Why I Plan and Then Don’t Do What I Plan to Do

Casting on a new shawl.

This isn’t what I was going to knit next. Less than 24 hours ago, I had an entirely different plan. My poncho was fresh off the needles (I love it! Eep!), and I was thumbing through my stitch dictionaries, getting all inspired and organized for the next project. Once I finished Architexture, I wandered back to my monogamist-knitter ways (unless you count a little sock action on the side). I needed to come up with another project.

I have a short list of my stash prioritized in my head: knit this; then that; next knit this.

I also have this Order of Operations written in my knitting book. Yes, I have one of those too, for the days when my head fails me (uh, every day?).

But then I go ahead and waste my own time, throwing all that nice orderly thinking and writing out the window. Poof!

Plan revised.

Because, yes, last night I had a plan (in my head) to knit one thing, (to my defense, it is a good plan, actually, and I will knit that up soon, too), and now I have strayed to knit something entirely different.

I am not sure if this is what is colloquially referred to as Creative Genius or Schizophrenia. Here’s thing that just hit me: the poncho I just finished was grey, and the project I was about to knit was also grey.

Now, yes, I am particularly partial to grey yarn. It is neutral and wearable, and I find it quite suitable. It wouldn’t have been the first time I knit two grey projects back to back.

Not this time.

This time, I am going for the skein of handspun wool, gifted to me and shamefully cast aside for far too long. It has colors that aren’t just grey, and it’s going to be a very simple crescent-shaped shawl with not so much as a single yarn over. I am going to let the yarn speak for itself. No frills.

At least that’s my plan for now.

A few administrative notes:

*Joining Ginny’s Yarn Along (Congratulations, Ginny, on beautiful Mae). I just devoured My Brilliant Friend and moved on to the second book in the series last night (The Story of a New Name). If you haven’t heard of the Neapolitan Novels, get thee to a bookstore immediately. I am hooked! (Yes, those are affiliate links for Amazon. Thank you for being you!)

**I was so startled and touched to log into Ravelry to discover that more than 100 of you joined the This Knitted Life group seemingly overnight. I have started a weekly chat over that way, which I hope will morph into a weekly cocktail-knitting session (nonalcoholic cocktails are yummy, too) as soon as I kick this head cold that has been holding me back for way too long now. Please join the fun.

***The summer Olympics are starting on August 5th. Now, knowing how incredibly unathletic I am, it might surprise you that a sporting event might actually interest me. Oddly, I LOVE the Olympics. I plan to host parallel knitting events over the in my Ravelry group during the Olympics, with prizes and everything. I will share a post soon with all the details (once I figure them out…). In the meantime, you’re on notice. Scurry off and do what all athletes must do to make it to the Olympics: stretch thy fingers and start training AKA knitting!

****If you have actually made it ALL THE WAY to the bottom of this post, please consider subscribing to This Knitted Life, if you aren’t already a subscriber. I will never share your email, and promise to hardly ever bother you, aside from the blog posts that will conveniently find themselves in your inbox two or three times a week. As a subscriber, you will have access to special discounts on patterns and other goodies, like the pattern for this headband. To subscribe, simply enter your email address into the little box in the very top of the upper right hand side bar. Thanks!

My First Year of Knitting Socks

One knitter reflects on her first year of knitting socks and all the joy (and cozy feet) it brought into her life.

It has been nearly a year since I cast on my first ever pair of socks. After twenty years of knitting all things except socks, what a joyous discovery this was! Over the past 11 months, I have knit one pair of Glenna’s basic ribbed socks (a great beginner pattern, should you be feeling the itch), four pairs of Blueberry Waffle socks, two pairs of toddler socks for Reed (one of which I promptly shrunk in the dryer), a pair of Man Socks (disliked the color, fretted over the size, but loved the pattern), and my recent accomplishment: this basic ribbed pair to gift. They might be a little long in the toe. Because nothing I knit is ever quite right. One knitter reflects on her first year of knitting socks. This pair: a basic rib.

Now, sock knitting, I have discovered, is a whole genre of art unto itself. (Andi recently published a three-part series dedicated to the art.) For me, sock knitting has become my perpetual side-knitting project. I always have a pair on the needles. I have learned to walk with them and knit, I travel with them in the car on road trips, and I will sneak in a handful of rows here and there while Reed happily plays nearby. They seemingly knit themselves in those little spaces of time that were never filled before.

