The Holidays Are Upon Us

Happy Halloween! Which is followed rapidly by Thanksgiving and Christmas before the long dark days of winter. Winter is a restful time after the holidays.

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I started knitting Christmas balls from Arne & Carlos back in the first week of October, because I wanted to have 24 Christmas balls knit by December 1 to decorate my house with. I am exactly halfway through them today:
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I have been working on my long yellow scarf and I just started on the fifth ball of yarn. I think five balls will be sufficient for my scarf; maybe I can use the sixth ball to make a ribbed hat.

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I also started another project in an effort to use up some of my yarn. 
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That’s a gradient lace weight ball of wool from Freia Fibers that I got three years ago or so. They were having a sale on their one of a kind balls of yarn, colors that they tried and which didn’t make the grade. They were all really pretty as far as I was concerned, but you never know why they didn’t choose to make them. Anyway, I chose this blue gradient, and three years later, I’ve finally got around to using it.

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This is a little more than halfway through the skein of yarn. The pattern is the Viveza Shawl by Faith Schmidt, a simple shawl that expands through half the yarn and then decreases for the second half. It’s got a narrow band of lace at the edge, with straight garter stitch that gets wider and then smaller as you go. It’s pretty easy, it’s reversible, and looks like it will be fun to wear. I think it will be quite a bit longer after blocking, and I hope it will be softer too.

I hope your holidays will be fun! 


Falling into Autumn

The leaves are getting more colorful with every passing day here in mid coast Maine.

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About three years ago, I saw a illustration of a beautiful young woman with autumn colored leaves in her auburn hair, done up in a messy updo, intense green eyes, and with the most beautiful, long, ribbed, soft-looking scarf wrapped around and around her neck. I immediately wanted to knit that scarf.
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https://morgandavidsonart.tumblr.com//post/40279155271/fall-frazzled-girl-colored-pencil

The artist behind my obsession is Morgan Davidson, and you can see her art at Morgan Davidson Illustrations on Tumbler.com. She has lots of gorgeous work there. Go check her out! 

Well. My scarf. I immediately got six skeins of Swans Island All American Collection in a sport weight in the color Honey, and put it in a bin. I was busy just then, I had Christmas knitting to get done, and one thing led to another, yadda yadda yadda, and before I knew it, three years had whizzed by.

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I still really wanted that scarf. So, I wound my balls of yellow yarn up while watching TV, cast on 70 stitches on size 4 needles, and proceeded to knit two, purl two forever. It’s wonderful TV knitting and it makes my heart glad every time I look at it.

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I’ve got one and a half balls used so far, and I am hoping to make it 84” long or so. I did mention I wanted a looooooooong scarf. 

Have you ever knit anything to hold an image, book, place or experience in your heart forever? If you have, I hope it has made you as happy as my scarf is making me. Happy Fall! 


So Beautiful


Remember that blue yarn that I spun that was the most beautiful blue in the world?

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That’s the one. I knit up a shawl from it, and it came out really lovely, and warm too! Which will be great over my shoulders this winter, because the way prices are going up, I think we will have to keep the thermostat set pretty low.

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This is the Sitwell Shawl by Anniken Allis. I got the  pattern in The Knitter magazine and as soon as I saw it, it looked perfect for my blue handspun.
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My handspun is thicker than the pattern calls for, more sport weight than fingering weight, but that was fine. I just went up a couple of sizes of needle and it turned out well. 

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Now I have the most beautiful blue shawl in the world. It’s the color of a lake in the fall, a rich, deep blue, and I just adore it! 
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Have a lovely day filled with your favorite colors and stay warm!
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Pogo agrees that the shawl is beautiful, but what did I wake her up for??? 😋

(Not bad for a 20 year old kitty.)


Double Trouble

 

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Cat-1185453_640(Image by Gitti Lohr from Pixabay )


I recently finished this:

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It’s a double knit scarf for my niece in Rhode Island, who recently became a Registered Nurse, and I am enormously proud of her and thrilled that she not only did this, but during the pandemic too. 

The pattern is Pitter-Pat Scarf by Lisa Hannah Fox, and the yarn is Cloudborn Superwash Highland Worsted, 100% wool, 200 yards/100g, 2 skeins color 31-104 Grey Heather and 2 skeins color 31-005 Charcoal Heather.

 I hadn’t knit anything in double knitting since years before I had my stroke. I bought the pattern and the yarn and then put off knitting it because I was a bit scared to do it. What if I couldn’t remember how to double knit? What if, because of my stroke, I kept getting confused and messed it up horribly? 

Finally I just did it. To my delight, I found that it all came back, nothing got messed up, and it was not only easy to knit, but fun too. Double knitting can be used not only for scarves, hats and mittens, but also for household items like pot holders, hot pads, changing pads for a baby, baby blankets, and throws.


It seems like it would be a great way to use up scraps of yarn that are endlessly accumulated by knitters. Who wouldn’t like a double-knit cotton wash cloth with a sheep on it and a bar of homemade goat milk soap for Christmas??

 If you want to learn double knitting, or re-learn it as the case may be, you can find tons of videos on YouTube; just search for double knitting

Now my brain is whirling with ideas. I urge you to try double knitting! Just start with something small, and turn it into a key chain fob, or hang it up as a mini wall hanging. I guarantee you will become addicted!


Two Bags Full

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Baa, baa, black sheep,

Have you any wool?

Yes sir, yes sir, 

Three bags full.

One day in around 2008 Tracy and I bought a fleece, I believe from Joe Miller, at Fiber Frolic. We had the almost four pounds of fleece washed and made into roving at a mill. Tracy decided she wouldn’t spin it after all, and she gave me the opportunity to buy her portion, and that is how I ended up with almost four pounds of beautiful black Romney roving that I would spin “someday”, in two big bags filled with very squishy, very black, very wonderful wool.

Then I had my stroke a couple years later. And I figured I would never spin the beautiful black fiber.

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One of the reasons I struggled to spin again was because of this fiber. I finally got good enough at spinning again that I dug out this batch of black Romney to begin spinning it. There were definite stages that I had to go through in order to be able to spin the yarn that I wanted to spin from this beautiful fleece. You have to understand that this was a very special, very exquisite fleece. You don’t very often find a pure black Romney fleece like this. 

