Another Spinning Milestone

Another beautiful day!

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I love sunny days. It promises to be 72° on Friday, but I'll believe it when I see it.

My big spinning milestone is that I was able to successfully Navajo ply the 49 g (1.6 oz,) of yarn that was left over when I plied my Maine Coast yarn. I knew there would be leftovers, and the best thing to do with spinning leftovers is simply to Navajo ply them. But, I wondered if I could do it ...

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... and indeed, I could! It will take a lot of practice to get it right and be comfortable with it, but it is a start. I am very happy.

In other news, I'm working on the last color of my Scrap Yarn Pi shawl before making a knitted on edge:

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It's prettier than the picture. When it is finished and ~sort of~ blocked (meaning, washed and hung over the stair rail upstairs to dry), it will be pretty and wearable and cozy, and best of all, I got rid of a big ol' wad of scrap yarn to boot!

My red cardigan is gorgeous, and I have one more pattern repeat to knit on the body before doing the ribbing and binding off. That will make it about two-thirds done. There will still be two sleeves, two button bands, and a neckline to knit, and finding buttons and sewing them on. But still, two-thirds done feels pretty good! I'll get a picture when it's all done.

The more scrap yarn I use up, the more I realize that I have way too much yarn. I've cleaned it out, down to having just three bins and a big chest full, but it feels impossible to use it all up. I could make a spreadsheet of all the things I could knit out of the yarn I have, but it would scare me. And you know what? I still want to buy more!!!!

 


Beautiful

It's a beautiful spring day on the coast of Maine!

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Photo by jdgrigsby from FreeImages

I finished my blue-green Linus shawl a while ago.

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I also went to my WIP bin and took out an Absolutely Fabulous Throw kit by Colinette  that someone had started, given up on it, gave it to me, and I never worked on it ... but thought I would, someday. Well, someday came. The kit originally sold for around $180, contained your choice of four throw patterns, and had enough of eight beautiful Colinette colors in a variety of yarns to make the throw. The yarns are still available, but sadly the pattern is not.

AbFab Throw kit done

See? It really is Absolutely Fabulous. Pogo settled down on it as I was putting on the fringe. She gave it her seal of approval.

Pogo on throw

 

I finished spinning my Maine Coast yarn.

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Three skeins (total of 385 grams) of 2-ply fingering weight yarn. It's gonna be great!

What is on my needles now?

An Elizabeth Zimmerman Pi Shawl using fingering weight scrap yarn (I got tired of making endless Linus shawls) ...

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... and a red cardigan for me. It's sweater #4 for those who are counting.

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Keep knitting and spinning! Remember, you are beautiful!

 

 


Unraveled

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I unraveled my Kinsale sweater. I determined that the two cones of yarn were not, actually, going to have enough yarn to knit a sweater; I got about a quarter of the way up the back and found I had used almost half the yarn ... and each cone was supposed to be enough for a back (or front) plus a sleeve.

Oh well. The yarn is destined to become something else I guess. Maybe I'll use that blue yarn to crochet a shawl, do something quick. Yeahhhh ... that's the ticket.

In the good news department, the Raineach hat is done.

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Unblocked

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Blocked

I like how it came out, but it will be even prettier in yarn that has more contrast. I'll knit another one sometime.

Today I feel very tired and lazy. I have ten things on my knitting cue (I have a ton of things to knit, but I limit my Knitting Queue  to only 10), but only two items have yarn ready to knit. The eight others all need the yarn caked or balled up, and it just seems like too much work. Then there would be a gauge swatch to knit. I think I'd rather just take a nap.


Still Quarantining

Hi there! I'm fine, how are you? Healthy, I hope!

While others have been busily sewing masks

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Image by Christo Anestev from Pixabay

and doing other heroic things, I have been spinning and knitting and just staying home. In other words, my usual life.

On the spinning front, I finished the turquoise fiber and am halfway through spinning a braid of yarn that I hand dyed pre-stroke:

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Here are a bobbin of each side by side:

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I am going to ply them together and make a fingering weight yarn that will look like a summer day on the coast of Maine. I can almost feel the wind in my face and hear the water slooshing by! I'll knit the Crest O' the Wave stole by Wendy Johnson:

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On the knitting front, I have knit three pairs of socks:

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These socks were started pre-stroke, so over ten years ago.

The red fluffy ones on top are a mohair blend that I lost the band from, and I ran out of yarn to finish them, so I completed the foot on the second sock with bright red worsted weight wool. I neglected to photograph them when they were finished.

The pink socks are a worsted weight from a yarn called Wick (now discontinued) from Knit One, Crochet Too, a 53% soy, 47% polypropylene yarn that wicks moisture away from you.

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These socks are fingering weight from Heavenly Yarns in Belfast. (They have lots of yarn, buttons, and needles! Free shipping on orders $30 and over! You should go!) The yarn is Sox by Berroco and is so pretty!

What is on my needles?

I have a sweater, a hat, and a shawl/scarf/thing going.

The sweater is Kinsale by Alice Starmore (in Fishermen's Sweaters):

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I am using two 1-lb. cones of Jagger Ragg in blue that was gifted to me by Nancy Howard in 2015 or 2016.

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The hat is Raineach by Juliet Bernard that was in The Knitter magazine, issue 148.

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I am knitting Raineach out of scraps: gray yarn from my KittyCat Socks, and a ball of pre-stroke handspun that I don't even remember spinning at all, or what I originally knit from it. Perhaps I was drunk.

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Anyway, it is really pretty. Here are the sweater and hat together:

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So pretty.

Finally, I have another Linus shawl/scarf/thing on my needles for my evening TV knitting, using scraps of blue and green:

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Here it is so far:

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I have a ways to go!

Happy knitting and spinning, stay healthy both mentally and physically, and learn something today that you didn't know yesterday. I think I will learn how to make peanut butter chocolate chip cookies.

Yum.

 

 


So Happy

I woke up to one of the warmest days in the year, and it made me smile. I love spring.

