Summer progress

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Finally on summer vacation!  And then I made the mistake of watering all the new plants in the garden, and a sudden rain storm blew in.  My fault – I should have know better than to temp the rain gods like that.

But it made for a lot of available sewing time.  I’m back at work on the Growing Up Odd quilt, chain stitching the little squares and building the different sized blocks.

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I’ve finished the 7×3 and 7×7 blocks, 16 of each, and I have 34 of the 48 3×3 blocks done.

I tried hard to not duplicate fabrics in the same blocks.  That was easy in the nine patches, but harder when it was a 49 square block, sewn together randomly in chunks.  There is usually at least one repeat.

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Sashing next.  I’m planning to quilt it in strips to make it more manageable, though the actual quilting will have to wait until I get my Juki back from the shop.  My smaller Brother machine is great for regular sewing, but it doesn’t like too much bulk under the needle.

I also finished up my ribbed scarf knit with a variety of coned yarns.  I’m trying to clear up space in the craft storage.  It is entirely 1×1 ribbing, so it made a great work project I could pick up during lunch or faculty meetings.  No pattern or thought needed.

While I was knitting it the yarns were thin and almost cotton like – coned yarns still have oil on them as they were meant to be used on machines – but once it was done and hand washed in hot, soapy waters, and then dried on the hammock, the yarn softened and bloomed. Definitely a cold weather accessory, so it will be put away for awhile.

Getting away

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Another fiber friends weekend has flashed past.  This time we met up halfway between the northern people and the southern people, at an Air BnB house in Olympia.  Tucked into a quiet little neighborhood we sewed and spun and knit and played with fiber.  Also, there was wine.  🙂

I cut out and sewed most of three more tunics based on the Dress No. 2 pattern.  I got as far as the neck bands before I broke the sewing machine needle on a misplaced pin and had to stop.  But look at this book card fabric I found!  Perfect for my job as a high school librarian.

Leslie 1 (50% of the group is named Leslie) brought her blending board and showed us how to make rolags, which you need if you want to spin in true woolen fashion.  And it makes it really easy to mix up colors and fiber types.  There is cotton, wool, angora, and alpaca in those sample rolls.

I added another big chunk to my 1×1 ribbed stash-eating scarf.  I’m holding three strands together for a marled effect.

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There was knitting in public, which greatly intrigued the wait staff at the Three Magnets Brewing Co. when we ventured out of the house in search of cold drinks on a very hot day.

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Look at all the handspun my friend Paige has created and accumulated! This is just the fraction I could fit in the photo.

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I tremendously enjoy each of these weekend getaways.  Like minded people laughing together, plus fiber.  How can that not be great?

 

Knitting down the stash

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A few years ago I went through a Colourmart stage where I bought a lot of coned yarns of various types.  I made some lovely projects, but still ended up with a couple of bins of cones that have been sitting around waiting for inspiration.

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With the intent of creating space where is now none, I grabbed some of the half full cones with thinner yarns and cast on with three of them held together for a 1×1 ribbing.  When one cone runs out I will add in another and just let the colors change.

These cones yarns still have the spinning oil on them, so when it is finished and washed in hot water the yarns will soften and expand.  And my available storage space will expand as well.

Olympic gold finish

I’m awarding myself an unexpected gold medal because I did in fact finish my Knitting Olympics wrap before the extinguishing of the flame at the end of the closing ceremonies.  Of course, this was on NBC time, rather than the Korean peninsula time zone, but so was the casting on, so I’m counting it.

I owe my victory to two snow days and a late start, so thank you Canada for the cold front assist.

The blocking may have been a bit excessive – this thing stretches to the floor if I don’t double wrap it.  In some hazy future I will soak it again and reblock for width and reduced length, but for now, I’m just loving it.  I’m almost sad that spring is finally starting to show up because I won’t get to wear it for months and months.

Not sure why it then took me two weeks to get that finish posted, but life gets in the way.

I’ve moved on to another wrap, this one called Pralines.  I ripped it out three times in the early stages, twice because I didn’t like how I was managing carrying the light yarn up the edge, and the third time because I decided to change the contrast yarn altogether.  In stead of a greeny-blue yarn I dyed a while back with Olympic white left-overs , it is now the greeny-blue with a variegated lighter green.  Looks less like I’m knitting nautical wear.  If I had the brown yarn shown in the pattern, I’d have used that because I love the color combination, but I’m trying to knit from stash.

