They Say It'll Get Warmer

That's the theory at least. Something called "spring" is in the offing, and there will be mud and blackflies and sunshine that is warm, and also there will be "grilling". At least you don't have to shovel blackflies. Mud, possibly.

I had a little girl here two weeks ago who expressed some interest in a pair of mittens that I made, and she wondered if I could make some mittens for her, so of course I said yes. I found the perfect pair on Ravelry called Mittens with Kittens by Natalia Moreva. They were a free download, even better! The thing is, the pattern consists of only a chart - no needle size or type and weight of yarn to use. I took a gamble that they needed size 2 needles and fingering weight yarn, and I just happened to have hot pink, cream, and orange yarn in my stash, which were the perfect colors. I think they came out the perfect size:

Kitten Mittens

Last fall when I was at my brother's camp up in Winterville, I asked my other great niece if she liked this dress:

4-1

It's  DROPS 138-4 Jade, and it is a free pattern. I don't wear dresses anymore, and it is really young for me, but I wanted to knit it. Luckily my great niece is in high school and she is young and beautiful, and she said yes! She picked out some turquoise colored yarn, which I secretly loved and wanted to knit with. Did I mention she has good genes?

CROPS Muskat

That's DROPS Muskat #32 Turquoise. It's a beautiful Egyptian 100% cotton, with a long staple fiber, making it strong and wearable. It is mercerized, so it sparkles gently in the sunlight, and the color is a tropical color that just makes me feel warm.

DROPS 138-4 Jade dress

I cast on 306 stitches, knit 6 rows, and found it was twisted. Aaarrrgghhh! I started over, did NOT twist my stitches, and now I am zooming right along. This is a great pattern to knit for the summer. I am dreaming of beaches and sunshine (warm sunshine not winter sunshine) and tropical scents in the air. 

My husband wanted to know what I was knitting with muskrat droppings.

*sigh* Men. 

Lynne is coming over this afternoon to make Blizzard drinks with hot chocolate, Bailey's, Gran Marnier and something else, maybe chocolate liqueur. And we will knit, and laugh, and make mistakes and laugh at them before we rip them out. It will be fun :)


It's Winter, So Get Over It: Make a Cowl, Not a Scowl!

Everyone is crabby, because all they can see is snow, snow, snow and more snow. More is falling as I speak. When I was a kid, up in northern Maine, this kind of winter was typical. For the past number of years we haven't had a winter with all this snow, and it is hard to go back to it now. It's hard to drive in, it's cold, and it's boring. I hear on Facebook that kids are out of school and driving their parents crazy, and business owners complain that no one is out shopping because they're all holed up at home. That is true. 

Yarn shops that are lucky enough to be in a town with a sidewalk to their door are doing some walk-in business, and you can always order yarn in if you need to. I ordered a skein of Ontheround's Merino Wool Aran Weight when it was on sale a while ago, and over the fall I hugged it and petted it. It's so soft and squishy and lovable. The colors are a blend of green and yellow and white and blue and gray, beautifully dyed, and over this winter it has seemed like a touch of Spring. However, I needed something warm, so I invented a cowl that sits around my neck and shoulders, keeping me warm, and looking pretty. 

Yarma_medium2-2    Yarma_medium2-1    Yarma_medium2

I'm giving the pattern to you:

Stranded Cowl by Beth Collins

Ontheround Merino Worsted 
Size US10.5/6.5mm 16” circular needle

Gauge: 
15.5 sts and 22 rnds = 10 x 10 cm/4” x 4”

Finished measurements: 7" high by 28" around

Cast on 112 stitches (I like it loose; use 100 stitches if you want it tighter. Pattern is a multiple of 4.) Join, being careful not to twist the stitches.

(Knit a round, purl a round) twice. Begin Woven Stitch pattern:

Round 1:•K2, yf, sl2, yb; rep from • to end. 
Round 2: Knit. 
Round 3: •Yf,sl2,yb, k2; rep from • to end. 
Round 4: Knit.

Repeat these 4 rounds for pattern. Work in pattern for 7” or desired height. (Knit a round, purl a round) twice. Bind off loosely and weave in ends.

