Though I have not been posting, I am still knitting. After my last post, Bike Man was diagnosed with macular degeneration in his left eye. This was followed by the decision to retire, finding a place to live in another town, then moving. There have been many adjustments and some are still ongoing. I promise I will re-enter the world of blogging soon along with pictures to show my progress. Below is the Valpuri Sweater from Berroco I need to block and construct, now that it has been finished for four months! The yarn is a cotton-silk blend and I added extra cables down the sides, front and back, to slow down the growth I expect from the cotton.
take care and have fun,
Starting over. It can be a good thing or something not so good. Starting over and ridding oneself of all the extra stuff that is accumulated over time can be cleansing and liberating. It is the time to refocus…to reprioritize…to figure out what is important and what can be given away. What once seemed precious is now discarded. And the materials for those projects that were going to be worked on “some day?” Well, as I have grown older, I realize that some of those projects are never going to be completed, much less get started. So, out they go to charity or to someone who will complete them. That is really a good feeling to not feel the pressure to get it done.
Starting over. It is a good thing. Thank you for patiently waiting for this post.
The County Fair is long over. The midway is empty and quiet, and the rides are packed up and in winter storage. However…..the excitement remains that I won Best in Show blue ribbon in the Sweater category for the Central Park Hoodie I knitted last winter for my daughter! I knitted it in Berroco’s Vintage, a worsted weight, wool blend yarn, she choose at the Memory Hagler Knitting Shop in Birmingham. I used buttons found in a Button Jar at a close friend’s house. They are perfect for the grey yarn and she had just the right number needed. It was meant to be!
In another category, the Charlotte Raglan Tee earned a blue ribbon, too! I called this my Tornado Tee as I started it on April 27th, a terrible day in Alabama’s weather history when so many lives were lost; and from which people are still recovering. It’s knitted in Lily Chin’s Chelsea. On a spur of the moment impulse, I entered a yellow Peaches and Cream soap bag and it won a blue ribbon in its category! The woolen Habitat Hat and the Angora Breast Cancer Awareness Scarf also won ribbons. My daughter knitted a slipstitch scarf that won a blue ribbon in the Junior knitting category! Just as exciting was the Best in Show blue ribbon for her delicious chocolate fudge in the Junior Baking Category! She also won a blue ribbon for her sugar cookies and a red ribbon for her chocolate chip cookies.
My life is far from being dull and routine. The biggest event in the past month was my miniature schnauzer almost dying from undiagnosed diabetes. Beemer was lethargic, vomiting and was practically skin and bones. When I left him at the vet’s we were not sure if he would survive the night. But he did and after a weekend of IV fluids and monitoring blood levels I was able to take Beemer home Monday afternoon. Right now I’m giving him eight units of insulin twice a day. He does not have your typical schnauzer cut so we were not able to see that he had lost a lot of weight. And he’s not your typical house dog. In fact, the only time he wants to be inside is when it’s too cold or too hot. So, we were not watching his water intake closely.
Today, Beemer is back to his usual sassy self, barking at passing white cars (my across-the-street-neighbor’s dog taught him to do that) and biting the tires of Bike Man’s motorcycle when he rides.
With all the vet expenses, it’s a good thing I have a great friend who brought wonderful sock yarn when she came to visit for the Colorfest! I had too much fun….. so much fun that I forgot to take pictures!
And speaking of pictures…..There’s another reason for my neglect in blogging. My computer has died. Died as in the screen fading to white then going black. BLACK! Nothing. Zilch. Zero. All my pictures, all my partially written blog posts in Word, and ALL my knitting pdf. files are unobtainable right now. My Life is in that little, thin, black laptop. Right now I’m writing to you from the Bike Man’s laptop and it’s just not the same.
But my knitting goes on.
What To Expect
Moonglow Alpaca Farm
Live Oak Shawlette
Mentone’s Farmer’s Market
Lookout Mountain Knitters
Gloves to match the Central Park Hoodie
A hat to match my Cable on the Side Mittens
All the judging is complete at the county fair and I will be bringing home some ribbons! Talk about excitement and jumping up and down… I didn’t really but I felt like doing it. But, I’m not the only one bringing home blue ribbons. My teen-age daughter is bringing them home for her knitting AND baking! I’m so proud of her. We pick up our ribbons and prize money Sunday afternoon. After I post pictures of the winner’s ribbons, it will be time to start planning for next year’s entries. Any suggestions?
This is the first time I have test-knitted a pattern and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The pattern was well written and it was easy to follow the instructions. I used Lion Brand Wool Ease and bamboo double points. The next time I make these using this yarn, I will switch to metal dps. A remarkable thing about these mittens is that they can be worn or either hand! At first I thought the instructions for the second mitten had been left out then a friend tried the first mitten on both hands and Voila! This may be a common practice but this is the first pair of mittens I have knitted and did not know any better. It looks complicated but it is a simple pattern and easy and quick to knit. I received compliments when I showed them to friends. As I have an extra skein of the Wood Ease yarn I plan to make a matching cap using her cable pattern – giving the designer due credit, of course. Again, it is a great pattern and I will definitely use it again when a quick gift is needed for a friend.
