Gnoming

A Gnumber of Gnomes

I’m up to five gnomes in my gnitted gnome collection. I have several more to gnit and I will get them done. They’re so much fun! And they’re really cute.

All of my gnomes are patterns written by Imagined Landscapes’ Sarah Schira. Her patterns are often offered in MKAL format which offers you the opportunity to knit a gnome over a short period of time (and print the pattern on lots of paper.) I have also purchased some of Sarah’s “gnormal” gnome patterns (not MKALs) that I want to knit. I enjoy the KALs and I think I’ll also enjoy the simple pleasure of knitting a gnome at my own pace.

Left to right (above) are my current gnomes:

Most recent FO is Gnot just another Gnome, Gnathan. I knitted my gnome in worsted weight yarn rather than the proscribed fingering weight. I love my giant gnome. I used DPNs smaller than the yarn wrapper indicated and checked the fabric to make sure that it was tight enough that the stuffing wouldn’t show through once the gnome was finished. I used US 5 DPNs throughout. My Gnathan has gnarly arms (they look a bit too thin) so in the future I’d add a stitch or two to the i-cord numbers to make them more proportional. But he’s acceptable just the way he is … he will have to do more pull-ups to build his arm muscles! LOL! Gnathat has some wonderful cables on his hat and on the side of his body. The cables on the sides run from the base to the tip of the hat. It must be my Irish heritage, I love cables.

“Gnathan”, Gnot Just Another Gnome

Second from the left is Gnome is Where You Hang Your Hat. This one was really fun because it was a stranded knitting design from the start and this gnome (gnamed Gnemo) got a hand-knit sweater! This little guy is knit in fingering weight yarn and US 1 1/2 needles. I’d love to make this guy again in a sport-weight yarn so he’s a little bit bigger. I didn’t weight this gnome … probably because I was lazy and didn’t have anything in my studio at my fingertips. That’s a bummer because he does tip over. I’d also like to make one of these with the hat pointing up. It’s a lovely piece of knitting!

Gnome is Where You Hang Your Hat, “Gnemo”

Gnutmeg is the next one in the lineup, pattern name is the ADVENTure Gnome. This one was knitted in early December 2020 thus it’s name. I used all leftover yarn bits and bobs. I actually love this guy, too. This was a MKAL knitting project. I love love love his boots! This would be fun to make in a heavier weight needle, too. This one is in sort-of-holiday colors … I was in a sort-of-holiday mood, apparently. I’d rather the gnomes not be too holiday-ish because they stay out all year. Until now, they’ve lived on a bookshelf in my atelier. They may move downstairs in the wintertime. This pattern came with a pattern for a Christmas ball, knitted of course, and two recipes.

ADVENTURE Gnome, “Gnutmeg”

The first gnome project I embarked on, and the last two in the lineup, was Oh, Gnome, You Didn’t! I may have un-gnowmingly knitted the first Gnellie with the wrong size needle and so I decided to knit a second Gnellie (appropriately named Gnellie 2.) Again, I used leftover scraps of fingering weight yarns from my bins (and bins and bins) of little bits of sock yarns. I braided Gnellie’s hat but left Gnellie 2’s hat alone with its three points. I love the Gnellies’ pockets!

Oh, Gnome, You Didn’t!

These guys would be fun to make more of. It’s probably good that Sarah keeps adding MKALs because the likelihood of me having time to make duplicates at any time soon is unlikely. I have already bought four more of Sarah’s patterns and I absolutely will knit them all … as I type this I am printing out the pattern for Gnome de Plume (Gnatalie to be) … I may have to knit two; one with braids and one without!

Gone knitting.

Another Wonderful Weekend

Last weekend we traveled out of the state of Maine for the second weekend in a row. This time we headed for Marblehead, Massachusetts and a reunion with two of my brothers and their families. (Most of them, at least.)

It was so good to hug our family!!!