Abbreviations: 
k = knit 
p = purl 
yf = yarn to front 
yb = yarn to back 
sl = slip

(Pattern Stitch “Double Woven Stitch I” adapted from the Harmony Guides Knit & Purl, edited by Erika Knight, p. 76)

The center picture above shows that I had only a little yarn leftover, so if you want a higher cowl, you may want another skein.

I may have to knit another cowl with Ontheround's new DK weight yarn. She certainly makes wonderful yarn! 

I found that stranding the yarn across two stitches was a good way to show off the yarn; hand dyed yarn can be gorgeous in the skein, but sometimes it is disappointing knit up. Stranding really showed the beautiful colors as well as the thick-and-thin quality of the yarn. I love that.

Knitting needle Knitting needle

In other news, my Aran sweater is done. I took some pictures of it before it was whisked away upstairs to be worn today. It fits perfectly :)

Yarma_medium2-3     IMG_1713    IMG_1714

SA_Nicky2_medium

It looked better with Nicky sleeping on it, but this is pretty good :)





Be Thrifty!

Image001.png@01D024ED

Stitch Craft Create has a new blog hop going, and I am in it! Their January magazine is FREE to you, dear readers. All you have to do is add the magazine to your basket and use the discount code SCCFREE at checkout!

This is a great magazine, and the theme for January is being thrifty. It includes directions for knitting a rug out of recycled old sheets, making your own clothes (dress making for beginners!), ideas for making an old sweater into something new and exciting, making an old dress into a stylish bag, or liven up your dry winter skin and outlook with a refreshing DIY body scrub! There is so much more in this issue. You could spend all winter doing things over, and before you know it, Spring will be here and you'll have lots of new stuff without spending a dime!

So. My yarn stash has been weighing heavily on my mind lately, and I have accumulated a lot of odds and ends of worsted weight yarn -- not enough to use for anything, but too much to just throw away. This magazine came along just at the right time: there was a crocheted pillow that I could make out of yarn scraps! 

As I read through the directions, I could envision making it into a whole afghan project. I'd planned to do some kind of afghan with my scraps, but hadn't decided how to go about it, and now I had a place to start.

SCCcushion

This cushion top is made with nine squares of star stitch and sewn together, with three rows of double crochet done around it. I had to look up how to do the star stitch. I love learning new things!

FullSizeRender

I made nine squares and sewed them together and started to crochet around the edge.

IMG_1636    IMG_1647    IMG_1654

 FullSizeRender (2)    FullSizeRender (1)

 

Now I just have to dig out ALL my scraps from where I have squirreled them away and continue to add them til it is afghan sized. This has been a fun, colorful project and I am so happy to see the piles of misery being eaten up by this wonderful afghan project! I love seeing the bottom of my knitting bag!

Bonus: If you would like to get more FREE thrifty crafting techniques from Stitch Craft Create, they have a free e-book that they are giving out to my blog readers for the price of an email address! Click here to get it!

 


The Colorblind Camera on my iPhone

I got a new iPhone before Christmas, a 6+. Where my old iPhone  made all my photos a strange shade of blue, the new iPhone leaves a pinkish hue to my pictures. Oh Apple. I hate you.

Anyway. The aran sweater I am knitting is about 60% done; I just have the front bit at the top to do, and the sleeves. I am getting there. I am knitting the Shire Aran by Glenna C and I am using Ella Rae Classic Heathers in Maroon Heather. Here are some pictures -- it really is not this pinkish brown shade, rather, it's a dark maroon. Apparently maroon is too complex a color for an Apple device to handle. The real color is beautiful.

SA1    SA2    SA3


SAbraided cable    SAring cable

I like to watch a little TV in the evening, but I have to have something simple to knit while I watch, so I started a pair of plain old socks out of Berroco Sox:

Sock1

I am quite proud of myself for Kitchenering the toe closed. I was having a devil of a time with the tapestry needle, and then I found Techknitter's site that told how to Kitchener Stitch with the knitting needles. It is much easier --the old fiddly bit is on the last two stitches, because the needles tend to fall out. And I have to weave in my dogears.

Toe

Techknitter has a really good tutorial for doing the new method of Kitchener Stitch; try it!

