Snow finally fell and made it really and truly winter.
Good thing I finally finished my black sweater! It’s really heavy and warm. It fits me perfectly.
Sorry for the bad picture, but it’s really hard to photograph a big black sweater, especially with one hand.
I also finished my Opal minis cowl:
I am very, very close to having the evil Bungee leg warmers done.
Thankfully, I am done with the Bungee. Hallelujah! I only had two skeins of Bungee, so I knit as far as I could with each skein of the evil yarn and continued with some black yarn I had leftover from something or other. I just have about 7” of black to finish them. This project was definitely not process knitting; I never enjoyed the process. It was all about getting the leg warmers done so I could stay warm in them! I can’t wait to put them on.
I’m pretty excited for February. The Bakery Bears are having an event for Patreon members called Valenvent, I believe. Basically, it’s a mystery knitalong that starts February 1st and ends on February 14, but you don’t have to be done when Valentine’s Day rolls around. This is the yarn that I am using for it:
Based on the yarn requirements and the needle size and length, I’m guessing it will be a cowl, or at least I’m hoping it is, because I really love cowls this year. They’re so warm and cozy.
I love this yarn! It has golden sparkles in it and is so pink and squishy.
It’s hand dyed by Potions and Purls in Rhode Island. This mini set is their “Oh Deer!” set.
It must be sparkle season in Rockport. I also got some Opal yarn that is sparkly too, and is waiting to be knit into socks:
My Aunt Mildred was the only sibling of my father, and she was born around 1905 or 6. My father was born in 1907, so she was older. I remember a photo taken of the two of them, he sitting happily in a chair and she standing shyly next to him, both dressed to the nines. Aunt Mildred looked about 5 at the time. She had a frilly dress, waist length hair, and a large bow perched on top of her head.
Aunt Mildred died in 1996, and after she died her daughter in law sent me a wall hanging I had quilted for her and a box of pale yellow mohair that Aunt Mildred had, because I knit.
Swiftly fast forward to September 2022. I finally pulled the yellow mohair out to knit something with it. I sort of recognized the label, which said the yarn was from the Reynolds Yarns company. I bought Reynolds Kitten yarn when I was in college, and I think that Classic Elite bought their mohair line and renamed it La Gran, but don’t quote me on that.
Wow, I thought. This mohair looks really old. I wonder how old it is? Then I fell down the rabbit hole of finding out about old yarn …
Ravelry had stashed No. 1 Mohair by Reynolds 168 times, and there were 69 projects that used it. Of the 69, there was one woman who guessed it was from the late 50’s. She was close.
The yarn tag says it is 85% mohair and 15% vinyan. “Vinyan” is a misspelling and means anger, and there is a 2008 French-Belgian-Australian horror film which was all I could find about it. The word actually should be “vinyon”, which is a synthetic fiber made from polyvinyl chloride. The first U.S. commercial vinyon fiber produced was in 1939. It’s an Aran weight, not a fingering weight as stated in Ravelry’s database.
Back to the Internet. I found a really great website called Vintage Knit Crochet — Bits of History that had Reynolds No. 1 Mohair. Jackpot!
Reynolds No. 1 Mohair was imported from France in March, 1962 and was marketed with two full page ads in Needlecraft magazines.
The yarn was around for 11 years, and was phased out in 1973. I had thought Aunt Mildred likely bought it in 1972 or 1973, so I was probably correct. She may have bought it on sale when they were getting rid of it.
Aunt Mildred’s mohair is color 8, a lovely soft yellow, and I am knitting it up in a cabled cowl pattern called Warm Feelings, a free pattern from DROPS.
Between the Queen’s death and the Remembrance of 9/11, I was feeling a bit gloomy, so I decided to write about my knitting adventures to help you get distracted by my antics.
Having finished my Christmas knitting, I decided to spend a little time using up some of my many scraps before knitting the super secret thing for Bullywoolies and then moving on to my sweater delights.
First of all, I finished my scrappy blanket,
This is A Glimpse of Spring by Willow Canda, and I read ‘hat’ looking at the photo of it, but it is in reality a beanie. Meaning, it comes down to the top of my ears and looks ridiculous on me, so I think I will put it in my stash of hats to give away. Surely it will fit some child somewhere.
Continuing on with gray scraps, I knit a pair of mittens, which was fun because I hadn’t knit mittens in a while
Returning to my Crunkle Socks (a paid pattern by Kay Jones) knit out of Bantam Sock by Chicken Lady Fiber Arts, I finished them and admired their sparkley-ness and have worn them, but I managed a quick photo before grinning myself into a coma from all the sparkles (which are not apparent in the photo):
I had almost a full cake of Red Heart Fleece Hugs yarn, so I decided to knit a smallish baby blanket from it. I chose a Fleece Hugs pattern and cast on the required number of stitches and set out. The pattern didn’t say to put in stitch markers, so I didn’t. The knit skill level was “easy”.
This pattern has a ripple effect, meaning it has increases and decreases, making it go up and down. Which, generally speaking, is “easy” enough to do if you just follow the pattern.
This yarn is like knitting with fur, nice furry acrylic fur that really, really hides stitches extremely well, making it impossible to see your stitches at all. Before I knew it, I had knit about 5” of the blanket and thought it looked a bit weird, so I counted the stitches (really hard to do due to all the fuzziness) and found that I had inadvertently added 20 stitches to my original number cast on. T*w*e*n*t*Y.
