Saturday, April 19, 2014

Hop, hop, ouch!

I can only hope it is just a coincidence that last weekend was the Minnesota Yarn Shop Hop 2014 -

if you haven't gone to one yet - this year was the biggest ever. 17 yarn shops spread over four days. Great patterns, yarns, door prizes and a final Bonus Prize-

 and this weekend, I am flat in bed with back muscle spasms of some kind. Too much driving really does you in! I ended up power driving from shop to shop just to visit some of the neatest shops in the Twin Cities. I did fall down into the yarn once or twice but it was all Necessary Yarn and patterns so - I don't feel so bad.

The nice staff at A Sheepy Yarn Shoppe helped me find a great cowl pattern (Annabella's Cowl from Churchmouse Yarns) and some Classic Elite Yarns Firefly for a lovely gift cowl. I added in some Kidsilk Haze and it's knitting up for a very drapey look.

And the best part was that a few days later - I won a door prize as well.

A beautiful skein of Kimono by Zitron.  328 yards of 54% Merino and 
46% Silk that has a beautiful sheen.

I can't wait to use it for a cowl as well.

I also bought a skein of the cute Mountain Colors River Wash Sport from Skeins Yarn Shop in Minnetonka. This was the Terry's Azaleas color way they made up just for that shop. And then, I found another skein of Mountain Colors River Twist in the Firehole color way. 

I love Mountain Colors color designs - that is one yarn manufacturer I'd love to tour!

Earlier this month, we were traveling for Spring Break and I had a lot of knitting time in the car.

I tried out a Stephen West design - Windschief - from some leftover Berocco Vintage yarn. It got snapped up by Youngest Child on our first night in the hotel.

Then, another Mother Bear fell off the needles.

Sad to say, I'm still working on the face. 

My third travel project was the body of my Saddle Shoulder Aran Cardigan. I finished up with the body and now I'm moving onto the arms. I'm doing them two at a time and they are creeping along but I'm still enjoying the pattern very much.

Nowadays, I'm working on my cowl, the sweater arms and my Death-by-Hexipuff project. That should keep me until, oh, June. See you then!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Not a once a monther?!!

Yeah, well, if I let my lack of blogging project get to me, I would never get anything done. 

As it is, life just got in the way. Birthdays, hockey, retreats and strep throat meant that - well, I finished a number of projects this month.

Week eight or so of the Hexipuff Challenge took a little bit (I should just bite the bullet and do one every morning instead of putting them off until after dinner!) but is still fun. I've been breaking out odds and ends of sock yarn and I so enjoy using them all up!

Mr. Youngest Child's striped Ribbed Socks finally came to the bitter last stitch.  These things take a while if you only ever do them in church.

Today, the shiny goodness of Middle Daughter's Socialite Shawl hit the runway. Very pretty, very silky but - probably not the yarns I would use again. The pattern - that I may make for myself next year.

Now, back to the saddle should aran . . . and the final maple syrup flavored lollipop I got in my Savvy Girls Podcast package. Good stuff for sore strep-ravanged throats!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Slipping and sliding

Well, the Ravellenic Games are upon us once again and I'm hanging out with some WIPs again.

My Year Long Hexi Project (aka as The Gathering of the Puffs or Pre-Beekeeper's Quilt) fit quite nicely into the Modular Event - all composed of long-term, small bites of a bigger project that wouldn't be completed for a long while - so up I signed.  And all I need to do with them when I finish is dump the bowl into my Hexi Basket. No fitting, no blocking, no nothing. 

I'm also currently working on a super-secret gift (The Socialite) shawl project - and that fit into Wips Dancing as well. 

And, these socks? Or what would be socks if I'd ever photographed them. (Simple Ribbed Socks for a small boy) Wips Dancing as well.

Let the Games Begin (er, Continue!)

Of course,  I'm still flirting with other Non-Ravellenic works in progress as well.

My hat swatch for my EZ Saddle Shoulder Aran is done and I'm just past the ribbing on the sweater itself.

I also swatched it in some Brunswick SheepsWool that I got at Schoolhouse Press' Knitting Camp last year.

And I pulled out this Imperial Yarn Tracie Too Sport to fondle and think over. This is the lovely yarn used in those unfortunate U.S. olympic sweaters by Ralph Lauren. Love the yarn. Hate the sweaters.

And I was also a winner! I won this lovely worsted weight Malabrigo yarn and gorgeous Czech beads from the SavvyGirls Podcast's Swapetition. I'm thinking - beaded mittens?

And, on the blogging side, I thought I'd try out a new thing:

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Two tiny steps forward - and one big slip backwards

Well, the second stash project is finished. 

A simple hat, already lumpy and misshapen with use.

The Cabled Beret - just not posed in beret mode!

And the second serving of - Hexi puffs! I'm part of a group on Ravelry making eight of these a week. The final result will be The Beekeeper's Quilt. Sock yarn and size three needles - I'm supposed to come up with about 12 per skein of sock yarn but I'm only shooting for the bare minimum of 8 per week - not the yardage.

