On the needles : Spring update

IMG_1496

It’s full on Spring in Oregon now.  The crocus and daffodils have come and gone, the tulips have peaked, and now we’re eagerly anticipating the first unfurling of a peony bud.  With the help of a friend, I’ve recently prepared our raised garden beds for planting.  We’ve already got broccoli starts happily nestled in their new homes, and the pea seeds G planted last month are rapidly growing.

My knitting has also been growing quite quickly.  I’ve kept it to two projects for the past month or so, and it’s remarkable to see them grow at a steady pace.  Especially since they’re both in fingering weight yarn!

I’ve always loved color and pattern, and am not one to shy away from either in my knitting.  And yet this year something has inspired me to work a bit more in neutrals, especially when it comes to garments.  This will give me some new pieces that I can mix and match with all the store bought color and pattern in my wardrobe.

IMG_1447IMG_1314So when perusing the stash for options for True Friend, a newish sweater pattern by Veera Välimäki, I was drawn to the many shades of grey I’ve been stashing.  These hand-dyed yarns have so many lovely transitions between light and dark, I think they work really well together. {Ravelry notes here}

This pattern has a bit of an unusual construction, but it’s simple at the same time.  Which makes this the perfect knit for my still slightly baby-fogged brain!  The stripes make up the body and sleeves at the same time, with every other row adding stitches.  I’m well over 600 stitches per round now!  The end of this section is in sight, which is thrilling.

IMG_1190

That is my at-home knitting.  When I’m out and about, I have this pair of socks tucked into my bag.  Neutral black and white that I’m popping with neon accents on the cuff, heel and toe.  I’m loving knitting with the Victory Sock by Knitted Wit. It’s soft and sturdy, with just the right amount of sproing! for socks.  I’m about halfway down the foot of the second sock, so these will be off the needles very soon.  Time to start thinking about my next on-the-go project!

{as much as I’m absolutely loving knitting with all this grey and black, I think it’s time to cast on a new project with some color…}

IMG_1357

IMG_1493

Speaking of next projects, I just cast on for the Stash Spring Linen knit along.  In the spirit of working with neutrals, I chose this sumptuous silver grey linen by Quince & Co (colorway Porpoise).  Togue Pond is a sleeveless top with a high-low hem and some subtle shaping details that make it very special.  I’m looking forward to working with a new to me yarn on huge needles (10.5, whoa)!

What’s on your needles this Spring?

Also, I can’t seem to stop taking pictures of my knitting with cups of coffee and tea. If you’re often stitching with a cup of something nearby, consider sharing over on Instagram with the hashtag #knitsandsips.  I’d love to see what you’re making and drinking!

Knitting Update


This is a little something I’ve been working on for our first knit-along at Stash. You can read more about the project here.

I’ve been missing this space a bit lately.  One explanation for my absence is that I have been devoting a good part of my blogging energy toward the Stash blog, Pintrest, and Facebook pages.  Another reason is that I am so very tired.  PB is going through a bit of a sleep challenge right now, fighting going to sleep some nights and waking up around 4:30 every morning. Keeping her up later doesn’t seem to make a difference.  I wouldn’t mind your suggestions; we’re all exhausted and looking for help!

In knitting news….

I’ve had a little bit of the knitting ADD this month, and before finishing this hat I had 5 projects on the needles.  That’s a lot for me, even if one of them is in deep hibernation!  I’m part process knitter and a larger part product knitter, and I had been itching to finish something!  This would have been a quick hat, but the nature of knitting at work is that it only gets attention for small bits of time, a few stitches here and there.

As for my at home knitting, I’m almost to the armhole divide on the Hooray Cardigan despite not having really knit on it in over a week.  The Hitchiker Shawl I started has been coming along steadily, and I am starting to see the end.  All the soothing garter stitch, with something interesting at the beginning of each row, is perfect for end of the day tv watching while on the couch knitting.  The Slable Hat I started in December has moved out of short-term hibernation and back to Stash where it will be my work knitting until it’s finished up.

How about you?  What are you knitting?  Is anything a real slog?  I’d love to finish up my long-languishing sock club socks.  I hear the Doubleknit Twins are doing a finish, frog, or slog-along this year, so I think that might help motivate me to finish up that second sock!

Yarn Thief

Today I wanted to get caught up on things around here.  This has been a bit of an off week, with both PB and I battling the stomach bug.  Yuck.  There wasn’t much knitting during those dark days, but there was before the sickness struck.  I have been knitting a sweater (I know!), some socks, and a couple of other small gifts.  I wanted to show you photos of everything and tell you how each project was going.  Then this happened.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

There’s a yarn thief in my house.

 

 

Summer’s Last Knit

So far this week I’ve been able to stay on task and have been making a little progress on one of my wips.  I started Petrie at the beginning of June, thinking it would be a speedy and straightforward summer knit.  There was this whole daydream where I wore my stylish knit top to places like the farmer’s market, beach, and backyard bbq’s.  So far the only place this top has been is my house, the pool, and this week the movie theater.  All while still on the needles.

