Yup, Spring is finally here, or will be around 1:00 p.m. they tell me. Not that we can tell by the sun when that will be, because it is raining here! Oh well, it will help melt the snow ... until more falls at the end of the week. Sigh.
The good news is, we have a winner! The Random Number Generator chose Michelle to be our winner of the book giveaway for Knit the Alphabet! Go look at her blog, Stitches Be Slippin', it is fab!
I finished Harriet, after 14 months of intermittent knitting. I would knit this design again; it was really fun to knit. The design is by Lisa Lloyd in her book A Fine Fleece, which is out of print I think, but Amazon has few 'bargain books' -- they had 8 new copies still available this morning from $8.04, and they listed 13 used copies that sold from $6.82.
This poor photo is a result of laziness on my part. Sorry. The wooly board is set up on the cat food table (complete with cat grass! Thans, Lynne!). I'll get better pictures after I get the buttons on. I have buttons that are the right size, but I ordered some gold-ish tinted flower buttons that I hope will make the gold-colored tweed pop in the purple sweater, and they will be here next week.
I finished the pueblo stole/scarf in time, but I neglected to post that I had finished it on the event board -- actually I didn't even know that I had to do that. It's been two years since the last Olympics Ravellenics, and I forgot, I guess. So I didn't get a medal to show off, but I got the most important thing: the wonderful stole/scarf thing!
I have had it around my neck since I rinsed it, draped it on my wooly board to let it dry overnight, and trimmed the fringe. It is so soft and lovely, and has such pretty colors that go with everything! When I wear it, I feel fabulous. It truly is A Wonderful Thing! I am very proud that I finished my Wonderful Thing in the 14 days that I tried to knit it in. Now I'm going to snuggle with it and pet it :)
The Pueblo Stole, that is, by Carol Sunday of Sundayknits.com. I'm knitting it for the Ravellenic games, which finish up on Sunday. I am about 60% done; it's gonna be close. The goal of the Ravellenic Games is to challenge yourself, but knitting this stole has been a bit more of a challenge than I thought it would be!
First of all, there are decreases and increases on each side because it gets it's drape from the slight bias that you knit it on. It is not a regular enough thing that my poor brain can handle -- I get what I am supposed to do, but I can't seem to remember it, so in the time constraints given by the Ravellenic Games (I only have two weeks to knit it), I have had to resort to the row-by-row directions. Oh, the humanity!
Second, every other and sometimes every row, you join a new color, leaving a 4" tail that is left as the fringe. Sounds easy, right? It isn't. Imagine me with one hand, cutting a fringe that is vaguely 4", and then purling through the back and then through the front of the first stitch of the row. It's kind of hard; I think that it would have been sorta tricky but do-able back before I had my stroke. But, I'm doing it!
Thirdly, you have to graft it together in the middle, which I am not looking forward to. I have decided that that is just finishing, so if I can knit the whole thing by Sunday at noon-ish, then the medal is mine. If I get it grafted and weave in the few ends as well, that is just icing on the cake. :)
Now for the good news, hehe. I love this kit! Love, love, love it ... the yarn is just gorgeous. There are four kinds of yarn in the kit, chosen for the colors, and the colors really blend together harmoniously. There is Brigadoon, which is a 100% merino donegal tweed; Eden, which is 100% merino; Nirvana, which is 92% merino and 8% cashmere; and Angelic, which is 75% merino and 25% angora. Here is a picture of the first half, all knit:
I can't wait to wear this, it is so yummy! And despite the difficulty and my perceived whining, I am really loving this. It is so much fun seeing the color progression; it's like watching the sunrise over the Sacramento Mountains in New Mexico. Beautiful!
Felicia is a remarkable young woman who does amazing things dyeing wool material and yarn, and making hooked rugs. I met her at the Lunenburg Farmer's Market last October, which is where I bought the yarn. It's just beautiful.
The pattern is 198 Yards of Heaven. I made it before, out of Good Karme Farm yarn, and have found that I have worn it a lot this winter. It's a nice little scarf.
Wow, it's been a month and a half since I posted anything! Fascinating.
