Redemption

Hand knit baby hat in Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light. With just the perfect amount of lace and a faux-picot brim.

Apparently being sleep deprived when Reed first born was more impacting than I realized. I thought I had it together back in that first year of Never Sleep Ever. But I didn’t.

As evidenced by actual written text that I myself typed roughly three years ago, my brain was not at all functional. I just thought it was.

You know what that is?

I’ll tell you: DELUSION.

A couple of months ago, I finally got it together to knit Ginny’s baby shower gift. Yes, that child was born eons ago, but, hey, better late than never? I was puttering about Ravelry looking for a suitable baby hat, no longer needing a newborn size as the child may be older than one by the time I pull this off.

Anyway, there I am on Ravelry when it hits me. Wait a minute. I don’t need a pattern for a baby girl hat. I HAVE a pattern for a baby girl hat that I already wrote and offer for free on Ravelry. I will use that.

Brilliant, right?

I dig out some Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light scraps and figure I can adjust gauge. The original version was knit in Baby Boo, and, well, I don’t really care for Baby Boo much anymore.

I’m already writing my little card to Ginny in my head. Dear Ginny, Sorry this is three four five six? months late. But, isn’t it great?!?!  Love, Me.

Except…it didn’t take me long to realize my original pattern SUCKED. Like, REALLY TRULY SUCKED KNITTING ARSE. Embarrassingly so. Even giving away this pattern for FREE as I had been doing was like a crime against knitters everywhere.

Truly, my heart goes out to any poor fool who downloaded this free pattern and actually tried to knit the thing. I AM SORRY! I should be paying you for pain and suffering. Wow.

First, there were all these k4togs everywhere. I was actually so incredibly exhausted and dysfunctional as a new mother that I thought knitting four stitches together over and over again was a good idea.

And there were math errors that I had made in conversion of one size to another.

AND, all kinds of other things I am too ashamed to tell you about. IT WAS BAD.

A few months ago, someone even messaged me on Ravelry and politely asked about a potential error in the pattern. I actually opened the pattern, looked at it, and messaged back that all was well. Uh, if this poor soul is out there right now, reading this and thinking Hey, that was me. I hate that lady, I am SO INCREDIBLY SORRY.

You will be happy to know I have reworked the pattern*. I got rid of those stupid k4togs. They are now k3togs, which is more manageable although still loathed by many. I adjusted the stitch pattern a bit so it is a wee less lacy…and I fixed all the math. With a little luck, the pattern will go off to the tech editor THIS WEEK. My tech editor, who I obviously wasn’t clever enough to know I REALLY NEEDED those years back will DOUBLE CHECK everything so I can rest assured that the release of the corrected and updated pattern will not ruin anyone’s life.

At least not for reasons that are my fault.

After that, I just have to track down a cute baby model to confirm that it actually fits a human of the appropriate age and size. I have one such tiny human in mind. I just have to catch her when she is awake and in a good mood. Not always easy for these cute babies!

Then…and only then…this pattern will be released for FREE to all of my subscribers. I am attempting redemption of my knitting karma from this treacherous woolful sin that I committed, good intentions and all. I am hopeful this will happen in the next month!

If you aren’t already a subscriber and you are interested in receiving this FREE pattern, sign up today. I will never share your email and will only occasionally (rarely) email you anything other than regular blog posts.

And, Ginny, if you are reading this, little Mabel will hopefully have a new hat before 2020. Emphasis on hopefully.

Love to all and may the knitting spirits be generous with my tormented, now slightly less sleep-deprived soul.

As always, I am joining the Yarn Along this week and still reading A Man Called Ove . Apparently I don’t make as much reading progress with a real book vs. an E-book. Kind of sad.

*On the upside, it is slightly comforting to see how far my knitting and photography have come over these past several years. I’m making progress. Slowly.

**Affiliate link. Thank you for being you!

How Much Yarn to Pack for Six Days?

Getting ready to travel with my knitting! One can never pack too much yarn.

