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, 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!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Not really much of an anniversary

Okay, I know some writers get all excited about 'Blog-aversaries" but yeah, I totally forgot. 
Nine years ago, Ladies and Gents, I got this wild idea to write about knitting.

It was much more of a "thing" then and I was much more regular about postings. Now, I am still the "over scheduled knitter" described in my very first blog post. Let's take a look, shall we?

- "Lazy knitters don't move fast.

Whoo, boy, is that the truth. Whether it's my knitting life or my sporting life, my times just never get faster. But - they aren't really getting longer, either, so there!

 - "Probably that there aren't enough hours in the day to accomplish all that I want - and still get a nap." 
Add in a huge amount of reading and Korean/Japanese/Taiwanese drama watching and I think I am down to no sleep/just naps.

- "Minnesota might just be heaven for knitters. Ample yarn stores, great local knitters and (mostly) beautiful weather make for relaxing knitting." 

Still absolutely true. Sure, some stores have come and gone but I am hurting in no way for yarn. And all this fresh snow makes for great skiing!

In that first blog post, I was racing against time to knit a Babies & Bears Sweater baby sweater. 

This month, I just finished (and raced to mail) a Seamless Yoked Baby Sweater.  No one I know is having babies any more so this was a sentimental kind of project. And darling!

- "I am not a slow knitter, just an overscheduled one. I keep finding the next project - and starting it."

Still absolutely true. I have seven projects in the works right now - from an almost finished cape, three sweaters, a pair of socks, a pair of mittens and my year-long hexi puff project. BUT I also have 33 projects queued up and ready to go. Over, over, over scheduled. 

- "Thanks for stopping by." 

Still true as well. While I may be blogging more sparsely, I have no intention of quitting this knitting blog home. A good portion of every day is about fibers arts for me and I'd still rather knit, spin, weave or blog instead of sleeping. Here's to the next nine years!

In the words of Tablo:

"It’s gonna be a late night.
But baby I’m comin’ home."

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The shortest distance between two points

The return of autumn always means more knitting for me. Knitting is much more bearable during cool weather and the temperature change always makes me start looking for my sweaters.

So, the yarn has been flowing, so to speak.

First, I knit up an early Christmas present (a Lady Londenberry shawlette) out of Cascade Yarns' Venezia Bulky.


another Mother Bear for the Mother Bear Project.

Then, a few bike rides later . . .

I finished up my EZ Saddle Shoulder Aran sweater.

Time to enjoy some of our beautiful Minnesota weather!

"Hello from the top of the Highland Park Water Tower!"

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Socks and Love - an introductory lecture on

Oh, you can find almost anything on Yarns and patterns. Yarn stores and sellers. Korean drama lovers, German Shepherd owners, Formula One fans and sock appreciation societies. 
And poetry . . .

“Ode to My Socks” by Pablo Neruda
(translated by Robert Bly) 

Mara Mori brought me 
a pair of socks 
which she knitted herself 
with her sheepherder’s hands, 
two socks as soft as rabbits. 
I slipped my feet into them 
as if they were two cases 
knitted with threads of twilight and goatskin, 
Violent socks, 
my feet were two fish made of wool, 
two long sharks 
sea blue, shot through 
by one golden thread, 
two immense blackbirds, 
two cannons, 
my feet were honored in this way 
by these heavenly socks. 
They were so handsome for the first time 
my feet seemed to me unacceptable 
like two decrepit firemen, 
firemen unworthy of that woven fire, 
of those glowing socks.
Nevertheless, I resisted the sharp temptation 
to save them somewhere as schoolboys 
keep fireflies, 
as learned men collect 
sacred texts, 
I resisted the mad impulse to put them 
in a golden cage and each day give them 
birdseed and pieces of pink melon. 
Like explorers in the jungle 
who hand over the very rare green deer 
to the spit and eat it with remorse, 
I stretched out my feet and pulled on 
the magnificent socks and then my shoes.
The moral of my ode is this: 
beauty is twice beauty 
and what is good is doubly good 
when it is a matter of two socks 
made of wool in winter.