McDreamy Sweater

I have eyed this pattern since finding out Jelly Bean was a boy. I finally made it. My wonderful husband made the sweet little wooden buttons for me. They are so perfect for this sweater.

Started – May 15
Completed – June 16
Duration – 32 days = 4.6 weeks

I worked on one other project during this time. If I had knit on this exclusively, I could have finished it in 1-2 weeks, I think.

Pattern Info
B21-15 McDreamy Jumper by DROPS design

Let me preface the next statement by saying this: I love how this sweater turned out. But it was not a fun knit. I have knit DROPS patterns in the past, so I thought I knew what to expect going into this one. Whew! it was tough. Everything went swimmingly until the top of the yoke, where the neckband begins. It simply didn’t make a lick of sense. I ended up doing what I could to make the sweater turn out as the picture showed. Again, I’m happy with the result. I love it, in fact. I may even knit this pattern again someday. But now I know that the neckline instructions can just be ignored.

I did not take notes on my modifications of the neckline, but here’s what I remember. I knit extra raglan decrease rows in order to obtain the desired number of stitches at the front neck. For the “neckline shaping,” I worked two short rows across the front set of stitches, decreasing 2 stitches each row at the center front. I did not do any wrapping; when I came to that little jog on the way back around around, I just knit across it, pulling the stitches snug. I can’t see a hole there, so I suppose it worked out.

I picked up and knit 32 stitches for each button band on the “raglan edge.”

I purled a row around the neck before beginning the ribbing. I did not knit the fold-over ribbing on the neck; it looked too bulky. I knit the neckline ribbing about the same height as the button bands are wide.

I knit the 12/18 month size, and my gauge was spot-on with slightly smaller needles than given in the pattern (size 2.75 mm and 2.0 mm). It fits a little big right now, so I expect it to fit perfectly come colder weather in November-ish.

Yarn Info
Knit Picks Comfy Sport
75% cotton, 25% acrylic
Seafoam colorway
3.22 skeins = 437.9 yds used

I do not enjoy knitting with cotton, especially at such a tight gauge. But this yarn makes such darling baby/kid sweaters, I’m sure I’ll use it again. It is soft, will wash beautifully, and is just warm enough for the climate here. Also, you can’t beat the range of colors available!

I have more than 1.5 skeins left, so I hope to find a hat pattern to go with this sweater.


Sewing Table

That’s right–Nate made this project. When we moved into this house, we agreed that the front bedroom could be my sewing room. The problem was that I didn’t have a table for my machine. Nate was wanting to get a bit into wood-working, so together we came up with a design for a massive sewing/cutting table. I wanted a table that would meet the following criteria:

  1. have a place for my machine to set in to be flush with the table top, yet still allow access to the feed dog lever and power switch,
  2. be tall enough to function as a cutting table,
  3. be long and wide enough to accommodate a large quilt,
  4. have barriers of some kind so that large items would not hang off the table while I’m stitching them,
  5. have a slippery surface for easiest machine-quilting,
  6. be constructed in parts so that it could be disassembled for easier moving or storing.

I am so happy to say that Nate created a table with all of those attributes, and┬áit is wonderful to use. Sprout’s crib came in a few weeks ago, so we moved the guest bed into the sewing room, and I cleaned it for some company we are expecting next week, so I thought I’d give you a little tour of the room and a good look at this fabulous table.

queen-sized guest bed

queen-sized guest bed

The guest bed is in the corner with the its end towards the door to the room. It is a queen-sized bed, and there is about 4 feet of walking space between the bed and the sewing table. The table is actually two parts totaling about 90″ long by 54″ wide. The portion without the machine, the cutting table, is 40″ long.



The tables are very sturdy, and the legs and supports are all removable for easier transport and storage (though it’s not very┬áfun┬áto disassemble or re-assemble). It is about waist-high on me, the perfect height for cutting. We bought an architect’s drafting chair that raises high enough to reach the machine, and there is a foot support under the machine for my feet and the foot pedal.

bird's-eye view

bird’s-eye view

From the overhead view, you can get a better idea of the size: the large cutting mat is 24″ by 18″. The top of the table has been finished with Formica that is used on kitchen counter-tops. The smooth top will allow very large quilts to glide more easily over the top.

overhang boards

overhang boards

Along the back and left sides (from the sewing perspective), there are boards on hinges that can be raised or lowered. Right now, the table is against the wall, so the boards on the left side are not in use, but they will function as barriers to keep large projects from falling off the edge of the table as I’m sewing. This is especially important in machine-quilting when wrestling with the bulky quilt too much can cause uneven stitching.

set-in machine

set-in machine

The machine table is L-shaped, which is also helpful when sewing large projects or machine-quilting large quilts. And it makes for a place to keep thread, bobbins, and other little items at the ready. The machine is set into the table so that the stitching base is flush with the table-top. I can access the power switch (at the base of the machine under the hand-wheel) from either the front or side of the table.

feed dogs access

feed dogs access

There is a little trap-door behind the machine that serves two purposes: it allows the machine to be fully surrounded by the table-top without any large gaps and it gives me access to the lever that lowers/raises the feed dogs.

