It’s been a “Timespan”

This has been a crazy busy timespan … since I am lazy enough to not go back and see when I last posted, I’m using that word to indicate that it’s been a while since I have last written something here.

Life has taken on a life of its own and I am feeling the pressure of fall and shorter darker days and the impending holidays that always add pressure. Maybe one of these days I’ll learn to say “no” more often but for now, I am keeping my promises and working hard to stop every so often so that I don’t fall apart. Spending part of every day with yarn in my hands certainly helps. It also helps me to see that I am making progress both in my knitting projects and in work and volunteer areas of my life. My husband and I even had a date night and went to see a movie – neither one of us “liked” it but we went out. Together! A first since the pandemic began.

Socktober Socks

I started a thing at the store that isn’t original and not close to being my idea. Socktober. I found an article somewhere on the Internet about it and did a bit of research and then added it to my work newsletter that I write each Sunday morning. The Yardgoods Center – Yarn department – donated 16 pairs of hand knitted socks to the Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter. I knit the pair above and also included a pair of baby pink hand knit socks, two pairs of store-bought socks that have been in my gift drawer (doesn’t everyone have one of these?) and the wonderful customers at YGC brought in the rest. I think it’s a wonderful gift to those who are less fortunate and I hope the socks will keeps some feet warm this winter.

Pattern: Yankee Knitter Socks for the Family, Yarn: Regia 8 Fadig. Check my Ravelry project page for more details on this project and all of the others I talk about. I’m LindaR on Ravelry.

I have a bunch of projects on the needles and a few that I feel like I need to get to or need to finish.

Neck-Down Pullover for Men

I have finally made some real progress on my husband’s Christmas sweater. I gave him the yarn for said sweater last year at Christmas and it looks as if I will have it finished by Christmas this year. I’m knitting him the Knitting Pure and Simple Men’s Pullover in Cascade 220 yarn in a heathery-gray colorway. I don’t recall ever knitting with Cascade 220 yarn and I really like the hand of this 100% wool yarn. It’s not scratchy at all.

Pattern: #991 Neck-Down Pullover for Men, Yarn: Cascade 220 (100% wool).

Evergreen Socks

I finished my “Christmas Tree” socks that I’ve been wanting to knit for ages. I’m trying to keep up with a pair of socks a month (2021 Sock of the Month Challenge) and I may have fallen off the wagon just a bit but I think I am back on. This pattern is on Ravelry and I used deeply stashed yarn by the Buffalo Wool Company. Back when I was being paid to work full time (as compared to now when I’m working part-time and volunteering part-time) I joined a yarn club with BWC. I got to know the owner because we had a couple of shipping snaffus … mostly because we were in Maine for a couple of months and then Florida the balance of the time and yarn went to one place when we were in another and never the twain should meet. Ron was an absolute wonder to work with and when I “tripped” over him at an outside holiday art/craft festival in Washington, DC one year, it was really fun to be able to meet in person. (And of course he remembered me as the shipping problem. LOL)

Pattern: Evergreen Socks, Yarn: Buffalo Wool Company Tracks Sock

Arne & Carlos 2021 Advent Calendar

I’ve begun working on Arne and Carlos’ 2021 Advent Calendar patterns. I adore these little “jumpers” so much and they’re fun to knit and very satisfying to finish in a day or two. I’ve finished the first two jumpers and have finished knitting the third but still need to weave in ends and steam block it. I don’t imagine that I’ll finish these before Christmas is over but I will get them done (probably before I finish the Christmas balls from 2020) because I really want to have them displayed in the house. It takes me about four hours to knit one of these and another half an hour to do the finishing. Each one is unique and there is a collection of Christmas balls to match … I won’t be buying that pattern … yet.

Pattern: Arne and Carlos 2021 Advent calendar mini-jumpers is available for purchase on their website, yarn: Patagonia Organic Merino by Juniper Moon Farm.

I have been crocheting snowflakes for the store window display using free patterns off the internet and scraps of yarn on hand. I have to get the glue out and dilute it to “starch” them so that they’ll hang straight. I’ve also been crocheting a set of Yip Yips that will be a gift. I’ll stop talking about them here and will write about them after they’re delivered. Another gift is a pair of socks that are on my needles currently. It’s a pair of “vanilla” socks in a colorful colorway and I’ll write more about them later, too. Suffice it to say that I am almost done with the first sock. I’ve got a way to go to get them completed.