So I briefly toyed with the idea of just throwing the yarn away because I really hated it, but then reason replaced the anger and I chose to rip it out, which was fairly difficult due to the aforementioned #%’gfk;;6^}# fuzziness of it. This time I added blasted markers to mark increases (green markers) and decreases (purple markers) to see if that will help keep it tamed. But be warned: if it doesn’t help, this blanket WILL be tossed and laughed at with glee as I dance around the kitchen. Well, ‘dance’ is stretching it; swaying from side to side waving my arms would be more like it.
You’ll see a picture if I get it done. Or you won’t, if I set it on fire.
Anyway. Hope I made you laugh. Keep calm and carry on and remember to smile!
Hi there! I can’t really talk about my knitting right now, so I thought I would talk about other things, like Christmas advent calendars and mini skeins and whatever.
I watch a handful of podcasts on YouTube about knitting, and they all pretty much have the same format (which is about what I do in this blog but I am not doing it on video). The podcaster (or two or more podcasters) have a little chit-chat about the weather or something going on in their world, and then they talk about what they are working on, followed by their finished objects, finishing up with what they have bought or acquired be it yarn or patterns or needles or gadgets. Then they usually talk about what they want to knit or are planning to knit, a little about their kids or the trip they just took or whatever.
Usually after watching a podcast I want to buy the yarn they were gushing about or the pattern they made or are making or want to make, or the New Knitting Thing they were enraptured with. Then I usually take myself firmly by the hand and say, not today. If I still want it a week or two after I hear about it, I may buy it. I wonder how many people buy stuff they don’t really need by just hearing about it? A lot, I bet.
A lot of people go gaga after mini skeins - 10g or 20g little skeins of usually fingering weight or DK weight yarn that are hand dyed and packaged 5, 8, or 12 together at a time. Now to me, it just doesn’t make a lot of sense to have all these little skeins of different colors. But that’s because colors aren’t the most important thing in my knitting world. I know, seems odd, but what can I say. I’d rather focus on the garment design and the stitches and the tools than the color. But for most knitters, color is everything. And those mini skeins give them the chance to buy 5 or 8 or 12 colors at a time instead of 1 or 2 or 4 full skeins.
Every podcast has something that makes it different as well. Some people are in a different country, some are hand dyers, some just have a good sense of humor. But one person that I watch loves yarn, makes hand dyed yarn, and she loves the same books that I do!
Holly of Mystery Mouse Knitting loves to read mystery books and knit. She’s not a huge yarn dyer, but what she has is named for something related to a book. She had colors reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s Poirot and Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes and lately, Nancy Drew mysteries. She makes a few skeins, they sell out, and then she puts up another color. But the best thing is, she is offering her first yarn Advent Calendar, calling it Holmes for the Holidays. It includes twelve 20g mini skeins; a full skein of yarn, all in gorgeous Victorian colors no doubt; some stitch markers; and other treats and surprises.
The big surprise is that you follow the clues as they appear and solve the mystery of what Sherlock Holmes story the whole thing references! I thought about it for a good long while and then I bought it. So I will have a nice little gift that comes just in time for Christmas! Usually these advent calendars are pre-ordered in the summer, and are delivered in October or November. I think she has a few left, but if you want this advent calendar, you’ll have to be quick because I think she’ll be ending preorders really soon.
“If you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for a moment.” — Georgia O’Keefe
I am really enjoying knitting the Kai Shawl by Kristina Smiley. The motifs remind me of flowers separated by bands of stockinette or garter stitch. It’s easy enough that I can watch TV while I knit, but it’s pretty enough to keep me interested too.
This yarn is wonderful, as I mentioned before. The speckles of bright pink mixed with a light smattering of purple and blue floating over a sea of white is a perfect canvas for the flower motifs, which will show up better when I block it. I love the colors of Expression Fiber Arts yarn.
I never knit with yak and silk lace weight yarn before. I’ve knit with 100% yak and with 100% silk, but knitting with 50% each yak and silk is the best of both worlds. Both fibers are very soft, breathable and static resistant. Yak is also very absorbable as are all wools, and yak down is the ultimate in softness.
Unfortunately, silk pupae are killed in the process of making the silk that their cocoons are formed from. However, many pupae are a snack food in China, South Korea and Thailand. I hadn’t really thought about all those little silk worm pupae dying, so probably in the future I’ll try to get tencel or bamboo to pair with my luxury fibers. (That’s assuming that I’ll be able to afford luxury fibers ever again.) But I am enjoying knitting this yak silk yarn to the utmost, and I will love wearing it!
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:
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:
To quote Bill and Ted, be excellent to each other! And happy knitting!
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.
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!
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.
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:
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.
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!
I've gotten hooked on train rides from various places around the world via YouTube. Since I am highly unlikely to actually get anywhere in say, Norway, I can just pull up a video on YouTube! Best of all, I can enjoy the snow without actually being cold!
So, I was watching a video from RailCowGirl who does mostly train rides in Norway, and it was a trip called Nordic November Sunrise from Bergen to Voss which I didn't pay much attention to, but it was early morning, the clouds in the mountains were pretty, and there were MANY tunnels. I like the names of the tunnels. One was called Trollkona (Troll's Wife Tunnel) and is 8043m long.
