Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Emily Sweater


Busy busy busy. That's been me lately. Bloggers, just like everyone, have periods of ups and downs and go through different stages in their life. Being busy with work has translated into less available time for me to spend on the Internet and what free time I have I have spent knitting!

Knitting has always been a meditative and relaxing hobby for me. It's a place I can go and relax and forget everything else in a peaceful setting and worldly occupations don't bother me.

This is my newly completed Emily sweater from Kim Hargreaves' Heartfelt - The Dark House Collection. I really enjoyed knitting this sweater and am totally ecstatic with how it came out. I wish the photos did it justice, but the details and rich color of the yarn proved very hard to photograph and there is only so much you can do with fill light.

This will not be an everyday sweater for me. I'll keep this folded in a drawer and only wear it on special occasions. It's nice to keep a special sweater that you know will look appropriate when you need to get a little more dressed up.

As I have found with past sweaters designed by Kim Hargreaves (my Flo cardigan comes to mind) the devil is in the details. She really has a knack for taking a simple pattern and adding finishing touches that make it special but still not terribly complex to knit.

This sweater, as I say, is a very straight forward knit. The only thing that gave me pause was the neckband. The pattern is a bit sketchy on this bit and simply instructs you to knit the neckband separately and then stitch it "neatly" into place. That's not very helpful. I wasn't intending to sew it on sloppily anyway.

I truly had no idea how to tackle sewing it on as I never sew anything! This is where Murielle of Murielle Knitwear a dear friend and invaluable resource stepped in. She pinned the neckband on for me and explained that it would be best to use a simple back stitch to sew the neckband into place on the surface of the knitting. But here's her real gem, that I'm going to fondly refer to here on Mr Puffy's Knitting Blog as "Designer Tips and Tricks." Murielle told me that I needed to use regular thread to sew on the neckband because using yarn would make the neckline too heavy. She was absolutely right and I would never have thought of that on my own because I always use yarn to seam/finish my sweaters. It's a little detail like that which can make the difference between your sweater looking "handmade" versus "homemade."

Particulars: Emily designed by Kim Hargreaves; Heartfelt - The Dark House Collection; 6 skeins Rowan Kid Classic (colorway #832 - black swirled with a dark purple ); US 7 needles (main body) US 6 (lower body details) US 5 cuffs and neckband; Modifications: I knit the body in the round and downsized the pattern to an XXS to achieve a more fitted garment. Dimensions: I began armhole shaping when the body length was 16" and the sleeves are 24" long. Rather than go into more details here I'll put the rest on my Ravelry page for those interested.


Breakfast and its Role in my Quest for a Healthy Diet and Lifestyle!

When I am busy it is hard to take the time to eat a proper breakfast but eating properly is key to avoiding getting run down and sick. I also find that if I don't eat a sufficiently substantial breakfast I find myself hungry around 10 a.m. and then I'll snack on foods that are unhealthy like sweets and chips. So, the key for me, was finding a breakfast meal that I enjoyed enough to motivate me to take the time to make it. Voila ~ a bowl of steel-cut Irish oatmeal!


I love this stuff. A warm bowl of steel-cut Irish oatmeal is how I begin most mornings (along with a sliced up apple and a handful of walnuts). I've been eating this for breakfast for years and I'm pleased to note that it is finally becoming more mainstream which is great, because that means it is more readily available and at a better price.

I have found that the best and most tender steel-cut oats are the "pinhead" variety. I order Organic Pinhead Oatmeal produced by The Oatmeal of Alford on-line and buy it in bulk from Chefshop. I have found that toasting the oats for a minute or so brings out the nutty flavor and adds a nice touch. Simply pour your oats into a sauce pan and allow them to toast up a bit before adding the water - do this very quickly or they will burn. I use 1/4 cup oats and 1 & 1/4 cups water. Stir frequently with a wooden spoon on a low simmer and when the oats are plumped up and the water is nearly all absorbed it's ready. This process only takes about 8 to 10 minutes with "pinhead" oats. Top it off with brown sugar and a banana and you have yourself a warm and tasty meal that you and your family are sure to love!