Marblehead Window Box

I can’t say that I’ve gotten a whole lot of knitting done. My Daytripper is still languishing on the ottoman in my studio. It needs to have the steek fastened down on the back and I need to find some wonderful buttons. I’m going to buy some ribbon at work on Thursday for the steek cover. Buttons will probably happen on Saturday. Or early next week. It’s getting a bit close to too warm for wearing this sweater.

I started and finished the knitting on a gift for my Louisiana brother’s birthday. I can’t write about them until after they’re gifted. I’m sending the gift on to Louisiana for their last bath. More on this later. This photo is the best I can do to show you what it is … and I don’t think you’ll “get it.”

Secret Project … in Cascade 220
Kisses for Rose – Wee Wonder Woman shawl in Sisu yarn

This is our Chocolate Lab, Monk, wearing the Wee Wonder Woman shawl that I knitted for my granddaughter in France. I couldn’t send her one in red and gold. I actually bought red and gold yarn and then returned it because I needed to send her a pink one. This pink and white wool worked out perfectly. I was thrilled and I think my Rose was too. Monk is Rose’s favorite and Monk loves her. I like to think that he was sending her a big wet kiss.

A Single Sock in Patons Kroy

I have begun another knitted gift. Socks are such a great project. I love knitting socks and these are turning out really well. I like Paton’s Kroy. This is Yankee Knitter’s sock pattern. It’s my favorite pattern that I almost always go to when I knit socks. These are for a child and the slightly heavier fingering weight yarn will make these a little heavier than normal and slightly less heavy than boot socks.

Two weekends of late nights and food and adult beverages has me tired and with a full heart. I love my family so much and I hope we can get together again soon. I hadn’t really been able to spend time with them since my niece’s 30th birthday and she’ll be 32 in October (and married in November!) There is so much to be grateful for.

And then we came home to this … flowers budding and that beautiful big pool we live next to!

Gone knitting.

A Long-Awaited Visit

It’s been a long time since we’ve been able to see our family. This past weekend, we were able to travel to New York City to visit my children. We brought my mother’s piano (in a u-haul trailer) to my daughter who will USE it. We don’t use it and it’s a real shame that it just sat in the living room and wasn’t played.

On Saturday it was a gorgeous day and we walked parallel to the river with my daughters and their husbands and dogs to the weekly farmers market and to drop off their compost materials (they freeze it and then walk it to be composted every week!) My daughter’s step counter said it was more than 12,000 steps. She guesses it’s about 5 miles and the last bit was up hill. I haven’t walked five miles in forever! It was such a fun day and we completed it with a family dinner to celebrate (for the first time) my son’s 31st birthday. We were supposed to celebrate 30 last year when Covid required that we stay home.

I have been knitting! I knitted a pair of birthday socks for my son. I’ve never used this Schoppe-Wolle Das Paar sock yarn before. A customer last week bought a hank and asked that it be wound … I thought there was something wrong when it “broke” about half-way through until I realized that it was meant to happen! They made the yarn so that you get two socks that are the same! So, I had to try it and I loved it. I liked the hand (feel) of the yarn as I was knitting and the socks are exquisite! I’ve put aside two more hanks for future sock knitting.

I’ve begun a baby gift of socks for one of my daughter’s friends who had a new baby recently. The gift is socks for the boys – each the same, two-color socks (heels, toes and cuffs will be red and the body of the sock a marled gray.) I love knitting little socks! These are especially cute in my humble opinion.

When we got home I reinforced and steeked my Daytripper Cardigan. It’s thrilling to cut down the middle of a sweater and have the stitches hold. I’ve since picked up my stitches for the button bands and only have to secure the back side of the steek and find eight buttons to make the sweater wearable … just in time for warmer weather. I’ve steam blocked it to make it easier to steek but I’ll still give it a good wet block before it’s really and truly finished.

