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! I always love reading your blog and seeing the photos you pick. That pic of Andy upside down on the swing is hilarious! I love the sweater you chose. I agree the thought of knitting an adult sweater that doesn't fit is what stops me from making one. I really love that pattern you chose though and have many colors of that exact yarn in my stash. Maybe this will be my new sweater!

Cardamon ginger apple cake....something spicy and warm. http://www.foodrepublic.com/recipes/cardamom-ginger-apple-cake/
your holiday sounds lovely and relaxing. I also wanted to share we narrowly missed losing our home in the Sonoma wildfires, evacuating at 3 am that dreadful morning with our computers, important documents and not much else. One of the first things I regretted not having taken was this: https://www.ravelry.com/projects/greendoc/sunshine-day-baby-afghan. I am happy to say we had a home to come back too a week later and one of the first things I did was walk around and say hi to my most favorite things: my garden, my grandmothers tea set, the quilt I made in college, and sunshine day afghan. Homemade/handmade items and memories are irreplaceable, thanks for sharing yours.

Cardamon ginger apple cake....something spicy and warm. http://www.foodrepublic.com/recipes/cardamom-ginger-apple-cake/
your holiday sounds lovely and relaxing. I also wanted to share we narrowly missed losing our home in the Sonoma wildfires, evacuating at 3 am that dreadful morning with our computers, important documents and not much else. One of the first things I regretted not having taken was this: https://www.ravelry.com/projects/greendoc/sunshine-day-baby-afghan I am happy to say we had a home to come back too a week later and one of the first things I did was walk around and say hi to my most favorite things: my garden, my grandmothers tea set, the quilt I made in college, and sunshine day afghan. Homemade/handmade items and memories are irreplaceable, thanks for sharing yours.

I think your sweet girl has a genuine gift for ballet. I have the thought every time you post a photo from class, and now again with her little dance with the tree.

Happy New Year, and thank you for the delight and respite you offer in your beautiful blog.

Oh I totally get the knitting heartbreak! I have only knit one sweater for myself, after a couple of minor problems I finished it but it was too small [wail]! I haven't been able to bring myself to even try again. I really should. The photos are great (as always) love the scary swing shot and the ice clad twigs are so beautiful BUT Amelia doing ballet in her night gown steals the show! Happy birthday, yours is the day before mine so I always remember 😉 With both my kids' birthdays and Christmas in less than a month I am kinda done with cake by the time my birthday comes around 😂

An amazingly easy cake that ALWAYS gets rave reviews is Christmas Rum Cake, well explained here: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/christmas-rum-cake/ Not for kids though. At our parties, they get sprinkle covered, store-bought cupcakes which is as much a treat for them as above is for most grownups. Happy Birthday to you!

What a lovely Christmas! Ellen is gorgeous. Reminds me of the cozy lambswool Fair Isle sweaters I wore as a girl in the 1980s. Have you knit Aidez, by Cirilia Rose? It's a fantastic cabled cardigan and super flattering on everyone. Only piece of advice is to knit the sleeves one size larger than the rest of the cardigan -- it's a raglan, but knit in pieces, and you sew on the sleeves. Best adult garment I've ever knit. I used Casade Eco Plus in a lovely heathered aqua shade -- affordable yarn, big skeins, nice and woolly. Love the colors in your Ryðrauð-inspired cardigan.

I always enjoy your posts, and Happy New Year to you! When I read this morning about your sweater adventures I totally related. I am an avid knitter and I too have made a few garments without success. I made a top down sweater in the round that I had to take out three times to downsize. I finally gave up and gifted the yarn to a friend. I did make a tank top with good success, but since these two I have had a fear of sweaters. In December I decided that I really want to make a colorwork yoked sweater, so I bought a few on Ravelry. I am also a huge fan of Kate Davies and I am in her current club. She has some lovely sweater designs. Anyway, as I was perusing Ravelry I stumbled across a link to a blog about floats and I am very excited to try it and I want to share it with you.
https://knitosophydesigns.com/2017/11/20/colorwork-sans-floats/
This girl knits fair isle and other colorwork with no floats!
I have sewn all my life and have good luck with fitting in that area but knitting sweaters and investing all the time to have an ill fitting garment is frustrating. I hope this is helpful to you, I am excited to give it a try...on mittens first.

