Tag: location

Spindle Love 9

I haven’t talked about spinning here in awhile, but the scent of spring–which in my brain leads directly to summer and the Tour de Fleece–is in the air, and I’m getting the itch. Plus, I was lucky enough to get several new Jenkins Turkish spindles recently, so that’s probably another reason I’ve got spinning on my mind. These are my absolute favorite spindles, and they can be ridiculously hard to come by.

One of the new spindles is a tiny purpleheart Kuchulu. My idea is that this one is going to make an especially nice travel spindle, so since yesterday was errand day, I decided to take it for a test drive.

By the time we made our usual stop for coffee at Jemima’s on the Laurel River, I’d managed to start the leader and wind on a tiny little cop.

I kept spinning as we drove to Asheville.

As I’d hoped, the Kuchulu is perfect for spinning in a confined space. There was no awkwardness at all as I spun in the car.

It turns out it’s also super convenient for dropping in a bag or purse and pulling out when there’s a bit of down time. I spun for a few minutes after lunch while we figured out the game plan for the rest of the afternoon.

On the way home, I was needing to knit, so I put this little guy away and pulled out my Inlet cardigan. I love it, though, and I can see taking it with me everywhere so I’ve got it when I find myself in the mood to spin.

If you like the idea of traveling spindles and want to see some great pictures, check out this thread in the Jenkins Ravelry group for instant happiness.

Does anyone else have spinning on the brain these days?

Knit Potion 4

I don’t seem to be able to language lately, but knitting goes on.

Exhibit A (etc.): Cabled Fingerless Mitts for Cari . . . That’s actually Cari’s hand wearing the mitt, which just happens to match her mug with knitted cables on it. AND she’s knitting! In other words, this picture equals a whole bunch of happy for me.

 

Fetching Mitts for Liz:

 

Annual Christmas dishcloths for my Dad:

 

Double Knit Cap for my godson Finn:

 

 

Elevation Hat for my cousin Randy (modeled by Paul):

Solidarity, my knitters!

Wear It Every Day Sweater 6

CPY Sweater 1Behold the Crystal Palace Yarn sweater! Its proper name is He’ll Wear It Every Day (from The Yarn Girls’ Guide to Simple Knits). As you can guess from the pattern name, it’s actually sized for men. I knew it would be a bit big, but I just knit the smallest version and went down a needle size. It’s definitely roomy, but I think it’ll be fine for knocking around.

Crystal-Palace-Yarn-Sweater-2

I found the pattern when I was looking for a quick sweater knit in pieces to remind myself what it was like to knit set-in sleeves. I’m planning a sweater for Paul and was thinking this construction might suit him better than a seamless sweater would. It had been so long since I’d done it, though, that I wanted to find out if it was really as big of a pain in rear as I remembered.

Guess what. It wasn’t!

Since the last time I knit a sweater this way, I’ve discovered Amy Herzog, and I think I must have been channeling her when I did the sleeve caps.

Crystal-Palace-Yarn-Sweater-4

I’m not saying it wasn’t a little tedious, but the shoulder seam makes for such a nice fit that I think it’s worth it. I don’t find nearly as many patterns for sweaters with set-in sleeves as I used to, though, so I’m going to have to do a little looking to choose something for Paul.

Meanwhile I’ve got the never-ending, giant blue rectangle to keep me busy. Surely . . . SURELY, I will finish it today. If I don’t, my next blog post will probably be from the psych ward.

At least when I was working on the infamous blue rectangle this weekend, I had the company of lots of other knitters to keep my spirits up. Our local fiber contingent got together for World Wide Knit in Public day and spent the afternoon knitting outdoors in beautiful Jonesborough.

WWKIP-Day-2016

This picture is of my BFF Cari and me. I say this every year, I think, but we actually MET on WWKIP day four years ago! How’s that for a knitting fairy tale?!

Happy Friday! 0

WorkKnitting-sm

Since the current state of knitting here at Chez Knit Potion is mostly my looking longingly at my WIPs while I remind myself to get back to work, I thought I’d take a page out of last week’s book and share some of the  fun links I’ve come across online over the last few days.

The number one best discovery has to be The Secret History of Knitting.

