On the Needles

I have a few things on the needles right now, none of which is seeing much action.  I’m having my semi-annual bout with knitter’s thumb, and it’s a drag.  I’ve been resting my hands this week, knitting a row here and there to test the waters.

Fiar :: I’m modifying this stripey cowl to use 5 shades from a gradient kit I bought from Black Trillium at Vogue Knitting Live.  It’s a bit of an informal KAL with Erin who happened to buy the exact same color! I’m almost halfway done, and I suspect Erin, a super-speedy knitter, isn’t far behind…

Lobelia :: I cast this on at the beginning of last month for another informal KAL with Liz in honor of our new magazine crush, Pom Pom Quarterly.  I got distracted by all my new yarn from VKL (even though the red yarn was also new) and it’s been sitting ever since.  I’m planning on picking it back up once my thumb is happy again, just in time for the Anzula CKAL at Stash.

So what’s on your needles this weekend?

p.s. Both of these photos are from my Instagram.  I’m pretty IG-obsessed these days. You can follow me here if you like.

Ennui :: On the Needles

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Lobelia Cardigan in Anzula Cloud, from the lovely new Pom Pom Quarterly (all available at Stash, of course!)

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Usually after I finish a project, I can’t wait to cast on for something New. In fact, my fingers have likely been itching to feel new yarn, and my brain daydreaming of new patterns since the finish line came into view on that last project.

But not this time. Sure, I looked at patterns and tried to get excited about something. I even cast on for a new cardigan with Liz, but only knit 2 rows on it in over a week. This was bound to happen; it seems my annual bout with knitting ennui has arrived. Not to worry: I know this will pass. Instead, I’m using this freed up mental space to daydream of planting a garden and decorating our home. Hello, Pinterest!

I was off work this past week, and so far the free time has been spent cleaning out closets and facing those boxes and piles of things we shoved away for “later” when we moved in last August. I actually found a box of empty boxes taking up valuable space in out guest room/office closet. Ridiculous!  Like an airing of the stash, it also feels very good to air out a closet or two, de-clutter a bit, a treat myself to a trip to the office supply store.

Who knows, next week I could be obsessively knitting again!

What projects outside of playing with yarn have your attention right now?

Off The Needles

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Jeweled Cowl

Project details and mods here.

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Chambord Pullover

 Project details and mods here.

Last week I finished two projects!

Both the Jeweled Cowl and Chambord Pullover were quick knits, in different ways.  With the cowl, that fresh spring green and the sparkly beads kept me wanting more.  It was definitely a “one more row” type of project.  This is a pattern I probably would not have gravitated toward on my own; I started it as part of a knit-along at Stash, and I’m so glad I did.  Beading with a teensy tiny crochet hook isn’t so awful, did you know that?

I chose to knit Chambord as part of the Stash and Burn group’s Use It or Lose It challenge.  This is a challenge meant to inspire us to use that deep stash yarn in concentrated periods (13 in 2013); if you don’t love it after trying to use it, you get to lose it.  I got excited to use a deeply stashed sweater quantity of Plymouth Tweed, and thus a sweater was knit.  I love the finished result, but the yarn wasn’t all that pleasant to work with.  I can appreciate a sheepy, rustic wool, but for sweater knitting I think I’ll stick to more smooth, plump yarns from now on.

In any case, that’s a ton of yarn out of the stash, and it feels really great to have these 2 project off the needles!

Here are some outtakes from my low-key impromptu play room photo shoot.  It was directed by PB, and she took all the photos of Chambord in this post.  Love!

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Always the Knitting

Jeweled Cowl by Sachiko Uemura

Chambord sweater– onward to the sleeves!

Last week was long, strange, challenging, and insightful. In so many ways I felt inadequate, as if whatever I managed to accomplish wasn’t enough, and everything I didn’t get done was monumental.

Ever feel that way?

It’s not fun.