My FEZA baby blanket is nearly finished. I’ve reached the finishing point of the fourth color. Since this isn’t promised to anybody (I started it as a project to work on when I am teaching classes or sitting in a Zoom meeting) it is sitting alone in the bottom of my knitting bag. I’ll get it finished one of these days. My Fine Sand Cardigan is in the same place. I won’t likely wear it until spring. That gives me the winter to get it finished. I really need to get it finished THIS winter, though.

With any luck, the next time I write here, there will be more than one finished item. Perhaps a sweater and a blanket by the end of the year? I’m keeping track this year of how many projects I complete … so far it’s up to around 50. Can I reach 60? Time will tell … that work thing keeps getting in the way of my knitting time.

Gone knitting!

FO – Frosty the Snowman Christmas Stocking

I have finished and mailed off another family heirloom for a customer and friend. This stocking is the second one that I’ve knitted for her. The coolest part of the whole story is that her mother, now deceased, designed these stocking patterns for a very well-known stocking pattern company. Her mom had knitted stockings for the whole family and they’re trying to keep the tradition alive by knitting her mother’s patterns for new additions to the family. Cool, right?

The Frosty the Snowman stocking is relatively simple Intarsia knitting. A top hat wearing snowman who is holding a striped candy cane. My friend asked that I use angora as the pattern requires. With little bits of green for his scarf and mittens, black for buttons and hat, the most clever and my favorite piece of the design is the way she designed the candy cane – with white stripes on the red fabric and red stripes on the white. Sooo clever and it works so well!

What I don’t like about the Intarsia technique is weaving in the ends. The front looks so clean and clear but the back is bedlam! Each color across a row requires a different length of yarn and that means there are lots of bits of yarn dangling from the back. Every one needs to be woven into the reverse side of the stocking without being visible on the front. I also add the name in duplicate stitch on the front and then seam up the back and add a braided length of yarn to hang the stocking. Lots of work!

I was very happy with this stocking and I hope she is, too. I wish that their family has a very merry Christmas this year and every one after.

Gone knitting!

My Favorite Time of Day

This is my favorite time of the day. The time when the sun is beginning to set and the opposite side of the lake gets lit up. My photos don’t begin to show you what it actually looks like. Trust me, it’s spectacular.

We have had a lovely day. We got our bedroom cleaned up, the bed changed, the (disgusting) side windows and screens washed, and the laundry done. My sweet hubby cleaned out the “curiosity cabinet” in the stairway. It needed it so badly.

I got a load of sheets and towels washed and dried and folded and put away (it doesn’t always happen, yay, me!) I made a batch of granola and a batch of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. I also made progress on my knitting.

Yesterday I tried something new. It didn’t work. The Intarsia Christmas stocking that I’m working on for a customer friend calls for angora. I’ve always held the angora yarn together with a worsted weight wool. The angora claims to be a worsted weight and “should” be ok to knit alone. Well, no.

So, today I frogged it back to the start of the angora in the pattern and re-knit. It’s much better now and I’ll be happy to knit on to the end of the Intarsia part and down to the toe. I’ll need to weave in the hundreds of millions of ends and embroider a smile and eyebrows (seriously, eyebrows?), duplicate stitch a name and off it’ll go to New York City.

I may get there tomorrow. Definitely, the knitting will be finished by the end of this week. I’m working to be finished in time to mail it before the end of October. Way in advance of Christmas!

FOs to come.

Gone knitting.

Another Wonderful Weekend

Last weekend we traveled out of the state of Maine for the second weekend in a row. This time we headed for Marblehead, Massachusetts and a reunion with two of my brothers and their families. (Most of them, at least.)

It was so good to hug our family!!!

Marblehead Window Box

I can’t say that I’ve gotten a whole lot of knitting done. My Daytripper is still languishing on the ottoman in my studio. It needs to have the steek fastened down on the back and I need to find some wonderful buttons. I’m going to buy some ribbon at work on Thursday for the steek cover. Buttons will probably happen on Saturday. Or early next week. It’s getting a bit close to too warm for wearing this sweater.

I started and finished the knitting on a gift for my Louisiana brother’s birthday. I can’t write about them until after they’re gifted. I’m sending the gift on to Louisiana for their last bath. More on this later. This photo is the best I can do to show you what it is … and I don’t think you’ll “get it.”

Secret Project … in Cascade 220
Kisses for Rose – Wee Wonder Woman shawl in Sisu yarn

This is our Chocolate Lab, Monk, wearing the Wee Wonder Woman shawl that I knitted for my granddaughter in France. I couldn’t send her one in red and gold. I actually bought red and gold yarn and then returned it because I needed to send her a pink one. This pink and white wool worked out perfectly. I was thrilled and I think my Rose was too. Monk is Rose’s favorite and Monk loves her. I like to think that he was sending her a big wet kiss.

