Ballet Classes & Leg Warmers [Knitting Pattern]

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This past Saturday was the start of a new chapter for our daughter in her pursuit to be a dancer. Since she was little she has always loved twirling around and dancing through the house as most young children do. Just before her 3rd birthday, we talked about enrolling her in dance classes but she became extremely anxious and scared of the thought that parents weren’t allowed to be with them while they were in class. Long story short we decided against it and instead signed her up for gymnastics class, where the waiting area was in the same room as the kids. She thrived here and did excellent and really seemed to love it. But over the past three years while continuing gymnastics she spoke often of taking ballet lessons. I entertained her desire but always said we would think and talk more about as we waited for the next school year to enroll. That desire never went away, as a matter of fact it intensified and I had my answer when we took her to go see The Nutcracker at the Clemens Center in Elmira, NY this past Christmas.

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She was in wonderment as she watched the beautiful dancers float across the stage and sat amazed watching the professional dancers in lead roles jump to the ceiling. She kept saying “Momma, I want to dance so bad!” Every day after this she would put on “ballet music” (classical), put her ballet slippers on and dance away. I didn’t want to get her hopes up because I knew a lot of dance studios only take new students at the beginning of each school year but I began searching for a dance school. I knew her time in gymnastics was ending soon because it was a struggle to get her to class – often times she didn’t want to go. It’s a fine line; I didn’t want her to give up on something she had worked hard at for 3 years, but I also didn’t want to force her to go if she no longer enjoy it. After discussing it with her, laying out all the pros and cons, I left the decision up to her and she decided she was done with gymnastics.

The morning after The Nutcracker I was reading the program book over breakfast and I realized that most of the performers were members of a local ballet school. I hopped online and checked it out, and thought “boy this would be something to get her into wouldn’t it?” not really even giving it a chance. But at the bottom of the ‘about’ page was a video clip which I watched, and then sent to my Mom.

It was the owner and director of the school, Mr. Rafael Grigorian, speaking about himself, classical ballet and teaching. Everything he said really resonated with me, specifically this part: “Perhaps these kids will not become professional dancers. The world will not suffer from a shortage of good dancers, but it will suffer from a shortage of good people. That is why every time I enter this room, I realize that I deal with people; and it is important how I enter a room, and what I talk to them about. And after this, they will not only be good dancers, or good teachers… they will be better people.”

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I put in a call to his school of ballet and left a message inquiring about classes for Rhilyn. A couple days later I was sitting at the computer and my phone rings. I answer and Rhilyn overhears me and comes running in. She knew instantly who it was (even though I hadn’t told her I had called) and the look on her face, gosh I wish I could have a photo of that face… just pure joy. She was jumping up and down and squealing as I’m speaking with Mr. Grigorian, setting up a time for her to come take a trial class. She could barely stand her excitement and I was so happy for her.

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This past Saturday we went to her trial class at Rafael Grigorian School of Ballet in Elmira. This snap is of her after class feeling super proud and happy. She tried out in a class where the girls have already had a class under their belt but due to conflict with my work schedule we couldn’t make it to the pre-ballet class so the teacher had to decide if she could succeed in this class. Turns out she can and she is ready to head back this week! (That didn’t take much convincing).

After class we stopped at a craft store so I could pick up some yarn. she found a pretty pink yarn and asked if I could make her leg warmers. Why, yes. So that evening I sat down and made some leg warmers from scratch. They’re super fun and easy and I wanted to share the pattern with you as well! I thought it would be neat to provide a “recipe” so that you can make any size leg warmer based on some basic measurements. OR you can take and use my pattern, just know that they were made specific to my daughter’s leg measurements and may not fit your little one’s legs exactly as they do mine.

This pattern is available as a PDF download in my Etsy shop HERE and in my Ravelry store HERE.