But the best part, and a complete surprise to me, was when Dale was one of the stops on the route! Dale of Norway!
And there was a Dale factory store right next to the train stop!
That's the next best thing to being there in person. Dale of Norway makes wonderful yarns and beautiful sweaters, both of which were sold at Unique One. It made me happy to see them.
Have fun riding the rails! You'll never know what is around the next bend!
It's a beautiful spring day on the coast of Maine!
I finished my blue-green Linus shawl a while ago.
I also went to my WIP bin and took out an Absolutely Fabulous Throw kit by Colinette that someone had started, given up on it, gave it to me, and I never worked on it ... but thought I would, someday. Well, someday came. The kit originally sold for around $180, contained your choice of four throw patterns, and had enough of eight beautiful Colinette colors in a variety of yarns to make the throw. The yarns are still available, but sadly the pattern is not.
See? It really is Absolutely Fabulous. Pogo settled down on it as I was putting on the fringe. She gave it her seal of approval.
I finished spinning my Maine Coast yarn.
Three skeins (total of 385 grams) of 2-ply fingering weight yarn. It's gonna be great!
What is on my needles now?
An Elizabeth Zimmerman Pi Shawl using fingering weight scrap yarn (I got tired of making endless Linus shawls) ...
... and a red cardigan for me. It's sweater #4 for those who are counting.
Keep knitting and spinning! Remember, you are beautiful!
Hi there! I'm fine, how are you? Healthy, I hope!
While others have been busily sewing masks
and doing other heroic things, I have been spinning and knitting and just staying home. In other words, my usual life.
On the spinning front, I finished the turquoise fiber and am halfway through spinning a braid of yarn that I hand dyed pre-stroke:
Here are a bobbin of each side by side:
I am going to ply them together and make a fingering weight yarn that will look like a summer day on the coast of Maine. I can almost feel the wind in my face and hear the water slooshing by! I'll knit the Crest O' the Wave stole by Wendy Johnson:
On the knitting front, I have knit three pairs of socks:
These socks were started pre-stroke, so over ten years ago.
The red fluffy ones on top are a mohair blend that I lost the band from, and I ran out of yarn to finish them, so I completed the foot on the second sock with bright red worsted weight wool. I neglected to photograph them when they were finished.
These socks are fingering weight from Heavenly Yarns in Belfast. (They have lots of yarn, buttons, and needles! Free shipping on orders $30 and over! You should go!) The yarn is Sox by Berroco and is so pretty!
What is on my needles?
I have a sweater, a hat, and a shawl/scarf/thing going.
The sweater is Kinsale by Alice Starmore (in Fishermen's Sweaters):
I am using two 1-lb. cones of Jagger Ragg in blue that was gifted to me by Nancy Howard in 2015 or 2016.
The hat is Raineach by Juliet Bernard that was in The Knitter magazine, issue 148.
I am knitting Raineach out of scraps: gray yarn from my KittyCat Socks, and a ball of pre-stroke handspun that I don't even remember spinning at all, or what I originally knit from it. Perhaps I was drunk.
Anyway, it is really pretty. Here are the sweater and hat together:
Finally, I have another Linus shawl/scarf/thing on my needles for my evening TV knitting, using scraps of blue and green:
Here it is so far:
I have a ways to go!
Happy knitting and spinning, stay healthy both mentally and physically, and learn something today that you didn't know yesterday. I think I will learn how to make peanut butter chocolate chip cookies.
In this time of staying home, shopping has mostly been done online. I bought cookies, sugar free cookies, that aren't too bad. They go well with tea.
Because I couldn't go to Heavenly Yarns in Belfast, they kindly came to me -- sort of. I wanted to shop at a yarn store that I like to go to locally, because I wanted to help them out. Helen answered the phone and remembered that I used to own Unique One, and she even remembered my blog. She is very sweet!
I ordered two skeins of Peace Fleece for socks for a man, and two bright skeins of Berroco Socks for socks for women. Helen has a tremendous selection in her store!
That was just yesterday, and I got the yarn today! I'll wind the yarn up right away and get going making socks!
In other news, I ordered this from a store on the other side of the country:
It may look like a baby tribble ... but it is not (I wish it was though!). Neither is it yarn. It is a pom pom for the hat I am making, and it is soooooo soft. I love it. I got it at Knot Another Hat in Hood River, Oregon.
Both stores had free shipping to the end of the month!!!!! I hope you can order some yarn from your local yarn shop. Having had a yarn shop myself, I know from experience that March is always a hard month, and this March is a dismal one indeed. Having a little more yarn will make you feel good, and I know that your business will be appreciated!
Be well, be happy, and knit on!
I used to hate March, hate it with a passion. It was long and dark and snowy, but most of all, it was just more winter when I was ready to be having spring. Gahhh.
This year, we haven't had much snow on the coast of Maine, and it has been a relatively warm winter... probably because we got a new snow blower and two generators. So, this March seems to be easier than usual. Or, we could get the winter's worth of snow and cold all in one month, which would truly suck.
