Wait, What? Two Posts in One Week?

Sunrise this Morning

Yup, it’s true. Two posts in a week’s time … astounding. But I was so excited yesterday when I needed to join the front and back of my Emsworth vest!

This vest is constructed brilliantly, as all of Isabell’s patterns are. You begin with the back and knit each of the shoulders and then work to put them together and begin the lace pattern in the middle of the two sides. Once complete (basically) to the under arm, you put the back on stitch holders and make the front in a similar manner. Once the front is to the under arm, you cast on a bunch of stitches for the sides and you pray that your lace pattern is in the same place on the front and the back.

MINE WAS!!! Yippee!!!

BUT, I swore that I had marked down what row I had ended with on the back of my vest. Nowhere on my pattern (I have the Knit Companion app and I can write on the digital file right on my iPad) could I find the notation. And then, after searching and searching my pattern, I remembered that I started this project with a paper pattern that I had thrown away when I changed over to the Knit Companion pattern … and I neglected to transfer that important bit of information. Luckily, though, I know how to read my stitches. So I compared my stitches to my pattern and found that I had ended on row 14 and … my vest front was, too!

Emsworth by Isabell Kraemer

It was a thrilling moment for sure. Who knew that you could get so excited sitting all by yourself in a room! Hahaha.

Gone knitting.

Summing Up Another Busy Week

Sunrise a week ago today …

It’s been a pretty dreary week on the lake. We haven’t seen a lot of the sun so the sunrise that we did see was even more appreciated. This one was taken by my husband while I was sleeping. The lake has finally frozen over and despite the almost 50 degree day, we still have ice. Maybe we will see winter after all.

I’ve had a busy week again. I had a lake association board meeting to run on Wednesday evening and I spent the early part of the week preparing for that and sending out the necessary documents to the board members. This was also my week to work on Saturday so I was in the store two days and taught one day, too. I love teaching on Friday … it’s a highlight of my week. My morning class keeps on showing up and challenging themselves. My afternoon class has gotten smaller but they’re a good bunch.

I’ve been working away at my couple of projects. I started and finished another Love & Light by Laura Nelkin for a friend of mine. I completely forgot to take any photographs of it before I wrapped it up and mailed it off. I hope she loves it. She’s been a sweet friend for a long time.

I made a little “doll” for my granddaughter. I have customers who have made these dolls over the years and I’ve always thought they were cute. I chose a couple of my larger balls of left-over fingering weight yarn from my stash and got to knitting. Knubbelchen by pezi888 is a relatively simple project and so sweet. I hope it’ll be chewed on and loved.

I’m also working away on a pair of black socks for my son. He’s very appreciative of my hand-knit socks. This pair is black alpaca. The yarn is Lang’s Alpaca Sox 4-ply and it’s utterly delightful to knit with and is so soft and squishy. These may be the squishiest socks I’ve ever knitted. I’ve got the first sock completed and the second sock is at the heel turn. My son has huge feet so I’ll be knitting the foot of the sock for two days but they’ll be done well in advance of his birthday.

Have I ever written about the Sock Ruler? I love this tool. It was gifted to me by my sister-in-love who didn’t want to knit socks and, at first, I thought this was a goofy item and that I’d never use it. Boy, was I wrong. I love the sock ruler and it’s an amazing way to measure the length of the foot in particular. The rounded end fits perfectly in the heel and you work the foot until it’s 2 inches (or whatever your pattern directs) less than the length of the foot. In my son’s case, that’s 9 1/2 inches of foot and then the toe decreases. The Sock Ruler is available in an adult size and a baby and infant size, too. I have bought the baby and child Sock Rulers and I’ll be sure to use them when Sylvie gets bigger but I use the adult one every single time I knit socks. I love it! (And I really love my son because these socks are black.)

The Sock Ruler in my son’s black socks.

I’m working right along on my Emsworth by Isabell Kraemer, too. It’s a little bit slow-moving because I have to be able to pay attention when I’m knitting this vest. The lace work is simple enough but when I am in a group and talking, I tend to forget to move markers and counters and all the tools that you need to keep track of where you are. I can share with you that I have picked up the front shoulders, connected the neck and am working my way down through the increases at the side of the underarms. It’s quite a fun knit and the charcoal gray, while a little bit difficult to see the stitches, is a great color for my wardrobe. I look forward to getting this finished, blocked and wearing it!