And lastly, I am making a cowl, because I had a little handspun purple yarn to use up, and my neck was cold. I am knitting a 2 x 2 rib until it runs out, with 100 sts for a cast on, US size 8 (5.0 mm) 16" circular needle. It's a worstedy-weighty yarn, spun from Indigo Moon batts, too precious to let it go to waste.

Cowl

This is how Nora is spending the winter:

IMG_1629

 


Here I am!

I am poking my head up out of the morass of Christmas knitting, which I can finally  talk about! Actually, the projects are not many, but I worked on them a lot. 

First is the tractor sweater that I started back in September. It's a small child size. The yarn needed to be the exact shade of yellow and green -- John Deere colors -- and the only place I could find both of those colors in worsted weight was Knit Picks, so I ordered it in superwash wool. It was a pretty quick knit.

Tractor_Sweater_2_medium2    Tractr_Sweater_4_medium2    Tractor Sweater

The pattern was loosely based on Vicki Square's Knit Great Basics, and the tractor chart is adapted from the sock pattern Tractorsockor by Linda Högström, which is a free pattern on Ravelry.

I of course had to make a tractor hat for my brother to wear while he plowed yards with his John Deere tractor:

Tractor_hat_medium2

In July, I started a lace cardigan out of pink fuzzy yarn that my sister had, and finished it in early October. I could have photographed the heck out of it, and I meant too, but in the hecticity (I love that word! Thanks Kelley!) that was Christmas, I forgot and sent it up to northern Maine un-photographed. But, here is a picture of it without buttons:

PinkLaceCardiDone_medium2

The buttons that I got for it are very cute silver heart-shaped buttons with a lacey filigree on them. It's a pity I forgot to photograph them; they looked perfect and adorable on the sweater. This picture is one I took in a hurry, in bad light, unblocked. If you squint, you can sorta get the idea of how it came out.

The last present that I finished was a skirt for my 4-year-old niece who is secretly a fairy princess as her alter ego. I used Elann's Silken Kydd in Ballerina Pink to knit it (it's like Kid Silk Haze by Rowan, only far less expensive). It was a bit tricky to knit with at first, but I soon got used to it. I dropped stitches because the 'halo' of yarn makes you think you have nabbed the stitch itself, but you haven't, you've nabbed the halo. After I got used to stabbing the center of the stitch, it went fine.

 

 

Pink_medium2

The pattern was Little Cloud by Monika Sirna. It was easy enough to knit, even with beads. I found the perfect pink beads with silver linings at Earthfaire. I loved the beads!! So pretty! I giggled a little every time I put a bead on.

Lc_medium2     IMG_1590

The final touch was the sequined, beaded sparkly bow that I found on Etsy that was a perfect match for the pale pink skirt:

IMG_1591

 

So. I knit the top layer of the skirt  first, with beads, and it went pretty fast. You know how Dr. Who has a Tardis that is bigger on the inside? Well. The bottom layer of the skirt was slightly smaller than the top later at first, and had no beads, so I was thinking that was pretty great and I was zoomng along. At six inches in, I had to increase a good bit, but that made it a little more than the stitches in the top layer, and I pugged away at it. But at eleven inches, just six inches from the final hem, I had to increase a lot of stitches -- making the total 576 stitches. Wow.

Knitting 576 stitches for six long inches was a haul. It took me about twenty-five minutes to knit one round. There were eight rounds per inch. All of a sudden I had an enormous time-sucking monster on my hands that threatened, like the Grinch, to steal Christmas! The cute little skirt for a four year old ate at my soul. I bitterly remembered saying to my sister in law lightheartedly, 'How long can a skirt for a 4-year old take??' and laughing. However, as I plugged away at it, the sparkle of the beads and the fluffiness of the airy fabric still made me smile, and eventually it was done in time for Christmas

The finished product:

IMG_1589

She loved the skirt and put it on immediately -- but I forgot to get a picture. Sigh. It was really cute on her, too. 

Anyway, by the time that Christmas had arrived I only had 30% done of the Aran sweater I was making for my husband -- but Christmas doesn't technically end til Epiphany, January 6, so I still have two weeks. I will keep knitting! 

