Tuesday, December 22, 2015

A few of my favorite things

Happy winter (or down under, happy summer)! As one who works closely with people who are dealing with incredible physical and mental challenges, I see a lot of value in celebrating little comforts. In my own way, I, too, feel vulnerable a lot of the time; perhaps this is why the plight of the institutionalized elderly resonates with me so strongly. 

Here are a few things that have been offering me a bit of comfort during a season that can quickly become overwhelming. 

A good yarn--in this case, Quince and Co. Osprey, accompanied by newly-acquired audiobooks from the Harry Potter series.

For the eagle-eyed, imperfection is something I live with.

Cuteness comes in many forms, whether it's a manipulative soft toy knit from targhee and other tweedy yarns or a kitty who loves to get into the middle of things and distract me from obsessive knitting.
Topsy-Turvy Snowman/Tree

My knitting projects have been showing a lot more rainbows lately. There are several ways in which this is an entry point to happy thoughts for me, and one of them is the sheer pleasure of colors. That these decorative mittens are knit from Peace Fleece is also symbolic to me. I love that peace is appropriate to wish for everyone.  

There's much more I'd love to say, but time and having difficulty finding the right expression for my thoughts leaves me once again offering merely a few photos and a general wish for your holiday season to be one in which you find peace, renewal, and centering perspective. These are things I would desire, so I wish them for you as well. 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

I got what I wished for

Um, yes. Rhinebeck was chilly.  Sorry, folks.

But I had a great time. After all, I am a knitter, and I come armed with abundant layers of wool, including enough to share with a Rhinebeck virgin we dragged to the fest.

Cue 'cool kids' music.

Priorities...first stop of the day.

Someone liked my rendition of Apres Chatres enough to duplicate it!

My friend knits the best shawls!

Showing off one's socks taken to a new level
Visiting with friends was a great part of this year's festivities

I got to wear my vest happily all day, but the matching mitts did not make it in time. They're done now, though! 

The design process was fairly simple, lifting stitch patterns directly from Dr. G's Memory Vest.  

The placement of the thumb gusset tripped me up, as I had feared. The patterning is symmetrical, but the thumb gusset throws everything off if placed directly on the halfway point. Originally, I tried placing the thumb between the rope cables, instead of what you see here. Things worked much better when I moved the thumb gusset just a couple stitches to the palm side - right where a rope cable lay. I love the resulting divide of the rope 'strands.' 

Lately I've been dreaming of stranded colorwork, but the absurd number of socks that need mending (again!?!) inspired me to cast on yet another pair of Sprouting socks in BRF Nate's Yarn. 

I'm trying out a cowl featuring a Bluefaced Leicester gradient handspun by a friend. I think it may turn out to be a gorgeous reversible cowl, with a neutral side and a bright side, if I am guessing the yardage well.

How can I not smile when playing with this yarn?
This is by no means a comprehensive listing of stuff on the needles, and the juggling makes it all a bit ridiculous. Then again, it is wonderful to have a project (or three) for every situation.

Here's a random toast to knitting with hope in our hearts and beautiful wool in our hands.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

This year's Rhinebeck sweaters... please be chilly!

Rhinebeck is this week. Last year's green sweater (the one planned for last year's festival, that is) is completed, and I am excited that I also managed to make up this year's blue vest with time to spare!

During a recent trip to Asheville, NC, we encountered inclement weather caused by a hurricane off the coast. The upside of that is the onset of sweater weather! The green sweater turned out to fit the Guy much better than it does me... and I don't mind one bit. I immediately set to knitting a vest I had planned in this year's house color - blue. I actually finished all but the blocking during the trip. We visited a few delightful yarn shops in the area, as you will see.

Black Mountain Yarn Shop was a delightful discovery, and afforded a very pleasant way to spend a rainy day

best view from the back seat ever!
Purl's Yarn Emporium features Doctor Who colorways. Need I say more?

Purl's also has a sense humor.

Too bad Purl's is actually only a bike on the street.
can't. stop. photographing. this. sweater.
aha! a distraction while I take pictures!

'cause your friends don't knit, and if they don't knit, well they're no friends of mine
Bathroom break = another sweater photo

smoldering... or sick of being photographed?
note to self: bring kitties for happy photo shoots

random painting in a shop window with tiny sheepies

Earth Guild is more a multi-craft shop, such as carving, spinning, and weaving, but they make a decent window display

As you can see, I will not be wearing the Timberline, as it has officially been given to its rightful owner. But I have my own vest in Briar Rose Fibers yarn:

I had planned it to be work-appropriate, and I think it is doubly so, since the pattern is Kirsten Kapur's Dr. G's Memory Vest, designed with Alzheimer's awareness and fundraising in mind.

