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:

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New Year, New Socks!

My New Year Socks are done! They are so sparkly and colorful! I feel like I am disco dancing when I wear them!

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(Beth laughs and laughs and then composes herself)

I have a Sylvi update, too. I have the right front done to the underarm :

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I'll finish the right front tonight, sew it together over the next two nights,  knit the hood for a couple of nights, and then there will be The Petals. Actually knitting them won't be difficult if I can get them started. I think I can do it. Anyway, the whole thing should be done in about two weeks, maybe less. It will be pretty.

I have some stealth knitting, to borrow a phrase from Wendy Johnson. It is my daytime knitting at the moment. I hope to show you at some point in the future! It is why I am only working on Sylvi at night :)

Pogo

 

 

 

 


Another Sylvi Update and Other Projects

Sylvi is growing by leaps and bounds. The back is done:


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I have the left front done to just above the underarm:

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The black yarn on the side marks the increases, and the one in the middle marks what row I started the underarm on.

Pogo the astute feline inspector says they pass and gives them a paw print of approval.

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I started some bright, glittery socks just before New Year's Eve. 

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Everyone needs bright glittery socks What a wonderful world it would be if everyone wore them. The yarn is Plymouth Yarn Stiletto, purchased from WEBS, but it seems they are out of it. I did buy it in their big year end blowout sale. Anyway, the pair is half done, and I start the second sock tonight during my daily TV watching. The pattern is the one that I have pretty much memorized, Classic Socks for the Family by Melinda Goodfellow.

I got a knitting magazine (KnitsceneSpring 2017) and a skein of lovely purple Wildwood Arcadia yarn from my friend Lynne! I started the Ironwood shawl, and it is perfect for the yarn. I love both the pattern and the yarn! 

IMG_0155_medium2    Purple shawl

Happy knitting!


Sylvi Update

It's been a week and I really haven't worked as much on Sylvi as I thought I would have. I have worked on some other, more pressing things, but always Sylvi was waiting patiently for me to come back to her! I am now up to the underarm on the back. The rest should go pretty quickly now that I can focus on Sylvi and only Sylvi!

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The little green and orange markers around the bobbles are marking the stitches where I will pick up stitches and knit the flower petals.

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I haven't done three dimensional knitting like this before (or if I have, it was so long before my stroke that I have forgotten it entirely), so I am a bit nervous about doing it. I will try my hardest, and then I will either do it, or not. If I can do it, yay! If I can't do it, I will cry bitterly for a while and then meekly ask for some help. I really don't want to do that though, and I will try everything that I can think of to figure out a way to do it. The problem will be not with the knitting -- the petals are pretty easy to knit -- it will be holding the back steady with one hand (it is a large piece of knitting!) as I try to knit them with the same hand. Easy for most people, hard for me. I love a challenge! Stay tuned! 


Happy New Year!

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Christmas is over with! Let the rabble-rousing commence! Like swinging from the tail of an airplane! With a mushroom and a horsehoe! And champagne! I hope the olive branch means peace :)

I got a few things done for Christmas this year that I couldn't show you, but now I can. 

I made a couple sweaters and a shawl and a pair of socks for a lovely woman who married my nephew:

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The black cardigan sweater was finished. I neglected to get a picture of it though. Well, I thought I got a picture, but it has since disappeared into the ether that seems to make lots of my things disappear. It is quite magical how that happens, really. The patterns I used were from left to right, Anne's Sweater by Joanna Johnston, After the Rain by Heidi Kirrmaier, Wintersweet from Boo Knits, and Kethry by Spillyjane.

I knit a hippo for my husband, because who doesn't want a hippopotamus for Christmas??? Pattern is Hippo Knitting Pattern by Linda Dawkins.

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I knit my brother a pair of socks. I hope his feet will stay warm this winter!

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My Peace Project got finished last night, only nine days after the Solstice. I love it! It is so pretty!

Peace Project

So, now I am working on Sylvi. You remember Sylvi? I got the sleeves done and I am about a third of the way up the back:

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The picture is kind of squished on my needles. The markers show where I will pick up the stitches to knit the flower petals later. I am really loving this project!! In a way I wish it was on smaller needles; it's on size 13 needles for me, to get the gauge. But, you can really knit this baby fast on size 13 needles and bulky weight wool! The whole chart for the back is only 157 rows. I love it! It will be done soon, but I have lots of stuff to knit that will be just as much fun! 


Peace Project Progress

Happy Winter Solstice! Here is to the shortest day of the year. Let the advancing hours of daylight begin!

