Tag Archive | Zen Yarn Garden

Waving the white flag

Can I whine just a little bit? You can skip this post if you like, it’s fine.

We had the A/C repairman out this week. Again. We might have been their best customer this year: I believe we saw them four times between May and now. We have two units, so it was two visits per unit, but still, I find that excessive, don’t you? And thanks to one of those visits, we had to replace a heat pump with a furnace and do some other expensive crap. It was great. (Can you hear the sarcasm?)

It’s just been a stupid expensive year. We started off with some insulation to try to keep the winter temperature in the house above 62. My car needed body work, and then new brakes a couple of months later. The girl’s car needed some repair. We had our own A/C issues, plus a repair at our rental property. We had to redo two sets of wooden stairs outside once one rotted and broke, as well as redo the concrete work and build a new retaining wall. A dog got sick and along with vet bills, we added an expensive monthly medication to our vet expenses. We had to replace two tires on the husband’s car.

It just keeps coming and coming. We try to plan for projects that need to get done, but then something else falls apart and the other stuff never happens. I keep thinking things are looking up and we might get to turn this ship around, and then bam, something breaks and we have to pay for it. And this is all on top of all the senior year/off to college expenses.

I’m tired, friends. And just a little frazzled.

I know it will be okay, and we’ll muddle through just fine. I keep telling myself all the “cheer up” things I can think of, and in my head I know they’re true and sometimes they help. And yet, I worry, and it’s been hard at times to manage my depression/anxiety crap. It ebbs and flows, and I really do think I might be on the upswing, as long as I can keep the house from falling down around me!

Plus that’s what I have my knitting for, right? (Well, and meds too, thankfully.) My knitting has definitely been therapy for me the last several months and right now my Dotted Rays shawl is my favorite. It’s so soft and squishy and soothing, garter stitch over and over…

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When it’s done, it’s going to be the coziest shawl ever, I do believe. Yarn is Zen Yarn Garden Serenity 20, which only seems appropriate. I need some zen in my life!

You know, every time I write posts like this, I worry that they’re too honest, that I’m sharing too much, and maybe I should just journal. But…whatever. It helps me to write them. And maybe it helps others to know they’re not alone, or to show those who haven’t experienced it that depression isn’t always a “cure it and it goes away” kind of thing. 

Shawl progress

I chose poorly. Not the yarn, not the pattern. Both are heavenly. But I’m trying to modify a 5-color shawl to 3 colors and it’s not going as well as I wanted. I’m talking about my Dotted Rays shawl with the gorgeous Zen Yarn Gardens Serenity 20.

Somehow I missed where the pattern suggested approximately 1400 yards for the Large size. I just saw the yardage for the Super Large and thought 1200 yards would be plenty for the Large. (Note to self: read patterns carefully!) So I knit with color A until I had about 40 grams left and did one wedge alternating colors A and B. I didn’t want too much of the cream at the expense of the green and purple, and since I was at wedge 10 of 15, I thought surely I’d have plenty of yarn. But those later wedges get BIG, guys. Long rows, even doing short rows. After one wedge of all green, I’m down to less than 40 grams, which makes me think there’s no way I can make it through the remaining four wedges with just a bit of green and one full skein of yarn left.

There are a lot of options. I could just end it when I run out of yarn, but I really really want the chevrons at the end. I could frog back to where I stopped alternating the cream and green, and add in the rest of the cream. But I’m not sure it’s worth having to frog and reknit. (It’s definitely not.) The best option in my mind is to add another color. Currently, it’s Speckle/Solid/Speckle, so I should be able to end with a coordinating solid purple and it will be perfect. I have a couple of choices in my stash (purple yarn? Of course I do!) but I’m going to wait until I get close to running out of the purple speckle to pick. It might depend on how much I need.

I don’t think I’m a “wing it” kind of knitter. I think I like having all the information to work with up front!

And away she goes

Crap. It’s time. I mean, how exciting! We get to take our girl to college! 650 miles away! Right? Right. Sigh. Yeah. I really don’t know how to describe it. Of course I’m super excited for her, and it’s the right thing and I want her to go. But then there’s the whole “end of childhood” thing and not getting to see her all the time, and those parts aren’t the funnest. Parenting is weird, guys. And hard. But on the plus side, I get to visit the mountains, and that’s always a good thing.

We’re driving, so I’ll have lots of car knitting time, plus I’ll be going to The Loopy Ewe as well as other yarn stores, I’m sure. So I won’t be posting while I’m gone, but I’ll have plenty so share when I get back! Until then, I’ll share the beginning of my Zen Yarn Garden shawl.

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I chose Stephen West’s Dotted Rays – Speckled Fade. It seemed perfect for this yarn, and I’ve been wanting to knit a fade shawl. And so far OMG I LOVE IT. I love the pattern and I ADORE the yarn. It is the most decadent, splurge-y, luxurious yarn I think I’ve ever knit with. (Pretty sure that’s the cashmere talking.) This will be one of my car projects, along with a sock and a new garter stitch chevron wrap that I haven’t actually started yet. Maybe the knitting will be a good distraction.

ShaZAM! It’s done!

Wow, that was like magic: this project flew off my needles! I cast on three projects last Sunday, and suddenly I’m back down to one (a sock). You needn’t be too impressed at the speed of this one, given that it was a one-skein cowl in worsted weight on size 8 needles, with a very simple lace pattern that was really barely lace. It was my comfort knitting last night. It’s not been the best week, or two weeks, or summer, to be honest, for a lot of reasons, but yesterday I was in a serious funk. I escaped for Mexican food and a margarita with the sister, which was a lovely treat that helped a lot, and when I got home I picked up the cowl and turned on an old episode of ER. I didn’t expect to finish, but suddenly I was at the end and binding off before the show even ended.

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The pattern is sha-ZAM! on Ravelry. This was a fun knit. I love these one-skein cowls; they’re so easy and fun to wear. And it was a treat to get back to some squishy soft Malabrigo. Makes me look forward to fall, when I can actually wear things like this again. (NOT winter! Note the difference, please, Mother Nature!)

And now, with almost empty needles again, I am eager for my next shawl project, and it’s going to be amazing! I have 3 skeins of Zen Yarn Garden Serenity 20 Fingering in a gorgeous Vivid bundle that I’m itching to cast on. I mean, it’s a whopping 1200 yards of 70% superwash merino, 20% cashmere, with 10% nylon.

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I’m pretty sure this is going to be my first WestKnits project, but I’m debating between The Doodler and the Dotted Rays – Speckled Fade. Have you made either? Both? How do I choose??