Monthly Archives

September 2015

Handspun Tassel Loafers (Without Tassels)


The Yarn Giveaway is live through Friday, October 2nd. Check it out here.

Fall only means on thing: slippers. Okay two things: slippers and pumpkins.

And wine and chocolate (applicable to all seasons, of course).

Meet my tassel loafers. The pattern is from Katie Startzman’s Knitted Slipper Book. I omitted the tassels. They aren’t really my thing. The yarn is handspun from our friend Beth

This is a quick knit for idle hands. Or procrastinating hands, as the case may be. To be honest, I have mixed feelings about slippers. Maybe it’s because I am such an indoor/outdoor person. One moment I am in the kitchen, and the next moment I am on my way to the garden or the garage (where the washer and dryer are located). I dare not wear my hand knits out of doors on the bare, damp earth. Thus, slippers must be switched for a non-slipper or simply bare feet, depending on the ambient temperature. Such a hassle.

And, no, I don’t wear shoes in my house. Just socks, bare feet, or slippers.

Rarely do I sit. Only when knitting during naptime or after bedtime. Or at work, which is office-based at this point in my life. Otherwise, I go. Going is my state of being. Like a honey bee without the wings. Or stripes.

Actually, I am nothing like a honeybee.

This pair came out a bit large for my size 6 feet…for the best fit, they require socks be worn underneath. Works great on extra cold mornings. There was a bit of sewing required after cast-off…Not always my favorite activity, but I survived relatively unscathed.

Linking up with Ginny and reading A Spool of Thread by Anne Tyler, but I can’t really get into it. Did you read it? Should I keep at it?

 

Giveaway! Baby Yarn Galore!

   
 
I just got home from a 40th birthday party. On a Sunday night. With a band and food. A bar. Fully stocked. Half the (tiny) town was there.

Who does this?

Is this a thing now? Like having a wedding on a Tuesday because the venue is available or at a reduced price or whatever?

I just kept thinking: I have to get up in six hours and go to work. 

I am such a spoil sport. I ruin my own fun. When older adults look at children and say you are such an old soul, really what they are politely saying is you are a dud.

I am a dud. And proud. 

Can I get a t-shirt? 

Don’t get me wrong. I danced. And drank. And smiled as the mobs of pj-clad kids hopped about on the hay bales. I had my fun. In my bathrobe. (I swear I wasn’t the only weirdo who wore my bathrobe to the party…everyone did. It was the theme: bathrobe party. I promise. Actually it was pretty brilliant.)

Really I just pretend to be a Carpe Diem person. Mostly I am a get-eight-hours-of-sleep person. I am pretty sure that is two entirely types of people.

Now I eye the clock, wondering: should I knit a few rows? Or just go to bed? Do I dare? 

I dare.

In the meantime, this is a Giveaway post. The last of my stash-busting reorganization extravaganza. This time, it is the baby yarn. Babyboo galore. One lucky winner will receive both skeins pictured above for all their baby knitting delights. I have knit with both and have only positive remarks to offer. 

Here are the details.

Deadline: Friday, October 2nd, Midnight PST

Who: shipping to winners in the U.S.and Canada only. My most sincere apologies to the rest of the world. 

To win:max four entries per person. Four options: 1) comment on this post, 2) follow me on Instagram 3) follow me on Facebook 4) follow me on Pinterest. Use the side bar icons for social media links to This Knitted Life on Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram. Each person can enter via all four options for up to four chances to win, max. 

Good luck knitters. May the force (yarn) be with you. 

Pinterest Insomnia Inspiration for Knitters

There are so many amazing knitting patterns out in the world that it’s almost cruel. I love so many, yet I know I will never get to them all in my lifetime, try as I might. Between Ravelry and Pinterest alone, the inspiration is simply out of control. Why on earth are we still coming up with new knitting designs! There are already so many. Enough to occupy even the most obsessed knitter for a lifetime! Nonetheless, the creative drive to make a new must endure. 

Carry on, designers. Carry on.

I don’t spend a ton of time on Pinterest. In general, I try to unplug as much as I possibly can. Sometimes when I can’t sleep at night, I will scroll through Pinterest and pin patterns and knit inspirations that catch my eye. I call this my Pinterest Insomnia Inspiration. I pin some knits because I know I want to cast on and make my own (next year!). Others I know I will never knit (hello complicated colorwork!), but they are simply so stunning that I must share them on my Pinterest boards.