 

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How is your Peace Project cowl commencing? I am very happy with mine. The Wildwood Arcadia yarn is knitting up beautifully, and the pattern has a nice rhythm to it that is gentle, yet produces a look that suits my variegated yarn. I love it.

I got started late, so my cowl isn't finished; it's a little over halfway to being done, and that is okay. I love knitting it.

One of the things that slowed me down a bit was that I chose to start it with an I-cord cast on, which made a lovely little tubular edge that I like a lot!

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It took me a day to cast on all the over 300 stitches this way, but it turned out nicely. I plan to cast off with an I-cord bind off as well, making both edges match. 

I-cord Cast on: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxNtbWYXrvg

I-cord Bind off: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddBuZzYhkO0

I hope your Peace Project Cowl is giving you a bit of peace this holiday season!
 


Sometimes a Trip Down Memory Lane Can Be Pretty Horrifying

From McCall's Needlwork & Crafts Fall-Winter 1961-62:

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From McCall's Needlwork & Crafts Fall-Winter 1964-65:

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From McCall's Needlwork & Crafts Fall-Winter 1971-72:
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And now, a word from a sponsor:

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As an excuse, I can only say, it's cold. The frost has invaded my brain!

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Project Peace

Blogger Christina is trying to change the world, and I think she is succeeding. Her blog The Healthy Knitter is having a 21-day tips for peace during December, and it coincides with a "Peace-along" on Ravelry, with her free pattern for a lovely cowl. My Daily Mindfulness blanket has languished but it will still be there in January. I'm going to join her for the peace-along, and I urge you to join me too! 

Project peace

So far she has gotten over 20,000 people to read her peace tips every day and join her peace-along. That is 20,000 individual people whose lives she has impacted in  a good way, a peaceful way. 

"And we need peace…with turmoil, and acts of violence, hatred and anger occurring daily in our country and throughout the world it’s time to take action. Often I think "but I’m just one person" but maybe, just maybe with Project Peace we can spread ideas on how to choose peace. Perhaps then, we can slowly make some changes. We’ll never overcome evil but we must find ways to cope with it."

from The Healthy Knitter, November 10, 2016

So, what do you do? Here is what she said back in November:

Here's how you join in:

  • Download the cover page of the pattern on Ravelry
  • This is only the cover page; the pattern will come to you as an update on 11/28.
  • Read the information about the project requirements
  • Please click on "fav" on Ravelry, begin a project page for the cowl, and join the Healthy Knitter group.
  • Beginning December 1, read the blog daily for 21 days to receive the tip of the day on how to infuse more peace into your life.

Will you help me promote this?

Here are some ideas on how you could spread the word:

  • Spotlight Project Peace on a blog post
  • Post on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or other forms of social media
  • Include in your electronic or print newsletter
  • Provide a give-away to those that help spread the word
  • Tell all your knitting friends, clients, customers, readers, family.

Also, there is a World-wide Knit-in for Peace on December 21. Will you will knit for peace on that day?

I think this is a great idea! It is sort of like SETI, but instead of helping to locate alien signals, we will be promoting world peace! Using knitting needles! I can get behind that.

My project for peace will be Christina Campbell's cowl knit in Wildwood Yarns Arcadia in a pretty blue-pink-purple colorway. To me, it looks like peace. 

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Heck, whatever you do to be mindful and peaceful would work too! Whether you draw, crochet, quilt, craft, sew, doodle, whittle sticks or make baskets, just do it. Be peaceful, and help others be peaceful too!

 


Whoopsie, Thanksgiving and All of November Went By Fast!

Happy Thanksgiving! Hehe :)

Sorry I haven't posted in a month; I took part in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).  I succeeded in finishing a 50,000 word novel ... well, it's really only a novella so far, but maybe it will be a novel someday. I got this: 

Nano_16_winner_shirt

In early November, I gave the cutest little 1-year old in the world this:

Jacqui_s_Stella_medium

It is Stella, by Linden Down, knit out of Knit Picks Comfy Fingering Weight yarn, a 75% cotton, 25% acrylic fiber. The color is called Hollyberry. It called out for some sparkle, so I added beads to the lace yoke and chose sparkly rhinestone buttons. It is very festive!

But, it almost didn't get made.   I started knitting it at the end of July, got down to the sleeves (it is knit from the top down), took the sleeve stitches off, and stopped. I decided at that point to look through the comments that other people who had knit it said. I expected them to say, "This is such a cute sweater!!!!!!" but no. Argggghhhhhh! Everyone said, "The neck is too big!"

