Avoiding the Sweater Curse

My girlfriend’s birthday is in October, and now is the time of year when I start to think about what I want to knit for her to celebrate the occasion. We’ve been together for a year, and I felt like it was time to knit her a sweater. She likes cardigans with zippers. I found the perfect pattern. Look how amazing Cookie A’s Chicane would look on her. I even started mentally squishing yarn and thinking about what colors would fit most seamlessly into her wardrobe.

Then. Enter the Sweater Curse.

I don’t know if you’re familiar with the Sweater Curse, but it effectively states that if you knit a sweater for your significant other, the relationship will end.

I’m not a superstitious person. I researched. I read. I lived in denial that this was real. But in my quest to prove the Sweater Curse wrong, I realized something. I’m happy. Why would I jeopardize that for a sweater? If, and do mean if, the Sweater Curse exists, why would I put my joy on the line just to be stubbornly in denial of the power of knitting?

All that said, Sam is getting gloves for her birthday this year. Grey and yellow by Belyse by Ysolda. Heartbreak dodged.

What’s On My Needles

Yes, I did fall for the fade. I’m four colors into my Find Your Fade kit from Lichen and Lace, and it’s so sweet to knit. It’s comforting and simple, the alternating garter and lace keep it from becoming overly monotonous, and the colors are to die for.

I switched a couple things up for the shawl. Really just one thing.

Something that happens when you buy hand-dyed yarn is that colors vary from skein to skein. While the images I expected were a medium-value yellow-orange named Daylily and a medium value yellow-red named Rhubarb, I got a lighter yellow with bits of dandelion and orange and a dark red with streaks of a darker golden yellow. Both are gorgeous. The issue is that now my values are quite different and they’re right next to each other.

Solution? I found this post on instagram by following #findyourfadeshawl on Instagram. (Side note: Stay motivated doing your project by following it’s hashtag. It’s like a never-ending knitalong for every project you’re doing. Magical.) Lauren faded her shawl a little differently, using Mara Catherine Bryner’s How I Roll pattern. After knitting the standard fade with Daylily and Rhubarb, I wanted to try something different, so I ripped back *gasp*, and I tried it out.

Knitting at my day job.

It’s more forgiving and less pattern-looking, which I appreciate. It did throw my stitch counts off, so my shawl will be wider than the pattern specifies. I’m not worried. 

Additionally, I have the collar and the beginnings of shoulders knit for my Fireside Pullover. (Again, follow the hashtag for your project.) I overcame my gauge woes by knitting English style in the round and by rereading the pattern. The genius Jane Richmond has written her pattern with measurements as opposed to row counts for length, so as long as I calculate my row gauge after blocking into each measurement, I should come out with a sweater that hits right where I want it. 

Granted, I’ll probably finish the sweater in June or July. Maybe I should take a summer vacation north.

Watch and Knit: February

Marie Antoinette

Every February, there is only one movie that I want to watch. Between Valentine’s Day and my birthday, I want to fight the dreary nature of February’s days with opulence and lace and pink and too many sweet treats to count. You know where I’m going with this. We’re all going to watch Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette.

Bethany, that’s great, but there is no knitwear in that movie. You’re right. The silk in this movie seems completely at odds with any hand knits, but I think you’ll find this movie has a soulmate in the knitting world. His philosophy, “more is more, less is a bore,” seems like it fits right in. So grab your brightest speckled yarns and your champagne and settle in to ignore the grey skies and the never-ending snow. We’re knitting Stephen West’s knits all day and all night. Don’t look at me like that. You know you want to.

Marled Magic Shawl by Stephen West


Going Swatchless: Knitting for times when gauge has got you down.

Some days, no matter what you do, you just aren’t going to get gauge. You can knit swatch after swatch after swatch and nothing you change will get you where you want to be.

(For those of you that are supportive friends and family reading this, know that a swatch is a small rectangle of knitting used to find the combination of needles and yarn that produces a fabric with the right proportions of stitch width to row height (gauge). This step makes sure the project you are about to knit will be the size and shape you intend. When most people hear me talk about this process, they ask me what about knitting is fun. Whatever, people. I’m having a great time.)

Except right now. Except when I can’t get gauge for the sweater I’m due to knit next. My stitches are to big, but my rows are just right, or my stitches are perfect, but my rows are too small. I’ve tried knitting flat. I’ve tried knitting in the round. I’ve tried knitting English style. I’ve tried knitting continental.

So far my solutions are as follows: Rework the math to match my gauge. Yikes. Or. Work the collar in a gauge I like and improvise the rest of the sweater a la the lovely and skilled Karen Templer.

But maybe I’m not ready for solutions. Maybe I’m just ready to daydream about a project where gauge doesn’t matter. Let’s go there.

