Finish A Shawl, Learn Something New

Somehow I got some steam up, and working well into the night -- well, 10:00 p.m. -- for several nights, I got my Beachcomber Shawl done! (Usually I'm in bed at 7:00. I am a total wuss.)

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This shawl is HUGE, and it is beautiful!

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I love the drape and feel of it.

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I love the lace sections. I love the picot bind-off ... kind of a pain to do, but those little points just make me smile.

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I love doing origami with my shawl!

Since this shawl was knit with a cotton/linen blend yarn, I wove the yarn in by piercing the purl bumps on the wrong side, because I thought it would hold the yarn better and keep it from unraveling. That got me thinking about doing a Russian join on the places where I ran out of a color and had to start a new ball with more of the same color. I could just cut the yarn on the edge, but I thought that this yarn would be the perfect place to use a Russian join.

I never did one before, but I thought one day I would; it just looked very cool, something to file away for a day that I needed it. Then, I had a stroke, and I thought that I never would be able to do a Russian join without my right hand. I was bummed. Like most things that I "can't do", it simmered away on my back brain burner. I decided to try it, and voilá, it worked! A perfect Russian join! (I like iknitwithcatfur's videos. Subscribe! :)

 


March Marched By Me, Now It Is April!

Happy Easter and April Fools! Two for one holidays! 

Sorry for not posting in a while. My very dear mother in law, Arline Collins, passed away on March 8, and I wasn't much into paying attention to my blog (sorry), but now I am back. Arline was truly a great craftsman.

I finished the Close to You shawl by Justyna Lorkowska that I was knitting with Lynne. She finished hers first! We didn't take a photo of them together, silly us. Here is mine:

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I like how it came out. I wear it a lot!

I started an easy cowl pattern after Arline died, one that was all knitting with just little eyelets. It is the Still Waters Cowl from the Swans Island Design Team, and I used Swans Island Natural Colors Merino Fingering to knit it. It feels so soft and wonderful! It feels like cashmere, but it is merino. 

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That is the only photo I have of it so far. I finished it March 29 and wore it every day until April 2 ... then I spilled blueberry jam all over it, and it has been in the wash ever since (we are temporarily out of Eucalan). It is indigo blue, so at least the stain matches!

I have four WIPs going on right now. Four is not many for some people; heck, I had up to thirty WIPs in progress at one time, pre-stroke! Now, I like to keep my WIPs  to two or three. Four is borderline crazy.

First of all, my turquoise zebra blanket (pattern: Make A Long Story Short by Wanda Sowizdrzal) is languishing. It is still in the same place; I haven't touched it in about two months. I love that blanket, and I yearn to work on it, but I can't seem to do it. It bothers me, but I have got to get other things done first.

Secondly, I started Mary Jane Mucklestone's Pine Star Hat with some leftover blue and white worsted weight yarn. I started the hat a while ago, but haven't finished the ribbing yet. Sigh. This hat will be soooo much fun to knit! But I feel I must get some things finished first. I started it in a fit of startitis, overcome by the yarn fumes of excitement, but I managed to save myself.

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Thirdly, I started the Beachcomber Shawl that I was lucky enough to receive as a Christmas gift! I love the colors of this shawl. It is a Knit Picks yarn called Cotlin (70% Tanguis coton, 30% linen), DK weight, which means it knits up quickly on size US8/4.5mm needles! I like the drape of  yarn; it feels soft with the cotton, yet has the heaviness and fluidity of the linen. I will be able to drape it and feel elegant and beautiful. The pattern Beachcomber is by Chelsea Berkompas and it's available on Ravelry.

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I figure it's about 45% done.

I find that there are a lot of ends to weave in, so I started right away to weave them in as I go. That way when I  finish it, it'll be well and truly done, and I won't have a week's worth of end-weaving to do!

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Ends


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Ends Woven In

 

Finally, my Line and Shadows shawl is 49.98967% done ... it is almost halfway! I knit and knit and knit on this shawl, but it seems to never make any headway. I love to knit it though, so that is okay.

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Line and Shadows by Elizabeth Elliot; Swans Island Sterling Collection fingering in Amethyst, and Filatura Di Crosa Superior in Black.

I'm almost done the decreases on the black "lines" side. Then somehow I begin reversing the shaping, and starting with a few stitches of the black lines, growing them inch by inch until they overtake the "shadow" columns entirely.

This shawl feels very light and airy and dreamy. Swans Island yarn is so soft and luscious, and Superior is cashmere, silk, and a little merino all fluffed up together, so that you don't knit with it so much as direct it into place neatly. 

I love all my knitting projects. I just wish I could get something done! Partly because the projects that I have waiting in the wings are soooooo fabulous! But those will have to wait til I start them :))


Diving In Again

My stealth knitting is over for the moment, so I am diving into my Line and Shadows shawl again! This is how far I have got over the last few days:

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This is how far I was when I put it down:

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So exciting! This is a lovely pattern, and it is easy enough to be TV knitting; I just have to remember one increase and one decrease every other row, and the contrast color every four rows. Both of my yarns are beautiful. I am pleased with it. 

After all the stitches in the stripes section are decreased, I will swap the shaping and work at making the stripes section longer and longer, and the plain columns section shorter and shorter, til the plain columns section is all gone. Simple! Easy! Beautiful! 

How is your February knitting going?

 


5 Shawls in 5 Days??

I finished my secret knitting project just in time to do the Aroha Knits '5 Shawls in 5 Days Challenge'. It was a blast! Five itty bitty shawls, shaped perfectly! And each one took less than an hour to make. This is what I made:

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I learned about shaping shawls, so there may be a shawl in the offing. My creative juices are flowing!

I also learned that you need to bind off really really really really loosely on the square shawl. With the Pi/circle shawl, I bound off with crocheting 2 stitches together, chain 8, just to make it lie flat! The loops are cRaZy. I pinned it out before I had my coffee this morning. 

I'm off to do a gauge swatch for another secret knitting project, so it may be awhile before I post again.  Don't worry! 


Poking My Head Up

I haven't done much knitting that I can talk about -- I am knitting, but it is for a yarn company, and they neeeeeeed it, so that has been what I have been doing. 

But, in the days since my last post and before the stealth knitting began, I worked on the Turquoise Zebra Blanket, which is now half as wide as it should be:

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Line and Shadow was zooming right along:

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Last February, Lynne and I went to Spa Knit & Spin in Freeport. We went shopping at Mother of Purl Yarn Shop in Freeport and saw a shawl there that we both liked. So this year, we both started this shawl together:

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This is Close to You by Justyna Lorkowska, a simple knit with gorgeous yarn. We are both knitting it with Schoppel-Wolle's  Crazy Zauberball  in color Frische Fische (Tropical Fish). It was knit in the same color and yarn in the shop, and it was beautiful. It has a really cute tag for the yarn: 

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Nicky would be proud. 

 


Of Endings and Beginnings

My brown Norderny is done!

