Happy New Year!

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Well, hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii! Hello. Happy New Year! I hope yours is starting out well. Lazy days turned into lazy weeks, here. It was glorious. It snowed. Things got cancelled. Things got rescheduled. Family came. Family went. The house got trashed. Movies were watched over and over. I knit and knit. Toys were played with. Books were read. Lots of treats were eaten. Lots of snuggling happened. Lots of days involved no driving whatsoever. Lots of mornings started incredibly late. Lots of baths got taken. Antidote to occasional intrusions of holiday stress: hours of mind-tranquilizing tasks. Like knitting row upon row upon row of stockinette stitch. Winding about a hundred skeins of embroidery floss onto tiny plastic bobbins and arranging them by color into boxes (a job that has needed doing for YEARS now). Cross stitching, ripping out, stitching again. Middle age descends: here's me, sitting in my cozy corner under a comforter doing these things while wearing a new flannel nightgown and watching Just in Time for Christmas. My happy place. I think I was purring. Ohhhhh, you know. It was lovely. I needed it. We all did. I hope your holidays were just as wonderful.

I blocked and put buttons on my Ellen Cardigan (still have yet to put it on Ravelry, sorry) and oh, how I love that thing. I'm really proud of it. It's the third or fourth sweater I've knit for myself and the first one that's ever fit me perfectly. As I mentioned before, I followed the colors of the original pattern exactly, and I made no modifications to the knitting (size 48). I loooooove it. I immediately started  another one based on the exact same sweater pattern, but changing the yoke design. For a while now I've been wanting to make the Ryðrauð sweater but I was nervous about doing any sweater from the bottom up, or, honestly, any sweater other than the Ellen (from now on, forever and ever) because I find it almost traumatizing to make sweaters for myself that don't fit. As I said, I've only made a handful for myself but, if I'm honest, there is something about every one of them that I just don't like. The neck on my Ramona cardigan is just way too big and falls off my shoulders. My Strokkur I made too short and I'm constantly pulling it down (well, I would be constantly pulling it down if I actually wore it). My Birkin sweater was tragic (yoke too deep, my colorwork too puckered, the neckline too funneled, body too big, sleeves started way too low on me, etc.). It just doesn’t fit my shape well. And that was size XL in fingering-weight yarn [shrieking]. I’ve seen plenty of people make this pattern now and it looks so gorgeous on them in all of the photos I’ve seen, but I just didn’t succeed with it. I don't have very much experience knitting adult-sized garments and I find it to be very intimidating and weirdly heartbreaking when I do finally take the plunge and it just doesn't work out. I know I should just chalk it up to experience but I don't. Instead, I just stop trying. But for some reason the Ellen Cardigan seemed like it would work out for me and then it did, and I don't know that I've ever been so happy with anything that I've ever made for myself, sewing included, and it gave me a lot of confidence. It was such a good feeling. Has that ever happened to you?

So, back to the Ryðrauð. I first saw Lori's version of that sweater a few years ago and I just thought it was so pretty. But, as mentioned, immediately after finishing Ellen I was nervous about ever making a sweater that doesn't fit like Ellen. So I took the Ellen colorwork chart for my size and figured out (on my cross-stitch software) a modified, simplified version of the Ryðrauð flowers that would fit right into the Ellen yoke and also could be done from the top down. And that kind of looked like this:

MyYokeSweater

I really had no idea how to do the chart the right way re: the repeat, so this is the whole yoke. Pffff! It worked out pretty well, except that as you can see there are huge spaces between the contrast color stitches of the taller motifs on the first few rows. I tried to float the yarn as loosely as I possibly could but it's still puckering a bit so we'll just have to see how it goes. But I think it's okay-enough. Also, I knit the neckband directly onto the yoke in the navy blue version; the Ellen has you pick that up last and I found that it curls a bit (and also makes the buttonholes space out rather poorly at the top, then).

