Archive | July 2020

How do I do this again?

After a three-month furlough, I went back to work this week. Not on-site, still work from home, thank goodness. But, guys, I forgot how to be the job-doing kind of person, and I am tired. Part of it is just catching up from being gone so long and trying to get back in the loop, and part of it is just getting my brain back in shape to add work in with all my other thoughts and worries and anxieties. And of course part of it is because I’m not sleeping well (see first two parts). So, it’s bittersweet but overall I am trying to focus on being grateful I have a job to come back to. And all of that means that this has been the extent of my knitting this week.

img_8323It’s a new sock, because my other sock is lace, and I needed a good, mindless sock. This is for a friend who recently moved away, and it will be her first pair of handknit socks. Maybe I will make her a convert and I can just start mailing her socks, because I am getting overrun with socks in my own sock drawer(s).

Happy Friday, friends! Here’s hoping for a refreshing weekend for all of us!

Friday Progress

Nope, no finished objects for me this week. My monogamous knitting lately has been my Sea Swell Shawl, but it’s annoying me right now. It’s made up of left and right wedges, all done with short rows, and is designed as a fade with either three or five colors. But when you fade in a color on a left wedge (as happens once in the pattern), the new color starts on the wrong side. The other option is to start the new color in the middle of the row, but then when you get back to that part, the working yarn is a few stitches down because of the short row. Argh! This probably makes very little sense, but let me assure you, it bugs me just a little. I got the new color joined and did a few rows and now I’m bored with garter stitch short rows.

805165C5-8FA5-4047-A551-C57EB4F7E3E4_1_201_aSo yesterday I said to heck with monogamy and picked up my newest sock project. This is my Show Me Yarn Bootheel yarn in the Stained Glass Menagerie color, and it was so light and airy that I needed a lace pattern to go with it. I ended up picking the Mercury Socks pattern, which is free on Ravelry.

AD0523AB-4389-4DB8-83BE-D499069710F6_1_201_aIt’s a simple five-row lace pattern, so while I have to keep the pattern handy, it’s not taxing my brain too much. These will be perfect spring socks!

It’s weird, though, because the last two or three weeks, I’ve been doing things other than knitting. I did puzzles for a while, but got burned out on those I think. I’ve been reading a lot, and recently I’ve loved 28 Summers by Elin Hilderbrand, Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid, and Friends and Strangers by J. Courtney Sullivan. My last read was a stinker so hopefully the next one will get me back on track. I’m thinking Odd One Out by Nic Stone. I’ve also gotten back into LEGOs, which I never would have expected. I loved building the boy’s old Harry Potter LEGO sets a couple of months ago. Something about creating order from all the pieces, and the concentration required, was soothing and satisfying. But the sets he has left are Lord of the Rings or Star Wars, and they don’t call to me. So I ordered the Friends LEGO set, and I did one bag a day, which gave me six days of fun. And it hasn’t abated: I’ve already ordered my next set, a lunar landing module. These are crazy times, friends! Have you taken up any unexpected hobbies lately?

 

New Knitting Case

For ages, I’ve been coveting the Namaste Maker’s Train Case from Jimmy Beans, but could never justify buying one. But they recently decided to phase out their Namaste line and put all the Namaste products on sale. I acted quickly so I could get one before the purple was gone, and it arrived Friday.

57927CD4-F699-4A5A-95B6-8571F6CDE11EIt’s gorgeous purple faux leather, with a magnetic lid, and it holds my Sea Swell Shawl quite nicely. I love the little hole on the side for the yarn!

Apparently it was designed to fit nicely underneath airplane seats, but I won’t be testing that any time soon. I’m happy enough to have it sitting on my coffee table. I can’t lie: there’s part of me that wants to order one in dark teal too!

FO: Sea Swell Shawl

Today’s project is a KAL I did with Jemma and Under the Olive Tree Knits: her new free pattern, the Stargazer Shawl. She designs a lot of one-skein shawls, which are perfect for my little yarn treasures. At the end of June, I’d pulled out a skein of Andromeda sock yarn in the prettiest pink/purple colors, but wasn’t sure what to do with it, so it sat around until I saw Jemma’s pattern. I’d say the two go together very well!

