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.

 

22

 


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.

 


Is it Spring Yet? No? OK Then.

February. The shortest month of the year, overwhelmed by the two longest months of the year, January and March, is the sorriest sibling of the months. I'll try to make it better.

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I finally finished my Turquoise Zebra Blanket!!!

TurqZebraBlanket

I started it in December of 2017 and finished it the day after Valentine's Day this year. There were several months of hibernation involved when it had to sleep while I worked on other things. But it is done now!

I knit a sweater for my friend Lynne in eleven days, which kind of surprised me.

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Granted, it was a size small in aran weight cotton, but still. It was a fun knit!

I tried to make a mug cake cinnamon roll for breakfast this morning. Mug cakes are when you put ingredients in a mug, stir it up, and voilá, two minutes in the microwave and it turns into a luscious cake. Mine did, and I ate it before could take a picture, but my question is this: why is it that for something that is supposed to be ridiculously simple, it seems to be so hard to make? Maybe I was half asleep, but it felt like it would be just as laborious to make a whole pan of cinnamon rolls and have them easily for a few days than to go through the rigmarole of making one in a mug. Maybe I just need something to bitch about. Anyway, my cinnamon roll mug cake was good. I used this recipe, but I made up my own icing.

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Have a good rest of February!


If It Is Cold, It Must Be February

Brrrrrr.

I shouldn't complain; the Midwest of the US and Canada are in a deep freeze so deep that it may be July before they warm up. And, it is going to be much warmer here on the coast of Maine shortly. But right now, I am writing this and it is cold.

I got a few things knit last week.

 

Linus

My scrap sock yarn shawl is done. The pattern is Linus and it is really easy. It was a good palate cleanser after Abayomi.

 

Lynns socks

I finished Lynne's socks! It was a good way to remember Cape Cod.

 

I knit the Mayfield Mitts designed by Erica Huesser next, and found that a bird in the hand ...

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... is worth two on the back of Pogo! Shhhhh, I took this while she was asleep. Be vewy vewy quiet.

The palm side of the mitt is also beautiful:

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These mitts are unblocked, and I am sure they will be even prettier once blocked, but I was too excited to show you.

The yarn is Swans Island Sterling Collection fingering weight in the colors Jasper and Citrine, which made them sort of medieval looking. I love their Sterling Collection yarns, which are available in fingering and worsted weights. The fibers are 85% Certified Organic Merino and 15% Black Alpaca, which feels absolutely lovely. Because the alpaca is black, the colors are of course darker and richer than other yarns; they are really stunning. I am basically addicted to this yarn.

I forgot how much I enjoy stranded color knitting. This pattern was easy to remember on the palm, yet interesting to knit on the back of the hand; I loved watching the leaves and the bird appear as I knit. I highly recommend this pattern.

Pogo will be sleeping until Spring.

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Abayomi

Remember this?

389_Abayomi front
389_Abayomi front
389_Abayomi front

That's Abayomi, designed by Donna Yacino for Berroco. I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it, and I reeeeeally wanted to knit it.

I ordered the yarn for it quite a while ago, like in the spring last year, but I never got around to starting it because other things kept popping up, things I wanted to get done first. It was going to be gorgeous in Swans Island Washable Wool sport weight in the color Edgecomb Grey.

Yarn
Yarn

Then I found NaKniSweMo (National Knitting A Sweater In A Month), a group on Ravelry. It is like NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) but for knitting sweaters instead of writing novels. I thought hmmmmmm, this might be the ticket. At least I will finally start Abayomi, and either I will knit it all in a month, or I'll get a good start on it! So I signed up.

I think the same day that I signed up, I also made plans with Lynne to go to Cape Cod. I hurriedly checked the pattern to see if the sleeves would be easy -- they were, all stockinette. Phew. And I had a few days before I left to get started on the back.

