WIP … 1, 2, 3, … No Yarn, No Fabric

In my knitting bag

Today I was up in my atelier after doing all of my day off list of activities when I decided to see what I’ve got in my knitting bag. I tend toward throwing whatever I want to have at work into the bag and taking it with me. Sometimes it just needs to be cleaned out. Today I discovered five projects, WIPs, in my knitting bag. All in process … some further ahead than others.

First, my husband’s sweater. I’m really working hard to knit up some of the projects already in my stash. If fact, I have a new mantra … No Yarn! No Fabric! I repeated it over and over again when my two friends at work and I went on the Maine Yarn Cruise. Anyway … I’m knitting my husband a Knitting Pure and Simple sweater in Ella Rae Classic Wool. I love these patterns because they are time-tested. The pattern is Knitting Pure and Simple #255 Henley Neck Down Pullover for Men. The yarn is Ella Rae Classic Wool in color 125.

And then there is the beautiful lace scarf that I am knitting for my herbalist friend. She needs a gift for a friend and she didn’t have the time (or the inclination) to knit a scarf. I love the Manos Alegria yarn. It’s very soft and not splitty. The color for this project is absolutely amazing. The pattern is pretty but it’s actually boring to knit. A four-row lace pattern repeated one hundred twenty times … or more. Pattern: The Sage Smudging Scarf, free on Ravelry. Yarn is Alegria by Manos del Uruguay in the Turmeric colorway.

For Christmas this year, my husband gave me some lovely wool yarn. And then he told me that it was for him – he wanted me to knit socks for him. Perhaps he should have put the yarn in HIS stocking?! This yarn is what I would call a heavy worsted and it’s working up really well but it’s a bit hard on my hands! He’ll love these socks in the winter. One sock is finished and the second sock is begun but I have put this one aside until I get a couple of projects finished that are “due” sooner. The yarn is Briggs and Little Tuffy in the Granite colorway. The pattern is Classic Socks for the Family by Yankee Knitter.

I’m knitting a pair of mittens as a sample for my Messalonskee Adult Ed class that begins in a couple of weeks. We will knit a pair of mittens and then embellish them with embroidery. I’m knitting with Ella Rae Classic Wool … they’ll be pretty mittens and they’ll also be very pretty. The plan is to embroider a bee on one mitten and maybe some flowers on the other. Maybe two bees! The pattern is Classic Mittens and Gloves for the Entire Family (this is a must-have pattern, by the way!). The yarn is Ella Rae Classic Wool in colorway 177.

A couple of weeks ago I saw the cutest crocheted hat on Facebook. It was made with a rafia “yarn” that I quickly found online and ordered. Oops? I had a bit of a challenge with the very start of the hat but with a couple of tries, I was successful and was going around and around! I’m making progress. I thought I’d have it done by Friday, but I remembered the scarf was promised in September. The hat probably won’t be worn until spring. The yarn is called Ra Ra Rafia by Wool and the Gang. The pattern is the Devon Hat (it’s free on Ravelry!)

I have two Christmas stockings, one Delores, a pair of socks, and several other projects on my atelier shelf. The stockings have got to be done by November! They’re the next two projects that have to rise to the top of the list! I have the yarn and patterns chosen for five more sweaters for me, too!

I haven’t sewn for a year but I have the fabric for two twin size quilts for the guest bedroom on the third floor, a tree quilt and a few other projects.

No yarn! No fabric!

Gone knitting!

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!

Sunset Highway

For years and years, I’ve been knitting and avoiding color work.

Several yearns ago, I made a pair of snowflake mittens and I had caught the bug. I liked the smaller, more manageable projects, though. I admired other’s beautiful sweaters, socks, vests, blankets, etc. but there was no way that I was going to attempt a bigger project, say than a hat!

Well, then my friend and co-worker, Peggy suggested that we both knit Sunset Highway by Caitlin Hunter. Fingering weight yarn and a color work sweater for me?!?! Yeah, maybe not. Or maybe so. We started playing with yarn choices one slow afternoon at the shop and before I knew it, I’d bought some new On the Round yarn because nothing that I had in my stash would work. (Right!?)

Iteration 1 – I started with the smaller needle size, knitted up the ribbing and began the color work with the first choice of yarns. I had chosen a burgundy solid and a tonal “gold” and I didn’t like it. The fabric was too tight (and I thought it would be too small.) So, I put it away in a project bag for a few months and let it sit.

Iteration 2 – I frogged the first iteration because I didn’t like the colors and returned the yarns that I hadn’t used and bought the On the Round yarn in the Eclipse colorway. (Note … my stash has already grown by two skeins!) I was still going to use the gold … until I didn’t like them together and bought a second skein of On the Round in the Always a Bridesmaid colorway. I had a skein of Wicked with most of it left over from a baby gift that I had to make … but I didn’t really love the green at that time so I went back to my stash and found a skein of burgundy-ish that I did like. (Stash addition down to one skein.) Forging ahead! By the time I got past the colorwork chart and on to the main color, I wasn’t loving the Rebel colorway that I had chosen but I forged ahead again. I really love the yarn and although the colorway is busier than I would probably have chosen had I known ahead what it knitted up like, I still like it. Until I hit the second skein which was quite a bit different. Rip back and start over or keep going? I kept going.

Tonight I reached the bottom of the body of the sweater. There is a “line” that I can see where the skeins changed. I wish I had thought to start with the two skeins that were the same and leave the third skein for the sleeves but I didn’t. So, I am going to finish it and I think I will like it. If I don’t, I can always frog is later and start over! 🙂

One of the things I love about knitting is that it is not finite. It’s fluid. It can always be changed – frogged, re-knit, changed. I’ve learned a lot about acceptance from knitting. Accepting those imperfections, even loving them. Learning all the way.

I’m learning. Gone knitting!