Posts for : January 2018

Pompom Hat! 22

Pompom hats are everywhere, and I finally decided, “enough drooling,” and made myself one. It’s absolutely as fun to wear as it looks!

The pattern is Howard’s Tam. This is my fourth one, and it’s a great go-to cable hat pattern. The directions call for the brim to be knit closed, but I like the flexibility of an adjustable brim, so I left mine open. I also added one cable repeat for an extra snuggly, ear-covering version.

The yarn is Malabrigo Rios in “English Rose.” Mmmmm!

There are two notable things about this knit. First, I’d just seen this post on the SpinFoolish blog (hey, Dorothea!!!) about the cable cast on. I am terrible about always defaulting to the long tail cast on, but Dorothea’s post inspired me to shake things up. I’m so glad I did! The cable cast on is perfect for a hat–just the right amount of stretch and not an inch of wasted yarn.

The other notable thing was how I attached the pompom. Someone (if you’re reading this and know who it was, please remind me) posted about  this VeryPink Knits video tip for using a button as a stabilizer and making the pompom removable. This is the first time I’ve tried this, and I’m hooked. It’s amazing the difference that bit of stability provided by the button makes in how the pompom sits and feels.

Now, I must finish my lesson prep for next week’s classes as fast as humanly possible so that I can cast on this! The pattern came out today and instantly blew every other knitting thing off my radar. The nerdiness kills me.

Hope you’re having a great weekend and getting lots of knitting done wherever you are! Be well, my friends.

Joining in for Unraveled Wednesdays 17

Remember the Yarn Along hosted by Ginny Sheller on her blog Small Things? If you do, you’ll know that in March of last year, Ginny decided it was time to move on to other things, and she brought her weekly reading and knitting check-ins to an end. I was sad to see them go and have missed keeping up with everyone’s reading and knitting, but I was too crazed with trips back and forth to Texas and then teaching in the Fall to figure out what to do about it.

As it turns out, Kat, of AsKatKnits, picked up right where Ginny left off and has been hosting Unraveled Wednesdays for nearly a year now. Thanks to her, all of us knitter-readers out here still have a place to meet up. I’m joining in with the little stack of finished books that’s sitting on the chair by my bed.

A Man Called Ove was a joy to read—laugh-out-loud funny and tender and uplifting. Backman’s descriptive powers are insane. I kept thinking that passage after passage would be perfect to show my Comp I students so they could see how great descriptive writing works.

I’ve also been enjoying J.K. Rowling’s alter ego, Robert Galbraith. The Cuckoo’s Calling and The Silkworm aren’t the absolute best crime fiction I’ve ever read, but they’re definitely engaging and full of many of the things I love about J.K. Rowling’s writing–deeply considered characters and lots of thinking about the big, important parts of being human. With the Galbraith books, you also get a nice does of suspense, which is fun.

Earlier this week, I finished Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere. It doesn’t seem like something that will hang around in my brain for years, but it was entertaining and very well written.

 

Alright, back to getting ready for tomorrow’s crazy day of classes. I teach from 8:00 AM until 9:05 PM on Thursdays, so it’s pretty intense. You know I’ll have my knitting with me for the in-between times, though! I’ll be working on Log Cabin squares. You can see them in both of today’s book pictures. Look for a post about my Log Cabin project soon.

Be sure to check out AsKatKnits if you haven’t already. Kat writes about all kinds of interesting things in addition to knitting and reading. And her photography is gorgeous.

 

 

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I Freed My Fade! 24

I finished my Free Your Fade shawl! I actually cast off the week before school started, but between the lack of sunlight and the craziness of the beginning of the semester, I couldn’t get pictures until today. Even this afternoon, the sunlight was a bit meagre, but I think it might be as good as we’re going to get for awhile. So . . . here’s my first fade!

This is a well written, fun-to-knit pattern. It’s absolutely straightforward, but the eyelet rows keep it from becoming boring. Plus, I love the picot bind-off. It’s one of my favorites, both in the knitting and in the look of the end result.

The one thing that makes me think this shawl won’t get as much wear as some of my others is the DK weight yarn. The pattern is written for both fingering and DK weight versions, but I opted for the DK. I didn’t realize how much I’d gotten used to wearing fingering weight scarves and shawls, though, and as it turns out, I really prefer them. Somehow, the DK works for The Rain Outside, so I’m not entirely sure what the difference is. I do know I’ll probably end up saving this piece for the super cold days when something bulkier seems like the way to go.


