I’ve just finished the finishing on the Tybee Cardigan that I’ve knitted for my granddaughter. I knitted it in Berroco Vivo. The colorway is so bright and happy and I love it. The cardigan is a simple bottom up design with a “shawl” collar.
The pattern is by the Berroco Design Team and it’s a free pattern on Ravelry. The construction is simple, a garter stitch bottom band and then the body is knitted in one piece to the underarms. The button bands are knitted with the body of the sweater. The sleeves are knitted separately and then added into the body of the sweater and the raglan sleeves are knitted and the collar stitches picked up and knitted. Ta Da! Ta Done!
I bought the wonderful buttons when I was in Montreal and they’re perfect for this little cardigan! I absolutely love them! They are vintage with a shank and a little bit of color variation.
This was a fun little knit and it should be machine washable, dry flat. Vivo is a cotton yarn, DK weight, with some “thick and thin” action going on. The sweater, as a result, looks a little bit “slubby” and It makes the cardigan even cuter.
I wove in the ends and added a dab of Fray check. Cotton yarn is a little bit slipperier than wool and I want the ends to stay put. Once it’s dry, I’ll give the cardigan a little bath and it’ll be ready to go to California to be tried on my super special model.
It’s been a beautiful but cool day. We did squeak in coffee on the porch before the breeze started to make it too cool and I got one shawl blocked last night and another this morning. I have a few ends to weave in on one and ends to cut on the other (even though I wore it to work today). This weekend is Memorial Day weekend and the weather is supposed to turn warm (or hot!) on Sunday. I don’t love hot …
The first FO is my Orbit shawl in Urth Uneek Cotton yarn. I think I “won” this yarn in a drawing at work and it’s been in my stash for a year or two. I have decided that I really like long, narrow shawls (aka scarves) in the warmer season for a “pop” of color. This yarn was asking to become something and I really didn’t want to have to buy more or have any left over. So, when I researched different projects for this yarn, I initially wanted to make the Easy Scarf by Diane Augustin but I decided that knitting the Orbit shawl was going to be a little bit more interesting. I used one skein of Urth Uneek Cotton and I searched for the pattern on Ravelry’s “pattern ideas” tab for the yarn.
I have to say that knitting this shawl/scarf was fun enough. Not difficult for sure. But I didn’t love the way the colorway transitioned from the fall-like colors that it started with and then it transitioned into springy-y colors. I don’t love it but it’s ok. The most displeasing piece of this project was the knot in the yarn. It was early in the skein and it was a tiny knot. I am so glad that I found it and that I pulled on it (and it came apart). In my humble opinion there should not be knots in premium yarns. Yarn companies should do better. This knot had to have been tied by a human being and it should have been pulled and discounted immediately.
My second FO is the Falderal Shawl by Romi Designs. This was a MKAL for 2023 and I had never knitted a Romi pattern and I chose to start with this one. I am really (really) happy with this project. It was fun to knit, Romi provided plenty of support and videos to help knitters through the “rough spots” if they didn’t have a lot of experience. I work on Fridays which was when she had the live zooms but it’s all good – they were on her YouTube channel.
I chose two colors of Emma’s Yarn Practically Perfect sock yarn in a purple speckle and a deep purple-y gray. (Details are on my Ravelry project page.) Purple is not my “normal” color choice and I’m trying to live outside of my comfort zone a little bit. But I loved knitting this shawl, it was challenging but not too challenging and there were a few new techniques that I learned by watching the playback of the live sessions. It’s always fun to knit lace and then watch the magic happen when it’s blocked. I really didn’t know what it would look like until it was sopping wet and being stretched out on my guest room bed … and bonus, it dried yesterday when I was at work! It’s really dry here in Maine right now and that worked to my benefit!