I’m at the frantic stage of getting ready for a trip* where I realize I will only get to half of the items on my to-do list before we leave. Note the half I will likely not be able to cross off is associated with various elements of house work. The way I see it, the dirt will still be here when we get home.

My real dilemma is the quantity and type of knitting to be packed. As we all know, one must never run out of yarn while traveling. I’ve been there once before. Never again.

My brown socks will of course come with, but I was hoping to bring a second project in case I actually end up with some non-mobile knitting time (cars and planes) to really dig into a more substantial project…but not so substantial as to take up a ton of space in my carry-on. I settled on some purple alpaca that’s been in my stash for way too long (even though it is not on the Fall Bucket List I just wrote less than a week ago…never too early to stray, I say).

Except I have a problem.

I can’t figure out what to knit with the purple alpaca. I’ve swatched a bit (okay, a lot), and I am just not sure (plus my most recent swatch is still drying to there is some math yet to occur). I even went so far as to browse on Ravelry for someone else’s design during the wee hours of the night and nothing jumped out at me (criteria: US size 7 (4.5 mm) needles, 400 (366 m) yards, shawl, not too lacy, ideally modern-ish).

Thus: Plan C. A second skein** of sock yarn. Just in case I finish the first pair (totally possible) and the purple project goes south, which could happen will probably happen.

In all, I have decided three projects ought to get me through six days. This kind of confidence invariably means I will trip on the first day and sprain my wrist. Although hopefully not.

*We’re heading to San Diego to visit my Grandma. Watch out zoo, here we come.

**Note this skein of Crazy Zauberball is the LAST bit of sock yarn in my stash. This means I will soon have no other choice but to buy more yarn. It’s phenomenal, truly.

Fall Bucket List of Must Knits

One knitters dream list of fall knitting projects. I know. I KNOW? Fall? Yes, Fall.

It’s not official yet. There’s still nearly a month for that. Even though it’s still hotter than Hades, Fall IS in the air. There’s color creeping into the leaves and I can already feel that certain crispness to the morning air. Fall is right around the corner, like it or not. This means it is invariably time to plan those Fall projects. Here’s what’s on my list:

This Poncho

I have been obsessed with this poncho since I first saw Andrea’s post. I have been searching for the perfect poncho all year (it’s on my bucket list) and this is it! I’m going to take a break from designing projects (soon?) and cast on. I haven’t decided if I am going to splurge on Brooklyn Tweed as called for in the pattern, or substitute with another yarn.

Reflections Shawl

I love the new kit for the Reflections Shawl over at Craftsy*. The kit is currently on sale, and I also had a hankering to do more colorwork projects on my bucket list. This seems like a good fit.

Lesley

True to my pledge to knit ALL THE DESIGNS from Home & Away* (with which I am absolutely obsessed), I have decided to knit Lesley next. (My Rosemont was such a success, and I have been wearing it TONS.) By the way, the price on Home & Away has dropped to an ALL TIME low of $16.00. That’s a steal. I LOVE LOVE LOVE my copy. Grab one on sale, for sure! I still have to order yarn for Lesley…I hope to get to this during Fall. Otherwise, it will have to shift over to my Winter Bucket List. Oh dear.

New Designs

I plan to work up a little something with yarn above. It feels very fall-ish, doesn’t it? It’s Plymouth Yarn’s Revel and was gifted to me last Christmas by a bestie. The label claims fingering, but it feels like a LIGHT fingering. Uh oh. We all know how I feel about lace. I have a shawl design in mind.

I also hope to release the pattern for my new poncho and hat soon, so stay posted for those as well. If you aren’t already a subscriber, be sure to sign up  to receive special discounts on these upcoming goodies. There are good things coming to subscribers soon! Scout’s honor.

All the Usuals

Regardless of the season, I always have socks on my needles for those random moments of down time.

Joining the Yarn Along! I am STILL reading A Man Called Ove* and loving it just like you said I would.

*Affiliate links. Thanks for being you!!! Mwah!