And then there’s the fading. Why is this so much fun? It’s ridiculous how much I enjoyed watching it happen each time. I can see why the much larger Find Your Fade is such an addictive knit. As a matter of fact, while I was deep into knitting the Free Your Fade, Miss Babs was having their Annual Gratitude Sale where everything is 20% off. I went a little crazy with the Sojourn fingering.

Here’s what I ended up with.

 

Now I can spend a year or so changing my mind about which color combination to use. First. Since there’s more than enough yarn for two Find Your Fade shawls. Oops.

I’m feeling a little crazed so far in 2018, but having more time to knit is making a huge difference in my frame of mind. Be well, my friends, and knit on!

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Where Prayer Has Been Valid 13

I’m an inveterate goal setter. I think the reason for this is that having a goal provides a vantage point; it gives me someplace to start and somewhere to go. It’s like a good story. With a goal you get a beginning, a middle, and an end, and even if the end doesn’t turn out to be what you hoped for, it’s meaningful because it was part of something bigger.

My goals have been all over the place. In high school I decided I wanted to learn to speak French well enough that I could go to France by myself and fit in. It took me several years beyond high school to make this happen, but eventually it did. One time, I decided I wanted to get strong enough to bench press my body weight. I told myself that if I could do it, I’d get a tattoo. I did, and I did.

There have been plenty of instances of failure in the goal achieving department. I have yet to knit a complete blanket, and there’s that dissertation that’s missing a few chapters. The thing about even these unrealized goals, though, is that by staking a claim in my consciousness and my day-to-day life, they’ve made possible some of the most meaningful experiences I’ve ever had.

I mention all of this for obvious reasons. I don’t usually make resolutions, but I do like to begin the year with a sense of where I want to direct my attention. This year, one of the things I’ve decided to do is participate in the #spin15aday2018challenge.

Knitting just is. It happens regardless. Sometimes, I might have a goal of tackling a particular technique or completing a special project (looking at you here, blanket), but I don’t need extra motivation to knit any more than I do to breathe.

Spinning is different, though. I enjoy it immensely, and actually knitting with my own handspun . . . Well, that was transformative. The thing is, I tend to get caught up in the particulars. I worry that my yarn isn’t consistent, that the twist of the singles isn’t right for the twist of the ply, that my prep is incomplete or downright wrong, that I’m not treating the fiber in the way it wants to be treated. I’ve vowed to let my hands take over and do it by feel. I’ve also tried measuring every possible variable. Neither approach has felt right enough to be completely satisfying. So, I spin in fits and starts.

Well, the other day I happened across the #spin15aday2018challenge. Sherrill, The 1764 Shepherdess, has been spearheading this challenge since 2015. Who knew??

About ten thousand people on instagram, apparently.

But anyway . . .

This challenge is a wonderful thing. Many, many of the instagram pics feature dazzling work. There is also quite a community that has developed around the idea. A lot of those who participate are doing the January #wemakeyarn challenge, created by @ThreeWatersFarm and @KnittingSarah. Posters respond to prompts related to their fiber lives with both photos and explanations. The insight this is offering into spinners’ minds and habits is incredible. File it under “feeding the soul,” people. Seriously, follow that hashtag! You won’t be sorry.

But I digress . . . I have committed to trying to spin for at least 15 minutes every day in 2018. It’s been five days, and I’m already a changed spinner. No kidding. This post is getting long, so I won’t go into all of the particulars, but at least this time, with this fiber, I was able to hear it tell me what it wants to be. I had it all wrong initially. Wrong spindle, wrong gauge, all of it. In fifteen minutes a day, with no goal other than spinning fiber for a short time, I learned that I haven’t been listening. I’m starting to think that with spinning, my goal should simply be to spin, at least for now, and see what happens.

These lines from T. S. Eliot’s Little Gidding keep going through my head:

You are not here to verify,
Instruct yourself, or inform curiosity
Or carry report. You are here to kneel
Where prayer has been valid.

I wonder if sometimes simply showing up where good things have happened before is enough of a goal. I’ll keep you posted.

 

P.S. #fringeandfriendslogalong

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