I’m so close to another FO! I finished knitting the body of my Curiosity Cowl last night while binge watching Ginny & Georgia (omg that show is like Gilmore Girls on drugs and so addictive). Now I’ve just got 32” of I-cord to knit for the drawstring.
I really don’t know how I feel about this cowl. I got super bored knitting it, and I think the bamboo yarn is going to be super floppy, and sometimes I like the sort of fish scales vibe it’s got going on and sometimes I don’t. I do love the idea of the drawstring though, so maybe that will be the thing that tips it over into cool.
As we moved into February, I started thinking about the goals I made at the beginning of the year and evaluating how well I was doing with them. Progress was mixed. I wanted to knit at least five squares a week on my sock yarn blanket, and I went way over that – the blanket grew from 66 squares to 101! As expected, I did it more in sporadic large chunks rather than daily squares, so I’m glad I allowed for that flexibility.
I want to use more yarn from stash than I buy. This is more of a long-term goal, but I’m off to a good start. I haven’t bought any yarn this year (yet), and I’ve used six skeins from stash. And I finally got to the point in the Curiosity Cowl where you join to work in the round, so it should go pretty fast now. Once that’s done, that’s two more skeins out of my stash. I also recently pulled out a skein of acrylic to try making some dog bandanas. I like the length of the top one, but the neck is too small, so I need to rip out the ribbing and make it wider. The bottom one is a good size but seems a little short. (I know, in the pic it looks like undies, doesn’t it? haha!)
Finish my first colorwork project: well, this requires me to cast on my first colorwork project, and I had so many other WIPs that this one got postponed. But it’s in the queue and should be coming up soon!
Journal more regularly: haha, that didn’t happen. At all. Maybe I just like the idea of journaling more than the act of journaling these days. I was always more motivated to journal when I was struggling with something, or when I was in a rough place emotionally. Maybe it’s a good thing that I don’t feel the need for it. In any case, I feel zero guilt about not meeting this goal.
I had a couple of secondary goals, to walk the dog more and manage my spending. Duncan and I have been doing pretty well with our walks, except when it’s so cold that I can’t bring myself to go out. I’ve been trying to take him every day I don’t go into the office, and we’ve started going a little farther too. I think it’s been good for both of us. And I think I’m doing better with my discretionary spending too, even if it doesn’t feel like it because we renewed our symphony season tickets which are a little pricey but so worth it to me.
Oh and I read six books in January, so I’ve got a good start on my yearly goal of 50 books. That’s a higher goal than usual for me but I’d really like to clear out my TBR shelves a little more. My top two reads were The Mermaid & Mrs. Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar (set in 1785, man buys an actual mermaid, drama ensues. I learned much about the courtesan industry of the time.) and The Love Story of Missy Carmichael by Beth Morrey (slightly grumpy old woman makes new friends, reluctantly adopts a dog, her life changes for the better. It has some SAD moments in it, though, so fair warning.)
So I guess we’ll call January a success and I’ll just keep on keeping on. For my fellow goal-setters, I hope you’re pleased with how things are going, and let’s remember to be gentle with ourselves even if we don’t meet those goals. We are all WIPs, after all!
I logged in today to discover that the post I thought I published Monday was still stuck in draft mode. Oops. I guess I’ve forgotten how to blog. Anyway, I’m learning a new knitting skill this year! I cast on for a Douglas cardigan and the pattern calls for afterthought pockets. Because I’m obsessed with my yarn choices and can’t stop knitting this, I’ve got my waste yarn and lifelines in (look down in the lower right part of the sweater), and I’ve moved on to separating the fronts and back. So far, afterthought pockets are super easy and I don’t know why I’ve avoided afterthought heels on my socks all this time!
Also, that yarn?? Omg. It’s Old Rusted Chair Squish DK in Bijou (purple), Offworld (speckle), and Ridin’ the Storm Out (charcoal) and it’s SO yummy to knit. This week I’ve also had something of an epiphany. I would like to read more, and I would like to not get bored knitting stockinette sweaters. Enter Libby, the library app on my iPad! I can easily and happily read while I knit simple and boring stockinette! This might be a game changer for me. I’ve already read four books this year (one was a re-read but still counts, right?) and have made so much progress on my sweater. I don’t think I’ll finish it before I go back to work next week, but I can get awfully close.
Speaking of next week, this guy will be having surgery on Monday.