Yarn

You may remember this yarn that I spun. It made me happy too! I knit a shawlette with it: the Cider Press Shawl by Marie Greene. It's in her book Knit Shawls and Wraps in 1 Week: 30 Quick Patterns to Keep You Cozy in Style.

I love it.

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Every stitch looked different, every color plied with every color, and every weight of yarn from lace weight through chunky slid through my fingers. Yet, the magic of knitting pulled it all together to produce this wonderful shawl.

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I was giggling with happiness and fascinated at what was being created in my hands.

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Stay warm and happy!


In the Pink

My pink shawl is complete! Yay!

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I started the Knit-a-long from Pattern Duchess (Mari-Liis Hirv) on July 1, 2019, though it started on June 24. I was late, but caught up quickly. I finished on March 6.

Shawl

The shawl used three balls of Shadow Lace from Knitpicks.com, a 100% merino yarn that has 880 yards per 100 g. It is only available in white now; they've discontinued it. Bastards.

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I got it because it was one of the only all-wool lace weight that I could find. Everything now has either alpaca (which I can't wear) or silk, which is fine but I didn't want a heavy, shimmering thing. I just wanted wool! Shadow Lace was a wonderful yarn to work with and now I wish I had bought more of it.

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I knit with a US size 3/3.25mm needle, 2 rows per day, 5 days a week. It's amazing how much you can do if you only get time to do 2 rows a day!

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Now it is done. ::happy sigh::

Be safe, and happy knitting!

 


Hello March

I used to hate March, hate it with a passion. It was long and dark and snowy, but most of all, it was just more winter when I was ready to be having spring. Gahhh.

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This year, we haven't had much snow on the coast of Maine, and it has been a relatively warm winter... probably because we got a new snow blower and two generators. So, this March seems to be easier than usual. Or, we could get the winter's worth of snow and cold all in one month, which would truly suck.

If that happens, I am prepared for it as well! I just finished knitting this sweater:

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Pattern: Biscotti by Kiyomi Burgin

Yarns: Annabel Fox Chunky Donegal, 109 yards in 100g, 100% wool, 6.5 skeins, color 662 Alder; Berocco Vintage Chunky 136 yards in 100g, 52% Acrylic, 40% Wool, 8% Nylon, 1.3 skeins; color 6134 red

This is a very heavy sweater knit on size 11US/8.0mm needles. Wrangling would be the best way to describe it, or, in my case, one-armed wrangling. ::rolls eyes::

I have had this yarn forever. Well, nearly. I got it around twenty years ago, and it was the oldest yarn in my possession. It's a beautiful dark tweed, a gorgeous yarn, and I truly love it. I hope this sweater never wears out, because I will never have this yarn again!

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I used only 6.5 of the 10 skeins I have. What is your favorite bulky weight item to make with around 375 yards of yarn?

Gauge swatch

I knit a gauge swatch in the round (the back is all big loops of yarn) and got 3 stitches per inch. The good thing is this sweater knit up really fast! It took me 12 days to finish it, but I had spinning and the pink shawl and a ZickZack scarf to work on too, so I only worked on it for about two hours at a time. It probably took me 36 hours to knit.

The only casualty was the cable from my AddiClick interchangeable needle set, which alarmingly separated from the metal bit in the middle of a sleeve.

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Luckily, I had a couple other size 11 needles on hand and was able to finish the sweater. Which is actually pretty amazing that I had them, since I almost never knit with needles that large.

That cable is the one I used the most, and I have used it a lot since I got the set back in 2014. I emailed Skacel (info@skacelknitting.com) because I knew they had a lifetime guarantee on their needles, and I wanted to ask how to get another cable. They responded in a few minutes and emailed a form that I printed and filled out. I popped it in the mail along with the cable that broke, and got an email a day or two later that said the replacement was on the way! It will be here soon! If I hadn't had another needle to finish my sweater, I would only have had to wait about a week before the replacement arrived. I think Skacel deserves a big round of applause for their great service!

Have a super duper March, and happy knitting! Stay warm!

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Mystery Socks and Beautiful Yarn

I had a great week! I completed the Mystery XII Socks by Knitters Brewing Company, Let It  Snow! socks:

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Pattern: Let It Snow! socks by Wendy Gaal

Yarn: Knitters Brewing Company Sockaholic II fingering weight, 75% Superwash Merino & 25% Nylon, 460 yards per 100g: color ESB (Extra Special Blue)

It was a really fun-to-knit pattern! I might make it again. It had mosaic knitting (which I usually hate) and lace (which I love). This time, I loved the mosaic knitting. I guess I trusted Wendy Gaal, whose patterns are always well-written.

 

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One goal I had for 2020 was to spin more, which I have totally been doing, and I finished up eight ounces of lovely superwash merino from On The Round that I got about two or three years ago. I started spinning it right when I got it, but then I quit for some reason -- inertia takes the blame -- and now FINALLY it is all spun up. And I love it so much!

It's a shame that I never took a picture of the roving before it became yarn. It was all pretty colors, but when I spun it, the reds and oranges became the predominant color (and I love red and orange) and the yarn became a lovely dark red with other colors all mixed in.

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(There is a bit of the roving I spun showing at the top of the above picture)

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Now it is all ready to knit. Pogo was being really loving this morning and tried to help me so much to get the right picture. I better knit a shawl that she can curl up in!


Brrr, It's Cold: Must Be February!

Yesterday morning it was 0°F or -1°F at my house. That was tropical though; up in Aroostook I think it was -35°F or something. Maybe even colder.

So it was appropriate that I finished my Still Waters Cowl and my Kittycat Socks right when the shivering started.

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Yarn: mystery yarn on a cone, don't even know what kind of fiber it is, but it is fingering/sport weight. It is soft and warm and not itchy!

Pattern: Still Waters Cowl by Michele Rose Orne

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Yarn: DROPS Fabel 4-ply weight, 75% wool, 25% polyamide, 224 yards per 50g. 2 balls grey (#200), 1 ball off white (#100)

Pattern: Kittycat Socks by Lumi Karmitsa; in The Knitter magazine issue 136

Stay warm knitters!


Bye Bye January

Another month has come along, and my iPhone weather app tells me that the days are now
minutes longer! Woohoo!