If that happens, I am prepared for it as well! I just finished knitting this sweater:
Pattern: Biscotti by Kiyomi Burgin
Yarns: Annabel Fox Chunky Donegal, 109 yards in 100g, 100% wool, 6.5 skeins, color 662 Alder; Berocco Vintage Chunky 136 yards in 100g, 52% Acrylic, 40% Wool, 8% Nylon, 1.3 skeins; color 6134 red
This is a very heavy sweater knit on size 11US/8.0mm needles. Wrangling would be the best way to describe it, or, in my case, one-armed wrangling. ::rolls eyes::
I have had this yarn forever. Well, nearly. I got it around twenty years ago, and it was the oldest yarn in my possession. It's a beautiful dark tweed, a gorgeous yarn, and I truly love it. I hope this sweater never wears out, because I will never have this yarn again!
I used only 6.5 of the 10 skeins I have. What is your favorite bulky weight item to make with around 375 yards of yarn?
I knit a gauge swatch in the round (the back is all big loops of yarn) and got 3 stitches per inch. The good thing is this sweater knit up really fast! It took me 12 days to finish it, but I had spinning and the pink shawl and a ZickZack scarf to work on too, so I only worked on it for about two hours at a time. It probably took me 36 hours to knit.
The only casualty was the cable from my AddiClick interchangeable needle set, which alarmingly separated from the metal bit in the middle of a sleeve.
Luckily, I had a couple other size 11 needles on hand and was able to finish the sweater. Which is actually pretty amazing that I had them, since I almost never knit with needles that large.
That cable is the one I used the most, and I have used it a lot since I got the set back in 2014. I emailed Skacel ([email protected]) because I knew they had a lifetime guarantee on their needles, and I wanted to ask how to get another cable. They responded in a few minutes and emailed a form that I printed and filled out. I popped it in the mail along with the cable that broke, and got an email a day or two later that said the replacement was on the way! It will be here soon! If I hadn't had another needle to finish my sweater, I would only have had to wait about a week before the replacement arrived. I think Skacel deserves a big round of applause for their great service!
Have a super duper March, and happy knitting! Stay warm!
I had a great week! I completed the Mystery XII Socks by Knitters Brewing Company, Let It Snow! socks:
Pattern: Let It Snow! socks by Wendy Gaal
It was a really fun-to-knit pattern! I might make it again. It had mosaic knitting (which I usually hate) and lace (which I love). This time, I loved the mosaic knitting. I guess I trusted Wendy Gaal, whose patterns are always well-written.
One goal I had for 2020 was to spin more, which I have totally been doing, and I finished up eight ounces of lovely superwash merino from On The Round that I got about two or three years ago. I started spinning it right when I got it, but then I quit for some reason -- inertia takes the blame -- and now FINALLY it is all spun up. And I love it so much!
It's a shame that I never took a picture of the roving before it became yarn. It was all pretty colors, but when I spun it, the reds and oranges became the predominant color (and I love red and orange) and the yarn became a lovely dark red with other colors all mixed in.
(There is a bit of the roving I spun showing at the top of the above picture)
Now it is all ready to knit. Pogo was being really loving this morning and tried to help me so much to get the right picture. I better knit a shawl that she can curl up in!
I feel so virtuous.
A few years ago, maybe five? six? more? Judi stopped by and gave me some Peer Gynt yarn she was cleaning out, and she said, "Make something pretty with it." So I found a pattern for it (Shedeer by Brian Smith), but then I just kept putting it aside as other things pushed into the front and got in the way. But when October and Wendy's knit-in rolled around, I knit most of it, finished it up after the knit-in was over, and blocked and dried it. I'm so happy with how it turned out!
I love it! Thank you Judi!!
Peer Gynt is a DK weight 100% Norwegian wool, soft and comfy. It's a real work horse kind of yarn, good for sweaters, mittens, socks, hats, pillows, afghans, pretty much everything. It is really good for stranded Norwegian patterns as well as anything with a texture or cable. It is a really warm yarn too!
I had a couple skeins left over, red and purple, so I made this cowl:
It's the Camden Cowl by Mary Jane Mucklestone. I wore it for a few days after I made it, and found it to be really warm and not itchy -- but then, I am highly wool-capable-of wearing, wool doesn't make me itch at all*. I really like this cowl. The colors work surprisingly well together. Plus, it makes me think of Rachel, who was in the Red Hat Society and loved it, so anything red and purple makes me think of her.
*Except any yarn with any amount of alpaca or llama. I can knit with this luscious, wonderful yarn, but I really cannot wear it; it makes me itch like crazy!
Unfinished Objects, that is.
Since my stroke, I have had between one and three UFOs (also known as WIPs -- Works In Progress) at a time, and that was fine. Just fine. Before the stroke, 43 WIPs were common, and I hardly ever finished any of them; but since my stroke, I have had more time, and I was able to finish all my WIPs, unless I fell out of love with them and unraveled them.
But lately, I have gotten back into my bad habit ways. I have eight UFOs, yikes!
I have a brown sweater:
And a blue sweater:
And a green sweater:
And a shawl:
Two rows a day til next February! Woohoo! This is the only project that I have that I can't work on, because it is an Estonian Lace KAL hosted by Pattern Duchess, and I am all caught up on clues.
And I have a scarf project and a sock project that I have already put away and didn't get a picture of them.
Actually, I also have a spinning project that I put aside because I needed to find more bobbins, and I never got back to it. It's been about two years. I really should ply some stuff off the bobbins I have and finish it.
