24 May 2018

Just a Quick Check-In

We have reached that time of year when everyone except me will start to wax poetic about summer, even though technically it is still spring.  But Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer, at least here in the U.S., and the weather forecast is calling for temperatures of and above 80 degrees Fahrenheit this weekend, so what do I know??

I came across a couple of links recently, and thought maybe you might be interested in them too.

Have you ever seen a production of the musical "Carousel"?  There's currently a production on Broadway, and this article is about the woman who knit sweaters for it!

Have you ever thought you looked really nice, or had it all  put together, and then suddenly you see a recent photo of yourself, or see yourself in a window, and suddenly you feel like you look horrible?  I know it's happened to me recently, and it threw me for a loop, to be honest.  Well, Sue had the same thing happen to her, and she writes about much better than I'd be able to.  Reading her blog post made me say, "Yep, that's right!"  I like her phrase "Curating Confidence" - we all need to do that more often.

Other than that, I don't have a lot to report at the moment.  We are heading to WV on Friday morning for a long weekend visit with family and friends.  I'm looking forward to it, though I always miss the kit kats when we are away.  But we'll be home with them on Monday, and can have our own little holiday picnic.

I hope whatever plans you have work out, and that you have a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day long weekend!

22 May 2018

And Now It's Time to Put It Away Over the Summer

"Yarn, needles, and me,
Then knitting I'll be,
And in the end I'll be happy in 
My Blue Sweater."

[with apologies to Walter Donaldson and George A. Whiting, who wrote "My Blue Heaven"]


Yesiree, the person who has only finished four sweaters/tops in her knitting life (and one didn't work out at all), finished a sweater!

Pattern:  Zadie, by Mercedes Tarasovich
Yarn:  Cloudborn Fibers Highland Worsted, in the colorway Stormy Skies
Needles:  US 5 and 7
Modifications:  No modifications (at least not intentionally!)
Notes:  When I saw The Grocery Girls wearing the sweaters they had knit in this pattern for their show on Craftsy, I fell in love with the cables along the sleeves.  They talked about how simple the pattern was to knit and understand, and said they were doing a KAL so others could knit along, and that Craftsy would have kits on sale for the yarn.  I was busy with other projects, and as you know, I don't have the best record with KALs, but when I saw that the amount of the yarn I would need to make my size would cost only $35.00, I decided to purchase it and see how I did.

I've never made a sweater in this fashion - you knit the body, then put it aside to do each sleeve.  Then you start knitting the body again, knitting the sleeves in as you go, and then follow along until it's done.  You weave in the ends, graft the underarms, and Voila - a sweater!


The fact that the Grocery Girls made tutorial videos for it meant that even at 10:00 at night or 5:30 in the morning, help was available.  Watching them really helped with some of the techniques.  The pattern is well-written, but I just wasn't comprehending how some things could be done, and the videos made all the difference.

I highly recommend this pattern, and I liked the yarn as well, but if you have enough worsted weight yarn in your stash, you can just work with that.  I took a long time with it not because it was hard, but because I was interrupted a few times by having to concentrate on other projects or activities. 


The Tim took these photos for me last weekend, and though it wasn't really all that warm, the sweater was *very* toasty!  But it fits well, I think it looks nice on me, and I can't wait to pull it out next fall and wear it for longer than about 10 minutes.  

Look how nice the cable detail on the shoulders is!


Love, love, love!

Of course, with every photo shoot there are some outtakes.  Here's mine.  This is just as I was moving towards The Tim to tell him something.  He says it looks like I've suffered a brain injury.  I think it is absolutely hilarious, and I can't stop laughing when I see it!


The Tim says if I die in a terrible accident, he'll give the news stations this photo.  He's a real laff riot.

Anyway, the sweater is now put away until cooler weather, and other knitting is happening, so it's all good.  :-)

20 May 2018

When Swatches Lie

Well, OK swatches don't lie, but they can tell us things we don't want to know.  I have been wanting to make this top since last summer.  I didn't tackle it last year, because I was determined to finish my Cranberry Custom Fit sweater no matter what, and did not want to even think about starting something else.

But as you know, that sweater was finished, another was actually started and successfully completed (I still find that hard to believe!), and this year I decided somewhat informally that my knitting goals were going to include learning some new things.  (I say informally because for the first couple of months of the year, my knitting goals changed several times a day.)  So a few weeks ago I bit the bullet and purchased the pattern and some Quince & Co. Sparrow yarn in the colorway Port.  My "learning" for this was going to be knitting with linen yarn.  I know it's supposed to be tricky, and that it also softens and becomes much more lovely once it has been washed.

Starting off, there are already two things here that are So Not Me:  1) I actually purchased a pattern.  I am such a cheapskate when it comes to patterns, and I think it's because I feel like "little" purchases add up so fast I'm always surprised.  If I spend $$ on yarn, I'm spending all of it at one time, right in front of me.  But if I buy three patterns over the course of say, a month, and each one is $6.00-$10.00, all of sudden I'm surprised at how much I've spent; 2) I am trying a type of yarn that even a lot of really experienced knitters I know just won't even try, as they think linen is AWFUL for knitting.

I can tell you right now, that it's not really wind-able into a center pull skein - ask me how I found out. ;-)  But that aside, I got two skeins ready and knitted a swatch.  Obviously, it's different than using wool - I mean, it's got NO give or springiness at all (kinda like me on my best days).  But I didn't find it particularly frustrating, and I dutifully knitted my swatch, gave it a soak, and a bit of blocking.