Emsworth

I wound a couple of hanks of stashed yarn into cakes this afternoon for a new shawl project. One of my former co-workers came into the store last week with a shawl/scarf on that I really liked and I knew I had the same yarn in my stash. I have to pattern and am ready to cast on and play with some blending of the two yarns. More on that when I get started.

This afternoon, after I finished the store’s weekly newsletter, we went on a most excellent shopping adventure to Portland, Maine. We’ve been talking about finding me a good knitting chair for ages. I thought I wanted a sleeper sofa or a chair but it had to be comfortable for a knitter which means a straight back and a relatively shallow seat and, most important of all, low or no arm rests. I’m so excited to report that we’ve ordered my chair and it’ll be delivered in March or April and I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone on this one! Wait until you see it.

I’ll end on the volunteer front where I started and let you know that our administrative coordinator is leaving us and we (I?) will be getting back all of her files and jobs and the office phone early next week. I’ve decided to close the “office” for a couple of weeks to give myself some time to recharge. It’s been a lot of work. My board meeting was successful in that there are several board members who have stepped up to get a few tasks accomplished and we will be forming a governance committee group to find the new slate of officers to take over in the late summer. And we will also be forming a committee to figure out how to better organize the lake association so that we can close down for a while in the winter and how we can better plan the season so that the board does less of the work and there are consistent tasks for the staff. I’m eager to see where this leads. We are on the precipice of requiring a part-time executive director to oversee the business of the organization.

The other organization whose board I sit on is the Maine Arts Academy. We’ve had a busy fall/winter, too! We are so excited, though, because we’ve bought our own building and we’re moving the school to Augusta, Maine pretty soon. Our current campus has gotten way too small and we have the demand from students and this year we had to turn some away. (And we hate to do that!) I’m extra proud of this group of dedicated teachers, administrators and board members. They’re among some of the most wonderful people I’ve had the occasion to work with. I look forward to being in our own building and seeing where the school goes. I’m sure it’s going to be a bright future for MeAA!

Sunset this afternoon … pink skies and snow in the forecast. I’m crossing my fingers (and toes!)

Gone knitting.

BEE-utiful!

Just Before Dawn

We woke up just before the sun rose this morning to this. How lucky are we to live here? It was a gorgeous day today. I ran into work to buy a pair of knitting needles because I need a US 10.5 sixteen inch for the sleeves of my Daytripper Cardigan … and I didn’t have one. All the sets and single needles that I own and I didn’t have a US 10.5 16″ needle! Good grief.

I got my car washed and then headed back home to enjoy the day.I made my famous granola and while I was in the kitchen, I decided to make some brownies for my sweet hard-working husband – with extra nuts and some granola for me. Cleaned up the kitchen after making a big mess and then went outside to knit in the sunshine.

I cast on a new project today. One that I have had in the lineup for long enough that it’s now a late birthday gift. I’m not going to share a lot of detail but it’s a special shawl/scarf for a special person. The original is iknit in bright primary colors but I chose to make it in a softer color combination. I hope it works. Today I got the first two sections finished (it’s a wee shawl) and started the third section. I’ve still got a way to go but it’s enjoyable for sure.

Wee Secret Project

This evening I got the sleeve on my Daytripper cardigan started. This was the reason that I needed the new needle. (And I’m sure I’ll find my 16″ US 10.5 now that I’ve bought a second. This happens all the time. I have several doubles of needles that I thought I didn’t own. Ha! Joke’s on me. Anyway … I got a few repeats of the decrease row done and that feels good. If I could focus on one project at a time, this sweater would probably be done. At the rate I’m going, it’ll be ready to wear in the fall.

Sleeve Island on my Daytripper

I got two of the three tams finished for a customer. One is black and the other is a forest green. Both are knitted up in Berroco Ultra Wool Bulky (100% superwash wool). These hats nearly knit themselves and I think this customer has had me knit ten of them so I almost know the pattern by heart. The pattern is called Quick Lacy Slouch Hat and it’s a free pattern on Ravelry. Knit on a US 10 16″ circular needle. Once blocked, these babies change their entire attitude. I have one more in Malabrigo Chunky and the order will be complete.

