Thursday, November 29, 2012

Mystery Cowl, AKA Sartorial Cowl, finished

It's finished and blocking. The now named Sartorial Cowl is complete and I like it alot. I used just a bit over 1 skein of this yummy yarn so I decided to cast on right away for another one, in the next smaller size. I should be able to finish the smaller size with what's left of the second skein, which was most of it.

What do you think of these button options? The top one is a really pretty blue, the middle is black (even though it looks brown in the photo) and the bottom one looks sorta like wood with a bit of twig etching on it. I am toying with the idea of using the brown and black together (alternating) on this cowl and using the blue buttons on the second, smaller cowl.

So, I finished one project last night and immediately added another (the second, smaller cowl). That seems weirdly unfair but since I am at the halfway point already, I expect to have this cowl finished before the weekend. Besides, I needed the distraction. I have a potential health issue on the horizon and I am afraid the get too far into anything that involves detail or counting. More tomorrow on that.

Progress on the Swirl Sweater, Shades of Grey, is good. I am on welt 50 of 59! Each welt is 5 rows and the rows are getting shorter! I can see this being finished (sewn and all) within 2 weeks! Yippeee!

I've gotten in some good knitting time while waiting for tests and doctors (see above paragraph) and expect to have more time tomorrow so the vanilla socks are getting longer. DH and I have been really feeling the cold this year so this progress will be very much appreciated by DH since those socks are going to be his.

I thought I would share a view of our Thanksgiving sunset. Have a good day, all.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Swirl Sweater

I was trying to stick to knitting Bob's sweater first and getting it finished, but I needed simpler knitting for the boating trip and also just recently in the evening, as I am not thinking as clearly as I should. I have a cold and find myself distracted. The Swirl Sweater has therefore been the recipient of a lot of attention. I am on welt (5 rows to a welt) 50 of 59!!!!! I am nearing the end of the knitting! I have to say that I have enjoyed knitting on this sweater and didn't get bored the way I thought I would. Of course I didn't knit on it at all over the summer (due to the heat) but still had no problems picking it up and knitting a few welts at a time.

I have managed to finish one sleeve of Bob's sweater, so I haven't totally deserted that project. I just haven't felt like starting the ribbing and then figuring out how I did the increases on the other sleeve. My first attempt at the sleeve following the formula given in Ann Budd's book yielded sleeves that were a bit too narrow so I changed the frequency of the sleeve increases but didn't write it down. Of course. that would have been the smart thing to do. Sigh.

I am almost at the end of the Mystery cowl knitting. I like the cowl pattern a lot - I can see knitting a few more for gifts. I have to knit the button band on one edge of the cowl and decide on buttons, then sew them on. This one will be finished before the weekend.

The KAL mystery shawl was shoved aside when I picked up the swirl sweater.  I am not sure, but I think I will finish Call me Cordelia before I finish the mystery shawl since I am behind on the KAL anyway.

So, current projects are Swirl sweater, Bob's sleeve, Mystery cowl that should be finished soon, Call me Cordelia and a pair of socks. (the socks vary, depending on whether I need distraction or just knitting).  Knitting, knitting, knitting. ; )

Oh, and I blocked the double knit scarf I finished a while ago and a cowl I knitted with some handspun. I hope to get photos of those this weekend, and I hope to get Juneberry and the new cowl blocked this weekend also.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Holding Hands Blanket Finished!

That's right. I have finished another project! I bound off the last stitches and wove in the ends this afternoon and it's washing right now. I hope to present the gift on Monday. Holding hands.

I allowed myself to knit the next clue in the mystery cowl KAL as a reward. Tomorrow we will be fishing on the boat and I will bring the yarn to start the second sleeve of Bobs sweater.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Plan

I cleaned out the yarn closet (well, most of it, anyway) yesterday. I went through all of my inside yarn (I don't have room to store it all inside, so it's mostly just sock yarn inside) and my WIPs. I finally got brave enough to count and list them. Gulp. I have decided to take the bull (almost 25 WIPs) by the horns and get these things  finished or frogged. Most of them will be finished. I am a bit heavy in the shawl area because I went through a period of many months where I didn't want to touch lace. I have Laminaria, Rock Island, Eliina, the Swirl shawl, a Curved Shawl with Diamond Edging from Victorian Lace Today  Call Me Cordelia and the mystery shawl KAL that I just started. Whew!

