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Dear Kay,

Happy new year! It felt great to have had a bit of a break from the dailiness of Modern Daily Knitting. Spent time with the lads, with Hubbo. Did absolutely nothing on at least three days, very proud of that.

And it also feels good to be back at it.

Over the holidays, I had all sorts of schemes and dreams for my holiday knitting. There was a stack of recently acquired Rhinebeckiana that was bleating at me. I had at least seven Unfinished Objects in contention, any of which are very fine projects I abandoned only because something else lured me away. And I had an idea for hat multiples, just a wave of fast hats.

Turns out, it was fun to settle in with the project I’ve had on my radar for many weeks now: Joji Locatelli’s Grace Notes pullover.

Last month, everybody was delightfully opinionated about what color my Grace Notes should be. There was a lot of love for Atlas in Whisper, the lightest of the three options, and Wintergreen had its strong supporters—the case was made that a big green would lift the spirits of everybody around me, and if there’s anything I want my handknit garments to convey, it’s positivity.

In the end, I went with Shale.

I know, I know: a gray sweater. Really Ann? Failure of imagination!

It doesn’t feel that way to me. When I look at this warm gray, I think: this may well be one of my favorite projects.

Hey, gray Grace Notes pullover, you are going to be such a comfort item. You are going to be the sweater that lets all my whimsical pants shine. You’re the sort of sweater who has a lot to offer but doesn’t want to steal the show. You, Grace Notes pullover, are the ultimate team player.

I found Kate Atherley’s recent post superhelpful for getting the hang of the construction: “Grace Notes Pullover: Getting Started.” There was definitely a moment where I was Following The Instructions, Fingers Crossed. When the weird-looking piece of knitting resolved into a recognizable shape, it was one of those knitterly moments of success.

I love it already, feeling clever as I knit my way to my first sweater of 2023.



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  • Hurray! Shale is perfect!!! Looking beautiful already!!!

  • Whimsical pants? That needs pictures!

    • Whimsical pants coming soon to a knitting website near you.

      • Yes!!!!!
        I am all in for the whimsical pants.

        Also, you typed “failure of imagination” but I think you MEANT to type “embracing a beautiful color I love.”

        • Love the Shale. I’m wearing and knitting lots of gray these days and it’s versatile, classic and elegant. You’ll wear this sweater all the time with whimsical and more grounded pants.

    • I agree!

    • Yes!

  • I love Shale, it looks beautiful. Will there be a MDK KAL in February this year?

  • I’m with Gerri. I want to see those pants. Lately I’ve seen a lot of whimsical color pairings – like mango with banana, colors you haven’t seen together in a while, if ever. Kind of refreshing to me. In this vein I’d like to suggest your warm gray Shale with some un-whimsical kahki beige pants. In just the right shade it could be both modern and soothing. Of course, that’s just me. Go ahead and do what you want.

  • Ahem…Just read an article showing teenagers who have come of age during the pandemic wearing a whole new world of fashion innovation – red bras OVER sheer print blouses, etc. Takes where-what-you-want to a whole new level. Back on earth, can’t wait to see you wearing it, Ann. You always personalize a pattern to make it suit you, whether by fit or color.

    • I saw that article and really loved all the looks. Not for me, of course, but how great for them. I see my favorite designer, Dries Van Noten, going absolutely bananas these days. It’s really quite amazing to see.

  • Yay for shale, though interesting to me that I read it as a brownish taupe rather than a grey! Can’t wait to see it. It is definitely on my list.

    • I know right? It changes color all the time, hard to photograph as you can tell!

  • Say more about the fast hats please. I make hats for a charity. I could use a fast, cute pattern.

    • Hi y’all! Kay’s new roundup of hat patterns is what got me fired up about a batch of hats.

    • I do the same and would love cute pattern(s) for charity knitting for the use of my knitting “pals” as well. Thanks in advance.

      • I love your color choice, Ann. It’s a warm gray and will go with everything! I just finished mine in Cork and have to say, it’s one of the coziest sweaters I’ve knit, thanks to the Atlas yarn. Enjoy the process, it’s a great knit!

  • It’s looking gorgeous.

  • Now that the Temperature Blanket is “pretty much finished” I’m almost ready to return to Grace Notes. I stopped at about where your photo shows, knowing I was at the “tv drama/travel knitting phase. I’m doing a cotton one aiming for spring cold snaps.
    But first – my husband needs a new hat for his daily walks and I’m using Atlas, the yarn with wonderful texture and depth.

