Sunday, July 8, 2012

Bud ~ a Summer Sweater and Lemon and White Chocolate Muffins

I'm out for an evening stroll in my new cardigan.  Anyone who thinks knitting is only for the Winter months is seriously missing out on all the wonderful Summer knits.  To knit clothes for the Summer you simply have to knit in fibers other than wool.  It's that simple.  This cardigan is knit in a combination of silk and cotton and is perfect for cool Summer evenings or foggy mornings at the beach and typical for a Kim Hargreaves design it is a classic and timeless wardrobe piece.

As I've gotten older I've found it harder to find my personal style.  I don't want to I no longer can wear the same styles that I did in the past but we all want to look the best we can at whatever age we are.  Knitting has helped me transition to middle age by allowing me to wear the colors and styles that suit me best.  I know for some knitting is a fad but for me it's a means of self expression and a connection with a part of myself that is still me no matter what age I am.  I guess what I'm saying is that I want to age like a cozy cardigan that is classic and timeless and loved no matter how misshapen and lumpy and bumpy it becomes!    

But enough about me!  It's time for a Mr. Puffy Knitting Tip ~ whoo hoo.

This knitting tip is the key to knitting a large oversized sweater such as Bud and not have it look (and feel) masses too large.  It's all about getting the sleeves to fit well.  I knit the small size for this pattern exactly as written - except - for the sleeves.  I knit the sleeves custom by calculating the stitches so that the cuff fits my wrist with just a little ease and the arm length and width similarly have been adjusted.  If I had knit the sleeves as directed for the small size then the sleeves and cuff would have been almost twice the size that they are which would have been waaaay too big.  The best way to figure out how to adjust a sleeve to your own custom fit is to lay out a sweater you already have with sleeves that fit you comfortably or close to how you want your finished sleeves to fit. Measure the width of the cuff and arm as well as the length of the sleeve.  Then, using those measurements and your gauge adjust the pattern accordingly.  I find that I often have to custom knit the sleeves in a pattern even if the body measurements and gauge otherwise can be knit according to pattern instructions.

Particulars:  Bud (a classic cardigan with pockets); design by Kim Hargreaves ~ Misty in Light and Shade collection; US 6 & 8 needles; 11 skeins Rowan Summer Tweed (70% silk / 30% cotton); 4 sea green abalone buttons.  I knit the XS size with sleeves modified as explained above.  Overall this is a very simple design to knit and a pleasure to wear although to be honest I didn't really enjoy knitting with this yarn.  Kim Hargreaves is a wonderful knitwear designer and I have previously knit her following designs: Flo (cardigan); Emily (sweater); Calm (Sweater); Bonnie (hat); Soul (hat); Haven (scarf set); and Raindrop (cardigan).  

Lemon and White Chocolate Muffins ~

About 10 years ago Steve and I traveled through New Zealand and whist there I quickly ascertained that the New Zealanders knew their muffins.  Everywhere we went they had wonderful coffee shops serving fabulous looking muffins.  So when I recently had a taste for a muffin I searching for a good muffin recipe on a New Zealand recipe site and found this wonderful Lemon and White Chocolate Muffin recipe.  I modified it to add a very thin slice of lemon on top and made them slightly larger (I used a large muffin tin versus cupcake size tins).  Due to the larger size I increased the baking time to 30 minutes and yielded 7 muffins.  Prior to baking I added the lemon slice and sprinkled it with extrafine white sugar.  After baking I spooned the glaze over the top of the lemon slice and over the top.  I have to say white chocolate and lemon is a sinfully delicious combination.

Until next time, be well and love well and make time to enjoy fresh baked muffins this Summer before you start contemplating your Fall knitting  ~


SissySees said...

Fabulous - both Bud and the muffins! The Knight says you ruined them with the lemon slice, but that's easy enough to fix...

gMarie said...

Very good knitting tip and you are so right, if the shoulders and sleeves fit, the rest will look intentional and not sloppy.

Beautiful sweater. Those muffins look magnificant! g

Andi said...

Your cardigan is beautiful. Excellent color on you as well. Thank you for the excellent tip about how to find out your sleeve size. Makes perfect sense.
Oh my goodness...lemon and white chocolate. That combo sounds sinfully delish to me as well.

Willow said...

Hi, Love the sweater, especially the colour! You're right, of course, that we can still knitt sweaters in the summer; we just use lighter non-wool yarn :)

Tracy said...

"I want to age like a cozy cardigan that is classic and timeless"...oh, that is FABULOUS, Claudia... I have to remember that! I'll turn 40 later this year, and my style sense had been changing a bit, in that I feel more bolder in wearing different styles and colors than before. Be old, be bold, I say... haha! ;o) But LOVE this oversized cardi. I've been curious about knitting one, but don't have one in my knitting queue, as I've found sizing intimidating. I'm petite, and don't have the big cardi to look like a sack on me after all the work. So I think I may stick to more fitted styles for now. But seeing this really inspired! Happy Summer Days, my friend... oh, and thanks for the recipe--those muffins look so good, what a great pairing in the lemon and white chocolate! ((HUGS))

missyinedmonds said...

Thank you for the sweater sleeve knitting tip! Your 'Bud' is so pretty and suits you so well. I know what you mean about trying to find your style as you grow into middle age. Not too trendy and not too dowdy, with comfort a big factor no matter what the style. My mom was a blue jeans gal until she died at 84, she had a California beach casual style that she stuck with and it worked for her beautifully. I tend in that direction too although I still find myself veering toward something that in the end I know I won't like.
Your muffin looks sinful and I must try it.

Anonymous said...

Hi Claudia,
Thank you for the wonderful tip about keeping the sleeves narrow on "roomy" cardigans. As I've gotten older (I'm in my sixties) I've also gotten shorter (is there no justice?), and the roominess that used to look good, now is overwhelming. Your tip makes so much sense. Also that Dark House Collection sweater really has me interested. A wonderful neckline.
And thanks for the muffin recipe. Yum!

Renee said...

Your cardi is lovely!! Such a wearable piece. I adore Rowan Felted Tweed, but the Summer not at all. The one time I used it I frogged before the first skein was knit and sold the yarn.

I'm very tempted to undertake knitting Bud in Felted Tweed for fall... although my knitting mojo seems to have gone missing?

Your muffins look and sound delicious! Shall give your recipe and tweaks a try, thank you Claudia!

Hope you are keeping well and Simcha is being a prince. Hello to Steve too! :-) Hugs to all from Renee

Gail said...

Hi Claudia! I knew you must be up to something spectacular! I love your sweater and you are exxactly right about us getting older. I will try this pattern as I loooove cardigans.....and this color is fabulous too! Hope your summer is going well. Ours has finally arrived! Yipppeee! Kitlchen renos is progressing.....thanks for the tips!

KnittySue said...

Your cardigan is beautiful and the color is great on you. Thanks for the tip and the muffins..Take Care.

shabby girl said...

Love, love, love Kim Hargreaves patterns! And yours is especially nice in that luscious color!
I have knitted her Flicker hat, and would love to try the Orchid sweater from the Nectar book. I admit, I'm scared. But I may try it anyway!
Great sweater, girl!

knittingdragonflies said...

Good knitting tip! Thanks! As always the sweater and yourself look lovely! I'm just getting back into knitting and hoping to cast on something today. When I read your comment about aging I laughed, and agree.
Oh Yum the muffins look divine!

Larissa said...

You look beautiful in your new sweater! Totally agree with you about the sleeves. I love how you adjust knits to fit your style. And that muffin photo is making my mouth water.