Hat, Hat, Spring and the Big Decision

It seems that Spring has finally come to Maine!

I took a walk around the yarn this morning before I headed off to work and the flowers both wild and “domestic” (is that what you call them?) are starting to bloom! I love seeing my yard in full bloom! The rhododendrons were purchased years ago from a big box store and they were teeny tiny and nearly dead. We bought three plants to add some pretty between the guest cottage and the woodshed. One got stepped on during the construction of the new house and didn’t survive. The other two are starting to get bigger. Although they’re nowhere near enough to make a “statement”!

Trillium, Violets and (I think) forget-me-nots. I love seeing them! The Bleeding Heart and Creeping Phlox is just about to bloom, too. It’s simply gorgeous and it makes me very happy!

Happiness makes me think of yarn and knitting! (Duh!)

Winterberry Farm yarn

I’ve been working with my “lady farmer” at Winterberry Farm in Belgrade, Maine. Winterberry Farm is an organic farm and their sheep provide Mary with lovely fleeces that she has spun into yarn. I’m working with Mary to make up some knitting kits with her yarn and some simple yet fun patterns that will let her yarn shine. The first sample I knitted up for her is a hat from Tin Can Knits free patterns called “Barley Light.”

While my photograph isn’t the exact right color, it’s pretty close. I like this simple hat pattern because it lets the beautiful, lanolin-y yarn be the star of the show. A one-skein project. The “corrugation” adds just enough interest to make it interesting.

I’ve also knitted a rainbow-stripe hat for the Yardgoods Center. Joyce, who owns the shop, asked for a ribbed hat in a new yarn (to us). It’s a West Yorkshire Spinners “Colour Lab DK” yarn which is 100% British wool. I love working with this yarn. It’s stretchy and squishy soft. And the colors are fabulous! We have three or four colorways at the shop.

The pattern that I found is on Ravelry and it’s a free pattern by Chandi Agee at Expression Fiber Arts called “Boyfriend Beanie”. A 3×2 rib all the way up to the crown. when the decreases start, it becomes fully knitted. A quick knit and super fun! Since it’s ribbed, it’s stretchy and will fit any adult head.

And my big decision?

Oh, my Sunset Highway.

I’m not ok with the main body color. It’s too busy and it detracts from the beautiful colorwork. So, after discussing my options at knitting class on Friday and with the help of color expert, Marlene (Hi, Marlene!), I’ve decided to frog the body of the sweater and reknit it in a different yarn that isn’t so crazy busy. I’m not saying that I don’t love the MC. I do. But I don’t like it here on this sweater. I think the new yarn will be much better and will let the colorwork be the main attraction. So, that’s the big decision that I have made and tomorrow I will be doing the frogging and starting the body over.

I know I wasn’t settled with it and this is a good choice. I’d rather love the sweater and wear it than let it languish on a shelf in my closet. There are also the two different colorways. Strikes one and two and that’s all I need to inform my choice. I’m frogging the body.

Gone knitting!

Foiled … or Frogged Again!

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One side in process … double strand worsted weight yarn on size 6 US needles!

This summer I started knitting the most wonderful bag. My Friday Knitting teacher had one that I absolutely loved and, of course, I needed one, too! So, I bought the yarn they suggested and started knitting.

The pattern is called the “Just So Bag” by Andrea Babb and calls for Rowan Pure Wool Aran (Superwash). It was suggested to me that we could use Lambs Pride Worsted in its place. I wish I had been thinking about that – because the mohair in the Lambs Pride yarn makes it fuzzy. Duh! (And the worsted is a little bit heavier weight than the aran.)

The first parts to be knitted are knit with double strands of worsted weight wool. On fairly small needles. Hard on your hands! But I got them all done. And they look good!

But the lace ends of the bag (one needs to knit two) … another story all together! Ugh!

The lace end ... 2nd or 3rd attempt!

The lace end … 2nd or 3rd attempt! See the fuzz?

Today I frogged the lace end (I’ve only started one … and started and started again) for the third or fourth time. Ugh! I really need a bigger chart and I really need less fuzzy yarn. When you’re knitting lace (even if it’s worsted weight yarn) it really needs to be smooth so that the stitches are visible. These are somewhat blurred (and I helped by dropping a stitch that I could not recover.) Because of the mohair blended in, it’s very difficult to read my stitches and makes repairing a dropped stitch, or any other mistake (yes, I do make mistakes!) much more complicated than if it were plain wool. (Which is why the pattern calls for wool, BTW, and not a wool blend.)

So, I will start again but not until I have knitted something cute that I want to knit  … something relatively simple. Maybe the cute pair of striped fingerless mitts that I’ve been seeing. Or the felted slippers (I only bought the pattern ages ago!) Or the little sweater for Faye for Christmas. Or the headband for Libet. So many choices that I may have to just go have an adult beverage and a swim and call it a day! Tomorrow is Monday after all and I am back to work! This job has sure cut into my knitting time! 🙂

Gone …. well, maybe I’ll be knitting.

Second Iteration?

So, you’ve seen the Malabrigo Rasta cowl that I knitted (in a simple seed stitch and in a lousy photograph) a few posts ago.

Poor color (not accurate) and not a great look!

Well, I decided to redesign it … which meant frogging it and then re-knitting.

I totally love the yarn and want to work with it but it’s just not working with me … or for me! I’ve knitted three really long 5-stitch I-cords and braided them together and this is what it looks like now!

(photo coming soon!)

I’m still not sure I’m in love with this and probably will frog it, too! I really want to use this yarn for something that I love love love … something that I will wear or carry or otherwise use on a regular basis! For now, it’s going to sit on the needles and we’ll see where it takes me!

Knitting is a lot like life – you never know where you’re going to end up. One day you may be very productive and other days, never get out of your own way. It’s learning to recognize each day for the value that it adds  and accepting every one as it is. Judge me not, I don’t get a ton accomplished every day but over the course of time, it all balances out and I’m proud of where I am today.

Gone knitting!

 

Frustration Point

I have hit my frustration point.

Two projects are getting the better of me and (fortunately or unfortunately) I’m so stubborn that I keep frogging and starting again. I bought some Noro sock yarn and got a free pattern up in Maine last summer. The sample shawl that was in the store was so cute! As I got going with the pattern, nothing was right. I didn’t like my needles (old plastic ones) and I didn’t like the yarn (too sticky, but could have been the needles) and didn’t like the pattern (reverse stockinette stitch, you’ve got to be kidding!) I’ve frogged it now twice and have started it the third time with the same needles, yarn and pattern and maybe this time I’ve got it right. We’ll see!

And then I’m having a problem with re-knitting the Senorita Lolita sweater. I started it twice with some beautiful alpaca yarn that I bought at an alpaca farm visit. My Tuesday night knitting group went on a field trip to Southern Oaks Alpacas (Here’s a link to their Web site!) The first iteration was not working the way I wanted it to because I wanted to make a couple of simple changes. So, I frogged it and restarted it and frogged it again. After a couple of days, I decided to use some old pink sock yarn to mess with the pattern changes. So far (despite the fact that I can’t count!) it’s going better and I’ve made it up to the legs part … and we’ll see how the next section knits up! I so love the first iteration of the Senorita Lolita sweater and I really want to be happy with the second one – and I’ll never design another garment without taking copious notes and writing it down!

I’ve decided this frustration must have something to do with the alignment of the moon and the stars … or maybe it’s simply the crummy needles. I guess I have to do some more shopping!