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I've already worn it twice. and it fits perfectly. Good thing we have had some warmish weather this week, because it is only 25% wool and the rest is acrylic, so it isn't very warm ... just stylish :)

Theodore loves his new hat:

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My turquoise zebra blanket is coming right along:

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So far I have one and a half feet of the width out of a total of four feet. This blanket is going to be a monster ... a warm, cuddly turquoise zebra monster.

I started the KAL for Elizabeth Elliot's designs in the Unique One group on Friday. I am knitting Line and Shadow shawl which looks like this when it is finished:

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©Gale Zucker 2016

I am using three skeins of Swans Island Sterling Collection fingering yarn in Amethyst (I know. Purple.) and Filatura di Crosa Superior in black:

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After a day of knitting I did this:

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It looks Victorian. I was going for classy. Maybe it will be classy Victorian. 

I also started a year-long knit along in the Beginner's Knit-Along Group (hey, we are all beginners at something!) to make a 2018 Colourwork Scarf. I have a lot of fingering weight scraps and odd 50-gram balls in various colors (well, hmmmm mostly purple) to use up, and this seemed like the perfect project for it! You get a new chart every month and knit merrily along. Some people bought two colors of yarn for their project, and others like me are using up odds and ends. Then, just in time for Christmas, you have a pretty scarf to give away!

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A little handspun and some scraps of fingering weight yarn

I plan to knit six inches a month and that will give me a five foot scarf, though it could be longer. This first month is a pretty simple design for beginners. I'm using it as my TV knitting, so that is fine with me!

Did you see the Challenge tab on your projects page in Ravelry? It's new. I have filled mine up with 30 projects so far. My brain might explode!


Brrr! It's Cold!

It was -4°F this morning! But it will warm up this week; by Friday maybe the temperatures will hit 40°F --- woohoo! 

 

So, while it was bitter cold, I made a little hat for Theodore:

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I felt warmer knitting it :) The pattern is in Robin Hansen's Favorite Mittens book (and in Flying Geese & Partridge feet also). I used scraps of sunny gold/yellow Hauk from Dale of Norway and orange that was leftover from my handspun Orange Maluka.

I got a sleeve done on my brown Norderny sweater:

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Actually the sleeve is all done, and I have about three decreases done on the second sleeve ... but I am too lazy and cold to get up and take a picture of it. It will probably be done for my next post. 

 Stay warm everyone! Keep knitting!

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Resolutions

I used to  make resolutions in the new year: lose weight, exercise more, get a grip on my life, etc. You know what they say, better be careful what you wish for? Does the story of The Monkey's Paw come to mind? After I had my stroke, I had all the time in the world to knit; my life is much, much, to the point of being horrifying, simpler; I lost 60 pounds; and I walked about 10.000 steps a day (until I didn't; I should get back to it). Now I live a lot closer to the moment, so my resolutions are not as far ranging. They will involve knitting, because that is one thing I can count on. 

My Resolutions for 2018

1. For everything that I knit for myself (to give away or keep), I resolve to knit one or more items for charity. The homeless veterans that my friend Marie helps every December deserve so much; the least I can do is give them a warm hat or socks or mittens. As the wife of a veteran, I am appalled that our veterans don't get what they need, but that has always been the case. I am still appalled. Also, as I knit for the wonderful children in my life, I also know that other kids are without the warmth of a hand knitted hat or mittens to keep them warm when they play outside in the winter, and that is something I want to lend a hand in. There is a local school to which it will be very good to give little hats and mittens. My sister Rachel taught for years, and she always loved to get mittens and hats for kids who needed them. She knit for classrooms after she retired, so I will carry on the tradition.

2. Be happy. It's always a struggle. But, a happy knitter is a better knitter!

It's a pretty short list, but short lists are easier to achieve!

My brown Norderny is about 60% done:

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I bound off the body last night, and I will start knitting the sleeves today. I love this sweater!

I knit one hat for a veteran, and I am about 80% done a second one. They both look like this:

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The pattern is Barley from TinCanKnits and the yarn is Paintbox by Knit One, Crochet Too, now discontinued. TinCanKnits has so many wonderful free patterns! 

Nancy Howard, a valued Unique One employee, dropped off a bunch of yarn at my house. It was mostly on cones, and a couple  gigantic cones were sport weight acrylic, black and turquoise. I was thrilled at the black and turquoise, but not so thrilled that it was acrylic. But,  I twirled them together with a ply of sport weight wool in natural, et voilà! Visions of turquoise zebras danced in my head!

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Behold my Turquoise Zebra blanket! It's soft and cushy, and while it would be warmer if it were all wool, still, it is some good against the cold. I think I have enough yarn for two or three 4' x 6' blankets. The pattern I am using is Make A Long Story Short by Wanda Sowizdral. It is a free pattern and is written for fingering weight yarn, but my turquoise zebra yarn is on a US10.5/6.5mm needle, so it is bulky. I'll just knit it until it is about four feet up one side, and then I'll make it straight til it's about six feet, and then I will finish it off. Simple geometry. Bulky weight makes things go so much faster! 

Finally, here is the picture of  Sidney wearing her purple Aran coat. The grin is priceless!

 
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Brown Study

I hope all of you had a good Christmas! It was snowy here in Maine, and we had a quiet Christmas. I got a lot of knitting done, though.

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This is what I was working on. I started this sweater back in June, and got sidetracked doing other things, but after I got the purple Aran coat done, I brought it out of hibernation. It is knitting up fairly quickly.

The pattern is Norderny by Isabelle Kraemer.


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It is knit from the top down, with a simple little pattern up the front, and a plain stockinette back and sleeves. Easy peasy. I only had about 5 rows done on the back when I started, and I am already over 40% done with it just since I started in again on December 19th.

The yarn is Webster from Wildwood  Yarns, which I got from WEBS, a fabulous yarn heaven. It is a machine-washable DK weight yarn, 75% acrylic and 25% wool, which I got because it was too good a deal to pass up. I don't really love acrylic yarn, but this yarn feels ok --- still acrylic-y, but it doesn't squeak when I move in it. I sold a ton of Plymouth Encore from Unique One, and this is similar. Webster is on sale: 300 yards for 1.49??? I'll take it. My whole sweater would only cost me about $7.50, if I bought it today. In orange or green, the colors that are left. They are having  closeout.

WEBS is having a huge year-end sale at the moment, so if you need yarn, now is the time! Also, I heard that Over the Rainbow is having a going out of business sale too, so if you are in the Rockland, Maine area, go buy yarn! 


Ta Daaaa! It's Finished!

My purple Aran Coat for a special little girl is done! I think she will like it, don't you?

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I still have to steam the collar; it refuses to lie still without flipping up, something that I have always had problems with.

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The color of it is a pretty, dark, eggplant-y purple, not lilac as shown here. But the lilac shows up the pattern very well, so I left it!

