Tuesday, June 30, 2015

So(ho)journ

It's been an amazing week.  I'm in New Jersey visiting my parents and enjoying time with my siblings, niece, and nephews.  The other day we braved the city, all to take a peek at Purl Soho.

It was just as incredible as I expected.  I knew I would have trouble choosing when confronted with all of the wares.  I even made a list of all sorts of patterns to take a look at—but they don't have a big selection of paper patterns.  Instead I quickly perused the entire store and kept my purchases small.

We stuck out quite a bit on the crowded city streets with our small herd of children.  It made me a bit self-conscious, but when I opened up the issues of Taproot I got there, everything suddenly came into focus.  The life I have cobbled together is full—of delicious babies wearing handmade clothing, of creating—every which way, all day long, of a husband who is proud to wear the things I make him out in public— then texts me when people compliment them.  I really love my life and I am proud of it.  I want to share more of it here.  So to the man who said I had my hands full—yes!  They really are.  And I like them that way.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Yarn Along: CATASTROPHE APPALLING

I sped through the decreases on my Ramona last week, and knit about five inches on the body in the process. When I finished the ninth and final set of decreases on Sunday night, I pulled out my pattern to see what was next.  That's when I noticed it.

[ominous thunderclap]

The 4 rows I had been repeating over and over were supposed to be only two rows--neither of which included a decrease. My sweater had dwindled down and now had 32 stitches fewer than intended.  There was nothing for it. I had to rip back.
The best decision I made was to both frog back and get the work back on the needles properly before heading to bed. I woke up and was able to muster up the fortitude to march onward. The only evidence of my blunder is the tidy ball sitting atop the cake of yarn, marking just how much knitting was lost. I'm really looking forward to hitting that cake again and finally putting this fiasco behind me.  Still, I haven't knit much on it since.  Time heals all wounds, I imagine.
When I wasn't dealing with my unruly cardigan, I was finishing up my final two skeins of mohair/wool handspun. I keep coming back to this vest, despite the gauge discrepancy (about 12 stitches/4 inches instead of 16 on size 8s, the smallest needle that can comfortably manage this bulky yarn). There is also the troubling fact that I have less than 300 yards of this yarn with no hope of obtaining more fiber. My only prospect would be to mingle it with commercial yarn.  Eh, it is actually impossible. So why do I keep pulling up the pattern and remeasuring my gauge, hoping for a miracle?  
 
I've also spun up the delightful Moonshadow fiber and plyed it with this Romney fiber.  Recently I went through my fiber stash and paired each single braid up with something similar to stretch them all a bit further.  Next up?  This yellow gradient paired with this lemon curd braid.  I'll chain ply them separately to preserve the gradient but ultimately plan to knit them in the same project--like a kid's sweater with lemon curd sleeves and the gradient as the body.  
Outlander continues on. With lots of car time in the near future, I imagine I'll make some headway this week.  I also ripped through Y: The Last Man, Vol. 1 and began The Road after they were mentioned here.  The graphic novel even contained a little knitting.
Hey, if the world went to hell in a hand basket, I'd get out my needles too.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Yarn Along: Sleeves²

I finished up both sleeves on my Ramona this week!  Is that some kind of record?  I've been knitting away on the body ever since, and just started the decreases.
I'm also working on the heel of this scintillating sock.  Using tips from this pattern, I've switched up the heel a bit.  Rather than slipping 1, knitting 1, I'm slipping on the purl side.  I decided to give Lucy Neatby's SlipPurl maneuver a try.  It took some digging, but I finally found a description of it here.  Unfortunately it doesn't look like she's made a video.  If I ever pick up some speed, I might give that a shot.  It's one of those tricks that slows you down at first but promises to save a lot of time in the long run as soon as you're proficient.
My reread of Outlander continues.  I'm on Chapter 25 of 41 and picking up a little momentum. We replaced our car radio.  Let's hope the scandalous scenes don't burn this one out!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Call the Midwife: Season 4, Episode 2

