Cold Spring = Warm Feet

The nice thing about being a knitter is that there is really no good reason to have cold feet.

Weather turned a little chilly?  AC cranked up too high?  Put on some socks.  I’ve been known to “try on” one sock for long periods while I’m knitting on the second sock.  It’s probably a good thing that I only do this in the privacy of my own home!

Finishing up my Camp Loopy sweater with one full week to go before I can cast on for my July sweater means that I can finish up a few projects that had been lying around.  I love the feeling of finishing projects!

This week I went to lunch with my co-workers.  Our server looked at me and said, “how many socks do you knit in a week?”  Ummmm… well usually it takes me a couple of weeks to finish a sock.  ”Wow, cause you were knitting on a blue sock last week!”  ”And you’re almost done with this one.”

I like to think that I only stood out because I was with The Boss.  It couldn’t have been the quirkiness of the knitting, was it?

I wouldn’t have 2 pairs of socks finished this week if these weren’t the socks that I carry around with me most of the time.  I knit while at some meetings, while watching online training webinars (not often anymore), and in restaurants.  It’s a rare occasion that I don’t have my knitting with me.  I get a little twitchy if I don’t have my knitting with me – you just never know when you’re going to have an opportunity to knit.

In fact, this weekend I plan to sit with my toes in the sand, a margarita at my elbow, and some knitting in my lap.   And since an Official Complaint has been lodged by the Littlest Knitter in our household, there will be no getting out of bed at a particular time this weekend.  The Littlest Knitter informs me that this is in fact SUMMER BREAK, and there should be no official wake up time every day during summer.

The Littlest Knitter

 

 

 

 

I Might Be a Bit Excited….

Would you like to guess where we’ll be going?

I’m pretty excited.  I’m reading everything I can and being slightly obsessive compulsive about planning the trip.  All of the big details are nailed down – where we’re staying, food, flights, etc.  Now it’s just planning the fun stuff.  If anyone has any ideas/tips/tricks/etc about Disney World, let me know!

Oh Boy!

I deserve a smack on the forehead for this one.  Or a knitting Time Out?  At the very least a severe reprimand to myself.

I was merrily working on my Trieste Cardigan for the Loopy Ewe Camp Loopy.  I needed to make a project with 400 yds of yarn that I had bought from the Loopy Ewe.  I found wonderful yarn – Shalimar Yarns in Zoe Sock – that was 450 yds.  I planned on using yarn from stash for the colorwork.  This would be acceptable in the rules as I read them as long as the stash yarn was something that was also found in the Loopy Ewe store.

Here’s the kicker.  In my head I was making the 6 month size of the cardigan for a yet to be born niece or nephew.  (The flavor is yet to be determined, but the baby is due in July.)  I had the neck down to the armholes done as well as one sleeve.  I was making tracks!  Then, my friend Knittymuggins mentioned that she was probably going to be short of yardage to make the 400 yd goal.

That’s when it hit me.

3 Month Size

 

The sweater called for 410 yds in the size I was making (which was actually a 3 month size).   Since I was using a stash yarn to do the color work, it wouldn’t actually count towards the 400 yd minimum.  Plus, this couple’s last baby grew fast so I wanted a larger size anyway.  To the frog pond it went.

Did I mention that this sweater has to be completed, photographed and uploaded to the Ravelry group by June 30?  I’m knitting like the wind to get this done in time.

The Frog Pond

 

I know that this challenge seems rather silly – after all, who cares if you use 399 yds of yarn or 450?  But put a challenge in front of me and I’ll do it.  I’ve always been that way.  In fact, it’s probably the same reason I’ve entered into a No Sugar Until the Other One Gives In challenge with The Boss.  Neither of us is allowed to eat refined sugar (with a couple of “let’s keep this realistic” exceptions).  So far so good with the challenge – neither of us shows much sign of giving in any time soon.  We’ve both shown remarkable restraint in the face of brownies, cake and other sweets.  It probably helps me that my hubby has no sweet tooth what so ever.

So one little 400 yd sweater?  It’s nothing compared to staring chocolate in the face.

I’d Like Some Wabi-Sabi with That

Wabi-Sabi, that’s a fun one to say too!  While innocently shopping at a the Yarn Bank in Taylors Falls, MN where I didn’t really intend to buy much of anything I found this cool pattern and yarn.

It’s cotton but it feels like linen or paper while you’re knitting with it.  It’s kind of an odd feeling to knit with this, yet fun as well.  It feels very fragile (although I can say without a doubt that it is not).  I can’t wait to see how the yarn will bloom and change when I block it.  The photo on the pattern looks like a completely different yarn even though this is the yarn that is called for.  The scarf is very slowly growing into a long triangle shape.  I say slowly both due to the shape and due to the lack of knitting that has been happening.

