Finished a Couple Things

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(Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay)

I finished my Knit Camp cardigan, aka Sweater #4, and I love everything about it!

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This was knit in sportweight washable wool from Swan's Island in the color Cayenne, which is a bit darker and redder than the picture shows. The pattern is exclusively for Knit Camp participants, and was designed by Marie Greene.

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The real color is closer to this:

Before blocking

(Before blocking and buttons. I got the buttons at Maker's Mercantile; they are Ornate Corozo Buttons, 15mm, burgundy.)

I finished my Scrap Yarn Pi Shawl made out of fingering scraps. It's a nice weight that will be good to wear in the summer evenings and mornings. You can find out how to knit it in Elizabeth Zimmerman's books Knitters Almanac and Knitting Workshop. Next time though, I might try to knit a Half Pi Shawl, because  a whole pi shawl is realllly boring to knit ... hmmm, but it is all knitting and no purling. What to do, what to do ...

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And there you have it.

I'm just finishing the last 33% of my Crest o' the Wave stole, and then I will have a sample to knit for somebody, but I will get busy on Sweater #5 as soon as I can!


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.

 

 


Sweater #3 Is Done!

Welcome to Staying at Home in Maine!

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(Image by Jillian Schleger from Pixabay)

Number three of six  of the Make Nine Goal 2020 is complete:

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Pattern: Brookings by Marie Greene

Yarn: Swans Island Sterling Collection Worsted, color: Pyrite

This was a fun and relatively quick knit. It wasn't too difficult, especially once I was past the sleeve divide:

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The yarn was absolutely lovely!

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I have a skein and a little bit left over; maybe I'll make a Fairfax Hat:

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I'll let the yarn rest for the moment though. I've got socks to finish.

Be well, and happy knitting!


Blossoms & Buds Hat

It's Spring! Smell the fresh air!

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I made a new hat that uses nupps and something that I call a "bud stitch" from a Japanese knitting stitch book. I hope you like it!

Blossoms & Buds  Hat

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Materials:

Swans Island Washable Wool sport weight, 1 skein (360 yards/100g)

16 inch circular & double pointed needles US 1.5 / 2.5mm needle

Gauge: 25.33 sts and 38.5 rounds = 4"/10cm

Directions:

Cast on 128 sts.

Work ribbing for 1.5" as follows:

Round 1: *K 1, p 3* around

Round 2: *K1, p1* around

Knit a round and inc 8 in last row (136 sts)

Purl a round, knit a round, purl a round, knit 3 rounds.

Work 10 rounds of nupp flowers chart  (8 repeats of 17-stitch chart):

Chart - Stitch Fiddle

Tips for knitting nupps: 

https://pattern-duchess.com/knitting-estonian-nupp-stitch/

https://knotions.com/nupps-how-to-knit-tutorial/

https://pattern-duchess.com/how-to-knit-estonian-nupp-stitch/

Find the one you like and go with that! Or if you prefer, substitute a bobble stitch, or just a bead!

Knit a round, purl a round, knit a round, purl a round, knit a round and decrease 4 in last round (132 stitches). Purl 2 more rounds.

Work 14 rounds of Bud Stitch until hat measures about 8", ending with Round 7 or 14:

Bud Stitch:

Rounds 1 - 4: Purl

Round 5: *Purl 5, insert RN into center of stitch in 4th row below the next stitch and pull up a long loop; yo; insert RN into center of stitch in 4th row below of the same stitch and pull up a long loop; yo; insert RN into center of stitch in 4th row below of the same stitch and pull up a long loop (5 loops made from one stitch - keep the loops all the same height); drop the stitch on the left needle* around.

Round 6: *Purl 5, knit the 5 new loops you pulled up* around

Round 7: *Purl 5, sl 3 as if to knit, k2tog, psso one at a time,* around

Round 8 - 11: Purl

Round 12: *Purl 2, , insert RN into center of stitch in 4th row below the next stitch and pull up a long loop; yo; insert RN into center of stitch in 4th row below of the same stitch and pull up a long loop; yo; insert RN into center of stitch in 4th row below of the same stitch and pull up a long loop (5 loops made from one stitch - keep the loops all the same height); drop the stitch on the left needle, p3* around.