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Pogo thinks January was a good month for napping.

January got me with WIP-itis really bad. I had seven WIPs at one time! The only thing that saved me was that two of them were part of a knitalong and I could only work on them as the clues came out, one of them was to use up my scrap sock yarn and was therefore invisible to me, and one of them was really close to being done.

 

That was my Boathouse pullover by Marie Greene (the pattern will be available later this year) knit in Plymouth Merino Cammello (80% Extrafine Merino Wool, 20% Baby Camel, sport weight, 180 yards per 50g), and it's done now. So, cross one sweater off my six-sweater Make Nine Goal! The yarn is marked down to $6.99 from $11.99 at WEBS right now!

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The two knitalongs that I am participating in are my Estonian lace shawl and Mystery Socks XII from Knitter's Brewing Company.

The shawl is coming along just fine; I just did week 32 and there are only 37 weeks in the knitalong, so it's almost done.

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The socks are Let It Snow! from Knitter's Brewery, and this is the progress after week 2 (I have week three ready to start this weekend):

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This is why mystery knitalongs are both a blessing and a curse for me. This pair is a curse, because I kind of hate mosaic knitting, and this is mosaic knitting ... but it is a blessing because I had to do it, and after I got halfway through the chart on the first leg I started to enjoy it, so I guess I like mosaic knitting now. The pattern is free from Knitter's Brewing Company and the yarn is Sockaholic ESB (Extra Special Blue, 75% Superwash Merino, 25% nylon, 460 yards per 100g).

That leaves two pairs of socks, a cowl, and a scarf. One pair of socks is plain vanilla for me because I apparently need more socks:

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The other pair is a difficult pair, but it was so cute that I simply disregarded the pain of the colorwork charts and ordered the yarn anyway:

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Kittycat Socks from The Knitter magazine, issue 136, by Lumi Karmitsa. Needless to say, this is the first sock and I am only to the heel flap. This pair may take a while. I was excited to be done the chart, because I thought the rest of the sock was plain grey, but it is not. The color pattern is simpler than the cat chart, but it is still more $%^&*!@# colorwork. Sigh. It will be worth it.

I haven't gotten very far on the ZickZack scarf; I'm only about eight inches up:

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ZickZack Scarf by Christy Kamm, using leftover sock yarn. Meh. It'll be prettier when I get the other 64 inches done.

And lastly, the cowl I am knitting because I found a cone of yarn from Nancy Howard which felt soft and I liked the neutral color; I started another Still Waters Cowl by Swans Island. I knit the first one in blue, and  I have worn it so much it is pretty much felted, so I figured I had better knit another one. The yarn is very soft, and feels like it has cashmere or alpaca or silk in it, but all I have for the information is a tag inside the cone that says "Wudervolle Froehlich Wolle 'beständig schön & gut' " which translates to "Wonderful Froehlich Wool 'consistently beautiful & good' ". I hope it doesn't have alpaca in it, because alpaca makes me itch.

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Ha, I haven't gotten much done on it. It will be good TV knitting.

Sorry this has been so long! Knit happy! Congratulations if you read to the end!


End of the Year

My Anna Karenina shawl is blocking:

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I didn't pin it down or even pin the points out. Why? It takes a lot of work to pin all the points out; if it were for someone else, I probably would have. There's a bit of an oooh and ahhh factor to prepare for a perfect gift presentation, even though I know that a) they may never actually wear it and 2) if they do wear it, the points will not remain perfect. That's just the way it is. I was making it for myself, for warmth, and I plan on wrapping that sucker as tight around my neck as I can; blocking out the points is useless.

That's my last finished object of 2019. I plan to spend the next few days working on my ripple afghan using scraps of worsted-ish weight yarn (it's half done)...

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.... continue my adventure with the pink Estonian shawl KAL (as of today I am 75% done) ...

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... and work on my new scarf project, the ZickZack Scarf. It is one way to use up some scraps of sock weight/fingering/baby weight yarn.

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This is just the small balls of leftover yarn.

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I have a much, much larger bag of bigger balls of leftover sock yarn, each weighing 65 grams or more. I can make a hat with 60 grams.

I'll see how far I get with the little balls and then maybe knit some hats with leftover fingering weight yarn and add what is left to the scarf with the rest. It may take some time (like a year or so, maybe two? three?) to get the scarf to 72", the prime length for a scarf. It will make me knit a lot of hats!

 


Little Things

I've been quietly knitting away on some little things, getting ready to become the Sweater Knitting Monster of 2020. (More about that later.)

I knit a pair of simple socks out of that bamboo blend yarn:

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They are lovely, silky and soft. I bet they will stand up to a lot of wear too! They were donated to a local church for their clothing drive for the homeless.

I finished the Jenny hat out of Arline's handspun:

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I think it is very pretty! It is a tad small, but I fits me. I think with a little bit of wearing, it would mold itself to the wearer's hat and fit just right.

I finished a pair of fingerless mitts:

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These are Half-Day Off Mitts by Sara Lamb in the Piecework Magazine - Return to Downtown Abbey: A Special Tribute; the yarn is On the Round Everyday DK, Superwash Merino Wool, Color: Turquoise.

I love these mitts and I've worn them practically every day, all day since I finished them on December 14. They fit so perfectly, not too tight, not too loose. I adore the turquoise color. I love the delicate panel that runs up the back, and the sweet little trim at the top and bottom of them. I love how warm they feel.

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They are just about the most perfect thing I have knit for me in a while!

Right now I am crocheting the Scrap Yarn Ripple Afghan that is 30% complete, and knitting a shawl that is just shy of half done. The shawl will likely be the last finished object of 2019. Then, the sweater monster will rear its head! Hear me roar!


Stash Busting!

I feel so virtuous.

A few years ago, maybe five? six? more? Judi stopped by and gave me some Peer Gynt yarn she was cleaning out, and she said, "Make something pretty with it." So I found a pattern for it (Shedeer by Brian Smith), but then I just kept putting it aside as other things pushed into the front and got in the way. But when October and Wendy's knit-in rolled around, I knit most of it, finished it up after the knit-in was over, and blocked and dried it. I'm so happy with how it turned out!