My friend, Maryanne, convinced (ok she didn’t have to twist my arm too hard!) me to join her in the Camp Loopy 2014 this year.  It’s a virtual camp that takes place over June, July and August.  You are given a theme for each month and need to complete a project related to that theme before the 1st of the next month.  The first theme is based on our favorite book, movie or TV show and needs to be 400 yds.  I chose Harry Potter (which narrowly won out over Game of Thrones) because I found this fantastic Sprout colorway and the Trieste cardigan.  It’s my first real steeking experience.  Although on the surface it doesn’t look very magical, I can just imagine the vine twisting out from the cardigan to tie someone up.  Or the Wholloping Willow branches picking up a car to toss as far as it can.  Plus, it reminds me of my college days spent in the greenhouse above the Biology department grafting potato plants.  I think I would have gotten along very well with Professor Sprout and the students in Hufflepuff.

PassOdoble is Fun to Say.

We’ve got a First Communion this weekend at our house.  Which means that I really should be deep cleaning my house.  There’s nothing like having 30 people arrive at your house to kick the spring cleaning into gear.  The problem is keeping the house clean with two little tornados running around – the concept of getting the clothes INTO the dirty clothes hamper seems to be one that we just can’t get.

Knitting however, shows progress.  You can see exactly what you’ve gotten done and (usually) it stays done.  There’s satisfaction in that.

I’ve been sneaking moments in the early morning and late evenings to work on my pasOdoble shawl.  It’s coming along beautifully.  I am supplementing the handspun with some mill spun yarns to get enough yardage – a Loopy Cake from the Loopy Ewe in yellow, Regia in the blue green, and Subui Staccato in the burgundy.  The beauty of this shawl is really in the curving ends, they circle back on themselves and are very eye catching.

 

PasOdoble

However, the knitting interest in this shawl is really the short rows.  It is keeping me going through what could be a very long project.  Although, I’ve got to admit that the gradient yarn keeps it interesting as well. I can’t wait to knit the next color and see what happens next!  Too bad my house cleaning can’t wait.

 

 

Four Things

1.  This pretty yarn is Calder from Abstract Fibers.  It’s on sale right now.  You’ll wait a few weeks for them to custom dye it for you, but oh you’ll be happy when it arrives.  It’s 886 yds in sport weight.  Anyone else feel like making a little girl’s sweater?

2.  Simple Things Shawl.

 A quick, simple shawlette in a springy color.  The yarn is Lisa Souza Hardtwist fingering weight in Aqua Fresca.  I started this in April when we still had 3 foot drifts of snow in our yard.  I’m happy to report that we just have little piles of snow left in the shadiest part of the yard.  The kids are finally running around today playing outside without coats.

3.  pasOdoble shawl

Lily helped me pick out this pattern for a 460 yd skein of handspun gradient yarn.  I’m not alternating colors, just letting the gradient yarn do it’s job.  I’m supplementing the handspun with three partial skeins of solid color.  You can see just the beginning of this shawl in the photo above.

4.  WordPress is really getting difficult for me to use.  For some reason the photo inserting has become extremely touchy.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.  Sometimes it insists upon putting two photos together into one frame.  It’s impossible to insert photos from my iPad.  I can upload them, but not insert them.  Is this an issue for anyone else or is it strictly an AreaVoices issue?  Or is it a browser issue?  I might have to play with this a bit.

 

Why Didn’t Someone Tell Me?

Pretty Stripes

Why, oh why didn’t someone tell me how much fun self-striping socks are to make?  I’ve done lace socks, cabled socks, plain jane socks (although those bore me), ribbed socks, you get the idea.  I’ve even done socks with yarn that kind of sort of stripes if you squint at it just right.

All this time I’ve been hiding the three skeins of self striping yarn that I own in the bottom of my sock yarn drawer waiting for it to be something else entirely.  I can’t really tell you why as they’re all beautiful colors, I just didn’t think I liked them as socks.  A shawl, maybe.  Fingerless mitts, maybe.  Kind of like the kid who won’t try any green vegetables because they don’t think they’ll like them.

And then this post from the Yarn Harlot happened. And this one. http://www.yarnharlot.ca/2014/02/wham-bam-thank-you-maam/  A friend texted me to see if I could find that yarn in Superior, since she couldn’t find any
Little Women castlocally.  So I went on a yarn hunting expedition.  I didn’t find any of the Trekking XXL in colorway 550 that she was looking for.  But I found other colorways, beautiful, less rainbow-y colorways.  Not that there’s anything wrong with rainbow colored socks, it’s just not my style to wear that bright of socks.  See, they’re the green vegetable of my world (except I really like green vegetables).  So I bought one skein.  Just one.  Because I was afraid it would get buried in that same drawer.

And Little Women came along.

I spent much of the play backstage helping the lead actresses with their costume changes.  Since it was dimly lit and I needed to listen for cues, I needed something stupidly easy to knit.  Something so easy I could literally do it in the dark.  Enter the Vanilla Sock from the Knitmore Girls.  And lo and behold, a sock was born.  Then two.  In the two weeks that the play ran, I finished two socks.  This may be a personal record for me.  They were even sized larger (to fit a friend) than I normally would make for either the girls or myself.  And here I thought I was a slow sock knitter.

Why didn’t someone tell me?

Who Wudda Thunk?

Apparently, if left alone for a long period of time, the blog does not write itself.  Maybe if I sneak in very quietly, no one will notice that I haven’t posted in almost a month.  I’ve been knitting… really I have.  I’ve even thought about what I would write.  Somehow it’s the writing that has slowed me down.