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First, I had to be able to spin at all. I struggled. Remember my mouthfuls of purple fiber? That was before I had the use of my right hand much at all, and I had to use my mouth to pre-draft the fiber. Second, I had to spin well enough to spin very fine and even. That took about a year or two. Lastly, I had to spin whatever yarn thickness that I wanted, and make it relatively even. That’s where I am now.

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This is my first two skeins of yarn from the roving. It’s an Aran to chunky weight yarn, which is  a tad thicker than I really wanted it to be,  but I have just under four pounds of fiber, so I’ll have the luxury of choosing the best skeins out of the whole bit. I’m spinning a two ply yarn out of it, and I have an old Candide pattern that I want to make. 
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I’m trying to spin about an hour a day, and I think it will take most of the winter to spin, and that’s ok. I really love spinning this fleece, and I think it will be really lovely to knit with. I’m planning to knit up a big swatch with it soon, so I’ll let you know!

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Stash Busting Finish To July

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July is on it’s way out, to a rainy finish, and I have knit some things from my stash, which makes me feel very virtuous. Also, like everything else, the prices of yarn have been going up, which makes my large stash resemble a gold mine in my husband’s eyes.

Anyway.

I knit these Green Autumn mittens last week:
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The photos show them in an unblocked state. When I knit a blue pair in September 2008, I finished weaving in the ends while I was out on an Isaac Evans knitting cruise. I had blocked one mitten before I left, but I hadn’t blocked the other one. Why? Don’t know. Anyway, I noted that when I held the unblocked mitten hand up to the wind, I could feel it blowing through the fingering weight Shetland wool easily, making the mitten largely useless. But, when I held the blocked mitten hand up to the wind, the wind didn’t get through the mitten. My hand stayed warm and cozy. Blocking does Shetland wool a world of wonders! 

I loved knitting this pattern as much this time around as I did last time around. It’s a great pattern and a lovely mitten. It only took about a week to knit. You can look it up in your old Interweave magazines (come on, you know you have them!) or you can buy the pattern on Vogue Knitting’s website.Click here to buy.

I knit a whimsical bunny hat from my stash as well:

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This hat is unblocked too. I have a load of blocking in my future, it seems. I made this hat out of a skein of Regia Silk in a denim color and a skein of navy blue Wildfoote. I have a middling amount of single 50 gram skeins of sock yarn; this is what you do with them! 

The pattern is Dominique Trad’s Whimsikal Hat. Click here to buy it. I also bought her two hats based on Easter egg decorations, called Pisanki and Bazie, which also use fingering weight yarn, so you might see them appear here someday.

So, I am listening to the rain and working on my Color Affection shawl, knit of more stash. I’ll tell you all about it later. Take care, and happy knitting!

 


Hot & Cold

July has been a funny month. First, it’s really cold and rainy - on July 5, we actually turned the heat on! Then, it’s hot and humid, making it really hard to knit much. 

I finished my version of the Fireworks pullover, but I did NOT try it on. It’s upstairs ready to block now. My version has less fireworks and more plain stockinette because it was too hot to think:

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I started spinning 44g of hand dyed fiber that I found. I think it’s dyed by Linda Dyak years ago. I’m not sure where the rest went, but I found 44g of it.

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It’s so pretty. Not sure what I will do with it, but something will occur to me I am sure.

Speaking of spinning, I used some of the red that I dyed and spun to make a hat:BC88D322-9328-4EC1-8374-23AF3C64E5D8
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It’s quite fulfilling to knit something with my handspun. I love making every single stitch!

Right now I am knitting a pair of mittens that I knit once before. I made them in blue before, but this time I am knitting them in Harrisville’s New England Shetland in the color Grass. The pattern I’m using is Green Autumn by Jared Flood. I remember that I loved knitting them before, around 2008 I think it was, and so far they continue to make me happy. 
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But, I am only on the cuff. It may get worse as I go on! Or get even better! We’ll see.

Have a good day happily knitting and spinning, and stay cool or warm as required. 
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So Excited!

I am so excited for the Fireworks knit along! I’m going to use Universal Yarn’s Deluxe Worsted (100% superwash wool) because it was on sale at WEBS, so I picked out a deep green color since I don’t have a dark green sweater:

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I knit a swatch that was 20 sts by 28 rows (inside the moss stitch border) and measured it:

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I got gauge on the first try! I took a chance that I was knitting tightly, so I went up a size needle from a size US6/4.0mm to a size US7/4.5mm. I am ready to cast on for July 1!

In other news, I finished my Double Scoop Shawl and I like it a lot:

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Instead of doing the bobble cast off as it was written (I tried it, but my bobbles looked like crap),  I opted for a crochet bind off and added beads: 

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Unfortunately it is too hot to wear!

 I finished plying my blue yarn that I spun, and set the twist:
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This blue yarn is gorgeous! I have a pattern picked out for it, but I’ll tell you later. 

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I got a beautiful bouquet of flowers from my gardener, Mr. Yarndemon:

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Summer flowers always strike me with their beauty:

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So pretty!

To quote Bill and Ted, be excellent to each other! And happy knitting!


A Little Progress, and Fireworks!

Today is a lovely day. There are flowers on my table:

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The sun is out, and I am on my porch writing a blog post.

The baby sweater came out cute: 

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My Double Scoop Shawl is going well:

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It’s so pretty and so easy to knit. I think the back is as pretty as the front:

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My spinning is about 2/3 plied. I have another bout of plying to do and then it’s done:

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But the big news is the annual 4-day knit-along that starts on July 1! So exciting! The sweater this year is called Fireworks, in celebration of getting through this COVID mess and getting vaccinated and being able to be with actual people actually, and it’s all just pretty exciting.

The sweater is a circular yoke-necked pullover in worsted or DK yarn, designed by Marie Greene. She suggested using a tweed yarn, because the little flecks would be like the paper bits that fireworks leave behind, but you can of course use non-tweed yarn if you want to (I am using non-tweed yarn anyway). There is a description of the event here including pictures of the sweater!

I and my Knit Camper friends are pretty excited for July 1 to start. Many have swatched for gauge already. My yarn isn’t here yet, so I’ll have to wait, but that is just as well because it will give me time to wrap up my shawl knitting and my spinning, and then I can dedicate my time to Fireworks. 

