Monday, February 29, 2016

A Bonus Day

Happy leap day!  I'll take extra time wherever I can get it . . . a few minutes here, a half hour there.  It all adds up.  I'm almost giddy with delight at the thought of a whole extra day.  Before I head off to make mischief, here's a glimpse at some of the goodies that came out of the dye pot last week.

Pretty pink and a hint of spring.

Enjoy your extra day!

Friday, February 26, 2016

At The Same Time

There's something special about knitting late into the night.  I don't get a chance to do it very often, but I savor the peace and quiet . . . the uninterrupted time.  For me the hard part is knowing when to call it quits.  I find myself muttering, I really should go to bed.  And then I knit another row or another section.

Last night I had such an opportunity.  I was knitting along and could have kept going, but I hit a warning sign.

I had reached the armholes on my modern tunic.  It wasn't extremely late, and I was prepared to go just a little bit further.  I looked at the pattern and saw the instruction Read ahead.  Work on the armholes and the neckline overlaps At The Same Time.  That's all I needed to call it a day.  Too many times I've worked at the same time late at night only to rip it all out in the morning.  Experience is one of the best teachers.

I'm at that point in winter where I'm constantly looking for something bright and cheery.  This week's color inspiration . . . 

Blue as far as the eye can see.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Looking for Traction

Most days forward progress is an elusive goal, so I'm realistic and set the bar pretty low.  If I'm spinning my wheels, it's a good day.  I figure eventually I'll gain traction and move forward.  The last couple days I haven't even been spinning my wheels.  I've been going in reverse.

The website shopping cart had been acting up for a few days.  Then yesterday my bank card didn't work at the ATM.  Something to do with the magnetic strip.  That, coupled with a list of errands, put me over the edge.

I came home and cast on something new.  I've had a few skeins hanging out in my work area . . . just waiting for an opportune moment. Yesterday was that moment.

In all fairness I needed a project that was more portable.  Most of my current projects can only be worked on when I'm at home.  This new project is just what I needed to take the edge off.

Website Update.  The shopping cart is working again.  It's new and improved, and I'm thrilled.  I never thought a virtual shopping cart could make my day, but this one has.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Gradient Update

I'm ready for a new week and am starting this one with a quick website update.  The Gradient Bundles are now available. 

What can you make with them?  Ravelry has all sorts of ideas, or you can probably come up with something on your own.  In case you need a little inspiration, today I'm highlighting one gradient project.

Inara Wrap featuring Iron and Mulled Wine.

Luz looks a little chilly in this one.  "Hurry up, Mom!"

This project is perfect for playing with contrasting gradient colors.

Alternating lace and garter stitch.

Shifting colors trading places.

Hours of knitting fun.

Thanks to Robin, my friend and ace sample knitter.  This shawl is captivating.

Friday, February 19, 2016

All It Took Was an Afternoon

I've been bouncing back and forth between several knitting projects without making any noticeable progress, so it was encouraging to see what happened when I focused my attention.  I devoted an afternoon to one project, and this is what I accomplished.

I constructed two pockets.

I attached them to the rest of the sweater.

From here on out, it's mindless stockinette.  I can feel the momentum building.

This week's color inspiration . . . 

Icy droplets.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Around and Around

This morning I spent a few minutes with Knitlandia, a new book by Clara Parkes.  

Clara is heading out on a book tour, and she started the party last night in Somerville.  This book is a collection of essays based on Clara's travels.  From Taos to Iceland and in-between, Clara reflects on yarn events and knitter gatherings far and wide.  

I could easily be enticed to travel with Clara by reading more of her adventures, but I'll save that for another time.

Today is all about winding.

Monday, February 15, 2016

From the Deep Freeze

This past weekend was made for knitters.  With temperatures below zero and wind chills making it feel much colder, it was the perfect excuse to sit and knit.  Even though I had a date with my paperwork and taxes, I did allow myself a little time for knitting.

Wedge by wedge Diane is getting bigger.  I'm at the point where I feel confident I'll have plenty of yarn to make this shawl bigger than the pattern suggests.  I'll see if that holds true after a few more wedges. 
In fact if I wanted to be certain, I could do some calculations and weigh the yarn to determine how much I'm using on each wedge.

I still have more paperwork to contend with, but there's nothing like Monday to bring me back to reality.  Yesterday I ignored the fact that the hot water in the kitchen was frozen.  I also used it as an opportunity to ignore the dirty dishes.  The water problem didn't sort itself out overnight, and today the situation is serious.  We're almost out of clean dishes, and the counter is cluttered with dirty pots and pans.  It's time to roll up my sleeves and boil some water.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Just like the Picture

Some of this week's deadlines have fallen by the wayside, but I finished the birthday hat with time to spare.

Foxy from the Foxy and Wolfie duo.  I've done my part.  Harper's birthday party is tomorrow, and she will have a new hat.