I’ve made progress on my Evolve cowl, too. This has been such a sweet surprise. I hadn’t expected to like the cowl or the yarn but both are proving me wrong. Don’t judge a book, right? The lace pattern is simple enough to not require too much concentration and the yarn is really pretty and feels so good! I’m looking forward to the blocking in the round tutorial, too. (Another piece will be finished just in time to launder it all and put it away until next fall.)

Gone knitting!

Finished!

I’ve finally finished a couple of things …

So, let’s first talk about the Shape of a Bay. This is a gorgeous shawl that I bought as a kit with some gorgeous Cashmere People yarn at the Medomak Fiber Arts Retreat two years ago. It was my first time going back to the camp where I spent several very happy summer as a child and a teenager and it was my camp splurge. When I started it at camp, I learned fairly quickly that it wasn’t a have an adult beverage and knit this kind of project. It has been languishing in my time out drawer for a long, long time.

Sadly, I ran out of yarn and didn’t get to knit the last six rows or so of the last section but I wasn’t going to try to buy more yarn at this point in time – even though I know that they still have the same colorway, I’m not sure if it’ll match … and for six or seven rows? Yeah. No. I played yarn chicken and lost near the end. Needless to say, I had to frog back a couple of rows … a mere 1046 stitches but who was counting?

The Shape of a Bay shawl by Bristol Ivy in Cashmere People yarn (unblocked)

This shawl is a knitting challenge as I might have assumed knowing Bristol’s mind. I loved the project, though and I enjoyed the brain exercise. Even when I had to frog a few rows because I was an idiot and decided I was too smart to use a lifeline. Note to self and to future knitters of this pattern – lifelines are your friend. Use them! The textures in this shawl are amazing and lots of fun. Bristol is a knitting/knitted stitch genius.

Cashmere People yarn is sold at PortFiber in Portland, Maine and it’s really really special to knit with and it blocks out into a lovely lace shawl. I love working with this yarn. I love the way it feels and the way the stitches just pop out on it. Amazing.

EmPower People Bandana Cowl in Malabrigo Rios

My emPower People cowl is also finished. I made this as a sample to loan to the store (Yardgoods Center where I work) for a time. It’s a quick and simple bandana cowl and it is a free Ravelry pattern. It was a quick knit for me … it took about 3 days of a short amount of knitting. I chose the Rios which is technically a worsted weight yarn and the pattern calls for a DK. I think Rios is a light worsted or a heavy sport which is close to a DK. This cowl is knit on a US 7 needle and I know that the fabric with Rios on a 7 is a good thing so I went ahead and cast on. I really like the heft of the cowl and the fabric. This will be a good neck warmer this fall and winter.

This pattern is from Casapinka and it’s a free pattern. The emPower people project is about getting out the vote. As it says on the pattern page:

emPower people is a purple colored craftivism project aimed at uniting crafters to spark conversation, engagement, and action. Wear it when you vote, grocery shop, march, or knit in your socially isolated bedroom. We would love to see a sea of purple to represent unity so please tell your friends, family, knitting groups, or anyone who can knit, crochet, or sew a simple pattern. Make a bandana and a commitment to vote

If I had more time and fewer projects that I wanted to knit, I’d knit this one again … and maybe add something a bit fancier to one side or add the word “vote” to the bottom. It was a fun, quick knit.

We are “enjoying” a heat wave here at the lake and while it’s lovely outside, I sure don’t love the heat. We moved to Maine to get out of the heat in Florida … I remember returning to work in Florida after being up here for the summer or a part of it and it was dreadfully hot and humid. Even our pool was like bath water! At least the lake is refreshing!

Gone knitting!

More information is available for these projects and others on my Ravelry page. I’m lindar on Ravelry. You can also follow me on Instagram @QueenBeeKnits and on Facebook Queen Bee Knits by Linda Warner.

GRRRR!

When you are knitting lace and there are obvious demarcations between sections, it’s so simple to take a few minutes to put in a safety line … it’s so simple! So, why in the world did I go zipping on by? Laziness is my only excuse.

