Monday, March 19, 2018

Branches and Buds: The minimum

Winter is really hanging around.  For some of you, too, I’ll bet.  Doc and I walk at night, trying to blow out some cobwebs, but we keep finding ourselves trudging into the teeth of yet another snowstorm, with a flickering, dying flashlight and our glasses completely coated with ice.  Once, we had to navigate home by nothing but our farmer neighbor’s pole light, because we could not see the road we were walking on, and our outbound footsteps had already filled in.  Another time, we both pointed at the ground and together said, “Watch out for that ice” at the same time as we both hit the ice and then flailed wildly for traction, grabbing each other and cartoonishly trying to stay upright.  Funny, but tiresome, too.  For me, snow fatigue sets in sometime in late December, but I still have to go outside.  I just want to walk in a straight line on a dry path without fear for my aging bones.  Wear grippy boots and all the handknits at once, and laugh; that’s all I can do.  
I’ve been knitting like it’s my j-o-b.  This latest finished sweater is a modified version of Carrie Bostick Hoge’s Branches and Buds pullover from the first issue of Making magazine.  I’ve wanted to make this ever since it came along, and I had some—but not quite enough—of the required yarn, and nothing for the contrast yoke, so it kept getting shelved.  Then my beautiful daughter’s beautiful girlfriend gave me some perfect yarn for Christmas—Acadia from The Fiber Co. in the teal/gray colorway “Butterfly Bush”—just right for the colorwork in the yoke of this design, so I decided to see if I could squeak it out.  The pattern calls for Quince and Co. Chickadee, a sport weight yarn, and I had some (in “Frost”) in the stash, but was two skeins short, so I made every effort I could think of to conserve yardage, including saving all the long ends, and also making no swatch.  (That’s right, you heard me.  Flying without a net!)  This sweater is worked top-down, so I made the yoke in the smallest size, and then made the body even smaller than that, and shortened the length in the body and in the sleeves.  I measured obsessively, and watched the diminishing ball with mounting confidence that I would certainly run out.  To my amazement, I did not run out, but only because this is the most abbreviated Branches and Buds ever.  This is the barest minimum Branches and Buds I could possibly have made.  It doesn’t even have the buds—maybe I’ll add them eventually.  I kind of like it without them.  It is a shortie top, good for spring, or for wearing underneath another layer.  I’m thinking of it as a shirt.  
 
I didn’t have much yarn left in the end, which feels like a measure of success.  This is such a nice pattern, and these are both such wonderful yarns, and I’m so glad it finally figured out what it wanted to be.  I’ll wear this a lot, eventually.  I realize I am doing a lot of optimistic knitting.  Spring will come, eventually.  
Last week, I took a long look at the state of my hair and just snapped.  Despite my giving those curls all the care and attention you would lavish on a human baby, and despite the protective measures against sun and wind and drying, and despite all the fancy products money could buy, they just looked and felt like straw and I couldn’t take it anymore.  I loved them too, but guys, they were not serving me.  So off they came, and I just feel So. Much. Better.  
It’s dry in ten minutes.  I can let the wind blow it!  I can think about other things besides frizz!  What a relief.  Let the outside match the inside.  

24 comments:

  1. Love the sweater shirt! Love the description of the planning stages. I can get lost in fabric the same way you do in yarn, but I sure can't make my own patterns

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    1. I'm sure it must work much the same way, though I can't modify a sewing pattern in any knowledgeable way, so there must be at least a small info gap somewhere. I'm gonna do it, though, and you can too! :)

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  2. Amazing sweater! I love the contrast of the yoke and body.

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    1. I like that graphic contrast punch, too. :)

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  3. Lovely light looking sweater and a good shearing. You look like spring.

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    1. Aw, thanks! I feel like spring, too. :)

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  4. We've just had the Edinburgh Yarn Festival happen this weekend right on our doorstep but the snow, Arctic winds and sub zero temps kept me housebound, there's always next year! Totes love your sweet sweater,new 'do' and new header pic.Keep on knitting.

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    1. Your weather has been pretty grim lately, too, hasn't it? I'm sorry you missed EYF this year. Maybe we'll see each other there in 2019? Here's hoping. xoxo

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  5. We are suffering from cabin fever here in Atlantic Canada with another 30 cm of snow on it's way this week. I keep saying it will be the last snowfall of the year. Eventually I will be right. I love your hair. I chopped mine off in Feb and feel so liberated. I really like this pattern, especially that you made it with 3/4 sleeves. Sending hugs to Catdog

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    1. The freedom of a good haircut cannot be overstated, am I right? *highfive* Spring must be on the way. It must. That's just science. :D Catdog sends her love.

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  6. I think that the body skimming, shorter and three quarter length sleeve version is just absolutely perfect! As to the weather, sigh. I live in South Louisiana not too far from the Gulf coast. I live in the deep South for a reason....I hate to be cold, lol! But we've had the most awful cold winter this year and here it is...the first day of spring....And I'll be leaving the house in jeans, a long sleeved shirt and a jacket! This is SO wrong! We should be in short sleeves and sandals right now!

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    1. This winter has just been sooooo miserable, hasn't it? I'm sorry it's hanging on in your neighborhood, too. Hopefully we'll be in our sandals soon. Our feet want to be freeeee! xoxo

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  7. Another beautiful finish. I like your version, and it looks great how you styled it for the pictures. As for the new do - bravo. Less time spent on trying to tame wild locks = more time for knitting.

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    1. Thanks, Lynne! The curls were so high maintenance, and I am just not a high maintenance type. You're right, I'd rather be knitting! Chop! xoxo

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  8. Nice spring make - it will come soon. I have that dress too, it is do drapey and easy to wear. Have a good week. Jo x

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    1. Boden! I love them. The brand is a bit scarce around here, but when I see it, I grab it. That side zipper makes life so nice, doesn't it? xoxo

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  9. Love the hair, love the sweater, love the new picture at the top of the blog. It's kinda like spring cleaning - out with the old, in with the new!

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    1. Thank you, I agree--a good clean up is good for all things, isn't it? :)

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  10. Gorgeous sweater! The leaves give a hint of springtime, the white brightens it up and it's easy to combine with many clothes. I cannot imagine how it must be for you, with those snowstorms. Luckily we don't have any overhere in Belgium, Europe. We had some snow, but that's like a thin carpet that melts at the end of the day. Or in the worst case, a few days later. I hope warm weather is coming your way soon, because I always get loads of energy when springtime arrives and I feel ten times better then, so I wish you that same feeling :-)

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    1. Ohhhh, yes please! That sounds like the perfect kind of winter. I always feel energized when spring comes, too. I want to open the windows! :)

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  11. It's beautiful, your work is very inspiring!

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  12. I'm afraid of ice because I can only think of broken hips when I see it. We have Yak Trax in NZ, you slip them over the soles of your shoes/boots and they grip to slippery surfaces like billy-o. I trudge with confidence instead of teetering in fear along the path.

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    1. Those are a good idea; I think I can get them here in the US. I'll have a look, thanks! :)

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