Get out and enjoy the sunshine! Happy knitting!

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The Living Is Easy

It’s summertime! There are flowers everywhere, outside and in my house:

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I love flowers.

Notice the wee socks in the last picture?

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These are some itty bitty baby socks for a baby boy. I intended to make one pair, but before I knew it, there were four pairs! The socks will go with this little knitted sweater:

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It’s an adorable little crew necked, short sleeved sweater that I am knitting out of Lion Brand 24/7, a 100% cotton yarn. It will be a cute sweater for summer! The pattern is Popsicle Pullover by Marie Greene. The pattern was free in Knit Camp, but it costs $10 to buy. It would be a good project to use to get rid of worsted and DK scraps if you have some lying around. The pattern has a long sleeved version as well as short sleeve, and it fits kids from newborn up to 10 years old.

I finally finished the Compton Aran Pullover! Here it is in all its glory:

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It was very rewarding to finish and it will be a lovely warm sweater for Mr. Yarndemon this winter.

Another thing I have been knitting is the Double Scoop Shawl by Marie Greene. (It was the free pattern this month in Knit Camp. Join by June 21st, 2021, and save 40% on either the monthly membership $24.95 or the annual membership $249 with the code FRIEND40.)

 I was able to destash a bit using a skein of mauve Sockaholic Serene in Imperial Barley and a skein of Expression Fiber Arts Resilient Sock hand dyed in a color I forget the name of, but it is pretty, and it uses a lot of orange and blue with lots of other colors:

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Here’s what it looked like when I started:

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One person in Knit Camp called the pattern stitch meditative, which pretty much sums it up. It really is relaxing to knit.

 I have been spinning. I spun the rest of the blue fiber, and I loved it, but when I started plying it, I simply adored it! It is spinning up to a fingering weight, and there is so much color in this yarn. The color has a lot of depth. 
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I know what I want to make out of this. I’ll surprise you!

We are farming potatoes:

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Farming makes Pogo soooooo tired:

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I hope you can get out and enjoy the sunshine! 


Spring Has Totally Sprung

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These lilacs are on the table as I write this, and I occasionally lean in for a rejuvenating whiff. I also have tulips, and they are beautiful.

 I abandoned the Dan Brown book. I may go back to it later, but really, I probably won’t. Instead, I started The Hobbit again, on audiobook, which is my bedtime listening. Usually it makes me go to sleep readily, but last night it didn’t. Oh well. 

Yesterday I borrowed a Kindle book to actually read, The Golden Thread: How Fabric Changed History by Kassia St. Clair.

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It has been on my want-to-read list for a while, and I got it for free yesterday. Out of the blue, Amazon sent me a credit for this particular book; I don’t know why, but I’ll take it! I haven’t started reading it yet, but it sounds good.

 

My Aran sweater is progressing. I have the back done, and the front is 85% done, so in about one or probably two days, the front will be complete.

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Then there are just two sleeves and the neck and sewing it up to do, and it will be finished. I’ll try to get it done by June 1.

Spinning has been really slowwwww, but I have only a little ball of fluff left to spin, and I have found as I get to the end of something that has been fun to spin, it’s hard to finish it. So, I have spun, but only a little.

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My primrose throw which I have been crocheting has also been going slow. I got the top row of half-primroses done and four whole primroses in the next row:

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It’s really pretty, but I think I need to finish the Aran sweater before I crochet much on it. Also I think I need to take it out to the table so I can make myself do at least one primrose a day, in the morning. That would be good.

 I found a little scrap lace weight yarn to knit on my scarf! Yay! 
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I knit that bit of red-pink-orange-yellow, and now it is back in hibernation.

This spring we did a major overhaul of Stuff that was cluttering our house, put things back on shelves, and in the process re-discovered items that I had thought lost. One of them was this:

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Such cute little sheep! But wait, what is lurking behind them?

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It’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing, licking his chops! Yikes!

By the way, this little sculpture is also a box:

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And inside, you will find the ultimate source of why the wolf was licking his chops:

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... lamb chops. 

Beware of a wolf in sheep’s clothing! Keep smiling, keep knitting, crocheting, spinning or reading, and look up some good lamb chop recipes for supper.

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What's Up Doc?

I love Bugs Bunny. Just sayin'.

Anyway. This is what is going on in Beth World.

I've been reading actual, paper, not-on-a-screen books! I know, seems pretty unusual, but that is what I have been doing. The most recent one I finished was a gift from Hillary. It's called The Kingdom of Back, by Marie Lu. 

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Fantasy lovers and music lovers will enjoy this book. Leopold Mozart and his wife Anna had two children; everyone knows about Wolfgang Amadeus but few know about his sister, Marie Anna, known as Nannerl. This is her story. It is also a story of identity, of mystery, of adventure in a beautiful but dark land named by the children as the Kingdom of Back, ruled by an enigmatic being known as Hyacinth. This was a great book and I highly recommend it!

Digital Fortress

I started reading Digital Fortress by Dan Brown. The only thing I want to say about it right now (I'm only on chapter 20) is that Dan Brown writes really really short chapters -- about 3 pages long. The main characters are trying to get back a code that can not be broken, which is a threat to national security. Also there is a Spanish professor who will be in danger and the female main character will apparently save him. Dan Brown's books are like a bag of potato chips; an easy read, a good beach read, one that will be enjoyed but easily forgotten. Yet, I am reading it.

In other news, I have been spinning:

Spinning 1
Spinning 1

That's the Big Ball of Blue that is almost three quarters of the way done. It is a true fingering to a lace weight and I'll have about 1000+ yards of it when I am done. I'm thinking it will be a good sized shawl. It's an outstandingly gorgeous color!

I ave also done a bit of knitting on the blue Aran sweater for Mr. Yarndemon:

Compton aran

I am around four inches from being done the back. It has been a slow job, but it's mostly Pogo's fault. I knit on it in the evenings, but Pogo usually sleeps on my lap in the evenings, thus the slow progress.

Pogo

All. Your. Fault. Just kidding, I love you, Pogo.

I like knitting this aran quite a bit though. The yarn is not as heavy, though it is an aran weight, but since it doesn't have much or any lanolin in it, it is far less heavy. Also the cable patterns are largely memorizable and easy to remember, so when I get a chance to knit on it, it hums right along.

