I Get Carried Away

So… I may have a million things on my needles right now. It’s been forever since I’ve posted, and I’m terribly sorry. I promise I will get better and consistently writing. That’s one of my goals for the fall. I want to get to the point that it’s as instinctual to blog as it is to exercise every day. There just aren’t enough hours, I tell you. Today will be a lightning round of where I’m at with each project, then I’ll give you more in-depth updates as the week goes on. 

Three Tree Town

I ended up frogging this poor little bugger. About halfway through the second chart, I was just not loving the pattern. It wasn’t working for me like it had before. I still love the yarn, though the variegation does make it a challenge. It’s all ripped out and patiently waiting for me to find the perfect pattern for it. I may try and find another Elizabeth Clark pattern for it. Jury’s still out on that. 

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What Wonder

Finished and handed over to the expectant momma just in time for the baby shower. I also received a lovely text from the daddy (also an old friend of mine) saying how much they love it. It is currently folded neatly into the crib, waiting for little Eleanor to arrive. 

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Hartford Sweater

Well, I finished the body and the sleeves, which is terrific. But I botched the seaming. This is likely partially due to the modifications I made while increasing and decreasing, to account for the difference in the width of my gauge. I need to rip out the seams and redo them, but I haven’t yet built up the courage. Needless to say, Mom did not receive it in time for her birthday, but she says as long as she gets it by October, she’s happy. 

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Wool Leaves

The baby blankets are never ending these days. I’ve pulled my first attempt at Wool Leaves out of hiding. I want to finish it in time for my niece’s (actually cousin’s) first birthday party on 20 September. This is entirely doable, because I’m holding the yarn double again and I’m over 3/4 of the way through. I just have to be disciplined enough to actually do it instead of all the fun things I could be doing…

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It’s Thunder

I’ve entered my first knit-a-long! Because I OBVIOUSLY don’t have enough on my plate as is… The lovely and tallented Hanna Maciejewska is hosting a fall KAL. We can choose any one of her patterns to work on in the months of August and September. The deadline is September 30th. So I took this as an excuse to buy more madtosh and cast on her Ink. I’m working it in tosh merino light in the manor colorway. I tell you, pictures do not do it justice. This is my first raglan cardigan, and I am loving it. The only downside is that since it’s fingering weight, it is very slow going. 

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Rambling Woman

Since It’s Thunder is so slow going, I decided I needed a little instant gratification. For most knitters, that would mean a hat or something. Not so with my crazy little brain! I went for another pullover! This one is in worsted though, and it’s very simple. I cast this little guy on last weekend and I am already finished with the hip increases. So it did feel instant and very gratifying. 

The pattern is Seacoast by Joji Locatelli, and it’s yet another Brooklyn Tweed pattern. I used a little variegated tosh vintage in the Crumble colorway for the ballet neck and the rest is in a Cascade’s Red Wine Heather. It’s gorgeous and cozy and I can’t wait to wear it this fall. 

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Blog Hop – Sharing the Creative Process

Soknitsome was very kind to mention me in a recent blog hop on sharing the creative process. I loved reading her answers, so I guess it’s my turn to take a crack at it. 

1. What am I working on? 

Well… If you want the full list, check out my Ravelry page. I currently have six projects on the needles and four or five in hibernation. Here are the ones I’m most focused on now though. 

Hartford by Julie Hoover for MomIMG_1322

Three Tree Town (aka Limberlost Trails) by MMario for myselfIMG_0208

What Wonder Have We Wrought (aka Chevron Baby Blanket) by Purl Soho for Eleanor CabeIMG_0210

 

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Seeing as I have only dipped my toe into designing so far, I don’t have a very clear answer for that. What I will say is that my knitting choices stem from my obsessive love of color. A prime example would be Andean Sunrise. I was knitting a delightful little hat out of some extra Manos del Uruguay that I had in my stash and plugging along nicely until, all of a sudden, I realized that I did not have enough to finish the decreases. I almost had to bind off too quickly, which would have left it all pinched in the back, but then my eyes came to rest on some variegated Malabrigo that I had lying around. The purple matched the Manos perfectly, so I picked it up and finished off the tam with that. That bright pop of green in the midst of that deep purple is quite possibly the best accident I’ve ever made in knitting. Now, it’s my favorite hat. 

