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!

Labors of Love

Our flowers in the perennial gardens are showing off again. We don’t love gardening but we do it because we love seeing the flowers when they decide to bloom. And each year we are thrilled all over again because they’re so beautiful. This iris is one of the ones that I always forget about. I expect it to be a white iris and then this showy cousin of the white iris (that doesn’t exist) appears! It’s wonderful and (maybe) worth all of the brown tail moth rash that I am struggling with.

This is a great time to be looking at our gardens. The hollyhocks are blooming, the Stella D’oro lilies, the Iris and the daisies are all abloom. So are the hydrangeas (and we have a lot of hydrangeas) and the catmint. The bees and hummingbirds are happy campers and we are, too.

I’ve been working away at the different projects that I have on my list. I’ve finished two pairs of Billie pants for two new babies coming in the fall. These little pants are stinking cute! I’ve also finished a Kirby cardigan, a sample for the store, which is also going to be a KAL later on in the summer.

Kirby cardigan by Asa Buchta

Kirby by Asa Buchta is a simple top down cardigan with a little bit of lace around the yoke for babies 3 to 24 months. Suggested yarn, and the yarn I used, is Vintage DK by Berroco. I used the colorway that was in the pattern photograph. This little sweater is going to be part of a KAL with the Maine Yarn Cruise later this summer. Our Berroco rep at the store, Andra, had made several of these little sweaters in various DK weight yarns that Berroco makes. They were all adorable. This is a fun little sweater to knit.

When I started knitting this sweater, I was tired after the 4th of July weekend. I started it three times and each time I frogged it back and started again. The sweater that I was starting didn’t look like the photo on the pattern page. I’m a good knitter and I couldn’t understand what I was doing wrong. I must have skipped a couple of rows. I texted a co-worker friend who I also knew to be knitting this sweater for her future granddaughter. I wondered if she had had a challenge with starting the sweater and did hers look like the one on the pattern. It didn’t. She was one garter ridge short, too. So, I wrote to the designer through Ravelry and told her what was happening. Come to find out the pattern was wrong and was missing a pair of garter rows following the button hole row. Yay, me! I was the one who noticed it. The pattern will be updated (and it appears that I was on July 7th.)

I’ve finished my second Billie pants. These pants are so cute and I can’t wait to see them on the babies that I’m knitting for. One is expected in September and one in October. The pants are knitted in Berroco’s Vintage DK (or Vintage Baby). These yarns are basically the same yarn but one is in 50 gram balls and the other is in 100 gram balls. Since these pants (size 6 months) required 2 balls of Vintage Baby, I chose to buy one skein of Vintage DK. The yarn is nice to work with, soft and machine washable and dryable. I love the folded ribbing at the waist and the ankles and the extra room at the butt where the diaper bulk will be. Now I need to make two sweaters before the babies arrive! I’ve got one planned and need to find the second pattern. I have ideas!

Mermaid Cocoon Photo Prop by Angie Hartley

So, this is a special gift for a special baby. The mother of this little girl-to-be was a HUGE fan of Ariel (The Little Mermaid) when she was a little girl and I think this will be a fun gift for her baby-to-be at her baby shower later this month. When I first saw this, I filed it in the back of my mind because I thought it was really cute in the sparkly yarn and it was so appropriate for the mother! The yarn is Plymouth Encore Starz in a teal-y blue with sparkle. I’ve also knitted a simple garter stitch headband to go with it. I’d love to make some braids with an orange yarn and attach them. I hope I’ll have time. Add a fork and it’ll be a hilarious photo prop for a newborn.

I have quite a pile of baby clothes now. I love babies and I’m so excited about these little ones. I hope that I’ll have lots of time to hold them and love them and I know that I’ll be knitting for them. I also have to get back to my Elton cardigan. I only have two sleeves to knit … and the button bands … and then it’ll be done. I hope that it’s a good fit and that I can find a dress to go with it – we are heading to Washington, DC in December for my bonus daughter’s wedding and I am thinking that I can use it for that event … maybe with some sparkly buttons? I also have to focus on the Arne & Carlos Advent jumpers. I have exactly half of them knitted … maybe I’ll give myself some grace and another year to complete the set. If I really concentrated on them, I could get them done in a couple of weeks. Time will tell.

