Tag Archives: knitting

Crafting On – Starting Point at the End Point

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Ah, this time last week we were just arriving in sunny California for the E3 conference. Myself, I’m not a big gamer. I dabbled in a little World of Warcraft, but I got bored with that, and I’m just not coordinated enough to play shoot em up games. But, for my husband and stepson, going to E3, the video game industry’s yearly conference at which they unveil all of the new games and gaming gear for the upcoming year, was like winning the Golden Ticket to Willie Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. it was like three straight days of Christmas.

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We did do the touristy things of course, like going to the Griffith Park Observatory, and hitting the beach and the pier at Santa Monica.

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Image may contain: ocean, sky, cloud, outdoor, water and nature

I was sorely disappointed when we went to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and I actually got to visit the Dolby Theatre, home of the Oscars.  It’s just a strip mall!  All of the glamour, gone.  Oh well.  Unfortunately, the last few days of the trip were hampered by Joe catching some kind of a horrible cold (I had something before we left, but I find it hard to believe that he would have developed it over a week later), so we didn’t get to go on our Hollywood Homes tour, as recommended by the Ellen DeGeneres show, darn!  And, we didn’t go to Venice Beach.  Maybe we’ll be back, maybe not.  I feel like we packed in a lot before Joe went down.  Gamer down!

Anyway, needless to say after listening to him hack up a lung for two days, I was ready to be home, and as soon as I got home, I got to work finishing up the last clue of the Joji MKAL, Starting Point.

Brilliant finish – no grafting!

 

I guess the question to ask at the end any MKAL is, would I have knit this if it weren’t an MKAL, if it had just been released as a stand alone pattern?

In this case, it’s difficult to say.  I used all stash yarn – I don’t know if I would have gone stash diving had I knit this with true intention.  And, I don’t know if I would have wanted to make the big investment in yarn that this gigantic thing calls for.  So, I’m really happy with the end result, I’m pleased with my stash busting, but I’m not sure if I would have looked at this and said, yep, I want to spend $150 to make this.  I don’t know.  But, I’m certainly not sad it’s now in my wardrobe.

After that big knit, I found myself ready for some crochet.  I didn’t know it at the time, but when I was wandering through Michael’s while Joe got his hair cut (I’ve convinced him that the Hair Cuttery next to Michael’s is so much better than the one next to Whole Foods), these Caron Cakes were on sale, 30% off – and my curiosity got the best of me.  I don’t knit with acrylic, so the project was going to be crochet, and I thought, yep, that is actually what I’m in the mood for – crochet it is!  Caron Cakes is actually 20% wool, and that bit of wool really makes a difference.  If you put this yarn in a bag with pure wool, and I were blindfolded, I’d probably have a tough time identifying the fakery.  Unlike a pure acrylic, this doesn’t feel stiff, nor does it squeak like the Caron pound skeins.  Because of the color changes, I really wanted to do something that just went round and round, so here is the beginnings of my shell blanket:

Easy peasy.  Round and round.  Of course, while I’m doing this easy peasy thing, I have my eye on something harder, the Nuts for Squares CAL, but I’ve promised myself I’m going to finish this first, or at least finish off the four skeins that I bought of the Caron Cakes, before I invest in another project – gotta keep that wandering eye looking firmly straight ahead.  It’s so easy to get distracted, and you have too much Ravelry time on your hands.

So, that’s what I’m crafting on about, hope your summer crafting is moving right along was well.  Linking up with Linking up with Frontier Dreams, Crafting On!

Yarn Along – First Finish of the Year

Hello everyone!  Hope you started your year off on a knitting high note – it’s always good to wrap up the old, start something new, and plan the next thing, and so on . . .

My holdover from last year became my first finish of the year – behold, Braid Hills from Kate Davies:

After finishing the knitting, I was really kicking myself for not having read the pattern all the way through before I started.  In the photos, Kate is wearing the sweater with buttons, but on closer inspections, the buttons are decorative, and this thing is closed with snaps.  Apparently, the original pattern was written with buttonholes, but people found that the buttons caused gaps, I think because of the weight and pull of the cable.  So, she rewrote the pattern for a ribbon lining and snaps.  Uch.

