A Traumatic Day

Yesterday was a rough day. I’m not gonna lie. I haven’t slept well for a couple of nights and that usually means that there’s a full moon or that something is bubbling up inside me that needs to be gone from me … my life … my belief system … whatever it is. I felt overwhelmed, frustrated, sad, angry, tearful (like the ugly cry kind) and, by the end of the day, traumatized. I know I’ll work through it and the personal stuff in detail isn’t something that really belongs here. I know I can work through it and if I can’t, I can reach out to my (former not old) therapist who will guide me in the right direction. In the meantime, today I’m going to burn some sage in the house to cleanse the energy in it and I’ll take time to be quiet and see what my mind/body/soul reveals.

Oddly enough, in addition to having a traumatic, emotional day, I heard a phone ringing in the house. It was neither mine nor my husband’s. It was distant but seemed to be coming from inside out house. This morning I heard it again when I was standing in the kitchen. There isn’t another phone in the house. Yeah, I know. This is an odd one. Anywhoo …

Signs of hope in the garden this morning

When I went outside this morning to take my morning shot of the lake (it will be a video) I made a discovery. Crocus! I had completely forgotten that we planted a couple of bunches of crocus bulbs last fall. What a pleasant and welcome surprise. Some critter is munching on the lakeside spot and he or she will pay for that if I have anything to say about it but I was so pleased to see a couple of flowering buds and more coming. It makes me feel hopeful again.

Lots has happened around the lake since I last posted. The husband and I have both received and recovered from our second Moderna doses. We had what I would call very, very mild symptoms of what may have been fever (I had chills one afternoon) and fatigue. My arm hurt a little bit as did his. Overall, however, we are so grateful to be closer to living without the fear of this virus being ever-present in our minds. The vaccine feels like a huge weight has been lifted off our shoulders. I can’t wait to hug my kids and my friends!

We had ice out on our lake!

What a difference a day makes! And with the ice going out, the loons and water birds are coming back. In fact, as soon as there was open water, the birds were returning. Pairs of mergansers, at least one loon (we saw it and heard it, too), mallards, Canada geese and others are here again. It’s quite a wonderful change of pace after the winter months. Our bird feeders are full of bright yellow goldfinch, and my hubby said he’s seen purple finch. They’re eating us out our house and home!

I’ve been knitting madly away on a few projects that are on my needles.

On Easter Sunday I knitted one of the eggs from Arne and Carlos’ new collection of Twelve Easter Eggs. I’m using tiny balls of Sirdar Happy cotton yarn and they’re fun and relatively quick to knit. I’ve begun a second but I’ve put it aside to finish a project for a customer … or at least get it started.

I”m to the bottom colorwork band on my Daytripper cardigan so the mindless rounds of stockinette stitch are done and I’ll have to concentrate again (and count). I love the colors that I chose and this will be a great addition to my sweater collection.

I’ve cast on the Evolve Cowl by Hunter Hammersen which is the second project in the Confident Knitting program from Arnall-Culliford Knitwear. The yarn is Dusty Dimples DK, this is a hand-dyed yarn from the UK and it’s really delightful to knit with. The yarn was purchased as a kit to go with the book (for now virtual) that includes a lot of technique tutorials. This is the third such program that I’ve purchased and I have yet to be sorry that I did. I have not finished all of the projects from the first two books; Some I probably won’t ever make and some I know that I will. When the time is right. The technique this month is blocking a cowl in the round so that it doesn’t have the horrible creases. Good to know.

The Flux Handwarmers were the first project from Confident Knitting and they’re finished. I don’t love them to be completely honest because they’re a bit too short for my liking. I like fingerless mitts that at least keep my fingers protected from the cold steering wheel. These don’t. But the Zauberball (the yarn, Muffin) is pretty and I like the weight of the mitts. They’ll be a good gift for someone one day.

March socks are pretty rudimentary average everyday boot socks. They’re made out of Raggi yarn which I love. I made it just under the wire finishing these socks in March with a day to go. I’m not sure what socks will be happening in April … and I may skip a month. How do you like that? Ha! Ha! I do have some green buffalo wool sock yarn that is begging to be Christmas tree socks … time will tell.