Lastly, I have been crocheting again, and it is all Arne and Carlos' fault. I found their Primrose (Gunnhild) Throw when I was looking for a granny-square-but-different sort of thing to crochet with all of this:

Yarn barf

That is all my DK-ish weight yarn scraps. I loved the picture of the Primrose Throw on their website, and I loved how simple it is to do -- only three rounds per piece, so only three colors, and it is coming out so pretty! Don't look too close though, I made a few errors a couple times but I fudged it and kept on going.

Primrose Throw

I made full sized primroses to see how wide I needed it to be, and now I am doing half-primroses to make a flat edge for the top. It is really fun to choose colors for a primrose, see how it comes out, and watch the blanket grow. I usually make about three or four primroses a day, so it will take a while to finish the blanket. I don't even know if it will be done this year. But, I am quite enjoying it and love how it looks! 

As soon as I bought the pattern and started the first row, Arne and Carlos came out with another beautiful blanket pattern, using squares that are bigger and easily joined. That one is called Audun Blanket with Small Floral Squares. I have already bought it, and if I have enough worsted weight yarn, I'll probably start that one as well.

Flowers

These flowers were a suprise from Mr. Yarndemon! They are so pretty! Have a great day reading, spinning, knitting, crocheting or getting out in the garden!

 

 

 


Block Party Cowl

84E50AE1-EB31-4C8C-87EC-92B3BB0A162E

Block Party Cowl

Download Block Party Cowl.pdf (147.4K)

Yarn: Fingering weight yarn, 450 - 475 yards

Gauge: 5.5 sts and 10 rows per inch in stockinette stitch after blocking

Needles: US4/3.50mm

Size: 54” around and 10” high

Cast on 280 sts, knit 1 rnd.

Border: k2, p2 around for 2 rnds, then p2, k2 around for 2 rnds , repeat from † to † once more, increasing 8 sts evenly in last round (288 sts).

Big blocks: Rows 1-20: *Knit 16, purl 16* around. Rows 21-40: *Purl 16, knit 16* around. Repeat 1 more time, decreasing 8 sts in last rnd.

Border:  k2, p2 around for 2 rnds, then p2, k2 around for 2 rnds , repeat from † to † once more. Knit 1 rnd, bind off.

C8E8536A-D35D-4F03-BD18-FC903182E535
Note: I used one skein of  Handmaiden Merino Camel Lace (80% merino, 20% Baby Camel) which has only 437 yards. I had to fudge the bind off because I was running out of yarn. If you want to use a skein of 437 yard fingering yarn, I suggest knitting 4 rows in garter stitch for the borders rather than doing 8 rows of double moss stitch as portrayed here.

Download Block Party Cowl.pdf (147.4K)


Finished Items

Fiadh is blocked and came out fabulous:

7DA43BBF-6393-4C3D-8B3F-345A02202D6D B25D9D54-C701-4E09-99DB-1873D3F369B9
I’m really happy with it! 

The Northwest Passage Shawl is finished and blocked:

725CE1D6-F7B6-43F8-BB8A-E9C2E136C81C
Some badly photographed close ups of the details (this shawl is so huge that I couldn’t photograph it properly):

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3F0CDA8D-D18D-4CD8-8306-C9DD91A98D7F
It’s big, but it will be nice to wear when I am sitting outside this spring, and cuddling up in my comfy chair in the fall and winter. I guess that makes it a three season shawl!


I’m working on the Compton aran sweater for Mr. Yarndemon  that I started the same time as Fiadh. I have about 20 of the 70 centimeters done for the back, so it is a little less than a third done. It is my “day time” knitting. 

3AAE27EC-104A-4882-947C-5511B1B356FB

My “night time” knitting is an alpaca boucle blanket in a very dark gray, so it is a good thing that it’s all knit. It is about half done. I started it around Thanksgiving last year, but set it aside to do something or other. It’s time to finish it. I’ll show you a picture of it when I get around to wrangling a huge woolly blanket into submission. The good thing is, it’s not as heavy as Fiadh was, and it’s a helluva lot softer! Unfortunately, Pogo loves sleeping on it, so I can’t get much done after she gets in my lap. The things we do for our cats, eh?

Have fun knitting in the sunshine!


Finished Items

Fiadh is blocked and came out fabulous:

7DA43BBF-6393-4C3D-8B3F-345A02202D6D B25D9D54-C701-4E09-99DB-1873D3F369B9
I’m really happy with it! 

The Northwest Passage Shawl is finished and blocked:

725CE1D6-F7B6-43F8-BB8A-E9C2E136C81C
Some badly photographed close ups of the details (this shawl is so huge that I couldn’t photograph it properly):

E366813E-CF85-4815-9EA3-0B95BD9EC065
3F0CDA8D-D18D-4CD8-8306-C9DD91A98D7F
It’s big, but it will be nice to wear when I am sitting outside this spring, and cuddling up in my comfy chair in the fall and winter. I guess that makes it a three season shawl!


I’m working on the Compton aran sweater for Mr. Yarndemon  that I started the same time as Fiadh. I have about 20 of the 70 centimeters done for the back, so it is a little less than a third done. It is my “day time” knitting. 

3AAE27EC-104A-4882-947C-5511B1B356FB

My “night time” knitting is an alpaca boucle


Round and Round

Happy Easter early! I finished the Easter Egg KAL Arne and Carlos were having and have twelve beautiful round Norwegian-style eggs sitting in a basket:

Eggs

These eggs were really fun to knit! Each egg took about 3 - 4 hours to knit and stuff with polyester fiberfill, so I could finish one in a day or two. I only knit on them when I wanted to. I knit all twelve eggs between March 17 and 26, so I think you could knit three or four of them by Easter. You can watch all the KAL episodes (about Norway in Easter, not about knitting; the eggs are really easy to knit), and buy the pattern here. I was getting pretty discouraged with my knitting, and making these cute little Easter eggs were just the ticket to get me out of the doldrums!