I didn't really look at the neck, but once I did, I had to say, they were right. It was too big! Why didn't I read the comments before knitting so far? I really didn't want to unravel the whole thing and start over, even though I had time. Plus, I was mad for not reading the comments.  So I did the logical thing: I put it in a bag and threw it into The Chest of No Return, thinking it was a good color for socks maybe, after I got over being mad. I went on to knit other things, like an alpaca vest and a cowl. And while I knit, I thought about it, thought of different ways to fix it. 

I determined to set about remedying the sweater. I cut one stitch and unpicked the neck just above the increases for the lace yoke pattern (this included taking off the row for the top buttonhole).

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 I put the stitches back on the needle, and knit the buttonhole row on the first row of knitting -- k 2, yo, k2tog, k1, then k2tog across the row til the last 5 sts, k5. Then I did 4 garter ridges, and bound off. 

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If I had it to do over again, I think I would have done k1, k2tog across instead of k2 tog across. K2tog across made it a little bit too small and made the lace pucker too much, but it looks ok. It would look better with a few more stitches.

But, the sweet little girl and her mommy love it, and I love that it turned out okay!

Jacqui's cardigan

The Daily Mindfulness Blanket is waiting until I pick it up again. I haven't worked on it for the last month. I will pick it up again tomorrow, I promise.

                                    Sure You Will


Miss Stacy's Shawl and Sylvi

I have been busy knitting a shawl, Miss Stacy's Shawl from the book Green Gables Knits by Joanna Johnson.

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When I was visiting my mother in law one day, I showed her the book so she could see what the vest looked like that I was knitting, and she saw the shawl and said it was just what she needed, something to put around her shoulders for a little extra comfort .... and I thought: I'll knit it! I know that she could easily knit it herself, but lately her hands can't grasp knitting needles easily.

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I used three skeins of Brown Sheep Naturespun Fingering yarn and size 5 circular needles, and it took me about a month to do. The yarn was ok, but I think if I knit it again I'd use something with a little silk or cashmere, or maybe straight merino, something to make it a bit softer. Naturespun is pretty soft, but not really as soft as I would like her to have. But, it wasn't scratchy either. 

Old shale           Stockinette

The pattern was easy. It's basically an old shale lace pattern; do several repeats of it, then shift it to the right and do several repeats of it, and repeat the whole thing. The top was in stockinette stitch. It was a great pattern, and I would knit it again. Hmmm, maybe with a different lace pattern. And maybe with two colors at the top for some snazzy stripes. And maybe a button loop at the top with a cool button. 

In late September Wendy Ford and I started oohing and ahhing over a long, drop-dead gorgeous knit coat called Sylvi by Mari Muinonen

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Wendy and I dared each other to knit it, and when my niece said that she would like me to make it for her, I jumped at the chance. It is the sort of coat that should be seen and seen often, and since I don't really go anywhere, it would kinda be a wasted effort to make it for me. Dark gray was the requested color, and I ordered Eskimo from NordicMart.com early in October. The yarn came, and it was sooooo soft and luscious! It is an unspun, thick yarn like Lopi, and it's really soft and nice to work with. It splits a little, but that is to be expected from and unspun yarn. It is a bit thicker than Lopi, but squishy. I love it. I knit my gauge swatch right away, then set it aside to finish the above-mentioned shawl before embarking on the Sylvi journey.

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Then I started working on it on Saturday. This is how far I got:

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That is the cuff of a sleeve. Sunday I got this far:

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I actually didn't work on it much. It goes pretty darn fast. I'll do both sleeves first, and then I will be ready to tackle the back, the two front pieces, sew it together, and knit the hood. Then I have to knit those huge petals and figure out a way to make them lay flat and sew them down (I may need to enlist help for that). Then final blocking, and it will be done! I am doing NaNoWriMo in November, so I won't work on it much then. So, sometime in January it will be done! 

And, my Daily Mindfulness Blanket is right on schedule:

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(Pogo's butt for scale)

 


So Exciting!

1. I finished my Inspira Cowl that Lynne and I were making; it is a project that both of us got during the SPA back in February at Mother of Purl in Freeport, Maine. Lynne chose to do hers in a dark navy blue with glowing blue, green, turquoise and brown colors peeking through, and it looks like a cathedral window.  I, on the other hand, went with a riot of color. I chose to use 2 skeins of Lang Yarns Milli Colori Baby color 845 (Tutti Frutti) and a skein of Louisa Harding Amitola in color 845 Violetta. We both finished our cowls this week, and I am very happy with my result! 

