Sunny Days

It seems like it was just last weekend that we were sweltering in 80 degree heat, and now it’s dipping into the low 30′s at night.  Oh wait, it was last weekend and the temperature shift has been that extreme.  I guess that fall is descending upon us with a vengeance this year.  My laissez-faire attitude toward my garden this year has turned into a bit of a bust.  I didn’t cover my plants the last two nights, so now it will be a rush to pick all the herbs to freeze for winter and dig up the potatoes.  (yes, I know I’m late with this, I was late putting them in.)  Luckily I did bring in two basil plants I had bought late in the year.  These are slated to become tomato sauce for a cold winter meal. 

The cowl that seemed unnecessary last week is a definite possibility today.  I sent the girls to school in fleece jackets and thought about adding hats at the last minute. As for mom, the Hank och stor shawl is a great transistional piece.  It’s something that you could tuck under a lightweight coat for an extra layer of warmth, or it would look great in the office. 

Hank Och Stor Shawl

This is for a Cowl of the Month class that I am teaching at Fabric Works in November.  I think if I were to make this again, I would join it into a loop instead of a triangle.  This would look great long with a shawl pin holding the bottom closed at the top of your sternum.  Or, you could make it extra long and double loop it at the neck.  It’s a fun knit, and Manos del Uruguay is one of my favorite yarns to knit with.   It’s soft and lofty with enough silk to make it feel luxurius.  I think there will be another one of these in my future. 

As for classes, there are more of those in my future as well.  I’ll be teaching 3 different classes and a charity knitting night this fall.  I’m excited about a little different twist on my knitting endeavors.  I’ll be showing you the class samples as I knit them up. 

 

Summer Has Arrived

Summer has finally arrived in the Northland, and its arrived with a vengeance.  This week has been hot and muggy although today is a different story.  With summer has come lessons for the girls and lessons for the dog.  This keeps us busy 3 days a week.  Our weekends are filled with travel and hosting friends.  It’s a rare weekend that leaves us at home and an even rarer weekend that doesn’t have anything planned.  We like it this way – mostly.  The only glitch in our crazy lifestyle is that everyone still expects to be fed and they mostly insist on clean clothes. 

All of this doesn’t leave a lot of knitting time for me.  I know some knitters don’t knit as much during the summer since wool and high temps don’t really go together well, but I’ve never had a problem with this.  Currently, I have 2 shawls, a scarf, and a pair of socks on the needles.  I’m dreaming of casting on for a little sweater for myself, but this needs to wait until I get something off the needles.  I keep thinking that if I carry my knitting with me to enough places it will finish itself.

I’m also getting very excited for Sock Summit.  While organizing my stash (a side effect of the stain that spilled in my basement), I’ve realized that I really don’t need any sock yarn.  I especially do not need any red, blue or green sock yarn.  If you see me at Sock Summit and I have any of these colors (in fingering weight) in my hands, please take it away from me.  Refuse to sell to the crazy lady who has more red, blue and green sock yarn than she could possibly use.  Stage an intervention if you need to.  At the very least, make me walk outside and get a breath of fresh, non-wool scented air.  That being said, there are a couple of things I am looking for.  I kicked myself last time for not getting any Socks That Rock.  Specifically I wanted a Sheep to Shoe kit, but I think that I should skip that this year and just look for their Heavyweight yarn.  I’m just not spinning enough lately to justify the purchase of more fiber.  I also would really like to check out the Sanguine Gryphon’s selections.  I’m open to some new vendors as well a few old favorites (here and here specifically).  I’ve seen some previews of Hazel Knits and I’m excited to see them in person.  I could use more worsted weight as I have several babies that need knitting for. 

I was able to scare up yarn from my stash for each of the classes I’m taking.  It was a close call though; it took a lot of self control not to run to the yarn store for new pretty yarn.  Norwegian stockings – 3 colors of worsted weight in 3 different brands.  Kilt by Association – I just happen to have 2 skeins of Three Irish Girls totalling 860 yds.  Knitting Kids Socks will be leftovers from my Payuma Shawl that I’m working on.  That gives me the incentive I need to finish up the shawl before class.  I know I’ll have enough pink yarn left from the edging to make kid socks. 

I am looking forward to being more adventurous this year and roaming a bit further from the convention center.  I have all day Saturday free with half days off the rest of the time.  I know Portland has a wonderful Farmers Market with street vendors and there’s rumors of a killer Craft Beer tasting every night.  Several locals are offering walking tours of the different neighborhoods in Portland.  I’m quite sure that a good time will be had by all.  I’ll be staying with my friend Knittymuggins and her friend Troy for most of the time. 

