Archive | February 2019

Reading or Knitting?

Back in January, I decided my focus word this year would be “Balance”. I wanted to find balance between buying yarn and fixing my house, maintain a good work/home life balance, maybe try to find a balance between being healthy and eating food I like (that one’s been a slow starter). But now I’m struggling from a lack of balance between my favorite hobbies, knitting and reading. I love both but knitting has been taking precedence for the last few years, and it seems to be getting worse. I kind of miss books.

Thankfully, I have reached a point where I am able to read while knitting, but there are caveats: it has to be an ebook, and the knitting has to be very simple. So I’ve been reading and knitting over my lunch breaks for a while, and that’s good. But it’s not the same. I miss physical books. I tried doing both yesterday.

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It didn’t work. I struggled to keep the pages open and flat, and it took longer to turn the pages, disrupting the flow of my knitting. Trying to combine the two meant neither of them were satisfying. What did I do? I finished the sock, of course.

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After that, I worked a little bit on a cowl, and only then did I feel like I’d gotten enough knitting to be able to take a break for some reading. It’s not even that I feel obligated to knit; I WANT to knit. If I don’t get some knitting in my day, I’m sad. But I need to work on this balance, because I’ve got three library books that I’m eager to read!

How do you balance your time when you’ve got two things you really want to do?

SUNSHINE!

GUYS. OMG. Today there is a blue sky and sunshine and it’s almost kind of warm (by which I mean 30 degrees F, but still…) and I knew I needed some sun but I had no idea how much it would lift my spirit. I feel brighter and lighter and happier. I feel full of ideas and motivation and inspiration. I want to read all the books and write a book and knit all the things! I wish I could feel like this every day, you know? But I’ll enjoy it for as long as it lasts.

I got to take advantage of the nice weather with an outing today. I went to the bookstore by myself for an hour (bliss) then had lunch with three friends at the Shake Shack (yum) and then we went to the yarn store (yarn!). I think I’d also forgotten how much I enjoy doing things like this, getting out with friends. I’m pretty anti-social, happy to stay at home with my yarn and my pups, but there’s a lot of value in getting out and connecting with people whose company you enjoy. So thanks, girls, for the perfect afternoon getaway.

There is no new knitting to show off, though I will get a lot done tonight during the Oscars, so instead I’ll share the pretty magenta Malabrigo I bought today. It will be a cowl for me!

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WIP Epiphany

I was finishing up the toe of my Granola sock this morning, just some easy knitting that let my mind wander, and it wandered to the Mermaid Shawl that I started almost six months ago and then ignored. I thought about how I’d planned to order the colors, and I thought about the book that inspired it and how the book made me feel, and suddenly I figured it out: I was doing it wrong! I had my colors backwards!

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I’m doing an enormous half-circle shawl called River of Time, and I originally decided to have the lightest color on the outer edge, like seafoam on a beach, and progress into the deepest part of the ocean. But that was wrong, and I think that’s why I got stuck on the third row.

The book is about the main character, Kathleen, accepting her deep love of the sea, accepting that it’s her destiny. It’s about her being in love with the water and desperately wanting to be down in the blue-purple depths. And the way the author wrote that longing was so clear and powerful, I could see the colors as Kathleen went deeper. I could feel the chill and taste the salt. And that’s why I wanted to knit this shawl. It’s about embracing your fate, your desires, and diving into that ocean. The shawl needs to emphasize the depth, not the surface.

So this morning I frogged what I had, which wasn’t much, and cast on anew with the darkest color, the Dream in Color in Galaxy, and it feels right. It starts out with 426 stitches so it’s slow going, but I’m loving it.

If you’re interested, the book is The Mermaid’s Daughter by Ann Claycomb and it’s easily in my top ten all-time favorite books, if not top five!

It’s not snowing

No, it’s not snowing today. It’s raining. Sigh. Better than snow and ice, I know. But gray and wet and depressing all the same. And it’s supposed to do this off and on all weekend. Doesn’t Mother Nature realize we really need some sunshine right about now? I mean real sunshine, with a blue sky and everything. In due course, I suppose. And until then, there is cake.

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I have been knitting a sock this week, just a sock, and as a result the sock is growing quickly. I just finished the gusset decreases during lunch today so this one should come off the needles over the weekend.

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Happy Friday, friends!

 

Escarpment Cowl

Do you know what an “escarpment” is? I had no idea but knitting the Escarpment Cowl made me curious. Apparently it’s a long, steep slope, and now I understand the name!

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It’s shaped like the Bandana Cowl I made recently, but it’s done completely differently, with no short rows at all. It starts out knitted flat, and joined later, and it creates a back with a nice narrow panel, reducing the bulk that has to fit under your hair while still keeping the back of your neck warm. I think it’s quite clever!

fullsizeoutput_1f98And I think the yarn is quite marvelous. It’s Araucania Huasco Worsted in Grapeyard and the stitch definition is superb. The colors aren’t bad, either!

fullsizeoutput_1f94I wasn’t sure how soft it would be when I was petting the skein, but it surprised me when I was knitting with it, feeling gentle and supple, not rough at all. And it washed up beautifully too: no purple in the water, a bit softer, and with a lovely drape.