Really, all the UFO's will just have to wait, because I just got a super secret assignment to knit which I love, but can't tell you about right now (sorry). I'll share pictures when I can. But I really, really love it!
Also, I signed up for Knit Camp hosted by Marie Green, best decision I have ever made. So much fun! So many knitters! It's great! Registration is closed right now, but it will reopen in October -- I will remind you. It costs $9.95 a month, but the cost is more than worth it. Just the monthly pattern alone is worth $9.95. And Marie's patterns are awesome. I got four patterns right away just for joining Knit Camp!
I already started one of them:
This is the Ellery hat pattern from Marie. Marie assured me that single skein projects don't count toward the pile of UFOs or WIPs, which I was grateful for; according to that rule, I only have 5 UFOs! Woohoo! I am using Swans Island Sterling Collection Fingering in the color Citrine. I love it.
My days will consist of two rows (five days a week) of the shawl, about an hour of the Ellery hat, and the rest of my knitting time on the super secret knitting. I'll do the shawl in the morning and the Knit Camp knitting in the evening, because s'mores. Lovely drinkable s'mores around the virtual campfire:
Recipe Diaries S'Mores Cocktail -- yummmm!!
Have fun knitting!
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:
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!
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:
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:
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!
I hope all of you had a good Christmas! It was snowy here in Maine, and we had a quiet Christmas. I got a lot of knitting done, though.
This is what I was working on. I started this sweater back in June, and got sidetracked doing other things, but after I got the purple Aran coat done, I brought it out of hibernation. It is knitting up fairly quickly.
The pattern is Norderny by Isabelle Kraemer.
It is knit from the top down, with a simple little pattern up the front, and a plain stockinette back and sleeves. Easy peasy. I only had about 5 rows done on the back when I started, and I am already over 40% done with it just since I started in again on December 19th.
The yarn is Webster from Wildwood Yarns, which I got from WEBS, a fabulous yarn heaven. It is a machine-washable DK weight yarn, 75% acrylic and 25% wool, which I got because it was too good a deal to pass up. I don't really love acrylic yarn, but this yarn feels ok --- still acrylic-y, but it doesn't squeak when I move in it. I sold a ton of Plymouth Encore from Unique One, and this is similar. Webster is on sale: 300 yards for 1.49??? I'll take it. My whole sweater would only cost me about $7.50, if I bought it today. In orange or green, the colors that are left. They are having closeout.
WEBS is having a huge year-end sale at the moment, so if you need yarn, now is the time! Also, I heard that Over the Rainbow is having a going out of business sale too, so if you are in the Rockland, Maine area, go buy yarn!
I ran out of yarn three rows before starting the border around the collar on my little Aran Coat:
I saw that I was running out when I started the collar. But the thing is, I had no idea what shape the collar was going to be, nor the size of it. The pictures in the book didn't show it, nor did the schematic diagram show the collar. Upon reading the directions, though, it was clear that the collar was a sizeable piece of intricate knitting, so I went ahead and ordered another skein of yarn. I hope that WEBS still has the dye lot, but if they don't, oh well -- it will just mean that the border around the collar and the button bands will be a slightly different shade of purple!
I usually order an extra skein of yarn when ordering a sweater amount, but for some reason I didn't this time, and it bit me in the ass. Lesson learned! Even though you think you know what you are doing (I mean, I used a calculator and everything), always order extra yarn! The bonus is, I'll have purple for my scrappy hats! Yay! My purple yarn should be here today or tomorrow.
I started to knit Sylvi on October 22 and finished it on March 22, so it took a long time to get it done. However, I didn't work on it the whole time. I took a few long-term breaks to knit other things.
I knit the purple Ironwood Shawl that was in the KnitScene Spring 2017 magazine, out of Wildwood Yarns Arcadia in a pretty purple. The pattern called for two skeins of Madeline Tosh Sock, which has 385 yards and is about $25 a skein; I had one skein of the Arcadia and I didn't notice that the pattern called for two skeins. Arcadia has 394 yards per skein. I knit happily along, and about the time that I went to the Spa in Freeport I noticed that I was running a bit low on yarn, and that is when I saw that the pattern called for two skeins! I estimated that the amount of yarn I had would almost come close to finishing the shawl though, so I figured I would just put another color on whenever I ran out, something that would contrast nicely and look like I had planned it that way. When I got home, I rummaged through my odds and ends of sock yarns and found some pretty lavender handspun that I made eons ago, and set it aside.
But the ball kept going and going and going. It was a magic ball! Just two rows before the end of the shawl, I finally ran out of yarn. I knit the final two rows, bound off, and am quite happy with it. If I had forked out $50 for Madeline Tosh Sock yarn though, I would have been kind of mad that it had only required about fifteen yards of the second skein.
Beside the shawl, I knit a couple sweaters that I can't show you or talk about yet, and a bunch of hats:
Then I designed and knit a cowl at the Harpswell Inn Knitting Weekend with yarn that was provided. It came out pretty and I'll put the picture and the pattern up here when I get the pattern written; the cowl is blocking now.