Of all the socks I knit over the past year, only two have been for me. The rest have been gifted. I nearly gave myself a stroke trying to knit gift socks last Christmas. Never again.

I have one more pair of gifted socks to knit, to be fair about it all in the scheme of family distribution. After that, I am only knitting socks for me. I think. A lot of tiny stitches go into a pair of socks, and I am starting to feel a bit selfish about it. I want them all for myself. One knitter reflects on her first year of knitting socks. This pair: a basic rib.

We were camping this past weekend and I found myself in the jaw dropping situation of having not packed enough knitting. Usually I pack way too much, but I was trying to be realistic and it backfired. Poor planning on my part. I had neglected to inspect my sock progress before leaving and had misjudged how little I had left. Good news: you can find a yarn store with sock yarn almost anywhere, and I have decided that the Mendocino Yarn Shop is the smallest yet quirkiest shop with the most stunning view of all yarn suppliers everywhere. Now I am the proud owner of two skeins of new-to-me Australian Queensland Collection Rainbow Beach sock yarn. A happy ending to a sordid tale.

One knitter reflects on her first year of knitting socks. This pair: a basic rib.

In a day’s time, I went from no knitting to inspiring my knitting-camping-friend to casting on her first pair of socks alongside me. There we were, basking on the sunny beach, and later the sitting next to the campfire, our needles lit with flashlights while everyone else slept, working on our socks and chatting the way girlfriends do.

And you just can’t get any better than that.

Joining the Yarn Along and still reading Mink River, taking my time to enjoy every literary sentence.

Essential Knitting Accessories, Volume 2

All the tools you need to make your knitting life easier-swifts, needles, and more!

Volume 1 is here, in case you missed it.

Knitting is about so much more than yarn. I finally invested in a few fundamental essentials a couple of months ago. My expanded toolbox of knitting paraphernalia has made my knitting life SO much better. I don’t even know why I waited so long!

A swift

I finally bought a swift! So many of you commented with suggestions when I wrote my first post on essential knitting accessories. There were comments recommending hand-made swifts, Amish swifts, and, well, all kinds of swifts. Thank you for the suggestions! In the end, I still went with this basic swift* from Amazon+. I simply couldn’t find a better price (much more affordable than the similar version from yarn.com), and I had a tight budget. Reed and I have used the swift quite a bit, and I love it! I already had a second-hand ball winder waiting, so I didn’t have to buy one of those. (This is the one I have*.) Now my stash is all wound, which truly has made me even antsier to hurry up and knit all the nice, pretty cakes. Plus Reed thinks it is great fun, and he truly is a fabulous yarn winder! Never too young to train em’ up!

A good swift will save you SO much time! Hand spun yarn doesn't hurt either...

A needle set

When I last pondered which needle set to buy, I received all kinds of suggestions. Alina loved her Addi Turbos, Karen was ecstatic about her Chia Goos, and I had recently read that Franciose loved her Hiya Hiya set. I had been leaning toward the Addis. My LYS carries that brand, and I have a few pairs already that I love. When I looked them up on Amazon, I got all flummoxed over whether I wanted the long tips* or the short tips*. It was overwhelming. After a quick Google, I went out on a limb and bought the Chia Goos*. It was nerve wracking to invest in a set of needles that I had never tried. Not even once. But I trusted Karen. Plus, they came in at a great price, and included more sizes and cables than the Addi set. Hard to beat. I HAVE NOT BEEN DISAPPOINTED! I love them and wish I had bought them YEARS ago! They come in a great case with all kinds of stitch markers that I really needed. (Mind have a gravitational proclivity toward the cracks in the sofa, from which they rarely return.)

I LOVE my Chia Goo needle set! Like, almost more than chocolate!

 

I LOVE my Chia Goo needle set!

Stitch Dictionaries

I love stitch dictionaries. I use the free online versions now and again, but a book is so much better. I had a couple checked out from the library and finally came to terms with the fact that I was renewing them over and over again. So I cashed in a gift card (thank you, Auntie!) and bought a couple. I chose 750 Knitting Stitches: the Ultimate Knit Stitch Bible* and a Japanese one.* The Japanese one is truly enticing to look at and was worth the extra wait and shipping cost. I can’t read Japanese, but I can read the charts (mostly!).