Two years ago at this very same time of year, Duncan had to have TPLO surgery to repair a torn CCL in his left leg. Well, he started limping on the right leg on New Year’s Eve, and sure enough, we’re set for a second TPLO. And this time, since I’m in a new job, I can’t exactly just say “Hey I need to work from home for a week!” so we’ll be muddling through somehow. I will be working from home at least two days a week, maybe three, and I’m hoping my first week will be a little light. When he has to be alone, he’ll be contained in a tiny nook of the kitchen, doped up a bit with a mild sedative, and I’ll just have to check on him as often as I can. The boy will be around periodically too, so he’ll be able to help. Last time, I slept on a mattress in the living room with him because I felt bad for him being in a cone and contained so much, but I can’t do that again. I didn’t get nearly enough sleep doing that and I need to be able to function during the day. I’ll still feel bad, but he’ll be fine. It’ll be fine, it’ll all be juuuuust fine. Right? Right. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to visit the liquor store to stock up on essentials.
In January of last year, I started keeping track of my yarn usage. Not super scientifically, just how many skeins in and out. I actually did surprisingly well last year, and it came out about even by the end of 2020. This year has not been so successful. I’ve been feeding the stash a little too generously. Like, the last time I went to put new yarn into my stash, I had to rearrange a little bit to make room because my shawl yarn and sock yarn shelves were so full.
At the same time, I read someone’s blog post about wanting to be more thoughtful about stash additions, and some friends were talking about being conscious of how long it takes you to use up yarn, say one skein of fingering. Unless it’s sock yarn, it usually takes a while.
It all came together and made me decide it was time for another yarn destash. I’ve been knitting for over nine years now, and my tastes have changed, but I still have yarn I bought back then. I still have tons of alpaca, because I love to knit with alpaca, but I can’t actually wear alpaca. So why keep it all? Why not clear out some space and send the yarn off to a new home?
I pulled out probably 75 skeins of yarn, all told. Some of it went to a couple of knitting buddies, but the lot in the chair has been listed on Facebook Marketplace and I’d love to find someone who wants to take it off my hands. The second photo is my reduced stash. Before, all but the bottom two shelves were full of yarn, and the top two shelves on the left side were literally full, to the top. It just didn’t feel good anymore. This new stash feels manageable to me, and lets me see the skeins I love, some of which were just getting buried under other things. Now here’s hoping I can keep this up and be more thoughtful about feeding the stash in the future!
I haven’t really been knitting lately. I’m making more bobble hats for my former boss, but the last one should get done today. I worked on a sock last weekend, the boy’s sock with the leg that is 10 1/2″ long. But mostly I’ve been doing LEGO sorting. The boy loved LEGO as a kid so we have a ton of sets, and all the pieces got jumbled together over the years. Now we are I am systematically going through each booklet and finding the right pieces for each set. It’s endless and boring and mind-numbing and very soothing and satisfying. There’s nothing like finding the last, right piece after searching through a plastic tub for ages. Anyway, that’s where my brain is right now. I don’t know what it means but I’m sure I’ll get back to fun knitting soon enough.
I am still appreciating pretty yarn, and I will show you my two “wins” first. The gray and black is Knit Picks Hawthorne that I ordered on a whim because I was ordering other yarn from them and needed to get free shipping (as one does, right?). The other is Christmas Silly String from BaH Yarns and I bought it on a whim when it popped up on my Instagram feed. I very much would like to knit it next, but first I must finish a bobble hat.
Now for the losses. I have two Christmas presents for the boy that are stuck somewhere in the ether, one coming from the UK and the tracking just says it’s on its way and check back for “regular updates”. Ha. One is from Etsy and there is no tracking number and the seller said “oh yes I’ll get you that tracking number tonight” and never did. I have a beautiful skein of yarn that I ordered from a small dyer whose yarn I love, and I ordered it November 2 and it has not been shipped, has not arrived, and I can get no answer from them through email or Instagram. I want to believe that there is something personal going on to explain the poor service, so I’m trying to sustain some empathy even though I have no evidence to support it. And then there’s this.
On the left is an Instagram photo of a special colorway preorder to support a domestic violence shelter. Good cause + purple = I ordered it. I knew it was a preorder so I waited. After four weeks, I’d heard nothing, so I sent a quick polite email just asking for an update. What do you know, it was ready to ship out that day! It came quickly at least. The right photo is the skein that arrived. One of these things is not like the other. I know colors can vary from one device to another, but I looked at her photo on multiple devices and they all showed purple. And mine … is gray, with flecks of blue and mustard and one big black splotch. Like it? It’s yours for the cost of shipping!
It’s for a good cause, so I don’t want a refund or anything like that. Someone told me I should give the dyer a heads up. If nothing else maybe she’d find it helpful to know that her photos don’t match her yarn? I don’t know. That’s awkward and I haven’t decided if I want to do that. But if I don’t, I know I’ll never order from her again. What do you think? Am I being too picky? Should I send an email or cut my losses and move on?
Oh golly. 2020, amiright? Good news: we’re all feeling fine, the boy’s test was negative and my tests have been negative, and the two weeks since possible exposure are up Monday. Of course, we’re very lucky: someone else I know tested positive this week (though honestly, I’m not sure they’re very good about staying home/not socializing etc).