 

 

I found this documentary by reading a post on Little Golden Notebook (another new-to-me knitting blog that’s full of interesting stuff). If you’re a knitter, the film is big fun to watch. It’s loaded with great visuals, and while most of the knitting highlights are things I was familiar with, there are a few surprises. There is actually a pretty convincing explanation of the origin of the Kitchener Stitch, one with more detail than I’d heard before (would love to know the source of their info), and there is a fascinating section on the secret codes women stitched into their knitting to pass along details of railway activities to the Belgian Resistance during WWII. In addition, there are interviews with knitting superstars and a satisfying overview of the ups and downs of knitting for the last thousand years or so. It’s thoroughly enjoyable.

The number two interesting thing was a post on the UK Hand Knitting blog about scrap yarn. Apparently, it was the thing the most knitters absolutely wouldn’t be without in their knitting kits. I’ve used scrap yarn for all of the things mentioned, but it was fun to see the run-down and, of course, the yarny pictures.

And in the news . . . I enjoyed this article about how a run on handknit Icelandic woollen sweaters is causing a knitting wool shortage in Iceland! And this one about a jaw dropping, knitted field of poppies created for the Chelsea Flower Show in the UK.

Finally, do you know about Twiddle Muffs? This is the article that sparked my interest. Twiddle muffs (or twiddlemuffs) are hand muffs with interesting textures and attached bobbles, and they are said to have a soothing effect on people suffering from dementia. It’s apparently common for those afflicted with Alzheimer’s and similar conditions to need something to do with their hands. Having a plush muff with buttons, ribbons, zippers, and other small points of tactile interest to run their fingers over helps keep their hands busy which makes them more at ease overall.

I had never heard of such a thing, but it makes a lot of sense, especially in light of what I’ve seen myself in a few people close to me. There are a number of free patterns online including these:

http://www.rdehospital.nhs.uk/docs/trust/pr/2015/Twiddlemuffs_Instructions_24-01-15.pdf
http://www.knitforpeace.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Twiddlemuff-Pattern.pdf
http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/twiddle-muff (crochet)

For anyone who’d like to knit for charity but hasn’t found the right project or for those who have someone close to them who is in need, this might be just the thing. I will definitely be making a few.

In the meantime, it’s back to work and fitting in my knitting where I can.

DoctorKnitting500

Happy weekend, my knitters!

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Heading Out 2

theater

Last night, we went out to dinner for the first time in ages and then went to a play. A friend had one of the lead roles, so it was a special occasion. I had a fancy cocktail:

dinner 1

What? You didn’t think I’d leave my knitting at home, did you?

And when I pulled out the phone to snap a picture, I realized I was also wearing a handknit, so here’s to handknits in action!

dinner 2

That’s my Travel Shawl. It’s turning out to be a favorite. I wasn’t planning to take it on my trip to Texas, because heat. But I’m rethinking that.

I’ve finally narrowed down my trip knitting. I’m back to working on the Geek-A-Long squares, so I’m taking the square in progress. I worked on it for a little bit this morning while I had coffee and did my beginning-of-the-day things:

breakfast

I also cast on the Churchmouse Easy Folded Poncho. It’s going to be the official when-I-can’t-pay-attention-but-really-must-be-knitting knitting.

The other thing I cast on was the Churchmouse English Mesh Lace Scarf. I’ve been wanting to knit this for awhile, and since it only takes one ball of Rowan Kidsilk Haze, and that weighs exactly nothing, it seemed like a good way to give myself another knitting option without its adding too much weight or bulk to my carry on.

I leave tomorrow and will be gone for a week. My plan is try to blog from the road at least once, but we’ll have to see how that goes. Even if I don’t manage to post anything, I’ll be reading. Now that I’ve found so many great new knitting blogs, I don’t want to miss anything!

Knitting On 2

Finished up my Week 6 Geek-A-Long square!

Katamari Damarcy 1 2

This is Katamari-Damarcy. I have no idea what the game is all about, but I liked Katamari, so here he is. (I think he’s a he.)

And here are all of my squares so far:

6 squares

I’m still having fun with this, but I feel the need to work on some other projects. The plan right now is to pick back up with my Gramps Cardi and then move on to a sweater for Paul. I’ll probably work on knitting Geek-A-Long squares here and there in between.

The Looped Loop is getting some love as well, but I’ve only been working on it when I’m on the go. Here we are taking a coffee break at the grocery store on Sunday. It was pouring outside, and by the time we made it the half hour to the store, a moment to wind down from driving in the crazy hard rain was in order:

Cowl 1 sm

Here’s Looped Loop at the Bee Meeting last night:

Cowl 2

I’m clearly using knitting and coffee as a talisman against the weather. Will it ever stop raining?