Opus. What can I say about Opus? I love him/her so much. What a joy to knit and I love seeing it on my guest room bed every time I walk by. It seems a bit silly to enjoy something so apparently random but I do. I wrote about him/her here before I got to the tentacles. What a creative project.

My Fine Sand cardigan is slow progressing. I have it down in the living room now, next to my chair so that I can knit a few rows when I’m sitting down there. It’s endless rows of stockinette stitching now with every sixth row having some shaping increases and decreases. If I’m lucky, this will be done before the end of the summer … and since it’s a summery cotton/linen blend yarn, it’d be nice to be able to wear it this year. But it’s definitely going to be awhile.

So, there you have it. My life and knitting in a nutshell. I haven’t been baking much but I have the intention of making apple dumplings today … whole apples, cored and wrapped in pastry dough and baked. I have such fond memories of these at the Ohio State Fair with my singing kiddos! I’ve been eating my granola like crazy in the mornings or sometimes for lunch after work. Overall, I’m so grateful to be where I am and with who I’m with … life is good.

Gone knitting.

Charting Your Own Colors

You all know that I am knitting Mary Jane Mucklestone’s Daytripper Cardigan from MDK’s Field Guide 17 – Lopi. I’ve chosen my colors which I wrote about here. I am pleased, I think, by my colors. I fretted about it for a long time. The fretting process was eased when MDK released a coloring book-style drawing of the sweater for you to color in. I colored about a dozen different versions with my chosen colors and it really did help.

Daytripper Cardigan in Lettlopi

This is a closeup of my Daytripper yoke.

This is the second time I knitted to this place. I took a photo of the first yoke but there’s a glitch getting it transferred here. Regardless, let me explain the situation that lead me to knit this, find out that I had too few stitches and then frog and re-knit it.

It was suggested by MDK that you can color in a graph of your own colorways (making it so much easier to follow the colorwork yoke pattern. EXCEPT if like me, you neglect to add the bold vertical line after the 12th stitch to mark the repeat sequence.

<My chart is missing a line here

This is the first version of the chart that I colored in with my colors.

The first time I knit the yoke, I had a 13 stitch repeat. It was slightly wonky but I figured that MDK and Mary Jane knew what they were doing, right? Ha! Ha! Who knew it was ME!? I ended up around 20 stitches short of the stitch count. WTF? I knew I’d done the correct increases, why wasn’t the stitch count right? Well, it turns out that I didn’t put the line in that separates the repeat sequence from the last stitch. So, rather than starting with a 4-stitch repeat, I had a 5-stitch repeat. The difference is a significant one – I started out with three fewer repeats which meant three times fewer increases as I worked up the yoke.

Once I realized my mistake, off I went the second time and was spot on with my stitch counts. Woo! Hoo!

Gone knitting!

Daytripper

My Colors

As usual, I’m a bit late to the party but I’ve cast on my Daytripper cardigan again.

I thought I’d be smart and cast on and do a gauge swatch at the same time. Usually I am pretty close to gauge. This time, not so much. I got 13 stitches for 4 inches not 14 stitches. So, I’m going to go up a needle size and re-start. Since I’m going up a needle size for the yoke/body, I made the executive decision to go up a needle size on the collar ribbing as well.

The main color is the lightest gray at the top left of this photo. Color A, the color that I will use for my collar, cuffs and button bands, is the darker gray. The rest of the colors are for “pops” of color, There are five of them in this sweater. The light pink will be one of the “larger” colors as will the fuschia. The blues are for accent colors for the most part. The medium gray will balance the fuschia. I hope.

I spent the morning creating a chart of my colors. The idea came from one of the MDK blog posts and it will help me to knit with the right colors. It was a wonderful exercise for me, and a new use for my Bullet Journal, too!

That’s all I’ll show you for now. More soon, I promise!

Spring has Sprung!

The ice has been groaning and bumping. Sometimes it’s loud enough to hear inside with all the windows tightly shut. It’s an incredible, living thing and as our temperatures warm up (yesterday it was near 50 degrees if not more) the ice is changing quickly and will soon be gone completely. I’ll try to do a better job this year of chronicling the ice leaving. It’s fascinating!

