New Knitting Website

OurUnraveled

In case anyone is looking for another knitting website, Our Unraveled has started up, having 3000 members in just under a month. I just joined, so I will be finding out what it has to offer as I use it.

This YouTube post from Woolf & Sheep seemed to sum up what I feel in a reasoned, well-stated way:

https://youtu.be/ulmg3UUHjYs

I love that her dog is named Whitman.

Happy knitting everyone! Just enjoy fiber arts.


My Last Duchess*

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

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

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

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

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Pitiful.

 

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Slightly less pitiful.

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

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

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

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

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Knit happy! Happy Fourth of July!

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


New Stuff from Knitters Brewing

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(http://cliparts.co/clipart/2313715)

On my 60th birthday, I got an email from Wendy Gaal of Knitters Brewing Company that contained a discount code, so of course I had to use it!

Happy Birthday to me:

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I got a skein of Confootie (love the name!) in the color of Imperial Barleywine, because you know I need more purple yarn, and also two Needle Wranglers to wrangle my needles and keep the stitches in place, and a lovely little pair of VERY sharp stork scissors. Wendy has a sock pattern coming out in July that maybe I will make.

In other news: I have been slowly picking at three projects, but I can't tell you about them til later ... much, much later.

Marie Greene's 4 Day Kal begins July 4. I have the pattern; it's called the Foxtrot Cardigan, and it's very pretty. I have some vintage stash to use for it too, it's cotton: Classic Elite Provence (now sadly discontinued) in a lovely periwinkle color (purple again!). But I don't know if I will do it. Right now I feel like if I manage to get the three things knit that are ongoing right now, that will be good and I will take a break for a while. Also, a cotton cardigan doesn't thrill me ... maybe because as I type this, I have a wool cowl wrapped three times around my neck because it has been so cold lately. Anyway, maybe it will feel more like summer in a few days. I hope so.

Happy knitting everyone! Stay warm!


Fire in the Soul

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

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

Finishing
Finishing

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


Finishing

Warm-ish  bath with Jasmine Eucalan; smells wonderful!


Finishing
Finishing

Finished project!

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

 

 


Penguins!

When my sister in law mentioned that my grand nephew liked penguins, I squeed a squee that would make a squeemaster proud! I love penguins! So I scurried off to find penguin patterns for a small boy, and I discovered some patterns that were already in my favorites for hats, mittens, and other things too. Did I mention that I love penguins??

There were a few penguin pullovers that I found which would be cool to knit up:

Penguin pullovedr

Penguin Pullover by Cathy Pipinich ($6.00) has a charming penguin on it. It uses bulky weight yarn and would be a quick, warm knit.

Penguin pullover

Penguin Pullover by Hélène Rush in her book Maine Woods Woolies has always been appealing to me, and I have the book on my bookshelf too! It is sadly discontinued now, but I bet you can get it through interlibrary loan.

Penguin jumper

Penguin Jumper by Wendy Yarns is in an issue of Knit Now magazine. What better way to use old magazines than this? The two penguins holding flippers is just adorable.

Penguin yoke

Mörgæsir/Penguins by Linda Konráðsdóttir is  Aran weight Icelandic yoke sweater with a ring of penguins! Who wouldn't be happy with all those penguins around! Mörgæsir/Penguins is available for free, in English, on the Istex Lopi website.
 
 
Penguin Pullover 3
I am inordinately happy with this Penguin Pullover by Amy Bahrt. It has a pocket! In a penguin! With a bow tie! What is not to love?? This has to be my favorite of all the penguin pullovers, and I just might make all of the penguin pullovers anyway. Be forewarned: there will be a plethora of penguins coming to a house in Appleton. Oh, and this design is free on the Cascade Yarns website too! Direct link on the Ravelry page :)
 
I am giddy with penguin happiness, flippers at the ready with yarn and needles!

 

 


Drachen Is Finished!