Also, happy birthday to my sister-in-law Pam! Have a happy day!


So Close ....

I got the yarn from WEBS the day after my last blog post, and thankfully, it was the same dye lot. Thank you WEBS!

It was a bit tricky to knit and to sew together, but here it is:

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Now all I have to do is knit the button bands, sew everything together, weave in the ends, take out the millions of cat hairs, and steam block it. Probably be done in another six months. 


Well Damn

I ran out of yarn three rows before starting the border around the collar on my little Aran Coat:

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I saw that I was running out when I started the collar. But the thing is, I had no idea what shape the collar was going to be, nor the size of it. The pictures in the book didn't show it, nor did the schematic diagram show the collar. Upon reading the directions, though, it was clear that the collar was a sizeable piece of intricate knitting, so I went ahead and ordered another skein of yarn. I hope that WEBS still has the dye lot, but if they don't, oh well -- it will just mean that the border around the collar and the button bands will be a slightly different shade of purple!

I usually order an extra skein of yarn when ordering a sweater amount, but for some reason I didn't this time, and it bit me in the ass. Lesson learned! Even though you think you know what you are doing (I mean, I used a calculator and everything), always order extra yarn! The bonus is, I'll have purple for my scrappy hats! Yay! My purple yarn should be here today or tomorrow.


The Unique One Knitting Group

Back when Unique One was open, there was a knitting group, and it was a lovely thing which brought people together. I thought it was about time for me to start one up on Ravelry because I missed it, and there may or may not be something in the offing in January which will necessitate having a place to talk together. 

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At the end of August a designer named Elizabeth Elliot put out a notice that for a few days all her pattern sales would be donated to Hurricane Harvey relief, and I bought a few patterns, and a couple people expressed an interest in some sort of a Knit-along of her patterns for fun in January. I have been thinking about resurrecting Unique One's knitting group and thought, well, we need a place for the knit-long, so why not do it now? So I made a group. People started to show up.

If you  would like to join in on the Unique One knitting group, or if you know anyone who would, just send them to Ravelry.  Click this link to join the group, and that's it! You're in! You can say a lot or a little, or just sit and watch for a while, much like the real Unique One knitting group. But this one has the advantage of being virtual, you can be anywhere in the world, visit the group when you want to, and I even included a chat room if you want to converse with people. (I don't really know how to use  a chat room, but it sounded good. Hey, maybe for football Sunday we could use it to knit and yak and watch football together? Cool. Anyway.) 

You do have to join Ravelry and have a username, but it is free. All you have to do is sign up! Let me know if you have any problems getting a Ravelry account and I'll try to talk you through it.

 


Score!

Need a quick, simple counter that runs in your browser? Check out Scoreboardz! Designed to keep score for several people, it's a gaming device, but I used it for counting my increases on the sleeve of the little purple Aran Coat that I am making. I bookmarked it too, so I can use it in the future. It probably would not be my counter of choice for a whole project, because it may get deleted or the cat may step on the keys and increase the number astronomically. But for something simple, it's nice.

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It can keep track of 12 people (or increases or decreases or whatever) and it has 10 backgrounds to choose from. Pretty cool, I think. Anyway, just thought I would share that with you. I'm putting it here in my blog so I can find it again in the event that I lose my bookmark!


Tis the Season

Thanksgiving is behind us and we are starting to get into the spirit of good will and cheer. I finished the Christmas stocking that I was working on:

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It's so pretty! I didn't buy the colors specifically for a Christmas stocking, but they work. I mostly used Arne & Carlos' Christmas Stocking, but I added Mary Jane Mucklestone's book 200 Fair Isle Motifs (#110, snowflakes) and Renée Kies socks pattern O Dennenboom for the Christmas trees.

I also updated the look of my blog. The flowers were looking a bit too flowery, so I streamlined the look, and made a new banner. I used a fabulous free font for the title: Kingthings Needles by Kevin King. There are lots of cool things on his site, and more fonts too. Go check him out!


Oh Hi There!

Whoops! It is November already! I've done stuff!

Stuff I Made:

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Purple fingerless mitts. Pattern: Sally Roger's Reading Mitts, by Sally Rogers. I used Jo Sharp DK wool. These would make a good Christmas gift! They were quick to knit and they look fabulous.

Next, I made some baby things for a baby who is about to be born. 

 

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The baby blanket didn't have a pattern, but it was made from Rowan Purelife Organic Cotton DK. The sweater  is Oat Couture Victorian T-shirt by Annie Dempsey, and I knit it from Katia Mississippi 3 Print. I started to knit it right before I had my stroke, and I finally got to finish it! The socks are knit from Yankee Knitter #29 Classic Socks for the Family by Melinda Goodfellow, out of scraps from my sheep socks. The adorable booties are Little Eyes by Inma Gijón, and I knit them out of fingering weight cashmere that I believe was once something in a kit, but I am not sure what. Couldn't be cuter than those booties though!

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I made a pair of adult socks too, from Yankee #29, but they were from Tofutsies yarn that was in my stash.

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I've made six hats, but I only used two patterns: Storhedder, by Mary Jane Mucklestone (the two mostly pink hats), and Stash Slip Stitch Hat by Renée Rico (the green/yellow/black/white one). The others were just ... hats. All were out of scrap yarn! I have been on a hat kick lately, and I have a pile o' knitting ahead of me to use up. Remember the Mousies of Doom from a few years ago? Well, this is the same thing, but with hats. And no catnip. 

Stuff I Am Doing Now:

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The Aran purple coat keeps getting interrupted by other things, but it is moving steadily along toward the finish line! The back and right front are done, and the left front is about half done. I have bagged the idea of using old-fashioned techniques to knit it, in favor of snapping pictures of stuff that I need from the book and making a spreadsheet to keep track of the rows. Blame it on Pogo. She kept sprawling across all the lovely paper that I needed to use to knit, so I had to go to the screens. They are vertical.

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This is the beginning of a Christmas Stocking for the two year old who got the sweaters. It is based on Arne & Carlos' Christmas Stocking (go check them out on YouTube and on their blog, they are a hoot! They have tons of useful and entertaining information too!). I have added pattern #110 from Mary Jane Mucklestone's 200 Fair Isle Motifs, and the Christmas Trees from O Dennenboom (socks) by Renée Kies

Stuff I am Not Doing:

I am no longer knitting my Daily Mindfulness Blanket; it was turning out too heavy for a blanket and what I finished is now Pogo's daily mindfulness purring and kneading mat. She loves it. I think I will start it again in lighter weight yarn, not scrap yarn -- something DK or sport, with gradual color changes like Noro. That would be pretty as well as giving me a good project for mindfulness. 

I unraveled my Ka'ana Shawlette too, for similar reasons. I was using a hairy, sturdy Aran weight yarn and the resulting fabric was too stiff and bulky and itchy ... I really couldn't see anyone cuddling up in it. The yarn is perfect for hats though! Woohoo! I'll use a different yarn for Ka'ana, something silkier and softer; it will be a joy to work with. I think I have something in my stash, in fact ...