Another thing that I knit (that is still blocking) is a scarf/shawl that I recently completed. It was the Mystery in March KAL (yup, I got it done in March), a lovely asymmetrical piece in a sampler of various knitting stitches, by Tori Seierstad. The yarn I used was originally used in the Mystery Sock IX: Crazy Quilt Socks, done in Old Number 8 in a dark red yarn. After working three clues, I thought I would never wear those socks (the pattern was perfect, they just were nothing I would ever wear. Sorry.) So, when I saw the mystery shawl commencing, I ripped out the sock and started the shawl. It was a blast to knit! Pictures soon. :)
So what is on the needles now? The primary thing is Amy's Scarf, which is reinvigorated after a long hibernation that started at the end of October. I started it back in July! I have to get it done. It is inspired by the scarf that Amy Pond wore in two Dr. Who shows, and I have wanted it for years, ever since I saw it on Dr. Who. I bought just the right skein of lovely red at the Spa in 2016, a red called Rock Lobster, in Mad Color Fiber Arts Sonatina. I'm about half done!
I have had so much fun the last couple of weeks!
First, the things I have knitted: not much, actually. I have my stealth knitting project almost completed. In fact, it will be finished this week probably, and I can go to Freeport at the end of the week with a clear conscience. I have, in addition, sewn up my Sylvi coat/sweater, woven in most of the ends, and am now working on the hood:
It is kind of hard to knit because of the weight of the sweater and only having one and a quarter hands, but it is going slowly onward. I hope to finish it next week, after SPA in Freeport. At least Hillary will be able to wear it for a couple weeks before Spring!
Second is the goodies that I have bought.
I pre-ordered MAINEknits by Beatrice Perron Dahlen a few weeks ago, and promptly forgot it, and then there it was! I wanted to get it when I realized that all of the patterns in it were in my favorites in Ravelry, which was a sign that the book needs to be on my shelf. I was pleased to find that the book has really gorgeous pictures of Maine, a foreword by Pam Allen, and well-written essays by Sarah Kilch Gaffney, Julie Letowski, Samantha Lindgren and Beck Robbins in addition to beautiful, highly-wearable and desirable-to-knit patterns by fourteen excellent designers, including Beatrice Perron Dahlgren.
The book is divided into three sections: Sea, Farm, and Wild, which is how I think of Maine too. I'm from Aroostook county, Maine, the wilderness was all around me in Portage where I lived, my father was a farmer, and now I live by the sea! There are five or six patterns in each section, totaling seventeen patterns in the book. Most of them are sweaters and accessories for women, but a few are unisex too, and one is photographed on a man and a child; that sweater can be made in children's sizes too. There is also a cowl in child and adult sizes as well.
I also got some little colored stitch markers from Cocoknits.com. They are so pretty, I want to string them on a chain and wear them as a necklace!
I succumbed to pattern lust and bought the yarn to make these socks:
They are 173-45 Sleepy Sheep from Drops.
They are so springy and pretty! I don't really need 450g of yarn to knit socks. I'll have yarn leftover, so maybe I will design something with Mary Jane Mucklestone's books that I have been looking over.
The best thing though is the fluff that I got from On the Round! It is soooooooo gorgeous! It makes me want to spin and spin and spin!
This fluff is hand dyed Corriedale top in a OOAK (One Of A Kind) color. That means it is unique! Rachel Jones does an incredible job of dyeing. Her colors are imaginative, playful, and creative while being harmonious too. It takes real talent to do that. I will wait as long as possible to start spinning this, but I think the beauteousness of the fluff will overwhelm me. It is sitting right beside my computer and I keep looking at it and sighing happily. I need to get a couple things done, but soon ... soon!
The third and final fun thing is ahead: SPA!!! Lynne and I are going to Freeport for the weekend (February 24,25, & 26) and we will have so much fun. We are staying at the Hampton Inn. SPA is a weekend of fibery goodness that is at three hotels in Freeport, but it really kind of takes over the town. It is like a convention of 1000 (maybe more) knitters and crocheters and spinners and weavers and felters and other fibery folk who show up for the weekend. Some people go for three or four days. Lynne and I will pretty much stay in the Hampton Inn; the vendor area doesn't really interest me much (see above) but there are many vendors and people who want their wares. Also Mother of Purl is in the area and there are a few things that they offer too this weekend, including an On the Round trunk show -- Rachel will be there in person to amaze and delight you!
I haven't the heart to tell Pogo that the sweater isn't for her.
Sylvi is growing by leaps and bounds. The back is done:
I have the left front done to just above the underarm:
The black yarn on the side marks the increases, and the one in the middle marks what row I started the underarm on.
Pogo the astute feline inspector says they pass and gives them a paw print of approval.
I started some bright, glittery socks just before New Year's Eve.
Everyone needs bright glittery socks What a wonderful world it would be if everyone wore them. The yarn is Plymouth Yarn Stiletto, purchased from WEBS, but it seems they are out of it. I did buy it in their big year end blowout sale. Anyway, the pair is half done, and I start the second sock tonight during my daily TV watching. The pattern is the one that I have pretty much memorized, Classic Socks for the Family by Melinda Goodfellow.
I got a knitting magazine (KnitsceneSpring 2017) and a skein of lovely purple Wildwood Arcadia yarn from my friend Lynne! I started the Ironwood shawl, and it is perfect for the yarn. I love both the pattern and the yarn!
Blogger Christina is trying to change the world, and I think she is succeeding. Her blog The Healthy Knitter is having a 21-day tips for peace during December, and it coincides with a "Peace-along" on Ravelry, with her free pattern for a lovely cowl. My Daily Mindfulness blanket has languished but it will still be there in January. I'm going to join her for the peace-along, and I urge you to join me too!