Bad news: the girl is not coming home for Thanksgiving. I know it’s the right decision but I hate it quite a lot, and today it’s hitting me hard as the husband plans the menu and I know it will just be the three of us. I am trying to remind myself to be thankful that everyone I love is still alive. And the three of us are going to be as careful as possible so that with any luck, she can be here for Christmas. (Just let me be optimistic about something, okay?)
My recent ennui has extended beyond this blog and into my knitting. I frogged that cowl and it was satisfying, but I don’t have a new pattern picked out for the yarn. Besides a third swatch for my Oxbow, which is drying now, all I’ve done is make two bobble hats.
My former boss has commissioned four of them for new lab members, which is the only reason I will consent to doing bobbles anymore. But now they’re on hold because I’m waiting for more brown yarn to arrive in the mail. (I wanted to say “post” there. I think I’ve been watching too much British TV. Can I just say, watching Diana on The Crown is quite sad. We’re not too far into the new season yet, but it just makes my heart ache a bit.)
Today, though, today I’m going to try to break through the wall with some Christmas knitting. I remembered I had a sock kit in my stash, plus my new self-striping from Two Sisters is here. Which one to knit first? Oh, and I also got some gorgeous new yarn from the Lemonade Shop the other day. So many yarns I want to play with!
I think today will be a couch/tea/knitting/movie marathon kind of day. And dogs. Always dogs. Here, have a photo of Duncan in his new pajamas. He’s quite dapper, I think.
So I’m a day late, whatever. I actually forgot I’d finished this. It was up in the craft room on the mannequin, waiting for photos. I think I knit this last weekend, when I need a good, quick bulky project. It was billed as a one-skein, two-hour project, and that was almost true. I did only use one skein, but I had to skip a couple rows at the end. And I’m pretty sure it took me longer than two hours, but I was watching Schitt’s Creek so that was fine by me.
This is Malabrigo Rasta in a purple whose name I’ve forgotten, and the pattern is called Why Wait (Rav link). I used size 13 needles but I almost think I would have liked size 15 to give it a little looser drape.
I also finished my first swatch for my Oxbow cardigan, and even though I can’t find my handy gauge-measuring tool, a ruler was enough to tell me it was definitely too loose. So now I’ve got gauge swatch number two about done, and hopefully I can find my gauge tool today. That reminds me, maybe I should add a couple of those to my Christmas list. They’d make great stocking stuffers!
You all will be glad to know that the Zoom calls were fine (though there ended up being FOUR. That’s the most I’ve talked to people in a very long time.) The vet visit wasn’t quite as good. Jack hates the vet so much by now that he wasn’t sure he wanted to get in the car, and then we had to really struggle to get him inside. But we got the meds he needed and he was very happy to come home.
Unfortunately, my fears about Friday the 13th weren’t quite unfounded: we found out that one of the boy’s friends tested positive. Even though they’ve only been around each other in a small group of four, with distancing and masks, it’s enough to make me worry. None of are symptomatic at all, thank goodness. I’d taken a test on Wednesday, which came back negative, and we’ll get the boy tested Monday. So cross your fingers that we’re able to dodge this bullet, and be sure to wear your masks!
Today my goal is to get some chores done and hopefully get the Christmas tree up and lit! Not decorated yet, I’ll do it in stages, but I’m ready for a sparkly tree. Anybody else decorating for Christmas already?
EEK! Are we all bracing ourselves for whatever will come our way today? I know I am. I have three Zoom calls today (I usually have zero) where I have to talk to people and they will see me. And I have to take Jack back to the vet, because his last hot spot healed weird and now he has two more small ones and ARGH. By now he hates the vet so much that even with two of his happy pills, he fights when I try to make him go through the door. Last time it took me three tries to get him inside. I’d love to have someone helping me, so I could be pulling him and they could be pushing him from behind, but the vet prefers only one person per pet right now. Like I said, ARGH. So to heck with trying to worry about looking “good”, today is a comb my hair and wear sweats kind of day!
If I’m lucky, I will have some knitting time today. I have no FOs to share and actually no new knitting photos, so instead I’ll just share my new yarn.
The Cascade Eco is a dark purple that will become an Oxbow cardigan. I started my swatch last night. The middle is a delightful sock set from Ruby and Roses yarn. And I was finally able to get a copy of 52 Weeks of Socks. When I went to pick it up from Yarn Social, some yarn followed me home. The WYS is the Fairy Lights sparkle colorway, and the purple is Old Rusted Chair squish DK. That one is feeding the stash at this point, though I’m thinking a cowl. I do love cowls.
Hope everyone stays safe today! Happy Friday the 13th!
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.