Well, there you have it- my pre-Rhinebeck photos, so I can sit back and enjoy the festival. I hope your fiber pursuits are bringing you comfort and joy as the weather changes, whatever your relation to the equator. It's all that in-between weather right now, anyway.  

Monday, September 14, 2015

Stuff is done, more stuff is in the works

 Pattern: Timberline by Jared Flood
Yarn: Briar Rose Fibers Charity

 When I get modeled shots you will be able to see that the sleeves came out long; I had worried that they'd be too short (I hate long sleeves that are too short to cover my wrists).  I knit the cuffs extra long, and didn't worry about keeping gauge. So now I have a sweater that I can fold back the cuffs, or pull them down when my hands get cold. It's totally functional, but I might need to figure out how to tidy up the ends that now show up on the outside of the folded cuffs.

While I had run out of yarn for this next project, I was concerned that it would not have a long enough wingspan.  Hence the modified color stripe and stripey border. Well, you can't see it in the photo, but it's definitely long enough.  Ridiculously so. Seems to be a trend...

Because I needed more purple in my life
Pattern: Pterotactyl by Marc Smollin
Yarn: Woolberarers Handdyed Fingering (Grape Juice) and two shades of Quince & Co Tern

As I type, the air blowing in the window is slightly chilly, and I am so excited about that! Maybe I will be able to get a modeled photo of these items sooner than later...

Saturday, August 29, 2015

A whirlwind week

Let's just say there have been a few surprises of late. One was finding out that one of my coworkers was working her last day yesterday. When the announcement was made, I had not been present. This is the same coworker for whom I had been knitting Little Bunny Fufu. 

By some bizarre coincidence I had finished the toy Thursday night, and just happened to have brought it in yesterday morning to show a few knitters. Instead, it worked out that I was able to gift it to the mother just in time. 

It felt pretty good, like it was meant to be; my only regret was being unable to take better photos of the lamb. It turned out quite darling.  

Again, how fortuitous that I had already had a nice photo shoot with the bunny portion of the toy!

This week has been a week for finishing things. Just this morning, I finished the knitting on the Timberline cardigan! WOOOOT!

Steeking feels like an event worth recording, and the weather was agreeable to taking some photos as I worked outside. Who says you can't work on a sweater in the summer?

My partner talked me off the ledge when I announced that I was going to seam the sweater without wet-blocking it as called for both in the pattern and in accordance with good knitterly sense. I relinquished my dream of finishing today, and gave the sweater a well-deserved bath. After all that spit-splicing, it's only appropriate.

The pain of delaying was only momentary, and once I had a few key parts pinned down, I became quite pleased that I had opted to follow the way of righteousness.

Originally, I had been anxious about the applied i-cord edging being too tight on the button band, and there's no easy fix. Even if I had the nerve to rip out the entire button band, I couldn't well fix it, since the bottom section is actually knit initially, in one piece with the rest of the body ribbing. I know better than to assume blocking will solve all of life's problems, but in this case it seems to have worked out well.

It's actually a very snappy touch, and it looks great from both sides of the fabric - perfect for a cardigan that may be worn unbuttoned. I'm impressed with this detail. Yay for Jared Flood.

I still have a good bit of yarn left over... let's tally it up:

435g remaining - that's not too shabby! That's almost 900 yards! So this sweater took about 1800 yards to knit. 

I seem to be on a finishing kick, and am very near the border of my Pterotactyl shawl. I do have one caveat, however; due to running out of yarn, I added a different color for the last stripe before the border (and that is even a stripe less than the pattern calls for). I really wanted to keep the long wingspan, so I am trying to make it work. There is a possibility that I may finish and hate it. If that happens, I am prepared to rip. 

Even if this doesn't work out, this incredibly crazy week has had at least a couple wins. It's certainly not all been easy, but at least the knitting seems to be turning out... sometimes you look for the little things. Honestly, though, it hasn't just been the knitting; there have been some good moments borne out of adversity as well - and I'm sending you some of that healing and positive motion that I have encountered this week, and wishing it will multiply. Thanks to those of you who pop in to send some encouragement. I love that knitting gives us a way to share with each other.

Happy knitting!