0F52E8A9-C80B-4454-80F3-BC5BC3714482The pattern is easy to follow, though I have to say it got a bit repetitious for me toward the end. And somehow my gauge is completely different than hers: this is the second project of hers I’ve done where I ran out of yarn quite a bit sooner than she did. Instead of 295 rows, I stopped at 271 rows before doing the garter edging. I probably could have done one more eight-row section, but really didn’t want to play yarn chicken. And I think it still turned out to be a wearable length. Now I know to check my gauge when I knit her patterns … or just have extra yarn on hand, which is more likely!

65E1DD45-92CE-47AD-9B98-3E5283FAC9EFThe yarn is Andromeda sock yarn in the color I Love You Berry Much. It is good yarn with such gorgeous colors. It would have made beautiful socks, but I’m still glad it decided to become a shawl instead.

I’m also glad I got these photos taken early in the morning. It is very hot here so now I can hibernate in the A/C with my knitting for the foreseeable future. Happy Friday, friends.

Sea Swell Shawl

My WIPs are down to three, and that’s after I cast on a new sock yesterday. But I’m still mostly going to continue with my monogamous knitting, and I’ve selected the WIP Sea Swell Shawl by Stephen West. (Ravelry link here) This is the mermaid shawl that I’ve been trying to make for over two years, and I just haven’t found the right pattern before now. I started this one at the end of May and set it aside shortly after, though I don’t remember why. It’s a lot of short rows, maybe that’s why, but it’s also garter stitch, which is my fave right now. I’m doing the large size with five colors and I’m just about ready to start fading in Color B.

And I know I said I cast on a sock but it’s a lace sock and I’m pretty sure I’m going to need a self-striping vanilla sock very soon!

emPower People Cowl

With no socks to distract me, I finished my purple emPower People cowl yesterday. And I know we’re supposed to block ALL of our knitting but I’m not blocking this, so there! I absolutely love the squish of unblocked garter stitch and I’m going to wear this one as is until it absolutely needs a wash.

AED422B3-7FE5-4D19-9C7D-AB17134533C3_1_201_aThe pattern was extremely simple and has such a lovely shape and drape. I wasn’t sure how it would be seamed until I got to the end and discovered that yes, I had two short, straight sections that were designed to be sewn together. So clever!

D3E26D06-D62E-4E8A-BE69-AFE5AF0E0058The yarn is Ritual Dyes Priestess DK in the color Belladonna and OMG it is heavenly! I’d never used their yarn before and this one was so soft and squishy. If I didn’t know it was 100% merino, I’d have guessed it had a bit of cashmere in it. I’ll definitely be wanting to get more of their yarns in the future. Look at those subtle color variations!

D6D95A2F-A8F0-46D7-9EDC-4CAED2A40E69As soon as the weather cools off a bit, you know I’ll be wearing the heck out of this … I mean, as soon as we’re all safe to be out and about. And I think I want a pin to go on it too, maybe just “Vote”. Has anybody seen a good pin for this cowl?

Sock It To Me Monday

Another pair of Christmas in July socks got finished this weekend. It helped that I only needed to make one sock, the mate to the one knit last December, and it helped that it was all stockinette so I could just knit around and around. Saturday I knit while reading Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid on my iPad — it was super good and I finished it all in one day. Yesterday I knit while watching Alice in Wonderland (the Johnny Depp version). Allergies are kicking my butt at the moment, so familiar movies and easy knitting are my jam.

Look at these socks: they match! Like, the stripes match! And that was pure luck, because I never try to do that. I didn’t even look at the yarn when I was starting the second sock; I just picked up the end and cast on. I’m quite tickled with them. And now they’ll get put away for a few months and I’ll forget about them until around November and be tickled with them all over again.

This means I have zero socks on my needles. I’m working on my emPower People cowl for now, and when that’s done my goal is to finish my Stargazer Shawl, but I don’t know if I can be sock-free that long. We’ll see.