Knitting stitch dictionaries are a must for every knitter!

What non-yarn knitting tools have you discovered lately that I need to know about! Please share.

*Affiliate link. Thank you for being you.

+I know Amazon can be a pitiful alternative to shop local, etc., but I have made peace with this. I live in the Middle of No Where and use Amazon all the time for basics like shampoo and cat food. Otherwise, I am driving two plus hours to buy this random stuff. Instead, I stay home and focus on growing organic food in my own yard and other groovy lifestyle choices. I FULLY support you (with great envy) if you have local alternatives for this stuff, at competitive prices. 

How to Convert Your Friends into Hard-Core Knitters

Want your friends to be as obsessed with knitting as you are? Here's everything you need to know to turn your friends into fanatical knitters.

I love all my girlfriends equally. Even the ones who don’t knit. Secretly, however, I wish they all knit with a fervor similar to my own. Then we could all move to a little tropical island together, and they could also be members of my fantasized Knitting Nation. We could sip fizzy drinks with delightfully colorful umbrellas and pineapple wedges, chattering about our beautiful children and other such matters while we relaxed in the shade of some exotic tree with bright orchid-like flowers, a cool breeze rustling our perfectly sun-crumpled island hair as we knit.

I truly can’t wait.

My friends fall into two categories: (1) friends who have NEVER knit before and (2) friends who currently knit, but not obsessively. These are once-in-a-while knitters, who, unlike me, have balanced interests and aren’t (yet) driven to knit ALL THE TIME.

Now, my friends know I knit. It’s no secret. I mean, I am writing about it on the Internet, for goodness sake, right?

Other clues: you are at my house for dinner and I refresh your cocktail before dragging you with me into my bathroom, offering you a seat on the toilet lid while I crawl around the bathroom floor to block a time-sensitive project (the bathroom floor has radiant heating, so I use it for blocking during winter months…).

True story. Happens. All. The. Time.

Something has been in the air lately, as several non-working girlfriends have dropped little comments. They are thinking about looking for work outside of the home, not necessarily for the money but instead to give them some sort of purpose—something to do with themselves. (I know, lucky ducks…) To each, my response has been the same: PLEASE do not get a job until I teach you how to knit. Then you will have purpose. I PROMISE.

If you are like me and dream about All of your girlfriends knitting with you, here’s my advice.

Lie

Now, I know it’s not a good idea to base friendship on dishonesty, but sometimes the truth is simply not in their best interest. Tell them knitting is easy. Simple. (Depending on their post-beginner projects, this could potentially be true.) They teach young children to knit in school ALL THE TIME. Surely you can figure it out without too much trouble, I remark. Just don’t throw lace at them for their first project.

Knit in front of them

Always have a lovely knitting project in your lap when you are visiting with friends. Remark often how RELAXING knitting is, while sipping wine. Be casual about it. Don’t break a sweat, even if you drop a stitch. The goal here is to put out the “I’m chill” vibe. Without being snooty, of course.

Invite friends over to knit

Whenever I have a date with a friend who I know is also a knitter, I encourage them to bring their knitting along as well, especially if I know Reed will be sleeping. I am a bit of a pusher in this regard. Foster obsession among the casual knitter whenever possible. Lead by example. I figure it’s better to push yarn than push crack, so it’s all good. Right? Right.

Be a bit of a peacock

Show off a bit. Show your friends your most impressive finished knits, and always wear hand knits when visiting with friends. Wear them as stylishly as possible, as to result in (healthy) jealously. Now this is important: make your friends TOUCH your hand knits and feel how incredibly soft and squishy the yarn is. Looking is not enough.

Teach them yourself

You have a friend you have convinced to learn to knit? See! All that yarn-pushing works. I haven’t taught anyone to knit in some time and it’s admittedly not my favorite project, but I would do it for a friend. I would do almost anything for my friends. Leave out the wine for this bit. They’ll need all their wits in the beginning. (Save the wine for after, though.) Sadly this only works for friends who live nearby. See below for alternatives for friends who live afar.

You Tube refreshers

Once the initial instruction is out the way, send them home with some You Tube links for learn-to-knit videos. That way, they can remind themselves when they are at home and that fabulous knitting lesson you just gave them is all but a distant memory. This video is very popular.

