Friyay -All the Things

I received my first installment of the School of Wool Club from Knitspot.

It’s a skein of sport weight Targhee! How did they know I love the squishy sponginess of Targhee?

Look at this beautiful yarn inspired by the coloring of the female cardinal:

(📷 copyright cornbreadandhoney)

And check out this Harry Potter inspired knitting themed enamel pin!

Did you hear Kate Davies is having another design contest? I want to enter but I have zero ideas at this point.

I’m so glad it’s Friday.

Expand and Contract

This is my new Cascade 220 Sport for The Oa.

A friend and I were talking and she mentioned expansion scares her. Change is challenging for her. Not me, I love change, but lately I’ve been feeling a similar way. I expanded a lot in 2018. But now I’m feeling anxious and like it’s time to shrink back into myself. No more clubs, goals, or new things! Just knit on what you got, girl!

I signed up for FibreShare and it’s really fun, but it’s hard (for me) to know when to stop. I’m new at this, and when I hear what others are doing I think I’m not doing enough! Anyway, I have to ship international priority, and there’s a limit to what I can squeeze into that Tyvec mailer!

Are you a Valentine’s Day celebrator? Here’s a quiz for you, either way. I’ll go first.

1. Did you celebrate Valentine’s Day at home with your parents when you were a kid? If so, how did you celebrate?

My mom usually had some kind of Valentine’s Day treat for us when we were kids: candy, cookies, or cupcakes. One year she bought me a little doll I wanted with a pink dress. It was when I was almost too old for dolls, but not quite.

2. Did you give and receive Valentines at your school when you were a kid? If so, what is your happiest memory of it?

We decorated our own mailboxes at my school, and I remember one year I papered mine with aluminum foil. I thought it was really nifty. I also think I gave KISS Valentines one year, and of course I thought that was super cool.

3. What was your favorite Valentine’s Day treat when you were a kid? What about now?

When I was a kid I remember liking those cherry flavored, heart shaped suckers. Now I love chocolate cherry cupcakes and red wine.

4. Do you craft for Valentine’s Day? If so, what do you make?

No. Not anymore. Although I thought about knitting a red scarf this year with that lovely yarn from Karen.

5. Do you have a bad Valentine’s Day memory you would like to share?

I have two but I don’t wish to share them.

6. Do you have any special plans this Valentine’s Day?

No, I will be traveling for work. But I will get some candy for the kids.

I look forward to reading your answers! Please leave them in the comments or a link to your blog if you respond there. ❤️

Hi. My name is Alissa and I look like my Grandma.

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This was an accidental selfie that happened while I was trying to take a good selfie so I could show off my Carbeth and Brassica Hat with my new favorite flannel shirt. I was like, wow, there’s a photo of my Grandma. My sister says I’m her doppleganger.

The good side of this is I loved my Grandmother. I still love my Grandma, even though she is gone. I honestly can’t think of anyone I loved and trusted more. She was crafty (check) brusque (check) loving (check) controlling (check) funny (in her own way, check) and her hindsight was better than her foresight (check.)

The bad side is it is difficult to watch yourself age. 10 years ago I could take a selfie and feel pretty good about what I saw. Now every photo is, “Who is that old lady?!” I’m trying to accept it because there is only so much I am willing to do about it. I am focusing on my health and fabulous handmade, fair trade style… and not much else.

Here’s a photo of some yarn, just to keep this post on topic:

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Isn’t it yummy? This is what I am thinking of making the Ohio Star stranded colorwork design with, which will probably be a cowl and a hat. However, the new Knitting Season design came out today, and just look at it in all its loveliness and glory:

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Photo © Kate Davies

I could see this hat in my Better Breakfast fingering, couldn’t you? It would be a subtler differentiation.

I will probably stick to my original plan because I have an entire palette of Milarrochy Tweed with which to make this hat! I also want to make Peerie Flooers, so, my queue keeps growing.

I’ve been struggling all week, and I’ve finally hit a wall. TGIF.

Practice Makes Perfect

Kate Davies posted a helpful article about getting started with your journal. Yesterday, I made my first marks in it.

Rudimentary, but a start. This is a 2 ounce cake of Better Breakfast DK in Poppyseed from Bare Naked Wools. I want to knit a cowl with it, and it’s my first design of the year. My ideas for this design are still pretty half baked, but getting a sketch done and a gauge swatch is helping me inch forward.

Yesterday felt like I was playing house, only playing knitting designer in my studio, because this was very much an exercise. And that’s why my word for 2019 will be “Practice.”

My next entries in my journal will include a list of knitting projects in my queue, and a completed color chart of the Birds of Blendon hat.

But today, today is for hiking!

One and Not Done, and Lofty Thoughts on Fiber and the Environment

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First off, sleeve one is done. It took much longer than expected, and I knit like a woman obsessed while watching one after the other of Christmas horror movies (A Christmas Horror Story, Krampus, and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri – not a Christmas horror movie, but horrific in its own way, and you can only tolerate so much schlock in one sitting, after all. Although I would consider all of these movies dark comedies.)

I want to credit Ann Budd’s Handy Book of Sweater Patterns for helping me through the armhole shapings. I should really know how to do this by now, as I have sewn clothing and drafted my own patterns, but it has been a while, and this is for my son and not myself, and I felt nervous about it, and this is why next year my word for the year is going to be “exercise.” This includes physical exercise, but also exercising my design muscles with monthly challenges. I look forward to blogging about it.

