Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Updates and Numbers

I've been trying to clean up lingering tasks on my perpetual to-do list. One of those items was updating my Ravelry yarn listings.  Did you know Ravelry added a whole bunch of attributes to the yarn database? The yarn information has been expanded to include such items as country of origin, care, color, construction, how it was dyed and put up. When you're searching for yarn, check out the Attributes box on the left sidebar.  

The other day I sat down at my desk and plowed through the updates. I'm sure I have some tweaking to do, but most of my yarns include the expanded attributes.  Now I can cross that off my list.

My view today. 

This time of year I'm a slave to spreadsheets . . . more numbers, more colors.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Back to Work

I spent the last few days on a little summer getaway with the family. We all have full, busy schedules, so it was nice to have time 
together . . . the beach, family meals, late night card games.  As much fun as it was, I think everyone came home refreshed and ready to get back to regular routines.

Since I didn't have the usual hustle and bustle of work, I found myself with extra knitting time, and I made the most of it.

I started this little project, and it's moving right along.  More 
gradients . . . I can't get enough of them.  This morning I was tempted to knit just a few more rounds, but I won't.  It's time to get back to work.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Summer Escape

In an effort to celebrate summer, I finagled a few days out of town with the family.  The scheduling logistics for all of us are a nightmare, but hopefully by the end of the day all will be accounted for at our little getaway.  Various schedules, multiple cars, terrible traffic . . . I have my fingers crossed.

This excursion is bonus knitting time for me, so of course I thought long and hard about what to bring.  And to keep it interesting, my final decisions required a little bit of dyeing.  In my world there is always last-minute dyeing.

I know.  It's a lot of gray, but some of that belongs to my daughter.  For over a week now, she's been bugging me about a project . . . a project she wants to make.  I felt compelled to seize the opportunity to get a pair of needles in her hands over the weekend.  She's known how to knit since she was a little girl, but she doesn't do it very often.  Or not as often as I think she should.  

"Do you have any yarn?"  What kind of question is that?

"What colors do you have?"  Again, a silly question.  

After much texting back and forth and discussing colors and what will work best with the pattern, she settled on gray.  

"Mom, black is always my go-to color.  I'll do gray instead."  I wasn't able nudge her out of her color comfort zone, but at least she'll be knitting.

This week's color inspiration . . .

A trio of peppers.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

It's All in the Mix

The dog days of summer are busy dyeing days.  I'm shipping yarn out almost as fast as it's coming in.  During the hubbub of twisting and labeling, skeins are tossed in random piles.  I'm always looking for new color combinations.  Some of the combinations are so-so while others are eye-catching.

Generally I'm not a pink person, but this cheery mix got my 
attention . . . maybe for a future sample.  What are your favorite color combinations?

Monday, August 22, 2016

Slipping Away

Every year about this time I get the feeling that summer is passing me by, and then I try to play a quick game of catch-up.  For the next week or so, I'm going to cram in as many summertime activities as I can.  I'm mixing the summer fun with my regular work routine, so there's a bit of juggling involved.

I got the ball rolling yesterday with my two daughters when we went on a little adventure.  We braved the traffic and headed north to play on the rocks.  

This has become an annual trek, and it was good for the soul.

On the way home we made a stop for dinner.

Since I was driving, I seized the opportunity for a little knitting break.

As luck would have it, we had a male waiter.  I've learned that one of the advantages of dining out with my attractive young daughters is the male waiters are always very attentive.  We had a delicious dinner, lively conversation and excellent service.

I don't know what the rest of the week will bring, but this outing was a summer success.  

Friday, August 19, 2016


It feels good to wrap up the week with a finished project, but this shawl tested my patience to the very end.  The other day I had the incident where I lost at yarn chicken.  I recovered from that and thought it would be smooth sailing to the very end.  

Wrong.  The other night I was working the final row before the bind off. It got late, and I might have nodded off several times while working the last row.  If only I could sleep and knit at the same time.

In the morning I had a couple funky looking stitches.  I tried to fix them on the needles, but they didn't look right.  The only solution was to take out the whole row and work it again . . . all 400+ stitches.

Yesterday I plowed through most of the I-cord bind off before I was interrupted with a quick trip to the ER.  Nothing serious.  Apparently my daughter just has a nasty virus.  When I got home late last night, I was determined to get this shawl on the blocking board.

And I did.


This was a fun pattern . . . mostly garter stitch interspersed with short row bobbin sections.  Overall a relaxing project with colorful stripes for entertainment.

As with most of these two and three color projects, half the fun is picking the colors.  With so many options, it's also the hardest part.

The yarn is Lillian, colorways March Sky and Inchworm.  It seems Inchworm isn't on the website yet.  An update is on my to-do list.

This week's color inspiration screams for attention.

Lobstah red.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

In the Early Morning . . .

Last week I was working on my Ysabel and found myself faced with a game of yarn chicken.  I decided to play and gave it a good shot, but in the end the yarn won.  I was forced to crack open another skein so I could finish 1 row.  I consoled myself with the fact that it was over 400 stitches, but it was still 1 row.  You win some, you lose some.

This morning my day started ridiculously early with airport shuttle duties.  I'm always amazed at how many people are out and about before 5:00 a.m.  

When I got home, I was too wide awake to go back to bed, so I found myself sitting at my desk in the dim morning light.  I was clutching my coffee and staring into space when my gaze landed on the almost-full skein of yarn.  In the back of my mind I recalled a hat that I owe my son.  Without even a full cup of coffee under my belt, I put the two together and cast on.