Nanowrimo. Sigh. I finally got an incredible story idea, something big and broad and mysterious and delightful yet a bit scary, but I got the idea on October 31 (and it isn't a Halloween story either), which meant that I didn't have time to do any research but hey, that is life. Unfortunately the power was out, but I wrote for one day on November 1, and then my iPad died. And my iPhone died. And my computer died. It took a week for power to be restored ... so I decided that it was a higher power who decided that I should do the research and get my spiffy new idea good and ready for next year! So I will be all set for Nanowrimo 2018!


Odds & Ends, and Knitting Words and Their Lack of Digitality

After finishing my sheep socks, I had a lot of leftover yarn sitting in the bag looking balefully at me. Now, although I have a bajillion favorites in my "Colorwork" bundle on Ravelry, none of them sang to me. I just wanted something simple, something easily, mindlessly knit while watching NCIS shows in the evening. I am therefore knitting a children's hat with a couple stripes in it for interest. 

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It is going slow.

The pattern (yes, although this hat is drop-dead simple, I used a pattern; that is how pathetic I have become) is DROPS 12-37

My main project at the moment is the Aran Coat from Debbie Bliss in purple. Actually, this color deserves an exclamation point and all caps, it is a show stopper -- it is an Aran Coat in PURPLE!!

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Hehehe. Gotta love it. Also I love my awesome new bookmark that Lynne painted for me. It is of hollyhocks in pinks and purples that seem to go with the Aran Coat! 

This pattern is the Aran coat from Debbie Bliss Classic Knits for Kids, which was first published in 1994, and is now out of print. (Your library may help you to find a copy, and there are used booksellers too.)

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That was before the Internet really got going, so the book is really not digital in any way. I was kind of stunned at how dependent I had become on my computer when I knit. Usually I download the pattern, read it on some screen or another, keep notes in a sticky note on the screen, keep track of where I am with a line or a ruler that I can just move into place on the screen. But this pattern? Nope. 

It. Is. A. Book. 

Yikes. 

My first inclination was to put all the panels for the Aran in pictures on my iPhone, put them all into a .pdf document, and bam! But I didn't. I decided to do it the old-fashioned way.

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Also, there are  NO CHARTS. Ugh. Everything is written out. With words! Knitting words! 

I had forgotten how much concentration this way of knitting took. But the Aran Coat is going well and I am enjoying it, once I remembered all the skills that I hadn't used in like, ten years. It's coming out very cute. 

Because of the concentration required and the space it takes up on the table, I have also started knitting a shawl to use up some worsted weight that I had lying around. I am knitting the Ka'ana shawlette by Jennifer Weissman, which promises to be a lovely thing to snuggle into and it will be knit quickly too, since it is on size 8 needles. I am using white, oatmeal and pink and maybe dark gray, I don't know yet. But it'll be pretty.

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And it is really easy to knit!!!!!!!

 

 


Sheeps Socks, and a Wonderful Thing!

My sheep socks are done:

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Now it just needs to get cold enough to wear them! They are sooooo beautiful ... but there is a lot of end-weaving-in to do.

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I wove in the  ends as I knit, and I am glad I did.  There would be approximately 65 ends to weave in for one sock, and even for someone like me who doesn't mind weaving in ends, that is a lot. So if you are one of those people who has sweaters in the closet, all knit, just waiting to have the ends woven in, beware! You may need to find a weaving-in buddy that you can trade something with. Just sayin'.

My friend Barb and her husband Mark stopped by for their annual visit the other day, and it was great to see them. Look what they are lending me for a whole year:

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Five audible knitting books! It's a Wonderful Thing!! I am so thankful to have good friends. 

Here is my next project:

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This is purple yarn for an Aran coat sweater for a little girl who loves purple! I'll tell you all about it next time!


Sleepy Sheep and Decisions

I finally got some 3.0mm (2.5US) needles and started my Sleepy Sheep socks!

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That was when I just started. After an evening of TV knitting this is what I had:

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Things progress quickly when knitting sport weight socks! I think these socks will be my favorite socks this winter; a double thickness of sport weight yarn will be cozy! I say "double thickness' because of the stranding of the unused color which runs along the back of the work, which makes them really cozy feeling.

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The Norwegian sweaters with the patterned yokes around the shoulders were not just for decoration; the double stranding of the bulky weight yarn made them really warm, like wearing a shawl or cloak around your shoulders. Smart Norwegians. They knew how to take care of the cold! 

Now for the decision I'm trying to make.

NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is coming up in November. Usually I have an idea that I've been kicking around for a while, characters kind of formulated, a plot that is hanging loosely in my mind. This year? I've got nothing. I mean N O T H I N G. 

I've been told that I should write about my stroke and recovery. The problem is, for the most exciting part, I was in a coma. And I am still recovering. And besides, I think if I write anything about it, it will have to be a non-fiction book, something to be used by the people who most need it: stroke survivors. I don't think it should be a NaNoWriMo book. 

Which got me thinking about NaNoWriMo writing. I realized I just write NaNoWriMo books "for fun".  They are a way of filling Novembers up. I never do anything with them after I write them; I don't even read them again. Why would I want to read something so horrible?? I know, you are telling me that I should do all the stuff to edit them and get them published. The problem is, it is a lot of work to get something publishable. And I am really lazy. If I am going to work that hard on something, I want it to be something important, like working to walk without my brace or using my right hand and arm. Publishing a book seems not that important, especially a piece of fluff like my writing. 

I'll think about it further, but right now I am not very enthusiastic about it. Maybe I just need more coffee! Or an idea!


Back to School in Sweaterland

It's back to school time! Hope all the young beasts out there are appropriately joyful (or miserable, as the case may be.)

I knit some birthday presents for Georgia and Thomas and gave them to them last weekend. Thomas' should have been given much earlier, but late is better than never, especially when it comes to birthday presents!

Terrifying Thomas loved his "pirate ship" sweater:

Pirate ship sweater
Pirate ship sweater

The first photo is a truer representative of the color; it is a fairly bright blue. Not glaring, just bright. The second picture is of it as it was blocking.  The yarn is Valley Yarns Superwash, an extra fine merino that is easy care. The pattern I used was Hélène Rush's Sailboat Pullover. I made the 4 year old size, as Thomas turned 4. It fit him nicely and he loves it, but I don't think it will fit for long. He keeps growing!! 

Georgia loved her "back to school" sweater too ... I think she hasn't taken it off yet!

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I asked Georgia to choose the colors, and she picked bright pink, of course. It is Drops Merino Extra Fine UniColor that is superwash, so it is easy care too, but it is 100% wool so it should be warm. I can't believe how soft both of these sweaters were. You would never believe they were wool sweaters! The pattern I used for Georgia's sweater was Ewelina Murach's Flower Cardigan.  She also has nine other FlowerMotif things that she has written the pattern for, including a pullover, a t-shirt, a dress, and hats for kids, as well as a Flower pullover, cardigan, hats and a scarf for adults. And they are all seamless to knit ... no sewing involved! 