On the needles and hoping to be a FO soon (very soon!) is my Tybee cardigan for Sylvie. This is a free pattern from Berroco for a little cotton cardigan with a shawl collar. Raglan sleeves make it easy to finish up at the end. Bottom up construction with only a couple of short seams. I love the feel of the Vivo cotton yarn. It’s a thick and thin yarn so the sweater will be easy to care for (machine wash, dry flat). I love the colorful yarn that stripes randomly. It’ll be a cute sweater for cooler late summer days or evenings.
I think I will be spending a little bit of time, too, before I cast on another significant project*, finishing up a few more Arne and Carlos mini Nordic jumpers for my Advent calendar. I think I’ve found how I will display them in our house. I can’t wait to try it but first I have to finish the knitting. I think I have enough yarn to make the rest of them. (Crossing fingers!) #19 is up next.
I have a pair of socks for daughter #2 on the needles. She picked the yarn out of my stash and I want to have the socks finished for her birthday. I won’t have a problem with that and I have plenty of time. The first sock is nearly complete – toe decreases are in process. Sock #2 is likely to be next week’s focus.
*Oops! I did it again. Cast on to do the Old Port hat KAL with Andrea Mowry. I’m using stashed yarn and a couple of left-overs, actually. Starting with the lining in bright pink alpaca and then I’ll be transitioning to charcoal gray and a light gray. I’m not sure which will be color a and color b. Stay tuned.
Today is the antithesis of yesterday. It’s damp and dreary and there was no coffee on the porch this morning. Maybe I’ll take the time to get caught up with house cleaning or agendas for the meetings I am running this week or maybe I’ll bake something. And maybe I’ll stay up in my studio and knit. Yesterday I wore my Emsworth Vest over a blouse and summer shoes. Today I’m back to socks and slippers and a turtleneck under a fleece sweatshirt. Ah, spring in Maine.
I have finished a couple of projects and I’m really pleased with them. Let me tell you about them …
This is the Little Coffee Bean Cardigan by Elizabeth Smith, a Maine designer. The sweater was designed to be two (or more) colors in stripes. I used the pattern to knit a plain cotton sweater and then I added “daisies” in embroidery. The embroidered design was inspired by a sweater that I saw online.
All of the yarn I used were stashed yarns. I only bought the buttons. The photos that I took are a perfect example of why you should take photos during the day in natural light. Ha! Ha! The last photo of the completed sweater are much more real colors.
This little Coffee Bean cardigan knits up super quickly and is very simple. I used some stashed 100% cotton yarn that was a gift to me when I was a school “nurse” (clinic assistant was my title) from a wonderful family. I love the color and it’ll be adorable later this summer or early this fall on my granddaughter.
Second, this is the Jasmine Romper by Maria Atencia. As I’ve written here before, the inspiration for this knit was from one of my customer/friends who has knitted three (THREE) to my one. But this was a really fun project to knit. The simple lace on the front of the romper held my attention and interest and the simple (let’s call it plain) stockinette on the back gave me the TV knitting finish that I needed after all the lace. I chose to knit this one in white Bamboo Pop yarn by Universal Yarns. Bamboo Pop is a really nice yarn to work with. It didn’t split like a lot of natural plant fibers tend to do and it didn’t hurt my hands. It’s also soft and will feel good against a babies skin.
Spoiler Alert! If you don’t want to see what clue #1 looks like, don’t read further.
I have cast on a new project, laying aside my Three Season Cardigan for a wee bit. I have always wanted to knit a shawl by Romi and I jumped at the opportunity this week when I saw that Romi is doing a mystery shawl KAL named, Falderal. The name attracted me, too. Do you remember “Falderal and fiddle-dee-dee” in the song, Impossible, from the Rogers and Hammerstein movie Cinderella? I’m talking the 1967 version with Lesley Ann Warren and Celeste Holme (click on the link for the way I remember the song). I’m dating myself but I loved that movie!
