I'm gonna cook and then I'm gonna knit and then I'm gonna cook and then I'm gonna knit some more.

comments: 81

Sweater Next to my bed is a huuuuuuuuge pile of books and magazines. They lean perilously against the wall in a sloppy tower of rumpled pages, bloopy bookcover spines (I can't stand to read hardcover books with book covers so always take them off and slip them, flaps first, into the towering stack where their fragile edges bulge out and get battered), and glossy sliders. The magazines are the worst. They cause all sorts of trouble, making a slippery, unstable foundation, and occasionally the whole warren-like structure of reading material will come slithering down and create a massive Slip'n'Slide right there (and that's just a small one), next to the bed. And then I'll just step through it on my crashing way toward my pillow, already snoring before I even get there. No matter what I do, no matter how diligently I try to change it, this habit dies hard with me. This pile has followed me to the side of every bed I've ever called my own, since childhood.

So as I mentioned, I have lots of books and magazines I do want to tell you about. But the first thing I did on my First Night of Perceived Freedom last night was cook (lasagna, of course lasagna) and download this pattern for the Cable Luxe Tunic from Lion Brand Yarn, which I saw in a catalog that was peeking out from my big pile. As my first official long-term self-indulgent craft of freedom, I am going to knit the gray sweater on the left. (That long one on the right — wow — if only I taught Medieval lit at Oberlin and had beautiful long flame-red hair and played the piccolo I would so totally wear that!)

Now, the reason I say that I'm going to knit it in italics is because 1) I am not really a knitter and 2) I'm not really a knitter. I know how to knit but I rarely knit. And I've never knit anything as big as a sweater. But I want to try. I want to do something I've never done before. I especially want to do something that I will never, ever do "professionally," since sometimes when I sew, or embroider, or especially crochet for myself, I find myself, even in spite of myself, not just relaxing but designing, with my little brain click-clacking away. Working. Figuring. And I don't want to do that right now. I just want to chill.

So I say "I'm going to knit that thing" in italics because 1) it's going to be expensive, since I don't want to use acrylic yarn as called for (I agree that something lighter than the called-for worsted would be a good idea, too) and 2) it will be a very expensive unfinished sweater unless I really commit to it. In addition to my remarkable ability to build towering condos of books and magazines, one of my other many talents is spending a lot of money on and then not finishing things for myself (see: Granny Square Blanket). But then there's 3) where I have this lovely vision of fall, and the fireplace, and hot chai, and a puppers next to me on the sofa, and some, what, Gregorian chants? Softly playing in the background? And there's me, knitting peacefully. See me? In pajamas? Not even caring if I finish the sweater or if it fits or looks horrid? Just all blissed out and knitting. Pastitsio in the oven. Another log on the fire for dinner, then back to the needles. If I say it in italics it's like a command and also like it will happen.

*Update: I just discovered, upon my return from the yarn store, that I had the link to the long sweater dress and not the short tunic, so I hope no one bought the long one if you wanted the short one — they are totally separate patterns and it's not too obvious on the site. Sorry about that! I got to the yarn store and said, "Wow, this sweater takes almost four thousand yards of yarn!" So, it's updated now. Not sure if anyone else noticed this, but I am sorry.

Also, I forgot to mention that my friend Kristin Spurkland is having a launch party at Knit/Purl tonight from 5 to 7 p.m. for her very special new book of men's knits, The Knitting Man(ual). This is one of the books on my list to tell you about and if you can make it out tonight to meet Kristin, I promise you will love her and her work as much as I do.


Oh my, I just downloaded this pattern about an hour before reading you, I am so scarily excited about it. Going to swatch some cashmerino tonight, I really know how to live on a Saturday night... Might even put on some Gregorian chants, now you mention it!

Of course you can do it. You're so wonderfully talented, I have no doubt that you can create that and make it your very own. It's a lovely pattern. =) Also, thank you, now I don't feel so bad about fantasizing over how things will be when I'm knitting something new. (all warm and cozy) =)

Great sweater. I noticed it in the recent catalog too. My only suggestion would be to pick a yarn that is a little 'light' - those cables look like they could make a very heavy (thickness and poundage) sweater. With the chai and the fire, you might not need that much warmth ;-) Have fun knitting. I'm sure you'll do fine. Plus there are many of us knitters out here to help you troubleshoot.

Well, what a lovely vision, indeed. We know you will do it - and boy, are those sweaters ever gorgeous!
Happy Contented Knitting and Cooking and Relaxing and Reading and Enjoying Clover Autumn to you!!!
And I'll just be here waiting for updates and pictures and stories, as always!

Alicia,we all have our piles of something.I think we ALL have way too many books&mags. They're all over my house.So is my yarn(I crochet).My family has just learned to live w/it.I'm not really messy,I just have so much stuff.I have this corner of totes w/all these needlework or crochet projects in each one.I love your fantasy picture...nice.I have this one w/a pot of stew cooking, me sewing up a storm, the house is spotless (yeah right,i hv 6kids).Oh well,we can dream :]

The page with that sweater on it is dog eared in my Lion Brand catalog too. In the last year, I've marveled at how beautiful the their catalog has become while at the same time their website has remained the pits. And their yarn...well...it's never been my cup of tea. Call me a snob. I don't care. Anyway, back to the sweater, I love it but know it'd look horrid on me without some major modifications and while I *am* a knitter, at my core I'm a lazy one and pattern redesign just isn't going to happen. I wish you luck with yours though. And I second Beth's suggestion of making sure you go with a lighter yarn.

same pile next to my bed (mine is higher and less wide now that little people come to see me in my bed in the middle of the night - i have to be careful about obstacles!), same habit regarding expensive unfinished projects. you are not alone.

but i so love that sweater. i do hope you knit it, i'd love to hear how it goes.