Wrap It Up – Olympic Style

Let me just say this: next time, remind me that it is not a good idea to knit lace (a wee baby hat, no less) and watch synchronized swimming at the same time. Stitch markers be damned. There is presently yarn absolutely everywhere and I think I will still be tinking for an hour, at the least.

In typical-for-me competition fashion, I didn’t exactly excel at my Olympic knitting, but I did knit (albeit in a slightly spastic fashion). I’ve been all over the place with my knitting these past couple of weeks. Lots of little projects that didn’t exactly add up to much. Don’t get me wrong. I’m pleased with my effort. I’ve been making progress on a lot of fronts that have been languishing. In hindsight, I probably would have been better enjoyed my Olympic knitting experience had I dedicated the slot to a giant garter stitch shawl.

Hurrumph.

Knitting wee baby hats over at This Knitted Life. Too cute!

I did, however, finish a hat that had been in my head for quite some time. So there’s that. It’s worked up in Madelinetosh Pashmina Worsted (Sugar Plum colorway) and is extraordinarily squishy and soft. I’m hate to gloat, but I’m quite pleased.

A warm winter hat in Madelinetosh Pashmina Worsted (Sugar Plum).

The stitch has a lot of dimensionality, so I won’t be blocking this baby.

A warm winter hat in Madelinetosh Pashmina Worsted (Sugar Plum colorway)

The Olympics wrap up tonight with the closing ceremonies. If you are joining in the Olympic Knitathon, please be sure to add your final stats to the Ravelry thread here. I’m giving everyone up Tuesday at midnight PST to hop on Ravelry and add projects.

Remember to tag projects with TLKlight* (lace, fingering, sport) and TLKheavy (DK, Worsted, Bulky) so I can sort everyone out by yarn weight. Projects do not have to be finished to count. Just estimate the amount of yarn you used during the Olympics. Winners will receive some awesome yarn, so please, don’t miss out.

If you happen to be new to tagging on Ravelry, there was a timely thread recently (July 28, 2016) that summarized how to tag projects. Just hit the main Ravelry page and scroll down a bit. You’ll see it.  I have a bit of it clipped below.

 

Capture

With that dear knitters, I’m off to finish my tinking. Or at least I can only hope.

*Yes I made a typo in my own acronyms… but since they’re in the original post, I’m just going to stick with it. Use TLK (instead of TKL).  xoxo

These Summer Days, Vol. 2

Summer sock knittingI sat on the deck of our “glamping” tent/cabin the other night at dusk, daring myself to finish a heel flap and turn before the last of the sunlight abandoned my needles, leaving me to tend with stardust alone. I listened to the peepers and bullfrogs, coming alive along the lake. The last flame’s of Reed’s Smores-Campfire crackled as resonances of bedtime filtered in from the adjacent campsites. Reed was snoring softly by now, tuckered from our day of paddling and playing on the lake. He occupied himself with fishing for trout that were ever-evasive and meeting new little friends from far away lands (Oakland!). I knew I was pushing the light situation by the time I reached the heel flap, but I went for it. What can I say? I’m reckless in this regard. (Did I mention my yarn was dark brown? No help at all!)

These summer daysAs I knit, my thoughts drifted to this time a year ago and all the days in between. Moments ago, I reread that post and feel I could write those same words again today. Just last week, I told Reed we need to plant another round of sunflowers, and my hanging baskets look even more pitiful this year than last. If it weren’t for Reed himself, steeped in that miraculous stage of childhood where they grow and develop so much EVERY DAY that I am in a constant state of shock when I realize all that he comprehends and expresses. It baffles me how one moment Reed and I can be tangled up in a complex conversation about something abstract like refugees, which he seems to actually understand…yet the next moment we are just as absorbed in a lengthy negotiation about teeth brushing , which he invariably seems to win.