Buy them yarn and needles

I love buying gifts for my friends who knit. It’s so easy. I just go to the LYS and buy them yarn and needles…and maybe I buy myself a little bit too. It’s so great! For beginner knitters, you can buy or print out a simple pattern from Ravelry as well. Be sure to target beginner-friendly yarns, however: mid-weight and not too slippery or splitty. Also, not cashmere but soft and pretty enough to be addictive.

Buy them a Craftsy class

For new knitters, Craftsy* has a great three-part Learn to Knit series, beginning with My First Scarf. This is a good option for friends who live afar, or maybe you’re like me and don’t necessarily have the time or patience to teach them yourself. If your friend already knits and you are trying to encourage them to become a little more fanatical about the art, try a class like Amy Herzog’s Custom Fit, so they can challenge themselves with a sweater they might actually like.

Buy a gift certificate for a learn-to-knit class

Most yarn shops offer some version of learn-to-knit for new knitters. One of my local shops commonly holds a Saturday class that includes instruction, yarn, needles, and a simple pattern. Birthday gift conundrum solved. Yarn shops often offer more intermediate classes and knit-alongs as well—a great way to convert those casual knitter friends into obsessive knitter friends. Take a knitting class or workshop together!

Books

Even though the level of high-quality, affordable (and even free on You Tube) video instruction available today is unprecedented, some people prefer to learn from books the old-fashioned way. Here’s a Guide for Absolute Beginners*. Perfect.

Drag them to knit night

Knitting groups are an amazing way to have a fun time knitting and commune with other human beings. Go to one and drag your friends along. By the ear if necessary. More than a decade ago, I bonded with many of my closest friends through a weekly knitting group. Awww.

Joining Ginny for the Yarn Along (if she isn’t otherwise obligated) and loving my current read: Mink River*.

*Affiliate link. Thank you for being you.

 

Summer Bucket List of Must Knits

Everything you need for summer knitting. An all-in-one-spot bucket list!

Hello? You’re looking for me? I’m over here. You know, by the pool. Lounging in the shade with my cocktail, staring longingly at my pool floaty, wondering what system I can possibly devise to enable me to knit my sock WHILE floating in the pool without risking my entire skein becoming overly saturated or otherwise sinking to the bottom of the deep end. Glug, glug, glug. (Okay, more likely I am in the pool supervising my very busy young child and arguing with him about when it is my turn to use the floaty, but I can dream.)

Oh, I’m not by the pool? Then I am at the river. Swimming. It’s beautiful now. Clear and as picturesque as a World Class Swimming Hole (WCSH) could ever come. We love to go there in the summer. It’s why we live where we do. Reed digs or plays with his trucks. We talk with our friends and rustle through the cooler for drinks and snacks, then hoover in the shade of our new pop-up shade tent (hallelujah!). I squeeze in a few rows on a sock and watch the bald eagles soar overhead, searching for salmon snacks. On the way home, I pretend not to notice to the substantial volume of sand that is All Over my car.

It’s that glorious time of year I wait for all winter, when it is finally hot. We’ve had a week of 100 degree (38 C) days when there are two options: swim or hide inside. We do a little of both. (Also: a startling rate of popsicle consumption.) Our days are full of constant battles over the application of sunscreen, batch after batch of sun tea, and tomatoes growing as fast as my waistline after the holidays. I harvested the apricot tree the other evening, and the bounty was substantial.

My rate of knitting does not slow in the summer, but I do adjust what I knit. Here’s my Summer Bucket List, in case you need some inspiration.

Socks

Socks are amazing warm weather projects. I have a pair on the needles at all times. When we went to the river last weekend, it was so incredibly hot out. I was not about to bring my 100% alpaca poncho (it’s huge, it’s hot, and I don’t want it to be covered in sand and grime), but a sock will do just fine. You can take a sock anywhere: fishing, camping, or the neighborhood barbeque. Do it! There are lots of free and simple sock patterns that will do just fine for even the most beginner knitter, like the one I used for the last pair of socks I finished.

Lace scarves and shawls

I recently finished a lace weight shawl. It wasn’t my favorite project (although I did like the pattern), but I think a simpler pattern in lace weight would be less frustrating and perfect for summer, for my particular (lazy) style of knitting. I see so many fabulous lace projects on Pinterest that are simply stunning, and I know there’s a lot of potential here for the more patient among us. This might be a good little summer project for someone. Lace weight yarn is also so much less expensive, leaving more money in the budget for summer cocktail fixings. Good tequila can be pricey.

