I’m wearing new socks today, freshly finished socks! I love that first wearing of new socks, don’t you? These are my Jimmy the Model socks from LolaBean Yarn Co.
I totally meant to use the purple/pink on the heel too, but I forgot on the first sock and I wanted them to match. I’m hoping I can eke out a pair of shortie socks with purple toes.
I was able to get some medicine for Jack this morning, thank goodness. He’s still in the cone and not too happy, but at least he’s not fighting it. I’m grateful for my vet for not making me drag him in again! Tonight, I have to try to get him in the bathtub for a bath. Have I mentioned he’s 85 pounds? Should be interesting!
Also, we’re getting our first snow of the season and I’m strangely happy about it! Maybe it’s because I know I don’t have to drive to work in it, and maybe because I’m eager for the Christmas season.
I’m doing pretty well with my Finish-itis and got my Sailing shawl done and blocked. It’s a little smaller than I expected but still very wearable.
I bought the pattern on Lovecrafts and it was good mindless knitting, lots of soothing garter stitch. And I love the yarn! It’s a merino fingering weight from Orange Jellyfish Dream in a OOAK purple/gray color.
With that done, I’ve turned my attention to the other purple/gray shawl on my needles, although I did cast on for my Christmas socks too. And I’m getting some good knitting time today too. Jack got a hot spot last night (an itchy spot on the skin that dogs then lick/scratch obsessively so it can get infected if it’s not treated quickly), so he’s in the cone of shame today and very unhappy about it. He seems to be happier next to me, so we’re just chilling in the living room. And Duncan is lending his moral support, since he remembers how miserable the cone is.
With any luck, the vet will be able to get us some meds without me having to take him in yet again. He hates the vet so much, and we’ve been having skin issues already lately, so this isn’t a new problem. With any luck, it will heal quickly and we can free him from his miserable cone!
I finished a pair of socks last night! But I’m not sharing those today; I’m saving that for Monday. But the best thing about finishing a pair of socks? Casting on a new pair!
I’m itching to get into the Christmas spirit so I’m casting on a new Christmas sock now. Maybe I can get two pairs done before December!
I also need to start socks for my son, but he wants a long leg, about mid-calf. I’ve never done any that long and am wondering if I need to do any shaping to make sure they fit will. Anybody have any tips?
Back in 2017, I fell in love with a book called The Mermaid’s Daughter by Ann Claycomb. It’s about a descendent of the Little Mermaid from the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, and it’s unusual and engrossing and I loved it. There was one description of the main character going into the sea and how the colors changed as she went further down, and I needed to make a shawl based on that. So in 2018, I found five colors from Dream in Color that were perfect.
It took a while longer to find a pattern, and when I did, I cast on twice, starting with different colors, but it just wasn’t right. So the yarn waited patiently for another couple of years, before I found the Sea Swell shawl (Rav link) by Westknits in May. And now? Now it’s DONE!
I don’t have a lot to say about this shawl except that it’s massive and it felt like it took forever to knit, much longer than five months. I wish the darkest blue/purple at the edge was more prominent but overall it’s what I wanted. The swells are great, and I think the short rows where two colors fade together are really cool.
I’m really glad I knit this but I’m also really glad it’s done. I’m not sure five-skein shawls are my jam!
This project was SO fun. I LOVED knitting it and I think I finished it in four or five days. Now I want to do more mosaic knitting! I kept going each round just to see how it looked with the lighter yarn peeking through, and the way she designed the “jewels” is so cool.
The pattern is the Dissent Cowl by Carissa Browning and it’s available on LoveCrafts and Ravelry. Though it looks complicated, it’s actually easy enough for adventurous beginners on up. I mentioned before that I talked one of my work knitting friends into trying it too, and after a little hiccup at the beginning, she’s sailing along and loving it. So don’t be scared of it!