Meanwhile, I’m knitting. I admit that most of my attention has been on my Opus octopus because I’m so entranced and enthralled by it. The pattern is great. I had no trouble at all getting the entire piece knitted without anything more than minor counting problems – and counting problems are completely on me! I am so happy with my color choices and the Malabrigo Rios yarn is soft and perfect for a knitted stuffed toy. At least one for me … it might be a bit pilly if it is loved by a child. I think I’d have used a different yarn if this hadn’t been for me … perhaps Berroco Vintage which is soft but more tightly twisted than Rios. Vintage is Acrylic which will make it harder-wearing and it would also be more affordable.

This morning I stuffed the head of my Opus.

I will attempt seaming of the tentacles today and stuffing them with fiberfill. I have fiberfill but as the pattern calls for wool roving, if the fiberfill doesn’t work, I can pick up roving at work tomorrow. I think the fiberfill will work, though. I’m really excited about it!

I’ve also been working on a couple of other projects and planning is in the works for a new projects, too. I’m working along on my Flux Handwarmers.

Flux Handwarmers

Honestly, these aren’t my favorite. I think the way the thumb gusset is designed is a bit fiddly. They’re pretty but they’re kind of silly. We’ll see what happens because I sometimes wear my least favorite projects the most. More on that later. But I have the first mitt done with the exception of the thumb which won’t take a long time to finish. The second mitt is finished to separating the thumb gusset stitches. I was out on the porch, sitting in the sun and knitting, when I reached this point and didn’t have a needle or a bit of scrap yarn to put the stitches on so I had to stop.

Fine Sand Cardigan

I’m working away, slowly on my Fine Sand cardigan. This is slow and steady work. I have reached the separating stage, separating the sleeves from the body of the sweater. Now I have endless stockinette stitch with a few shaping spots left to go … and a couple of sleeves. A friend of mine from Medomak Fiber Arts Retreat (aka Knitting Camp) was wearing this sweater two summers ago and I admired it then. It’s been on the needles for nearly that long! I knew we carried the yarn at the store where I work so I bought the yarn … and then it got set aside for something else as often happens. This is a pandemic finishing project.

I think, once it’s done, it will be a very wonderful summer sweater. Perfect for the cooler summer evenings outside.

My Color Choices.

I’m working on the color choices of my next project.

I’ll be joining the Modern Daily Knitting (MDK) Lopi knit-a-long that begins today. The KAL is all about MaryJane Mucklestone’s Field Guide #17 – Lopi and I’ll be knitting her cardigan called Daytripper. This will be my first Lopi sweater and I’m excited to give it a try – I’m also a bit “concerned” that I won’t be able to wear the Lopi because of my allergies but I’m going ahead and we shall see. I had originally bought the yarn to make a Stopover pullover but when the new pattern came out I decided to switch for two reasons: I think I’ll get more wear from a cardigan and I hope the cardigan opening will mitigate some of my allergic reaction by virtue of having less wool right under my nose. (Ha! Ha! I’m hoping!) I want to have a bit of pink in this sweater because I have nothing pink in my sweater collection and for some reason, I’m liking pink. (Top left is main color, bottom left is color A, the rest of the colors are for accents.)

Gone knitting!

How ’bout Some Knitting?

Does it look like an Octopus?

Forever I’ve wanted to make Opus the Octopus by Cate Carter-Evans. Yes, forever! I first saw this pattern in Knitty magazine way back when it was one of the only (if not THE only) online, free, knitting magazines, in the “deep fall” issue from 2014. I was attracted to the pattern for whatever reason … perhaps because I was living in landlocked Ohio, Or maybe not but whatever the reason, I’ve remained attracted to the pattern and I finally bit the bullet and bought yarn for my Opus.

I decided that I loved the Malabrigo colors the best for what I had envisioned for my octopus. I wanted it to be deep rusty red with a peach/light orange underbelly. The pattern calls for DK weight yarn held doubled but I decided to use a single strand of worsted weight (Rios). I chose colors 049 Jupiter (the red) and 695 Peachy (the peach) and I’m thrilled by my choices so far.

First up is knitting the “head” of the octopus. Simple after the initial 4 stitch cast on which was super fiddly. But once past the first couple of rounds, it’s simple. I am knitting on a US 5 needle. In the interest of full disclosure, I didn’t measure my gauge because it doesn’t matter in this case. Nobody’s going to wear this guy and the fabric is tight enough that the stuffing won’t peek through.