Summer tops

I love knitting summer tops and tees. My Waterlily tee has been getting lots of use, and I would recommend the pattern to anyone. I also really loved the tee I knit last summer and hope to knit a second one (that actually fits) soon. I saw this pattern on Ravelry the other morning and almost cast on, but I just can’t right now. Must. Stay. Focused. Soon, I hope. Other favorites tees currently in my Ravelry queue are here.

Knits for fall

As a designer, I have to plan my knitting projects ahead a season. I should really plan ahead two seasons, but I am simply not that organized (yet). At night, when the AC is going strong and our house is actually on the colder side for my personal preferences, I bust out my poncho project and snuggle in. This is a big project and, at my rate, I just might be done by the end of summer.

What sun-santional knits are you stitching up this summer?

P.S. I FINALLY started a Ravelry group for This Knitted Life. You can join here! (If you haven’t already…)

Hello, Architexture

Note to self: next time a project is titled “scarf,” don’t assume it is small and won’t take much time at all. Some scarfs are quite large, as it happens.

Architexture* is finally off my needles and blocked. It only took three months to knit what I estimate to 750 yards (686 meters) of fingering weight wool. I would say Architexture would be more accurately labeled a stole or wrap. It’s substantial, nearly twice as wide as most of my other scarves.

I came upon Architexture* through Craftsy* when I joined their affiliate program. It’s truly a lovely knit, and I am not just saying that because I earn a small!!! amount of money if you happen to click on over and purchase one (or anything else on their dangerously fabulous site). It has a lot going on, yet it’s simple. Purls and knits with some simple increasing and decreasing for the bias shape. It’s quite clever actually, and aptly named to be true. Jennifer Weissman developed  a solid design with clear instructions. I had assumed the points at each end would match, but they don’t. Even after a good, strong block. This bothered me a bit at first, but now I am over it. It just adds more to the geometry of the whole thing.

Architexture by Jenifer Weissman. Knit with a very affordable kit from Craftsy in Cloudborn Fibers Highland Fingering, Lavender Heather colorway.

I was particularly fond of Architexture because it hid my mistakes well. You would think I wouldn’t have goofed so much on such a beginner knit, but I did. Stitches would magically appear or disappear when I absentmindedly neglected an increase or decrease. More commonly, I lost track of whether I was knitting on the wrong side or right side and spent twenty minutes fixing a mistake I thought I had made…only to realize there had been no mistake, it was all a fabrication of my brain, and I was a giant dork.

Sigh.

Architexture by Jenifer Weissman. Knit with a very affordable kit from Craftsy in Cloudborn Fibers Highland Fingering, Lavender Heather colorway.

Kits are still in stock over at Craftsy for $19.98 in a variety of colors. (Craftsy surprised me with Lavender Heath.) This includes two full skeins of yarn and the pattern! The skeins are 494 yards (452 meters) each. I knit a medium (which is no joke) and have half a skein leftover. For the price, the Cloudborn Fibers Highland Fingering 100% wool yarn quality is nothing to laugh at. If you are feeling penurious, this is a good knit for you. The entertainment to dollar ratio is on the mark. Either that or you could knit lace. (I have done both recently, and would offer you are less likely to lose your mind with Architexture.)

(Also, a note to folks with young children in their households: this scarf boasts a strange and potentially fatal attraction to small people. Store in a safe location!)

I keep wondering what will happen to the Yarn Along once Ginny pops, but I hope to link up this week, assuming she isn’t in labor. (Good luck, Ginny!) I just bought Mink River* by Brian Doyle at the recommendation of Steph at Woolythyme but haven’t gotten too far into it yet. It’s been on my list for a while, and I am eager to escape into it.

*Affiliate link. Thank you for being you.

Hazards of Knitting With A Toddler 

Mom: Reed, did you do something with that purple scarf I just finished?

Reed: (Innocently) No.

This is how bath time went at our house last night. Here I was, wrapping up the day, getting ready for bed time stories and pre-plotting the forthcoming blog post in my head to speed things up once Reed fell asleep. I was going to write a post about my Summer Bucket List of Must Knits.

Then this happened.

