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Penny FO: Pretty in Pink

Some colors are almost impossible to photograph well, unless you’ve got a lot more photography experience and knowledge than I do, I guess! I’ve tried a few different times, places, and lighting scenarios to get photos of my finished Penny sweater and the vivid pink (Malabrigo in Fucsia) just resists all my attempts to show the true color. So this is what you get, and at least you’ll be able to see the pretty lace!

AE4102DB-5D28-4EEC-AB73-54ACEB7A72AB_1_201_aThis experience taught me a couple of things. One: that shit does NOT always block out. The ladders on my first sleeve are still there. Whatever. And two: Malabrigo Arroyo, or maybe all superwash, grows A LOT in the bath. I knit this according to the pattern specifications and it was kind of huge when I first got it out of the water. I had to squish it back into a more normal size and it still seems very long. But it fits pretty well and that’s the important part!

The neckline is a bit lower than I expected, but it doesn’t bother me much since I’ll be wearing this over something else anyway. And I really like the lace detail down the middle of the sleeves.

7CC2305B-D6D8-44B0-8FCA-2C51F1E593D9_1_201_aI don’t know why but I didn’t enjoy knitting this one very much. Part of it was my confusion when it was time to join the body and sleeves for the yoke, and I felt like the instructions for the decreases could have been clearer. But I have to admit the final product is lovely, and I bet I’ll enjoy wearing it!

Sock it to me Monday

My Pride socks are done. I used the Heel Toe Do Si Do pattern and while I like how it looks very much, I had to have the pattern handy the whole time and I missed having mindless socks.

The yarn is MollyGirl’s Glamour Lite in Born This Way, and has a little sparkle thread which is quite delightful. No word yet on how they’ll feel to wear; I’ll let you know when it’s not in the 80s with high humidity. For now I’m back to knitting on my vanilla socks, at least until next month when I start my Christmas in July socks. Happy Monday, friends.

New project

I cast on a new cowl yesterday. Yes, I know I said I was going to work on my current WIPs. And I kind of am! I pulled out a cowl that had been snoozing for quite a while. It was a worsted weight bandana-style cowl in some yummy Frosting Worsted by Delicious Yarns. I pulled the pattern up and remembered why it had been snoozing: the pattern had a couple of errors. They weren’t huge, but they were in two rows, it was a paid pattern, and I’d messaged the designer, and she’d said she was going to update the pattern within a week. That was three months ago. Again, they weren’t huge errors and I could have kept going by marking the pattern where the errors were, but when I pay $6 for a pattern and the designer is aware of errors and doesn’t fix them, well. I get annoyed and I’m not going to knit that pattern. So there! It got frogged and rewound and I cast on for the Lydian cowl.

A947612E-B6D3-4B7D-AD9A-5DA6923F1451_1_201_aI did try yesterday to get photos of my new sweater, but man, that pink is hard to photograph. I’m going to try again today since it’s overcast. Happy Friday, friends, and Happy Juneteenth.

Back to socks

I told myself that when my Penny sweater was done, I was going to get back to painting. I have one stairwell left that needs fresh paint before I feel like I can pack away the painting supplies. But then yesterday I finished my sweater. Wove in the 2457 ends and blocked it and everything. It’s drying, so I’ll share photos soon. Anyway, I finished it and remembered what I’d told myself and I didn’t like what Past Bonny had said. Apparently I’m not ready to get back to painting. Instead I’m going back to my Pride Socks.

EF3DD17F-1632-4BAE-81DD-34B9A2212438

I pulled them out of my bag and discovered I’d been knitting too long on the leg and it was a good 1 1/2″ longer than the first sock. That’s too much of a difference for me, so I had to do a bit of frogging, but now they’re back on track and I’ve got the heel ready to go. This might be the start of a round of Finish-itis. I think I’m ready to work down my six WIPs!

Penny Progress, and stuff

Once I got the sleeves done on my Penny sweater, I realized how close I was to the finish line and it’s been very motivating. I joined the body and sleeves on Sunday night…then after four rows of lace, wondered if I was doing the lace right…decided I wasn’t so I pulled out two rows of one lace section to reknit it…then realized I was doing it right the first time and it was all hecked up now…so I laid it out on my dining room table and frogged back to where the body and sleeves were separate pieces again, and rejoined. It was a bit very frustrating and there was cursing and wine and the boys knew to stay away from me. But I got it all sorted out so that yesterday I could move forward confidently with the yoke.

955CEFBD-6F8F-448B-8EAA-415BE5E0A5A4_1_201_aEven though it decreases 10 stitches every other round, it feels like it’s taking forever, and I’m ready to be done. But it’s encouraging to see it take shape, and I know I’ll be excited to wear it…in a few months.