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

Drachen complete

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

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

 

 


French Riviera

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

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

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

French Riviera

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

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

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

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

Yarn

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

Crapppp.

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

And it was!

French Riviera done back
French Riviera done back

And I even had 5 grams left over!

Bits left over

Imagination is a powerful thing. BELIEVE!

 

 


Bad Sweater, Bad Knitter. BAD.

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

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

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

Ahem.

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

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

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

DrachenSCHEM

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

Sigh.

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

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

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

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

So what has this taught me?

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

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

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

And yes. The back is almost done.

 

 

 

 


Knitting with the Fishes

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

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

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

Swedish Fish Socks

Swedish Fish Close Up

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

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


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

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

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Drachen in timeout. Bad sweater, bad.

Pogo is mad at the sweater too.

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Cable and Bobble Beanie

A long time ago in a land called Unique One-land, I used to give classes to knitters. Once I gave a class on cables and bobbles, and I needed a pattern that they could use, but nothing was exactly what I needed, so I created a hat pattern with cables and bobbles in it. This is the hat. Originally it was knit in Classic Elite Wool Bamboo (50% wool, 50% bamboo), but of course it has long since been discontinued. Any DK weight will work though!
 
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Cable and Bobble Beanie

Materials:
◘ 200 yards DK weight yarn
◘ US size 3 (3.25mm) & US size 5 (3.50mm) straight needles (this hat was designed to be knit back and forth on straight needles *only* because I originally was designing it to be used in a cables & bobbles class I was going to teach, and I wanted the students to get the back-and-forth- ness of cable patterns, like they would use in knitting a sweater. Realistically, I would much rather have designed this for circular knitting, avoiding the seaming. You can certainly adapt it to that, if you know how to do it.)
◘ Cable needle
◘ Tapestry needle
 
Twisted Rib pattern (2 sts + 1):

Row 1: *K 1 through the back loop, P 1*, repeat from * to last stitch, K1 through back loop.
Row 2: *P 1, K 1 through the back loop*, repeat from * to last stitch, P1 through back loop.

Cable and Bobble Pattern Stitch (9 sts):
 
Row 1: Knit 9.
Row 2: Knit the knit stitches and purl the purl stitches.
Row3: Slip 2 sts to cable needle and hold in back, k2, k2 from cable needle, k1, slip 2 sts to cable needle and hold in front, k2, k2 from cable needle.
Row 5: Knit 4, (k1,p1,k1,p1,k1) all into the next st, turn, p back over these 5 sts, turn, k5, slip the first 4 sts one at a time over the end of the needle, leaving one knit stitch remaining [bobble made], knit 4.
Row 7: K3, make bobble, k1, make bobble, k3.
Row 8: Work as for Row 2.

Right Twist Cable Pattern Stitch (10 sts):

Row 1: P2, k6, p2.
Row 2: Knit the knit stitches and purl the purl stitches.
Row 3: P2, slip 3 sts to cable needle and hold in back, k3, k3 from cable needle, p2. Rows 5 & 7: P2, k6, p2.
Row 8: as for row 2.
 
Hat Pattern Stitch (133 + 4 sts):
 
Row 1: P2, (work cable and bobble pattern over 9 stitches, work right cable twist pattern over 10 sts) seven times, p2.
Row 2: Knit the knit stitches and purl the purl stitches.

Directions for knitting:

