Pumpkin Hats, etc.

I’ve been working on knitting down my (sizable) stash. When a knitter talks about his/her stash, we all respond that we have bins and bins of yarn. And we do. It seems to me that we all think we have the largest stash but we likely don’t. BUT mine is sizable and I’m proud to say that I did really well to knit only from stash UNTIL I went back to work and customers started giving me ideas again.

This is the yarn corner of my atelier. I had the shelf (and a matching one on the other side of the window holds my knitting books and fabric in the cupboard. Sadly, I have three Ikea shelf sets that also hold yarn. A total of about a dozen fabric boxes in addition to my built-ins. It’s a good sized collection … and I like to think that it adds to the r-value of our home.

Anyway … I digress. I have been trying to knit down my stash so that when I die my children won’t have to deal with it. Partly because they don’t have a clue as to its value. At the end of the year, I dumped out all of the little bins and boxes and went through the yarn to try to cull some that I knew I wouldn’t be knitting with – not ever. I also noticed some that I could knit up and get out. One of those was the Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece that I have had forever (or the last time I had fall babies to knit for.) I knew that this yarn had to be a pumpkin hat for my great-nephew-to-be who is due in September and who will live in Salem, MA. A perfect gift for a Salem baby.

So, last week I cast on and knit the smallest size pumpkin hat. I had forgotten how cute the hat is and how little yarn those tiny hats use. I had a significant amount still left. Surely, I thought, I can use it all up if I make a medium-size pumpkin hat, right? This weekend I cast on again and am nearly finished with pumpkin hat number two. And guess what? I have a feeling I have enough for a third hat, too. The extra hats will go into my gifts drawer or maybe I’ll have a giveaway on my Instagram page. I haven’t done that for a long time.

The Fiber Trends Patrick’s Pumpkin hat is really one of my favorite patterns. It’s a clever construction with a “shark tooth” piece done up first in garter stitch and then added to a rolled brim. When the hat is finished and blocked you can tack the pieces to that they stay in the right spot. The pumpkin part is so simple and yet so obviously a large orange gourd and it makes a great gift for a fall baby’s arrival. Especially in New England.

Cotton Fleece yarn by Brown Sheep is what I have always bought for this hat. I’m not sure why but it is. I love knitting with this cotton/wool blend yarn. It’s not as stretchy or squishy as full wool but for a baby’s tender head, it’s a soft but warm alternative to acrylics or acrylic blends. And we all know that cotton yarn doesn’t really hold its shape. So … this seems the perfect solution. I also love Brown Sheep because it’s an American company.

Brown Sheep was started over 100 years ago and pivoted in the 1970s when farming prices were low and the market for lamb was dropping off. The Brown family pivoted and began processing wool from their sheep and the rest is history. The Brown family (now with the last name Wells after a couple of generations of marriage) still owns and runs Brown Sheep.

I’ve made a LOT of these hats but on this last one, for whatever reason, I increased in every stitch when the color changed to orange so I had WAY more than 90 stitches. After an inch or so, when the stitches were so squished on the 16″ needle, I had a second look at the pattern and kept knitting. After two inches, I pulled it out, realizing my error. Good grief. Knitting keeps me humble.

I recovered my place again last night while I was watching the Tony Awards. I’m about ready to decrease for the crown of the hat and then I’ll weigh the remaining yarn to see if I have enough for one more hat. It must be my Yankee upbringing that makes it difficult for me to “dispose” of yarn that could still be used. I hope my fingers and wrists hold up well into old age.

Gone knitting.

Thank You, Kim! (A Wonderful Moment)

Not a great photo of me but a wonderful memory

I had a wonderful moment last week when one of our customers, who I’d helped with a knitting challenge, came in to say thank you. With flowers!

Kim is a relatively new knitter and she wanted to knit a shawl to keep her warm. She chose a relatively simple shawl, Truly Tasha’s Shawl, that is … it’s simple until you reach the edge. The edge is a knitted-on lace edge and she had no experience with this type of thing. She was ready to just leave it off or make it simpler. I encouraged her to try it and walked her through a couple of repeats of the pattern. Sure enough, she got it and has finished the shawl.