I also ordered some new books yesterday. I got two by Nic Stone from Semicolon Bookstore, Chicago’s only Black woman-owned bookstore and gallery space. One is Dear Justyce, the sequel to Dear Martin, which I loved. And from Brain Lair Books, a Black woman-owed bookstore in Indiana, I ordered Wow, No Thank You by Samantha Irby and Black Girl Unlimited, a young adult novel about a teenage wizard. I’ve been reading a lot more the last couple of weeks, so I’m looking forward to having new books added to my TBR pile.

I’m working on the right balance of content in my social media, and feeling weird but better than last week. It does feel nice to share some knitting on Instagram again. But the last couple of days, I’m thinking about Facebook. I have three or four “friends” who share posts with statements or beliefs that I don’t agree with, things like “All lives matter” and “Share this if you support Cop’s [sic] lives” and “the whole world just needs Jesus and then it would all be okay but no one is standing up against homosexuality or debauchery or…”. And I’m struggling with whether to unfriend, ignore, or speak up.

I did speak up against the “all lives matter” one, and it made no difference. “My comment was not racial,” they said. Sure, except I think it is, because it ignores and devalues the Black Lives Matter movement, which I believe is hugely important. To be clear: yes, of course all lives matter, but they have never mattered equally and the goal of the movement to is get Black lives valued the same as white lives.

One side of me says I don’t interact with these people in other ways on Facebook, and why would I be friends with people who don’t believe in equality, in loving ALL people equally? Why would I be friends with someone who uses their religion to practice discrimination and hate? I am an atheist but have no issues with people who have faith and don’t try to use it to actively condemn or change others who believe differently.

Another side of me says it’s good to have connections with people who think differently than you, that you should keep a dialogue open. What if something I share or say helps them see something differently? That would be pretty good. But what if it doesn’t, and seeing their posts just makes me hurt and angry? They’re not changing my mind, why would I think I’m changing theirs?

I don’t know the answer. Honestly, I don’t think there is one answer. How do you all handle this stuff?

Just now I flipped over to Facebook, trying to decide whether to actually post this, and this TED talk popped up in my feed: Why it’s worth listening to people you disagree with. Maybe it’s one answer, or part of an answer?

Brown Sheep Co. Nature Spun

When I was offered the chance to review Nature Spun, a 100% wool from Brown Sheep Company, it seemed like a great opportunity to get started on my holiday gift knitting. It’s an affordable quality yarn that’s available in four weights and eighty colors, which means you can make a huge variety of projects while still staying within budget. Worsted weight is my favorite gift-knit weight, so I chose that in three colors: Snow, Blue Boy and Impasse Yellow. Each 100-gram ball has 245 yards, so I figured I’d have plenty to make mittens for at least the youngest niece and nephews. I started with the yellow and a very basic fingerless glove pattern.

5FA37B89-3A56-4283-84AC-230F43836997_1_201_aMy first thought was how easy it was to find the center-pull end! Made it quick to get started knitting. The yarn is springy and strong, making me think it’ll be nice and long-wearing for kids who do a lot of playing. After the gloves, I had enough yarn that I decided to make a hat, and I wanted to see how this yarn did with cables. Guess what: it’s PERFECT for them!

The stitch definition is fantastic, and the yarn is just sticky enough (it’s hard to find the right word; I definitely don’t mean sticky in a negative way) that you don’t worry about stitches slipping away while you’re working the cables. The yellow ball had enough yarn for a small-adult size pair of mitts plus an adult-size hat. I loved the cables in this yarn so much that for my next pair of mittens, I needed a cabled pattern. What could be better in a color called “Snow” than Snowman mittens??

I mean, come on, those are awesome, and a flash to work up, even with the minimal cabling. Again, the center-pull was quick to find, which I appreciated. Now, I will say, these mittens are for a four-year-old, and they’re white, and this yarn is hand-wash only. If I were his mom, I’d be happy to let him wear them when we go places and use washable ones for playing in snow, and just wash when needed. So I still think this yarn is good for kid-related projects, given the sturdiness, affordability, and color choices, but it would definitely be a solid choice for adult sweaters too, especially colorwork. It softens up nicely after a bath in woolwash, with no color bleed in the water.

Still, I wondered what else it would be good for, and decided I needed to try a little animal. I pulled out the blue and settled on a Bluebird of Happiness. We could all use a little extra happiness right now, I think!