I have been crocheting on my Spincushions crochet-along, and I finally got caught up (well, nearly; I haven't done this week's square yet), when I discovered I am running out of the yarn. The good news is, it's still available. The bad news is, I haven't got a clue how much yarn I'm going to need to buy to finish it. So I'm going to finish using what I've got and then wait to see how many more squares there are, which should give me some idea of how much yarn I need, and then I'll buy it.
I finished my April Showers socks:
They're actually more lime green than what you see in the picture. My iPhone gives my pictures a blue cast and I am not smart enough to edit it out. Since they were for me, I knit a little tube to wear with them - that goes on my right leg, above the sock. My brace is quite high and bare skin rubbing on the plastic brace is yucky.
These socks are only 6" high. They are really pretty, but short. The lace pattern has flowers on the foot, umbrellas over them, rain falling above the umbrellas, and a raincloud floats at the top. The back of the legs has lightning all the way to the top, and continues around the ribbing.
Next thing on the list: the Harriet cardigan from A Fine Fleece, by Lisa Lloyd. I just have the lace part on the bottom and one repeat of the pattern on the back done, so no picture yet. Maybe next time. It's a pretty easy and fun knit, so far. My friend Lynne is also knitting Harriet, but she has the back nearly done. She has more stick-to-it-iveness than I!
In knitting news, I finished the My Little Pony socks:
Aren't they disgustingly cute? Rest assured, no My Little Ponies were harmed. It just looks like I am wearing their hides.
I'm on to my next socks:
These are April Showers socks from Knitters Brewing Company, and it's their Mystery Sock V, which means the completed sock is a mystery for the duration of the knitalong. Mine are in Sockaholic Mint Julip, and I am currently on clue 2. Everyone else is on clue 4, but I had some horsin' around to do first ... I am catching up pretty quickly, though. There are two more clues to be given, so you can still join! We'll be done by the end of February.
Lynne and I are working on our Harriet cardigans from A Fine Fleece, she in teal tweed yarn and I in purple Jo Sharp DK wool tweed. (The book's out of print or I'd link it. So is the yarn, I think.) So far we have only gotten the border on the back done. Here is mine:
I even tried his favorite catnip mouse, but no. He just curled himself up tighter and sighed. Cat depression in a horrible thing to see.
So, I didn't tell you about my socks. I'm using Lang's Jawoll Magic (75% superwash wool, 25% nylon) that I got in Nova Scotia at Have A Yarn in Mahone Bay. The color is creatively titled "84.0009", which isn't much help. It's like a pastel rainbow. I will look like a herd of My Little Ponies gave their hides so my feet will be warm:
I got a Tardis mug from my husband for Christmas, which you can see in that picture, a little. The Tardis disappears when you pour hot liquid in it:
As you can see, I have drunk half a cup of warm liquid. Mmmmm, cinnamon vanilla tea from Stash!
Did you notice my needles? They are different. They are called Karbonz Needles:
They are US size 1.5 (2.50 mm), a size I did not have (well, a size I could not seem to find), and Barb got them for me when she went to Stitches East in Hartford. I really love these needles! From the Webs website (you can order them from Webs; they are becoming more well-known in local stores, too -- Cashmere Goat in Camden has circulars in stock, I believe):
"Knitter's Pride Karbonz 8" Double Pointed Needles have the spectacular flex and tensile strength of carbon fiber, the same material used in aerospace engineering, with a smooth, warm feel that's easy on the hands. These lightweight carbon needles have shiny, smooth, nickel-plated brass tips, flawlessly tapered to a perfect point."
Lynne is coming over to stuff the last eight mice this weekend, and I will take a picture of all of them before giving any away.
