Yarn Along :: Modern Lovers

 

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My knitting has been a little sparse lately. An irritated thumb and sore wrist have kept me from spending much time at the needles.  And I’ve noticed the less I’ve been knitting, the less I feel like knitting…kind of a bummer given the season we’re heading into!

I did cast on a pair of Prairie Glass Mitts for the Stash Yarn Story Collection knit-along, though.  A row or two a day is about all I can manage. At this rate maybe they’ll be ready for Christmas!

I have been reading a ton, however. And the opposite has been true here: the more I read, the more I want to read. So much so that I’ve already read 4 books this month! #humblebrag

I just finished up Modern Lovers by Emma Straub.  This is a book whose premise sounds like so many indie dramedies, one of my favorite genres:

Friends and former college bandmates Elizabeth and Andrew and Zoe have watched one another marry, buy real estate, and start businesses and families, all while trying to hold on to the identities of their youth.  Now nearing fifty, they all live within shouting distance in the same neighborhood deep in gentrified Brooklyn, and the trappings of the adult world seem to have arrived with ease. ~From Goodreads

Essentially it’s a character-driven story, with a few plot spikes here and there. I found it compelling and charming and relatable (hello lesbian protagonist!) and a pleasure to read.  I enjoy Straub’s dry, insightful voice and was happy to play along  through the ups and downs of the characters over one eventful summer.

What have you been reading and knitting lately?

It feels good to be joining Ginny and the Yarn Along community again!  

Birthday Dress Update

IMG_9578I’ve made a commitment to knit G a sweater each year for her birthday.  As a knitter with a winter baby, it seems like a sensible time to knit her an annual sweater (and an inspiring excuse to do so).  You can see her first birthday sweater here.  I can’t believe she’s going to be 5!

It feels particularly important and special that I put some extra love and work into the Birthday Sweater this year.  Our new baby is due later this month, and I want her birthday to be special, memorable.  She may not remember whether the dress was finished before her birthday or after, but I hope she remembers that I made her special clothes for her birthday.  That I knit a different one each year until she asked me to stop.

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Except this time she requested a dress.  A floor-length dress. With a train.  Like Queen Elsa.

I wasn’t about to commit to that much knitting!  Fortunately, we quickly negotiated and agreed that a sewn train/cape would be acceptable.  But that’s a whole other project…

A couple of months before her birthday, I start asking G what she’d like in a sweater this time.  Color, style, themes.  This gave me time to favorite some patterns on Ravelry and pre-select some yarn for her to choose from.  She quickly chose Oriental Lily by Georgie Hallam and this shade of yarn from Yarn Ink, appropriately called Frozen.

This dress has been a really fun knit. I’ve been working on it monogamously (more or less) for a couple of weeks.  It’s been in the car, at work, in cafes, and just about every room of our house. Of course, it seemed like it was not growing at all for a few days there; every time I measured it felt like I still had 6 inches to go!  Thankfully she has requested it have short sleeves, so this should be done by the weekend.

Now to figure out how to sew an organza cape…

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.

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?

Yarn Along :: On + Off the Needles

From Ginny~ Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs. 

I may be reading the same book this week (and still very much enjoying it, I might add), but I have cast on a new knitting project!  This is some delicious yarn in a shade somewhat risky for a baby knit.  But it’s sophisticated and mysterious and beautiful, just right for the intended family.  I’m quite excited to be knitting the baby version of an adult sweater I have long admired.  How fun to get to try out the techniques on a small-scale before committing to an adult size?  The perfect strategy for a newbie sweater knitter, I daresay.

That coral pile in the background is my finished Tidal cardigan.  It’s all over except for the matter of buttons, which I hope to find this week.  My button collection is still packed up from the move, and besides I don’t think I have enough of any one kind for this sweater.  And the baby cardigan will also need buttons, so I suppose a-button shopping I must go!

What is on your nightstand and in your project bag this week?

Sidenote: We’re gearing up for a fall sweater knit-along over at Stash, and Liz has cooked up a great series of blog posts to help get ready.  Check it out, subscribe if you like, and say hello if you’d like to join in; all are welcome!.  We’re having a nice discussion over in the Stash Ravelry group, too.

Morning Meeting

Come Friday morning, after a week of early morning wake-ups, preschool drop offs, and busy work days, I’m ready for a mellow breakfast by myself.  Just me, my knitting, and some freshly brewed and baked goodies.  This is one of the ways I center myself before a busy day and fill up my Bliss Cup, Kathy Stowell style.

