Finished: Winter Set (Since It’s Spring…)

So….according to my notes, I first started what I’m calling my “winter set” back in November of 2011. And I finally finished the last piece, the scarf…in March of 2015. Two hard winters in a row, yet I didn’t get this finished until after the second one was over! The problem is that I can find scarves very long, tedious knitting projects. It was always so much easier to pick up something else. Until the cold hit at the start of this year. That plus my need for a project that I didn’t need to think about–pretty much all of 2015 this year has been busy work-wise, which has translated into less brainpower for the knitting–meant that suddenly the scarf seemed much more appealing. And even if I didn’t get to use it more than once or twice this year, there’s always next year. (Unless of course having a super-cozy scarf means the winter will be mild. A trade-off I would take!)

Monkeybread Scarf (1)

Monkeybread Scarf (2)

Monkeybread Scarf (3)

Pattern: Monkeybread Scarf by Anne Hanson (Ravelry)
Yarn: MinkYarn.com Chamonix, 70% Mink 30% Cashmere DK. 4 ply (+/- 2 skeins – whatever was left over after knitting a hat and mittens from the 4 skeins I purchased)
Needles: US7/ 4.5 mm

True to all reds, the color is hard to photograph. On my monitor, I’d say the color is really somewhere between the brighter red at the top and the “bluer” red at the bottom. It’s a nice rich red (which doesn’t seem to be available in this yarn any longer, pity.) Taking indoor photos probably didn’t help, but these are from when the weather was still iffy, and I must confess I’m too lazy to try for better!

I made the “infinity” version of the scarf and it’s only just long enough to wrap twice on a really cold day, so my row gauge is probably tighter than the pattern’s. If I recall correctly, I knit the number of repeats the pattern called for, and didn’t have enough yarn to knit any more. It wasn’t one of my more enjoyable knits–the super-wide cables, while fun to look at are a bit tricky to work with just a cable needle (retrospectively, I should have sought out a US7 DPN to make it easier). I also had a tricky time with the graft, because I was trying to keep the pattern (garter stitch edges, reverse stockinette between the cable sections). I finally had to take it off the needles so I could see the stitches clearly. (I also watched Anne’s free Craftsy video on grafting–the bit on textured stitches was very helpful.)  But it was the perfect winter project.

Knits Ahead!

Eeep. It’s late-mid-May already?! I’m not sure how that happened! I’d say I also wasn’t sure how I’ve let so much time go by without posting, but as I was uploading photos to my computer a little bit ago, the answer was obvious: lack of fully functioning laptop since mid-February, up until about two weeks ago. (The hard drive died and it first took me a while to decide whether to replace or repair and then a good bit longer to get everything installed and updated.) I have a tablet I can use for a lot, but I like to resize (and sometimes touchup/crop) my photos before I upload them, and I can only do that on the laptop. So…anything involving photos has suffered. Including photo organization – that took some time!

Fortunately, the crafting has not suffered the same fate. All those cold days we had in January and February provided quite the incentive, and I’ve just kept going since. I’ve finished, repaired, and restarted. Perhaps not finishing up as quick as I’d like, but steady progress nonetheless.

But today is the Saturday before Memorial Day, which means, like most years, my mom and I went to the local fiber show, the Great Lakes Fiber Show, so I simply must share about that first.

I was restrained this year. Yesterday I took a look through my stash, to remind myself that I really do have quite enough already. (Unless I want to knit a sweater our of something other than Briar Rose Sea Pearl.) So I behaved – only one new skein of yarn:

Bare Naked Wools - fresh lace - naturalBare Naked Wool: fresh lace
Laceweight
65% silk /35% linen
(1) skein at 756 yards (4 oz./100 g)
Colorway: natural

I also purchased some wool wash, as I’m getting low–I’ve begun washing all my knits for the season. The sweaters/mitts/scarves are done, but due to space constraints, I can only wash (and reblock) one shawl at a time. So I’ve a ways to go–hopefully before summer’s end!

While I was taking pictures of the new yarn, I also took the opportunity to snap some pics of another yarn, from last…fall? Spring? I can’t remember now. Regardless, I bought it at an event at the Bare Naked Wools Boutique. It’s actually a Briar Rose Fibers yarn, but was leftover from one of Anne’s club offerings. I just couldn’t resist the rich purple. (And then got home and discovered a very similar laceweight from Briar Rose in my stash. Which is why I now take pictures of my stash with me. Ahem.)

Briar Rose Fibers - Stella lace weight - deep purpleBriar Rose Fibers: Stella
Laceweight
80% Merino, 20% Silk
(1) skein at 1100 yards (113 g)

I really don’t have any plans for either of these yarns…yet…but they are both so tempting in their own separate ways. Which may be a good thing – although I have two on-the-needles projects, it won’t be long before I’m looking for the next thing, and I’m really not sure what that is just yet. Time for pattern browsing…

A Little Snow Indoors

Happy New Year! I know, I know–I’m a little late. I’ll blame the weather. I’ve had on my list for the past week,  “blog post about snowflakes,” but the weather hasn’t been cooperative: I wasn’t able to get a decent picture until today. While yes, late sunrises and early sunsets play their share in the difficulty, this past week was also complicated by real snow–I spent a couple extra hours on commuting this week thanks to the snow on the roads. (Which seems always “conveniently” timed to the morning drive in–has snow never heard of “midday?)

