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. 🤣

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. 💙

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!

Saturday Sweater, Because Alliteration is Fun

I finished my Turtledove (Rav project page) and I love it. I was inspired to make it because Liz made two, she loves to wear hers so much. It was an easy, quick, straightforward knit, which I enjoy. And it’s my favorite color. Pattern is Turtledove by Espace Tricot (Rav link). Yarn is Cascade Eco in color Twilight.

I removed the background in this photo because it was taken on carpet. Let’s have some fun with that.

Saturday Sweater in a Starry Sky
Saturday Sweater on Snow
Saturday Sweater with Sheep

There are many more fun things I could do with this sweater, like turn it into an Asteroids ship or have it rocketing to the moon, but that takes a lot of time and I would rather knit. Well maybe just one…

Shooting Star Sweater

I needed that. Here’s a photo of the underarm seams.

Not gorgeous but much better than I could do picking up stitches. I cast on six stitches on the sleeve side and used a mattress stitch to seam them.

Now I’m off to knit knit knit on my Water Shawl, and hopefully take a walk in nature this afternoon. What are you doing today?

Put a Pom Pom on it!

In the before times, you wouldn’t have caught me with a phony fur pom pom on my head. Or, for that matter, speckles in my yarn or a fade on my being. But I can admit when I’m wrong. I was wrong about these things.

You know why? Because knitting should be whatever makes us happy. I think I was taking my knitting WAY too seriously, don’t you? So here’s my Kenora Toque in Rauma Strikkegarn with a pom pom! (Rav link)

Very happy and look how well it matches my duffle coat.

I’m also really, really excited to tell you I am now on the sleeves of my Turtledove! I cannot wait to wear this so I will probably focus on it until I finish it. It’s very soft and squishy. Also, I want you to know, that after knitting the Cocoknits method, I will never, ever try to pick up and knit underarm stitches again. I will (and did) cast on enough stitches on the sleeve to match the underarm, then I will seam it when I’m done. That way I won’t have those weird holes and ladders that I can’t unsee and pretend aren’t there.

Speaking of fades, I’ve decided to knit a Boxy fade (Rav link). I splurged on a yarn fade bundle from La Bien Aimee. It’s my first time ordering from her, but I’ve been drooling since Knit City.

I also ordered some really nice plaid flannel fabric that I had intended to make PJs with, but it is too nice. It wants to be a dress. So I’m sewing this raglan dress. I love it so much, I also ordered some beautiful blue cotton shirting to make a summertime one. I have a lot of projects to add to my Year of Projects list, don’t I?

I’ve been a little down lately, so I haven’t been blogging much. That probably explains all the splurging. I have one last splurge to share.

This print is from a UK artist who made this for Shetland Wool Week 2020. I’ve been waiting for her Etsy shop to be restocked. Now I just have to find a suitable frame. I will hang it in my studio and gaze upon it lovingly and sigh.

How are you doing? Are you okay? I haven’t really been that okay, and a friend recently asked me straight up how I was. It helped to just be able to say, I am not okay. We lost a family member recently, a dear “Uncle” who was technically not my biological uncle, but he was my Dad’s best friend, and my best friend’s Dad, and definitely an important Uncle to me. We were close when we lived in Oklahoma City, and he was there for me during my separation and divorce, and helped me get back on my feet financially. He helped us get back on our feet financially after my Dad died, too, though I was too young to understand that at the time. So, feeling sad but appreciative. Godspeed Uncle Jack. ❤

Also, I am feeling depleted. As I am sure many of us are after a year of living through a pandemic.

But how are you? Please spill your beans in the comments, if you like.

Lucky Number (Litmus) Cowl

I finished my Lucky Number Cowl, otherwise known as the Litmus Cowl (Ravelry link). I really enjoyed knitting it, and I enjoy wearing it even more. It’s soft. It’s warm. It goes with everything. The colors make me happy. It doesn’t get in my way like bulkier scarves do. Yarn is Moondrake Co 2020 Advent. I have about half of my Advent yarn leftover. I may use it for matching mittens or a hat, or maybe I’ll just save it for a scrap blanket that will happen some day.

The orange and green stripe is my favorite.

It has been a bit of a rough week, but I’m looking forward to participating in The Woolly Thistle’s Colorwork Accessory Knit Along. Tomorrow is the cast on party. And starting March 1 is our Blogville Water Shawl Knit Along, which I’m really excited about.

What are you working on? Are you staying warm? Are you as grateful for warm, wooly knits right now, as I am?

One of these Things

Is not like the others. Are you singing the song? Can you guess which thing is not like the others?

I’m sitting on the fence. Should I frog it and reknit it correctly? Will I notice? It doesn’t matter if others will notice. But if I will, there’s a chance I might not wear it. It’s not even conscious. I will be giving this sweater the side eye.

Or can I embrace it? Can I say, “Yep! I’m not perfect! Look at these misplaced increases!” (Points over shoulder.) “But what a beautiful blue. And it’s so warm and cozy!”

My biggest fear is that I will frog it, and then make some other dumb mistake. Why risk it?

At least I know what happened. I dropped a couple of stitches at the beginning of the round, as one will do, and clearly misplaced the beginning of round marker. I won’t be making that mistake again. No sirree. You won’t catch me doing that twice.

I’m going to call it my 2020 sweater. That explains everything. The year, and the hindsight.

What are you working on?

I signed up for classes at the Knit City Virtual Event today. I’m so excited!

Friday FO: Pockets!

Pattern: Franca (Cocoknits website link)

Yarn: Woolfolk Far in color 24

Size made: Large

Made for: My Mommy

Detail of neckline
Detail of front edging. The S1K1 rolls a little like an icord, but it adds to the effortless appeal of this design.

I’ve had a few requests to talk about the pockets. Cocoknits calls these “kangaroo pockets.” I’ve never knit pockets like this before, but it was really simple. I don’t feel comfortable sharing any proprietary info. I looked for a tutorial but didn’t find one. Instead, here’s a link to my newest favorite knitting podcast by Gaye Glasspie, where she talks a little bit about the Franca pockets, but also does not give away the pattern. If you just want to see the pockets, forward to timestamp 23:55. Ladies and Gents, we have pockets

The pattern calls for whip stitching or “seaming” the pockets closed. I did a mattress stitch because I wanted the pockets to look as good on the inside as the garment looks on the outside. That’s the only change I made to the pattern.

Somehow I got away with ten skeins of yarn instead of the eleven called for. I guess it’s because I’m a loose knitter?

I really enjoyed knitting this and I learned some new tricks. The collar is a little fussy, but it’s the first thing you do, and it’s really elegant. I had to make it twice to get it right. But the second time I watched the Cocoknits YouTube tutorial, and that helped.