These summer daysWe camped our little hearts out this summer. Four trips! The last of the camping gear is hovering in my kitchen, waiting for me to tuck the now-clean dishes away in storage for next year’s adventures. After that, maybe I will go out and plant those sunflower seeds after all to guarantee myself bright blooms into October.

These summer daysIn the meantime, I did survive that in-the-dark heel turn. I am in total awe of those of you brave enough to be habitual move theatre knitters. Inspection of my work in the morning light revealed a botched-final row, easy enough to tink back and fix. I lucked out.

There’s two full weekends left in August, and I hope to fill them with as much river and pool time as possible. After that, it’s fall (even though it’s not technically fall and the weather is still quite pleasant for the entire month). I love to watch Reed revel in summertime. Those long hours of daylight inspire busyness and, of course, mischief. I am trying to treasure them. I really am.

Just as long as he doesn’t unravel my socks…

Joining Ginny and beginning to read Man Called Ove after FINALLY finishing the fourth Neapolitan novel+. I truly recommend reading this series. It has been fabulous.

+Affiliate link. Thank you for being you!

These summer days

 

Little Grey Shawl

Meet the my latest wardrobe essential. I finally finished this baby, knit in Madelinetosh Pashmina’s* Kitten colorway.

Me-ow!

My new petite shawlette is another version of my first crescent shawllette.  The gauge was smaller on the Pashmina, which required some reworked math to result in similar dimensions.

Nothing’s ever easy.

When I eek out time to write the darn pattern up, I will include two-for-one instructions for a couple of different gauges and corresponding yarn weights. That’s always nice.

Petite shawlette in Madelinetosh Pashmina (Kitten colorway). Meow.

We all know I LOVE Madelinetosh, but this is my first time knitting with the classic Pashmina base*. (The hat I also have on my needles is in the Pashmina worsted base, which I have used several times throughout the past year.) I can’t believe this skein has been languishing in the hall closet for the better part of a year! It was amazing yarn, and this shawl was the perfect one-skein wonder.

Petite shawlette in Madelinetosh Pashmina (Kitten colorway). Meow.

I love the simplicity of this petite shawlette. You can wear it with anything, every day. Pure stockinette contrasted with a classic garter band. It’s easy knitting, as long as you are comfortable trying some basic short row knitting. Nothing fussy. This baby has class all the way to the finish line.

Petite shawlette in Madelinetosh Pashmina (Kitten colorway). Meow.

As you read this, we are on our final family camp out. (I scheduled the post in advance of our trip.) Hopefully, if I am lucky, I am working on a new pair of man socks from a shaded chair, overlooking a lake. Fingers crossed.

*The original recommendation to try the Pashmina came to me via a comment from Fog Knits! I love reader advice. You gals have so much good stuff to share!

All the Reasons I Will Never Win An Olympic Medal

Knitting a hat with Madelinetosh Pashmina Worsted in Sugar Plum.

There are so many reasons why I never win things, Olympic (knitting) medals* in particular. Yes, I practice. I can knit. I do it all the time. Here’s the thing: practice isn’t enough.

One must prepare to be a winner.

When I finally found myself on the sofa late Friday night ready to watch the Olympics after frantically getting everything ready to launch the Linto Creek Cowl pattern (did you see it?!?!), I was a Big Hot Knitting Mess (BHKM).

Yes, I had my yarn. And needles. I knew my yarn would become a hat. But that’s where it all ended.

There is the difference between a so-so Olympian and a medal -winning Olympian. I am the so-so Olympian.
Why?

Fail #1. The Cast On.

My first long-tail cast on suffered from a too-short tail, causing me to re-do my cast-on 100 stitches in. Bad judgement on my part.

Fail #2. The Swatching.

Uh, swatching? I had pseudo-prepared by knitting and soaking a basic stockinette swatch** the previous night so I could at least figure out how many stitches to cast on. This wasn’t enough. As I sat and pondered what kind of hat I was going to knit (for the first time), I considered a herringbone stitch brim. I hadn’t knit herringbone before. Is it roll-proof like the linen stitch, or does it still roll?*** I HAD NO IDEA.

