Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Out of Season


Tuesday morning on a very COLD day in South Mississippi, which of course means we’re sitting at a blustery 45 degrees.  Okay, so not exactly frigid but the current “cold” snap was enough for The Husband to light our first fire in the fireplace the night before last.  Every year, the cooler temps also make me long for woolen things to place upon my person.  Also every year, I find that I’ve knit no woolen items for myself besides socks (but I am oh, so grateful for those socks).  Perhaps I should engineer a sweater made entirely of socks.  Instead, I continue to work on my Summer Blooms shawl  made of lace weight yarn.  Yeah, I’ve never been really good at working on items that actually fit the needs of the current season.  Meh…

You can see that the shawl is growing.  I inserted a lifeline a couple of days ago and began work on the short rows and I’ve made pretty good progress on it.  Once the short rows are finished, I’ll insert another lifeline before I begin the final beaded lace section prior to the cast off.  I usually hate blocking things, but this is one item I can’t wait to block.  That’s the thing about lace.  You plug along and think things look good but you never really know what that scrunchy bundle of labor-intensive, tear-inducing, on-the-edge-of-losing-your-religion project looks like until you’ve stretched it all out.  

Along with that anxiety, why not add another issue that brings me to a perilous road not-yet-traveled?  You can see in the photo that my ball of yarn is tiny.  So tiny that there is no way to get out of the fact that I am going to have to join new yarn in order to finish this thing.  Folks, this is LACE. WEIGHT. YARN.  I have a knot in my stomach just thinking about it.  Somehow, internally, I just knew that the more common methods of joining new yarn were not going to work for this, so in a rare moment of actually thinking ahead before a crisis, I turned to the all-encompassing storehouse of knowledge - Google - and found these instructions by Eunny Jang.  I must admit, I am still quite apprehensive about trying it, but hey…Eunny wouldn’t steer me wrong.  Right?  RIGHT?!?

Turning my mind to happier things, look what showed up at my house yesterday:

Happiness delivered right to my door!

My lovely daughter got me a WEBS gift card for my birthday back in October.  It took me this long to decide what to purchase with it.  I mean, come on, it’s WEBS.  If I ever get to visit the actual store, I’m taking provisions in with me, lest they find me two weeks later buried under some beautiful merino.  I’d be dead but I’d have died happy.  There is SO MUCH to choose from.  Then add to it that I’m not working right now, so I have to make that gift card go as far as I possibly can.  Two words:  sale yarn.  

I purchased the Berroco Fiora in a beautiful blue-gray shade to make the Trapeze Tunic/Dress by Irina Poludnenko.  I want to get some knit dresses into my wardrobe that I can wear with leggings and a toasty turtleneck or the like and this pattern is free which is in my budget.  With my expanding middle-aged waistline, a dress that flares a bit is a must and this should work nicely.  I got the Sirdar Country Style 4-ply because it was on sale and because I absolutely love this color of blue.  I don’t know what this will be yet, but I got enough to make something nice.  And finally, I bought two skeins of Plymouth Yarn Company’s Holiday Lights because, hello…sparkles.  

You’ll notice I have not mentioned anything about Christmas knitting.  That’s because there isn’t much of it happening and even what is happening is a secret because of the whole gift thing, you know.  

How are you doing on YOUR Christmas knitting?



Tuesday, November 17, 2015

There's No Place Like Home

Hello everyone!  Lots has changed since I last posted.  Assuming anyone is still out there, here’s what’s going on:  I quit my job.  And then I quit the one I quit the first one for.  Ridiculous?  Well, probably.  Long story short is, I thought I’d found a job with more possibilities and I took it.  Then I realized I was wrong in my initial assessment.  It was decidedly not a match made in heaven.  So what am I doing now?


Yep, I’m staying home, cleaning my house (sorely needed), working on a writing project, and knitting.  I may pick something up down the road, but for now, this is it.  

In the meantime, if you follow me on Instagram, you’ll have seen a few photos of my battles with a lace shawl.  The shawl is a lovely pattern from Interweave Knits Spring 2012 - the Summer Blooms Shawl by Susanna IC.  I’ve wanted to make it ever since I saw it THREE years ago.  But three years ago, I was quite the novice at knitting and attempting a 400+ stitch cast on with fuzzy alpaca lace-weight yarn was a bit beyond me.  Throw in the beads the pattern calls for and it was doomed to fail.  Fast forward three years - 8 weeks ago I decided to try again.

As of my last Instagram post, I was getting ready to start my fourth attempt.  After the huge number of stitches to be cast on, there are 34 rows of beaded lace work.  For the first three attempts, the furthest I ever made it was to about row 11.  I’m happy to report, on attempt #4, I finally made it through all 34 rows of lace!  I was so determined to make it work this time, that I would pick the thing up and knit one row.  Then I’d put it down.  Some days I’d live dangerously and do two rows.  It was slow, but I have climbed Mt. Lacerest, and have declared victory!

Mt. Lacerest

If only the shawl was actually done.

Okay, so after the 34 rows of lace, there are many, many rows of stockinette stitch short rows (no wraps, thankfully) and then a pretty beaded lacy (but smaller) bind off.  The shawl has been sitting for a couple of weeks untouched now.  I figure, it would just be my luck that after I finally made it through all that lace and beads, I’d screw the whole thing up on an easy stockinette section.  Therefore, as I have practiced so well on other past projects, I am procrastinating.  My intention is to put in a lifeline prior to continuing because there will be no cast on #5.  Seriously, if something goes wrong with this thing at this point, I’m going to bury the yarn and the pattern in the back yard and erect a little monument to commemorate its passing.

Since I’ve been avoiding the shawl, I’ve been plugging along here and there on some socks that were kind of a happy accident.  I was out at Hobby Lobby looking for some inexpensive sock yarn because I was having sock withdrawals (it had been a while) and I found a skein of Red Heart, Heart & Sole in colorway Jellybeans.  The colors looked so festive and I had to have it.  Then I brought it home and realized there was simply no way I was actually going to wear a pair of socks knitted with just this colorway.  What to do, what to do?

As chance would have it, I came across a pattern called Ugly Duckling Socks by Karin Aida on Ravelry.  Now here’s a useful idea.  Here is what to do with that skein of yarn you thought was great in the store but brought it home and wondered why you ever bought it.  The pattern is free and utilizes mosaic knitting.  That’s a fancy term for colorwork without the hassle of stranding - the look is created by using slipped stitches.  I loved the idea, but decided to kind of do my own thing, so I used a cream colored yarn along with the Jellybean and came up with this:

I really, really like this sock!  Of course, I’m only on the first one and for the sake of the continuity of the mosaic knitting, I’ll be trying my hand for the first time at an afterthought heel, but I’m thrilled with the result.  I think this will be my go-to technique for any time I wind up with ugly yarn.  

Karin Aida’s other colorwork socks are stunning, so be sure to check her designs out.

And I’m off.  I’m a bit hungry.  The one bad thing about staying at home is that I tend to eat.  A lot.  In fact, if I don’t motivate myself to either curb my appetite or start training for a marathon (yeah, THAT’S gonna happen), I’ll have to find other uses for the yarn in my stash that I bought thinking I’d make a sweater.  My middle has expanded enough that the size I purchased yarn for has been called into serious question (she says as she heads to the kitchen).