Sweater Weather!

IMG_2703It’s April 15 today and it’s winter again. Today was not blue skies and sunny. We had snow flurries, a little sleet, a mixed bag of yuck! It’s truly sweater weather!

IMG_2706I’ve been drooling over some sock yarn by On the Round. On the Round is a Maine yarn and is hand-dyed in Owls Head, Maine. Rachel has been knitting since she was seven and she home schools her children … and dyes yarn in her “spare” time! Busy lady! Anyway, I finally decided to buy a hank of Silver Lining Tweed in Signature Sock and I am so glad I did. I haven’t knit socks in a little while and it felt like I was sitting with an old friend as I cast on and worked down the cuff of my sock. I always (almost always) use the Yankee Knitter pattern, Classic Socks for the Family and I am using it this time. I nearly know it by heart (always need help when I am turning the heel). I’m a happy camper …

IMG_2710I’m also working on my Malabrigo Rios sweater using the Knitting Pure and Simple Neck Down Cardigan for Women pattern. I didn’t get the right gauge of 16 stitches over four inches with this yarn. Probably because the Rios is more a light worsted. So, with my gauge of 17.5 stitches over four inches (4.375 stitches per inch), I’ve decided to make a size larger so that I have some positive ease. I love the colorway that I chose. It’s a blue and a grey at the same time. It’s tonal and I love it! I haven’t had an easy start with this sweater, though. I noticed, just as I was about to separate the sleeves, that I was a couple of stitches short on one side of the front. And I SAW that the reason why I was a couple of stitches short was because I hadn’t increased on one side of the marker. It was the one side that was front and center of course. I decided relatively quickly that I was not going to be happy with it and had to rip it back and fix it. It set me back a bit, but it was totally worth it. I am so excited to wear this sweater!

IMG_2709I have also cast on a shawl using my yarn from the sheep at Bedlam Farm. Mine is a sport weight from Susie and another sheep. It’s a lovely grayish brown. I had a customer at the shop who needed help with her shawl and it was pretty and simple. I like pretty and simple because it lets the yarn shine. So, I cast on the Age of Brass and Steam Kerchief and I pick it up now and then when I want to knit something simple. It’s going to be pretty! I think this shawl will be used to do some good. Stay tuned.

IMG_2688At home, we have begun the process of rebuilding our boat house. The original boat house was re-built around 1950 and then a “garage” with a dirt floor was added after that. The foundation of the building is in remarkably good shape so we are simply rebuilding the same building so that my husband can move his workshop into the garage part and we can turn the existing workshop (the white building at right), we hope, into a two-car garage in the future. This week we are hoping to see the roof joists and roof go up. It’s very exciting.

IMG_2601Our family thrives! All five kids are working hard and make us very proud. Youngest, Amy, made my blueberry muffins this weekend and they looked wonderful. A great first attempt.

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photo by Jenny Anderson

Oldest, Kate, opened in Mean Girls on Broadway last weekend. This is a big deal for her and she has worked so hard to get here. She’s a star and it seems that she’s stealing the show! We look forward to seeing the show in a few weeks and hope to see all the kids and their significant others here this summer.

Life is good!

Gone knitting.

(Find more information about my knitting projects on my Ravelry project page. My Ravelry name is lindar.)

Busy Busy (Queen) Bee

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All About That Brioche by Lisa Hannes

I can’t believe that I’ve not written a post since Father’s Day! Yikes! I didn’t realize how busy I’ve been … or how I’ve totally neglected my blog!

We have had visitors a couple of times. My aunt and cousin and his family came for a visit from the other coast. We had a hoot and I got my fill of babies and toddlers. The kids were so much fun and I am so grateful that my cousin’s wife wanted to come east to spend time with us. My eldest daughter and her husband and their dogs came for a visit, too. I am always happiest when one of my kids is in the house! Both visits put my knitting on hold for a few days.

Today I finished my All About That Brioche shawl by Lisa Hannes. Let me chronicle the adventure that was this shawl for you!

I bought the kit from Kitterly. Yellow … NEON yellow and charcoal gray. What’s not to love? They’re bee colors! Madeline Tosh (Merino Light) yarn is very soft and not plied. Sometimes it gets a little fluffy which is not always what you want. Regardless, it’s a delight to knit with and will be a delight to wear. The pattern is fun to knit. A bias-knit garter to begin and then two bands of contrasting two-color Brioche. I needed to pay a little bit of attention to the increases and decreases but it’s a relatively simple six row repeat.

