Monthly Archives: April 2013

Can’t Stop

One infinity scarf is done.

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It is made from 50% cormo wool and 50% yak down. It is wonderfully soft and cosy and fluffy.

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The yarn is from Bijou Basin and aside from the strong perfumy smell that it had, it was a wonderful yarn to knit with. The pattern is called Billow Cloud and it and the yarn was this month’s bare naked knitspot club shipment. It is definitely what I would call a luxury yarn. This project took just a tad more than one skein. With the remainder of the second skein I will be making some fingerless mitts. It will be a nice cosy warm set for the next cold season.

Speaking of luxury yarns, as soon as the scarf was done, I cast on a new project.

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This is Zen Yarn Garden’s Serenity Silk Single yarn in Crazy Berry. The color is really difficult to photograph and it even looks different between the ball and the knitted fabric. Funny. This yarn is really addictive to knit with; soft and silky. It glides through the fingers and creates a lovely, drapey fabric on size 6 needles. I had this briefly crazy thought in the middle of the night last night when I was up and knitting because I could not fall asleep, that I would try to finish this little sweater before Saturday to wear at the MD Sheep and Wool Festival. Crazy. Being up in the middle of the night is not the most rational of times. Anyway, I have given up on that idea, but regardless of a deadline, I cannot seem to put this project down. It has followed me around the house all day so that I can pet it wherever I am. Every stitch is a pleasure and I just can’t seem to stop working on this one.

Block Experiments

This weekend I had a few hours to myself in the house, and instead of cleaning, I decided to do a little sewing. There have been a couple of block patterns that I have been itching to try out. Firstly, ever since I did those square in a square blocks a couple of weeks ago, I have wanted to try them again, only with these templates I bought last summer.

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My main goal was to compare the ease of making these blocks with templates versus the paper piecing method I tried earlier. It was definitely more up front cutting and trimming of pieces. In fact, I cut a whole bunch and then realized that I had cut them from the wrong fabric. Oops. That’s what I get for not taking a few minutes to make a cut list.

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Once I fixed the problem of the cut list, and got going in the right direction, I slowly came to the realization that accurate cutting is challenging. Even with templates, it’s easy for the fabric to shift a fraction of an inch and give you a wonky piece. I had hoped that this method would be just as accurate as paper piecing, but it’s not. There’s a little less waste, but only if you cut out the right pieces-haha!

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It’s not bad. The square in a square blocks were accurate enough, but those diamond blocks are tough. Those I will try again with paper piecing and see if I like them better.

Next, I worked on some Japanese + and x blocks using this popular tutorial. These were fun to make and I think I may have to make some more of these!

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All these blocks I made over the weekend are destined to become new pillows for the house. Some of the ones we have lying around are over ten years old and need to be replaced. Pillows are a great way to try out a new block or technique and give your sofa a new look at the same time!

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I will probably sew on some white sashing to border these blocks and then do some experimental quilting as well before I sew them up into pillows. Also, I have pulled out a bunch of fabrics to make more knitting project bags. I may or may not have cast on a bunch of new knitting projects this weekend…you can never have too many bags, right?

A Quick Look Through

Every time I finish a big project, I spend some time going through all the ones I have going on to see if any of them catch my eye as the “official” next one to be finished. I realized that I had not taken pictures of them all yet and decided to go ahead and do that to update my ravelry project pages and share them with you. So, today, you get a rare glimpse of some of my knitting projects all at once. Beware. It can be a bit overwhelming. But, I like to have a lot of things going on because I am easily bored and because every situation needs a different knitting project. every project here has a different purpose. These are in no particular order.

Hers Anniversary Sweater. This is probably the oldest project going on right now. I do a row every now and again, but they are long, and I need some concentrated time to figure out the pattern and how to write it up.

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Another sweater. This one I picked up this week to do the collar and button bands. It still lacks sleeves.

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Oh, here’s more pink. This one’s a shawl. I have one repeat done and something like 24 left. This one will take awhile and I think I may aim to do two repeats a month in order to have it done in a year.

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Here’s my mindless, can’t take my eyes off the tv during an action movie project. Eventually, it will be this. I am not in a hurry for this one to be done because I know that it will be worked on in fits and starts.

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This one is my instant gratification project. It’s an infinity scarf made on big needles that I started on Sunday. I am already halfway done. It will probably be done soon.

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Of course, since I don’t have enough choices, I began a new shawl today. I love this green. It is a mirror of all the new spring leaves that are appearing everywhere lately.