A Single Sock in Patons Kroy

I have begun another knitted gift. Socks are such a great project. I love knitting socks and these are turning out really well. I like Paton’s Kroy. This is Yankee Knitter’s sock pattern. It’s my favorite pattern that I almost always go to when I knit socks. These are for a child and the slightly heavier fingering weight yarn will make these a little heavier than normal and slightly less heavy than boot socks.

Two weekends of late nights and food and adult beverages has me tired and with a full heart. I love my family so much and I hope we can get together again soon. I hadn’t really been able to spend time with them since my niece’s 30th birthday and she’ll be 32 in October (and married in November!) There is so much to be grateful for.

And then we came home to this … flowers budding and that beautiful big pool we live next to!

Gone knitting.

Hot off the Needles

Well, I’ve gone and done it! I’ve actually got some finished projects!

First, I started and finished an adorable layette for a customer. At the suggestion of a co-worker, I chose a sweet garter stitch cardigan and bonnet and then found an adorable pair of baby booties that match perfectly! I hope that our customer loves the outfit as much as I do. I used Universal Yarns “Adore” DK weight yarn (two skeins with a lot of left-overs!) I love the peachy-pink color which is not quite a baby pink and not quite a peach. I think the lacy leaves pattern is wonderful around the neckline and it’s also on the back of the little bonnet. I found the perfect buttons for the cardigan before I knew I would need any for the shoes. Lucky for me, I’d already bought the package which contained 5 buttons. The perfect number with none left over!

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The shoes may be my favorite part! They were a simple knit and they’re so stinking cute!

IMG_7867I have also finished a cowl that I wanted to try. This was a free pattern at our shop that used a Galway worsted wool and a Gina, both by Plymouth Yarns. I had a charcoal gray Cascade 220 Worsted in my stash and a skein of Gina left over from my favorite mittens ever. I hadn’t ever “really” knitted anything in Brioche stitch so this was a learning experience which was more enjoyable than I thought it would be. If you know how to knit and purl, try Brioche! Another of my co-workers knitted the same pattern for a store sample and hers came out similar but stretched a LOT more than mine did when blocked. She used a different main color yarn that had some silk in it – and hers is significantly less scratchy than my wool one. But I learned something. By the way, I didn’t make mine like the pattern directed. I used less than one skein of Cascade 220 and one skein only of the Gina … I am not sure I’m going to love it and wear it.

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I also finished another commission for a returning customer. She wanted a bulky/chunky lacy slouch hat/tam exactly like I have made for her before and a cowl to match. The hat pattern is a free pattern from Revelry called Quick Lacy Slouch Hat. The cowl pattern that she found is in a little Leisure Arts book and it’s called Berry Twist Cowl. Each used one skein of Cascade 128 Superwash yarn. Knitting with large needles and with chunky yarn, these were a relatively quick knit and I got them done in a weekend. I hope our customer is happy with these as she was with the other things that I’ve knitted for her. IMG_7883

I will be looking for “sparkly” buttons for the cowl at work tomorrow and then the set will be ready to go to their new owner!

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With all the finished objects, that leaves a few projects still on the needles …

I still haven’t seamed my Aran Cardigan. (It’s easy to keep putting it off!)

I haven’t finished my wool Vail Island Vest because it’s boring!

I am working on a store sample for Yardgoods Center in a bee-utiful Manos Silky Blend.

I still have that linen top in the project bag – when I frog it, it will truly be “dead” to me.

I started a new felted bag yesterday. I’m using all of the stashed Paton’s wool … well, I’ll use some of it, anyway.

I have one sock of a pair done. Second sock will get cast on this week – I like to take my socks in my purse just in case I find some knitting time.

My KAL shawl is in process … middle of clue 3, if memory serves!

So, there you have it. I think. Three projects finished and seven on the needles. I wish I didn’t need to sleep! You can find more information on any of these projects by visiting “lindar” on Ravelry.

Gone knitting!

Hat for Haley … a Chemo Princess

Princess Hat

Princess Hat

I had a message from a friend in Ohio requesting a chemo hat to be made for a friend’s three year old daughter who has cancer. As I’ve said before, maybe not here in the blog, the words cancer and child should never be seen in the same sentence.

When a special friend asks and because my three children are healthy, I agreed to put aside my personal knitting and make a gift for a little girl who faces some yucky days. I needed to know her name and her favorite color. I had some fun purple (Haley’s favorite color) yarn in my stash and I went over to Ravelry to look for patterns.

