Monday, September 13, 2021

Monogamish

Turns out that keeping a blog is an awful lot like having a journal. For it to be of any use in tracking your projects, you must make entries on a regular basis.  Like a habit.  Do it regularly and it becomes second nature.  When one is in the midst of a pandemic and not going anywhere, or seeing anyone, it is difficult to find things about which to talk.  Especially if you are heartily sick of the pandemic, vaccinations, and politics. 

Anyway, on to other more salient topics ...

I have been monogamish ... sort of.  (Please understand monogamish to be defined as 'being faithful to two projects, but no more.)  At the store, I was faithfully knitting on a test knit for a local designer.  The design is not mine to show as the pattern has not yet been released.  So I have not been at liberty to talk about it ... and besides, how boring would it be to see repeatedly that "I knit another 20 rows on the test knit."   The release date is rapidly approaching, and I can't wait to tell you all about it.  

The other project was this commissioned afghan.  Mary Maxim design and Mary Maxim yarn.  The lady has been a steady and reliable customer of the store for many years, and the commission came with a good story.  I promised her I would finish it by the end of August.  Little did I know that August would bring with it an amazing heat wave!  But I did persevere and finish it on time.  I used 5.0m needles, as specified in the pattern, and knit to the length specified.  I think the client may have wanted to make it a bit wider than the pattern planned, but I didn't figure THAT out until I had frogged her work at the beginning and gotten three or four skeins of yarn into it.  Once finished, I contacted the client, only to discover that she was in the midst of moving into assisted living and could she wait until the end of September to retrieve it.  Oh well.  It is finished and a lovely finish at that.


 

Previously I had posted a pic of my ankle injury.  The doctor prescribed the wearing of an air cast for two months.  I am usually a compliant patient, and this was no exception.  Wearing the cast meant that I couldn't swim, sail, ride my bicycle, or walk.  (Not that I really wanted to do much walking -- it hurt!)  The cast finally came off mid-August, to my great relief.  I have since then been to physio and acquired a nice set of exercises designed to strengthen the feet, ankles and legs in an effort to avoid having this injury reoccur.  And I have been doing the exercises diligently.  To the effect that I went TWO WHOLE DAYS without pain!  Yay!  

 Sunday (yesterday) I had a delightful sail, did my exercises, hung laundry, chased the vacuum and dust mop around, and had a little walk.  The ankles and legs are telling me all about the excess of exercise they endured, but I have told them to get over themselves.  Summer is for doing things, and I WILL do things. 

That's about all the knitting news I can disperse today.  I hope to have more ... soon!  As well as creating a blogging habit.

Tuesday, June 01, 2021

So this happened ...

 Wow.  Three posts in March and then total silence through April and most of May.  To explain it, I will claim that I have been monagomy-ish of late.  


Which is to say … I have been knitting steadily at the store on a test knit afghan for a friend.  I am using Gathering Yarns Harvest Heathers in five colours, and I am loving the design and the yarn.  I am currently approaching the half-way point, so I am pleased.  Pictures will follow when the design is released.

I am knitting on another afghan at home.  This is a commissioned piece for a client of the store.  She wanted to make a wedding present for a grandchild, but was struggling with the pattern.   There are twelve balls of wool provided, and I am currently working my way through number eight. 

This is a Mary Maxim pattern and yarn.  The client is a very nice lady … and the yarn is an alpaca blend … and cables.  You folks know how besotted I am with cables. 

And the  there is this new project:


  I … sprained my ankle again, and did such a fantastic job that I went to the emergency room.  I knew I would need some distraction and entertainment so I grabbed the sock project bag.  The yarn is Claudia Hand Painted Yarns in the Addiction fingering weight base, and the colour is Muscadine Wine.  Previously I had remarked that my trusty Addi needle had finally been consigned to the retired status (after hundreds of socks and 15 years of service).  I did, however, have two 24” needles in the proper size.  While I CAN work magic loop socks on a 24” needle, it is stressful for both the needle and the knitter.  Also, I knew I would need something a wee bit brain-bendy for distraction as I waited in the emerg.  

Socks TAAT are mot my fave, but I can do them.  Socks on two circs is a better way for me than on one needle.  Especially when I need distraction.




Wednesday, March 31, 2021

March 31, 2021

March has come in like a lamb, and true to the adage it is leaving like a lion.  We have had raging high winds for the last couple of days, along with rain and grey skies.  Every once in a while the sun will peek through the clouds and the world lights up.  Moods also lighten with the sunshine.  After the year we have had with Covid-19, quarantines, restrictions, lock-downs and uncertainties, any excuse to lighten our moods seems like a good idea. 