  • Ann, thank you for your article, it really got me to thinking about color! I have always been intrigued by the emotions that certain colors elicit in one’s perceptions. That is what I love about yarn and the myriad color choices available. How interesting that you describe shale, a gray, as warm and comforting! It opened by eyes to this possibility which I hadn’t seen until I saw it through your eyes. I love yellows, oranges, pinks, light greens and blues, which feel warm, comforting and happy to me. We are all so different, yet our collective finished objects are all so lovely, each holding their own spot on the color spectrum.

  • Ann, I love your color choice. It is looking beautiful. Just curious, did you tweak the neckline? I don’t see the ribbing…

    • Hi Mari! I haven’t added the neckline yet—very likely to follow Joji’s pattern seeing as how she’s pretty brilliant about details and finishing. So far, she’s given a cool set of short rows, a twisted rib cable that’s so beautiful, and a V neck which is t something I’ve done much. So I’ve come through the tricky bits and it’s smooth sailing from here.

      • Smooth sailing is right! After reading how the top portion is excellently created the rest you can knit in your sleep!

  • Love it in shale!

  • Much as I love bold colors, okay, and pastels, grey is always a go-to for me in apparel. I would have chosen shale as well. It’s a lovely sweater pattern and Atlas is so nice to the touch and easy to work with in the making (I knit Old Friend in the teal). That will be a really good addition to your wardrobe, no matter what it is. Yeah! Let’s see some pics! Happy 2023 to all ya’ll!

  • love that color!!

  • Me again, I have never made a top down sweater. Kinda afraid to try making one. Still love that color.

  • A “failure of imagination”? Bull. Think of all the colors that will look good with that sweater. Any shade of grape. Mustard. Acid green. Lemon yellow. Electric blue. Watermelon. Fluorescent orange. Hot pink. Any shade from the cyan/turquoise/teal family. Lipstick red. (Please excuse Ann from the blog for a few days. She’s shopping for more pants.)

  • Love this turn of phrase: “There was a stack of recently acquired Rhinebeckiana that was bleating at me.” Mine has been bleating at me too! Some of it wants to be a grace notes pullover, it’s definitely on my list for this year.

  • I haven’t tried Atlas yet but I look forward to it, maybe for Grace Notes. Rambouillet spun worsted? Yes please! I spun some recently for a small project and will forever think of it as happy yarn, which feels so when knit. Bouncy and soft. Merino is not the only show in town!

  • The actual piece of knitting is cooler than the skein, and really is lovely. Neutrals are also so useful! Happy knitting.

    • Yes, my pix are all over the place re the color–it changes depending on time of day, the light, all that. The skein photo is probably the most exact in terms of capturing the color; Chris, our photographer, works hard at color correctness in our skein photos.

  • I love shale! Excellent choice! My grace notes pullover in lapis is moving right along – on my first sleeve (I mean arm sock!) Also have my eye on knitting some atlas hats!!

    • Arm sock!!!! Just about to head into that territory! Lapis is such a great color, hope you’re having fun with this project.

      • I am loving the project – the unusual engineering of the beginning was so interesting! The arm socks are very straightforward. And the lapis is just so pretty.

  • This sweater just seems exude a serene vibe. I’m glad you picked a serene color to go with it.

  • It looks lovely!

  • LOVE that color!!!!!

  • Love to see this!
    So, I have the pattern, the yarn, the needle, and the 7 WIPs. Whimsical pants not so much but working on it. Grace Notes Pullover is my first start in 2023 😀

  • That is stunning Ann! The cable definition is so crisp and the color perfect. I am finishing my third Freia marlogram and fighting my acquisition genes, waiting for the return of seaglass. You chose such a perfect color and your work is gorgeous. Happy new year!

  • As a member of team Shale — Yay! And it’s a beautiful gray – you’ll enjoy it so much!

    • I love the Shale – I just used it in a hat for a friend, along with Mallard, Pebble and Peat. I’ve been thinking of trying Whisper for my Grace Notes, thinking the cables would show better in the light color. But I usually wear ‘winter colors’ so I’ve been hesitant about the pale Whisper, and in your Shale sweater (I think of it more as a gray-brown) the cables show up beautifully!

  • Definitely not a failure on the color choice, pfffft to that nonsense! Shale is perfection, you will love it if you don’t already. My favorite shade of Atlas. I did the Old Friend Pullover in Shale, one of my favorite pieces ever. Knit on, post pics, please.

  • Great sweater! In general, do cables show up better in softer more muted colors or bright colors? Or does it not matter. Just curious what people think.

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