I knit this as part of a knit-along run by my favorite LYS, Yarn Social, so of course I got my yarn there. The dark purple is Neighborhood Fiber Co. Studio DK in Park Heights, and the lighter speckled one is Primrose Yarn’s Jasper in Milky Way. They were perfect, exactly what I wanted. The Primrose had just enough of the dark purple speckles to blend but still pop. And they were both great to knit with, thick and squishy. The mosaic knitting, since it’s all slipped stitches, makes a really dense fabric. I don’t think the wind will get through this!
Now I just have to decide whether to wear this cowl or my Empower People cowl on voting day!
My Dissent Cowl is done and blocked, but I need to get proper photos before I share it. Once I finished that, I resisted the urge to cast on something new and instead pulled out a WIP, my Ripple Bralette. I’d gotten most of the body done so I finished the last half-inch of that, then slid the stitches onto waste yarn so I could try it on.
Good news: it fit! This is my second attempt at the bralette, and I didn’t check gauge, so I’m pretty pleased this is working out. I’ve got the right front done and just started the icord strap. I’ll need to try it on again to figure out how long I want the straps, but I can get a good bit of the strap done first.
Yesterday the puppers had an adventure: our neighbor’s dog came over for a play date! They keep their dogs on chains in the yarn, since they don’t have a fence, and the young dog loves our dogs and loves to dig. She started a hole under our fence a few weeks ago, and we told them about it and they filled it up. But ha, guess what? She did it again, and this time she did it deep enough to wiggle under. The first time, on Monday, she wasn’t over very long and the neighbors said they’d put her on the shorter lead. Yesterday, she pulled the stake out of the ground and came back. Thankfully, my dogs were friendly, and they all had a marvelous time running around. I think I might need to invite her back for a sanctioned play date!
Good tennis over the weekend meant I had good sock-knitting time, since I needed something low-maintenance. I’m maybe a third of the way through the foot of my first LolaBean Jimmy the Model sock.
I’m a little disappointed in myself, though, because I forgot to use the purple for the heel! I guess this pair will just have contrast cuffs and toes, and I won’t have to worry about running out of purple yarn.
I also blocked two finished projects this weekend, plus all three dogs got baths, which wore me out. Jack loves water and had a great time. Grace and Duncan hated it, so that was more of an adventure. But now they all smell nice and feel so soft and silky. This morning Grace found a frog in our back yard, but fortunately she thought it was weird enough that she didn’t eat it. I nudged it under the fence into the neighbor’s yard and rinsed out her mouth, since some frogs can be toxic to dogs, and she seems to be just fine. These dogs sure keep my on my toes!
The happiest days are when yarn comes! (Just don’t tell Melanie Hamilton.) I got some good mail today from the Periwinkle Sheep. They were donating 50% of their sales to Fair Fight, an organization fighting voter suppression and systemic disenfranchisement based in Georgia. That was a good reason to buy some pretty yarn!
The two skeins are merino single in fuschsia agate, and I’m pretty sure they’ll become a shawl. The highland wool is purple foxglove, and I really don’t know what it’ll be. It’s a little more rustic so I don’t think I’d be able to wear it against my neck or face. Right now it’s there to feed the stash.
I’m hoping to finish my Dissent Cowl this weekend. It’s zooming along and is so fun to knit. I’ve got a good tennis match to watch tomorrow that will allow plenty of knitting time. We recently watched Defending Jacob on Apple TV+. There are eight episodes and we sped through them, loved it all except the ending. It’s based on a book so I might need to read it now!
I’m excited to share my latest FO with you today! I got a chance to review some Manos del Uruguay Alegria Grande and I’m always up for that challenge. It’s a yarn I’ve used before, but they’ve released some new semi-solid and space-dyed colorways. I selected one of the resist-dyed colors called Gleam, which is black with purple specks. (Shocker, I know.)
