Musings…

You may have noticed a distinct drop off in the rate of postings over here.  It’s because I’ve started a new venture.  I haven’t decided what to do with this blog just yet – I’m going to keep it around for a while until I decide.  Until then you can find me more regularly over at:

The Corner of Knit and Tea

The time I unintentionally knit myself giant labia.

I consider myself a pretty good knitter at this point. Maybe not expert but certainly knowledgeable and ready to try anything.

This post is about how even great knitters make mistakes sometimes.

I decided a while ago that I wanted to knit something during the Winter 2014 Olympics in Sochi, just as I have during previous Winter Olympics.  I actually selected a few projects, but this particular one involved a skein of gorgeous yarn with cashmere in it, from Cephalopod Yarns, Bugga in the colorway Flamboyant Cuttlefish.

I picked a pattern which was originally written for a thicker yarn, so I wanted to add something to this skein to make the cowl a bit wider and I found a red in the same yarn base. Away I went.   I finished late last night and this morning artfully draped the project on a hanger to shoot photos in the morning light.

Pretty right?

Um wait a minute. Let’s look at this again:

SHIT. Maybe no one will notice?

YEAH YEAH that’s it, better.

Man there’s nothing like warm labia on your neck. Nothing.

Oooops.

The best laid plans.

A little over a month ago I wrote how excited I was for NaKniSweMo and I presented you with my grand plan for my November sweater.  Let’s just say…

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other… -Robert Frost

 

Just after I wrote the weather turned cold. I evaluated my wardrobe, and looked at what was slated as trendy this fall (not that I’m a trendy girl – often I’m more of a “what not to wear”) and changed my mind.

I had this beautiful handspun yarn from this year’s Tour de Fleece and I really wanted to make something from it. I envisioned a tunic with three quarter sleeves. Simple, to be worn over chocolate brown leggings with boots. Something fun and a little stylish and comfy.

So I thought about it. And I reviewed my pattern library. And I swatched.

And I thought some more.  I decided it would be a bit of a Frankensweater – I’d use the cast on and upper shaping from my Mary Jane. I started there on November first and things went swimmingly.

I got to where I separated for the sleeves and started on the body. And I was stumped. How did I want to shape it? I could do standard waist shaping. I could try and mess around with bust darts.  I was overrun with choices and I couldn’t handle the pressure. So instead I went back up top and did the sleeves next.

Aaaaah. Perfect. But then it was back to the same decisions about the infernal body. Ultimately I went with some gathering under the bust, and a small ribbed panel in the small of my back which shaped the garment nicely.

But all of this deciding and hemming and hawing takes time. (As does trying to figure out what to do with the collar – I’ve been there and done that and ripped it out three times already!)

So as of last night I was here:

Still needed: 6-8 more inches on the body. Something around the neck (please excuse the sports bra).  My lovely and fashionable other half suggested a big cozy cowl neck. I have the yarn for it, so I think I’m going to take his advice.  The real question: will I finish by November 30? I guess we’ll find out!

Do you NaKniSweMo?

As you may remember, I’ve been participating in NaKniSweMo for a while now. In a nutshell, NaKniSweMo is the brainchild of Shannon Oakey of Knitgrrl. She reasoned that the writers have National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo, so the knitters should have National Knit a Sweater Month (NaKniSweMo).  The rules are simple: pick a sweater that has 10,000+ stitches and knit it in the month of November.

I participated last year and 2010. I participated in 2011 as well but I don’t seem to have an entry for it.

So what’s on tap for this year?

I’m planning to knit Jurisfiction by Glenna C.  I’ve been eying this pattern for a while because I LOVE the cables and it looks like such a cozy fall knit.

Photo by Glenna C.

This looks just like the kind of sweater I’d want to wear snuggled inside on a winter day up close to the fire. How fitting that I’m will be knitting the sweater in Madelinetosh Vintage in the Firewood Colorway:

My good friend Ana also designed cute Ravatars for this year.

I was also super lucky that she made me my own pirated one!

The only thing I haven’t gotten yet are buttons. I’m thinking maybe brown leather buttons to give this a grandfather cardigan kind of feel. What do you think?

Now I just need to wait for November 1st to cast on!

Favorite things.

As I mentioned in my last post, I think I lost the first quarter of the year. But now that I’m feeling more myself I want to knit and spin ALL the things and boy do I have plans.

