Wait, What? Two Posts in One Week?

Sunrise this Morning

Yup, it’s true. Two posts in a week’s time … astounding. But I was so excited yesterday when I needed to join the front and back of my Emsworth vest!

This vest is constructed brilliantly, as all of Isabell’s patterns are. You begin with the back and knit each of the shoulders and then work to put them together and begin the lace pattern in the middle of the two sides. Once complete (basically) to the under arm, you put the back on stitch holders and make the front in a similar manner. Once the front is to the under arm, you cast on a bunch of stitches for the sides and you pray that your lace pattern is in the same place on the front and the back.

MINE WAS!!! Yippee!!!

BUT, I swore that I had marked down what row I had ended with on the back of my vest. Nowhere on my pattern (I have the Knit Companion app and I can write on the digital file right on my iPad) could I find the notation. And then, after searching and searching my pattern, I remembered that I started this project with a paper pattern that I had thrown away when I changed over to the Knit Companion pattern … and I neglected to transfer that important bit of information. Luckily, though, I know how to read my stitches. So I compared my stitches to my pattern and found that I had ended on row 14 and … my vest front was, too!

Emsworth by Isabell Kraemer

It was a thrilling moment for sure. Who knew that you could get so excited sitting all by yourself in a room! Hahaha.

Gone knitting.

A Quickie – Merry Mitten MKAL

One of the women that I work with told me about this mitten MKAL (mystery knit-a-long) she was doing this winter. I decided to partake, too … and now I’ve (finally) finished a bit behind but I did it and I wanted to write a little bit about my experience in the MKAL.

The pattern called for and I used one ball of Rowan Felted Tweed. I chose a neutral gray/blue colorway that I liked and figured they’d match all of my jackets. The yarn is soft and a joy to knit with.

The pattern is a very nicely written pattern and I really enjoyed the opportunity to practice cabling without a cable needle or twisted stitches or whatever. Everyone deals with these techniques differently but the directions were clear.

The pattern is really pretty and it was fun to knit. BUT I have a couple of “complaints.”

First of all, it takes one ball and half a thumb worth of yarn. Ugh. I was so bummed to have to purchase a second ball for half a thumb but that’s what I needed to do. Now I have almost a full ball of Rowan Felted Tweed to use up.

Secondly, now that the two mittens are done and wet blocked, I look at them and the stitches and all the patterning is lost in the tweedy nature of the yarn. I chose a light color because when you have a pattern/textured stitches they show up better with lighter yarn. Sadly, this yarn is so “busy” that the pattern has been swallowed up. I’d love to see what the pattern looks like with a “plain” yarn that isn’t tweed or multicolored or anything other than plain. I suspect that the patter would show up much better.

I’d tell you to knit this pattern, it’s a fun knit, the weight of the yarn is a good choice and the pattern is attractive. BUT knit it in plain yarn. Not a tweedy yarn. Not a variegated yarn. A plain yarn. Try a Berroco Vintage DK or a Cascade 220 Sport or Emma’s Yarn DK in a tonal. There are so many DK weight yarns that would show this lovely pattern better than the yarn called for in the pattern. I don’t have anything against the Rowan Felted Tweed. I love the yarn. But save it for another project.

Gone knitting.

What a Day .. and a half

We had our first “plowable” snow Friday night and yesterday. We are thinking we got about 8 inches … maybe 9. It’s absolutely beautiful! The only drawback, if you can call it that, is that we lost power on Saturday at around 2:30pm. The short story is that we got power back this afternoon around 3pm. BUT for a household with two generators, we were mighty cool over that 24 plus hours and I’m really grateful that I have a husband who is creative and can figure out how to minimize our discomfort.

So, how is it that we have two generators and neither one works? Well, suffice it to say that we’re in between generators. Our old one is a portable model that we drag out of the garage and across the yard to plug in and it ran the whole house. But my husband needs a new hip and we thought we’d bite the bullet and get a new, automatic generator hooked up before the winter kicks into high gear. We had our neighbor install (except for the propane) a new automatic generator. We may be able to leave the house in the winter after all. BUT we were told by our propane company that we only had to dig a ditch from the house to the generator and they’d come hook it up … and then they needed a deposit … and they didn’t come. So my husband called them about it and they hadn’t scheduled us. And now it’ll be January 6th before they can come. Meanwhile, obviously, there was a nor’Easter … and several inches of heavy snow … and 24+ hours of powerlessness. Literally.

I’ve knitted through the hours that were difficult and growing cold. Neither of us slept particularly well last night. We were both up at 3am for a few hours … reading with our headlamps, drinking a cup of tea. I was lucky and was able to go back to sleep. This morning the sun came out and we are fortunate to get some serious passive solar heat. The living room was 66 even after almost 24 hours of no heat. Husband got a long extension cord, passed it through the kitchen window and plugged into the fridge so we didn’t lose our food. He also realized that he could plug into a power strip and then we could also charge our phones. And a space heater. And a shop light.