THE RECIPE

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MEASUREMENTS
First of all, if you’d like to skip to the pattern and my specific instructions, scroll down to where it says “THE PATTERN (4-6 yrs).” To get started, we need some basic measurements so grab your tape measure and your kiddo and measure these:
A) Lower thigh circumference, just above the knee.
B) Ankle circumference.
C) Height from measure A to B.

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GAUGE SWATCH
Choose your yarn and the needles appropriate for that yarn. You can either use DPNs or a long circular needle for the magic loop method. I suggest worsted weight yarn (I used Big Twist Value) and US 7 circulars. Create a gauge swatch and measure your gauge: cast on some stitches like 20 or so and work in stockinette stitch for 20-30 rows. Measure how many stitches equal 2″ and how many rows equal 2″ and write it down. This is called your gauge and you’ll need to know this to calculate how many stitches you need to cast on. Don’t worry, it’s simple enough and I’m going to try to explain it the best I can so you can follow along.

CALCULATIONS
To figure out how many stitches to cast on, all we need to do is divide our thigh measurement by the gauge measurement and multiply it by the stitches we counted. See my example below based on my numbers. My Gauge: 8.5 sts & 14 rows = 2 inches.

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The pattern begins with 1 x 1 ribbing so we need to make sure our cast on number is an EVEN number, so round to the nearest even number. For me that was 44.

BEGIN LEG WARMER
Ribbing is always looser tension than stockinette, so you’ll want to use needles 2 or 3 sizes smaller than your gauge needle. I used a US4.
-Cast on your number of stitches, join in the round on DPNs or magic loop method.
-Work in 1 x 1 rib (k1, p1) for 2 – 4 “, whatever you desire for ribbing length.
-Once ribbing is done switch to your gauge needles (US7 for me) and work the first round as follows: k1, place marker, k all sts until 1 left, place marker, k last st.
-Knit 2 rounds.

MORE MATH
We need to decrease every so often so that the leg warmer is tapered down to fit the shape of the leg. Now we will figure out how many sets of decreases down the leg you need. Have your measurements handy (measurement B and C).

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So your leg warmers need to end with around 27.6 sts. Round to the nearest EVEN number (I rounded down to 26 sts). Next we have to figure out how many decreases that takes so simply subtract 26 sts from 44 sts.

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So now we know how many decrease rounds there are, but how often should we do them? This is where Measurement C comes in handy.

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So based on this calculation, you will need to work a decrease round (2 decreases per round) every 1.1″ in order to end at the ankle with appropriate stitches, and therefore appropriate measurement.

DECREASE ROUND
k1, slip marker, k2tog, k to 2 sts before marker, ssk, slip marker, k1.
This is what you will work every decrease round. So here’s the pattern:
-Work decrease round.
-Work the number of inches calculated above (1.1″)
-Repeat these two steps until the number of decrease rounds is reached (9 rounds).

ALMOST THERE!
You’re almost finished. All you need to do is to make the ribbed band at the ankle and voila! First leg warmer is complete. Change back to your smaller needles and work 1 x 1 rib for about 1-2″ or your desired length. Bind off loosley in pattern.

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THE PATTERN – 5-6 YEARS OLD

Supplies
1 ball of worsted weight acrylic yarn such as Big Twist Value
US 7 DPNs or long circular needles for magic loop (or needle that gets gauge)
US 5 DPNs or long circular needles (or two sizes smaller than gauge needle)
Scissors, tapestry needle, tape measure

Gauge
8.5 sts & 14 rows = 2″ in stockinette stitch

Abbreviations
co – cast on
sts – stitches
k – knit
p – purl
k2tog – knit two together
ssk – slip, slip, knit

Instructions – Make Two
1) With US5 (or smaller) needles, CO 44 sts and join in the round.
2) Work 1 x 1 (k1, p1) ribbing for 2-3″ or your desired length for ribbing. The ribbing is meant to sit above the knee.
3) Change to US7 (or gauge) needles and work first row as this: k1, place marker, k all sts until 1 left, place marker, k last st.
4) Knit 2 rounds.
5) Begin decreases: k1, slip marker, k2tog, k to 2 sts before marker, ssk, slip marker, k1.
6) Knit for 1.1″ (approx 7 rounds, based on your tension)
7) Repeat steps 5 & 6 nine times total.
8) Change to US 5 (or smaller) needles, and work 1 x 1 ribbing for 1-2″ or your desired length.
9) Bind off in rib pattern.