Now I’d better go do my Sock Summit class homework or I’ll be in trouble with my teachers!

Almost Boy Scout Socks

I love listening to my kids play together.  Right now they are writing some sort of letter together.  Addie is telling her little sister, Lily, how to spell the words.  It goes something like this.

“Lily, write too, t-o-o.” 

“Addie, how do I write it again?”

“Lily, it’s I miss you too.  T-o-o.” 

There are a ton of things that I should be doing right now, but the one thing I want to do is sit here and knit and listen to them be together.  The errands will get done eventually.  Nothing needs to be done so badly that it can’t wait for whatever it is that they are writing to be finished.   

I’ve been in a bit of a finishing up mood lately.  Fabric Works in Superior has started a PhD program.  You work on all your Projects half Done and put your name in for a drawing after each one is complete.  This was exactly the incentive I needed to get some old lingering projects off the needles and clear up some mental bandwidth for newer more exciting projects.

Do you remember the socks I was working on last summer?  These (linked) are the giant socks that I was making for my husband.Right at the toe of the second sock I ran out of yarn.  Roughly 2 inches to go and I was out of yarn.  Sometimes life really isn’t fair. 

This led to a fruitless search for more Madelinetosh sock yarn in Olivia.  I could have bought more online, but wanted to be sure that the lot numbers would be close enough that it wouldn’t be horribly noticeable.  I searched at Stitches and found several complimentary colors that might work.  I brought them all home and had my husband pick the color that he liked the best. 

I proceeded to rip back the first (finished) sock back to the beginning of the toe.  I used that yarn to finish up the half inch or so that was needed on the second sock to get them almost even.  I added in the complimentary color yarn and did one row.  That’s where the socks sat all winter long.  I’m not sure why these needed a break, but I just couldn’t bring myself to finish them. 

My husband is an incredibly patient man.  Not once did he nag me about getting these socks done.  I think he understood how frustrated I was with them not working out the way I wanted.  He sure was happy when they were done though!  In fact, I haven’t gotten a chance to block them yet because they were swept away almost as soon as I’d finished them. 

For those of you with a Boy Scout in your life, you’ll recognize the color scheme.  What can I say?  He’s a man who has worn a uniform of some sort most of his life and he’s drawn to those colors.  As for the pattern, it’s the No Purl version of Cookie A.’s Monkey pattern.

Catching Up

Knitting My Way Home Handspun
If there’s one thing I’ve learned as a mother, it’s that I will always be catching up on something.  Whether it’s catching up on the laundry, catching up on the reading that I’d like to do or catching up on a blog post; there’s always something.  This post catches us up from when I attended Yarnover over a month ago.  Yarnover is a full day of classes and a wonderful market of local yarn shops.  I was able to see some of my favorites, including Sharon of Three Irish Girls at the Darn Knit Anyway booth, the Yarnery and StevenBe.  I also met a new favorite, Knitting My Way Home.  Sharon had her two beautiful daughters with her as well as her spinning wheel.  Some of her handspun found it’s way into my bag.  It’s a beautiful blend of silk and merino that is still deciding what it wants to be.  (All suggestions for 210 yds of light worsted would be appreciated).  I feel like a bit of an idiot as I had plans to chat up all the yarn store owners and meet all sorts of fibery people.  Instead, due to the creeping crud that I was coming down with, I don’t think I was able to speak in coherent sentances.  I didn’t even take pictures!  (bad blogger!)
  
The class I took was Bavarian Twisted Stitch Hat with Meg Swansen & Amy Detjen.  Let me just say that I want to be Meg Swansen when I grow up.  She has that sort of grace and style that you just can’t copy.  You either have it or you don’t.  Both women have a love of knitting that comes through in their class.  So much of what I picked up and remembered were just off the cuff comments that they made about knitting.  Often people in the class would stop one of them to say, “say that again.”  Things like if you are kitchenering the toe of a sock, treat the first two stitches on each needles as well as the last two stitches as if they are one.  This creates a decrease at each end of the toe, eliminating the dog-ear look.  That one just about knocked me out of my chair.  Again, I think I looked like I was either near death’s door or falling asleep in class.  However, I loved taking the class and would sign up for another Meg Swansen/Amy Detjen class in a heartbeat. 

Little Lily

As for the finished project, here it is.  Lily desperately wants this hat, since it is her favorite color.  I actually made it for me, but I suspect the wee one will win out.  Especially considering that I got a surprise hat in the mail from Knittymuggins!  The hat fits both of us, so I would consider it a size small.  I cast on 160 stitches with a size 5 needle.  It’s very densely knit. 

