The Greatest Gift Anyone Has Ever Given Me

This is an excerpt of a letter I recently wrote to my grandmother, who taught me to knit. I had been thinking about it for awhile, and finally got off my ass to write it. I’m posting it here because I think many of you share my feelings about the gift my grandmother gave to me. Thank you for reading.
L, C

Yom Kippur

September 14, 2013

Dear Grandmom,

I’ve been wanting to write you a thank you note for forever, and finally, on this Yom Kippur, I’m taking the time to thank you properly.

Thank you.

I want to thank you for the greatest gift anyone has ever given me. I don’t remember the exact date, but that rainy day after lunch when I asked you to teach me how to knit is a sacred day in my life. I was in a very bad place, my anxiety was overwhelming me and I wasn’t sure I would ever find peace. Who would have thought that neon orange acrylic yarn and slightly crooked aluminum needles would deliver that peace? You taught me to knit and purl that day. I don’t think that either of us could have predicted that knitting and purling would also show me how to live a more balanced and contented life.


My grandmother and I circa 1983.

Here are some of the invaluable blessings that knitting has given me in my life: I’ve learned that no one is perfect. Through my knitting I’ve come to accept that everything I make, by virtue of being made with my own two hands, will bear some mark of my humanity and therefore be imperfect. Oftentimes this has been a difficult lesson to accept, and on many occasions I have ripped out yards and yards of knitting to fix a mistake. But no matter how many mistakes I’ve made and fixed, there are always more coming, reminders of what’s important and that my knitting is beautiful because of the mistakes, not despite them! There are many traditions that specifically suggest that you add mistakes to your handiwork so you don’t offend the gods. Humans cannot be perfect – that’s the realm of the gods. Perfectionism and feeling like I need to be perfect in my life has caused me a good deal of anxiety. Learning to let go of that, especially through my knitting, has been wonderful.

One of the pioneers of the modern knitting world, Elizabeth Zimmermann, said: “Knit on with confidence and hope, through all crises.”  This has been true for me on so many occasions, it’s impossible to count! I will recall for you one time – George had been diagnosed with Melanoma and he was being operated on to remove the growth. I had sat in the waiting room through countless of his orthopedic surgeries by myself and didn’t even think to ask someone to wait with me for this surgery. I was wrong. It was dreadful waiting – the hospital specialized in treating cancer and the waiting room had an unbearable life or death pale over it. I was alone and scared, but I had my knitting. I worked row after row of a sweater and the knitting helped calm me. Counting the stitches and following the pattern kept me in the moment and prevented my mind from wandering too far into the unbearable places my brain likes to linger.


My grandmother, Georgie and I at our wedding party, August 2001.

It’s not just in the life or death moments that knitting helps my monkey mind. On a regular, easy afternoon, anxiety lurks in me, ready to ruin the day and knitting is there for me then too. It keeps me grounded and in the moment. My love of knitting is so strong it can pull me back from the brink of despair. Another example: During my pregnancy with Cali, when Meli was so small and we had only been in our house a few months, I was sick from all the hormones and knitting was the last thing on my mind. I tried here and there, but it wasn’t doing it for me. Fast forward to the next winter, Cali was about six months old, the days were dark and I was in a bad place again. Besides being exhausted, anxious and on the edge of postpartum depression, I felt like I had lost all my creativity. Someone gave me advice to go out and get it back and I took that advice to heart by pulling out a  huge pile of brightly colored squares I had knit to make up a blanket years before I had kids. Every day, a little bit at a time, I seamed those squares together. All those stitches I had knit so long ago in a better time, came alive under my fingertips and ignited my love for knitting again. Soon I was sitting in my parked car while Melina was in school and Cali napped, listening to the radio and knitting for a couple of glorious hours. Peace was mine again. Even if the world was chaos around me, I knew that for a couple of hours I could knit and catch my breath.

