Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Yarn Along: yakapaca

I'm reading Knitting Yarns: Writers on Knitting, edited by Ann Hood, and steadily working away on Lucy's raspberry cardigan.
Inspired by my sister, I cast on an Audrey hat as part of the Fringe Hatalong.  I'm using a sumptuous tweed yarn I obtained at the CNY Fiber Festival a couple of years ago.  It's a blend of alpaca, yak, and sari silk, aptly called yakapaca.  I've been saving this yarn for something truly special, when I really ought to just enjoy it now.  I started the hat on our anniversary, which makes it all the more festive.  I want to be sure the yarn won't melt into a puddle, as alpaca is wont to do, so I knit the ribbing on size 4 needles, at a painfully tight gauge.
Unfortunately, the beautiful chevron pattern that truly makes this hat special does not show up in this buttery yarn, so I frogged back and am just knitting the body of the hat in plain stockinette.  There is a small chance I will ultimately decide this yarn would be better suited to a different pattern after all, but at least I was brave enough to crack into a prized skein and just start knitting away!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Yarn Along: raspberries

I've got Lucy's new raspberry sweater on the needles after all.  Up until yesterday, I was sailing through the lace and feeling like the boss of my knitting.  Working from the chart, reading my stitches like a champ--even memorizing the repeats. Alas!  Pride goeth before a frog. I misplaced a buttonhole and thought I could drop down and fix it instead of tinking back. After spending the entire afternoon trying to repair the unraveled edge, I decided to quit while I was behind and just go back a few rows. This morning I'm still making up the difference.  Still, it is going to be a charming sweater.

I'm ready to delve into Middlemarch, but was hoping to find a good audiobook rendition. After sampling them on iTunes, I fell in love with two of the narrators--for the abridged versions. I'll give the Audible gal another listen.  I'm sure she'll be fine. It's exciting to start this giant classic. I told Pete the other day that I just want to read my new favorite book. Any recommendations?

Friday, February 13, 2015


Sadly, my wurm hat was too snug for me--more of a beanie than a beret--and  bit too roomy for Lucy.   That pattern sure is a yarn eater too.  I used up half a skein on just the brim and 3 purl ridges, when the full pattern is 10 ridges.  It wasn't worthwhile to me after all.  Lucy would grow into in eventually, but I'd rather not waste one of the three skeins of that colorway in my stash on a hat.
Instead, I'll cast on for this cardigan for Lucy eventually.  But Lucy has been begging me to make her a yellow sweater nearly every day.  I already have the yarn--it's Malabrigo Rios in sunset--a rich beeswax shade that positively glows.  I also grabbed a couple of skeins of tosh vintage in mare and paper.  I'm envisioning a pullover with little sheep around the yoke.  Can't wait to swatch it up.  I might make a little hat for Sebastian to practice the colorwork.  I've been researching how to trap the floats longer than 5 stitches and finally found a great tutorial.  Here's to tackling tricky knitting and not looking back!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Yarn Along: beet pink

This wurm hat has such a gorgeous turned brim. I plan to hunt down some other patterns that make use of this ingenious technique. Though I don't mind ribbing, my cast on always looks a little like someone chewed on it if I'm not careful.  It must be because I take "cast on loosely" to heart and overcompensate.  In any case, this technique is my new favorite way to start off a hat. I might even try it on a sweater some day.
I parted with my massive collection of Piecework magazines last week, after thoroughly enjoying them for years. These Jane Austen Knits needed one last flip-through.  Don't worry--I'll be passing all of these magazines on to those who will enjoy them. They're too lovely for the recycling bin.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Paper Route

I got a bit stalled out on the paper portion. It's easy to fill the trunk of my car with discards for the thrift shop, but recycling a bunch of paper is less of a thrill.  I need to power through though. Any tips on keeping up the momentum?  I think it would be best to divide it into manageable chunks like I did for clothing.
  1. Magazines
  2. Manuals/warranties
  3. Official documents
  4. Stationery 
  5. Art supplies
  6. Office supplies
  7. Junk Mail
  8. Personal Mail
  9. Meaningful Letters
  10. Journals
Are there any categories I've forgotten?

hemming and hoarding

This article, "The Stuff Paradox: Dealing with clutter in the US," was interesting in light of my recent fascination with Marie Kondo's book.  It got me thinking about a few of my habits.

So much of what cluttered up my house was absolutely free or wildly inexpensive.  The towels I mentioned were hand-me-downs. The shoes I rescued from my sister's cast-off pile (that were half a size too small!) didn't cost me a cent. Something in me didn't want to see these things get wasted, so I rescued them. Never mind that they could have been put to better use elsewhere. I stockpiled them anyway.

In my experience, free or cheap items pile up quickly.  If I am committing my own money, I am more discerning.  I have gotten better about delaying the purchase until I find something worthwhile.  But I have a hard time saying no to hand-me-downs.  Likewise, I used to feel this pressure to find a home for anything I got rid of.  It would stay in my house until I thought of someone who might be able to put it to use somehow.  Now, as I declutter, I want to be mindful of that tendency.  I don't want to pass on my clutter to others anymore before ascertaining if they really could use it or actually want it.  The charity this article mentions, A Wider Circle, sounds like a great solution.

This is just the reminder I needed to jump back in to my tidying.  Tomorrow I will share my strategy for tackling paper.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Yarn Along: button quest

Though it hasn't been blocked yet, I've been wearing my owls cardigan every day. I am having trouble finding buttons for it. The bleached horn ones I wanted are nearly sold out--and I need 14, so my trip to Joann's was unnecessary, as they never keep enough of any given style in stock.
The drive all the way to Utica wasn't a complete waste of time, since I picked up some wide ribbon (in leopard print!) to cover the mess of a steek.  It's a bit fiddly to sew in, but that'll keep me occupied while I wait to find the perfect buttons.  Does anyone know of a good online button shop?  I'd prefer something in a natural material. 

Now to daydream about my next big project while I finish up the sleeves of my nephew's sweater and listen to Outlander. After all this brown, I think I'll knit up this tosh dk.  The colorway ought to be called February--but it's close enough. It's named Coquette!
Image courtesy of  This colorway is impossible to capture.

Monday, February 2, 2015

nearly there...

After several dark nights of the soul, my owls cardigan is off the needles.  It was touch and go there for a while.  My steek failed and began to unravel as I attempted to pick up the button bands.  I was able to salvage it, but there was much weeping and gnashing of teeth.  Now to sew on grosgrain ribbon to cover up the carnage on the inside and obtain more understated buttons.
Good news for any of you foolish enough to consider following in my footsteps.  Kate Davies put out her Owligan pattern a couple of days ago--which means you no longer have to be crazy brave enough to steek in order to make an owls cardigan of your very own.