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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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.


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! 

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Happy knitting!


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! 

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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!

 


Home Again

Look what was waiting for me when I got home!

Package

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

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


Rockin' the Pueblo

The Pueblo Stole, that is, by Carol Sunday of Sundayknits.com. I'm knitting it for the Ravellenic games, which finish up on Sunday. I am about 60% done; it's gonna be close. The goal of the Ravellenic Games is to challenge yourself, but knitting this stole has been a bit more of a challenge than I thought it would be!

First of all, there are decreases and increases on each side because it gets it's drape from the slight bias that you knit it on. It is not a regular enough thing that my poor brain can handle -- I get what I am supposed to do, but I can't seem to remember it, so in the time constraints given by the Ravellenic Games (I only have two weeks to knit it), I have had to resort to the row-by-row directions. Oh, the humanity! 

Second, every other and sometimes every row, you join a new color, leaving a 4" tail that is left as the fringe. Sounds easy, right? It isn't. Imagine me with one hand, cutting a fringe that is vaguely 4", and then purling through the back and then through the front of the first stitch of the row. It's kind of hard; I think that it would have been sorta tricky but do-able back before I had my stroke. But, I'm doing it! 

Thirdly, you have to graft it together in the middle, which I am not looking forward to. I have decided that that is just finishing, so if I  can knit the whole thing by Sunday at noon-ish, then the medal is mine. If I get it grafted and weave in the few ends as well, that is just icing on the cake. :)

Now for the good news, hehe. I love this kit! Love, love, love it ... the yarn is just gorgeous. There are four kinds of yarn in the kit, chosen for the colors, and the colors really blend together harmoniously. There is Brigadoon, which is a 100% merino donegal tweed; Eden, which is 100% merino; Nirvana, which is 92% merino and 8% cashmere; and Angelic, which is 75% merino and 25% angora. Here is a picture of the first half, all knit:

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I can't wait to wear this, it is so yummy! And despite the difficulty and my perceived whining, I am really loving this. It is so much fun seeing the color progression; it's like watching the sunrise over the Sacramento Mountains in New Mexico. Beautiful!


New Yarn

Look what I got on Saturday:

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Sock yarn from Lisa Souza! That's Appaloosa on the left, signed  by both Lisa and Lorrie; Water Gardens in the middle; and Orion Nebula on the right. Her Sock! is 450 yards of fingering weight lusciousness made up of 75% superwash wool, 25% nylon, and dyed in colors that will make you weep for joy, weep, I tell you. Appaloosa is gorgeous. I never would have ordered a brown color, but now that it is my hands, it is so pretty! 

Ahhhh, now to let it marinate in my stash for a bit. I have a couple or three shawls to do first. But right now, I'm ruffling along, or maybe I should say flouncing along. 

Happy Memorial Day, everyone! 


All About Yarn

My laptop has made a heroic comeback for the present; hard to say if it will last, but I am glad I am reasonably able to type now. The only keys that don't work are the bottom left four keys, which are fn, control, option, and command. I never knew how much I used option and command until I couldn't anymore. Luckily, they are on the right-hand side as well, so I can still use them, though it is a bit awkward because of my one-handedness. But I am not complaining! I am very glad to be able to type at all!


I used to teach a class that was always well received. Since it was a lecture class, and I yammered on for about three hours, and no knitting was involved, I found it somewhat surprising that people seemed to hang on every word. It was the most-signed-up-for class every time. It was All About Yarn.

When I started teaching it, there was no one place which had a run-down of yarn anywhere, even on the internet. It's so vitally important, but it was hard to gather all the bits you needed into one place. I could do that, and by listening to me (reading tended to make knitter's eyes glaze over), knitters learned, and made note of what they needed. They could knit while they listened. 