 

 


Odds & Ends

Remember when I started my Haiku scarf a month ago? Well, I finished it in early November, but never got around to measuring its final size. It's 7 1/2" wide and about four and a half feet in length, an average size for a scarf. But, that is the resting length of this little beauty; as you wear it (or if you block it), the garter  stitch will lengthen enormously, doubling in length. 

Scarf 1

Scarf 2

I love how sheer it is. I love that it kinda floats in the air, but is very warm around your neck. 

To restate the pattern: 40 stitches, size 8 (5.0 mm) needles, knit every row, bind off when you are nearly done. That's it. Perfect. I knit it very lackadaisically, and it still was only two weeks to make. (I knit a ton of Other Stuff in the meantime.) A focused knitter knitting only this scarf could probably make it in three days -- I'm guessing here, but still. 

One thing about the yarn that you might need to watch out for -- like any fine mohair/silk blend, it is very difficult to tink back more than a few stitches, so while it makes good TV knitting, be careful you don't inadvertantly pull the wrong needle or drop a stitch and discover it four inches down, like I did. Let's just say, I had a lot of ends to weave in, rather than just the two I had planned on!

In other news, I am now on Ello, a new social media place to hang out in, with no ads and no creepy big brother watching over me, cough *Facebook* cough. You can read their manifesto here. Ello is still in beta, so that is why you need to be invited to join, and it still has that new car smell, sorta like Ravelry did in the beginning. If you want an invite, email me at yarndemon at gmail dot com; if you are there already, I'm at https://ello.co/yarndemon.

Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.~Nathaniel Hawthorne

  


Light N' Whispy Knitting

My Dropped Stitch scarf is coming along nicely:

Scarf

I love this scarf! It's just the right blend of fabulous hand-painted fingering weight yarn (Rowan's Fine Art) with a whispy bit of gorgeousness (Rowan's Kid Silk Haze Stripes). Paradise Fibers sells the kit for the scarf. I didn't really get how to do the twisted dropped stitch, or rather, it was too hard for me to do with one hand ('wrap the yarn around both needles and then around the left needle once more'), so I just wrapped the yarn around the needle twice. They may have gotten more length by doing it the way that was stated in the pattern, and I don't get the 'twist' by wrapping the yarn twice around the needle, but mine looks almost the same. I may do another one, wrapping the yarn three times around the needle. This scarf is addictive to knit! I absolutely love Kid Silk Haze Stripe. It makes me gaga with its beautifulness.

I decided to knit another garter stitch scarf with a skein of Haiku (60% mohair, 40% silk) that was in Rachel's stash. We had a model on display in Unique One that sold a lot of Haiku. I started it in a quiet moment at one of the Spa Knit and Spin shows, because the Haiku wasn't selling; after I started knitting the sample, people started buying it. I finished it after the show was done, and as soon as I put it up, bam! The Haiku was flying out the door.

Garter Stitch Scarf

(This color is called Rice Fields. The marker is placed to mark when I started today; I try to get 2" done every day.)

The pattern for the scarf is simple: Cast 40 stitches onto a 5.0 mm/8 US needle and knit til you almost run out of yarn. Bind off.  That's it. It's a little bit tricky until you get the hang of knitting such fine yarn on biggish needles, but trust me, you can do it! The resulting scarf is anything but simple; the colors are fabulous, the yarn feels luxurious, and it will be a gift (or accessory for YOU) that says "I am elegant!". I don't remember how long the scarf is, but it is long (I'll tell you when I finish my scarf). I had a customer who used to make two, shorter scarves out of one skein to give to friends, which actually would be very economical. Still, $24 - $29 for a skein of Haiku isn't bad. One skein of hand dyed sock yarn is probably more than that, more if it has as much silk as Haiku does.

Anyway. Have fun knitting! 


October

Fall colors ...

Fall Colors

Trees over the camp

I took these pictures when I was in Winterville at the end of September, but they were stunning and colorful!  I love seeing the crisp reds, the playful yellows, and the magnificent oranges.

I love reading, too, and one of my favorite books to read in October is Headstones and Monuments by Steve Ogden. 