I knit some and couldn’t tell. (I did like the stitch though).

I Googled “does herringbone stitch roll?” and got nowhere. How can Google know so much about knitting and not be able to answer this very simple question for me? (Although Google didn’t write back, “How should I know, you ninny. Didn’t you swatch?” So at least there’s that.)

I did a bit of YouTubing herringbone stitch videos but couldn’t manage to watch the Olympics and YouTube at the same time. My brain just isn’t that coordinated.

Like I said, I was a BHKM. And I still didn’t have an answer.

Fail #3. Cave Under Pressure

I was too lazy/frantic/ready-to-just-knit to swatch herringbone like I should have to resolve my whole will-it-won’t-it roll. Instead I unraveled, cast on a THIRD time and went with a rib of sorts.

Not for the first time, I simply panicked at the starting line. Maybe my next little disaster will involve some herringbone. Sigh.

Fail#4. Settle for Slow

Here’s the thing about winning Olympians: they don’t settle. They do what it takes to win. Me? I settle. This hat isn’t going anywhere quickly. But it is going. At my own pace. Medal or not, that’s a win in my book.

Administrative Notes

*There is a new thread for posting your final Olympic Knitathon yardage and any FOs here. (Although recall your knit does not have to be finished by the end of the Olympics to qualify for competition. Just be sure to log your final distance (yardage).

**Last night I discovered said swatch deep within the horribly frightening dregs of Reed’s hoarder-style backpack along with a gallon of trash and recycling that has since been removed. Apparently he told dad I said he could have the swatch. Uh, no.

***I have this thing against rolling, especially in hat brims.

This week as always, I am joining the Yarn Along. I am still singularly focused on the final bits of the fourth Neapolitan novel+. I truly recommend reading this series. It has been fabulous.

+Affiliate link. Thank you for being you!

Linto Creek Cowl Pattern Release

Linto Creek Cowl knitting pattern by Andrea @ This Knitted Life. Knit with two skeins of Lang Asia (yak silk blend). Simply dreamy.

In case you were wondering what you were going to do this weekend, I’ve got you covered. It is my great pleasure to introduce you to the Linto Creek Cowl, now available on Ravelry for $5.00 USD.

Bam.

I seriously loved this cowl from the very beginning. The silk-yak yarn was just so dreamy to work with. This is easily my favorite cowl I have ever knit, mostly because it behaves itself. Plus it was easy. I don’t like finicky. Or messy. I knit to relax. This cowl has been drama-free ever since it came off my needles.

Truly.Linto Creek Cowl pattern by Andrea @ This Knitted Life. No cabling. No rolling. Knit in the round, so no seaming. Easy!

This is a simple knit-purl pattern. No cabling.

YOU CAN DO THIS.

Oh, and did I mention it’s knit in the round? Well, it is. No seaming, either.

Double bam.Linto Creek Cowl pattern by Andrea @ This Knitted Life. No cabling. No rolling. Knit in the round, so no seaming. Easy!

I loved working with Lang Asia, a yak-silk blend. This was one of the few times I have strayed from wool. What can I say, I am sheep (or occasionally alpaca) loyalist.

The Linto Creek Cowl has been knit by a lovely cadre of test knitters. Many of them substituted yarns of the wool variety and seemed pleased with the results. (Check out their fabulous cowls over on the Project page.)

DSC_0015Linto Creek Cowl pattern by Andrea @ This Knitted Life. No cabling. No rolling. Knit in the round, so no seaming. Easy!

This is one of those patterns that will always work. Just grab some fingering weight yarn from your stash and go. The cowl can be worn long or looped twice for the cozy-snug effect. (It was HOT during our photo shoot, so we stuck with Loop Once.) Many thanks to the lovely and talented Anna for modeling!http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/linto-creek-cowl/peopleI really loved this mock cable stitch. It had so much depth. We’re talking yarn topography for miles. The hills. The valleys. So much going on.