As a teacher, we have a lot of “proud mom moments” and it’s always sweet to hear from a student that they have accomplished something that they feel proud of. I call it a proud mom moment because that’s the only parallel that I can find – when you’re raising little human beings, it’s such a win when they do something, sometimes with your guidance and sometimes not. that they feel proud of whether it’s making a lego tower or graduating from college. Seeing someone that you’ve “helped” to get to a point where they can do something without you is really wonderful!

I had that happen (again) last week and Kim brought me flowers! The little tag is a keeper and a reminder that what I do is meaningful. Whether it’s giving my own child or someone else’s child (even a fully grown one) confidence, another tool to add to their personal tool box, it’s a wonderful feeling. Kim, you made my day!

Gone knitting.

1787 to 2022 – a little bit has changed. So what do we do now?

Rainy Day in my Atelier

I’m not sure what this post will end up being. There is so much going on that it’s difficult to focus on one thing. My intention is to post here about LIFE in general which is why my “tag line” is what it is. BUT I’m afraid that if I stray from knitting that I’ll get up on my soapbox and may never come back down.

So, suffice it to say that I hope you’re not comfortable today.

That 19 children can die at the hand of a murderer who can legally buy TWO assault weapons more easily than I can buy SUDAFED is abhorrent. That those same children could be forced to watch said murderer kill their beloved teachers before he murdered them. That they watched their classmates be obliterated by his weapons so that they were only recognizable by their sneakers is unimaginable. The entire situation is unacceptable. AND YET our elected representatives say that it’s not a gun problem, it’s a mental health problem. I’m calling bullshit. (Sorry not sorry.) We have had a mental health problem in this country for decades. Mental health has been stigmatized and people who live with mental health challenges have been shamed, blamed, ostracized and, oh, by the way, if you’re not living in the top !0% of earners, mental health treatment can put you in debtors prison, making it nearly impossible for most of our citizens to get good quality services. Or any services.

Our problem here is GUNS. Ours is the only country in the civilized world that has as many guns and gives permission to anyone to buy and carry guns. Other countries have mental health problems just as we do but they don’t have the gun problems we do. People are the same no matter what language they speak, no matter what color their skin, no matter who they love, not matter what they do for a job, no matter where they live. It may be simplistic but it’s true. People are, at the core, alike. We want to be liked (loved) and we need food, air and water. We aren’t all that different from others and the differences make it more interesting. Anyway, my point being, we DO have a mental health crisis in our country but it’s nothing new. We ALSO have a gun crisis and it’s good and well time for us to accept that as truth and start to do something about it.

I can’t buy two boxes of Sudafed because “they’re” afraid that I will make crack.

I can’t have a driver’s license without proving that I am who I present myself to be. I must show a utility bill with my name on it, my marriage license, my passport, proof of insurance, etc. AND, by the way, I have to be at least 16, take a test that says I am a competent driver, and I can’t drive a car without it. Cars also kill people like guns kill people so why are they treated so differently!?

The ONLY reason to own a gun is to kill (or to boost a fragile ego.) Here in Maine, lots of people own guns. Most of those people have guns so they can hunt – and they eat what they kill. Most of the gun owners are responsible gun owners. For heaven’s sake, WE own guns! We don’t hunt and I don’t even know how to use the guns but my husband has killed rats in our yard. And I may have asked him to kill the groundhogs had they not left of their own volition. BUT it’s time for us to do something differently and drastic because killing innocent children in school is not OK.

My thought is that we must ban assault weapons AND we must put in place a way to make sure that those people who are allowed to buy guns are capable of being responsible gun owners. To drive a motorcycle you need a special license, right? Why not require classes and licensing for guns? Why not have a 48-hour waiting period … I’m required to wait 48 hours to have an abortion, considered by some as murder, why not have to wait for a license for a gun? This is a HUGE issue and I don’t pretend to have all of the answers but a document written by rich white men in the 1700s is not one to hang our hat on today – the world was a wholly different place then. Their “well-regulated militia” is our United States Military – Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines. We don’t need to arm our citizens to protect us as we did then. The rules have changed. The world has changed. Women can open a credit card account without their husband’s permission. Women are allowed to have POCKETS in their dresses because they’re allowed to own things. Women and black people are allowed to vote (or they have been, it seems that this is being challenged, too, but that’s a different post.)