To that end, it seems I was jonesing for a Playstation 4.  My eldest son and his family have one and they have had great fun playing games on-line with my other two children.  The grandsons especially enjoy playing with Uncle and Auntie.   And now they can play with Mama Carol.  I am an inept player at best, so my character frequently needs rescuing and reviving.  The boys are great for telling me what to do, where to go, etc.  They also are enjoying that they get to teach me how to play. 

My eldest grandson has been having school on-line this year.  It has been a challenge but he seems to have risen to the challenge.  His teacher recognizes that his academic skills are above grade level and is recommending him for the district’s gifted program.  

Youngest grandson has been going to the babysitter since his kindergarten program was cancelled.  This worked quite well, until the babysitter’s family were diagnosed with Covid-19.  My son and family all  tested negative, thankfully, but it meant that the younger grandson had to stay home with his parents.  Upon seeing big brother doing schoolwork, he insisted that he also needed schoolwork.  Now the little guy reads, writes in typical for his age scrawl, and handles double-digit arithmetic quite easily.  Wow! My son and his wife have their hands full!

I have been knitting a fair bit.  I am almost half-way through a test knit afghan.  Since it is a test-knit, no photos at this time.  The designer is hoping to release the pattern this fall.

Last post I showed a picture of Flax, by Tin Can Knits.  The photo was not great, so I have taken a couple more.  This first is the completed sweater!

 

I used two balls of ComfortWolle Gala Tweed.  (Please note this link will take you to a wholesale site, and sales are not to the general public.)  This wool is a worsted weight starting as a solid colour and transitioning to a tweedy effect.  I really enjoyed working with this yarn, and am sorry to see it has been discontinued. 

 One design feature of the sweater is the garter stitch panel running down each sleeve —


Such a nice effect, and saves the project from being totally boring.  Since the sweater is worked entirely in the round, it also means you must pay attention to get the garter stitch working properly.  If you forget which row you are on, or are operating on auto-pilot, the mis-step is glaringly obvious and you really do have to go back to correct the error.

I have also finished two pair of socks.  They were sent away already, and I forgot to get photos.  Perhaps when they come to visit I can get a shot. 

 I am continuing to work on my Forest Mosaic shawl, using one skein of Urth Yarns Fingering in colour no. 3025 and Sandnes Garn Baby Lanett white.  I am about halfway through the second diamonds chart, so fairly close to half-way finished. 

There is also a project on needles using Pollock from Juniper Moon Farm and an Elizabeth Lavold pattern.  I am going to save those pictures and updates for next time. 

 And see?  This is twice in one month, and a third post in one quarter!  Progress!

This about all the news I have, so I will say good-bye for now.  Hope your knitting is treating you well and you are staying healthy and safe.


Sunday, March 14, 2021

Taking stock

 Now that I have blogged once in February and the calendar page has flipped to March, it must be time for a new post.  Just for fun, let’s review that list I posted way back in November ...

Dropping to the bottom of the list, I see that I was knitting a shawl for my daughter.  I finished it, and blogged about it in November

I also showed a picture of the Advent Cowl, being worked in Gathering Yarn Brook Farm.  It is finished! 

I used colours six colours, as requested in the pattern.  It was getting to be plenty tall, so I stopped about 30 rows before the chart ended, repeated the border section, and called it done.  This yarn comes in tiny balls, maybe 20 grams at a reasonable price of $6 each.  I am pleased with the overall project.

I have started knitting the Juniper Moon Farm Pollock into a lovely design from Elsebeth Lavold, “Jasmin,” from The Summer Breeze Collection.  I am loving this yarn, and how it is working up.  There was an error in the pattern that required some tracking down.  Once the correction was obtained, however, this has seen lots of love and time.  I will get the entire sweater from three balls of yarn, something I am quite enjoying.  

I have started the raglan shaping and lace section, so maybe 3/4 done with the front.  The sleeves are plain, so should be quick to knit. 

I also finished the afghan my mother left behind.  

The other nine projects?  Still waiting. 

But wait — there are more finished objects!   

Bernie Mittens, from the pattern named Vermont’s finest.  My daughter-in-law was over the moon to receive these.  

I am making a pair for my son since I have plenty of left over yarn.  I used four colours of Estelle Worsted, an acrylic and wool blend.  I mostly followed the pattern, “Vermont’s Finest,” found on Ravelry.  The only change I made was to work 15 rows of ribbing instead of the suggested 12.  The ones I make for my son will have added length.