I won't lie, this sweater was hard to knit, but it mostly was that the lace panel which was the dominant feature was knitted lace, not lace knitting. Lace knitting is what you normally find in a pattern, a row of lace yarn overs combined with decreases, and a row that is purled back, or knitted back if it is garter stitch lace. Abayomi is knitted lace, featuring a lace panel that has no "easy" row of purling back; every row is patterned, so you have to be able to think backwards. Every knit two together becomes purl two together; every slip, slip knit two together becomes slip, slip purl two through the back loops.

Thinking backwards is hard to do with only half a brain.

However, after I got used to it, it went along easily. When I say it was hard to knit, please don't say, "Oh, well, then I won't knit it!" You can do it. If I can learn how to knit this, you can. Besides it is well worth the effort! It really is a lovely design, and while there was a certain amount of a learning curve, it got easier to knit as you went along. The pattern was very easy to read, the numbers for size small were correct, and the chart was easy to read.

I started on November 1, 2018 ...

Beginning

Abayomi has begun! (November 1)


Beginning

Sixteen inches of the back! (November 3)

I shortened the overall length of the back and the fronts by 5.5" inches (24.5" instead of 30") because I was using superwash yarn, and I estimated that it would grow about an inch per foot from blocking, which in the end was about right.


Beginning

Back Completed! (November 13)

We drove to Cape Cod and back and I knit on the sleeves in the car, and in the hotel I knit on the left front. Except when we were having a cocktail*.

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Cocktails are more for stockinette sleeves than a heavily-patterned-requiring-thinking-ability of the left front.

Sleeves

When I got home I got the sleeves finished. (November 15)


Beginning

Finished the left front! (November 25)

Then I lost my knitting mojo. I got a lot of Abayomi done in November, and that was a good thing. Then there was the madness of Christmas, but I kept plugging on throughout. The pattern got really easy by this point, as I had managed to memorize quite a bit of it. I only had the right front to knit and to sew it together and it would be done! Sewing it together would be really easy; there was little shaping, the pieces fit together beautifully, and even the "tricky bit" of joining the left and right front together with a three needle bind off was really easy to do.

Ta da!

Finished January 12. I think it came out well! I hope Lindsey loves it.

 

*Cocktail: 1.5 ounces limoncello; 1 ounce vodka; a splash of seltzer water; a slice of lemon, and ice


New Year, New Beginnings

Hellooooooooo everybody! 

I haven't posted much, but I have been here. Here are a few pictures of my knitting:

Tractor sweater

A Farmall tractor sweater for a young gentleman (my own pattern)

Bandwidth tunic

A sunny yellow (my picture sucks) Bandwidth Tunic for a little girl

Snake cardi

The Nerodia cardigan for a wee boy ... 

Snakes hissssss

... complete with snakes!

Heart's queen cardigan

And the Heart's Queen Coat for the clever young girl ...

Hearts

... with hearts and a hood :)

 

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I went to Cape Cod in early November and went to A Great Yarn in Chatham. It's a wonderful shop! One of the yarns I got there was Knitwhits Freia Handpaints Freia Semi-Solid Shawl Ball Merino Fingering in the color Hard Candy. I decided to knit the Birch Bark Canoe shawl out of it.

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Very bright!

What am I knitting now? Hmmmmm ...

The Turquoise Zebra blanket is going slowly, about one garter ridge a day (that is 2 rows for you muggles):

Turquoise Zebra Blanket

Sorry I don't have a new picture. I only knit on it after supper for about an hour and it is way too big to be photographed. I like to cuddle under it though!

I have a scrap sock yarn shawlette almost finished:

Scrap shawl

I am trying to use up all my scraps this year; it is a goal I have. Wish me luck. I have enough scraps to do another shawlette after this one too. The pattern is Linus.

Lynne's socks

I got this yarn at A Great Yarn too, and I am making socks for Lynne out of it. I got the seahorse mug in Cape Cod too!