My life was forever changed when I gave birth to three wonderful human beings. I have been so blessed to watch them grow. I got to go on field trips, be PTA President, have birthday parties in limousines and buy Christmas gifts, fill their stockings and help them with their homework – at least through elementary school. I have gone to sports events, high school and college concerts and plays, we spent time at the beach in the summers, went to the Ohio State Fair, met college friends, boy- and girl-friends from all over the country. When a parent does their job well, their kids go off to build their own life and I’ve had the pleasure of watching my kids get jobs, live with roommates, live alone, move from one city to another, live on cruise ships, meet a special person, get engaged, get married, buy a home. My kids are all in their 30s and I can’t imagine NOT having lived through all of the regular and special moments with them.

BUT there are 19 sets of parents, 19 sets of grandparents … who won’t ever be able to see their beloved child get their period, find body hair for the first time, get arrested for something stupid, graduate from high school … the list goes on and on. Because life is lived in the ordinary moments and some shitty human being with two legal assault weapons decided to go into a school and murder children cutting those ordinary moments short.

We all need to feel uncomfortable about this until something changes and the murders stop. Don’t be fooled, this can happen to you or someone you love. There are 19 families who know this as fact this morning and won’t forget it tomorrow. Or the next day … or the next …

Gone knitting.

Elton

Elton by JoJi Locateli

I’ve been doing some monogamous for the last few days. Elton is on my needles and I need to get some knitting under my belt on this fingering weight cardigan.

It was a busy day … I picked up groceries at 9:00-ish, forgetting that the hot rotisserie chickens aren’t ready until 10. My bad! Home and put the groceries away and picked the chicken while it was warm. (I have a thing about handling meat and this is the only way I can deal with it.) I decided that I might as well make the casserole for dinner since the chicken was done.

Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole is a family favorite. My kids still request it for Sunday dinner when we are together. You can use a whole chicken or three or four chicken breasts, cooked. Two boxes of Uncle Ben’s Long Grain and Wild Rice original recipe. Follow the instructions on the box to prepare. 8 ounces of sour cream. 1 can cream of mushroom soup. Curry to taste. We never did when the kids were little but now we add broccoli. Fresh or frozen and warmed through – Al dente is best because it gets cooked again. Combine all ingredients and put in a casserole dish. Cook for 45 minutes, uncovered.

Banana Nut with blueberries

When I was cleaning the dishes and wiping down the counters, I discovered three very ripe bananas. Just the amount I need for banana bread. So … I made muffins. Banana nut muffins with blueberries. One of our favorite recipes.

I did a couple of loads of laundry, and vacuumed the downstairs. The little rolling balls of dog hair were getting pretty thick and my allergies have been all sorts of crazy. When the muffins came out of the oven, I cleaned up the kitchen and headed upstairs for a little bit of knitting.

Elton is an interesting construction as I have mentioned before and at this point I’m past the interesting construction. I am knitting 4-row stripes of each of my two yarns. Four fingering weight and four lace weight mohair and silk. Not particularly exciting knitting but I’m hoping that when it’s done and blocked that it’ll be a really elegant cardigan.

Today, though, I found not one, not two, but three (THREE!) dropped stitches. I used my crochet hook to pull up the first and all the while I was thinking that it would be too wonky looking. Pulled too tightly because I was squishing an extra stitch up in the middle of two others. I fully expected to have to frog back several rows (half of this rows are mohair which is fuzzy and sticky. I wasn’t looking forward to it.) Fortunately though, I was wrong. It looked fine. So, when I found dropped stitches two and three I did the same and they all looked fine.

No More Dropped Stitches

I’m measuring 4 inches below the arm pit. Another 11 inches to go. Let’s hope I don’t drop any more stitches. I may not be so lucky the next time.

But dinner was good!

Gone knitting.