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I love it! Thank you Judi!!

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Peer Gynt is a DK weight 100% Norwegian wool, soft and comfy. It's a real work horse kind of yarn, good for sweaters, mittens, socks, hats, pillows, afghans, pretty much everything. It is really good for stranded Norwegian patterns as well as anything with a texture or cable. It is a really warm yarn too!

I had a couple skeins left over, red and purple, so I made this cowl:

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It's the Camden Cowl by Mary Jane Mucklestone. I wore it for a few days after I made it, and found it to be really warm and not itchy -- but then, I am highly wool-capable-of wearing, wool  doesn't make me itch at all*. I really like this cowl. The colors work surprisingly well together. Plus, it makes me think of Rachel, who was in the Red Hat Society and loved it, so anything red and purple makes me think of her.

*Except any yarn with any amount of alpaca or llama. I can knit with this luscious, wonderful yarn, but I really cannot wear it; it makes me itch like crazy!


November

Wow, where did that month go?

Anyway.

Here's my progress on the Estonian shawl that I am knitting 2 rows a day, 5 days a week:

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It's getting longer, month by month. At the end of December, I'll be three-quarters of the way done. It will finish up when I am halfway through the month of March, I believe.

I knit a couple hats, finished my Shedeer Shawl, and worked on my scrap yarn ripple afghan in November. I did some finishing work for a friend; she had around 18 things that were taking up room, just waiting to weave in ends and sew a few seams, and I finished them for her. She was the same friend who came to my house for a few weeks after I had my stroke and helped me to relearn cooking and helped me find myself again. She got me started.

Mostly I have been looking around for patterns and yarn and making lists of What To Knit for the next year. That list is getting longer and looooonger, but it uses up lots of yarn in my stash! I suffer from SABLE (Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy), so I always try to use up my stash wherever possible. My aim is to get all of my stash to fit in one chest in the living room. It's do-able, between knitting and donating and throwing away. Next spring, when it is warmer, I'll have to dive into The Yarn Room upstairs and clean it out. Should be fun!


A Knitting Weekend at the Foc'sle

I just had a great knitting weekend at Wendy's house, a.k.a. the Foc'sle, filled with tons of knitting, good food, good company, a lovely dog, and a cuddly cat. It happened that everyone who was there either was currently or had been a teacher, so of course education was the focus of conversation. The best part was that we had taught at nearly every level, from preschool through college and adult ed. The conversation was intriguing and enlightening and, I hope, helpful. It is amazing to me what one can learn when we get a bunch of women together who are freely conversing.

We also talked about a ton of knitting. I learned some things and taught a few things, and everyone knit, and some people finished some projects! I worked on Shedeer, which is a DK weight shawl, and I'll have pictures of it when it is done. Right now, it is scrunched up on the needles, curled up tightly, and not being very photogenic. It will be better when it has been washed and blocked. It's an interesting pattern, and I do like how fast a DK weight shawl knits up! I started it before I went to the knitting weekend because it is mostly plain knitting, a good project for talking and putting down a bunch of times without worrying about losing my place in the pattern, and I got it about 85% done over the weekend. So fast!

October is finished, and I am halfway through my pink shawl:

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So pretty. Every month draws closer to the end. I hope Mari-Liis does another shawl for next year, because I will miss my two rows a day.

I started a ripple afghan with my odds and ends of worsted weight scrap yarn. It's crocheted, which I should do more of. It makes good TV watching too. You only need to count to 14 and then do something and then do another 14 and do something else:

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See the yarn in my yarn bowl? I got tired of weaving in my many ends as I went, so I tied my scraps together and made a huge yarn ball as big as I could hold with one hand. It cuts down on weaving in ends! I joined them together with a magic knot, the perfect join for this project, because it's only an afghan for me and I don't care if the knot pops through, and it's reversible anyway.

Another project that I started is a Jenny Hat by Jo Sharp. It is in Jo Sharp Handknitting Collection Book 5, Gathering, which was in Unique One years ago, and I pulled it out while looking for a hat pattern that would use just 50g of DK weight yarn. I have some yarn that Arline spun that weighs just 49 grams and is sort of DK to worsted weight. I figure I'll knit with it as far as I can, and then change to another color for the top if I don't have enough.

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The hat pattern, as most of Jo Sharp's hat patterns are apparently, is knit flat and seamed up the back; the seam will invariably become situated right in the center front of the wearer's forehead, I am certain. Anyway. I started it in the round, because duh. Who wants a seam in their forehead. But I didn't rewrite the pattern because I was too lazy, and after I had screwed it up beyond recognition, I said the hell with it and just started knitting it flat the way it was written, because I am too lazy to rewrite the frigging pattern. So whoever will get this hat just has to be ready to have knitters pointing and laughing if they are not clever enough to keep the seam off their forehead.

Am I bitter? Yes, yes I am, because I AM TOO LAZY TO REWRITE A PATTERN.

I love Arline's yarn though. It's a three-ply and perfectly plied, and it is very soft. The hat has a nice little halo over it from the yarn, quite like Arline's halo ♥

 


Diagonal Rib Scarf Pattern

In which even horribly spun and Very Badly Plied yarn can become something warm and lovely!

See, I had this yarn that I had "spun" before my stroke:

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It was badly spun, thick and thin, and very horribly plied. I must have been drunk when I plied it. I mean, really:

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Anyway.

I had this ball of yarn hanging around for a long time, but I didn't know what to use it for. Then I discovered that my pattern for a Diagonal Rib Scarf had no picture at all! Wowzer. It required sport weight yarn .... hmm, my ball of hand spun yarn was anything from fingering to DK or light worsted, but mostly sport weight ... or something. Anyway, I decided it would become a diagonal rib scarf!

It is a very easy pattern, only four rows in the pattern repeat; it's the same on both sides, so it hangs straight and is very good for a scarf; and you can make it as long as the yarn lasts. Sounds perfect for a skein of hand spun yarn!