We have a scary snowstorm coming (well, I'm not scared, I'm from Maine) and we are well stocked up for all contingencies:

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Stay warm knitters!

 

 


The Hearts Queen Coat

Once upon a time (don't you just love stories that start with this?) there was a clever little girl who lived with her parents and younger sister and kitties and a dog on the chilly coast of Maine.

For her birthday, her crippled old grand-aunt gave her choices of designs and said, "I will make you one of these sweaters to keep you warm, if you want me to," and the delightful child chose the Hearts Queen Coat.

Then the grand-aunt gave her a choice of three different places online to choose the color of superwash yarn she wanted for her sweater, and the girl wisely chose DROPS  Big Merino in the color Marble. Then she waited. The grand-aunt was a bit busy at the moment knitting something else, but when she finished, she started knitting right away.

The grand-aunt loved knitting this coat because the yarn was big and squishy and beautiful, and the pattern was absolutely lovely. Soon she had this:

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She loved how it looked, and she hoped the clever  little girl would too. She knew it would keep her warm.

Stay posted for more of the story to continue!

 


Day 5 and 6 and a Few More Hours ....

I worked on getting the neckline and front bands of the Beekeeper Cardigan over the last week, and it took about 5 or 6 hours. Then I knit the left sleeve on Saturday, and I knit the right sleeve on Sunday. It took me a whole day to knit one sleeve! Like from 9 in the morning to 10:30 at night! I need to get faster.

Anyway, I succeeded in completing my Beekeeper Cardigan in about six and a half days.

BeekeeperCardigan_medium

I finished it just in time. This is it, hot off the needles, with the ends hanging out, unblocked, like a newborn baby, all wrinkly. Blocking will help it considerably, as well as weaving in the ends.

This KAL was the biggest one that I have ever been a part of. More than 1181 people endeavored to knit the cardigan in four to eight days, depending on their size (my size required 5 days, oops). So what is the big deal? Why did so many people sign up for this?

  1. It was billed as the "4-day KAL" to make a whole sweater with DK weight yarn in a textured pattern. It was intriguing, it seemed impossible, yet Marie Greene assured us that it could be done. People had done it last year. Before the KAL, Marie Greene and another test knitter did it to prove it could indeed be done. And, in the end, lots of people knit this sweater in four days. One knitter even knit four beekeper cardigans in the duration of the whole KAL, which was a little over two weeks! 
  2. It is thrilling to watch so many people helping each other to be their best, to find that they could do something that challenged them. I challenged myself, and it felt good. It also felt good to help others.
  3. When you are part of a group all working on the same project, you feel dedicated to achieving the end. You cheer each other on, you commiserate, you make friends. You want to do it again after it is done. 
  4. It is good to use Facebook to do something that enriches the world in that way, to actually look forward to posts and find success stories and to cheer each other on. 
  5. I learned a lot about sweaters and how they are made! I learned that knitters can and will knit full  sized gauge swatches with different needles, as hundreds of knitters in this KAL did! I learned that blocking makes a ton of difference in the finished sweater! 
  6. I saw beginning knitters who had knit only a little while and who had never ever made a sweater, knit this sweater with the little bee pattern and they succeeded! Wooooooohoooooo! I was so proud of them!
  7. I got a glimpse of what Marie Greene did to organize a huge KAL like this one, make it run smoothly, make everyone feel good about themselves .... all while she was putting the finishing touches on a book that she has written about sweaters. She was pretty amazing. I pre-ordered her book.
  8. I miss knitting the little bees.

Day 3 and Day 4 Accomplishment

Hey everyone, it's the crazy bee lady buzzing in again! I knit all day on Saturday and Sunday, and I finished the length on the body:

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On Saturday I got about halfway down, and finished the body on Sunday. Sorry my picture is a bit fuzzy. I took it about 11 last night, and I was a little fuzzy too. 

