Hi! Vacation Day 1 – All The SQUIRREL!

Today is the first day of a badly needed week of vacation. And… I have cast on block. I have so many things I want to cast on, I don’t know what to knit first.

Short List:

1. Arrowhead Cardigan – Colorwork and it’s a great week to pay attention. It’s cast on and ready in my basket. (All links are Ravelry links.)

2. Vintersol Sweater – My yummy new yarn is calling to me.

3. Celtic Myths Shawl – Cables and it’s a good week to pay attention. I’m so close to finishing it. I think I will try to knock it out.

4. Hansel Hap – since the start of this will be good TV knitting, I will cast this on later in the week so I have it ready when I go back to work and need evening wind-down knitting. The Ramsay Farm Shetland yarn is calling to me. So squishy and smells so good!

5. New socks for Bob. One should always have a pair of socks on the needles.

6. New socks for me. I have some very springy sock yarn I would like to knit into some shorties.

7. Onipa’a Shawl: “Stand Firm, Resolute. Be true to yourself.” I did and I was. I fell in love with this pattern and bought some gorgeous Finn and Kid Mohair yarn from Mindful Folk Farm during Botanica last weekend, dyed with Logwood, to knit it with. It’s gorgeous. Early birthday gift to myself.

8. Skipwith Cardigan: Number 1 in my queue because I would like to wear this and soon. It’s a fingering weight cardi. Even if I do cast on, is that likely to happen? 🙃

Okay, see now I’m overwhelmed and don’t know what to do.

In other news, it’s taking me forever to finish the body of my Anker’s Summer Shirt. “Just a few more inches,” “Just a… few… more inches!” “Ok, two more inches!” “One and a half more inches!” At least it’s short sleeved.

Things are popping up in the garden! It’s getting a little chilly at night and I’m worried. Hopefully the microclimate is a real thing and not a mass delusion by overeager gardeners in northern climes.

Last week I toodled around town with family that was visiting, and bought this pillow in a little shop. JoJo is not as amused as I am, but she does love our new-to-us couch.

Pete has emerged from hibernation. I planted all kinds of flower seeds here, but so far the only thing to emerge are volunteer sunflowers from the bird feeder. I think there are a few sweet peas, too.

Right! Time to sew a dress! 😂

Oh, yeah, I have art to make. 🤣

Wednesday WIPs

I am in love with my current WIP. The yarn is scrumptious and I love the texture. I’m ready to start the raglan increases. I’m excited, because I may actually be able to wear this soon! Just keep knitting…

I did a little research, and confirmed my suspicions that my garden is a microclimate. It is a south facing garden enclosed in concrete, which heats up quickly and releases the heat more slowly overnight. With this knowledge, I decided to go ahead and plant my seedlings. We did purchase a tarp to put over the garden when the overnight temps go lower than 40 degrees, which it is supposed to do Friday.

I saw a calendula sprout this morning when I was watering. It made me happy. We have so many peas sprouting up! I also planted strawberries on the other side of the garden where I have wanted strawberries since we moved in. I thinned the kale seedlings, and boy were they happy I did that. The survivors grew visibly overnight! I’ve got arugula/rocket popping up, too.

Kids are coming this weekend to help us dig out tree stumps and turn the far end of the garden. We’ll add some soil and maybe a little sand, and plant my flax garden there. I planted indigo and madder close to the end, and will plant some tansy seeds as well. I’m excited for my little dye garden.

That’s really all I’ve been working on. I want to cast on some socks for Bob and sew another raglan dress, but I have my monthly felt piece to finish first! It’s almost May! Yikes!

Virtual Travel and a YOP Update

I’ve started signing up for virtual travel events. I guess cabin fever is finally getting to me. Last night I attended a Barn Chat with Wing and a Prayer Farm that featured Gudrun Johnson and MJ Mucklestone sharing information on their knitting trips to Shetland. I missed this at Knit City Virtual, so was glad to get a second chance.

Today I attended a Spring Skye Woolly Meander. This was a warm and welcoming group that gathered for a virtual trip of the Isle of Skye. I was very unsocial, which I felt bad about, but I didn’t expect to be on camera as I was still in my pjs! But it was a beautiful event and Bob and I are looking forward to visiting Scotland in real life someday. I also learned about Shilasdair Yarns, so that’s on my yarn wishlist now.