HM

It's a delightful collection of scary ghost stories (but not too scary!) that will entertain you on the dark, windy nights leading up to Halloween. If you like Stephen King and Neil Gaiman, you will like Headstones and Monuments. Remember telling ghost stories at night around the campfire? Yeah. It's a collection of that kind of really good ghost stories. And Steve's artwork is excellent!

I love new fall mittens:

MysteryMittebnsDone

Orange, my favorite fall color, and dark brown. Both are handspun yarns; one I spun before my stroke (the dark brown; I think it was Coopworth), and one after (the orange, which I got from Sharon in Nova Scotia; it's Romney, I believe), so they are blended together, the before and after, making a new whole. Like me!

The pattern, previously a Mystery Mitten Knit, is Soria Moria vott, and it will be featured in Tori Seierstad's mitten e-book coming later this autumn. Tori makes good mittens! Until the book comes out, you can join the I Make Mittens group on Ravelry, and follow Tori's progress.


Home Again

Look what was waiting for me when I got home!

Package

I got a package from Paradise Fibers! It is a skein of Rowan Fine Art Sock Yarn in purples, and a skein of Rowan Kid Silk Haze Stripe -- it's Kid Silk Haze that knits up in stripes!! I'll let that sink in for a minute. Just when I thought Kid Silk Haze couldn't get any better, they go and do this. Now, the only way it could get any more perfect would be if it glowed in the dark or was free. (Actually Paradise Fibers just did a buy four, get one free promotion on yarn, so I guess they already did that. I missed it, though; it ended Sunday the 21st.) The Kid Silk Haze Stripe is "Chiaroscuro", stripes of grey and purple, which goes fabulously with the purples of the Fine Art Sock Yarn in shades of purple. The Fine Art Sock yarn is a blend of merino wool, kid mohair and mulberry silk that has been handpainted, and it is is luscious to the fingers as well as to the eyes.  I can't stop squeezing it. 

I am going to make a Twisted Drop Stitch scarf  (by Nancy Kleiber) out of it, because the world neeeeeeds more pretty scarves! I never get tired of wearing them, especially in this house in the long, bitterly-cold winter. I glanced over the pattern last night; it seems to be alternating rows of each color in a dropped stitch pattern, and it is very lovely and looks like a quick knit, too. It is a free pattern on the Rowan web site, I think, if you sign up to be a member. I can't wait to get started! 


Still at the Lake

Lake

I took this picture yesterday, and today the leaves are even more colorful. It's so beautiful up here!

The winner of the Faux Taxidermy Knits book giveaway is Jean! She has been emailed. I hope you make beautiful things, Jean!

I have been busy knitting. I finished the first sleeve on my pink cardigan:

1st Sleeve

Sleeve detail

The sleeve was originally a three-quarters length sleeve, but I made it a full length sleeve. I just hope the sleeve won't drag and be annoying; it's a full, lacy cuff, and pretty, but may be a bit aggravating to wear. I tried to make it about an inch shy of the full length, though. I am currently done one pattern repeat of the three repeats for the lace cuff on the second sleeve.

These tractors tilled their way across the field of yarn as well:

Tractors

Keep on knitting!


The Lake

I'm at my brother's camp in Winterville Plantation for a couple of weeks. It is  very restful here, peaceful. 

Lake colors

It is pretty close to Eagle Lake, so it is right up there in Maine. The trees are already starting to turn. The camp is on St. Froid Lake, a little bit of heaven on earth.

Lake

Lake2

And what would Heaven be without a cat? Meet Belizaire ...

Belizaire

He is the fluffiest cat I have ever known! 

I have finished my blue socks and gotten the third clue done on my mystery mittens:

Blue socks done

Clue3

Now my needles are poised to attack the sleeves on my pink lacy cardigan! 


Leftovers

I thought I'd show you a picture of my cardigan so far:

Pink cardigan

The body is done, joined at the sleeves and the ends run in, which makes me happy, because that's one less thing I'll have to do at the end.  I have the lace pattern done on the first sleeve. So, it's going along. Rachel would like it, I think; it is her yarn, so I hope she would approve!

Pink_cardigan_medium2

This was actually my second project that I worked on with circular needles.