Unfortunately I didn't get a good picture of the back, so I stole one:

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It was a fun sweater to knit. 

I didn't start my Sleepy Sheep socks. I couldn't believe I didn't have a size 3.0mm needle (2.5 US). Dang it. But as soon as I get one I will do it!! 


Aaaaaand It Is September!

I've been doing a lot of knitting, some of which I have pictures of:

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Purple Reyna ... I love it! I had finished it before my last post, but this is a new picture.

Cresting Wave Shawl

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I was working on this on my last post. It is the Cresting Waves shawl. I blocked it (my living room is filled with the giant foam insulation board that I use to block things); blocking big, wet things is fairly hard to do with one hand and no magic, but somehow I did it. I love wearing this! It is soft and light and airy, but oh so warm! It is only 45°F here today on the coast of Maine, so I have it around my neck as I type. Sure feels nice.

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These are the Ainigma mittens from Tori Seierstad. They were a mystery knitalong that I did in the summer, and I had a lot of fun.  I may make them in different colors sometime.

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Another mystery knitalong that I did this summer was the Calendula shawl by Susanna IC. It is a beautiful design! I may make this one again at some point too. I love wearing it!

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I just finished these men's socks. I am using up yarn that was part of an afghan kit from long ago in grays and browns, not really my colors. It feels good to use up yarn!

I am using the beige wool to knit this at the moment:

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This will be a toddler cardigan for my great niece, who has a birthday coming up in November. The pattern is free, and it is a joy to knit: Liva, from Signe Strømgaard.  I just started it yesterday, and I am already dividing the sleeves off from the body. Amazing how quick it is to knit a two-year-old size sweater with aran weight yarn! The yarn is Naturally Aran 10-ply, which is discontinued, unfortunately.

Later this weekend I plan to start some socks that I have been dying to knit for a while: Sleepy Sheep socks from Drops.

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I ordered the yarn from Drops, too, in those exact colors, and they will be adorable! And warm! The yarn is Karisma, a 100% wool yarn, dk in weight. They will be fun to knit!

Elizabeth Elliot has patterns for sale on Ravelry; she is giving 100%  of the profit from them to Hurricane Harvey victims until midnight tonight. I got a bunch of patterns, and I am doing a knitalong in January to use a pattern or two. I like Line and Shadow and Northwest Passage. If you would like to join me in January to knit them, stay tuned!

 

 


It's the Middle of June Already!

Time goes so fast when you are not doing much at all! 

We watched The Wizard of Oz a couple nights ago. It was a fun return to my childhood. I remember that the whole family watched the little black and white television: Mum, Dad, a couple siblings and I. Everyone was all grown up but me. I was so scared of that wicked witch! I never realized that it was in color once Dorothy got to Oz; it was a nice surprise. Anyway, Dorothy says, "My! People come and go so quickly here!" In my case, it was time that went quickly!

So, what have I been up to? I was sooooo sick with a cold for about two weeks, but I am all over it, thank goodness. I rarely get sick at all, but this cold laid me low. During those two weeks I could just sleep and drink a lot of water and cough, a lot.  But I did get some knitting done after I got better.

I finished my Harpswell Inn Hitchhiker:

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I find that I wear it more than anything right now, and it is very colorful! I love it.

I have been bad about getting pictures of my finished projects, so you will have to use your imagination a bit on these. I finished Reyna out of some hand dyed purple fingering weight.

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This is the picture I got of it.

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This is the picture from the pattern.  It's a fun knit, fairly mindless, and quite pretty when it is done. It has gone upstairs to be blocked. No telling if I will ever see it again.

I knit a pair of purple socks; again, only one is pictured, but rest assured that I knit the complete pair!

Purple socks

That was my TV knitting for  a couple weeks. 

What I am working on now is a shawlette from the book MAINE knits, by Beatrice Perron Dahlen. It is called the Cresting Waves Shawl and is designed by Leah B. Thibault. 

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(photo from Leah B. Thibault)

I am using a skein of Meadow by the Fiber Company in the color Bellflower.

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It is a light fingering weight merino wool, baby llama, silk, and linen blend which has a lovely drape (thank you, linen) and sheen (thank you, silk) that feels soft and warm and luxurious (nods to the merino wool and the baby llama). I love this combo of fibers, and I have never seen it before. 

It likes to fight my needles a bit, as it seems to have its own mind, so at times I have to be forceful to make it go where I want it to go. (I suspect the linen is responsible for this.) Sometimes at first, it flew right off the needles when I wasn't paying attention! Twice! The first time I was only a few rows up so I unraveled it and started over, and the second time I said, "Shit!!" "Look, Mister, you had just better behave!!!" and I got it back on the needle. I learned my lesson, and it has been under my watchful eye ever since. I think when this lace panel is done and I am working on the plain stockinette part, it will be much better behaved. 

This yarn feels so good! I can't wait to wear it!! Here is what there is so far, after three and a half repeats of the lace panel:

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I wish you could feel it. It is so yummy.

Have a good day, everyone. Isn't this weather wild?? So hot and then so cold! 

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Despair, and Determination

Backstory: In 2010 I had a pretty bad stroke, and I probably should have  died, but thanks to a series of remarkably lucky events I stayed alive. I learned to breathe and swallow, eventually moving from my bed to a wheelchair and then to a brace and cane. I got the use of some fingers back and can pinch a circular needle now. In short, I have spent the last seven years recovering from my stroke, and I still have a lot of improvement to go, but I am working on it.

My stroke paralyzed my right side, and I was right-handed, which meant that besides all the stuff that I needed to learn how to do all over again like breathing and swallowing, there was the added trauma of learning to do everything in life not only one-handed, but left-handed as well. Sometimes life just sucks so much. But, I'm still alive. Gotta love it.

Thanks to the fact that it was 2010, technology made it possible that I didn't have to learn to write. My occupational therapist let me focus on my knitting, and it was a good thing that she did. With the exception of the very rare occasions that I have had to legibly sign my name on paper (I can count on one hand how many times it was) I have never had to write anything by hand at all. Handwriting schmandwriting, we can all just keyboard. Keyboarding is faster and easier and more legible than handwriting anyway! Yay!

But in the back of my mind, a frown was growing. A feeling that I was not doing something important to learn for my mind and my well-being. I spent a lot of time ignoring it, and spent the time walking and improving my knitting. My knitting now is exactly as it was before my stroke. I am pleased with that.

But the frown in my mind had not abated, it had grown and time had not made it go away. The dark, seamy side of What Can't I Do suddenly took on a name: I couldn't handwrite. Everything else in life, I had made progress on, significant progress. But I couldn't handwrite a story neatly and legibly. For someone who had taught penmanship to junior high students (at least a little bit), that really grated on my nerves.