I got a bit stumped by the addition of the eyes, mostly because I didn’t have any safety eyes and for whatever reason, I couldn’t find them at work. But I went back to work and DID find them and came home prepared to get moving again. The pattern wants you to knit four eyelids from one strand of yarn … since I changed my yarn weight, I also changed the eyelids … I just knit with my yarn on the US 1 needles and they turned out fine! I may have chosen to make the eyelids a little bit smaller (perhaps cast on two fewer or one fewer stitches to make the eyes open up just a bit but I am satisfied with my finished eyes.

Yesterday I started to knit the underbelly. Again, the initial cast on of four stitches on four DPNs and then immediately starting to double the stitches with increases, is a bit fiddly but I managed through it and am at the point where it’s time to start knitting the tentacles … all eight of them!

The “Seamy Underbelly”

According to the pattern, they want me to knit the legs intarsia-style, flat and then, I guess (because I don’t read ahead in the pattern) I’ll stuff them and seam them? I guess it wouldn’t be a horribly bad idea to read ahead a bit so I have some idea about what I’m going to be doing. I’ll let you know!

Gone knitting.

Deep Freeze, Raw Emotions

Deep Freeze on Messalonskee 3/2/2021

My emotions have been very close to the surface recently. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m mourning the last year that we’ve “lost” because of Covid-19 or because there is finally a sense of calm in our Nation’s capital with the new administration. I’m not sure what it is that I am feeling so deeply or that’s bubbling up but it’s there and with this post I am acknowledging it. I am looking forward to the day when it feels safe to leave the house and when I can see my family again. I miss them all so much but I am also so grateful that they’ve all remained healthy.

We woke to sub-zero temperatures today and lots of wind gusts! It was blowing all night but we have been fortunate to retain our power today while lots of other communities in Maine have not. The sun is out and the sky is bluebird blue and that always helps my “attitude”. I would love to see a really good snowstorm before spring but they posted our road yesterday and our camp road has been a muddy mess for a week or more so I may not get my wish.

Today I finally seamed the underarms of my test knit sweater, Crofter’s Smock by Gudrun Johnston. I like it more than I thought I would before it was blocked. The fabric relaxed a lot in its bath. I also learned a few new techniques: folded cuffs and neck and saddle shoulders. This sweater was fun to knit, partly because it’s somewhat cropped and knit in an Aran weight yarn. I used Hayfield Bonus Aran with Wool (a washable acrylic and wool blend) and it was heavy on the US8 needles … my hands got tired knitting! After seaming the underarms, I put the sweater on – this is the coldest day of our winter so far – and it’s nice and warm, the sleeve length is perfect and I like the pockets placed on the side of the sweater. I can’t show you any photographs yet but when I have permission, I’ll add them here.

Meanwhile, I have cast on a pair of socks for my March 2021 Sock Challenge. This month I’m knitting worsted weight boot socks in Raggi yarn. Gray and white marled leg and foot, red cuff and toe. I’ve nearly got one sock finished and will have to attach sock #2 as soon as #1 is finished. These will be super warm socks and they’re so cute!

I’ve also chosen to participate in the Confident Knitting year-long program hosted by Jen Arnall-Culliford. I also chose to splurge and purchase their yarns – typically not yarns we carry at the yarn shop where I work here in Maine. It’s a great chance to taste yarns that I may otherwise not get a chance to work with. AND they had a cool pink project bag!

I’ve started the March project, Flux Handwarmers by Martina Behm. The techniques learned this month are crochet provisional cast on and a folded edge. I chose to do a picot edge which is so cute! This month’s yarn is the springtime colorway of a Crazy Zauberball. These mitts will be a nice weight and they’ll be so cheerful. I’ve participated in A Year of Techniques and Boost Your Knitting for the two previous years and I learned a lot. I’m sure I’ll learn some new tricks this year, too! What I love about these programs is that there are detailed tutorials on all of the techniques and even when I already know one, I can find something to learn (or it just hammers it into my head.)