In sweaters I have Bob's sweater, my Swirl Sweater, Shell Seekers and the Cardi Cozy. I love them all and will finish them all.

There is the Holding Hands baby blanket, due in a month. That's almost finished. I started Topiary in the spring, put it aside over the summer and now I can't find it. Must search. That's another WIP.

I have 3 pairs of socks on the needles, 3 cowls on the needles plus one more I need to knit but that hasn't been started yet. There is one scarf, one pair of gloves and some beaded sachets and some wash cloths to be finished. I also have a shrug on the needles but I am seriously thinking that I will frog that and make more of the mystery cowls. I like the look of it. I ripped Penumbra last night (it was finished but I didn't like it) and I have a sweater that was finished that I need to rip because it doesn't fit after blocking.

I plan to finish these projects, deciding on the order of knitting by how close they are to being finished, with those closest going first to build some momentum and enthusiasm. I am trying to knit on just 3-4 projects at a time so that I can see progress on each but don't get too bored. A few new projects will be built into the schedule to avoid feeling trapped by the WIPs. ; )

I need a full day to go through my stash, log and photograph it so that I can plan some new projects using yarn on hand. I think that might be a good snowy day project. I could "shop" in my stash for quite a while and not run short .....

I plan a similar evaluation and planning for my spinning projects soon. I did a lot of photographing over the weekend and will add it to my  Ravelry stash for tracking purposes. I need to find out what I have and come up with plans for spinning it. I want to take at least the first 6 months of the new year, though, to spend time learning new techniques. Those fibers will be the first to be sorted.

The next knitting type of review/evaluation will be to go through my handspun stash, sort it into colors that might blend and find knitting projects to make with the handspun that I have been making for a few years. That's another day and another post.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving all.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Another FO!

It's not blocked yet, but the knitting is finished on the cowl I was knitting for the Ravelry group swap. I used a provisional cast on and slipped all of the stitches on waste yarn at the end so it can be easily grafted around the other cowl (the point of the exercise). YIPPEE! another project off the needles! Today is the day that the mystery cowl initial clue will be released, so I really feel good about finishing one before starting another. Of course, I still have to knit a second cowl just like the one I finished, this one for myself, to be grafted around the one my swap partner knitted and is sending to me.

I am doing pretty well finishing projects due to limiting my self to working on no more that 4 at a time. I still switch projects around to get variety, but the variety is limited enough that things actually get finished! I started that mystery shawl the other night but have now put it aside in order to work on the baby blanket. The due date is coming up soon and the mother mentioned the other day that she might have to stop working sooner than planned. I would love to give this to her in person rather than ship it, so I am pushing big time to finish it.

I have just about 2 inches to knit on the sleeve cap for Bob's sweater and then it will be time to start knitting the second sleeve. Close. So close to the finish.

I am going to try to get my husband to help with the Juneberry blocking this weekend. If he can do the basic pinning out (I can put the wires in without hurting my shoulder) then I can go back, I think, and fine tune the shaping. With any luck I will feel better when it's time to block Call me Cordelia, which I hope to get back to knitting soon.

I really need to get in a photo session so I can show off my progress. Maybe Friday ....

I had a horrible time getting to work today - accidents all over the roads, causing major traffic slow downs, which then led to more accidents. The the hail started to come down! What is normally about an hour drive was over 2 hours today. Ugh.

Have a good day

Monday, November 12, 2012

Let there be light!

Finally, late Friday night, my mother and her neighbors had power restored! They are all recuperating  now from their almost 2 weeks of struggling to eat and stay warm with no power. The neighbors are returning home and/or getting back to normal. The people who were working on her block were from Washington state and the mid-west!

I started the vanilla socks for my men. I want to knit these as fast as possible so that there are enough socks to go all week without washing them. You can see that I have both socks started. I will feel better finishing the pair together. I don't like to knit them at the same time on 2 circs - I did that once and it didn't work well. I just used 2 sets of DPNs and will work them alternately.