I was originally thinking about a striped hat that I’ve made before. It’s a great hat. I’ve made a couple of them to donate for fund-raisers or whatever. Although, this old girl forgot, it seems, to take any photographs of them. Oops!

Anyway, I was looking around and found a lot of cute hats … and then I found THE hat.

I knew it was perfect (and I had just put aside some sparkly gold specialty yarn that I have had for ages to see if someone in my knitting group wanted to use it.) So, I pulled out the gold yarn and my stashed purple Cascade 220 and I got started.

The hat is called “Princess Crown” and can be found, free, on Ravelry. It’s one of many adorable patterns in Allison Stewart-Guinee’s Fairytale Knits book. And it was just perfect. I knew it in my heart immediately. What little girl doesn’t love to wear a crown?

Purple is Haley's favorite color … and this is more like the actual color of her Princess Hat

Purple is Haley’s favorite color … and this is more like the actual color of her Princess Hat

The hat knitted up very easily and has just a touch of lacey-ness in the body of the hat which carries down the hat making it look as if it’s a real crown. The golden crown part is knit up separately on circular needles and then stitched together with the hat. Once together, the band is knit and it even has a pretty picot edge stitched right in.

Because the format on the Amazon site is supposed to be laid out as a book, it can be a little bit confusing to follow. Just beware! I did get lost at one point and had to frog and re-knit a couple of rows. If you can follow the format of the pattern, though, the pattern is clearly written and simple to knit. It looks like you’re an expert, too!

Wet blocking so the hat has some shape!

Wet blocking so the hat has some shape!

I have wet blocked the hat and used a large handful of plastic grocery bags as a form to have the purple “hat” part block out. I can’t wait for it to dry so I can get it into the mail! I hope Haley is going to love it and that it brings her smiles on the crummy days when she doesn’t feel well. There’s lots of love in that little hat and it’s all heading to Ohio and Haley!

Gone Knitting.

Still Learning!

I may be creeping toward “old” but I am still learning every day. The lesson that I am learning right now is self-care. I’ve spent the majority of my life taking care of others; my children, my (now ex-) husband, my work, the kids at school, my dogs. You get the drift. I know that the old airplane adage is true. You have to put your own oxygen mask on before you help others… I’ve just never been very good at it. Today, my body has given me no choice. I have to stop and take care of myself.

I’ve taken myself to two urgent care offices in the last week and am not sure that I won’t be visiting my primary care physician before tomorrow ends. I have way more prescriptions than I’ve ever had on my kitchen counter. And I’m not all better in less than 24 hours. I just keep trying to remember to be patient. I’m really such a lucky girl to be as healthy as I am. Need I add the caveat, “at my age”?

Yup, they're all mine!

Yup, they’re all mine!

So, you ask, what are you doing to take care of yourself today? I am working hard to stay still. I’m working on my test knitting project. This is the first time I’ve done any test knitting and I’m excited and anxious about it. I know I know how to knit and have knitted for other people before. But I’ve never knitted a sample for a new book before. So, I’m learning to be more confident. It’s only a pair of mittens for heaven’s sake! So, that’s my big project today. To take one stitch at a time and get ‘er done! I know I can do it (and I’m excited to be offered the opportunity!) Every new knitting experience that I take on makes me grow as a knitter and as a person, too. I learn more about myself and gain confidence with each new attempt.

My pattern is called “Fannar” and it is being stitched up in Cascade 220 on my US #8 needles. I’ll share more as it is allowed. For now, this project is being kept in the project bag! 🙂

My Cooperative Press Test Knit Project … just starting!

My Cooperative Press Test Knit Project … just starting!

So, for today, I’m managing many more medicines than I am accustomed to and I’m working on a project that is challenging my knitting boundaries … and will expand them without a doubt! I’ve helped to fund an Annie Modesitt book, History on Two Needles Exploring Art History Through Modern Hand Knits and now I’m knitting samples for Shannon Okey’s new book, Frozen: Aurora Borealis Mittens, due out “soon”.

Gone knitting!

Ready-to-Felt

Ready for Felting

Ready for Felting

Along the same lines as “ready to wear” or, en Francais, “prêt à porter”, I have a ready to felt project!

I’ve finished the pair of scuffs to be felted for N. I chose a multicolored colorway in Cascade 220 and as the yarn is knit doubled, it’s a quick knit. The felting will wait until I get back to Florida because lake water in Maine is never warm enough for felting wool! And I’m not going to do the early settler thing and heat the water!

Gone knitting!