Anyway, the first clue was with color 1 and consisted of simple lace knitting. I thoroughly enjoyed knitting the lace and only had to frog back a couple of times and only a few stitches each time. I use lots of stitch markers to help me with lace repeats so that I know if I’ve missed a yarn over. Yarn overs are the most often missed thing in lace knitting. I finished the first clue before the delivery of the second clue today. I’ll get working on it today, too. (But I have an agenda for a meeting tomorrow that I have to write before I am allowed to knit!)
Both of the yarns I am using are Emma’s Yarn Practically Perfect Sock in (purple) February ’23 and After Dark colorways. The After Dark (gray) was in my stash. I think I had planned to make a shawl with a dappled gold yarn from String Theory Yarns, a Maine yarn dyer. I have quite a few shawls with gold in them and I’ll let that hank hang in the stash while I use this gray in my Romi shawl.
I still have a line-up of WIPs on my shelf in my atelier: a pair of mittens, my genser, and the Jane “pants” for my granddaughter. These don’t include the projects that are in the cupboard and out of my sight. So … there you go!
Yesterday we were out and about. We needed to get to the dump as we missed a trip last week when we were out of town and we needed some food in the house. We were scraping the bottom of the barrel trying to come up with meals on Friday. It’s rare that we both get out together, we typically divide and conquer but it’s fun to be together even doing the mundane day-to-day activities. How lucky we are to enjoy spending time together.
I’ve been spending lots of time volunteering but there’s been some time for knitting, too. I am limiting my knitting time because I think I’ve “tweaked” a muscle or nerve in my shoulder/arm/neck. I may have mentioned this before. Yesterday I knitted more than I have for over a week and it was mostly good … I had to stop in the early evening after working on my husband’s Christmas socks. It’s heavy worsted weight yarn and US4 needles which is quite a workout for my hands and arms.
Sock number two is getting close to the “easy” part. Gusset decreases are in process. I love this pattern because it’s different and the decreases come to a nice point on the instep. I hope to finish these up because I have a pair of birthday socks to make for my brother in April and I’ve found the perfect yarn.
I have a bag with odds and ends of Cascade Fixation yarn that I’ve “collected” over the years. I’m trying to be responsible and use it up. Socks are the easy no-brainer project, especially baby socks. I’ll be carrying the two pairs I’ve made so far to NYC next trip to see if they really don’t fall off. The pattern is a free one that I found at work … it’s called Fixation Baby Socks, I think. This week I found the pattern “Jane of the Jungle”, free on Ravelry (it’s a Knitty.com pattern), and I knew that I needed to make this for Sylvie. I hope it’ll fit this summer. I am going to make the bathing suit bottom, too, but the top could be worn with shorts or leggings. Ha! Ha! Stinking cute! By the time summer rolls around she should be crawling and by the time we get to the beach in September I’ll bet she’ll be walking. Time goes by way too quickly.
Our orchids have been blooming forEVER! We have two plants: one was Ned’s mother’s orchid that we bought for her and her caregiver took such good care of. It’s been so happy since we moved to Maine. Helen’s been gone for several years but the orchid keeps on going. The flowers were all dried out but when I watered it last week, I noticed a new little bud spike coming along.
And the second orchid was a gift to me from my eldest. It’s been blooming forever, too. The plant stand has been giving a real show. It’s flowers were starting to dry out and fall off but I noticed one more flower that’s coming. I’m not sure if I have a green thumb or if these are super-powered Maine-loving plants. I’m not complaining.
What a beautiful sight when we opened our eyes this morning. The lake was covered with fog but as the sun started to come up, there was a little spot of light. It’s been like the last few very gray days for me … lots of emotional fog and low energy but a little bright spot because I know that the days are getting longer and the sun will be shining more soon. Well, we have more snow in the forecast this week so that “soon” is relative. BUT today I am feeling much better and I attribute it to the sun because everything else remains pretty much the same.
Yesterday and over the last few days I’ve recommitted myself to finishing some old projects that have been set aside. One of them for almost two years. And I didn’t have a lot of work to do to get it finished. This morning I blocked it for a second (third?) time and it’s ready to be attached to a dowel and hung. My hubby is bringing a dowel home from work this afternoon and I’ll attach it and hang it then.
