate skeins, but ultimately I couldn’t take knitting the sleeves two at a time and alternating as well, so those turned out a bit, um, off (much lighter than the body).  Luckily, this is a boxy, oversized sweater, and unless I specifically raise my arms and point out the color difference, it’s pretty insignificant.  Still, I may need a short break from the drama of trying to match skeins like this.  As a perfectionist, it can make me a little nuts.

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The cable pattern on the front is amazing, and completely worth the craziness of the chart (I suggest investing in a set of colored highlighters).  I considered writing out the whole chart (since each cable panel has a different repeat length), but ultimately the old-school method of checking rows off as I went worked fine.

I deviated a bit from the pattern because I wanted more seams, and slimmer sleeves.  I knit the sleeves flat, bottom-up, so had to turn the chart upside down at the wrist, and add selvedge stitches (1 on each side).  Using a RTW sweater of a similar shape, I copied the dimensions of the sleeve onto a piece of tracing pattern and just eyeballed it to match.  It turned out great, width and length-wise, so I need to remember I have my sewing skills at my disposal when necessary.  Make shape, knit to match shape, easy peasy.

I also added short rows at the shoulders on both front and back pieces, and although it may not have been necessary, I thought it was a nice experiment that led me to discover German Short Rows.  I can certainly elaborate on that if it’s at all interesting to anyone, but I’ve tried to at least keep good notes in my project page.

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Laughing as I tilt extremely to the left

 

 

 

 

 

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Revisiting Old Favorites

At some point after the election I wanted something escapist and comforting, so I picked up some Tolkien.  (Laugh all you will at my use of “comforting” to describe a dark and morbid fantasy novel, but hey, it does have a happy ending!)  The Peter Jackson movie versions of the trilogy were released while I was in college, and they were my true introduction to the Lord of the Rings series (excluding an animated version of The Hobbit from my childhood), but once I found the books themselves I was hooked.

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While I got a nostalgic kick out of revisiting the Tolkien, I got stuck halfway through the second book in the trilogy (The Two Towers), so I think it’s time to switch to my next reading project.

A good friend of mine recently mentioned that My Life in Middlemarch by Rebecca Mead is all the rage (judging by how many people she’s seen reading it on the NY subway), and since I’ve been living under a rock I had to do some quick googling to see what all the fuss was about.  Once it was clear that the focus of the book is revisiting an old favorite of the author’s (Middlemarch by George Eliot, unsurprisingly), our mini-book club of two decided we should start with the original inspiration.  It’s embarrassing to admit that I’ve never read any Eliot, so maybe at age 34 (yes, I’m deep into the mid-30s, folks), it’s about time.

 

(Did you notice how that post came full circle with the “Old Favorites” theme? My high school English teacher would be proud – ha!)

 

 

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Take Heart in Neon

I just realized that this blog title is something of a double entendre.  Take Heart is a pattern by Fiona Alice, published in both Pom Pom Quarterly: Issue 7 (Winter 2013) and Fiona’s book, Take Heart: A Transatlantic Knitting Journey, but if you’re in the same mood I’m in these days, you could also interpret the the title as a positive, motivational announcement, as in “take heart in these difficult times by enjoying some hot pink!”  I’ll take it.

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While this color (Ella Rae Superwash Classic in Maroon Flush, a worsted weight) encapsulates the #pussyhatproject, it’s also a favorite color of mine.  At some point in my life I discovered that certain shades of bright pink and raspberry can be flattering to my pale olive skintone, and since that moment I’ve been in love with all varieties of pink.  There’s also something really fun and empowering about wearing a typically masculine garment (a blazer, or silk button-down shirt, for instance) in a typically feminine color.  While I wouldn’t exactly call this a masculine-style hat, the foldover brim is very classic and reminiscent of a casual beanie, so I thought that aspect kept it from being too “precious” in the pink, and hopefully wearable in the future.

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The pattern does call for aran weight yarn, so I held this worsted-weight yarn double, threw caution to the wind, and cast on without checking gauge.  While I’m pretty happy with the finished object, it did turn out a bit big, mostly lengthwise, although again, my small head-size comes into the discussion here, since it’s a little bit loose around the brim.  I added the cat ears specifically for the Women’s March by picking up 13 stitches, knitting in garter stitch on smaller needles (a US 6, I think), decreasing every other row at the edges, then finishing it off with a centered double decrease (CDD) once I had three stitches remaining, and binding off the final stitch.  If I’d had a little more time I probably would have reinforced them with pipe cleaner or felt, but I’m planning on pulling these out and replacing them with a pom pom anyway, so it wasn’t worth the trouble.

Despite my use of photoshop, these are clearly iPhone photos and not quite up to par with my nicer camera.  They’ll do for now – I just wanted to share while I remember all the details.  Ravelry Project Page here.

 

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