I’ve been spending a lot of time “worrying” about my sweet Lola. She’s not eating well and her hind legs are unstable. She sleeps most of the day but she still finds a tail wag or two to gift me with every day. For months I’ve been looking at the little kit that I bought when I was out shopping pre-pandemic. The little felt mitten has a bee on it and I couldn’t resist. This will eventually live on our Christmas tree but until Christmas, it’ll likely live on my desk lamp!

I finished two black tams for a customer and they’ve been delivered to the store for her to pick up. She wants two more navy blue ones. It’s sweet of her to ask me. I made a tarte tatin over the weekend. It was delicious! A few apples, some sugar, butter and a home made crust and it was dessert for two for several days. Yummy!

We’ve been spending lots of time doing puzzles. My hubby gave me a really difficult puzzle for Christmas and we stuck to it and finished it … and he ordered another one for Valentine’s day which we’re working on at the dining room table. Luckily, there are only the two of us so we only need one end of the table for eating (although we generally eat up in my studio and watch the news.)

Gone knitting!

Tate Rancher Hat

A long time ago, I started a raffia crochet hat. I started it three times. Each time it was too big and the last time, after completing the pattern, it was still so large that I decided to frog it and never make it again.

Fast forward to a few months ago and I happened to walk into work when our Berroco rep was visiting my boss and ordered a couple of cakes of Berroco Estiva, a cotton tape yarn that I was going to try to make a different hat with. (That hat was The Cleo Crush Fedora, a free pattern on Ravelry.) I’ve been waiting for the perfect time to make the sunhat/Cleo and recently cast on.

And then I realized that I had been gifted a great sun hat on my birthday by my daughter and her husband and it’s also blue so perhaps a sun hat wasn’t what I wanted to crochet again. Perhaps a fedora with a smaller brim … hence, the Tate Rancher!

Me! The Queen Bee in my Tate Rancher hat

I haven’t been crocheting for very long but this pattern is a simple single crochet and it’s made up in a spiral. The directions are clear and detailed enough to help the novice crocheter (like me!)

I started my hat with an I I5.5mm) crochet hook because, don’t forget, I started out making the Cleo Wide Brim but I ended up going down to an H (5.0 mm) because at the first measuring spot, I was a bit too loose. Don’t judge. Once I changed to the H, I was right on the measure. It’s a good spot to do a “gauge” swatch because the first part of the hat to the first measuring spot is only a few rounds.

the first measuring point … I was spot on with the H crochet hook and this yarn but even if I needed to adjust, this only took a short while to crochet and I wouldn’t have felt badly frogging and re-starting!

I did choose to use the fancy wire stuff that was suggested in the pattern to stiffen my hat brim. It was easy to crochet around (although the ends are rough and I did wrap them with some washi tape but they still popped out when I was steaming the hat to block it. It was readily available at Home Depot and my husband happened to be going there so I added to his list.

I braided a nice long section of the Estiva to tie around my hat because I don’t have a piece of leather or a skinny belt. I like the one color look, honestly, and I am quite pleased with this hat. I think I’ll be wearing it a lot this spring and summer. I have trouble driving with my sunhat but this hat should be ok in the car, too.

All the details are on my Ravelry project page. I’m lindar on Ravelry. Gone knitting!

A few FOs and a few WIPs

I’m working away at a few projects. I’ve finished a few that I don’t think I’ve told you about …

Let’s talk FOs (finished objects) first, shall we? I’ve finished a pair of lace Cups of Light by Rosemary Hill. This is a free pattern on Ravelry and it was a quick knit with fingering weight scraps. I finished my Good Kharma shawl. I bought this yarn several years ago and wanted to make this shawl and then it sat and sat. It really didn’t take a lot of time to knit and the yarn is so soft and I love this little shawl. This is also a very inexpensive pattern on Ravelry called Dangling Conversation. It makes me happy and I find that I’m wearing it all the time!

The Chevron Baby Blanket is also finished (not my favorite project ever but they can’t all be.) I’m not even going to put up a photo of this blanket because I really don’t love it. BUT it’ll be used for a baby somewhere along the line. Probably here in our house. Or perhaps given as a “drag it along” blanket for someone.