So, I just have the ribbing on the collar and front bands (about 1.5 inches) and the two sleeves. I don't think I will make it in five days, but six days should probably cover it. I'm good with that! As Marie told us, it isn't about meeting deadlines, it's about the friendship and being supportive of everyone in the group. I haven't had any problems knitting this adorable little sweater, but I have loved seeing everyone's progress on their project and commenting when I can!! 

Speaking of the group ... holey moley!! There are 1130 projects for the Beekeeper Cardigan on Ravelry! And on Facebook (because not everyone is on Ravelry, and vice versa) there are 2394 members! This BeekeeperKAL is HUGE. Huge and really fun!

Marie has said that blocking your sweater is really important, that it makes such a difference to the fit. I agree. Look at this:

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On the top is my Swans Island Washable Wool DK coming off the cake that it is wound into. I knit with that. On the bottom is my cast on tail that has been "relaxing" as I have knit the cardigan for the past week (well, I only knit 4 days, but it has been a week). I am amazed at how much it bloomed just lying there! It seemed, when I did my Little Bee swatch, that the knitting was a bit loose, but I got the correct gauge with size 7 needles and DK yarn, so I trusted the designer and went with it. I am so glad I did. Some people went with a smaller gauge and a larger size because they didn't like the looseness of the knitting on size 7 needles, even though it was the correct gauge. I hope their knitting doesn't bloom out of control when they block it! 

 

Happy Tour de Fleece for those participating in it! I was going to do that this year, but I got waylaid by a huge swarm of bees. Maybe next year!


Day 2 Accomplishment

I made it to the sleeve divide. It's beginning to resemble a sweater! 

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Yayyyyy I finally made it!

Now I will buzzzzzz down the body making only bees and NO MORE RAGLAN SLEEVE INCREASES! Do I sound bitter? A bit. Those increases and figuring out how to place the bees took lots of brain power, and it was hot out, very hot. It seemed to take me forever to figure out how many stitches to cast on for the underarm to get the bees to line up properly. I was putting in a stitch, then counting and counting, but every time it came out wrong. (Knitting with literally half a brain after my stroke is annoying sometimes.) Finally I did it correctly, and the raglan increases are behind me now!!

I love my little bees; they make me happy.

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Buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

I'll knit Day 3 and Day 4 on the weekend, and Day 5 the following weekend. Marie Green, the designer of the 4-day KAL, said it was easier to spread the days out instead of doing them all together, and she is right. You keep the excitement of the project, and you never lose your mojo because you are tired of it. Hmmmmm, I should try doing that with my regular projects! I see a scheduling app in my future ....

 

 


Day 1 Accomplishment

It isn't much, but it's a start!

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I'm a bit disappointed that I didn't get further on it. I wanted to get to the division of the sleeves, but I am about 20 rows from there. Did I mention that this sweater is knit from the top down, there is no seaming, and no buttonholes and buttons to frig with? Yayyyyyyy!

I had to take a nap. I went up to northern Maine for my brother and sister in law's 50th Anniversary on the weekend, which was fabulous! But I was more tired than I thought when I got back, and I simply fell asleep for most of my quality knitting time in the afternoon. It was so nice, on my porch, sun streaming in, not too hot (it only got to about 70°F I think) .... nice napping weather. I do not regret it.

Day 2 will commence tomorrow. Oh, did I mention that I can pick any 5 days that I want to knit? They don't have to be consecutive. I'll take a break today, knit tomorrow, take a couple days off, knit on the weekend, then see how much I have left to do. Knitting the whole sweater in four days would be awesome, five days would be great, but even if it takes more time .... I still have a sweater!

 


It Beegins.

Hehe. 

I finished knitting my Tor Grass shawl; it needs to be blocked:

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So pretty ❤

And I knit 95% of a sweater for my nephew's son, but it needs to be blocked before I can sew it together and knit the neck to finish it:

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Tommy loves tractors! This time it's a Farmall :)

And I knit the beginning of a shawl/cowl thing called  Clarissa by BullyWoolies for someone's birthday that has already gone by:

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Happy Birthday Lynne!

