Pure and Simple Start to April!

IMG_2638I’ve made it through the winter without any illnesses and as soon as spring pops onto the calendar, BOOM! For the last couple of days I’ve been pumping EmergenC and AirBorne and vitamins with my Wellness Formula. My sweet husband has taken good care of me, I drank a lot of tea, and I am feeling better today.

I’ve also been knitting.

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I started a little pullover, #214 Baby Pullover by Knitting Pure and Simple, for a new mom’s little baby girl. (I hope she doesn’t read my blog. I don’t think she does. I don’t want to give the surprise away.) I found the yarn on the shelf at the store when I was making room for some new yarns. (if you didn’t know that I work in a yarn shop, now you do … come visit at Yardgoods Center in Waterville, Maine!)

Sirdar has a chunky yarn called Imagination and it reminded me of a Monet Water Lilies painting. You all know what the Water Lilies paintings look like, right? If you don’t, Google it! They’re magnificent. This yarn is machine washable so easy for a new mom. I never machine dry my hand-knits. Some yarns are dry-able but I’d rather be certain and consistent so I hang/lay flat all my hand-knits. Sweaters I lay flat. Socks I hang over a hanger. This extends their lives and I never shrink any special hand-knits. (NOTE! Some yarn is not washable. If it isn’t super wash or acrylic or mostly acrylic, hand wash! You’ll never be sorry if you take that extra care!)

img_2640.jpgI immediately fell in love with the colors. I have whipped through the body of the sweater in a couple of days. It’s chunky so it knits up quickly. I’m making the 24 months size so that little Julianna can grow into it! Today I’ll get to the sleeves and maybe the collar, too. It’s soft, it’s washable, it’s so pretty! Did I mention that there are no seams?!

I’m also working on a Knitting Pure and Simple cardigan for myself.

IMG_2622I’ve had this beautiful blue/gray colorway of Malabrigo Rios forever. It’s been sitting on a shelf in my atelier for at least a year and maybe more like two. When I opened the bag of this yarn at the shop, I immediately put it aside for myself because I loved it so much. I’m making the 50″ size and my gauge is slightly off (the pattern calls for 4 stitches per inch and I am knitting at 4.375 stitches per inch). This will make my sweater just a bit smaller than the last sweater I made with this pattern. Which will be OK. I may decide to add a few additional increases to be sure it’s not too small. I’ll know when I have the sleeve stitches on a holder and I can try it on! I’ll have all the details on my Ravelry project page. I love, love, love the color and this yarn feels so amazing in your hands as you work with it. This will take me a couple more than a couple days to knit but it’ll knit up pretty quickly and it’s so pretty!!!

IMG_2614I finished the Ma Belle Amie cowl for my aunt and it’s wrapped and on it’s way to Lake Tahoe just in time for spring! I doubt that she’ll get to wear it too many times between now and next fall but what can one do?! I had to knit it and it had to be for her! I love the colors that I chose … they remind me of my aunt and her beautiful red hair (well, it was red when she was younger, it’s “bleached out” as she’s gone around the sun a few times! (Where’s the laughing until you cry emoji when you need it?!) This pattern is very versatile and can be knitted up in any yarn, really. I have one in solid colored wool that I love and this one has a variegated which I love, too. Choose a smaller needle for a tighter fabric or a finer yarn (or heavier yarn). The sky’s the limit!

I also knitted up a little rabbit on Tuesday when I was home sick. Baby Bunnies by Frankie Brown popped up in my Facebook feed one day and when I wasn’t feeling well, I grabbed a few scraps of yarn and knit up a baby bunny. He’s awfully cute! I think there will be an addition of some embroidery (eventually) but for now, I’m enjoying my sweaters so my bunny awaits!

I hope you had a happy Easter and Passover. I wish you peace.

Gone knitting!

Organizing my Patterns

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Pattern Storage (and popcorn ceiling)

Organization is something I love. I don’t like disorder much. So, when my atelier is out of order, I am not as grounded and efficient as I could/can be.