What?  Are you saying there are more finished projects?  You would be correct.  I used two balls of Comfort Wolle Gala Tweed to knit “Flax” from Tin Can Knits.  I played with the gradient a bit for the arms, but otherwise just cast on and knit.  This was a lot of fun to knit.  That garter stitch element on the sleeves keeps it from being a total bore. 

Hmm.  The colour is not great, nor is the garter stitch visible.  I will try again. 

Turns out the children were disappointed that there were not Christmas socks ... so I have also been knitting frantically in an effort to rectify my oversight.  These are Berroco Comfort, a 100% acrylic, that wears like iron.  

Two of family members will be happy. 

And finally, another work in progress.  At the store we have started a Knit-A-Long of the Forest Mosaic Shawl.  

Mine is on the right.  I am using Sandnes Garn Babyull Lanett for the main colour and Urth Yarns Merino Sock for the contrast. I am really further along than the photo shows ... but I am saving THAT pic for my next post.

I am still awaiting the call for my Covid-19 vaccine.  I urge everyone to have one so that the world may enter the After Times.  I can’t wait!!!



















Friday, February 19, 2021

Once a Quarter?

 Hello, my sad and lonely Blog.  I keep thinking I should drop by and update, and then I run out of time.  On what am I spending all my time?  A little of this, a little of that, some more of this ... I know I have been working jig saw puzzles, writing my representatives in Washington DC, reading some, knitting, skiing, cleaning ... All in all, just typical stuff.  My next goal is to get back here before another three months goes by!

These last eleven months, almost to the day, have been spent in varying stages of pandemic restrictions.  We have been totally shut down, partially shut-down, partially opened ... basically every stage of restriction at least twice.  Still awaiting my Covid-19 shots ... still waiting for the borders to open.  I last saw my grandsons in person in May of 2019.  (That is not a typo.  Almost two years now.)  Thank heavens for the internet and video chats.

Speaking of my grandsons ... The eldest asked me once why I knit all the time.  My answer was that I liked making things for the people I love.  And while that is true, it is not a complete answer.  The rest of the answer is that years from now, when I am no longer walking the face of this Earth, I want those I love to be able to look at pictures of them wearing things I made, and be reminded that I existed, and that I loved them.  Loved them enough that I would spend hours of my life making them something tangible, something that carried my love for them in its very existence.

Which brings me to this —


This is an afghan my mother started years ago.  She passed in 2003?  The date gets a bit fuzzy.  In any event, she has been gone for almost two decades, and the afghan ended up in my possession for finishing.  It is a variant of arrowhead lace, and it took a while to get my head into finishing.  But I did, and now here I sit, wrapped in the afghan that my mother knit.  It is like getting a hug from Mom, something that I have sorely missed these many years.  I have sweaters she made for me as well, but with the passing of time they no longer fit.  

The yarn is Windrush, from Brunswick Yarns.  (To be honest, I know the yarn is discontinued and I am not even certain if Brunswick Yarns still exists.)  Five different colours of blue, worked generally in 4-row stripes.  There is one stripe that is six rows, but I'm not telling anyone where it is.  It's a design feature!  Ultimately, when the border reopens, this will be delivered to my elder brother and then he may enjoy hugs from Mom.

Another project recently finished is a pair of Bernie Mittens.  What are Bernie Mittens?  Well, Bernie Sanders appeared at the inauguration of Joe Biden wearing a pair of fabulous mittens.  They became quite the internet sensation, and by day's end there were patterns available on Ravelry.  These mittens were requested by someone near and dear to my heart, so of course I was willing to make them.

I used the pattern "Vermont's Finest" and four colours of Estelle Worsted.  I tried to match the colours as closely as possible to the original, and did fairly well.  I used a 5.0mm needle, which worked quite well for the design and wool.  The next pair of mittens, however, will have a few modifications.  To-wit, the thumb gusset increases start immediately after 12 rows of ribbing; I knit 15 rows of ribbing and will add 3 plain rows to the next pair.  Also, I find the hand portion to be a bit short for my liking, and will add a row of plain gold both before and after the white motif.  Finally, the thumb could be a couple of rows longer ...

I recognize that not everyone has long fingers like mine, but the next pair are being planned for someone near and dear to my heart, and I know for a fact there is some additional length required. Right now I am trying to decide how to get these mittens to the recipient.  The US Postal Service is still in a high state of disarray, and parcels are being ignored, not delivered, mis-delivered, etc.  UPS or FedEx are possibilities ... Tomorrow I will make the decision and get them on their way. 