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This one might get a lot of wear. And it was so fast to knit too; I’m definitely tempted to make more. But not until I finish some other WIPs, I swear.

One last thing: today is Grace’s Gotcha Day! We adopted her four years ago today from a local animal shelter and she might be the neediest, lickiest dog we’ve got, but she’s also the sweetest and the best snuggler. I guess we’ll keep her a while longer!

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Adopt, don’t shop!

New projects!

It’s funny, the way grief can come back and just give you a swift kick in the ass. We’ve been having a long, cold, snowy winter, and I was joking with my husband about how living in the desert would be preferable. And bam, my mind took me back to being in Arizona with my parents after my dad retired, and he was so happy and loved it out there, and I felt the ache of missing him, sharp in a way I haven’t felt in a while. It passed, of course, but it took me by surprise. I wish he was still here, that’s all. And I wish I was in the desert right now!

But I’m not.Β Instead I’m home in the snowy Midwest, knitting all the time. On the last day of my 4-day weekend, I wanted to cast on something new, so I pulled out three yarns that have been calling my name to ponder, and went with the softest, fuzziest one. It’s acrylic from Joann (I bought four skeins when it was on clearance) but it’s fuchsia and fuzzy and perfect.

I chose the very simple knit COWL pattern and modified it bit, casting on more to make it a bigger, looser cowl. And I do love it, but I kind of want to use the other two skeins to make a snugger version too!

And then, because that was so fast, I went ahead and cast on with my second favorite of the three skeins, a purple Araucania Huasco Worsted. For this one I chose the Escarpment Cowl, which looks really cool. I love the idea of a shawl look with the ease of a cowl. And then I also cast on a new pair of socks, because socks. This yarn is Show Me Yarn Bootheel in the color Butterfly House, and I’m calling them the Granola Socks because I’m doing the 3×2 rib that Mildly Granola recommended.

Yesterday was a little rough because I had to adjust from knitting several hours a day to just knitting during lunch and a little at night. It wasn’t my favorite, to be honest. But hey. Gotta pay for the pups, right? Especially when they break a nail, crack another, and have to go to the vet for a bandage, nail trim, and meds. Sigh.

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He slipped out of his collar in the waiting room, but thankfully he’s a lover so he just ran back to visit the girls behind the counter. He’s also up to 104 pounds, which I recognize is too high and the vet tech told me…TWICE. So he’s on a diet now which he won’t love and I don’t blame him. BUT! He rides so nicely in the car and sits patiently when I open the door to grab the leash, and he hasn’t tried to chew off his bandage at all. Not even overnight, when he was all alone! If I could combine the good traits of all three of my dogs, I’d truly have the perfect dog. Alas, apparently dogs are like people, with good and bad and you have to accept what you can’t change and love them anyway. Or try to, anyway. I’m still working on that.

If you are anywhere that has sunshine and weather above 30 degrees, please enjoy it on my behalf today!

Two New FOs

It’s been a productive weekend, friends. I mean, I haven’t left the house since Thursday but I’m not mad about it at all. Don’t worry, I’ve showered and done some chores like cleaning a bathroom and vacuuming the floors, but I’ve also gotten to do A LOT of knitting. Oh, it’s been heavenly. I wish it happened more often. I was able to finish two projects, including my long-lingering WIP, the Zomboni!

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Apparently I just needed to be in the mood to work on it, because once I got going on Friday, I couldn’t stop. It made a really long narrow scarf that will be super easy to wear, and the colors are perfect for me. (It will go so nicely with my purple hair!) The yarn is Caribbean by In the Deep Hue Sea, color Snap Out of It, and it’s quite nice.

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My other FO was a quick and easy cowl, my gray Woolfolk LUFT cowl. I chose my favorite cowl pattern, River Deep Mountain High, and cast on a few extra stitches since I had plenty of yarn. It knit up so quickly, and I finished it last night while watching The Wife (which was SO GOOD. Highly recommend and now I need to read the book!).

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I wanted to use all the yarn but didn’t come close. I’ve got about 3/4 of the second skein left, so I think I might get another skein the next time I’m at my LYS (which will be next weekend) and then I can make something else too! I love this yarn so much; it’s so airy and lightweight, but still so warm and cozy. I wish it came in more colors.

Now I’m down to five WIPs and none of them are calling my name today, which means casting on another cowl in either worsted or bulky. We’re in day 547 of cold, gray weather (I mean, it doesn’t FEEL like an exaggeration) and my spirit could really use some sunshine and warmth, and since I can’t get either of that outside, at least I can find some warmth in thick yarn, I suppose. And with puppers.

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Jack says no yarn. Only pet.

Hope you all had a good weekend too, and if you’re like me and have today off, may you find yourself some knitting time!