With smaller needles, cast on 101 sts. Work twisted rib for 8 rows, increasing to 137 sts in last row of ribbing. Change to US size 5 (3.50mm) needles. Work in Hat Pattern for 5 pattern repeats. Decrease as follows:
Row 1:P2, (K2 tog, p2, k2, p2, k2tog, work right cable twist pattern over 10 sts) 7 times, p2.
Row 2 and all even rows: knit the knit stitches and purl the purl stitches.
Row 3: P2, (p2tog, p1, k2, p2tog, p1, work right cable twist pattern over 10 sts) 7 times, p2.
Row 5: P2, (p2tog, k2, p2tog, work right cable twist pattern over 10 sts) 7 times, p2. Row 7: P2, (k2tog two times, work right cable twist pattern over 10 sts) 7 times, p2. Row 9: P1, (p2tog, work right cable twist pattern over 10 sts) 7 times, p2.
Row 11: P1, (p3tog, p1, k6, p1, p3tog, p1) 7 times, p2.
Row 13: (p3, k2tog three times) 7 times, p2.
Row 15: (P1, p2tog, k1, k2tog,) 7 times, p2.
Row 17: (p2 tog, k2tog) 7 times, p2tog.
Work Row 18 as Row 2.
 
Break yarn and pull it through all stitches. Pull tight to close the top of the hat. Sew up the seam.

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Enjoy your hat! I got thinking maybe I would redesign it in fingering weight also, and in the round. It'll be fun!
 
Pogo
Still a bit chilly out, Pogo is gonna sleep till it warms up.

Ribbed Leaves Lace Scarf

Ribbedleafscarf

This lovely pattern was on display at my shop, Unique One in Camden, Maine for years, and it was always very popular. It is a reversible pattern, which made it great for a scarf. It is basically ribbing with some left and right leaning decreases and a few eyelets thrown in to make it look lacy. Because the left and right decreases are done over ribbing, you have to use a cable needle to move the stitches to be next to each other so the ribbing  won't be discomposed.

It was originally knit with 3 skeins of Frogtree Fingering Weight Alpaca (215 yards/skein), now sadly discontinued. Alpaca made it feel luxurious, soft, and drapey, but you could use 645 yards of any type of fingering weight yarn, even bamboo or tencel or silk or cotton!

I have made one change to the original pattern in that I have started it with two rows of ribbing, as the way it was originally written was a little tricky to do on the first row, and I ended it with two rows of ribbing also to make it symmetrical.  Have fun!

 

Ribbed Leaves Lace Scarf

Materials: 645 yards (589.79 meters) light fingering weight yarn; US size 6 (4.00mm) needles, cable needle, tapestry needle

Finished size: 72 inches (182.88 cm) long X 7.5 inches (19.05 cm) wide

Directions:

Cast on 66 sts. Work K 1, P 1 ribbing for two rows. Work in Ribbed Leaves pattern as follows:

Rows 1, 3, 5, and 7 (RS): * K 1, P 1, yo twice, [K 1, P 1] twice, K 1, R2dec, [P 1, K 1] 5 times, P 1;  from * to end.

Row 2 and all WS rows: Work in K 1, P 1 rib, working double yo's as 2 stitches (i.e., K1, P1).

Rows 9, 11, 13, & 15: * [K 1, P 1] six times, L2dec, [K 1, P 1] twice, K 1, yo twice, P 1; repeat from * to end.

Row 16: Work as for Row 2.

Repeat these sixteen rows for Ribbed Leaves pattern.

Work in Ribbed Leaves pattern until scarf measures just shy of 72 inches long, or desired length. Work 2 rows K 1, P 1 ribbing. Bind off loosely. Weave in ends. 

Abbreviations used:

K = knit

P = purl

yo twice = yarn over twice (wrap the yarn two times around the needle; treat this as a knit stitch AND a purl stitch in the next row)

R2dec (Right decrease) = with yarn in front, slip the purl stitch to the  right hand needle, slip the knit stitch to the cable needle and hold it in front, slip the next purl stitch to the right hand needle, slip the knit stitch on the cable needle back to the left hand needle (2 knit sts are together now),  slip the 2 purl stitches back to the left hand needle, purl 2 together, knit 2 together

L2dec (Left decrease) = with yarn in back, slip the knit stitch to the right hand needle knitwise, slip the purl stitch to the cable needle and hold in back, slip the next knit stitch to the right hand needle knitwise, slip the purl stitch from the cable needle back to the left hand needle (knit stitches and purl stitches are together now), knit two stitches together through the back loops, purl two stitches together

 


Simplest Scarf in the World

1

 

Basketweave Scarf

Materials:

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

Size 7 knitting needles

Tapestry needle & scissors

Gauge: 20 sts and 28 rows = 4”

Finished measurements: 8” X 72”

Directions:

Cast on 35 stitches.