The messy wrangle with the Fiadh Beast is over:

Fiadh done

I cannot tell you how happy I was to finally get round to finishing it! It will be a warm sweater that I will wear almost every day this winter, and I'm very happy with it. It has Gone Upstairs to be blocked, so it may be winter before I see it again, but it's too warm now to wear it, so that's ok. I was just so happy to be done with it. It's a well-designed pattern, and I might have liked knitting it in another yarn, but the Bartlettyarn made it heavy and hard to wrangle into submission. I felt like I fought with it every step of the way ... but, that being said, I'm really happy to wear it knitted in Bartlettyarn because a) it has a lot of lanolin in it; b) it will be very hard wearing yarn; c) it will bloom and be soft after blocking; and d) all the real Aran sweaters were knit in minimally processed, full of lanolin, sheepy-smelling yarn. So I love it.

I've made some progress in my spinning, too.

There was a bit of fiber that was intriguing in my "spinning" box, so I spun it up. It was 1.48 ounces of brown/blue/olive green/teal commercially dyed (not hand dyed) roving that felt as though it had some mohair in it, though I really have no clue what fiber it is or where I got it. Maybe it has alpaca in it, dunno. 

Brown fiber
The finished skein is a lovely dark brown that has a deep, resonant color of dark brown with the teal, blue, olive showing through. It's quite pretty. I did it 2-ply and it came out about fingering to sport weight. I'd call it a light sport weight yarn.

Brown skein

But when I put it in the sunshine ... whoa! It just lit up! So pretty!

Brown skein sunlit

Right now I am spinning a big (308g/10.86 oz.) ball of fiber commercially dyed with blue, green, purple and black.

Big blue ball

It feels like wool, Coopworth or Romney. It isn't particularly soft, but it isn't harsh. Just really woolly. It will be warm! There is no lanolin in it either. Once again, I have no idea where I bought it, but I think it might have been at Sharon's moving sale, which was 1243438768709978876 years ago. Note to self: When getting fiber, attach a label saying where and when you got the fiber, as well as what the #%&*#@#%^ fiber is. Fiber usually doesn't have anything like a ball band, like yarn. Imagine if you bought yarn with no ball bands! Horror!

Blue fiber

I was going to spin it in a 3-ply, but when I got started, I decided to spin it 2-ply and make a light sport/heavy fingering weight. I'm think it would make a lovely, lacy shawl for spring and a nice lacy scarf in the winter. Also I think it will become softer after setting the twist and after blocking the finished shawl.

Spinning blue

This picture doesn't really do justice to show how beautiful it spins up. I think it might be the prettiest yarn I have ever spun! 

My spinning wheel has been going round and round very happily with this fiber. I hope you have a wonderful, happy Easter! Happy knitting and spinning! (click to find the Easter Egg)

 


Be Happy!

Hello happy people! After my last post, I grit my teeth and kept on knitting. We got some new chairs for the living room, which meant that I could knit Fiadh in my lap with my legs stretched out, and that made it much easier to knit. I finished the first sleeve:

Fiadh front

This is what the back looks like:

Fiadh back

I'm liking it a lot more. I have one more sleeve, the button bands and collar, and a pocket lining to knit and then I'm done! Just in time for warm weather! 

Speaking of weather, what a wild ride the weather the last week or so has been. Temperatures almost at 60°F, then dropping down to 19F°, then back up again. At least it will be warm again in a week or so.

I'm about 54 rows (and they are long rows) from the end of my Northwest Shawl, which means it will be another week or two before I am totally done, but having Fiadh and Northwest Shawl getting done at sort of the same time fills me with glee. Also, I'll finish the cowl I started with a bit more vim and vigor and it will go fast, I am sure. I really like it, and I'm sure that having two endless projects going on at the same time too was discouraging. 

I've been enjoying Arne and Carlos' Knit for a Bit YouTube videos. It's almost like having a real knitting circle. Arne and Carlos are having a KAL for knit Easter eggs that sounds really fun! You can use up scrap yarn that you have too, so it's a good way to go through your stash. The knitalong starts March 17. The pattern is $4.00 and you can find it here: Easter Eggs by Arne & Carlos.

I've been having a blast spinning. I finished my fine skein of the copper-dyed light green yarn:

Light green skein

It really is green, not blue. Sorry.

I absolutely love it. It is so soft and light and has a nice fuzzy halo! It reminds me of a kitten ... a little, soft, light green kitten.

After I did the light green skein, I spun about 45g of purple merino with stellina in it.

Purple fiber

I love how it looks when it is done, but having spun a little bit of it, I know that I will never spin anything with stellina in it again.

Spinning purple

The stellina got everywhere; all over me, up my nose, on the floor. It just wanted to make my whole world sparkle. Luckily, it was remarkably easy to clean up, but I didn't really enjoy it. I did love my little skein of yarn though!

Purple prewashed skein 

Before setting the twist


Purple prewashed skein

When it was all dry and skeined

I spun this fairly thick in a two ply, so it's worsted to Aran weight, and I got about 40 yards. I love it. 

Happy knitting and spinning, my joyous friends! Happy St. Patrick's Day and Happy St. Gertrude's day tomorrow! I'll be enjoying knitting my Easter eggs starting soon!

Edited to add: Pogo says Happy Gertrude's  Day too. Any day that celebrates cats, especially eating mice, is fine in her book.

Pogo


Squishy Yarn

My squishy, luscious, brick-colored yarn is done, and I am very happy with it:

Yarn

I got 13.02 ounces of yarn. I have no idea what it was for weight of fiber to start with. I really am sort of amazed at how even it is, and I can't wait to knit it! I thought I would have less yarn than I have, so I will have to look again at my pattern choices before I decide what to make. 

I jumped right into my bag of roving to see what to spin next. I chose a small amount of this:

Fiber

That is 45g of some kind of fiber that is not merino (might be Romney?), and I think it was dyed in the dye left from my copper dying, as it was not exhausted ... but it was nearly exhausted, as this is only lightly dyed. It is a very light green, almost white. I don't think my iPhone takes very good color pictures, as everything looks quite washed out. I do try to correct the colors, but I suck at it.

I will spin this very fine if I can, to make 2-ply sock yarn, but as I will only have 40g or so of the resulting yarn, I'll have to spin something else to put it with. Or maybe I'll make kid's fingerless gloves. We'll see.

It's kind of nice to spin 2-ply anything, after spinning a 3-ply yarn. But I do love how squishy and even the 3-ply yarn is!