Yardgoods Spring Sweater KAL/CAL

On May 1 we kicked off a project at the yarn shop (where I work.) Spring Sweater KAL/CAL is the first “garment sized” knit or crochet along that we’ve tried and we are so pleased that there are 15 people participating. This project is meant to be a relaxing, fun, supportive, encouraging project for our customers near and far. Our first “meeting” was via Zoom for our kick-off headed by Donna and Glenda. (I was on a train heading to Connecticut from New York City after visiting with my kids and because the train was quite full, I felt that it would have been rude to hop on the call.

Today we are having our second meeting and it will be a hybrid meeting. We’ll have two computers on Zoom for those who can’t be with us in person and we’ll be at the shop in the classroom.

Elton by Joji Locatelli

I’m knitting my Elton Cardigan by Joji Locatelli. I’ve enjoyed the process thus far, and am having fun seeing how the cardigan goes together. The construction is quite brilliant making a sweater (cardigan) all in one piece top down. I cast on first for the back of the sweater and with some short rows, and stripes of the main and contrasting yarns, got 6 1/2 inches completed and then I headed to the front. Stitches are picked up, along first one shoulder and then the next, and matching short rows and stripes until the front sides are also 6 1/2 inches. And here is where the fun begins because everything is put back on the needles and striping continues. I reached that point yesterday!

For my main color I’m using Malabrigo Sock yarn in Cote D’Azure, a really dark navy blue. It’s so dark, it’s nearly black. The contrasting color is Berroco’s Aerial in their dark navy colorway. I sure hope that I planned this well because I think it’s going to be elegant. The Malabrigo Sock has just enough sheen to be quite snazzy looking and the sheer lace weight mohair in stripes between is really pretty. The directions say that you should block this aggressively to get the fabric to open up and relax and I think it’s going to be really pretty. Those thoughts are what are going to keep me knitting endless stripes of garter stitch.

We had five of us (and six if you count Bette who had to work) in the shop and one via zoom from Canada! Beth had never been in the store before and she found our little group on Ravelry. Wonderful news for us and we were thrilled to welcome Beth to our group. She has a friend in Maine so we hope to meet her someday soon! There is only one duplicated pattern on the needles from the group of women who reported. Glenda and I are knitting Elton. Glenda is knitting hers in the “Wish You Were Beer” colorway of Emma’s yarn Practically Perfect Sock and their laceweight mohair to match. Otherwise, the patterns are very diverse.

Donna is knititng Flax Light (short sleeves) in Malabrigo Sock, Diane is knitting Berroco Ultra Wool fine and I can’t believe I can’t remember her pattern name. Lynn is knitting Pull Johanna in Berroco Alpaca Socks, Beth is knitting Hitofude in Lang Sock, and Bette is knitting miMa (don’t remember that yarn either. Glenda will set me straight! I know she took notes.) It was fun seeing what everyone was knitting and what challenges they were facing. I’m eager to see where everyone is in three weeks when we meet again!

Gone knitting.

A Return to Summer … in May?

Like a Summer Day but May

If this past weekend is any indication, we are going to have a wicked warm summer. It was close to 90 degrees … too hot, too early. Thankfully, the temperatures have returned to more normal and we got a little bit of rain.

I’ve been working like a crazy woman. I don’t know if I’ve shared the fact that I am president of our lake association and we have had a lot going on. We are doing a huge project in the entire watershed area in order to limit the amount of runoff into the lake. We’ve identified 247 different properties that need to have significant work done and we are in the process of applying for a 319 grant to help landowners pay for the improvements. AND we are moving out of our office, changing storage areas, and still trying to run our normal milfoil removal program and our courtesy boat inspector program at our two boat launches. It’s a lot!

I estimate that I am spending about 20 hours weekly on lake stuff. Mondays are my lake days and I almost always spend the full day working on lake stuff – meetings, committees, fundraising, memberships, banking stuff, finances … and on and on. I’m so grateful that I have a good group of people helping me with a lot of it. I’d like to clone them!