Even though it’s technically spring, we keep getting snow, snow and more snow. This means that while on one hand I’m waiting for spring, on the other I’m still thinking winter knits. As part of an April spinning challenge I’m going to take this beautiful fiber dyed by Southern Cross Fibre:

And spin it, then knit it up into a big squooshy Stockholm Scarf:

Stockholm Scarf by KnittedBliss

Of course the part of me eagerly anticipating Spring wants to take this beautiful Frogtree Pima Silk:

And turn it into this perfect little Spring sweater:

Textured Tee by Kristen TenDyke

Then of course there’s the lace knitter in me that has been lying dormant for the winter that needs to come out and play. I’m thinking maybe Viajante?

Viajante by Martina Behm

For which I may have earmarked this beautiful Squoosh Merino silk lace:

Squoosh Merino Silk Lace in Tsunami

And possibly ordered a few of these to work in there with it:

Matsuno #6, Teal

And of course SOCKS SOCKS SOCKS. How about Level Up?

Level Up by Heather Kinne

Or Aquaphobia?

Aquaphobia by Crystal Flannigan

Too many crafts, too little time!

Just in time for Easter…

You too can create this perfect masterpiece for your friendly neighborhood chickens. Bonus points for getting your chicken to stand still for his or her portrait.

Lorraine Hearn’s Easter Chicken Coat Pattern

Keepin’ on.

I haven’t been posting much of late for a variety of reasons, but despite my lack of interesting topics to discuss, I have been knitting and spinning behind the scenes.

On a whim, I decided approximately 2 weeks before Valentine’s Day that I should knit my beloved a pair of socks to keep his feet warm.  Thank goodness he only has size 10 feet.  I found some beautiful Blue Moon Fiber Arts Mediumweight Sock in a one of a kind colorway (they call them “Rare Gems”) and a great pattern called Skyp and I was off to the races. I finished these the Wednesday night before Valentine’s Day!

I hadn’t planned on being matchy-matchy, but I’m already halfway done with a pair in the same pattern for myself!

I guess I was in a green mood this month because I finished another luscious green project.  I had the Multnomah pattern in my queue for a long time, just waiting for the right yarn to present itself.  More recently I have become friendly with the designer, Hello Knitty, through her blog and Twitter.  It’s been chilly here and I craved the comfort of warm wool and soothing garter stitch. So I dug some yarn with cashmere out of my stash and off I went. Every stitch of this shawl was such a pleasure to knit. My only complaint is that I want this shawl to be bigger so I can wrap myself in it.  The next one I make will definitely use two skeins!

 

Finally, I got myself in gear and finished up plying a pound of fiber I was lucky enough to get in a Hello Yarn update last year.  I’d spun most of the singles last year, but only finished plying this month.

I haven’t counted yardage since I washed it, but I believe this is somewhere between 900 and 11oo yards of approximately worsted weight yarn. The fiber is Corriedale and the colorway is Deep Dark.

I received this fiber about the time the Party Mix pattern was published in Knitty:

Pattern: Julia Farwell-Clay, Photograph: Caro Sheridan

I took the fiber to one of my local yarn stores in an attempt to find some commercial yarn to complement the handspun and found a wall of Cascade 220 and the perfect option. What do you think?

Cast on ALL THE THINGS*

As I crossed into the New Year I suddenly went from a “knit all the sweaters” to a “cast on ALL THE THINGS” mood.  I have set some goals for 2013, but I also have learned from locking myself into the bigger challenges (like 11 sweaters in 2011) that I like the freedom to cast on whatever I fancy when I fancy it.

So I’m compromising.  This year I will be participating in 2 challenges.  I will spin again, as I did last year, although this year will be 13 pounds of fiber in 2013. I’m not worried because as my friend Kippiann pointed out, that’s a braid a week. I also know that I spun 16.75 pounds last year so I should be good until at least 2017 right?

The second challenge is for my feet. I’m going to knit 13 pairs of socks in 2013.  I LOVE handknit socks. Between September and May they are virtually all I wear on my feet.  But somehow, when I’m knitting socks, they always get pushed down to the bottom of the project bag in favor of more exciting sweaters and shawls.  So this year I’m determined to knit a bakers’ dozen pairs of socks.  I’m taking a page from the Yarn Harlot and picking out patterns and yarns up front and grabbing a new one each time I need a project.

So… what’s on my needles?