My knitting has suffered this week because I hate all of it. I'm on the first sleeve of Fiadh which is always trying to escape my lap because it is huge and heavy, my cowl of my own design that I started is easy but boring, and Northwest Passage shawl is far, far too endless -- after I finished the 13 repeats of the chart I was knitting, I discovered to my dismay another chart of 24 rows to do five times or so, and then there is yet another chart to do after that one. It's already too long and it's going on and on and on. It doesn't look anything like the photo, which makes me wonder where I went wrong? So I am harrumphing big time and am contemplating not knitting anything for a week or so because I hate it all. 

Happy spinning though! Even though I probably won't knit with it!

 


Sucked In

I got sucked in to YouTube videos this week, all kinds of them. History videos, cooking videos, knitting and purling videos, cat videos, you name it. But I did get some knitting and spinning progress done.

Fiadh is still going slowly, but at least I am working it in smaller pieces now. I split it into three pieces for the back and two fronts, knit the back, and I am almost done the left front.

Fiadh

It is an armful of sweater to knit and I'm glad it is February, but it is beautiful and I'm enjoying it now.

The lace weight scarf thing I was knitting in the evening ran out of yarn scraps, so I am waiting to make more yarn scraps. It is hibernating. Meanwhile, I picked up the Northwest Passage shawl that had been hibernating, and I have been working on that in the evenings. I am just finishing the thirteenth repeat of the pattern making up the bulk of the shawl, and then after I knit 87 more rows to finish it off I'll be done. Woohoo!

Northwest passage

As it is knit out of a sport weight, it is nice and cozy. The cones of Ragg yarn I am using got some hard wear on the bottom, so as I near the end there are a lot of breaks in the yarn, and there are a lot of ends to weave in. I don't feel very good about giving it away as a gift or a prayer shawl, because the chances of one of the ends letting go and making a little hole would be not so comforting. I'll just keep it for myself unless somebody claims it knowing that it might get a hole. 

My spinning is coming right along. 

Ply

Tomorrow I'll ply these three bobbins into my fifth little skein of squishy, bulky weight wool. There are two more skeins to make, and then I'll be done! I'm getting a teensy bit bored with spinning this color, although when another skein is done I always feel happy because my yarn looks so darned awesome. I'll be done with red/brown merino in under two weeks though, so I'll get out another bunch of fiber from my stash and start spinning that. 

I started a new project yesterday using this fabulous yarn:

MCL1
MCL1

It has baby camel in it! I love baby camels!

It is the softest, most luxurious yarn you can imagine. It's also very well-behaved for a baby: it never tangles, never splits, and all the stitches lie perfectly waiting to be knit. I love it.

New yarn

My yarn ball winder, however, is very very very naughty. It broke when I was winding this, and I fixed it, managing to get all but a little of it done, which I had to wind by hand. You know you're in trouble when you start hearing a loud sound like grinding gears come out off your ball winder. Sigh. I ordered another one. 

So that is what I have been doing. Breaking my equipment, making slow progress, enjoying my spinning. Stay away from YouTube videos everyone! Happy knitting and spinning!

 


Love

RedHeart

Happy Valentine's Day! 

I love the red yarn I am spinning. I have two skeins done and I think there will be seven skeins total when I am finished. My skeins are about 50g in weight. 

MoreRedYarn

I spin each bobbin about 1/3 of the way full (see picture), and I do three bobbins, and then I ply them together.

Plying

That way the bobbins all make one full bobbin of three-ply yarn, and I wind it off, soak it in hot water, and hang it to dry. That way I get a little thrill about every week when I make a new skein of gorgeous, soft, squishy, chunky yarn to gaze at and admire. I love it!

I only spin for about an hour or less every morning, which is why I get so little done. But each little skein is lovely, it's a good way to start my day, and that is why I love my little skeins. Happy spinning! Fiber is good for you!


Books

Sometimes you get sick of only having chocolate, ice cream and cheese curls. Sometimes, you need a real meal, with vegetables, protein, and crusty bread. 

I had been reading only "cozy mysteries" for about a year. Cozy mysteries are wonderful, they are easy to read, they don't require much, if any, thought. They often come in a series, which the authors are very quick to write and which kept me reading. They remind me of the Nancy Drew series I read as a kid, but for older readers, mostly female, and in my case mostly knitters. Also, I chose cozy mysteries that involve magic, so one of the main  characters is magical in some way. Not all cozy mysteries do that. Many cozy mysteries involve some kind of hook though, such as cooking, golf, a time period, or some occupation or hobby.

I read three series by Nancy Warren. 

TVKC

The first series which she got me addicted to is her Vampire Knitting Club series. I saw the title, The Vampire Knitting Club, and thought well, I have to see what that is. Eleven books later, I am still avidly waiting for book number twelve to come out on February 24. 

TVBC

Apparently the main character's lack of knitting skill wasn't enough to keep her non-knitting readers sufficiently entertained, so she added a new series about a Vampire Book Club, with different characters in a different country (though there is a bit of cross over to the vampire knitting club in the first book), and that series is waiting for book number four's publication.

TGWBS

Finally, Ms. Warren started another series, The Great Witches Baking Show, about a witch who is a participant in a British baking series, and yes, there is a murder in every episode that they film.  And it doesn't even take place in Badger's Drift (that's a little joke for watchers of Midsomer Murders). I am waiting for book 6 to arrive.

Another series that I started reading recently is by C. J. Archer, called the Glass & Steele series.

TWD

The first book in the series, The Watchmaker's Daughter, takes place in London during the Victorian age. The main character, India Steele, has a run-in with Matthew Glass from America, who is looking for a particular watchmaker in London. This starts a long, intricate story of a magical watch, magicians of many types, danger, intrigue, mystery and romance that I found myself consumed by. Although there are eleven books in the series, I have only read 6. I read them in six days.

That's when I knew it was time to take a breath and step back. Don't get me wrong, the books are wonderfully written and are very entertaining! I just found myself too happily reading "fluff" books for too long, and I wanted to see my reading muscles were atrophying.