Talking to Henry about the environment has me thinking about how sheep farming and the wool trade effects the climate. While I am not vegan – I am not even vegetarian – I believe factory farming is unethical – so bad for animals, people, and the environment – and I think small, family farming is the way of the future, and we should eat much less meat than we do. I would be happy giving up all animal food products, but I will never give up my knitting wool. There, I said it. I do try to source my yarn ethically, although the supply chain can be deep, so sometimes you don’t really know. I am looking at you, Berroco Chunky Alpaca. My guess is that alpaca farming is pretty ethical, though. In general, I find small yarn companies to be very transparent, which makes it much easier. Knitters have always cared about the sheep, and I think yarn companies know that and make sustainability part of their ethos.

How sustainable is wool? As a fiber, it is very sustainable – long wearing, biodegradable. And as far as land use, wool animals (sheep, goats, alpacas) can graze on land that is not suitable for farming, so that’s okay too. Yay, wool!

Of course, we have so much plastic that now it is being recycled into fiber for clothing. Think about that. Plastic clothing that will never get dirty and never wear out, like The Man in the White Suit. Would that be better for the climate? I guess it depends on how it is processed. And what happens to the animals, who now rely on humans for their survival? So, no thank you to plastic for my part. Plus, I like my clothing to breathe.

If you are still with me, thank you for reading. I needed to get these thoughts out of my head before I start my very busy work week.

Here’s my question for you, dear reader. Do you see those stripes on Harald’s sweater? Those lovely stripes that say, “Hi. I am a handknit garment of fair trade wool yarn that is hand kettle dyed by women in Uruguay, which is why I went a little stripey here. Don’t mind me.” Should I vat dye this sweater and try to mottle those stripes out a little bit? This is totally within my power. Let me know what you think. Thank you for sharing your opinion.

Knitting Friends

Nothingbutknit graciously offered to participate in a holiday swap with me. It all started when I wanted to send her some shea butter lotion chips made by local women. The challenge was to send a skein of local yarn.

Here is a photo of the beautiful things she sent me. (Except for the candle which I made with a pottery cup gifted to me and handmade by my stepson.)

Isn’t this red yarn festive and lovely? It’s also soft enough to wear around my neck, so I think I want to knit a “hap” with it. (Props to Kate Davies for reintroducing the word to our vocabulary.) I didn’t know a small shawl or wrap had a name, but sure enough, if you look it up, the third definition is “clothe, cover.”

Here is my favorite “hap”, which was the start of a lace shawl that I cut short because I’d had enough of knitting it many years ago.

I wrap this around my neck once or twice, and it’s the perfect scarf. This is knit from Jagger Spun Zephyr Wool Silk, which has really withstood the test of time.

But back to the red! Aren’t the gold flecks lovely on this Campfire Knits yarn? The hand dyeing really stands out too. This is “Winter Cranberry.” I’ve already cast on a simple eyelet increase triangle scarf, but I’m not sure how I feel about the garter stitch.

And I love these stitch markers which were included in my package, made by her husband. So festive! They make me crave peppermint.

My issue with lace is I prefer for my knitting to be intuitive. I like to memorize the pattern so I’m not constantly referring to the chart or instructions. And because I’m old have short term memory challenges, I need the repeat to be about four rows. So I am looking for a simple, all over lace pattern. I’ll keep looking! Maybe my fabulous red hap will be done in time for Valentine’s Day!

Thank you, nothingbutknit! I’m grateful for your friendship. It is always encouraging knowing someone is reading and paying attention. Thank you for the beautiful things and for being willing to participate in a gift exchange with me. ❤️

Wovember Day 27: Transform

Today’s prompt is transform.

I am slowly transforming this Coopworth fleece into yarn with my drop spindle. I do this when I need to be active in my office while at work. Moving around helps my brain work more better.

Right now I’m sitting in the car, waiting for it to warm up so I can head to our local store for work.

Welcome Old Man Winter! Glad I have my wool to keep me warm.

Carbeth

I finally cast on Kate Davies’ Carbeth in the red Targhee wool from Yarndaze. I decided I want to finish it before Christmas because it’s a gorgeous holiday red. I hear it’s a quick knit.

I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving. We had a full house here, with lots of food, family, and friends. I had such a good time I forgot to take photos. We played a fun but morbid game called Gloom.

I’ve been working the last two days, but I am looking forward to a fall hike today, and baking and decorating gingerbread cookies with my youngest. It’s one of our traditions.

Birds of Blendon Hat

I finished it!

I quite like it. It does remind me of that walk in the woods and the birds in the snow. I didn’t finish coloring in my chart, but never mind. The top is my favorite part.

I enjoyed knitting it so much I’ve decided to knit more stranded color work! I saw The Oa Hoodie on Ravelry and burst out, “I have to knit that!” When I stopped by my super local (around the corner) LYS 614 Knit to pick up some size 3 dpns for the crown of the hat, I fell in love with this yarn and it’s perfect for the pattern.

The purple will be the pop of color. I’ve never knit with Scout yarn before but it’s got a nice squish to it.

So another Kate Davies design in my queue and I haven’t even cast on the Carbeth yet. I guess I’m a fan!