Add my real job (the one that pays me) and writing a newsletter for the yarn shop and I’ve been super busy. I’m trying to remember to make time for my sweet husband – he puts up with my nonsense without complaining – but I haven’t been baking as much as I normally do (or that he’d like) and I’m (almost) getting my normal house stuff done. The yard, though, needs a lot of work and our project this year is to fix up our guest cottage … I sure hope it gets done. We’ll be renting it once it’s finished.

My Traveling Sweater

I’ve finished my “Traveling” sweater and brought it to the store to show if off on Friday. This was a fun knit and I’ve inspired a couple of my students to give knitting an adult-sized sweater, too! When we are all finished with our sweaters, we’ll take a group photo … in the fall. This is a Knitting Plain & Simple top-down pullover pattern. I used ten balls, 9 different colorways, of Plymouth Gina. I chose the balls fairly randomly and knit the entire ball and then spit-joined the next one. The only “fudging” I did was to sort of match the first part of the sleeves to the start of the body. It just looks neater.

The other thing I did a little bit differently is to turn it inside out. That’s right, I’m going to wear it on the “wrong” side or the reverse stockinette side. SO, to make that happen, I had to frog back the bottom of the body and then re-knit it so that it rolled the right way. I did the same to the sleeves and the collar. It fits well, it’s going to be really comfy when the weather gets colder again. (It’s worsted weight and I tend to run warm, so … )

Noro Striped Mittens

I also finished my Noro Striped and lined mittens. So, this was a stash busting project. I’ve had a skein of this Noro yarn in my studio for a couple of years. When I saw these mittens, I jumped at the idea of using the one skein. I only had to buy two more skeins to get it done, but it’s done! This pattern uses two skeins of Noro (or you could use a worsted or Aran weight yarn of your choice) yarn for the stripes and another yarn, I used Berroco Folio, for the lining. These are fun mittens and I love them … but I’ll be gifting them because I don’t NEED them. (Remember my Northman Mittens? And my 4-Needle Snowflake mittens? And my Gray Fuzzy Mittens? LOL. I have a few pairs. I don’t need any more.) I do know who is going to get these lovely mittens. She’ll be so surprised.

I have been working right along on one more pair of socks for my daughter. I made it to the heel flap of the second sock this morning when I was waiting for my car to have its oil changed. One heel flap and on to the foot. They won’t take long now. (And I’ll return the clean socks I borrowed when I was in New York when I send the new socks.)

Last but not least, I’ve cast on an Elton cardigan by Joji Locatelli. One of my co-workers and a student and I are doing a KAL/CAL at the store where we work and knit. Our Spring Sweater KAL/CAL only requires that participants use fingering weight yarn for their sweater. They can choose any sweater pattern to knit or crochet and there are no deadlines or pressure. It’s meant to be a fun, no pressure, supportive experience and we have 17 people in the group. We’ve had one virtual meeting that kicked off the KAL/CAL on May 1 and we’re having our second meeting, a hybrid meeting, in person and virtually, on 5/21. I need to make some progress for that meeting! I’m feeling the pressure, for sure. I bought the Elton pattern ages ago and then used the yarn that I was planning to use to knit a Love Note instead. So, this time, I’ve chosen for my main color, Malabrigo Sock in the Cote D’Azure colorway (a really deep navy blue) and for the accent color, Berroco Aerial in a deep navy. I think it’s going to be elegant and I’m thinking that I could wear it to my step-daughter’s wedding in December if I can find a dress to wear under it. I’ll add a photo or two when I have enough knitted to bother to take a photo.

Fiber Trends Felted Clogs Pre-felting

I just finished the sewing up of a pair of slippers that I knitted for my husband for his birthday. I only need to felt them now and sew on the sole. His last pair were completely worn out and I had him throw them away. They had suede sole pieces. The new ones will have a full suede sole. I’m getting so fancy … or he is. LOL.

Gone knitting.

I really AM knitting, I promise.

I’ve finished an order for a customer (again!) of two tams. These are hats number five and six for this season. Whew! But she loves them and they’re not difficult to knit for her at all. I delivered them to the store this morning so that she can pick them up. The pattern is Quick Lacy Slouch hat and is free on Ravelry. I’ve made these hats in several different bulky weight yarns. These happen to be in Cascade 128 which is superwash and soft. The stitch definition is also quite lovely.

