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:

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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?

73 comments

Big fan of Nicole, The Gentle Knitter as I am of yours. You both have such a peaceful calming way about you. That and yours & Nicole's aesthetics are in line with mine.
This is a book that has helped me, perhaps you'll find it useful. https://www.amazon.com/Knit-Flatter-instructions-youll-sweaters/dp/1617690171
Here's to an adventurous 2018 of new techniques.

Your sweater is gorgeous and you are ingenious with thinking of using your software to create a design. TechKnitter has a series of blog posts on Taming Long Floats that are REALLY helpful. Here's a link to one:

http://techknitting.blogspot.com/2016/10/taming-long-floats-via-stuart-method.html

Happy 2018 New Year to your family. Your blog is a pleasure to visit, your photos tell such good stories and your words support your photos. Thank you for sharing.
Joy

Awww what a lovely Christmas you all had. Just in Time for Christmas was the sweetest movie! Hallmark channel was on pretty much non stop at our house the entire month of December. I watched them all, and some more than once! They are the best movies! I love the week between Christmas and New Year's Day - lazy days with no schedule whatsoever... the best! Happy New Year to you, Alicia! Hope it's filled with good health, peace and lots of fun!

so beautiful.... I LOOOOVE those sweaters! and happy New Year!

Any kind of cake but make sure you use your mom’s frosting 🎂 🙂

What a lovely holiday! I was so happy you had some magical snow. Big applause for the success of your Ellen--what a great FO! A grownup-sized sweater is a big project, and when it works, well, it's such a shot in the arm, isn't it? Your Ryraud looks so beautiful already. And I just have to tell you that your Strokkur can be saved...you can snip one stitch, pick out a row, put the live stitches back on your needle and knit as many more rows as you need. Depending on hem patterning and how much yarn you still have/can get, either knit all the way down and then bind off, or graft the hem back on. I've done both, and actually I recently did some grafting surgery on my own Ryraud. Saved it! Don't give up! Xoxo

You captured some fun images of our snow and ice weather. I was actually scared of venturing out when ours was the whitest. But to have a White Christmas was pretty magical. Now the east wind is blowing over our farmhouse and roaring through our woods.. it's kinda freaky. What kind of doll did Mimi get that she's so in love with? It's so cute! Bravo on your successful sweater! I loved seeing Mimi being so domestic and learning to cook and clean. Good job, mom! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

I always love all the photos and the sweet glimpse into your life...that photo of Andy on the swings is epic!

annie mcmahon says: January 03, 2018 at 09:26 PM

I simply love reading your blog and have been reading it for years but never commented. I live in Australia and have a very hot Christmas day it is so gorgeous to see snow falling the fire on at your home for Christmas. I hope one day to travel where I can experience a cold Christmas. Happy 2018 to you and your family
Annie

Oh yes, now I remember you said you were knitting the sweater for yourself. You have given me the courage to knit one for myself this year, too. I do understand the shrieking. My last cardigan, made for a smaller family member, was knit back and forth in Fair Isle all the way up the sweater at nine stitches to the inch, without a steek and with separate back, fronts, and short sleeves. JUST the weaving in of all the loose ends afterwards took upwards of forty hours, and then came the sewing up. Total idiocy. (At least it fit...) Steeking and knitting in the round as much as possible makes more sense. Happy New Year, and Happy Upcoming Birthday!

I've had the same problem with sweaters for me. Not a single one have I worn. Love Lori's, it's gorgeous, I can see why you want to make it. For your birthday, https://www.deliaonline.com/recipes/type-of-dish/cake-recipes/the-ultimate-carrot-cake, it's my favourite. CJ xx

Sorry, don't know why that link isn't working. It's Ultimate Carrot Cake at deliaonline.com, hope you can find it if you're interested. CJ xx

Oh, you should make the Hershey's Chocolate Cake for your birthday with maybe a yummy cream cheese frosting. It's a favorite in our house these days!

I saw this cake the other day & was thinking about making it for my husband's birthday (https://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/bumpy-cake-recipe) King Arthur Flour's Bumpy Cake.
VIVA COZY TIMES!!!

Happy New Year Alicia! I love all your pictures...It seems snow has made an appearance everywhere this year! I am going to TRY to knit my very FIRST sweater. I am scared of messing it all up, but SO hopeful I can be successful! I just know yours will be perfect! Looking forward to seeing it!

Happy New Year!!

Black Forest cake (chocolate and cherry, mmmmmm!!) my Mum made me one every year (once I’d grown out of chocolate hedgehog shaped cakes that is!!)

S x

Joyce Hobbs says: January 04, 2018 at 06:17 AM

It is always such a treat to see your photos. You have a great gift. Thank you for sharing and inspiring the rest of us!

Ahhh . . . . so good to visit with you again. You've been missed! What a lovely life you capture and describe. You inspire me to make my home more cozy by way of candlelight, quilts/blankets, sweet vases of flowers, and delicious comfort food. Have you ever made an Italian Cream Cake? Maybe treat yourself to a homemade one for your birthday. Your sweater is gorgeous! I so enjoy crocheting, but have never attempted knitting. Recently I've seen some beautiful hand knitted socks and would love to give socks a go. But I'm a bit intimidated . . . .

Happy New Year to you!

We're waking up to Snowmageddon here on the east coast, so I started a pot of soup and crossed my fingers that you updated. Thank you for sharing your lovely photos and projects. Knitting is not my thing, but I know the sense of defeat when sewing something for myself that doesn't live up to the dream. Happy to see you conquered it so beautifully! You've given me inspiration to try again. xo Happy New Year!

Happy Happy Lovely New Year to you.

The nightgowned ballerina, the upside down swinger, the little chef. Love all the pictures.

I can only knit squares and rectangles so I don't have a clue what you are talking about regarding the challenges you faced but I love your pictures and your blog.


Thank you for sharing snippets of your cozy life.

Beautiful photos and lovely story lines to go with them all. I see that you are teaching Amelia to clean up as well as bake, good for you and her! I also see the turkey wishbone in the window sill, that's where we keep ours! Thank you so much for sharing parts of your life.

I always love to see your life experiences. As Amelia grows in the pictures, I am always happy to see that the wonder of life still lights up her face. I also see that you are guiding her to a life of ability and happiness. Hope the joy of the new year continues for all of you.

Amy Herzog has great advice for making sweaters fit YOUR body. Definitely worth checking out!

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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.