And that is about all the news from my little corner of the world.  It is snowing (still) and the lake is frozen.  There is almost too much snow for comfortable skiing out there ... Right.  We are actually skiing on the lake this year, much to Doug's chagrin.  He has sneered at this idea for the past 21 years I have lived with him.  This year, people cannot go anywhere, the gyms are closed, and so everyone is heading over to the nearest conservation area and hiking.  This wreaks havoc on ski trails, not to mention that the over-crowding is making us feel unsafe.  So, to the lake it is.  I am enjoying it thoroughly and practicing my flat-land skiing.  Not upping my game for going up and down hills, but it is exercise and I am loving it.  The hot chocolate at the end of the ski also ups the enjoyment factor ...

Gosh, it's been nice to write a bit.  I should do this more often!



Sunday, November 15, 2020

November 15, 2020

 November is here, with blustery winds and rain.  This year we have the sailboats safely stored for winter, the canoes snugly tucked away and the dock sections all ashore.  Every fall is different, and we tend to procrastinate getting ready for winter.  We want that last sail, that last canoe ride, that last sunset on the dock.  Now it is sunsets on the deck, or from the dining table.  The house is fairly snug against the winter weather, so there is that. 

kn knitting news, I sent my daughter a picture ...


She was confused ... until I sent here THIS picture:


This is her shawl, quite possibly for her wedding.  It is the Diamond Rings shawl, designed by Donna Druchunas.  I used 8 balls of Sandnes Garn Mandarin Petit, in colour 7512, which is a delightful baby blue.  (I needed the 8th ball for the last 4 rows of the border.). I used a 3.75mm needle, as suggested by the designer.

Why cotton?  My daughter has a sensitivity to wool, so merino was out.  We do not know when the actual event will occur, so I didn’t really want to use alpaca. (In fact, we are not entirely certain that alpaca will not give her itchies, so that was another consideration.). Finally, she thought the shawl MIGHT be used as a throw over the back of the sofa afterward.  Cotton it was!  

I blocked this by letting it have a nice swim in the bathtub with a wee bit of Eucalan. Then it went through a spin cycle in the washing machine.  (Our machine is a front-load, so reasonably OK for knits.)  I had listened to a podcast that suggested doing this, as the machine spins so much excess moisture out of the garment.  Cotton does not felt, so it seemed like a safe thing to do.  Spread out on a double bed, this covered the mattress side to side, and three-quarters of the length.  I danced around, gently shaping it into a nice circle.  I did not pin out the points on the border because I think Carrie probably will not do so when she washes it.  Also, I did not have that many blocking pins!  It dried over -night, which I found shocking. Usually things require three to four days to dry, but using the spin cycle got so much water out that it was a quick dry.   

 Now to test the spin cycle with wool ...

In other news, I must say that I am GREATLY relieved that Joe Biden appears to have won the presidential election. I will not believe the Trump nightmare is over until the inauguration occurs, but I am beginning to have hope.  As an American living outside the borders of the US, things were looking grim.  Still are, actually.  I greatly feared I was watching the end of the US experience ... who knew there was that much bigotry hiding in the population?  Destruction of education systems, destruction of the postal service, destruction of the norms of every day life.  I am hoping that Mr. Biden will be able to bring healing and moderation.

And I am going to say “that’s  wrap” for this blog post.  Thanks for reading!



Sunday, October 25, 2020

October 25, 2020

 One of my good friends reads my blog, when I take the time to post.  One would think that a pandemic would give a girl plenty of time to do so ... and to be absolutely honest, I really do not know how I lose so many hours of my life.  Yes, I understand that the silly computer games I play are a complete waste of time, and I will readily admit that I play entirely too much.  Having admitted this, however, I am also going to say that knitting and keyboarding properly are prone to the creation of carpal tunnel syndrome, so too much of those activities may not be healthy for me either!

In any event, I did spend a fair bit of time this summer out on my little sailboat.  Feeling the sun and wind on my face, listening to the swish of water past the rudder prove to be balm to a troubled soul, and this accursed pandemic has created more than a little disturbance in my soul.  I hope this winter to substitute cross-country skiing for the boat ...

I absolutely love having a wool shop to call my own (well, my half of the partnership in any event).  It turns out that there are benefits to owning said shop, as well as pitfalls.  One pitfall is that sometimes, thankfully not often, a customer will fling yarn at us that we cannot resell.  It has been wound, knit, frogged and rewound into a ball.  Of course, it is still usable ... so in the early days of lockdown I knit hats.  Ten of them.  In an effort to not enlarge my stash, I gave the remainder to Barb.  I guessed there was enough for two or three hats.  She will get to them ... some day.