I’ve finished one pair and started a second pair of socks for daughter number two. She’s daughter number two in birth order only. I swear that I have knitted socks for her before but she said I didn’t so, she chose her yarn when she was here this winter and I’ve been knitting some for her. I hope they fit. If not, I’ll adjust them and my pattern for her (not so) little feet.

I also delivered a pair of camo dish cloths to my son for his birthday – it’s a joke. He had to have a camouflage afghan when he was younger and still at home. I had to make them when I saw the yarn.

I am on sleeve island. My “Patsy’s Traveling Sweater” is almost done, I have a few inches of each sleeve to knit up and then it’ll be ready for a collar and blocking. I still haven’t decided if I’m going to wear it right side out or wrong side out. One of my co-workers made one of these sweaters and she wears it on the “wrong” side. If I decide to wear it on the “wrong” side, I’ll have to re-knit the bottom of the body so it will roll the right way. It’s all good. Time will tell.

Noro Striped Mittens

I’ve finished the lining on one of my Noro Striped mittens and have begun the second. I’ll admit that these mittens are a bit short for me and they may be sold or given away. But they’re really pretty and the Berroco Folio lining is very soft (and will add extra warmth.) As I believe I’ve said before, my favorite thing about these mittens was knitting the thumb before knitting the hand which made the thumb color not stick out like, well, like a sore thumb. (Sorry.)

I’ve begun a pair of Fiber Trends Felted Clogs for my sweet hubby for his birthday at the end of the month. He stopped in the store one day (to bring me food) and I had him choose his color(s). I’m knitting these in Ella Rae Classic Wool. He chose a gray and a purple which I’m holding together. His old slippers were worn out because he really loved them and wore them a lot.

I’m going to end here. I have bunches of future knitting projects lining up and I brought home more yarn from work this week. I love working in a yarn store so I have access to people who fill my head with future knitting ideas – and some of them seem so important that I have to bring yarn home immediately.

Gone knitting.

What a Week!

Which Way is UP?

I’ve accomplished precious little knitting this week and I feel like I’m not sure which way is up. This photo was taken from our front porch on Wednesday which was my day off from work but was eaten up with lake association business. Being the president this year is a big job and the busy season is kicking up and we are vacating our office space, too. Lots happening, for sure. And my boss is away for three plus weeks and it’s spring vacation from school so two of my co-workers have also gone out of town, leaving two of us holding the fort … which we can do! It’s just a lot more hours than I’m used to.

I’ve finished the body of my “Patsy’s Traveling Sweater” and am hoping to get one of the sleeves onto some needles today. The sweater is really colorful and fun with multiple colorways of Gina yarn by Plymouth. One of my co-workers wears hers inside out … I’m going to see what mine looks like when I get the sleeves on (and before I knit the collar) to decide whether I’ll wear it on the knit side or the purl side. I may need to reknit the rolled hem on the bottom of the body if I decide to wear it “inside out”. We shall see.

I’ve finished a pair of dishcloths with a Christmas-y theme. I’ve cast on another one to take to my son in New York next week. It’ll be fun to see his face and see if he realizes the reason that I chose this one specific yarn. 🙂

Noro Striped Mitten

I’ve also finished the first part of the Noro Striped Mittens … I’ve finished the outside of both mittens, the striped part. They’re really pretty and they were fun to knit. I loved the way the designer (who reached out to me on Instagram when she saw my post) worked the thumb so that the color was seamless and matched that part of the mitten. Had I knitted in the typical mitten way, the thumb would have probably been a completely different color. But this way, the thumb looks like it belongs on the mittens. Genious!

I’ve been working on socks for my daughter at her request. I’m nearly done with the second sock and just have to go back to the first one to knit the toe. I didn’t know how long her foot was and didn’t want to make the socks too long or too short. Custom-knit socks should be perfect. I’ve got plans to make a couple more pairs for her once I know she likes them. My sock drawer is full so I have to have other victims to knit for because I love knitting socks. I think I need to make a pair for my sister, too. And maybe her husband. I think they’d like that.