Initially, I thought I wanted to add an additional colorway to the mix but after knitting a little bit of the way, I decided that there was a reason the original design had only two colors. The addition of a third would have messed up the contrast. So, I frogged the first attempt and proceeded with the gray/yellow color palette.

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I’m not crazy about the edge on one side of the shawl, if I’m totally honest. I guess I wasn’t paying close enough attention to how the rows begin. The point is to slip the first stitch and then bring the working yarn to the back or front so the edge has a consistent color.

This is right.

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This is not right.

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Can you see the black yarn crossing over the yellow edge stitches? And to the right there is yellow yarn crossing over the gray edge stitches? Yeah. This is not the way it’s supposed to be. BUT I also decided that it wasn’t worth frogging the Brioche section to repair this so I went forward knowing that I was going to have a funky edge on one side of the shawl. I’m ok with it (most of the time, anyway!)

I need to weave in my ends and block it today to make it wearable. I think the size will increase exponentially when I block it. Right now it’s a little bit too small for my liking. But I can’t wait to wear it … and it won’t be long until fall! We are experiencing crisp, clear, cool mornings and evenings here in Maine! I love the changing seasons!

Gone knitting!

Tartan Knitting

 

Be still my heart! I love this shawl!

Three of us, all teachers, decided to do a MKAL together and chose an “oldie”that we had all seen on Facebook and loved, the Dragonfly MKAL 2016 by Rachel Roden. This pattern is available for purchase on Ravelry.

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The Yarn!

I am using two skeins of Manos del Uruguay’s “Alegria” fingering yarn (75% merino wool and 25% nylon) in two colors, Kohl, and Teal. Both colors are tonals which means that there is a slight variation of shade in the yarn. When I chose the yarn colors I probably had a choice of 20 different colors and it was not easy … but this was my favorite combination at the end of the day. I love the teal and I love the gray with it.

There are five clues. They are well divided and very satisfying to knit. Clue 1 starts at the center of the neck and has the first section of plaid knitting. The clues and the shawl grow well together and I especially loved knitting the sideways cables (braids).

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Nearing the end!

I am currently knitting the very last section of the shawl with over 400 stitches and it is a pleated ruffle border and I can’t wait to see how it looks when it’s complete. I also can’t wait to block and wear it.

My goal is to have it finished and blocked this week so I can take it with me to visit my kids in New York this weekend.

Yes, you should give this pattern a try! Use your stashed yarn or come visit me at my LYS!

Gone Knitting!

WIPS Wrestling – Ravellenics 2016

imageRavelry has a wonderful knitting challenge during the Olympics and I’ve chosen to be on the “WIPS Wrestling” team and challenge myself to finish several projects during the Olympic Games. I’m proud to say that I have challenged myself to finish, and have finished  four projects so far.

Rustling Leaves Beret

Rustling Leaves Beret

I had a commission to make a lace hat for a customer. Her hat was begun just before the Olympics started. I knit Rustling Leaves Beret by Alana Dakos. It’s a fun knit and pret quick to knit up as well. My customer bought Cascade Yarns Heritage Sock yarn in a navy color. Now, all knitters worth their salt know that dark colors (particularly black but any dark color) are difficult to see your stitches. The biggest challenge for me with this hat was counting, or more specifically, dividing stitches. You begin the hat casting in stitches and I used DPNs. Needless to say, I divided wrong the first time and came up with 30 stitches short. It was going to be a very small hat! The hat is delivered and my customer has requested another hat just like it but in a little brighter blue! I blocked the hat, as directed, on a dinner plate and it was just gorgeous!

Drachenfels - times two

Drachenfels – times two

I also finished my Drachenfels Shawl. I really enjoyed knitting this shawl. I had chosen yarn based on a sample that I saw knitted up at the Maine Fiber Frolic in June. Green is not usually a color I knit with but I loved the three colors together. Drachenfels is by Melanie Berg and is a slightly “off kilter” triangular shawl knit in garter stitch with an Icord bind off. I knit mine with a dark gray, a medium blue and a deep apple green. I loved knitting it and I love e finished result. The sport-weight yarn makes it a quick knit and the shawl is a good size! Two other women in my Froday class are/have knitted this shawl and it’s really fun to see the results in different colors.

Number 2 Pencil Socks

Number 2 Pencil Socks

The wonderful and fun Number 2 Pencil socks are also finished. This was yarn that I waited for for what seemed like forever because the first shipment was lost or stolen in transit. When I finally did get it, it went immediately into my stash to be used as encouragement for me – encouraging me to finish some other projects. It was a very fun project and I can’t wait until it’s cooler and I can actually wear them! The yarn is hand-dyed by Yarn Enabler (she has an Etsy shop). I had seen in on Susan B. anderson’s blog or Facebook page  and it was a total impulse buy but totally worth it  I bought the pattern from Yarn Enabler, too though truth be told, I only partially followed it  I used a heal flap heel rather than a FLK – but I’ll attempt the Fish Lips Kiss heel another time for fun!