  I cast on the Mystery shawl over the weekend. I love the way the cables show with this yarn. I can't decide whether I like the YOs the way I did them or if I should rip and make them smaller. I think I will leave them, though, since they are at least consistent in size. The yarn is Domy Heather in a pretty, light gray.

The Mystery cowl KAL starts tomorrow. Here is my yarn. It's the wrong gauge but I liked it and will adjust.

  One of the Ravelry groups I belong to has sponsored a bff cowl swap. Two people each knit a cowl twice. They send on to their swap buddy and keep one. The two different cowls are then grafted together. Here is mine.
And a close up of the stitch pattern. The photo above is closer in color.

My bff swap partner is using the same yarn but in a colorway in shades of gray and we agreed to use stitch patterns that would be horizontal when worn. Her pattern is Frostlight and I think they will look very nice together.

I plied my Black Welsh Mountain singles over the weekend. I did not have an even amount on each bobbin, though, so I didn't clear bobbins as planned. That's OK. It helps to make me more monogamous and get this fiber spun up.

I still haven't been spindle spinning.  My shoulder is still fairly painful and I don't know until the activity is over whether I have irritated the injury. I am unwilling to do that for spindle spinning. I can use the wheel without increasing the pain so that is what I will do. Maybe I'll finish the BWM faster?

My spinning plans for the next year are taking shape. I want to make 2013, at least the first few months, the year of learning new techniques and getting better at the older ones. I want to sample more art yarns, I want to make a nice corespun yarn. I want to spin an even bulky yarn. There's more, but I'll just say that I want to work at learning this coming year.

My knitting will be more planned and less spontaneous next year, too. I want to find projects for my handspun yarns. I plan to go through my handspun and sort the yarns together into groups that might be knitted together. I don't like the patch work look, so those types of projects are out. I will try to find some shawls or cowls that will be enhanced by the use of several different yarns together. For those yarns that won't go with others, I will find mitts or something smaller to make with them. In the future (for the next year, at least)  I plan to shop for yarn in my stash and find a pattern to make rather than finding the pattern and then looking for yarn.

I worked on the sleeve for Bob's sweater over the weekend. I am nearing the top of the sleeve - most of the sleeve shaping has been done. I have to measure the sleeve against the opening to see if I have to adjust the length, then bind off and sew. One more sleeve to go after that!

Friday, November 09, 2012

Still. No. Power!

That's right, folks. My mother and her neighbors still have no power. My mother, fortunately, has a generator hooked up to her heating system and a son to fetch and pour gas (after waiting on line for hours) but the others on her block are not so lucky. What is taking LIPA so bleeping long?!

I knew it couldn't go on. I resisted casting on for a while and now I have succumbed. My DH commented a couple of days ago that he would be wearing wool socks daily due to the cold weather. I brought to mind how many pairs of wools socks he has, thought about the fact that I do laundry once a week and hit the LYS. I picked up sale (40% off) sock yarn and cast on. I will knit toe up, plain vanilla or ribbed socks as fast as I can. Right now I plan one pair for DH and one for eldest son, who works outdoors or in unheated houses most days. DH might get both of these, though. I think perhaps commercial socks will hold up to construction work better. We'll see.

Today the Mystery Shawl KAL that I signed up for (why? I don't know.) released the first clue. I might start that this weekend or I might wait until I have the first sleeve of Bob's sweater finished. Next Tuesday the first clue for the mystery cowl KAL will be released, and since I am knitting that with a few local knitting friends, I will cast that on in real time so to speak. A cowl should be pretty quick knitting.

I managed a couple of rows on the baby blanket last night and hope to get a lot of that knitted during the football games over the weekend. Tonight I will spend some time concentrating on how to knit the arm shaping of the sleeve and getting that started. Christmas. That's my new goal for the sweater.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Juneberry is complete!!

That's right! I finished another WIP! I really love Juneberry. I have to weave in ends and block (if my shoulder allows blocking) but I love it already. It's pretty and warm and cuddly. I won't bother uploading an unblocked photo because you really can't see the pattern, especially on a brown yarn but I will get photos as soon as possible.

Next up lace wise is Call me Cordelia. I think I can finish it by Thanksgiving.

I also finished my ravens/holiday scarf yesterday. Yippee!