2636F7F5-FBED-4BC7-A5EB-488B71CA44CE_1_201_aIsn’t he adorable? Again, this yarn was great for a small, fiddly project like this, and again, center-pull for the win! It was easy to keep the stitches tight, and I had no issues with the stuffing showing through. He’d stand up to lot of little-kid love. Just think of all the baby animals you could make for shower gifts with this yarn — fast, cute, sturdy, and affordable. I liked him so much I made another.

D59B96D1-D633-4C79-9728-83C459DA1A61_1_201_aThe other nephew will get a pair of blue mitts, but I just might have to throw a little bluebird in the package too.

Okay, so the yarn was pretty, easy to knit with, made a variety of fun projects — what else do you need? Maybe not much, but I also like that Brown Sheep Co. is a family-owned and operated business in the U.S. They’ve recently made it easier to buy their yarns, too, by making it possible to buy directly from their website if you don’t have a store near you that stocks it. If you decide to try it, use the code BK2020 for free shipping from now until August 31, 2020!

Thanks so much to Stitchcraft Marketing and Brown Sheep Company, who sent me three skeins of Nature Spun Worsted (retail value: $33) for free. I received no other compensation for this review. All opinions and photos are my own.

Trying something new

I’ve just been working on my Penny sweater this week and the sleeves are going really quickly. The first one is on hold and I’ve got the second one started. AND I even tried something new for the second sleeve: I’m knitting it on two circulars!

img_8004I got such terrible laddering with the first sleeve on DPNs that I needed to do something different for the second. I thought about knitting it inside out, since I don’t have issues with laddering with knit stitches, just purling. But I knew my gauge would be different then — I purl more loosely than I knit. I don’t even know what prompted me to try the two circs thing but after some awkwardness, I’ve gotten into the groove and it’s going smoothly. Bonus: NO ladders! I guess it’s worth trying new techniques every once in a while.

Marathon, not a sprint

I’m wiped out, guys. Between the state of the world and some stuff going on behind the scenes, my mental/emotional state is kind of a wreck. I’m really struggling with going back to sharing knitting and dogs on social media, especially Instagram. It seems so trivial and petty right now. But I’m here, and I’m knitting. Mostly I’ve been working on my Penny sweater. I’ve got the body done and most of one sleeve done.

img_7997I’ve discovered I much prefer knitting sleeves separately rather than when they’re already attached to a big lump of sweater you have to keep adjusting. However, I’ve also discovered that when I purl on DPNs, I get the worst ladders. Here’s hoping that shit blocks out.

The other day I also ventured out to a yarn store. I made all the necessary precautions (sanitizer before and after, masks, limited touching of the yarn) and it was really comforting to be back in a familiar and pleasant environment. I miss yarn stores.

img_7990It’s all sock yarn, probably no surprise there, though I suppose it could grow up to be something other than socks.

Happy whatever-day-this-is, friends. Hope you’re all staying safe and healthy.

What can you do?

No knitting content right now. Here are some things I’ve done, and some resources you can check out if you want to do something but don’t know what.

  • Changed my view on Instagram: Literally. I spent some time this morning digging through Instagram, finding new accounts to follow. Yesterday my feed was filled with black squares, and while I appreciate the intent, I want to see the posts from those BIPOC, and I wasn’t following enough to offset the black squares. Want some ideas? Check out who I follow, then see who they follow. Follow, like, share, repeat. My Insta right now is sharing those voices, not mine.
  • Donated to Dye Hard Yarns’ Go Fund Me to help her get a Community Dye Studio up and running. Remember my Bonny Lass yarn? This is her.
  • Preordered a “Raise Some Heck” t-shirt (plus an awesome pin) from Tyler Thrasher. Proceeds will help support bailing out protestors and providing science experiment kits for black families to do at home in Tulsa. ETA: this preorder is no longer available.

Want more? Check out some really cool beaded and leather jewelry from Antoinette’s Originals on Etsy, made by Antoinette Houston, who also writes and self-publishes science fiction. You can see more about her on her website.

Here are a few other ideas:

 

This is just a start. My money isn’t bottomless but I can keep listening, keep sharing, keep reading, keep learning, keep loving. Wishing you love and peace, friends.

Sock It To Me Monday

I cast on a new sock first thing this morning for the Pride Month KAL. Of the two yarns I was pondering, Born This Way from MollyGirl Yarn was the overwhelming favorite, and I had to agree that it seemed the perfect choice. And I decided to jazz it up just a tiny bit more by picking a new pattern to me, Heel Toe Do Si Do. Guys, this project is addictive.

944DFB50-B0DA-4F4A-9859-B5AA71022B8EEverything about this is perfect for me: the colors, the striping, the sparkle, the subtle chevrons. These will be easy to finish within a month.