Saturday, July 25, 2020

Knitting Rules

Is that noun-verb or adjective-noun?  The answer is both.  First, adjective-noun.

As I was popping around the blogs I follow, I read someone's method for managing her projects.  While she has many projects on the needles at once, she is target date driven.  Thinking about my method, it isn't so much target dates.  My projects are managed by my environment.  I have 3 active projects and one semi-active.  I have a mindless project I keep near my computer for online meetings. (Still working from home for the foreseeable future.)  My most complicated project is my through the week evening knitting.  The third active project is for weekend knitting, when I want to relax from my other weekend activities.  My take-along project isn't seeing much action these days but it hangs by my purse in anticipation of some love.

The Discovery Poncho by Heidi & Lana is my mindless, online meeting knitting.  I have the front panel finished and am making good progress on the back panel.  The pattern came with 3 skeins of yarn.  I used one for the front and am almost done with the second.  The third will be used for the neck shaping sections.  I think I may have extra and am considering adding an inch or two to the front and back sections.  Before I do that though I need to do a little math.  I'd hate to add the rows only to have to rip them out because I didn't have enough to finish the piece.

My through-the-week evening knitting is Rift by Brooklyn Tweed.  This is going to be part of my son's Christmas gift.  The color in the above picture is not correct.  The yarn is an olive green and actually matched the ottoman I photographed it on.  If you look at the picture above for the Discovery Poncho you'll see what color I mean.

Rift starts with a tubular cast on.  This is the second time I've used that method.  The first time was on the Weekender sweater.  I don't recall it being too difficult, but this time I have a heck of a time getting it right.  I'm not sure if it was the needle size, the yarn or just me.  I'll have to compare the way Weekender says to do it with BT's instructions.  I need to find the Weekender pattern anyway because once I get this done for Blake, I'm going to make Weekenders for the girls.

My third active project is City Limits by Tanis Fiber Arts.  Again, the color isn't right in the photo.  I really need to figure out how to adjust that on my phone.  The green washed out in the photo.  Maybe I should stick to photographing my projects on my neutral living room carpet.  I am just above the waist shaping row and about to finish the fifth color section.  I used up every last bit of the yarn I had for color 2 so when I pick up for the sleeves it is going to go immediately into the solid color 3 section.

Ah!  Color that is almost correct.  This is my take-along project.  This is Bellrose by Martina Behm.   I bought the yarn a few years ago at The Wool Gathering from Wolle Yarn Creations.  This project isn't getting much love since I don't get out of the house much.  I'm hoping we can get away for a weekend in either August or September.  

The last rule to my knitting projects is that at least one active project has to be pulled from the hibernating bin.  The Discovery Shawl is that project.  It didn't hibernate long, but it did get set aside while the Stonecrop Top got the love.

Now, as noun-verb, knitting does remain my favorite craft.  But sewing has captured my attention lately.  Last time I showed my Wiksten top.  Since then I made a sundress and a t-shirt.

Excuse the dirty mirror.  I took this picture in my daughter's room. u Here is Dress No. 1 by 100 Acts of Sewing.  I make it with washer linen.  It is a big, flowy dress.  It probably isn't the most flattering on me, so I'll just wear it around the house in the heat of the summer.  I might try adding a belt or something to make it look less tent-like.

My other sewing project was to replicate a favorite t-shirt.  I have toyed with the idea of making something from one of articles of clothing.  I figured a t-shirt was a good place to start.  After drafting the pattern I bought some clearance knit from the fabric store.  I absolutely love how it turned out.  It is comfortable and fits perfect.  The only thing that I wish had turned out a little differently is the neck band.  It sticks out just a bit, but I can live with it.  When I bought this fabric I also bought some knit in a blue print and a black print.  One will be another t-shirt.  The other might become a t-shirt dress.  I've seen a few videos that talk about lengthening shirt patterns to be dresses.  I think I'll give it a try.

Well, that all I have for updates today.  I hope you are staying healthy mentally and physically.  My prayers continue for a return to some form of normal soon.  Peace.

Friday, July 3, 2020

Cat Bed and Linen Top

Kristin pinned a crocheted cat bed and shared with me.  It was cute but made out of roving.  I don't want to give up the roving I have for a cat bed, so I pulled out a skein of big chenille I had leftover from Kristin's blanket.  After watching a video I quickly made a little kitty nest.

Nala wasn't interested in it at all.  Squeaks decided to give it a try, but as you can see she wouldn't commit to getting completely inside.

Last Saturday I spent the day in my sewing room.  When I came out I ehad a new top: Wikston.  While making it I thought it was going to be huge.  Once I tried it on it wasn't so bad.  It is 100% linen and a bit stiff still.  I pre-washed the fabric so I'm not worried about it shrinking when I wash it again.  It's not as drapey as I had wanted, but that will come over time as it is laundered.