The knitting helped me cope with the lack of comfort. I take the luxury of heat and electricity for granted every single day. The expectation is that we will always have it – and we even flick the switches when we know that power is off. A rude awakening but a reminder, too, about how lucky we are to live here. In the home that we built on the lake that we love in the state that we chose as our home together. In a special country where we are afforded so many freedoms and luxuries. Our “suffering” and “discomfort” was minimal at best but we were among the lucky ones.

I’ve finished the socks for my daughter that I started on the way to Massachusetts for Thanksgiving. I love the yarn. They’re happy socks!

They’re plain vanilla socks, my favorite Yankee Knitter pattern. I’ve bought the pattern several times and keep going back for more. I’ve now bought the pattern electronically and I hope I don’t shred that pattern, too.

I realized that I had some beautiful cashmere yarn in my stash that are the perfect colors for a hat for my sweet granddaughter. I have been wanting to knit a hat for her that is a bit larger than the newborn hats that she has because she’s bound to keep growing. I combined two patterns to make the bow hat in a DK weight yarn. I’ll block the pieces tomorrow and put them all together. I hope I love it as much as I think I will. Despite the ladders and some funky color change mess.

Aaand, last but not least is the little cardigan that I’m knitting for Sylvie. She’s getting big enough that the newborn sweater and the Christmas sweater that I made her may not fit. I’ve shipped the Christmas sweater and am close to finishing the cardigan … one sleeve almost finished and one more to go. Add some ribbing around the opening and some buttons and it’ll be ready to go. I love the shade of blue that is an On the Round sock colorway that I’ve had in my stash. I’m knitting a Knitting Pure and Simple pattern. (Have a look at my Ravelry project page for all the details.)

So, in addition to finishing the sweater and blocking and assembling the hat, I’ve been trying to decide what project to knit next. It’s difficult to believe that I haven’t got more projects on the needles. BUT it’s time for something new. I just saw a sweater (cardigan) pattern called the Ramona Cardigan by Elizabeth Smith. It’s an Aran weight wool in a grey colorway. I happen to have a sweater’s worth of a heavy worsted gray yarn by Brown Sheep. I think I may be heading down the Ramona path later on this week. I don’t have a dark grey sweater and this will match a lot of things that I wear on the regular. And it’s not complicated. My head is a swimming with responsibilities and I can’t deal with a knitting pattern that requires a lot of my attention.

I also need to knit a pair of Christmas socks for my hubby. He surely deserves them for taking such good care of me.

Gone knitting.

Weddings and Grandma Duties and Family, Oh My!

All of a sudden I have nearly 20,000 miles on my car! The past month has been a whirlwind of travel and we’re not used to it. Not one little bit. But it sure has been fun!

It all started when my eldest bonus daughter got married in Virginia at the start of December. We drove down because she had asked her dad to make the chuppah for the wedding. He gathered beautiful Maine Birch logs and fashioned a large chuppah with them. It was gorgeous! BUT we had to also get it to the wedding venue, so … we bought a roof rack for my car and strapped the logs (now disassembled) to the top of the car and a few of the shorter logs were inside. The ride down and the proceedings up to the wedding itself were fun and it was great to see the kids and their significant others. My son and his girlfriend also came down to the wedding so we got to see them, too. The wedding day was *gasp* rainy but we were inside getting hair and makeup done and then photos and cocktails and the wedding ceremony.

The venue was the River View at Occoquan in Lorton, VA. A lovely natural area in the middle of suburban Washington, DC. The ceremony was outside and then the reception was in the building on premises and it was a stunning venue. The bride was beautiful, her attendants were lovely and loving and they were celebrated in an appropriate manner. We are so happy to have Evan join our family.

After the wedding my hubby dropped me off in New York City for my first grandmotherly babysitting job. What a privilege to be asked to stay with my darling love for a few days. Her dad had business in California and her mom had rehearsals and a performance. I had a blast! BUT I can now say that I fully understand what my friends who are grandmothers have told me about it being the best title in the whole world. I fell head over heels in love with this little girl while I was there and it was really difficult to leave when the time came. Needless to say, we are thinking about heading back to the city for Christmas for a couple of days and I can hardly wait!

I did some knitting in the car on the way to Virginia and back to NYC but after that, my hands were busy and I might as well have sent my knitting bag home with my hubby. I didn’t knit a stitch while I was in New York. Somehow I have found a new activity that surpasses knitting and that’s holding my granddaughter! Home is my happy place and now she is, too. It’s a life changing experience. I am so eager to spend more and more time with her as she grows up and I grow old. I loved spending time, too, with my daughter. She’s already an incredible mom. I’m so proud of her.