If you live in Los Angeles or anywhere near a Jamba Juice you will find that they now sell a tasty bowl of this. So if you are out and about you might want to give it a try - it's much better for you than a Cinnabon at the Mall!

Have a great week everyone ~ and make sure to eat a proper breakfast!

31 comments:

Renee said...

Oh Claudia, your Emily is gorgeous! I can see why you're saving it for special occasions. Your fit is lovely and as always you look beautiful. :)

Can I ask?? Does Steve drool and then take you out for a romantic dinner after taking such elegant photos of you? You are dressed for a special occasion...

I'm an oatmeal eater too, I like mine topped with cinnamon and sliced banana in a pretty bowl best, with candle light. Seriously classes it up, lol. If I know it'll be a while before I can get lunch or a healthy snack on a particular day I'll have 3 scrambled egg whites with it too.

t does wool said...

Emily is gorgeous through and through!!great tip about the neckband...lovely,lovely job! and I do love steel cut oats the best,also...

The Wooly Wumpus said...

What a gorgeous sweater! I love the neckline and the hem detail - it should definitely be kept for special occasions.

Jamba Juice!! Ah, the memories I have of Jamba Juice! Two a day, every day when I was living in SF. Not great for the waistline, but took my mind off of being homesick :-)

Everyone's reading Water For Elephants, except ME - you'll have to file a book report when you're done and tell me Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down.

jillian said...

Emily is stunning! I can imagine how luxurious it is in the Kid Classic.

Monika said...

Congratulations on your stunning Emily! It fits you perfectly, and looks so elegant. No wonder you want to wear it only for special occasions! You really did a fine job there. Thanks for reminding me of steal cut oats. I can eat those in my diet too, and I love them. Need to find them next time I'm out shopping. I like the bowl you used to show and tell, it's lovely.

Stephanie said...

That sweater looks great. I love the color. And that necklace is gorgeous! Where did you get it? :)

sue said...

Emily looks beautiful and I never realised the pattern in it until a few more photos down. I love the tip you gave too, I must remember that one.

Hilary said...

Claudia, that sweater is absolutely stunning!!! Honestly, anyone who sees you in it is going to ask which fancy boutique in Beverly Hills it came from. I *LOVE* the slightly puffed sleeves and the garter stitchy pattern on the cuffs and hem, the color is so rich and gorgeous, and you look FABULOUS in it!

I hope things calm down a bit for you -- but if they don't at least you can channel it all into more fab sweaters!

Casbah Kitten said...

That IS a stunning sweater!! Wow. I've been wanting to attempt a simple shell (crochet) and now I think I'll jump in a do one. I want to hone my skills so I can make beautiful sweaters too!
And I've started eating oats every morning also! I like mine with blueberries or raisins and a touch of maple syrup.

Willow said...

Emily looks lovely! I can see why it will be a 'for special' sweater.

Oh, I am so glad to know there is another Irish oatmeal eater in the Los Angeles area! I buy McCann's from TJ's and microwave it (I'm usually in a hurry in the mornings!) and serve it with nonfat Greek plain yogurt, blueberries and flaxseed meal on top. It's my favorite morning meal and I eat it almost every morning!

Starbuck's now has oatmeal with nuts and raisins, but it's not Irish steel cut oatmeal.

tiennie said...

That is beautiful! Lovely job modeling it.

Yum. I love steel cut oatmeal.

Bubblesknits said...

Very pretty! Very nice fit.

Danette said...

That sweater is absolutely divine! What a beautiful job you did knitting it. And it fits and flatters you perfectly. Good Job!!!
Steel cut Irish oatmeal is actually my favorite food & how I start most mornings year round as well.
Love to you,
Danette

Pat K said...