Graham by Jennifer Adams

Graham by Jennifer Adams

3. Why do I write/create what I do? 

I write for many of the same reasons as I knit; I have a compulsion to make things. Knitting usually gets a lot more of my attention, because it creates a tangible result that I can show in my hand. The craft of writing is a little more ephemeral, so it’s harder for me to make myself sit down and write. Still, I take joy in both. Some people are creators, some are fixers, some are destroyers. I’m definitely a creator. It’s my instinct to make something out of raw materials.

4. How does my writing/creating process work?

My writing process mostly consists of me feeling guilty about not writing. My creative process with knitting is much more constructive. I see a pattern or motif that I like and I envision what color and texture yarn would work best. Then I buy far too much yarn and strain my pocketbook, but then comes the joy of diving in and wrestling with a new pattern. I rarely do patterns twice, though I have a few staples. It’s all about stretching myself and acquiring new skills. I try to challenge myself with something new on each pattern. 

 

Now it’s time to share some of my favorite blogs that I feel should get more attention. 

Flip Coast Creations – Californian turned Mainer who loves upcycling and does a lot of cute, quick projects that are great ideas for stash-busting.

String Geekery – As much a mathematician as she is an artist, Naomi literally knits meaning into her work, oh and it’s also gorgeous.

Nearly There – Refers to her blog as a learning journal. She humbly shares both triumphs and stumbles in her adventures in knitting, spinning and life in general. She’s also really good at sharing the work of others she admires and giving credit where credit is due. Awesome resource.

Happy knitting, everyone!

 

 

I WAS NOT Doing it Right!

Remember a few weeks back when I posted about that new shawl that I’d started? It’s the pattern Limberlost Trails by MMario on Ravelry, but I call it Three Tree Town after the Ben Howard song. I was quite confused by the pattern, which appeared to be all charts with no instructions on how to actually fit all of them together into a coherent piece. Well, I found the instructions on page four or six or some other odd place, and I was doing it wrong! I was only doing one rep of the first chart, forgetting that almost all triangle shawls have at least two reps split by a yo-p-yo center. *bangs head against wall* I will get all this eventually.

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So after a trip to the frog pond, I got it up and running again, this time with the garter stitch border and the repeat in. It’s looking much better and I’m starting to make a fair bit of progress on it. I was a little worried about the dramatic variegation of the yarn, but now that I have a decent hunk of it worked, I am starting to love it. It reminds me of that poem, “Pied Beauty” by GM Hopkins that starts, “Glory to God for dappled things.” It reminds me of the way light streams through a leafy canopy. It’s like lichen, spackling the rocks on the crests of mountains with their pasty green texture.

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I’ve still not made much progress, because I am desperately trying to get this cardigan done for my mother. I am on sleeve number two right now, then all I have left is stitching it together and adding the trim. I’m a bit worried that I’ll run out of yarn… Not to worry, Amy has more at the shop. Though, I don’t know if I’ll be able to make it there before Mom’s birthday. (Which is Wednesday, by the way…) 

Meanwhile, I am also scrambling to finish a baby blanket for an old friend, whose baby shower is on Friday. I take it to work with me because it’s a very simple chevron pattern and it’s easy to pick up during my all-to-brief breaks. I’m about half-way through, and I am loving the color combination. I really hope it goes well in the room, which actually has a deep teal and white chevron rug. 

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Home Stretch

With a little over a week to go, I am very close to finishing Mom’s birthday sweater. The main body is finished, along with one sleeve. All I have left is the second sleeve, seams, and edging. So, yeah, all the hard bits. Still, I’ve made amazing progress in the past week and I think I might actually finish the darn thing AND block it before her birthday on 6 August. 

IMG_1322Meanwhile, I also made time today to go for a long walk on the beach with aforementioned mother and the dog. It had been a bit stormy in the afternoon, so when we got there, the beach was mostly washed out and the waves were still massive. The lighting was perfect, and the scenery so dramatic, that I had to take pictures. So, I thought I’d share the best ones.

 

I’m Not Dead Yet!

I’ve become terrible at keeping up to date with this thing. A friend just told me that exercise is almost like a part time job. He was right. It’s grueling and it eats up more of your life than you first expect. Still, I’m feeling great and I’m healthier than I’ve been in ages. Now enough about fitness, lets get on with the knitting. 

My friends have all developed this terrible habit of bearing children. I don’t know what’s gotten into their minds; they’re obviously all mad. Still, it gives me the excuse to knit adorable baby things, so I have yet to stage an intervention. The frequency of these births has grown so intense in the past year or so, that my poor little fingers cannot keep up with all of the baby blankets that I feel the urge to produce. I really wish I had made a tradition out of beanies. That would make my life much simpler.