The yarn is Marrakesh, 70% silk/30% Camel from Handmaiden Fine Yarn, a wonderful Canadian company that I adore! (Happy Canada Day a bit late Canada! ) Pictures really don't do this justice. It is gorgeous. The color is called Tourmaline, a beautiful blue green that looks just like the ocean. 

However.

Everything came to a  screeching halt at 7:00 this morning as I started my Beekeepers Cardigan!!! 

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Pattern: Beekeeper Cardigan by Marie Green. Yarn: the unbelievably luscious Washable Wool DK by Swans Island, 100% organic, hand dyed merino wool. So soft! So squishy! I don't usually get wool that is superwash for my sweaters, but Marie Green recommended it because the pattern requires superwash or a silk blend for getting the correct fit after blocking. This yarn feels so incredible! It is a joy to work with. I am a happy BeeeeeeeeKeeper!

The color is called Sunlight, and it is a perfect soft yellow which I really wanted. Who doesn't need a little sunlight on a gloomy day, or any day?

I have 5 days to knit this (my size is a little bit larger than the 4-day sizes). The clock is ticking. I'm crossing my fingers (except for when I am knitting ... or typing). We will see how it goes!!!

Note: Nothing will explode or otherwise disappear if I can't get it knit in four or five days. If I do get it knit in five days, Extreme Gleefulness and Possibly Ice Cream will occur. 

Other note: Blocking. It has to be blocked to fit. YIKES!


Fleas

I thought I would be done my Tor Grass shawl by now, but I am not.

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One reason is I fought with a skein of brown 2-ply wool from Christopher Sheep Farm to knit these mittens:

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The yarn seemed really thick, and I had to struggle to knit every stitch. I thought it was because I needed better needles with more of a point, so I went to Heavenly Yarns up in Belfast with a friend one day and stocked up on a couple sets. (Heavenly Yarns is a fabulous shop; you should go!) 

I got the needles home, and they helped, but the yarn still fought me. Anyway, I finished them and put them in a sink full of hot water to block them. 

Wow. I found out why the yarn fought me. Lots -- I mean, LOTS -- of brown, greasy stuff oozed out of the yarn. It wasn't dyed, because this particular yarn is not a dyed color, it is a natural color, it was just really dirty. It felt kind of sticky when I was knitting with it, actually, but I thought it was just the lanolin. I had to wash it three times to get the water to run clear! I knew I had had the yarn for quite a while. The natural colors of that wool have more lanolin in them, the dark brown especially, and I think it had hardened up with age. The resulting mittens are soft and lovely and warm though! I like them very much. But I spent way more time knitting them than I thought I would: two weeks instead of three or four days. 

The other reason is fleas. Pogo has fleas. Well, she almost always has fleas, but they are usually kept in control with FrontLine or something, and I brush her several times a day because she loves it, even though she is not a long haired cat. 

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 This year, for whatever reason, the fleas suddenly and vehemently overtook the earth, notably Pogo and my house. Medication, both applied to the cat and sprayed on surfaces, has had some effect, but it's like the Boss Flea is laughing in the face of modern medicine, saying, "Bring it on, I will eat it up!" So, I have been cleaning. We washed every mat, blanket and pillow that Pogo laid on (and she has a lot around the house; she is pretty pampered). Mostly I have been vacuuming and washing the floors daily, through the whole downstairs.  Daily. And it is not easy for me, but it is getting easier with repetition, lol. It takes time though, lots of it, so my shawl suffers. However, better that my shawl suffers than poor Pogo.

Luckily, after a week of daily vacuuming and washing the floors, they are safe for Pogo to walk on, but I still have to keep it up, because this year the fleas are winning. So it continues. 