Look What I made!
The decreases were a bit tricky as the pattern I had was written in that vague Elizabeth Zimmerman sort of way.  Honestly, I think any way you choose to do the decreases would work just fine.  


Daddy Daughter Time

 

 

 

 

Buy a Lottery Ticket

I’m not much of a gambler, in fact, I never buy lottery tickets.  I know, you’ve got to play to win, but I hate spending money on something that I’m sure I’m not going to win.  However, if I were going to win, today would be the day.  I should have bought a Powerball ticket. 

Signature Double Points in a Cashmere blend sock

Yesterday, I was the lowest of the lows.  I pulled out my knitting at lunch and discovered that I only had 3 of my Signature Needlesin my knitting.  Where had my 4th needle gone?  I searched my car, my desk, my purse.  It was gone.  I tried not to panic, it must be at home.  When I got home, my husband and I tore the couch apart.  We gave it a well deserved cleaning and sent Lily behind the couch (she’s the smallest!) to find “treasures.”  I was not panicking up until this point.  However, my husband had images of a extremely sharp needle skewering our girls as they jumped on the couch.  He scared Lily so badly she asked me if she could lay on the couch without dying when she woke up this morning.  I searched the car again.  I scoured the parking lot at work and asked my co-workers to keep an eye out.  If my co-workers didn’t think I was strange before, they do now. 

Tonight as I was pulling into the driveway, I stopped to take a long look.  Even though I had looked twice already at the driveway, I looked again.  My husband and I had swapped cars so the car I normally drive wasn’t in the driveway.  There, near where my back tire would normally be, was a glint of green and silver winking in the late afternoon sun.  I found a $10 needle in a haystack!  I couldn’t be happier! 

Did I mention the sun is shining?  Spring may have actually reached the Northland!

It’s Another List Day

It’s another day for a list.  Mostly because I need to get ready to go shopping for a birthday present and then go to said party.  6 year olds at a bowling alley.  Yes, I will bring my knitting! 

  1. Unfortunately I don’t have any good knitting pictures.  The rainy weather hasn’t been conducive to taking photos.  The other problem is that we (read: me twice and kids once) came down with a virus from you know where and I’m just digging out of that hole.  I’m sure you can imagine the pile of laundry 4 people create. 
  2. The only photo I have of the new sweater I knit (and wore to Yarnover) is one I don’t want to have seen in public.
  3. Rest in Fleece I’m not really sure how I feel about this.  Interesting concept and an interesting way to “Go Green.” 
  4. My Ravelry sidebar with my projects in progress (or lack of progress since they all seem to be UFOs) seems to have disappeared.  I probably need to figure that one out. 
  5. Although I don’t have any photos, I do have a lot of knitting in progress.  Currently I’m working on a hat I started at Yarnover.  It’s the Barvarian Twisted Stitch Hat.  I also have the Goodale in progress and a sock, the Show Off Stranded Socks.  Oh yes, and a scarf somewhat of my own design.  I guess that’s why nothing seems to be knitting quickly. 
  6. I’ve made myself promise that I need to finish one of the current projects before I start anything new.  I have a horrible case of startitis.  I really want to knit out of my stash right now (or out of newly acquired stash).  I’ve got a yearning to make a short sleeve sweater out of DK red wool.  I really want to knit the Sideways Surprise Shawlette out of some silk laceweight that I’ve had in my stash for a long time. 
  7. Will spring ever arrive?  It’s May and we’re wearing sweaters and warm coats.  Ugh. 

Warp, Weft & Whoo!

Not long ago, one of my readers contacted me and asked if I would be interested in buying his loom.  The loom made it’s way north through the postal system and landed upon my door.  After several days of staring at the parts and hinting (heavily) to my husband that I would love to come home that evening to weave, the loom got put together.   
Warping the Loom

After several more days, I got up them gumption to warp the loom.  By this point I was fairly intimidated by the idea of warping the loom.  People had told me horror stories of taking days to warp the loom correctly and how you had to have at least 2 people to warp the loom.  Add long drawn out sighs and you’ll understand why these people had me worried. 

I downloaded the Cricket instruction manual, and got to work.  It took me about an hour to get it set up, including breaks for little girls requesting juice and other snacks.  I warped the loom with some Three Irish Girls sock yarn, McClellen fingering weight for those who are curious.  To create the weft, I used another sock yarn I had in my stash.  This one was a Sock Summit colorway, a very pretty multicolored yarn. 

For the Perceptive Weavers

It was at this point that I realized I had a problem.  Somehow I had managed to warp the loom backwards.  I was kind of confused as to which end was the front and which was the back.  I managed to finangle it so that I think everything was rearranged on the loom the way it should have been.  At least I think it will work this way.  Quite honestly, I have no idea! 