I’ve finished my Musselburgh hat in Berroco Vintage Sock. I didn’t love the yarn, to be completely honest. BUT it is washable and the hat should be a good one for New York CIty winters. My kids all wear a lot of grays and black – it’s what you do in NYC. I hope she’ll like the hat and if not, there are plenty of people to give it to. Musselburgh is a long tube with increases on one end and decreases on the other. In black there’s not a lot to look at but I’ll get a photo on my daughter’s head (if I remember!) It was a fun knit to be sure.

I’ve finished one sock and am half-way done with the second one. The yarn was in my stash – I’ve been knitting 12 socks a year before this year and I was feeling like I needed to knit some socks. So I did. And it was a good idea, too, since we were traveling. Socks are always a good project for the road. I’m using the Yankee Knitter sock pattern which I almost have memorized in the fingering weight yarn for women. My daughter claimed these socks at Thanksgiving so they’ll also be going to NYC at Christmas time. Yarn details are on my Ravelry project page. The only thing I tend to change is the needle size. I like to knit socks on a slightly smaller needle. In this case, I’m using a US 1 1/2. I feel like it makes the socks hold up to wear better.

I’ve also cast on a sweater for my granddaughter because the little Newborn Vertebrae cardigans are getting too small – well, actually, the rainbow one was felted in the laundry and the Christmas one may (or may not fit). It’s in the mail on the way so she can wear it for a few days. The one I’m knitting now is a fingering weight cardigan in On the Round sock yarn that I had stashed in a beautiful blue tonal. I’m using Knitting Plain and Simple’s pattern #1506 Baby Cardigan/ Lightweight Baby Cardigan. I love knitting little sweaters, they really make me feel accomplished and finishing things is a pretty wonderful thing, too.

That might be all that I’ve done recently.

I flew home from NYC so I could teach on Friday and Friday night my friend Sarah and her Great Dane puppy, Esme, came for the weekend. What fun it was to see this giant puppy and get to know what a giant breed is like. At six months, she’s 90 pounds and she’s a little floppy like puppies tend to be. But she made me laugh more often than not – often when she tried to climb up into my lap.

Sarah left on Monday and I took off on Tuesday to visit briefly with my Salem and Marblehead family and to pick up the ashes of my grand-dog, Willow. Willow passed away the day after Thanksgiving. I’ll be delivering her ashes to my daughter and her husband. We all were touched by this sweet rescue dog who started out suffering (and making my daughter and anyone who loved her suffer) from severe separation anxiety. She was still anxious as an older dog but she had made great strides; mostly because my daughter loved her so much and was willing to put in the time and effort to help her feel a little more secure.

I arrived back home today and I’m heading back to work tomorrow. Friday there is supposed to be a “big” winter storm. My husband’s boss has called work for Friday already and my boss seems to be leaning that way, too. There will be three of us in the shop tomorrow – hopeful that we get some restocking done!

I’ll sleep well tonight and most of the weekend is “mine” for finishing my Christmas shopping and getting some gifts wrapped. Crossing my fingers that everything arrives in time – I’m getting really good at shopping online! I was a little bit late getting started. The wedding preparations threw me off. But I got our Christmas cards ordered, addressed and sent! Last year I didn’t manage to get cards ordered or sent so I really wanted to get them done this year. I’m so happy with them.

Gone knitting (after I switch the laundry again!)

Thankful

We woke to this view this morning and are so thankful for the privilege of living here, this close to nature and where we can escape the craziness of the world. We are just back from our Thanksgiving gathering in Marblehead, Massachusetts. Two of my kids and their partners and dogs came up from New York. It was a wonderful Northshore Thanksgiving – seafood feast; clam chowder from the Causeway Restaurant in Gloucester, steamed clams and lobsters and dessert from the Italian bakery in the north end of Boston. A wonderful gathering of family and friends who are like family.

I’ve been knitting away and have finished several projects that I can share and a couple that I won’t.

I had a commission for three simple Christmas stockings from my cousin who had lost hers to a moth infestation. She requested green, red and white and I insisted that I’d put on their names. I made an effort to get them finished by Thanksgiving because I’ve lost the post office holiday “battle” before when items intended for Christmas didn’t arrive in time … even when sent two weeks in advance. I didn’t want that to happen here. I’ll be writing up this pattern in the coming weeks for my followers. Why not, right?

I also finished a stocking for my granddaughter. I wanted hers to match her parents and thankfully I kept a copy of the pattern. I must have had the book once upon a time but I don’t any more. I knit Sylvie’s stocking out of Plymouth Galway yarn in an Aran colorway. The stocking is cabled with two different cable patterns on it. The hugs and kisses cables go down the front and back of the sock from top to the tip of the toe, around the heel, too. It’s not an easy pattern but I’ve learned to read my knitting and cross the stitches according to my eyes in order to keep the pattern going. If my memory serves, I added a tassel and an initial ornament to her parents’ stockings. I couldn’t find a nice “S” ornament but I found a cute photo ornament and I think it’ll be good.