This is the beginning of my next “surprise” gift. New felted clog slippers for my LA brother. I made him a pair … I did the knitting and my sister-in-law did the felting and added the slipper soles … a bunch of years ago and they’re holey. She asked if I’d make him a new pair … we’ll handle it the same way as last time so they are felted to fit his feet (they live in Louisiana so it’s difficult to do at a distance!) This time he’s getting some LSU slippers. I decided to hold two strands of the different colors together which will make them quite different from the former pair that were dark gray or black. I hope he loves them. He’s such a LSU fan that he had a purple leather chair.

We came home on Monday to another beautiful day and the blossoms of spring in Maine. The forsythia is blooming and the rhubarb is starting to grow. It won’t be long before strawberry rhubarb jam season. My bleeding heart plant is growing so fast that I think you could actually see it growing. The daffodils are up and the birds are all traveling through … no sign yet of our hummingbirds but I’m sure they’ll be here early this year.

Life is good.

Gone knitting.

Spring has Sprung!

The ice has been groaning and bumping. Sometimes it’s loud enough to hear inside with all the windows tightly shut. It’s an incredible, living thing and as our temperatures warm up (yesterday it was near 50 degrees if not more) the ice is changing quickly and will soon be gone completely. I’ll try to do a better job this year of chronicling the ice leaving. It’s fascinating!

Meanwhile, I’m knitting. I admit that most of my attention has been on my Opus octopus because I’m so entranced and enthralled by it. The pattern is great. I had no trouble at all getting the entire piece knitted without anything more than minor counting problems – and counting problems are completely on me! I am so happy with my color choices and the Malabrigo Rios yarn is soft and perfect for a knitted stuffed toy. At least one for me … it might be a bit pilly if it is loved by a child. I think I’d have used a different yarn if this hadn’t been for me … perhaps Berroco Vintage which is soft but more tightly twisted than Rios. Vintage is Acrylic which will make it harder-wearing and it would also be more affordable.

This morning I stuffed the head of my Opus.

I will attempt seaming of the tentacles today and stuffing them with fiberfill. I have fiberfill but as the pattern calls for wool roving, if the fiberfill doesn’t work, I can pick up roving at work tomorrow. I think the fiberfill will work, though. I’m really excited about it!

I’ve also been working on a couple of other projects and planning is in the works for a new projects, too. I’m working along on my Flux Handwarmers.

Flux Handwarmers

Honestly, these aren’t my favorite. I think the way the thumb gusset is designed is a bit fiddly. They’re pretty but they’re kind of silly. We’ll see what happens because I sometimes wear my least favorite projects the most. More on that later. But I have the first mitt done with the exception of the thumb which won’t take a long time to finish. The second mitt is finished to separating the thumb gusset stitches. I was out on the porch, sitting in the sun and knitting, when I reached this point and didn’t have a needle or a bit of scrap yarn to put the stitches on so I had to stop.

Fine Sand Cardigan

I’m working away, slowly on my Fine Sand cardigan. This is slow and steady work. I have reached the separating stage, separating the sleeves from the body of the sweater. Now I have endless stockinette stitch with a few shaping spots left to go … and a couple of sleeves. A friend of mine from Medomak Fiber Arts Retreat (aka Knitting Camp) was wearing this sweater two summers ago and I admired it then. It’s been on the needles for nearly that long! I knew we carried the yarn at the store where I work so I bought the yarn … and then it got set aside for something else as often happens. This is a pandemic finishing project.

I think, once it’s done, it will be a very wonderful summer sweater. Perfect for the cooler summer evenings outside.

My Color Choices.

I’m working on the color choices of my next project.

I’ll be joining the Modern Daily Knitting (MDK) Lopi knit-a-long that begins today. The KAL is all about MaryJane Mucklestone’s Field Guide #17 – Lopi and I’ll be knitting her cardigan called Daytripper. This will be my first Lopi sweater and I’m excited to give it a try – I’m also a bit “concerned” that I won’t be able to wear the Lopi because of my allergies but I’m going ahead and we shall see. I had originally bought the yarn to make a Stopover pullover but when the new pattern came out I decided to switch for two reasons: I think I’ll get more wear from a cardigan and I hope the cardigan opening will mitigate some of my allergic reaction by virtue of having less wool right under my nose. (Ha! Ha! I’m hoping!) I want to have a bit of pink in this sweater because I have nothing pink in my sweater collection and for some reason, I’m liking pink. (Top left is main color, bottom left is color A, the rest of the colors are for accents.)