Child's Play

Then, the girls and I got to work on our creation. I’m having some issues getting all the lines of the weft straight, and our tension isn’t the most consistent.  However, I think the tension (I assume that’s what you call it when you are beating the weft) issues will be worked out with more practice.  It probably didn’t help that I was letting the girls do some weaving with me. 

One More to Show Off My Kids

The girls were definitely excited about getting to help Mommy weave!  They have been enjoying playing with the shuttle.  I was surprised at how fast they both figured out which position the heddle should be in when the shuttle was on either side. 

I’m looking forward to learning more about weaving so that I can do a few patterned scarves.  Does anyone have any suggestions for weaving books?  I don’t see this becoming a weaving blog instead of a knitting blog, but it is a fun diversion.

And The Winner Is….

Using a random number generator, the winner of yarn from my 100th post is Julie!  I’ll be in touch with her to talk about her prize. 

As for knitting the cardigan, I haven’t started anything yet.  I really haven’t been knitting much of anything.  I am slowly working on a white wrap cardigan for myself.  I also started some fingerless mitts, but I am not happy with the color of the yarn.  It’s blah and I’m struggling to finish the first one.  It’s probably going to move into the UFO pile.  I have made some decisions on the cardigan for Addie though.  I’m definitely going to knit the Tuckernuck.  Most likely it will be out of the Malabrigo.  I’ve also decided to make a shrug, mostly for the instant gratification that I’ll get from it. 

I have this half finished cardigan that I’m just not crazy about anymore.  I started it years ago and stopped when I screwed up a sleeve.  I have a sneaking suspicion that I don’t have enough yarn to finish this.  So I’m ripping it out to redo it as a shrug.  There should be plenty of yardage for a shrug, even one that’s longer than a traditional shrug.  The only bad part?  Ripping out miles of this knitted I-cord edging…

 

I hated knitting this edging.  It was miserable, but somehow I managed to slog my way through it all.  Ripping it out might be a job for a stronger person than me.

Lily’s Perfect Hat

 I may have finally hit on the epitomy of perfect hatness.  At least for a 4 year old named Lily.  Lily tends to be rather picky about most things, and knitwear is no exception.  I have made her 2 other hats this year.  She wears them for a short time and then finds something else that she likes better.  We’ve bounced between knitted caps to a Bentleyville hat to a fleece hat with earflaps during the coldest weather. 

This hat is made from Noro Silk Garden, so it is both warm and has a wonderful texture.  The hat fits her perfectly, coming right down to her eyebrow line to keep her forehead warm.  In Lily’s opinion, the best part are the earflaps and the fact that it ties under her chin.  I don’t know why, but the ties must be tied in an overhand knot but definitely not in a bow.  I think the fun colors are also a hit with this particular 4 year old.  As a bonus for Mommy, it makes her very easy to spot in a crowd.  The pattern is from Hat, Mittens, and Scarfs Deck.  The pattern is for a baby hat, but since Silk Garden is a thicker yarn than the dk that is called for, I used larger needles and got a bigger hat.  I also made the hat an inch or so taller than the pattern called for.

As I was knitting this, I knit the hat to the specified depth.  I tried the hat on Lily and found out that it was too short.  I was running low on yarn and was worried that I wouldn’t have enough to finish the hat, so I asked Lily if we could give this hat to a baby and I could knit her a different hat.  Lily melted down.  Her bottom lip stuck out and her eyes filled up with tears as she said she wanted this hat.  What’s a Mommy to do?  I ripped back the decreases and knit for another inch before starting the decreases again.  I used all but a few yards of the skein of Noro Silk Garden.  This time the hat fit perfectly. 

Lily likes this hat so much that for once she doesn’t mind getting her picture taken.

One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just doesn’t belong. 
Hurricane Hat
Baby Aviator Hat

Flat Top Hat

Knit 2 Purl 2 Ribbing

These hats are part of a package headed to Alaska, for our friends there.  I decided all four kids probably needed warm bulky hats to deal with the harsh winters.  The three pink hats are all made out of the same colorway, Kate from Three Irish Girls on Springvale Bulky.  I loved the way that the flat top hat was pooling, so instead of doing decreases, I continued until the hat was tall enough and did a 3 needle bind off.  I love that all three of the pink hats look so distinctively different.  The black hat, for the lone boy in the family, is made from Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran. 
I think I have a plan for the sweater for Addie, although I have not picked a winner for the 100th post comment.  Mostly I haven’t picked a winner because I know that I don’t have time to mail out a package right now.  I promise I will do so soon and will post a photo of the winner’s prize.