Stunning knits and the act of knitting have often been featured throughout the four seasons of Call the Midwife, but every once in a while an entire episode hinges on the craft.  
Though this episode was truly heartbreaking, the knitwear was a bright spot.
These yellow booties, which the mother worked on throughout her pregnancy, grew to symbolize all of her hopes for her unborn child.
 In the touching conclusion, they took on even more significance.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

CNY Fiber Festival

Today my friend Nina, Sebastian, and I went to the CNY Fiber Festival, quite possibly the best way to spend World Wide Knit in Public Day.  There were lots of amazing booths, adorable animals, excellent food, live country music, and incredibly friendly people--including spinners galore. 
 This gradient hat caught my eye almost immediately and led to the first purchase of the day.
This 4 oz of Llady Llama Fiber Co's super wash BFL in Light After A Storm was a nice substitute for the sample fiber, which is what I wanted most--but it was out of stock.  I'm hoping to spin it up as a gradient and chain-ply it.
I made a beeline for the FatCatKnits booth next.  This 4 oz braid of superwash BFL combed top in Moonshadow leaped out at me right away.  I started humming a different Cat's version under my breath.
Then I spotted this braid, superwash merino top in--wait for it--Sugared Beets!  It was meant to be.  Ginny had a little extra divided up into 1/2 oz balls in a big bin, so she helped me look through and get every scrap of it.

I spotted these Apricot bundles as we looked through the bin.  The color is an interesting one.  Both my sister Juliana and Lucy seem to come alive when they wear it and get little bright spots on their cheeks.  I can't wait to make them something out of this.
Though I worked on my Ramona in the car, I wanted something festive and compact to work on throughout the day.  I found this yarn at last year's festival and originally bought it to make Lucy tube socks.  Instead, I decided to give these ankle socks a shot
Unfortunately they seemed a little too big, so I've since had to rip back and make a smaller size, but that just means I get to knit with this yarn just a little bit longer.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Yarn Along: important portables

I haven't been reading as much as I would like this week, just a few sentences of Outlander really.  The radio in our car bit the dust, so finding time to listen to my audiobook was difficult. Instead, I indulged my new obsession at home--knitting videocasts, of all things. (As usual, Susan B. Anderson inspired it all, which led to The Knitgirllls, and most recently Junkyarn.) It pretty much feels like hanging out and knitting with talkative strangers at first. It makes me want to FaceTime my faraway friends so we chat and knit the day away.  Let me know if you're up for it, especially if you would not mind seeing my kids running amok in the background.
I cast on these sunny tube socks for Lucy the other day, just to have something a little more portable on the needles.  My sweater has always been a bit unwieldy, with this ginormous yarn cake, but up until now I have stubbornly heaved it around with me.  I just came across a knot, so I cut it and put aside the body to begin the sleeves, using the trick from Granny's Favorite for gapless underarms.
                                 
Thank you all so much for your advice on buttons last week.  I'll be on the lookout for wooden buttons at the CNY Fiber Festival on Saturday.  Last night I whipped up a buttonhole swatch to take with me.  The ceramic buttons do fit nicely and I have exactly enough for this pattern, so they aren't quite out of the running yet.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Yarn Along: button conundrum

I'm about halfway through Outlander and my Ramona Cardigan is well on its way.  Though it is aran weight, this Empire is perfect for spring knitting, with its cottony feel.  The color is right off a lilac bush.  I chose it to match these ceramic buttons I found at a local craft fair.  Since then, I have begun suspecting they'd be better suited for a child's garment and that I should stick to something more neutral for this cardigan.  What do you think?

Monday, June 1, 2015

May 31


video
We made it through Me Made May 2015!  Thanks for reading, commenting, and encouraging me throughout this month.  It really has been so much fun.  I've tackled some big sewing projects and learned a ton in the process.  As the calendar flips over, I'm feeling even more committed to making clothing for us.  It gives me such a rush.  I've just begun a sweater and a new Alabama Chanin skirt for myself that will likely occupy the next several months.  And this afternoon I had a vision of a yellow sweater for Lucy that was so vivid I could taste it.  What will you make next?