I’ve knitted a few things for my granddaughter that I think I can share with you since she’s not yet reading (she’s one month old!) I made her a pair of faux shearling booties and a Christmas sweater and a Love and Light to hang in her nursery.

The shearling booties have knitted cuffs. This is a fairly simple kit to knit that one of my co-workers saved out for me. She was knitting a pair for her granddaughter and I’m grateful that she thought of me. Every well-dressed Maine grand baby needs these. The are a “kit” by Boye called Starting Point Cozy Cuff Baby Booties. I used scraps of Berroco Vintage for the cuffs. I can’t wait to see these on her!

Babies love to look at lights and I thought a light-up heart, Love and Light, designed by Laura Nelkin would be a good addition to her nursery. I had ordered the 200-light strand of fairy lights from Amazon some time ago and finally grabbed my needles to get it done. It’s such “big” knitting that it doesn’t take too long to make and it’s absolutely adorable.

I made her a Newborn Vertebrae sweater in rainbow sock yarn and because this fits so well, I decided to make her another one, this time for Christmas. I knitted the body of the sweater with white sock yarn and then grabbed some bits of stashed yarn and knitted red cuffs, a green and red border around the front of the sweater, and then i duplicate stitched a big green Christmas tree with a bright yellow star to the back. I think it’s adorable. I really wanted to put some sequins and beads on it but babies only spend time on their backs these days and that would NOT have been comfortable. Maybe next year!

I’ve still got a Musselburgh hat to finish but I’m nearly up to the decreases and finishing. I hope it fits. I think it’ll be warm. Pictures to follow as it’s a gift. I’ve got 15 of my Arne and Carlos Norwegian mini-Jumpers finished and number 16 is on the needles. Needless to say, these will not be finished this year and it’s ok. I’ll get them done for next year and this year I’ve bought all of my kids a chocolate advent calendar from Harbor Sweets in Salem, MA. If you’ve not tried their sweet sloops, you’re in for a treat. They’re quite a step up from the $1 chocolate advent calendars from the Christmas Tree Store in Augusta!

I have a couple of pairs of mittens on the needles, too. The KAL “Merry” mittens has been fun. I’ve knitted through the end of the third clue and have the fourth to do next. And there’s a second mitten, too. The Peace de Resistance mittens have been chilling out in my knitting bag for ages. They’ll be happy to see the light of day one of these days. There’s also a pair of socks on my needles.

As of today I’ve completed about 63 projects. I think. I keep track in my bullet journal and in my Ravelry queue (mark the year you’re knitting in the “tags” area) I’m quite pleased about this number because I’ve been working and teaching and volunteering on two boards of trustees so I’ve been busy.

I want to touch back to the sad end of of our Thanksgiving when we had to say goodbye to my beloved grand-dog, Willow. On Friday morning, something was wrong with our girl. Luckily, my brother is a veterinarian and he and his wife scooped up a very uncomfortable Willow and took her to their animal hospital for a check. It turned out that she had a “sizable” tumor on her heart and the heart was surrounded by fluid from the tumor. The fluid could be tapped and drained but there was no way of knowing how quickly it would fill up again. My daughter and her husband made the difficult decision to put Willow to sleep so she wouldn’t suffer, and she was suffering. We all had a chance to visit with her and say our farewells and my brother and sister-in-love are the most caring and compassionate team I know. We are so very lucky that we were there at their house when this happened. The kids were scheduled to head back into New York City that morning and it could just as easily have happened in the car. At least our dear Willow was surrounded by people who love her as she passed away. We will all miss her.

Rest in peace, sweet Willow. Until we meet again.

Gone knitting.

Fall-ing Back.

We see a lot more sunrises on the lake in the winter. We have gone back to daylight savings time here in Maine, falling back an hour. This means that we wake up to sunrise and it’s dark before the end of the workday. But it’s beautiful. The sun rises in the colder months almost directly across the lake from our bedroom window and that means the sun shines straight in. It’s lovely waking up to a colorful sky.

Life has been busy on the lake. We have been trying to get the gardens cleaned out and the pots emptied and put away. My hubby planted the garlic and covered it with a thick layer of hay. We have had our first snow … not enough to shovel and followed by rain, but first snow. It was lovely for me because I stayed in and enjoyed the warm, cozy house and a day of drinking tea and knitting.

We’ve been doing a lot of “family planning” with the holidays closing in on us again. We will be in Marblehead, MA for Thanksgiving this year with some of the kids, then heading to the Washington, DC area for (bonus daughter) Robin’s wedding and then I’ll be heading to New York City for my first babysitting gig as a grandma. The baby has hit her one month mark, loves to eat and hates to sleep on her back, alone, in her bassinet. Her parents are exhausted but totally in love.