Baby Blankets

All babies need a stylish new blanket for stepping out in the world, right? And who doesn’t have a million baby showers to go to where everyone will be asking you when you expect to be having a baby shower of your own? Just me? Ok, maybe just me. Regardless, these are fabulous, and junior doesn’t care if your row gauge is a little off.

Four Corners Baby Blanket published by Purl Soho

For the child of your artist friends.


Honeycomb Stroller Blanket by Terry Kimbrough, Susan Leitzsch, Lucie Sinkler

For the sweetest baby you know.


POP Blanket by tincanknits

For those baby showers where you need to bring a book instead of a card. Pairs well with The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds.




This is possibly where I spend most of my daydreaming time. Shawls are so beautiful, and they make me feel so chic to think about wearing. If I had a million hours in the day, I’d knit every triangle shawl, crescent shawl, and pi shawl in the universe.


What the Fade by Andrea Mowry

What if I jump on the fade bandwagon and spend all my money on all the gorgeous yarns in the world? That’s acceptable, right? It’s for professional research. If you go this route, I completely support you. Nothing has captured my fancy quite as much as Andrea Mowry’s colors in her line of fade knits


Capella by Isabella Kramer

I may have lost my mind. Such beautiful lace is way out of my league. Unrelated. Why is it snowing again?


For the Birds by Laurie Parrish

You heard me. Birdhouses. Sure, the neighbors will think I’m nuts. And sure it will probably house mice as often as birds. Don’t trample my Disney princess dreams. I will knit a birdhouse, and it will charming. And that’s that.

Well, now that I’ve gotten all that out of my system, I’d better get back to swatching this sweater. Fireside isn’t going to knit itself.

Three Sweaters Brewing

As much as I don’t like to admit it to myself, I do not need to buy yarn. I have three sweaters worth of yarn waiting for me to knit, and it’s honestly about time I got to it.  

Here are the contenders.

I have Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Bulky in Stormy set aside for Fireside, by Jane Richmond. I’ve been in love with this pattern since it dropped, it looks like it will be a fun and relatively quick knit, so I don’t know what’s stopping me.

Jane Richmond’s Fireside

I have Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Sport in Mink Heather and White set aside for Bobbie by Pam Allen of Quince and Co. This pattern, while perfect, may not end up looking as fantastic on me as I want, so I’ll have to wait and see about that one. Things I love: the sleeves, the stripes, the length, the boxiness. Things I might not love: The length with the boxiness. I haven’t super decided yet.

Pam Allen’s Bobbie

I have recycled merino in the color of a porcini mushroom. When I say recycled, I mean that I purchased a sweater from the thrift store, unraveled it, washed it, and hung it to dry so the kinks are all gone, and now I have beautiful yarn. I’ve been considering Grace by Jane Richmond, even though my lace skills are not so great. I always miss a yarn over, or I don’t knit two together when I should. Regardless, the pattern is beautiful, and I would probably wear it all the time.

Jane Richmond’s Grace

So there they are. My next three sweaters. Here’s what I propose: one sweater on the needles at a time, and one sweater on the needles at all times. It can’t be that hard to finish three sweaters, right? Worst comes to worst, I’ll have entirely too much wool ready to wear by the spring thaw. 

Watch and Knit: November

A Series of Unfortunate Events

Knitting is a kind of magic. Every stitch that goes into a piece has within it some of the moment of when it was made. Sometimes the moments are passed in a car or plane, traveling to somewhere new. Sometimes they’re moments spent outdoors, in the sun or snuggled under a blanket. And sometimes, they are moments, lots of moments,  spent on the couch, watching television.

While it may not seem as romantic or picturesque as other knitting, there is definitely something to be said for curling up with some tea and Netflix on a cold rainy evening and knitting to your heart’s content. It is with that in mind that I bring you Watch and Knit, my monthly recommendations of filmed entertainment and patterns to go with them.

I have loved Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events for years. I’ve eagerly devoured every interpretation of such a lovely, heartbreaking, and complex set of stories. I fell for the books, the audiobooks (read by Tim Curry), and the movie, and now I am head over heels for the Netflix series. Angus Strathie is responsible for the costumes in the latest incarnation of the Baudelaires, and nothing caught my eye more than the hand knits the children wear.

A lot of love goes into knitting a piece for someone.  And, when you see the tenderness the Baudelaires now live without, it gives the loss in every scene that much more gravity.

If you are looking for an evening that will both tear you to pieces and make you laugh out loud, I recommend giving Lemony Snicket a chance. You might be inspired to cast on a cardigan of your own for yourself or a dear loved one. May I suggest Elizabeth Doherty’s Sans Serif. Its simplicity can take you through many adventures, and it would look adorable over dresses, coveralls, and the odd disguise. Add a matching ribbon, and you’re ready to invent your way out of a tight spot.

Sans Serif designed by Elizabeth Doherty

I can’t wait to see what the next season will bring.