It came out great when it was done, and I only had this much after I trimmed the ends off after I wove them in:

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The finished scarf weighs 4.41 ounces, or 126 grams, and it is a merino/silk blend (sorry, I don't remember how much it was of each fiber). The scarf measures about 8 inches wide by 58 inches long, though if I blocked it, it would be longer. I just put it on immediately because my house is chilly.

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DIAGONAL RIB SCARF

Materials: 100 grams sport weight yarn
Size 8 (5 mm) straight needles
Tapestry needle
Gauge varies and really, it's only a scarf.
Pattern is a multiple of 4, plus 2.

Directions:
Cast on 42 sts. Knit 2 rows. 
Work in diagonal rib pattern until piece measures 48" or desired length.
Knit 2 rows. Bind off all sts. Add fringe, if desired. Diagonal Rib pattern: Row 1: K 1, *p2, k2, repeat from * to last st, k1. Row 2: K1, p1, *k2, p2, repeat from * to last 4 sts, k2, p1, k1. Row 3: K3, *p2, k2, repeat from * to last 3 sts, p2, k1. Row 4: K2; *p2, k2, repeat from * to end. Repeat these 4 rows for pattern.
 
Stop when you run out of yarn! 

Knit Camp

I love Knit Camp. Marie Greene has made a great place online to meet other knitters, chat, share, and have fun. I'm enjoying myself quite a bit there. Best part? No mosquitoes!

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I bought a bag, a nice roomy bag that holds a sweaters worth of yarn, or a family and a half of socks or a dozen mittens.

If you would like to join Knit Camp, just just ask me and I'll get you a deal on it. Registration for the fall and winter closes in 8 days, and the next time registration opens for new campers is sometime in the spring, so get a wiggle on if you want a chance to get in. You can email me at beth@yarndemon.com, or give me a shout on Facebook.

In other news, I'm doing some palate cleansing after working on sweaters. I knit some hats:

Muckle Toque

That is the Muckle Toque, one of Mary Jane Mucklestone's designs. I used some scraps and it came out really nice. It's very warm!

Blue Hat

This simple little hat was quick to knit and feels wonderful. I used two yarns held together to make it, a fine mohair and silk with a heavy fingering to sport weight handspun.

Yarn

I didn't really use a pattern. I used size 5 needles, cast on 100 stitches, knit until it was seven inches, and decreased quickly for the top. Like k2, k2tog. then k1, k2tog, then k2tog until only a handful of stitches were left. I'm thinking about getting a bunch of those faux fur pompoms for the tops of my hats.

Last night I started a plain pair of socks with this yarn:

Bamboo Pop

It's Universal Yarn Bamboo Pop Sock, 55% Bamboo/37% Cotton/8% PBT, color 408 Cherry Pie, 100 g = 492 yards. I have no idea what PBT is, but don't smoke it. I got it at Webs on sale this summer. It feels really good, silky ... but kind of flimsy. Although, I have only gotten the cuff done so far. I'll let you know how it turns out. It knits up in stripes!! It has been a long time since I used a self-striping yarn, and it's fun. Self Striping Silky yarn, say that three times fast  while clicking your heels together, and you will be transported to Knit Camp where yarn is everywhere, people are friendly, the S'mores cocktails are abundant, and there are no mosquitoes!  See you around the campfire!

 


Suddenly, It's Fall

Summer slammed the door and suddenly, it's fall. Autumn smells different, sounds different, and feels different (it's colder!). And it tastes different too; pumpkin spice everything!!!!!

Actually I haven't had pumpkin spice anything yet, but I will. Eventually. I am thinking about making pumpkin bread, though.

I knit these charming little mitts and they came out nice:

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Aren't they wicked cunnin'? I love them.

The pink lace shawl knitalong is going well, and this is how for I got by the end of August:

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It's about 25% done. The nupps are getting easier. I really like how this knitalong is done slowly, two rows a day, for five days a week. People can knit the two rows a day and have the weekend off, or do the ten rows all at once over the weekend. Nifty.

Happy September, and happy back to school if it applies. It's a wonderful time of year.


Shhhhhhhhh ...

I am being vewy, vewy quiet over here in midcoast Maine. The weather has been good, not too hot, not too cold, I have most of my holiday knitting on schedule -- mostly finished, or thereabouts, and I'll have a fairly quiet fall to knit whatever I want. There is always something.

Scarf

I finished a second Hitchhiker scarf from a wonderful yarn that Lynne gave me for my birthday. It's Heritage Farms fingering in a 50% merino, 50% silk blend that is hand dyed in beautiful blues and pinks. It feels luxurious and warm and to wear around my neck. I believe it is available from the Cashmere Goat in Camden.

Ellery

I also knit an Ellery Hat with some leftover sock yarn I had on hand. The pattern is by Marie Greene, and I got it from Knit Camp. Knit Camp is awesome! In looking over the pattern again, I noticed it was written for everyone: babies, toddlers, kids, men, and women. This might be my go-to hat pattern! If you're not in Knit Camp, you can get the pattern from Marie's page.

Right now I have four WIPs: two super secret sweaters, the pink shawl that will be done sometime in March 2020, and these fingerless mitts:

Mitts front
Mitts front

The mitts are Rain Shadow Mitts by Daniel Herrera, and the yarn is once again leftover sock yarn. I love to use my leftover sock yarn! It makes me feel so virtuous, especially when the product is fabulous. Using up leftovers is good for the soul.

These mitts are making me think about designing some mitts of my own. Lord knows I have more leftover sock yarn!


Arline's Socks

My sister in law sent over another bag of yarn that was my mother in law's; it was two skeins of sock yarn, and one had a pair of socks that she had started to knit, needles and all. I can sort of remember her starting them, but I can't remember clearly ... maybe I was in the hospital? Don't know.

I could have just unraveled the yarn and started over, but I thought it would be better if I used what she had done and finished them. So I did. She had started with 56 stitches and she was using size 2 needles, and had the ribbing all done and about one inch of stockinette. My gauge was much tighter, so I increased up to 60 stitches and kept going. Soon one sock was done.