Anyway, this morning I was trying to get caught up with my overflowing and neglected email in-box (yes, I pretty much suck at everything that has to do with answering all but the most urgent emails, even on my best days) and noticed that a blog reader named Kristi (hi, Kristi!) had suggested that I watch a podcast from Nicole at The Gentle Knitter. I follow Nicole on Instagram and love her work so much but I didn't really know about the podcast. I tuned in to the first few episodes and was totally thrilled to find that she was (or, actually, had been a year ago) knitting the Ryðrauð sweater (also inspired by Lori's version)! Snap! Well, Nicole is, like, the most patient, lovely, gentle creature on earth and she explains everything in such a calming way and she has so many interesting things to say about the Ryðrauð that it is well worth watching if you are interested in knitting it. She also talked about how you can catch long floats on the back of the sweater and I didn't even know that, so I will definitely have to look into that for next time. Also, I don't know, but if this navy version works out and I find myself with at least two sweaters in my closet that I love to wear, I might branch out a little more and risk making more things for myself. I purled the colorwork, above, and it's kind of a giant pain. So, all this is to say that 2018 might be my year of steeking more sweaters (I've only done it once before, for Mimi), and that's kind of an exciting feeling.

Ramble, ramble. I haven't gotten out too much lately.

What kind of cake should I make for my birthday?

72 comments

Happy New Year to you! That photo of Andy on the swing cracked me up! I would be freaking out. I could go upside down once upon a time but now can't even ride on rides at the fair with my kids. Good thing my youngest is 12 and they all don't need me to!
Everything coated in ice must have been treacherous. We had some here too and below zero temps. I took a hard fall on my tailbone while out shoveling and the very next day bought a pair of Yaktrax. Amazing!! Thank you for your mention of them in previous posts. (Should have got some years ago...)
Love your tree in the basket. Mine is still up, I could look at it forever.
Enjoy your wintery, tea drinking, crafting, January days!!

Best wishes for the New Year! Mimi looks so cute. Your sweaters are nicely done. Where is that pool? I would says to make a chocolate cake. We are fans of chocolate here.

I gave up trying to knit something for myself years ago and now I have forgotten all I ever learned about knitting a sweater and am afraid to start again. I do knit socks and that is very pleasant to do. Your sweater is so pretty.

You are way more advanced with knitting than I am - I get discouraged if something doesn't come out too (sewing, knitting, etc)... luckily, I do have a knit shop close by. I admire your "not giving up" attitude. Loved seeing your cozy Christmas and all the pics! Amazing how fast the holiday season flies by. There are so many yummy cakes to bake and I'd say make a favorite one that you love - I wouldn't chance it with a new recipe. Happy New Year!

My husband and I love the picture of Andy on the swing! Such a great action shot and the color just pops :)

PS—Happiest of new years to you! My daughter is in love with and applying to Lewis & Clark in Portland. We are so grateful for your awesome suggestions for things to do during our visit to Portland this past fall. Our favorite was the drive to and view from Council Crest—even on a cold and windy day. Thank you!

Two suggestions for cakes—neither is a particularly beautiful cake for a birthday celebration, but both delicious. You always make to loveliest layer cakes, but these may tempt you. The first is more a cozy style, the second looks like a funky mushroom but heavenly to eat (we’ve had people fight over last bites!):
https://cupofjo.com/2016/10/baked-apple-crumble-cake/amp/
https://www.culinarycovers.com/2012/06/chiffon-cake-with-strawberries-and-cream/
Happy happy birthday to you!

Oh my goodness! I know exactly how you feel about poorly fitting sweaters! Lately I've made two ponchos and several shawls/scarves for that very reason. I do love my ponchos, I think the company or designer is Church Mouse and they fit anyone. I wish I knew if we are the same size and I'd just go ahead and make a 48. Your sweater is lovely and I love the colors. I'm anxious to read all of the comments and get some good resources.
Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! I haven't commented in so long but always been reading along, there is something about this winter that is pulling me back in to this world of blogging as it used to be - and knitting :) Thank you so much for the link to Nicole's knitting podcast on YouTube - podcasts were only audio the last time I tuned in to one so it's like a whole new world!!