So you’d think I’d be sick of snowflakes–and of the real stuff, I am–and it’s still the first half of January! But I still like my thread snowflakes.

Tatted Snowflakes

 

These are more of the tatted snowflakes that I’ve shown off in the past. I think I’m going to count this project as “done” now. For one thing, it’s the sort of project that could go on indefinitely–how many snowflakes on a tree is too many?–so if I don’t call an end point it will never be done. For another, I’d really like to cross it off my list. But I might still continue to make some of the small ones–they go fast.

The patterns come from a variety of sources–I don’t even remember where I found the small snowflake now; it might have been an old issue of McCall’s Needlework. The big star shaped one, which probably took the longest was from a book of my Grandma’s. And the large square one–which wins the “most fiddly” award–comes from a back issue of Piecework (Nov.-Dec. 2004). If you look closely, it doesn’t want to lie flat–there’s simply too many knots too close together for it to do so. The picture in Piecework lies flat, so either I didn’t quite make it correctly–knots bunched too closely together perhaps, or the pattern as written and the picture shown aren’t quite the same. Given that the pattern leaves a bit to the tatter to work out (it doesn’t actually specify the number of repeats, for instance), it really could go either way. (The large star-shaped doesn’t lie flat at the moment either, but that’s a storage error.)

To finish the snowflakes I soaked them in a 50/50 water and white glue solution and let them dry. I can’t wait to add them to my snowflake tree next year!

(And yes, I did see Stephanie Pearl McPhee’s knitted lace snowflake–I was briefly tempted, but the fiddlyness is more than I want to attempt….um…I hope!)

For the Season

The Adoration of the Shepherds, 1644-1648 Attributed to Carel Fabritius (Dutch, 1622-1654) Rijks Museum
Aanbidding door de herders [The Adoration of the Shepherds], 1644-1648
Attributed to Carel Fabritius (Dutch, 1622-1654)
Rijksmuseum (Amsterdam)

He did not wait till the world was ready,
till men and nations were at peace.
He came when the Heavens were unsteady,
and prisoners cried out for release.

He did not wait for the perfect time.
He came when the need was deep and great.
He dined with sinners in all their grime,
turned water into wine. He did not wait

till hearts were pure. In joy he came
to a tarnished world of sin and doubt.
To a world like ours, of anguished shame
he came, and his Light would not go out.

He came to a world which did not mesh,
to heal its tangles, shield its scorn.
In the mystery of the Word made Flesh
the Maker of the stars was born.

We cannot wait till the world is sane
to raise our songs with joyful voice,
for to share our grief, to touch our pain,
He came with Love: Rejoice! Rejoice!

“First Coming” by Madeleine L’Engle

Merry Christmas to you and yours ~ Amanda

Yarns of Many Colors

I was driving home from work this week when it suddenly hit me–I’ve never posted pictures of my 2014 yarns purchases to Ravelry, much less the blog! I’ve even taken pictures of most of it, so no good excuse. (Although a good thing I have pictures as it’s been so terribly overcast lately that getting anything decent is a challenge.) I still have one tricky skein without any pictures, so that will wait until I have a sunny day, but for now, my 2014 yarn record:

Lotus (Trendsetter) Mimi, ecru

Lotus (Trendsetter): Mimi
Laceweight
100% mink
(2) skeins at 383 yards (50 g) each
Colorway: Ecru
Purchased:Prena Knits, at JOYfilled Garden and Gifts in Georgetown, South Carolina

A vacation purchase. I don’t know what it’s going to be, but I couldn’t resist the soft, creamy, mink.

Bare Naked Wools: Mrs. Lincoln's Lace

Bare Naked Wools: Mrs. Lincoln’s Lace
Laceweight
70% black Lincoln lamb wool/30% Rambouillet wool
(1) skein at 675 yards (4 oz.)
Colorway: chesnutt
Purchased: Great Lakes Fiber Show

Confession: I’d completely forgotten that I’d purchased this. Even though it was the ONE YARN I wanted to find at the local yarn/fiber show this past spring! I don’t yet know what it will become, but Anne has several samples in her displays.

 

Knitting Notions Classic Merino Lace

Knitting Notions: Classic Merino Lace
Laceweight
100% superfine merino wool
(2) skeins at 385 yards (50 g) each
Colorway: Blueberry Jam (discontinued)
Purchased: Great Lakes Fiber Show

These little (okay, at 385 yards, not so little) skeins weren’t exactly a planned purchase, but they weren’t really impulse either. I knew Catherine had discontinued several colorways and so I wanted to look at the sales to see if anything caught my eye. Non-superwash merino and I don’t always get along (I’m very good at felting it on the knitting needles), but I couldn’t pass the colorway up at the price! (On the other hand, a theme: I don’t know what I’m going to do with it. I may have a problem.)

