Monday, February 23, 2015

The pleasant land of counter pane

A favorite book of my childhood (and my own children's, I hope) sprang  to mind today - A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson. 

As I was knitting along on my Color Affection Shawl, I had a chance to look at it in extreme close up and I realized that it looked just like the hills and valleys of Stevenson's little world. A knitted one, to be sure, but it was easy enough to imagine little roads and rails running along its ridges.

A Color Affection shawl in progress

A world in miniature - hills and vales

Perhaps it's time to look at things from another perspective again . . . .


I gave this a try after coming home late last night from a dinner out with the ladies. All I could see in my dingy winter alleyway was the fabulous moon. Alas, all the camera could see was the street light down the block.



On another note, the Rolie Polie Cowl was released into the wild. I wore it to all my hockey games this weekend - very cosy and warm! Exactly what I was wanting.


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Sometimes the worst photos tell the best stories


Who would ever have guessed that this little cutie . . .



would ever grow up to be such a reluctant sock model?



And one who wears such big socks already? Youngest Child is on his way to being renamed Biggest Feet! This was a carry along project this winter so it was only worked on here and there - hockey games, meetings, lunches, church services, etc. Thankfully, I finished them before his feet grew anymore! 
The yarn is some inexpensive Premier Yarns Serenity Sock Weight Solids that I picked up at a general craft store. It is not a bad sock yarn and very reasonably priced. It is a little thin for my taste - I like a more circular, rolled sock yarn. 
Now that's a phrase no non-knitter will understand! I mean a rounder yarn because it's usually a three ply sock yarn. This one is just very thin feeling - not soft or lofty at all. But, it seems very hard wearing so it's a good yarn for boys' socks.
Also, a little FYI for knitters: I've had these sock blockers for over five years and have used them about twice. Don't bother with them!

The worst photo this week is the traditional "hat in progress" photo. Too small to wear yet too big to put on the dog . . .



This is a quick Winter Wonderland Hat from Kristin Nicholas. It uses one strand of worsted weight yarn and two strands of sock yarn. A good way to use up extra sock yarn and it's a quick knit! This one is for a charitable event this weekend. The pattern wasn't in my library until recently but I really enjoy Kristin's work and I highly recommend her blog - very lovely photographs and boy, is it colorful! She has a new book out as well that I'm looking forward to reading - Crafting a Colorful Home.

Now, back to those mittens before Youngest Child's hands get any bigger . . .


















Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Snow days and work days

Unfortunately, as a mom, snow days are work days! 


When the weather looks like this . . . 


. . . a knitter's mind is drawn to socks. 

This particular pair is for Youngest Child - but his feet are growing so fast, that I think I'm doomed to keep knitting and knitting and knitting. Actually, this has been my carry along project for months and I'm just picking it up here and there when I need something mindless to knit. It's my long tern library go-to pattern for socks - Wise Hilda's Basic Ribbed Socks - and it's a dandy pattern. I think I'll be finishing up this week.

Now, if only my model would hold still and use his courtesy feet!*

Feet are bursting out all over here!

On my own personal knitting front, I'm almost done with my Rolie Polie Cowl.


It's going to be huge - but perfect for cold spring days. I think it is a bit sheddy right now for wearing over knit turtlenecks but it will be great for wearing over long sleeve tee shirts this slightly-less-cold spring.

Outside of knitting, I've been starting up my running again in order to get ready for some spring races. I like running because (like swimming) it's a very introspective sport. Lots of time to think things over by yourself!

A little treat for you here - a video made by a local photographer featuring running in Saint Paul as well as music from one of my favorite bands, Cloud Cult.






*In Korean pop culture, courtesy legs are when a much taller celebrity widens their stance so that the shorter celebrity standing next to them can be photographed better. 




Friday, January 23, 2015

Another week, another two inches

Meet the fuzziest, softest, coziest cowl ever.


It's been my easy, carry along project this week when I wasn't working on another Hexipuff. Man, that bag o'puffs better turn up soon! Only five accomplished this week.

Pet Me!

The pattern is the Rolie Polie cowl and the yarn is the super soft Angora Gardens - 60 % Shetland wool, 40 % Angora - a local DK weight yarn from Minnesota. Soft is the key word here!  Now that I've gotten past the sections that I used when I tried my previous cowl, the Upstairs Downstairs Cowl, it's also no longer quite as sheddy. 

Good thing I wear a lot of gray as it is!

That lap blanket? Also gray.

Youngest Child (perhaps I should start referring to him as Young Master Daisy?) asked for these Owl Mittens some time ago when he was still in his Harry Potter phase. Well, as I'm knitting them in a light worsted weight instead of the fingering weight called for, they will be fitting him for the next few years.

Quite frankly, thought, I don't know if I could stand to knit them on any smaller needles. The pattern is clear and readable - just very dense. 

I've made SpillyJane Knits patterns before and she has a good eye for design. Some of her patterns include bacon, gnomes, chairs and bow ties. Amazing stuff!

Of course, this pair of mittens involves a lot of gray . . . I'm sensing a theme? 


