Monday, November 7, 2011

Two November Sweaters

Two November Sweaters

The first November breeze makes us reach for a cardigan with alacrity. The Lady-of-the-House took a fancy to designing a little girl’s cardigan that gave the feel of a forest in November. The natural brown wool resembles the bark of trees – and the fallen leaves that have dried and crunch like brown toast under a garden boot.   

Acorn buttons also speak November, don’t you think? The yoke is knit in a luxurious Noro yarn. Garter stitch sets off its colors from the body as does a round of soft-white above and below.

The yoke style of sweater has the attractive feature of being seamless. If self- stripping yarn is used it forms its own interesting design. And the decreases are hidden among the varying colors.

Any plain pattern invites possibilities for designing. Knitting creative touches into a sweater for little ones already arrived, and those yet to be born is, for the Lady-of-the-House, a doubly comforting experience – a mingling of dreams and relaxation.

"People have to know what relaxes them, and not feel guilty about using a piece of time when it is necessary for them, or when they do not use it exactly as somebody else would."
Edith Schaeffer

The yoke sweater was made some years ago. This November the Lady-of-the-House finished a sweater for Baby Joseph. She used left-over Brown Sheep from the yoke sweater adding a Lumber Jack check at the bottom. The colors would go nicely with his dark hair she thought. 

She altered the pattern to make less seaming for herself. The cardigan’s front panels join the back on a circular needle. They form one wide piece. She knit up to the armholes finishing each panel separately to the shoulder. The only seams are at the shoulder.

Here’s a tip. A crochet hook picks up stitches easily and neatly. Chained onto the hook this readies them to be slid off the back of the hook onto needles where they are knitted in a nice workable tension. 

She picked up the sleeves this way (no seams here) and then knitted in a round - top down.

On Sunday afternoon, after sewing on the wooden buttons, she held it up to show the Man-of-House with a delightful feeling of accomplishment.

“Very nice,” he said.

“Let me see your buttons,” she said.

“What for?” he asked, puzzled.

“I just remembered something.” She stepped closer to see which way his shirt was buttoned. Then she examined the sweater in her hands.  “Oh, no, I put Baby Joseph’s buttonholes on the girl’s side!” She was crestfallen. The thought of unraveling the ribbing to start again was discouraging. 

The Man-of-the-House instantly consoled her with his familiar stand-by phrase, “No one ‘ll notice.”

"I suppose so,” she said weakly. Exploring the subject further she reasoned that with the amount of sartorial slackness going on these days the button placement could very well go unnoticed by the average onlooker.

“And it’s not like he’ll be buttoning it himself,” he added.

This last statement made the strongest appeal. The Lady-of-the-House was won over. The November sweater is tucked away (as is) in the Christmas closet awaiting wrapping. Please do not breathe a word of our secret to Baby Joseph – about the buttonholes, I mean. 

Until next time,
Karen Andreola


  1. Dear Karen,
    The sweater is fetching! It does evoke the feel of the forest. I am sore baby Joseph will look like quite a cute bundle:-)

  2. The quote by Edith Shaeffer is exactly what all of us as mothers should take to heart.

    Knitting and sewing relaxes me a great deal.

    In fact, during trials, these endeavors is what keeps me calm and focused.

    The sweaters you have created are just lovely! And I know that no one will notice where the buttons are ;)

    In His Love,


  3. Joseph's sweater is beautiful! I really like the contrast of the buttons.

    I just finished a flannel shirt for my son. I did put the button holes on the correct side, but I sewed them in horizontally instead of vertically. I was/am very frustrated, but my son grinned and said that is really didn't matter to him anyway.

    I'm working on hats and mittens for several family members for Christmas.(Circular needles and I seem to have made a sort of truce over the last few weeks.)


  4. I didn't know guys' shirts buttoned differently from gals' until I sewed a flannel shirt for my new husband and got it wrong. He graciously wore the shirt anyway, for many, many years. And I'm sure baby Joseph won't mind, he'll be snug and secure in his family's love. Beautiful, lovely work!

  5. Dear Karen,

    Your sweaters are lovely, how blessed your grandchildren are to have these beautiful homemade items made lovingly by you;) Do you have any recommendations for a VERY beginning knitter? I have managed to knit one scarf but not much else. I'd so love to learn and knit beautiful things for my grandchildren;) By the way, I don't think baby Joseph will be at all concerned about his buttons:)

  6. I love Joseph's sweater! So handsome...

    Oh, and the acorn buttons on the other sweater! You've inspired me to knit a sweater for my granddaughter, though it will be way more basic than yours with the yoke!

    Bless you, Karen!


  7. Ladies,
    Your notes have made me smile this morning - and even chuckle. Thank-you. I hope my writing brings a smile to you. Now and again I try to sprinkle a little humor between the lines.

    One reason I was lazy about unraveling my ribbing is that I had unraveled it once already after seeing it pucker. I was so pleased with how it lay so smoothly the second time that I didn't wish to do a third.

    A cap is a good "next step" after a scarf.
    Karen A.

  8. Karen, I was re-reading your post and all the comments, when I noticed that you have a Christmas closet! What a wonderful description. This time of year is delightfuly secretive, isn't it? I thoroughly enjoy finding just the right thing and tucking it away.

    Enjoy the anticipation!


  9. Your work is beautiful, and thrifty-- I like how you used the remaining wool for the next sweater. The acorn buttons are so sweet.

    The knitting video you recommended has been helpful, especially the how to fix mistakes section. Before I saw it, I had to leave mistakes in my first cap, as I was afraid I wouldn't be able to sort out all the stitches if I unravelled my work. I think her advanced beginner DVD has more details on working in the round.

    In any case, you inspire me to get to "button level" someday.



  10. What beautiful are very talented.
    I am trying to slowly improve my crocheting skills. I hope to make some gifts for Christmas, we will see!


  11. I appreciate the quote from Edith Shaeffer also! The acorn buttons are a lovely touch. You are so talented!

  12. I am teaching myself how to knit and crochet. so far I can only make a hat - but it's more than I could do before! You inspire me as always :)


  13. I love the little acorn buttons--so sweet.

    The sweaters are a real inspiration--knitting in the round is still a challenge for me but the DVD has been a helpful resource (and now I know how to fix the errors I ignored last time!). Thanks, Karen.

    I'm hoping this isn't double posted--my first comment didn't seem to go through.



  14. Beautiful sweaters, Karen. The acorn buttons are perfect. :) I love the Edith Schaeffer quote; we women certainly do need to be comfortable and confident about taking time for a little "Mother Culture." Many blessings, ~Lisa

  15. Hi Karen,
    Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to visit me. :-)
    I love stopping by here and seeing your latest knitting projects.
    Thanks for the tip on using the crochet hook!! Great idea!
    I too, do not care for seams. I wasn't too pleased with the side seams on the pair of purple striping fingerless mitts I just finished. I need to practice on seams. :-(
    Love the buttons you used on both cardigans. They are just lovely.

    Enjoy your day,
    Anne ♥

  16. Oh what sweet sweaters!! I am sure baby Joseph will look very handsome in his new sweater!

    I LOVE the Edith Schaefer quote!! It is so encouraging. I often have people try to insuate that I am lazy for taking a few moments to stitch.

    I love Dean's response. It sounds so much like my dear husband. ;o)

  17. I love it when you show your knitting and talk about it.
    P.S. I'm making the Sockhead Hat right now.