 

Longmeadow Farm 100% Merino Wool

The Wool Room at Longmeadow Farm: Hand Dyed 100% American Merino Wool
Worsted weight
(5) skeins at 250 yards (3.75 oz) each
Colors (unnamed): rose, light orange, yellow, lime, blue
Purchased: Great Lakes Fiber Show

This was the impulse but. But can you blame me–the colors! And when I saw it my thought was– blanket! I’ve been thinking for a few years that I’d like to knit a blanket/lap blanket of some sort as an excuse to work with colors (yellow, pale green) I can’t really wear. And when I saw these all hanging up next to each other…I was a goner. I don’t know the details yet (I’m thinking something garter stitch, possibly based on the golden rectangle), but I’m saving them for that point of winter when it gets so terribly gray and gloomy and I just.can’t.take.it.anymore. Not necessarily in 2015, but some winter. The yarns just scream “SPRING” so they will be just the thing when it feels that spring will never come.

And now I’m feeling the urge to knit. Wonder why?

Some Christmas Crafting

I didn’t mean to let two weeks get away from me there, but…nope, can’t blame work, can’t blame the Thanksgiving holiday–I have to blame the library book! That’s okay, I’m always happy when a book is so enjoyable it overtakes my free time. But now back on track.

The knitting has been slow lately. We had a sharp cold spell + early heavyish snow (for not being in a lake-effect zone) that reminded me that I need to finish up a scarf/cowl thing I’ve been working on forever. However, that’s all I managed to do with it–remember. I keep poking away at my les Abeilles, but it’s really been the non-knitting that’s calling to me.

SnowmanCrossStitch

I’ve had this cross-stitch snowman in progress for years. (In fact it was part of my 2013 goals to finish. Fail. Also, the 2013 picture was better.) Finally, I find myself picking it up as my current go-to. So this little snowman’s to blame for the current knitting stall. It’s been the perfect companion for the continuing ed I’ve had to finish up by the end of the year. And for TV watching. I finally feel like I’ve made some real progress and maybe I might actually finish–well not this year, but maybe in 2015. I do need that scarf though.

And then there’s the super-fun, super-easy project I did on Friday.

SnowJars

Just some empty jars, add some Epsom salt for snow and some trees and mini gifts from the local craft store. I think I spent more time in line at the store than it took to put them together! The idea isn’t mine; I saw it HERE by way of one of the book blogs I read (pity I didn’t have nice antique jars like hers to use). Now I feel like I just need a Rudolph and the scene’s complete. I don’t usually do much specifically for Christmas, but these were too fun and easy to pass up. And uh-oh, I have one other project for the holidays that I might try to get to. I won’t actually need that scarf soon will I?

On the Needles – les Abeilles

I’ve spent some of my spare moments the past week running through my head what I should post on next here, when it dawned on me, les Abeilles!

Les abeilles shawl in progress

I didn’t even manage to have a photo on my Ravelry project page until just now, and I really didn’t want this to turn into a “forgotten” project. Not that it really could be forgotten–it’s been my go-to project lately–but I do like to have at least one progress photo for each project.

Abeilles started with the yarn–some fingering weight Classic Bamboo Merino I bought from Knitting Notions a couple years ago at the local wool & fiber show. I love her bamboo merino blend (although–thanks to the bamboo content I sometimes have to be careful not to split the yarn). It has such a lovely sheen thanks to the bamboo, and unlike a 100% non-superwash merino, I can’t accidentally felt it under my hands while knitting. (A problem I sometimes have…) I only had the one skein, 490 yards, so I decided to search for a one-skein neck shawl type project. Les Abeilles is…maybe that project. It’s another Anne Hanson pattern, and she offers it in three sizes: using 275, 550, and 800 yards. I didn’t want to use the smallest size because that would leave so much leftover, so I threw caution to the wind and cast on for the 550 yard-size. Yep, I’m banking on Anne having allowed extra yardage for safety. I went down a needle size, too (and have never actually measured my gauge because…well, I never do for lace…troublemaker, that’s me). Looking at it now, I actually think I’m going to have enough yarn. And if I don’t, I’ll rip back the garter stitch section and change the decrease rate (which I accidentally did when I started that section, so…).

This has also been a well-traveled knit. A few weeks back, a group of coworkers and I had to go out for a field measuring visit to three sites in West Virginia. We spent something like 7 hours in the car (which was more drive time than we spent actually working), so I decided to take my knitting with me. Shh…don’t tell anyone, but I was paid to knit! 😉 It was either that or stare at the landscape and try not to fall asleep. I don’t think anyone minded.

I’m nearing the finish-line though, and looking over my other on-the-needles projects, it may be time to start planning the next thing. Which yarn might call to me next?