March has been its usual, tempestuous self this year. I think we got almost as much snow this month as we did in the rest of the year combined. That hasn’t stopped spring from coming, though. On Monday, we were greeted by this:

The tulips are also coming up, getting ready to take off as soon as the warmer days arrive.  Don’t they have such pretty leaves? I didn’t plant these…they were left here by the last tenants, so it will be exciting to see what they look like when they finally flower.

On Thursday, we noticed this little crocus, poking up right through a leaf.

And then on Friday, there were a few orange crocuses open, too.

If that’s not a dose of pure sunshine, I don’t know what is.

We went to visit my grandfather for an early Easter celebration yesterday, and his rock garden was just full of flowers, opening into the warm spring sun.

We also took advantage of the beautiful weather and our new gray card for the camera to get some photos of the completed corespun sweater, in which the color is actually just about right.

I finished it last weekend, and we just haven’t had a chance to take photos while it was light out. I’ve managed to wear it twice already, though, which is a good sign. I love the openwork in the yoke shaping (though that upper row could stand to be a little bit less stretched).

And overall the shaping came out well. I love how all the little details worked out. You can hardly see the transition from the original yarn to the second colorway (right around the waist and elbow).

Just after I wrote my last post about the sweater, I remembered that I had some beads that would match the color beautifully. I’m not usually a big fan of beads in my knitting, but this was meant to be a fun sweater that pushes against those edges, so a few beads found their way in around the cuffs and hems. I put them in a garter stitch channel that mirrored the garter details around the yoke, which gave the edges a slightly more finished feel.

The beads were about two rows tall, so I knit a set up row first, where I knit a ssk, double yo, and then k2tog at each place I wanted a bead to go. In the next round, I took the double yo and threaded it through the bead, and then slipped a stitch behind it. For the third row, I went back to a plain stockinette row, knitting into the front and back of the loop from the double yo (now threaded through the bead as a single stitch) to make two stitches again. It worked out perfectly, and that extra slipped stitch across the back of the bead keeps them from popping through to the inside of the fabric and disappearing.

I also found the perfect buttons in my stash. It’s a little hard to see in the picture, but their rims are a very faint teal, just exactly the right color to match the sweater.

The corespun worked out beautifully in the cuffs and hem, too. It’s just a simple garter stitch, picked up and knit all the way around the edge in one piece (with a tiny mitered corner at the front). The garter stitch made a very soft fabric, so I reinforced it with grosgrain ribbon to keep the button band from gaping.

The body and corespun yarns were completely different weights, but after comparing swatches and counting stitches I decreased 1 stitch for every three, and it worked out just right. I knit two rows of the original green-ish corespun to transition between the body and the slightly bluer corespun. That tiny accent row really helped to pull the two colorways together; without it, they didn’t quite look like they matched. Having just a little bit of contrast between the two colors highlights their similarities and diminishes the slight differences between the base color in the two yarns. The color in the beads did the rest, accenting both the green and the teal to their best advantage.

The sleeves ended up a wee bit shorter than I expected, but that has turned out to be a good thing, since it keeps the bell-shaped sleeves out of my way while I work. (Otherwise, they’d end up getting dipped into everything I’m working on.)

Right up until the end, I was pretty unsure about whether this would end up being a worn garment or simply an art experiment that goes in the closet and is never seen again. It falls pretty far on the girly side of what I wear, and it was kind of a crazy leap to put a (for me) light/bright color, lace, beads, and art yarn all in one piece. It really came together in the final sweater, though, and I think this is one that I’m likely to wear quite a lot this spring and summer.