Monthly Archives

August 2015

To Be Unraveled

If this photograph didn’t exist, no one would ever know this mostly-complete hat once had a home on this earth. I unraveled it.

I cast on this hat no less than eight times before I nearly-finished. It took a few tries to get the earflaps just right…and then there was the time, sleep deprived, that I knit several inches before realizing that my work was twisted. Complete amateur error. There were many rounds knit before tinking back. Lots of tinking back, actually. A lot, a lot.

In the end, I got what I needed. A mock up for a pattern. Now I know what to adjust. More stitches here. Different increase technique there. A little more length at the top. Adjustments. A means to perfection. I hope.

I almost finished this hat. I was about to weave in ends…add the finishing touches. Just because. It was a hat, as imperfect as it may have been. It fit on my had. It was. Not quite a living, breathing thing, but almost. And it seemed a bit of a sin to unravel the thing that, in all actuality, was something. Something that took me hours and hours and hours, as flawed as it was.

But I paused.

When would I do with a less-than-perfect hat? Wear it when no one was looking? Early morning walks when only the birds are up? I already have hats for that. So I unraveled it. I will reuse the yarn for Version 10. Or maybe it is Version 11. I lost count.

Even though I had already ordered a second skein, preempting my wisdom to simply reuse the skin I already possessed, now rewound.  I suppose it is easy to succumb to a bit of trigger finger when it comes to yarn purchases online. Although I have a second hat design in mind now, having been inspired by Versions 1 though 10 of this baby. Funny how one attempt at an art form births inspiration for a second.

 

One Sock Down

  
One sock down. The second pair is on the needles.

Sock one came out just fine, aside from a little kitchener glitch at the very end. 

Total brain malfunction. 

I found adjusting the number of stitches from 64 from 52 required more math than the pattern let on. I just hope I can read my scribbled penmenship when I go to work the second sock, ideally repeating the effort the same way I worked the first. I suppose this is why Ravelry invented Project pages. I should probably try using that particular feature. 

This must be some people opt to hire personal assistants…to keep all knitting projects nice and organized on Ravelry.

 
We are fresh off a trip up to the Oregon coast to visit grandpa. Two days of driving solo with Reed zapped two days of knitting time. 

Worth it for the view.

Close Call

It’s incredibly smoky at our house from the forest fire bonanza that is ripping through our community. To escape to fresher air, we’ve taken daily outings ocean-ward to spare little Reed’s precious lungs from hazardous air quality. I have been taking my Waterlily tee with me for car knitting, having finally figured out I can knit and drive without hurling if I don’t look down too much and stick to stockinette in the round. I don’t go fast, but it is something. I have been using car knitting to mitigate the subsequent loss of my sacred naptime knitting that has been impacted by these awkwardly timed toddler adventures and inevitable car snoozes. A summer of car knitting has added up, and I am almost ready to start on the sleeves and yoke.

Thrilling indeed.

To the point.

Yesterday we are on one such Smoke Avoidance Mission. We are an hour into traipsing across a very picturesque giant sand dune on the way to the ocean when my dear, sweet husband looks up and announces he forgot to lock the truck. The very same truck parked smack dab in front of the very large sign that says LOCK YOUR VEHICLES. DO NOT LEAVE VALUABLES IN YOUR VEHICLE. YOU HAVE  BEEN WARNED. IF YOU LEAVE ANYTHING IN YOUR CAR, YOU ARE ROYALLY SCREWED.

 Okay, it didn’t say exactly that. But pretty close.

We do a quick run through of what has been left in the car. Cash. Husband’s wallet. (I carefully read the sign and chose to lug my 500-pound clutch with me in the daypack, to the regret of my neck muscles. Just saying.) A cell phone.

My knitting.

Now, I couldn’t say this out loud as my dear, sweet husband never would have understood and quite frankly would have been irritated at me for even fretting over something so silly. Especially when there was so much more of real value to be lost. I mean, cash is cash.

For the next two hours, all I could think of was my knitting. Months of knitting time. Left in the unlocked car. Granted, it was in a plain white cotton knitting bag with nothing else. Not the most enticing bounty for a burglary. But I feared they would grab the bag first and look later.