Okay, first of all, what the heck do ‘space-dyed’ and ‘resist-dyed’ mean? I had no idea. The internet tells me that space dyeing is when multiple colors are applied along the length of the yarn which may or may not repeat after a fixed interval. Resist-dyeing is when a substance that is impervious to the dye blocks its access to certain areas of the fabric, while other parts are free to take up the color of the dye. Hm, okay, that sounds fun, and it sure makes some cool yarn. And that cool yarn can make a really cool shawl — look at how the speckles change direction between each section!
For my two skeins, I chose a pattern from Manos called the Serenità Shawl. It’s a free pattern on Ravelry and was designed for two skeins of Alegria Grande. I did the pattern as written and ended up with just a few yards left over. It’s a fun pattern that switches from stockinette to garter to lace.
Knitting with the Grande was a delight, as Manos always is. The Grande is a smooth, thick, squishy yarn. But here’s what I never realized before: it’s machine washable! It’s 75% merino wool and 25% polyamide, which means you could make awesome sweaters in gorgeous colors that are easy to care for! This has opened up a lot of new opportunities for me to use the Alegria yarns in my knitting.
For shawls, I’ll still hand wash, though. This one is a small shawl so I blocked it as aggressively as I could, and wow, the lace opened up beautifully. It’s got a great drape and I’m happy to wear it next to my skin, which occasionally has some wool sensitivities.
I did come across two frayed spots, one in each skein, where the yarn had thinned. I didn’t want to risk it breaking unexpectedly so I did break the yarn to skip those spots. I ended up with a couple of extra ends to weave in but I feel like those two spots are totally within reason. There are so many good reasons to knit with Manos (pretty! soft! colors!) but don’t forget the cool stuff like supporting the skilled women in Uruguay who produce the yarn, or that Manos is a member of the World Fair Trade Organization. It’s just a company I feel good supporting, and you can learn more here.
Thanks so much to Stitchcraft Marketing and Fairmount Fibers, the North American distributor of Manos del Urugay, who sent me two skeins of Alegria Grande (retail value: $52) for free. I received no other compensation for this review. All opinions and photos are my own.
The Dissent Cowl might be my only WIP until it’s done. Guys, this is so cool! It’s so simple but looks intricate and super fancy.
I didn’t do the cast-on in the pattern, just my usual long-tail cast-on, and it looks fine. The yarns are playing really well together; they’re both smooth and squishy. It’s making a stiff, dense fabric, and I think it’s going to be nice and warm this winter. The stitch marker is from a Wonder Women set. Just seemed appropriate!
The other highlight of my week so far is that I got to attend an author event for a new book! Okay, it was virtual, but still fun. The Strand Bookstore hosted Matt Haig for a chat led by Kristin Hannah, who’s one of my favorite authors. My book group read Haig’s book How to Stop Time recently and I loved it, and he has a new book out now, The Midnight Library, that I’ve ordered and am eagerly anticipating.
It was great to listen to him talk about the book and his writing process and career, but honestly, the best part was hearing him talk so casually and easily about his mental health experiences. It was just part of the conversation, part of why his books are what they are, part of HIM. It wasn’t a big deal, wasn’t a topic all on its own, just a matter-of-fact acknowledgement that yeah, he’s had depression, had anxiety, that he still struggles with some of it sometimes.
It was refreshing, and encouraging. I’d love to see society as a whole get to a point where it’s not considered shameful or embarrassing to be dealing with depression or anxiety. Especially now, with the stress we’re all under. I don’t make a secret of my history with depression. Fun fact: I had my annual checkup yesterday and mental health was the focus of it. I left with homework to call my therapist plus an additional med to help me handle what my current anti-depressant isn’t handling. (I’m kind of okay most of the time, but I’d like to be better than okay. We’re all a WIP, right?) It helps me to hear from other awesome people who are dealing with similar issues. So, yeah, Matt Haig is awesome. Smart and funny and witty and neurotic. And now I need to read all his books.
Do you have any authors you read partly because you like them so much away from their books?