It's the 4th of July weekend.  I'm off work today for the state holiday.  Kristin went to visit friends for the weekend.  Blake is staying in Cincinnati.  Trisha has to work today and is on call tonight.  It's going to be very hot today so I'm going to park myself in the sewing room again and see if I can get a sundress made.  Other plans include knitting and reading.  My perfect day.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Cheers and Tears

Cheers:  Stonecrop Top

The Stonecrop Top is finished!  Earlier in the week I finished the front of the top and blocked them.  Friday evening I started the finishing; seaming the shoulders and starting knitting the ribbing at the sleeves.  Last night I finished the ribbing and seamed the sides.  It is now taking a final bath to soften the yarn and even out the ribbing stitches.

Tears:  Birds of the Feather

I've come to realize that I am a lose knitter.  I learned this last year when my enabler and I participated in the Jimmy Beans Wool shawl KAL.  Her finished shawl was quite a bit smaller than mine.  She also had a lot more yarn left over than I did.  Fortunately, I had enough to finish.

Well, this year we are both knitting the Birds of the Feather shawl.  We purchased the kits last year at The Wool Gathering from Destination Yarn.  As I approached the last section, I started to realize I was going to be playing yarn chicken.  The last section alternates several rows of the fingering followed by several rows of mohair.  This is repeated 5 times.  In the third mohair section, I ran out of yarn about 30 stitches from the end.  I considered my alternatives and decided that since I had left some fairly long tails in my other mohair sections I'd snip those and tie them in to get the row done.  Part of my justifying thought process was that mohair is a rather sticky yarn and does pull out easily, as I learned when I had to rip out Section 9 earlier in the shawl.  So off I went, snipping and slicing.  Once the row was finished, I decided I'll just knit the fingering in pattern until I run out.  

Well, that plan didn't go so well.  About 4 rows into the fingering section, I noticed some of my mohair splices became undone.  I tried to piece it together, but made more of a mess of things.  I then noticed that I when I snipped off the tails, I probably didn't leave enough.  My shawl was in danger of unraveling at every transition that I snipped. I ripped out everything back to where the third mohair section started, cursing myself for being such an idiot the entire time.

It is now in timeout while I figure out what to do.  I'll finish the fingering.  It won't get me to the end of the pattern, though.  My biggest concern is the compromised transitions.  One thought I have is to  take pieces of the mohair I ripped out and do duplicate stitch along those rows and then weave in those tails.

Cheers:  Test Crocheting

I volunteered to test a new pattern from Life Is Cozy.  She is releasing a crocheted V-shaped shawl called Almond Shawl.  Somehow I started following her on Instagram.  I really can't remember how.  Anyway, since I was finishing up Stonecrop and close to being done with Birds, I thought I'd take a break from knitting and give it a try.  Friday I went to my favorite LYS and picked up two skeins of Baah Yarn La Jolla.  The top is Pink Promise and the bottom is Lemon Drop.  They are beautiful, summery colors.

Tears:  Knitting Temptations

My favorite LYS is closing.  I am absolutely crushed!!  The owner said that due to the COVID-19 shutdowns, the shop was no longer financially viable.  She held special appointment-only shopping this weekend to sell of her inventory.  I am crushed in more than one way.  First, it was my favorite place to get yarn.  Her selection was more high-end, but I always knew I got quality.  And she had wonderful classes and the best staff in the world.  Second, my husband always knew he could go there and get me the perfect Christmas gift, even if it was just a gift card.  Third, I had a dream that after I'm done with my grown-up job in three years, I'd ask Karen if I could work for her.

I guess I need to regroup and start thinking about what else I might do once I retire from IT.

Cheers:  Wikston Top

Last weekend my enabler and I went to a small shop that carries a small selection of fabric and yarn.  I had an appointment to shop there and was able to bring a +1 so I asked Cindy to go with me.  I bought the Wikston Top pattern and some linen.  Yesterday, I traced the pattern.  Today, if I have time, I'll iron the linen and cut out the pieces.  Ed has commandeered the desk I used for my sewing table, so I need to figure out what I'm going to use when I finally get to the point to sew this together.  It should be a quick project.  It'll be a nice diversion from my knitting woes.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Strange Looking Bird and Other Happenings

There was a strange looking bird at the bird feeder yesterday morning.  Two, in fact.  A squirrel spent over 45 minutes heads down in the bird feeder, helping himself to the seed.  A bit later, a chipmunk jumped up to join him.  The feeder is not that far off the ground.  The chipmunk needed 4-5 tries before he was able to grab hold of the side.  Between the two of them they managed to eat about 3 inches of feed.  And the entire time they were there, the birds couldn't eat.  A few brave birds tried to startle them away, but the critters were too engrossed in gorging themselves.  I haven't seen either one today.  My guess is they are in a food coma somewhere.

My sourdough adventures continue.  After killing my first batch of starter, my friend gifted me some of her discard.  This batch happily thrived in my kitchen.

Part of it became a loaf of whole wheat sourdough bread.  I baked this to go with Ed's birthday dinner.  He didn't much care for it, but the rest of the family did.  It was great as toast with some apricot preserves!