Round 13: *Purl 2, knit the new loops you pulled up, purl 3* around

Round 14: *Purl 2, sl 3 as if to knit, k2tog, psso one at a time, purl 3* around.

(I made the yo’s and dropping the st off bold because that was where I kept forgetting to do them, and got off in my stitch count.)

 

Purl 1 round. Knit 1 round.

Work in stockinette stitch and decrease for top changing to dpns where necessary:

Round 1: *Knit 6, yo, k3tog* around

Round 2 and all even rounds: Knit

Round 3: *Knit 5, yo, k3tog* around

Round 5: *Knit 4, yo, k3tog* around

Round 7: *Knit 3, yo, k3tog* around

Round 9: *Knit 2, yo, k3tog* around

Round 11: *Knit 1, yo, k3tog* around

Round 22: Knit, dec 1 st at end of round

Round 13: K2tog around until 11 sts remain. Cut yarn leaving an end to weave in. Pull up tight and weave end in on wrong side.

 

I added a pom pom on top, but you can finish it off as you like! This hat would do well with blocking. I didn’t block mine, but I should have. If it were a gift for someone, I would have blocked it to make it prettier.

Happy knitting!

Download Blossoms and Buds Hat_03.26.2020.pdf (240.6K)


Squishy Mail

In this time of staying home, shopping has mostly been done online. I bought cookies, sugar free cookies, that aren't too bad. They go well with tea.

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Because I couldn't go to Heavenly Yarns in Belfast, they kindly came to me -- sort of. I wanted to shop at a yarn store that I like to go to locally, because I wanted to help them out. Helen answered the phone and remembered that I used to own Unique One, and she even remembered my blog. She is very sweet!

I ordered two skeins of Peace Fleece for socks for a man, and two bright skeins of Berroco Socks for socks for women. Helen has a tremendous selection in her store!

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That was just yesterday, and I got the yarn today! I'll wind the yarn up right away and get going making socks!

In other news, I ordered this from a store on the other side of the country:

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It may look like a baby tribble ... but it is not (I wish it was though!). Neither is it yarn. It is a pom pom for the hat I am making, and it is soooooo soft. I love it. I got it at Knot Another Hat in Hood River, Oregon.

Both stores had free shipping to the end of the month!!!!! I hope you can order some yarn from your local yarn shop. Having had a yarn shop myself, I know from experience that March is always a hard month, and this March is a dismal one indeed. Having a little more yarn will make you feel good, and I know that your business will be appreciated!

Be well, be happy, and knit on!


So Happy

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

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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!


January Spinning

On my Make Nine list of goals, I had "Spin at least an hour per week". In January  I had a goal to spin 4.5 hours; I was able to spin 14.07 hours. Wowza!

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I made a nifty little spreadsheet to put my spinning time in. It adds up all the minutes for me, so it's easy.

Spinning is my meditation. I spin mostly in the morning to get my head and my body to align and get used to the day. Although, my days are pretty stress free and I only have half a brain left, so there is that.

Spinning uses a lot of physics. I'm not talking about speed of the wheel or ratios, no, I'm talking about inertia. See, when I sit down to spin, I plan on spinning about 20 minutes ... but I find that I actually spin about 40 minutes on average. Once I start, it is hard to stop! Inertia takes over! But on the other side, once I stop, it is very hard to start. Previously, I stopped spinning, and it took me about two years to overcome the inertia. When I take one day off, that day tries to inveigle itself into three days or a week. After I took several days off for a knitting weekend recently, it was hard to make myself spin again, but I'm glad I did! It is hard to overcome inertia.

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That fiber is from On the Round that I got three or four years ago when they had some one-of-a-kind merino on sale. It may be superwash, not sure. I got eight ounces. I've already spun the bits on the side; only the big bit on the top to be spun, and then it will be plied and washed and then the knitting will begin! I can't believe this has been waiting to be spun for two years. That is just criminal.

At first my yarn was about DK weight (the part I spun two years ago) but now I spin a two-ply heavy fingering weight naturally. I think most people do, but I haven't fact checked it. If I want a thicker yarn, I'll just ply more than two plies together, for hats and mittens and the like.

I'm a weird spinner, because as soon as my spinning is done, I knit something out of it. I never have yarn spun up that I haven't knit. But, as far as I can tell, that is unusual. Most spinners never seem to use their yarn, or do so rarely. This I also haven't fact checked, it's just a  feeling I have. Do let me know if I am right or not. I'd love to see what you have made from your handspun yarn!