So, after a bit of a late-night pity party and cry fest with Sweetie, I am feeling strengthened and empowered to start saying No to things I’m not passionately excited about, and to move forward on some projects that have been on the back burner for too long. I think these two strategies will help me feel a bit more focused and a whole lot calmer.

Through it all, as always, I knit. I knit fast when I’m upset and talking a hundered miles an hour. I knit slowly when the day is winding down and I’m just trying to stay awake a few moments longer. I knit in short spurts at work to show someone the magic that is knititng with beads. And I knit quickly again during PB’s weekend naps, trying to sqeeze in just a few more rows before she wakes up.

Always the knitting.

Here’s to a new week, fresh starts, good friends, chocolate peanute butter cookies, and the promise of a new project to cast on very soon.

Because these two wips? They are in the home stretch!

Yarn Along:: Mysterious Cables

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Chambord by Thea Coleman in Plymouth Tweed

Chambord by Thea Colman in Plymouth Tweed

I picked up this book on an impromptu trip to the bookshop recently.  I had been in a full on grumpy-mama mood and was essentially banished from the house to clear my head.  It was for the best, and after just a few minutes browsing the aisles of one of our local book stores I felt much better.

While at the store my mind was completely blank, however.  The titles of all the books I’d been meaning to read fled my brain, and the handy list of notes I keep for such moments was uninspiring.  Having seen a recent post on Katie’s blog about what she had recently read, I turned to her for a recommendation.  Her praise for Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore made the decision easy, and a few minutes later I left with the book.  It has proven to be a fun thrill ride through the mysterious stacks of Mr. Penumbra’s book store, filled with codes, adventures, quirky characters, and intrigue.  I’m down to the last two chapters and can’t wait to see how it ends!

On the needles this week is a new project: the Chambord Pullover.  Excited after my recent sweater win, I decided to excavate some deep stash yarn and cast on another.  This tweedy yarn and cozy sweater are such a good combination that I couldn’t resist.  The knitting has been fairly straightforward, which is always nice. I only just noticed a mis-crossed cable that must have happened while I was knitting with friends during the Oscars on Sunday.  I’ve decided to leave it.

What’s on your nightstand and in your project basket this week?

p.s. Yarn Along is inspired, as ever, by the delightful Ginny.

p.p.s. The cover of this book glows in the dark.

Hooray:: A Finished Sweater!

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Hooray Cardigan by Veera Valimaki in Madelinetosh Vintage “Tart”

This post has been a long time in the making.  I excitedly started this sweater back in January of 2012, and promptly put it into long-term time out after a mis-crossed cable episode.  The sweater got some brief attention back in September when I had ambitions to finish it in time for Sweater Weather in Oregon. It got set aside again, in favor of other knits.

It wasn’t until January of this year that an inexplicable spark ignited my desire to knit on it all the time.  I had the body finished in a week.  After that it was simply a matter of persevering through the epic ribbing and knitting against the sinking feeling that I would run out of yarn.  Hence the 3/4 length sleeves with mere yards to spare!

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I also went a little beyond my usually hasty button attachment and followed The Knitmore Girls Couture Button and Grosgrain Ribbon tutorials.  This adds a nice finish and stability to the button band, plus it’s nice to have a little flash of something unexpected peeking out from inside the sweater.

This was a very fun, addictive knit once I got into the rhythm of the pattern.  I love the details of the cables and attached i-cord edging.  It feels really good to get this sweater off the needles and into my wardrobe.    I’ve worn it twice since finishing it last weekend and get lots of compliments each time.  High off the success of this sweater, I’ve already cast on another…hopefully it will join the ranks of Finished Objects a little sooner that this cardigan.

You can read all the details on the project on my Ravelry page here.

Yarn Along:: Beginnings + Endings

I’ve been reading a new book, the sweeping sequel to The Passage.  It’s complex and moving, even a little sad and scary at times.  It’s epic and will probably take me a bit to get through.  And that’s okay, especially with the help of a before-work-mocha and reading moment from time to time.

My fall sweater is nearly finished!  I am actually ready to start the ribbing on the second cuff and will hopefully be done tonight!  Just in time to jet off to Hawaii for a long weekend with Sweetie to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary.