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2. My Daily Mindful Meditation Blanket is coming along nicely. It is 13 days since I started. The project is openly shared on Ravelry so you can see it, but here are a few pictures:

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The blanket will be 10 diamonds across, and I'm thinking 15 diamonds high. We will see.

3. The yarn for my next big project is waiting at the post office! I'll pick it up today. I hope it is just right for what it is intended for. I'll tell you all about it later!

4. This is October, a fine month, laden with scary movies and chocolate. But the big news is that NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is next month! So exciting!  This year I have my whole plot written out, so I know where I am going. I am ready! It should be fun!


One

Today I started a new project: a Daily Mindfulness Meditation Blanket. 

Square One

What is it? It's a modular knit scrap blanket to use up all the yarn scraps that I have accumulated. I am knitting one square a day, in the mornings, mindfully focusing my thoughts to create peace (in my mind) and healing (because I still am healing after my stroke six years ago).

I'm using a size 8 needle (5.0 mm), and worsted weight-ish yarn. I begin each square by casting on 36 stitches.

I am loosely using the Memory Blanket pattern that I found on Ravelry, but I am orienting the squares as diamonds rather than squares. I am weaving in all ends as I go. I will knit “Square One” squares until the blanket is wide enough, and then I’ll knit the rest of the diamonds as “Square Four” until the blanket is long enough. I will see how long it takes me doing one square a day to get a blanket!

In other news, I finished the Casu Cowl with my handspun yarn:

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Recognize the yarn? Hehe. 

I also finished a lovely vest for my husband:

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It looks better on him than it does on my laptop. The pattern is "Matthew's Vest", from Green Gables Knits: Patterns for Kindred Spirits, a Christmas gift from my dear sister in law. The yarn, an 80% locally grown alpaca from an alpaca named Riata with 20% bamboo added to it, is from the Maine Alpaca Experience. The bamboo gives it a nice drape. It is supposed to be worsted weight but it seems a bit thin to me ... however, it worked up fine (after I got it made into balls; what a nightmare! Thanks to Lynne who helped me untangle it!). It makes a lightweight but warm vest, and the yarn looks very classy indeed. 

Amy's Scarf is coming along nicely ... slowly, but nicely:

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There are a couple other things, but I can't show them til later. They are secret. Shhhh. 


The Magic of Coffee Flour

People who know me know that I love coffee. I adore it, I live for it, it makes me happy. So, I was pretty chuffed when I  heard about coffee flour.

Coffee flour is produced from milling the fruit, rather than the seed of a coffee plant. Usually, the fruit is a waste product, discarded as a useless byproduct that clogs up the environment. Imagine if apple  seeds were the only part used, and the apple part itself was discarded and left to rot. Pretty messy, right?

Well, Dan Belliveau, a former technical services director at Starbucks, along with other tech guys and engineers, figured that coffee berries were good for something else besides piles of garbage or rotting in the rivers. They milled the coffee berries into flour. They didn't expect to make it available on the retail market, but somehow it ended up on Nuts.com and voilá: my coffee world is complete.

Coffee flour doesn't taste like coffee. It has a deep, rich flavor that is sort of ... brown. Burgundy brown. I've heard that it is good in smoothies, soups, and sauces, and I will try that out, especially the smoothie part. A tablespoon has 34 little calories, 5 grams of dietary fiber (both insoluble and soluble so your tummy will love you), is rich in potassium and iron, and has more antioxidants per gram than pomegranates. It is high in protein and potassium. Throw in the fact that it is low-sodium, fat-free, gluten-free, is paleo and vegan friendly, and makes the environment better: coffee flour attains food nirvana -- and not just because it comes from coffee! 

I ordered it from Nuts.com, getting a 12 ounce bag for $6.99, just to try it out. I read that coffee flour isn't exactly like regular all-purpose flour or whole wheat flour, it is more like soy or almond flour. You should mix it with other flours, about 10% to 30% coffee to 90% -70% other. You have to find the right blend for you. In texture, it is kind of like cocoa powder both in color and feel, though cocoa powder is finer. 

The first thing I tried it out on was this recipe from allrecipes.com called "Apple Cinnamon White Cake". Pay no attention to the name. I used it as a base to make a loaf of apple bread. I chose it because it was low calorie, had the mix of apples, brown sugar, butter and flour I wanted. The mix of flour that I had on hand was milled einkorn flour, soy flour, and coffee flour. I baked it in a loaf pan, and it came out pretty good, as an apple bread sort of thing for breakfast. But it really didn't have enough taste. So I tried again.