(Did I mention the whole yak-silk combo was INSANELY soft?)

FullSizeRender So…if you are wondering what to cast on for the Olympic Knitathon or Ravellenic games, this is your knit. Think of it as fate.

(Note there is a new Ravelry thread for Olympic Knitathon Finished Objects here.)

IMG_1021-2

The Linto Creek Cowl can be found here on Ravelry. Enjoy!

A Hat, I Think

Madelinetosh Pashmina Worsted in Sugar Plum. On its way to becoming a hat.

I have to be honest here. I am not really a winter hat person. For me, wearing a hat (regardless of season) is an all-day commitment. Vanity isn’t my strongest virtue (frumpy, lumpy me could use a little more vanity, actually), but I have found that wearing a hat does something odd to my hair in an unrecoverable sort of way. Flat. Smash. Moosh.  My head just doesn’t look the same once the hat comes off my head. This requires that  I (a) walk around for the balance of the day with goofy, flat, off-kilter hair or (b) keep that hat on all stinking day long.

Neither option is really that ideal.

On the other hand, I think you all might be more pro-hat than I. (My hunch is based on your ongoing interest in the two hats I knit around this time last year: Samoa and the Best Hat Ever.)

Maybe this is because it is colder in your neck of the woods than my temperate home.

Or maybe you simply find hats more stylish.

Or, maybe you also aren’t pro-wear-hat but like to knit hats to give to other people you know to be pro-hat. Hats are a particularly fabulous genre of knitting gift. Smaller. One skein. Achievable.

Either way, this here skein of Madelinetosh Pashmina Worsted (in Sugar Plum) is about to become a hat. I hope. Nothing too fussy, although I have no plan WHATSOEVER at present.

We will see…

In the meantime, I am very much aspiring to finish my shawl by the weekend so I can cast on the hat for the Summer Olympic Opening Ceremonies. This would make my math for the Olympic Knitathon easier to track. (Please join! ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING YOU ARE ALREADY KNITTING ANYWAY COUNTS.)

This week as always, I am joining the Yarn Along. I am now singularly focused on the final bits of the fourth Neapolitan novel*. I truly recommend reading this series. It has been fabulous.

*Affiliate link. Thank you!

Just Knit

Crescent shawl in the works using Madelinetosh Pasmina in the Kitten colorway. Simple is better.

Finally. After so much fiddling, I can just knit. I have spent so much time of late finishing projects, weaving in ends and blocking. And swatching. Oh, the swatching! Not to mention all the tiny projects–some baby hats and of course socks.

All of it is necessary, but none of it gives me the satisfaction of just knitting.  It’s like the difference between driving in stop and go rush hour traffic and just zipping down the open highway, with nothing but wild, undeveloped country out the window and Michael Jackson on the radio. Or maybe the Dixie Chicks. I’ve been so indecisive about music lately.

Anyway.

I’m knitting. It feels good. Even though I can’t decide if I am going to run out of yarn or have too much left. It’s a painful kind of mental pickle to be in. A very stressful kind of relaxation, if you will. I know I am sunk either way. The odds that it will work out just right are slim. A statistical anomaly.

This is why it is a terrible idea to ever just buy one skein of anything. I like one-skein projects as much as the next person, but really, what a horrible idea! It’s like tempting fate, especially if you dare to substitute yarn. Better to buy two and finish up with left over yarn (maybe an entire skein!) than suffer the stress of Will I/ Won’t I.

Never again will I just buy one skein. NEVER.

Unless it’s for socks. That doesn’t count.

I decided to pick my grey project back up, now that the colorful bit is all knit up and see if I can’t come up with the perfect recipe for a simple shawlette. Like the little black dress of knitting. No frills. All sex appeal, plus a eentsy bit of cozy soft sheen. It is Madelinetosh Pashmina, after all.

Now tell me this, knitters: yarn can be sexy, right?

P.S. Don’t forget, the Olympic Knitathon starts in one week! Are you ready?!!? Any and all knitting projects count.

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