Saffron Cowl

Happy Sunday, Blogville! I hope you are all healthy and happy and enjoying your time at home. Are you knitting a lot? I haven’t had much time or energy for knitting, but I did finish my saffron cowl.

I love the look on Henry’s face in the second image.

I can’t say it was a very satisfying knit, but it was simple and it’s warm and comforting to wear. I’m ready to start an equally simple, warm, and comforting hat to match. Mmm… stockinette.

It was a rough week for me, as I’m sure it has been challenging for many. At work, we made the decision to close our stores temporarily. It was the right decision but a stressful one to make. We have remote projects that need to be done, so staff will have work and be paid. We also gave everyone an additional two weeks PTO should they need it.

Quarantine is not a big deal for me as I’m an introvert and work from home all the time anyway.

I did a little sketching today and it served to remind me why I don’t often sketch. I don’t enjoy it and I’m always disappointed with the results. I am trying to reframe my drawing as a process to work out design problems, as I learned at Vogue Knitting. I can apply that to any medium.

Kate Davies is having a design contest for Milarrochy Tweed. This time it is neckware. I would love to submit something, even if it’s just an exercise to design something, make it, and submit it without further expectation. The theme is “My Place”. I thought I could make a cowl version of my Birds of Blendon Hat.

Henry moves into his own place this week with a friend. That leaves Hans at home, and he is with his Dad half the time. They are leaving the nest! They all have birthdays in March but it was pretty low key this year. We did go to Bakersfield for tacos and margs on Harald’s birthday (my oldest.)

Mexican Coke for Hans.

What are you knitting? And what are you watching? We are watching Devs on Hulu — really good — and I started Valhalla Murders on Netflix. I love me some moody Scandi crime dramas. It was a diversion tactic to keep me from watching Shetland a third time.

Weekend Quizzaroo

(Image credit The Knitting Goddess)

Karen posted a sock quiz! I’m a notorious sock knitting eschewer but quizzes are great for personal development and blog fodder.

1. Do you knit/crochet socks?

I want to knit socks. I have knit socks. But generally, no, I don’t.

2. If yes, how long have you been making them? If no, why not?

It doesn’t sound fun. I’m primarily a sweater and hat knitter.

3. What is your preferred method? Top down, toe up? Which needles? Do you have a preferred heel type?

I prefer toe up so I can make sure the foot fits well. I hate a baggy sock. I prefer fine yarn for socks but they sure do take a long time! I like a well-turned heel. I’ve never tried an afterthought heel. Are their more flaps than that? Double point needles for me.

4. Have you gifted socks? Were they worn, loved and appreciated?

Never! I am considering knitting a pair for Bob, though. It’s a lot of pressure.

5. Could you make nothing but socks for the rest of your life and be happy?

If I can knit one more pair of socks (I’ve made two pair in my life so far) I could be happy the rest of my life never knitting them again. Or, who knows, I might knit another pair and enjoy them so much I will want to knit more! That’s my hope.

6. One of the most addictive things about sock knitting is the amazing selection of fingering weight yarn that is available. What is your favorite yarn for socks? Do you prefer solid or multicolor yarn? Do you have a fiber preference?

For me it will need to be crazy hand painted colors or solid yarn with textured knitting. Wool plus silk (for strength) is my favorite fiber combo. Throw some cashmere in there and I’m hooked.

Well, that was fun and inspiring. Maybe I will cast on a pair of socks today.

February Frogs:

I’m pulling out the linen stitch cowl. It is taking too long and I am afraid I don’t have enough yarn for it. My Hogwarts yarn will make a great pair of clog socks though.

I’m pulling out this Bousta Beanie. It’s not happening.

Do you like my new photo prop? It’s Fair Trade and I picked it up at Pachamama Market when I was in Troy, OH for a work meeting.

I think one should feel good about frogging and this wool felt sunflower does the trick for me.

The new The Just Craft is up!

Creation Hive Knitters

This week I’ve been at Creation Hive looking at products and talking product development. Today we talked woolens, and as I had suspected, they are accomplished knitters!

Jane, middle, and Jacqueline, right, picked up my Bousta Beanie in Milarrochy Tweed and carried on where I left off. Jane then cast on her own hat using locally produced wool yarn. They don’t have circular needles here, but we’ve found a source for them.

I have great faith in these ladies developing a line of Fair Trade woolens in Kenyan merino wool yarn! It will support their textile economy as well. It’s a great solution and I’m thrilled to have played my little part in it. I can’t wait to see their creations and to bring them to the US through Global Gifts!

Kenana Knitters

On the way to Eldoret we stopped at Kenana Knitters. Unfortunately we were there on a Saturday when the workshop is closed, but the Manager, Susan, met us and the founder, Patricia, came to meet us. I was able to interview both of them for The Just Craft, and I can’t wait to share it with you!

Susan and Patricia showing me one of their handmade spinning wheels made with a repurposed bicycle wheel.

