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 Ravelry.com

Oh, you can find almost anything on Ravelry.com. 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.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Other people's hats - and hands

Everyone knows that knitting tends to lag in the summertime. It's just too hot to work on large projects. I should know! My red sweater is waiting to be steeked while two of my other knitting partners are still on vacation and/or finishing up their versions of the Saddle Shouldered Aran.

In the meantime, I've been doing some small projects for the Minnesota Knitters' Guild's Service Committee. This year, the committee has gone high tech and "virtual" in an effort to get more knitters across the state knitting for more groups in a larger service area - Minnesota, Wisconsin and South Dakota.  

The 11 service committee members across the state are meeting via email to plan collection drives for different groups that might not be on Twin Cities knitters' radar. This year, the project is for warm hats, mittens and gloves for adults and adolescents. 

So far, we are collecting warm winter items for  Changing Gaits (an organization that uses horses to help people with a variety of behavioral issues), the Red Lake Indian Reservation, Barrels of Hope in Waterville, MN, Lutheran Social Services,  and two St. Paul schools - Como Park and Washington Senior High Schools. 

Whew! That's a lot of hats and warm gloves.

I'll admit it - my own contributions have been minimal so far. Two hats and some mittens. However, the MKG is hoping that each of of our over 650 members will complete at least two items for this drive. That's going to keep a lot of people warm.

Pattern is "Everyone's favorite hat" by Evelyn A. Clark.

My sampler hat for my EZ Saddle Shoulder Aran.

1/2 of my Instant Mittens - pattern by Mary Jane Mucklestone

"Can I take this off now?"

Next up, another Windschief by Stephen West and a Pup Tent Cap by Catherine Gamroth. I highly recommend these two patterns as fun and quick to complete. 

Recently, the MKG posted their request on Ravelry.com.

"Bring your knitted items to the monthly Guild meetings. If you cannot attend the monthly meetings, you can mail your donations to the Textile Center of Minnesota at 

3000 University Avenue SE, 
Minneapolis, MN, 55414
Attention: Minnesota Knitter’s 
Guild Service Committee. 

If you would like yarn for yourself or your knitting group, please send your request to Betty Hanna at infomaster@knitters.org and some supplies will be mailed to you. We recently received several very generous donations and are well stocked with yarn! 

Everyone who donates, whether a Guild member or not, will have his or her name entered into drawings for prizes. The drawings will take place at the August, 2014 and January, 2015 Guild meetings. 

Start those needles clicking!"

So, if your sweaters or baby blankets are just too tedious right now - hats and mittens are quick, lightweight and could win you fabulous prizes!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Let the sun shine in!

After about six months of on-and-off again knitting (Who am I kidding? I only knit on it during Wednesday Knitting Group at Lila and Claudine's Yarn Shop) - the EZ Saddle Shouldered Aran is blocked and waiting to be steeked.

I had to wait until someone went to camp and freed up a bed in order to block it!

The sheep fold cables all worked out but I added some extra pins to make sure they lined up correctly.

June finished up on a sunny note so I had a hard time finding a model for my 

It was just too hot! The pattern was quite easy, however, and I'm sure to make another one.

Summer sunshine also brings flowers and flowers bring garden tours.
These terribly cute, tiny towns turned up on a local garden tour.

Sweater delivery, anyone?

Green Acres is where I long to be!

And when the sun goes down - summer grilling! 
Mr. Daisy and I went to a grilling class last week in Minneapolis and learned to grill chicken, steaks and pizza.
Every bite was delicious! 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Cabling come hell or high water

Well, the water is here already! In honor of the massive amounts of rain in Minnesota, I've been knitting on just one project - my EZ saddle shouldered aran - and it's coming along quite nicely for a project that I started in January!

The knitting group that I started this with has almost all finished their sweaters (a motivating factor!) and I'm working on the saddle shoulder portion.

(Yes, yes, the worst photo in the world! As soon as I get the shoulders finished I'll put it the dummy for a proper fit!)

I have tried it on and the fit seems to be a go for now. Fitting always gives me the final frisson of danger - will it end up being my sweater or should I give it away?

Of course, since May, I've also finished my two cowls. The first one, the pink Annabella's Cowl, was finished some time ago but not in time to go to France with it's owner.

My second cowl, the Sunbae Cowl,  a Cupido Cowl pattern by Hiroko Fukatsu, was finished just in time for some of the rainiest and hottest days of the year so far.

It's a huge, soft circular scarf and I can't wait for the fall to wear it! I had a hard time finding a model who could bear to wear it right now, though.      

Outside of all the knitting and the rain, our family/business team Achieve More ran together in the GAI Lederhosenlauf 5 k at the Germanic-American Institute. 
A post race brat and beer is great motivation!

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Word for the day? Short.

Count 'em - only six hexipuffs this week. 

That's because I've started two new projects - both cowls - in order to satisfy my lust for Korean hand knits. 
So, everyone's out of town and you are finally in control of the remote? Try some of the Korean films and television shows available on Netflix. I think I could start a knitting themed drinking game by just checking off the lovely hand knits. Mittens? Check. Hats with pom poms? Check. How about some luscious man cowls? Absolutely check!!

So, I was inspired to start a Cupido Cowl out of some absolutely-the-softest Enchanted Meadows Alpaca but with so many stitches, it's just creeping along. And shedding on my pants .  . . 

It really glows like this!

My friend's Annabella's Cowl is also creeping along as my only available size 8 knitting needle has developed a crack and it keeps catching on the silk yarn. Time to do a little shopping . . .

All in all, a Short Week for knitting.

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!