We are going a Spring Sweater KAL at work starting on May 1. The caveat is that you must use a fingering weight yarn for the sweater. We posted the details on our newsletter today and had several suggestions that people can knit. We will do a kick-off on May 1st via Zoom so that our customers near and far can join us.

I bought my yarn this week. I bought some navy blue Berroco Aerial (laceweight mohair) and some Malabrigo Sock in a navy colorway. If I weren’t so lazy, I’d tell you what it is but that would mean that I had to get up from my desk and walk all the way (maybe 6 feet) over my knitting chair and look in my bag and come back over here. Sorry, not happening today. I’m writing this post and then I’m going to go sit in my chair and knit a bit before dinner.

I was in the store two extra days this week and it’s always fun to be there. This week, it was a bit different on Thursday because I decided to get a second Covid booster on Wednesday morning. I was tired and achey by Wednesday night and I went to sleep at 8:30pm and woke up at 7:00am and I still felt like I was tired. My arm was also quite sore – and I heard you should choose your dominant arm … not sure I’d do that again. Thursday I was dragging and it wasn’t busy enough to distract me. Phew! I’m glad I made it. By Friday, I was back to myself, fortunately, and I was good to go Friday and Saturday, too.

I’ve been at my desk sending lake association emails, signing DEP documents to commit to our work this season and now I’ve written my post. I hope that if anybody is reading this that you have a great week. I’ll be reminding myself to slow down and breathe and to squeak time for myself in the moments between. All the details of my current and past projects are on my Ravelry project page. I’m lindar on Ravelry.

Gone knitting.

Ice Out and Critters Return – Welcome Spring!

The Critter

As soon as the ice goes out (this year it happened on April 6th) the water birds and critters return to the lake. It’s miraculous, really, that they know when it’s safe to come back out on the lake. This year we heard reports from the northern end of the lake that the loons had returned while our section of the lake was still covered by ice. BUT as soon as the ice was gone, the loons were calling from the cove. There’s nothing quite like living so close to nature. We are so grateful to be able to witness the seasonal changes, to watch the sun change its position in the sky, and to know that there are more miracles coming soon when the babies are back with their parents. It won’t be long.

Since the ice went out, we’ve seen all the weather. Beautiful blue bird skies, thick fog and days of rain. Fortunately, it seems that mud season was relatively short this year and early. I had some white knuckle trips down our road and I may have let a few four-letter words escape my lips while hoping that my car wouldn’t get stuck in the mud.

I’ve been knitting like a mad woman. I seem to want to cast on all the new projects and I am trying to stay focused on finishing some, too.

Grandma’s Favorite

I’ve got a full basket of cotton yarns that I’ve collected over the years. I am trying to knit down the stash and one of my favorite projects is dishcloths/washcloths that I’ll pop into my gift drawer and pull out as needed. These two are from deeply stashed yarn from a big box store and they’re obviously seasonal. We use them here at home and the kids like them, too. They’re great stocking stuffers or as a gift with a special bar of soap. The pattern is so simple and easy to remember which makes these dishcloths good TV knitting.

Arne & Carlos Advent Jumpers

I’m almost half-way through the collection of Advent jumpers from Arne and Carlos. I love knitting these little sweaters and they knit up so quickly. I’m using Patagonia Organic Merino yarn from Juniper Moon Farm and, I have to say, this is my favorite yarn right now. I’ve made my Humlebi Shawl in it and I’ve got the charcoal gray colorway set aside to make an Emsworth vest. Number 12 will likely be finished by the end of the day today. I like to spend Sunday knitting for fun. I also like to bake and I’ve eaten all of my granola and my baked oatmeal.

Patsy’s Traveling Sweater

The body of my Traveling Sweater is nearly done (it may, actually be done but I have to measure it again to make sure.) This has been a fun knit. Patsy is a customer who has come into the store a bunch of times to purchase Plymouth Gina yarn for the sweaters that she makes. She has a Facebook page for the sweaters because she’s knitted over 100 of them. I have loved the sweater since I first saw it and have almost bought the yarn once before. When we heard that Plymouth was discontinuing the yarn, I put aside what colors we had in the shop and the boss ordered bags of each remaining color. When they came in, I bought the yarn and cast on my sweater.