Besides helping me through the bad times, knitting has expanded my capacity for joy and friendship! Infertility really hurt my ability to write fiction – I was too preoccupied. But I stumbled upon a different community – online diaries that talked about knitting! I started one of my own and was back to writing every day. Through my knitting blog, I have met people all over the world that share my love of the craft. I have learned new techniques, been exposed to new yarns, but mainly I have been welcomed into an amazing community. Through the seemingly simple act of knitting and purling, I have found best friends that will be with me throughout my life. I have cried with these people, been lifted up by these people, been made better by these people. Most of all I have laughed with these people – deep, healing belly laughs that make my world a more peaceful place.

Knitting has also given me a wonderful link to my past. While you are a good knitter, you’ve often told me that it was Nana who was the real knitter in the family. I sadly don’t remember her knitting , but I do remember the fisherman sweaters and ponchos we all had when we were kids. Sometimes, while I knit, I think of her and like to imagine that my skills as a knitter have come from the Frankel women – it’s in my DNA. Sometimes I like to imagine that really I have no choice in my life but to be a knitter. Knitting is my destiny.


My grandmother and I at her ninetieth birthday party in 2011.
She’s wearing the shawl I gifted her.

It may seem like a tall order to expect from wool and sticks, but knitting has had a tremendous impact on my life. Thank you Grandmom. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for teaching me to knit.  Thank you for everything.

I love you with all my heart.


Help please!

I’m swatching for a new sweater – Oshima by Jared Flood – and I’m trying to be good and swatch all the swatches. Below are my brioche stitch swatches. The bottom is the flat brioche stitch swatch, which has already been washed and blocked. The top is my start to swatching brioche in the round. The needle size is exactly the same. The only difference is that the yarn I’m using for the swatch in the round has been used and washed for a stockinette swatch, which I then ripped out to make this swatch. They are both from the same skein of yarn. Also, to knit the swatch in the round I’ve been bringing the yarn behind the swatch and starting the row from the right every row.


Does anyone know why the swatch in the round looks so awful and the flat swatch looks so nice and neat and beautiful?!?

Here’s a closer shot of brioche in the round. One round you purl and one round you knit and I know that lots of times a purl row can be looser thank your knit row but I have NEVER had that happen before.


Here ‘s my beautiful flat swatch that looks so beautiful and squishy! I’m so sad!!


I’m pretty sure I’m doing it right – I mean it looks the same as the flat swatch only ridiculously looser. I’ve also looked at Nancy Marchant’s site on the brioche stitch and have ordered her book.

I’m open to any and all suggestions! I ADORE this sweater and want to be wearing it yesterday. This is such a bummer!!

Thank you so much!!

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, C

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The other day I participated in an Instagram hashtag thingy #adayinthelifephotochallenge. While I was taking pictures all day, I thought it might make an interesting blog post. I’ve added all of the captions I used on the IG. Feel free to ignore this if you already followed along on IG. And if you’d like to follow along on IG in the future, there’s a handy button over on the side bar. I really like Instagram so am on there quite a bit more than the blog.

A note about the day and the past week: Meli started Kindergarten the Tuesday after Labor Day and things went pretty well the first week. The second week – well – not so much. She’s had some transition issues that we’re working on but it’s been stressful to say the least. I know she’ll be okay, eventually. I have everything crossed that it doesn’t take forever – for all our sakes. I thought maybe the knitting gods had smiled on us – her teacher’s name is ROWAN for goodness sake – and we would escape the transitional badness, but no. Kids. Who’s idea were they anyway?!? 😉


