Friday, July 31, 2015

Ready for Fall

This has been a busy week for dyeing, but that's not all.  I have a rack of freshly washed woolens, and all the socks have mates.

It's always a bonus when no sock is left behind.

There's still time to get in on the July giveaway, but today is the last day to enter for a chance to win.  Follow the link for details.

My color inspiration this week is bold and bright.

Dancing colors.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Summer Reading List

Summer is a good time for books.  I'm a huge fan of audio books and often listen to something while I'm knitting.  The combination is a great way to satisfy my multitasking tendencies.  

Knitting books don't transfer well to an audio format, and I use the summer months to catch up.  

This is my current pile.  What's on your summer reading list?

Monday, July 27, 2015

The Sock Situation

After spending the weekend chained to my desk, Monday rolled around too quickly.  I would like to report that I finished everything on my to-do list, but that's not the case.  Sometimes dealing with one paper problem just leads to another one.  I found myself digging a hole instead of climbing a mountain.

One thing on my list for the weekend was to solve a certain sock situation, and I was able to cross that item off.

I know.  Last week I talked about not starting anything new, but that applies only to sweaters.  This week my schedule is wonky, and a simple sock will come in handy.  Now I'm headed off to pick up where I left off with all that paperwork.  The fun continues.  Happy Monday!

Friday, July 24, 2015

My Revolving Door

I've been getting a lot of yarn deliveries, but it's going out as fast as it's coming in.

I took a break from dyeing and shipping and updated the list of shops that carry my yarn.  Follow the link and see if your LYS made the list.

It's time for the monthly giveaway.  Consider this and leave a comment.  One of my customers, Kathy, has a request.  It seems that everyone has busy lives and schedules, and she would like to know how people find time for daily knitting.  What's your routine?  Have you found a way to increase your knitting time?  Do you have a secret for managing your knitting time?

Since I just updated the list of shops, I'll add this to the mix.  Many people are traveling this time of year.  Do your travel plans include stopping at a yarn shop?  If so, which one(s) will you visit?  Please include your Ravelry ID with the comment.  The winner, chosen at random, will receive a skein of Dirty Water DyeWorks yarn - winner's choice.  The contest closes on Friday, July 31, 2015.

For this week's color inspiration I found some leaves but not just any old leaves.  These green leaves with a cream border are intriguing.  It almost looks like the green was applied with a paintbrush.

Like snowflakes, each one is unique and different.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Let's Make a Deal

It's the middle of July, and all I can think about are sweaters.  All kinds of sweaters . . . colorwork and cables, cardigans and pullovers, short sleeves and long sleeves, buttons and zippers.  You would think that in the middle of summer I would be looking at something cool, airy and light.  No.  Instead I'm thinking ahead to the weather that awaits us.

I've been contemplating a new sweater . .  . maybe Rhinebeck, maybe not.  I've been resisting full-blown startitis, and a new sweater would definitely take the edge off.  Before I got too deep in plotting and planning a new sweater project, I stumbled across this.

Washington Square.  I set it aside for one reason or another when life intervened and didn't pick it up again.  The sweater is already assembled.  All I need to do is finish the yoke and add button bands. I love picking out buttons, so that doesn't even count as work.  This sweater won't satisfy my startitis, but I made a deal with myself.  I can start a new sweater if I finish this one first.  Fair enough.

Speaking of sweaters, signups are still open for Yarn Knot.  

The first installment is a sweater's worth of yarn . . . maybe Rhinebeck, maybe not.  No pressure.  It ships next month. Follow the link for details.

Monday, July 20, 2015

A Quick Jaunt

This weekend I made a quick overnight trip.  By quick I mean I was gone less than 15 hours.  I would have been quite content to stay at home, but, like most mothers, I often go the extra mile (no pun intended) for my kids. 

Somehow I managed to convince myself this trip merited a new knitting project . . . my reward for doing the right thing.  Now 15 hours isn't a lot of time.  Add the fact that I did all the driving - over 4 hours behind the wheel.  Now I'm down to about 10 hours and some of that had to be used for sleep.

It's a wonder I even got this project on the needles.  I probably skimped on sleep, but just a couple more rows and then the real fun starts.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Calendar Update

When anyone in the family asks about my travel schedule, I remind them they can find all the details on my website.  There's a lot of coming and going in my household, and this is an easy way for everyone to know where I am.

