True Love still isn’t done, but she will be done later today. I’m literally that close! I had a bit of a setback earlier in the week. Here I thought three whole skeins of Noro Silk Garden Sock would be more than enough, but alas, it wasn’t. I was halfway through my last row of the 2-wheel version of the edging and bam. No more yarn. What to do? Was I going to spend $20 on another skein, plus shipping? Not happening. I bought my initial three from Little Knits for $10 each, and cheap-ass me wasn’t going to put any more money into this shawl. You know what happens then… rip, rip, rip.
I ripped back to the first row of wheels and started the picot edging. Have I mentioned how damned annoying a bazillion inches of picot are? I feel I should, that it’s an imperative I warn the unsuspecting how annoying picots are en mass. I have the same lack of patience for picots that most people have for nupps or kitchenering closed their sock toes, both techniques I strangely enjoy. Anyway, I’m down to the last foot of edging and I know that it will be done tonight. As long as my little ball of reclaimed yarn doesn’t fail me.
At this point I’m actively struggling with what to make next. I have two stalled shawl/scarf projects right now that I really should get back to, and the travel sock (which doesn’t count). The Madrona shawl (you remember that, right?) has languished forever and if I’m going to enter it into Rhinebeck I need to get a move on it. But first, I must finish True Love and figure out who I’m going to give it to as a gift. Who does it remind me of?
Pattern: Lazy Katy by Birgit Freyer of Knitting Delight.
Yarn: Handspun Romney 2-ply lace (teal) and handspun sport weight Navajo-ply BFL (peach/pink/purple)
Needles: US Size 5 and 8, respectively.
Mods: Variegated version is short because I knew I wasn’t going to have enough yarn, hence the truncated “arm”.
Every so often there comes into your life a pattern that so pleases the fingers and senses as to become a Go To Pattern. Whatever it is your needs are for a pattern that you’ll happily knit over and over again, that pattern waltzes into your heart and says, ‘hey there… wanna play?’ For me, that pattern is Lazy Katy, by German designer Birgit Freyer. Lazy Katy just gets me, and I have knit her three times in the last year and a half.
What makes Lazy Katy so special?
- It’s great TV and travel knitting in that the main body portion is just the same two rows repeated over and over.
- It’s got a nice little border, and I’m a sucker for a nice border. In fact, said border might easily be subbed for a greatborder. Hmm…
- The shape is eye-catching, yet easy wear.
- It works well with both long-repeat and solid yarn, making it very versatile.
- You could easily up-size it from the shawlette/scarf size to a more dramatic and larger shawl.
- It works up very quickly, so it’s great for instant gratification and last minute gifts. Mine have averaged 10-14 days if I remember correctly.
You see? What’s not to love? Everyone who sees these shawls is taken with just how striking they are. Knitting them in handspun was even more fun. Because the pattern works well with almost any yarn shy of worsted or heavier, you can easily grab just about any skein from your handspun stash and just cast on as long as you have at least 5-6 ounces. Otherwise, it might end up a little short, like the pink multi. To counteract that, upon afterthought, I wish I’d just done the body in the multi and grabbed or spun a purple coordinate. That would have solved the “short” problem and been really pretty.
Both of these yarns were fun to knit with, but the teal version is NOT next to the skin soft. I’m going to give it a conditioner heavy soak and re-block it eventually. This should help soften it up a bit. I’m pretty hardcore and would wear it as is until then, but there’s no reason not to give it a shot if it might help.
I already know I’m going to make this again. The next time I do I’ll do it in one of my own yarns, probably in Star Dust Lace. The end result would be a lovely festival shawl, the kind you can wear even if it’s a bit warm for other hand-knits. Perhaps in TARDIS blue? The shape does seem kind of wibbly-wobbly, does it not?
You and I both know that it’s been a very long time. If you’re still here reading, you might have wondered what has happened that I haven’t done a real post since January. I could share the whys and hows and where-to-fores…. but let’s just say it’s been a long, dark winter and leave it at that. I’m happy to feel happy *now*, and I’m loving the beautiful weather. What’s a great way to take advantage of great weather? Dyeing, drying, and blocking.
Don’t you know, but there’s a satisfaction in hearing the pots start to ping and steam in the kitchen while I slowly move implements and yarn in combinations that make stitches happen. Once I get over the hump of “so tired”, I’m always glad that I’m dyeing. Even if the pots fight me and something is taking forever to exhaust, I’m glad that I’m dyeing. I’ve been fooling around with new combos and more complicated colorways over the last few weeks and the results have been very happy-making. Even more satisfying is trying out new-to-me bases that I’m considering carrying in the future. It’s like playing, in a way.