Gone knitting!

A Great Day!

Friday, March 5, 2021

Yesterday was a beautiful day! We both had the day off and it was a very special day for us. We got our first Covid vaccines! I have never been so excited to get a shot in my life. Today I feel like the psychological weight of Covid-19 is finally beginning to lift. The fear of getting this disease that has killed over a half million Americans and many more around the world has been weighing hard on me. Those of you who don’t live with me, work with me or aren’t related to me don’t know about my chronic cough. I’ve had this cough for at least two decades. It’s allergy-related, chronic post nasal drip causes my throat to tickle and I cough. I can control it with keeping my environment scent-free, chemical-free and (to the best of my ability) dust-free. Anywhere out of my control is just that.

Anyway, along with a couple of million other people, I got my vaccine and my sweetheart did, too. That is a good day. Oh! Did I mention that it was cold but sunny and that was pretty sweet, too?

Woo! Hoo! This girl is half-vaccinated!

It’s been almost 13 months since I last got my hair cut. Maybe I can make an appointment for early April! Gone knitting.

Deep Freeze, Raw Emotions

Deep Freeze on Messalonskee 3/2/2021

My emotions have been very close to the surface recently. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m mourning the last year that we’ve “lost” because of Covid-19 or because there is finally a sense of calm in our Nation’s capital with the new administration. I’m not sure what it is that I am feeling so deeply or that’s bubbling up but it’s there and with this post I am acknowledging it. I am looking forward to the day when it feels safe to leave the house and when I can see my family again. I miss them all so much but I am also so grateful that they’ve all remained healthy.

We woke to sub-zero temperatures today and lots of wind gusts! It was blowing all night but we have been fortunate to retain our power today while lots of other communities in Maine have not. The sun is out and the sky is bluebird blue and that always helps my “attitude”. I would love to see a really good snowstorm before spring but they posted our road yesterday and our camp road has been a muddy mess for a week or more so I may not get my wish.

Today I finally seamed the underarms of my test knit sweater, Crofter’s Smock by Gudrun Johnston. I like it more than I thought I would before it was blocked. The fabric relaxed a lot in its bath. I also learned a few new techniques: folded cuffs and neck and saddle shoulders. This sweater was fun to knit, partly because it’s somewhat cropped and knit in an Aran weight yarn. I used Hayfield Bonus Aran with Wool (a washable acrylic and wool blend) and it was heavy on the US8 needles … my hands got tired knitting! After seaming the underarms, I put the sweater on – this is the coldest day of our winter so far – and it’s nice and warm, the sleeve length is perfect and I like the pockets placed on the side of the sweater. I can’t show you any photographs yet but when I have permission, I’ll add them here.

Meanwhile, I have cast on a pair of socks for my March 2021 Sock Challenge. This month I’m knitting worsted weight boot socks in Raggi yarn. Gray and white marled leg and foot, red cuff and toe. I’ve nearly got one sock finished and will have to attach sock #2 as soon as #1 is finished. These will be super warm socks and they’re so cute!

I’ve also chosen to participate in the Confident Knitting year-long program hosted by Jen Arnall-Culliford. I also chose to splurge and purchase their yarns – typically not yarns we carry at the yarn shop where I work here in Maine. It’s a great chance to taste yarns that I may otherwise not get a chance to work with. AND they had a cool pink project bag!

