4 Fabulous 1940s Sweaters to Knit for Fall

The very hint of fall makes me want to dig in deep to new projects, the cozier the better. Right now I’m captivated by 1940s sweaters.

Autumn is a great time to take on more complex projects, with little needles and skinny yarn. These projects can keep you warm while you’re knitting them, as they slowly grow over your lap. Then, they keep you warm when you wear them. They’re pretty much useful from the get-go.

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The Knitting Report: January 2019

Here is the secret: The reason I knit so much is that I watch way too much television. I have made the deal with myself that if I am knitting, or otherwise fixing/making something, it isn’t rotting my brain.

The other reason I knit so much is that I can’t afford fancy vintage reproduction sweaters. Here’s what I’ve finished up lately. You’ll notice that all of it is from free patterns, and all of it is KnitPicks Wool of the Andes. This is coincidental. I have other yarn, I swear.

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This Week’s Old-Fashioned Pleasures 12-11-17

These old-timey things brought me some joy this week:

  1. Wearing Sweaters
    It’s cold in the Midwest. For me, that means sweaters.I have, perhaps, a slight sweater problem.  They are the coziest of garments, lend themselves to layering, pair equally well with jeans and skirts, and, in short, I probably have too many of them.  My sweater wardrobe is overwhelmingly thrifted, since that’s how I can afford cashmere. (This is the part where I brag about never paying more than $6 for a cashmere sweater. I take my sense of accomplishment where I can get it.)But speaking of sweaters…

    I knit this one! I finished it! It only took me two years! It fits on my body and everything!It’s the most basic of basic cardigan patterns. The buttons are vintage from my grandma’s button box, and no, they are not all identical. Sweater-knitting is super addictive, and I am hopeful that my next one won’t take two years.
  2. Looking at Lights
    One of my favorite holiday things to do is the Lincoln Park Zoo’s light display. Zoolights is a truly impressive installation of Christmas lights. It’s free, it’s festive, and sometimes you get to see animals.SIDE NOTE: This year, I discovered that looking into zoo exhibits at night is scary. Some deep, evolutionary warning pings deep in your stomach when you’re looking for polar bears and can’t quite see everything. I pointed this out to my companions, and I was not alone in my freaked-outedness. When a snow leopard’s eyes glint at you in the dark, your brain is not too convinced that fences make that much of a difference.But we were not eaten by leopards. We just saw a lot of pretty lights.

  3. Eating Marmalade on Toast
    I think of marmalade as a winter food. I suppose that’s because that’s when citrus is season. Of course, marmalade is preserved, so it could be eaten year-round, but I only crave it in the winter. My preparation never varies. Toast, thin layer of butter, thick layer of marmalade. It makes me feel like a British lady detective.

    Bonne Maman is good, but I like the Trader Joe’s house brand even better.
  4. Drinking Hot Chocolate in the Evening
    My grandma was a hot chocolate (with a dose of instant coffee in it) for breakfast person. I am a hot chocolate (with the occasional dose of brandy in it) in the evening person. On the advice of one of my favorite cookbooks, Make the Bread, Buy the Butter, I switched up my recipe this year, and started using brown sugar instead of white. This is a game changer. It is really delicious, and perfect for sipping while watching Netflix and knitting.

    This is not my hot chocolate, but you get the idea. Photo by Rab Fyfe on Unsplash
  5. Going to the Movies
    My neighborhood movie theatre has been in operation (almost constantly) since 1912. These days, it’s a four-screen, affordable treasure. Their ticket prices are already inexpensive, but on Tuesdays they run an all-day $5 special. So lately, on Tuesday nights, we’ve been going to see a picture. This is a good incentive to see things on the big screen that I would otherwise wait to stream. For $5, I’ll take the risk that I won’t like something.There is something special about movies in the theatre. Being part of an audience is different than watching something at home, and feels a little more connected.

    How about you? What old-fashioned pleasures have you enjoyed this week?

This Week’s Old-Fashioned Pleasures

Folks, it’s been a rough one. There has been a whole lot of sad and frustrating this week.

Yesterday, in particular, I felt like I got sledgehammered by the news. Does gingerbread make it better? It most definitely does not. However, it keeps me going to fight another day, and in a dark and stormy world, I’ll take my tiny hope where I can find it.

Here’s this week’s list:

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Maker Monday: Works in Progress

I like to make things.

All kinds of things. Food things. Crafty things. Story things. Here’s a little peek into what I’m working on lately.

Knitty Things

The Green Cardigan

The project: I’m knitting a sweater. I’m farther along than I’ve ever been. There is still a sweater back and a box of yarn that I embarked on seven years ago waiting for me, but this time, I’m for real.IMG_20160119_125353_768

The details: It’s the “Essential Cardigan” from KnittingatKnoon, and it’s very no-frills. I don’t know how to knit frills, so that works out. I’m knitting it in Plymouth Yarn’s Encore in dark forest green. While green sweaters are not exactly a hole in my wardrobe, I don’t have a green cardigan, so I feel okay about it.

The schedule: Done before spring, I hope.

Fingerless Gloves: Great Weekend Mitts

The details: What do I love? Three quarter sleeves! What do I hate? Cold wrists! Thus, a pair of mitts. I’m knitting them in cheap-but-soft acrylic, in burgundy and navy stripe.IMG_20160201_084942_032

A word about the name of this pattern: While some humans could knit these up in a weekend, I have not. I have been picking at them since October, when I started knitting them so I’d have something to knit in a scene in my acting class. (The key to Chekhov is to add knitting, it turns out. You’re welcome, I solved acting for you).

The schedule: Done before spring, I hope.

Sewing Things

In the past month I’ve completed Gertie’s “Portrait Blouse” and a pair of Wearing History’s “Smooth Sailing Trousers.” I’ve cut out an additional pair of trousers in black, and they’re just waiting for me to stitch them together. I need to fix the first pair’s zipper, as I have somewhat mucked it up, but otherwise it’s set. The Portrait Blouse is a dream, and a quick sew.


I found that cutting out a bunch of projects at once, and sewing them later seems to work out for me. It provides a jumping off point–it’s harder to make excuses about starting a project when it’s already cut out.

Cooking Things

You can make seitan in a slow cooker. I’m not sure how I missed this. I was so skeptical.  I gave that roast serious side-eye as it cooked, but holy cats! It works! Recipe here is equivalent to the one I used.

Story Things

I’m writing a new play, and that feels deeply satisfying.

What are you making lately?