So here’s a quick recap of what I’ve been doing.

I decided to finish some sweaters during the Olympics.  I’ve got more sweaters than I care to think about on the needles.  Two of these sweaters were in danger of being outgrown before they even got finished.  Those sweaters became top priority.

1.  The February Child Sweater*

All I had left to finish on this sweater were the sleeves.  Since this was for Addie, my oldest and fastest grower, I wanted to add some extra length to the sleeves.  I was a little nervous about running out of yarn so I didn’t add any length to the bottom of the sweater.  She can always wear it a little short.  The sleeves are 17″ long!  That’s a lot of sleeve for a nine year old.  I’m pretty sure she’s going to take after Daddy.  I aggressively blocked this so that the lace would open up and to hopefully add a bit of length to the body.  The sleeves also grew a bit in length, but that just gives her some room to grow.

Just for kicks I tried this sweater on.  It’s a little short in the sleeves and definitely short in the body, but boy is it scary to realize that my 9 year old daughter is soon going to be bigger than me.

 

2.  The Playful Stripes Sweater*

This sweater had just the yolk to finish – which is really the fun part after the slog of the stockinette.  The only downside is that there are a ton of ends to weave in on the yolk.  I chose to weave the ends in rather than carry the yarn up the side.  I thought it would be easier to pick up stitches for the button band if the ends were woven in.  I lightly steam blocked this for the photo, but need to go back and reblock it so that the hems will lay flat.  Lily has been wearing this sans buttons as we haven’t found any that we like.

This sweater wasn’t officially finished during the Olympics.  I finished it on February 28.  Not too shabby considering I also made some baby hats in that time.

 

*The blog is not playing nice today.  I am having trouble linking to my Ravelry project pages.  All I can tell you is that both sweaters are on www.ravelry.com and you can see more beautiful variations there.

It’s Like This

There’s knitting and then there’s extreme knitting.  Even in the depths of winter when you consider knitting something that will cover you head to toe, extreme knitting is still extreme.

This is what I call extreme knitting.  (Warning the You Tube video I linked to is about 6 1/2 minutes long)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVRfVEONxJQ&feature=watch-vrec

On a totally different path, I’m kind of amazed at the number of patterns on Ravelry for a Snuggy.  Kind of scared by that actually.

You can even crochet a matching snuggy for someone!  Yes, it’s cold here, but I see this and wonder what will our descendants think in 800 years when they dig up remnants of acrylic snuggys?  Yikes.

Tips to Survive a Polar Vortex

It seems as though the Midwest has been gripped in the icy jaws of a Polar Vortex all winter.  Even those of us who grew up in Wisconsin and spent all of our lives here have learned this new phrase.  Apparently a Polar Vortex is when the air is ripped from your lungs the second you walk outside because it is so cold.  People do not say hello to neighbors; they walk with their heads down leaning into the bitter wind.  Public schools will be holding classes well into June because we have cancelled school so many times this winter due to extreme cold.  There are even rumors that Hell has frozen over.  So here are some tips for surviving a Polar Vortex.

1.  Laugh when the weather man says we could break the record for the most consecutive days of low temps below zero.  (the record is 22 and we’re sitting at day 18).

2.  Wear all of your hand knits all at once.  It really doesn’t matter if your hat matches your scarf, mittens or wool socks.  Just wear them.

3.  Appreciate your stash.  After all, wool has insulation value and you are just doing your part to keep your home warm.

4.  Throw the children outside to play when it gets above zero.  They need to move and play and get some fresh air in their lungs.  For that matter, so do we so get outside and enjoy some of winter.  Go skiing, snowshoeing or just enjoy your back yard.  I visited www.bayfield.org/bayfield-activities/ice-caves/

5.  Knit like the wind.  After all, when you don’t want to be outside it’s a good way to fend off cabin fever.

It seems as though I am very hard on my handknit mittens.  I have three pairs of mittens and all have holes.  I fixed my flip top mittens but those are really best for spring and fall when it’s not so bitterly cold.  For the kind of weather we’ve been having you need mittens that can handle the cold and wind.  My lined Fiddlehead mittens fit the bill, but they’re definitely not rugged.  Plus, the inside is unravelling on me.  These have gotten serious wear and just wore out at the tips of the fingers.  I’ll fix them, just not today.

For serious Polar Vortex type winters, you need mittens that can handle ice, snow and wind.  Felted mittens fit that bill.

Felted mittens without the cuffs

 

Pattern:  Felted Mittens

 

Yarn:  Classic Elite Yarns Kumara (85%merino, 15% camel) for the mitten.  Knitting My Way Home handspun (merino/silk blend) for the cuff.

Modifications:  None.  I did a bit of research to make sure the Kumara would felt as camel does not felt.  The percentage of merino was high enough that these took 2 cycles through my friends top loading washing machine.  I love showing people the before and after photos of these  mittens.  Heck, I love everything about these mittens.  They keep my hands warm on even the coldest days and I don’t have any problems driving in them.

Photo bombed!