So, here’s my ribbon, which I handsewed to the button (er snap) band. I made the mistake of sewing one on the other side as well, so when I close it, you can see the ribbon just a little bit.  I debated ripping it out, and resewing the snaps straight to the sweater, but, eh, it’s fine.

Then, I had to decide if I was going to bother with the decorative buttons, and opted to forego the buttons.  I have a lot of button down cardigans, so this is a little different look, and I think the buttons, at least the one’s I experimented with, detracted from the pretty cable.  So far, I’d say 2017, knitwise, is off to a good start.

Next!  Another Kate Davies, this time from the Inspired By Islay Club.  This is Ooa –

Ooa is knit in Kate Davies’ yarn, Buachaille, which is a little bit too expensive to make something this large. With the club, you do get a 10% discount on all things Kate, and hopefully, the perfect sized project will be revealed to try it out.  So, I’m using Cascade 220 Sport:

Before yesterday, I would have been totally singing Cascade 220’s praises.  When I worked at Rosie’s, I always recommended Cascade 220 worsted for first time knitters, as it didn’t split, and was always dependable.  This yarn . . . there’s no nice way to put it, ok, there is a nice way to put it, but I choose not to – the cream skeins are so f-d up they are nearly impossible to wind on a swift with a ballwinder.  The first two skeins were manageable – I kind of hand wound them to start off, and they eventually untangled.  Not the third skein.  The third skein broke my ballwinder.  Yes, it broke my ballwinder.  I don’t even know if I’m going to be able to hand wind it it’s so tangled.  Sigh.

But, here’s the beginning:

The bright photo shows my first cast on – yes, there was a first, and then a second, and then a third . . . the first was gauge challenged – way too small.  That’s what you get when you say, yep, I’ve got gauge after knitting five rows.  The second turned into a moebius – oopsy.  And the other photo is the third cast on – with size 6 needles.  I think US 5’s would make the perfect fabric, and if I had been willing to go for cast on 4, I would have switched to a five and knit a bigger size.  But, I stuck with the 6’s, and I’m pretty much at the armpit –

Now, I just have to wait for my new ball winder to arrive tomorrow, and I’ll be back in business.

Now onto future business – near future, next week actually.  Next week starts the Ambah MKAL, Hale – Bopp.  I’ve never knit an Ambah pattern, but I do admire them – especially knit up in the Miss Babs booth every year at Sheep and Wool.  This MKAL is a shawl that calls for three skeins of sock yarn – a dark, a light, and a speckle.  The speckle is optional, but Ambah used a speckle, and you’ve gotta love a good speckle, so I’m all about the speckle.  The MKAL is a partnership with Sunshine Yarns, which kitted up combos of yummo colorways.  I was infatuated with one of them, a plum, grey, speckle combo, but even though I hit the shop web page as the yarns were loading up on the screen, and even though I managed to get the one I wanted in my shopping cart, but the time I filled out my shipping address, it had vanished – I’ve never had an online shopping experience where something can actually disappear from your cart, and frankly, that sucks.  But, thems the breaks.  So, I did a stash dive, and came up with an iron blue skein of yarn that I bought while we were in London – so I played around with a few combinations with Hedgehog sock as the speckle:

I bought the top combo, but then had anxiety – I didn’t think the cream was quite right, not enough blue. So, I trolled Ravelry, looked at a few finished projects that used that colorway, and realized that I was correct in my anxiety, and I returned the first skein, for the second combo. I’m feeling much more confident.  So, that MKAL starts next Thursday night.  I probably won’t be done Ooa, but it’ll probably be a good time to take a break – hopefully, I’ll be in between sleeves.  I hate sleeves.

On the reading front, I finished The Nix (the beginning was much better than the ending), and now I’m reading Michael Chabon’s, Moonglow.

I’m not very far in, but so far I’m enjoying it.  More to report next time!

Anyone, knit on everyone, and take care!

This and That Before 2017 – A Knitting Catch Up and The Inspired by Islay Club

I’d say “my it’s been a long time,” but that’s how this blog has gone for years, I suppose.  I’ve picked a word for 2017, and I’ll talk about that later this week (yep, really, I will!), but an element of my word is consistency, so I’m going to come up with a plan for being more consistent here in this little space of mine.  Perhaps I’ll sit down on Sunday and write a bunch of short posts I schedule to publish throughout the week, or maybe I’ll commit (hint hint) to blogging twice a week.  I’m not sure yet, I’m still figuring it all out, but I do know that I don’t want to ditch the whole thing, so I’ll come up with something.