I was always the woman in love with journals and pencils and pens. I loved to write, I spent many happy hours writing my journal and my stories. I loved the feel of the pencil or the pen as it moved across the paper. As I hand-wrote, I could think about what it was that I wanted to say. You could say that my mind poured out through my pen onto my paper.

I had set up a thing with my sister who had been a primary school teacher, and I would write her a letter every week, and it seemed to help ... but then she died and I quit writing again. By this point it was 2015, five years after my stroke. I searched the internet for anything about learning to write and was met with thousands of second grade level happy little worksheets. I did some of them, but you know. I was 55 years old.  I determined to get a notebook and write every day.  Sadly, no one ever needed to have anything handwritten anymore. I despaired and flirted with depression.

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That is what I wrote on January 6, 2015. It is appallingly bad, especially when you realize I wrote it agonizingly slowly. I was writing at my best. 

I wrote like that for a few months and quit. 

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That is from December 14 of the same year. My handwriting was even worse.  So then I really quit. Quit quitter quit quit quit. There was still keyboarding, thank God.

I got into coloring books, thinking that that would help train my fingers to hold a pencil, and to my surprise I could color without making a mess of things:

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But, it was so slow that it wasn't any fun anymore. I started a couple more pictures and I quit. Again.

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Time passed, two years went by, but the little frowny face in my mind was still there and fuming. It just rankled me that there was something that I couldn't do, something that I couldn't work on to make better. So back to  the internet I went. 

And holy pencils Batman! There it was!! 

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Handwriting for Heroes: Learn to Write with Your Non-dominant Hand in Six Weeks, by Kathleen E. Yancosek, Kristin Gulick, & Amanda Sammons. All the alphabet letters after their names mean that the authors are totally qualified in occupational therapy. These authors are gods. The bibliography in the book alone is impressive.

Handwriting for Heroes was originally written for people in the military who had lost the use of their hand which had been used for handwriting. It has grown to be used by stroke victims and many others: people who due to surgery or a short-term illness to their dominant hand have to write for their jobs, even people who just want to be able to write legibly with their non-dominant hand for the fun of it. I like it because finally I found something that made me handwrite, but without the hassle of going back to primary school.

For the past six weeks I have followed the course set out in the book. It is more like a workbook. There are various exercises in the pages to make me write every day, for about an hour. Yes, at first I had to take lots of breaks, and my writing really sucked. Right at the beginning of the book, at the top of the introduction, the authors say in big letters that you can't miss, in slightly more pleasant words, that your writing is gonna really suck out loud, that my hand will feel weird as hell holding the pencil, and this is gonna take a lot of time. 

My writing really sucked at the beginning when I set down my goals for the week:

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But bit by bit my writing grew to resemble normalcy:

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I can write again. My handwriting is still not perfect, not as pretty as it used to be, and it is not as fast as it used to be, but now I can work on it. Handwriting for Heroes helped me jumpstart my writing, and now I can work to make it easier and better and maybe, just maybe, I'll get back to the kind of writing I used to enjoy.

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Time Flies When You Are Having Fun!

My goodness, is it May already?? Wow. 

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I finished a couple things. The red Mystery in March shawl is done:

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It's more of a scarf, a decorative scarf I guess. I like it quite a bit and it used up the red yarn I had, and I actually have worn it a few times. I finished it on March 30 but didn't get it blocked and photographed for about a week.

I finally finished my six foot long Amy's Scarf!

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This has been in the works for nearly a year, though I sent it to hibernation for a good deal of the time to work on other things. It may turn out to be more or less than six feet long; I haven't blocked it yet. I absolutely love this scarf and the pattern was easy, once it clicked into place in my mind and I could just knit without any charts.

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 And yes ... it is more red. And the Harpswell Inn cowl was red. Everyone needs more red in their knitting! Remember when you were a little kid and your favorite color was red? Well, mine was anyway. What was your favorite color when you were five years old?

My project that is currently on the needles and going at a great pace, I might add, is a Hitchhiker Scarf made with Lang Yarns Jawoll Color Superwash that I got at the Harpswell Inn Knitting Weekend. 

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It is called "Hitchhiker" because in the words of the designer, "The name? Well, if you use a 150 g skein of Wollmeise 100% Merino for this, you can make how many teeth? That‘s right, 42. The answer to the question about the universe and everything, according to Douglas Adams‘ wonderful book „The Hitchhiker‘s Guide to the Galaxy“. So don‘t forget your towel, and happy knitting!" 

Pretty clever! But I am not using Wollmeise Merino, so I don't think I will get all 42 teeth on my edge. We will see. It is knitting up very fast and unlike Amy's scarf, it is all garter stitch and easy peasy to knit. I love it!


Harpswell Inn Cowl

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This cowl fits closely around the neck and is a really warm cowl. If you want it looser, you can make more squares or use a larger needle. Have fun! 

HARPSWELL INN COWL

(designed and knit at the Harpswell Inn Knitting Weekend, 2017)


1 skein Lamb’s Pride Worsted (MC)
1 skein Gina by Plymouth (CC)
(Two worsted weights, about 175 yards of MC and about 70 yards of CC)

Size 7 double pointed needles

16” size 7 circular needle  

Tapestry needle

OPTIONAL -- stitch markers, if you use a circular needle or two for Magic Loop method or two circulars method instead of using double pointed needles

Gauge: one square = 3.75 inches square

The cowl is made by knitting 2 tiers of 6 squares, each tier off-set by half a square to provide visual interest.

FIRST SQUARE:

With MC, cast on 60 sts on 4 needles (15 sts on each needle) OR divided into 4 sections with stitch markers and join into a round without twisting.
Round 1: Knit.
Round 2: *Ssk, knit to last 2 sts on the needle/before the st marker, k2tog.* around. (13 sts per needle/marker section, 52 sts in the square)
Round 3: Purl.
Round 4: *Ssk, knit to last 2 sts on the needle/before the st marker, k2tog.* around. (11 sts per needle/marker section, 44 sts in the square)
Round 5: Purl
Round 6: *Ssk, knit to last 2 sts on the needle/before the st marker, k2tog.* around. (9 sts per needle/marker section, 36 sts in the square)
Round 7: Purl
Round 8: Knit

Cut yarn; attach CC.

Round 9: *Ssk, knit to last 2 sts on the needle/before the st marker, k2tog.* around. (7 sts per needle/marker section, 28 sts in the square)
Round 10: Purl
Round 11: *Ssk, knit to last 2 sts on the needle/before the st marker, k2tog.* around. (5 sts per needle/marker section, 20 sts in the square)
Round 12: Purl
Round 13: *Ssk, knit to last 2 sts on the needle/before the st marker, k2tog.* around. (3 sts per needle/marker section, 12 sts in the square)
Round 14: *Slip 2 sts as if to knit, k1, pull the 2 slipped stitches over the knit st -- double centered decrease made* around. (1 st per needle/marker section, 4 sts in the square)

Cut yarn and thread onto a tapestry needle, and run through the 4 sts and pull tight. Weave in all ends. *Weave in the ends as you go or there will be a LOT of ends to weave in at the end!*

SQUARES 2 THROUGH 5:

With MC, pick up 15 sts on the previous square with your needle; using other needles/using st markers to separate sts, cast on with backward loop method 15 sts on each needle/each section marked off by st markers and join into a round without twisting. (60 sts).