The Shape of a Bay by Bristol Ivy in Cashmere People Yarns Fingering Weight

So, I’ve been knitting along on my The Shape of A Bay shawl by Bristol Ivy and I’ve been right on the stitch count all along. Until section 7. I learned this 12 rows in when the pattern wasn’t working. I counted my stitches and, if I am counting stitches correctly, I should remain at 523 stitches througout. I had 403. That’s a difference of 120 stitches. Yikes!!! No way to fudge through 120 too few stitches (and I have no idea why that happened.) I had no choice other than to frog back the 12 rows to where section 7 begins and start over and knit more carefully!

A safety line will help. When I get to the 523 spot again, I’ll put in a safety line. A safety line is a long piece of, in my case mint flavored dental floss, thread or yarn that is the same weight of the yarn you’re knitting with or finer. Thread the long piece onto a sewing needle with a blunt tip so as to not pierce the yarn and bring it through the bottom of the stitches on the needle. On the first row after installing the safety line, be careful not to knit the safety line into your pattern. Let the safety line hang out until you are finished or reach another milestone or stitch count that is correct. You can put on in every couple of rows if you want. Or not. The purpose of the safety line is so that, God forbid, you make a mistake and have to frog back (again?!) you can just rip back to the safety line, put your stitches back on your needle and start again. It’s much simpler, especially when knitting a 2-sided lace pattern like mine, than finding all of your stitches, making sure you’ve not dropped any, etc.

As of this afternoon, I’m back to 523 stitches on my needles and I’ll restart section 7.

Humulus by Isabell Kraemer in Ella Rae Classic Wool, sleeve #1

But for the rest of the day, I’m going to work on my Humulus sweater’s sleeve and see if I can get it finished and ready to block. It’s pouring rain and thundering and lighting … I have a very frightened BBD here by my side … so anything that gets wet will likely stay wet for awhile!

Gone knitting!

The Longest Day … in memory of my mother

Just before sunrise on the longest day of the year

The Longest Day (summer solstice and the Alzheimer’s Association fundraising day) was June 20th this year. I participated for the first time as a member of Ann Budd’s team. Ann has been doing this for years (and I’m sorry I didn’t know about it sooner!) One of my co-workers was participating and I thought it was a wonderful way to remember my mother who died from Alzheimer’s in 2008 at the age of 76.

The day started with a wonderful sunrise and coffee on the porch. It quickly got too hot to sit on the front porch in the sun so I moved to location number two, the screened porch.

Location #2 on the longest day where I finished my June socks

My goal for the day, in addition to remembering my mom, was to finish projects or at least work to that end. I finished my June socks first. I had knitted them to the toe so it wasn’t a stretch! This yarn is another One the Round Signature Sock, fingering weight wool and nylon. I love knitting with it and I love wearing it. As you can see, I don’t worry about “matchy-matchy” and there’s a funny spot at the ankle of one and a little less funny spot at the ankle of the other. (Can you see me hunching my shoulders? I really don’t mind; they’re socks.)

Classic Socks for the Family by Yankee Knitter in On the Round Signature Sock

My next project was either my Humulus sweater or my The Shape of a Bay shawl. I chose the shawl because it’s been languishing in time out for nearly two years. I bought this kit at my fiber camp not last summer but the summer before. It’s two skeins of Cashmere People Fingering yarn and the pattern. The yarn is super yummy. I just finished a shawl test knit for Lori Versaci (VersaciKnits) for her pattern Campfire. ( blogged about it here.) This yarn is very special and the colors are so beautiful. Oddly enough, one of the colors in my Campfire shawl is the same color, albeit in a different weight, as my Shape of a Bay shawl. Go figure.

Location #3, inside with a view of my sweet hubby in one of his favorite spots

The Shape of A Bay is by Bristol Ivy. It is a half-pi shape shawl with double sided lace. I have learned that some lace is different than others. Some lace, typically more simple, is knitted with the lace-y stitches on one side only, usually the right side, and knits/purls on the wrong side. This pattern has those lace-y stitches on both sides, right and wrong side. When I am knitting a project that requires lace concentration, I like to do them earlier in the day, post coffee and pre-tired end-of-day eyes and/or cocktails. I love knitting this pattern and working with this yarn. It’s a treat. Two years ago I had worked into the pebbles section. (Lucky for me I had marked my pattern so I knew where I had stopped and I was able to start up without any trouble.) On the Longest Day, I got through the end of the pebbles section and finished most of the first repeat of the ripples section.