I always love sweaters and tees, particularly patterns with unique and striking design elements.

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(1), (2), (3), (4)

I have had hats on my brain lately. These two in particular caught my eye. It’s not as easy as one might think to find a new, creative way to design a hat. And am I the only knitting mother feeling guilty because I have never knit my child a toy? Hello, holiday season/December birthday!

[easy-image-collage id=583]

(1), (2), (3)

Socks! Now that I knit one pair, I suddenly have an entirely separate Pinterest board. Just for socks. I am sunk!

[easy-image-collage id=592]

(1), (2), (3), (4)

Do you use Pinterest? If so, please find me so we can be Pinterest friends. I guess that’s a thing now.

Note all images are sourced from Pinterest with the hope they bring positive support to the talented creators of these lovely knitted projects.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Workhorse Yarn

This poor yarn. It has worked so hard. I knit a few inches. Then start over. Time after time.

I had planned to complete my projects weeks ago…My quick, two-day hat is taking longer to knit than a full size sweater.

This single skein of Madelinetosh Dk (in Fallencloud) has been knit and reknit again and again over the past month. I have lost count of the number of times I have frogged and started a new, although I have completed at least two entire hats, I-cord edging and all, before ripping back to the Very Beginning.

After all that, I will say this: the yarn has held up very well. Madelinetosh DK is workhorse yarn indeed.

I am not sure if I will ultimately be successful in perfecting this pattern design I have been flirting with…darting around the edges of my creativity…trying to capture my vision just so. Somewhere along the way or even at the very end, I look at my final product and admit defeat. I unwind, and it all begins anew.

After all this ripping and reknitting, I feel indebted to this skein of yarn. Like I owe it something. It has worked so hard for me. All in the name of a hat. I owe it something beautiful and treasured. It deserves that much, I know.

Linking up with Ginny’s Yarn Along. In between books.

Goodbye Summer

  
    
It’s official. Nearly. These final two days of summer, technically speaking. Soak it in. Stop and take a deep breath. It’s almost over for the entire year. These precious months I waited for so impatiently when my fingers were cold and the sky was dark. And fresh raspberries seemed eons away.

As always, I thought I would accomplish so much more theses past few months. Really, it’s all just a blur of moments and emotions.

I hoped my garden might look, well, flowerier. And boast fewer weeds. I had hoped for more days spent at the river, comfortably reclined in a lawn chair while Reed flung sand all about and counted tadpoles. He counts so well now, and my heart warms every time I hear his tiny voice utter “…eight, nine, ten, eleventeen…” from the confines of his messy bedroom.

I thought I might have more of a Updated Plan for my life by now. Where am I heading? To what end? Things I had worked out for myself in my 20s, and, for whatever reason, feel compelled to reassess all these years later. Does that ever end? Or are we constantly driven to re-envision the trajectory of our short lives amidst the chaos of daily living? And how does one thinking clearly enough to have a single, coherent thought when everything gets all muddled up with chores, parenting, and paying bills?

Despite it all, we had so many glorious moments this summer. Camping trips. Pool splashing. Hose squirting. That first ripe red tomato. Endless hours of sunshine warming my soul. Iced tea sweetened just so with honey, chilled to perfection. The hysterical two-year-old roar of laughter, amused by tickles or the sound of silly words. Tiny bare feet exploring the (weedy) garden, desperate for an opportunity to cut zinnias with adult scissors despite motherly admonitions to the contrary.

And the knitting. Oh, the knitting. I cannot let myself forget those stolen moments knitting in the shade, on the deck or by the pool. In the fresh air and bright sunlight. This is why I love summer knitting. It’s just sunnier.

Truly it is a bittersweet goodbye. Like all knitters, there is that tiny bit of me that welcomes fall. The days still perfectly warm. Blips of color appearing on the mountainsides and neighborhood orchards. Crisp mornings. A different kind of vigor finds its way to my stitches, and I try not to fret about all the holiday knitting I have not quite begun.

With all endings comes a new beginning.

First Socks Complete

  

  
Just in time for the first real rain if the season, my first pair of socks is finished, the last few rows knit by painfully dim lamplight at my mother’s house just as dawn broke. 

Hot tea. Check. Kitchener. Check. Ends woven. Check.

My weary feet will be comforted today.

I regret I didn’t pack spiffier shoes. If only I had planned better. How can I resist wearing them to work this morning, even if they are tucked inside my scuzzy sneakers? It is either that or more appropriate rain boots, and that would just be a shame…no sock visible whatsoever!

The truth of the matter is now I must go shoe shopping to find the perfect pair to best shoe off hand knit socks.

P.S. I will give them a good soak later.

Linking up with Ginny. Still reading Tell the Wolves I’m Home.

Applesauce v. Knitter

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It is the time of year when apples simply drop off trees, like raindrops in falling from the sky in spring. I swore to myself I would ignore this phenomenon. Pretend it wasn’t happening. No need for apple preservation here. None. Zilch. I’d rather be knitting.

There’s still plenty of applesauce canned up from last year. No pressing need for more. Supply is less than demand. And sure, I could probably be dehydrating them. We have the world’s largest food dehydrator tucked into the hall closet. I am pretending it is broken even though it works just fine.

Seeing those laden branches drooping with perfect fruit…not even wormy this year…well, it just struck an inner cord. How could one let those perfect apples simply drop to the earth and rot, accompanied only by worms? A thought too tragic to entertain for long.

Before I knew it, the orchard ladder was up, much to Reed’s delight. He is overjoyed by any opportunity to encounter danger, cause me stress, and, well, climb. One after one, the wagon was loaded with bounty from the abandoned tree next door. Me picking, handing the apples down to Reed. Reed hurling them into the wagon despite my admonitions about bruising fruit. Then it was Reed picking. Me holding Reed, clinging to him as if I might possibly succeed in keeping small forever.

I ignored the full wagon for a few days on the back deck. Yes, they were picked, but preserve them I would not. I hope and prayed they would be abducted by space aliens. The whole lot of them. Apple-eating space aliens. The universe is so vast. Surely there is such a creature. Alas. No luck. I watched them out the window with disdain as I knit on. Undeterred.

Reed caught me off guard yesterday. Let’s pick more apples, mama. Really he just wanted to climb the ladder. Such a daredevil. Always seeking a thrill. Do little girls do this also?

I told him the truth: we can’t pick more apples until we deal with the ones we already have.

The peeling device was retrieved from deep within the cupboard, untouched since last fall. Cinnamon was put on notice. The bowls were set out–one for finished fruit and the other for peels and cores. Instructions were provided as to which was which. The large pot placed just so upon the back burner.

With great importance, Reed plopped the apples onto the kitchen table and turned the handle on the peeler ever so slowly, his little muscles not quite up to the test. Eventually he grew weary and wandered off to build with blocks, leaving ol’ mom to finish the job.

The applesauce is done now. It accompanies the remaining jars from last year’s effort. They are together, like lovers reunited from previous lives.

I like to think of myself as a knitter. But really I am just me. Picker of apples. Mother of a small child. Cleaner of messes. I find myself particularly sleep deprived today (another tale altogether). As I ponder which knitting project to pursue during this precious window of napping, I ignore the one I know I should finish and pick the easy one. The simple sock, heal already turned, gussets reduced…awaiting a few inches worked in the round without reducing or increasing. No counting. Just knitting.

Something I can do lying down on the sofa while watching House of Cards.

Knitters have suffered worse fates yet.

Waterlily Tee-Getting Closer!

  
I am in a knitting rut. Three projects stuck on the needles. All unfinished in various stages of progress. Back in the olden days (two months ago) when I was a monogamous knitter, this never would have happened. I would have remained focused. One project. Then the next. Instead I am desperate for a day to myself when I can finish these up. Make true progress. Move on to new endeavors. New yarns. New everything.

Instead, work continues on my waterlily tee by Meghan Fernandes using Quince Sparrow. It has been on my needles for ages. If it weren’t linen, I would be done by now. I have paced myself to spare my wrists. This is my first and most likely last time working with linen. I am not a fan.

I am almost ready to divide for the yoke and work my first ever Latvian Braid. The pattern recommends this at 30 cm (11 3/4 in). This seemed short to me, so I am at 35.5 cm (14 in) now…not sure how much further I will go before I call it good and move on to the thrilling part of the design. 

Suggestions, dear sweater knitters?

Linking up with Ginny and her lovely Yarn Along. Just started reading Tell The Wolves I’m Home.

On Knitting in Fall

  
Fall is here. Not technically, but it is here. Our forest fire smoke has finally gone. Skies are again blue. Cool nights. Crisp mornings. Socks.

The days are already so much shorter. We are inside now by 7:30, wrapping up those tricycle excursions by the light of the setting sun. Afternoons are still warm. The most pleasant of temperatures. I have been lucky enough to enjoy a few mid-day nap sessions spent knitting out on the front deck, pleasantly still and quiet. The house is adorned with home-grown pumpkins, recently picked from the garden and lugged up to deck to await their Halloween transformation. The other day, Reed took to rolling pumpkins off the deck, thrilled by his own naughtiness as he watched them topple end over end across the lawn.

We had a little chat.

As I knit, I look at these (bruised) pumpkins and smile, noting the hint of color change sneaking onto the leaves. I know my afternoons of deck knitting are limited. In a matter of weeks, I will be forced indoors by the nippy air. Left to await what always seems like endless months until Spring, when I can again venture out to sit in the sun.

While I secretly find peace in the new fall season, I mourn summer. All that I didn’t quite get to. Long, bright days. Summer ended earlier than normal and without warning when the smoke arrived, literally overnight. We didn’t get to say goodbye to swimming in the pool and river gradually, as I prefer. It was abrupt. Harsh.

I had so many flower beds that I wasn’t even able to weed. Instead they were left abandon, so unlike Tasha Tudor’s garden. They stare at me now. Taunting. Weed me. Weed me. Give me water. Pansies. Something. Instead I turn a blind eye and knit. One must always prioritize.

This time of year, I usually plant a fall garden. Kale. Chard. More beets. Even peas. Not this year. I am done. I have been gardening since February. The weeds won. I concede. We’ve harvested much since spring, some of which made it to the kitchen. The chickens enjoyed the rest. Lucky chickens. I plucked the fig tree over the weekend, direct from branch to my mouth. Take that Tasha Tudor. The tomatoes and basil keep coming in droves. The freezer is filling. Preserved for winter when perhaps I will be more inspired to toil in the kitchen, warmed by the stove and oven, lit with sweet smells and perhaps even a candle now that Reed is older. Although truthfully he is just as likely to burn down the house as ever.

The other day I overheard friends mention they were starting to knit again, noting the change in the season. Fall. It’s here. I knit no more or no less in fall. I am obsessive. I knit year round with vigilance and passion. Gusto. Even what I knit doesn’t change too much with the seasons. Perhaps if I had more time and made it through projects more promptly, my knitting would be more appropriately seasonal. Instead, I have had the same three projects lingering on my needles for what seems like ages. I am ready to finish them. Move on to new endeavors. My fall knitting is delayed, awaiting the completion of my last summer tee. Even though it will have to wait a year before wear.

Soon, I tell myself. Soon.

 

Socks Go Fishing

   
    
 
We live near the Trinity River–one of the prettiest I have yet seen. As a river scientist (hydrologist) by day, I have seen my share. Although rare has it been that I have met a river I didn’t like.

I walk to the river from our house often. We have a special spot where we go. Down a secret lane. I will head to the river for exercise. Or for solace. To find my center. 

Husband likes to go down and fish, especially as fall sneaks in and the half pounders arrive. 

Reed loves to catch fish. He enjoys playing with the worms. And his bucket and shovel. As soon as dad hooks a fish, Reed goes trotting over and reels it in like a pro. The little guy has caught more fish before the age of three than most adults have caught in their entire lives. It is the cutest thing. 

This time I got smart. I brought a camp chair. And my socks. Don’t get me wrong, I love fishing. I do. But I don’t fish like I used to. I have my reasons. 

I didn’t get too much knitting done. Just a few rounds snuck in between wiping a little nose, snapping photos and videos, assisting with sweatshirt zipping, tying knots for husband (stubborn to admit he should really bring his eyeglasses fishing…good thing my knitting overqualifies me for expert fishing knots!), and rescuing worms. 

I have to say, river knitting is the best. Most scenic stiches ever. 

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