Crew – A Test Knit

 

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Crew

If I show you a picture of the finished sweater, I think Lori would have to kill me. (Not really.) But just in case, I wanted to show you my progress on my test knitting project for VersaciKnits.

I “worried” about the yarn for several days and finally just “bit the bullet” and bought some lovely Berroco yarn in their Folia line (40% cotton, 30% viscose, 15% alpaca, 10% nylon, 5% wool). It’s like a mutt blend of yarn with a little bit of everything. But I liked the soft hand and the gauge looked like it would match the pattern requirements. I bought eight skeins/hanks to make the size large in the teal blue color #3856 (dye lot 83925) and, of course, neither of my photographs is color-accurate! I’m knitting with a US 5 circular needle (Knitter’s Pride Dreamz).

IMG_5188I have nine or ten inches knitted up and I am loving the drape and feel of the fabric. I guessI should recheck the gauge to make sure I’m on target. My swatch was pretty much perfect. Stitches were spot on and the rows were a tiny bit shy of what was required but I didn’t block the swatch very aggressively and I know I could have made it work. I’ll remember that with the sweater pieces before I seam!

Our timeline is to have the sweater finished in four to six weeks. We got the pattern on July 16th and have had one update since then. I’d better quit blogging and get knitting!

Gone Knitting!

 

 

Learning Something New

This week I started a new job with a day of training and then “bam!” I hit the ground running. I am the Clinic Assistant at my local elementary school … what used to be the school nurse but public school budgets don’t have the budget to pay an RN so they train us to do the job under their supervision.

So, I’m learning a lot of new things. How to take in and administer medications for students in my school. How to deal with angry parents who didn’t educate themselves. How to follow new procedures. How to deal with “politics” in the office and how to create healthy boundaries so that we all do our jobs in a cooperative, collaborative and happy environment.

Today I taught myself something else new. I learned to crochet!

I learned it by watching this most excellent tutorial on Youtube! It’s provided from All Free Crochet (dot) com and Nastazia … check them out (since I can’t teach crochet just yet!)

My first attempt was nowhere near a square shape. The sides were all sorts of wonky.

First Attempts

First Attempt

It was supposed to be a washcloth or dishcloth but I didn’t have the proper size of crochet hook. My hook was somewhat smaller and so was my swatch … so we’ll call it a coaster! 🙂 I also used cotton rather than acrylic (because if my dishcloth had been dishcloth size, I would certainly not have wanted it to be acrylic … acrylic doesn’t really absorb! Anyway, my first attempt (which isn’t well photographed) looks much better here than it turned out. It was the most oddly shaped piece of work EVER! So, I frogged it and started again.

I’m super pleased with my second attempt!

Second Attempt

Second Attempt

My second swatch is a real square and it has fairly decent tension. Tah! Dah!

I guess I am going to have to take a trip to Joann’s now to buy some larger metal crochet hooks so I can keep learning … it is a lot quicker than knitting and some of the new patterns that I have been seeing (in crochet) are so cute. I have been threatening to learn for so long. It’s about time I finally just did it!

And now I am feeling proud!

I can crochet … the Queen Bee Knits and Crochets, too!

Gone shopping!

Peace Time

knitting-groupToday I went to a new knitting group. Well, not totally new, but new enough. I had a great time and will head back again next Friday. What I realize is that what I like about knitters is their willingness to embrace a relative stranger.

We chatted, we laughed, we shared stories (particularly about our animals) and we enjoyed some peaceful time together. I love my peace time with my yarn and needles. It’s mediative and sometimes requires enough concentration that the worries or problems just disappear for a time. It’s a lovely thing.

Next week I may stay all day! 🙂

Gone knitting!

Future Knitting

I haven’t been doing a whole lot of knitting that I “want” to do … rather, it’s been knitting that I have been doing for others. Often for work. And I’m so grateful for the friends and family members and even some perfect strangers who have bought my work!

This summer, I want to do some holiday knitting and crafting. I also want to make a tea cosy or two … just because I really like them. I may even be able to design one for my shop! But I’m starting to think about what yarn I need (and what I could use that I already have) for these projects!

I love new projects!

Gone knitting.

Challenge

For Christmas I got some beautiful new yarn from my LYS – Knit in Longwood, Florida. It’s a relatively small shop but it’s warm and welcoming and they have some splendiferous (yes, my word!) fiber!