The Shape of A Bay by Bristol Ivy

In the photo above, I’m through the pebbles section and starting the ripples. I had a lot of interruptions from the Littles who are getting old and have to be let out frequently … and who don’t always make it outside quite fast enough. I might have gotten further but I am grateful to be home with them when they’re really in need of their humans.

My end-of-day view was in my atelier, Littles at my feet, working on something mindless until the sun set. I took a break for dinner and a cocktail with my wonderful hubby and then we retreated to the air conditioning and a little bit of “stupid TV”. I have been working on using up some of the odds and ends of my fingering weight/sock yarns in a crochet blanket project called the Battenberg Blanket. Mine is not likely to look as “orderly” as the pattern is intended but I will have the pleasure of remembering all of the socks, shawls and other projects that I made. I am planning to use a solid color to put them all together but I’d like to make a big (queen-size perhaps) blanket so I’ll be making squares deep into my 90s. Ha! Ha!

My friends and family helped me to surpass my fundraising goal and together we will donate over $1,700.00 to fight the good fight against Alzheimer’s Disease. I don’t ever want another family member to experience the ravages of this disease that stole my mother from me and their beloved GranJan from my children and nephews. Thank you to Ann Budd and Glenda for making it so easy to participate. It was a privilege to knit on the Longest Day and I look forward to knitting again next year.

Gone knitting.

Success!?

What is our measure of success? People measure success by the cars they drive, the homes they own, the jobs they have, how much money they make and a lot of other things. It’s different for all of us. Right?

I’ve measured my success by looking at what others think of me for much of my life. It’s only after a ton of therapy and the grace of having had a lot of time on this planet, that I can say that I feel successful. I’m content. Content with the life that we’ve built here on the lake in Maine.

Members of my Friday Knitting Group loving each other … kindness is rampant in this group!

I feel successful at work. I have created a circle of customers and friends and students who I enjoy spending time with. I feel like I am making a difference by sitting on two boards of trustees go organizations that have meaning to me. My kids are grown and living full lives. I’m deeply in love with the person I married and he loves me despite my perfect imperfections. (*ha! ha! ha!)

I’m feeling confident as a knitter. I’m wearing my Sunset Highway sweater today for the first time. It fits and it’s really lovely. I am quite proud to be able to make garments that I can wear. I have been finishing some projects, too, projects that have been hanging around in my studio for a long (long!) time!

Last year I was going to knit Christmas stockings for my daughter and son-in-love. Because I got a pretty good case of tendonitis, I wasn’t able to knit the stiff fabric for the stockings. But I just got them finished … with a little help from my friend and co-worker, Peggy. She took the first stocking, which I had begun over a year ago, and whipped it into shape while I started and finished the second one. They’re all steamed and finished now and ready to be gifted to the wonderful couple. Their anniversary is next week but I think I’ll save them until Thanksgiving and give them as an early Christmas present!

The stockings are both kits from Accessories Unlimited. Kits #402, Toy Soldiers and #103, Christmas Tree Stocking. The yarn isn’t what I would choose to knit with. It’s very stiff and scratchy but because it won’t be worn, it’s ok. They will hold up well and the stitches are pretty well-defined. I am very pleased with them both.

I’ve also finished a scarf promised as a trade with my herbalist. I had wanted it to be done a year ago as well but for the same reasons that the stockings weren’t done, the scarf was shelved (quite literally). Yesterday I brought it over to Danielle and she loved it. I’m pleased. It was (is) gorgeous. This is the first project I actually blocked with blocking wires. Lace really requires it. The pattern was a free one, Sage Smudging Scarf, on Ravelry and I knit it with the most gorgeous shade of gold Alegria by Manos. All of the details are on my Ravelry projects page. Suffice it to say that this scarf will adorn a neck and feel soooooo good!

When I was at Medomak Fiber Arts Retreat (or as I call it, Fiber Camp) this summer, we designed a lace cowl in our Lace class with Bristol Ivy. I have finally finished and photographed my cowl. The pattern was created using a process called “encoding” which was first brought to knitting by Naomi Parkhurst. In the yarnovers, there is a secret message.