I’ve started the March project, Flux Handwarmers by Martina Behm. The techniques learned this month are crochet provisional cast on and a folded edge. I chose to do a picot edge which is so cute! This month’s yarn is the springtime colorway of a Crazy Zauberball. These mitts will be a nice weight and they’ll be so cheerful. I’ve participated in A Year of Techniques and Boost Your Knitting for the two previous years and I learned a lot. I’m sure I’ll learn some new tricks this year, too! What I love about these programs is that there are detailed tutorials on all of the techniques and even when I already know one, I can find something to learn (or it just hammers it into my head.)

I’ve been spending a lot of time “worrying” about my sweet Lola. She’s not eating well and her hind legs are unstable. She sleeps most of the day but she still finds a tail wag or two to gift me with every day. For months I’ve been looking at the little kit that I bought when I was out shopping pre-pandemic. The little felt mitten has a bee on it and I couldn’t resist. This will eventually live on our Christmas tree but until Christmas, it’ll likely live on my desk lamp!

I finished two black tams for a customer and they’ve been delivered to the store for her to pick up. She wants two more navy blue ones. It’s sweet of her to ask me. I made a tarte tatin over the weekend. It was delicious! A few apples, some sugar, butter and a home made crust and it was dessert for two for several days. Yummy!

We’ve been spending lots of time doing puzzles. My hubby gave me a really difficult puzzle for Christmas and we stuck to it and finished it … and he ordered another one for Valentine’s day which we’re working on at the dining room table. Luckily, there are only the two of us so we only need one end of the table for eating (although we generally eat up in my studio and watch the news.)

Gone knitting!

Tate Rancher Hat

A long time ago, I started a raffia crochet hat. I started it three times. Each time it was too big and the last time, after completing the pattern, it was still so large that I decided to frog it and never make it again.

Fast forward to a few months ago and I happened to walk into work when our Berroco rep was visiting my boss and ordered a couple of cakes of Berroco Estiva, a cotton tape yarn that I was going to try to make a different hat with. (That hat was The Cleo Crush Fedora, a free pattern on Ravelry.) I’ve been waiting for the perfect time to make the sunhat/Cleo and recently cast on.

And then I realized that I had been gifted a great sun hat on my birthday by my daughter and her husband and it’s also blue so perhaps a sun hat wasn’t what I wanted to crochet again. Perhaps a fedora with a smaller brim … hence, the Tate Rancher!

Me! The Queen Bee in my Tate Rancher hat

I haven’t been crocheting for very long but this pattern is a simple single crochet and it’s made up in a spiral. The directions are clear and detailed enough to help the novice crocheter (like me!)

I started my hat with an I I5.5mm) crochet hook because, don’t forget, I started out making the Cleo Wide Brim but I ended up going down to an H (5.0 mm) because at the first measuring spot, I was a bit too loose. Don’t judge. Once I changed to the H, I was right on the measure. It’s a good spot to do a “gauge” swatch because the first part of the hat to the first measuring spot is only a few rounds.

the first measuring point … I was spot on with the H crochet hook and this yarn but even if I needed to adjust, this only took a short while to crochet and I wouldn’t have felt badly frogging and re-starting!

I did choose to use the fancy wire stuff that was suggested in the pattern to stiffen my hat brim. It was easy to crochet around (although the ends are rough and I did wrap them with some washi tape but they still popped out when I was steaming the hat to block it. It was readily available at Home Depot and my husband happened to be going there so I added to his list.

I braided a nice long section of the Estiva to tie around my hat because I don’t have a piece of leather or a skinny belt. I like the one color look, honestly, and I am quite pleased with this hat. I think I’ll be wearing it a lot this spring and summer. I have trouble driving with my sunhat but this hat should be ok in the car, too.

All the details are on my Ravelry project page. I’m lindar on Ravelry. Gone knitting!