So, this week I’m going to do a series of catch up posts, just a little this and that before the new year.  First up, knitting!

In my knitting world, I finished the gigantic sweater I knit for my husband (a sweater for a 6’4″ guy is necessarily going to be gigantic, so I knew what I was getting into, but it still didn’t make it any less of a, cough, cough, slog – miles and miles of stockinette.  I’d show you a photo, but I haven’t actually taken a picture of it yet – which is strange, because he’s already worn it a couple of times, and it is his favorite of the three sweaters I’ve knit for him.  And, that, in and of itself, was a lesson learning thing.  The first two sweaters I knit for him were lovely – last year’s sweater was Guston in Brooklyn Tweed’s Shelter, and a few years before that, Brooklyn Tweed’s Cobblestone, in Katmandu Aran.  Both sweaters, two me, were fab – texture and tweedy yarn.  Joe, however, really doesn’t like anything that isn’t structured, and he likes a smooth yarn, rather than a tweed.  So, this year, I let him pick the pattern (sort of, he described what he wanted, and I found it), and I let him pick the yarn.  And, now he has his fitted neck, saddle shoulder, ribbed sweater that he always wanted, Churchmouse Yarn’s Saddle Shoulder Pullover.  This pattern was frankly ridiculously expensive, but it got the job done.  My one problem was that rather than the instructions being in inches (like knit until armhole is x inches), it was knit 97 rows, or whatever.  This was done intentionally, as there’s a whole section on getting gauge, including row gauge, as well as how to add length here and there, to get a better fit.  I’m just not all that concerned with row gauge, and I like my instructions in inches.  Because I’m a lazy counter, I had to do some fudging sewing the saddle and the sleeve into place, because I didn’t have quite the same number of rows where they were supposed to be, but you would never know from looking at it, and all is good.

On the selfish knitting front, you may remember this:

This is Islay, from I think Gudrun Johnson.  I abandoned Islay because I a. ran out of yarn, and had to order more and b. it was time to knit giganto husband sweater.  When I picked it up again, I didn’t remember where I was, and of course, I hadn’t written it down.  I couldn’t figure it out, didn’t love it, decided to part ways with it, and knit something else.  So, I decided I wanted to knit this with my precious Miss Babs, Baby Cocktails’ Dirty Martini:

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You would think this would be an easy color to find a contrast – grey, maybe.  But, I tried at least a half a dozen colors, yes, I actually swatched, and hated them all.  Meh.  So, I abandoned that idea (although I still want to knit this cardigan), and waited for something to come to me.

And, what came to me, ironically enough, was the Inspired by Islay Club from Kate Davies.  Back to the Hebrides!  I signed up for the club around Thanksgiving, but the first pattern didn’t come out until the second week in December.  I couldn’t wait, and I cast on Kate’s Braid Hills, not part of the club, but still a Hebredian inspiration:

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Perfect right?  So, here’s mine, just about the same place I ripped out the other Islay:

Anyway, no offense to the first Islay, but I’m so much happier with this version of my Miss Babs.  And, this is actually a pretty good representation of the color, as opposed to the grayer photo above – it’s a really beautiful, vibrant blue green.

I have long been a Kate Davies fan.  I’ve knit Paper Dolls, and her owls sweater, and I’ve admired her yokes and her haps.  I even have a fan girl photo:

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That’s Kate and I in 2009 when she visited Philadelphia.  Of course, I look at that photo, and I see how thin I was, and think, “oh my, how did I get from there to here,” but that’s a post for another day.

Digression over.  Of course, now I’m midknit while the Inspired by Islay patterns roll out – 12 patterns over 12 weeks, and 12 newsletters filled with the most gorgeous photos of Scotland, and little history lessons to accompany each pattern.  The patterns come out on Wednesday, the newsletter on Fridays.  The newsletters also include Kate’s husband Tom’s whiskey reviews and recommendations.  Not only am I inspired to knit Islay inspired patterns, I am totally inspired to visit Scotland, and stay in a caravan and stare out over the lochs, and climb the foothills in my Islay inspired socks.  Not only do you get the 12 patterns and 12 newsletters for $36, you also get a discount code for Kate’s yarn, Buachaille.  So, for $3 a pattern, free whiskey advice and dream inspiring photos, and a coupon for  Scottish yarn, it is completely worth it.  There’s also a nice Ravelry group as well, but you can join the group without joining the club.