Encoded lace … “I love Ned” and “Embraced” are hidden in the yarnovers

I’ve finished a new sample, a baby sweater, for Yardgoods. It’s Knitting Pure and Simple pattern #214, Baby Pullover. We chose a Cascade yarn, Pacific Color Wave, to knit it up in and since it’s teeny-tiny, it takes only one ball of yarn and knits up in no time at all.

I still have several projects to finish and a few to start, but I’m feeling the success all around me and it feels really good.

Gone knitting!

You can find more details about these projects and others on my Ravelry projects page. I’m Lindar. Also, follow me on Facebook, Queen Bee Knits by Linda Warner, and on Instagram, @QueenBeeKnits.

Camden Hills Poncho

IMG_2486I have another finished object! My Camden Hills Poncho is done, done, done! It’s even blocked and ends woven in done!

I really enjoyed knitting this poncho. It’s a very simple design with just enough detail in the lace at the bottom front and the neck to make the knitting interesting and then a lot of stockinette stitches to finish it up.

The bottom front and back are knitted flat and then joined to knit in the round from the bottom to the top. No sleeves (sometimes it’s really nice to not have sleeves!) to worry about or attach at the end. This was a very satisfying knit and I’m thrilled to be able to wear it to work this week!

IMG_2487I knit mine in Berroco Ultra Wool in the Beetroot (33151) colorway. I used five balls nearly to the inch! I love this yarn. It’s a true worsted and it feels really nice while your knitting but it blooms really beautifully when it’s blocked. I also love the color of the beetroot. It’s a deep beet red. It seems to be the color of the year in my wardrobe!

Complete information is available on my Ravelry project page.

Gone knitting!

Crushed by Rachel Henry of Remily Knits

Crushed Shawlette

Crushed Shawlette

This post is long (LONG – yes, I am screaming!) overdue. I finished this lovely knit ages ago and it has languished along with my knitting mojo in a bin in my atelier (studio in French).

IMG_4202I have had a gorgeous skein of a gradient yarn in my stash for a couple of years. It was gifted to me by my sister-in-love and brother. Every time I stuck my fingers into the sock yarn bin in my atelier I would see it and think about what it would like to become. Yes, I really do think that way. If you force a design on a skein of yarn (or several skeins in the case of a sweater, etc.) it tends not to work. At least that’s my experience. The yarn and pattern speak to me (not literally, of course, but I hope you know what I mean) when they’re ready to pair up … that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

In the case of my Vice gradient yarn, it seemed to want to become “Crushed” by Rachel Henry of Remily Knits. (Pattern is available for $6.00 US on Ravelry.) Crushed is described as a heart shaped shawlette and if I have one complaint, it would be that it isn’t big enough. I loved knitting the pattern and would have liked to continue it a bit more for two reasons: first, to make it a little bit larger and second, to use up all or more of my yarn. With that said, I did create a few more repeats of the pattern so that the beautiful bright yellow was more prominent in my scarf because I love all the colors of this yarn so much.

Edge Detail

Edge Detail

I blocked the heck out of this little shawlette *with my added rows* and it measures 62 inches from tip to tip and it’s 27 inches long at the widest part.

The yarn was Blurred Lines by Vice in the “Loki” colorway. It’s a fingering-weight yarn with a wonderfully soft hand and slowly changes from black to bright yellow. The in-between colors are fabulous near-dark forest green and grey with a tinge of yellow. The fiber is a merino and nylon blend and would have made fun socks but I felt that it would be a shame to “waste” such a beautiful gradient on socks – This yarn was screaming to be something much more “public”. I love the way this yarn knitted up with no splitting and it was even and smooth despite coming off the cake in a crimped form. At first I thought maybe it head been knitted and then tinked before being wound but it was consistent throughout so I figure it must have been intended to be that way. Or maybe it was a “sock blank” in a former life. I’m not sure why but it’s so pretty I’m not askinIMG_6530g any questions.

I wanted my shawl to be black up by the shoulders and near my face and the yellow to be along the edge. I rewound the cake to make it a center-pull cake with the black in the middle. It makes the yarn stay put when you’re knitting.