I'm sorry, my eyes glazed over on the knitting part. Please post more Clolver! ;)

Wow! That's gorgeous :) I know you can do it. Of course you can do it! I can't wait to see the finished version. knit on! xxJ

gorgeous sweater - nice choice. Here's my little pearl for knitting garments: be *very* precise with measurements and gauge. you may be this way already, but I tend to knit by the seat of my pants and have on more than one occasion spent a fortune on a sweater that probably would have fit, if only I'd been careful.

good luck - can't wait to see it...

oops, my glazed over eyes caused that last typo.
More CLOVER, please!

Oh my goodness, yes, that's a vision of heaven indeed. And your little pup - oooh, I could just kiss her to pieces. I'm happy for you!

Over here on the other coast, I too am wrestling with the Too Much. Too many things in the queue, too many books, too much stash, too big a pile of sewing projects that haven't progressed beyond an idea, and far too many irresistibly cheap pieces of fabric and clothing that will go into the landfill if I don't rescue them.

But in my vision of fall (perhaps Orlando Gibbons or Thomas Tallis instead of Gregorian chant), there isn't a pile of stuff hovering violently in the background - just one all-absorbing project and totally faithful me. I do hope I can get closer to this ideal...

What a lovely sweater...I'm sure you can do it! I drool over sweaters like that, but since we moved to Houston, rare is the occasion to wear one. I do think that if you are going to take the time to make it you should use a higher quality yarn. I think I would make it out of a cotton. BTW, Clover is ADORABLE! Wish I could talk my DH into a dog :-)

ALL posts should now be accompanied by a picture of Clover (aka puppers), especially if you are going to mention her in it. Otherwise it is just a tease, a very cruel tease at that. :)

Do I have someone to second that motion?

I too have a pile of books/magazines by the side of my bed. My daughter was incredibly creative once and made a bedside table out of mine. She balanced a lamp on top of it all and voila! Only problem was, I wanted to read the bedside table contents, so it didn't last long.
I've only just caught up on your blog and am totally in love with Clover! (who isn't).

oh oh I second that motion (nearly put emotion then!!)

Oh yes, I'm in the same group as the others. When I got that catalog it opened on its own to that page and I nearly fell over!!! I LOVE cables and they aren't often presented in such a feminine design.
I want me some more CLO-VER too! Roll me over in Clover! (ew! I hope that didn't sound to strange) hee hee hee.

That.sweater. THAT SWEATER IS GORGEOUS! That sweater alone would make a knitter out of me yet. I have a ton of knitting needles too that I've picked up over the years from thrift stores--waiting for the day that I learn. I don't even know how to knit and I own, like, 20 pairs of needles.

You should join my one square a day granny challenge to finish your blanket. That's what I'm doing and it feels so do-able without taking up to much time for other crafting.

If I can cable you can cable - and right now I'm cabling! I love that design - you should go for it and as it's in italics you really have to finish it too.
Glad it's not just me with a toppling pile of reading matter next to the bed - and the sofas - and on the table xxx

I manage to store all my unfinished, guilt inducing credit card damagin unfinished projects at my Mum's house . . .
I am just about to embark on a fairisle cardigan to pass the 9 hour train journey to Paris next week. being realistic that will get me an inch or so knitted up - ideal for stuffing in a bag and avoiding for the next few years!
I once saw a photo of Caroline Zoob's bedroom where she has a (neat restrained) book shelf above the bed. I would be crushed beneath a collapsing pile of reading matter if that was me.
I like everything about your evening bar the gregorian chants.

That would make a very good first cable project, based on the photo. The construction is forgiving and fairly simple to execute. The pattern stitch is not especially complicated and will be memorizable.

I have two tips. First, if you use a different, and especially a lighter, yarn you'll get a different gauge. Do a gauge swatch, preferably two - a stockinette and one in the cables. Maybe also do one for the garter stitch of the yoke. Now figure out how many stitches it would take in your yarn to get the cast-on width for your size. Say at 4 spi a medium would cast on 100 stitches for a 25 inch width. If you get 5 spi, 100 stitch would only be 20 inches and you'd need 125 stitch. Is there a size that casts on with 125 stitches or close? If you follow that size in a non-fitted sweater like this you'll be very close to the fit of your size in the same gauge as the pattern without doing all the figuring yourself.

Second, don't set yourself up for failure. Plan to wear this next fall. A first sweater takes longer than you expect. If you're done for those Jauary freezes, you'll feel like you won the game. If you still need a yoke and a sleeve come April you aren't a failure.

And, if you don't have any, add an Elizabeth Zimmerman book or two to your pile. Though her technique may be slightly different than this pattern, any of her books will have a version of her seamless yoke sweater. Reading another viewpoint on their construction should be both edifying and entertaining.

So funny, I don't even *like* cables, and I loved that sweater the minute I saw it last night in my catalog. And I have so many patterns, I so don't need to go *pay* for yet another one (even if it is terribly inexpensive). But I might just do that yet, and it's all your fault for validating my feelings on that sweater and practically starting a whole knitalong... who knew you were such an enabler?

beautiful choice! my mom received the lion catalog in the mail, there really are some incredible designs in there.

and like many others here, i have the same pile, no worries, we're all in this together. ;)

I feel exactly the same way about knitting. Sure, I CAN knit. But I don't. I crochet. And I don't finish things for myself. It's like we were separated at birth.

That one caught my eye too. You can do it! And we'll all be here to help if you need it.

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About Alicia Paulson


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