RCH

I chose, appropriately, Reader, Come Home: The Reading Brain in a Digital World by Maryanne Wolf. This was a wonderful book that made me use my reading muscles, and opened my eyes. According to Ms Wolf, the way we read today, on a screen rather reading in print, uses our brains differently. If you read exclusively on a screen of some kind, your eyes move differently, you don't read deeply, your cognition is less, you don't use empathy as much. If you read this way from the beginning, your brain even grows differently. Human beings were never born knowing how to read or even having a predilection for it; it is a skill that is made, and now we are measurably making our brains differently to suit the digital world. This is scary (for me) but Ms. Wolf shows that as long as we recognize the dangers, the changes we make can be hopeful, and readers can go on to become even better, more productive readers.

E

The second book I read was Extraterrestrial: The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth by Avi Loeb. I love books about astronomy! This book is about the interstellar object  called 'Oumuamua that swept through our solar system in the fall of 2017, displaying some things that were never really entirely explained ... or were they?

Avi Loeb is not a crackpot UFO guy. He is a renowned astrophysicist who has about 800 papers written, five books, he was the head of astronomy at Harvard, he was on the President's Council of Science, he directs the Black Hole Initiative and the Institute for Theory and Computation, to name just a few of the many achievements he has had. According to Dr. Loeb, we should remain open to extraterrestrial life which can possibly be behind what he believes 'Oumuamua to be: a lightsail, like the lightsail probes that we ourselves have used to explore space. We should not close our minds as Galileo's opponents did at his trial, who refused to even look through the telescope he had made. 

This book is eminently readable too, because Dr. Loeb has a long love of philosophy. You can tell a genius, because he uses simple words to tell you complex things. He uses examples from his own life to make analogies. Even if you don't believe his theories about 'Oumuamua or extraterrestrial life, you  should read his book for the stories and philosophy. The book is only 223 pages, and it's very entertaining, very thought-provoking, and I enjoyed reading it immensely.


Progress?

Today is one of the first days that feels like winter this year. Snow is falling and the temperature here in Rockport is a chilly 18°. I just wanted to share my progress on Fiadh, and my spinning, and tell you about using up leftover bits of laceweight yarn.

I decided to let Compton hibernate, as Fiadh is a beast in every way. It's big and heavy and I usually only  get about 4 rows a day knit because of all the cables (and it's big... and heavy.) It's size and heaviness isn't really the sweater's fault though; it is huge because of the size of me, and because of the way it is knit: all in one piece, seamlessly.

Fiadh

So although it's a beast right now, I will be glad not to have to sew all those seams to finish it. Actually, I don't mind sewing seams and finishing a sweater, but I think it's kind of cool to see how Marie Greene does it all without sewing any seams.

I was dismayed when this happened, but it is a sign of heavy sweater + little cables on a circular needle:

Broken cable

Luckily I have a *few* extra needles. Ahem.

The bit of green there is where the pocket goes. Very exciting!  Also, I am knitting Fiadh using no cable needles. Knitting cables without a cable needles is both faster (when it works) 80% of the time,  and slower (when you try a cable 2805335 times, swearing, and give up and use a cable needle) 20% of the time. 

I took a week off spinning but today I picked it up again. I just finished a second bobbin and got ready for the third bobbin. Then I'll have to dig out the rest of the fiber and separate it into thirds and finish filling the bobbins.

Roving

Spinning

I'm eagerly awaiting what the three ply will look like; I am anticipating  it to be bulky (or at least Aran weight) and very squishy. I want to make mittens and hats out of it.

Finally, I am using evening TV knitting time knitting a scarf/wrap/stole thing using up my laceweight scraps. I took a size 4/3.50mm circular needle and cast on about 200-ish stitches (204 actually) and started knitting in the round. Then I added another color and started to knit helically to avoid having a jog at the beginning of the round. 

Laceweight

I started out with tan merino/silk which I had quite a bit of, and pink wool. Then I switched to aqua blue just last night when I ran out of pink. This is how far I've gotten in about a month, about 18 or 20 inches -- laceweight takes a bit of time to get anywhere. After the blue runs out, I'll have to go excavating to find my bag of laceweight bits to see what colors will be next. I figure I'll knit until I get to around six feet (or put it into hibernation til I get more bits of laceweight yarn). If I have enough bits, I'm guessing it'll take me until spring. Or, in Tom Baker's Dr. Who style, I could knit all year and have a 17 foot scarf. Wild!

 


My Little Copper Skein

I can't spin straw into gold ... but it turns out, I can spin copper pennies into yarn!

I had a jar of old pennies, so I put them in a big glass jar and filled it with ammonia. I didn't really check the pennies I had, but enough of them were from before 1981 to make this work. Since 1981 the copper in pennies change to be just a plating, I guess.

It is important to do this outside, because you can pass out from ammonia fumes! I soaked about 50g of white merino top in water, and then put it into the penny/ammonia bath and let it soak for about a week, maybe more. You can see why it is good to do this in the summer!

The dye bath was a bright, pretty blue. I thought, this will be such beautiful blue yarn!

Nope.

The merino top had changed to a lovely, soft green .... the color of money! I loved it. So I let it dry and stashed it away to spin sometime. Years later, I had a stroke. Even more years later, I found this lovely green merino roving and spun it up.

Despite its age, the merino, which was all predrafted, was very easy to spin.

Plying  Plying 2

I spun it all in 5 days since it was only 50g and was easy to spin, and soon I had a wonderful, balanced skein of yarn. This photo was taken just before I put it in the bath to set the twist.

Yarn

This photo was taken in natural light and is closest to the real color of the yarn.

This is my little skein of copper yarn:

Copper yarn

I'm happy.


Spinning & Arans

I started spinning on January 2nd. I've finished up some red and black wool that has been a monkey on my back for the last year:

RedBlackYarn

Not sure what it will become. It is not particularly soft yarn, so it will probably be something for me. Maybe socks, you can never have too many socks.

The big skein on the left was spun last year or so. The two skeins on the right that are better spun were spun over the last two weeks. The last little skein above Pogo's tail was Navajo plied (making a 3-ply) out of what remained after I finished the two-ply skeins. I'm getting better at Navajo plying..

Copper.dyed.top

So then I started spinning about 50g of merino top that I dyed years before my stroke (2007? Dunno.) using a pile of copper pennies. That was really fun! Who knew that copper pennies made the color of paper currency! Anyway, the wool came out a soft green color. I have about half of it spun.