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Which, by the way, is totally my excuse for buying three new skeins of yarn at the Rose City Yarn crawl last weekend.  I needed the new yarns to go with three skeins I already had, so I could make some two color shawls I have my eye on.  can’t knit from stash if it doesn’t match!  None of my remaining sock yarns really went with each other.  So I was pretty much forced to buy more yarn, right?  (Oh, rationalization.  It makes for great shopping sprees.)

My friend Paige came down to spend the weekend, so there was much knitting and yarn shopping and making of bagels.

That last became a full family affair because the many stages of bagel making were so interesting.  Kneading and pulling, then broiling, boiling, and baking.  We had a great time, and then a fabulous bagel feast.

 

 

 

 

 

Sudden snow

A surprise snow day!   They sent us all home from school at noon, worried that the sudden snow was going to cause havoc for the buses later in the afternoon. So now I’m at home working on my Olympic wrap, and watching the Norwegians win every medal that requires a cross country ski. E236EF19-F7C2-4B60-8730-0A004EB8005E

I’ve passed the halfway mark on my own Olympic efforts, but unless we have a lot more snow days this week it is going to take an Olympic miracle.

Misc.

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One skein of Sockulent got me through the first branches chart repeat on Understoried, and through the men’s aerial skiing, which looks terrifying.  How do they get the nerve to hurl themselves so high and twist so much!?

The Chinese New Year means we are now in the year of the dog, my husband’s year.  Cute Theo photo in honor of the holiday:

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And, finally, I would also like to introduce what may be the first ever clarinet/guitar duo.  At least the first I’ve ever heard of.  They have big plans to take the music world by storm, as soon as they learn a few more chords.

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Olympic fever

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I am not a sports person.  I can identify many of them if I see them – “That is a baseball!”  “That is a hockey puck!” “Look, that woman is bicycling!” – but I don’t know a lot about the rules, players, or records.  My life feels okay, despite this.

Yet, I love the Olympics.  Not the player bios that all seem to have tragedies-overcome-redemption videos that NBC dwells on far too much, but the actual Olympic events.  I watch the Super G, even though I don’t know what the G stands for without a quick google.  I watch the biathelon with my son, who is intrigued by sports that require weapons.  I spent a lot of time this week discussing curling with my friends.  (We all want to try curling, mostly for the teflon shoe sliding. )

It is weird, and not easily explained, but every two years I get all settled in and watch non-stop sports (with breaks for night, and work) and then I forget all about sports until the next time the flame is lit.

There used to be a knitting Olympics.  I don’t know if it still exists online, but people would start a project during the opening ceremonies, and race to be done with it before the flame was extinguished at the end.  I decided to do a knitting Olympics project this year.

Snow colored yarn seemed appropriate.  And an outdoorsy sort of pattern, since all those skiers and snowboarders are going to be out in frozen nature for their competitions.  Plus I’m back on a lace knitting kick.  Understoried, the wrap version, fit all the right criteria.  I cast on during the opening ceremonies.

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And, like a crashing speed skater, I quickly realized that I will not be bringing home the gold.  How did I think I could knit 1000 yards of fingering yarn in two weeks?  Especially since right after I began, I had to stop to knit a hat my son demanded for an upcoming camping trip.

I’m on the 8th repeat of the first chart of Understoried.  The chart requires 14 repeats.  There are four or five more charts to come. I am announcing now that this wrap is not going to get finished by the end of the final ceremonies.  I’m going to be that last struggling athlete across the finish line.  Sometime in March, maybe.

But it is lovely to knit, and it is growing, albeit slowly, and I’m still going to call it my Olympic wrap.  Someday, when it is done.

My son’s hat was a much speedier knit, and my official finish for the week.  I’ve knit a number of hats from this pattern in the past, and it never fails to please.  Stretchy so it fits many head sizes, adaptable to any yarn, a little twisted stitch cable detail to keep it from being boring.  It is a winner, deserving of time on the podium. The pattern is Jesse’s Christmas hat.  The yarn is a random unlabeled green from the stash that my son chose.  I’m just now noticing it is remarkably similar in looks to the one posted on the pattern’s website!