They use locally produced wool for their yarn, and dye it with native plants! As you can imagine, I was totally geeked out.

They don’t allow photos of their products, but if you go to their website you will see what they make. It’s a wonderful workshop offering gainful employment and empowering programs for the local women.

I finished my first hat in Kenyan wool. What do you think about the tassel? Two tassels? No tassel? Pompom? I like how the tassel looks like a thistle and I am calling it my Thistle Tassel Hat. It’s a tad big (I have a big head) so it needs to be taken down by a couple of stitches. But it’s simple and a novice knitter could accomplish it easily, I think. I might add another tassel.

Coasting on Friday Eve

Thursday always feels like going downhill. Like when Treebeard said in Lord of the Rings that going south feels like going downhill.

I am almost finished with Hans’ Tread. He wants an extra pattern repeat to make sure it covers his ears.

After that I will swatch for my Farmhouse Cardigan. I can’t wait to get my hands in the Black Welsh Mountain yarn. Maybe I will swatch for my Gryffindor Winter Ferns hat as well.

Then it’s Linen Stitch Cowl all the way to Kenya and back. Sounds like a trip to Naivasha is on the itinerary to meet the ladies with the wool!

Are you curious how I managed to afford the Black Welsh Mountain yarn? Basically I had $500 tied up in a savings account I didn’t have access to. I went to the bank and closed the account, moving the savings to our checking. And when I recalculated how much I needed for the cardi, it went from 1400 yards down to 1200, so that brought it down to $350. I still discussed it with Bob because that’s a lot to spend on yarn! But he agreed because it’s an investment in my happiness and cheaper than therapy if you divide it by hours spent knitting. I didn’t even have to use that last argument to persuade him.

It’s time to start thinking about the spring planting. Here’s a quiz from KathyB!

Have you gotten a seed catalog yet?

Yes, Seed Savers Exchange

Are you planning to plant by seed this year?

Probably, I usually do. Although last year we purchased some plants from a local urban farm.

Are you still giving away zucchini bread made from last fall’s harvest?

Nope, I didn’t grows Zukes last year.

When is the last time someone gave you flowers?

My Mother and Sister sent me a beautiful bouquet for my birthday last year.

Who taught you to garden?

My Grandmother

Are you months from these decisions, as I am, and just clinging to the rest of our blog pals photos of greenery and blossoms?

Since we may be moving, I’m holding off on gardening plans.

Did you know you can get gorgeous anemone in a flower bouquet?

I did not! What’s an anemonemonemeny? (Ok. Ok. Don’t hurt yourself.)

Have you ever knitted or crocheted a flower?

I don’t think so.

Craft Corner

Bob and I got rid of an old couch we don’t need anymore and turned a corner of the living room into my craft corner. I’ve already broken it in with some jeans hemming. I foresee the shelves on the right slowly being taken over by craft supplies.

Just in case you were wondering, this is my tassel maker set from Katrinkles. I don’t make tassels very often, but these are so adorable I had to have them. I also signed up for her stitch marker of the month club!

Thanks to everyone who suggested I should color in the Winter’s Fern chart. Since the gold is my favorite color of the three, I made it the main color.

You would think someone with a degree in art would spend more time coloring, drawing, and sketching. But that is never something I think to do. I will try to do more of it when I am planning projects.

I’m going to finish up my Tread Hats and then start my Jessica Jones Cowl. What are you working on?

Opinion Please

I have my yarn for my Gryffindor Winter’s Fern hat.

You may not remember, but when I was in Guthrie, OK I picked up this yarn in Spun Gold from SWAK. I had no idea what I was going to do with it. I love the color.

Then it hit me that it is Gryffindor gold.

Winter’s Fern is only three colors, and I can’t decide if it’s more Gryffindorry to use black or cream with the gold and red.

Here they are in black and white, which suggests the cream might be a better choice.

What’s your vote?

I’m very excited about making this hat. I love the idea of knitting HP themed projects but am not crazy about most of the designs I see out there. I wanted a decidedly grown up look to my project, one that suggests but does not scream Harry Potter nerd. (Although, I may add a pompom.)

So as not to confuse the issue, I ordered this pin which I may wear on the hat when the mood strikes.

Three on Thor’s Day

Chrisknits posted a Three on Thor’s Day and I decided to play along.

Did you know some of our days of the week are named after Germanic gods? You probably did. It goes like this:

Sunday – Sun day

Monday – Moon day

Tuesday – Tiwaz/Tyr’s Day

Wednesday – Woden/Odin’s Day

Thursday – Thunar/Thor’s Day

Friday – Frige/Frigga’s Day

Saturday – Saturn’s Day… (that’s a Roman god)

Here are my three Treads for Thor’s Day.

You can play along too. It can be Three for Thursday if you prefer. I missed Wednesday WIPs so this worked out for me.

By the way, three is the magic number.