One of the many changes coming from Covid for me is I can’t seem to think of anything that I think readers could possibly be interested in. I think of a possible target, don’t write it down then forget what is was. Linda calls that Covid brain. I was shocked to see the last time I posted on Knitting: A Love Story. The first couple of years of Knitting: A Love Story were printed in book form so my Mom could read them. She just didn’t get reading on an iPad. Those were pretty thick books. As the years have gone by, the books have gotten thinner until I’m not sure if 2020 will produce even a good sized pamphlet. No working at Ann’s By Design, or at least doing a different kind of work. No visiting new LYS. No face to face social knitting. Things have slowed down so much, except for Social Knitting From Afar with Linda. Our Tuesday virtual get togethers have become the focal point of my week and my knitting inspiration. Linda and I have finished our third project. It is one of my favorites. Remember The Moon and Other Satellites?
This is the yarn I finally decided on after several false starts. I must admit that I added and subtracted yarn along the way until it was perfect. Finally, it looked exactly like I envisioned it would look.
The Moon and Other Satellites uses five yarns but one of my choices was Twisted Fiber Art’s Nessy in Glamour. That makes it look like more than five yarns. When I look at TMAOS it relaxes me. The word cosmic pops into my head. See all of the little twinkling stars? Beautiful! Now I’ll just do a series of TMAOS and enjoy the scenery.
We have moved on to our next Social Knitting From Afar project, the second iteration of Spice Market. Just choosing a different color pallet makes it look like a totally different wrap. We’ll be done in a couple of weeks, then I’ll have a new Social Knitting From afar treasure to show you. I’ll try to be better at posting. See you soon.
Nothing shares a piece of my heart like a knitted treasure. One Tuesday, I got a text from Marcia, a friend I met in the fall of 1990 when I went to work at Lenawee Intermediate School District. Her son Zac and his wife Kristen were the proud parents of a little girl, Marcia’s first grandchild. The little princess was about a month early. Marcia sent me pictures from the hospital and she was beautiful. Long dark hair, tiny little finger and this perfect face. What was my first thought? “I’ve got to knit something.” I wanted to have something finished for Marcia so she could take it with her to her first visit with the little princess. I literally raced up the stairs to the Stash Studio being careful not to trip on things spread all over the floor.
I found a ball of this beautiful yarn which to me screams, “MERMAID!” I found my baby mermaid tail pattern and immediately started knitting.
You might remember this pattern. I made a mermaid tale for my friend Evie’s great granddaughter a couple of years ago. I just love knitting this. You all know what I think of deadline knitting. I do not like it. I think it disturbs the zen of the knitting experience. But once I got into this, I was a woman on a mission. I was so concerned that Marcia would leave for her first visit and I wouldn’t have it done. By Friday, it was finished and pretty amazing if I do say so myself.
I took the magical tail over to Marcia’s Saturday. I think she might have actually squealed when she saw it. I got to see more pictures of the princess who was still in the hospital. A week or so went by and the princess was still not home. Finally, one morning I got a text saying Marcia was on her way for her first visit. Later that day I received this.
If this isn’t why people knit, I don’t know what is. Every time I look at this picture I smile and I must admit I get a little teary.
My neighbor hs been so very good about making masks for people. She has given me several never taking money offered. “AHA!” I had an idea! Why didn’t I look in my tub of treasures and see what Robyn might like. I found this.
Same scarf, different lighting! I took the scarf down Saturday and she was thrilled. I felt good and she felt good. The great thing about giving treasures away is when you give a piece of your heart away, you grow two pieces back. This is why I love knitting.
Aren’t these little beauties amazing! They are just a few of many of my minis.
I’m back!!!! “And where have you been?” you asked. On Friday, July 31, I had outpatient, elective surgery. It wasn’t a big deal just vanity surgery to remove the turkey who had taken up residence under my chin. I really thought I would be working on Knitting: A Love Story the next week. I experienced something I will call anesthetic brain. I couldn’t think of anything to write about but when I did, I started doing, “No! I could do this. No! I could do that. No! It’s this.” I just couldn’t make up my mind. Then it would be 5:00 and I would say, “Too late now! I do it in the morning.” Here I am!