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

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

 

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It's Finally Spring! Sort of.

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

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

Naranj

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

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

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

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(photo courtesy of Clipart Library)

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

DrachenALT

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

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

Drachen

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It's a beginning!


My Head's In The Clouds

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

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(Image by lisa870 on Pixabay)

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

Stratosphere  3

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

Stratosphere 1
Stratosphere 1
Stratosphere

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

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

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(Image by OpenClipart-Vectors on Pixabay)

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

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

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

 


Is it Spring Yet? No? OK Then.

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

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I finally finished my Turquoise Zebra Blanket!!!

TurqZebraBlanket

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

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

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

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

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Have a good rest of February!


If It Is Cold, It Must Be February

Brrrrrr.

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

I got a few things knit last week.

 

Linus

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

 

Lynns socks

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

 

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

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

The palm side of the mitt is also beautiful:

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

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

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

Pogo will be sleeping until Spring.

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Make Nine

So I was reading in the forums on Ravelry, and I came across the Make Nine Challenge. Apparently I miss a lot by not being on Instagram: I have an account, but never use it at all. Anyway, the Make Nine Challenge helps bring focus to your life, set gentle goals, center yourself. People can set their goals on specific things they want to knit, or they can include things that they want to learn,  goals that they want to achieve ... goals can really be anything. Putting it in writing is a way of focusing your mind.

I thought it would be fun to try and come up with nine things in the world of creating that I wanted to do in a year, so I have made a list. I give it until January 30, 2020 to see if I do them all, some of them, or none of them. Some goals are very broad and general, and some are terribly specific.

 

Beth's Make Nine Challenge

  1. Finish the Turquoise Zebra Blanket. It has developed a life of its own, like a child that goes on and on living with its parents, eating their food, never leaving. It is time for it to vacate the premises. I live for the day when I can say, "The Turquoise Zebra has left the building."
  2. Make at least one small thing each month (like socks, hats, mittens, small shawls). √ √ √ √ √
  3. Make three big things this year (like sweaters, big shawls). I have sweaters knashing their skeins in project bags, ready to be knit. The Turquoise Zebra, while HUGE, does not count because a) it has been ongoing now for two years, and b) it is almost completed. √
  4. Make one thing that is hard for me to knit. It might be because of the difficulty of the pattern, or the unusual technique, or the size and weight of it (sorry, that is the Turquoise Zebra talking).
  5. Become accomplished at knitting brioche. So far I knit a hat, flat, that was in one of Elizabeth Zimmerman's books, back in the 1980's, and another hat knit in the round in December of 2018 that I gave to my brother, despite the huge amount of errors in it. I need to get better at knitting brioche, try cables in it, try two colors in it. It looks so pretty.
  6. Design two patterns and put them on my blog.
  7. Knit the Selbu Modern hat, which has been in my Ravelry queue for ten years (March 26, 2009). That is before I had my stroke!
  8. Knit Saxony Socks by Lisa Lloyd which have also been in my queue for ten years (December 10, 2009). And I even have the yarn for them.
  9. Crochet a garment. I used to crochet Aran sweaters back in the eighties. I've crocheted a few blankets, hats and one sweater in my projects since I have been on Ravelry, so I thought I should beef up my crochet skills.

Mak moar knittdd mouses!

(Sorry. Pogo got on the keyboard again. Sigh. ::shakes my head::)

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Abayomi

Remember this?

389_Abayomi front
389_Abayomi front
389_Abayomi front

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

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

Yarn
Yarn

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

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

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

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

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

I started on November 1, 2018 ...