This top is entirely stockinette stitch, so I decided to knit it in the round to make it as quick to knit as possible.  The trouble with stockinette in the round, as you may well know is this: it is Boring.  Some days it’s soothing, or perfect for keeping hands busy while attentions are focused elsewhere.  But it is overwhelmingly boring, which explains why I have strayed from this project so often.

I spotted the first blushes of fall on a neighbor’s maple tree yesterday.

It’s time to finish my summer knitting so I can squarely face some luscious fall knits.

And then there’s this tempting me as well, a little going away gift from my good friend Striped Socks:

I’m in serious trouble!

On The Road Again

Tomorrow Sweetie and I are heading out on a grand 2-week adventure that will take us to such luxurious locales as Ohio, Kentucky, and California.  Okay, so one of them is outwardly more exciting than the others, but we are sure to find fun wherever we go.  I am particularly excited to sample wine, feel the sun on my face, reconnect with old friends, and see if there are any good yarn shops in Ohio.

100_4245

100_4220

Our trip will be one part road trip and one part air travel, so I will have more than enough time to knit in transit.  Since I currently have 5 projects on the go, I have decided to pack several and take them on the road with me.

lace-ribbon2

100_4026

The larger project, my sweater, will be for road trip knitting, while the smaller ones (2 socks and a lace scarf) will be perfect for airplane knitting.  I’m hoping to finish off both socks and make good progress on the sleeves of my sweater.  Anything else will be a bonus (I’m looking at you, Lace Ribbon Scarf).

If time allows, I may do some on the road blogging, so check in from time to time.  See you in 2 weeks~happy knitting!

Amalgam

It’s incredibly nice to find out you have been nominated by a peer you admire for a blog award.  Thank you so much, Knitting Siamese!  You should check out her beautiful blog for its stunning knitting, photography, and photos of a certain mischievous Siamese cat…

blogger

I’ve been thinking about who to nominate for the past day, and the more time I spend thinking about it, the more of my favorite blogs get nominated by others!  So instead of playing by the rules, I’m going to let you peruse my blogroll on the side.  These are the blogs that I read on a regular basis and they all offer something special.  Check out a blog or two that you haven’t been to before.  I promise you won’t be disappointed.  Consider yourself nominated, if you so choose, and pass on the love with these things in mind:

1. Copy the award to your site.
2. Link to the person from whom you received the award.
3. Nominate 7 other bloggers.
4. Link to those on your blog.
5. Leave a message on the blogs you nominated.

ONline Linie 12 Clip

ONline Linie 12 Clip

I had a little bit of a stash infusion over the weekend, picking up yarn for specific projects I have in the works.  That’s my new modus operandi, by the way: buy yarn as I intend to use it.  So far so good, although I am starting to crave some new sock yarn as I have a trip to Webs coming up soon…

Cotton Ease in Taupe

Cotton Ease in Taupe

Cotton Ease in Lake

Cotton Ease in Lake

These two might have something to do with a baby blanket for a certain sister of mine who is expecting her first baby in May.  Since she is a devoted reader of this blog and had infiltrated Ravelry, this will have to be a completely stealth project.  But I thought it would be fun to give her a little tease and show the colors!

I have a variety of projects in mind, and will be narrowing the list just as soon as I finish up some knitting housekeeping around here.  Damn all those wips that just won’t finish themselves!  Where are the little finishing elves that come out at night and knit a few inches on each project?  I swear I feel I am knitting constantly and yet nothing is coming off the needles!  I don’t know how some of you knit a pair of socks in a week, or an entire sweater in two.  I’ll be lucky to finish half a sock this week!

Too Much Yarn?

Is this too much yarn to take on a 7 day trip?

I’m going out of town for a week. This is a trip that will afford me plenty of knitting time waiting in airports, on airplanes, ferries, and in cars. One of the clear bags is backup yarn that will be going in my checked bag. The other will go in my carry on bag and contains two projects. You know, in case I finish one before I get to my destination.

While away, I plan on working on simple pieces like hats, neckwarmers, and fingerless gloves to build up an inventory for an upcoming craft fair I will be doing with Nutmeg Knitter. Since I will be selling my wares, it is important to me that the items I sell are original patterns representing my point of view. So along with all that yarn, I am not taking a single pattern or reference book. This is frightening and thrilling at the same time! I will be relying 100% on my own knowledge and creativity, hopefully being inspired by my surroundings and knitting up a storm.

The good news is, if I run out of yarn or project inspiration, there’s a yarn store or two where I’m going…

Have a great time knitting while I’m away!

Raspberry Lemonade Liberation

Yesterday was a beautiful Spring day, the kind that inspired me to turn off the furnace, throw open all the windows, and bare my feet in flip flops. It also inspired me to make my favorite summertime drink: raspberry lemonade.

My recipe is simple:

  1. Put some ice in a tall glass.
  2. Pour as many frozen raspberries into the glass as you like.
  3. Top with Newman’s Own virgin lemonade.
  4. Stir and enjoy!