When I was in the process of organizing the Stash Studio (way in the beginning of Stay Home Stay Safe) I ran across two things that reminded me of my obsession with mini-skeins of yarn. Then, I got to thinking about all of the different mini-skeins I have. I am just going to share with you the tip of the iceberg.
This is what put me back on the mini-skein track. It was like being on a diet, eating a piece of chocolate and wanting more and more chocolate. This is so beautiful! I bought it at Yarn Envy an amazing LYS about 30 minutes from Adrian. This was in the glass case at check-out. As I was paying for the already substantial yarn I had chosen, this caught my eye. “STOP!” I screamed. “Is it too late to put this on my credit card?” Well, it was but I didn’t care. It probably was better this way, I didn’t scare myself quite so much when it came through as two orders on the credit card statement, Just look at how cute those tiny little balls are wound. I have never seen yarn wound like that before. The sad part of this story is Yarn Envy closed in March.
You would think I found this little kit at Yarn Envy too but I didn’t. It just happens to be another ArtYarn kit. Linda and I were checking out a new LYS Joselyn Brown had written about in her column. It was in Birmingham or Bloomfield Hills. The moral of this story is, once again I couldn’t resist a kit made up of mini-skeins. Look at those teeny, weeny skeins. Aren’t they adorable!?!?!? I really think I must knit these two adorable little kits.
My obsession began in earnest when Madelinetosh came out with Unicorn Tails. I thought they were adorably spectacular. I began buying all I could find. At the time I did not even know what I would do with them. Then I found my first Unicorn Tails pattern.
This Sev (en) Circles pattern led to more Unicorn Tail which led to more patterns. Unicorn Tails were the first minis for me but not the last.
All of a sudden, gradient sets of minis were the “in” thing. Need I say I bought my share or maybe more than my share.
Wonderland Yarns makes exquisite gradient sets. I won’t show you all of mine or I might just crash Weebly.
This is an irresistible set of gradient minis by The Unique Sheep. Each mini is gradient which connects the whole set of yarns. I haven’t found the perfect pattern for this yet and it really deserves the perfect pattern.
Then we have Miss Babs Yummy 2 Ply Toes which became this amazing treasure.
Freia has also come out with minis and the patterns to support.
I’m in the process of making a scarf out of this which will snap, crackle and pop.
Can’t you just see it!?!?!?
These mini-skeins became this. . .
Well, I think you have the gist of the length, breadth and color of my obsession. Mini-skeins were made for people who love color. You can have all of the color you want without taking out a personal loan. Tiny splashes of amazing color in every treasure. Is that me, or what!?!?!
To say I’ve had a stressful week of knitting would be an understatement. Remember when I said, “I’m a perfectionist just not a very good one”? I think I lived that statement this week. I decided on July 15 that I NEEDED to knit Jacaranda. It felt like a pull, a compulsion. I gave my dear friend Evie my Jacaranda for her birthday July 14.
I loved this so much (like I shared before, this may be my favorite pattern ever) that I knew I would knit it again. I just look at this picture and get goosebumps of pride. After this treasure was put in the mail, my house felt strangely empty. Like there was a hole, something missing. I realized it was Jacaranda. I was missing Jacaranda and immediately decided to finish the one I started before Christmas.
I had to go to Staples to by printer ink before I could start because I couldn’t fine my pattern. After I printed the pattern, I realized I had rewritten the pattern because it was too hard to read in the original form. Then I had to figure out where in the pattern I had left off which was no easy feet. Finally, I was ready to JUST DO IT! After a couple of rows I realized these colors weren’t inspiring me so I decided to make a trip to te Stash Studio to find the perfect yarn. I had no doubt I would find it and I did. That’s one thing about having a stash the size of a medium LYS, I can almost always find just what I’m looking for and I did.
There it was! One of my many balls of Havirland. I love this yarn and thought this would be amazing. But it didn’t do anything for me. It just didn’t inspire me. So, another trip to the Stash Studio and I found this.
Is that beautiful or what!!!!!! I have always loved the colors of Zauberball and now was a great time to reintroduce myself to its beauty. But no, this didn’t work because the gradual color change did’nt provide enough color definition for the stitches. So another trip to the Stash Studio.