Non-lace knitting still consists of the baby blanket, Bobs sleeve and the cowl for the swap.  I should make better progress on those now that I am not pushing to finish Juneberry.

Mom still has no power. It's time, for sure. I don't know what is taking so long and I am starting to get impatient for her. There are a lot of elderly people living on her street and while my mother has my brother to handle the generator and waiting on line to get gas for it, many of the others do not have those "luxuries". They have been sitting in cold, dark homes for over a week now.
I have offered to drive up to get her, though with the gas limitations, that's a sketchy idea but she says no.

We looked at photos on the web of the areas on Long Island where we grew up and recreated. It's so sad to see some of the places we knew totally gone. Keep everyone affected by Sandy in your thoughts for a long time. It will be well over a year before life comes near normal for some of those people, if ever.

Friday, November 02, 2012


Penumbra is finished, probably for good. I completed the knitting and was less than thrilled. I have been less than thrilled since I first saw the pattern, but hoped it would grow on me. It hasn't and I can't bring myself to block it because I don't want to waste the time. I am pretty sure that I will rip the whole thing and knit something else with the yarn and beads. I love the yarn, I love the beads, I love the combo but I don't love the project. Sigh. The next pattern is so much prettier (IMHO) and I will knit that, though not until I finish up some other WIPs. Maybe I'll knit a couple of "Pretty Thing" cowls and add beads. I think that will look wonderful and planning where to put the beads should not be hard.

I have been good about not casting on, I am proud to report. My current projects are (1) the cowl for the Natchwoolie groups swap, (2) the baby blanket (baby is due 12/25 so I really can't put that off), (3) Bob's sweater and (4) the Call me Cordelia shawl. This shawl is the one thing I will change in my current line up of projects. I am closer to the finish of Juneberry than I am on Cordelia. That means that I can finish Juneberry faster. Finishing is what I am trying to do. Besides, Juneberry is bigger and warmer so will be more useful in this suddenly much colder weather.

I have, therefore, made the decision to switch  out Cordelia for Juneberry in my current project priority list. I will finish Juneberry, then go back to Cordelia. I still think I can finish by Christmas and be ready to start either the new Sivia Harding club shawl that is due out about the end of December or knit the current one, called Oaken Dreams. It's beautiful!

My mother and brothers, on Long Island, are all still without power but all doing pretty well. Generators are in use. ; )

DH is chomping at the bit to get out on the water. He knows that soon he will be closing the boat up for the winter and doesn't really want that to happen. Thank goodness knitting and spinning don't have off seasons. I am not sure what I would do, so I have much sympathy for DH. Enough that even on days when I would much rather stay home, I will go on the boat with him and be a good sport about it. We have to wait another few days, though. The debris in the Chesapeake from the flooding is amazing and dangerous to someone on a boat, assuming that they want to stay on the top of the water, not in it! 

I have been spinning again. I spent a good part of Tuesday on my wheel, spinning all of the Black Welsh Mountain that I had prepped (I am on the third of 3 bobbins needed to ply). I have to prep more but my shoulder is not happy with that particular activity so it might be a while. I then moved on to spinning some lovely chocolate brown Shetland that we were given during the spinning retreat I attended a couple of weeks ago. I am trying to spin it very thin and plan to ply it with other fiber that we got at the retreat. Pictures will be added later.

I'd love to do some spindle spinning but that is another activity that is not advised due to my shoulder injury. It might be a partial rotator cuff tear, it might be tendinitis but either way over the shoulder positioning of the arm on the right is not good. I can do it but I'll be in pain the next day. Seems silly, doesn't it? I'll be good, at least for another few weeks.

Have a wonderful weekend, all.

Judith MacKenzie Mc Cuin

If you are a spinner, weaver or in any way interested in the fiber arts, you have probably heard of Judith. She is an amazing woman and teacher. She has inspired me and many others and she has just suffered a tragedy. Her entire studio and everything in it has burned. If you know anything about her and her work, you know that this is indeed a tragedy. Some of her things are not replaceable, but many are. Please, if you can manage it at all, go to one of the sites that is collecting money and/or equipment and contribute.
The Yarn Harlot has written about it and has included links to ways to help. There are other groups helping, too. Please help.