IMG_20130912_0657046:44 AM: Up before I need to be. This is how I spend at least a
few hours every night – a kid on each side – not very conducive for sleep.
I also have a sore throat. #fun #theresalsoahusbandinthebed


image7:50 AM: Packing lunches. The advil is for me. After a
good first week, the kindergarten situation has
deteriorated rapidly. #realitysetin
#schoolalldayeveryday #withhomework


image8:29 AM: First school drop off. Just left my baby
crying hysterically #myheartisbroken


image8:59 AM: Drop off #2. This one. While her sister was having
a breakdown, she was crumbling pancakes all over the sofa
and breaking a windowshade. #thangodforher #nightandday


image9:20 AM: Waiting for the 9:30 class. My oasis. This studio and
especially my fellow classmates, teachers and owners have come
to mean so much to me. I’m going to try to sweat out the badness.
#thankyou #barmethod


image10:48 AM: After class treat – it’s called the Gut Buster –
spinach, lime, apple and orange. #juice


image11:36 AM: Stopped by a friend’s to leave hangers for her epic tag
sale this weekend. #andcryonhershoulder


image12:33 PM: Pick up the little one. Made it to the car just in time.
The weather turned really ugly really fast.


image1:07 PM; Lunch, finally! My fave Fage fruyo vanilla yogurt and
KIND Dark Chocolate & Cranberry Clusters on top!


image2:24 PM: Scrolling on my phone and decided I had to have this.
I’ve been dreaming about a big cowl neck for forever. So I called
my bestie Ann and voila! Instantly in my library!
#ravelry #instorepatternsales
(PS – Bought yarn for the project yesterday!)


image3:03 PM; Kindergarten pick-up. She said she had a good day
even though she was sad a few times. She’s still not eating much
though. She looks so tired and worn out. #mylove


image3:30 PM: Gorging herself on the lunch she didn’t eat at lunchtime.
#poorbaby #justlikehermother #canteatwhenshesanxious


image3:42 PM: Stopped at a red light. Now that’s one of those goofy
family car decals I can get behind! #yetiftw


image4:01 PM: Teaching my girls young: when going gets rough ,
GO SHOE SHOPPING! #lifelessons


image5:03 PM: Quick trip to the supermarket. #justtheessentials


image6:38 PM: The motto of boy scouts and preschoolers every where:
be prepared! #thunder #lightning #lightsarestillON


image8:15 PM: Ready for a story and bed.


image9:17 PM: My millionth cup of tea for the day. My throat still
hurts. My kids are sleeping though. Not sure how long it will last.
#switchedoverfromtheearltothelady #decafofcourse


image9:30 PM: Only took me until now to get to the mail. What an
excellent mail day!! Two books by authors I know in the flesh!
BTW, Jeff Jackson is one of my best friends from my MFA
program. He is exceedingly talented – a true literary genius.
I am so so proud of him! #allthattosaygivehisbookatry
(PS – you should all know Cari Luna! She’s one of us!)


image10:24PM: Chilling in bed BY MYSELF. Not sure how long it will last.
I realized that I didn’t knit at all today – and barely at all this week.
Of course, when I need it most. I snapped tonight putting the girls
to bed and M said to me, “You can’t handle us! Why did you ever
want to have kids? That’s why I’m never having kids. It’s too hard!”
Wow. Thanks kid. Way to cut me deep. If you only knew how hard
I worked to have you. And with that my day is over. Thanks for
tagging along. #motherhoodisfuckingthehardestthingever

Here’s hoping next week is better for all of us!
Love, C

Too fast.

I said, “I love you more than anything in the whole wide world!”


I said, “You’re my best big girl!”


I said

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, “I wouldn’t be a mommy if it weren’t for you!”


She said, “Okay. That’s great. Now I’m trying to go to sleep!”


Confessions of A Reform[ing] Selfish Knitter

The other day I was sitting in my chair, knitting, as one does, and my daughter said to me – and I quote – “All you do is knit knit knit and then you don’t even wear your knits you just pile them up on the chair. That is rude and selfish!”  (She loves to throw around the word rude. Whatever you do that bothers her – tell her no, make her clean her room, tell her if she doesn’t brush her teeth they will fall out – she calls you rude.) I went on knitting, ignoring her outburst, until she took a breath and came out with this: “Will you knit me a sweater?”