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Pogo, originally owned by Arline, immediately went over, sniffed on it, and settled down for a nap. It must have smelled like Arline and home.

The first sock was soon joined by its mate, and the socks were all done. Somewhere, Arline is smiling.

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In other news, my pink shawl is going along very well, two rows a day, five days a week!

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I can't wait to see it on the beginning of September!

 


Too Many UFOs

Unfinished Objects, that is.

Since my stroke, I have had between one and three UFOs (also known as WIPs -- Works In Progress) at a time, and that was fine. Just fine. Before the stroke, 43 WIPs were common, and I hardly ever finished any of them; but since my stroke, I have had more time, and I was able to finish all my WIPs, unless I fell out of love with them and unraveled them.

But lately, I have gotten back into my bad habit ways. I have eight UFOs, yikes!

I have a brown sweater:

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And a blue sweater:

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And a green sweater:

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And a shawl:

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Two rows a day til next February! Woohoo! This is the only project that I have that I can't work on, because it is an Estonian Lace KAL hosted by Pattern Duchess, and I am all caught up on clues.

And I have a scarf project and a sock project that I have already put away and didn't get a picture of them.

Actually, I also have a spinning project that I put aside because I needed to find more bobbins, and I never got back to it. It's been about two years. I really should ply some stuff off the bobbins I have and finish it.

Really, all the UFO's will just have to wait, because I just got a super secret assignment to knit which I love, but can't tell you about right now (sorry). I'll share pictures when I can. But I really, really love it!

Also, I signed up for Knit Camp hosted by Marie Green, best decision I have ever made. So much fun! So many knitters! It's great! Registration is closed right now, but it will reopen in October -- I will remind you. It costs $9.95 a month, but the cost is more than worth it. Just the monthly pattern alone is worth $9.95. And Marie's patterns are awesome. I got four patterns right away just for joining Knit Camp!

I already started one of them:

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This is the Ellery hat pattern from Marie. Marie assured me that single skein projects don't count toward the pile of UFOs or WIPs, which I was grateful for; according to that rule, I only have 5 UFOs! Woohoo! I am using Swans Island Sterling Collection Fingering in the color Citrine. I love it.

My days will consist of two rows (five days a week) of the shawl, about an hour of the Ellery hat, and the rest of my knitting time on the super secret knitting. I'll do the shawl in the morning and the Knit Camp knitting in the evening, because s'mores. Lovely drinkable s'mores around the virtual campfire:

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Recipe Diaries S'Mores Cocktail -- yummmm!!

Have fun knitting!


My Last Duchess*

I started a knitalong today, not Marie Greene's 4 Day Knitalong which I have decided to eschew this year for various reasons, but an Estonian lace shawl knitalong by Mari-Liis Hirv who is Estonian. I love the internet! Mari-Liis is known as the Pattern Duchess, and her designs are beautiful. The lace shawl we will be working on this year is the Birthday Lace Shawl (pictures are on her web site), and it will take a while. Mari-Liis is giving us two rows per day of the pattern, Monday through Friday ... which I can do! Two rows! I can do it! That is my kind of knitalong.

We started on June 24th, but I didn't get my yarn until day before yesterday. You can start now, if you would like to join me at swearing at the nupps; it's a free pattern, found on Facebook or on her website. We are on Day 8 which is only 16 rows, easy to catch up on.

You can do the shawl using a bead or a purl stitch or a plain knit stitch if you want, but I wanted to make myself use nupps if I could. This pattern has a lot of nupps. Before my stroke, I learned how to knit nupps, but I found them annoyingly hard to make and wrote them off, much the same as I had written off intarsia and brioche. Now that I had my stroke and have loads of time on my hands, I'll try to perfect them if I can. .

What are nupps, you ask? They are truly horrible instruments of torture in my opinion, but they look so pretty when they are done well! They look like little puffs of softness, like little clouds. IF you can do them right. My nupps so far look like little squished up balls of mud, but some -- well, one -- of them came out pretty good.

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Pitiful.

 

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Slightly less pitiful.

Nupps are fairly easy to make: just knit and do a yarn over in the same stitch until you have 7 stitches, and on the next row (which is purled) you just purl all 7 of the stitches together. It sounds so simple. BUT. There is no way in hell to get the needle into the front of those 7 #@&$%*&#@ stitches so that you can frigging purl them!    

Mari-Liis has a video of how to do the nupps, and it is very good. You should be able to do nupps easily.

The problem is, I had a stroke. My right hand fingers don't work well yet, and I am doing as much as I can to make them work. They will work eventually, probably just before my death due to the nupps. Anyway. I'll get my thumb to do the nupps, and maybe get my finger working at the same time too some day, and the nupps will be defeated!

I'm using KnitPicks Shadow Lace Weight yarn, which is 100% merino, 2 ply, in the color Blossom Heather. It is a bit darker than I wanted, but it's ok. It also is a bit hairy, but that might be fine too, since hairy yarn stays put if the needle becomes pulled out of the stitches, which may have already happened once or twice. 

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Knit happy! Happy Fourth of July!

*My Last Duchess is a little bit creepy poem by Robert Browning, but I love it. This may be my last Duchess shawl if the nupps kill me!


Fire in the Soul

When Notre Dame cathedral burned, I was very sad. So much history lost ... it was heartbreaking. A building that has been around for that long has so much human existence in it, as part of it. I found a pattern for the Rose Window hat on Knitty and thought, I will make that.

About a month later, I ordered some yarn from WEBS, a Debbie Bliss yarn called Botany Lace in the color 3012 Ronda which seemed like the colors in the Rose Window at Notre Dame; and I got a skein of Berroco Ultra Wool Fine in the color 5334 Black. I started to pick away at the hat. I worked on it amidst other things, but I finally got it done. Here are pictures of me finishing it, getting a wet blocking soak, and the finished hat.

Finishing
Finishing

I used two circular needles to knit it, and I liked that quite a bit. It is not as fiddly at the top as four double pointed needles would have been.


Finishing

Warm-ish  bath with Jasmine Eucalan; smells wonderful!


Finishing
Finishing

Finished project!