It all started with the Covid-19 pandemic when I decided to take time away from work in mid-March of 2020 and Arne & Carlos started a pandemic KAL. Weekly YouTube sessions were something to look forward to and I joined.
It started with one little block in stashed yarn that I won as a door prize at my LYS on March 17th, 2020. One little yellow and white stranded knitting project. Something that made me feel like I had a purpose and I had a community.
And then in blossomed into more and more blocks. One each week. It gave me something to look forward to as we zoomed with our kids over cocktails and zoomed with my knitting group on Fridays. Life was so NOT normal but was feeling a bit more “normal” considering the circumstances.
And then in the late summertime, it felt safe enough to return to work masked, of course and the little blocks were relegated to my unfinished cabinet and left there. For weeks. I’d take them out and look at them and try to decide what they should be. Some people designed additional blocks and I knitted one or two of them but I had 19 blocks and I had run out of my different colors of yarn and only had (maybe) enough to make one more “rainbow” block. (I ended up choosing NOT to.)
On Monday I decided I was going to finish a project. I pulled out two WIPs and decided that my Arne & Carlos KAL is the one getting finished. I. had seamed together a few thinking that I was going to make a cushion for the couch or my studio but I changed my mind and decided to make a wall hanging. (I told you I’m getting a new knitting chair, right?) Well, the orange in the blocks will look great with my new chair, so … I seamed the rest of the blocks that I wanted to use together.
And because it’s never “that easy” … I decided that in order to hang it up, I needed to stabilize the edges a bit. I thought about sewing fabric to the back to do this and then decided to keep the integrity of the knitting object and pulled out my black yarn and crocheted a slip stitch all around the edge. This really did help the structure so it won’t stretch when hung, but it didn’t look great.
Again, I considered getting a piece of poster board or foam core or thin wood product but since it was snowing like crazy, I decided to keep it “simple” and knit a garter stitch border around the edges. It took me the better part of the day but by last night, the knitting was done. I blocked it again this morning and awaiting the hubby’s arrival home with the dowel which I’ll stitch to the back of my wall hanging and it’ll be done and done.
This was my weekend to work and that’s why today feels like Sunday. We have had a gray start to the past few days but the ice has been growing up the shore of the lake and it looks very dramatic. We always get thick ice climbing out of the lake and this year, while it’s been a bit different than the past few years, we finally have ice coming up. I am not yet comfortable with going out on the ice for a walk but lots of people do. Call me crazy but when we have these “puddles” of water on top of the ice you have no idea what the ice below it is doing.
So, on Saturday I was at work and the last couple of days have been my weekend. Yesterday I wrote the store newsletter and got caught up with our house stuff, mail, calendars, you know, the stuff you need to catch up with at the end (or start) of the week. I’ve also been knitting.
My Emsworth vest has been my major focus this weekend. I am really enjoying this pattern and we all know that the yarn is my favorite. At least for now. I’m using the charcoal gray colorway of Patagonia Organic Merino yarn by Juniper Moon Farm and I really like the rustic quality of this yarn and yet, the merino makes it feel soft and it’s a pleasure to work with. The Emsworth pattern is fun for a couple of reasons: First because the lace sections keep it interesting with a lot of stockinette between the lace. When I bought this pattern I thought it was cables. Well, it’s not. But I am still having fun knitting the vest and I am hoping to get it finished before I finish my Norwegian Genser virtual class on the 19th. I guess it could happen.
I started the weekend with four inches from the underarm. I just measured it again and I’m at more than eight inches. If memory serves, I have to get to eleven-ish inches. I’m getting close!
I finished my Setesdal Hat. I had a feeling that this hat would be too small for my big head and I was right. But the hat was so much fun to knit and the colors are fun and attractive. I blocked it today – Arne and Carlos use a damp pressing cloth and a steamy iron to steam press wool garments – and the magic of blocking makes me so happy.