I love this and thought, “Here it is! Exactly what I have been looking for!” But this didn’t work either. In the meantime, I experienced the soothing counting of the cast-on. Thank goodness there was some soothing between my joyless attempts at Jacaranda. Another trip to the Stash Studio.
This is an amazing Lang yarn that I have had my eye on since spring of 2019 when I bought it at Knit ‘N Purl in Myrtle Beach. See those black hunks? I have learned that black or anything too dark hides the intricacies of the pattern and why knit Jacaranda if you’re going to hide those amazing intricacies???????? So one more trip to the Stash Studio.
This is another Langs. Great colors, right? But no joy. Sadly enough I had to leave my amazing Jacaranda and move on. This adventure felt a lot like the three bears; too dark/too thin/too thick/color change to thin/color change too thick, etc. I am exhausted!!! I got back to seriously knitting The Moon and Other Satellites with Linda in our Social Knitting From Afar. It is providing me with the peace, tranquility and joy I need at the moment. Some day I will surprise you with a new Jacaranda that is perfect in every way. I did learn that for me, joy trumps perfection.
It’s been a while since my last story but rest assured, I have not been slacking. I have been Social Knitting From Afar with Linda. I just finished (and by finished I mean steamed and perfect) Spice Market. It is so beautiful. There are a couple of very interesting things about Spice Market. I used the fabulous Miss Babs Yummy Toe set in Damsdorf Sunset with the main color being Wheaten because it is the color of a Wheaten Terrier. Do you remember?
Creating a bigger build up and more suspense, this is the pattern.
Ok! Are you ready? Abracadabra! No wait let’s build up the excitement a little more. This was my first picture of Spice Market.
It was about this time I said to myself, “These aren’t my colors but I really love them!” Then I came to the pattern stitch my knitting buddy Viv who lives in Wooster, Ohio but has a place North Myrtle Beach cal the MF Stitch.
It is tedious, very tedious. When it’s done, it looks as cute as can be. Now for the big unveil or reveal or surprise or what ever you want to call it. First Marilyn the steamer did her job.
Then Lydia did her job. Lydia makes all of my treasures look their best.
I love it! As I’m working on a treasure I always ask myself, “What would be the learnings from this pattern if I taught a class?’ Except for the MF Stitch, it’s pretty straight forward garter stitch but look at all of the color changes. There would be two learnings: 1) Invisibly carry the main color throughout the project and 2) hide ends as you go. When I was finished I had two ends to hide, one at the beginning which was the yellow and at the end which was the dark purple. I am Home From The Market and I feel great. I have also discovered two more kits I’ve made up for Spice Market. . .
And one I don’t even have a picture of but it was in the first tub when I started making my own kits. I must have kitted it at least five years ago, Either Kitterly or Earthfaire must have sent me an email with Spice Market on and I couldn’t resist. Linda and I have picked out another fabulous project for Social Knitting From Afar. Can’t wait to sow you.
We hear on a daily basis the consequences and horrors of Covid 19 but could there possibly be any unanticipated blessings? I think I may have experienced 5 unanticipated blessings. I am not sure I would have discovered any of these treasures without Stay Home, Stay Safe giving me the opportunity to disengage from all commitments to take a long hard look at life.
The first thing I discovered was mindfulness. I was given the opportunity to step back and take a hard look at what was really important. I looked at each of my commitments and their importance in my life in 2020. Without the pause, I would not have been mindful about my commitments. I would have continued life as it had been for a very long time. My benchmark to safety is “I am ready to eat in a restaurant?” If the answer is “no” then I am not ready to reengage.
Another unanticipated blessing was reclaiming Mom’s bedroom from its “yarn dump” status. It has been a yarn dump since January 2018 when we had our last sleep over guest. All yarn purchased since January 2018 was dumped there.
After two weeks of sweat and yarn kitted to fill 3 tubs, it looks like this.
Tess thinks every bed belongs to her.
In the midst of reclaiming Mom’s bedroom and organizing the Stash Studio, I became reacquainted with my Stash AND began letting go. I gave yarn away to yarn buddies and to Ann’s By Design to sell. I was amazed there wasn’t a pain in my heart as I sent the skeins, balls and cakes to new homes. I just knew somebody received the gorgeous orbs who would love them as much as I had. Some of the yarn I’d had for over 30 years. It was all bagged, tubbed and labeled. There was much I will never use but I love it too much to get rid of it. Remember, I am not only a knitter, I am a yarn collector.
I have discovered Skyping and Zooming for social knitting. One of my social knitting groups is called Social Knitting From Afar and is with Linda. Every Thursday night for an hour we have a Linda and Jan KAL and visit. We tried this once when she first moved but we each worked on what we were currently knitting. Now we have treasures we’re working on together. Remember S Curve from last post?
Now we are working on Spice Market.
Soon we will be working on The Moon and Satellites.
I’m adding a few more colors so I have lots of options to be creative and spontaneous.
I’m not sure there is much I love better than playing with colors!
On Friday afternoons at 2:00 Debbie Hale a knitter at Ann’s By Design hosts a Zoom knitting. The knitting is a blessing but developing a friendship with Debbie is an unanticipated blessing. It has been amazing to become friends knitting and sitting alone in my dining room. I love Deb. She is upbeat, helpful and a knitter. What more could I ask for in a friend!?!?! Thank you Deb or this wonderful gift.
The fourth unanticipated blessing is the discovery of Indie Untangled: Your portal to artisan yarn and fiber goodness. My sister introduced me to Indie Untangled and I think it significantly increase the yarn dump in Mom’s bedroom. I love Indie Untangled. Every time I visit (and that is probably every day since they send me an email with something I think I can’t live without) I find an amazing treasure that calls to me.
I love to discover small companies featuring hand died fibers in amazing colors. That’s exactly what you’ll find on Indie Untangled.
Isn’t that amazingly beautiful!?!?!?! I will get my Indie Untangled email and be lost in its wonders for an hour and I usually buy something.
I love this sweater in this color! Since I am a very hot person, I probably won’t wear a pullover but I will find a way to use this design with this yarn.
Aren’t they just adorable!?!?!
Last but certainly not least, I’ve rekindled my love affair with lists. When I was working, my job was such that I needed short and long term lists to keep me focused on what I had to do today and what I had to do in the future. Each project had its own list. In the beginning of Stay Home Stay Safe, I was loosing track of what I wanted to do each day so felt disorganized and unproductive. Enter the list! Now I feel like I have some control in my life. It also keeps me from ignoring tasks that I really don’t want to do. At least with a list I can mindfully choose not to do something. And here we are back to mindfulness. I will come out of this crisis a little more thoughtful, a lot more intentional and counting my unanticipated blessings..
Thursday nights have become nights I treasure and eagerly await. It is the night Linda and I do Social Knitting From Afar. At 7:00/4:00, our iPads are in the ready position and we have a a glass of wine with a glass that says, “Girlfriends are therapists you can drink with.” The next hour is pure heaven. On Thursday, June 4, we completed S Curve together. We kept up with each other even though we each have other treasures we’re working on. You know my story about S Curve. From across the room at the Yarn Barn of Kansas, it called my name. It was love at first sight. Then I bought one for Linda as a thank you when I visited her last summer. I am ready to unveil or reveal which ever you prefer.
There it is! My amazing S Curve which was designed to be part of the Western Michigan Yarn Crawl. The story is so amazing and the colors are so beautiful that I smile every time I see it.
The only part that was not perfectly enjoyable was the lozenge part. Lozenge are those little oval things. TEDIOUS!!!!!
I am pondering if I want to take it to the Coastal Condo and use it on the table in the foyer or if I want to give it to my P.E.O. Chapter for an auction or if I want to keep it to remind me of the Stay Home Stay Safe experience.
All “show and tells” end with Lydia modeling the treasure. Next up on the Social Knitting From Afar agenda is Spice Market.
The colors aren’t exactly me but I think it will be amazing. It looks like Linda and Denny won’t be coming to Michigan this summer. I totally understand the hesitation to fly. I have that same fear. Now that we have Social Knitting From Afar, we see each other every week. I think this will continue for a very long time.
It been a difficult week in the knitting department at 4208 Monticello Drive. When I finished Verdigreen, I was geeked to jump right into fearless knitting. I’ve been a little bit of a slacker in the fearless department since Stay Home Stay Safe. Since this is My Year Of Fearless Knitting 2.0, I decided the jump back on the wagon and get into what I love best. God knows I have many fearless things in the queue just patiently waiting their turn. Well, I decided to start with this. . .
I loved the looks of this. It reminded me of Jacaranda with stacked increases and decreases. As a matter of fact, it looked much easier than Jacaranda. I saw this pattern and it went right to the front of the queue. The pattern said to use self striping yarn with a long color change. I thought I had the perfect yarn.
I love this color combination. And really, colorful yarn and fearless knitting! Is that right up my alley or what?!?!?! I studied the pattern like I always do before I start a treasure. As I looked at Puddle Jumping and Havirland, I wanted to jump right in and try it. But hold on. One of the main reasons why I like wraps and scarves better than cowls is casting on. With Jacaranda I only had to cast-on 83 stitches. With Puddle Jumping, I had to cast-on 192, 240 or 288 AND make sure the stitches weren’t twisted when I joined. See, things I once did without thinking, I obsessed about. 192 and 240 are for self striping with a short color change and 240 and 288 are for self striping with a long color change. I decided on 192 and cast-on. Then I decided to be on the safe side I would cast-on 240 that way it was supposed to work for either. I cast-on, did 2 rows of the pattern only to discover my stitch count didn’t come out right and things things didn’t appear to be lining up. The color wasn’t lining up in any discernible way and it kind of looked like a unicorn had vomited. So, I moved on to this.
Pumpkins and Wool’s Light’s On! I had been wanting to use this and it seemed perfect. Do you hear the past tense there? I cast-on 240 and did 2 rows. So far, so good and I stopped for dinner. In my house dinner means a glass of wine. Need I say more. After dinner I picked up Puddle Jumping excited to start. When I finished row 3, I knew I had really messed up some where. I was supposed to be at the end of the round and I had 8 stitches before the marker.
That’s where I am. I thought I better move on to something else. I decided it had to be Beaubourg and I would teach myself Brioche.
I’ve loved this since my eyes first fell on this fearless vision of color. I thought, “How hard can it be?” I’ve taught myself everything else. The cast-on is an i-cord that you pick up stitches from. Not me, I decided to do the i-cord cast-on. About this time I was feeling pretty sure of myself. Then the pattern came. Honest! I have tried and tried. I have read the pattern out loud as I knit. I just couldn’t wrap my head around what I was doing. Linda and I had our weekly long distance social knitting and I relayed my knitting trials to her. She said, “Jan, you have Covid Brain.” I was so relieved because I thought it might be the beginnings of dementia! She says she’s had the same thing. I can’t tell you how comforted I was. It was difficult enough to learn during all of this that I’m officially elderly without dementia creeping in. I decided I love Beaubourg too much to give up. Tomorrow I am meeting with Lyn, one of the teacher’s from Ann’s By Design to have her teach me all about brioche. Can’t wait to show you this wonder of wonders in a couple of weeks. Oh, I won’t be finished but I will have enough done to share. Wish me luck.
You probably don’t remember the old song lyrics that go “When you’re feeling sad and lonely” and the solution becomes “Call me.” It’s not phone calls that bring me out of the blue funk, it’s color. I have knit with even more brighter, bolder colors than usual. I have shared my exploits with Verdigreen since I discovered it and Cascade Whirligig at Knit ‘N Purl in January. Let’s take a walk through the epic of Verdigreen.
I used 2 cakes of Whirligig starting each cake at a different color. The Marvelous Martina who was my Verdigreen guide said I could use use two cakes and start at different colors for a large wrap or one cake using a strand from the inside and outside for a scarf. I wanted to see as many colors together as I could.
It was about here in the knitting process that I had an “Aha moment.” I realized that Verdigreen could be a study in color theory and yarn substitutions. There are two pattern segments but really no direction to do each one a prescribed number of times. As I knit, I kept knabbling about yarn weights and learnings about which colors work together and which ones don’t really zing. If this would have been a gift, I would have ripped it out and made sure each color popped. But about this time I realized I was knitting a sample for a class at Ann’s By Design on color theory and yarn substitutions using Verdigreen as the vehicle. I taken color class before and learned a lot but I missed the hands-on knitting experience. So here we are. Verdigreen is done, a class is planned and I feel very accomplished. Here we go with the finished product.
Once again Lydia makes everything I knit look better. During my knitting, I realized that different yarn and different colors could give a very different look.
This is Perth from Queensland and my go to Ultra Alpaca Lite. I have 25 skeins just waiting to be added to a treasure and make the color pop.
This is Shawl In A Ball with Ultra Alpaca Lite. It is a little fuzzy so in person it has a different look than Perth. Hopefully, by the time the class runs, which I think may September, I’ll have some samples of different yarn knit up.
Well, what do you think? Verdigreen has done so much for my mental health during this time of Stay Home Stay Safe. It has provided me with a problem to solve, which I love. It has provided me with something finished so I feel accomplished. It has provided with just the right amount of knabbling to help me through times of short attention span. And of course, it has provided me with much needed color. Thank you Verdigreen.
Here we are 8 weeks into Michigan’s Stay Home, Stay Safe, Save Lives order. I feel very productive but do miss social knitting. With so much time, I have been exploring new indie fiber companies. I have rung the fiber bell more than once! If you would like to become an Indie Explore, you must subscribe to the Indie Untangled newsletter. I knew nothing about this fabulous purveyor of temptation until my sister Kathy introduced me a couple of weeks ago. INDIE UNTANGLED, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL OF MY LIFE! I know you will love it, too.
I would encourage you to subscribe then you would be as out of control as I currently am. Indie Untangled temps you with amazingly unique, gorgeous yarns then seamlessly whisks you to that webpage of wonderment. Let me show you my first discovery.
This is Pumpkins and Wool’s colorway Lights Out! Jane asked how I was going to use it. I haven’t figured that out yet. I think it is amazing beautiful but I think I need to play with it to see how the colors stack before I pick a pattern. I also think I need to stare at it, touch it and drool on it for a while. On to the next amazing Indie Yarnista.
Let me introduce you to the magnificent McMullin Fiber Company. I must admit this was the Indie Yarnista who started it all. The first Indie Untangled newsletter I got had a McMullin sample picture. I raced to the website and never looked back. This is Posh Sock and it’s 80% Superwash Merino, 10% Cashmere and 10% nylon. The colorway is Briar Rose. Once again, my photography skills aren’t the best but can’t you tell how yummy it is?
This is Squishy 80% Superwash Merino and 20% Nylon. The Colorway is Marina.
As you can see, this is Sublime Superwash Merino in colorway Aqua and Amethyst.
This is Sublime in colorway Siren.
This is PoshDK with the same marvelous blend as Posh Sock. The colorway is Misty Mountain Cold.
Last but certainly not least is another Squishy in colorway Make It Work. There is only one skein instead of 2 because that’s all they had. In today’s Indie Untangled, I was in for a welcome surprise.
Do you remember me praising The Noble Thread in Wilmington? I loved that shop but it went out of business after we came home February 1. Well, here it is! The bricks and mortar may be out of business but the fabulous fiber and creativity are not. Here she is! I am so excited to know that some place in Wilmington this lovely, creative woman is still applying her talents.
I have other beauties discovered during this strange and chaotic time but they may be a post all of there own. But I want to end with the email I received from McMullin Fiber Company today.
Is this the most amazing offering or what? A Christmas Advent Calendar with 24 Squishy minis and a main color. I can’t wait to see what’s there so I can find the perfect pattern. Like the post says, “In The Beginning There Was Color.” Color will always be with me. It will be my beginning, middle and end. My Alpha and my Omega. It will be the love of my life (well, next to Dick and Tess.)
This blog is dedicated to Mary Helen Growt my first knitting teacher and the woman who changed my life. The mission of Knitting: A Love Story is to preserve, share and promote the love of knitting.