I have gone on record, right here on this blog, many times about what a selfish knitter I am. And I’ve never apologized for it. Rarely have I ever spared a square for someone. I just don’t do it. The more I knit the more it’s about the process, to be sure, but it’s MY process. I knit what I want, when I want and no bossy five year is going to pressure me into changing.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! You know where this is going, right?

To be fair, I have knit for others. Why, as recently as the Summer of 2012, I knit not one, not two but FOUR freaking ponchos. None of which were for me. Here’s some proof:


One for Meli, one for Cali. Not pictured is the one for my niece and the one for Meli’s friend. Yes. I even knit for a NON BLOOD RELATIVE.

The truth is that Meli didn’t have to go far to guilt me into knitting for her. Her tirade was accurate on all counts. See, here’s the chair with all the knits.



The most recent knit hangs on the model and the rest get added to the chair. Kind of pathetic, no? I do wear the sweaters – well some of them – and the cowls and the hat but it’s SUMMER.

So she told me she wanted a sweater and I told her okay. Then she drew me a picture of what she wanted. I wish I still had it but her little sister took a scissors to it (I was too busy knitting to notice.) Let’s just say it had everything! Polka dots, stripes, ruffles all going this way and that. Frankly, I told her, this is beyond my abilities. She said I was the best knitter in the world and I said no. I’m not. (Okay even if I am a pretty good knitter I wasn’t going to agree to a project I didn’t at least have a SHOT at enjoying. Am I right?)

I told her about the wonders of Ravelry – that we could sit together and look at lots and lots of sweaters and figure out which one she liked best. This exercise was trying at best. For whatever reason it took her awhile to understand that she didn’t have to have the EXACT sweater in the picture and just because a baby was wearing it didn’t mean that we couldn’t make it in her size and no it doesn’t have to be that color. After much swearing and crying (on my part) she finally decided on a sweater: Granny’s Favourite.

Okay. Super cute sweater. We can do that. She told me it had to be blue green and have hot pink buttons. ONLY THREE buttons. Great! We can do that too. It just so happened that I had a beautiful green blue skein of Madelinetosh Pashmina in the my stash. I showed it to her and she said it was PERFECT! So I went looking for Madelinetosh in Nassau Blue – not Pashmina mind you – something a little more suited to a five year old. Maybe some DK but really what child needs a Pashmina sweater. Again, you can see it coming from a mile away right? Turns out I couldn’t find the colorway anywhere but a call to my bestie who just happens to own a yarn store? Yeah. She had three skeins of Nassau Blue in Pashmina just waiting for me. I know what you’re all thinking. Man she is SO LUCKY to have a best friend that owns a yarn store! That would be the GREATEST THING EVER! But it’s not because when your best friend owns a yarn store you end up making your five year old daughter a sweater in PASHMINA. (And of course one to come for your three year old because you can’t ever play favorites.)

I’d be better off if my best friend was a drug dealer.

The yarn is gorgeous.


The knitting is okay. (The pattern is really tedious in that it’s a million pages long when it doesn’t need to be so there’s a lot of flipping around to figure out where you are and where you need to be.)

And the most important part is that so far she loves it (and it fits! YAY for top down sweaters!)


You may not have noticed but there have been some behind the scene changes on the blog thanks to Carrie (formerly of the Carrieoke knitting blog!) We are fully hooked up to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – all the places the cool kids hang out. I wanted to update the blog (I was rocking some OLD SCHOOL Movable Type) so that I can blog from my phone, upload pictures from my phone – you know – be a part of the real world. Hopefully this will help me blog so much more. I miss writing and I miss connecting with you all so we’ll see. And if you’re looking to update your own blog, Carrie is beyond fantastic! Every tweak I asked for happened almost immediately, she was patient when it took me forever to get my shit together and all around wonderful in getting me to where I wanted to be. THANK YOU CARRIE! (Visit her here!)

I have so much knitting to talk about. And life. But really a lot of knitting. I hope you’ll be back!

L , C

Check. Check. Check 2.

Sibilance. Sibilance.


Raveled here.

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Check. Check.