The first project with circular needles since the stroke is this:

AbstractCowl

This is the Abstract Leaves Cowl by Deb Mulder. (Hmmm, I wonder if she is the lost sister of Fox Mulder, who was abducted by aliens? Nahhhhh...). Aside from being a free download on Ravelry, it's wicked pretty. I decided to use leftover yarn from my Pueblo Stole - I am getting a lot of mileage out of that kit! The beads are size 6 beads inserted on the knit stitch between the two yarnovers in the pattern. The beads are leftover, too; I originally got them for this project, but realized they were redder than I wanted. Thus, I called it the Leftover Abstract Leaves cowl. 

I knit a couple rows, and admire it, knit a few rows, and admire it some more. Actually, it's pretty slow going, because I have to get the beads on with a crochet hook one-handed, but that is kind of fun. I drop them frequently, but I have a handy-dandy grabber thingy that lets me pick up things with ease. I'm halfway through the cowl. It seems like a timely thing to knit this autumn!

I mentioned before that I am taking part in a mitten knitalong by Tori Seierstad, but it's a mystery, so I will wait to post my pictures till the end. This is exciting because I am using handspun yarn - leftover brown (that is terribly underspun) that I spun before my stroke, and orange (that is much better) that I spun after my stroke, when I went up to Nova Scotia to see Sharon and Richard.

Torirot_Mystery_mitten_medium2

So pretty. I can't wait to show you how the pattern is coming out! Such a clever girl, that Tori. 

Don't forget to leave a comment on the blog post about Faux Taxidermy Knits by Louise Walker! The deadline to enter is September 22!


Book Review: Faux Taxidermy Knits by Louise Walker

I got the chance to review a wonderful book for the quirky, whimsical and curious: Faux Taxidermy Knits, 15 Wild Animal Knitting Patterns by Louise Walker. Face it, have you ever secretly desired a fox stole, alligator bag, or a tiger rug, but you don't feel great about killing the animal to have it? Well, now you can have it and no animals will be harmed! This book has 15 patterns for things such as a moose head mounted in traditional taxidermy fashion, a mink stole, hedgehog slippers and and owl tea cosy.

Mink 02 

  Mink close up
I love the way their beady little eyes stare up at you, with love and mischief, not like the dead eyes of a real mink stole that make you say EWWWWW. But that may just be me. I am not a big fan of zombie minks. 

2Owls 01

Isn't this tea cosy the sweetest thing ever? This book is a British publication, so it just had to have a tea cosy, as well as a badger head. 

You can buy the book at Stitch Craft Create, or browse the whole selection of books in their bookstore. Books that caught my eye in browsing were Edward's Menagerie by Kerry Lord, Craft Bomb Your Bike by Shara Ballard (mostly because the name sounds slightly dangerous yet with a heady sense of crafting), and Knit Your Own Boyfriend by Carol Meldrum ("And the best thing about a knitted boyfriend? He doesn't answer back!" LOL).

I decided to make a project from Faux Taxidermy, the very last one in the book: Bear Coasters. Here is a picture of them in the book:

Baby Bears

So cute!

You have to knit two pieces for each one, and a couple of ears.  (The last time you saw them, they were swimming in my sink.)

Pieces

Knitting them was easy. There were three mistakes in the pattern, all of which were probably an editing error, and none of them were so bad that I couldn't remedy them easily. In the event that there were any mistakes that were insurmountable, I think you could get a quick reply from the publisher -- they are great people, and crafting is clearly their passion. 

Sewing the pieces together and stuffing the head, legs and arms came next, which was the part that I was most worried about, since I am knitting with only one hand. But in the end, I got it done, and here they are, my own faux taxidermy:

Bear Coaster

I wished I had had a view of the coasters without a cup on them, so here ya go:

Front view

Back view

I love them! They were really fun to make, too. Each bear took me about 5 hours to knit. You can probably sew them together much more quickly than I can! 

Wolf 01

~:: FREE GIVEAWAY ::~

Thanks to the fantastic publisher, I have a free copy of the print book Faux Taxidermy to give out to one person who comments either here or on Facebook by midnight eastern standard time on September 22. Enter and you may win a free copy! 