Last weekend I made sourdough crackers.  These were a huge hit with the girls.  I added herbs and Parmesan cheese to the dough and then sprinkled the top with paprika and sea salt.  Kristin and I bought some goat cheese from Costco which went perfectly with these crackers.  As good as these were, I think I'm going to tweak the recipe a little next time.  First, I'm going to add more Parmesan to up the cheesy factor.  Second, I'm going to sprinkle additional herbs to the top along with the paprika and sea salt.  Third, I'm going to bake the center squares a bit longer.  The end pieces were nice and crispy.  The centers were firm and crisp, but just didn't quite have the crack for crackers.

The sourdough crackers used up every last bit of my starter, so I am now brewing a new batch.  I won't be able to make anything with it for at least a week.   Things are starting to open up here in Ohio and I think my card club is going to at least try to meet and share a drink or two.  I hope to be able to make a batch of these crackers to take along with some goat cheese.

Stonecrop Top taught me a lesson in being too cocky.  As I approached the last few rows, I realized two things.  First, I didn't have enough yarn to knit the sleeve caps and second, I dropped two edge stitches way back at the start of the decrease rows.  As much as I didn't want to rip back, I had no choice.  I ripped back about 55 rows, placed everything back on the needles and walked away for a couple days.  I didn't totally abandon the top during that time.  Instead of knitting, I was on a desperate search for one more ball of the yarn.  I had a difficult time since the colorway was discontinued and it had been about 3 years since I bought it.  I found a shop in Long Island that listed one ball in stock.  Unfortunately, the shop owner called to say that she thinks one of her staff must have used the ball for a sample and didn't update the inventory.  After more searching, and changing how I ask Google a question, I located another shop, this time in Arizona, who claimed to have the colorway.  After a few email exchanges, it was confirmed that they did have several of the color I needed.  A quick swipe of the credit card and the new ball was in my hands within a couple days.

The knitting gods must have forgiven me.  The new ball was the same dye lot!!  What are the chances? There was 3 years and 2000 miles between the purchases.  I have said many thank you's so as to keep them happy.

One positive of the state of the world right now is that I am not spending much on yarn and related items.  I am only doing necessity purchases, like the ball for Stonecrop Top.  And like this Namaste Crossbody bag from Jimmy Beans.  It was on sale, in my color and highly recommended by my enabler.  What can I say.  I needed a treat.

This is why I needed a treat.  I am once again in a walking boot.  I don't remember when I had one last, but it was at least 5 years ago.  What I thought was plantar fasciitis tuned out to be a torn plantar fascia.  I have a 6 mm lateral tear in the plantar fascia of my left foot.  I have to wear the boot for 6 weeks.  After 6 weeks we'll see if the tear healed itself.  If not, it is surgery.  I would have the choice of either stem cell injections or a more invasive procedure to repair the tear and shave down a significant bone spur that the doc thinks caused the tear.  I think I'm going to opt for the more aggressive option even though the recovery would be a few weeks longer.  My biggest question is if the bone spur isn't removed, what is to prevent me from having another tear in the future?  This time I was fortunate that the tear ran the length of the tendon.  Whose to say that next time it doesn't tear across the width of the tendon and in the worst scenario, completely through.

Having the boot on my foot has it's pros and cons.  One pro is that Ed is waiting on me a bit.  A con is that it makes my left knee and hip ache.  It feels like an extra 10 pounds on that leg.  Trying to go up and down steps is difficult and sitting in a chair is uncomfortable.  I'm too short to begin with to have my feet touch the ground.  Having this extra weight just puts added stress on my joints.

This was going to be the weekend that we were packing up Kristin's things and moving her to Austin, Texas.  As it turns out, she changed her mind and decided not to take the job at the dental practice down there. She had many reasons, none of which I will share here.  I think she made the right decision, but now she needs to find another job.  She and her cat are going to be living with us for a while until she becomes employed and gets herself established. Wish us luck and pray for peace.  Her last long stint at home was in the summer of 2015.  And she and we didn't have cats then.  And those cats DO NOT get along. Don't take that the wrong way.  I am very glad she is going to be closer to home.  She may end up in Cincinnati, but that is a lot closer than Texas.

Over Memorial Day weekend Ed and I went out to Seneca Lake (Ohio, not New York) to spend the day with Trisha, Craig and Craig's parents at their campsite.  It was a fun day with wonderful weather, good company and delicious food.  It was good to get away and forget about being ordered to stay in our homes.

My Birds of the Feather shawl is nearing completion.  I am in the last mohair section and only have the border section after that.  No photos yet.  Once it is done and blocked I'll do a photo shoot with it.

The City Limits sweater is slowly coming along.  I have started the third color, which means I have completed 4 of the 11 color sections of the body.  The increase rows are done and I have about another inch or so to go before I can move some of the stitches to holders for the sleeves.

The weekend is now here and I need to decide what I am going to do to celebrate.  Week 13 of COVID Work From Home is over.  Time for a glass of wine.  Cheers!!