Here’s Looped Loop spread out so you can see how much I’ve done—relatively little actually, but I guess it’ll be finished some day.

Cowl 3

Don’t Ask, Walk! 0

No one can build you the bridge on which you, and only you, must cross the river of life. There may be countless trails and bridges and demigods who would gladly carry you across; but only at the price of pawning and forgoing yourself. There is one path in the world that none can walk but you. Where does it lead? Don’t ask, walk!

I came across this wonderful bit of insight from Neitzsche in a post on the Brain Pickings blog this week. It had a special resonance because it so perfectly describes a woman I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about. The woman’s name is Fukuko Katsuura, and weaving is her obsession. She is 88 years old. She started weaving at 60.

For decades the world said, “No, Fukuko Katsuura, you do not get to weave.” And she said, “Yes, I will weave.” And despite the restrictions of culture and geography and age and all kinds of other things, she did. She is. I’m making a list of unconventional role models, and she is at the top of it right now. There’s a juicy article about her here with lots of photos and interesting details. Coming across Nietzsche’s words at the same time as I’ve been thinking about her is one of those coincidences that makes me think I should pay attention. I mention it here mainly because the article on Katsuura’s weaving is a fascinating read but also because this idea of living authentically has been on my mind. It’s not easy, is it?

Knitting . . .

Weekend errands included a haircut with a few minutes to knit while I waited my turn.

Hari Salon Knitting

And here’s where I am with my first Geek-A-Long square!

Mario Kart Square

It’s absolutely every bit as fun as I thought it would be. There is something ridiculously satisfying about seeing the image appear in reverse on the opposite side. And the squish is insane. The idea of a whole blanket with this level of squish boggles the mind.

The weather here has been dramatic.

Weather

We’re in for the coldest night of the winter tonight, so I made soup for dinner. I used my new Christmas pot and made Hot and Sour Vegetable. Oh, my goodness. It was very, very good. I used this recipe for inspiration. Definite yum!

Hot and Sour Soup

Despite the way it appears, this is actually enough soup for days. The pot is huge!

No Idea What To Title This Post 2

Plane knitting 3

The sun was just coming up as I left Texas to head home. As I had anticipated, I got to do a lot of airport knitting on this trip. Most of it was on Gramps.
 
This was the day I left, during the first loooong layover.
 
Layover knitting 1
 
This was on the plane on the second leg of the trip to Texas.
 
Plane knitting 1
 
This was as I was landing that first night.
 
Plane knitting 2
 
And this was during the second layover on the way home as I was eating the homemade pimento cheese sandwich my mom made for me for lunch.
 
Lunch
 
The most exciting trip news I have to share with you is that Storm Cloud is fabulously wearable!
 
Most of the shawls I have feel like they’re wrapped around my neck more than my shoulders when I wear them, even the big ones. And I’m constantly fiddling to make sure they don’t come loose from how I’ve arranged them or slide off altogether. Storm Cloud was completely different! It rested naturally around my shoulders, and I could adjust it for the temperature without even really thinking about it.
 
I had it on all day a couple of different days, and when I wasn’t noticing that it was my handspun yarn and feeling kind of giddy about that, it was a perfect instance of form meets function. Nothing missing, nothing extra. It was like wearing a hug. I can’t say enough good things about it. This is truly the most enjoyable knitted thing I’ve ever worn. 
 
I even managed to get a handknits-in-action shot:
 
Storm cloud on plane
 
The trip itself was terrific. I spent lots of time hanging out and visiting with family. This is my step-brother’s dog, Roman, who is the sweetest boy ever.
 
Roman
 
And this is my aunt’s cat, Lola, who loves everyone!
 
Lola cat
 
I tried to get a shot of my mom’s cat, but they all turned out blurry. Next time.
 
This is a bird we met in a parking lot. I found out that my mom and my aunt carry bird seed in the car! When they see a hungry-looking bird (not sure how they can tell), they spread a handful of seed for it. I love them so much.
 
Bird 2
 
 

 Outtakes:

 

Aloe vera
 
Plant growing along the Texas Gulf Coast is a serious affair. Everything looked like it was about to take over the planet. The leaf on this one had to have been 18” across.
 
Big leaf plant
 
Did I mention that the layovers were realllllly long?
 
Lunch reading

Sum Sum Summertime 2

6

Eek! How’d we get to Wednesday already? And while we’re at it, how is it that the kids are already going back to school?! It seems so early, but a lot of the schools in our area are starting this week. Time flies, for sure.