Basic Christmas Stocking by Queen Bee Knits (pattern coming soon)

I’ve completed two of my three commissioned stockings and am working on the third. It’s of interested to note that I am using three different brands of yarn for these three stockings and they’re each a bit different. I think I saved the best for last, Cascade 220, which was the only 100% wool yarn that I found that was “white enough” to pass as white – not ivory or cream or aran colored. I’ve gotten down to the heel in about 6.5 hours of knitting. I estimated ten hours and we’ll see how close I get. I’m not as good as lawyers are at keeping track of my time. My dear old dad would be so disappointed (not really). Once tis he knitting complete, I’ll duplicate stitch the names onto them and send them off. The really rough pattern notes are here. I’ll write up the pattern when I can and post it on Ravelry.

I’ve finished the baby’s Christmas stocking, too. I made this stocking pattern for her parents “a few” years back. It must have been before I kept real records of my projects on Ravelry. But I do know that the pattern is out of a book … and I kept the pattern but didn’t keep the book. SO … I’m lucky that I have it to knit again. I really enjoy knitting cables. I had forgotten how much. This stocking is fairly heavily cabled but very satisfying to knit. The X and O cable pattern is easy to memorize with the stitches crossing every four rounds. Once you have learned how to make a cable lean to the left or the right, it’s a pretty easy pattern to read as you go. The “ornament” pattern is less intuitive but it’s really lovely. I love the way the design incorporates the cables all the way through the heel flap and heel turn and all the way down to the toe. The pattern is Hugs and Kisses Aran Stocking by Dee Lockwood.

Hugs and Kisses Aran Stocking

I’ve made a second Newborn Vertebrae for Sylvie. This time it’s a Christmas design. She’s getting so much bigger but she’s still pretty tiny and she spends a lot of time being held or lying on her back. (She much prefers the former, by the way.) The rainbow vertebrae sweater that I knit her fits her perfectly and her mom and I decided it was a good fit for the time through Christmas. We hope. Anyway, I used a 50g. ball of fingering weight sock yarn for the body of the sweater and then I dove into my stash for the accent colors. I found several greens and a lovely red and I’ve decorated the sweater appropriately. I wanted to go all out and decorate further with sequins and beads BUT they’ll be like a bad princess and the pea story because the beads would poke the baby’s back. So it’s unadorned for the most part. I just have to add a tiny yellow star.

I’ve set aside the Merry KAL until I get the deadline knitting finished. Suffice it to say that I was really (really) tired on Thursday after work and I decided to pick up this pattern for a bit … I knit and then promptly frogged the same rounds. Moral of the story is knit a very simple pattern when you’re sleep deprived or you’ll be tinking back. Ha! Ha!

My Arne and Carlos Mini-Advent-Jumpers are frozen at number 15 1/2. I’ve begun number 16 but I haven’t been back to work on it for a few weeks. I don’t think I’ll finish them this year and that’s going to be ok. I’m going to give myself some grace since I haven’t stopped working whether it’s as president of the lake association, a board member for Maine Arts Academy, at the store or in my own knitting business. I also have a life aside from work and a house to clean, laundry, groceries, cooking, baking and sometimes I have to sleep, too. The LYS where I work and teach is kicking off a Fall Smalls KAL/CAL on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and we’re going to work on small projects – participants can come knit with the group for no cost and can work on any small project they want; toys, a small sweater, a hat, dishcloths, whatever. Our Fall Smalls KAL/CAL will run for just a few weeks and end on the Winter Solstice. A little (pun intended) fun ahead of a busy holiday season.

I also have a Musselburgh hat on the needles that I’ve spoken very little about. This has been my knitting go-to for when I need something “brainless” to knit. I’ve got the hat nearly to eighteen inches and time to decrease for the end of the hat. BUT it’s been a lot of knitting in the round. Once past the increases which are not difficult it’s time to knit forever! I’ve been knitting forever. This is a hat designed for several different yarn weights. I’ve chosen a fingering weight sock yarn, washable, Berroco Vintage Sock in the black colorway. I’ll tell you honestly that I don’t love this yarn. I would rather be knitting with wool rather than this combination of acrylic and wool. The yarn is soft and washable, suitable for wearing against the skin and also suitable for babies. But my daughter said she’d wear a black hat and I wanted to try the pattern to see how it knits up. I love the pattern. Ysolda (Teague, the designer) is a genius. I hope it’ll be a perfect fit!

I’ll leave you here, dear friend (dare I say friends?) with the idea that this is a wonderful time to gather with friends and/or family and count your blessings even if they’re as simple as a crisp cool day with sun or the feel of yarn passing through your fingers. I’m grateful for a healthy family, the opportunity to travel to be with many of them over the course of the next few weeks and, of course for yarn. This is the time to fall back into the winter routine of coming inside and (hopefully) slowing down a little and knitting.

Happy Thanksgiving and cheers!

Gone knitting.

More FOs

Crossing the bridge to home

We went down to Massachusetts to visit family. My aunt, 80 years young, flew in from the other coast. We had so much fun visiting and I wish, as I always do, that we could have had more time. BUT, I promised a long while ago that I’d work tomorrow and my word is my bond. So we came home today … crossing the bridge back into Maine is always a good feeling. I love coming home.