As for blocking, well… let’s just say I’ve been a very bad girl for a very long time. I amassed quite the backlog of shawls that were all finished but for the blocking. It’s shameful to admit it, but one of them was from last January. As in, January of 2012. What was THAT about? I have no idea, really. All in all I had five shawls and shawlettes that needed a go on the mats. I bit the bullet one sunny day last week and just did it. I blocked the first one, set it out on the driveway in the sun and an hour and a half later it was dry. So on went my day until every single one was done. Gotta love radiant baking heat and direct sunlight. Those shawls practically vaporized.
It feels good to get things officially finished and then move on to something new. Whether the new is something that’s only just caught my, or something that’s been sitting in my queue for years, I love that feeling.
I made this. I will now make something new.
Ten Things That You Miss From Your Childhood
- Dancing all the time. I would come up with elaborate, choreographed dances and even entered the local lip-synch/dance contest a few years. Got me some ribbons, too.
- Summers. Summers were special. I had two months away from the other kids at school, two whole months to read and play outside. We rarely got to take a real vacation, but that was ok. I regret that Summer isn’t anything special anymore, just the months that are hottest. .
- Swimming. I used to love to swim at Lake Taconic. One year mom got us a season pass and we went all the time during the summer. Now I’m afraid of water I can’t see the bottom of and don’t enjoy being wet and cold when I get out.
- Making friends easily. For a while, until 4th grade when everything changed, I used to be able to charm people off the street. Literally. Just ask my mom.
- The Dukes of Hazard. God, I loved those boys and that stupid car jump stunt never got old.
- Not having to work for a living. That’s pretty self-explanatory. Being a grownup is pretty stressful.
- The local library. My little brother and I used to bring home stacks of books from the library that was literally around the corner. We had our own library cards and could go there together on our own.
- Being healthy. Aside from some food allergies, I was fit and brown as a nut.
- 1-2-3 Jello. This stuff was THE BOMB. If you never had it, you missed out on a true treasure.
- Ignorance. I miss not knowing some of the things I do know.
Trying to make the best use of the time I have right now, I’ve been putting more work into Bittersweet. There’s a bunch of yarn left over from last year that needs to find new homes and it’s not going to get there languishing in the stock bins. My mom came by a couple of weeks ago and we did a full inventory of the stock, the first step towards getting these pretties out of the house. Next up was trying to sort my product photography issues out, and I found a tutorial on Pinterest that did help some. Said bunches of yarn came out of the bins and I set to work.
The tutorial has definitely helped. The pictures didn’t come out as perfect as I would have liked, but they’re definitely better. All this led to hours of post production and, happily, a shop update. You can see everything that went up here. I expect to do another update this coming Friday night as well, and I’ll try to make a habit of it for so long as I’m home, and so long as it takes to get every single skein in stock up there. Not a bad goal, and one long overdue.
Know what else is getting done? Dyeing. I feel good about that. Show season isn’t far away for those of us with Spring events. I love the fact that this year I’ll have even more great stuff to make customers squee. That’s my purpose as a vendor, if you didn’t already know.
When I’m not working on business stuff, I’m knitting on my sweater. It’s coming along, slowly but surely. Pain levels have been high, which saps my knitting mojo, or at least slows it down. Still, not too long before I start the transition section, and then the lace begins. I wonder… do I keep the pattern in the pattern, or choose another from one of my stitch bibles?
Hand knit socks bring a bit of every day magic to my life. As someone who can’t seem to get warm during the winter months, it’s comforting to give my feet every benefit that warm wool knit to a nice tight gauge can provide. Like warming armor for my feet. Since I’m home still, I’ve been getting a lot of knitting done in between looking for work and getting some business-to-do’s off my list. Just the kind of situation that enables a pair of socks that languished on the needles since September to leap off and into action. Go, go, magic handknit socks! There is snow on the ground and feet that need you.
These were knit in Plymouth Zino, which is rather like Knit Picks Chroma Fingering. Not the sturdiest of yarns, but I bought it from a Ravelry destash for $5 including shipping. Good enough for around the house in slippers. One thing I noticed as soon as I finished knitting these socks was just how similar they are in color to my last pair of socks, the Gemstone pair. Oops. I’ve already got the yarn picked out for the next pair of socks and you can rest assured they’ll look nothing like the last two. Say hello to Patons Kroy Ragg. I already know and love Kroy FX, but instead of changing color in long slow waves, these will have distinctive stripes in a rather sock monkey-esque look. The yarn is sitting on my entertainment center right where I can see it every day so I don’t get distracted by other skeins. Sock Monkey Socks, you will be next. That is, after I finish my sweater.