This birthday party reminded me of the days when my kids were little. They would peruse cookbooks looking for the perfect birthday cake. Sometimes they would pick one with a beautiful glossy picture of a cake with intricate frosting details.  Fussy frosting is not my strong suit, so I would explain that I would make the cake but in the end it might not look like the picture.  I tried to soften the blow.  It can be a big disappointment when the cake your mother slaved over for hours doesn't look anything like the cake in the cookbook.

There I was knitting this hat and reminiscing about cakes and frosting. At one point I thought, this hat is going to be like one of those cakes that only vaguely resembles the picture.  All the pieces are there, but in the end they just don't come together for a pretty picture.  

I was tempted to stray from the pattern . . . just a little.  I reknit the first ear 3 times before I admitted I should follow the pattern. Sometimes knitting requires blind faith.  Follow the directions and don't ask questions.  That's all it took.  In the end I have a hat that looks just like the picture.

We got fresh snow this week, and that always puts me in a cheery mood.  This week's color inspiration . . . 

Winter white.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Playing with Pockets

This is how my Wednesday is shaping up.

I've been trying to get my modern tunic off the needles, but I was stalled at the pockets.  Did I want pockets?  They are more decorative than utilitarian.  Could I resist the urge to shove my keys in them? When I finally decided that a couple little pockets would be a nice feature, I had to select a contrast color.  The yardage for this project is very tight, and I didn't want to get all the way to the top only to realize I was short on yarn because I added cute little pockets to the bottom.

Yesterday I got some color feedback on Instagram.  Thanks to everyone who weighed in.  I even sent my daughter a text late last night, but she was already asleep and didn't cast her vote in time.  I'm going with the gold.  Gray was a close second, but I resisted.

After the pocket linings are made, they are knit right into the sweater. Painless assembly.  I'm off to finish this construction project.

Monday, February 8, 2016

A Shift in Plans

Sometimes I can be convinced to drop everything for a knitting emergency.  Over the weekend my daughter put out the call for a new hat.  Her goddaughter turns 2 this week, the party is on Saturday and could I please whip up something fun and cute.  I was tempted to remind my daughter that she, too, knows how to knit, but I do enjoy making things for little people.  And so I cast on.

The brim is finished, and things are about to get interesting.  Perfect timing for a snow day.

Friday, February 5, 2016

There's Only Room for Three

There's a new booth sample brewing, so yesterday morning I was busy mixing and matching colors.  

You'll notice my beloved gray isn't in the mix.  I would be lying if I said it wasn't in the first round of color options, but by the time I reached the final four, I had reluctantly set it aside.

The problem with the final four is I only need three.  I'm trying to use colors I haven't worked with in a while, so the tan is a 
definite - probably the green too.  I like the purple with the green but maybe not with the tan.  You see where this is going.  I'll sort out the rest of it over the next couple days.

While that percolates, I can focus my attention on this project.

Diane is moving right along.  This shawl is constructed with a series of wedges.  At the beginning of each wedge, all the markers are reset. I've finally hit my stride with this project and feel like I'm picking up momentum.  I'm also highly motivated because I want to wear this.

Remnants of fall provide this week's color inspiration.

Nature's lace.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Like a Canoe

Over the last few days my sock knitting has taken a back seat to a couple other projects, but I did manage to get this far.

This is the part where I feel like I'm in a canoe.  I finished the heel flap, turned the heel and picked up the gusset stitches.  The two gusset sides have extra stitches and create a long, narrow cavity - the canoe.  It's a little wobbly and a little off-balance, but it never lasts long.  I'll work the decreases and soon enough the sock will be back in the shape of a tube.  

If you're in New England and looking for a way to break up the winter, check out the Green Mountain Knitting Retreat and Fiber Festival, March 18 - 20.  This fiber getaway is held in White River Junction at the Hotel Coolidge.  Wonderful food, a historic venue, knitting by the fireplace . . . all the ingredients for a charming weekend.  This event is hosted by the good folks at White River Yarns.  See the Facebook page for additional information.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Beyond Repair

As knitters we become attached to our finished projects, but at some point you have to let your tattered handknits go.  Recently the heel of a favorite pair of socks blew a hole.

At first I was tempted to repair the heel.  I thought about it a little more and realized that overall the socks were getting thin.  It wasn't a good use of time and effort to repair the heel if the rest of the sock was going to fall apart.  Instead I cast on a new pair of socks.

For some time now my little handknit phone case has been showing signs of wear.  I think I first noticed it late summer.  The case was feeling thin in a couple spots.

Now we're well into winter, and the case is noticeably frayed.  

This weekend I finally started a replacement.

The light blue stripe is for the pocket.  It's a good thing this project is moving right along.  That old case needs to be retired, and I'm ready to let it go.