Which brings me to the subject of travel knitting.  As you know, a lot of careful thought and planning goes into strategizing vacation knitting projects.  The amount of sedentary travel time directly affects the number and complexity of projects I take.

This time I am excited to unearth some single skeins from deep stash and will be attempting a small project on each flight to and fro.  I’m thinking this and this.  And I might also throw in a sock-in-progress for good measure.  I only took one project with me to New York and I finished it on the flight over!  Better to overpack, I say.

What’s on your nightstand and in your project basket this week?

Thanks to Ginny for the Yarn Along inspiration!

FO:: Little Oak

A sweet knit for an even sweeter baby, Little Oak was the perfect project for an autumn baby boy.  I really enjoyed knitting this cardigan, and tried to infuse good thoughts and hopes of restful nights for my friend  and her new baby as I knit each stitch.  This baby will be swathed not only in good vibes, but good yarn, too!  I’m pretty set on the idea that cashmere yarns knit up faster than those without, and so far my theory stands unthwarted.

“Cashmere?!” you gasp.  “For a baby?!”  Yes, for a baby.  But not just any baby.  The baby of a mama whose own mama is a prolific knitter.  This woman knows how to clothe her little ones in the woolens, and I am sure this wee sweater will fare just fine.  And if it doesn’t, that’s okay, too. I had a lot of fun knitting it, and seeing the look on my firend’s face when she unwrapped it was priceless.  I don’t ever even need to see it on the baby.

Okay, that’s a lie.  Maybe just once.

Welcome to the world, bhaiya!

Yarn Along:: Out of Hibernation

From Ginny: Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs.  I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. 
We went to the beach over the weekend with Sweetie’s parents. Knowing there would be a 4 to 1 ratio of capable adults to curious toddler, I figured my chances of getting some knitting done were pretty good. So I pulled out my Hooray Cardigan from last winter. This sweater was off to such a good start, and then something happened with the cables and it went into long-term hibernation. It did require about on hour of cable surgery (again), but now I am back on track and have divided for the sleeves. I seem to have a case of the sweater knitting lately, as I plan on casting on the Rocky Coast cardigan this week as part of our fall knit-along over at Stash.

I just started reading wild and am really enjoying it so far. I am not a backpacker by any stretch (there was that one time in Glacier that ended in me staying awake most of the night with fear and indigestion). Three chapters in, I am a loving Strayed’s writing and look forward to seeing where her adventure hiking the Pacific Crest Trail takes her next.

What’s on your nightstand and in your project basket this week?

FO:: Goodale

I don’t know what happened here, but I excitedly finished and started wearing this little cardigan about 3 weeks ago and promptly forgot to blog about it.  That’s life, for you: sometimes it seems to move so slowly and we’re able to take in every moment, other times it’s Monday and you could swear it was just the weekend.  Wasn’t it, though?

This was a very nice pattern to knit.  I’ve often admired Cecily Glowick MacDonald’s designs, but haven’t been able to get to as many as I would have liked.  Goodale is the perfect project when you want to knit a simple yet interesting small sweater.  For the most part it’s made up of swathes of soothing stockinette, and yet there’s just enough going on with the attached icord edging and increases to keep you paying attention.  There is a fair bit of finishing at the end when you have to fold over and attach pockets, knit an icord closure, and pick up stitches around the neck, but those are the very details that make this top so special.  Well worth it.

Also worth it is this sumptuous yarn from Pigeonroof Studios.  Cashmere.  Silk. Merino.  All good things to knit with, and I swear cashmere blends knit faster than anything else!

Immediately after finishing this, I started stalking other cardigan patterns by CGM (as I lovingly refer to her).  The top contender right now is Tidal, coincidentally also knit in Cassiopeia DK!  I may try making a substitution from my personal stash, but there is also a lovely dusky purple in said yarn just sitting in a cubby at Stash, waiting for a good home…

What patterns/designers are you stalking this week?