My Child's Mendocino cardigan was frogged, sorry to say. There was a mix up with the yardages given for the put-up. Ravelry said they were 98 yards per skein, and I had 5 skeins, so I was fine. Then I noticed that my yarn was running out faster than it should be. I was only one and a half inches up the back and my third ball of yarn was half gone, and I knew that at that rate I was going to run out of yarn. So I read the ball band, and it said Organik was actually 89 yards. That meant that I actually had 25 yards less than I needed for the sweater, not 40 yards more than I needed, as I had thought. Oh well, it is a learning opportunity. Should have read the ball band and not depended on Ravelry! Organik probably is 98 yards per ball now; the company has changed hands and I imagine the put up is different. Or someone may have dyslexia over on Ravelry. Sorry, Georgia, you won't be getting your sweater this Christmas! I am sure you will like what we gave you, probably more than a sweater :)
I've been crocheting a lot this week. Sorry I don't have pictures. I have one block done and one block to go in the In A Spin crochet-along, with another week's square coming out today. I've also been working at finishing my Scrap Yarn Afghan thingy. I just have a little more scraps to finish up, put an edging around it -- with other scrap yarn, of course -- and call it done. Then I can start a worsted weight scrap yarn afghan :) I think I'll use a ripple stitch for it though ... I'm getting tired of the granny square.
I got my 6" square done for the In A Spin crochet-along. Gem Star is pretty, and although it looks slightly askew in this picture, rest assured it is not:
Actually, it took me longer to do this little six-incher than to make all the previous squares, even though two of them were twice as big. I just couldn't seem to get my brain wrapped around it or something. Then there was the size issue; Gem Star was only about four inches across when I did it the first time and I had to fiddle with two border rows to get it exactly at six inches.
I worked on the In A Spin CAL, finishing the Wheel Lattice block for week two:
Isn't it pretty? I like it. It's a 12" square and next week's square is only 6". Of course there would be a 6" square, aand two 12" squares to during the final weeks of NaNoWriMo. Of course. And as soon as NaNoWriMo is over, all I have to do is a 6" square. Of couse. But!! I knew that might be the case when I signed up for it! So I put my crochet hook in four-wheel-drive and persevered!
And finally, NANOWRIMO IS OVER!!!!!!!! Yay!! I succeeded in writing a novel that was 50,278 words in length. Now I'm going to file it away so I never have to look at it again. It's that bad.
I learned from doing NaNoWriMo that I can write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days; or more importantly, I can write every day like it's my job. Because people, writing is really hard work. Really hard. You have to push yourself to do it, write when it's the last thing you feel like doing, write when you know it really sucks, write when you don't even know what is going to happen next. You just write anyway. Every day you write though, you're getting better. You just don't think you are.
Kind of like physical or occupational or speech therapy. You can't get better at anything if you just give up.
I finally finished my gray and white marled wool socks:
They look warm and cosy.
Then it was time to finaly, finally start the Childs Mendocino Cardigan by Alice Starmore. I've been thinking abouth this sweater for months. I chose yarn from my stash to do it in, but I needed to finish a bunch of things first, and yesterday I finally started.
I'm using Fiber Co,'s Organik, which is 70% organic NZ wool, 15% Baby Alpaca, and 15% silk, in the color called Deep Sea Blue. It is a lovely shade of blue, very striking, and the silk in the yarn dresses it up a bit, gives it a sheen, and I think the finished cardigan will move with the wearer in a way that will be fabulous. If we can ever get her to slow down long enough to try it on, that is. It's for a little girl who has the most beautiful blue eyes you ever saw, and this shade of blue will look stunning on her. It's for Christmas, so shhhhhh ....
Here's the start of my gauge swatch:
And here's the start of the right front of the sweater:
Doesn't look like much so far, but it gets better! Actually, it's a pretty easy knit, for an Alice Starmore pattern.
You may have noticed that I reached the halfway point in my NaNo novel yesterday. I think it's really funny that they call 50,000 words a novel. More like a novella, I think. I've been writing the bare minimum of 1,667 words each day, mostly because I don't really have a story to tell. They call people like me "pantsers", flying by the seat of my pants. I don't know what the heck's going to happen next, so it's always a surprise!
Meh. My knitting hasn't gotten very far this week. It seems the walls were stormed by an influx of words that needed to be typed. Also, no mouse this week; he couldn't couldn't make it through the myriad of words that was teeming around him. Maybe Nicky or Nora got him (probably not Grace, despite her love for food), maybe there was cheese, or something. I'll try for next week.
Meanwhile, I did a very little sock knitting:
I'll try to finish it by next week, but there's no guarantee.
I'm right on track with my NaNo-ing, 13,388 words to date, and I've still got to write today's words. Then, back to sock knitting!