This was the view from the cook out we to on Saturday. It’s kind of hard to tell in the picture, but the grade is pretty steep. At one point the wind caught the tent thing on the left and launched it into the air and off down the hill. Efforts to resurrect it proved futile, but we got to laugh a lot.

1

Sunday, we hiked along a rocky creek that runs through the woods for a mile and a half or so before it gets too steep and tangled to follow.

3

4

The picture at the top of this post is a shot of a pair of my handknit socks in action on the trail. Woohooo!! Here’s another.

8

I knit these socks in my blindly follow the pattern days, and they’re a bit shorter than I like. They work well with my hiking boots, though, and they’re super comfy.

Here’s my friend D trying not to get her feet wet. I normally ask before posting anyone’s picture, but she’s an actress, so I’m hoping she won’t mind. I love the look on her face.

5

On the knitting front, I’m making progress on CeCe. I’m hoping to start the neck shaping today. I’ve already ordered some Peace Fleece DK for my next sweater, so I want to to go ahead and wrap things up with CeCe.

I also cast on some socks in the newest installment of String Theory Sock Club yarn, “Capacitor” (in the “Inertia” base). All the colorways over at String Theory are named for sciency things.

9

Can you see the teeny capacitor stitch marker? I love it! There’s always some kind of fun stitch marker with the sock club yarn, but this one is the best so far.

10

Happiness Is . . . 3

After a crazy busy work week, with more crazy business slated for tomorrow, today was a little piece of awesome. My favorite Saturday of the month—fiber guild! I can honestly say that one of the very best parts of trading Chicago for the mountains of NE Tennessee has been finding Limestone Creek Fiber Guild. These women are amazing.

I’m normally reluctant to share pictures and stories from fiber guild because it’s  an intimate, private feeling kind of thing, and I think everyone likes it that way. Today, we had all sorts of visitors, though, so I thought this might be a good chance to say a little bit about what goes on one wonderful Saturday a month.

Felting

PJ

Our host is someone who has maintained a seriously demanding career in business while simultaneously attending culinary school, starting a llama farm, and launching her own fiber business. She grew up in Charleston. She exudes everything beautiful, welcoming, and warm about the South. She has peacocks. She cooks things that stay in your head forever as the absolute best. Pound cake, coconut flan pie, shrimp etoufee, mushroom bisque . . . She makes it look easy. When she greets you at the door, you are the exact person she’s been waiting to see. You want to stay there and knit or spin and cuddle with the cats and pet the dogs and visit . . . forever.

ML

Maisie on Couch

And the regulars at Fiber Guild are equally wonderful. One is in her eighties and was born in Limestone. She’s got more energy than I do. She still bales her own hay. She’s a nurse. She’s a gardener. She’s a cook. And she’s hilariously funny. Others have come to the area from the Northeast, the Pacific coast, Florida. They are scientists, technology geeks, academics, artists, authors. And the super amazing, most wonderful part of it all is that they knit, spin, crochet, or weave with an absolute passion. In some ways it’s like waking up surrounded by people from your home planet after you’ve spent a lifetime hanging out with aliens. 

Teddy

Today, the guild was visited by a woman who has a plan to help people in Zimbabwe make spinning wheels from old bicycles. She’s doing graduate work at a nearby university, and this is a project she’s well on her way to realizing. The people she’s working with have fiber animals but no way to process the fiber. With spinning wheels they could turn the fiber into yarn. We got to see a prototype of her bicycle spinning wheel and actually try it out. She was looking for feedback from the guild’s experienced spinners, and I think she got a lot. At some point in the not-too-distant future, there will be some sort of crowdfunding going on, and I’ll be sure to post a link. Pretty cool, huh?

Bike Wheel 1

Julie

We also got to meet a couple who raise alpacas and have recently opened their own fiber mill. A number of guild members purchase fiber by the fleece, and several even have fiber animals themselves, so a mill willing to do custom work on a small scale is an exciting prospect.

Alpaca

They brought samples of their alpaca fiber for everyone to try out, and it was luscious. I can definitely see myself spinning more of it in the future.

Alpaca Fiber

My contribution to the pot luck this month was paleo brownies. They were just okay. Our host’s gluten free, dairy free chocolate cream pie, on the other hand, was delicious!

Lunch

When we weren’t talking or eating or learning about cool new things, I spun and knit on this swatch of handspun.

Handspun Swatch

It was a very happy day.