I had a whole yarn shop at my disposal, so I had examples of every kind of yarn, from cob web to super chunky, and everything in between. I had different types of fiber:  wool, cotton, acrylic/micrfiber, alpaca, llama, viscose, silk, camel, tencel, you name it. I had yarn that was singles, two-ply, cabled, chenille, wrapped with a thread. I brought examples of them and passed them around so they could be touched and squeezed and fondled over. I had samples knit out of the yarns.

I thought about making a DVD of the class and selling it, but the class would lose a lot because people wouldn't be able to touch the yarn, and really, that's what it was all about. We were learning, as knitters, what various types of yarn feels like, the different feel it has if it's cob web or DK, the feel of cotton vs. wool vs. rayon, and unfortunately, the technology isn't there yet. You have to get the knitter one-on-one with the yarn.

So now, I have to get one-on-one with my Itchy Sratchy yarn, or it will never get done!

Dolly

Dolly Llama, from Good Karma Farm. Ya gotta love it.


I'm Obsessed by Things that Glitter. And Cats.

I love things that glow in the dark, and I have sold yarn that glows in the dark and several -- three I can think of, off-hand -- types of needles that glow in the dark, and even some drop spindles that glowed in the dark. But the next best thing, is yarn that glitters. 

Lux

This is Schulana Kid-Seta Lux. "Lux" is short for luxury, and it is the lamé of yarn. It glitters subtly, like moonlight on water, or sunlight on water; depends on the color. 

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I saw a woman knitting this scarf when I was in Have A Yarn, Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia. That's a great little yarn shop, by the way; do stop in if you get a chance. I never really was taken by ruffly scarves, though they were hot a couple years ago, and I like ruffles on other things, but the combination of a different kind of ruffles and this glittery yarn captured my heart. I was obsessed. I got one ball and I will knit that glittery, ruffly scarf later, and it will be good. 

In other news, Ravelry is celebrating its 2,000,000th member! Woohoo!

Here's the cat picture, Nora on the move:

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She's on the hunt!


Desert Island Knitting

To alleviate the boredom that is winter, I played a little game in which I said, "If you were stuck on a desert island with unlimited supply of five yarns, what would you choose?"

1. Florica, from Novita. It is a sport weight, machine washable wool yarn that I really loved. It was 2-ply, which made it knit up like Jamieson and Smith, but it was sport weight, not fingering, and machine washable too, which made it really nice for kids. And husbands. I knit a large man-sized sweater with it. It's discontinued here in the States now, bit it's still going strong in Finland, where it is made.

2. Jamieson and Smith's 2-ply fingering weight, wool. The best yarn in the world, bar none. I would choose this yarn if I only had one choice.

3. Jo Sharps original DK weight wool, in her original colors. I knit with this and it held up to wear beautifully. It showed cables and textures wonderfully, and colorwork beautifully too. 

4. Bartlettyarn. It's wonderful. Did you know that the Rangely Sheepswool that Elizabeth Zimmerman was so fond of came from the Bartlett mill, here in Maine? You can still buy it at Schoolhouse Press, in fact, but you'll get more variety and a better price from the Bartlett mill itself. I would have an unlimited supply, of course, in all the weights and in every color on my island, always.

5. I wanted a laceweight yarn, and this has been the toughest choice. I like Jamieson and Smith laceweight, but I want something softer, I think. I like Handmaiden Sea Silk, but maybe it is a bit too fiddly for a lifetime of knitting. I really like Springtide Cashmere, but it's only solid colors. Same with Zephyr and Frogtree and Skacel. If I want multicolor, I know that I want Lorna's Laces colors because they are outstanding, so I want Helen's Lace Multi AND Solid. It's my choice, and you did say I have the full range of colors, right? Well, that's what I want. 

Who am I kidding, I want Done Roving Farm and Good Karma Farm and a billion others, too. Sigh, so much yarn. So much to choose from. 

What are your favorite yarns? You can have anything, even if it's discontinued ... or spin rovings and fleece from 5 different places ... go nuts. It's winter.