How do you center, rest, or recharge yourself when life is moving so quickly all around you? Let us know in the comments!

p.s. That’s my Tidal cardigan!  I’m almost finished with the back, then it’s on to the short sleeves and finishing.  Yipee!

Yarn Along:: Dragons and Crocs and Knitting, oh My!

From Small Things: ~ 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. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading?

Welcome back to blogland!  I took a little break to enjoy the holidays with my family, and look forward to sharing some highlights with you soon.  I have been knitting and reading quite a bit, so I thought I would rejoin the Wednesday Yarn Along crew and tell you about it.

The past couple of times PB visited me at the shop, she would pull the new Yarn Harlot book off the shelf and take it over to a small stool to read.  Whether it be the book’s small size or deft humor, something appealed.  And so I decided that I had better see what all the toddler fuss was about and finally bought my own copy of All Wound Up.  With her signature wit and wisdom, Pearl-Mcphee delivers some great essays and stories that we as knitters and parents can definitely relate to.  At first, I had a hard time shaking the feeling that I had read some version of many of the stories on her blog; but she settles in and I decided to accept that there may be some overlap.

Swamplania! is a recent acquisition I made after hearing it reviewed on NPR.  It’s an insightful and quirky coming of age story about a young girl and her family’s business of running a gator-centric attraction in Florida.  They hit an unlucky patch and their livelihood and identity is threatened with extinction.  I am really enjoying the descriptive and insightful writing, and look forward to seeing where the young female narrator will go next.

And for the knitting…this is a project I cast on for ages ago when I needed something simple to work on during a long car ride.  I made it through the ribbing, then it got set aside in favor of other projects.  I picked it back up over the weekend when I again needed something simple to work on while I avoided picking up and knitting the sleeves on my Oatmeal Pullover.  The yarn is a Luminosity Project colorway called Dragon from Pigeonroof Studios, and it is indeed luminous.  So many deep and shimmering shades of green and brown!  Loving the Cream and Sugar Cowl pattern with its wide cables, though it is going a bit slowly with so many stitches on fingering weight yarn.

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

 

Knitting Catch Up

I have been in somewhat of a knitting funk since opening Stash last month.  Overwhelmed with all the lovely yarn and patterns crossing the threshold of the shop, I have found that committing to one project is nearly impossible.  I have been casting on and swatching for a lot of things, but oftentimes rip them out and head back to the search.  When there’s so much of a good thing around, it can be difficult to narrow one’s focus.  So I’m trying to go with my knitter’s intuition and just cast on when the mood strikes, knit with abandon, and enjoy every stitch.  This also means that I haven’t really been finishing much…

Max is curled up on my open laptop while I listen, sip, and knit.

I have been on a cast on spree for both shop and personal knitting. These past two days off from work have been really productive knit-wise.  I’ve been spending a lot of time with PB’s Cowgirl Butterfly Astronaut Vest, and at this moment I just need to complete the second sleeve ruffle and the button band.  I also cast on for the Cambrian Cowl from Coastal Knits in Imperial Yarn Native Twist.  That bulky yarn is just flying off the needles, and is now waiting for me to pick up stitches and knit the flared yoke portion at the bottom.

While working on these two projects, I have also been catching up on podcasts (Stash and Burn, Knitmore Girls) and television (The Walking Dead season 2).  It feels really good to spend some time catching up on these simple activities in between the tasks and concerns of everyday life.  What are you watching or listening to as you knit this week?

Yarn Along:: Tardy to the Party

From Small Things:

Yarn Along~ Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs.    

I took this photo on Tuesday. Couldn’t find the USB Cable on Wednesday. Uploaded photo on Thursday & forgot to finish blog post. Friday: success!

This is the Cowgirl Butterfly Astronaut Vest, designed for the feminine yet wylie little lady in one’s life. I have one of those, and I have been daydreaming of layering her up in all sorts of wooly vests since the first hint of fall wafted through the air. It’s knitting up quickly (already up to the armholes), and I am really enjoying knitting with the Pico Accuardi Marco.

I started reading The Condition this week, and have been enjoying it so far. It’s another family drama full of charged relationships and flawed characters, one of my favorite types of books! There have been a lot of extremely early wake ups in our house since Daylight savings time fell forward (4 am early. For almost 2 weeks. Yawn…), which means I’m only reading a few pages each night before falling asleep with a paperback on my face. So I’m happily yet slowly plodding away at both my knitting and reading this week. Again, yawn…

What’s on your needles and nightstand?