Speaking of yarn, I purchased new yarn from Wing and a Prayer Farm for my Vintersoll (Rav link). My gauge swatch worked out. This yarn is a treat to knit with. It’s called Thelma and Louise and is naturally dyed and toothy but soft. I can’t wait to cast on. I love this golden color called Dawn achieved with onion skins and madder root,which will be the main color of the sweater.

But first I want to finish my Anker’s Summer Shirt (Rav link) in Blacker Lyonesse, which is also a very nice yarn to work with in wool and linen. The color is Serpentine.

I finished knitting my Water shawl (Rav link). It’s a lovely pattern and an enjoyable knit once you get the rhythm of it. Yarn is Quince and Co Finch in Bird’s Egg.

Gardening news: the peas are up!

Sunday Year of Projects Update

I haven’t been keeping up on my YOP updates. Since it’s been a while, I thought I should do that today.

Sewing

I finished sewing my Ophelia Overalls, and I love them. I’m going to sew a pair for each season. These are my spring overalls. I’ll sew a linen pair in summer, a corduroy pair in fall, and a wool flannel pair in winter. Pattern is by Decades of Style. Fabric is organic cotton twill from Koshtex.

Next I’ll sew another Raglan Dress in blue cotton shirting.

Knitting

Water is coming along. I get frustrated with the lace sections, so it’s in time out a fair bit. It’s not that it’s difficult. I think I’ve got it, so I stop paying close attention and then make a mistake. It’s not great TV knitting.

I’ve knit a gauge swatch for an Anker’s Summer Shirt (Rav link). AJ is knitting one, and it was in my queue, so I thought, why not? Impromptu KAL. My gauge is spot on in this Blacker Lyonesse linen and wool, so time to cast on!

I also knit a gauge swatch for Kate Davies’ new long sleeved Treit in Foxglove. I’m having trouble getting gauge so I think I’ll sit on it a bit.

I’m going to let Bob pick out some yarn from my stash, and then cast on a new pair of socks for him. He really likes his Valentine’s Day socks and wears them a lot.

Felting

I have a new piece finished for March, and meant to lay out my April piece today. But I’m tired after all the sewing, so I guess I’ll do that next weekend. I checked my wool colors, and I should be good to go. No colors to dye for the next one.

Design

My cotton and linen slub tee is coming along.

Podcast

My new episode “Grow Your Clothes: Rust Belt Fibershed” is available! I had a great time on this interview and ended up having to cut quite a bit, but may have enough left over for another episode. If you would like to give it a listen, look for The Just Craft on Stitcher, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or Google Podcasts, or you can listen at thejustcraft.com.

Baking

I made some banana bread today! I like walnuts in my banana bread, but can’t have them (tree nut allergy) so I added pumpkin seeds instead.

This has been a Year of Projects Update. You can read my updated list here. You can find out more about the group here.

Shout out to Kelley of Ramen Needles / Dye Mad for adjusting my yarn club subscription when I asked her not to send me superwash if possible. She sent me this gorgeous silk and linen this month. 💙

Dirt and Mud

Bob and I worked in the garden all weekend. On Saturday, Bob moved 1 cubic yard of gravel while I turned over (more of) the soil to try to level it out. The gravel went over the drainage pipe after Bob added more drainage holes, so hopefully we’ll have good drainage and not too much erosion.

Today, Sunday, we moved 4 cubic yards of garden soil. We moved it in a wheelbarrow. We dragged it on a tarp. We moved it one bucket at a time. We finally started moving it in the back of the car. We live on a hill, so using the car as a wheelbarrow was tricky. Even Freya helped. We have 1 more cubic yard of soil to move. We need it on the ends. But it’s raining and we’re exhausted.

I built up a snake pathway with the clay subsoil, and am placing rocks on the clay bank. We still have some clay soil along the back wall, with just a couple of inches of topsoil. So I will plant herbs and flowers back there that don’t mind the clay.

I planted peas again. I put the kale and cabbage and lettuce in the ground. Everything else can wait until we finish the soil. It’s not completely level but hopefully that will be okay as it’s close.

My wool and nettle beanie was perfect today.
I’m looking forward to my garden!