Beginning

Abayomi has begun! (November 1)


Beginning

Sixteen inches of the back! (November 3)

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


Beginning

Back Completed! (November 13)

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

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

Sleeves

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


Beginning

Finished the left front! (November 25)

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

Ta da!

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

 

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


New Year, New Beginnings

Hellooooooooo everybody! 

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

Tractor sweater

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

Bandwidth tunic

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

Snake cardi

The Nerodia cardigan for a wee boy ... 

Snakes hissssss

... complete with snakes!

Heart's queen cardigan

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

Hearts

... with hearts and a hood :)

 

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

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Very bright!

What am I knitting now? Hmmmmm ...

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

Turquoise Zebra Blanket

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

I have a scrap sock yarn shawlette almost finished:

Scrap shawl

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

Lynne's socks

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

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

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Stay warm knitters!

 

 


Fiddle My Stitches!

Have you heard of a website called Stitch Fiddle? I hadn't. I decided to check it out after seeing what a woman was doing with it on Facebook.

It's a website that is also a program that allows the user to make charts for knitting, embroidery, crochet and other things. I've seen web sites like it before, but this one is much better. It is so intuitive. Every time I thought, this is pretty cool but I wish it would allow me to do This Thing, BAM! I found where to do it, in just the place where it should be.

It just so happened that I had a few Christmas stockings to design for some people, and I turned to Stitch Fiddle. This was the result (names are knit or embroidered at the top; the purple or pink line designates the turning point for the back half of the stocking):

Christmas Stocking - Stitch Fiddle Christmas Stocking II Christmas Stocking III


Designing with Stitch Fiddle was so easy and fun! There is a cool little Progress Tracker that highlights the row you are working on, and you can choose how it works to be exactly right for YOU. Such a great idea.

This program does more than colorwork too. It has crochet charts, and for knitting it has lace charts, cables, brioche, mosaic, and more. I may try my hand at designing lace something or other in the near future. Stitch Fiddle is always growing and expanding, so it can do  even more in the future. Should be fun! There is a Ravelry group for Stitch Fiddle too, and yes, I joined.

Stitch Fiddle works on a PC, Mac, iPhone & iPad, Android, Linux, Chromebook and more. No installation is required, just use it from your browser; your saved charts are automatically available on all your  devices. And you can work with others on something also, other users, a tech editor, clients, anybody. You can import a picture if you want to chart it. There is even an Inspiration:Explore Ideas page to see how Stitch Fiddle is being used! This web site is so valuable!

My Christmas stockings were designed in the free version of Stitch Fiddle, and I could save them all, share them, download them. There is also a Premium version of it also, which you can buy for a month (~$3.29) or a year (~$1.70 a month). Go check it out!


The Hearts Queen Coat

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

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

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

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

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

Stay posted for more of the story to continue!

 


I Have A Substance Abuse Problem

The substance is the chocolatey goodness that is Nutella™. For a person who has diabetes, Nutella™ is like a flame to a moth. If a jar of Nutella™ is in my house, given half or even a gazillionth of a chance, I will eat it, a large spoonful at a time, and that is A Very Bad Thing for a diabetic person to do. 

My diabetes meant that I had to eliminate it from my house entirely and forever. I was sad. :( 

Despair-Man

But then the internet came to my rescue! I found that there was a sugar free version of the chocolatey hazelnut spread online ... but upon reading the ingredients, I couldn't do it. There is too much crap in it. To be honest, there is probably too much chemical crap in regular Nutella™ too. I fumed for awhile, but then I thought, maybe ... maybe I can make my own. Hmmmmm.

So, just for fun, I searched for recipes. Bam! There are lots!! Woohooo! 