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It must be admitted, though, that I do enjoy these little blankets. They’re great for stitch experiments, especially when I do them in bulky or worsted held double like in my latest endeavor, “What Wonder Have We Wrought.” Normally, I’m not a huge fan of garter stitch, but I love this ribbed chevron texture. It is so simple too. I managed to cast on and blaze through one skein yesterday, and I’m almost through with the second. 

IMG_0202Right now, it doesn’t really look like much of a little girl’s blanket, but take a look at the full color scheme that I’ll be implementing. 

IMG_0203I call that just girly enough without being over the top. Her name is Eleanor, and she will be born sometime early this fall. Her mom has already started decorating the nursery in a deep salmon and teal. She also has a chevron teal and white rug that helped make the final decision in what pattern I decided to implement. 

Oh, and one more thing…

IMG_0042Look what came in the mail today!!!!! Two skeins of madelinetosh’s 80/10/10 fingering in Shire. The picture does not do the depth of this color way justice. It is just luxurious. It’s 80% merino wool, 10% nylon, and 10% cashmere. I can’t wait to knit this up into a shawl, or maybe a scarf. I’ve finally got what all the fuss is about with the shawls. I still like bunching them around my neck though…

 

 

 

Am I Doing This Right?

Well, I did actually get some work done on Three Tree Town last night. Now that I’m a few inches in, I’m starting to get a feel of the charting, which is very spartan. I’m assuming that I’m using the right stitches, that I cast on correctly, etc. But I’m not quite sure. I need to read through the pattern one more time… I seriously could be doing this entirely wrong. 

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On the other hand, Hartford is still about as straightforward as one can get. A friend at work saw me woking on it on break today saw me working on it and said it looked intense. I replied that frankly, it’s about as straightforward as one can get. It’s just four different stitches over and over and over…. and over again. I know I’ve said this in my last two posts, but I am THIS CLOSE to beginning shaping, and I can’t wait. 

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The slip stitch moves quickly though and I don’t mind the mindless rhythm of it. I think I’ll have this done in plenty of time for my Mom’s birthday in the first week of August. 

Until next time, happy knitting!

 

Knitting Related Injuries

I left you all off yesterday with the promise of getting some work done on my new shawl, Three Tree Town. This did not happen. I have recently embarked on a quest to lose twenty pounds by mid-September. That means that I have cut my caloric intake by probably about half AND started exercising seven days a week. As a result, I’m hopeless after 10:30 at night. On the bright side, I don’t think I’ve ever slept better in my life.

Another thing got in the way of my knitting last night. Though I love my new Addi Clicks, they are far sharper than the needles that I am accustomed to using. After a few days of use, they broke right through the callus on my right forefinger. I have a habit of bouncing my left needle off the middle of my right forefinger as I pull the stitch from the left to the right needle. Therefore, I’ve developed a bit of a callus there. Apparently, those Addis think nothing of the hours of work I’ve put into building that up and decided to pierce right down into the soft, tender flesh beneath.

I let my hands rest all day and have just placed a small bandage over the crack in my skin. Hopefully that will give me enough resilience to get a few things done tonight. I will get a few more rows of the shawl done and also end the night with plugging away at Harford. I just want to get to the shaping already! More pics tomorrow, I promise.

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Two Sweaters at Once? I Must Be Mad!

I have had my first regular day off, with no catastrophes or major events to handle, in weeks. It was glorious. I still did not complete nearly half of my to-do list, but I did get some much needed R&R while still able to take care of a few things. Meanwhile, I was also able to accomplish a good deal of knitting.

Since I’ve bought my Addi Clicks, I’ve been able to speed up my progress on the Hartford sweater tenfold. I’ve polished off my fourth skein and am at least half-way through my fifth in a matter of days. I took it with me when my mom and I went for a nice long walk on the beach. She drove, so I got to knit there and back and polished off that fourth skein. I only have about another inch and a half left before I can start the shaping.

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I also managed to get a little headway on what I’ve titled my Worn Down Glories jacket. This one I’ve named after a line from James Vincent McMorrow’s song “We Don’t Eat,” which is one of my primary comfort songs. Debbie Bliss’ Generous Jacket is one big, slouchy cloud of offset ribbing and I’m making it out of a cozy, no-nonsense kitchen cotton. I feel as if this is destined to become one of my comfort cardigans that I wear the same rainy days that I listen to “We Don’t Eat.”