Thank goodness for 3-ring binders. I have, over the years, decided that this is the best way for me to organize my printed patterns (whether purchased or printed from sites) in binders. I have a huge box of sheet protectors that I bought at Costco, too. The patterns are slipped into plastic sheet protectors and then snapped into binders. The binders are getting switched around a bit now, since the pattern supply is growing, but I have seven or eight with labels on the spine. Cowls & Scarves, Kids, Sweaters – Adult, Dogs, Dish Cloths, Socks & Slippers, and then I have the old stand-by with miscellaneous patterns, bags & totes, mittens (the latter will be broken up as soon as I get to Costco again.

My magazines (which I never NEVER throw away) are organized by date and title in magazine files. IKEA has the best files for the most reasonable price. I have green ones in my atelier’s closet. They hold all my magazines together so they don’t get mangled or torn. One day I plan to go through them and mark the patterns that I like well enough to knit but it hasn’t happened yet.

Lastly, I have my books. They are on a shelf in my atelier. Reference books for knitting are something that I love having around – even just for an hour, I will sometimes pull them off the shelf and look at the pictures or read a few pages. I  have the Barbara Walker treasuries and the Sally Melville books as well as a few others. Then there are the fun ones like Noni Flowers, Knitting Mochimochi, and a few books about Aran knitting (perhaps my favorite.)

All of the classes that I’ve taken also have a binder (or share a binder if there were few hand-outs). My certifications also have a binder. All with my swatches, labeled and in page protectors.

So, there you are! I’d love to hear about how you organize your patterns and books. I know some people prefer to have their patterns in hanging files and I’m sure there are other ways as well. If you’d like to share your ideas and thoughts, I’d love to hear about what you do.

I didn't even talk about my needles!

I didn’t even talk about my needles!

Gone knitting.

Today’s Completed Projects

I wrapped up a couple of projects today and it feels good to get things finished. No pressure, for sure, but good to finish none the less. Here’s my story about one – or at least it’s a partial story!

I’ve made a twelve inch square for a group gift that my group will be assembling for a special member. I’ll explain more after it’s been presented but here is my square …

"The Candle Tree"

I didn’t want to do just a plain square. Tried a couple of stitches that I was unfamiliar with and then found this one in one of my stitch books – Barbara G. Walker’s A Treasury of Knitting Patterns (if you want to buy a book of stitches, this is one of the ones to buy. Clear concise directions and a ton of different patterns. The only “problem” is that there are more than one treasury … so start your library!)

The pattern (on p. 290) is called “The Candle Tree” and it’s a panel of 35 stitches. I liked the idea of the candles as a memorial – I’ve explained my love of the Jewish tradition of Yarzeit candles before in my blog and that’s part of why I love the pattern. The tree is a symbol of family (think “family tree”) and strength (think “mighty oak”) and perhaps also a bit of the natural circle of life. and the tree as a symbol of family and strength. When I can tell you more about the gift that we’re giving, you’ll understand why this patch or square is significant!

I didn’t get the tree perfectly centered but it’s now blocked and ready to go to the assembly team (of one?) I am excited to see the end result – and if I do say so myself, it’s a really thoughtful gift – and see how its recipient likes it. I think she’ll be very touched.

I also did some baking today. Needed to attach my feet to the ground. I love this recipe which I found on the Internet … Levain Bakery’s Oatmeal Scones. I have been making this recipe for quite some time and my brother once said they were the best scones he’d ever eaten. I use a gluten-free flour and craisins in lieu of all-purpose flour and raisins. Today I even threw a few currants in because I didn’t have quite enough craisins. They are so delicious. You really should try them! And it’s easy to make scones – I mixed all the ingredients together and then added the diced butter and mix it all together with my hands until crumbly and then add the milk/cream/buttermilk and quickly mix it together with my mixer. Rather than mess up my counter, I use an ice cream scoop and have perfectly shaped, similarly sized scones that freeze really well … and we can warm up one or two each morning! I love Turbinado Sugar as a sweet and crunchy sprinkle on top! You could also make a little “frosting” with confectioners sugar and milk or orange juice and drizzle on top. Try it out!

Gone knitting (well, walking first and then knitting!)