The pattern is a Knitting Plain and Simple pattern #9724, Neck Down Pullover for Women. These patterns are simple beginner patterns and are knit top down in the round with minimal seaming. The sizing is somewhat size-inclusive but they certainly could be expanded. It would be wonderful if they added full stitch counts, too. But I recommend these patterns often for customers and students knitting their first garments. I’ve chosen 10 colorways of the Gina yarn and have randomly pulled them out of the bag to knit next. I have simple knitted the whole ball and then spit-spliced the next ball and kept knitting. I had a bit of a challenge making gauge but I decided that I would use the recommended needles and knit the size larger so that it would fit comfortably. I’m thinking that I may use a folded hem rather than a rolled hem but I haven’t decided yet. I suppose I can knit the rolled hem and then sew it up if I change my mind.

I’ve got to buy one more ball of Gina so that my sleeves, at least at the shoulders, match as closely as possible to the body of the sweater. After that, random is fine.

Spring has sprung!

Gone knitting.

Binge Watching and Knitting

Saturday morning

I was back home and back to work this week after my week away and, maybe I didn’t drink enough coffee this morning, I’m tired. Not motivated to “do” anything much. So, I’ve retreated to my atelier and I’ve been binge watching Outlander’s sixth season and knitting. And I’ve made good progress despite one “bad stitch.”

I cast on my Patsy’s Traveling Sweater on Wednesday. It was a challenge getting gauge and I decided that since I couldn’t get it just right, I’d make the next larger size and hope it’ll fit! So, I’ve been knitting along and increasing every other round as the pattern dictates. This is a sweater that has been made over 100 times by one of our customers. The first time I met Patsy I admired her sweater and I’ve admired it each time since. The pattern is simple; it’s Knitting Pure and Simple #9724 “Neckdown Pullover for Women”. Patsy knits hers in diverse balls of Plymouth’s Gina (worsted weight wool, 50 grams, 109 yards, made in Turkey.

Linda’s Traveling Sweater

I started mine with color number 12 and have since knitted color number 4 and 3 and I now have to go to my bag of colors and choose another. The stripes are fun and happy and the sweaters, when finished, are warm and really appealing. (I hope I won’t be allergic to mine. Someone will inherit it if I am!)

The one bad stitch was about three rounds back … just about exactly where I stopped knitting last night. I noticed that I hadn’t completed a stitch (it looked like a yarn-over and a wrong-colored stitch) and made a mental note to fix it on the next round. I must have decided to go to bed before I fixed it and then forgot over night. Needless to say, three rounds in this morning, I noticed the mistake and there’s no way to fix it without frogging it back and starting over. It’s now done, fixed, and I’ve reknit all that I pulled out and then some. It’s a perfect binge watching sweater.

I also have socks for my daughter on my needles and I am waiting for her to measure her feet so I can make them fit perfectly. I chose a simple gray yarn for her first pair and I have another couple of balls set aside for more for her. I’ve got a full sock drawer now and I am delighted to knit for her for a bit. I should also knit another pair for my son since his birthday is at the end of the month. If all goes as planned, I’ll be heading to New York for a visit at the end of April. I just have to pick a couple of days and notify the crew!

Socks for my Daughter

I blocked my Humlebi Shawl and wore it to work on Thursday. It was quite a bit smaller than I thought it would be from the photograph on the pattern but it’s really wonderful. I blocked it “aggressively” and it’s at least as big as the schematic says it should be. I like it and will enjoy wearing it a couple more times before all the knitwear goes away for the summer.

We are really glad to be here right now because the ice is thinning quickly and it will probably be gone very soon. The color has changed to a medium gray and we have about six feet of open water at the shoreline. Up the lake a bit there is much more open water and I’ve heard that some loons have returned to the lake. I wish I knew how they know exactly when the ice has opened up and they can return to the lake. I can’t wait to see them and HEAR them! Each season here is a wonder. I will miss the ice but I’ll welcome the open water and the returning waterbirds.

It was a very good Saturday. Gone knitting