The first Inspired by Islay pattern is Kate’s wedding cardigan, Finlaggen:

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I think this is the pattern that I’ll order my Buachaille for – although I’m going to wait for all 12 patterns to come out before I decide.  I love the heart shaped cables, the shawl collar, and the ribbed waistline.  I’m thinking I’ll forego the pockets though.  So, this might just be the Winter of Islay, which shall hopefully not be my winter of discontent.  In any event, if you are at all a Kate Davies fan, you should definitely check out the club – it’s a bargain, it’s delightful, and it’s inspiring.

Tomorrow, a crochet catch up, and another club!

Yarning Along, Quickly!

Holy Moly, I completed a project with yarn from circa 2007-8!!!  Now that’s a deep plunge into the stash.

Frustrated with my Islay Cardigan (recap – I ran out of yarn, bought more yarn, waited for said yarn, forgot where I was in the chart, realized I couldn’t figure out where I was because I had done the decreases for the wrong size, unknit the additional decreases, and I still had the wrong number of stitches, oy!), I decided I wanted to knit something quick quick quick and get a finished project under my belt.  Get my knitting mojo back, you know what I mean?  I feel like it’s been awhile since I finished a knit project.  So, I went looking for something small, something modest.  Every year I admire the dooable projects in Ysolde Teague’s Knitworthy e-books, patterns perfectly designed and timely released for gift knitting.  These patterns are released bi-weekly until the ebook is complete, and while from the start you can preorder the entire ebook, and get the patterns as they are released, you can’t buy the individual patterns until after the subscribers get their full ebook.  So, I usually like the first pattern, don’t want to commit to the whole book until I see the whole book, and then I forget about it.  So, when I really liked the first pattern this year, Belyse, I just decided to go for it, and I subscribed to the whole book.

So, because I needed immediate gratification, I wasn’t going to buy anything, and I started going through my stash.  Dig dig dig – and I ended up finding a nice, tweedy Rowan 4 ply Tweed, which came out sometime between 2006-2008, and is now discontinued.  For the main color, I picked this purply pink tweedy yarn from Maryland Sheep and Wool, from Davidsons.

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Unlike traditional glove patterns, Belyse starts at the fingers, not the cuffs.  Interesting.  The fingers are actually pretty ingenious – they’re knit like I-cord, and then you make a stitch from the tail, ladder it up the back, and close up the circle.  Crazy.  And then the fingers are joined to start the palm.

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Here’s the first one in progress.  Sorry about the crappy photos – I knit these through Saturday and Sunday football – not to much movement out of the blue chair.

The back (yep, with some dog butt) –

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And front (sans butt!)

I really did mean to take better photos – but I forgot.  Oops.

And of course, as soon as I finished these mitts, I saw these –

 

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OMG I love these! They’re from Ann Kingston Tup Knits (tups apparently refers to sheep mating, learn something new everyday!), and I love the mitts, the hats and the cowl – although I think all three is a bit much.  I think I’ll make the mitts and the hat and call it a sheep.

So, that’s where I am in my yarning!

And the reading!  I finally secured the digital download of Dark Matter, and read it in a day and a half.

The beginning is edge of your seat exciting, the middle starts to read like a traditional time travel novel (although its not about time travel), and then there’s a twist and bam! Gotta find out what happens!  I enjoyed it, and obviously it was quick, like my mitts.  I guess that’s the theme this week!

Back next week with probably a return to the cardigan, or the start of something tuppy!

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Yarn Along – Head to Head Hippos

Of course, you’ve already met my Ravellenics Hippo, and now meet the knit version, Knit Hippo!

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How cute are they? KnittyD did an excellent job with her knit hexagons and pentagons – the colors are really beautiful in person – they really sparkle like the jeweltones they are.

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As you can see, there’s quite a size difference, but I don’t think that’s the pattern so much as the yarn choices and gauge. Both are fingering weight yarn, but KnittyD knit hers on size 1 needles. I don’t remember the size of my hook, but the fabric is like the equivalent of being knit on a 3 or a 4.

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Photos don’t really do these guys justice. They are so squishy! Someone at the yarn store asked what we were going to do with them, and we just stared at her – what do you mean, what are we going to do with them? Love them, duh.

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What are we going to do with them, please.

On the current knitting front, I finally wound the Miss Babs that perfectly matched my already underway Islay cardigan.  Unfortunately, when I tried to figure out where I was in the pattern, I had no idea – totally lost.  When I had some non-t.v. quiet time to spend with my knitting and the pattern I realized that I couldn’t figure out where I was because I had knit the decreases for the wrong size, and I didn’t have enough stitches between markers.  Oospy.  So, I unknit back to the right number of stitches, and I should be able to go from there, hopefully.

On the crochet side of things, as predicted, I did run out of yarn.  I thought I had enough to get through all of the Lotus Moon Tiles, but alas, I ran short on the second to the last row.  So, I have 9/12 Tiles complete.img_2014

 

And, in a moment of success, Dark Matter finally became available from the library.

The beginning, at least, is edge of  your seat excitement.  The only reason I put it down last night is because I just had to go to sleep, I was head bobbing into my Kindle screen.

So, that’s that the fiber/reading report for the week!

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Yarning Along, Again With the Hook

When last I left off, I had run out of yarn for my Shetland Trader, Islay. While I sweated it out (literally and figuratively, as the weather has yet to get the message that summer is winding down) waiting for my yarn to arrive from Miss Babs, I decided to do a stash dive, and once again, attempt to finish a crocheted afghan.

Enter the Lotus Moon Tile CAl from Polly Plum. I’ve been an admirer of Polly since the Sophie’s Universe MKAL, when I cribbed her RBG colorway scheme. I like her aesthetic, and I was happy to find a project to distract me from the “will it or won’t it work” thoughts/dread surrounding the pending arrival of my non-dye lot skein of Rainforest Yowza What A Skein!

Of course, stash diving into a work in progress stash means accepting that the first project is no longer a project but a fail. And, I’m ok with that. I did enjoy the mystery/round by round aspect of Sophie’s Universe, but in the end, I didn’t like that it wasn’t really done when the MCAL was done, unless you wanted a finished small square. The pattern totally provided alternatives for borders, additional blocks, growing the project, etc., but I didn’t realize that’s where it was going when I started, nor how much additional work it would be. Eh, excuses – I just know in my heart I’m not going to finish either version, so I might as well use the yarn.

So, here is the baby produced by my two attempts at Sophie’s Universe, which is a mix of Valley Yarns and Michael’s Impeccable.  Yep, wool and acrylic, call me crazy.  The Valley Yarn wool is sooooo much easier to crochet with, and much easier on the hands.  Also, as you can see I’m using a generic metal crochet hook, and I’m really feeling the difference after I spoiled myself with the Clover Soft Touch with the hippo.  I may just suck it up and buy the whole set of them, we’ll see.  Crazy talk again.

Unlike Sophie’s Universe, which was a mystery CAL, Lotus Moon’s entire pattern is available from the start. The CAL is set up in weekly bunches of rounds, with accompanying video tips and tricks from Polly. You can work at your own pace, or work on the CAL schedule. I aspire to catch up to the CAL since I started a week late. The CAL is into week three, and I’m halfway done week 2, so pretty good progress!

I feel like if I went to the store, and actually picked my colors, I don’t think I would have gone with the rust color that I’m working with now, and instead of the lighter grey, I would have used a cream maybe. But, that’s about it.  Hmm, maybe I’d trade in the dark grey too, I’m not sure.  Polly just started another that uses cream for the big petal round, and I like that as well.  Doesn’t really matter though, does it – it’s well underway!

I may run out of the rust, but that’s easily, stressfree replaceable, and I may run out of the forest green, but again, an easy peasy color to get another skein.

See, Junie B isn’t worried at all!

Actually, she looks a little worried.  Huh.

And, drum roll! My Miss Babs arrived and its PERFECT!!

It’s so identical I’m wondering if this was a color they just did for Sheep and Wool and this was the last of it. But, I’m not going to wonder too long – I’m just going to wind it up, and get a move on!