Check 1. Sibilance. Sibilance.


Healthy Obsessions

This blog has always been about my passions – knitting for sure, but also writing, photography, my family, Bruce. So it feels a little disingenuous to not have shared my latest passion with you all. That’s about to change. Bear with me.

A little back story: I love my kids. They are fun and funny, smart and stubborn, passionate, crazy, beautiful, gorgeous kids and I love them. But (and there’s always a but right!) they do not sleep. Or, at least, they do not sleep well. I won’t get into the whole thing about sleep training and how we didn’t do it and that it worked so great for you and blah blah blah – my life is what it is and I wouldn’t change any of it. I’ve made my bed, so to speak, and both my kids sleep in it every single night. HAHAHAHAHAHA! See what I did there? Yeah. My kids sleep in our bed and we’re not happy about it. I’ve tried a million things to get them out and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t and I’m seriously not telling you this for advice, it’s just a fact. And because my kids have a hard time staying asleep unless they are on top of me or touching me in some way that is incredibly uncomfortable for me and yet oddly comfortable for them, I don’t get a lot of sleep. Like ever. Or at least not in the last five freaking years.

I am often extremely exhausted. Extremely. Exhausted. And this aggravates my anxiety and panic like no one’s business.

Let’s back track to about a year ago. I was in a not very good place – exhausted and anxious and just plain yucky. I was a hell of a lot better than a year ago before that when I was in the throws of postpartum depression from second baby exhaustion and its overwhelming-ness. Besides regular therapy and some happy pills, I had started running again. I’m not the best exerciser in the world but I know what I need when I need it and as I was coming out of the awful winter of my PPD discontent, running seemed like the best option. It was good and all and I was working my way through a Couch to 5K type plan. It was nice to be outside and I liked the mental aspects of it but I never really loved running. At least not the way some people do. I got hurt. I healed. I had to go back a few weeks and start over. Then it got colder and school started again and oh well. Not running so much.

My neighbor had started going to a new studio that had opened near us. It was a barre based exercise class and I had read up on it before it opened but they kept delaying the opening and it wasn’t cheap and I started running.

But I wasn’t running anymore and she told me how great it was and winter was closing in and the exhaustion was overwhelming me as usual and well, OCD was taking over in the bad way. So I went with her.

You know where this is headed right? I went to my first Bar Method class a year ago today, February 19, 2012. Since then I’ve gone to over 200 classes. I went to my first class, then my second and then I signed up for an unlimited month and started going 3-4 days a week which I quickly ratcheted up to five classes a week.

I love the Bar Method. There. I told you all. I LOVE THE BAR METHOD!

There are a bunch of barre type workouts out there and you may go to one which is not the Bar Method and it might be the greatest thing in the world for you. If so, that’s great! I can’t speak to other barre type classes because I’ve never taken one. I can only talk about Bar Method. From their website:

The Bar Method™workout creates a uniquely lean, firm, sculpted body by combining the muscle-shaping principles of isometrics, the body-elongating practice of dance conditioning, the science of physical therapy and the intense pace of interval training into a powerful exercise format that quickly and safely reshapes and elongates muscles.

Yes, barre type classes are the rage and every celebrity out there has a favorite. Yes, I have always wanted to be a ballerina and just standing at the barre on my toes makes me feel like I’m in Swan Lake. Yes, at 43 I am in the best shape of my life and can do a split for the first time ever. Don’t believe me? Photographic proof (courtesy of Mason Dixon Kay!)

Crazy, no? So, to reiterate, best shape of my life, doing splits, husband says my ass looks younger and is scared by the definition in my arms, flat abs, etc etc etc. But really, the physical changes in my body are icing on the cake.