:::goes off, brandishing her laptop and her knitting needles:::
I'm knitting gray marl wool socks now. These are 100% wool, the leftovers from the wool sweater I made early this year; I'm using size 5 needles, and my own pattern which is based on the Yankee Knitter #29, Classic Socks for the Family, except I don't have that pattern anymore, so I'm guessing how many stitches to cast on, how high to make the heel flap, how to turn the heel, stuff like that. You'd think with worsted weight socks, I could knit them pretty fast, but it feels like this is going slow.
I think the problem is my needles. They are Britanny 5" size fives, and I didn't like them when I had two hands, let alone one, so therefore I don't work on them. I'm using them instead of my longer size 5's because they are handmade birch, and too grabby with the wool, and I can't knit fast with them. I should get metal needles that will slide effortlessly, some cheap aluminum needles would do nicely. But I don't even do that, hehe. I am such a wimp.
Mouse 44 is done; shown here on Nicky, who was asleep when I finished it:
Nice Halloween-y colors, pictured on a black cat. It's that time of year :)
I blocked my gray marl silk-and-wool socks:
A few minutes after taking the picture, Nicky was on them, taking a nap on wet wool being his favoritest thing to do:
Needless to say, the socks dried in half the time with 10+ pounds of hot cat pressing them. Gotta love it.
Now I'm knitting a brown hat using my own pattern:
Hats look pretty funny, until you finish and block them. I'm using some more of that Naturally Aran; it's good, squishy wool with some heft to it, and the hat is going fast. I'm considering knitting hats next year, instead of mice, and selling them, instead of giving them away at Christmas. Or, I could just read more! :)
I did a lot of knitting this week. Mouse 43 is done:
I blocked my peony baby sweater (sans the buttons):
I blocked my purple Bohemian scarf and I gave it to Sharon, because she used to spin with me all the time:
We're actually spinning together tomorrow; I brought my spinning wheel with me to Nova Scotia. Sharon told me that Louet is going to make the S-90 again this fall, in blonde wood this time instead of the black walnut (the black walnut ones were an anniversary edition). I somehow want one. Sigh.
I finished knitting my Lettuce Knit Armwarmers:
And then I blocked them:
I knit a hat:
When I left, it was charcoal gray. I have since gotten a picture from my husband, who blocked it for me while I was gone, and now it's blue, apparently:
.... or it could be the camera. I'll see when I get back.
I started knitting a sock on the ride up to Nova Scotia, and the first one has a heel now:
I'll finish the first sock before heading back into Maine. I think I'll have three-quarters of the pair done by the time I get home. I'm using sport weight wool and size 3 needles, which goes pretty fast and it's good car knitting.
I got some really pretty yarn and some stitch markers today at the Lunenburg Farmer's Market and Gaspereau Valley Fibers, and I'll tell you about it later. Lynne and I are having a great time over here! Tomorrow, I'm going to go spinning with Sharon, and Lynne and Richard are going rowing in Richard's boat that he built. It's gonna be a great day!
I still can't believe that there are only ten more mice.
I worked on my Bohemian scarf. Aren't these needles lovely?
And the yarn, equally lovely:
The scarf in the making:
I finished the knitting on Monday. It still needs to be blocked.
Now I'm onto the Evernote Knit-Along. You may remember that I am doing the Lettuce Knit Finerless Gloves/Armwarmers by Grace Alexander, but I am doing it in the round with no seam, instead of back and forth with a seam. I had to rewrite the pattern, which you will find here, size small only. I am using size 6 needles and Naturally Aran 10-ply.
This is how far I got Wednesday:
One mitten is done now:
I'll probably finish it tomorrow, and then I'll make a few hats. I like making things that are done in a few days!! I feel like I'm getting so much accomplished!
Mice 39, 40, and 41 are done, and pleased to be caught up:
(Nicky included for scale.)