Work Rounds 1 - 14 and finish as before, weaving in ends.

SQUARE 6 (COMPLETES THE FIRST TIER AND JOINS THE CIRCLE TOGETHER):

With MC, pick up 15 sts on the previous square with your needle; using other needles/using st markers to separate sts, cast on with backward loop method 15 sts on next needle/next section marked off by st markers; pick up 15 sts on Square 1 with your next needle; cast on with backward loop method 15 sts on next needle/next section marked off by st markers; join into a round without twisting. (60 sts).

Work Rounds 1 - 14 and finish as before, weaving in ends.

You have 6 squares done! Now for the second tier of 6 squares.

SECOND TIER

SQUARE 7:

Pick a point about halfway along the edge of a square -- you can line up the center of the square to do this. With MC, pick up 15 sts on the edge of the squares with your needle (make sure you have ended picking up sts at the halfway point of the next square); using other needles/using st markers to separate sts, cast on with backward loop method 15 sts on each needle/each section marked off by st markers and join into a round without twisting. (60 sts).

Work Rounds 1 - 14 and finish as before, weaving in ends.

SQUARES 8 - 11:

With MC, pick up 15 sts on the edge of the square just made; pick up 15 sts along the bottom edge of squares of the first tier with your needle, making sure that the sts end up about halfway along this square; using other needles/using st markers to separate sts, cast on with backward loop method 15 sts on next two needles/on next two sections marked off by st markers and join into a round without twisting. (60 sts).

Work Rounds 1 - 14 and finish as before, weaving in ends.

SQUARE 12 (JOINS 2ND TIER INTO A CIRCLE):

With MC, pick up 15 sts on the edge of the square just made; pick up 15 sts along the bottom edge of squares of the first tier with your needle, making sure that the sts end up about halfway along this square; using other needles/using st markers to separate sts, pick up 15 sts on the edge of Square 7; cast on with backward loop method 15 sts on next two needles/on next two sections marked off by st markers and join into a round without twisting. (60 sts).

Work Rounds 1 - 14 and finish as before, weaving in ends. Now you have two tiers of squares and your cowl is almost done.

ATTACHED I-CORD FINISHING:

Using CC, cast on 4 sts and then continue to pick up 100 sts around the edge of the cowl. Work attached i-cord as follows: *Knit 3 sts, k2tog; put 4 sts back on your left needle*. Repeat between *’s around the edge of the cowl. Sew i-cord ends together with a couple stitches and weave in ends.

Repeat for other edge.

 


In the meantime ...

I started to knit Sylvi on October 22 and finished it on March 22, so it took a long time to get it done. However, I didn't work on it the whole time. I took a few long-term breaks to knit other things. 

I knit the purple Ironwood Shawl that was in the KnitScene Spring 2017 magazine, out of Wildwood Yarns Arcadia in a pretty purple. The pattern called for two skeins of Madeline Tosh Sock, which has 385 yards and is about $25 a skein; I had one skein of the Arcadia and I didn't notice that the pattern called for two skeins. Arcadia has 394 yards per skein. I knit happily along, and about the time that I went to the Spa in Freeport I noticed that I was running a bit low on yarn, and that is when I saw that the pattern called for two skeins! I estimated that the amount of yarn I had would almost come close to finishing the shawl though, so I figured I would just put another color on whenever I ran out, something that would contrast nicely and look like I had planned it that way. When I got home, I rummaged through my odds and ends of sock yarns and found some pretty lavender handspun that I made eons ago, and set it aside.

But the ball kept going and going and going. It was a magic ball! Just two rows before the end of the shawl, I finally ran out of yarn. I knit the final two rows, bound off, and am quite happy with it. If I had forked out $50 for Madeline Tosh Sock yarn though, I would have been kind of mad that it had only required about fifteen yards of the second skein.

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Beside the shawl, I knit a couple sweaters that I can't show you or talk about yet, and a bunch of hats:

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Watch Cap by Michele Rose Orne


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Bayside Beanie baby hats by Stacey McCrea Warner


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Spruce Head Hat by Michele Rose Orne

Then I designed and knit a cowl at the Harpswell Inn Knitting Weekend with yarn that was provided. It came out pretty and I'll put the picture and the pattern up here when I get the pattern written; the cowl is blocking now.

Another thing that I knit (that is still blocking) is a scarf/shawl that I recently completed. It was the Mystery in March KAL (yup, I got it done in March), a lovely asymmetrical piece in a sampler of various knitting stitches, by Tori Seierstad. The yarn I used was originally used in the Mystery Sock IX: Crazy Quilt Socks, done in Old Number 8 in a dark red yarn. After working three clues, I thought I would never wear those socks (the pattern was perfect, they just were nothing I would ever wear. Sorry.) So, when I saw the mystery shawl commencing, I ripped out the sock and started the shawl. It was a blast to knit! Pictures soon. :)

So what is on the needles now? The primary thing is Amy's Scarf, which is reinvigorated after a long hibernation that started at the end of October. I started it back in July! I have to get it done. It is inspired by the scarf that Amy Pond wore in two Dr. Who shows, and I have wanted it for years, ever since I saw it on Dr. Who. I bought just the right skein of lovely red at the Spa in 2016, a red called Rock Lobster, in Mad Color Fiber Arts Sonatina. I'm about half done!

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C'est Finis!

Sylvi is finished! The petals are knit and sewed down, the buttons are sewed on, and it is as gorgeous as my niece Hillary is. As promised, pictures:

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These are abalone buttons, from a sweater kit I ordered loooooong ago. I told Hillary that I got them about 15 years ago, but in reality I think it was about 1994 or 1995. Anyway, I don't know what happened to the sweater kit, but it is gone. However, I kept the buttons but never found the perfect place to use them until now. They were actually too heavy for the mohair cardigan in the sweater kit. Sylvi will love them!

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The hood is kind of hard to photograph, especially one-handed. There is a little flower that is sort of wrapped around the top of the hood; it was pretty hard to stitch in place, but with a steady stream of not-very-nice words, I managed. 

This was a really fun thing to knit! I don't think I will knit another Sylvi, at least not right away, but I really love the cables on the back. It is a wonderful design, carefully charted out, well-written, a good production. It came out beautiful, and I am very happy with it! You can find the pattern on the Twist Collective website (Winter 2008) or from the designer, Mari Muinonen on Ravelry.com.  


So Much Fun!