I really hope you enjoy this little pattern and have fun playing around with the math and creating your very own warmers. One thing to keep in mind is, because of gravity and also yarn stretching out over time these leg warmers will inevitably fall down off the legs especially if they’re not snug on the legs. You could try holding a strand of thin round elastic together with the yarn for the ribbing or part of it so that it helps hold the shape. Or you could choose to use a yarn with a lot of memory and stretch, something like a high twist merino wool. Just some ending thoughts. Thank you for reading!
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NICK CLARK THIN BLUE LINE HAT

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The morning of July 2nd was just another Monday for me. I made a cup of coffee, sat down to the table with a bowl of sugary cereal, and hopped on facebook for the morning scroll. One news report caught my eye: “Large police presence on scene of shooting in Corning, reports say.” No details had been released yet, I continued to scroll. A short while later my Mom texts me and mentions it, asked me if I knew anything about it. I said no. I can’t remember exactly how she texted it, but she said that the trooper rumored to have been shot was Nick Clark. The rest of the morning is a haze but I remember calling my husband and talking to him about it. Then the reports started to come in and it was confirmed, Trooper Nicholas Clark was shot and killed by a suicidal school principle in the early hours of July 2, 2018. The suspect was also dead.

I grew up in a very small town, population just over 2,000. Our school merged with another one the year I graduated and our senior class was still less than 100. What I’m trying to illustrate is the fact that everyone knows everyone, so when Nick was killed, it rocked our little valley. So much outpouring of grief, sadness, love, memories shared… so many people showed their support of Nick and the rest of the blue family by re-telling stories, sharing pictures, lighting up their FB pages with blue, putting a blue light on their porch, it goes on. We weren’t in the same class at school and we weren’t even good friends but I was still affected by the loss of Nick – the same as the entire community and entire law enforcement family.

I can remember the crushing feeling my heart felt when I thought of his family, of his mother. I can’t even describe in words the sadness I felt for her. I was compelled to find a way to honor Nick’s memory and support his family. My idea was to design a hat that represents those who stand behind the “thin blue line” and sell it, with profits being donated to his family. After I said it out loud I immediately doubted myself and thought I couldn’t do it. But that lasted 2 seconds, because why not? I asked God if that’s what he would have me do and before I knew it I was knitting away. There was a reason I had that day off of work, and this was it.

It didn’t take very long, and the post was live on facebook at 10:18am. https://www.facebook.com/rdpknits/posts/1258325800970081
The orders poured in. I was so completed stunned at the amount of people who wanted to show their support. I figured I’d sell a few hats but by the end of it, close to 100 orders were taken and I had to close.

Three Sizes

Three sizes were offered as well as a choice between a plain blue stripe or a stripe with glitter. A few fellow knitters even volunteered to help me make these hats which was so awesome of them to donate their time (and one of them purchased the yarn she used) to help make these hats! I work full time and long days so through the remaining of the summer and early fall months I took this hat everywhere with me. It made many appearances on my lunch breaks, gymnastic practices, church, and other outings. It took a good hot minute but the last hat was finally completed mid November. 86 total hats were made, and $1,500 was donated to the Signal 30 Fund of the Police Benevolent Association of the New York State Troopers to directly support the family of Trooper Clark.

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One of the buyers suggested I create a hashtag for everyone to use once they began sharing photos of them in their hats. Those tags are:
#hatsofftrooperclark and #nickclarkthinbluelinehat . Seeing them share their hats gives me great satisfaction. They are showing their support for the police family as well as Nick and it’s truly humbling that I could put my granny skill of knitting to good use.