The photo on the left shows the wonky before stitches where the motifs look pretty good but some of the stitches kind of sink and the different shapes aren’t all the same. The photo on the right is after the magic of steam blocking. You can see how the stitches bloom to be more even across the board. I love it. One of my students on Friday afternoon will be happy to wear this hat – she called “dibs” on it at class on Friday. I am happy to have it go to a good home.
I also finished my traditional Norwegian Hals. I’ve signed up for a bunch of instruction from Knitography farm and it’s been wonderful. I enjoy the community and support that Patricia has built and her dedication to the traditional Norwegian knitwear designs. The hals (cowl) pattern is one that she translated from an historic pattern. This would probably be called a “dickie” in our culture but it’s a warm addition to winter wear. Unfortunately, once again, my big head won’t fit in the turtleneck so I will be giving this away. I ordered the yarn from Patricia’s farm. She has a herd of heritage sheep. I think it’s a bit scratchy … but it was historically accurate and I will be donating it to a worthy cause and it will keep someone warm.
I ordered new yarn this week from Norway to make a genser (pullover) in a traditional pattern. The pattern is really pretty. I found out about the pattern and the book that it’s in through the zoom meeting with Patricia of Knitography Farm. She’s doing a virtual Choose Your Own Path class and since I’ve never knit a traditional genser, I’m starting with a beginner pattern. I’ve also completed her online course on stranded knitting. I always learn something new.
Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day and my sweetie and I are going to Longfellow’s on a date. I want some dirt and some flowers for the house to cheer it up … the late winter and the gray days this time of year need some color.
We have had the coldest weather yet! Maine saw negative double digits at the end of last week. We saw -12 degrees here at our house on Saturday morning. On Friday we started the day in the positive range but the temperatures dropped hourly. What a fun few days watching the temps!
We had no damage to our pipes although the windows did have ice on the inside in some parts of the house. I thought about hanging quilts in the big living room windows but never got it done. Luckily, we were warm. I am so grateful for our warm comfortable house.
These cold days have been great days to be a knitter, though. I spent all of Saturday and Sunday in my studio … I didn’t even get dressed! I’ve got a lot of knitting going on and I wanted to share with you before I get everything finished.
I’m participating in the Modern Daily Knitting and Arne and Carlos KAL, the Setesdal Hat which is in the new Field Guide 23. I was late to the party and got the electronic file of the book. We had three of the colors of Norwegian yarn at my LYS (on sale!) and one of my friends/co-workers and I ordered the other two colors from another LYS in Southern Maine. When I saw the colors I wasn’t convinced but once I got knitting, I’ve become a changed woman! I love the colors! I’m not sure if the hat is going to fit my big head but it will fit someone and meanwhile, I’m having fun knitting it.
I’ve knitted through the pink and the next part of the KAL begins on Tuesday. I was tempted to keep knitting and I could have finished the hat on Saturday but I decided to play along as a good group member and wait until the start of week 2.
And then I went to work on my Knitography Farm Stranded Knitting Course project, Deep Winter on the Path Hals. I’m knitting this cowl/hals in Jamieson & Smith Shetland Jumper Weight yarn in three natural shades. This cowl is a great piece to practice Patricia’s stranded knitting techniques and it’s an online class that can be taken as you have time and a prerequisite for her sweater class that I want to take this spring.
I’ve completed the ribbing and the first motif and am ready to begin the second motif. It’s been good practice and I like the colors and the pattern. I don’t love cowls, though. I think I’ll finish the second motif, and then knit to balance the pattern and make it a headband. And, bonus, I’ve just chosen the yarn to knit the beginner genser (pullover).
