Posts for : December 2015

Ringing out the old . . . 2

Stripey Socks

Ringing out the old in handknit socks . . .

Here we are on New Year’s Eve. I can hardly believe it. I thought while I was winding down I’d sneak in one last post for 2015.

The Scrap Yarn Sock Advent Calendar project is a wrap.

Scrap Yarn Socks 3 Scrap Yarn Socks 2

I’m so glad I did this! Besides enjoying the knit along, I absolutely love having a pair of socks that’s made up of yarn from so many other projects. Every time I look at a particular stripe, I think back to what I was doing when I knit with that yarn the first time around. There is even a section that uses yarn from the very first pair of socks I ever made! I’m talking serious handknit mojo right there.

And remember the Christmas washcloths I was knitting for my dad? I finished them just in time. They were actually the last present he opened on Christmas. I think he was starting to worry that I might not come through with the good stuff this year. He should know better.

2015 Dishcloths 4 2015 Dishcloths 7

My works in progress are all in a happy state of close-to-doneness. I have just a tiny bit of the border left to finish on my Travel Shawl. And I have the sleeves, ribbing, and collar and button band left to do on Gramps. I started a super easy loop-type scarf while I was in Texas, but I’m not in any hurry to make progress on that. I think it might live in my take-along bag for awhile.

What I’m really looking forward to is Blankie Mania 2016! It’s a blanket knit along in my favorite Ravelry group. Everyone will be working on something different, but we’ll all be doing blankets of some sort.

After considering a bunch of different things, I’ve decided I’m definitely going to do the Geek-A-Long blanket. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s the brainchild of the ladies at Lattes and Llamas. Every Sunday, for 48 weeks, they post a pattern for a free, geek-themed double-knit/crochet square. In the past the squares have featured everything from a caffeine molecule to The Magic School Bus and Dr. Doom. The main purpose of the whole thing is to  raise awareness for Child’s Play Charity. If you’re not familiar with Child’s Play, follow the link and check it out. It’s very cool.

So here’s why I’ve decided to participate:

  • Lattes and Llamas’ design skills are crazy good. Check out their The Flash square. Who wouldn’t want to knit this kind of fun stuff??
  • I’ve been wanting to learn double knitting. Doing this blanket will give me all kinds of opportunities to learn and practice the technique.
  • One of my main knitting goals for 2016 is to finish a blanket. With the Geek-A-Long, you not only have the satisfaction of completing a blanket, you also have all the little moments of happiness that come with finishing each square. I think that will help me stick with it.
  • I absolutely love a good knit along. If it’s a mystery, that’s even better.
  • It’s for a great cause! Child’s Play Charity does a ton of good. I’m not going to be using the Louet GEMS yarn, a portion of whose sales benefit Child’s Play, but I will make a donation directly to Child’s Play.
There are probably other reasons I’m doing this too. I just can’t think of them right now. I’m distracted by wanting to dive into Extreme Double Knitting by Alasdair Post-Quinn. It came in the mail this afternoon. Woohooo!! I’ll report back!

Happy New Year, knitting people!!! I wish you lots and lots of happiness and tons of knitting time in 2016!!

The Shortest Day 6

Light

For the most part, I’m not a fan of the dark. The long days of winter are a serious challenge for me, especially when the cold makes the few daylight hours hard to enjoy. Moving from Chicago to Tennessee has helped with that, but still . . . You’d think the Winter Solstice would be a picker upper—longer days ahead and all of that—but  instead it feels like night has won, at least for awhile.

IMG 2346

The one thing we can do here in Tennessee that was much harder in Chicago  is get out and be part of the natural rhythm. Blade and I took advantage of the warm weather we’ve been having and soaked up as much of today’s sun as we could on a long walk.

We came across a fallen tree and spent awhile looking at the part that was high in the air a few days ago. 

IMG 2356

Blade used it as a balance beam while I ran my hands along the rough, wet bark and tried to imagine what it means that trees fall . . . nothing and everything.

Blade had a great time smelling the damp earth and sticking his nose in cracks and leaf piles.

IMG 2360

And the bee hives. It’s warm enough that a few bees were out.

IMG 2362

I also hung out with the chickens for awhile, and worked, and knitted. I’m still a bit behind on my scrap yarn socks. This is up through Day 17.

Dec 17 web

Tonight, I’m stopping to knit washcloths for my dad for Christmas. He loves knitted cloths for dish washing, and I love knitting them for him. This year, I’m using Knit Picks “Dishie” for the first time. I’m anxious to see how it works out.

What are you doing this Winter Solstice? Whatever it is, I hope it makes you happy. Some year, maybe we can all go together to the Tropic of Capricorn and watch the sun seem to stand still and then slowly reverse its course. I’m not sure if that would make this day better or worse, but it would be something I’d love to see. And we’d bring our knitting, of course. Thank goodness for knitting.

 

Home 2

After what felt like a warp speed visit to Texas, I’m back at home. My mom loved her birthday scarf! It looks great on her, and she wore it a couple of times while I was there.

Mom

Seeing how easy it was to wear and tie differently for different looks made me even more sure I want to knit another one of these.

First, though, I’m going to be knitting my mom a pair of Cupcake Mitletts. I was finishing up my pair on the trip, and she liked them, so we stopped by the local yarn shop, and she picked out some yarn for a pair for her.

Here’s a picture of mine, fresh off the needles. The yarn we got for Mom’s is a pretty, burnt orange color, similar to the color of her scarf.