There is a blog hop about the book too, so if you want to see what others are doing, click here to go see! 

Faux tax banner4

 

Wave bye-bye


Tangerine

I have been knitting a little.

Socks
I knit a pair of socks when my sister died; I had to have a small, portable project to keep my mind focused, to give me something to do, something to keep from crying all the time, and socks seemed to fit the bill. These socks are from Done Roving's "Tapping Tootsies", a heavy fingering weight made from 60% superwash merino, 30% bamboo, and 10% nylon, in the color "Tangerine Twist". "Tangerine" by Jimmy Dorsey and his orchestra was the number 1 hit the day that Rachel was born. It seems fitting, somehow. 

I have been working on the pink lacy cardigan out of some of Rachel's yarn. I fixed the tangling problem, but I was still struggling. There were so many stitches, the back and both fronts  (including the button bands) are knit together, and I don't have the luxury of using a circular needle, so all those stitches were crammed onto one 14" needle. I left it languishing on the table a lot (on the up side, I got a lot of reading done!). However, as soon as the lace border was completed, the stockinette portion was a little easier, and it is going along well now. 

Lacy cardi

It seem like an eternity of knitting, but I will be up to the underarm soon, and I'll be done the whole body of work; that's equivalent to the back and half a front done. The tops and sleeves should go quickly! I really like this pattern -- if it wasn't in mohair, it would be easier to handle. I would knit this cardigan again.

I am slowly coming out of my fog. It's hard to lose a sister as wonderful as Rachel was. Recently I looked through Ravelry at patterns and found a lot of projects I'd like to make, for Christmas, for myself, and just for fun. It's a good sign. I used to always knit Rachel something special for Christmas. Now I can knit for other people, with her spirit just over my shoulder, laughing at my many mistakes! 

 


What's Up

Here is my progress so far. I finished Part II of Wendy Johnson's  2014 Mystery Shawl ahead of time, on Wednesday. It doesn't seem to be so hard now, hehe:

2014MysteryShawlPartII

I'm still plugging along on my lacy cardigan, picking away at it:

Lacy Cardi

There are almost 300 stitches there. It knits better, though, since I did this:

Fix

I am not spending all my time getting the yarn untangled, and that makes it wayyyy more fun. Thank you Nancy for sending me this little jewel! It's a Yarn Buddy, and it is like a lazy susan for my yarn. If you have ever struggled with a yarn that is fuzzy and got tangled up all the time, this is what you need. I just rewound the skein of yarn (with somebody else holding it) et voilà! It is perfect. It was a wonderful gift, Nancy, and I thank you so very much!

I saw something like this years ago in our knitting group, made by the knitter's husband (Hi Lynn and Jim!). She was using it to knit from a cone of yarn. When you knit from a cone usually, your yarn twists up and you have to stop and untwist it regularly, but the little gadget that Jim made let the entire cone revolve as you pull the yarn from the cone, thus transferring the twist to the cone, not the yarn. I always thought it was a useful little device, and I am glad Sun Valley Fibers makes one. 


I Wonder What I Would Do With A Brain If I Had One

I keep making mistakes in my knitting. I mean, All. The. Time. I blame it only having half a brain now, but geez ... seems like I used to do more with it. Maybe it's oozing out of my ears at night, going to Bermuda, and didn't come home because, well, Bermuda, baby! What's not to like? When I just have a few crumbs left of my brain, it'll be fine because by then, I'll just be drooling and staring vacantly and I will think everything is absolutely wonderful, hehe. 

Anyway. Here is the 2014 Summer Mystery Shawl by Wendy Johnson, Part I:

SMS2014Part I

I had to knit it about eight times because of The Mistakes I made by not paying attention, and I noticed a mistake halfway up when I took this picture, but I don't really care. Only God is perfect. This shawl looks black to me, in person and in this picture, although it was very navy blue in the picture I took last week. Perhaps I should call it the Dopplegänger shawl :)


Strange Thing, Color

Color is weird. I mean, how we choose colors that we work with or wear or whatever is dependent on what kind of mood we are in at the time. How the color makes us feel is as important as what the color actually is. I always thought I was a bluey-green sort of person, but it turns out that I have way more orange in my yarn stash than any other color, so it must appeal to me.