4 Needle Snowflake Mittens

4 Needle Snowflake Mittens

Last but not least, is the second pair of Snowflake Mittens. This pattern is a very old pattern gifted to me by my friend and colleague Bette. I made myself a pair and this pair is for my friend. I’ll make a third pair for my sister-in-law in Massachusetts. I typically have a rule to never knit two of the same thing. This pattern is an exception and I fully plan to knit it repeatedly! I used Brown Sheep Company’s Lambs Pride Worsted in White Frost and Navy Sailor. I love the contrast in the colors and I love these mittens. I avoided color work for years but this pattern made me begin to think about conquering my fear of color work. I think I have succeeded. My favorite part of these mittens is the pattern on the inside of the thumb. Isn’t that silly?

The only other thing I’d really like to compete is the Aran Sweater that is sitting in a bag in my studio. It’s been swealtering hot the last few days and I could not sit under it. It was too darned hot! Tomorrow I head to the beach in Virginia with my college girls for a few days. Friends for 40 years, we always have a wonderful time together and Virginia Beach is gorgeous for a little R&R. I may choose to drag it with me and try to seam it in air conditioning. I really haven’t decided.

Next another hat will go on the needles.

Gone knitting!

Drachenfels by Melanie Berg

View from our House

View from our House

We have been super busy here along the shores of Messalonskee Lake! We are preparing for our family to arrive at the end of July for our wedding and the chores are never-ending! The yard has been landscaped. Inside projects are getting finished. With that, I am getting a bit of knitting and sewing in … more knitting than sewing … but I still haven’t attacked the seaming of my Aran Cardigan because it’s been stinking hot in addition to busy.

There is nothing worse that sitting under the pieces of a wool sweater when the temperatures are in the 80s here in Maine. We don’t have any air conditioning at our house. Normally we only need it a couple of days a year. And our nights are always cool enough to put a sheet and a blanket over us. But I’m not going to work on the seaming of the cardigan until it’s a little bit cooler. So, I’ve cast on another new project that I’ve been waiting to knit. Drachenfels by Melanie Berg.

Drachenfels is a triangular shawl in three colors. I bought my yarn at this year’s Maine Fiber Frolic. The Frolic is the first fiber festival to kick off the season here. I love the event and generally spend a day volunteering and visiting the booths. This year I was determined to live by my stash knitting program. Ha! I blew it when I came upon the sample knit up in the String Theory booth … I bought a different yarn but the same colors that were in her sample shawl and I am very excited about knitting this garter stitch beauty.

My Three Colors

My Three Colors

My yarn is String Theory’s 100% domestic super wash Merino. Each of the three skeins has a generous 425 yards of squishy yumminess. Which should be more than enough – the pattern calls for 333 (of two colors) and 301 yards respectively.  I bought three colors: charcoal gray, blue and green. I chose these three because they were exactly the colors of the sample that I saw. Little did I know that two of my students in my Friday knitting class are also working on this shawl. They’re all lovely. (I’ll try to remember to take pictures!)

This yarn is knitting up to be so soft and squishy. I am loving the feel of it in my hands as I knit.

The first two sections of my Drachenfels

The first two sections of my Drachenfels

The pattern is a simple pattern that starts at one “wingtip” with double increases on one side and a decrease on the other so that it’s a slightly asymmetrical triangle. The first two sections which I have completed are straight forward (I did use a marker to mark the right side of the fabric) and when the first complimentary color was introduced, I got really excited. I love my colors! The blue just pops off the gray!

The section two slip stitch pattern is lovely and I am rolling right along. The first part of the pattern repeats sections 1 and 2 several times. I’ve repeated twice and am on to the third. Rolling right along.

I have a feeling that one of my daughters may want to steal this one from me.

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.

Busy (Queen) Bee!

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This weekend, I’m home alone. We live in this bee-utiful place and I feel so grateful to be here. The fiance flew off to Atlanta leaving me with the three dogs and “nothing” to do! So, I thought I’d take this opportunity to update you all (all one) of you on what I’ve been knitting. I have been quilting, too … rather, piecing quilt tops!

On the knitting side, I’m working on Christmas gifts and have finished two pairs of socks and a hat. If I showed you pictures, I’d let the cat out of the bag and ruin the surprise for a few of the people that I love most. So, suffice it to say that I am enjoying these projects and am happy to start some Christmas knitting this early! I have a third pair of socks planned and the yarn is purchased.

