Small setback

I knew the sweater was progressing too well and it was only a matter of time before I ran into a problem. As I was working the first sleeve last night, it dawned on me that it was a very baggy and loose sleeve. The pattern says to decrease 2 stitches every inch or so as  you work the sleeve, which I faithfully did. k2tog, k to last 2 sts, ssk every 6 rows. It worked out fine for my boyfriend’s sweater but my proportions don’t work out so well, I think. (That or I cast on too many stitches for the armpit and created too large of a shoulder.)


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In these pictures I’m only about 3 inches away from casting off the entire sleeve, of which 2 will be ribbed without decreases. It won’t do, so I ran a smaller size needles through the row where I first decreased and I will be frogging the sleeve back to that row to start over. Rather than decrease every 6 rows, I will be decreasing every 3 rows until I hit about 32 stitches. That should make the fit better. I’ll be running a lifeline through the row I picked up in case that is also wrong and I need to try something else.

Worst case scenario I’ll have to remove the sleeve entirely and start over from the beginning at the shoulder, but it’s really not so bad! The yarn works up quickly enough that it’s only a day or two lost, rather than two months. 😛

Knitting into the new year

Not much has been going on. The usual ‘holidays diet regrets’ are kicking in, I’ve set goals for 2016 and I’ve been knitting up a storm. My boyfriend is spending time with his family and talking to me every day and I will be spending New Year’s Eve with my parents. 🙂

My sweater is coming along splendidly!

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I’ve been very dumb while trying it on before. There’s no need to transfer every stitch onto a long piece of scrap yarn when I have a dozen 100cm circular needles lying around! I just put half the stitches on a second needle and the sleeve stitches on a third and fourth needle. Much quicker and works just fine!

I prefer long sweaters and shirts, so I will be knitting this one for another 2″, then knit 2″ of ribbing on a size smaller needles. That should make it comfortably long for me. (And if not there’s nothing stopping me from picking up stitches and knitting an extra inch!)

I’m super exhausted so it’s time for bed. In case I don’t blog before the new year rolls in, have a happy new year! Be safe, don’t drink and drive and have fun. 🙂

From one frenzy to another

Christmas is over and I spent both days at my parents’, first day with my cats, the second day with my sister and her girlfriend.

My parents’ dog didn’t quite know how to handle the cats’ presence. He’s used to them in the sense that when he was a puppy, I introduced my cats to him (I take them with me frequently on trips and such) but he also took a couple of beatings when he spazzed too much around them. So now he’s cautious and very submissive around them even though they couldn’t care less about his presence. I think they claim my parents’ house and he surrenders but they don’t act like dogs so he’s lost. Thankfully they frequently just lay down and nap without any trouble and nobody gets hurt, so it’s not all that bad! He was visibly relieved when we all went home though. 😉

The rest of the days were spent eating well and enjoying my family’s company. Last year, on the 21st December, my back gave out again and I was bedridden in my apartment for over 2 weeks. I missed Christmas and New Year’s Eve, so it was important to me to make up for it this year.

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My parents’ gift to me was this lovely basket full of hygiene products! Shower gel, shower scrub, body butter, body lotion, a little flask of perfume, some chocolates, Christmas decorations and a card. 🙂 I particularly love the perfume, it smells really good on me. (It’s Gloria Vanderbilt Eau De Toilette for the curious!) My sister promised me cash for the holidays, but as I plan on moving over the next couple of months, we agreed she’s going to hang on to it until the time comes when I need some extra cash for appliances. Lovely scents and bath products are common gifts in my family cause you can always use them and they don’t drain your wallet like crazy, in case anyone is wondering about ‘subtle hints’. We all smell lovely all year round thanks to gifts like these. 😉

The socks I knit for everyone were well received! I had to teach my dad that he shouldn’t stuff one sock inside the other though, cause that was the first thing he did. (I’m grateful my mom’s the one who does laundry, hah!)