If you want to knit a pair for yourself or a friend, the Cable On the Side Mittens pattern is available at Knit Picks.
It’s been six weeks since I moved in the middle of June. The only knitting I have put around my fingers is the two sweaters I started back in April. What I really mean is that my yarn is still in plastic bins. I can’t get to the stash for all the hard plastic. And these bins are either stacked in the floor of the closet under my hanging clothes or around the bed in the extra bedroom and there’s even one bin still languishing in the far back corner of the rental storage unit.
Also in even more bins and boxes are fabrics and patterns and magazines related to my sewing hobby. I have already made the decision to concentrate on the knitting as it’s more mobile, more creative in some ways, and I’m more sane when I knit than when I sew. With sewing I am stuck by myself in the bedroom with the machine. With knitting I can be all over the house, yard, town, even the county! I discarded a lot of stuff during the move as I have reached the age where I know I am not “going to get to it, one day.” Especially if I keep up this knitting. Even with what I discarded, there is wwaaayyy too much left. So, let’s get real. I am not going to do anything with all that fabric. So what do I do with it all? It definitely is not going to the garbage can to be picked up by the mean green machine on Tuesdays. A good friend is active in the Homemakers club where I previously lived and I will cull out what I do not plan on using which will be about 75 percent of it. I plan on keeping about two bins for myself. She can have the rest. What is really bothering me about all this excess is that I cannot get a grip on what I do have so I can create all these wonderful and beautiful things which are in my imagination. And who wants to spend all morning searching for that particular yarn or piece of fabric? And when it is found, you are mentally tired and want to move on to something else.
When all this material is sorted out, the first thing I will to do is to make a quilt from my mother’s house-dresses and remnants from the dresses I made my daughter when she was a baby and toddler. Plus, there is fabric from dresses I cut out and never made for her. Long before I was born, Mama made a quilt top using the Grandmother’s Fan pattern and that is what I will use as my pattern. As you can see she used a yellow cotton broadcloth for the background but I think I will use a blue as that is the color I most associate with her. Also, most of her dresses were predominately blue. Perhaps I was unconsciously influenced by her when I picked the blue yarns for the two sweaters I just finished.
I realized I do not have a favorite yarn when I saw the post on Creative Knitting’s Facebook page that asked the questions “Do you have a favorite bulky yarn? What projects do you make with it?” I don’t have a favorite bulky, worsted, fingering or any other weight yarn. I love them all! I realized that I’m more into textures, colors, and how the yarn feels. I may be planning a project with a specific yarn that has been suggested for the pattern but get completely sidetracked when my eyes stray and I am enticed to use a completely different yarn for any of the above reasons.
I will buy yarn for no other reason than I like, no, make that LOVE, the way it feels between my fingers, or the color just makes me drool. I am not that way with picking out a pattern or a general project, for it is rare that I do not make a change in the pattern, no matter how slight. Perhaps I am lured by color most of all. Years ago when I was smocking bishop dresses for my daughter and before that working cross stitch, I would buy floss just because I loved the color. Recently I gave my stash of floss to the teen-ager for her to use making friendship bracelets and such. When she returns home from camp and she is bored, and waiting for school to start, I will ask her to count just how many skeins of embroidery floss she does have, and I will let you know.
The variegated yarns of blues and greens just make my fingers itch to start knitting. This is one of my favorite skeins of yarn: Fleece Artist’s Sea Wool in gorgeous blues. Doesn’t it make you think of swimming in cool, clear water on a hot, summer morning? I may never make anything with it, I am content to just feel it and look at it. I bought this from Knit Nouveau in Homewood, Alabama, before it went out of business.
This Baby Alpaca D.K. from Plymouth Yarn is so soft and the colors are so luscious. I made the scarf “Latifa” from Knitty’s website for my niece and used a beautiful sock yarn for the ruffles that miraculously had all the colors. I bought this yarn from a LSY in Destin, Florida.
When I got to Knit Nouveau’s going out of business sale there were only three skeins of this Jo Sharp’s Silkwood Aran Tweed left. I absolutely love this green and ohhhh, the way it feels makes you want to squeeze it non-stop.
Now in contrast to all these blues and greens I have in my stash a bag of beautiful pale yellow yarn, Plymouth Yarn’s Royal Silk Merino. I bought this from Little Knits online at least four years ago. Did not have a pattern I wanted to knit with it or know when I could get to it, but I had to have it. I oooooed, and aaahhhed for days after it came in the mail. I still do when I get it out to just look at it. Someday I will find the perfect pattern for this yarn.
These are a few of my favorite yarns. They are spun from different fibers and are of different weights and textures. There appears to be no rhyme or reason as to why I love them. I just do. What are a few of your favorite yarns and what do you find so appealing about them?