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Since Mom’s Hartford is my top priority, I haven’t made much headway on this yet, but I hope to finish it before autumn sets in.

Not only have I made headway on both those larger projects, but I finally finished off my original scarf, Gold Across the River. I bound of in kitchner and wove in the ends last night, then I blocked it this afternoon. It’s already delightfully cozy and looks great, but Manos del Urugay always looks and feels even better after a nice long soak. The blue dye bled a little, the water in the tub turned a brilliant shade of turquoise, and it might have stained one of my white towels, but I think it’s done bleeding. All in all, I’m quite happy with it. I think I will get three more skeins and whip up one more sample before I share the pattern though, make sure I’ve got it down.

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Well my dears, that is all I have to share with you tonight. I’m off to bed and I will hopefully have some progress to share tomorrow night on that new shawl that I started. We shall see.

 

 

I Might Have a Yarn Problem…

Once again, I have spent far too much money at the yarn shop.

I happened to find myself up north in St. Joeseph, MI yesterday afternoon and I couldn’t resist checking out the new location for Ivelise’s Yarn Shop. This is the favorite stomping grounds of my grandmother, who prefers slightly cheeper yarn to the heirloom quality stuff at Red Purl. Don’t get me wrong, Cathy has some terrific stuff, and she has a much wider variety to choose from.

I ended up walking away with two new projects. The first is that I finally chose some yarn for Seacoast, which I’ve had in my queue for a few weeks. First, I ran into a lone skein of tosh vintage in a variegated red, orange, and gold. It was just too good to pass up. But I didn’t want to just make a hat or cowl out of it. So, I bought some matching deep red Cascade in a heather texture. My master plan is to work the body and arms in the Cascade and then top of the ballet neck with the madtosh. I think it will be a nice effect. Fingers crossed.

Cascade and madtoshThen I also picked up some lovely green laceweight for my attempt at the Limberlost Trails Shawl that I found on Ravelry. I’m calling mine Three Tree Town after a Ben Howard song. I’ve been dying to try this shawl for ages and I finally found the right material for it. Lace and I have a love hate relationship, but I think I will love working with this Araucania. It’s one of the softest things that I’ve ever held in my hands.

IMG_1206Then, finally, because I had apparently not spent enough money, I picked up an Addi Click set. Oh my word, it is the most wonderful knitting experience that I’ve ever had. The knitting is smooth and comfortable. The yarn flies through my fingers. The tips are easy to switch on and off and the connection isn’t noticeable in the least once they’re in place. I wish I had bought these months ago. I’ve already transferred the Hartford sweater to them and as a result, I am flying through it again. I think it just might be ready in time.

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I’m Back!

I’m terribly sorry for dropping off the face of the planet as far as blogging is concerned. I had some personal things to take care of that kind of got in the way of sitting down and getting any writing done. Then I took off for a long weekend to Electric Forest, up in Rothbury, MI. Now that the festival is over and my life seems to have found a new equilibrium, I thought it was finally time to sit down and chat to the dear void of the blogosphere.

I haven’t been able to get much knitting done either, so this post will be more about some odds and ends that I made for the festival and all the cool inspiration that I found there as well. Firstly, I made a garland of gingham rags that we hung up at the campsite. It was massive and caused the front seat of the van to look like Jo-Ann Fabrics barfed in my lap, but it ultimately gave the campsite a nice touch. (Aside: I will never go camping again. EVER! If I go to EF next year I’m definitely laying down the extra cash to get a cabin.)

Then I also made these ribbon necklaces for my brother and some of the others in our group. The boys ended up stringing them from their ears and using them as beards. They proved to be quite popular and got a lot of compliments, so they wore them the entire weekend. I even put bells on them to make them jingle. 

But my work paled in comparison to some of the other ingenious things others made. The thing about Electric Forest is that the line between artist and audience is a little blurred. There are paid performance artists that wander around, but there are also audience members that just show up in costume and sometimes you can’t tell the difference. The producers build really cool installations in the forest, but the people wandering through add their touches as well. There are official performances, but then you’ll find three kids sitting beneath a tree, singing along to a ukulele. It’s one of the most unique experiences that I’ve ever been a part of. 

In knitting news: Gold Across the River is almost done and I’ve completely another skein on the Hartford sweater.