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This project has not yet begun, but I am really itching to start knitting with this yarn. So far, I am looking at these options: Vanadium or maybe Amiga. My trouble is that I only have 2 skeins, so options are limited.

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Lastly, I am a little bored with my two sock projects right now, so I have wound up a new skein and preparing to cast on another pair in a week or so. Maybe this will give me some incentive to finish one of the pairs I have on the needles now?

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If you want more details, such as yarn choices, pattern details, and stuff like that, you are free to look at my projects page. It’s mostly updated now. Oh, and when you go and take a look, don’t be surprised to see some other works in progress that I did not show you here. This post only includes projects that did not have pictures yet!

Now, which would you pick to finish next?

On to the Next

I finished up that sweater I showed you on Monday. Here are some pictures. Please disregard the lack of modeling talent that I have. It’s a little awkward to have someone take pictures of you just for the knitwear. Anyway, it fits really well, I think.

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The sleeves were a bit snugger than I expected, and at first I did not like it, but the more I wore it, the more comfy I found it. First of all, they stayed put. There was no risk of dragging my cuffs through dirty dishwater or food that I was prepping on the counter. If I pulled them up, they stayed there, and when they were down, they let nary a cool draft up my arms. It was pretty comfy.

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And with the pretty detail on the sleeves, it would be a shame to get cake batter all over them. This makes me rethink the whole notion of what I consider comfortable clothing. You know, I grew up in the 80’s and 90’s when saggy and baggy was fashionable. Now, I think maybe I need to join the 21st century and wear more fitted clothes. It’s too bad that I am discovering this now, though, when I have more rolls than I would like to show. I would just like to say that the roll in the following picture is from the shirt I have on underneath. When someone else is taking the pictures, beggars can’t be choosers!

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This sweater pattern is Leaving by Anne Hanson of Knitspot. This is the second sweater I have made using her patterns, and I can’t say enough to recommend them, really. The patterns are clearly written and the fit, for me anyway, is spot on. My only complaint is that I wish she had more sweater patterns. Ah well, I’ll take what I can get.

The yarn is a hand-dyed bfl yarn from Maple Creek Farm called Fredericksburg. I got it a couple of years ago at the MD Sheep and Wool Festival. It was a very pleasant yarn to work with; smooth, strong, but soft with a nice fuzziness. My only complaint here was the very strong smell of cedar that was a little overwhelming at first. The festival is just a little over a week away, and I may just have to go see if they have some more of this stuff. I got two giant hanks of yarn. Each one had 660 yards and I have a good amount leftover from each one. I love these big hanks of yarn because it means changing yarn less often, and with hand-dyed yarns, that is a bonus. Basically, I was able to make a sleeve and a body piece from each skein, and since the skeins were fairly close, I did not have to alternate while I was knitting, which makes for many fewer ends to weave in–yay! I’d give you a link to Maple Creek Farm, but I couldn’t find one, so you’ll just have to come to the festival to check them out yourself!

And now, the big question is, what shall I go on to next? Another sweater? Shawl?

p.s. here’s a link to my ravelry project page for this sweater.

If Only

Recently, it seems, I have been dealing with some if only things, from myself and others. This morning, it was the one of the boys saying if only he had gotten up earlier, he’d be further long in his work. And last night from myself, if only I hadn’t been so immature as a 20 something, I wouldn’t have been so hurtful to my friends and family. But, as I tried to talk my son down from the heights of his despair, I realized that what I was saying to him needed to be said to myself.

*There’s no use dwelling on what has already been done, unless the lesson is still unlearned.

*We always have the choice right now, right this second, to open our hearts to learning the lessons our past is trying to teach us.

*The next moment is determined by the decisions we make now. Will we choose to wallow in the past and not be able to function in the present and future? Or can we let it go, let ourselves be changed by the past, but not haunted?

*Can we accept ourselves as basically flawed and not have high expectations that will just lead to madness when we can’t attain the perfection our minds and hearts want?

*It’s never too late to ask for help or ask for forgiveness.

*Sometimes, you just gotta get over yourself, put your nose on that grindstone, and get it done, however imperfect the finished product.

*You never know what you can accomplish until you try it again. And again. And again. Because the more you do it, the easier it will get.

*These are tough lessons to teach and learn. None of it can be accomplished in a day, much less a moment. Little signs of progress are worth celebrating.

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Today, I am grateful, so grateful for my kids. They teach me everyday what true love is and what it requires and what it has already accomplished. They are a continual reminder that no matter how old I get, I will never be too old to learn the same lessons over and over again. These are the things that make our lives richer, more full of meaning, and precious.

These lessons bring us closer, if only we would learn from them.