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Once the knitting was finished I went to work writing all of my notes down and I published a pattern so you can make your own thin blue line hat. You can find the pattern in both my Ravelry store and Etsy shop.

Rest In Peace Trooper Clark.

End of watch call: https://www.facebook.com/News8WROC/videos/trooper-clarks-end-of-watch-call/10157106664199386/

FINISHED OBJECT {Panna Frost Flower Scarf}

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Now that it has been gifted I can finally share this beautiful lace scarf. In 2015 I purchased a beautiful yarn by indie yarn dyer, Jackie, at Luna Grey Fiber Arts. I have used many of her bases through my knitting years but this was the first time I had purchased the Starbright base. It was intended to be used for a shawl which I had even casted on and worked many rows. But. Let me explain how my knitting mojo works. I get bored easily. Some knitters find peace in the rhythmic motion of knitting the same thing over and over again but I can’t do it. I need something to hold my interest OR something that’s quick. That is why I gravitate towards baby & children’s knits because they’re off the needles in a jiffy. OR if it’s a big project it needs cables, or lace, or colorwork to hold my attention. Otherwise it ends up like a poor Sidere Shawl, sitting on the needles for three and a half years.

This year at work, I drew my boss for our Secret Santa gift exchange. I immediately knew what I wanted to do since I know she loves scarves. This amazing yarn finally had a true purpose and away I went at ripping out the old shawl. After a good soak and re-wind, the yarn was ready to be put to work. So, let’s talk about this scarf!

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The Details

I had to find a scarf pattern that would work up quick (like a few hours quick) and of course interesting. I found the Panna Frost Flower Lace Shawl on Ravelry, author is Foldi Knit. It was originally a machine-knit pattern that had been converted for hand-knitting and the unique lace pattern really grabbed my eye. It is knit in two identical panels and then grafted together once finished. I did have to make some modifications to have enough yarn and also to complete it in time for the gift exchange. I left out one lace repeat and omitted many row repeats as well. I blocked both pieces prior to grafting them.

The yarn as I said above is Starbright by LGFA. This colorway is “araucana.” Jackie’s description on her website is: “Starbright is a bluefaced leicester and silk, gorgeous heavy lace / light fingering weight yarn. This luxury yarn is light as a feather, has a gorgeous shimmer and wonderful drape.” It really is quick soft and silky and feels great against the skin. I really couldn’t be happier with how this turned out, I’m so happy to have this yarn off my shelf and made into something it shines in.

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My project page for this can be found HERE, and if you’d like to see all the other beautiful examples, click HERE.
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FINISHED OBJECT {Prof. Von Waffle Sweater}

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I haven’t been doing a whole lot of personal knitting this summer. I launched a benefit type project this past July and I’ll be sharing all of that in another post, so with that being said all of my extra time and knitting energy has been dedicated to that. But back in June I finished a husband-sized sweater, something that he waited on for over a year. Like… 16 months. I kept having to remind him that my sweater that I started for myself back in August of 2015 STILL isn’t finished, so he should feel lucky 😉

Anyways, it hasn’t been cold enough for him to wear it so I don’t have any ‘in-use” photos but here are the deets.

The Details

This pattern is called ‘Professor Von Waffle’ and I first saw it in a Knit Picks catalog. I liked the texture of it and it was approved by the hubs. It was originally meant to be his birthday present that year but… things happen. It’s designed by Danna Rachel.

It is knit top down (seamless) with a really cool textured yoke and raglan shaping. The pattern was easy to get into and went quickly thanks to the yarn being worsted. I used the yarn called for, Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Worsted. I’m hoping it won’t be too itchy for him!