Anyway, it’s a super bulky yarn by Malabrigo called Rasta in the Archangel colorway. It’s lovely in it’s wide variety of colors from purple to yellow to orange and blue and green. Like all other Malabrigo yarns, though, it’s got a lovely, soft hand and it’s great to knit with! (None of the photos of the yarn look like the yarn that I have!)

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

I have already used one hank to make a seed stitch cowl (it was a free pattern with the yarn). But when it was finished, I didn’t like the way it looked … especially when I put it on. So … I did what any other knitter would do and frogged the sucker! Un-wove (yes, another one of my words!) the ends and ripped it out, ready to start over again.

Tonight, I’m trying a new approach. Something that I thought about when I was braiding the  ties for an earflap hat. Something totally different and an “out of the box” approach to this beautiful yarn.

Once again my knitting relates to my life. I’ve started a new life after having lived a very different one. My marriage needed to be  frogged too (so to speak). It wasn’t working. Not in the fabric of my life. It didn’t make me happy. Today, I’m re-knitting the frogged yarn. Creating a new life that suits me better. Learning the feel of the yarn in my hand as it passes through my fingers with each stitch … just as I’m learning about myself and the fibers that are spun together to make up the person that I am today. It’s a work-in-progress. But it’s fitting better and I’m learning so much and I’m knitting a beautiful fabric that will be my life.

Each time I sign off from an entry on this blog, I say, “gone knitting” or something similar. It’s not said lightly because, for me, knitting is serious business. I’m knitting in the hope that I can make a living and I’m knitting to make a life. And today, life is good.

Gone knitting.

New Year, New Look

I’m sporting new hair today after going to visit Stephanie to “fix” it, I decided to take of several inches of length (I’m never sure going in what I’ll do) and I feel lighter and ready to kick some New Year bootay! I’m ready now with a stylin’ new hairdo!

I’ve also given my website/blog a new look featuring some of my knitting in the banner and the wonderful beachy sea glass blue-green, martha stewart-esque color that is now the background. I love cables and featured the cable comes from my knitted coat. One of these days I’ll post a picture of it here with me wearing it but for today, here it is flat on the floor (thank God I’m not in it!)

I knitted this sweater over the course of a couple of years and love it (although I don’t have many opportunities to wear it in Central Florida!) The pattern is Jo Sharp‘s “Uptown” cabled coat from the Jo Sharp Village Hand Knitting Collection Book Number Six. (I’ve just visited the Jo Sharp Website and it must be out of print now!) Anyway, I bought the book and yarn at a LYS in Cincinnati that was going out of business and everything was 50% off! Yippee! So the Jo Sharp Silkroad Ultra Yarn (all 31 balls of it!) was not as awfully expensive as it might have been. I love the coat’s mustardy color and, of course, the cables. BTW, I love knitting with Jo Sharp yarn and at the Website, the prices are not bad! Special discounts apply for purchasing 10 balls of yarn … and it’s quite a savings!

So, with that … I and my new hair are gone knitting!

Memories and Peace

Whenever I hear this song, I’ll remember Diane. She was my neighbor and friend. She called me to ask me for help with caring for her children. I couldn’t help her when she really needed help. I know it wasn’t my fault, it wasn’t my rules, I tried my best. I simply couldn’t provide an au pair for her children when we all knew she was leaving our world for a better place, leaving her children to grieve her loss, open and raw. The program regulations do that to protect the au pairs. I still felt helpless.

It’s funny how songs reminds us of something and can have such powerful, nearly physical memories attached to them. This version is only slightly different from the original but still invokes strong memories for me. Diane’s in the arms of the angels and her family soldiers on. They moved away and, last I heard, they were moving on; Jim was remarried and the kids were doing well. Tyler and Samantha. I’ve not heard from them for a long while. I don’t expect I will again but I still think about them and Diane every time this song is played.

My loss is not like theirs but my life, too, was forever changed in 2007. Everything I ever believed was called into question. It’s been four years and a half and I’m still working to make sense of a re-ordered world. A world that is strangely unsafe and only somewhat familiar. Without choice, I’ve been soldiering on, like Diane’s family. I do pretty well most days and am grateful for friends and family who have faith in me when I loose faith in myself. I know I have angels in my life who are watching over me (as Diane, no doubt, is watching over her family) and hope this path will dump me out into a sunshine-filled field where I can find safety, comfort, happiness and peace.

Gone knitting.