Sugarleaf, my Rhinebeck Sweater!

It's so exciting to be able to blog about Sugarleaf, my contribution to Ysolda's book, The Rhinebeck Sweater!

Sugarleaf photo copyright Ysolda Teague

Sugarleaf photo copyright Ysolda Teague

My trip to Rhinebeck for the New York Sheep and Wool festival is a highlight of my year. I always fly out to Boston a bit early and spend a day working with Team Rav; then we all drive out to Rhinebeck and stay with a group of friends in a rental house with a fabulous kitchen. Since I love feeding people as much as I love knitting, this is an altogether fabulous weekend for me every year. We enjoy the festival each day: Ravelry meetups, seeing friendly faces, browsing the vendors' booths, watching the sheepdogs and visiting the fiber animals, and eating our weight in cider donuts. (Ok maybe that's just me.)

Sugarleaf photo copyright Ysolda Teague

Sugarleaf photo copyright Ysolda Teague

For Ysolda's book, we were asked to make our ideal Rhinebeck sweater. For me, that meant a cozy and durable cardigan, for sure. NYS&W has been super cold every year I've been - thank goodness for layers of wool! I definitely wanted to do colorwork with a motif and colors that would remind me of the gorgeous, bright autumn leaves that are on glorious display at each festival. The sugar maples in particular blow me away every year with their fabulous glowing orange leaves. And so, Sugarleaf was born.

Sugarleaf photo copyright Ysolda Teague

Sugarleaf photo copyright Ysolda Teague

I was thrilled to be able to work with Green Mountain Spinnery's New Mexico Organic and Local Color yarns (Local Color is naturally-dyed New Mexico Organic). The sheep for this wool are raised just a few hours from me here in New Mexico! The wool is then made into a scrumptious woolen-spun yarn by the wonderful people at Green Mountain Spinnery. I'm a sucker both for naturally-dyed yarns and natural-colored wool, and I looooove how the the rich orangey-red pops out against the grey. I want to make another, with the indigo Local Color as the MC and a natural cream as the CC. Wouldn't that be nice? The buttons, gorgeous rosewood toggles, are from Melissa Jean - another NYS&W vendor whose booth is on my "must stop and buy" list every year. I squealed when they arrived and I sewed them on the sweater - the refined rustic toggles were exactly what I wanted!

Sugarleaf photo copyright Ysolda Teague

Sugarleaf photo copyright Ysolda Teague

The yoke! This was my first adult-sized circular yoke sweater and I so enjoyed the process. The pattern is pretty bold, but tight, just framing the face and circling the tops of the shoulders. Bonus: the colorwork part flies by and then you can really motor along in stockinette. Surely it can't be just me for whom "cramming in knitting as fast as I can and then blocking in the hotel room or maybe the van driving out to Rhinebeck" is a part of the New York Sheep and Wool experience?

Sugarleaf photo copyright Ysolda Teague

Sugarleaf photo copyright Ysolda Teague

The inspiration for the colorwork motif is a little silly but makes me happy. Late last summer, while the design was in the hibernating/waiting for yarn phase, I was having a bit of a Skyrim moment. In the fictional Skyrim town of Whiterun, lots of doors have these geometric floral carvings. (You can see them in the background of this image from the Skyrim Wiki.) While playing one day, I realized - these would make a terrific colorwork pattern! There is actually a Skyrim character who lives in this village and was named after Ysolda, so I felt like this was fate. ;)

Sugarleaf photo copyright Ysolda Teague

Sugarleaf photo copyright Ysolda Teague

These photos were taken on the festival grounds just after dawn. Ysolda, Bex, and I got to wander around the fairgrounds admidst the buzz of focused vendors busy setting up their booths. Jennie the Potter kindly allowed us to borrow one of her beautiful mugs for the shoot, and  I also got to walk a baby llama, no big deal. (HA! Yeah right, it was a very big deal. Baby llama walking!)

Sugarleaf photo copyright Ysolda Teague

Sugarleaf photo copyright Ysolda Teague

You can find all the details about Sugarleaf on its Ravelry page. I was so excited to finally be able to add my project to Rav! Bex is already working on a gorgeous version in her handspun (!! it's always a huge honor to me when someone uses their handspun for one of my designs) and I love the colors she chose. If you'll be at NYS&W this year, you'll be able to see this sweater in person - like last year, I'll be wearing it on Saturday - but this time I can wear it *after* the festival is open. Can't wait!

The Rhinebeck Sweater designers photo copyright Ysolda Teague

The Rhinebeck Sweater designers photo copyright Ysolda Teague

Thank you, Ysolda, for inviting me to participate in this project - it is an incredible honor to be included with this amazing group of designers and passionate fiber folks! I am so excited to be able to hold this book in person. You can check out the full details, see a complete lookbook, and even preorder the book on Ysolda's website. Hooray!

Squares and swatches.

Recently, inspired by our new ability to add fiber stash in its own special place, I updated my entire stash on Ravelry. Yarn, fiber, all of it. Whee! I also sorted out a huge box of awesomeness to destash. While organizing everything, I pulled out a bunch of solid and semi-solid fingering-weight yarn with the goal of making a granny square afghan in spare moments. 

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I'd like 120 squares total: 100 made up of 8-round granny squares, and then 20 made from smaller 4-round grannies, pieced together in groups of four.  I was fine with this taking years and being a nice, back-burner project for a while. A square or two a month? Sure, whatever.

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Then Breaking Bad's final season started. The thought of making something I have to really look at or think about while watching that show is laughable - and honestly, that show can get so tense it's probably not a good idea to work on something in which consistent gauge is super important, either - so this blanket, so far, has gotten a little extra time in the hands, and is coming along faster than expected. It still may take a good long time, and that's fine, but it's nice to see my stack of squares piling up. The start of football season (FINALLY!) means I'll have some more TV time ahead to devote to these squares. I'm all for it! (Just hoping my Steelers give me more to cheer about in future games than they did yesterday...)

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In other news, the swatch above might look familiar if you saw Ysolda's recent announcement about her upcoming book, The Rhinebeck Sweater, on her blog. In the photo, you can see the back of my unbloggable project from this time last year. You can also see the front in this post, in the photo where I'm WALKING A BABY LLAMA! His name was Andy and I love him. It was such an honor to participate in the project with my cardigan design, and I just adored the sweaters that all the other designers contributed. I think Ys created a really special book, and I'm so excited for her to share the full details. 

 

Summer 2013 Snapshots

Some photos from the past few months: crafty times in Albuquerque. Big fun.