Crofter’s Smock Test Knit

I swatched and swatched and swatched again! The first swatch, the pink-ish yarn was on target but the red, that I thought would be perfect for this project wasn’t right. This swatch was knitted flat before I discovered the instructions to knit the swatch in the round … so I got my needles back out and swatched again, this time in the round, with the red yarn. It was close “enough” and would probably have given me a little bit larger sweater when finished. But then I thought, since I can’t identify the yarn because it was gifted to me, that wouldn’t help the designer. So back to work. I dove into my stash and thought that Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Worsted is a heavy worsted. But I didn’t get gauge. Last chance was a stashed Hayfield Aran with Wool and my gauge was spot on! Woo! Hoo!

Next day I was off to my LYS (Yardgoods Center in Waterville, Maine) to see what two (big) balls were in stock for this sweater. I’d done a bit of research into colors so I did have some idea what I wanted to do and found Celtic Grey (is it grey or gray?) I also happened to grab a couple of balls of Raggi worsted sock yarn and ordered some Lettlopi for a future Stopover Sweater and Mary Jane Mucklestone’s new Heart Mittens. They’ll both be a “reward” for finishing my test knit.

I’ve been knitting away as often as I can manage between work and my volunteer board meetings and phone calls and as of this afternoon I have passed the seven inches mark. I checked the Google doc for the test knitting group to pass information to Gudrun and I’m doing pretty well … even if some of the testers have moved on to the sleeves. A few more inches to the armpits!

Crofter’s Smock by Gudrun Johnston in Hayfield Aran With Wool

I am enjoying the mixture of textures in the body of the sweater and it’s simple enough to not have to look at the pattern. So, I’d best get back to work so I can keep the progress rolling! One stitch at a time! I’ll be back soon with a post about measuring gauge (just in case you don’t know how to do it!)

Gone knitting!

Bernie’s Mittens

Thanks, Bryan!

We have all seen the memes of Senator Bernie Sanders wearing his now iconic recycled sweater mittens and Vermont-made “snow jacket” at the inauguration of Joe Biden last week. Bernie’s been traveling EVERYWHERE!!!

Thankfully, my sweet friend, Bryan in MA sent this photo to my personal Facebook page because this old gal hasn’t got a clue, nor, frankly, has she got the gumption, to figure out how to do this! It makes me giggle and we all need a good giggle now and again, right?

I’m pictured here in my me-made lobster mask and my hand-knit Sunset Highway sweater. (Click on the link to head on over to my Ravelry project page. Email me if you can’t do Ravelry and I’ll be happy to answer any and all questions.)

Broken Hearted

Last week I lost one of the loves of my life. My little dog, Boq, died on Friday.

Wicked’s Munchkin Boq (aka Boogie Man, Pee-Pee Boy, Brother, Booger, Sweet Boy)

I got home from work on Thursday to a mess on the living room floor and Lola walking back and forth through it. Suffice it to say, I was confused and getting upset because my husband didn’t answer my calls … yells … screams … I was afraid. Afraid for my husband, first, and then realizing that his truck was missing, afraid for Boq. And as that realization dawned, I found my sweet husband and a towel-wrapped bundle coming into the house. He had saved Boq, who’d had a seizure, was in shock and his little body was shutting down. He had rushed Boogie to the vet where, with a little warming and some IV fluids, he “pinked up” and was sent home. But the next day it was clear that he was not ok and the vet report was not encouraging. They found a tumor the size of a navel orange on his liver. The tumor was taking up 60% of his abdomen and he was showing signs of serious discomfort. It was clear that he was at life’s end at almost 15 (105 in dog years.)

After talking with my sister-in-law (she and my brother owns a veterinary hospital and have such amazing wisdom) and my kids we made the difficult decision to help him leave us so he wouldn’t suffer. We are so grateful that our veterinarian here allowed us to be with Boq as they helped him go. It was so peaceful and it was so sad. He is no longer suffering but our hearts are broken.

He was the sweetest, best boy. He was never house trained, we were. He was always a little bit “off” and kept us eternally amused. He sat facing the back seat of the car, he kept trying to dig his way back to China or wherever his ancestors came from. He was a wonderful paper shredder, a snuggly bug, a chill dude. I miss him so much.

Rest in peace, sweet boy. We will never ever forget you.