Cupcake Mitletts 2

Yesterday was sort of a disaster travel-wise. Between late flights and missed connections, I didn’t get in until nearly 3:00 am. That’s made today a challenge in terms of productivity. Other than a bit of paper grading, all I’ve managed to accomplish is a batch of cookies for Fiber Guild tomorrow and a little bit of knitting on my Scrap Yarn Advent Calendar Socks. 

Scrap Sock

I’m way behind! Oh, well . . . hopefully, I’ll have time to catch up next week.

Look what else happened today. Snow! The first of the year.

1st Snow

Thursday 4

Hello, Knitting People!

I hope everyone is doing okay out there. I’m grading end-of-term papers and getting ready for my trip to Texas. On the knitting front, I’m making slow progress on the border of the Travel Shawl.

It was warm enough outside today to sit on the porch and knit for awhile.

Travel Shawl

I’ve also been keeping up with the Scrap Yarn Sock Advent Calendar knit along. Here’s where we are so far.

Dec 10 web

Dec 9 v2 web

The top bar of the second sock, the part that looks like it says “POOP,” is actually “Woof,” written out in runes. We got to pick our word, and I thought “Woof” seemed like a fun one because, you know . . . dogs. Anyhoo, after I finished I realized it looked like it spelled poop. Shoot.

I really love a fun knit along. I’ve mentioned the Lattes and Llamas Geek-A-Long before. Some of the squares on the 2014 and 2015 blankets were absolutely inspired. I also love the idea of doing a double-knit blanket which is what you end up with if you do the Geek-A-Long squares.

The theme for the 2016 Geek-A-Long was revealed today in the Ravelry group. It turns out it’s going to be video games, from classic to modern. This actually seems less interesting to me than the 2014 theme, Fandom, or the 2015 theme, Mad Scientists. But Dr Llama says it will be “the most visually dynamic blanket” they’ve done yet. If that’s true, it will be one awesome blanket. I’m so tempted!

I also got a card in the mail this week for the Rowan Martin Storey Knit Along for 2016. It’s starting on January 28 and runs through the end of May. I’ve seen some pics of the 2014 blanket, and it’s really gorgeous, something that seems like it would have been fun to knit and wonderful to keep and use and use and use.

It’s funny—I love blankets. Love having them, love using them, love thinking about them, love working on them… The only problem is that, so far, I’ve never actually finished one! I think one of my goals for 2016 will be to start and finish a blanket. We’ll see.

Other interesting knitting news . . .

Have you heard about Chanel? Two of their team apparently visited Fair Isle and spent time with a Scottish designer named Mati Ventrillon. They claimed to be interested in learning more about the Fair Isle tradition. A few months later, a sweater almost identical to Ventrillon’s showed up on the catwalk in Rome as one of Chanel’s new designs. Not cool. Chanel has apologized. Still…

Also, if you haven’t read Gregory Patrick’s “The Time I Was Questioned By Police for Knitting in a Starbucks,” be sure to check it out. It’s a great story, and as someone who used to be a police officer, I can say that it doesn’t surprise me one bit.

Ta-da! 4

FO 1 web

The birthday scarf is off the needles, and I love it! The pattern is pretty without being fussy which is very much my mom’s style. I can’t wait to give it to her next week. 

FO 4 web

This is the most enjoyable thing I’ve knit in quite a while. The pattern is Windy City Knits Lace Shawl by Angela Walker.

There is enough variation in each row so that you have to pay a little bit of attention, but the pattern is easy to memorize. I knit on it while doing all kinds of other things including reading, and it was much nicer than something plain like stockinette or rows and rows of garter stitch. 

FO 7 web

FO 5 web

I will definitely be making more of these!

FO 9 web

‘Round Here 3

Birthday Shawl Cast On

I’m on a mission. My mom has a big birthday coming up on December 15th, and I spent so long trying to decide what to do for a gift that I backed myself into a knitting corner. I’ve given her a couple of knitted gifts recently, so I was thinking it might be better to buy her a gift. I looked and thought and asked friends for suggestions and thought some more and finally realized the day before yesterday that nothing would feel right but a handmade gift.

Luckily, I had this gorgeous yarn in my stash. It’s David Simpson’s Green Dragon Sport (thank you, Cari!!!) in a colorway my mom will love. It’s called  “Paprika,” and that’s just what it looks like. It’s a variegated dark orange that takes on an almost brownish cast in the right light.

I’ve had my eye on this scarf pattern for awhile, and I think it will be perfect.

So yesterday, I cast on and got down to business.

Birthday Shawl

Birthday Shawl 2

It’s going along fairly quickly, and the further I get, the more sure I am that this was the right call. Hopefully, when my mom wears it, she’ll know I was thinking of her and knitting love into every single stitch. That prospect makes me really happy.

The Travel Shawl is on hold for now—at first because I ran out of yarn but now because all knitting is birthday scarf knitting. The only thing left to do on it is the border, and I got the yarn for that today. I’m actually hoping to get back to it in time to finish before my trip to Texas. I’d love to take it with me and try it out!

The only knitting I’m doing that doesn’t have to do with my mom’s birthday present is the scrap yarn sock for the Scrap Yarn Sock Advent Calendar KAL. Here are my scraps.

Sock Scraps

We’re working the number of rows that correspond to the date and alternating back and forth between socks. Here’s today’s knitting. We did four rows using the color that corresponded to the year we joined Ravelry. I joined in 2011, so my color was green.

Dec 4 scrap sock

That’s about it. The weather has mostly looked like this.

Weather

Which as led me to things like this.

Baileys Cake

And whipped cream, which I acknowledge but can’t bring myself to photograph for posterity.