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!


Make Nine 2020

Happy New Year!

I don't do resolutions, but setting nine goals for the year ahead seems fine. I give you my nine goals for 2020:

ONE: Knit Kittycat Socks. I have the yarn and I planned to do it anyway, and I found a sock knitting group online with goals for January socks, and this pair seemed to fit in nicely:

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From The Knitter issue #136. That cat looks mightily frightened. Anyway. I thought it would be good to start the year off with something that I am 100% sure I can do.

TWO: Actually design two brand spankin' new patterns and put them on my blog.

THREE: Spin at least an hour per week (Sharon, this one's for you!). Also counts as therapy for my right foot (the previously paralyzed one, now just mostly paralyzed) because I got a Hitchhiker single treadle spinning wheel after Arline died, but it is for the right foot.

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I think I can make it work now. I'll try anyway. And it's not like I don't have any other wheels!

FOUR: Knit the Saxony socks from A Fine Fleece. I am gonna knit these!

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FIVE: Knit or crochet 6 sweaters for myself. Yes, 6. I am a sweater monster.

SIX: Make at least one small thing each month (like hats, socks, mittens, small shawls).

SEVEN: Organize my yarn by weight (lace, fingering, sport, DK, worsted, bulky).

EIGHT: Get rid of my unwanted yarn via donating it/giving it away

NINE: Clean out and organize my knitting chest. It is a wooden chest in our living room that is about four feet long and eighteen inches wide and I don't really know what all is in it. There's a lot of yarn, and a lot of needles, some empty knitting bags, and Lord know what else. I think my sock blockers are in it somewhere, and I hope my bobbins are at the bottom. I need to have them to make progress spinning!

That's my list. What's yours?


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:

Sox

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:

Hat

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:

Mitts

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!


At the End: Make Nine 2019

So, I was curious to see how my "resolutions", my Make Nine list for 2019, was progressing. (See the original list here.)

  1. Finish the Turquoise Zebra blanket. Done! I finished it February 15, 2019. It's been on my bed, keeping me warm since it got cold enough to warrant another blanket.
  2. Make at least one small thing each month (like socks, hats, mittens, small shawls). At last count, I had almost thirty finished this year, so I guess I did that one too.
  3. Make three big things this year (like sweaters, big shawls). I got six things done, some for me, some for Swan's Island, so I did this one too.
  4. Make one thing that is hard for me to knit. Hmmmm. Nothing I knit was really hard for me this year, but I did have one challenging thing, which was also fun and different; it was the Mystery Socks 11 from Knitter's Brewery that I knit.

Mystery socks

These socks were somewhat unusually constructed, and had interesting and kind of hard stitches to do. I enjoyed doing them!

       5. Become accomplished at knitting brioche. I didn't do it, but I tried. I worked on the brioche class on Bluprint until I thought, why aren't I knitting? It was the brioche mitts that were the project, but it wasn't that I didn't like doing brioche ... I just had to say, I didn't like the mitts and I didn't like that the mitts were all gawmy and, well, ugly as hell. So then I started looking at other brioche things to knit and found that I didn't really like the looks of them either. I guess that I just am not a huge fan of how brioche looks. So I didn't finish it. The only brioche things that I saw that I liked were simple scarves, some hats, and a couple sweaters that I had actually knit myself in the past. I crossed brioche off my list, and I was fine with that. Life is too short to learn skills that I don't like and won't use, and there are many other things that I want to learn.

Intarsia is like brioche, in that I don't like doing them, but if a design is very, very, very, very beautiful or cool or cute, I will knit it despite not liking it (Map of the World sweater, I'm looking at you!)

      6. Design two patterns and put them on my blog. Well. I kind of did it, and kind of didn't. I knit an old pattern and put it on my blog with a picture and revamped it (Diagonal Rib Scarf), and I did a wicked simple scarf pattern (Simplest Scarf in the World) and I did the County Socks too, for which I had the pattern written down years ago. But I really didn't design a clever thing. I have a file full of ideas, nineteen of them in fact. And those are just the ideas I have written down. I can do better next year.