I have a pair of socks on the needles for me and a shawl, too.

Tyrolean Stockings by Ann Budd

Tyrolean Stockings by Ann Budd

The socks are Ann Budd’s Tyrolean Stockings. I was teaching a class a week or so ago and happened to look through one of the books populating the table and loved the cabled knee-length socks. I have a stash of wool and decided to use some to make these socks. They are so pretty that I may enter them in the knitting competition at some fairs this summer. The pattern can be found in Interweave Knits, Fall 2007 and on Ravelry. They are also in a compilation of sock patterns but I can’t tell you the title or the author. I’m sorry. The socks are knit top down and are a fun knit. I’m using a Patons Classic Wool yarn in the seafoam colorway. I love the color and I can’t wait to finish sock #2 and hope to wear them before the weather here in Maine gets too warm. The picture doesn’t, unfortunately show the great color … why do cameras do such a poor job sometimes of accurately displaying colors?

Crushed by Rachel Henry of Remily Knits is project number two on my needles.     I have had this bee-utiful yarn gifted to me by my sister-in-love in my stash for a while now waiting for it’s perfect project and I think this is it! It’s a lovely lace shawl and I am excited to see the color change from black to yellow and all the colors in between! In case you didn’t figure it out, it’s a gradient yarn. Vice in the Loki colorway, 80/20 merino/nylon. I rewound it so that the shawl starts with black and ends with yellow. No pictures yet but I will update on this project as I get some color change!

Elizabeth Zimmerman's Baby Surprise Jacket

Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Baby Surprise Jacket

I knit a Baby Surprise Jacket (Elizabeth Zimmerman) as a sample for the LYS that I’m working for. I used Little Birds yarn by Universal Yarns. I think it turned out super cute! The yarn is soft and I love the way the pattern works up. I have to admit that I was confused by the directions at first and had to google some hints as to how to get the increases right. But the wonders of the internet helped and I got over the hump. It was a super quick knit and would make an adorable baby gift!

One day on Facebook, I think, I saw a “Tablet Stand” that was knitted. I was intrigued and also needed something to help my charts “stand up” so that I can read them more easily.  IMG_6325This is the result of that … It won’t hold my tablet but I does hold my iPhone and the metal piece that support my patterns with charts. Sometimes I still knit the old fashioned way … with a paper pattern. The pattern is called “Reading Rest” by Frankie Brown and it can be found on Ravelry. The stitching up/assembly is quite fiddly but I did finally get it. I would stuff mine more aggressively if I was going to make a second one. I used beans and some fiber fill … rice might also work. It definitely needs to be heavy enough to support technology! I used some stashed Knit Pics yarn (DK or Sport weight, I’m not sure what it was and I don’t have the label.) I think it could also be knit in a worsted weight and made a bit larger than mine. I’d say mine is a moderate success, though!

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Missouri Star Quilt Company “Orange Peel”

I have also started sewing in the last year or so. My friend, Beverly, is a talented quilter and she got me started. I’ve been busy finishing sewing projects in the last couple of weeks. This is the biggest of the three that are now finished. It’s a Missouri Star Quilt Company’s “Orange Peel” quilt. The little orange peels are all little individual pieces of fabric cut to shape and then “stuck” on the dark gray squares and then they are appliquéd (stitched around).

I have also finished two other quilting projects and I am waiting to go learn how to use the longarm machine to quilt them myself. I sure do hope I enjoy it and do a good job because I have a lot of time invested in them!

My Quilting 101 Sampler Quilt is done. I really enjoyed taking this class at the Cotton Cupboard in Bangor, Maine. The staff there is very friendly and knowledgable. They helped me pick out my fabrics so that they match and the classes that I’ve taken have been great! Of course, this one is in my favorite (bee) colors!

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IMG_6354The third quilt top is the flag quilt that I started in a class last spring. (Yes, I know, it has been a full year in my atelier waiting to be finished!) I am happy to have this one done and wish I had taken it more recently because I can see a lot of “issues” in this quilt top but I’m not “dedicated” enough to re-do it. It will serve as my first quilt with round parts sewn together. Not easy to piece! I really like the quilt and can’t wait to to hang it up in our house.

So, there you have it! I’ve been a busy bee and I’m making progress with my projects. I always feel particularly proud when I wrap up and new project and feel content with the work that I’ve done. I am learning that I am a very competent and capable woman and I am learning to be proud of myself. What a good feeling!

Gone knitting!