I have oatmeal most mornings with blueberries and raspberries in it. Never tried steel cut, will have to look into that. Love the sweater on you!

Donna (Random Knits) said...

It's just beautiful! I'd hope that every day was a special occasion so I could wear it :)

KnittySue said...

That sweater is gorgeous and such a great fit. Breakfast looks yummy and inspires me to make a good hot breakfast today.
Thanks

sweetp said...

Lovely!! It suits you so well too. And great tip about the sewing up with normal cotton , will file that for future reference. Well done xx

Silvia said...

Beautiful sweater- the attaching of the ribbing would have sent me into fits, so I'm wildly impressed. I'll keep your tip in mind, though, thanks!

CelticCastOn said...

Beautiful sweater, I love the detail on the cuffs and hem!

I'm a poridge girl all the way or a bowl of weetabix in warm milk yummmm!!

At Home Mommy Knits said...

Your sweater is gorgeous! It is so simple but very elegant. Love the photos :)

We are big oatmeal eaters here as well. My kids are not hungry at 10 if they have their oatmeal and some fruit in the morning.

Tracy said...

Claudia, that Emily sweater is sensational! That color and the style suit your wonderfully--super job on this one! The sleeves look to have a little bit or "puff" near the cuff. So many nice little details all over. I really like the scooped. ribbed neckline...and how you did a little fixing & tricksing to make it go easier for you. It is very good to have some finer knit pieces to save to wear on special occasion. What's Steve's verdict on this swanky little number then? ;o) While I love oats and baking with oats, I can't eat oatmeal...Porridg-y things make me gag...GAK!...seriously. But I am all for a health breakfast to start the day though and try to do so daily with simple things, then DH & I make something nicer to share together on the weekend since daily our schedules are a little different. I could eat some scrambled eggs now...mmm...Happy Days, my friend! ((HUGS))

Bridget said...

That is one beautiful sweater! And it looks like it fits you perfectly (like it was made for you, HA!). Like you, using regular thread for the neckband would never have occurred to me. How great that you didn't end up using yarn and then feeling that it just wasn't right.

Like so many of the others, I'm a steel-cut oatmeal girl myself. I usually have raisins, slivered almonds, and cinnamon on mine. As a matter of fact, I finished a bowl not too long ago ...

raining sheep said...

That sweater turned out really nicely. It suits you, has a great fit and for some reason I love the neckline! It has a beautiful swoop shape, not too low but is a little sexy. Very nice! I am knitting a warm shawl...it's -20C here and snowing.

I always have oatmeal and bananas for breakfast, a stick-to-your-ribs breakfast one needs around here in our cold climate :)

Miriam said...

Gorgeous! You are so talented.

Isn't it lovely how yarn can take you away to another world, at lest for a little while?

Channon said...

Emily is spectacular. Is the color a rich eggplant?

I love steel cut oats too. I drop in raisins and a dash of cinnamon.

amanda said...

You always look so elegant and put together on your photo shoots! This is so classy!

amanda said...

This sweater is just gorgeous. I love the details, too, especially the sleeve cuffs. What a winner!

Windyridge said...

I have been starting my day with oatmeal and flax seed for a few years. Filling and healthy!

Love the sweater and am always amazed at how prolific a knitter you are!

knitting dragonfly said...

Wow! The sweater turned out georgeous! You look very elegant in it. I always end up looking like I am going to chop wood Ha.
I have been craving oatmeal myself. It is a great and satisifying breakfast!
As always beautiful photos
Vicki

Firefly Nights said...

You always look so good in the things you knit and I don't know how you accomplish so much when you're so busy. Your needles must absolutely fly unless Puffy has been knitting when you're not home.

Alison Boon said...

I am completely in Love with Emily, what a beautiful piece and such clever tips. It looks stunning on you as always. I am not usually a breakfast eater but if it's a cooked breakfast I'm there everytime.