Friday, June 28, 2013


Summer weather has settled in with hot, humid conditions. 

Every day I add to the seasonal sauna by heating up the dye pots.

This soggy situation is not ideal for dyeing.

To say that drying is moving at a snail's pace would be an understatement.  I can't bear to look at the weather forecast for fear it will dash any hope that drier air is headed our way.

My dyeing schedule is still relaxed.  The frantic, frenzied dyeing will come later in the summer.

Right now while the pots simmer, I can even manage to knit a few rows.  Pendulum is the perfect project, and this one is almost finished. In just a couple of weeks the pace will shift, but for the moment I'm savoring this balance between dyeing and knitting.

These days I'm all about rhubarb - muffins, pie, cobbler, sauce.  I'm in so deep that one of the farmers at the farmers' market keeps a stash for me behind the counter.  The rhubarb season is almost over, but I'm going to enjoy it to the very end.  My color inspiration for this week . . .

Crisp chunks ready and waiting.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Hidden Gems

Being sick is not fun but after some concentrated knitting time, I feel I'm well on the road to recovery.  I still have a lot of catching up to do, but at least my knitting is in order.  A new pair of socks on the needles is an easy way to lift my spirits.

After considering a couple of patterns, I settled on Luxor.  Round after round of knit and purl combinations - just enough to keep me entertained without being too taxing.  I admit this doesn't look like much.

But with a little help the fabric is transformed into this.

Lovely split diamonds loaded with texture.  The only danger is not being able to put these down to tackle some of the other work that needs my attention.

I always feel virtuous when my computer time is put to good use.  Not too long ago I got sucked into some of the knitting videos over on Lucy Neatby's YouTube channel.   If you need a little break from the daily grind or have a knitting problem, be sure to check them out.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Do Over

Sometimes it happens.  Even the best laid plans go awry.  The result of my topsy turvy weekend was a big fat zero in the knitting department.  After a second round of cold crud and a trip to the ER, I need a do over on the weekend.  Today is my day, and I'm going to knit as much as I want.

This yarn - Paula Violet, in case you're wondering - has been on my list for a while now. I know it's going to be socks, but I still haven't decided on the pattern.  I have it narrowed down to two choices.  The full moon is making me indecisive, and the heat isn't helping any either.  To help with the situation I have plans to escape to an air conditioned coffee shop for cool caffeine and comfortable conditions.

My daughter dropped these off to brighten my day.

Sunshine for a sick mother.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Sign Of Four

Happy summer solstice!  Today is the first day of summer, and I'm celebrating with a new pair of socks.

Sign of Four.

This is another well-written design from Anne Hanson.  The stitch pattern is interesting to work and creates a fabric that is soft, squishy and elastic.  Oh, so comfy.

The yarn is Dirty Water DyeWorks Lillian, colorway Cupid.

This colorway is currently unavailable, but maybe it will make a return appearance at some point.  Lillian continues to be one of my favorites for socks.  It's hard not to like this bouncy 100% Superwash Merino.

This is my first pair for the Summer of Socks, and I'm anxious to get started on the next pair.  Perfect timing for my weekend knitting.

My color inspiration this week is an eye-catching, bright, flowering cactus.

Brilliant orange.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Rambling Wednesday

I'm having one of those weeks where time is getting away from me. When I woke up this morning, I was convinced it was the weekend. It's probably wishful thinking on my part, but there is work to be done and I don't know how I could have casually wiped three days off my calendar.  While I have an extra dose of coffee and get this day back on track, I have a few random tidbits to share for . . . 


~ If you haven't already discovered it, let me introduce you to Stitch Maps.  JC Briar has taken knitting charts to a new level with graphic displays of knitted fabric outside the constraints of the traditional chart grid.  Wow.  Stitch Maps makes it easier to visualize how a stitch pattern will look when it's worked - the ebb and flow of knitted fabric. There are different options available for viewing stitch patterns plus subscription benefits - all kinds of potential fun.  If I go missing for any length of time, I'll probably be over at Stitch Maps.

~ The other day my brother and I were reminiscing about the good old days when we actually looked forward to retrieving the mail.  There was the hope and anticipation of a letter or a postcard - news from family and friends.  Just by chance I stumbled across Postcrossing. Send a postcard and receive a postcard in return - a modern day way of generating fun mail amidst all the junk and bills.  Sign me up.  I can't wait to get my first postcard in the mail.

~ If you need a shot of color to brighten your day, check out the color patterns at these flower farms.  Amazing.

A few weeks ago my daughter, Luz, rescued a tiny, malnourished kitten. She diligently bottle-fed him, and now he's an energetic, bouncing bundle of fur.

Luz is very generous.  A couple of times a week she shares her kitty and brings him over to spend the day.  Crazy cute.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Summer of Socks

When one of the local shops declared this to be the Summer of Socks, I was thrilled.  Socks are perfect summertime knitting - small, portable, practical.  And depending on your mood, you can make them as mindless or intricate as you'd like.  

I've latched onto the theme and am going to make this my personal Summer of Socks.  Last winter I was lacking in the handknit sock department.  As luck would have it, I had to retire several pairs at the same time.  That left me scrambling to fill the void.  If I get a jump on sock production this summer, I'll be in good shape by the time fall rolls around.

The other day the fog that comes with sickness started to lift, and I decided to treat myself to a new little project.  Of course I immediately thought of socks.  I had several patterns in mind.  The only hard part would be picking one.  

As I was rummaging around for needles, I stumbled across a sock already in production.