Sweater? What is this sweater I speak of?
I figured now was a good time to do something I almost never do, namely, knit a sweater for myself. It didn’t take long to decide on Hermia, long in the top 20 of my Ravelry queue. Top down, cardigan, with a bit of interest in the body. I chose yarn I’d purchased years ago, Plymouth Encore Tweed, back when I could hit up the O’ Dark Thirty sale (as I call it) over in Great Barrington, MA. I have a strange fascination with tweed yarns, especially those that have neutral flecks instead of clown colored bits. I had bought the yarn in sweater amounts in both black and a middling lavender color. My goal being to make an every day sweater, I chose the black. I would like to add that now that I’ve actually knit in a tweed, I’m less in love with the effect. Not enough to rip out, but enough that I don’t think I’ll buy more. And why an acrylic/wool blend? Because I want this to be a sweater that can survive the washing machine and a LOT of wear.
I’m quite a bit further along than what you see here, and have since divided for the sleeves and set those stitches aside. I’m being careful about fudging and fit since I’m using worsted weight yarn and the pattern calls for DK. One of the joys of top down is that I can try it on as I go. That, and the pattern is so simple that it won’t be much trouble to fit the lace pattern into my stitch count.
One thing I haven’t been doing during the month I’ve been home? Spinning. I feel kinda bad about that, so there’s nothing for it but to make time (now that I have it).
Hey now… seems I missed my own Blogoversary by a day! I blame The Husbeast, he hooked us into a Lord of the Rings: Extended Edition marathon yesterday. Yes, nearly 12 hours of might, magic, and faith in the belief of one small person to change the world for the better. It was pretty epic.
As always, thanks for being a part of the journey. Thank you for sticking around through the good times and the bad. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy lives to see what’s going on in mine. Thanks for being awesome.
I don’t know what 2013 will bring, but I’m pretty sure about meeting it head on. I believe that we should all pretend this is our one life to live. If I get abducted by aliens or spontaneously combust at a fiber festival, I’d like to think I’d go knowing I grabbed the yarn by the tail and made it mine.
Gotta love the feeling of being able to breathe, now that the holidays are past. Ours was really good, all three Christmases back to back of them over three days. Sometimes it feels like too much, but family that lifts you up is important. The best gift of all was having my father home from Puerto Rico for Christmas, with nary a travel snafu to brag about. Christmas Day travel can be brutal, but he got here with time to spare and we had a really good day filled with friends and family.
On the crafting front, a lot of these were made:
These little buggers were the BEST quick-stitch gift to put into our gift bags with the homemade vanilla extract. People were really taken with them! It’s really just a modified granny square, folded in half and seamed up. Clever, and very cute. I found the pattern on Pinterest. I was so pleased that I had Christmas-y colors of yarn in my stash. Going out and buying new wasn’t possible, so it was with great relief that I found these classy versions of the holiday color trinity. The yarn is Patons Classic Wool in Winter White, Burgundy, and Moss. Each one took roughly a half hour to make, including weaving in 8 ends per stocking. Next year I want to make them in fingering weight wool for a more petite look.
In between working on those little cuties I got a full 50g ball’s worth of the Ruffle Edged Wrap done, and have moved into a second (you can see the tails in the photo). Let’s just say it’s a good thing that I’m not anal retentive with this project, because wow… big difference in the two balls, though they are the same dye lot and bag. Just goes to show, even the mills have trouble with this kind of thing. I don’t mind, really, not with this wrap. The progression are all part of the fun. When it’s done you’ll not be able to see it from the back of a galloping horse, not like you would if it were a sweater. I think that a full four balls of yarn will be enough for me to call it done, but we’ll see.
And lastly, I am working on a pair of baby crocs for my honorary niece. Crocs, as in Crocodile Stitch Boots! I’ve admired Crocodile stitch for a long time, and let me tell you, it’s kicked my butt learning it. Just the beginning and ending of certain rows. The stitch itself, I get! I love the look, and the yarn is silky, vibrant, and 100% machine washable. The yarn is busy I know, but leftover in my stash. Mom loved the pattern and wanted me to make them for little Zoe. I may do a pair up in a longer color change yarn anyway, I must have fine weight Noro like yarn that’s machine washable and has the same long repeats in the stash. Amy, if you think they’re ugly, let me know now and I’ll consider these practice and do them in Noro or something. Trust me, it’s ok.
So, that’s what’s keeping my hands busy while I try not to worry. No luck on the job front yet, but I’m submitting to everything that seems doable, and making plans for Bittersweet come the new year. These are the things I can do, and that counts for something.