Before we left, I finished sewing on the buttons of the Periperium Cardigan by Kelly van Niekirk. It’s a free pattern on Ravelry. Knit in a DK weight yarn and US 6 needles. I used on 16-inch circular needle and a set of DPNs in the same size. I chose Euro Baby’s Babe Freckles in a primary colored speckled yarn. This one if for my new great-nephew, Noah. I also chose three different colors of buttons: red, blue and yellow and sewed them on with green thread. BUT I forgot to take a final photo before I gifted it. I hope I’ll see the baby in the sweater and that I’ll get a photo one day. I love this little sweater! It doesn’t take a lot of time to knit, it’s tiny and it’s adorable.

Puerperium … not finished but … only photo I took.

I also got a request from my eldest daughter and soon-to-be-mom. I knitted a pumpkin hat for their baby and she wanted something for her to wear with the hat. They’d been looking for a “costume” for her for Halloween and it all seemed kind of “tacky”. So, after asking a few questions, I found the Sheepie Sack pattern by Mandie Harrington, also free on Ravelry. I also found one cake of Malabrigo Rios in my stash that happened to be bright orange (glazed carrot?) … so, I cast on on our way to Massachusetts and I finished the i-cord this morning. It’s pretty cute!

Sheepie Sack in Malabrigo Rios

I’ve been working away on my Musselburgh hat for my younger daughter for Christmas. I’ve chosen a black (her choice, she’s a New Yorker) Vintage Sock by Berroco to try this pattern. It’s written for several weights of yarn so I want to make sure the hat comes out in the right size before I spend lots of yarn money on it. The Vintage is very acceptable, has a soft hand, is nice to knit with … and it’s very reasonably priced at $10. The hat is a very simple knit and I think all of my NYC kids will love it. And it’s great knitting to do in front of the TV or in a meeting. Cast on with a magic loop cast on, increase for awhile and then knit forever in stockinette. A few decreases mirroring the increases and it’ll be done. I love that it’s doubled and can be worn slouchy or like a scull cap.

Depending on the weather next weekend, I’ll be wearing my Elton Cardigan or my Patsy’s Traveling Sweater … I think. I’m guessing that it will be cooler and that the Traveling sweater is going to win. I may decide to wear my Daytripper of my Humulus are also high on my list of possibilities. (All of my projects are listed on my Ravelry project page if you’d like to check out what I’m talking about, pattern and yarn info.) I’m getting excited about going to Rhinebeck! My friend and I are leaving Friday morning around 10am and we’ll do a drive-by so that we don’t get lost and mixed up early Saturday morning when we have to meet a bus. We’re both going to knit the pattern called Sofie’s Scarf on the trip to Rhinebeck. I’m going t knit the large size in Lanna Grossa’s Cashmere 16 Fine. I’ve chosen the “grellow” (35) colorway. It will also serve to be a good sample for the store.

It’s going to be a busy week with work tomorrow and Thursday and meetings for my volunteer jobs all day Tuesday and Tuesday night. Wednesday will be reserved (I hope) for me. Laundry, packing and figuring out what food we’ll take with us. We don’t want to be hangry and have to wait in lines .. Rhinebeck is supposed to be really, really crowded. Not always my bag.

The lake welcomed us home with some beautiful late afternoon sunlight.

Home.

Gone knitting.

Fall – turning in

Hydrangeas in their Fall Dresses

The hydrangeas are wearing their fall colors and the temperatures are cooling. The sunrise is moving over into its fall position. Every morning it shines into our living room reminding me that I have yet to wash the big picture windows. The leaves are slowly but surely taking on the brighter reds and oranges and my favorite tree is about half-red.

I love the fall and I look forward to all of the lake work coming to an end or at least slowing down enough to give me some breathing space. And, I look forward to being able to breathe more easily – the fall allergies are horrible this year. I look forward to getting some inside work done and catching up on the projects that get put aside to sit on the porch and work in the gardens and yard. That work, if I’m honest, is getting more difficult as we get older. I have to remind myself that it’s ok to balance work and rest. It’s part of what I like about fall and winter, preparing to turn in … thinking about what is important and having time to rest awhile. And maybe a bit of knitting?!

I’ve been knitting away, as usual. It’s not a good day if no fiber has passed through my fingers. This week I’ve been working to get my Mini Advent Jumpers completed by the start of December. I have 14 knitted, two need their ends woven in and seams sewn, but that leaves another ten to go. I can do it if I stick to two per week. I just need to figure out how to hang them once finished. I’ll get there. And, frankly, I was reminded that I could do the 12 Days of Christmas if I don’t get them all finished.

Elton Cardigan by Joji Locatelli

I also finished and wore my Elton Cardigan this week. It will be worn to Rhinebeck in a couple of weeks. I’m excited to attend my first New York Sheep and Wool with my friend and co-worker, Glenda. I’ll have to get a photo of me wearing it one of these days … maybe at Rhinebeck! I realized, too, that one of my most favorite babysitters lives in North Hampton, Massachusetts and we’re getting a bus from WEBS there. I wonder if we’ll have time to see Tiki? It gives me a good reason to reach out to her after a lot of years.

I cast on a Musselburgh hat by Ysolda Teague in black fingering weight yarn for my daughter, Libet. I must really love this kid to knit a black hat. Especially a fingering weight black hat. I thought the design was a great one, though and figured that my NYC kids would all likely wear this hat. This will be the first of several I think. I’m using Berroco Vintage Sock which is new to our store and I needed to give it a try. It’s got a very soft hand but it’s a little bit splitty. If the hat is a success, I’ll cast on another one in wool which I prefer to knit with. This one can be given away or kept. Wool is always warmer but I wanted to try the hat first with a less costly yarn to make sure of the fit.

I also knitted a couple of Bird BookMarks by Claire Garland. I need to seam them, stuff them and then add the string or cord so they can do their jobs. They’re very cute and will be cute stocking stuffers at Christmas time. I like them, in part, because they use up little bits of yarn that I have left over from other projects. I have a “problem” throwing away perfectly good bits and bobs of yarn and as a result, I have quite a bit of little bits. I keep thinking that I’ll use them in a blanket or something else that will use a lot of odd bits of yarn … so far, that hasn’t happened. And it may not … until I have to use it because I’ve knitted all the things that I want out of “new” yarn.

I added buttons on the Puerperium Cardigan for my future grandchild. She’s due in about 4 weeks time. To say that I am excited is an understatement. This little sweater is adorable. I had intended it to be for my great-nephew but it was too much pink so I’ve bought a new skein of yarn for his sweater and will cast on soon. This was a fun little sweater to knit and I’m glad that there’s a larger-sized version to knit for larger children. I’ll knit it again, I’m sure.

Puerperium by Kelly van Niekerk

I’ve got a pair of mittens on the needles, too. Their the Peace de Resistance Mittens by Bristol Ivy. I have had some yellow and gray Jamieson & Smith yarn from one of the Arnall-Culliford “Year of Techniques” projects that I never knitted. I decided that since this election cycle may be a bit crazy (again) that I should knit these mittens. I need to get cracking so they’ll be ready ahead of all the craziness. I haven’t gotten very far along with these but they’re fun to knit.

Peace de Resistance Mittens by Bristol Ivy

I’ve cleaned my atelier today and organized the mess that I’ve let accumulate over the past few weeks or months. I spent time this morning writing the newsletter for work, and I’ve written this … it’s time to get downstairs to make some pie crusts. We have an overabundance of eggs at our house and we’re going to make some quiche to freeze for future eating. We both are tired when we come home from work and easy suppers are much appreciated. Today it’s veggie quiches and an apple pie on the cooking list – since we don’t have to work today, we can get some cooking ahead done. At least that’s the plan.

We took a nice little drive to Unity and Thorndike yesterday to visit the Amish Country Market, now newly rebuilt and get some Macoun apples and cider from Mueller Farm and some Christmas gifts from my friends at Over the Hill Lavender farm. It was a wonderful day for a drive and it was nice to be out and about. I think it’s time to get down to the kitchen, eat an apple for lunch and get some quiche or pie in the oven.

Gone knitting … well, after I cook!

Finishing Up

Today was a beautiful day! The sun was shining after several days of grey and rainy weather which made it even more special. It was also the autumnal equinox – where the day and the night are perfectly balanced. Yesterday, the day was longer than the night. Tomorrow the night will be longer than the day. I love living in a place where I can actually see this happening – we watch the sun come up in the morning and it moves ever so slowly from the right to the left and then back again. In the winter the sun is nearly directly across the lake from our house providing passive solar heat.

I made myself finish up a bunch of house/family things today so that I can feel ok about going back to work tomorrow. I finished the laundry, finished folding linens, refreshed the outdoor potted plants and window box, finished putting away the groceries from yesterday and straightened and cleaned our bedroom. I’m hoping the last task helps my allergies when I wake up tomorrow.

I have finished up some knitting projects, too. I have two baby sweaters blocking and I’ve been working at weaving in the ends (all 15,000 of them) of my Elton Cardigan. I’ll be taking Elton and one of the baby sweaters to work tomorrow or Friday so that I can hunt for buttons.

I started the Newborn Vertebrae first and finished it second. I had started knitting this little cardigan for my granddaughter and only had to pick up stitches around the front and do a few rows of 1×1 ribbing. Why I chose to pick up another sweater pattern for baby – this one, I thought, was going to be for my great-nephew, Noah – I’ll never know but it’s been sitting patiently waiting for it’s turn. The yarn information you can find on my Ravelry project page. (I’m lindar.)