I had barely finished my sister’s socks on Christmas Eve when I cast on for my new sweater. (Finally one I’m knitting for myself that I will actually wear too!) The yarn is knitting up wonderfully and I love the colors very very much. Progress is just as fast on this top-down raglan as it was on my boyfriend’s sweater, so hopefully I’ll be done with this before the second week of January. By then the temps should have dropped low enough to warrant a warm wool sweater on my body too. I don’t know what it’s like for the rest of you, but our flowers are starting to bloom…

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When I put the sleeve stitches on the holders, I worried that my bust wouldn’t get enough give and it would be too tight. I knit a little ‘pocket’ of extra stitches right beneath the arms to allow the sweater to stretch in that area purely as an experiment. I cast on 8 stitches beneath each arm for the sleeve before continuing in the round, and I marked those 8 stitches and increased them to 16 stitches every by adding 2 every other row. Then I knit a few rows plain, and then decreased back to 8 stitches per side. This did create a weird little area but it also did the trick for a fit (and really can’t be seen in that position). Unfortunately I’m bigger in circumference than my 100cm needles (downside of being a heavy and tall Amazoness) so I had to transfer all my stitches to scrap yarn, including the sleeve stitches. It took 30 minutes to transfer them on yarn and 30 minutes to transfer them back onto the needles.

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But the modification did what it had to do! I’m in my jammies here and not wearing a bra so only the top of my boobs were covered, but it was enough to confirm the fit for me. I will pick up stitches around the v-neck so it’s not as open, although my next v-neck sweater will probably be a little bit differently shaped. I was wondering about the instructions in the pattern and made a best guess. It didn’t turn out bad or wrong, but for a less deep v-neck I would do it differently. You can check out my notes on the pattern on Ravelry here.

This is still all very experimental for me, but I’m enjoying the process a lot! I can only imagine the awesome sweaters I’ll be making this time next year. 🙂

Did you cast on anything during the holidays?

That was an interesting trip.

The package arrived yesterday! I don’t know why I bothered to send it as a ‘sign for’ package. USPS decided it was totally okay to dump the package on his doorstep without even signing it off as delivered. I paid extra for that. Thanks for nothing guys.

Either way this is a HUGE relief to me and I’m stoked to finally see him wearing it! I’m surprised by how well it fits. I had thought it would be a disaster and either too small or too big, but it looks very comfortable and he says he wears comfortably, so we’ve got a winner! 😀

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The socks also fit him really well. They’re expecting really cold snow storm weather the next couple of days, so it looks like it came in just on time.

Illogical logistics

Shipping gifts around the world for the holidays has got to be my least favorite thing of the year. Not because I make and buy gifts, but because shipping is such a pain in the rear end.

I sent my boyfriend his sweater and socks on November 26th. The package arrived in the US on December 1st. From there on the package went on a roadtrip from Illinois to New York, then to South Dakota. It took a full two weeks for it to end up in the city where my boyfriend lives. Why? What could possibly warrant such a roundabout method of delivery? Illinois is closer to SD than NY is! Even I know that!

This long shipping time has been nerve wracking. I wrote the company I shipped it through in a panic and discovered that they hand over packages to USPS. Good to know for tracking future packages, cause their site updates better than the Dutch company’s.

Anyway, the 14th is their estimated delivery day. I really hope so! I can’t wait to see my man wearing the sweater!

In the meantime I’m resting in bed while the crockpot is making a delicious chicken stew for me. I have to do the dishes at some point, but for now I’ll share the recipe for those who are interested:

Ingredients:
2 celery stalks, cut bite sized
1 leek, cut in rings
1 small onion, chopped
1 can of diced tomatoes (400g)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1.5 cup (325ml) vegetable or chicken broth
1 large sweet potato or 2 small ones
2 chicken breasts, no skin, no bones
Salt
Pepper
A sprinkle of dried thyme
1 or 2 bay leaves to taste
1/3cup (100ml) heavy cream

Instructions:
1. Mix the broth, diced tomatoes (the whole can with liquids) and tomato paste in the slowcooker. Add some salt, pepper and thyme. Stir well.

2. Chop all the vegetables and wash thoroughly. Let them drain in a colander.

3. Peel and cut the sweet potato in cubes and add to the broth base.

4. Cut the chicken breasts in small pieces. You can cook them in some oil first if you want to. I added them raw to the broth base at this point.

5. Add the bay leaf/leaves and push them into the broth.

6. Add the onions first, then cover everything with the leek and celery.

7. Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8. the leek and celery will collapse throughout the cooking process so you may need to stir halfway through to mix it up. (But only once!)

8. Half an hour (high) or one hour (low) before it’s done, stir in the heavy cream and let simmer until done.

This should serve a minimum of 3 people. Make sure to remove the bay leaves before serving. You can switch up the vegetables however you like, I don’t like carrots so they’re never part of my stew. 🙂