 

As far as reading goes, I have nothing really to report. I had started Outlander on Starz, but then we cancelled our Starz subscription. So, I thought I’d try to get back into the books, but that meant rereading the first book, which I read over twenty years ago, and I’m not feeling it. While I was enjoying the show to a certain extent (not as much as a LOVED Stranger Things, poor Barb), I just don’t think these weighty historical romance tomes are for me anymore. But, today is payday, and I’m heading to the Amazon store, I think to buy the new Jeffrey Toobin book on Patty Hearst – I think I’m committed, but I may change my mind before I hit the buy button. Especially since I’m only one person away from securing the library’s digital copy of the new Blake Crouch novel, Dark Matter. We’ll see what happens first.

Until next week!

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Thanks for stopping by!

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Maryland Sheep and Wool 2016

Knitters, High Holy Day of Wool, has once again come and gone.  This year, Knitty D, Momma Bach and I piled in the Beagle Mobile, and headed down to a soggy Howard County Fairgrounds for the 2016 Maryland Sheep and Wool.  Once again, we headed straight for the Miss Babs booth, with our wishlists and our credit cards:

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Holy moley – here’s the line at Miss Babs.  Actually, it wasn’t nearly as bad as last year’s, but it was pretty drizzily.  We tag teamed shopped and waiting in line, and of course, we came out triumphant, with our gradient kits, and my Yowza:

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The light green skeins, Beachscape, I have in my arms are not actually the Yowza I went home with.  It was so crowded, I spent maybe five minutes in the booth.  I grabbed the gradient kit for the Spice Market Shawl, and then I went around the back of the booth to the wall o’ Yowza.  I grabbed the first two “identical” skeins I could find that were to my taste, and got in line.  Later, after we had paid, this fantastic peacock colored skein caught my eye, and I started to feel bad about my Beachscape.  Towards the end of the day, when the booth wasn’t so crowded, I went back and asked the nice ladies of Miss Babs flock if I could exchange the skeins, and they said no problem!  Yeah!  So, this is what I went home with:

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How much more spectacular is that blue!  And can you believe it – that’s my sheep and wool haul – Miss Babs and Socks that Rock.  I stuck to my list, and was such a good girl!

So, the weather was kind of meh all day, but we had a good time.  We visited with the sheep, alpacas and the goats.

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How much does this sheep, Adelaide, love me?!?

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The sun came out, and so did the ice cream!  And, after the festival, it was off to Woody’s Crab Shack for the most awesome seafood nachos, and of course, hard shells.  Originally, I only ordered 3, but Knitty D was like, 6, you so need six.  So half a dozen it was – and I clobbered them all.  Love me some Maryland Hardshells!

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Good times, my wooly friends, good times!

Until next year, baaaaahhhhhHH!

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And the Yarn Goes On

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December through the end of February I knit like a mad woman, faster than the wind. I don’t know if its because I ran out of gas, or because it’s a crazy 70 degrees, or maybe I really want to be crocheting or perhaps needling around with some embroidery, but I’m definitely in a meh knit period. I pick up my current knitting, and say, meh.

Here it is – I feel like it’s sapping my energy just posting a photo of it –

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It’s a cabled, short sleeved hoody in bulky Valley Yarns – its soft, it’s easy, and I don’t know why I’m so ambivalent.  I have the back, one front, and half another front done, and then there’s just the button band, and the hood.  I know that if I were conscientious about knitting it, it would be done.  But instead of knitting in front of the t.v., I find myself dropping my knitting in my lap, and scrolling through pinterest, or Ravelry or my Feedly feed.  Maybe it’s because I had yarn in my stash, and I found a project that worked with it, rather than finding a project I loved, and then buying yarn to suit the project.  In any event, let’s take a look at one pleasing, one not so pleasing finished objects:

First the pleasing finished shawl.  This is Ashby in Berroco Vintage.  I bought this yarn when I was sort of broke, and I really wanted new yarn, but I really didn’t want to spend any money.  Berroco Vintage is a great compromise – it’s 50/50 wool/acrylic blend, and it’s really inexpensive – $9/220 yards, something like that.  And, while it doesn’t feel like the pure wool Shelter, it does feel nice – it’s soft, the fabric is squishy, and the color really pops.

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Funny I should mention Shelter – the sweater I’m wearing in the below photo that you can’t really see is Shelter.