As someone who likes history and who has taught it, I was going through a grieving process over the cathedral's burning. Also, my home town of Portage Lake has an abundance of Catholic people in it, so I identified with the horror of it. And my house burned when I was in high school, so that was a bit of the feeling too. Knitting this hat helped me to settle with it, and I was really glad that the rose window was saved. I loved knitting this hat, and I might make another one with the black in Swan's Island yarn.

 

 


Drachen Is Finished!

And I love it! It is a beautiful sweater, and I just love everything about it. I love the little golden dragons flying around the bottom. They remind me of the gold dragons and the tiny little gold fire lizards in Anne McCaffrey's Pern books.

Drachen complete

Drachen by Heddi Craft; Washable Wool DK yarn by Swans Island

It isn't blocked yet; it is superwash, so I'll put it in the washer and then on my woolly board to dry, and then it will be blocked. Looks like we are going to have chilly weather for awhile, so I'll get to wear it! I can't wait!

 

 


French Riviera

Just the name evokes images of Grace Kelley, Cary Grant, and Sean Connery; of turquoise beaches, sunshine, and picturesque sails in the sunset; of people sipping cool, delicious drinks, wearing sunglasses and bikinis,  and having good figures. Ahhhh, the life.

330px-Grace_Kelly_MGM_photo   330px-Grace_Kelly_MGM_photo   330px-Grace_Kelly_MGM_photo

When I ran across this lovely shawl called French Riviera from DROPS Design, it gripped me. So lovely!

French Riviera

I queued it in Ravelry, set it to be knit with some fingering yarn that I had, and left it to stew for a few years.

Then I came back to my queue this year, saw French Riviera and remembered how much I had liked it. But then I saw the yarn requirement was for lace weight yarn. Crap. So I set it aside again.

A little while later, after I had forgotten French Riviera completely, I saw that Knitwhits Freia Fibers was having a sale on OOAK colors and colors that they didn't want to make or didn't work for some reason, and they were such a good deal that I picked up a couple of them. They were beautiful when I caked them up. I looked into what favorite patterns I had, and found French Riviera again! Wooohooo!

On Easter, I cast on, and I knit the whole stockinette section in fits and starts, and started the lace section.This pink to dark pink to dark gray to light gray was perfect for this shawl.

Yarn

Then I noticed that my yarn was running a tiny bit low, and I checked the yarn requirement: it needed 874 yards of lace weight yarn, and I had but one cake of Freia Gradient Ombré Merino Lace, which didn't have any ball band as it was a OOAK (which I totally knew before I bought it; I was warned!). Ombré Merino Lace had only 712 yards.

Crapppp.

Sigh. Well, I thought. I'll just knit as far as I can with this, and then I will decide if I should just bind off when I run out of yarn, or get more lace weight yarn in a light gray that sort of matches. So I kept knitting, and as I knit, I imagined that I had thought there was around 900 yards in the ball. It helped. As I knit, the  dark gray and the light gray seemed to magically slow down. So then I just imagined that it would be fine, just fine, I'd have enough yarn. It would be fine.

And it was!

French Riviera done back
French Riviera done back

And I even had 5 grams left over!

Bits left over

Imagination is a powerful thing. BELIEVE!

 

 


Bad Sweater, Bad Knitter. BAD.

Actually the sweater is a lovely, simple sweater and I love it; it's a great design, Drachen by Heddi Craft on Knitty issue 65, Deep Fall 2018.

The problem is there is a small error in the pattern, and I am apparently a fluffy-brained knitter who doesn't know how to read my pattern in time to stop myself from making big mistakes. I have always said (when people talk about me knitting fast) that it just means I can make bigger mistakes faster. I proved it.

I cast  on and zoomed up the body. I am using Swans Island superwash yarn, so I wanted to alternate two strands of yarn to mix the colors better. Everything was going swimmingly, and I split the front from the back at the underarm, read the directions for the next bit which said "Work even in St st for 19[21, 21, 23, 25, 27, 29] rows or until work measures approx. 9.25[9.75, 10.25, 10.25, 10.5, 11.25, 11.5] inches" and proceeded to knit for 10.25 inches.

Ahem.

Astute readers will have seen that 10.25 INCHES of knitting is wayyyyyy more than 23 rows. Way more. But I blew right through that part, because reading is a skill that I HAVE NOT MASTERED YET (despite having a B.S. in English), and I merrily knit along til I reached 10.25 inches. That's when I read the next part.

I realized my mistake when I read "Work even in St st until piece measures 6.75[7.25, 7.5, 8, 8.5, 9, 9.5] inches".

After I got through swearing, I had to figure out how far to rip back, because although I had knit a gauge swatch and got the right number of stitches per inch, my row gauge was off by a good bit, but it didn't really matter because the shaping wasn't row dependent (probably why I ignored the rows earlier).

DrachenSCHEM

For my size, D and E add up to 10.25". C is 7". So the amount I should have knit to the neck shaping was actually 3.25", which meant I had to rip out seven frigging inches and there were two damn strands of yarn and it was going to tangle and I  ONLY HAVE ONE HAND.

Sigh.

Sooooooooo I took my trusty miniscule US size 0 needle, and threaded it through the stitches at 3.25".

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I unraveled seven inches carefully, as I wanted to avoid tangling everything badly. Then I wound up the two balls, which took some time because there was a lot of moving things in and out every time they snagged. When it was ready to continue knitting forward again, I put the whole damn thing in time out for about a week, maybe more. Every time I looked at it, the dragons looked forlorn.

With a sigh, and after letting it stew for a bit, I started to knit Drachen again, knitting the right front and the left front, and started the back.

Dammit! Right off the bat, the directions say "Work even in St st until piece measures 6.75[7.25, 7.5, 8, 8.5, 9, 9.5] inches". I could have made the back first and then I would not only have had to rip out only 3.25 inches, but I also wouldn't have to knit the whole back over again!  Arghhhhh! WHAT. AN. IDIOT!!!

So what has this taught me?