This time I used a molasses cookie recipe from allrecipes.com that looked like a good recipe. I mean, how can you screw up molasses cookies, right? The first batch, I rolled into balls and sugar like they said in the recipe, but they didn't flatten out at all. Doesn't matter! They tasted great! They are like little molasses doughnut holes. The rest of the cookies I flattened out after I rolled them in sugar, so they looked better. And they still tasted great!

If you have coffee flour and soy flour and almond flour, you can make my version of Molasses Cookies too. 

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Molasses Cookies

3/4 cup coconut oil, melted (or any combination of butter and coconut oil)

1/2 cup Splenda (I'm diabetic, use 1 cup of sugar if you are not)

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

1/4 cup molasses

1 cup soy flour

1/4 cup almond flour*

3/4 cup coffee flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

about 1/2 cup sugar to roll the cookies in

  1. In a medium bowl, mix together the melted coconut oil, sugar and Splenda, and egg until smooth. Stir in the molasses. Combine the flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger; blend into the molasses mixture. Cover, and chill dough for 1 hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Roll dough into walnut sized balls, and roll them in the remaining white sugar. Press them flat. Place cookies 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
  3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until tops are cracked. Cool on wire racks

* I only had 1/4 cup of almond flour. If I had had more, I would have used a cup of almond flour, and half a cup each of coffee flour and soy flour. Oh darn, I have to make more cookies!


I Won the Sweater Triathlon!

Jimi Hendrix playing the National Anthem

 I don't know what a sweater triathlon is. That is just what they call knitting a sweater in the two weeks over the Olympics. A real sweater triathlon maybe would be if you knit three sweaters: one seamed, one in the round and one modular ... that would be a hell of a thing, hmmmm...

Anyway, I did it. I finished shortly before noon on Thursday, three whole days before I thought I would. The ends are woven in, the buttons are sewn on, and the sweater fits perfectly. 

Pictures of the finished sweater:

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Now I can go back to knitting my socks out of handspun wool and my beautiful lace scarf of red merino and silk, and spinning lovely alpaca. And wearing my newly completed sweater! 


The Summer 2016 Ravelry Games Update!

Halfway to the finish line! I can almost hear the cacophony of 200 or so Ravelry national anthems swelling the stands! 

My sweater is puttering along nicely:

Day_4_RG   Day 4

Day_5_RG_medium   Day 5

Pogo tired of watching me knit   Look! A cute kitty!

Day_7_RG_medium   Day 7

Day_8_RG_medium   Day 8

Bah humbug   Nicky would be tired of watching me knit too.

Cats 003   So would Nora.

Day 11   Day 11

I hope to be finished in time!

I am trying a sort-of new-to-me technique, magic loop knitting. It's where you use a circular needle with a long cord to knit small circumferences in the round, like on socks or sleeves; some people do it to bypass having to use double pointed needles, but I do it because I didn't have any freaking size 9 double pointed needles AND my Denise set of circular needles was missing one pair of needles --- you guessed it, size 9! Therefore I couldn't use the two-circular-needles method for small circumferences. So I am using a 36 inch (or 42 inch, don't know exactly) size 9 circular needle to knit my approximately ten inch circumference sleeve (which will be even smaller at the cuff). Good times. 

Magic Loop   Pogo's butt for size reference

The sleeves look too narrow, but hey. I can always unravel it and re-knit it after the Olympics are done if I need to.

I actually "invented" this method of knitting many, many years ago while on a camping/canoeing trip with friends. It must have been the 1970's or early 80's because Icelandic sweaters were all the rage, and I was knitting them for everybody on my Christmas list. The only thing I hadn't remembered to pack was my needles for the sleeves ... which I needed. Sigh. 

Most people would have given up on it, stuffed the sweater in the bag, and made a S'more. Not me. Maybe I needed to have the sweater done by the time I got back, I don't recall. But, I figured that there must be some way of making it work, and I knit the sleeves while pulling out the two feet of extra needle as I went. It worked. 

I had to chuckle when I found this on YouTube.com: The Traveling Loop method.

Or, the Being Stuck Up the Creek Without Double-Pointed Needles method. Hehe. 

See you at the finish line!!! 

 


The 2016 Ravellenic Games

(Previously known as the Knitting Olympics, but we can't use that name anymore since 2012)

I am knitting a sweater for this year's games. Yes, a whole sweater. No, not a sweater for a doll, it is for me. I have 14 days to do it; I have to get the ends woven in and take a picture by the end of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

My Opening Ceremonies:

The yarn: 10 skeins Rowan Calmer, plum.