1. Stripey Socks – I’m knitting a pair of plain vanilla socks out of some “gothified” Wollmeise. My friend Christine was nice enough to overdye big black stripes on my beloved skein of Wollmeise resulting in fun stripey socks:

2. Alaska on my Mind – When one of my favorite podcasters Leslie published the Georgia on My Mind pattern I knew it would be a great one for the variegated skeins of sock yarn I had stashed. I dug deep into my stash and found a skein I bought on my honeymoon in Alaska.

3. Luiza – Over the holiday season the pattern designer of Luiza generously gave me a copy of her pattern, which I had long been eying.  Imagine my surprise when I figured out that Jane Araujo (the designer) lives about 45 minutes away from me. I’m hoping we’ll get together for coffee soon, but in the mean time I selected a beautiful skein of Woolmeise lace and cast on!

Jane Araujo’s beautiful Luiza.

4. Multnomah – This pattern has been on my list for a while, but recently I’ve gotten to know the designer, Hello Knitty, a little better through Twitter and her blog. Add that to my LOVE for the cashmere goodness of Bugga and you have a project match. I’m using my beautiful skein of Autumn Tiger Beetle and the garter stitch is making me swoon!

The Sanguine Gryphon, Bugga, Autumn Tiger Beetle

I’m still working on my Roam Tunic.  And I’m about ready to turn this sweet washcloth into a baby blanket for my cousins who are expecting in March.

Jan Eaton’s Leaf Lace Washcloth

So the only question left is, what will I cast on next?

* ALL THE THINGS is a phrase borrowed from the hysterical Hyperbole and a Half.

Monster Strong

Once upon a time, my sister and I were talking about a situation a friend of ours was facing. It wasn’t pretty and I felt pretty powerless to do anything to make things better.  All I could think was that I wanted to do SOMETHING, that I couldn’t sit still and do nothing. I believe the words I uttered were “Sometimes bad things happen to people and… well… I know how to knit.”

Last week something terrible happened to a lot of people. Something no child, or adult should ever have to go through. And as I watched the news unfold I felt powerless to do anything and yet desperately wanted to do SOMETHING.

Out of this 600 Monsters Strong for Connecticut was born. I didn’t organize it, but I am insanely grateful and proud to be a knitter and to be part of the group from its very beginnings. If you’re a knitter or a crocheter check it out and join us.

Things I’m Loving – December 2012

Whoops! It looks like I missed a few months. All the better to save up the things I love for the holiday season. So I’ll start there.

Growing up Jewish I obviously didn’t celebrate Christmas.  My husband isn’t Jewish, however, so now I get to enjoy the tree, the lights and the season even more fully. This year I decided my desk at work needed some sprucing up. A trip to Michael’s, and a bit of knitting with handspun later and I’ve got a mitten tree. I’m Smitten! (see what I did there?)

Yes. Those are mittens.

Another thing I love about the holidays is that people get in the spirit by doing all sorts of kindnesses to others.  This year on Ravelry I have seen the knitting community gather to do nice things for people they don’t even know: knit hats, send patterns and yarn.  One woman just wanted a card for her birthday and I know at least 20 people will be sending her a card on her special day. I chose to knit a hat for someone who mentioned that her hands hurt too much to knit any more (my worst nightmare). And in a karmic balance I received two patterns from designers who saw that I was interested in knitting lace. So in the new year I’ll be working on the Persian Star Shawl:

And Luiza:

(Bonus: the designer of Luiza lives less than 40 minutes away from me and we’re going to meet for coffee and yarn in the New Year!)

Cold weather and crafting have meant that I’m indoors and in need of entertainment. I’m slow to get on the bandwagon but in the past few weeks I have been enjoying Sherlock, The Dresden Files and Doc Martin.

Cold weather and sniffles mean HOT TODDIES. One of the things my husband has taught me is how to make a proper hot toddy: Lipton tea, honey, lemon, a dash of Seagram’s.  Breath in the steam and drink in the warm.

Cold weather means MORE knitting!  Moving up quickly on my “must knit this now” list – Jurisfiction by Glenna C.

I’m in the minority of my inlaws family in that I adore everything cranberry.  In the past few years we’ve started making our own cranberry sauce for the holidays using this great recipe.

I’m also thinking about making Cranberry Mulled wine this year. Maybe I’ll give this recipe a whirl.

I hope you’re enjoying the season and finding ways to stay warm and enjoy family, friends and food!

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