TV nook and closet

TV nook and closet

We’ve set up a small TV and DVD player in the opposite corner from where I sit which allows me to watch movies while I sew. And that finished up the tour of the room.

This room is perfect for sewing because the windows face northeast. It gets direct morning sun and indirect, but bright afternoon light. These pictures were all taken without the overhead light on during an overcast, winter day. The joy of a large sewing table was evident when I repaired the hems on a hand-made twin-sized tie-quilted blanket a few weeks ago. I have also worked on the piecing for my Walnut Hill quilt with this table and loved having a table at proper cutting height. I know my dear husband sees every flaw in this table, but when I am using it, I am reminded a million times over what a huge blessing he is to me.


Things to Do With Your Husband #12: Yard Work

Whether it is landscape planting in the spring, mowing and weed-pulling in the summer, or leaf-raking in the fall and winter, yards require a lot of maintenance. This is work that can be fun if you have a little company. We have two very large oak trees in our front yard (and something like five in the back) that color beautifully in the fall.

Living among the gorgeous oranges, yellows, and reds is truly amazing. I am reminded each time I look or step outside that God is the greatest Artist.

Those painted leaves turn brown and crunchy, and a chill north wind blows through…

… and then I am reminded why we call this season




The leaves have begun to fall. And when these two huge white oaks drop leaves… they really,┬áreally drop them!

Nate and I decided to tag-team this job. One of us raked and piled leaves while the other trekked to and from the burn pile in the backyard with the wheel-barrow. We swapped roles as my back started to hurt from raking, and then my feet tired of wheeling.



We raked and hauled fire fuel for about 6 hours that day… and only cleared the front yard of leaves!



The work was tiring, but enjoyable. We whittled away the time chatting and laughing as we plowed our way through the blanket of fallen leaves. There is something about hard work that does a body good.

And there is something about working together towards a common goal that does a relationship good.

The front yard looks again as if we never spent those 6 hours out there. Guess we need to do some more good, tiring work.

Down Memory Lane

Things to Do With Your Husband #11: See it Again

It is great fun to return to a previously enjoyed place, especially at a different time of year. This weekend, we took a one-night camping trip back to our honeymoon location, Petit Jean Mountain. Our honeymoon was in August, and we stayed in a house. The mountain looked quite different this time around.

The mountains were brushed with burnt oranges, deep reds, and cheerful yellows. The weather was crisp and chilly, but a welcome change from the burning heat of the August sun.

We stopped at an overlook we’d seen previously–the one that gives a nice view of the Arkansas River.

We ┬ávisited another overlook that we’d seen before–the Palisades Overlook.

In this comparison, you can see the difference in the foliage. Also, the sky looks bluer because when we visited in August, it was rainy most of the time.

On Sunday, we had a couple of hours to spend before heading out, so we drove out to an overlook we didn’t see last time–the Mary Ann Richter Memorial Overlook.

Richter Memorial Overlook

It allowed some beautiful views over the Arkansas River Valley. Petit Jean River also flows through here.

AR River Valley

more fall foliage

After taking in the sights here, we headed home. On our way, we made a quick detour to visit my best friend and meet her new little bundle of joy. It was a great weekend. I highly encourage you to take a trip somewhere you’ve been before, perhaps at a different time of year. Being in a familiar place brings back those happy memories while you create new ones.

Hike to the Falls

Things to Do With Your Husband #10: Take a Hike

Over the weekend, we took a one-night camping trip to Petit Jean State Park. Since our honeymoon there over two years ago, I wanted to return and hike the Cedar Falls Trail that is rated “moderate” for its steep, rocky steps and path that leads to the bottom of Cedar Falls. After checking into our campsite and having a quick lunch, we drove to the trail head which begins behind Mather Lodge.

Mather Lodge overlook

Cedar Falls Trail head

We began the descent on steps cut from the rocky mountain face more than 50 years ago by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The first 1/2 mile is a winding path that ends 200 feet below in the canyon of Cedar Creek. We passed huge stacks of rocks…

looking up

… and came to a rickety metal bridge spanning Cedar Creek.

one-lane bridge

The creek wasn’t flowing very much, but we would occasionally spot small pools of green-blue water littered with orange, red, and yellow leaves.


Finally, the pay-off for the walk: beautiful Cedar Falls. The water falls more than 90 feet into the canyon with high rock walls, like a bowl holding a stunning, deep pool of green below.


pretty pool below

There were many people around, but we took a rest on a large rock, taking in our surroundings. Then, we began the hike back up, which was noticeably more difficult, but totally worth it. I was so proud of myself for making the hike. We enjoyed the sights and sounds; we oohed and aahed over the fall foliage, trickling creek, and huge boulders performing balancing acts on the path’s edge.

Bonus photo: we spotted some tiny carpet rocks on the way back!

size comparison: toe of a boot

I am so glad we were able to hike this trail after two years of regretting we didn’t before. It was difficult, but completely worth it. If there is something you are regretting not doing, I encourage you to speak with your husband about it–see if it would be possible to try again. For a long time, I didn’t tell Nate because I worried about his reaction. I worried he would think me silly for regretting something like that. He didn’t, though. He understood and was eager to give me an opportunity to try.