Rowan_Calmer_Plum_1_medium

The pattern:

Final Frontier Sweater, designed by Annamária Ötvös.  From the pattern description:

"Final Frontier is a top-down, seamless, boxy pullover with garter stitch panels and an interesting construction. We start the work with the shoulder saddles, they are worked sideways and joined at the center of the back neck. Then the stitches of the fronts and back are picked up along the edges of the saddles and the upper yoke is worked back and forth in rows. Shoulders are shaped with some short rows and the deep yoke is shaped with unusually placed invisible increases. After the front placket is complete we continue to work in the round to the underarms where the stitches of the body and the sleeves are separated and body is worked in one piece to the hem. Sleeves are worked in the round from the underarm to the cuff. Stitches for the neckband are picked up and knit in twisted rib."

Cast on during the Opening Ceremonies in Rio (counts as Day 1) and knit the left and right saddle shoulders that evening:

Day 1

 

"The most important thing in the Olympic [Ravellenic] Games is not winning but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well."

— Pierre de Coubertin

Day 2: Upper Yoke Shaping, and Shaping the Front Necklines and the Raglans

Day 2

"He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life."

— Muhammad Ali, American boxer and 1960 gold medalist. 

Day 3. Finished shaping the raglan shaping, joined the piece into the round, and worked on the lower yoke shaping. It's beginning to look like a sweater!

Day 3 Ravellenic Games

“As simple as it sounds, we all must try to be the best person we can: by making the best choices, by making the most of the talents we’ve been given.”

— Mary Lou Retton, American gymnast and 1984 gold medalist.

I have 7 more rounds of lower yoke shaping, and then I will put the sleeve stitches on waste yarn to hold them, and knit for 14 1/4 inches and do 3/4 inch of ribbing, and then the body is done. I have no idea how long that will take, but if I keep knitting, it'll get done.... and then there are the sleeves. Luckily there is just the typical sleeve shaping. 

B E L I E V E, and you can do it!

 


"Cap'n, There Be Whales Here!"

I love that Star Trek movie.  Heart-icon_21153857


OK, this post has nothing to do with whales or Star Trek, but it does have to do with sailing and something that all knitters need -- tote bags to carry their knitting in!!

My friends Lynne and Mike McHenry had a fabulous windjammer in Camden called Angelique. She is beautiful. She still is, too! Just under different owners. Captain Mike and Lynne had Angelique for 27 years, during which time they accumulated a LOT of tan bark sail, tons of it. Being the thrifty and energetic person that she is, Lynne saw the pile of old sails as a recycling  and repurposing opportunity, so she designs and makes tote bags, log carriers, and yarn/tool/garden totes out of them. 

People, let me tell you -- these are wonderful bags! I have a small tote that doubles as a yarn bag and it carries my purse in it too. Lynne designed the straps to be just the right length to put over my shoulder.

She brought over some yarn totes to show me before sending them to the very lucky recipient. I got some pictures:

Tote  Holds enough yarn for a sweater!

Inside  The top folds down to show the deep interior.

Top The top can be pulled together so the yarn comes out but stays clean. Cats and dogs are unlikely to get into it. Lynne buys material for the top as it becomes available for a good price. She always chooses the prettiest materials!

Skein   Four deep pockets are on the outside of the bag. They can be used for yarn, bottles of wine or Scotch, and cats. And tools or whatever.

Tag  The pretty tag features a picture of Angelique under full sail, displaying the canvas that your tote is made out of. Her tags say "This bag was handcrafted in Hope, Maine using recycled sails that were used aboard Angelique through the years of our ownership.

"Each bag is unique, a lot of care is given to design and construction. To clean, I recommend wiping with a damp cloth and then lie flat to dry. Caution with heat or iron. Binding will melt. Enjoy a piece of history and a memory forever! All my best!"

Each tag is signed by Lynne, who is also known as the Admiral. :) She also adds a line telling you what sail was used to make the tote. She is making totes out of a mizzen topsail right now.

Lynne's prices are reasonable and her bags are beautiful. She sells them from her Windjammer Canvas web site, and Howard also has a few at Maine Gathering in Camden. You can almost hear the wind in the sails, smell the salt water and feel the warm sun on your back as you scud down the bay, in your mind. It's the next best thing to being there! Maybe you will see a whale!