Apparently I was feeling adventurous in my sleep deprived stupor.  I experimented with a new cast on.  I'm not sure I like it, so I'll work a couple more rounds and drink some more coffee before I make a final decision.  Putting that extra skein to good use definitely takes the sting out of losing at yarn chicken.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Blame It on the Heat

I started off the day with my swift and ball winder.  There are other things at the top of my to-do list, but it seems I've taken leave of my senses.

I spent Saturday at a yarn shop and was immersed in all kinds of project discussions . . . so many ideas, so much inspiration.  That, plus the fact that I'm almost finished with a project, gave me a little wiggle room to consider something new.

However, I think it's the extreme heat that finally pushed me over the edge.  Days and days of endless sunshine and heat have produced a serious drought situation.  It's so dire that a gray, rainy day would be cause for celebration.  This weather pattern has made me a little scattered and more than a little grumpy.  There's nothing like a new project to take the edge off.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Game On

Last night I was knitting away on my Ysabel.  Before I could call it a day, I had to reach my goal.  When I was within one row of that goal, I had to admit I might have a problem.

This is the final section with this color.  While I was working on it, I had an ongoing discussion with myself.

"No problem.  You'll have plenty of yarn."  

"This is going to be a problem.  Yarn chicken won't even be an option."  
While I have over 400 stitches now and it seems the latter is true, I haven't ruled out a game of yarn chicken.  There's nothing like a little excitement at the end of a project.

At the farmers' market this week my daughter convinced me we needed some fresh color in the house.  I'm glad she did.  This week's color inspiration . . . 

Zinnia cheer.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

More Magic

Knitting is a very old craft comprised of just a few techniques - cast on, knit, purl, increase, decrease, bind off.  On the surface there's not a lot to it, but once you start digging a little deeper, it gets interesting.  I find it fascinating that people are still creating new and interesting methods for these basic knitting skills.

For instance last night at knit night, one of my knitting buddies mentioned combining Judy's Magic Cast On with the tubular cast on. She had read about it in the latest issue of Knitty.  We chatted about it a little.  My mind was busy sorting out the mechanics of it, and I was very intrigued.

I must have had a dream about this cast on.  This morning as I was savoring my first cup of coffee, I couldn't stop thinking about it.  I ditched my morning to-do list and instead pulled up the Knitty article.  

I gave this new and improved tubular cast on a test run.  It works like a charm, and it can be used for both flat and circular projects.  

Magic all around.  Now I need a new project where I can put it to good use.

Monday, August 8, 2016

All Tangled Up

I have a bad case of the tangles.  Everything I touch ends up in a tangled mess. Last night I spent an incredible amount of knitting time untangling the yarn attached to my current project.  By the time I had sorted out the messy ball, I was too tired to do much knitting.  

This morning the tangled theme continued with a disaster at the electric skein winder.  Cones, yarn ends, partial skeins . . . all in a jumble. I said a few choice words and walked away.

It's time to hit the reset button.  Instead of working with anything that includes loose ends of yarn, I'm organizing things for a trunk show this coming Saturday.  

I'll be at Yarns In The Farms with a load of yarn, kits and gradient bundles.  I'll also have plenty of samples to look at.  Stop by if you're in the area.

My mantra for today . . . no more tangles. 

Friday, August 5, 2016

The Banana Socks

After a topsy-turvy week, it feels good to land on Friday with a finished pair of socks.

Dehnungsfuge.  Or, as I like to call them, the banana socks.  Curved shape, yellow color . . . it seemed the logical choice for a nickname.

I thoroughly enjoyed this pattern with its crazy combination of vertical and horizontal ribbing.  I usually make a couple modifications, but this time I followed the directions exactly.  I made the short row heel instead of my favorite heel flap.  I used the suggested shadow wraps instead of my preferred German short rows.

Some time ago I made Treppenviertel by the same designer, and this pattern was equally entertaining.

The yarn is Lucia, colorway Mustard Seed.  These socks will brighten a gray winter day.

This week we made our annual pilgrimage to pick blueberries.  The drought has taken its toll, and the berries weren't nearly as plentiful as some years.  In spite of the heat we've had, there are still berries that need to ripen.  This week's color inspiration . . . 

Almost white.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Orphan Socks

Hand-knit items are cherished, often through several generations.  
I have a few items that were knit and crocheted by my great-aunts.  
don't use them regularly, but I can't bear to part with them.  I appreciate all the time and effort that went into making them.  They are one of my connections to a past generation of women . . . strong, independent, resourceful, hard-working women who always found time to make things with their hands.

I've been sorting through my handknits and came across a couple orphan socks.  Their matching mates had holes beyond repair, and I tossed them long ago.  Like the items made by my great-aunts, I can't let go of the orphans.  Since the socks still have life, I'm going to put them to good use.

The orphan pair . . . definitely one of a kind.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Equal Time

On any given week I try to rotate through my active knitting projects and give all of them a little attention.  Last week that plan didn't work.  I was on the go a lot, and my knitting was all socks, all the time.

So I'm starting the week by playing catch-up with my Ysabel. 

The ends I've created so far are all woven in.  It feels like I'm in the homestretch but maybe not.  I have 3 1/2 sections left out of 9, but the rows are getting longer and longer.  I'm motivated to empty my needles.  Maybe that will be enough to push me over the finish line.