Tragic Christmas Sweater Story, 100% true.
See vintage fair isle cardigan on Instagram for $99.
Scoff at price. Go to yarn store and spend $45 on nicer acrylic/wool blends to make Sweater myself.
Chart out exact design.
Ignore fact I’ve never done color patterns before.
Knit 25 rows of ribbing and first chunk of pattern only to realize there’s something to carrying along the colors on the wrong side. Don’t know what that exactly is, only that I didn’t do it right because piece is ferociously tight.
Pout.
Turn piece into child’s beanie.
Husband feels sorry for me and buys vintage cardigan for me for Xmas.
Cardigan arrives and IT FREAKING DOESNT FIT.
Go back and re-read sweater description to conclude it is an XS.
Pout more.
The End.

Naturally when I saw the photo of your sweater I gasped with unrivaled admiration.

Happy New Year! I enjoy your photos and stories so much!

Penelope A. says: January 07, 2018 at 07:31 AM

You are so inspiring 💕

Laura Nelson says: January 07, 2018 at 08:47 AM

what a nice christmas you had ! I cannot believe the pic with Mimi close up, she has lost all vestiges of baby in her face and looking much more mature. What a beauty!. Gee, I wish our winters were like yours. -9 here this am, but we are all buttoned up cozy and warm. Choc cake with that cloud frosting you like...or perhaps a red velvet with creme cheese frosting mmmmm.

Happy New Year ♥
What about a key lime cake? I love each and every season and this time of year is wonderful for all kinds of winterish baking --but key lime seems like such a turn and so much fun! Hugs ;)

Hi Alicia and a Happy New Year to you and yours! I'm so happy that serendipity brought you and Nicole (The Gentle Knitter)
together when I suggested her podcast and that she was able to guide you in your knitting. I love it when things fall into place like that. Your photos of your home and daughter and sweater are all so delightful to look at. Bravo on your sweater! I just donated 2 sweaters I made that just weren't me and am now pondering either a Fair Isle or Cable cardigan. You inspire me. FYI, if you need any further dollhouse inspiration out there, I just watched Arne and Carlos; they have made a dollhouse out of a cabinet that is pure enchantment! Stay cozy...and happy knitting and baking! xo

Sarah Pirch says: January 09, 2018 at 08:43 AM

I ran across this lovely blog, and this post in particular, and thought of you and your sweet felt dolls. How adorable is this ballerina with her net skirt and ostrich-feather collar?

http://ptepimprenelle.canalblog.com/archives/2015/01/06/31269972.html

Happy New Year. Please, please, PLEASE publish a book of your beautiful photographs! They are so inspiring to us creative types who love good, old-fashioned books.

I'm so happy to see this post about your beautiful sweater! So far I've only knit 4 sweaters for myself, the first one was WAY too big because I was afraid to knit my size for fear it would be too small. It takes me ages to knit, but my most recent sweater fits well and is a cabled sweater (from a Carol Feller class). It is such an accomplishment, isn't it? I immediately wanted to knit the same sweater again :)
I only recently (last month) found out about knitting podcasts and have fallen down that rabbit hole! Thanks for mentioning this, new to me, one.

Love the new navy one you are working on!!! xoxo

P. S. That photo of Mimi hugging her new doll has to be the quintessential Christmas morning photo. Her heart is so full of love!

Tips: Bohus stickning - knitting from the north west coast of Sweden!

http://www.angoragarnet.com/en/bohus-stickning/about-bohus-stickning-32248265


Happy New Year!! Love all the winter pictures, esp. Andy on the swing.

Checked in to your blog today and I'm several posts behind! Such a delight! The holiday season was really quite good this year, wasn't it? Somehow the ice/snow was so relaxing, though plans had to be changed, etc, for many people....it's just nice to stay home, though, right? Your photos are so descriptive. Love the blurry tree with the snow. Love the pool picture, that spot is indescribable. Love the maple leaf and it reminded me - do you watch "Great Big Story" videos? They are addictive. Your maple leaf reminded me of one I just saw about the history of Japanese people deep frying maple leaves! I KNOW! Please watch the video, it's so beautiful. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Pwy-cAf09I

Dear Alicia, I am so hoping you have the caught the BBC version of Little Women. I watched an episode of it tonight - much belated and just thought of you. I think you would so adore it. It has the spirit of you and the knitting/embroidery/crochet in the costumes are wonderful.
Much love
Emma

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About Alicia Paulson

About

My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at aliciapaulson.com

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Photography

Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.