The other day my daughter was planning her fall schedule, and since it hinges somewhat on mine, she went to the website to check my calendar.  There she discovered I hadn't posted my fall show schedule, and she let me know she couldn't make her plans until she knew mine.  Life for a teenage girl can be trying.  In all fairness  I thought I had already updated the list, but apparently I had only posted through June.  

To bring everything current and to keep peace in the house, I updated the Events page to the end of the year.  You'll find the same information in the right sidebar.  Fall is a crazy busy time, and this year is no exception.  There's not a lot of wiggle room in my schedule, and I'm looking forward it.

This week I've been tempted by several new knitting projects, but so far I've managed to stay monogamous.  

I might fall off that wagon this weekend, but for now Purpleplexy is getting all my attention.  There's another set of ends to weave in . . . a sure sign that I'm making progress.

Miles and miles of garter.

My color inspiration for this week . . . 

Hot pink.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Utilizing Resources

I've been on a bit of a tear with my delayed spring cleaning.  Better late than never, I say.  The first order of business was my desk, and I've been sorting through papers and organizing files.  It's a bit discouraging when no one else notices that my desk is tidy now, but I'm not going to let that stop me from tackling other problem areas around the house.

I have a wonderful crew of friends, and they often offer to help with this, that and the other thing - labeling yarn, packing orders, knitting samples, even cleaning the kitchen.  Sometimes I'm not organized enough to take advantage of the extra help, but it's reassuring to know it's available.  

The other day an offer came in, and the timing was perfect.  My friend, Alice, was hanging out for the day.  I was working, but it's nice to have company as I bounce back and forth between the computer and the dye pots.  Alice had already labeled yarn and put the kitchen back in order, but she was ready for another task.  

I thought of my spring cleaning projects and picked one that was near the top of the list.  I tossed out a suggestion.  How about putting my stash in order?  I know there are things I need to get rid of and things I want to keep, but it's really kind of a mess right now.  Alice got busy and hauled everything out of the stash closet.

This is just some of the mess.

Alice sifted and sorted . . . a pile to keep, a pile to give away, a pile to throw away.  She asked me questions as she worked through all the bins and bags.  A couple times she was the objective voice of reason when she convinced me to let go of yarn that I will never use.

Before I knew it, she was finished.  I have a few smaller bins of yarn, but the bulk of my stash has been reduced to this neat, tidy corner. Thanks, Alice, on a job well done.

Monday, July 13, 2015


My Monday to-do list.

It's hard to pick just one.

Friday, July 10, 2015


It's always good to have a Plan B.  This week I've been running around a lot, carrying my knitting with me wherever I go.  My Flaming Desire socks have been getting my undivided attention.  You know how it is when you get into a groove with a project and want to see it through to completion.  

The other day I was out and about and waiting for one of the kids.  I was working away on my sock and didn't mind the wait time.  I reached the bottom of page 7 and was about to flip to page 8 when it happened.  There wasn't a page 8 to flip to.  I sorted through the stack of pattern pages to see if it was out of place.  It wasn't.  Then I emptied my bag to see if it had fallen to the bottom.  It hadn't.

Earlier in the week I was taking only the socks to work on when I was out of the house - remember I wanted to finish them - but by midweek I came to my senses and tossed another project in my bag . . . just in case.  My general rule is to carry at least 2 projects, but I had gotten lazy, and it was nice carrying a lighter bag.  

When page 8 went missing, I still had plenty of waiting time on my hands, so I'm glad I tossed that second project in the bag.  I'm on a roll with Purpleplexy and am starting the third set of stripes.  Now to see if I can keep the momentum going on both projects.  I still need to find page 8 . . . 

My kitchen is a hodgepodge of mismatched items collected from yard sales and thrift stores.  This matching set almost looks out of place. My color inspiration for the week . . . 

According to the box it's caribbean.  

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Warm Days, Cool Knits

I received a review copy of this book.

Warm Days, Cool Knits by Corrina Ferguson

Warm Days, Cool Knits by Corrina Ferguson.  When Corrina moved to Florida, she had time on her hands, so she took up knitting.  As Corrina states, ". . . even in the South we love to knit."  She goes on to explain that Southern knitters want to make garments - not just accessories and home decor items. 