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My project notes can be found on my ravelry page: https://www.ravelry.com/projects/RDPknits/professor-von-waffle

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Finished Object {Gretel Sweater}

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I don’t do winters very gracefully. Where we live in western NY it’s not only cold, most of the time we don’t even get to see the sun. I get so blue over the grey skies, frigid temps, and snowfall. Don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate the beauty of a fresh blanket of snow covering the landscape and the peacefulness of a quiet night, softened by the gentle falling of flakes on your face. However… I can only “appreciate” so much of this before I’m ready for warm weather, green grass and that glorious sunlight. I tend to go into hibernation during the cold months, only going outside if 100% necessary (like getting my daughter to school and going to work). But otherwise you’ll find me under a million blankets with a hot beverage in my hand and more often than not some knitting. My productivity really plummets. And this long introduction is just me trying to say, I stink at blogging (consistently) and these are my excuses for not writing in so long. HA!

So, rewinding back to April 2017 I casted off an adorable little pullover for my daughter. She wore it a couple of times and that was it because I was dissatisfied with the fit. Nothing is more discouraging that putting hours and hours of work into a project to not have it turn out how you wanted. I’m not a knitting perfectionist… I’m okay with a small mistake here or two. I believe that it wouldn’t be handmade if there weren’t a few hiccups here and there but for something that doesn’t fit, this has to be remedied. So, I posted my FO photos on a thread in ravelry and expressed my concern to the group. One of the lovely ladies came up with an idea and I thought it was great, and it could possibly work for my problem. – – Insert a years worth of other knitting here – – and we’re in March of 2018 and I’m ready to tackle this sweater surgery FINALLY. So, stick with me and I’ll show you what went wrong and how I fixed it. But first…

The Details

This is a pattern by Nadia CrĂ©tin-LĂ©chenne of NCL Knits in Switzerland. The name is “Gretel” and you can find it on ravelry here. It is a children’s pullover worked in sport-weight yarn. I choose a b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l colorway from one of my favorite indie dyers, Jackie Vlcek of Luna Grey Fiber Arts. Her yarns are always top of the list for me when I have a large project because they are so luxurious and beautifully soft. The base I used is called Nova Sport which is a non-superwash merino wool and the colorway is “hydrangea.” Go visit her here, you really won’t be disappointed.

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I love the finished look of this sweater with the drop shoulders and straight sleeves. The little pattern on the front is so darling. Construction was very easy as well, I had no issues at all with how the pattern was written. Back when I started this sweater I choose to make the size 4. Because it took me so long to fix it (a year) unfortunately she won’t get much use out of it. So we will wear the heck out of it this spring.

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So, what went wrong? This sweater’s construction is bottom up. So after you cast on, you work upwards to the armhole shaping, work the front and back panels, join the shoulders, and finally pick up stitches for the sleeves. One disadvantage (for me anyway) for working bottom up, is if you don’t get the length right prior to the armhole shaping, you’re out of luck. I prefer to work top down so the piece can be tried on periodically, and the length can be knitting to whatever you want. So I had a sweater that was pretty short on her. As long as she didn’t raise her arms (or move) it looked alright. Here’s a photo of how the sweater looked the first time I casted off…

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In the bottom right photo, take note of how the bottom edge is straight across. If you look at the whole sweater you can tell by it’s proportions that it is a little short. So, what’s a girl to do? Stash the sweater away for a year until I’m mentally prepared to fix it. OK.

So the really cool idea that the fellow knitter (from the forum) had was to rip out the bottom ribbing, pick the stitches back up, and work in the opposite direction until I had the length I wanted. But what to do about that front texture part… I couldn’t duplicate it working in the other direction. So, then she said to work short rows in the back to create length behind. Brilliant! So in short, this is what I did. But, don’t you know that you can’t simply unravel knitting starting at the bottom?! Oy vey. You have to painstakingly CUT every stitch or every other stitch directly above (or below depending on how you’re looking at it) the stitch you’re picking up, and pick out the yarn. Yup. Thank goodness this was only a child’s size 4! I have a video clip of me doing this but I am unable to upload it. Maybe you can access it by this link: https://www.instagram.com/p/BghcFToH5DU/?taken-by=rdpknits

After I had my stitches on, I choose a spot and went to work. I used German short rows along the sides and back (I think I did 8 total) and followed along with this cool tutorial to complete it.

