Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Yarn Along: inching along

I'm still reading Demelza, slowly but surely.
Lucy's handspun coat requires a little seaming at the underarms.  I'll sew on the buttons and weave in the final few ends.  Then I'll muster up some discipline so I can release the tiny perfect pile of bits that will result into the wild.  I have an urge to hoard them forever, with the intentions to stuff toys or hexipuffs, but they're better off lining nests for the winter.  As for the rest of the yarn, I'm plotting a vest for Sebastian.
My socks are all proceeding.  At the Southern Adirondack Fiber Festival, I carried this scrappy tube sock around with me, which I finished up the next day.  Now I'm working on his brother.  The Shiva socks have half a heel flap, and the crazy leg warmers gained a stripe.
I'm looking forward to posting a lot during Slow Fashion October, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Yarn Along:

Lots to share this week, as always.  Demelza promises to be as addictive as I expected.  I've been finding it hard to fit reading in lately, but it helps that I'm excited to see where this story goes.  I'm seriously tempted to grab the audiobook.  Otherwise, I've been gobbling up episode after episode of The Longest Shortest Time, which has been enlightening, infuriating, touching, and heartrending in turn.
 I broke out the old spinning wheel this week, which has been neglected for too long.
This fiber is spinning up nice and fine.  For a new spinner like me, the secret seems to be to prep the daylights out of any fiber, peeling it into very narrow strips, then rolling them up into little nests.  A friend once told me to make the strips the thickness you want the finished yarn, which helped me immensely.
I added a couple of rows to my Pippi Longstocking leg warmers.  So very questionable fashion-wise, yet super fun to see unfold.  I hope I can knock them out and figure out how to style them.  It may include a maxi skirt....
These intoxicating socks are slow going, if only because I have to keep pausing to admire them.
This scrappy tube sock got some action this week, as I waited in the car for this and that.  I'm considering casting on the second one to keep in the stroller for those stolen moments.
Lucy's handspun Rhinebeck sweater is nearly done.  The hood is well on its way, then all that will remain is the edging.  It's in a bit of an ugly duckling stage right now, but I'll persevere.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Yarn Along:

Vera's baptismal gown is finally done!  I am extremely proud of it, in spite of a few little flaws.

Now that that's over, it is such a relief to know I can knit anything I want.  The power went to my head a little.
 If you follow me on Instagram, you already know that I couldn't resist starting this sock for long.  It has become my self-indulgent knitting, which I reach for whenever things get tough and I just need to savor something.  It's knitting equivalent of expensive chocolate, except it gets bigger instead.
I also very spontaneously cast on a hoodie for Lucy out of my handspun.  I'm hoping to finish it in time for Rhinebeck.  Though she didn't attend last year, I made her a handspun sweater in honor of it last fall.  Come to think of it, she has had a Rhinebeck sweater ever since she was born--and so has Sebastian.  I hadn't realized it was such a tradition.  Better get cracking!
Speaking of Sebastian, he turned one the other day.  His birthday socks have been on his feet ever since.  Peter asked jokingly how long that will go on.  I replied that he'd wear them every day until he outgrows them or I finish a new pair, whichever comes first.  Since they are tube socks that reach up to his chubby knees, they'll fit for years.  This scrappy pair that I keep in my purse for knitting emergencies is speeding along, so there is some variety in his future.
 I'm also plotting some garments for him.  I intend to make this vest out of the Robin Red Breast colorway below and the gramps cardigan out of the Thunderstorm yarn you see hanked up above.  The trouble is yardage.  I'll need another skein of each.  If I use the very similar yarn cake above for the accent color on the cardigan, I might be able to get away with it.  They are perhaps too similar and yet not different enough though.  Thoughts?  I'll swatch up a sleeve to be sure.
No matter what, I have a boatload of knitting ahead to keep me occupied.  I'm hoping to read the second volume in the Poldark series and put a dent in some library books that are about to be due as well (Women in Clothes and some inspiring crochet books).  See you next week!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Yarn Along:

Not only did I finish up these socks, but I also read the last few pages of Ross Poldark.  In one of the final chapters, a drunken party guest makes a bet that he can treadle on Elizabeth's spinning wheel.  The description of the wheel is spot on, but on one point, the author blundered.
"'You'll break it, John,' said Elizabeth, smiling.  'You're too heavy-footed.'"  
I'm pretty sure Elizabeth would not have been smiling.  If it had been me, I would have throttled the lot of 'em.
In other news, I have successfully reined in my insane urge to buy yarn to make matching socks for this dress (rather than just buckling down and finishing the dress itself).  A new level of procrastination avoided. 
I quickly found some good matches at Baby Gap, which is doing its level best to make sure all babies have some squishy garter stitch in their lives whether a knitter loves them or not.  I'm dreading the inevitable query of, "And did you make the booties?"  No.  No, I did not, dagnabit.
Now that I'm working on the yoke of the dress, I need a side project or two for when conditions are not optimal for involved knitting--i.e. when my children are awake or I am eating chocolate.  Is it any wonder this thing is not done yet?  I pulled out two hibernating projects--some striped leg warmers
and my TARDIS socks.  These have the distinct advantage that I'm not super excited to knit either of them, which ought to insure that the dress gets done by the deadline (9/26).  But there are forces conspiring against me.  Today this arrived in my mailbox:
It's a sock blank, a swath of machine-knitting that the dyer has splashed and stamped all over.  You're supposed to unravel it as you go, knitting the kinky yarn into a subtle, speckled wonder of a sock that is one of a kind.  From beside the couch, it sings its siren song to me as I knit stitch after stitch in plain, sad white.  I'll hold off as long as I can, using it as my big reward once I finish this gown.  That is, unless I succumb to temptation.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Yarn Along: Inspiration Galore

 These past two weeks have been so full of inspiration for me. I'm reading (Ross Poldark, The Yarn Whisperer, Women in Clothes, Motherhood and Creativity), knitting, sewing, contemplating, and writing.  In fact, I had to pull out a notebook to contain it all.  It's mostly scribblings about my stash.  I'm starting there--listing everything on Ravelry, using the yarn itself as a starting point for future projects.
Socks have been fascinating me in particular.  My queue has grown as a result and a few coveted skeins have found their way into my mailbox.
A lot of this daydreaming is because my actual works in progress are very fixed. The baptismal gown has stalled out just past the waist and Peter's sock is chugging along in its stead.  Last week I careened through this pair of tube socks for Sebastian, after I realized his birthday is fast approaching. I was going to say something disparaging about giving socks as a gift, but never mind. Wooly handmade ones are better than anything. I really had to resist the urge to slip them on his feet as soon as they were done. I wrapped them up already to avoid the temptation entirely. Now that it's 80 degrees again I think they're safe. 
I've also been considering my languishing projects, like this long-abandoned crocheted hexagon blanket.  A post on Instagram compelled me to pull it out and consider it again.
There is definitely potential here, but it will take some time before I can access all of my latent crochet skills.
I pulled out lots of my sewing supplies too.  Am I making your head spin yet?  I sorted through everything I'll need to complete my mostly-finished Alabama Chanin maxi skirt in a delicious cocoa jersey.  Then, after realizing Lucy had suddenly outgrown her skirts, I cut out three for her in the next size up.  I used the remnants from the last batch and a length of salvaged wool plaid given to me by a friend.
At some point during these last few weeks, I got super excited about appliquéing flowers on some of my boring striped shirts.  I've done two for myself and plan to add some embellishments to Lucy's secondhand Hannah Andersson dresses.
 In fact, I've been considering resurrecting my neglected Etsy shop with a few versions of these flowers.  Any pointers would be so appreciated!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Bletchley Circle

All photos courtesy of
On a whim, I flipped on the show The Bletchley Circle, which turned out to be bursting with knitting. In the title sequence of the first episode only, a flash of a knitting pattern can be seen amidst all sorts of other kinds of code.
That first episode opens with the main characters, all women working hard during WWII to break Nazi code. Nearly a decade later, they have moved on with their lives.  One in particular, Susan, a mother of two, continues to see patterns everywhere. She is pictured knitting frantically, referring to instructions.
This bit of characterization really impressed me. The shots of the proficiently knitting hands were a great touch, and the darting camera gave the viewers a sense of Susan's overactive mind. She and her family wear all sorts of great 1950s handknits throughout the series as well--a little nod to this side of her. I like to imagine, however, that, with her analytical brain, she would have written her own patterns and made them almost needlessly complex to occupy herself.
Perhaps if she had, knitting would have been enough, but instead she finds herself becoming obsessed with a string of murders that have the police baffled.
Susan begins to see a pattern emerge, one that the police do not take seriously when she brings it to their attention. She is forced to find another way, so she tracks down her old coworkers and enlists them in a new purpose--taking down the mastermind serial killer responsible.
Word to the wise: this series has content akin to the show Law and Order: Special Victim's Unit. I found it harrowing to watch at times.