My newly finished Architexture scarf, freshly unpinned from blocking, had disappeared. Only an hour before, I had brought it inside from drying, quickly took two seconds and tried it on over my shoulders in the mirror, noting my own quite-pleased-with-myself smirk, folded it up neatly, and set it on top of the computer on my “desk*.” I didn’t think anyone else in the house had even noticed, and if they did, they surely didn’t say anything (for example, exclamations of that’s gorgeous! Or, you finally finished that thing. Wow. You’ve been working on it since before Watergate.**)

Now it was gone.

At least I thought it was gone. I was immediately overwhelmed by that sensation you get when your purse full of cash has been stolen and you just realized how incredibly screwed you are. It’s a horrible feeling. I quickly checked my other knitting spot in the hall closet, in case I had stashed it there and forgotten in the flurry that is my brain. This kind of thing happens to me all the time. Like, when I frantically search for my sunglasses in a total and utter fit of frustration and cussing, only to find them on top of my head. Happens. All. The. Time.

Even before cocktail hour.

Architexture was nowhere to be seen.

I immediately thought of Reed. I checked under Fort #1 (Behind the Couch). Not there.

I checked under newly constructed Fort #2 (Under the kitchen table). Not there.

At this point, I am thinking Reed probably would have thought Architexture, all 800 fingering weight yards of the dratted thing, would have made a pretty fabulous rescue rope. I am also thinking of that pair of kid scissors that was recently floating around one of his forts. My pulse was through the roof. I searched high and low. Under the trampoline. In his toy bins.

It was nowhere.

I returned to the bathroom, where Mr. Innocent was still happily splish splashing away.

Reed, have you seen my scarf?

No mom, I haven’t. Wasn’t me.

Reed, are you sure? Did you put it anywhere?

This little game of cat and mouse went on for some time. Me accusing. Reed denying. Until finally he gave me his first clue.

 I didn’t put it my bedroom.

So of course I scurried right out of that bathroom and into his bedroom.

Thank you Mother Earth, forgive all my sins, I am newly and forever faithful. There it was. In the corner of the closet. (Now, forgive the disastrous state of the closet. Reed and I share one. It’s only three-feet wide. That’s a story for another day. But there it was, still nicely folded, right in the corner. See it?)

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The dear child hadn’t even “rescued” anything with it.  Architexture hadn’t been twisted or tied from the curtain rod to be used in some sort of Tarzan replica animal-rescue plot. The scissors had not been applied. I had been spared. A child psychologist would probably hypothesize this was Reed’s way of acting out against sibling jealously. (Reed is an only child, but knitting is his greatest competitor…which apparently he knows all too well, even at his young age.)

Reed tried to blame it all on his father in the end. Sadly for him, dad had long been sound asleep in his chair in front of the golf channel after a long day of fishing. He slept through the entire affair and had a strong alibi..

Earlier in the day, I had aspired to do an Architexture photo shoot in the evening light, in preparation for a final Look What I Did! post later in the week. But after all that adrenaline, I just can’t. I have to go lay down on the sofa and knit to recover.

Please excuse me.

image

*Amounts to a small table cluttered with all my active knitting projects, a laptop, my fancy camera tucked just out of reach, random office supplies, and bills I should probably pay.

**Okay, since early March. Of 2016.

This is Going to Take Forever

This poncho is going to take forever. As in: possibly to be finished by 2050. Although things are progressing with more gusto now that I finally settled on the final number of stitches to cast on.

First there was a wee bit of 120 stitches. Too many? Frog.

Then there was a second go using 90 stitches. Too narrow? Frog.

Now there are 100. Perfect? Time will tell.

Apparently swatching will only get you so far.

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Next time I won’t be so passive after casually entering my LYS and announcing that I need 1,000 yards (914 m) of grey yarn, “DK or Worsted,” and happily shrug when I am instead offered 1,000 yards of Sport.

It’s not all the same. Not at all.

DSC_0021

This particular stitch pattern requires a bit of cabling two out of every eight rows. This means I knit three rows all happy and dreamy. Knit knit knit. Purl purl purl. Blood pressure down. Bliss. Then I hit my row of holding stitches in back (or front, as the case may be.) Teeth tight. Blood pressure up. The aging process is accelerated.

I just broke down and bought my first ever cable needle*. The one with the notch in the middle. It’s arriving on Friday. I am trying to decide what gift to shower the UPS man with. Fresh squeezed ice cold lemonade, maybe. Or cookies?