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Here’s photos of it before blocking. You can see where my short rows added about 1.5″ to the length at the back and I also made the ribbing longer than before too.

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And here it is still wet, not even noticeable! I was slightly worried that the color wouldn’t match because this yarn is slightly tonal but it looks great. I am so pleased with the outcome of this sweater surgery.

My daughter was wearing it the day after it dried, and for whatever reason was playing with SILLY PUDDY……. need I say more?! I was a little distraught to see it caked in between the beautiful stitches. But, it was glue and water based so I let it dry, scraped some of it off and then soaked the area for a half hour. We were lucky because it came right out.

Anyway… if you’re still with me kudos to you! This was a long post but I wanted to give the details of how I completed the fix. So since I am obviously longing for summer weather, I’ll end with a few photos of my daughter wearing it last spring.

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AFMÆLI SWEATER {KNIT-A-LONG} Finished Object

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It’s all finished! It took a couple days to dry but it’s finally done. I really enjoyed being a part of this knit-a-long! If you’re interested in knitting this sweater, you should check out Pia Kammeborn’s blog (and my previous posts on this sweater). At the bottom of her posts it is translated in English. Her first post for this KAL can be found HERE. I explained a lot of details in my other posts about this sweater so I won’t bore you with them all today… today is just for all the pretty pictures!

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AFMÆLI SWEATER {KNIT-A-LONG} WEEK 3 & 4

I got a little behind during the third and fourth weeks of this knit-a-long but I just kept knitting! Here’s an update on the third, fourth & fifth parts which are the sleeves, yoke, and fishing (respectively). I was able to catch myself up and finish with time to spare! Kammebornia’s blog posts can be found here for POST 3, POST 4 & POST 5.

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I tried both the body and the sleeves on to be sure that it was going to fit me. I try to do this instead of relying on the pattern solely because everyone’s body is different. I found that I needed some extra length to my sleeves so the pattern called for me to knit the sleeves until they were 18″ long, instead I knit until they were 21″ which gave me a little extra room as I like the cuffs to come right to my palms.

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Once I joined everything in the round I knew that the yoke would go fast. The colorwork portion is my favorite part (as I’ve mentioned numerous times before). Here’s a couple (poor quality) iPhone photos of my trying it on.

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I did not need to make any real adjustments to the yoke. I followed the charts provided in the pattern, there was only one mistake where I forgot to omit one row for my size but I really don’t feel it’s going to make a difference. I just loved watching all of this come together.

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I’ve always struggled with getting (big) projects done in a timely manner and I am really impressed that I was able to stay (mostly) focused and keep up with the rest of the group knitting this sweater!

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Can you spot another mistake in this photo? You probably can’t unless you’re following the chart along with my knitting… right in the center of the top row of flowers I added an extra white stitch – it was supposed to be purple. I contemplated using duplicate stitch to try to fix it but I decided against it. Knitting wouldn’t be knitting without a few minor mistakes. I think it’s what makes it unique; hand-knitting.

Yoke done

This is another iPhone photo of the yoke completed! I hesitated here as I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do for the neckline. The pattern called for 1 x 1 ribbing folded over and sewn back down to create a double-thick collar. Although I can tolerate some wool-skin contact with this being very rustic wool I didn’t think I wanted a bunch of fabric against my neck. I thought about possibly an i-cord edging…

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Which is ultimately what I decided on. I worked an i-cord bind off which really gives it a great polish and it won’t be scratchy on my neck. This photo is of the sweater un-blocked SO… into the bath it goes!

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I can’t wait for this to finish drying so I can go out and get some proper photos with it. Can you imagine? I can! I picture myself posing with my beautiful horse with some pretty fall-colored leaves in the background. But until then I’ll say bye for now 🙂 Thank you for reading!

Love,
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