I have finished the squishy black alpaca socks for my son and they’re yummy. I wish I had feet as big as his! I may have to knit a pair of socks for me in the Lang Alpaca Soxx yarn. It’s so soft and squishy and I’ll bet they’ll be nice and warm, too. I used my standby pattern, Yankee Knitter’s Classic Socks pattern. Black socks are a trip to knit. I had no trouble knitting the cuff or the leg or the foot but when you have to be able to see the stitches … ha! ha! Not happening. For the first time ever, I had to wait until the morning and good light to pick up the gusset stitches and to Kitchener Stitch the toes.
I also finished by Stashbuster Shawl. The yarn has been in my stash for years. The yarn is The Fiber Seed’s Sprout Sock in the Rainbow in the Dark colorway. I loved this colorway because it’s alternating black and rainbow speckles. I knew it would be a fun knit and when my friend Peggy came into the store wearing a Stashbuster Shawl in the same yarn, I knew what my yarn wanted to be! The Stashbuster Shawl is a simple garter stitch shawl – good for watching TV at night – with a fun picot edge. And mine is huge! It’s narrow but it has to be seven or eight feet wide. It’s blocking right now and I can’t wait to wear it.
My Emsworth vest has not even been touched since I started the Norwegian knitting adventure. The hals, the hat and my last WIP, a traditional Norwegian Hals pattern that Patricia shared on one of our Zoom meetings – the community meets pretty regularly to get updates and ask questions. The pattern is a reconstruction of an historical pattern. I waited to order yarn from Norway to knit it – had to try the real Norwegian yarn, right? I’ve got the turtleneck to finish,18cm of turtleneck, and then I’ll have another FO. Yay, me! I’ve got to get cracking on my Emsworth next and get it finished before the Knitography Farm “Choose Your Own Path” Genser Course starts on February 19th.
I’ve also promised socks (a Christmas gift) to my husband and I pulled out the pattern that I’m going to knit. An aside, one evening when we were watching the news I noticed that he had my socks on … a cabled worsted weight pair … he wondered why they were a bit small. I’m not sure how I got them in his sock pile but I did. Now he’ll have a well-fitting pair of his own. The pattern is Urban Rustic Socks. Be careful, if you look this pattern up, you’re going to want to knit them!
I have six more WIPs in my Ravelry project queue that I haven’t discussed in quite awhile … I’ll get there. Don’t nag me. Ha! Ha! Ha!
We awoke to snow this morning. Yay! I’ve been waiting and wanting some, what we call here in Maine, “measurable snow” and today we are getting it! Since it’s January 20th, let’s say that it’s about time!
When the local schools in Waterville are closed, our classes at the Yardgoods Center are canceled. We have a mostly older customer base and none of us should be out and about in this weather unless we absolutely have to … today is a snow day. The store is closed and classes were canceled. I’m putting my snow day to good use and after I had coffee and a muffin with my dear hubby, I went upstairs into my atelier.
On Wednesday I decided to make microwaveable (corn) heating pads. I’ve had the supplies on the floor of my studio for a year. When the kids came last winter to go skiing, they were a bit achey after their skiing and they used all of the warming things in our house. One in particular, they all liked best. So … I measured the one made by my friend Judy and bought the muslin, flannel and corn to make one for each of the kids. Wednesday I ironed and cut the fabrics and then sewed two of the sides and was ready to fill them and finish them up when I realized that the corn was either moldy or dirty.
Off to the kitchen I took all eight pounds of bagged corn and I cleaned it in bleach water to kill any surviving whatever might have been on it. It was powdery but dry and I am not sure what it was but I am sure, now, that the corn I’m putting into the bags is clean and won’t send something gross out into the air that they breathe when they microwave the bags to warm them up.
Today I brought the washed, dried and baked corn back up into my studio and filled the three bags and sewed up the final side. Ta done! Three microwavable corn-filled heating pads. I have more fabric to make three more but I didn’t buy enough corn. Each of the kids will get one this time and I’ll get three more made for the summer when we go to the beach.
Task number two was to make a heart pillow for daughter number 2 who lost her beloved pup Willow just after Thanksgiving. When we were in NY for Christmas, she asked if I could make a heart pillow out of Willow’s jacket. I am touched that she trusted me to do that for her.