Saturday, January 17, 2015

A little bit of winter

. . .  made me a little bit behind on the posting front!  If it's winter in Minnesota, it's hockey season. And that means I'm spending the weekend watching this kind of scene - penning and unpenning the youth of America.
Whose letting these dogs out?

Otherwise known as a hockey tournament. We're on our third game of the weekend right now and that usually means a lot of knitting for me. Unfortunately, I brought along my Owl Mittens by SpillyJaneKnits from my library.  A lovely pattern that I've had in my library for over a year. A pattern that I forgot to enlarge. 
Oh, my aching eyes! I'm just not able to knit in the stands.


I have been able to knit in my hotel room, however. I'm using a larger yarn than the pattern calls for - the Stone and Pepper Nature Spun color ways - and watching a few Japanese television dramas to kill the time between games. This one?  Atashinchi no Danshi - a crazy "anime style" drama about what it means to be a family. English sub titles, of course, but still quite fun. 

One more game tonight and then playoffs tomorrow! Onward!

Friday, January 09, 2015

Important things to remember


(Otherwise known as Love Your Library - Page 1)

A year ago, I heard about a cute little pattern, guaranteed to use up your leftover sock yarn, called The Beekeeper's Quilt by Tiny Owl Knits. Using up leftovers? That seemed right up my alley and I promptly started the journey. 


I even joined a Ravelry group dedicated to posting pictures of Hexipuffs on my Instagram. 

This is a really cute and easy pattern and will be a favorite in my library. After a year of on and off Hexipuff crafting - the thing I've learned the most?

Don't misplace your bag of completed Hexipuffs! 

I have a basket that I fill with Hexipuffs as I complete them. It isn't big enough to hold them all so I dump them into a shopping bag every so often. 


This is the shopping bag of missing Hexipuffs! Ack! I think it has about sixty puffs - maybe even eighty. I'm thinking of just ripping apart my sewing room and yarn closet. Unfortunately, I was stashing things left and right before Christmas and the bag might be hiding almost anywhere.



Today, I laid out the "unbagged" Hexipuffs I could find and lined them up -  160 in rows.


I referred back to my copy of the pattern and, technically, I could quit and make the smallest size. I really want to make the 3x4 size, however, which requires 384 puffs. So, I'll be puffing away in the New Year as well. 

Probably because I only have sock yarn in colors that I like, I am pleased at how well the colors are meshing up.

Time to start looking for that buried treasure!





















Saturday, January 03, 2015

What a difference a week makes

First off -

Happy New Year! 

Like many other people, I  made a few knitting resolutions last January. Inspired by 14-in-2014 groups on Ravelry.com, I decided to participate in a variety of challenges. Walking/running more miles per month? Done. Swimming more miles? Didn't make it. Knitting 14 projects as gifts? Made it by one. 14 units of stash used up? Done.

If I had managed to blog about my last two projects of 2014 in 2014, I would have met my "14 posts about what I finished" goal. As it is, I totally spaced out on them.



This lovely pink and purple beauty was gift for Middle Daughter who - even though she's working and moved out - decided she needed a Christmas stocking. It's the same Cascade Christmas Stocking by Marji LaFreniere and Cascade Yarns that I've made before - all the patterns are interchangeable and they make a really cute, colorful stocking.

A great thing about this pattern is that it uses up a lot of odds and ends of yarn. As long as the gauge is the same from yarn to yarn, you can use almost anything.

I also finally finished my gray Cranberry Capelet


Really, this pattern is like knitting a sweater but without the pesky sleeves.

It's also very cosy and I wear it around the house quite a bit. The Stonehedge Fiber Mill Shepherd's Wool Worsted is very soft and cozy as well. 

I guess I should have finished this up in time to keep me from catching a cold. I spent most of last weekend in bed, working on a few more Hexipuffs.


Being a few Hexipuffs short for my Beekeeper's Quilt, I think that I'll continuing this project into 2015 as well.

Hmm, what to do in 2015? I'm thinking the "15 Mixed Projects" challenge in the 15 in 2015 Ravelry Group. Those are new projects as well as old projects, new stash or old stash. Basically, we're just finishing up stuff as quickly as possible. Works for me!

I'm also joining the Love Your Library Challenge 2015 from Snapdragon crafts.  Like many of us crafters, Blogger Emily loves books. And for the last few years, she's been trying to actually use them. 

"It's still the same challenge to actually use the books, patterns, and magazines we've collected over the years!" she writes. She's specializing in a subset of her knitting books but I think I'm just going to work at least 15 patterns from books or pamphlets in my library. 

I know that my four unfinished works from 2014 will be on this list - they are all from books or patterns already in my library - my Upstairs, Downstairs cowl, the 2014 Advent Scarf,  the Green Socks (based on Wise Hilda's Basic Ribbed Socks) and the River Grass Gansey. The other ten will be coming from some combination of my library.

Halleluia! My knitting group at Lila and Claudines is going to be working on Ganseys this winter. Time to finish that pup up!

Let the New Year roll!