We got our second Pfizer vaccines on Thursday. I felt so bad I only worked half days on Thursday and Friday. I have a rash and swelling around the injection site. Is that a reaction I should report?

I did get about a half an hour sewing time on my overalls on Saturday.

Now I want some comfort knitting. For me that means wool and stockinette in the round or garter stitch flat. It also means I need to cast on something new.

What’s your comfort knitting go to?

Pretty Purple Pooling and all Yellow Flowers are not the Same

I finished my Malabrigo Rikke Hat and I’m very pleased.

This shows you that you can knit a pattern in a different weight yarn and with different needles if you know how you knit. I’m a loose knitter, and I knit this DK pattern in Sport weight with needles one size down. But my first Rikke Hat is a little big, and I’m a loose knitter. So this worked for me. And I love the pooling on the brim!

As promised, here is a photo comparison of Spice Bush and Forsythia. What was I thinking? They aren’t the same at all, except both are yellow.

I received my Bougie Beaver Solo Fingering, along with a “sorry” gift. This made me happy. I can’t wait to cast on my Jessica Jones Cowl!

Water Doings

I’m getting pretty good at sewing project bags. Only one more to go!

I struggled with the third lace section on Water. Luckily my KAL pals already finished theirs and recommended putting stitch markers at the ends of the short rows. That helped a lot!

Gardening and a YOP Update

This pretty yellow flowering shrub is not Forsythia! I thought it was, but I was told it’s Spice Bush, a native understory shrub, Lindera benzoin. (Someone commented on my Instagram photo and corrected me, thankfully.) We do seem to have a Forsythia on the other side of our property, though. Once everything is in full bloom I’ll do some pruning and take a photo so we can compare them.

This may not look like much, but I spent several hours digging up the weeds in the garden so I could plant the peas and cabbage and kale. Unfortunately, there’s a layer of clay under the top soil, and we haven’t had any new garden soil delivered yet. So even though I went ahead and planted them, we may not have any peas, cabbage, and kale this year. I’m really proud of myself for digging this up on my own and I only had a little help from Bob, who worked for 10-15 minutes to dig up a huge root system of some old ground cover. It looked like tree roots, it was so big! He broke the pitchfork handle trying to wrest it from its iron tentacle grip. Once he got it up, he shouted at it, “I beat you, you ol’ stump!” Which is a reference to my favorite scene in “Drag Me to Hell.” I haven’t laughed so hard in ages.

Fiber Art

I felted a new piece today. This is a peek at some unfelted fiber since I’m not showing the work until the show starts.

Knitting

When I started getting excited about knitting again, in 2018 I went to A Wool Gathering with my friend Sara. While we were there I picked up two hanks of this linen and cotton slubby yarn with the intention of making a simple drapey top to throw over tank tops in the summer. I finally cast on yesterday. I’m counting this toward design since I knit a gauge swatch, calculated the width I want, and cast on the number of stitches — even though it’s literally two squares of stockinette seamed at the sides and shoulders. The most basic design ever. Gotta start somewhere, right?

Other than that, I’m knitting away on Water and my Malabrigo Rikke hat.

Sewing

I don’t have any new sewing to show, but I’ve got Water KAL bags to make and I want to cut out my overalls this week.

This has been a Year of Projects Update. You can read my updated list here. You can find out more about the group here.

Yesterday we met one of our neighbors. He mentioned our lot might have been a cemetery at one time? Which explains the limestone pillars. It’s just a rumor, but hopefully we won’t dig up any old bones! No, our house isn’t haunted. I also got bitten by one of his dogs. This was not his fault, as she was on a leash and I stupidly reached down to pet her. His other dog, though, a bulldog named Hammy, was off leash but friendly and adorable. Have you ever been bitten by a dog? It was my first time. I have a small tooth shaped hole in my arm. I will be more cautious about dogs now!

Friday FO

I finished the Getting Warmer cowl in the Kenyan merino I dyed. I didn’t have enough yarn to knit the pattern as written. I had to make it a little smaller, and then I blocked the heck out of it. Fingers crossed for some squooshy garter stitch drape. I hope the auction winner enjoys it!

This is my first time using my Cocoknits blocking tools and it is so much better than using towels!