 

On the knitting front, I am knitting two Aran sweaters at the same time, weirdly. The first one is Compton by Pat Menchini, which I am knitting out of some blue wool that Rachel had. I had promised myself that I would start it in January; who knows when I'll finish it.

Compton beginning

The second Aran is the January KAL by Marie Greene; it is called Fiadh. I got the pattern free because I'm in Knit Camp, and I had enough Bartlettyarn in my stash, so I figured what the heck -- it's a good way to use up nine skeins of my stash! It's a seamless sweater, knit from the bottom up, with pockets (though I will only knit one pocket, because the right hand pocket is pretty much useless for me). I have been picking away on it. Because it is all one piece, I had to cast on a lot of stitches and I almost gave up right there! But I didn't.

Fiadh beginning

This is what they look like so far:

Compton

Compton


Compton

Fiadh

I really don't wear off white sweaters, but this is an Aran sweater and my yarn was this color, and I can dye it afterward if I don't like it. But ... I'm really quite lazy, so I'll probably just wear it the color that it is. At least it will go with everything!

Also, I am learning to knit my cables without a cable needle, and the cables go much faster that way. I'm sure there are tons of videos out there, but the way I am learning it is through videos that Marie Greene made for Knit Camp. I am learning a lot!

 

 


Goals

I've been keeping a private knitting blog since Ravelry decided I was a white supremacist (I am not.). It replicates the projects function of Ravelry. It has pictures of what I knit, lists the patterns, yarn. needles, start date and finish date of everything I knit. It keeps track of my FO's and my WIP's. It also has a list of my WP's -- Wishful Projects, the projects that I plan to make, and the yarn in my stash that I will make them with, if any is found. Usually, yarn is found. I rarely have to buy yarn anymore since I got my stash settled, which for me is a good thing, but which for the yarn stores is not.

I haven't been knitting much. I am going through a period of no-knitting that I hope will change very soon. I find that knitting things that are extremely easy is about all I want to do for the moment, so I knit gauge swatches for two sweaters that I want to make (simple stockinette and simple knit-purl double moss stitch), I have a simple scarf, a garter stitch blanket, and a circular knit stockinette (every round is knit! Knit knit knit!) scarf that I am knitting helically with my three leftover balls of lace weight yarn. It is going slowly, but that is fine, because I don't really care. I knit on it at night watching TV; sometimes I don't knit anything and I just watch TV or play Solitaire on my iPhone, which really is such a waste of time. I should be slapped.

Shield-1283413_640

Image by succo from Pixabay

I don't even have pictures of any of them, sorry. And I set my harder yet more boring project aside to hibernate for a while. I'll get back to it. It's a shawl, by the way. Yet another warm shawl of sport weight yarn that no one actually uses or wants, so I'll keep it and use it occasionally.

So, goals. I'd use Make Nine again, but that seems like so much to do.

Goal #1: Knit what I can. I plan to knit less but use up my yarn responsibly. There are two sweaters that I want to make, one aran sweater for my husband that I doubt he will ever wear, but it uses up 10 skeins of stash yarn; and an aran cardigan for me because a) my October Frost finally wore out and I need another one (it was knit of really old yarn from the eighties), and b) Marie Greene of Knit Camp is doing an aran cardigan for the January knit-along this year, the timing was perfect, and c) I'll use up 9 skeins of Bartlettyarn from my stash. If you are not in Knit Camp ,you can find it on Olive Knits as the January Workshop for $29.95.

Goal #2: Help my husband as much as possible to deep clean our house, get rid of a ton of stuff we never use, simplify and organize, and get some new chairs for the living room. There will come a time when we will have to move, probably far in the future, but it will be easier if all our residual stuff is gone and the rest is mostly packed up.

Goal #3: Spin more all year. I'll try.

Goal #4: Read more. You know, I used to read all the time. Now, I don't. I don't know why. I like reading. I just find that I don't like many of the books anymore. Maybe I have to dig a little deeper to find them. There are some historical non-fiction books that look interesting:

Goal #5: Lose weight. You know you are old when the reason for losing weight is primarily to please your doctor. But there it is. I've gained a lot of weight since the lockdown started.  Weight gain is anathema for a person with diabetes, and since I was able to get off my medication because I had done so well by losing weight, I should really try to take some extra weight off.

There you go! Five goals! Happy New Year!

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Image by Mees Groothuis from Pixabay


Goals

The past two years I have made a list of goals to work on -- Make Nine. Let's take a look at how I did in the last year.

One -- Knit Kitty Cat Socks. I did that! Yay!

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Two -- Design two new patterns and put them on my blog. I designed Blossoms and Buds Hat and Busy Mitts, so I accomplished this. Yay!

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Three -- Spin an hour a week. Well ... yes and no. I spun over 52 hours this year ... but I stopped spinning back in May. So I guess I didn't do it. Boo!

Four -- Knit the Saxony socks from A Fine Fleece. Didn't do it, and don't want to do it. Every time I thought about knitting these socks, something made me procrastinate and not do them. So bye bye Saxony socks! I'm writing you off. ::crickets::

Five -- Knit 6 sweaters for myself. I knit Biscotti pullover, Boathouse pullover,  the Knit Camp Cardigan, I See Spring pullover, Brookings pullover, and Soundtrack pullover, which makes six! I accomplished this! Yay!

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Six -- Make at least one small thing each month (like hats, socks, mittens, small shawls). I accomplished this! Yay!

Seven -- Organize my yarn by weight (lace, fingering, sport, DK, worsted, bulky). I did this! Yay!

Eight -- Get rid of my unwanted yarn via donating it/giving it away. I did this as part of organizing and sorting my yarn. Now instead of having ten bins of yarn upstairs I only have two, as well as a bin down stairs and a chest full. It is still a lot, but now it seems doable and I can instantly see what I have and where it is. Yay!

Nine -- Clean out and organize my knitting chest. I did this back in the spring, and I re-did it as part of our upstairs clean out this fall, so it has actually been done twice! I got alllll the needles sorted, found my sock blockers, and found my bobbins, so now I am all set. Yay!

That is seven Yays!, one Boo! and one that I threw out, which counts as a Yay in my opinion, it's a winner in my book.