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As you can see the cable reads well, the modified seed stitch looks good – a really nice bargain yarn.
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And, now the just ok pleasing finish – this is Marsa Alam by Isabelle Kraemer in Briggs & Little. If you want cheap – Briggs & Little is a Canadian Company, the yarn is pure wool, it’s totally itchy scratchy, and I think I bought it for $4/200+ yards/skein at Maryland Sheep & Wool last year. After finishing up Wickerham in Miss Babs, and then this – I think I’m over the yarny yarns, the itchy scratchy’s, for a little while. I love being a purist, but there’s nothing wrong with soft merino. Anyway, this ended up being not the most flattering fit, and I fudged a bit too much knitting the shoulders, and they ended up coming to a point as if they had had hangers shoved in them. I tried to round it out in the blocking process, but it’s only so so.

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Horizontal stripes were probably not the best idea, but oh well.

On the reading front, I’ve been lost in Italy since the beginning of January, committing myself to reading and finishing Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan series. I’ve finished the first two, My Brilliant Friend, and The Story of a New Name. Now, I’m reading, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, the third book of the four. I can’t even tell you why I’m reading them – I can’t say that I love them, but I must know what happens. The novels are the story of a friendship between two women, who’s lives have gone their separate ways, but who will always be intertwined nonetheless. There are endless chapters about Elena studying hard at school, about Lila working at the grocey, about meeting boys day after day at the beach – it really is an Italian telenovella. Obviously, there’s more going on than a simple soap opera, but there are days in my quest to finish their story when that’s about what it feels like.

So, with two months to go until Sheep and Wool, hopefully my knitting mojo will come back.  Oh it won’t, and maybe I actually won’t spend a small fortune in Maryland.  Right.

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Yarning Along the Stephen West Way

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I have jumped on the Stephen West bandwagon, and I’m riding high on the #WestKnitsKal2015 knit-a-long, The Doodler!

As I mentioned, I watched Stephen’s class on Craftsy while doing the Craftsy binge, and while I’m still raising an eyebrow (or two) at some of his designs, I’m trying to embrace his wild and free aesthetic.  I knit Daybreak in a flurry to wear to the Chargers game last week in Baltimore:

The Chargers, of course, managed to lose in the last 18 seconds, as they did again on Monday night football, but at least I do really love my shawl/scarf.

Even though I had just finished a successful WestKnits project, I was on the fence about signing up for the KAL because the last time I was onboard for a WestKnits mystery, the mystery was a big bummer – intarsia!  Ick.  So, hesitantly, I hit the buy now button on Ravelry, but I didn’t cast on until I saw a few wedges popping up on Ravelry, and I thought, ok, I’m good with this, and here’s my Clue 1:

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As you can see, I tried my hand at a “flat lay.” Flat lay?  I’m so not hip – I had no idea that those highly stylized, collage photos you see on Instagram actually have a name, but then I stumbled onto Emily Quinton’s feed, and her video, Styling a Flatlay.  Even during the height of my photography frenzy, I never really styled a photograph – I was more into slice of life photography, and I still am, I guess, even though my Project Life is totally at a standstill.  I’m so far behind, I’m frozen.  But, I digress.  The flat lay.  When I posted my first snippet of my Doodler on Instagram, I went to sleep, and woke up with 60 likes!  For me, that’s like being picked not last for the kickball team!  I decided to step up my game a bit, and try the flat lay.

I have to admit, I had some troubles.  I just don’t see what flowers and leaves have to do with my knitting.  And, while so many of these photos use lovely wooden backgrounds, my wooden background just looks like my kitchen floor to me.  But, I embraced the concept – it’s all about pretty I guess, and I went to work.

Here’s Olive – of course, she has an opinion!

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In any event, my stylin’ needs some work.

But, back to knitting – My Doodler is part Cascade Heritage Sock, part ToshSock.  That unwound skein of orange is going to be my color 3 for that big wow color pop that is so characteristic of WestKnits.  So, I await Clue 2 on Friday, and I’m curious to see where it goes.

On the reading front, I’m reading the new Robert Galbraith Cormoran Strike novel:

According to the Kindle, I’m 25% in, and I’m enjoying it as much, if not more than the first two.  I love a consistently good detective series, and J.K., er I mean, Robert Galbraith, does not disappoint.

Knit on everyone!

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