Another not-so-terrible pitfall of owning a wool shop is that sales reps often give us samples of wool and yarn to work with in the hope we will fall in love.  Sometimes it works, and sometimes it does not.  The skein below is one such gift.  Sadly, I have absolutely no label and so I cannot tell you anything about it except that it is green, and wool.  It is scheduled to be one of the next ten projects I make, so any suggestions would be welcome.

Sometimes we look at yarns and fall in love with them, but are not certain that our clientele will love them the way we do.  We purchase a bag, split it between us, and plan to plan to knit something glorious, tempting the clientele as we do so, of course.  Or perhaps it is just yarn that we love.  One never knows.  Anyway, we split a bag of Pollock from Juniper Moon Farms a long time ago.  A very long time ago.  In an effort to reclaim my knitting corner, I have designated this to be in the upcoming rotation.  Again, suggestions are welcomed because at the moment I have no idea what it wants to be when it grows up.


Next are two skeins of Rylie from Hi-Koo.  A customer really, really wanted to make something with this wool.  Sadly we had disappointed her previously so we brought in a bag for her.  Not so sadly, she did not need the entire bag ... and someone’s stash grew again.  

Another day we had a customer who dropped by with donations for our charity knitters.  There was this Shirley Brian yarn that seems to have started the colour-changing craze.  It is not really suitable for the various charity projects happening, so once again my stash grew.  It did not come with a pattern, though, so I will get to play a bit with it. 


I swear the picture was not this blurry when I looked at it after taking it!  In any event, this is a skein of Louet Euroflax ... again, a gift from a sales rep.  


Have I mentioned that sometimes Barb and I just cannot help ourselves and we buy things just because they are beautiful?  This is a gradient set from Manos del Uruguay in their Alegria Grande base. Sigh.  Too beautiful to pass up.  And time for it to become something.  


I have made afghans for all of my children.  Sometimes two ...  My step-daughter is dear to my heart and well-deserving of an afghan too.  One weekend while she was visiting, I handed her an ancient McCall's Super Afghan book and asked her to choose.  She selected an aran-style afghan ... my heart just grew two sizes that day!  Took a while for the right colour yarn to arrive, but it finally has.  

Every year we do inventory at the wool shop.  Sometimes we bring treasures home with us.  This is one such treasure — Sublime Merino Lace.  I knit with this previously and loved it so I decided that it was time for this wool to find a home. 

So those are the projects that will be moving through my fingers.  No time frame as yet ... after all, I still need to do some holiday knitting.  In the process of sorting these out and filling project bags, I also turfed a couple of,projects.  Again, as the owner of a wool shop I seem to have a lot of projects that I “should” be working on.  You know what?  Life is short and uncertain, and I decided that “should” knitting is not gonna happen unless it is also something I WANT to make.

In that vein, let’s move on to my current projects!  This is an afghan that my mother started many years ago.  She is gone now, and the afghan has been residing in a corner of my room waiting.  Waiting oh so patiently.  This is something that my mother’s hands touched, something she was making for someone she loved. It has taken me some time to be ready to proceed ... I am there.  I know what row to start with, what colour, and cooler weather is approaching.  This will be something that stays at home as it is a large project already. 


One of our vendors gifted us with some balls of Brook Farm.  Cute, little balls of wool perfect for colour work.  The pattern is the Advent Cowl, available on Ravelry.  I started this last winter, before the pandemic.  Turns out that wearing a face mask changes where my glasses sit on my nose, making chart  reading interesting.  I may have found some masks that fit better so I am hoping to go back to this. 



Another long-lived project is this beautiful lace shawl.  Carrie gave me the alpaca yarn ... I have struggled with the chart as it is in a book which does not lie flat, making the magnet board difficult to use.  Being the clever girl I am, I have FINALLY had the brilliant idea of getting a copy made.  Flat page,  no binding, and a flat magnet board should make this much easier.  I could even have the chart — gasp — enlarged!


My daughter was engaged this summer to a delightful young man. we are thrilled with this development.  Of course, I instantly decided to make something special for her and that day whenever it may occur.  Having learned not to make surprise projects for her, I showed her my idea, she approved and I cast on.  I

love knitting lace ... this is a full circle shawl inspired by Elizabeth Zimmerman.  i am having SO much fun knitting it.  Very soon I will be adding the border and able to start spreading it out.  I can hardly wait!
  
I think this is enough chatter.  There are still new projects in the queue, but they can wait.  After all, there is lace knitting to be done!