The Peony Cardigan is done, but seriously unblocked. The picot edges are curling up like mad, and it was a real struggle to get it to lie as flat as I did in this photograph:
I do hope the curling blocks out of it. This was a cute cardigan and I guess it was an easy knit, but I will not knit it again. Well, maybe I would, but definitely not in this yarn. I sold a lot of Shibui over the years, but this and the yellow Wanida socks were the first time I actually knit with it. It's great in socks! They are lovely. On size 4 needles for a baby cardigan, it was like trying to knit an octopus. Yarn twisted everywhere; it was like it had a mind of its own. My needles kept splitting the yarn, very maddening. It came out beautiful in the end, and I'm very happy with it, but wrestling that octopus was why I ripped it out (my own stupidity hepled with that, though) and why it took like four weeks to complete a baby sweater that should have taken only one week.
The blue/green handspun from St. John is much finer than the purple yarn that I spun, and it's a great part mohair, where my purple yarn is a solid wool and spun by a person with one arm, so it feels -- and is -- much thicker and thinner, more lumpy amd bumpy than the nice, smooth, slick little mohair spun by someone with two hands, but all in all, I am very happy with the yarn I spun. When I wound it up into this cake I just gazed at it in wonder, I was so amazed that it actually came out looking like yarn at all!
Sunday I ripped out my Peony baby sweater, deleted it from Ravelry, and fumed the rest of the day. I didn't knit. I was just about to where I could take the sleeves off on waste yarn, and discovered that for some stupid reason I had made a hole in the middle of a sleeve, it wasn't even a dropped stitch, it was an actual hole I had created with a yarnover for some stupid reason, and it was about five rows down, and there was no choice but to unravel those five rows. Then I messed everything up badly trying to unravel the five rows, and the whole thing ended up in three little balls again, with me fuming.
Monday I started it over again from scratch, made a new Ravelry entry, and knit along keeping careful track of what my idiot fingers were doing the whole time. This is how far I've got:
There are no mice. Mice have to wait til the baby sweater is done.
How come I never make mistakes in my mouse knitting?!
I got the Wanida socks done, but they're not blocked yet:
They'll be blocked and lovely by next week! The kitchener stitch is better, but it still needs work ... practice, practice, practice.
So this is my next project:
I'm doing the Sunnyside Baby Cardigan by Tanis Fiber Arts, and I'm using Shibui Sock in color 220, Peony on size 4 (3.50 mm) needles. It's knit in one piece from the top down (baby cardigans are about the only thing I can knit like that anymore). I haven't gotten very far:
I love knitting these socks! They're going very fast. I might make another pair sometime, they are so cleverly designed. I'm wondering if I can defeat the Kitchener stitch this time; I haven't tried it for a while, and the last time it came out horrible, so I just stopped. I will try it again, after I find out from the recipient how long her feet are.
I'll have to knit two mice next week, as I didn't get around to doing one this week!
The Don't Blink! socks are done, but haven't been blocked yet:
I'm about to turn this:
... but yellow, not purple. I'm knitting the "Wanida" socks from Sock Innovation by Cookie A. They're named for her aunt, who taught her to knit. The yarn is Staccat0 by Shibui, 65% superwash merino, 30% silk, and 5% nylon, fingering weight. It feels lovely!
He looks a lot like the last three mice. I think next week's mouse is gonna be just about the last of that yarn.
I fought the battle with sewing the top of my sock down, and I won:
It wasn't hard at all. (I love the way the little angels look in this picture, hee hee.) It even looks good on the inside:
So my first sock is done, but it's still unblocked:
My second sock is begun:
It's not very far, because I had to do one of these:
I think that's my one and only dishcloth. I don't make dishcloths, but this one is a prize for the 2012/2013 NFL and Knitting fantasy football contest through Knitters Brewing Company -- needless to say I don't know what I am doing, but I can knit a dishcloth and pick winners and losers each week with aplomb. Go here to learn more. You only have to knit one dishcloth to participate.
Roses have been on my mind lately, and the rose color is perfect for it! And even though the Rose Bowl is for college football and not the NFL, it is still football, and the college players probably go on to play in the NFL anyway, and Pasadena is in southern California like Knitters Brewing Company, and I like roses.
I've been spinning outside more too, so I haven't been knitting. I like my sock though! Now that I'm on the second one it will go faster.