For me, Bar is about the fact that on more mornings than I care to admit I wake up with my body hurting and my brain set to monkey mind because I haven’t slept well – hell I haven’t slept at ALL – the night before and I know that if I can drag myself to a morning class and just get through the warm-up plank and maybe just maybe, finish the class, I will feel infinitely better. Remarkably better. Able to face the day better! Think of it this way: I haven’t had caffeine in over 25 years – it makes me feel like I’m having a panic attack and I have enough of those thank you very much – but my morning Bar class feels like a nice healthy shot of caffeine! I have ENERGY! My mind is CLEAR! I feel able to LEAP TALL BUILDINGS IN A SINGLE BOUND! (Okay. Maybe not the last part. It’s a cup of coffee not a double espresso for god’s sake!) And the good feeling lasts throughout the day! Mostly. At least until school is over.

The class reminds me of all the things I love about knitting too. I love patterns – not knit knit knit (or run run run) until you’re done. I like things structured – but with lots of variety within the structure (like the rules I set up for my Miter Madness banket.) All of the Bar Method classes follow the same structure

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, but within that structure are a million different variations. And the more you do it the harder it gets. And man – are these classes HARD! (Think of some kind of fair isle lace sweater with multiple charts and multiple colors and some crazy construction. WIth steeks of course.)There is always room to challenge yourself – whether it’s perfecting your form, or going for the harder options. Just like knitting. It’s the process baby!

It’s not just the exercise either – it’s the people too. The instructors are incredibly encouraging and from the very first class they know your name. The other (mostly women) students are friendly and it just feels really comfortable to be there. I’ve made some nice friends – some of whom even knit! I can walk into the studio an anxious mess and even before class starts someone has made me laugh and I feel better already. I’m so happy to have found my place and I hope next year to write a similar post telling you how much I still love the Bar Method!

Thanks for letting me ramble. I feel better letting you in on my new obsession. And I hope you all get the chance to find yours too!

I hope to be back soon to talk about lots and lots (and LOTS!) of knitting!
Be well!
L, C

Happy Birthday to ME!

Today I’m 43. And I feel pretty good.

It’s been a long time since I posted to the blog, but I’ve never missed January One in nine years. Nine freaking years.

I’ve got some goals for 2013 – one of them is to get back to writing. My youngest starts school next week so I have some afternoons free and I really really really want to write again. So if you’re reading this , check back in a week or so. I’ve got a million knits to talk about. And some other stuff too.

I wish everyone a very happy new year. May 2013 be a peaceful, contented year for all of you.
L, C

Fat Tuesday*

Thank you all so much for your very kind comments on Acer and previously on Aidez! I really appreciate them. I have to say I’m quite proud of all this sweater knitting. I actually have one more finished sweater to show off and talk about, but I wanted to say a little something about my new sweater project given the date.

Being flush with my sweater successes, I decided that it was finally time to try something I’ve been wanting to do for a long, long time but was too timid a knitter: a fair isle cardigan. With a steek and everything! I find it kind of ironic that I’ve been too timid to knit this because I’m usually the one preaching if you can knit and you can purl you can do anything!! But for some reason color work kept scaring me and I decided now was the time to conquer it!

I’d had Elinor Brown‘s Plum Frost Cardigan in my favorites for a long time and I finally pulled it out. I decided I wanted to knit the sweater in some Quince & Co. yarn because they had some great colors and I really really enjoyed knitting with it when I knit Aidez. So for my birthday I treated myself to a bunch of colors in Chickadee, their sport weight 100% wool yarn:

And then I started swatching:

Before I even STARTED the sweater I knit no less than ten swatches, eight of which were fair isle swatches. CRAZINESS! But I learned so so much along the way. First I knit just to see if I knew what the hell I was doing. Turns out I’m not so bad at fair isle – I hold both yarns in my right hand and throw them. My left hand is basically useless. I knit pretty tight in fair isle, but the pattern even tells you to go up two needle sizes so that kind of solved that problem.

Look how pretty my floats are!