So far she has gotten over 20,000 people to read her peace tips every day and join her peace-along. That is 20,000 individual people whose lives she has impacted in a good way, a peaceful way.
"And we need peace…with turmoil, and acts of violence, hatred and anger occurring daily in our country and throughout the world it’s time to take action. Often I think "but I’m just one person" but maybe, just maybe with Project Peace we can spread ideas on how to choose peace. Perhaps then, we can slowly make some changes. We’ll never overcome evil but we must find ways to cope with it."
from The Healthy Knitter, November 10, 2016
So, what do you do? Here is what she said back in November:
Here's how you join in:
- Download the cover page of the pattern on Ravelry
- This is only the cover page; the pattern will come to you as an update on 11/28.
- Read the information about the project requirements
- Please click on "fav" on Ravelry, begin a project page for the cowl, and join the Healthy Knitter group.
- Beginning December 1, read the blog daily for 21 days to receive the tip of the day on how to infuse more peace into your life.
Will you help me promote this?
Here are some ideas on how you could spread the word:
- Spotlight Project Peace on a blog post
- Post on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or other forms of social media
- Include in your electronic or print newsletter
- Provide a give-away to those that help spread the word
- Tell all your knitting friends, clients, customers, readers, family.
Also, there is a World-wide Knit-in for Peace on December 21. Will you will knit for peace on that day?
I think this is a great idea! It is sort of like SETI, but instead of helping to locate alien signals, we will be promoting world peace! Using knitting needles! I can get behind that.
My project for peace will be Christina Campbell's cowl knit in Wildwood Yarns Arcadia in a pretty blue-pink-purple colorway. To me, it looks like peace.
Heck, whatever you do to be mindful and peaceful would work too! Whether you draw, crochet, quilt, craft, sew, doodle, whittle sticks or make baskets, just do it. Be peaceful, and help others be peaceful too!
Look what was waiting for me when I got home!
I got a package from Paradise Fibers! It is a skein of Rowan Fine Art Sock Yarn in purples, and a skein of Rowan Kid Silk Haze Stripe -- it's Kid Silk Haze that knits up in stripes!! I'll let that sink in for a minute. Just when I thought Kid Silk Haze couldn't get any better, they go and do this. Now, the only way it could get any more perfect would be if it glowed in the dark or was free. (Actually Paradise Fibers just did a buy four, get one free promotion on yarn, so I guess they already did that. I missed it, though; it ended Sunday the 21st.) The Kid Silk Haze Stripe is "Chiaroscuro", stripes of grey and purple, which goes fabulously with the purples of the Fine Art Sock Yarn in shades of purple. The Fine Art Sock yarn is a blend of merino wool, kid mohair and mulberry silk that has been handpainted, and it is is luscious to the fingers as well as to the eyes. I can't stop squeezing it.
I am going to make a Twisted Drop Stitch scarf (by Nancy Kleiber) out of it, because the world neeeeeeds more pretty scarves! I never get tired of wearing them, especially in this house in the long, bitterly-cold winter. I glanced over the pattern last night; it seems to be alternating rows of each color in a dropped stitch pattern, and it is very lovely and looks like a quick knit, too. It is a free pattern on the Rowan web site, I think, if you sign up to be a member. I can't wait to get started!
The Pueblo Stole, that is, by Carol Sunday of Sundayknits.com. I'm knitting it for the Ravellenic games, which finish up on Sunday. I am about 60% done; it's gonna be close. The goal of the Ravellenic Games is to challenge yourself, but knitting this stole has been a bit more of a challenge than I thought it would be!
First of all, there are decreases and increases on each side because it gets it's drape from the slight bias that you knit it on. It is not a regular enough thing that my poor brain can handle -- I get what I am supposed to do, but I can't seem to remember it, so in the time constraints given by the Ravellenic Games (I only have two weeks to knit it), I have had to resort to the row-by-row directions. Oh, the humanity!
Second, every other and sometimes every row, you join a new color, leaving a 4" tail that is left as the fringe. Sounds easy, right? It isn't. Imagine me with one hand, cutting a fringe that is vaguely 4", and then purling through the back and then through the front of the first stitch of the row. It's kind of hard; I think that it would have been sorta tricky but do-able back before I had my stroke. But, I'm doing it!
Thirdly, you have to graft it together in the middle, which I am not looking forward to. I have decided that that is just finishing, so if I can knit the whole thing by Sunday at noon-ish, then the medal is mine. If I get it grafted and weave in the few ends as well, that is just icing on the cake. :)
Now for the good news, hehe. I love this kit! Love, love, love it ... the yarn is just gorgeous. There are four kinds of yarn in the kit, chosen for the colors, and the colors really blend together harmoniously. There is Brigadoon, which is a 100% merino donegal tweed; Eden, which is 100% merino; Nirvana, which is 92% merino and 8% cashmere; and Angelic, which is 75% merino and 25% angora. Here is a picture of the first half, all knit:
I can't wait to wear this, it is so yummy! And despite the difficulty and my perceived whining, I am really loving this. It is so much fun seeing the color progression; it's like watching the sunrise over the Sacramento Mountains in New Mexico. Beautiful!