I’ve finished a Herriot Hat which I will be giving away one of these days. I’m not sure who is accepting donations of hats, etc. right now. I have heard that the police department will accept hats for community residents who need them. That may be my best way to help someone. I have a pair of mittens made from “leftover scraps”, too. Last FO is two pairs of socks (as part of the 2021 Sock Challenge) and they’ve been sent to their new home in Atlanta. My daughter reminded me that I promised her bestest friend, Sheldon, a pair of handknit socks a while back and I had forgotten. I made a pair for Sheldon (and a pair for his husband because it too me so long to get to it and Sheldon got married!) and they loved them.

WIPs (works in progress) are up next! I have a crochet hat, The Cleo Wide Brimmed Fedora in a cotton tape yarn that I’m really enjoying is coming along well. I bought this yarn from the yarn rep when she came to the shop where I work because I really wanted to make this hat. So far, so good … I have almost completed the “bowl” of the hat.

When I started writing this post, the last WIP was not yet finished. Little did I know that it would be such a quick knit. The purple slipper is a sample for the yarn shop. We decided that it’s a sample and we didn’t need to knit two (because one slipper is one ball of yarn!) The instructions for this Basic Chunky Slipper weren’t the best but they were adequate once I decided that cast on with two strands meant that you were to knit the whole project with two strands held together. Typically, directions will say that two strands are used throughout, but this one didn’t say that. A bit vague but it worked and the slippers are super squishy and once the lavender faux fur pompom is sewn on, they’ll be a big hit!

All of these projects are on my Ravelry project page: yarns used, patterns, etc. I hope you’ll have a look! My Ravelry name is lindar.

Gone knitting!

Crofter’s Smock Test Knit

I swatched and swatched and swatched again! The first swatch, the pink-ish yarn was on target but the red, that I thought would be perfect for this project wasn’t right. This swatch was knitted flat before I discovered the instructions to knit the swatch in the round … so I got my needles back out and swatched again, this time in the round, with the red yarn. It was close “enough” and would probably have given me a little bit larger sweater when finished. But then I thought, since I can’t identify the yarn because it was gifted to me, that wouldn’t help the designer. So back to work. I dove into my stash and thought that Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Worsted is a heavy worsted. But I didn’t get gauge. Last chance was a stashed Hayfield Aran with Wool and my gauge was spot on! Woo! Hoo!

Next day I was off to my LYS (Yardgoods Center in Waterville, Maine) to see what two (big) balls were in stock for this sweater. I’d done a bit of research into colors so I did have some idea what I wanted to do and found Celtic Grey (is it grey or gray?) I also happened to grab a couple of balls of Raggi worsted sock yarn and ordered some Lettlopi for a future Stopover Sweater and Mary Jane Mucklestone’s new Heart Mittens. They’ll both be a “reward” for finishing my test knit.

I’ve been knitting away as often as I can manage between work and my volunteer board meetings and phone calls and as of this afternoon I have passed the seven inches mark. I checked the Google doc for the test knitting group to pass information to Gudrun and I’m doing pretty well … even if some of the testers have moved on to the sleeves. A few more inches to the armpits!

Crofter’s Smock by Gudrun Johnston in Hayfield Aran With Wool

I am enjoying the mixture of textures in the body of the sweater and it’s simple enough to not have to look at the pattern. So, I’d best get back to work so I can keep the progress rolling! One stitch at a time! I’ll be back soon with a post about measuring gauge (just in case you don’t know how to do it!)

Gone knitting!

Hope Cardigan

Hope Cardigan by Amy Christoffers

I’ve finished another item after it’s been in “time out” for a long time! This is my Hope Cardigan. The pattern is from Making Magazine / Dots.

The pattern called for (and I used) Berroco Remix Light which is a mix of recycled fibers but feels like cotton/linen and has some man-made fibers including acrylic. It’s got a tweedy texture which I like and the design is very interesting.

The sweater is knitted beginning with the cuff and the sleeve (a good reason not to swatch because it’s a small area and small enough that if your gauge is off you can start again without much fanfare!) Stitches are cast on at the underarm and the body is knitted to the middle. The second half is knitted the same way and you join the pieces with a 3-needle bind off at the center back. I like the simplicity of this sweater and I like the little eyelets along the sleeves and the neckline.

I am looking forward to wearing this with a tank top and white pants in the summer!

More details can be found on my Ravelry page. (I’m lindar on Ravelry.)

Gone knitting!