Medley of orange

Apparently I like purple a lot, too. Purple always feels good in my hands and, well, everywhere.

Purples

But, looking over my Ravelry projects I have supported all the colors equally, except black. I only have one black project.

Da_Vinci_Message_Seaman_s_Scarf_medium2

 

Black is hard to see, but quite stunning when it is finished. Black is also hard to see texture in, so cables are sorta out, though I remember seeing a black Aran sweater once that was gorgeous. Black is good for lacework, though. Hmmm. I'll try to work more black into my finished goods, but don't worry! It's not because I am depressed! 

 


Dear Blog,

I missed you. My sister died on Memorial Day, and I kind of fell apart. You remember my sister, who did NaNoWrimo with me last year? Yeah. It was tough; still is. Anyway. 

Rachel loved to read my blog. I don't know why. But I figured I would post on it more regularly, because, you know, maybe she is still reading it. 

Let's see. What has happened since I finished Harriet? I knit a Doctor Who scarf:

Scarf_medium2

I knit a plain pair of socks:

Socks_n_beer_medium2

I did a mystery shawl with leftover yarn from the Pueblo Stole:

IrisMysteryShawl Complete

Then my sister died. I had a couple things on the needles when she died, and I have since finished them. One is a leftover scarf from the browns in the Pueblo Stole:

Brown leftovers scarf

I had this wonderful yarn from Ball and Skein, that I used to make Snowflake Lace socks:

Snowflake Lace Socks

I started another pair of socks on Memorial Day, but they are not finished yet:

Simple_Socks_medium2

I needed something simple to knit on, something I could cry into. I am almost finished with them.

Then, I crocheted a hat with leftover worsted yarn:

Crocheted_Ribbed_Hat_medium2

That was a quick, two-day project. Last week I started a lace cardigan project with some of Rachel's yarn:

DROPS lace cardi

I haven't gotten very far on it. The yarn is fuzzy and tangles easily, and with only one hand, I find tangling to be really unfortunate. Today I thought about how to knit it more easily, and I think I have found the answer, but I will let you know after I try it out.

I just started today on the Summer Mystery Shawl from Wendy Johnson, which is pleasantly non-combative and easy to knit so far. I'm working on the first clue:

WendyMysteryShawl2014

That brings me up to date. Happy knitting, everyone :)


First Day of Spring

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.  

Harriet

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. 


Petting the Pueblo

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!

Pueblo Done

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 :)


Rockin' the Pueblo

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:

Pueblo

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!


It's Spring!

I just finished my Tropical Dream scarf:

Tropical Dream scarf done

I made it out of Felicia Knock hand-painted 100% wool yarn:

Tropical Dream yarn

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. 


March Is Flying By

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:

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! 


Sock Update

I finally got caught up with the rest of the April Showers sock knitalong, getting through Clue #5 before Clue #6 (the last clue) comes out on Friday:

Front    Back

There's little flowers, and umbrellas, rain, and a lone cloud up in the sky. On the back, lightning flickers up and down the leg. It is maybe a July thunderstorm rather than an April shower. 

While I wait for Clue #6 to come out, I'll crochet a little on my In a Spin sampler afghan. I'm on Week Seven; everyone else is on Week Twelve. Oh well, I will get it done eventually. 

Lynne has caught up and surpassed me in our Harriet cardigans. Yikes! I better get a move on! :)


The Days Are Getting Longer!

I keep telling myself that.

In knitting news, I finished the My Little Pony socks:

MLP 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:

April Showers 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:

Harriet

Lynne brought me tulips:

Tulips
I think this means we're engaged. :)

(Thank you, Lynne!)


Still Winter Here

Nicky is still not amused.

Nicky Still Not Amused
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:

MLP Socks

I'm trying out a new pattern which is just like my old pattern, but it is somewhat different. It's "Wise Hilda's Basic Ribbed Socks", and I like it. 

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:

Tardis Mug
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:

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."

They are also reviewed on Webs'  blog

I have half a sock left to knit. I hope it warms up soon! If it doesn't, Nicky will sleep himself to death.

Nick Snoozes 3