  1. Sometimes, even in simple patterns, there is a tiny little error.
  2. Read the pattern.
  3. PAY ATTENTION.

The real reason I was mad is because it was ultimately my own damn fault, not the designer or Knitty. I love the design, and it really is very simple to knit, and it is fun, too. I just am brainless. (Technically only half brainless, but oh well, whatever).

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Wish I could take Pogo's advice and hide my head under my tail!

And yes. The back is almost done.

 

 

 

 


Knitting with the Fishes

Back in February (I think) I got the On the Round Signature Sock club yarn that was called Fish Bowl. I of course did not take a picture of it, but this is what is left:

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I love this yarn. It's like a little ball of delight that makes me happy.

First, I made Swedish Socks  by Spillyjane (US $6.00) using On the Round's Fish Bowl and Knitters Brewing Company Sock-aholic's Caribbean Happy Hour. They were fun to knit!

Swedish Fish Socks

Swedish Fish Close Up

Then I found a free hat pattern that I had to try because it was very pretty, and I could use the rest of my Fish Bowl, and it was a FREE PATTERN: Gluma Beanie by Tabitha Jarvis.

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Hey, I just found a picture of the hat's beginning that shows the yarn better!


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Actually the yarn has just a hint of pale green throughout it that for some reason my iPhone is ignoring. Pffft. But trust me, it is beautiful!

So that is what I've been doing, besides working sort of half-heartedly on the Drachen sweater which I am still mad at .... but that is another story.

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Drachen in timeout. Bad sweater, bad.

Pogo is mad at the sweater too.

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Simplest Scarf in the World

1

 

Basketweave Scarf

Materials:

4 40g skeins Noro Cashmel (discontinued) or 150 yards of worsted weight soft yarn with a bit of drape. 

Size 7 knitting needles

Tapestry needle & scissors

Gauge: 20 sts and 28 rows = 4”

Finished measurements: 8” X 72”

Directions:

Cast on 35 stitches.

Rows 1, 3, 5, 7: Knit 5, (purl 5, knit 5) across
Rows 2, 4, 6, 8: Purl 5, (knit 5, purl 5) across
Rows 9, 11, 13, 15: Purl 5, (knit 5, purl 5) across
Rows 10, 12, 14, 16: Knit 5, (purl 5, knit 5) across

Repeat rows 1 - 16 for 72". Bind off loosely. Weave in & trim ends.

 

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It's Finally Spring! Sort of.

Right now the wind is howling around my house and it was freezing when I got up at five, though it is sunny now and promises to be 39° today. But it will be 54° on Saturday! 54° and raining! Oh well, April showers bring May flowers I guess.

I knit a cowl over the weekend with some great speckled yarn from On the Round by Rachel Jones, who is in Rockland. She makes good yarn. The yarn was the sock club yarn for December and is called Festivus. It is always fun to see what her sock club yarn looks like every month! The pattern was Naranj by Hilary Smith Callis; it is on Ravelry and is very lovely.

Naranj

I also did Knitters Brewing Company Mystery Sock 11 by Wendy Gaal!

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I can't believe these Mystery socks have been going on for eleven years. I haven't done all of them, but the ones I have done were wicked fun and challenging, though Wendy has video tutorials to help and everyone is so good at helping in her group also. The pattern for these are Mystery Sock XI: It Goes to Eleven by Wendy Gaal, and the theme this year was Eighties Music. The yarn I chose is Knitters Brewing Company Sock-aholic II in the color Graphite Gueuze.

I have been knitting a simple scarf for my husband since the mice chewed up the one I knit him a few years ago, and it is almost done, five and a half feet out of six feet total length. Or it may be a bit more, but thereabouts. I don't have a picture, but I will write down the very simple drop dead easy pattern, slap the photo on it, and post it on my blog so you can all have it forever. I am using worsted weight cashmere that I purchased back when cashmere was slightly affordable, in the early 2000's or so. But really, if the mice are going to eat it, any worsted weight would do! I hope their little mouse nests are comfy and warm if they are cashmere lined.

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(photo courtesy of Clipart Library)

And finally, I have started my beloved dragon sweater that I fell in love with on Knitty when it came out. The pattern is Drachen by Heddi Craft in Issue 65 Deep Fall 2018 of Knitty.

DrachenALT

I have always loved dragons since I read Anne McCaffery's Pern books back in the early 1970's, reading about five of them over the years as I recall, and after my stroke, I read the whole series of 22 Pern books. Hey, I couldn't knit much at the time.

Drachen is a simple, boxy style of sweater in a T shape, but I will make it a bit longer than the pattern, maybe 14" to the underarm instead of 11.5". I am using Swans Island Washable Wool DK in the colors of Sangria, Curry and Sunlight (not pictured):

Drachen

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It's a beginning!


My Head's In The Clouds

Well, the stratosphere anyway. And gosh, is it windy up there!

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(Image by lisa870 on Pixabay)

I just finished a shawlette called Stratosphere by Claire Slade and I love it very much! The kit was a Christmas gift to me from my sister in law Linda, and it was a really fun knit, not too hard, easy enough to watch TV with,  but interesting in all the right places.

Stratosphere  3

The kit came with Knit Picks Hawthorne Fingering in three beautiful colors of green-blue, dark brown, and light brown.

Stratosphere 1
Stratosphere 1
Stratosphere

Hawthorne is hand dyed beautifully and the colors of the greeny blue looks just like the ocean. Thank you Linda!

And the best bit is that St. Patrick's Day (and also  the feast day of Saint Gertrude of Nivelles, the patron saint of cats and the people who love them) is coming up, so green and brown will be appropriate colors to wear!

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(Image by OpenClipart-Vectors on Pixabay)

I have been thinking about my Making Nine goals and I think I have found my Hard Thing To Knit. It is the Wild Swan shawl pattern by Anne-Lise Maigaard and Nim Teasdale.

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It is supposed to be medium hard to knit, and of COURSE I will do the beads; there are several options: 882 beads, or 1300 beads, or all of the beads, making 2182 beads for the die hards! I might just be a die hard, I don't know.

Or maybe I will just finish the two beaded shawls I started to knit about twenty years ago. Hmmmmm.