Sign of Four by Anne Hanson.  I don't remember when I started this project - probably before my busy spring travel stint.  I'm going to be good and finish this pair first.  I'm a little disappointed that I'm not starting something new, but summer is just beginning.  I have plenty of sock knitting days ahead of me.  Care to come along and make this your Summer of Socks?

Friday, June 14, 2013

Yarn Knot

I'm sorry to say I don't have much in the way of knitting to share. What started out as a minor sore throat on Tuesday had me parked on the couch most of Thursday.  Now sometimes being under the weather is manageable.  It can be a good excuse to take it easy, put your feet up and knit a few more rows.  And sometimes it isn't an excuse for extra knitting time.

I've come to gauge my degree of sickness by my ability - or inability - to knit through it.  Since I haven't been able to pick up my knitting for the last couple days, this bout of summer crud is the sickest I've been in a long, long time.  Whatever this bug is, it's spreading quickly through the household.  My son complained of a sore throat last night and was in bed by 10:00.  That's a record for this house full of teenagers.

Today I feel I might have turned the corner.  I'll see how the day progresses.  Since I don't have much knitting progress to report, I thought I'd share my latest brainstorm.

Yarn Knot is a quarterly subscription I'm offering.  Over the year we'll sample a variety of yarn blends and a mix of patterns all with an array of different colorways.  There will also be a KAL happening over on Ravelry.  Follow the link for more details.  It promises to be a fun adventure.

Our dry spring has flipped into a rainy season.  In fact today there are flood warnings.  In between the showers I've managed to take a few pictures, including my color inspiration for the week.

Purple with yellow flecks.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

No Complaints

I feel the start of a new project coming on.  This feeling has been percolating for a while now.  I look at patterns, take a break for a day or two, repeat.  If I come back to the same pattern over and over, I take that as a sign it's meant to be.

I'm closing in on the pattern.  Oh wait, I still have to dye yarn.  I might not be starting the project as soon as I had hoped.  While I'm waiting for all the pieces of the new project to come together, I spent a little time sampling a new yarn.

I used this blend for a custom order a few months ago, so I decided to explore the possibilities.  I dyed several samples and cast on. Knitting a swatch with a new yarn is always a relaxing exercise. There's more sampling to do, but so far I love the way this knits up.

Knitting with silk . . . I'm not complaining.

Monday, June 10, 2013

A Dose Of Inspiration

On Saturday I took a short drive north to New Hampshire and the Squam Spring Retreat.  I was a vendor at the evening market but wanted to sample some of the creative energy that permeates this event.

Driving through the grounds there were signs of knitters everywhere with fun, clever yarn bombing on trees, bushes and buildings.

In the afternoon there was the Ravelry Revelry.  Knitters gathered to knit and socialize, and it was a wonderful opportunity to connect with friends old and new.

Before I knew it, it was time to get to work.

Vendor set-up was a flurry of hectic activity, but in the end it all came together.

The charming camp dining room was transformed into a colorful market . . . 

. . . with a mix of eclectic, creative goods.  

I came home inspired.

And that's the magic of Squam.

Friday, June 7, 2013


There's a certain feeling of satisfaction when you finish a project and block it without delay. 


I'm often guilty of letting a project linger before I block it.  Sometimes there's even a to-be-blocked pile.

This time around there was a little extra motivation for blocking.  The Squam Spring Art Fair is tomorrow, and Pendulum is going to travel with me.  By the way if you're in the area, the Spring Art Fair is open to the public.

This design is simple yet entertaining - glorious garter combined with short rows and stripes. Hours of effortless knitting.

The yarn is Dirty Water DyeWorks Lillian, colorways Gooseberry and Wheat.  I tweaked the pattern and made this one a little bigger.  I'm still in love with German short rows and used that method again.

The finished shawl has wonderful drape.  Pendulum is practical yet has some pizazz.  I'm sure this will get a lot of wear.

I must confess I couldn't resist considering other options.

Different color combinations for different looks . . . I could be on the brink of trouble.

This time of year colors come and colors go.  My color inspiration for the week.

Soft white on ivory.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Still Striping

This week I'm easing into a different routine, and the calendar is full of appointments and general waiting time.  Yesterday I found myself at the Registry of Motor Vehicles.  The wait was long, but I had my knitting.  I was fortunate.  The man next to me saw my knitting and commented that I came prepared.  Poor guy.  He had been waiting over two hours and didn't have anything to occupy his time except check the clock on his phone.

With all the waiting and the appointments I've finished a couple of knitting projects.  As you know, finishing always leads to starting.

I'm still striping.  Pendulum, Round 2.  This time I'm going to stay on course and not make the shawl bigger.  If I can make this out of two skeins, it might be a candidate for a new kit.  There's more waiting in store for me this week . . . and more time for striping.

Monday, June 3, 2013

And Then There Were None

This past weekend I was at Maine Fiber Frolic - last, but not least, of the spring New England sheep and wool festivals.  It was a fun fiber weekend in spite of the sweltering heat that's been gripping all of New England.

I've had a busy spring schedule . . . a weekend here, a weekend there, every weekend somewhere.

And now it's over.

Except for a quick trip to New Hampshire this Saturday, my show schedule is empty until September.

I should feel relieved.  

The pace slows down, and I have a little more time on my hands.

Instead I feel a void without the fun and frenzy of planning and packing for the next event.

It's going to take some time for me to adjust to a different pace.

This transition calls for extra knitting time.