If you are on Instagram, do a search for the tag #hexipuffKAL2014 - you'll see some fabulous puffs! Hopefully, this will use up all my sock yarn stash leftovers!

The big tumble is really my own fault.  I read the Lila and Claudine's January newsletter and - boom -
found this:

"The January Stretch Cable Goal.
Anyone interested in knitting Elizabeth Zimmerman's Saddle Shouldered Aran Cardigan?  You can do it, You know you can. Kirsten will begin knitting this sweater with you on Wednesday, January 15 @ 10:30.  Call us for more information . . . "

Now, it happens that Wednesdays are one of my busiest days of the week AND every Wednesday recently has been full of terrible cold and snow. But I'm doing it - making the Saddle Shouldered Aran out of Briggs & Little Tuffy in a lovely dark red. 

I've only made my second swatch so far (Elisabeth Zimmerman always said, "Just make it a hat!") - but it's looking good! The first swatch was out of a bulky three ply yarn and it was making my hands hurt. Luckily, Lila and Claudine's had this Tuffy on hand.

This side of the hat shows the fishbone cable.

A little farther down into the pattern lets you see the sheepfold pattern.

Now I just need to decide when to decrease and bind off. After that, I'll keep the hat around as a gauge swatch and as a source of extra yarn, in case I run short. The next step after that is to measure myself, multiply the inches by my number of stitches per inch and then - cast on the sweater!

And don't worry - I've still got the socks, the mittens and the other sweater on my plate for when I need something a little more simple to work on!

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

First UFO spotted - and shot down!

Forgive the poor photographs but - the first finished project of the year has appeared!

Lila and Claudine's 2013 Advent Scarf by Lila Agnew was an Advent Knit-a-long from Lila and Claudine's Yarn Shop. This was the second year for this KAL where you knitted a section of the scarf each day of Advent.

The pattern designer chose 20 very easy patterns and each pattern download came along with a devotion. Some people finished on time and others (like me!) finished when they could.

Some of the patterns were wavy and some very geometric.

With this brown-green yarn, the patterns reminded me of 

our trip to see The Cloisters museum and gardens, the branch of The Metropolitan Museum of Art that exhibits the art and architecture of medieval Europe.

I am going to enjoy wearing this!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Thinking ahead to 2014

 There is a great book out there called Howards End Is on the Landing: A Year of Reading from Home by Susan Hill. In this book, the author Susan Hill was looking for an wanted book in her library when she ran across many others on her own shelves  that she had never read, or forgotten she owned, or wanted to read for a second time. This inspired her to start a year of reading her books and not buying new books until she had read her own stash.

As a knitter, I know stash. I recently had to move my stash (not a complete airing but a shuffling around) in order to get into some filing cabinets in the same closet. After a good look around,  I realized, "I have a ton of projects ready to go!"

Yep. Yarn purchased, in project bags, patterns printed and even needles set aside. At least 14 undone projects. That's a lot of yarn.

So, I've been planning my 2014 as a stash down year just as Susan Hill read down her own "stash" of books. And, I'm also planning to read off my own shelves - real and on my kindle - to get some of my own book "stash" used up as well.

Susan described a book as one "which is left on a shelf for a decade is a dead thing, but it is also a chrysalis, packed with the potential to burst into new life." 

I am hoping my "14 projects in 2014 Stash and Project Busting" (14in14S&PB) will be as inspiring. Right now, I'm planning on attacking my current WIPs:

1.  Advent Scarf
2.  Sock Yarn Mittens
3.  Caherciveen for james
4.  miss winkle
5.  Lady Londonberrry
6.  Acer Love
7.  OwlMittens
8.   It calls, “Finish me, finish me!” (My Benedetta)

as well as from my queue which now reflects my "Bag of Bags" holding all my planned-but-not-yet-knitted projects. 

9.  The Socialite
10. Easy Folded Poncho
11. To infinity and Beyond Cowl
12.  Basic Ribbed Socks
13.  Felted Woolly Owl
14.  Pine Forest Baby Blanket

I'll work through my queue as well but not in any particular order. And, of course, I'll be popping some charitable projects such as mittens or bears or cowls into the mix as needed. 

 Same with my books. I've had some half-read books for almost a year and it's time to get them gone! Then, I'll work through any unread books on my shelves and then, from my library reading list. 

Of course, I'll slip a few new books in there as well because of my book group, etc. BUT not until something is finished first!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

One month later - or - The Holiday Deluge

Once again, knitting survives the Holiday Deluge.

And the still unfinished Advent Scarf . . . 

And the latest addition to my stash? Santa knew just what to put in my stocking!

Kauni Wool 8/2 Effektgarn in gray

Kauni Wool 8/2 Effektgarn in rainbow

I sense a two color shawl coming on . . .