And here’s something happy for Monday: remember the fingerless gloves that I finished in a hurry for the nephew? He seemed delighted with them and I was told the next day that he said “I love my gloves so much and I’m so happy she knitted them for me.” And he wore them to church despite the hot and humid Midwestern summer weather. See what I mean? Totally knitworthy!

FO Friday: Socks

I have two Finished Objects to share today — technically four, actually — because I finished two pairs of socks today!

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One the left are Vanilla Latte socks in Orange Jellyfish Dream yarn, color Intergalactic Planetary. And the right are obviously my Christmas in July socks, also in the Vanilla Latte pattern, with West Yorkshire Spinners’ Fairy Lights. Both pairs are slightly mis-matched in size but not enough to bother me, certainly not right now. But now I’m out of socks to knit and it’s also only July 10 so I cast on the second sock of a pair of Christmas socks I started last December. These are all stockinette so it should be a speedy project.

While knitting, I’ve recently binged Pick of the Litter, Little Voice, and Lenox Hill. And I’ve read and loved The Authenticity Project, Friends & Strangers, and The Two Lives of Lydia Bird. What are you streaming lately that you love?

I almost forgot!

Note: I am trying to use non-Ravelry links whenever possible. All Rav links will be noted.

Last month, I wrote about some Nature Spun Worsted that I reviewed for Brown Sheep Co. and one of the projects I made with it were fingerless gloves for a nephew. I chose the Maize Mitts from TinCanKnits and did the child size, since the nephew is 7, and it came out looking TINY. I didn’t want to knit a second mitt if it wasn’t going to fit, so I took it with me to a little birthday party we had and asked him to try it on. He loved it, said it was perfect, and I said I’d make a second, thinking it could wait until winter and his birthday or Christmas. Well, a couple of weeks later, we had another birthday party, and he asked if I’d brought his gloves. Friends, be glad you didn’t see the look on his face when I said I hadn’t made the second one yet. I felt like a terrible aunt and promised I’d have it done before the next birthday. Yesterday it hit me: we are celebrating a birthday on Saturday. I NEEDED to have two fingerless gloves for him. All other knitting was promptly set aside. Thank goodness he has small hands!

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I can see, and you can probably see too, that these two gloves are not precisely the same size. I don’t know why that is, and honestly I don’t really give a damn, because I’m pretty sure the nephew will NOT see that detail. And as snug as the first glove was, I’m also pretty sure he’ll outgrow these quickly and I’ll be making another pair around Christmastime anyway. There are some people for whom I will knit anything, and this nephew is definitely one of them. (I mean, honestly, pretty much any of my family and close friends fall into this category. I just like knitting for people who appreciate it.)

Now that that’s done, I’m returning to my safety knitting of Christmas socks and the emPower People purple cowl. Today’s not a great day so far: I didn’t sleep well last night, I’ve got anxiety bubbling up inside, and seeing anything on the news just makes things worse today. I was going to exercise but needed a second cup of tea to help wake myself up and now my timing is off, because I actually have something scheduled today: my knitting group has our virtual meeting at noon and I’d really like to have a shower before that happens. I do have something to look forward to: I’m seeing a friend tonight, one I haven’t seen in almost four months. (Wait, four? *counts on fingers* good grief it really has been that long!) There will be masks and distancing and as many precautions as we can take, but I have begun to miss seeing the people I love in person and really need a win. So, happy Thursday, friends. Take care of yourself.

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emPower People

There’s a new initiative I found on Instagram called emPower People. The website describes it as a “craftivism project aimed at uniting crafters of all mediums to engage people across communities to spark conversation, engagement and action in the political process to uphold social justice and human rights.” Right now they are encouraging people to make a purple bandana/cowl that you can wear when you attend gatherings, protest, march, and vote. There are free patterns to knit, crochet, or sew that you can download directly from the website. The project was founded by four crafters, with several others contributing. I chose to participate with the free knit pattern designed by Casapinka. Luckily, I had plenty of purple yarn to choose from, including the perfect Priestess DK weight from Ritual Dyes in a color called Belladonna.

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This is a simple, soothing pattern with lots of garter stitch and I expect it will fly off my needles. So far it’s even better than socks!