There I was on the beach. Thinking: Beautiful waves. Look at the birds. My kid is so cute. Is that a seal? Oh my God, my knitting! Smile for the camera. The air smells so nice. Oh my God, my knitting. This is so great. We should come here more often. Oh my God, my knitting.

I may have even said a small prayer.

Okay, a big prayer.

I braced for the worst, rationalizing in advance how I didn’t really love the project anyway. I have decided linen yarn just isn’t my thing. If it were stolen, I told myself, I could start over with different yarn and perhaps be happier in the end.

Maybe this was fate. I was supposed to have my knitting stolen.

Scratch that. No one should ever have their knitting stolen, fate or otherwise. Never. Ever.

The Great Knitting Gods must be with me because we returned to our truck to find it unharmed. All intact. Nothing gone. Not even my knitting.


Linking up with Ginny’s Yarn Along and reading Dietland.

 

Escaping the Smoke

Normally our house looks like this. Sunny. Bright. Blue.

Now it looks like this. Every day. Hello forest fires. (Photo taken mid-day. Not dawn or twilight.)
  
So we left and went to the Redwoods for the day to fish and frolick. Even though we are all SICK.

   
  Sadly knitting will just have to wait.

Nirvana Yarn

Every now and then, I get the itch to visit my Little Yarn Store. Even though I don’t need anything at all. I will find myself down in Civilization (because I otherwise live in The Middle of Nowhere) with a few toddler-free moments, and I will sneak in.

I sometimes get this same itch with Target.

Our little secret.

Perhaps you also suffer from these little itches from time to time? Mmmm hmmm.

I won’t tell your husband if you won’t tell min.

The last time I found myself with a LYS itch to scratch, I came upon this little baby.

It was the color that grabbed me–a rich jewel tone even though I happened to be in the market for soft, light neutrals.

Of course.

For under $8, I figured Why Not and pocketed a single skein (372 yards) of Filatura Di Crosa Golden Line Nirvana yarn, a lace weight merino wool in Color 54. After all, it is called Nirvana, which sounds very promising.

I have no plan. No advanced scheme. I am thinking lace weight shawlette but I do yet have a pattern in mind. I haven’t even browsed Ravelry (soon!). I need some ideas, if you care to share.

Have you knit with Nirvana before? Aptly named? What did you make?

 

Starting Fresh

  
Over the course of a single summer, I went from being a Serial Monogamist Knitter (SMK) to having three projects on the needle at once: my socks, a Waterlily tee, and now this. 

Never would I have guessed this would ever happen to me. Before you know it, I will be exercising daily, ceasing to use foul language in most sentences, and other unthinkable things.

Maybe.

My itty bitty swatch of Madelinetosh DK in Fallencloud is finished. Washed and dried. Bam!

I cast on a new hat design project in Fallencloud this morning. I am two rows in. I have had this design in my head for a year now. I made an attempt last fall, but the yarn was all wrong. I am hoping for a more suitable pairing with the Madelinetosh DK.

As I think of my design work, I think: A hat. No biggie. I can finish in a day. 

I crack myself up.

Two weeks in, I have had three false starts and accomplished little. I plot to pull an all nighter now that the hard math and written pattern development has been sketched out. The thinking is largely done. Now I can just knit. I hope.

I am always amazed at the amount of time that goes into developing even a small, one-skein project. This leaves me in utter awe of sweater designers and other projects that come in more than one size. My heroes. 

As with much in my life, I am constantly challenged by how little time I have for my own endeavors. Or perhaps my time is proportioned suitably but my endeavors are lofty.  Either way, my progress is slower than I prefer. I know this may change someday when my child is older, but for now I struggle to make peace with my perpetual inability to create my own success. Just for me, standing on my own two feet and succeeding at something more than providing three square meals a day, washing dishes, harvesting tomatoes, entertaining toddlers in some sort of enriching fashion, and overseeing bath time. 

Soon, I promise myself. Soon.

Linking up with Ginny. Just finished reading How to Start a Fire by Lisa Lutz and loved it. 

Reed’s Blanket

Fresh from its first wash last week, Reed’s Harvest Moon Blanket ​is clean and ready for another round of snuggles. I remember so fondly the day I bought this yarn. I was halfway through my pregnancy, and we just found out Reed would be a boy (and not a girl, as I had not so secretly hoped). After our appointment, Husband so graciously dropped me off at the yarn store (the one and only time this has happened) so I could pick out yarn for a baby blanket.

