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!

Friday Vibe

Today is foggy and drizzly. A bit dreary, frankly and raw. Almost all of the snow has left the yard … but here’s the kicker … we may be getting some snow this weekend! I may be very unpopular but I’m hoping we get a good twelve inches or more. We haven’t had enough snow this winter – an inch or two doesn’t really count. Give me a good Nor’easter and I’ll be ready to march into spring.

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!

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!

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!

Testing … testing …

I’ve been accepted as a test knitter by Gudrun Johnston for a new pattern that she’s designed. I”m excited about testing for her and I love this new design and think it’s going to be very wearable.

First order of business is to find an Aran weight yarn that’ll knit to 4.5 stitches to an inch. I have two yarns in my stash that were gifted to me by a friend when her mother stopped knitting because of dementia. I thought, since both are rather rustic wool tweeds, that they might work if I have enough.

I did a quick (flat) swatch and, after blocking, there was one that was 4.5 stitches per inch exactly on a US 8. The other (which is the one that I’d really like to use) is more like 4 stitches to the inch and, frankly, I don’t love the openness of the fabric at this gauge. BUT when I returned to read the pattern, the gauge should be worked in the round. So, back to the drawing board I will go. I’m hoping that the red one will work when swatched in the round (purling back causes the fabric to be a bit looser since purl stitches are typically a little bit looser than the knit stitches.)

I’ll return to the drawing board with circular needles and we’ll see what gauge looks like. Cross your fingers!

Meanwhile, I’m knitting a sample for the Yardgoods Center in a new yarn that came in. Noro Okunoshima is a worsted weight yarn that’s a combination of silk, wool, angora and mohair. It’s really soft but a bit of a loose twist and thus has some “thick and thin” spots. The colors, as with all Noro yarns, are gorgeous. I’m knitting #15 Cable Hat from the Noro Magazine (Fall/Winter 2020). It’s a sweet hat pattern but I still stand by the fact that cabled patterns show up much better in light, plain colored yarn. There, I said it!

#15 Cable Hat

I’m nearly finished with my Hope Cardigan. I have (finally) picked up the stitches around the front and neck of the sweater and will only have to knit the button band and block it. I’ll be happy to have this one off the needles and I look forward to wearing it. I love the color and I really like Remix Light.

There’s my Friday update! We are due to get some wicked cold weather here this weekend. The ice fishermen have been out all week and they were even out this morning with the wind blowing and ten degree weather. I think they’re crazy but they must love it. Tonight temps are due to drop into the single digits. Woo! Hoo! Winter is here! I’m so grateful for our warm, toasty home and lots of wool to keep me warm!

Gone Knitting!

Bernie’s Mittens

Thanks, Bryan!

We have all seen the memes of Senator Bernie Sanders wearing his now iconic recycled sweater mittens and Vermont-made “snow jacket” at the inauguration of Joe Biden last week. Bernie’s been traveling EVERYWHERE!!!

Thankfully, my sweet friend, Bryan in MA sent this photo to my personal Facebook page because this old gal hasn’t got a clue, nor, frankly, has she got the gumption, to figure out how to do this! It makes me giggle and we all need a good giggle now and again, right?

I’m pictured here in my me-made lobster mask and my hand-knit Sunset Highway sweater. (Click on the link to head on over to my Ravelry project page. Email me if you can’t do Ravelry and I’ll be happy to answer any and all questions.)

Maybe the Best Scones Ever

One of the things that I got for Christmas this year is a New York Times Food subscription. I am wanting to make cooking (and you all know I love baking) more fun and maybe attempt to get out of our cooking “rut”.

I was reading something online and saw a photograph of these scones. They looked really yummy and the idea of Cinnamon Roll Scones … well, suffice it to say, the hubby and I were delighted with the idea! So, since I had all of the ingredients (I had half and half not cream) in the house, I jumped in!

Oh. My. Goodness!!! They were divine. So much so that we considered not sharing with our neighbor who loves baked goods but doesn’t have a spouse that bakes. (We did share in the end.)

The end of a beautiful day!