I have about 80% of Tor Grass complete. There are only about 21 more rows to go and then bind off. Of course, there are over 500 stitches per row, so I can only do about three or four rows a day, but it is slowly getting done. I was hoping to get it done in time for the Beekeeper Cardigan KAL that I will start July 2 or so ...  if I am not done by then, Tor Grass will have to wait for me to get the Bees done! It should only be 5 or 6 days though. That is what they say. I live in hope. 


The Big Soft Cuddly

Sadly, I could not find the second skein of the black fuzzy yarn anywhere. It disappeared into the gaping maw of my yarn room and could not be found. So sad.

But it is ok. I found leftover yarn from a scarf I had made, using Rowan Kid Silk Haze Stripe in a mostly gray color called Chiarascuro. Sadly it is discontinued now. It added a touch of moonlight to the edge of my shawl:

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This picture is pre-blocking. After I blocked it, it looked like this:

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I am so pleased with my Line & Shadow Shawl! It is light and airy and big and warm and soft and cuddly, and I am wearing it right now, until it becomes 76° out and I am forced to take it off. I love it! 


Nothing That Hard Blocking Won't Fix!

Well, this is a sticky wicket! I got 97% of my Line and Shadow shawl completed, down to the very last stripe of the black fuzzy contrast color ... and reached the end of my ball of black fuzzy yarn.

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I literally have only 8 rows left to knit, 2 rows of which need the black fuzzy yarn. I know it is in my house somewhere ... I just need to find it. The problem is, it is upstairs and I still need help getting there, so it will wait till this weekend. 

This shawl is HUGE by the way. You know that picture where the woman is holding it out with both hands and it looks so pretty? Bet you didn't notice how big it is! Most of the time, while I knit on it, I wore it wrapped around my neck, and it was so warm and soft and luscious. It will be a nice size to wrap up in this fall, as it is almost blanket sized, but it is light and airy feeling and I love it. And it is almost done!

So, while I wait to knit those last 8 rows and bind off, I started knitting another shawl from The Knitter magazine, Issue 123. I love The Knitter; it consistently has wearable garments, interesting articles, and really wonderful photos. It is a British magazine, but while I would love to go to the UK to buy it, I don't; I bought a digital subscription on Amazon

The shawl is called Tor Grass, by Anniken Allis, and I fell in love with it when I saw it. So pretty! Ooooh! 

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The yellow dress is lovely also, sigh. I will never be that tiny, hehe.

The shawl is knit in Rowan Denim Lace. What?! Denim lace??? Damn, I had to see that ... WEBS had it! I liked all the colors, but Erin Green like the one that is pictured stole my heart. I succumbed to the yarn fumes once again.

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The yarn comes on cute little cones of happiness. They do not all come with Pogo tails. This was the start of what I feel will be a beautiful friendship! Denim Lace is made of recycled denim and is available in 6 colors. Each 50g cone has 400 meters of yarn.

Knitting with Denim Lace is great! It is like most lace weight yarns, it is thin, but it has more weight than other wool lace weights. Other lace weights sort of hang in the air, they 'float' more, but Denim Lace has oomph. Light, airy oomph. Like silk, but more cottony and more grabby. 

I'm babbling. This is where I am at now:

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This is such a beauty!

I notice that the selvedge edge seems a bit tight. I hope that warm water, soap, and hard blocking will take care of it! 

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Kinky

Don't worry, this is not Fifty Shades of Knitting.

I'm doing charity knitting when watching TV shows in the evening, and I had a skein's worth of lovely alpaca from the Maine Alpaca Experience, all in little balls, the biggest of which I unraveled from a piece of knitting from the vest I knit for my husband (turns out he wanted it to be a bit longer). I was too lazy to make it into a skein, wash it, and dry it. I tried to blame my handicap on that, but really, I was just too lazy. So I knit it up into the DK weight hat that I posted the pattern for here

The yarn was kinky. It didn't look so bad until I ran out of yarn and joined a ball of nice, smooth yarn and kept going. 