It didn’t take me long to settle on a main body color and the remaining five fair isle pattern colors and I knit a swatch, then switched a couple colors around and knit another swatch, then figured out that my gauge was NO WHERE close to what was called for – I might as well have been knitting with a laceweight! – so I switched up to Lark which is Quince & Co.’s worsted. BINGO! I got a pretty close approximation to gauge – enough that I could knit the smallest size and have it come out to a 36 – which is what I need. And as a bonus I put my gauge numbers into the Elizabeth Zimmermann Percentage System and came out with exactly the right numbers. I was ready to start!

But something was nagging at me about my color choices. Something wasn’t quite right. I ignored myself and ordered all the yarn for the sweater. I went so far as to cast on the sleeves (my first time using a tubular cast on! SWEET!) And then I called a couple of friends and asked them to look at the swatch. Margene tried to be nice about telling me she didn’t like it – that it wasn’t working and Ann was much more straight forward – this swatch DOES NOT WORK.

As much as I knew they were absolutely right, I was heartbroken. I’m exhausted. My children, it turns out, are terrible sleepers and with one hitting a stubborn four in a couple of weeks and the other already squarely in the terrible twos, knitting is the only respite I get. AND I bought the yarn. What was I going to do?

It turns out some learning.

I went to my knitting library and found Deb Menz’s Color Works. Color. The all important COLOR. There are three aspects to color: Hue, Saturation and Value. Hue is easy – is it orange, green, etc? And Saturation is easy – how deep/light a green? But Value – oh all important VALUE. Value had kicked my color ass.

The way I understand it, Value is the way the eye sees color immediately, before it registers Hue or Saturation. Value is the BLACK & WHITE of color. So to find out the value of a color, you need to see it in grayscale.Check out these pictures:

Check out that muddled muddy mess! Here are the skeins still wound:

Not so bad, right? They look like a fine bunch of colors! Here they with their values exposed!!

So I’ve got a very high and a very low what with the dark purple and the light pink but oh my god! The other four colors might as well be exactly the same. Three of them really ARE the same value and one is only slightly off.

Frankly, I was kind of embarrassed I had come up with this combination in the first place. I mean, true or not, I fancy myself something of a color connoisseur and it’s not like I didn’t know about value. I’ve talked about it before and everything! Really, I was very disappointed. BUT, not to be deterred! I took my book and all of the skeins I started with and into the car we went! (I say the car because that’s where I do most of my knitting these days. The baby, WHO WILL BE TWO IN JUNE!!!, has pretty much stopped napping at home and will only nap in the car. So when I drop off Meli at school we drive home, Cali falls asleep and I sit in the car with her and knit for a glorious couple of hours. It’s BLISS!)

I flipped through Menz’s book and checked out all the color combinations and rearranged them a million times in my lap all the while taking bl
ack and white pictures with my phone. Good times! My neighbors must think I’m crazier than they originally suspected! Anyway

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, so I’m snapping away but I’m also trying to use the least amount of new colors I can. Remenber – I’VE ALREADY BOUGHT ALL THE YARN! I want to keep the original dark purple as the main color and as many as the pattern colors as I can. I switched around and switched around and then – hey – this looks kind of nice together. Let’s see the values. Okay, okay – this looks kind of perfect!! I immediately started more swatching!

By switching out TWO colors only, I got these gorgeous values:

Look how well defined the pattern has become! No more muddy mess! BEAUTIFUL!

Now there is a definite high and low, but the low isn’t SO low and the middle has RANGE! Look at that glorious range! TWO colors. I changed out two colors only. Let’s look again!

Now, just for shits and giggles, let’s see the values of the original swatch compared with the values of the new swatch:

Isn’t color AMAZING?!? Blew my mind. And now I’ve got a Mardi Gras Cardigan brewing – purples and greens and gold (and yes pinks!) Completely changes the look of the sweater I’m knitting and I couldn’t be more excited. I’ve been plugging away on the sleeves and I only have two more increases. Shouldn’t be long before I start the body and then FAIR ISLE BABY!

I still have at least one swatch left. Ahem. I’ve never cut a steek before so you can bet your ass I’ll be practicing!

*A day early, but who’s counting, right?