I went with a Sublime yarn (I forget the base…it’s been three years now) in the Froggy colorway. I remember each stitch from that summer as I worked the blanket, perhaps the most important project I had ever knit. So full of anticipation and wonder. Guiding my emotional preparation for my biggest job in life so far: motherhood.

In it’s first rendition, this blanket stayed mostly in the car, where I would snuggle it over Reed in his car seat when we drove about. Then came the frightful day when I looked back to find he had (intentionally) snagged one of the yarn over loops and was pulling and pulling and pulling. With great delight.

I nearly ran us off the road. I was so horrified.

My advice to future baby blanket knitters: avoid patterns with nice lacy elements. They are enticing for little fingers. Even though they are beautiful and fun to knit. Stick to simple knit/purl patterns only. Minimize temptation and spare yourself the future torment.

Reed turns three in December. He is full of words and thoughts. Ideas of his own. Last night before bed, he asked what a desert was, having recently learned about the cactus plant. I calmly explained all about the ecosystem attributes of a desert, highlighting everything I knew about cactus. I was so proud of myself and my momentary display of patience so late in the day.

Then came the question: do camels eat cactus?

Well, my dear. That is a different kind of desert.

Life can be so complicated.

Since its great wash, this blanket has been living on our sofa, despite the lack of color coordination. Reed fondly calls it my blanket! and snuggles in it with great delight. It’s getting more use now than it did in the car. Although I am just waiting for the next snagging event. I know my naughty little bear. He just can’t resist temptation. Already, he knows mistreatment of hand knits is the quickest way to ruffle my feathers.

Aw, motherhood.

FO: Kitty’s Chemise

IMG_1621.JPG

IMG_1622.JPG

Pattern: Kitty’s Chemise by Katya Frankel (Jane Austin Knits 2014). This was a great pattern. Super straightforward. There is one row of instructions in the Yoke section that I feel may be incorrect, or at minimum lacking required specificity, but I did some math and figured out the correct approach. For me, it required a scissor snip. Always nerve wracking!

Yarn: Dream in Color Classy. I had my doubts when I knit my swatch. The yarn just didn’t feel super soft. Now that my project is complete, my regrets are long gone. This was a good solid work house yarn at a great value. I don’t remember the cost, but I believe it was quite affordable compared to some of my other yarn choices.  I really love the color, and I love how quickly this worsted weight project whipped up.

Skeins/yards: I bought 3 skeins (4 oz, 250 yards each). I have more than half a skein left. From Ravelry, I guessed I would need 750 yards total when I bought my yarn.

Time on the needles: About a month

Mistakes: Sizing! It’s too small! I can get it on. Barely. But it is too tight around the arm holes and not incredibly comfortable to wear. For some reason, I always knit up the first size after the parenthesis. It usually work out. Note to self: not all patterns are written the same! In this case, the first size after the parenthesis was for a 34 inch bust. I must have been delusional, confusing my bust size with my bra strap diameter size. Obviously not the same thing. I think this is my subconscious pretending I am thinner and daintier than I obviously am.

{Pause while I go eat another brownie.}

I need to find a tiny friend who would wear and properly care for this lovely hand knit.

Construction approach: Seamless! Do you hear the angels harking! And with plenty of structure.

Modifications: I added an extra inch of length before dividing for the cap sleeves and yoke, just on intuition that it was too short. It is still too short. It could have used another 4 inches. Note that I am also incredibly short (only 5 ft) and purchase petite sized clothing for short people. Adding length to clothing is not something I typically have to do.

Finishing notes: The pattern called for an I-cord finish on the neck and armholes. I did a little You Tubing and figured it out without much trouble. I love the outcome! I plan to add the design element to my future projects. So clean and tidy…easy to do! It took me about two hours to do all of the I-cord work (much less time than it took me to seam my last project, so I am not complaining).

Future modifications: Adding more length.

Blocking notes: Before blocking, I would not have been able to put this baby on. It would have fit my former 11 year old self. Based on my blocked swatch, I wasn’t expecting a lot of growth. I gave it my all anyway. I SOAKED this baby. Then STRETCHED her. And PINNED her allover. It worked! Now I can at least get it on.

Overall: I am bummed I chose poorly on the sizing, but I do hope to knit this pattern again when I have time. (Ha! Maybe later this winter?) I will chose a size a few sizes up. This worsted weight tee was just such a quick knit that there is no reason not to give it another go.

My First Socks

  
The Classic Elite Villas yarn giveaway is still live. Check it out here

For a while now, I have been noticing everyone’s lovely knitted socks. I have never before been a sock knitter. They failed to beckon me. It seemed like a lot of trouble for goofy socks that you have to hand wash before one precious sock would inevitably get lost or sucked up by the vacuum.

As far as gifting socks, it just seemed like a non-starter to me. Would any of my friends really like a gift they had to hand wash? Wouldn’t they accidentally just end up jumbled with the rest of the laundry and misplaced into the dryer, only to shrink to fit Barbie? 

Probably.

I was tempted all the same. Other knitters made their case. Socks are a small project that travel well. Easy to pick up here and there. Plus you can knit lots of socks and then wash them all at once each week or so. 

To me, knitted socks seem like an all or nothing kind of deal. At least from a laundry perspective. You need lots or none at all.

Then I came upon Glenna’s post on all you need to know about sock knitting and I was sold. Why the heck not? It was everything I needed all in one simple post.

I grabbed a skein of Madelinetosh Sock in Shire and used Glenna’s links to figure out how to knit using the Magic Loop on my 40 inch needles (size 2). Socks on double pointed needles just didn’t sound like fun. Deciding to use the Magic Loop was the final check box for me. 

Houston, we have lift off.

I  cast on with Glenna’s Nice Ribbed Sock pattern. I aborted my first effort after an inch and a half. I like the Magic Loop technique because you can try your sock on. It was quickly apparent 64 stitches would be too big for me. 

Sad.

I reduced to 52 stitches for Try 2. I am about ready to work the heel flap. I admit to suffering from slight anxiety about adjusting Glenna’s math to accommodate a different number of stitches. I am hoping it will be intuitive, although I always feel this way about grocery shopping as well, always leaving with bags of chocolate and wine and seemingly nothing to eat for dinner. 

Sometimes intuition isn’t what you think it would be.

Let’s hope, knitters. Let’s hope.

Linking up with Ginny at Small Things.

Holy Smokes

The Classic Elite Villa Giveaway is still live here. Check it out.

First, this little project is now complete. Thank you Grandma.

The head wrap/band (what do you call these things???) actually came out pretty cute. A little wider than I was after, but there is always room for improvement on Number Two, which I plan to knit up with some left over sock yarn, adding a lace panel across the widest part. Stay tuned.

Remember when I was droning on about how summer was slipping away?

Well, it sadly ended unexpectedly and abruptly about ten days ago. There was nothing gradual and subtle about it.

All it took was a little lightning, a few sizable forest fires in the area, and BAM. Meet Nuclear Winter. No wonder the dinosaurs went extinct.

The fires are far enough away that we are not in danger of going up in flames at our particular house (knock on wood), but they are close enough that we are smothered in smoke. Some days we can’t even see the top of our driveway (300 ft/1000 m). Even when we stay huddled in the house, our eyes burn. On the worst days, I have evacuated with Reed down to the coast to stay with my mother so his perfect little lungs don’t have to suffer. It’s hazy down there, but the air is plenty breathable.

The smoke has caused the days to be much, much cooler. The pool is suddenly chilly…Warm enough for a Very Quick dip when the smoke parts on occasion, but too cool to linger. I have broken out yoga pants, socks…even a sweatshirt.

I thought I had more time. I didn’t.

When the wind picks up, blowing out the smoke, it’s a mad dash down to the garden to rescue our oodles of tomatoes, clip zinnias, and hunt for eggs cleverly hidden in the pumpkin patch by naughty hens. I linger a bit in the sun, never knowing when I might see it again.

I wasn’t ready for this even though we tend to get lightning fires almost every summer to some degree. This year has been much smokier than most. It is the price we must pay for living on the edge of a national forest and wilderness area.

Smoke or no, I knit on. I must.

You can use these links to find and follow me on Pinterest, Instagram, and Ravelry

%d bloggers like this: