Knitting Feeds

Three lies

Yarn Harlot - Wed, 01/15/2020 - 22:48

1. I’m knitting along on this blanket, and I just gave it a proper pat, and congratulated myself that I am “almost done” the centre.

This is a lie.  That’s where I was on Sunday, and this is where I am now…

(Sorry that picture is a bit dark, it’s late.)

It’s about four repeats. Four repeats in four days doesn’t mean that I am going to be done today. It means that I am going to be done in four days. I’m aiming for this centre section to be a square, and rather than just measuring the damn thing I have simply stretched it lengthwise 45 times to try and convince myself it’s taller than it is. It is about 52cm wide, and it’s currently about 28cm high.  This is not “almost done.” This is about halfway done, and means I need at least three more repeats, likely four. (Note to self: stop pulling on it you liar, you know what a damn square is.)

2. “It will be taller when it is blocked”.  While not a complete untruth, because it will be taller when it is blocked, it is also going to be wider, which means…. See above.

3. “The provisional cast on I used is going to save me time.”

This is not true either. I always start these blankets with a provisional cast on so that when I’m done the square and have live stitches at the top, I can unpick the cast on and have live stitches at the bottom, which has a terrific symmetry and means the bottom and top are equally stretchy.  My favourite one is this the crochet method, directly onto the needle. It is inexplicable then, that I chose to start this blanket with the backwards loop method. (I cannot link to that, because it is so silly that almost nobody advocates it.) To do this one, you work the backwards loop (or “e” cast on) with waste yarn, and then knit across it with the working yarn. It doesn’t unzip.  As a matter of fact, when the time comes to pick up those stitches, I’ll have to snip and unpick the cast on. Like, with scissors.  Yes, this is risky, and very, very slow.

Why then, did I use it? I have no explanation, except that I was seized with laziness at the moment of cast on.  The crochet method… well, it takes longer at the beginning. And you have to go get a hook. Like… from across the room, and somehow, I managed to convince myself that the backwards loop one would therefore be faster, and it was. Thing is that once again, I allowed Today Stephanie to throw Tomorrow Stephanie under the bus, wildly overestimating her patience and willingness to get things done.

With the reconciliation of those lies, I’m off.  I’ve got some work to do before I can go back and try to crush today’s blanket repeat under my mighty needles.  I’m headed to VK Live NYC on the weekend, (not teaching) and I’m pretty determined to have the centre done before I get on a plane. (I have enough knowledge of Tomorrow Stephanie to know she’ll really resent snipping that cast-off out on a plane, so despite knowing that it will likely take four days, I am going to try and fit it into…. um… well, it’s two.)

As an aside, I wanted to let you all know that this year’s Strung Along Retreats at Port Ludlow are open for registration.  There’s lots of information here – and while the June and November retreats are full with wait lists, there’s room for you in the Spring Retreat. (March 20-23rd.) I’d love to see you there. Follow that link for details, and email if you’ve got questions. I love answering them, I’m so proud of what we do in that place.

 

Categories: Knitting Feeds

A(nother) Small Sweater

Yarn Harlot - Tue, 01/14/2020 - 00:46

“Babies- And people generally– have been dressed in wool since around the beginning of history.  Even as comparatively recently as my own youth I can remember neither the word, nor the phenomenon, of wool-allergy.  A minimal minority wriggled their way through my boarding-school days complaining of scratchy underwear, but they outgrew the sensitivity — they had to.  I believe that the dressing of babies in the very softest wool, automatically and naturally immunizes them against any allergy to it.”

– Elizabeth Zimmermann, The Knitter’s Almanac

I think of this quote a lot, and it’s definitely worked with my children, nieces, nephews and of course…

Elliot.  Each of them has been swathed in the stuff from the word go – I’m a big fan of wool on babies and littles for a million reasons, you guys know most of them. It’s warm when wet, resilient,  sustainable (remember, polyester is plastic) biodegradable, naturally flame resistant and hypoallergenic. (Somebody’s going to go bananas at that last one, but look up the definition first.)

In all the years I’ve been knitting for kids, I’ve always knit with wool (non-superwash, where I can) and handed the sweaters out with abandon. I know, I know, someone else is going to go bananas and say that it’s a terrible burden to give a new family woollies, for laundry reasons, and someone else will say that they’re afraid they’ll be ruined.  To them, I say this. If you don’t think they can take care of something as precious as your knitting- the very container of your time and love, then maybe you should buy them something nice? Maybe they’re not your target audience

As for the laundry problem, woollies don’t need washing often (another advantage of wool, it’s naturally antimicrobial and repels dirt) and you wash them just the way you wash the littles who wear them, so I feel like all parents are competent to handle the task. (Assuming they are successfully washing the littles in question, and if they’re not then I think there’s another issue to address before sweaters.)

In any case, all the babies and kids I’m lucky enough to know have a full wardrobe, wear their wool with gusto and nary an itch, and I think of Elizabeth often.

Pictured: Elliot’s Christmas sweater this year. Pattern: Winter Cocoa. Yarn: Miss Babs Yowza. (One skein for the size 2, knit a little longer in the arms and body, because Elliot’s almost the height of a three year old, but pretty skinny.) Needle size: 3.5mm (See that? I can be taught.)

PS the blanket is coming along I’ll show you tomorrow.

PPS Meg, thanks for taking the pictures.  I know he’s a fast moving target.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Priorities

Knitting | Work in Progress - Sun, 01/12/2020 - 23:21
I hope your new year is off to a great start.

Personally, in spite of the fact that it's not just a new year but the start of a new decade, my knitting goals remain basically unchanged. My top priorities are to limit the number of projects on the needles, finish active wips, frog projects that aren't working, and find creative ways to make use of the many lovely yarns lurking in my stash.

That certainly sounds do-able, doesn't it? It should be, except for one thing. Shortly after the new year dawned, I cast on this:

It's the start of a rectangular shawl/stole using lovely Mad Hatter sport weight yarn by Wonderland Yarns & frabjous fibers in the Shillings & Pence colorway.

Here's how I'm rationalizing this indulgence. Last year, I promised myself I could cast on a rainbow shawl as soon as I finished a few existing wips, which I did. (Technically, I still have some ends to weave in the Ohio Star blanket, but let's not get distracted with details.)


Not only have I been lusting after a rainbow shawl for months, but the yarn is wound and at the ready so it seemed like a no-brainer. Right up to the point where this experimental swatch caught my eye, that is.

And just like that, I switched directions. This yarn is soft, wooly and better suited to colder weather, which makes it perfect for winter knitting. If I can finish the shawl/stole fast enough, I'll undoubtedly have plenty of opportunities to wear it before the weather warms.

I'm opting for a slightly different ombre/gradient approach than what's shown in the swatch, so I hope it works. Meanwhile, I'm happily knitting away and making progress, and where knitting is concerned, that's what counts, right?
Categories: Knitting Feeds

I think I was excited

Yarn Harlot - Fri, 01/10/2020 - 22:53

When Meg was packing up Elliot’s stuff to come over here yesterday, I asked her if she would put his baby blanket in the bag. See, it occurred to me as I sat down to start the blanket and knit a bunch of swatches to get this thing figured, that since I’m using the same yarn for this baby as I did for her brother, that I already have an actual full size swatch to go by.  This, let me tell you my knitters, felt pretty darned clever. Perhaps, I thought, as I anticipated the blanket’s arrival, I could cut the swatching time down considerably. All I needed to do was look at the blanket, make a few measurements and calculations, look back at the blog to see what size needle I used to knit it, and… shazam. This blog was going to pay off like never before, I told myself. (I admit “pay off like never before” is a wild and gross overstatement.  This blog has given me some pretty amazing things over the years, like you and lots of jobs and the feeling that I belong in the universe, which is some pretty big stuff and hardly compares to saving a few hours on a big project, but you understand that avoiding a swatch is like knitter catnip and well… heady stuff.)

So, the blanket arrived -and Elliot too, who had less excitement for this project than I did, and played puzzles with Poppy and Poppa while I took some measurements, interjecting more than occasionally to make sure that I knew it that was his blanket and had no designs to give it to this new interloper. Notes in hand, I popped over to my own archives, deftly searched up the posts where I was knitting the thing three years ago and… do you know that in the two months it took me to knit that, I never wrote down my needle size?

Oh, sure, I took lots of pictures (which I have tried zooming in on and squinting at to see if I can tell what damn needle it is) but I never actually wrote down the size. So much for that, I tell you. A crushing development.  I looked at the blanket, looked at the yarn, thought about how big that blanket is and what I was likely to have done, and swatched on a 4mm needle.  I have no picture of that because I ripped it out after two rows.  I didn’t need to go any farther to see that it was too big.  I got out the 3.5mm.

Well, that was too big too, and I didn’t even finish the swatch, just ripped it off the needle in disgust and tried a 3.25. (Result also not pictured because the heartbreak was too real.)

I ripped that out and sat there, looking at my needle collection, asking myself all kinds of questions.  First, why the H.E.double-hockey-sticks didn’t I write this down? Second, I feel sure that I would have used a 3.5mm needle. Why wasn’t that working? Was it the stitch pattern? Have I changed? Has the yarn shrunk in the cupboard? (Don’t panic that’s not a thing. The other things are all possible, but that’s not.)

In the end, I had no choice. Even though I cannot believe for one crazy moment that I knit that whole blanket on a 3mm needle, I swatched with it.

Guess what? I ripped that out too.  Knitters, it would appear that I knit that huge blanket on a 2.75mm needle. (That’s a US size 2.  I think. So many of those US size charts are different. The gauge I have in front of me says it’s a 2, but it also says that a 3mm is a 2 so I give up.  Accuracy isn’t possible in a system like that, so I’m just going with the metric.)

I knit the swatch, rather agog that it was such a little needle, and when I was done, it was perfect. Just right, and the gauge almost matched the original (a little different but that’s likely the stitch pattern change) and I did the math, and then I did the math again, and then I washed the swatch and did the math again and yup.  I knit that thing with a 2.75mm needle, and in my mind it didn’t even take that long, which is a bit of a shock, because as I look ahead of me now I can only assume that the powerful JuJu of first time Grandmotherhood got me though, and now that the excitement is at a near normal Grandmother level?

Whoo-boy. That’s a lot of knitting.  Hang on Granddaughter, this is going to take a little longer than I thought.

Note to Self: You are using a 2.75mm needle, a circular Addi, not the one with the dent in it but the good one.  The Yarn is Juniper Moon Farm: Findley. Colour: Fresco, and you have five balls.  You’re welcome, future Steph.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

It’s all behind (and ahead) now

Yarn Harlot - Thu, 01/09/2020 - 21:57

Whoosh, that thing happened again where it’s taken me so long to get back to you that I can’t possibly figure out how to tell you everything.  Since Christmas Eve this family has moved along at a breakneck speed, and it was only yesterday as Joe and I hefted the spent Christmas tree to the curb and I started to vacuum up all the needles that I feel like I’ve had a minute. I don’t have many minutes today, but I here I am, and here are a few snaps from the holidays and doesn’t it all seem like a blur already.

We overdid it this holiday, and Joe and I both got some sort of seasonal plague as compensation. Joe’s still hacking up a lung, though I’m just about entirely recovered, though the number of flights, work, family and parties over the last few weeks just about killed us.  I’ll share a few of the knitted things that I gave away this year over the next bit, but for now I just wanted to hop back on and say Happy New Year, how did it go for all of you, and boy, to I need to start a blanket.

Our Granddaughter will be with us really soon – I’ve got enough time to knit her a million things if I stay on it, but I’m prioritizing her blanket first, or at least that’s what I’m telling myself as I keep working on a little sweater for her. (I know, knitter logic isn’t the best.)

My mission for today is to decide what stitches and motifs I’d like there to be in her blanket, and so I’m sitting in a mountain of stitch dictionaries, needles and yarn with every intention of having a swatch by the end of the day, and the blanket started by tomorrow. I’m using the same yarn for hers as I did for her brothers, and I have plenty. There may be drama around timing on this one, but definitely not for yarn.

Elliot is coming for a sleepover tonight, and he’s still too little to sleep in Grammy’s big bed by himself, so I’ll have a few hours sitting in the bed after he’s asleep to get it done. (To be clear, Elliot feels that he is big enough, it’s Grammy and Poppy who feel that he should have company. It’s a long way to the ground for such a small person, and besides – could there be anything lovelier than knitting and watching him sleep?)

See you tomorrow – I’ve got a sweater to show you.

 

Categories: Knitting Feeds

I am doing that thing forever now

Yarn Harlot - Tue, 12/24/2019 - 14:35

It is 5:30am as I type this, and it is my least favourite time of day to be writing anything.  I most certainly a night owl, and I think that (planes excepted) if I’ve been up at 5:30 in the morning it’s almost always been because I’m at it from the other side. (We pause here to remember the bleak years when I had toddler who loved to get up early and I’d stagger through those coffee laced early mornings wondering about the cruelty of landing someone who loved to get up before dawn on a mother who loved to stay up until then.) I have neither a toddler nor a plane today, and this early morning is brought to you courtesy of the nasty virus I’ve been down (or up) with for a few days. I’ve been sitting here typing for a while and just deleted absolutely everything because being sick always makes me so miserable that it was really just a whole page of whinging about it. It’s out of my system now, I think.

The last several days I have got absolutely nothing done, barring a whatever I could knit while lying on the chesterfield or in bed buried under a mountain of blankets and tissues. Today- except for the cough that’s got me awake, I think I’m recovering and I’m pretty sure I’ll feel loads better as the day goes on.  Knitters, my sweets, I have never, ever been more grateful for the Christmas Spreadsheet System. (It is not actually trademarked but after this week I’m considering it.)

(Photo from Vancouver Island last week – the sun doesn’t get very high in Canada in the winter, I took that picture at about 2:30 in the afternoon.)

I started organizing the crap out of Christmas several years ago, and it’s made me so much happier and more relaxed through the holidays that I can’t even tell you. Every couple of years I make a spectacular error that makes me unhappy and not relaxed, and I make a change to the way I do this thing. For example, a few years ago I agreed to go on a family trip right before Christmas, and that trip was a crazy error. We got home on the 21st of December, which during the planning phase had seemed really reasonable but the lived experience of the thing was me crying on the 24th while trying to figure out where the (*&^% the wrapping paper was and making cookies at 2am. Uncool.

This year, when Joe (who has an odd love of taking trips right before Christmas, something I can’t relate to and suspect is related to our relative levels of Holiday Responsibility) suggested a trip that would take us out of town to see his west coast family from the 16th to the 20th (technically the 21st because he inexplicably booked us a flight that got in at 2am) I said… well.  I said no, but with a lot more words and emphasis. He convinced me though, and so I made a change to the spreadsheet. For this to work, everything had to be done by the 16th. All of it, except for the knitting. (Note to self: may adjust this next year.) Even Joe’s stuff had to be done, because one of the absolutely horrible things about the first year we went away was that I had a lot done, but Joe didn’t and he was driving around trying to finish his old list while I was trying to give him the emergent list. He was useless to me and the whole thing degraded into me bitterly shopping for groceries (which is totally his job) and trying to find 5×7 frames and fresh sage while rethinking the permanence of our union.

So, this year, if he wanted to go away, things had to be different, and it was. We busted a move and got it all done (except for the knitting) and a few stocking stuffers and all the wrapping was done (except for the knitting.) We had a lovely trip, and all was well until I got the plague.

(PS I got the cookies done too.)

Let me tell you this – if I didn’t have that spreadsheet, this  holiday would be a screaming dumpster fire right now. Instead, the worst thing that has happened is that I missed a family event and had to cancel our solstice party, and I am now officially behind on the knitting, since I slept through a bunch of my intended knitting time.  (I am not so worried about this. I have missed knitting deadlines before and despite how it felt, it wasn’t actually fatal to anyone.) I was horizontal for three days (and I am not so sure I am up now) and I didn’t have to compound how crappy I felt by feeling terrible about the things that weren’t getting done, and if it really needed doing and I couldn’t do it, it was easy to give other people jobs off the spreadsheet.

(Almost everything in that picture is done now. Sort of.)

Sure, the house isn’t as tidy as it was (and it is sort of sticky in spots) and I’ve scaled back a couple of missions that I thought would be fun, and now we’re celebrating the solstice in the new year, but this thing is still going to go off. Joe has his grocery list (from the spreadsheet) there are a few tasks left (I have to wrap knitting) and there’s tons of cooking yet to do, but my girls will all be here soon, and from there many hands will make for light work.

In a lot of ways I am glad I got sick this year. (That is an absolutely reeking lie but I am trying to look on the bright side.) It reaffirmed my love and purpose for my Christmas Spreadsheet System, made dumping paint down the stairs not seem like a huge problem after all, and further clarified for me what’s important to me about the holidays.  I am not sad about the tasks that didn’t get done (or that the stairs didn’t get a second coat of paint) but I am sad about the time I missed with my family – and it’s going to make being with them over the next few days even nicer.

From us to you, a the happiest of holidays, and I hope you don’t get the flu, but if you do, I hope you have a spreadsheet. See you on the other side.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Modification Monday: Terre-Mer

Knitted Bliss - Mon, 12/23/2019 - 11:00

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Original Pattern: Terre Mer  Knitter Extraordinaire: Estelle (Ravelry Profile, blog) Mods: While the pattern has options for a short (finished sweater is cropped) and long version of the stranded design, Estelle made modifications to have the short version of the stranded design and lengthened the body. She also added twisted stitch ribbing below the stranded

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 12/20/2019 - 11:00

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My Favourite Articles and Links This Week If you love Christmas AND books, then these best Christmas scene in English literature will probably be your cup of tea. A gentle PSA for all of us- when was the last time you washed your gloves / mittens? Because, yuck. Reflecting on those that help you get

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Modification Monday: Dragonscale Armor

Knitted Bliss - Mon, 12/16/2019 - 18:17

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Original Pattern: Imoogi: Dragon Poncho  Knitter Extraordinaire: Meaghan (Ravelry Profile) Mods: Took the stitch design from the poncho and applied it to a bottom up, circular yoke sweater recipe. Details can be found on her project page, here. What Makes This Awesome: It’s easy to get caught up in how jaw-dropping this sweater is, but

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Drinking Coffee

Yarn Harlot - Mon, 12/16/2019 - 14:43

Thank you, dear ones, for the sympathy on the last post, both here and on Instagram. I’m happily out the other side of disaster today, or at least out the other side of spectacular disaster and back to the regular Christmas kind, which suddenly seems like no big deal.

When last we saw our heroine, she was walking down over the stairs in her underpants, through what was practically a wading pool of paint, trying to figure out where you even start with something like that. As I tracked paint inevitably through the house, making things worse by the second, I came up with a plan. I am ridiculously proud of this. Considering how big that disaster was, I came back from the edge really, really quickly. There was four minutes of violent swearing, three minutes of crying, and then… then I got it together.  Step one, I scraped off as much of the paint as I could, and got the clothing, coats, etc that had been spattered into the wash. (This did not work, but it turns out that rubbing alcohol removes paint – sort of, so there were hours of scrubbing later, but I managed to rescue my ski jacket and Joe’s sweater. My jeans and the handknit socks I was wearing didn’t make it.) I used a piece of cardboard to get what I could off the stairs, and then wiped off anything else I could.  Then I left it to dry.

The next morning, things still looked pretty bad, but at least I knew where to go with it.  I painted one side of the stairs –

and then 24 hours later, the other, so that I could still go up and down them, while I tried to do all the other million things I do before the gingerbread party. (Like make Gingerbread.) In between I wrapped presents, cooked for 50, finished the cleaning and scrubbed clothing with rubbing alcohol and a toothbrush.  The day of the party, the stairs looked like this.

We still have to repaint – they’ve only got one coat on them and look terrible in real life, and while I repainted the trim and touched up the walls, that needs proper handling too. All I really managed to do was take it from shocking to bad, and that’s enough for this time of year, I think, especially since it’s only light for a few hours a day, and the rest of the time… well, everything looks better by candlelight.

In the meantime, the Christmas crafting rolled to a virtual stop. I got a little bit done each day, but the morning of the party the pile looked like this-

I’m farther on one of the socks, the sweater is the same,  I fixed the mittens but have two pairs to go… I’d show you what it looked like after the party, but I let this happen to the table.

I spent yesterday chipping all that icing off of every surface of the house (briefly astonished that there was even icing on the stairs, haven’t they been through enough?) and last night I packed up to go. Joe and I are on a plane as I write this, about to take off for BC. We’ll visit friends and family for a few days, and then head back home. The next few days are prime knitting days, and I have brought with me all of the stuff I need to finish two pairs of socks, begin and finish two pairs of mittens, and knit the sleeves and yoke of a small sweater. In my heart, I believe that in four days, I am coming home with all of this done, ready to apply myself to the few remaining Christmas tasks.*

This is, of course, not possible – not really. In reality, it’s going to be a miracle if I finish any of those things now that I’ve spent days mopping up paint, but hope springs eternal, and there is a long flight in my future, and that makes this amount of knitting a terrible and tantalizing thing. It makes it almost possible, and that… that I can’t give up on.

*Through the miracle of caffeine, the shopping and wrapping is all done. I have no idea how I managed it.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 12/13/2019 - 13:46

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My Favourite Articles and Links This Week 15 ways to improve your mood– so many great ideas on this list, with 1-minute, 10-minute and 30-minute fixes. These gorgeous, incredible metallic fabrics are made from recycled VHS video! The incredible art produced by the prisoners of Japanese Internment camps during WWII. Instagram’s policies around photos of

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Pattern | Healdan Scarf

Knitting | Work in Progress - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 18:02
Longing for a dashing scarf that’s fast, easy and reversible? This design offers that and more. Healdan, an Old English word meaning to care for or protect, is a versatile unisex design suitable for folks of all ages.

Slipped stitches create an attractive fabric with fluted columns on one side and fluted ribs on the other. The stitch is easy to execute, knits quickly and is appealing in one color or many.

Go classic with a single solid or tonal yarn, work a subtle two-tone weave, or craft a custom gradient, ombre or fade. No matter what option you choose, the colorwork is easy, because only one color is worked on a row.

The pattern is written for sock/fingering weight or lace weight held double, but it readily adapts to any yarn weight or fiber. As an added plus, it includes directions for three lengths (48, 60, 72 ins), three widths (4, 6, 8 ins), and five color strategies ranging from a solid and two-tone weave to different gradient effects. Work it as written or use the handy Quick Reference guide, stitch chart, tips, tricks and easy modifications to tailor your project to suit your tastes.
                     
Healdan Scarf | Fast, Easy & Reversible 
Skill Level 2: Easy
Yarn: Sock/fingering or lace weight held doubleNeedles: US 8 (5 mm), US 9 (5.5 mm) or whatever size works for youSizes: Three lengths (48, 60, 72 ins) and three widths (4, 6, 8 ins)
Yardage (approx.): 240 to 645 yards (fingering); 480 to 1290 yards (lace weight held double)
With Healdan, the:
  • Slipped stitch is extremely easy to execute, equally easy to memorize, and it produces a a lovely fabric that's fully reversible.
  • Flat construction keeps your project compact and portable, so you can work it on the go.
  • Colorwork is easy, because only one color is worked on a row.
  • Five color strategies help you tailor each scarf to your tastes or those of the recipient.
  • Pattern is simple enough for any moderately experienced beginner. It's concise but complete, with written directions, stitch chart, stitch counts, yardage and dimensions for each size.
  • Yarn choice is completely up to you. The pattern is written for sock/fingering weight or lace weight held double, but it readily adapts to other weights and multi-stranding.
  • Design is versatile and unisex, suitable for all ages, and can be worked in different yarns and countless combinations. 


The only limitation is your imagination. Create a timeless look with muted neutrals, or go bold with brights, classic with gem tones, or whimsical with rainbow hues. Add a lush touch with luxury yarn, texture with a rustic tweed, or a trendy feel with speckled yarns. Simplify your color choices by indulging in a gradient or ombre mini-skein collection, or craft your own. 
For dramatic impact with minimal fuss, try a slow-change gradient or rainbow yarn. To tone down pooling, pair a busy variegated with a closely related solid, or add a touch of glam by combining glitter or metallic yarn with a contrasting solid.
If you're feeling brave and want to quickly work up a last-minute holiday gift, substitute a heavier yarn weight or multi-strand lighter weight yarns and use larger needles. Fast, easy and fully reversible, Healdan is suited to any knitter who can cast on, knit, k2tog, ktbl, purl, slip stitches and bind off.

To view the Ravelry description and purchase the Healdan scarf pattern, click here. (And don't forget, you don't have to be a Ravelry member to buy patterns.)
Happy holidays and happy knitting! 

FYIWant to learn more? See FO| Healdan Rose GradientFO | Healdan Plumberry Mitts & Scarf .
Shopping at your favorite LYS? All patterns are activated for in-store sales.
Experimenting with color combos? These articles offer ideas and inspiration.
Categories: Knitting Feeds

I think they spell it hubris

Yarn Harlot - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 15:50

All week long I’ve been kicking arse and taking names in the Christmas department. Knitters, I am so on it that I’ve impressed even myself. I went the mall, I’ve got the house coming together, the shopping is almost done and I’ve been plowing through the knitting in a way that makes it all seem possible. Sure, the house is kinda trashed, but it’s that kind of trashed that’s like cleaning a closet, things are only this bad because they’re about to be much, much better – or at least that’s what I’m telling myself every time it threatens to overwhelm.  Yes, there’s wrapping paper everywhere, but that’s because so much is wrapped. Sure, there’s knitting on every surface, but that’s because I’m working on so much of it. Agreed, that bedroom looks like Santa’s workshop exploded into an elf rave that went on for days – but… well. I have to clean that up for sure, but really, things are coming together. They really, really are.  That’s what I was telling myself yesterday morning when I made my to-do list for the day and consulted the schedule that has a bow on this Christmas by the time Joe gets off a plane tonight.  (Mostly.) I’ve been motivated by how great it’s going to feel to be relaxed and prepared this holiday, and how effortlessly I’m going to slide from event to event, and how Joe’s to-do list is going to be so short that it’s a gift to him in itself.

To pull this off, you understand, things need to be pretty seamless. There’s not a lot of room for error in this scene, and I need to stay right on track. That’s why it was more than a little gutting yesterday when I realized that yes, I was almost finished a pair of mittens, right on schedule, but that they were both right mittens.

I bounced back. ripping the work back, mentally revising the plan and trying to laugh at myself for such a rookie move. I got the work back on the needles, gave up knitting for the moment, and got the day’s shopping done. Then I went upstairs to clean the bathroom. That went super well, it didn’t need much, and I decided that since I’ll have a whole houseful of guests on Saturday and I had an extra 5 minutes, I’d touch up a place where the paint in the bathroom needs it.  I popped to the basement, got the can of paint I’d bought for just this purpose, fetched a paintbrush, opened the paint and trudged back up the stairs to do a two minute paint job. I believe that as I went up the stairs, I even congratulated myself on finding the time to do an extra credit project, and smiled, thinking about how impressed Joe was going to be. We’ve been talking about fixing that paint for months.

At the top of the stairs… I, I don’t know what happened. I can’t explain it. I put my foot on the top step, I remember that. I turned to go into the bathroom, that much is clear… and then…. I let go of the can of paint. It slipped right out of my hand, and the whole world suddenly slowed down, like I was in a movie.  The can hit the floor at the top of the stairs and for a moment I thought it might be okay, I thought it might just land on its bottom, but as I watched it tipped over – not onto the floor, but towards the stairs. I grabbed for it, desperate to prevent disaster, but it was too late. As I watched, the can bounced off the edge and downward into history.

I do not have time to use all the words to explain to you how I felt when it was over. First there was shock, then I became…let’s call it “understandably upset”.  I couldn’t even figure out what to do next. The paint was everywhere.  It was not just on the steps, it was on the floor, the wall, the wall opposite the stairs (?) the newel post, the ballusters, the carpet at the bottom of the stairs, my bike – Elliot’s ball (I guess I should put that away) it spattered the coats hanging on the newel post – my ski jacket, Joe’s favourite old man sweater, it’s all over my knitting bag.  It’s like a crime scene.   I stripped off my pants (paint spattered) and socks (handknit, now ruined) and realized that everything I could possibly use to clean this up (what the hell was I going to use to clean this up?) was downstairs, on the other side of that disaster.  I took that picture (once a blogger always a blogger) and then started to cry as I walked down the stairs through the paint, in my underpants.

Today I’m going to try and bounce back, but boy, was I right. Joe is going to be SO impressed.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Checking it Twice

Yarn Harlot - Tue, 12/10/2019 - 17:15

Joe is still away – and that means I am still whipping through the Christmas preparations, unencumbered by the burden of consultation, regular meals or conversation. The yarn pile looks quite a bit better – Here’s where I was on Friday-

and here’s where I am today.

I know it’s not super impressive, but some of the weaving is done, and more than that, I managed to figure the warp math so that might need a lot less than I thought originally, which might mean I’m halfway there on that, I’ll see later.  I still have to cut and sew the cloth, but I’ll wait until it’s all woven.  The stocking is no longer in the pile, it’s finished and wrapped. The second sock of the first pair is started, and I’ve started the first sock of the second pair too.  3/4 pom-poms are made (one not pictured) and I have to solve a yarn problem before I go any farther than that. I’ve got 1/6 mittens almost done, and all the rest of that yarn is wound – not that it helps much, but at least it makes me look more ready. No progress on the small sweaters or the ornament, but I thought about them a lot.

Since my goal is to get everything (except the knitting) finished by Saturday, I’ve been prioritizing other stuff – I can keep knitting after that.  I’m only a day away from having the house “Christmas Clean” though I’m sure it will get absolutely trashed on Saturday – and I’ve started the wrapping, and set a menu for Saturday, and plotted a path to success.  It’s starting to involve warping the time-space continuum a little bit, but only a little.

It all hinges on today though – today must be executed to perfection or all hope dies here. Today I’m going to drive our car (be impressed, I only do it about 5 times a year) and I am going to go to the mall. I hate the mall, everything about it makes me wild, but once a year I have to concede that it’s the best way to get a lot done in a single day, and off I go.  I have planned what I think is the best day to go – I feel like Tuesday should be the quietest day, and I’m going in the daytime- I’ll avoid everyone who’s eager enough to go on a Monday and stay right away from everyone desperate to do it before a weekend, and that should leave me jockeying for space with only those also smart enough to show up on a Tuesday who can also go during the daytime, and I feel like I can deal with that.  I have a plan (a really good one) and it is written down with a list of all the things that I need, and what stores they should come from, and I have looked at the mall map, and know what my route through the place will be. I know where I will park, and I have a timeline.  If all goes well today – if it all falls into place according to plan, with my wool as my witness, I will not shop again this year.*

Wish me well, my friends, and if I don’t come back, know that I loved you all, and ask Jen to divide the stash as fairly as she can.

 

*Except for yarn which is fine. 

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Modification Monday: Klaralund

Knitted Bliss - Mon, 12/09/2019 - 11:00

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Original Pattern: Klaralund Knitter Extraordinaire: Mary (Ravelry Profile) Mods: Left off the sleeves from the original pattern. Details can be found on her project page, here. What Makes This Awesome: If it never gets cold enough for big wool sweaters, what’s a knitter to do? Especially a knitter living somewhere warm. like Texas? Mary decided

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

FO | Kintra Mitts Red Cash Silk

Knitting | Work in Progress - Sun, 12/08/2019 - 19:22
Well, that was a short-lived struggle! Just a few short weeks ago, I was determined to stay focused on the tasks already at hand, but then in a moment of distraction I found myself casting on yet another pair of fingerless mitts, and I realized I'd lost that battle.

And I'm glad I did. Just in time for the holidays, I have a pair of soft, silky red mitts to go with my recently completed Kintra cowl.



To change things up just a bit, I used the rich purple Cash Vero and a three-needle bind-off to seam the mitts with a kiss of contrasting color. Overall, I'm pleased with the effect, and should I grow tired of the purple, I can easily remove it and redo the seam with red.



Kintra Mitts
Yarn: Cash Silk (Zegna Baruffa), Cash Vero (Cascade)
Needles: US 8 (5 mm)
Yardage: ~96 yards
Size: M

For now, however, I like the purple accent, and because the cowl features a removable button, I can achieve a matching look by substituting a purple pompom for the black button. (Yep, it's the same one I made for the Wyndfael cowl, but it works just as well here.)




Christmas is only a few weeks away and there's still much to be done, but meanwhile, I'm ready for the season with my vibrant red cowl and mitts.


RELATED



 Pattern | Kintra Cowl-Scarf  Pattern | Kintra Mitts


Categories: Knitting Feeds

Making a list

Yarn Harlot - Fri, 12/06/2019 - 23:14

I think it’s time to settle into the reality of what’s happening here.  The tree has been up for a week and we’ve transitioned into full-on Christmas breakfasts around here which you would think should have installed a full-on sense of panic in me about getting ready, but it has not.

(Elliot is seen here eating Santa Strawberries and Snowman Pancakes and wearing Santa jammies after his first sleepover here last night, and It went great, thanks for asking. He slept between us in a deep cuddle, and we were prepared to run him home at the first sign of trouble- I think Joe slept with his car key on the bedside table. Ellie did really, really well. Meg and Alex thought he was ready and I’m glad we trusted their judgment – we all had a great time.)

I’ve been plugging away, getting organized and getting ready and consulting the spreadsheet, but in a really relaxed way.  I went to River City Yarns to work for a few days (what a great shop and such a fabulous team) and felt like (despite full days) that I’d have tons of time to knit.  I felt so good about it actually, that when Joe suggested that if I was going to be in Alberta anyway, maybe we should grab a quick ski- that seemed totally reasonable too, after all, I’d have lots of time to knit. I did find time to knit in both places and I came home inexplicably feeling like there was heaps of time to get Christmas together, and then something about the day before yesterday got to me.

Joe came home from work on Wednesday and told me that he needed to go to Calgary for work on Friday (that’s Alberta again) and asked if I wanted to come along for a ski. I flipped open my calendar and super casually said “let me just check…” and suddenly, I got it. I looked at the date, I looked at the date on Friday, I looked at the date we’d be back and I… I got it.  There, in the shadow of the Christmas tree, with four days of my yarn-ish advent calendar open, with the smell of balsam fir wafting through the air, having already attended two parties and noted that my evening walks are snowy and lit by pretty lights all around me… I GOT IT.

“Dude, I can’t go anywhere” I told him, and what I meant was that I can’t go anywhere that isn’t going to help me make a Christmas, and skiing is not that thing. (I saw him open his mouth to say something about how much knitting I can get done on a flight, but we are so far past that – I think he saw something in my eyes and stowed it. If you were a witness to this marriage, I promise that you would be stunned at how often Joe saves his own life based on a glance I give him without really any sense of what’s going on. It’s an instinct.) I thought about it for a few minutes and then came up with a plan.  “You go.” I told him, and opened the spreadsheet. *

Joe is leaving in an hour and he’ll be gone for five days. Our annual Gingerbread Party is in 13 days. I get back on a plane in 15 days, and I won’t be home until the 20th (although there will be lots of time to knit on the flight.) The way I see it,  I need to have this whole thing wrapped up (literally) except for a little bit of knitting (for the flights) before I hit the road on the 16th or my whole world will be regret and I will guarantee myself no damned fun this Christmas at all. I can tell you (or the family can) that if I’m not having fun, ain’t nobody going to have fun, so today has been all about the spreadsheet of Christmas power, a series of lists, a plan divided by zone, stores and tasks, and a huge pile of yarn.

Yeah. That’s my yarn plan. That there is roughly three pairs of mittens, two pairs of socks (one started.) A small sweater (half done.) A stocking (half done.) One ornament (not started.) Four towels (that’s weaving, it’s fast don’t panic.) Not pictured, one optional sweater which is my last priority because it’s very small and the recipient isn’t even born yet and couldn’t care less, and four pom-poms, for which I do not have yarn. (Don’t ask.)

I know, that’s a big pile of yarn, but somehow it seems manageable to me – and actually like the least of my problems- Christmas wise.  I’m going to spend the next five days shopping, wrapping, cleaning, knitting and weaving and I think… I think I might have woken up just in time. Maybe.

Knitters. it’s go time.

*This is like the Hunger Games.  I volunteer as tribute.

(Also, like in many good rescue missions, I think I’ll be faster if I go alone.)

(Also I will have a list for him to do when he comes back, don’t you worry.)

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 12/06/2019 - 11:00

www.knittedbliss.com

My Favourite Articles and Links This Week An excellent list of ideas for gratitude that are small, easy, and oh-so-effective. Is it self care or self sabotage? 15 things to stop giving a sh*t about. Air travel and climate change- frequent flying is a part of the problem. I hate flying- the whole industry seems

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Modification Monday: Almost Metropolis

Knitted Bliss - Mon, 12/02/2019 - 11:00

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Original Pattern: Metropolis  Knitter Extraordinaire: Michelle (Ravelry Profile) Mods: Changed the shaping to be A-line, worked a turned edging instead of ribbing at the hem, cuffs and neckline- and worked a keyhole back to the neckline, where the turtle is, of course absent. Also added side seams for stability. Great details are on her project

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

There's Still Time

Knitting | Work in Progress - Sun, 12/01/2019 - 19:06
As much as I love Thanksgiving, when it comes so very late in the month as it did this year, it can really put a crimp in the holiday season. One day, you're completely focused on family, friends and food (I'm a total turkey addict), and the next you realize Christmas is just a few weeks away. 

The only solution is to take deep breaths and remind myself (over and over again) there's still time to whip up some knitted gifts. Just in case you're in the same boat, I'm here to share some quick and easy gift-giving possibilities.


ORNAMENTS
Christmas Trees
Worked from the top down, these classic reversible Christmas Trees are ideal as ornaments, mug mats, hotpads, table accents and more. As an added plus, they can be knit in any gauge, any yarn weight, and a wide range of sizes from extra small to extra large. 

To buy the Christmas Tree pattern now, click here.
To read more about it, click here.


ACCESSORIES
Dojeling Shawl
This is a bit more ambitious, but if you choose to use large-ish needles, you could easily create a triangular shawl or bandana scarf in time for gift-giving or holiday wear. Dojeling is reversible, readily adapts to any gauge and yarn weight from fingering to bulky, and features innovative construction to keep work in progress manageable for knitting on the go.

To buy the Dojeling pattern now, click here.
To read more about it, click here.


Kintra Cowl-Scarf
The Kintra cowl-scarf features a unisex design that's quick, easy and suited to anyone you deem knitworthy. Use shrine of precious yarn for something truly delectable, or opt for sturdy workhorse yarn for durable daily wear. The pattern is written for sport weight but readily adapts to multi-stranding and heavier yarn weights that work up quickly. (For a superfast knit, check out the short version, which takes about 165-200 yards.)
To buy the Kintra Cowl-Scarf pattern now, click here.
To read more about it, click here.


Kintra Mitts
The Kintra Mitts are not only fast and easy, they feature a versatile unisex design. Choose soft and sumptuous yarn for a woman, or something sturdy and tweedy for a man. As an added plus, the pattern is written for sport weight but readily adapts to any yarn weight, so opt for heavier weights and you can quickly work up several pairs.

To buy the Kintra Mitts pattern now, click here.
To read more about it, click here.


Wyndfael Mitts
A combination of classic two-stitch mock cables and ribs make Wyndfael fast, easy and versatile. Because the pattern is written for worsted weight yarn, these mitts work up very quickly. Simply follow the pattern as written, or use the tips, tricks and easy modifications to tailor each pair to a range of recipients.


To buy the Wyndfael Mitt pattern now, click here.
To read more about it, click here.


HOME DECOR
Graefen Cloth & Towel Set
This fast and easy pattern produces a set of reversible cloths and towels. They work up quickly in DK weight, but you could speed things along even more by using worsted, aran or bulky weight yarn for a single towel, set of cloths, or both.


To buy the Graefen pattern now, click here.
To read more about it, click here.


Sweet Hearts & Soft Spots
Designed to function as coasters, hotpads, placemats and decorative accents for your table or tree, Sweet Hearts & Soft Spots are ideal for gifts. Celebrate the season by working them in holiday colors, use rainbow hues for a range of recipients, or get a jumpstart on Valentine's Day using rose, pink and red.


To buy the Sweet Hearts & Soft Spots pattern now, click here.
To read more about it, click here.


Whimsy Owls
Know someone who loves owls? This design works up quickly, and the pattern includes instructions for three different sizes, so you can create an entire owl family if you wish.
To buy the Whimsy Owl Family pattern now, click here.
To read more about it, click here.


From afghans and accessories to holiday and home accents, there's something for everyone. Each pattern includes a range of sizes, detailed yardage breakouts, and handy tips, tricks and easy modifications. For many of you, this means you can dip into stash to make the most of yarn on hand, to save time, money and shopping hassles.

It's crunch time, fellow knitters, so let's get busy. Christmas is coming!

Want to acquire several patterns? Click here to go straight to my Ravelry pattern store.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

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