Wow. It looked really different.

 

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Yikes! So, maybe washing the hat would solve the problem? I washed it and it took three days to dry ... either it is really foggy here on the coast of Maine, or the alpacas soak up lots of water.

This was the result:

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You can still see the difference, but it is not so bad.

The only problem with knitting for charity is, I want all the hats!! And I never wear hats! At least they will go to people who need them when they are cold! ☺


DK Weight Ribbed Watch Cap

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DK Weight Ribbed Watch Cap

Size 5US/3.75mm 16"circular and double pointed needles

300 yards DK weight yarn

Gauge: 9 sts and 6.5 rows per inch measured over ribbing pattern lying at rest after washing

This will appear to be really skinny, but it stretches a lot!

Cast on 112 sts. Work in k2, p2 rib until piece measures 11 inches/28 centimetres. It will seem too long, but that is ok.

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Decrease for top:

Row 1: *Work 12 sts, work 2 together* around. 

Row 2 - 12: Work around with no decreases, keeping pattern as much as possible.

Row 3: *Work 11 sts, work 2 together* around. 

Row 5: *Work 10 sts, work 2 together* around. 

Row 7: *Work 9 sts, work 2 together* around. 

Row 9: *Work 8 sts, work 2 together* around. 

Row 11: *Work 7 sts, work 2 together* around. 

After completing Row 12, you can eliminate the even rounds in between the decrease rounds.

Row 13: *Work 6 sts, work 2 together* around. 

Row 14: *Work 5 sts, work 2 together* around. 

Row 15: *Work 4 sts, work 2 together* around. 

Row 16: *Work 3 sts, work 2 together* around. 

Row 17: *Work 2 sts, work 2 together* around. 

Row 18: *Work 1 st, work 2 together* around. 

Row 19: *Work 2 together* around. 

Cut yarn leaving a 6 inch end; pull the end through the remaining stitches secure it. Weave in ends. Fold up a 2" brim and wear proudly.


Mary Jane Is A Star!

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I finished my Pine Star hat. Mary Jane Mucklestone designed it, and, as usual, did a terrific job. It came out really lovely! I like the way the top decreases; very easy to knit it, and it is beautiful. 

Mary Jane is participating in a  new thing, Knit Stars, a thing that shows promise. It's a retreat with lots of cool designers and other fabulous people from around the world, and you can go without ever leaving your home. I think that is a great idea! Unfortunately Knit Stars for this year is closed, as demand caused it to fill up very quickly, but there is hope for the future years!

In other news, I got another foot of the blanket done; it is now three feet wide.

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The rows are getting longer and the blanket is getting heavier and the temperatures are getting warmer. I noticed that it took me a lot longer time to get the third foot done than the other two, and there is still one more foot of width to knit before I start making it longer instead of wider .... but at least I won't be adding stitches to it! Onward and upward!

I knit two whole rows on my Line & Shadow shawl and loved it. Not worth a picture though. Maybe next time.

 

 


Finish A Shawl, Learn Something New

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

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This shawl is HUGE, and it is beautiful!

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I love the drape and feel of it.

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

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I love doing origami with my shawl!

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

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

 


March Marched By Me, Now It Is April!

Happy Easter and April Fools! Two for one holidays! 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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I figure it's about 45% done.

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

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Ends


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Ends Woven In

 

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

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

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

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

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


Diving In Again

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

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

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

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

How is your February knitting going?

 


5 Shawls in 5 Days??

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

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

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

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


Poking My Head Up

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

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

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Line and Shadow was zooming right along:

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

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

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Nicky would be proud. 

 


Of Endings and Beginnings

My brown Norderny is done!

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

Theodore loves his new hat:

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My turquoise zebra blanket is coming right along:

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

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

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©Gale Zucker 2016

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

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After a day of knitting I did this:

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

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

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A little handspun and some scraps of fingering weight yarn

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

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