This book contains 20 patterns grouped by seasons. The page layout is clean and uncluttered.  For handy reference, schematics are included on the same page as the pattern instructions.  The photos are bright and highlight pattern features and details.

Here's a smattering of projects from the book.

I'm still stuck on 2-color shawls, and Mayella caught my eye.

Mayella by Corrina Ferguson.  Photo by Joe Hancock

Mayella by Corrina Ferguson.  Photo by Joe Hancock.

This asymmetrical shawl takes two skeins of fingering weight yarn. I've already entertained a couple color combinations.

Corrina included several sweaters in her book.

Lochlan Cardigan by Corrina Ferguson.  Photo by Joe Hancock.

Lochlan Cardigan by Corrina Ferguson.  Photo by Joe Hancock.

Locklan Cardigan uses a chevron pattern that creates rich, textured fabric - perfect for a sweater.

Some days you want to curl up with a wrap.

Junius by Corrina Ferguson.  Photo by Joe Hancock.

Junius by Corrina Ferguson.  Photo by Joe Hancock.

Junius is a good candidate.

Warm Days, Cool Knits is not your usual book of warm weather patterns.  Corrina has put together a collection that works well for warm weather, cold weather and everything in-between.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Traveling Light

Well, the holiday weekend blew by in a hurry.  The only travel I did was a quick, impromptu trip to the beach.  Of course I had to take some knitting along for the ride.  My only dilemma was which project to take.  Most of my focused knitting right now is large and cumbersome - not good for knitting at the beach.  

I rummaged through several knitting bags and unearthed a sock already under construction.  Perfect.  Something small and portable yet still entertaining.

I started the day with half the leg completed.  In case you're wondering, this is Flaming Desire.  It looks much more impressive when the sock is opened up.

By the end of the day the leg was finished, and I had a good start on the heel flap.  It was a productive day at the beach.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Shipping Out . . .

My Strathcona is off the needles and blocked. I couldn't be happier.

Later this morning I'll pop it in the mail, and my part in this larger project - 5 scarves total - will be finished.

This pattern wasn't hard, and I love the finished product, but the second half was a challenge.  I have one issue with mindless projects. They aren't a good distraction.  Instead of being absorbed in the project at hand, all I can think about is other knitting I would rather be doing.  It took all my resolve to keep knitting this scarf and not pick up any of the entertaining projects I already have in progress.   

This design features bias garter on the ends and a lace mesh pattern in the middle.  It's a great design, and I would definitely wear this scarf if I didn't have to ship it off for a good cause.

The yarn is Julia, colorway Cinderella.  This blend is 50% Superwash Merino, 50% Tencel.  I hadn't knit with it in a while and had forgotten the nice drape and shimmer.

Thanks to everyone who left a comment for the bonus giveaway.  So many of you are busy with KALs.  I've always said that mistakes are one of the best teachers.  Rebecca's comment reinforced that notion, ". . . my second go at the same pattern - learned a lot from my mistakes ."  Mistakes will always happen, and you're never too old to learn.

Congratulations to Tia and Bethany.  I'll be back with another giveaway round later in the month.

This week's color inspiration wouldn't be nearly as striking without the contrast.

White on green on white.

Enjoy the holiday weekend!  Safe travels if you're on the road.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Math and History

It's raining cats and dogs, and it's so dark I'm surprised the street lights aren't on.  The photos I had planned for today will have to wait. Instead, today is a good day for a few random bits and pieces.

~ Knitting and math go hand in hand . . . from simple row counts to more complex charts and stitch counts.  KnitYak has taken the combination of knitting and math to another level with a knitting machine and algorithmic computer generated designs.  Read about the one-of-a-kind scarves KnitYak wants to produce.

~ I love all kinds of history but especially anything that has to do with the history of knitting.  Here's a story on Shetland . . . wool, yarn, weaving and the world's fastest knitter.  It's the story of the textile industry on the island - what it was and how it's changed.

~ More on Shetland and history.  Taatit rugs were originally used as bedcovers - beautiful works of art with a practical use.  These rugs are steeped in folklore and a connection to Scandinavian countries.  It's a fascinating story.

That's it for your daily dose of math and history.  Happy Canada Day to our neighbors to the north.