Happyladyface

And all of them had powdered sugar and chocolate chips! Booo! :(((

Onikero

But by then, I really wanted my Nutella™. I looked in AllRecipes.com (apparently my  go-to recipe place online), and found this.  It was a recipe both time consuming (roast your own hazelnuts and take the wrappers off??? melt chocolate in a double boiler in this heat???) and filled with sugar. I laughed and ordered already roasted unsalted husk-fee hazelnuts from here and also dark chocolate sugar free chocolate chips from here too. Take that,  sugar and already-wrapped hazelnuts! 

Everything was ready. I put a cup of hazelnuts in the food processor and ground them till they were paste. I had to stop and spatula them into place a lot, but my fire to get sugar free Nutella™ helped. I added the other ingredients (I used regular granulated Splenda™, but you can use more natural sweetners too -- Swerve™ and Lakanto™ both have powdered sugar varieties, and there is liquid stevia too), and while they were grinding in the background, I put 12 ounces of the sugar free dark chocolate chips in the microwave on a medium power setting for 4 minutes til they were all melted (Ha! No double boiler mess!) and added them to the food processor and let it all blend together. The whole process took maybe 20 minutes.

I tasted it. It was heavenly! Chocolate goodness that I had known before ... well, it wasn't exactly the same as Nutella™ ... it was better! They used milk chocolate, mine used dark chocolate; they used sugar, mine didn't. And my Nutella™ used way less chemical crap too. And I added sea salt that was unground to add a salted chocolate taste, but mostly because I was too lazy to grind it up.

I am in chocolatey goodness heaven. Pardon me while I get my spoon. 

IMG_1375 Not-ellaNutrition


Nutrition info of my recipe according to MyFitnessPal.com


Snickerdoodles

Oh, snickerdoodles. How I detested thee as a child. 

My sister, Rachel, used to make them a lot, I suspect because it took basically the stuff we always had on had, meaning they were incredibly cheap to make. There were only flour, eggs, butter, sugar and other bakey stuff that lurked in our cupboard that was always there. There was no chocolate in them, baking or chips or anything; no peanut butter; no caramels; no nuts of any kind; nothing to make them seem ... interesting. I hated snickerdoodles. They were the Anti-Cookie. Rachel, of course, was fine with that; she got to eat them all.

I discovered snickerdoodles again when I was looking over AllRecipes.com for something else, grilled lamb chops. I never found any grilled lamb chops. Instead, I found Grandma Ruth's Snickerdoodle Cookies.  I looked over the recipe and found it oddly satisfying, because I had everything to make them already, hmmmm ... and, they looked really really really easy to make, even for a one-armed cookie maker like me. 

What the hell, I thought. Rachel, you must be giggling with glee from beyond this earthly plane to see me making snickerdoodles!

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The only changes I made to the recipe was using 1/2 cup sugar and 1 cup Splenda instead of using 1 1/2 cups of sugar, because I have diabetes and it sucks. Use sugar if you can. I would have used my monkfruit sweetener instead of sugar, but it is so expensive ... I only use it in my coffee and tea. Everything else in the recipe is the same.

According to MyFitnessPal, and using 30 instead of 36 servings (my servings were a bit larger than in the recipe, oops!), each cookie had only 4g of sugar, yay! And 2g of protein, hmmm ... must have been the eggs and butter. And 112 calories, of course. Eggs and butter. Sigh. 

Snickerdoodles. After forty years, how I love thee. Stop yer laughing, Rachel!

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Enjoy this sunny day!

 


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

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

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

BeekeeperCardigan_medium

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

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

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

Day 3 and Day 4 Accomplishment

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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


Day 2 Accomplishment

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

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Yayyyyy I finally made it!

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

I love my little bees; they make me happy.

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Buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

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

 

 


Day 1 Accomplishment

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

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

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

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

 


It Beegins.

Hehe. 

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

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So pretty ❤

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

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

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

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Happy Birthday Lynne!

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

However.

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

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

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

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

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

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


Fleas

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

Tor Grass

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

Brown mittens

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

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

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

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

Animal-2027432__340

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

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

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