My knitting this week has been this lovely Mouse 34:
I have only knit about two inches on this sock:
Poor little sock. It isn't that I don't love you, it's just that I have done a lot of knitting lately. Mostly I spend time just gloating over my sweater:
It's so beautiful. I can't believe that I knit it, after all that time of letting it glare at me from my bag on the window seat in the living room .... "This is the sweater that you can't knit because you are incapable of doing cables any more," it hissed at me. And now, here it is, transformed and beautiful. Pardon me while I bask in the pleasure of it!
I don't think I could have knit this sweater in 14 days even before my stroke. I definitely wouldn't have had the time.
Knitting is all about having the time, time to knit, time to think, time to plan and judge what the best course of action is. Time to learn how to do things. Time to figure out how to do things with one hand, for me. People are so busy, with work and their house, and their family, and knitting can only fit into a small part of that. I think it's remarkable that people knit at all.
So, my sock (the first) is ready to receive the cuff: it calls for a picot cuff, but they have a ribbed cuff as well that you can do if the picot cuff is too much for you. The picot cuff is knit a few rounds, do a round of knit two together, yarn over, forming small eyelets around the sock, and then knitting a few more rounds. (I can do that.) Then you turn the sock inside out and sew the live stitches down inside the sock, forming a picot edge when you fold the little eyelets in half. (I don't know if I can do that or not; I used to be able to, but now ...).
We shall see. A lot of people would probably knit the ribbed cuff and call it good. Ribbing the cuff is the alternative, but I will be really pissed at myself for not figuring out how to do it the other way; that means the stroke wins. I really hate it when the stroke wins.
I decided to weave in all my ends to finish my sweater absolutely. It was a cold, foggy, cold, damp, cold rainy day yesterday, so Nicky decided to come inside and get some lovin'. He thought it would be fun to jump up on the table and help me:
Nora is helping too, from a safe distance. I cuddled Nicky for awhile, then he left, and I finished weaving in all the ends.
Lynne came over and I thought she was going to say that she ran out of yarn for her sweater. This sweater needs a little back story here: back in 1986 or so, Lynne bought the yarn to make a raglan sleeved sweater, knit on it for a while, then for some reason neither of us can remember, she put it in the closet ... for 26 years!! Earlier this year, she pulled it out and decided to finish it. The pattern was nowhere to be found, and it looked to me like the amount of yarn needed to finish it was a little more than she apparently had.
She got online, found the pattern (I think it was an old Candide pattern), long out of print, found a woman who had the pattern on Ravelry, got a copy mailed to her, found where she was in the pattern, and resumed knitting. She knit steadily along, eyeing her rapidly diminishing ball of yarn. Things got busy and I didn't hear about the sweater for a long time.
Then she showed up yesterday with a very small ball of yarn, and a bag full of sweater. "Here," she said. "Finish it!"
I took the bag with some trepidation. My mind was already racing ahead to how we could get two colors of one-ply yarn, ply them together, and make a facsimile of the yarn she had purchased twenty six years ago. Imagine my surprise when I pulled out the sweater, complete, seamed, and beautiful!
Like me, she had just put her nose to the grindstone, and finished that sweater. She deserves a gold medal for jumping over hurdles that would have made other knitters throw in the towel and give up. Now we have both faced our challenges and can embark on the prize that we both want to knit, without fear of another unfinished object languishing before us, weighing on our minds.
I put my sweater on and was very comfortable in it; the day had become quite a bit colder. Nicky came and snuggled with me. He's used to sleeping on my sweater, so the fact that I'm wearing it makes it that much more snuggly. I like having a warm sweater on that a cat likes to snuggle in, better than sweater pieces in a bag by the window any day.
I crocheted around my Afghan of Doom with the navy blue yarn left over from my navy socks:
I still have the left over yarn from my Summer Solstice shawl to crochet around it. Speaking of which, I blocked my shawl:
I love this shawl! It's even prettier in person. My hand is a little too shaky to take a good picture. Must be because of all the crocheting I've been doing on my Holey Sweater, which is finally done, the sewing up done, and the ends woven in:
I just have to soak it to block the stiff little seams out. And buy buttons. It is done! Yay! It looks really good, too.
I just have to rest up for the opening ceremonies at 4 p.m. when I can start on this: