Well, y'all know what I'm crocheting. I added a few more motifs to the second row last night.
It's way too early to be thinking about this, but I think I'm going to want a border around the whole thing. I have done ZERO research, but if any of you have any suggestions for what kind of crochet stitch makes a good border, I'm all ears.
Best laid plans, y'all! I had errands to run yesterday morming morning and kids coming over (yay!) in the early afternoon. I tried to get this written & posted in between but I barely got started before I ran out of time. And then I ran out of energy.
I laughed when I read Kym's posttoday yesterday, because boy oh boy, have I done that!! More than once, in fact, and because of it I am drowning in mini-skeins! Actually, let's just say that I'm swimming in them... because I'm okay with the situation!
Unicorn tails! I had a few, and then I bought a "pandemic" bunch, and then I bought a "pandemic" few more. I've always loved the saturated color, some of which actually seem to glow, even if a single-ply yarn can sometimes cause problems. (We shall see.)
I'm making a little progress... sort of just winging it right now as I try to figure out a direction of sorts.
LOVING IT!!! I am living for color these days...
...and, apparently, especially when it glows! This is our kitchen bouquet in yesterday morning's sunshine. (Today, it's gray and snowing.)
I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today to share what I'm working on, and, because I'm a day late, I'm also joining Carole & friends for (a very loose interpretation of) Three Things on Thursday...
1 -- KNITTING CROCHETING:
Knitting is on hold. I have things percolating, but nothing is moving forward at the moment. Instead...
I picked up one of my crochet projects last night. Remember crochet?? Way back in JULY, while I was also working on Davy's Safe At Home Blanket, I also decided to start crocheting not one, but TWO, blanket-type projects. I even designated Saturday as "Crochet Day," which I think happened on the very next Saturday and then never again. Heh.
I plucked two yarn balls from the basket and reacquainted myself with the process, making some of the same mistakes again! It's all about practice! This is Hexie Love Actually, and I think it's going to be random, but with some "rules"... which I've yet to figure out. And, since I'm the one making the rules, I probably won't use ALL the colors I have of this yarn as originally (loosely) planned... the neons do not bring joy for this project. (I think they might make an awesome something for the kiddos... maybe some trippin' gnomes!)
I still have a few hours of listening to HAMNET, and I'm on the edge of my seat. I am also reading AN AMERICAN QUILT: UNFOLDING A STORY OF FAMILY & SLAVERY. I don't remember where I heard about that book, but it's an interesting historical non-fiction story that truly "unfolds" through the discovery of an unfinished quilt. At the risk of sounding juvenile, I like that there are lots of pictures!
2 - MORE MENDING:
When I patched the left elbow in this favorite sweater, I wove the patch directly into/onto the sweater... you can see that process here.
For the right elbow, I picked up and knit a stockinette patch, which I then sewed down on the other three sides.
In hindsight, it would have been nice to do some increases along one side of the patch to better "fit" the shape of the sleeve... but it's a patch on a holey old sweater that is in need of some other repairs, likely soon relegated to "house sweater," though I am going to get some public wear out of it yet!
Though the hole was smaller, the new patch is quite a bit bigger than the first -- there was a lot of "thinning" happening!
A close-up of the first patch. I'm happy with how it's held up. Both of these were worked in Madelinetosh Unicorn Tails.
3 -- CUTENESS OVERLOAD:
Kate had a dentist appointment a few days ago that involved novocaine and she sent a hilarious Snapchat to all of us, which, as often happens, started a flood of Snaps amongst us.
I had to grab a screenshot along the way!
And this morning, Ali sent a few photos, including this:
If that is not a doting big sister... and her little brother who is fully aware that he is Living The Life... I don't know what is.
P.S. Ginny is wearing a pair of Hannah Andersson PJs worn by both her mother and her Aunt Maddy, and still going strong! Quality FTW.
Can you believe it? There's not a gnome in sight...
Just a quick pic of my current knitting:
It's a bit of a mess and I'm not in love with the color of the house @ top left, but I'm carrying on. I was knitting this pre-Covid and made some modifications of my own -- including color choices, knitting each house's sky in a different color, and adding a narrow border between each row of houses -- and ended up with two charts with scrawled, crossed-out, and scrawled again numbers... so this is a bit of a mash up! It'll be fine.
I did not take any video, but Sarah has posted a couple demonstration videos on YouTube, if you're interested: Part 1 and Part 2.
I have an old slubby cotton cardigan from J.Jill that I wear at home -- it makes up part of my "loungewear" ensemble, along with a night shirt/gown, a pair of cropped pants, socks, slippers, and sometimes a shawl. It used to be in regular daytime rotation, but it would get stretched out and not bounce back (even with heavily ribbed sleeves because... cotton), the big buttons would get caught in the cart at the grocery store and some of the buttonholes are enlarged and it doesn't always stay buttoned, and then I wore a hole in the left elbow. Somehow, it works just fine at home, though, even with flaws.
Hole at left sleeve elbow.
Katrinkles Darning Loom Kit (included, but not shown: soft elastic loop for securing, darning needle, and instructions)
I slipped the circular part inside the sleeve and positioned it so that the hole was pretty centered. The "heddle" part is put into place and it's all secured with a soft elastic band.
Then you warp your little loom! The yarn is anchored at the heddle end, brought between a set of heddle teeth and gently pulled to cover the hole, caught in the "good" fabric just beyond the hole, and brought back up to the heddle... wrap, catch & repeat as needed!
Because this was a pretty big hole, I used a double strand of leftover sock yarn for my patch. After the warp is done, you just catch the yarn in the fabric and begin to weave. It was a last-minute decision on my part to double the yarn, so I ran out and had to cut a new length part-way through. (What's another end to weave in?)
I started weaving from the bottom up, and removed the heddle when I got close. The "live" ends are woven & tacked down, and I did extra stitching and/or weaving wherever needed, using the "eyeball" method. Heh. And here's my first finished patch, front & back. Not too bad!
Admiring my work in the mirror, I noticed that there was a pretty bare spot on the right elbow -- not a hole, but almost, so I decided to fix that right away using a single strand of the same sock yarn.
This time, I began by sewing running stitch along the sides & bottom of the area I wanted to patch to define the edges -- mostly an effort to keep the edges more straight & consistent. It worked okay... it's a little better. I definitely need more practice! I'm sure that using coordinating rather than contrasting yarn would make any wonkiness less visible!
The back-side of the second patch.
Here are both patches (and the cute unicorn scissors that was also part of Kate's gift). I love them!
I have another hole to patch in the other elbow of another favorite J.Jill sweater -- it's smaller than the first one that I patched a few years ago, but too big for the Katrinkles loom. Darn. I really like that sweater for springtime, though, so I'll probably do that soon and use the ham again.
IN OTHER NEWS:
OH HAPPY DAY!! We get to officially welcome our new President and Vice President today!!
I bet you thought I was finished with gnomes for a while, and so did I! Then, on Saturday, I went to a drive-by surprise birthday party for my godson/boss who turned an unbelievable 40 years old on Monday (how did that happen?). His Aunt Carol was also in the party parade and she'd previously mentioned on an FB post how much she loved my gnomes, and even offered to pay me to make one...
...and, well, that's not going to happen, but as long as I had the yarn and DPNs handy, I might as well make one for her! This, again, is Susan B. Anderson's Gnome and it's the (true) large version, just as I made for Junah. And, just as the one I made for Jün, it's not weighted right. I can re-weight/-fill him and all will be well. Notes for next time: I don't really like the shape of the body, less all-around round and more like a barrel (so knit fewer rows).
I finished Kitchens of the Great Midwest last night. It was "about" a girl named Eva, and each chapter was a different part of her story -- but she wasn't always central, and there were big jumps in time. I liked it. I'd really like to read The Lager Queens of Minnesota, another book by J. Ryan Stradal. I'm not sure what's next in pages right now (tonight)...
I'm definitely into Hamnet, though my listening time is limited.
He's not quite finished -- still needs a pom pom -- and he's far from perfect, but he sure is cute!! This is Sarah Schira'sHere We Gnome Again. Though the pattern has been in my library since its release, this is the first time I've knit it. Heheheh... not the last! Sarah's collection of gnome designs is amazing (and there are others in my library)!
HWGA has options for both fingering weight and worsted weight versions -- this one is worsted. It is/was intended for my sister Ann but, since the earliest I'll likely see her is July, I have plenty of time to try again. The centering of motifs & patterns on this guy is a little off, and I'd like to improve that, and possibly try some different yarn (perhaps some of my own hand-dyed).
In pages, I started Kitchens of the Great Midwest when I was recovering from COVID, and I'm enjoying it -- not blazing through it, but it's going quicker than some!
In audio, I restarted Hamnet the other day... with a bit more focus. I love Ell Potter's narration.
If you have a really great memory, you might recall that I started knitting a Safe At Home "audition" before starting Davy's blanket, and I've been working on that again.
I started with the three houses and then did a log cabin-style frame around them to get to the desired dimensions.
I'm going to make it into a tufted pillow for Maddy & Viv for Christmas. I can tell you because neither of them/no one in my family reads my blog. I have a down pillow form and I'm going to use some of the linen that I used for Ducky's curtains to make the back, and then I'm going to find some little buttons, aka DOORKNOBS, for the tufting. I want to make similar pillows for Kate & Ali, and for Annie, too, I think. I have three more forms! I am dying to try some of Kaffe Fassett's houses in the new MDK Field Guide N0 16: Painterly!
Well, despite the fact that it took nine months to finish these mitts, they were really fun to make. This is the first time I've incorporated beads into knitting (except for some knitted wire earrings that I made a long time ago). It was a little fiddly, but the beading was all done on one row. I love that little detail, and the slight heft that the beads add to the cuff.
These mitts were worked almost entirely while on vacation... or three! I started in February when Kate & I went to Asheville; continued (if you can call it that) in March, when Rusty & I went to Mexico -- surreal, as things were beginning to shut down then; and mostly finished early this month on a quiet birthday getaway to Lake Superior's North Shore.
This was one of two kits that I bought about a year ago, so eventually there should be a pair of Princess Lola socks underway. They're little shortie socks that also have a bead detail. I love that the kits even come with special floss for beading.
Gah. I haven't been reading anything... I did listen to a couple of podcasts.
Things will be normal again someday, right? I feel like I'm starting to crack.
Yarn: Cascade 220 -- a forest green color (ball band was lost long ago)
Needles: US 5
Start to Finish: September 20 - November 7, 2020
This is the second hat I've knit at the request of my cousin Gail; the first was one of the several Pussyhats that I knit in 2017. She sent me a photo of this hat/pattern several months ago and asked if I could knit her a "messy bun" hat, and I was happy to do it for her! She lives in Duluth -- a place where a person needs a hat!
I wasn't intending for these to be my "official" photos, but had Kate & her bun try it out when she was at our cottage one day last week. I'd hoped to (safely) meet & deliver the hat to Gail in person on our way home from the North Shore, and get a photo then, but she called the day before to say that her husband had COVID and that she was awaiting results of her own test. She turned out to be negative, but still... IT'S IN THE MAIL, GAIL!!
It's been quite a while since I knit cables -- and it was fun! The pattern wasn't all that fun, though. I mean, the end product is great, but the pattern is not written very well -- this, coming from a person who prefers to knit from a written pattern! A chart would have been very helpful.
I knit to pattern until the final decreases -- I'm sorry that I didn't count, but stopped short when there was about a 2.5-inch stretchy hole left at the top (after about 6-7-8 decrease rounds), and knit a couple more rounds before loosely binding off.
I tacked down the turned-up brim in four places evenly spaced around the hat.
I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today to share my latest FO! (Though possibly not linked up because... writing in advance & timing.)
Before giving the blanket to Davy, I wanted to take a few more photos... similar to the ones I took at a local sculpture park when I finished Parcheesi! This park is just a few doors down from Kaukauna Coffee & Tea, but timing/daylight has not been on my side. After work on Mondays, I pick up & deliver an order to the coffee shop, and this week I made sure to grab my camera & the blanket on my way out the door.
I was so excited to take these photos, I didn't even notice that the blanket was upside-down at first!
Yarn: Various Fingering/Sock yarns - held double throughout
Needles: US 7
Start to Finish: May 27 - October 25, 2020
Modifications! First was in the choice of yarn, I guess, using fingering/sock held double instead of worsted. I did not want to buy more* yarn and that's what I have most of... so I made it work. A color card helped me sort it all out and keep track -- most colors had multiples to choose from and/or to blend, and I made lots of combos while I knit, making subtle differences & variations in some of the colors.
*BUT OF COURSE I BOUGHT MORE YARN!! I had a lovely mini-skein of pink -- actually, it was orchid from Backyard Fiberworks -- and it quickly became my go-to for pink, so I ran out. Because of timing, I had to find something to match locally as best I could, and actually ended up buying TWO in order to get it close. That orchid, though... it was one of four or five mini-skeins that I'd picked up at Indie Untangled 2018, I think... and I might need to treat myself to a full hank!
And while I love the rows-upon-rows-upon-rows of houses in the original design, I just could not see myself knitting them all. Each house is basically a square, and that led me to think of a patchwork quilt... Parcheesi was also on my mind, of course, and outside of a few actual squares, the main feature of that design is stripes... and I really love stripes (plus, they're quick to knit), so...
...I started to play around. Margaret provided a "coloring page" to aid in planning, and that's where I started. I knew the whole thing would be bordered in houses, so that left the interior -- 7 x 7 squares. I made alternating blocks of horizontal & vertical stripes, and then added some houses -- I settled on two extra houses per row, which I placed using a random number generator!
For the striped blocks, I used the same combo of colors that would have been used if they'd been houses, but each had one more stripe than colors specified, so I made some sort of "rule" where I used the "house color" from the block two before... something like that. Heh.
And just as with Parcheesi, I knew I wanted a border. It would help to hide a few of the cut ends around the edges, for one thing, and I love how it makes a frame around the whole thing. I used a blue-ish black. First I knit along four houses at each corner with a mitered garter stitch border, then picked up and knit along the remaining five houses on each side, finishing with several short seams to bring it all together.
At one time, I'd toyed with doing some crazy border stuff -- a different color for each house -- but I really like how the single color works. As my sister Sharon would say, "The eye needs a place to rest."
Speaking of Sharon, I thought of her a lot while I knit this blanket. Rarely have I remained so focused on a single project, start-to-finish, but Parcheesi was one. I wasn't even quite this focused when I knit Parcheesi -- it took two months longer, and I remember a long break while I mustered the strength to begin sewing up! Anyway, that was 10 years ago, and Sharon was dying. I didn't even realize, at the time, how important that project was in helping me get through all that. I had similar focus on a shawl when my mom died. And now, this blanket... so aptly named for THESE TIMES, and definitely helping me to get through...
And that's a wrap!
_ _ _ _ _
We're on our way to the North Shore of Lake Superior for a few days. Rusty & I are staying at a lovely lakeside cottage, and Kate will be camping in Ducky about 20 miles north. There might be a little leftover snow on the ground when we arrive, but the weather is going to be gorgeous... for November in Minnesota! We'd actually sort of hoped for some weather -- big waves and all that -- but we'll survive. There's a heater for Ducky, so Kate should be fine... and a fold-out in our cottage if things take a sudden turn.
Kate & I returned on Monday from our Northwoods camping trip. I had yesterday off, too, during which I got a lot of my "day off" stuff done, and we dropped Ducky off at an RV service center to have a few things done and/or checked out.
We also had an early morning visit from a certain young gentleman, and had breakfast with his mom.
I took a few photos... he wasn't interested in sleeping, and it's difficult to get a good capture of an awake baby when they're so young, but I managed a few. There's a history in our family of not having knitted gifts done on time, and draping the pieces upon the recipient with a lick & a promise. Heh. Davy is probably the youngest person subjected to this tradition. Also, suddenly, there's some scale to this project!
It took a few tries to find just the right way to sew up these rows. I tried "mattress stitch" a couple of times/ways, whipstitch, crochet... I finally settled on backstitch.
Approved by McGregor!
It's a little stretchy, not too fiddly, and I know how to do it (I could do that and running stitch in my sleep thanks to Alabama Chanin!). I managed to sew up Rows 1 + 2:
And Rows 3 + 4:
I'm showing the back of my work!
A lot of the ends had already been woven in & trimmed, many were woven in but awaiting a trim, some of the longer ends are coming in handy for the sewing up (and I sometimes wish I'd left more and/or longer ends).
Ope! There's that cute pup again!
And another (selfie) with Kate! He was a pretty good camper, considering everything... other campers, kids, other dogs, loads of busy chipmunks. Kate's started knitting him a sweater! And there's a plan formulating for another.
I'll definitely post more about camping soon. We saw a little blue sky & sunshine on Sunday afternoon (pictured above), had a lot of rain (but only at night), and burned through lots of wood! A good time was had by all.
I still haven't read anything lately... except for my absentee ballot.
As previously mentioned, I've finished knitting houses for the baby blanket! I sorted through & organized all of the remaining yarn -- happily noting that I used up quite a few odds & ends -- in preparation for sewing up. I plan to work on that while camping for 5 days/4 nights beginning TOMORROW!
I am so ready for some time in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. The weather looks like it'll be pretty good, and there should be some fall color on display. I'm also happy that we'll have a physically distant meet up with Uncle Jim, my dad's youngest (and only remaining) brother. It's Jimmy's cabin which we are often invited to use for a week or long weekend most years, but as we all know, this isn't "most years." And that's also why we now have a travel trailer!
Anyway, my cousin Gail sent me a very timely reminder inquiring about the "messy bun hat" that she asked me to knit a while back. She had sent me a photo of the Braids & Bobbles hat (Ravelry link) and I've always wanted to knit that hat, plus it seems like a good time for texture. I dug out some dark green Cascade 220 (I think) and started on Sunday night. I'm not crazy with the layout of the pattern. Others have complained about the lack of a chart, but that doesn't bother me as much as just the way it's written and having to flip pages back and forth. I finally cut & separated parts of the pattern to eliminate some of that. Anyway, I'm getting into the groove of cables again and it's looking great. I intend to deliver it when Rusty & I head up to the North Shore of Lake Superior just after Election Day, so need it finished by then.
Meanwhile, I took delivery of this the other day:
Apparently, 2020 is the year of the mini-skein for me! I had ordered a bunch of Madelinetosh Unicorn Tails way back when this pandemic mess all began (a crocheted blanket or two underway with that), and also found their 12 Days of Madelinetosh to be irresistible, AND was bewitched by Lambstrings Yarns' Spooky October Advent Calendar! A little present to open every day in October might help keep me sane... and occupied while I consider what I might do with them. I adore Shanna's color sense, and I'm sure I'll be very happy.
I don't know what my problem is -- perhaps too preoccupied with babies and big kids and blankets and hats and travel trailers and camping -- but I am just not reading or listening to anything right now! Maybe those few days in the woods will give me a chance to slow down and dive into something. I certainly have titles on my list!
IN OTHER NEWS
I gave Rusty his third haircut.
He was pretty shaggy! It wasn't my best (some of the attachments were missing in the clipper set that I borrow from Ali), but it'll do.
I had him take a "for the record" shot of my Covid hair... it's crazy long!
I'm sure you've noticed the shortening days.
This was last night as I came through the garage after watching ISS streak across the sky for the second time this week. Let there be light!
JUST CAN'T GET ENOUGH
I'm not sure I'll be blogging while we're up north, so this might have to tide you over. :)
I knit these rows from right to left, so that house on the left is the second one I've completed but it'll be second-to-last in the end. THE END! It's (almost) in sight!
I haven't been reading a thing. Well, except for all kinds of information about vintage campers.
It would be really great if I could find an owner's manual, but so far nothing. There's not much out there about this little baby at all! Luckily, there are lots of similar Prowlers and Jaycos and, boy howdy, there are websites and forums and groups galore. I haven't even dared peek at Pinterest. Ha. It's a crazy week, but I'll fill you all in, and I'm starting a new category: 1987 Mallard Sprinter Travel Trailer
I love how color plays... the same pink was used for the windows of each house.
I recently took delivery of a kit from Briar Rose Fibers for Andrea Mowry's The Shift cowl, which I will definitely be making, but I'm intending a more immediate use for this to finish the Safe At Home "audition" that I started back in April. I used the leftovers from my Nightshift shawl to start that, but needed just a bit more variety.
I want to make that into a little cushion and I have a recipient in mind.
Now, in addition to changing up the colors/yarn a bit, is when I begin to really put my mark on this project.
Instead of a grid made up entirely of houses, I will be sprinkling them throughout the interior of the blanket. Not counting the border, which will be all houses, there will be two houses in each row.
The other blocks will be alternating blocks of horizontal & vertical stripes. Because I love stripes!!
There are five colors specified for each house block, so those are the colors I'm using for the stripes... plus one more stripe, for which I'm using the color of the house two blocks before. Something like that.
When I saw this on the sidewalk this morning, I immediately noticed the pale yellow horizontal stripe butting up to the pale yellow sky below it... and it bothered me for exactly .00001 second. That horizontal block (my first) does bother me, though, and I think I've figured it out:
My bind-off is a little loose. I need to remember that I don't have to loosely work a loose bind off!
I think I only need five horizontal stripes -- six is too many and I think, multiplied, they'll cause fairly significant, undesired distortion. I'm knitting the horizontal stripes onto live vertical stitches, though, so will need to figure out the best way to deal with that extra live stitch in each stripe! (Suggestions welcome.)
Safe At Home Blanket... I'll be knitting this for a while, but I'm finding my groove and loving it. I wish it was portable, and I need to find a way to manage/wrangle the 12 colors (many of which have multiples), but otherwise good.
So excited was I to share today that I took an up-to-the-minute photo this morning!
So You Want to Talk About Race is by Ijeoma Oluo, her IG account linked in yesterday's post. This book is narrated by Bahni Turpin, so the audio was a no-brainer (I didn't even have to sample it).
On my nightstand:
I've picked up Centering again, having finished Sarah Read's The Bone Weaver's Orchard (you may recall that Sarah is a knitter-neighbor-librarian friend), which I enjoyed quite a lot... it was "horror," but I could sleep at night. Heh.
Wild Game is on the way... it's the Bonny, Carole & Kym's READ WITH US summertime read. It sounds like a page-turner and ought to be interesting. I expect to see some (maybe a lot) of my mother in the story, and likely a little of myself, too.
And then I plunged into my "baby blanket" version of the Safe At Home blanket.
A row of roof-less houses right now. I made a mistake with the windows of the first two houses (on the right), making them a stitch too short, but I'm leaving that. So far, the hardest thing is remembering to wind off some extra for under the windows before I begin knitting a new house. I'm excited to finish this row (including roofs & skies) because Row 2 is where I really begin to make it my own, and I can't wait to see whether it works.
I haven't picked that project up in a few days... my mojo is not where I need it right now! But I think I've come up with the yarns for the baby blanket version of this, and we'll just see how it goes.
I have the same lack of mojo in the sewing department, but, once it's located, there are at least 7 face masks ready to sew up.
I'm occasionally listening to Stephen Fry read Harry Potter, and enjoying it very much. Yesterday I downloaded Seamus Heaney's translation/reading of BEOWULF, which I read in high school (in Old English, because that's how our English teacher rolled for senior year), and it's great to hear... but I want to listen and read along at the same time, so will need to resolve that soon.
On top of the stack on my nightstand most recently is Sarah Read's The Bone Weaver's Orchard, recent winner of The Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a First Novel. Now, horror is NOT usually my genre, but Sarah... Sarah is a knitter, a librarian, and a neighbor! Well, she lives across town, but I KNOW HER! She used to live in CO with her husband and two sons, and worked at Interweave and at The Loopy Ewe, and she still does a lot of freelance writing/editing... and even some knitting. I bought the book ages ago for Rusty (who attends the writing workshops at our library led by Sarah) (now online), and am finally getting around to it myself. IT'S GOOD... and not too scary (yet).
I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today to share what I'm knitting and reading... and doing. And there's big news! As usual, I've buried the lead, so see if you can find it. Heh.
Um, yeah... so this happened:
I was so close to finishing the first of two repeats of this section and dropped a couple of stitches. Perhaps I'd have had better luck fixing it if it was one of those patterns where you just "purled back" on the WS row, but stitches are manipulated on both sides and there are increases besides.
I must have slightly more than zero patience, having even attempted to fix it, but that's it. While Annie & I had a video chat the other day, I ripped back to a certain point and re-wound the yarn. I'll be getting back to that shortly.
In other knitting news, I've bound off my Nightshift shawl and wove in all the ends.
I meant to give that a soak today, but didn't quite get around to it. I'm not crazy about the width-to-depth ratio and hope that it will improve a bit with the wash. I am absolutely in love with the concept/stitch patterning and the yarn/colors, though. It's simply stunning in person.
Also in the realm of knitting, I'm thinking of knitting a blanket. I've been thinking about it for a while now, and originally thought that perhaps I'd knit another bigger Parcheesi (I've always wanted to), but then I saw the Safe at Home Blanket by Margaret Holzmann, and I think that's going to be the one. I think that it'll be the perfect thing to wrap a new grandchild in come September... all kinds of things will be knit into that!
It's Ali who is expecting. She sent a video of the kids a while back where they announced that they're having a new sibling... or "swibbelling," as Ginny put it.
SEWING (sort of)
I had thought that perhaps I'd finish this quilt for the baby... and who knows what'll happen between now & September... maybe I'll have a CHOICE! I laundered it last week and hung it on the line for a second so I could take a photo.
I have an IG friend in São Paulo who wanted to see some close-ups, so I obliged with 10 -- if you'd like to take a look. I am looking forward to giving this a good press and determining whether the fabric I have in mind for backing will actually "go." If not, I'll have to go shopping!
I've been working on my Alabama Chanin Car Jacket.
It's taking a while to get my mojo going... but I'm plugging away.
As in I actually did some today.
I'm trying to match -- or come close -- to some yarn that I dyed a while back, at the request of a customer. We'll see. (I'm a terrible note-taker and record-keeper.) It felt good to get down there and clean things up a bit, though!
Well, I'm still working on Nightshift, but after Zoom Knitting on Sunday (hosted by Mary) and seeing both Kat and Margene working on Romi's Mystery Shawl 2020, I caved...
These are the two yarns I originally chose. The lighter one is by Lambstrings Yarn, Tralala Sock in a color called "Home Again." The other one shall go unnamed... as I went to wind it up, I discovered three distinct ends. Um, that's not good. I was willing to go wind a couple of balls, but it was a tangled PITA mess. Not interested in that at the moment, so I grabbed a hank of some of my own stuff that's been around for a while.
It's a bit more vibrant. I hope it will work out.
And here's where I'm at with that project. Next step is to cast off the top edge of that triangle and then I don't know... it's a MYSTERY!
But what I really want to listen to right now is Stephen Fry reading the UK version of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Book 1. Dare I admit that I've never read a single Harry Potter book? Certain members of my household have read some of these... and re-read and re-read and re-read... certainly numbered in double digits by now. Anyway. Unfortunately, it can't be downloaded, but there's more how-to info/links here on The Verge.
Another 100 Days of Sewing - Alabama Chanin style, mostly on my Car Jacket, but I have a few other items cut, stenciled and ready to go from my visit with Kym last fall.
For the record, here's where I stand/begin with that project:
Two finished sleeves.
Collar and two pockets/pocket flaps with a bit of a start -- they are smaller pieces and have traveled with me on occasion.
One side of the back underway -- I'd say not quite half-way. So that's where I've begun, with the other side of the back and both fronts yet to go. And then sewing up. Oh yeah.
I can't believe how long it's been since I've done an "Unraveled Wednesday" post! North Carolina! It seems like not only a long time ago, but also another world...
I guess it was a different world in February.
I knit a baby sweater while we were in Mexico, but still need to do the finishing... and instead of doing that, I'm knitting on my Nightshift shawl.
I'd made a little headway on the bind-off the other day, and then decided/realized that it wasn't quite as big as I want it to be. I'll admit that I never did a swatch and have no idea what my gauge is or how it compares, even now. I have a feeling that the shawl will grow a bit once it's blocked, but I'm not sure if it'll be a little or a lot. Whatever! I am really enjoying the knitting and combining colors and I'm just going to keep going for a while.
It's fun keeping an eye on the Ravelry group, too, and though not the most active group on the web, I'm pleased that there are 37 members!
When I noticed that there was green & gold in my kit (or anytime there's green + gold anywhere), the Green Bay Packers came to mind... even though the shades are off. (That green is probably my least favorite color in the bunch, actually.) Anyway, I was avoiding it for a while, but then decided to just embrace it, so there are two "green & gold" sections in my shawl.
I wonder if we'll have a football season this year.
And then I wonder, how is that even a question? So crazy.
...so I've also started a puzzle. I've had this one for quite a while -- 1000 pieces, all children's book covers -- with the idea of gluing it together & framing it for Ali to hang in the playroom or one of the kids' rooms. I had to beg a card table off of Rusty (from his studio/gallery, where it was displaying stuff that no one will be seeing), but I'm all set up now. We're not huge puzzlers, but this one is going to be so fun!
I love starting/knitting a project while I'm traveling because it's always a reminder of the trip!
I started the beaded Nugget Mitts while we were in North Carolina. The loveliness of this pattern is that the beading is all done in one row! I did that on the first mitt while we enjoyed a little downtime one evening, and now it's perfect travel knitting... and I did a bit of that during the daylight hours on the drive home.
I brought a lot of knitting with me, but this is the only thing I worked on. It was right back to work yesterday -- with a bunch of stuff to catch up on at home -- so I'm just going with this right now and will resume Banging Out a Cardigan when I have more than a second to think & breathe.
I don't usually listen to podcasts very much, but these were so interesting!!
I still haven't picked up my book since returning home, but I have resumed listening to The Dutch House on my commute.
♠ ♣ ♥ ♦
The trip was really great. Even though it was only for a couple of days, there's a lot to digest & share, so I'm going to start small... and right now.
Our Airbnb (plus) cottage was just about the cutest darn thing you ever did see... or ever might stay in.
We each had our own bedroom, separated by the bathroom -- those are the windows you see on the side of the house -- with a comfy & cozy living room and a very nice kitchen. The porch was big and welcoming, and there was a patio and a separate fire pit in the back (which we didn't use, but so nice!).
Great amenities, attention to detail & decor, and lots of little touches -- that's what makes it PLUS! That's a special designation for properties that go above & beyond... it's not available in my area, but you can bet that I'd be shooting for it!
Potentially mutually beneficial shameless plug: If you'd like to try Airbnb, use this link to save up to $55 on your first trip — and once your reservation is complete, I'll get a little credit to use toward future travel, too.
I've stayed at 28 different Airbnb properties in the last six years -- from Scotland to Spain, New York to Oregon, Michigan to Mexico, with many points scattered in between and some quite close to home. You won't be surprised to learn that I freakin' love Airbnb! They haven't all been as stellar as this adorable cottage, but I can honestly say that I've never had a dud. Next week it'll be a year since we welcomed our first guest as Airbnb hosts! We had 38 completed bookings last year, and five already this year -- with another this weekend and 11 more (so far) booked between now and October! We've had between one and five guests at any one time, for as little as one night or as many as 32! It's a lot of work, but I'm still enjoying it... I'll stop when I'm not!
So, I've made a couple of modifications to the Main Squeeze Cardigan... the main one being that I've converted the pattern to be knit in pieces and seamed!
(I really cannot stand knitting on circulars.) I'm also following the lead of another maker and knitting the cardigan one size larger on needles that are one size smaller, and incorporating vertical non-button-band front bands -- not only to avoid the circular situation, but because I like the way it looks! Though it looks a little sloppy right now, I think it will even out after finishing/blocking... and if it doesn't, I'll stabilize it with grosgrain.
Anyway, this is one of the fronts -- I never know if it's the left/right front when you're looking at the sweater or while wearing it! You can see where the second ball of yarn was attached just before the raglan decreases begin.
I love the Sand Stitch texture. Pardon the photos, it was going-on-dark last night when I got home!
It's very contained, so I'll probably bring it along when we head toward NC tomorrow... along with my Main Squeeze and maybe two other projects. Haha! Y'know...
It's the same, so in lieu of that, here's one that Kate scored at the book store the other day:
We made Shirin Polo the other night and it was delicious. We didn't use quite enough chicken and, though not as sweet as I feared, we'll reduce the sugar by at least half next time. There will be a next time... there are a lot of bookmarked pages, so who knows when that'll be!
I feel like these pieces sort of set the stage for what's to come, which is why they've each had a false start and/or some ripping out. It'll be so exciting to join them together and begin the tails! Unfortunately, it's not a very portable project.
I'll soon be casting on something small on DPNs... travel knitting!
KNITTING -- On My Radar
For one reason or another, I haven't had the desire to Bang Out A Sweater before, but this year? I'm doin' it.
Main Squeeze Cardigan from Mason-Dixon Knitting Guide No. 12: Big Joy
If there was ever a sweater made for bangin' out, it's this one!
Also, for one reason or another, I don't have much experience with Knit Picks yarn! I'm fixing that by knitting this in Wool of the Andes Bulky, in the new color "Stormy," scheduled to arrive today! This wouldn't normally be considered for travel, but since Kate & I will be driving to NC... it's coming along.
Color work is also in my future. Ha. Who am I kidding? It's been on my radar for years and I've even had a go at it a couple of times.*
For the past few years, I've been giving Rusty & Kate the Ootlier Calendar, so I have to go to the KDD & Co website every year to place my refill order... and this year I bought a little something for myself, too. I couldn't help it... I was just smitten!
There are a few projects in Milarrochy Heids that I love and could easily knit (more likely as cowls rather than hats, at least if intended for me) -- Cadans, Every Flavour, Let's Stripe (oh, yes, LET'S!); others that I also love but would be much more challenging -- Breiwick, Chezzetcook Inlet, Featherheid, Peerie Flooers, Tettegouche.
So this year, I am challenging myself to have another go at it, and to that end (and because, apparently, I cannot resist the Scots), I have signed up for Ysolda's Colourwork Club! "If you've never done stranded colourwork before this is the perfect way to learn..." I can't wait for the first pattern release at the end of the month.
*North Star Mittens turned out too small for me; luckily they fit Kate perfectly and she loved them... until they were lost. Latvian Mittens are unfinished... they are significantly different in size. Matching mittens of the same, intended size is a GOAL.
But first... it was a crazy intense 3-day weekend of mostly doing book work + a birthday party, followed by a slightly disoriented Tuesday back at work!
I'd mentioned on Friday that I intended to sew some bat wraps and/or 'roo pouches over the weekend, but I didn't do any of that. And I'm not going to. I really should have known better!
Over the weekend it became clear that exuberant "global helpful hands" are not actually helpful to anyone in Australia; instead, likely creating an overwhelming tide of stuff that may or may not be needed, that may or may not be useful, that may or may not arrive in time, that will definitely tax & divert resources just with the handling, sorting, determining, and dealing with said stuff.
I'll admit, I got a little carried away because my very own daughter is there, taking photos of actual fruit bats in need! But no. None of that is needed from me... nor from you nor from almost anyone else outside of Australia.
What is most helpful to Australia from here is money.
If stuff has to be made, it would be best all around to check with LOCAL wildlife centers, animal shelters, and/or humane societies to see what THEIR needs might be.
Is it too early to proclaim that Rusty is Husband of The Year?? I really wanted to write an Unraveled post today, but it's so lame without a photo... and I finished the first "starter" triangle for my second We Make Our Own Arrows shawl, so I actually had something I wanted to show!
Rusty's usually home in the morning, so I decided to ask him to take a couple of photos for me. This is what he sent:
Impressed that he actually went outside to take a shot! But you can see it, can't you?
I replied: Almost perfect... do you think you could do the same but with the "right side" showing??
And he did!
I had one false start with that piece, but I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. I'm aiming for "similar but different" for the next one. I'm weaving in at least a few ends on this triangle before I cast on for the second.
Things are just not happening in a timely manner lately... or least not how I've come to expect.
Anyway, better late than never, I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today to share what I'm knitting and reading.
The knitting is slow going, too, but I'm THIS >< CLOSE to finishing the fingerless Maize Mitts for Junah. I had him try on the one that was finished the other day and, he was SO EXCITED!! That kid is knit-worthy in spades!! I picked up a couple pair of "magic" mittens and gloves to go along with, just in case he needs to double up sometime.
I finished The Bright Hour by Nina Riggs on Monday night. It was the topic of book club last week (and was my book choice) and I hadn't even finished it myself (I was SOOOO close). It was a good book and made for some great discussion...
It's just that this one was un-put-down-able:
Blood: A Memoir was compelling. It's an incredible story of love... difficult to even know what to say about it. Allison & her sister Shelby are incredible humans.
* * *
Sadly... and I'm a little bit stunned... as I finished The Bright Hour, I learned that another young mother of two, Kate (35), was very recently diagnosed with breast cancer and that it has already spread to her liver, which severely limits the traditional medical options available to her. I met Kate & her husband, from Australia/New Zealand, at cooking class in Rio de Janeiro! I've followed her on IG since then, including her journey to motherhood (twice) after being told that she was infertile. She's overcome a few "impossible" things already. So, I've given to her campaign to raise money in order to seek other treatment options, and just thought I'd mention it in case you had a spare dime or two, too.