Tag Archives: “Julian vest”

The Making of an Easter Tradition

maddie tea leaves cardiLast year in the wee hours of the night on Good Friday, I wove in the ends of my first-ever knitted sweater, an almost-frogged Tea Leaves Cardigan for my daughter Maddie. It had taken me a year and a half to knit, with an ah-bugger-I-think-she’s-outgrown-it-before-I-finished-it break mid-way. This year, in those same wee hours, I wove in the last ends of a sweater vest for my son (the pattern is the Julian Vest by Raya Budrevich). I think I’m creating an Easter tradition: barely finish a knitted item for a beloved family member with the intention that they wear it on Easter.

Since I completed my son’s sweater the night before he was meant to wear it, I didn’t have time to block it. Honestly, I have never blocked a knitted item before, so perhaps I could have had time? Either way, I didn’t have time to learn how to block it and then block it, so I had to improvise.

Improvisational sweater blocking: smash with a stack of books overnight.
Improvisational sweater blocking: smash with a stack of books overnight.
As flattened as this sweater looks under this stack, the method did not actually work all that well.
As flattened as this sweater looks under this stack, the method did not actually work all that well.

While spending a night under a stack of books helped a little bit, I don’t think it was nearly as effective as actual blocking would have been; the shoulder straps still rolled.  Rolling and last minute finishing aside, the sweater was the perfect Easter sweater, and Max seemed happy to wear it. Maddie’s sweater from last year still fit, too, which is an added bonus!

Max modeling his newly finished Julian Vest.


I made a few alterations to the pattern, since I knit the Julian Vest in size 4 and my son is currently wearing a 3T.  Once the vest is split for front and back, I knit the back until it was 15 1/2″ from cast on edge (pattern says to knit until 20″ from cast on edge) and I knit the front straps until they were 16″ from cast on edge (pattern again says to knit until 20″).


For how trimly the sweater fits, knitting to 20″ length may make it suitable for a VERY skinny, long-torso-ed 4 year old, but it would have been a dress on Max. I think my sizing changes resulted in a good fit, although next time I probably would leave out one row of the “V” pattern in the front, and lengthen the shoulders a bit more. I would have added a few more stitches to the cast-on, too, since my son still has quite a bit of his pudgy baby belly since he’s not yet two years old.

Despite some less-than-pleased comments on the pattern on Ravelry, I really enjoyed knitting this sweater and think that the pattern was well written and easy to execute. I would definitely recommend measuring your child as you knit to make sure that the chosen size will fit well.

Blurry sweatered kids playing before Easter brunch.
Blurry sweatered kids playing before Easter brunch.

I’m pleased that both of my children enjoy wearing their hand-knits, even if they refuse to cooperate for a photo. I told my husband that next year, I will finish a sweater vest for him on the eve of Easter to continue with my tradition. I probably should start now, huh?


Beauteous, Bountiful, Botanical Blue!

Today is our last day in New Jersey before heading back home to thawing Maine. I’ve heard from friends that the snow is disappearing, grass is finally showing in spots, and the flowers are even beginning to pop up out of the cold earth, but I’m still thoroughly enjoying my last moments in the peak of hot New Jersey spring. It’s been especially hot and sunny this week, which has been a special treat. I admire the flowers every day, especially the growing sea of Siberian Squill in my mom’s garden.

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Yesterday I noticed that one of my travel knitting projects perfectly matches the beauteous, bountiful, botanical blue of the Siberian Squill sea. I just couldn’t resist a photo shoot.

2014-04-12 18.45.41This is the Julian Vest by Raya Budrevich knitted in size 4 for my son. I’m using Cascade 220 Wool dye lot 9603 Country Blue Yarn for this project. I’m SO close to finishing this vest; I only need to pick up stitches to do the finishing around the neck and arm holes. Novice knitter as I am, I forgot to bring my double pointed needles. The finishing will have to wait. In the meantime, feast your eyes on this beauty! Nature and knitting in perfect harmony:

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A Note on Lighting

One of my goals as a blogger is to continuously improve my photographs. I am so drawn to aesthetics, I feel like clear and artistically taken photographs are key to having a beautiful blog that begs to be read (or at least gazed upon). I’ve often heard that cloudy days are better for photography than sunny days, but haven’t ever been in a position to test it out. After yesterday’s experiment, I’m convinced that photographing in shade or on cloudy days is best for color! Yesterday, I noticed the jiving nature-to-knitting colors in the bright sun of morning and did my first impromptu photo shoot:

Beautiful blue in the bright sun.
Beautiful blue in the bright sun.

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Later in the evening, after the flowers and garden were in full shade, I decided to do a repeat photo shoot. You can see in the top photos–the ones I chose to use for the bulk of the blog post–how vivid and rich the blue appears in the shady photos. It’s the same exact vest in just about the same exact spots, yet the colors are very different. Here are some side-by-sides for comparison (sun on the left; shade on the right):


Photos taken in both sun and shade have their value, but I definitely prefer the shady photos for accuracy of color and clarity of the knitting. Which do you prefer?


Knitting in the Sunshine

Yesterday was a gloriously sunny day near 60 degrees F, a joyful treat after a long, cold, lingering winter. Since we are visiting my parents in New Jersey, I haven’t been sewing. Knitting, on the other hand, has been snuck into each day. Yesterday was so gorgeous, we spent every possible second outside: walked to and from church, walked into town for lunch, then played at a playground, and walked home. I think I may be even a tad bit sun-burnt! Once home, I had a few moments to myself while my wonderful mother (Grandma to my kids) cooked dinner and my dad (Pop Pop) played with my kids in the backyard. I relaxed with my knitting and watched them laughing and running and enjoying the setting sun.

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Working on my son’s vest as my Dad plays with the kids in the backyard. What a great day!

I think I’m nearly finished with my son’s Julian Vest. I am somewhat hoping I can finish it before Easter, but I’m going to let that be a relaxed goal. I’ve finished the six pattern rows for the body and I’m now working on knitting up the back. I’m altering the pattern a bit since it calls for knitting until the back is 20″ long and I think that is way longer than my 22-month-old-wearing-size-3T will need. (I’m knitting the vest in size 4). Next comes a short split for the straps, then working up the front, and finally joining the straps. I’ll show my progress once I start on the front straps. I am really liking this vest and am eager to see it completed on my little big boy! A few more sunny days and I might be there.


How do you balance your desire to craft and your desire to be out in the sunshine during these first spring days?

Sick Days

With my daughter sick this weekend, and both my son and husband coming down with a bug today, my nighttime sewing time becomes invaluable health-boosting time. As healthy as I feel now, I know that I would be asking for trouble if I stayed up to sew. Instead, I will get all the sleep I can scavenge between sick-tending wakings, and hope I can fend off this bug!

Today, once my husband confirmed that he was feeling sick too (I’m surrounded!), I made a batch of fresh turmeric ginger tea. Not only is this tea delicious, I immediately feel healthier when I drink it. Psychosomatic or not, I’ll take it!

Fresh ginger, fresh turmeric, organic honey & black pepper. Not shown (but essential!): juice of half a lemon.
Fresh ginger, fresh turmeric, organic honey & black pepper. Not shown (but essential!): juice of half a lemon.

I also made use of my sick boy snuggle time and worked on his vest a bit. I have to create a bit, even on sick days.