Look what I got on Saturday:
Sock yarn from Lisa Souza! That's Appaloosa on the left, signed by both Lisa and Lorrie; Water Gardens in the middle; and Orion Nebula on the right. Her Sock! is 450 yards of fingering weight lusciousness made up of 75% superwash wool, 25% nylon, and dyed in colors that will make you weep for joy, weep, I tell you. Appaloosa is gorgeous. I never would have ordered a brown color, but now that it is my hands, it is so pretty!
Ahhhh, now to let it marinate in my stash for a bit. I have a couple or three shawls to do first. But right now, I'm ruffling along, or maybe I should say flouncing along.
Happy Memorial Day, everyone!
My laptop has made a heroic comeback for the present; hard to say if it will last, but I am glad I am reasonably able to type now. The only keys that don't work are the bottom left four keys, which are fn, control, option, and command. I never knew how much I used option and command until I couldn't anymore. Luckily, they are on the right-hand side as well, so I can still use them, though it is a bit awkward because of my one-handedness. But I am not complaining! I am very glad to be able to type at all!
I used to teach a class that was always well received. Since it was a lecture class, and I yammered on for about three hours, and no knitting was involved, I found it somewhat surprising that people seemed to hang on every word. It was the most-signed-up-for class every time. It was All About Yarn.
When I started teaching it, there was no one place which had a run-down of yarn anywhere, even on the internet. It's so vitally important, but it was hard to gather all the bits you needed into one place. I could do that, and by listening to me (reading tended to make knitter's eyes glaze over), knitters learned, and made note of what they needed. They could knit while they listened.
I had a whole yarn shop at my disposal, so I had examples of every kind of yarn, from cob web to super chunky, and everything in between. I had different types of fiber: wool, cotton, acrylic/micrfiber, alpaca, llama, viscose, silk, camel, tencel, you name it. I had yarn that was singles, two-ply, cabled, chenille, wrapped with a thread. I brought examples of them and passed them around so they could be touched and squeezed and fondled over. I had samples knit out of the yarns.
I thought about making a DVD of the class and selling it, but the class would lose a lot because people wouldn't be able to touch the yarn, and really, that's what it was all about. We were learning, as knitters, what various types of yarn feels like, the different feel it has if it's cob web or DK, the feel of cotton vs. wool vs. rayon, and unfortunately, the technology isn't there yet. You have to get the knitter one-on-one with the yarn.
So now, I have to get one-on-one with my Itchy Sratchy yarn, or it will never get done!
Dolly Llama, from Good Karma Farm. Ya gotta love it.
I love things that glow in the dark, and I have sold yarn that glows in the dark and several -- three I can think of, off-hand -- types of needles that glow in the dark, and even some drop spindles that glowed in the dark. But the next best thing, is yarn that glitters.
I saw a woman knitting this scarf when I was in Have A Yarn, Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia. That's a great little yarn shop, by the way; do stop in if you get a chance. I never really was taken by ruffly scarves, though they were hot a couple years ago, and I like ruffles on other things, but the combination of a different kind of ruffles and this glittery yarn captured my heart. I was obsessed. I got one ball and I will knit that glittery, ruffly scarf later, and it will be good.
In other news, Ravelry is celebrating its 2,000,000th member! Woohoo!
Here's the cat picture, Nora on the move:
She's on the hunt!
To alleviate the boredom that is winter, I played a little game in which I said, "If you were stuck on a desert island with unlimited supply of five yarns, what would you choose?"
1. Florica, from Novita. It is a sport weight, machine washable wool yarn that I really loved. It was 2-ply, which made it knit up like Jamieson and Smith, but it was sport weight, not fingering, and machine washable too, which made it really nice for kids. And husbands. I knit a large man-sized sweater with it. It's discontinued here in the States now, bit it's still going strong in Finland, where it is made.
2. Jamieson and Smith's 2-ply fingering weight, wool. The best yarn in the world, bar none. I would choose this yarn if I only had one choice.
3. Jo Sharps original DK weight wool, in her original colors. I knit with this and it held up to wear beautifully. It showed cables and textures wonderfully, and colorwork beautifully too.
4. Bartlettyarn. It's wonderful. Did you know that the Rangely Sheepswool that Elizabeth Zimmerman was so fond of came from the Bartlett mill, here in Maine? You can still buy it at Schoolhouse Press, in fact, but you'll get more variety and a better price from the Bartlett mill itself. I would have an unlimited supply, of course, in all the weights and in every color on my island, always.
5. I wanted a laceweight yarn, and this has been the toughest choice. I like Jamieson and Smith laceweight, but I want something softer, I think. I like Handmaiden Sea Silk, but maybe it is a bit too fiddly for a lifetime of knitting. I really like Springtide Cashmere, but it's only solid colors. Same with Zephyr and Frogtree and Skacel. If I want multicolor, I know that I want Lorna's Laces colors because they are outstanding, so I want Helen's Lace Multi AND Solid. It's my choice, and you did say I have the full range of colors, right? Well, that's what I want.
Who am I kidding, I want Done Roving Farm and Good Karma Farm and a billion others, too. Sigh, so much yarn. So much to choose from.
What are your favorite yarns? You can have anything, even if it's discontinued ... or spin rovings and fleece from 5 different places ... go nuts. It's winter.