Still Spinning the Purple

I just love to spin now. My yarn is finally fine enough to make a 2-ply fingering weight, good for socks, and I love that. I love to turn this: 

IMG_2264 (Edited)   into this:    Purple fiber drafted   

(Pogo's toes for scale)



Then I spin it into a single ply:  Purple singles

 

And I turn two single plies into two-ply yarn:  IMG_2266 (Edited)

And socks appear!   IMG_2283   It truly is magic. 

In other news, Amy's Scarf is toddling along nicely: 

Amy's Scarf July 26 2016 

The yellow bits are lifelines. I have never used lifelines before, thought I didn't need them. What you do is, every so often you run a piece of yarn through the stitches on the needle remembering NOT to run it through the stitch markers as well, and if you mess up horribly and have to pick it all up again, the yellow yarn securely holds your stitches in place so they will not run all the way to the bottom of the piece. I always thought I was way too proficient at knitting and didn't need lifelines, but in my old age I tend to pick up my needles and catch the end stops on something and BAM!! all my stitches fall off. I don't like making lifelines, it's a fiddly process that is even more of a pain with only one hand, but it's doable, and it has already helped me to Save My Stitches, so I guess that is good. I love the scarf! It's so pretty :)

 


It Begins.

I love the old British favorite, Dr. Who ... the stories are fantastical, the characters are great, the actors are wonderful, the rubber-suited monsters are hilarious. But mostly, I love the scarves. 

NewWho_copy_medium    Tom scarf    Matt scarf
(All three scarves are available on Ravelry.)

 

Even more, I love all the fabulous knitwear that has been worn by the recent companions of the Doctor:

Rose's mitts    Rose's Boomtown scarf    Wilf's hat   


Little Amy's hat and mittens    Amy's Pandorica Opens scarf    Amy's Night Terrors scarf


And my favorite, Amy Pond's 'Vampires of Venice' scarf, which she also wore in 'Vincent and the Doctor':

Vampires of Venice  Amy and friends    Amy_s_Scarf_007_small2

So. It begins.

IMG_2281

 


Tour de Fleece. Or, Not.

Sigh. I missed Tour de Fleece again this year. I mean, I knew it was happening. I had my spinning wheel right by my table with purple (actually violet) fiber started. But I didn't start. Next thing I knew it was July 7th already. 

Purple

Maybe next year.

The reason I didn't start Tour de Fleece was because I've been busy knitting lots of things that I can't show pictures of, since they are Christmas and birthday presents, BUT they will all soon be finished. By 'soon' I mean in a month or so. These things are pretty fun to knit, more fun than spinning purple yarn apparently! 

After the purple yarn is spun, I have a lovely bag of alpaca to spin, and a honking giant bag of four pounds of black romney that I bought years ago. It's enough wool for two big Aran sweaters, and the thought of spinning and knitting that much black wool is a bit depressing, to be honest. It's really pretty black wool though, pure black, not the typical dark brown sheep's black; that's why I bought it. Maybe I should just take it a bit at a time, and before I know it I'll be done! That is what I'll tell myself anyway. 

What do you do to get through a lot of something? Whether it's work or fiber or knitting or cleaning or whatever, what little mind games do you use to get through it all? I'd love to have some new and unusual ideas besides my own!


It Makes You Think

I read an article lately by Woolly Wormhead, the fabulous hat designer, about the cost of producing a pattern. It was enlightening, to say the least. Now I want to buy one of her hat patterns.

Lots of people on Ravelry make money with their patterns. Some get an order once in a blue moon, some get an order every hour or so. Some make $1 for a pattern, some make $5 or more. Some people work hard to make their patterns accurate and readable, some don't. My patterns have always been free, mostly because I didn't have the time or energy to hire tech editors and test knitters and photographers. But now I think maybe I should. It's not like I don't have the time. I just have to figure out who does tech editing of knitting patterns and find people to test knit my designs. Hmmmmm, I might have to do some knitting myself to earn the money for that!

I did a Google search for "work from home knitting" -- there are tons of offers. Many are simply pages that talk about it. I'm sure most of us have wanted to make extra money by knitting, right? Reading about it usually satisfies my urge. Then I remember my WIP's and pick them up again.

Anyway, random thoughts on a Tuesday. Have a great rest of the week, everyone!

Obligatory cat picture goes here:

FullSizeRender


I'm Back.

I took a little more than a year off, because I thought blogs are pointless, everyone is glued to the Facebook screen, nobody reads blogs anymore. And that is pretty much true. I quit Facebook, too. My cat Nicky had died, and his sister Nora died about a month ago. Seemed like things had come full circle.  