      7. Knit the Selbu Modern hat, which has been in my Ravelry queue for ten years (March 26, 2009). Nope, didn't do it. As a matter of fact, I decided I really didn't want that hat any more, so I simply crossed it off my list. How freeing!

      8. Knit Saxony Socks by Lisa Lloyd which have also been in my queue for ten years (December 10, 2009). Nope, haven't done it yet, but I still want to. It will go on my list for next year.

      9. Crochet a garment. Does a doily count as a garment? I guess not. Sigh. There are some great crocheted sweaters and shawls out there, I just have to pick one. Next year!

Of the nine things, I finished five of them, kinda finished one, threw two away, and flat out just didn't finish two. That's not bad; some accomplishments, some room for improvement, and I learned from the brioche that I didn't like brioche, and I found that the hat was just not for me anymore. I don't feel bad about any of them. Now to think about my Make Nine list for next year!


Christmas <3

I love Christmas. I love checking out each day on my Jacquie Lawson advent calendar online, and opening each little door on the DROPS advent calendar to check out the lovely Christmas knitting and crochet.     

On day 9 of the DROPS calendar there was a doily, and I thought, I haven't crocheted a  doily in a lonnnng time ... but a doily would be just right on the table under the Christmas centerpiece I had. I had some sport weight red wool left over from another project and a size 3.5 mm hook that would suit (the pattern called for fingering weight cotton and a size 3.0mm hook, but I was using what I had; disregarding rules in crocheting is an expected practice, in my opinion.)

The pattern had a chart. I hadn't followed a chart for crochet since about 1979. But lo, what wondrous sight did I see? A video about how to crochet the WHOLE DOILY! I could simply watch it and follow along! Woohooo!

So I did.

Doily

It's so pretty! ~ gush ~

It suits my table just right! 

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Hope you are having a wonderful Christmas season!


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! 

Lunch Ladies Rule

I remember my school cafeteria with many fond memories, partly because it also was where band practice was held and also where study hall was held, but mostly because my Aunt Lucy worked there. Aunt Lucy was the friendliest woman in the world, and she always brought a bit of sunshine into my day. 

The food that was made by the lunch ladies always tasted good. I don’t remember ever not liking anything. It was good, home cooking that filled you up, even though it was in a sterile cafeteria.

I particularly remember the apple crisp that they made. I always suspected that it had peanut butter in it, but I couldn’t be sure. Apple crisp that I made at home never tasted the same as theirs did. 

On a hunch, I recently did a search for “apple crisp with peanut butter”. Wow! Tons of hits! Why had it taken me so long to find this?? So I made some, and at the first bite I was transported back to my high school cafeteria, loving my apple crisp. 

My recipe was adapted from this one, mostly because I am diabetic. Sorry there's no picture; we ate it too soon.

Peanut Butter Apple Crisp

4 cups apples, cored and sliced

1 tbsp flour 

1/4 cup Splenda

1/2 tbsp cinnamon 

1  tbsp water

1/2 cup oats

2 tbsp unsalted butter

1/3 cup peanut butter

1/4 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350° and grease an 8-inch pan (I used a medium casserole dish).

Combine apples, flour, sugar, cinnamon and water in large ziploc bag, shake to coat apples thoroughly. Place in casserole dish.

In a medium bowl, mix together oats, butter, peanut butter, and brown sugar until well blended. Sprinkle over the apple mixture.

Bake for 45 minutes until simmering and topping is brown.


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!

 


New Stuff!

I got some new stuff in the mail! I ordered a yarn bowl and stitch markers (because you can never have enough stitch markers), and they came today.

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The yarn bowl is great for many reasons. First, it is from a small company in Vermont, and I like to support small, local companies. Second, it is lightweight and durable. I've never gotten a yarn bowl because if it was ceramic, I'd break it, and if it was wood, I'd scratch it, so I just didn't get one. But this one is made from PLA plastic, a biodegradable material made from plants! It feels soooo good too. Thirdly, it is 3d printed, which is something I am fascinated by. I think there is a 3D printer in my future.

The stitch markers are great for a couple more reasons. Not only are they 3D printed from the same material from a small company, but the ones on the left are glow in the dark!!!! Yessss!!!!  And the ones on the right were free, but the reasons I love them are a) one is an alien, which is cool, and I visited the alien museum in Roswell, New Mexico years ago, and b) the other one is a black cat like Nicky, and I loved Nicky.