I have another project that I will write about in a separate post when I get it finished. It’s a big one and a true labor of love … all over again.

Gone knitting.

Ice Out and Critters Return – Welcome Spring!

The Critter

As soon as the ice goes out (this year it happened on April 6th) the water birds and critters return to the lake. It’s miraculous, really, that they know when it’s safe to come back out on the lake. This year we heard reports from the northern end of the lake that the loons had returned while our section of the lake was still covered by ice. BUT as soon as the ice was gone, the loons were calling from the cove. There’s nothing quite like living so close to nature. We are so grateful to be able to witness the seasonal changes, to watch the sun change its position in the sky, and to know that there are more miracles coming soon when the babies are back with their parents. It won’t be long.

Since the ice went out, we’ve seen all the weather. Beautiful blue bird skies, thick fog and days of rain. Fortunately, it seems that mud season was relatively short this year and early. I had some white knuckle trips down our road and I may have let a few four-letter words escape my lips while hoping that my car wouldn’t get stuck in the mud.

I’ve been knitting like a mad woman. I seem to want to cast on all the new projects and I am trying to stay focused on finishing some, too.

Grandma’s Favorite

I’ve got a full basket of cotton yarns that I’ve collected over the years. I am trying to knit down the stash and one of my favorite projects is dishcloths/washcloths that I’ll pop into my gift drawer and pull out as needed. These two are from deeply stashed yarn from a big box store and they’re obviously seasonal. We use them here at home and the kids like them, too. They’re great stocking stuffers or as a gift with a special bar of soap. The pattern is so simple and easy to remember which makes these dishcloths good TV knitting.

Arne & Carlos Advent Jumpers

I’m almost half-way through the collection of Advent jumpers from Arne and Carlos. I love knitting these little sweaters and they knit up so quickly. I’m using Patagonia Organic Merino yarn from Juniper Moon Farm and, I have to say, this is my favorite yarn right now. I’ve made my Humlebi Shawl in it and I’ve got the charcoal gray colorway set aside to make an Emsworth vest. Number 12 will likely be finished by the end of the day today. I like to spend Sunday knitting for fun. I also like to bake and I’ve eaten all of my granola and my baked oatmeal.

Patsy’s Traveling Sweater

The body of my Traveling Sweater is nearly done (it may, actually be done but I have to measure it again to make sure.) This has been a fun knit. Patsy is a customer who has come into the store a bunch of times to purchase Plymouth Gina yarn for the sweaters that she makes. She has a Facebook page for the sweaters because she’s knitted over 100 of them. I have loved the sweater since I first saw it and have almost bought the yarn once before. When we heard that Plymouth was discontinuing the yarn, I put aside what colors we had in the shop and the boss ordered bags of each remaining color. When they came in, I bought the yarn and cast on my sweater.

The pattern is a Knitting Plain and Simple pattern #9724, Neck Down Pullover for Women. These patterns are simple beginner patterns and are knit top down in the round with minimal seaming. The sizing is somewhat size-inclusive but they certainly could be expanded. It would be wonderful if they added full stitch counts, too. But I recommend these patterns often for customers and students knitting their first garments. I’ve chosen 10 colorways of the Gina yarn and have randomly pulled them out of the bag to knit next. I have simple knitted the whole ball and then spit-spliced the next ball and kept knitting. I had a bit of a challenge making gauge but I decided that I would use the recommended needles and knit the size larger so that it would fit comfortably. I’m thinking that I may use a folded hem rather than a rolled hem but I haven’t decided yet. I suppose I can knit the rolled hem and then sew it up if I change my mind.

I’ve got to buy one more ball of Gina so that my sleeves, at least at the shoulders, match as closely as possible to the body of the sweater. After that, random is fine.

Spring has sprung!

Gone knitting.