Two things made me come back. First, I had a couple people pining for my blog and I thought, okay. I could write it a little bit, so they will know I am alive. Second, my brain is bursting with new ideas for knitting and crocheting designs, story ideas, ideas about everything, really.  I found I used my blog as a kind of scrapbook for Remembering Things, recipes, things I had done, pictures, and of course my patterns. So, I just thought, what the hell. Let's crank this baby up and see if it will still go.

NickNoraBabyPix copy

That is Nick and Nora's baby picture. (Kevin took the photo). They were so cute! 

Nora pretty girl copy

That is Nora. She was a pretty girl. She liked to complain loudly about everything. I miss her squawking about supper every night. I just miss her. 

After Nicky died, we took in Pogo, who is also 13 years old, the same age Nick and Nora would be. Pogo has attached herself to me; she goes everywhere with me. She isn't much of a cuddler, though, she's just a constant companion. We make a good team. She is tolerant of my knitting, but she does like to sit on the keyboard if I use it too much!

Pogo

What am I knitting? I am knitting gifts for Christmas and birthdays, unfortunately, so I can't show them. I did just recently complete a cowl -- the Shetland Shores cowl by WendyGaal. I knit in some sparkly yarn from Knitter's Brewing Company in a color called Framboise:

Yarma_medium2     Yarma_medium2-2


The kit came with a cute little Scotty dog!

In the last year, I knit a lot of things. One that I like the most is an Aran sweater called Wetherby by Martin Storey:

Wetherby_Done_medium2

It was a little bit tricky. I had to unravel about 9 inches of the front when I discovered I had twisted my cables the wrong way. You can bet I double checked them after that! 

Another thing that I knit was a pair of mittens. I finally made the Dog Mittens by Jorid Linvik, which had been in my queue to make ever since my sister in law got a Boston terrier:

Yarma_medium2-1

Her name is Persis and she is a sweetie pie!


Still Waiting.

I'm still waiting for Spring. The snow is still high and I am still grumpy. Snow doesn't seem as magical as it did around Christmas. It has become the adult version of the cute little puppy that has now turned into the Saint Bernard behemoth, taking over your bed, getting everywhere, chewing on the car. It is not cute anymore.

Snow sn

So, big surprise, I am still knitting. I knit a lace scarf out of pretty peachy-pink Edna's Bounty from Good Karma Farm. Here it is, unblocked:

ScarfSN

It'll be prettier when it is blocked. Lace always looks prettier when it is blocked. The pattern is from Vogue Knitting's To Go series of books, Scarves Two, and the pattern is called Sheer Lace Scarf, by Lois Young. I think the book is out of print now, but you can search your local libraries for it (I love inter-library loan!). 

I am making some progress on the turquoise dress, too; here is what I've got so far:

DressSN

I had to take a break and get the scarf done before winter ended -- I guess I didn't have to worry, hehe. It is going pretty fast, now that I have started working on it again. I am getting through about a skein a day. The dress is supposed to use ten skeins, and I have used almost five skeins so far. I actually bought twelve skeins, just to make sure. I know, you are thinking it doesn't look half done, but it is. The skirt takes up more yarn than the body -- I started off with about three hundred stitches, after all. I decrease eight stitches every ten rounds, and I have only done thirty percent of the decreases so far.  Then you increase a little bit for the bust, do the yoke, and you're done! And then, of course, you must block it,  because lace. It's all cotton, though, so I might steam iron it lightly. 

Today I'm listening to the playlist "Driving with Dean Winchester" on Spotify. '67 Black Impalas are sexy. Keep knitting, people!

 


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 :)





Nicky

On New Year's Day, Nicky, my good little boy, went outside and never came back. I think his heart finally gave out on him.

NickNoraBabyPix

He had a heart murmur, and in 2009 or so, he had a cardiac arrest -- it was during a routine annual vet visit: shots, ears, teeth, and his heart, which stopped at the moment Dr. Jim Laurita held the stethoscope to his chest. It was, in short, the perfect time to have a heart attack. Dr. Laurita rushed him to intense cardiac care, and he lived. He had to take three pills a day for the rest of his life, but he lived. Dr. Laurita said he would live about eleven months at the outside, but Nicky was obstinate and stubborn, and he lived almost six more years.

Nicky on counter

Wherever you are Nicky, I hope there are lots of sunny spots to snooze in, preferably on someone's knitting; lots of laps to sprawl across, lots of cream and cheese and popcorn and bacon and Cheez-Its to snack on, and Grace is probably happy because she can now follow you around again. You know she always had a thing for you. 

Nick in Snow


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!