Some of the bowls are glow in the dark too, and who knows, I might just need one ....

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Steep Hill Farm in Vermont. Their service is fantastic. Go and see what they have!

https://steephillfarmvt.com/


End of September

It's the last day of September. The days are getting colder. My shawl continues to make slow but steady progress:

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I just finished the 14th week, and there are 37 weeks altogether. At the end of October, I'll be not quite at the half way mark! Woohoo!

Back at the end of August, my grand niece had a birthday, and I gave her this cardigan:

Front
Front

I think those are pre-blocked pictures. It was pretty, and I hope she will stay warm in it!

Have a good October! Stay warm!


County Socks

A long time ago, when I was a young thing up in Aroostook County, men needed warm socks to work in the woods in the wood-cutting business, or on the farm, and to wear hunting. They were knit in Aran weight wool using needles that were much smaller than is usually used, making the socks practically bulletproof. At the least, they would keep out the cold.

Bulletproof

(So thick they stand up on their own!)

Fall's arrival  triggered sock knitting among the women, and the yarn they used was worsted wool which actually came from Canada (likely McCausland's Woolen Mills in Prince Edward Island) in natural off white for the foot, with a dyed color, probably red or green, for the leg. The dyed colors would show when worn, and they were more expensive and thus treasured more. The foot, which was hidden in the boot and which wore out more quickly, was knitted in the cheaper natural yarn, and was removed several times over the course of the sock's life as it wore out from wear.

The pattern was memorized and rarely written down. That's how I learned it ... but I wrote down the pattern for a friend many years ago, and it's a good thing too, because I can't remember it now. It's a men's sock pattern, knit very tightly with size four needles and heavy Aran-weight wool to make socks that are nearly bullet proof. I have knit it in one color of Bartlettyarn.

CountySocks

Materials:

2 4-ounce skeins Bartlettyarn Maine wool worsted weight (210 yards per skein) Medium Sheep Gray

Size US 4/3.5mm double pointed needles (use four needles, not five)

Tapestry needle

Gauge:

22 sts and 40 rows per 4"

Directions:

Cast on 54 sts (18 sts on 3 needles). Work *k2, p1* ribbing for 10".

Make heel flap:

Divide work so that 32 stitches are on one needle (heel needle), and 11 stitches each are on two needles.

Work double heel as follows:

Row 1: Slip 1, purl to end.

Row 2: Slip 1, *K1, sl1* to last stitch, k1.

Work rows 1 and 2 for 2.25". Repeat Row 1.

Turn heel:

Row 1: K 23 sts, k2tog, turn.

Row 2: P 15, p2tog, turn.

Row 3: K 15, k2tog, turn.

Repeat rows 2 and 3 until 16 stitches are left. End having completed  a purl row (Row 2). Knit one row.

Join work into a round again:

With heel needle, pick up 17 stitches along the edge of the heel flap (needle 1). Work k2, p1 across the instep (needle 2). Pick up 16 sts along the other side of the heel flap and knit 8 stitches from the heel needle (needle 3). (25, 22, 24 stitches on three needles, a total of 71 sts).

Decrease for gusset:

Rnd 1: Knit to last 3 stitches on needle 1, k2tog, k1. Continue working *k2, p1* across needle 2. K1, ssk, knit to end of needle 3.

Rnd 2: Knit across needle 1, work *k2, p1* rib across needle 2, knit across needle 3.

Repeat rounds 1 and 2 until 58 stitches are left. (18, 22, 18 sts on each of the three needles)

Foot:

Work even (pattern on upper foot and stockinette on the bottom) until sock reaches 8 3/4", or 2" less than desired foot length. The best thing is to measure the wearer's actual foot.

Decrease for toe:

Arrange sts as follows: Needle 1 - 14 sts; needle 2 - 29 sts; needle 3 - 15 sts.

Rnd 1: Needle 1: Knit to last 3 stitches on needle 1, k2tog, k1. Needle 2: K1, ssk, knit to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1. Needle 3: K1, ssk, knit to end of needle.

Rnd 2: Knit around.

Repeat these 2 rounds until 22 stitches remain. Knit sts on needle 1 onto needle 3 (11 sts) and leave remaining sts (11) on needle 2. Graft the stitches together with kitchener stitch. Weave in ends. Make second sock.