I knit the finished hat, and also began the unfinished wrap, while we were in Seattle this weekend.  We watched the opening ceremonies from our hotel room and then spent much of the weekend out revisiting favorite tourist sites – eating crumpets and smoothies at Pike Place Market, watching the octopus at the aquarium, going up in the waterfront ferris wheel, and riding across the Sound on a ferry.  It was a really wonderful break, and the kind hotel bartender even let us have control of the cable remote so we could keep the TV filled with alpine skiing and curling matches in the evenings while we met up with relatives.

We’re back at home now, and back to work, but there is a four day weekend coming up quickly, so me and my knitting will be parked in front of the TV, cheering on the best of the best.

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Thanksgiving knitting

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While making the Thanksgiving meal and enjoying visiting relatives, I tried to sneak in some simple knitting.  It did not go well.

I had two colors of Noro silk garden yarn and planned to make a simple striped scarf.

Step 1 – Cast on 45 stitches.  In between stuffing a turkey and ricing potatoes for lefse, knit about six inches of the two row stripe pattern.

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Step 2 – Decide the edges are too ragged.  Rip it all out and start over, slipping the edge stitches at the start of each row.

Step 3 – Start worrying that the yarn is a little rough.  Will it be too inchy?  And since I added some stitches to the cast on, will I run out of yarn?

Step 4 – Rip back half the rows, then have second thoughts and decide that it will soften over time as other Noro projects have, and that I can always order more yarn if it is too short.  Pick up the stitches and start reknitting the rows I just ripped back.

Step 5 – During a board game of Would You Rather with the extended family, ask self if I would rather have a cowl.  Decide yes and rip all rows back to zero.

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Step 6 – Eat way too much really good food.  Wash way too many dishes.  Tear apart the craft closet looking for another size 7 needle so I can cast on a spiral knit cowl.

Step 7 – Knit seven or eight rows of a long cowl, but dislike the single row look. Rip it all out.

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Step 8 – Look up directions for jogless two row stripes and start again, on one needle.  Decide that I won’t like the thin strips in a multi-wrapped cowl.  Rip it all out.

Step 9 – Cast on 45 Stitches and restart the simple two row scarf.

Step 10 – Eat pie to forget.

Blocking

My mom needed a present for my cousin so I finally got around to blocking a handspun scarf I made a while back.

I checked my Ravelry projects and couldn’t find this knit anywhere, so I’m not sure of the pattern or the yarn.  It was one of the few times I’ve spun a single ply yarn, and I know that I didn’t like the original dye job so I overdyed it with blue.  I think there is mohair in it from the sheen and the halo.  Other than that, a mystery.

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I know more about the next project, which I just made with some wonderfully soft yarn I bought at OFFF.  Yak and silk and merino from Alexandra’s Crafts.  The pattern, hard to see in the lines of my wooden blinds, is Silverwing.  A fast, easy pattern that I think really does look like a wing.

As a reaction to all that gray, I’ve started a deep red project for my next knit.

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Andy’s boards & hooded scarf

My brother lives on the east coast, and the winters can be bitter.  He’s a fan of my knitting, although I still haven’t recovered from the time he machine washed the handspun cabled blanket I knit him and turned it into a small bullet proof rectangle.  I try to make him something warm periodically, and I definitely owed him because he just made me the most beautiful cutting boards:

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They are walnut, made from a tree on his land that came down.  He bought a little mill saw and now he can make his own boards!  I love them both, but especially the one on the right which he left with the live edge.

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And the grain is gorgeous.  I’m not sure I’m going to let a knife near them.

He also made a stack of small cheese boards for my friend who wanted them for gifts for her office mates.

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And for my mom he made one using dark end grain cuts.

 

The most creative one I somehow missed taking a picture of – one in the shape of a flying pig for my sister.  I can’t believe I can’t show it to you.  I’ll have to add it if I can get her to take one.

Anyway, as you can see, the man deserved more hand knits!  He’d asked me a while back for a scarf that he could pull up over his head and around his ears when he’s out walking in the cold.  I took some chocolate colored baby alpaca yarn my friend brought me home from Peru and made him a hooded scarf.  It is about the simplest possible pattern – a biased garter stitch scarf with a seam added to create the hood.  I threw in some noro kureyon stripes to add a little more color to it, and made it quite long so he can wrap it around multiple times when he needs extra wind protection.  He can also push down the hood and it just looks like a normal bulky scarf.

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It was a hit!