I always enjoy your posts, and Happy New Year to you! When I read this morning about your sweater adventures I totally related. I am an avid knitter and I too have made a few garments without success. I made a top down sweater in the round that I had to take out three times to downsize. I finally gave up and gifted the yarn to a friend. I did make a tank top with good success, but since these two I have had a fear of sweaters. In December I decided that I really want to make a colorwork yoked sweater, so I bought a few on Ravelry. I am also a huge fan of Kate Davies and I am in her current club. She has some lovely sweater designs. Anyway, as I was perusing Ravelry I stumbled across a link to a blog about floats and I am very excited to try it and I want to share it with you.
https://knitosophydesigns.com/2017/11/20/colorwork-sans-floats/
This girl knits fair isle and other colorwork with no floats!
I have sewn all my life and have good luck with fitting in that area but knitting sweaters and investing all the time to have an ill fitting garment is frustrating. I hope this is helpful to you, I am excited to give it a try...on mittens first.

I love your posts highlighting the swiss cake roll. My daughter and I were inspired to make one for New Year's Eve that ended in disaster and turing the scraps into a truffle! Ha! What's your recipe? Maybe we'll attempt it again. Happy New Year!

The best pattern instructions I have ever used were by Kate Davies. I learnt to follow charts, knit cables and colour work and everything fits just wonderful. I did learn to make things a bit bigger, as she is a small petite person, but other than that her patterns are great as is the wool she produces.

My birthday is in the middle of February and I'm making this https://www.nigella.com/recipes/italian-christmas-pudding-cake

bob's red mill has cake flour now, and the recipe on the back makes a delicious yellow cake. the fluffiest one yet that i have found. homemade yellow cakes always are so dense and heavy, but this one is great! i have added extra vanilla and a tad more sugar, but as is works, too. btw, where do you get your nightgowns?

Happy New Year! Thank you for the gift that is your blog. I have enjoyed it for years. What a treat that this post is about knitting-- my favorite topic in all the world. Cheers!

The upside down swinger. The. Best. Fun. Photo.

I've only knit one sweater for myself and it doesn't quite fit right. It's been a couple of years since I finished it and haven't had the courage to try one again. But the color work pattern you posted (Lori's sweater) is amazing! I might have to give it a go. Before I do that I've promised myself to knit this Dala Horse hat, https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/karusellen

For my birthday I made the Cream Cake with Strawberries (it's Norwegian) from the book Scandinavian Gatherings. Do you have it already? I think you would love it. The cake is delicious too!
And that sunrise yesterday morning really was awe-inspiring. Thanks for another beautiful post!

Happy New Year, and happy almost-birthday too. This is my absolute favorite cake; I make it for every birthday and any other occasion I can think of, but substitute the peanut butter frosting and glaze with buttercream (not a peanut fan). Your mum's Cloudburst Frosting would also be perfect. It's super easy and ridiculously good. Whatever you make will be wonderful, I'm sure.
http://bit.ly/2CUsKTS

Happy New Year. I just wanted to say how much I enjoy your blog. I’ve followed for ages but hardly ever comment. Your photos are super. I’ve been a knitter for at least 50 years but have never attempted colour work. Maybe now I’ve been inspired to have a go. I’ll check out your Ravelry page too.

Happy New Year! Your photos make me SO happy! Love all the snow and ice ones! And that pic of Andy upside-down on the swing?! Yikes! I hope you have a lovely birthday--I know that day is bittersweet for you. I am sending you love and good wishes!

I have spent so long looking for a cardigan pattern that I really love and I think I've found it in the winter whispers cardigan. It's knit in one colour with a patterned yolk. Now I'm wondering if I can incorporate different yolks and colour work into the main pattern.
Thanks for the inspiration!
https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/winter-whispers

Happy New Year! Beautiful post. I have made lots of sweaters for myself but many are a little too big. I like a big, long, loose sweater and then go a little overboard... I have never knit a top down sweater, perhaps that should be a goal. I have seen tons of patterns for gorgeous sweaters that require steeks - too terrified to even contemplate. Your children’s sweaters are lovely so keep trying with sweaters for yourself, you can always rip out and adjust.

Happy New Year! Make a Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake. This is the one I use and it is "amazing"!

https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/chocolate-mayonnaise-cake

First, I love your blog! I've never knitted a sweater for anyone but I've always wanted to, I'm always afraid that it won't fit right after all that work, but maybe I'll try this year. As for your birthday cake, I made a Red Velvet Cake for my son's birthday last year that was chocolatey and moist and just plain delicious, here is the link: https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2015/02/09/red-velvet-layer-cake-with-cream-cheese-frosting/. Or if you want something more decadent, I've made this chocolate mousse torte twice in the last year, it's so chocolatey and fancy, especially if you decorate it with some chocolate curls on top: https://www.melskitchencafe.com/double-chocolate-mousse-torte/ .

Laura Gillespie says: January 05, 2018 at 01:15 PM

WHERE were you swimming??!!!! Enchanting!

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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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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.