I have had so much fun the last couple of weeks! 

First, the things I have knitted: not much, actually. I have my stealth knitting project almost completed. In fact, it will be finished this week probably, and I can go to Freeport at the end of the week with a clear conscience. I have, in addition, sewn up my Sylvi coat/sweater, woven in most of the ends, and am now working on the hood:

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It is kind of hard to knit because of the weight of the sweater and only having one and a quarter hands, but it is going slowly onward. I hope to finish it next week, after SPA in Freeport. At least Hillary will be able to wear it for a couple weeks before Spring!

Second is the goodies that I have bought.

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I pre-ordered MAINEknits by Beatrice Perron Dahlen a few weeks ago, and promptly forgot it, and then there it was! I wanted to get it when I realized that all of the patterns in it were in my favorites in Ravelry, which was a sign that the book needs to be on my shelf.  I was pleased to find that the book has really gorgeous pictures of Maine, a foreword by Pam Allen, and well-written essays by Sarah Kilch Gaffney, Julie Letowski, Samantha Lindgren and Beck Robbins in addition to beautiful, highly-wearable and desirable-to-knit patterns by fourteen excellent designers, including Beatrice Perron Dahlgren. 

The book is divided into three sections: Sea, Farm, and Wild, which is how I think of Maine too. I'm from Aroostook county, Maine, the wilderness was all around me in Portage where I lived, my father was a farmer, and now I live by the sea! There are five or six patterns in each section, totaling seventeen patterns in the book. Most of them are sweaters and accessories for women, but a few are unisex too, and one is photographed on a man and a child; that sweater can be made in children's sizes too. There is also a cowl in child and adult sizes as well. 

I also got some little colored stitch markers from Cocoknits.com. They are so pretty, I want to string them on a chain and wear them as a necklace! 

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I succumbed to pattern lust and bought the yarn to make these socks:

They are 173-45 Sleepy Sheep from Drops.

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They are so springy and pretty! I don't really need 450g of yarn to knit socks. I'll have yarn leftover, so maybe I will design something with Mary Jane Mucklestone's books that I have been looking over.

The best thing though is the fluff that I got from On the Round! It is soooooooo gorgeous! It makes me want to spin and spin and spin! 

Fluff

This fluff is hand dyed Corriedale top in a OOAK (One Of A Kind)  color. That means it is unique!  Rachel Jones does an incredible job of dyeing. Her colors are imaginative, playful, and creative while being harmonious too. It takes real talent to do that. I will wait as long as possible to start spinning this, but I think the beauteousness of the fluff will overwhelm me. It is sitting right beside my computer and I keep looking at it and sighing happily. I need to get a couple things done, but soon ... soon!

The third and final fun thing is ahead: SPA!!! Lynne and I are going to Freeport for the weekend (February 24,25, & 26) and we will have so much fun. We are staying at the Hampton Inn. SPA is a weekend of fibery goodness that is at three hotels in Freeport, but it really kind of takes over the town. It is like a convention of 1000 (maybe more) knitters and crocheters and spinners and weavers and felters and other fibery folk who show up for the weekend. Some people go for three or four days. Lynne and I will pretty much stay in the Hampton Inn; the vendor area doesn't really interest me much (see above) but there are many vendors and people who want their wares. Also Mother of Purl is in the area and there are a few things that they offer too this weekend, including an On the Round trunk show -- Rachel will be there in person to amaze and delight you! 

Pogo's Sweater

I haven't the heart to tell Pogo that the sweater isn't for her.


Wet and Crazy!

I decided after much dithering to wet block the pieces of Sylvi. My sister used to dither about lots of things, especially things she was afraid of doing. After a week of not sewing the pieces of Sylvi together, I realized that I, too, was doing what I used to give Rachel hell for doing. "Just do it already! What are you so afraid of? What is the worst that could happen?" I would tell her. So, I took my own advice and wet blocked the pieces. I had thought long and hard about blocking the coat all sewn together, and what a nightmare it would be. Blocking the pieces proved to be much easier and, in fact, enjoyable. 

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It is amazing how much wool changes when it is wet. These pieces were placed in the washing machine, which was then filled with water, set a while, and then spun dry. Easy peasy. When I started to pin them to the blocking board (really a slab of blue insulaton board, don't tell), it was magical how they were so easy to pull into shape! The en-even edges became even, the cable down the back that dipped down making a U-shape was easy to straighten out. I loved it! So that's where Sylvi is now: drying. It will be easy to sew together now, I can easily imagine it. The hood will be fun to knit (actually knitting this coat was pretty enjoyable), and the petals will be no problem to knit either, now that the fabric seems so flexible and pleasant to work with. The only thing that I am not sure of is sewing the petals down, but I feel that that is because I haven't done something like that since my stroke, but now I really feel like I can do it. 

My right hand (the paralyzed one) is waking up and getting more useful. I can actually hold a big tapestry needle with it, and kitchener the toes of my socks together using my right hand now! That is a big improvement. My fingers all open and close at my command -- slowly sometimes, but I will take it. I'm working on strengthening the muscles in my forearm to make it easier to lift my right arm, too. And I walk around the house quite a bit now without my cane. I walk like Frankenstein, but without my cane. I still have to wear the damn brace though. 

And now for the crazy part of my blog post!

Some readers may remember when Wendy Gaal had her first Mystery Sock Knit-along way back in 2009. I participated in it, making these beaded socks:

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Well, now she is up to Mystery Sock #9: Crazy Quilt Sock Knit-along! It started on Friday, January 27, but it is not to late to participate. You don't need to buy yarn or the pattern for the knit-along; the pattern is free, but only people who use Wendy's yarn will be eligible to win prizes in the end. The last clue will be posted March 10, and the winners will be among those who have knit one sock in one of Wendy's Knitter's Brewing Company Sock yarns

Wendy always challenges knitters with these Mystery Sock Knit-alongs. She also makes tutorials and videos that are really well done to help you learn the techniques involved, and there are tons of people to help out if you have any problems at all. Several people who have never knit a sock before at all are successfully knitting this. Wendy gives you a bit at a time and spoon-feeds you the very detailed directions with lots of hand holding if you need it, and she is the most patient person with these Mystery Sock KALS that I have seen.

I got the kit with Old No. 8 sock yarn in color BAC OTL from Wendy at Knitter's Brewing Company, and wound it up:

It came with a pretty little commemorative stitch marker:

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I don't use the stitch markers that come with the sock yarn in these kits because I am using double pointed needles, but I love them and use them in other things!

SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So I have done the first Clue, and let me tell you, it is really crazy!! It is a toe up sock, knit up at an angle, with a pretty cool little texture going on! 

I love it! I can't wait to see what the next Clue will be!

 Here is a picture of an ancient Egyptian picture of a cat herding geese, since Pogo wasn't in a posing mood:

Figure-2.27ostracon-cat-herding-geese-cairoegyptianmuseum1150BCDeirelMedina