I’ve been making due with my usual method of slipping a couple of stitches onto a double pointed needle. This was after You Tubing various methods purporting to teach one how to cable without a cable needle. But try as I might to squeeze here and twist there, I can’t figure it out. I am hopeless. My fingers only offer up so much coordination.

Usually the double pointed needle works well enough, but everything seems so extra slippery this go-around. So I am upping my game: a cable needle with a notch. I figure it’s my best hope. I am sick of picking up stitches that try to run away from me as if I am the Wicked Witch of the West.

(Insert cackle laugh.)

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In other fronts, I FINALLY started a Ravelry group for This Knitted Life. Please join! As a first matter of business, I am seeking volunteers to test knit my newly-named Linto Creek Cowl (otherwise known as the Yak-Tacular success). I lacked modeled photos when I wrote my original blog post but have added a couple pics to the Ravelry forum so potential test knitters can inspect how it wears on a human. That always helps. If you are interested in the test knit, you can also just shoot me an email. (My contact information is at the top of this page.)

I am joining Ginny’s Yarn Along and thinking she must be having that baby girl awfully soon now. I am still outstanding on my baby shower gift! Eep! The good news is that I know what I am going to make. On the reading front, I have picked All the Bright Places* by Jennifer Niven back up after being distracted by some wait-list library books with tight check out windows.

Juniper by Jen Lucas

Juniper by Jen Lucas. Knit in Nirvana lace.

Note that I am not typing this from the confines of a mental institution. Further note this is significant given my last update on my little ol’ lace project.

In an alternate ending, this could have been my eulogy. Or at least A Eulogy. Of something. Not good. In fact, in said alternate ending, this entire post could have read something like:

F$#%%$$% S^&^^&%%^^^%^%^% &**&&&&&& *****&^%$#@!@#$^

Except I got lucky.Juniper by Jen Lucas. Knit in Nirvana lace.

Fanfare aside, it all worked out fairly well in the end, once I got past the first lace repeat. My psychic instinct must have kicked when I decided to skip one of the lace repeats after all. And what a good thing it was. I cast of with a meter of yarn to spare, braced to unravel my swatch if need be. Granted, the final shawl is nearly twice as long as specified in the pattern. And, no, I didn’t compare my swatch to the pattern to calculate necessary adjustments. Instead, I ignored my swatch entirely and just went for it.

Dove in.

Sink or swim.Juniper by Jen Lucas. Knit in Nirvana lace.

I still don’t know when I will ever wear this thing, as lovely as it is. I barely made it through blocking without snagging it. And my cat barely made it through blocking without being permanently relocated to a new home.

Here is what I know: no more lace for me for quite some time. Don’t let me forget.

Please.Juniper by Jen Lucas. Knit in Nirvana lace.

Pattern: Juniper by Jen Lucas

Yarn: Nirvana Lace-one skein

Needles: Size 8 (5 mm)

It’s Going to be a Poncho

All things considered, I am making great strides to complete my knitting bucket list for the year. I’ve finished the last of my 2015 projects, and my Waterlily tee even double counts as a tunic. (It came out a bit long, so I’ve been wearing it with leggings.) I dabbled in colorwork and even managed to finish my beginner project, although I still want to give Fair Isle a whirl. We’ll see. I’ve knit one sweater from Home & Away*, and I am determined to knit at least one more this year.

Swatching up a poncho in Puna Amano alpaca.

Progress, people. Progress.

Next up: the poncho. The yarn has been purchased (four skeins of 100% alpaca Puna Amano sportweight in misty grey, I believe). I almost wish I had a worsted weight and perhaps a darker shade of grey, but this will do just fine. One can’t always expect a LYS be stocked with absolutely everything. Sometimes a knitter must be flexible and leave a bit up to fate AKA The Yarn Gods.

Swatching up a poncho in Puna Amano alpaca.

The Amano has knit up quite well, as scrumptiously soft yarns tend to do. Swatched. Pinned. Dried. Not curling. Generally behaving. The future is bright.

I wonder if the neighborhood alpacas will be offended or flattered when I wear it to give them their daily treats this later this fall.

Swatching up a poncho in Puna alpaca.

Joining Ginny’s Yarn Along. and happily reading Mother Tongue*, which is written by one of my all-time favorite bloggers.

*Affiliate link. Thank you for being you! 

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