The pattern was wonderful and simple to follow. I mostly used the charts to knit from and on occasion (when I hit a snag – my brain’s fault, not the fault of the pattern) I would refer to the written instructions. I enjoy chart knitting and I think it’s good for my brain to be challenged to think differently when I am knitting. Charts feed that part of the challenge for my brain. And since we are knitting flat, the charts read right to left and left to right which is another challenge for our brains. Another reason that knitting is healthy!

I’m not sure whether I’ve shared this with you before but my mother died having suffered 10+ years with Alzheimer’s Disease. I am working quite intentionally on doing things that challenge my brain. Eating healthfully, cutting way back on sugar and carbs, focusing on fresh fruits and vegetables, plant-based oils and as organic as I can possibly do. It was painful to watch someone you love do a quicksand-sink into their own world. This fact makes my efforts to be healthy and challenge myself ever more vital as I age (and I’m aging quickly!)

I am looking forward to cooler weather so that I can wear my beautiful Crushed shawlette. And when you live in Maine, it could be later on today even though it’s June! Meanwhile, I’m challenging myself with more knitting and quilting. Stay tuned!

Gone knitting.

Girasol

Girasol by Jared F

Girasol by Jared Flood

I’m so in love with this project that I want to marry it!

Three of us in the Wednesday night knitting class (plus our teacher) decided to knit the Girasol Shawl in the worsted weight version which makes an afghan. I really (REALLY!) loved knitting this and it wasn’t difficult. I loved knitting it so much that I absolutely will knit another one.

Girasol by Jared Flood is written for fingering/lace weight or worsted weight yarns. I think you could knit it in any weight of your choosing with appropriately sized needles. And they will all be gorgeous! The pattern is available on Ravelry.

The pattern itself is clear and well written and a cinch to follow. The most “difficult” part, in my opinion, is the cast on which is Emily Ocker’s Circular Cast On. I’m sharing Jimmy Bean’s Wool’s tutorial with the ever delightful Jeanne. Watch it a couple of times before attempting this cast on. It’s a beauty – for starting any project in the middle of a circle (hats from the top down, lace shawls, etc.) Sheer genius and it sits flat when pulled closed.

This cast on is originally in Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Knitter’s Almanac (a wonderful book, by the way. EZ had a most unique and visionary knitting technique.) It’s available on Amazon.com … click on the image below and you’ll be magically transported! (You’re welcome, of course!)

//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ss&ref=ss_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=queencom0e-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=0486241785&asins=0486241785&linkId=2SSHFDXQBL6MOBHH&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true

If you’re serious about knitting, you have to read EZ. Seriously! Anyway, back to Girasol …

I used Cascade 220 Superwash (because who wants a huge, wool-stinky, wet afghan to dry? Although, truth be told, I’m thinking of using wool for the next one. I may be crazy!) in a light grey tweed-y colorway. I love grey as a neutral and this will, theoretically, live in my atelier where I can throw it over my legs or fold it in half and wear it over my shoulders on a cold evening. Mine took nine balls (the pattern asks for eight and I may knit a bit loosely.) The edge stitches were (a little bit) boring – it’s knitted on the edge as you bind off and three stitches are “eaten up” when you knit six rows. There are 640 stitches. Got it? 🙂

The pattern calls for a US 9 circular needle and DPNs. I started with the DPN and then went to a 24 inch wire and then to a 32 inch wire and ended up with a sixty inch wire which was really a little bit too long. But it worked. I used my fabulous Dreamz interchangeable needles by Knitters Pride. I love them.

If you choose to knit this gloriously beautiful shawl/afghan, watch out and be aware when you start the edging. Just saying. I was in the car and everything was all bunched up and I started with the wrong side facing me and the edging on my blanket is “backward”. I think it’s very fitting, actually, and I chose to leave it that way.

Knit this pattern. I’m not kidding. You’ll love it. I can’t wait to see what mine looks like after it’s blocked … which will have to wait until our house is finished and furnished. Soon enough and I will be using it unblocked until that time. My knitting group is doing a Girasol for one of our members’ mother-in-law who recently lost her husband. I’m looking forward to my turn knitting!

Gone knitting.