Proof (and yes, it's a bit wonky.  Work with me here).

The pattern calls for 5.5 stitches to the inch.  I'm usually pretty spot on getting gauge, which is lucky because I'm not someone who can easily figure out the math/measurements/whatever involved to adjust things.  I measured in four different areas, and each time got 6 stitches to the inch.  GAH!  I asked God WHY SUCH TERRIBLE THINGS MUST BEFALL ME???? (Oddly, he seems otherwise occupied and not completely focused on my knitting.  Thanks, Obama.)

Sigh.  I don't want to go up a needle size, because I like the fabric I have with this swatch, and think going up would make it too sheer for my tastes.  The pattern says that the resulting top has approximately 2 inches of positive ease.  So it seems that my choices are to go ahead with this, but then possibly end up with a top much bigger than I would like, or actually go down a size, and then worry that it will be too form-fitting for my taste (and my form).

It's true.  These are the times that try men's [women's] souls.  WHY MUST MY SWATCH LIE TO ME????

I shall have to make a decision and go forth.  And I will, and hopefully it will all work out in the end.  But I didn't choose the color "Port" so I couldn't w[h]ine.  (I'll be here all week, folks!)

Anyway, if you have any words of wisdom, feel free to share.  If not, fall onto your knees and thank whatever deity you believe in that such tragedy has not entered your life (and you can also thank them for not making you Overly Dramatic while you're at it).

***

In other news, yesterday was of course the royal wedding, and the excitement level at our house was insane.  This photo pretty much sums it up.


I will say that I thought her dress was lovely, and I hope they will have a happy life.  I shall leave it there, since I have *many* thoughts about the entire topic, but let's just stick with the kind ones, shall we?

***

And, finally (yes!), I will just share with you that 40 years ago today, The Tim and I graduated from college.  I was first in the class!**

Have a nice Sunday.  I just saw the sun come out here, so I'm gonna get dressed and take a walk.

**we graduated in alphabetical order

17 May 2018

The Case of the Rattling Brain


I didn't really mean to be incommunicado the past few days, but things at work have just done me in, and only because it's the day before Friday am I able to function at any proper level.  And seeing as it's Three on Thursday day, why not do a post with that prompt?

So here are Three Random Things Rattling Around in My Brain:

1.  Tonight I want to swatch for my next knitting project.  I attempted to do so last night, but it was not to be.  The yarn was not cooperative for winding, and my thoughts were too scattered for swatching properly.  I am hoping to knit a summer top.  Actually at this point, I am determined to knit a summer top.

2.  I'm not going to be able to get going on fixing up the garden this year until the first weekend of June.  This weekend is going to be rainy (as the whole week has been), and next weekend we plan to be out of town for Memorial Day.  Yes, I know I could do things during the week, but once I get home from work the idea of physical endeavors that are not absolutely required does not appeal.  Also, how did next weekend get to be Memorial Day already???

3.  This summer, I really want to do some sewing.  I managed to clean up a lot of crap that was in the craft/office/sewing room last weekend, so that I can actually make it to the sewing machine and clear off the sewing table of things completely unrelated.  I have a bit more to do, which will work nicely on this rainy weekend, and then I can get started actually doing something on said machine.  At the moment, I'm not sure what my first project will be, though I must admit that Kym's tunic has me itching to want to try something like that.  But since I haven't sewn for a while, maybe I'll start small and work towards that.

What about you?  Anything interesting rattling around with you?

13 May 2018

Finito

Hello from rainy Philadelphia!  I signed up to do the 3K walk of the Susan G. Komen Foundation Breast Cancer Race today (it's always on Mother's Day here), but though I am not afraid of the rain (I like rain, except when I get soaked on  my way to work), I've decided to be a weather wimp and wait it out.  Partly because I packed away my sweatshirts in a fit of conscientiousness, and getting one out to wear would require more de-organizing and re-organizing than I am in the mood to do this morning.

Yeah, I know that was all superflous information.  So let's move on.

I have two FOs to share, so let's get going with the first one, OK?


Project:  These Socks Have No Class
Pattern:  Just a plain vanilla sock pattern made shorter in the leg
Needles:  Size 1US
Yarns:  All leftovers from other projects - the dark green is Reflections at Roclans Out of the Dyepot Merino Fingering, green colorway; variegated is Three Irish Girls Adorn Sock in the Molly colorway; orange is Ancient Arts Fibre 100% Superwash BFL Wool 4-Ply Fingering Sock in the Orange Tabby colorway.
Modifications:  The socks are all modifications of a regular pattern!
Notes:  I was originally planning to make scrappy short socks, but decided that always changing to do stripes was more than I was inspired to do at the time.  So I grabbed the first three balls of leftovers, and made these.  I knit the cuffs in 2 x 2 rib for 12 rows, then switched to the variegated for 1.5 inches.  Then I used the Orange Tabby yarn for an Eye of Partridge Heel Flap and heel, then returned to the variegated for the gusset plus two extra rows.  The foot went back to dark green, and the toes reverted back to Orange Tabby.  They are weird but I really like the way they turned out.  :-)

So I have my next pair of socks for my Box o' Socks, and I have a feeling that they will amuse me every time I put them on.

******

Today is Mother's Day here in the U.S., and if you celebrate, I wish you a happy day.  I will close by sharing one of my mother's inspirational sayings from when I was growing up:

"If you're born to hang, you'll never drown."

And there you go.