This tasty and colorful beverage in turn inspired me to do something with a couple of similarly colored projects on my knitting hit list.

Before

Before / After

This was the No Plastic, Please market bag that I started on the cruise in Rowan cotton. It was a little small, but I kept knitting. It is meant to be knit flat, then folded flat and seamed up the sides. Wouldn’t this be better knit in the round on larger needles? That’s the thought that caused me to stop knitting. So, I FROGGED IT, and it felt great!

This is the Spiderweb Capelet from Stitch ‘n Bitch Nation, another cruise project. The beautiful frothy yarn is brushed alpaca in a subdued raspberry color that I love. The pattern is fun, but takes a lot of concentration to keep the yarn under control. So I sat down with no television or other distractions and whipped out a few rows. And this felt good too!

I think some projects are doomed from the start and should just be put out of their misery before they drag you down with them. Others are difficult for a reason, and the challenge is what makes it a rewarding project to knit. Some projects are right for certain mind-frames, and need to be put away until you can focus on them. I think I had some of all of this in my hit list, and taking the time to address each one has been liberating. I’ve made good headway this week.

Thank you for all of your encouraging comments! It’s great to hear your ideas and suggestions, and I love hearing your feedback on my projects.

A Tale of Two Kitties

A tale of 2 kitties

  • Pattern: Official Kittyville Hat from the 1st Stitch ‘n Bitch book
  • Yarn: Paton’s Classic Merino in Rosewood and Sirdar Snuggly DK, one strand of each held together
  • Needles: Size 8 circulars, size 6 dpns
  • Modifications: I only picked up 10 stitches for the ears, then made just one triangle on each side. I also cast on fewer stitches to make it a bit smaller.

What a fun pattern this turned out to be! Since I knew from the beginning it was intended for a 2-year old I took a decidedly whimsical approach. This was a real custom job for me, something I don’t always take the time to do. But it was an interesting exercise in creativity coming up with ways to make this hat special for my little cat-loving friend. Contrasting yarn, adding a nose, and using mismatched button eyes are simple ways to embellish a project that make a handmade gift even more special.

My favorite model!

I’ve never had much luck making pom poms before, always ending up with limp little bundles of yarn. But then I found this page which made one simple distinction for me: use multiple strands of yarn held together when threading through your pom pom maker of choice. It adds fullness fast and I ended up with two plump, fluffy poms!

Knitting Probation update:

At my knitting group on Monday, I expressed dismay and torment over having so many unfinished projects lying around. My friend Eden suggested “just ripping them out” if they are causing me dread. Then later at the yarn store (I didn’t buy anything!) an employee said she had a box in her attic where her ufo’s go to die hybernate.

That got me thinking: what would happen if I simply ripped out all of the projects that I don’t love anymore? Nothing, really. Well, I would be free of that niggling feeling I have in the pit of my stomach that says I can’t start any new projects until they are finished. And I would have the yarn back in my stash, available for knitting something I do love later.

I’m still going to work on my projects, giving priority to those that I am enjoying or looking forward to having finished. But there are a couple that I am seriously considering ripping out, winding up, and putting away for another day. So for now, the status is 1 wip down, 7 to go (one way or another!).

Knitting Probation

Do you know how much yarn you own?

I didn’t. I just knew I had a basket full of sock yarn and a box full of all my other yarn. My stash count on Ravelry is up to 42. This hasn’t really bothered me before. Yarn is a beautiful thing to be surrounded by, especially if it is stored in such a way that it can be enjoyed. But my beautiful box of yarn, the one that was organized by yarn type and color, is now filled with bags of knitting.

I currently have 8 unfinished projects, works in progress, and hybernating items. Whatever you want to call them, they’re there, draining my knitterly spirit of the will to knit. It’s just too much!

Here is everything I am working on, with the percentage completed:

  1. Embossed Leaves Socks–50%
  2. Diagonal Cross Rib Socks–50%
  3. Morning Surf Scarf–60%
  4. Spiderweb Capelet–25%
  5. No Plastic, Please market bag–40%
  6. Kittyville Hat 80%
  7. Garter Stitch Scarf–50%
  8. TKGA Master Level 1 Swatches–5%

And so it is with determination and resignation that I make the following statements:

I will not cast on any new projects for the rest of April…even when I finish one of my works in progress.

I will not buy new yarn in April.

I used to be the knitter that had no stash and knit one thing at a time! Now, excitement clouds my sense of order and I cast on new projects with abandon, with little thought of the effect on other projects already in progress. My devolution into this chaos has been fairly rapid, and can be directly linked to my participation in Ravelry and my recent knitting cruise. There are just so many great patterns and yarns out there-how do you manage to remain calm when inspiration moves you to start knitting something new?

And now this: self-imposed knitting probation.

Just for fun, I added up the yardage of my stash yarn. Here’s the count:

12,252 yards

36,756 feet

6.9613 miles

That’s taller than Mt. Everest by 7,727 feet! I think I may need some oxygen up here.

I look forward to sharing some finished objects with you very soon. Only 23 more days in April!!!