Puerperium Cardigan is a really fun knit. I’ve not knitted this before but I really loved it. It’s such a simple pattern but it’s adorable when done. I love the buttons down the side in particular. I have had this yarn in my stash for a little while and thought I’d make this for Noah but as I was knitting, the pink spots just kept popping out and I realized that it’s more for a female baby (I know, I know, boys can wear pink but I’m old and it said little girl to me.) So, today at work, I’m returning the extra yarn from my Elton Cardigan and I’ll pick up something cute for a sweater for Noah. Since he’s here in the flesh now, he’ll be needing little sweaters in Salem, MA soon.

And, I’m happy to report that I’ve finished the knitting and weaving in of the zillions of little ends on my Elton Cardigan. It just needs to be blocked and have buttons added. I sure hope I love this sweater. It was a bit of a pain to knit – it’s not the pattern, it’s the mohair. But I love the color and I think I’m going to like the boxy, lighter-weight. For now, I’m going to sign off and go get it blocked to I can take photos and then report about the fit.

Gone knitting!

Knitting Mojo Slump

We finally have had some rain and you can almost hear the plants sighing in relief. It was so dry that even the weeds were lying on the ground. Literally. The weeds have since perked up … something that I’ve never noticed before. The lake is about a foot lower than usual, too. We are in a drought here in Maine and we worry about our well when this happens. Crossing our fingers and toes that we get enough water between now and winter.

I don’t know what it is about the end of summer but I don’t want to finish any of the projects I have on the needles. I only want to cast on new projects so I’ve hit a bit of a knitting mojo slump. I’m not sure if my fall depression/seasonal affective disorder is setting in again as the days get shorter or if I’m suffering burnout from my volunteer jobs but something is going on but I’m not a fan. So I force myself to do some work in the house that I don’t want to do and I allow myself the grace to do nothing more than that and to rest. Time will tell – I could feel lots better if the sun was out.

So, let’s talk about knitting, shall we?

I’m forcing myself to finish the projects that I have in progress. My Alton Cardigan (below) has been in time out for what seems like forever. I finally picked it up today and am going to make a supreme effort to get the sleeves finished and knit the button band so I can be finished. I won’t let myself knit another sweater until this one is finished and I have a few (*cough* *cough*) that I still want to make. And I have the yarn to knit them! I do believe this will be a great sweater come fall. (Come on fall!) I’m at eight inches for the first sleeve, one more inch to go and then on to sleeve #2.

On the needles I’ve got a second pair of Rose City Rollers. I made one pair with US 2 needles and the second-to-largest size (60 stitches cast on). They’re really cute. I think they’ll be great come clog weather. I had a lot of yarn left over and so I weighed the yarn and decided I had enough for another pair. This time, I decided to use a smaller needle (US 1 1/2) to make a little more negative ease. I’ve got one of the socks done and the second sock is nearly there. I like the hand of the yarn which is without any wool. I’ve not used Berroco Comfort Sock before … we’ll see how they wear. The photo below was taken on Friday at my knitting class. Mind you, I’m the teacher. Can you see what I’ve done? One of my students took the photo while I laughed until I cried. For the third time on Friday.

Good Grief! I’m the teacher!

If you have a look at the sock, It has a nice heel flap and turned heel at the bottom of the photograph. AND then I continued on and knitted the foot and another heel flap and turned the heel. Knitting can be so humbling.

Below is what the socks look like now. I’ve frogged the second heel and heel flap and finished the first sock and am moving right along on sock number two. I made the first pair with a rounded toe so this time I’m making the square toe. The pattern has instructions for both. Isn’t that nice? Do you have a favorite toe or a favorite sock pattern, for that matter?

I have been working away at my Aestlight Shawl by Gudrun Johnston. I started this on my birthday because my friend and co-worker went on a trip to Shetland with none other than Gudrun Johnston (and MaryJane Mucklestone, too.) I decided that I’d knit a Shetland style Hap shawl because I didn’t get to go – I’m not whining, I’m delighted that she had a chance to go!

The body of the shawl was done and I started the edging when I realized that I didn’t have enough yarn to finish the shawl’s edging (I wrote about it here.) Luckily we had another hank at the shop where I work and it seems to be a close-enough match. So, I’m continuing to work my way across the shawl and enjoying the process. I’ve gotten my old iPad out of mothballs (not really) so that I can use my knitting app to keep better track of the edging repeats.

We’ve had some fun company this summer and as usual I’ve forgotten to take photographs of the people we so enjoy. We’ve had gorgeous late summer weather so we’ve been enjoying the lake and we feel so lucky to be able to live here. We have a lot of projects planned: an oak tree to split, our guest cottage needs a serious cleanup and fix up. The dog hair is always collecting in little tumbleweeds all over the house. The windows need washed, the screens need a rinse and the weeds have totally taken over the flower beds. We still have one bag of either mulch or compost that we never spread. It’s all a little bit overwhelming, honestly. Hence, perhaps my “mailaise”?

Gone knitting.