Earlier this week, I cut out a heart shape to use as much of the fleece jacket that I could and pinned the sides together (right sides facing) in preparation to sew them up and stuff it.
At this point in the day I went downstairs to probably clean the corn and while the corn was soaking in bleach water, I decided to make some cranberry water that I’d seen a recipe for online. The cranberries were in my freezer for a year and it was time to do something with them. I had thawed them and just has to blend them with water and strain them. While blending them, the blender (it was overfull, I admit) leaked cranberry water all over the counter. I strained the water and when I was cleaning up I inadvertently switched the blender on and metal piece on the base was too close to my thumb … what a bloody mess I made. Some days … !
I cleaned up my thumb, cleaned up the mess and retreated to my studio for a few minutes of stupid TV and to hold my thumb up over my heart so it would stop bleeding.
Today I finished the pillow and I hope my daughter loves it as much as I love her. It’s far from perfect, I’m not a professional sewer by any imagination but it’s stitched with lots of love. I unstitched the tag from the jacket and put it into the seam so it sticks out as a reminder of what it was. I also preserved the spot where my daughter sewed a tear in the jacket by hand to remind her of how much she loved her pup and the memory of the hole, maybe, too. I’ll deliver it when I go to NY next.
I have been knitting and since this is technically a knitting blog, I should report on my progress. I have been making slow progress with my Emsworth. I’ve picked up the front shoulder stitches, and am working my way down the front. I’ve reached where the increases under the arms are and pretty soon I think I’ll be knitting all the way around the body. I’m enjoying the lace pattern and I love the charcoal gray colorway of the Patagonia yarn. It’s a bit tricky for my “old eyes” to see the dark yarn in the evening but I’m still working away at it.
I’ve finished black sock #1 and have reached the heel of black sock #2. Today will be a good day for me to turn the heel and pick up the gusset stitches. Black yarn really does challenge the eyes. It’s best attacked when the lighting is good and bright. Hahaha!
I also started a new project, the Stashbuster Shawl by Heather Haynes. One of my former co-workers came in in hers and I knew I had the same yarn. Since everything else I’m working on was dark colors, I cast on for this shawl so I have something to knit at the end of the day. I’m enjoying the simple, meditative knitting on this one. Mostly Garter stitch, it doesn’t take a lot of brain power (of which I have precious little at the end of the day.)
My plan for the rest of the day is to do some knitting (as my “blended” thumb will allow.) I am so left-handed that it’s tricky to do anything without my left thumb! I’ve managed to write this post and I’ll probably do some baking today or tomorrow. I found a recipe for sugar cookie bars (they’re frosted and sprinkled, yum!) and I haven’t made any granola since the batch that I took to NY at Christmas time. I might need to vacuum again, too. Don’t let anybody tell you that Labs don’t shed a LOT!
It’s been a pretty dreary week on the lake. We haven’t seen a lot of the sun so the sunrise that we did see was even more appreciated. This one was taken by my husband while I was sleeping. The lake has finally frozen over and despite the almost 50 degree day, we still have ice. Maybe we will see winter after all.
I’ve had a busy week again. I had a lake association board meeting to run on Wednesday evening and I spent the early part of the week preparing for that and sending out the necessary documents to the board members. This was also my week to work on Saturday so I was in the store two days and taught one day, too. I love teaching on Friday … it’s a highlight of my week. My morning class keeps on showing up and challenging themselves. My afternoon class has gotten smaller but they’re a good bunch.
I’ve been working away at my couple of projects. I started and finished another Love & Light by Laura Nelkin for a friend of mine. I completely forgot to take any photographs of it before I wrapped it up and mailed it off. I hope she loves it. She’s been a sweet friend for a long time.
