Monday, November 18, 2019

Sweater Weather and Gnome Spotting ~

At long last it's sweater weather here in Southern California!  I can't tell you how relieved I'll be when rain arrives next week (as predicted) as fire season seems to get longer and more dangerous every year not just here in Southern California but all over the world.  Of course fire risk is nothing new to me.  I grew up in California and when I was young there were several fires where we were evacuated.  And about ten years ago I spent several days in evacuation status with my parents (our misadventures coalescing into my Tips for the Wildfire Evacuee).  But recent fires are without a doubt more intense and spread more quickly.  Thankfully we have amazing firefighters who just yesterday stopped a small wildfire from spreading right here in Topanga Canyon.  But then there was no wind blowing.  When the wind blows there is nothing any firefighter anywhere can do.

And on that cheery note let's talk about my "I didn't get to go to Spain" consolation sweater.  Back in May we were supposed to travel to Spain but I tripped and badly sprained my ankle.  I was laid up with my foot in traction for several weeks and this sweater is the result of that inactivity.  As I have found before knitting is a wonderful panacea for the bumps and bruises that occur in my life.  It takes my mind off my troubles and soothes me to create something beautiful despite whatever else is going on.  You probably recognize this sweater as Andrea Mowry's very popular Comfort Fade Cardi.  It's a fun and easy knit but I made two significant modifications that I think greatly impacted the finished sweater.  First I changed the sweater from a reverse stockinette fabric to a traditional stockinette leaving the garter stitch trim (collar and cuffs) and second I greatly reduced the depth of the collar around the neck opting instead to make the front band wider.  I did that because some of the projects seemed lopsided with too much fabric for the collar around the neck area and too skimpy in the front.  Those modifications were the right call for me and something for you to think about if you are planning on knitting this sweater.  I've provided more details on those modifications below.

Despite my somewhat gloomy musing in this post I have actually been enjoying myself this Fall.  I have an amazing capacity to live in the moment and enjoy small things even when I might have big worries.  Like burning to a crispy crisp in a wildfire.  The following list is some of my favorite Fall things:

1.  Sweater Weather (music video) by The Neighborhood.  Not only does this video have a cool apropos title it's shot in and around the Pacific Coast Highway/Malibu area and the vibe might help explain why people live in SoCal despite wildfires, earthquakes and crazy politics;

2.  Adding a dash of cinnamon to coffee grounds before brewing.  I learned this trick from someone who learned the trick from Molly of  A Homespun HouseI used to add cinnamon to a cup of coffee but it is so much better when added to the grounds;

3.  The change in the sun angle and quality of the sun rays.  Fall is hard to find in Southern California but for those who pay attention the changing light quality is a special and enjoyable part of Fall;

3.  Burning Scented candles.  This Fall I'm crushing on Bath and Body Works candles, Pumpkin Cupcake is very yummy;

4.  Seasonal Baking: Cinnamon Raisin Bread (Steve's favorite fall treat), Pumpkin Bread with Walnut Topping, Granola (wonderful sprinkled over fresh persimmon on top of morning oatmeal), and Chocolate Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies (this is just one of several recipes I love from Bake From Scratch, Holiday Cookies Magazine (2017);

5.  Scented bath soaps.  My favorites are made by Lush Cosmetics and Philosophy Bath and Shower Gels;

6.  Hiking with Simcha and collecting Fall foliage for decorating around the house; and

7.  Snacking on Honey Roasted Pecans!

So that's what's been going on in my world this Fall.  I would love to hear what you are up to and what you enjoy about this time of year!

Particulars Comfort Fade Cardi; designed by Andrea Mowry (Drea Renee Knits) ; US 5 needles; Big Sky Yarn Co., Squish DK (superwash merino) purchased as a kit.  I loved knitting with this yarn and couldn't be happier with the sweater.  It knit true to size (I knit XXS) and this yarn has a lot of bounce and holds it's shape well.  But as discussed above I made two significant modifications:
  1. As I preferred the look of stockinette I knit it with stockinette as the RS (versus WR).  Although the color fade transitions are probably not as smooth in the stockinette that didn't bother me; and
  2. I modified the neck/front band in two ways. First I only did one repeat of the short rows and two I increased the number of full rows to 60. I made this modification as I thought that the front band of the sweater looked too skimpy while the neck area too large. I faded the colorband as follows:  Note: The rows below only includes full rows. The one repeat section of short rows were all done according to the pattern as written and in colorway A.  
1-8 = A 
9-10 = B 
11-12 = A 
13-24 = B 
25-26 = C 
27-28 = B 
29-30 = C 
31-32 = B 
33-42 = C 
43-44 = D 
45-46 = C 
47-48 = D 
49-50 = C 
51-60 = D
This modification ended up with a front band depth of 5.5 inches (on each side) and a 7 inch depth at the back of the neck.  For tips on how to knit a sweater that fits I refer you to my post Knitting a Sweater and Achieving a Custom Fit.  To see other cardigans that I've knit see: Solstice Cardigan, Little Wave, Bud, Flo, Cabled Riding Jacket (these are the sweaters that I wear and enjoy the most).

Gnome Spotting ~

Have you ever noticed that Gnomes are seasonal creatures?  They appear suddenly in the Fall and then mysteriously disappear in the Spring.  I have no idea where they go or why.  That's just part of their charm.  This is Gnellie a cute little gnome and she loves all things Fall.  She likes to collect foliage, mushrooms, feathers and other treasures of that sort.  While she's formidable she is also very shy and I'm delighted that she posed for this picture.  I will be very sorry when she disappears.  But I suspect that she'll be back when the leaves turn next year.

I knit Gnellie as part of the Oh, Gnome, You Didn't  mystery KAL hosted by Sarah Schira (Imagined Landscapes).  I bought the yarn as a kit on Etsy from Black Sheep Dyeworks (which I augmented with a few odds and ends of stash yarn).  For example her nose is knit with yarn leftover from my dragon socks).  This is a pretty small project (roughly 5 inches tall) and not really a "toy" but more a decoration.  Be warned knitting gnomes is addictive.  Once you start it's hard to stop.

Until next time be well, love well and remember to enjoy the small things that make Fall special.  And a very big Happy Thanksgiving to all ~ from our Gnome to yours ~