I made a little “doll” for my granddaughter. I have customers who have made these dolls over the years and I’ve always thought they were cute. I chose a couple of my larger balls of left-over fingering weight yarn from my stash and got to knitting. Knubbelchen by pezi888 is a relatively simple project and so sweet. I hope it’ll be chewed on and loved.
I’m also working away on a pair of black socks for my son. He’s very appreciative of my hand-knit socks. This pair is black alpaca. The yarn is Lang’s Alpaca Sox 4-ply and it’s utterly delightful to knit with and is so soft and squishy. These may be the squishiest socks I’ve ever knitted. I’ve got the first sock completed and the second sock is at the heel turn. My son has huge feet so I’ll be knitting the foot of the sock for two days but they’ll be done well in advance of his birthday.
Have I ever written about the Sock Ruler? I love this tool. It was gifted to me by my sister-in-love who didn’t want to knit socks and, at first, I thought this was a goofy item and that I’d never use it. Boy, was I wrong. I love the sock ruler and it’s an amazing way to measure the length of the foot in particular. The rounded end fits perfectly in the heel and you work the foot until it’s 2 inches (or whatever your pattern directs) less than the length of the foot. In my son’s case, that’s 9 1/2 inches of foot and then the toe decreases. The Sock Ruler is available in an adult size and a baby and infant size, too. I have bought the baby and child Sock Rulers and I’ll be sure to use them when Sylvie gets bigger but I use the adult one every single time I knit socks. I love it! (And I really love my son because these socks are black.)
I’m working right along on my Emsworth by Isabell Kraemer, too. It’s a little bit slow-moving because I have to be able to pay attention when I’m knitting this vest. The lace work is simple enough but when I am in a group and talking, I tend to forget to move markers and counters and all the tools that you need to keep track of where you are. I can share with you that I have picked up the front shoulders, connected the neck and am working my way down through the increases at the side of the underarms. It’s quite a fun knit and the charcoal gray, while a little bit difficult to see the stitches, is a great color for my wardrobe. I look forward to getting this finished, blocked and wearing it!
I wound a couple of hanks of stashed yarn into cakes this afternoon for a new shawl project. One of my former co-workers came into the store last week with a shawl/scarf on that I really liked and I knew I had the same yarn in my stash. I have to pattern and am ready to cast on and play with some blending of the two yarns. More on that when I get started.
This afternoon, after I finished the store’s weekly newsletter, we went on a most excellent shopping adventure to Portland, Maine. We’ve been talking about finding me a good knitting chair for ages. I thought I wanted a sleeper sofa or a chair but it had to be comfortable for a knitter which means a straight back and a relatively shallow seat and, most important of all, low or no arm rests. I’m so excited to report that we’ve ordered my chair and it’ll be delivered in March or April and I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone on this one! Wait until you see it.
I’ll end on the volunteer front where I started and let you know that our administrative coordinator is leaving us and we (I?) will be getting back all of her files and jobs and the office phone early next week. I’ve decided to close the “office” for a couple of weeks to give myself some time to recharge. It’s been a lot of work. My board meeting was successful in that there are several board members who have stepped up to get a few tasks accomplished and we will be forming a governance committee group to find the new slate of officers to take over in the late summer. And we will also be forming a committee to figure out how to better organize the lake association so that we can close down for a while in the winter and how we can better plan the season so that the board does less of the work and there are consistent tasks for the staff. I’m eager to see where this leads. We are on the precipice of requiring a part-time executive director to oversee the business of the organization.
The other organization whose board I sit on is the Maine Arts Academy. We’ve had a busy fall/winter, too! We are so excited, though, because we’ve bought our own building and we’re moving the school to Augusta, Maine pretty soon. Our current campus has gotten way too small and we have the demand from students and this year we had to turn some away. (And we hate to do that!) I’m extra proud of this group of dedicated teachers, administrators and board members. They’re among some of the most wonderful people I’ve had the occasion to work with. I look forward to being in our own building and seeing where the school goes. I’m sure it’s going to be a bright future for MeAA!
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.